Thursday, April 9, 2015

SOLOMON C. NEVILL Obituary

© Kathy Duncan, 2015

This obituary for Solomon C. Nevill, former resident of Montgomery County, Tennessee appeared on 29 Oct 1881 in the Clarksville Weekly Chronicle. He was the son of Solomon and Barbara (Hester) Nevill, and a brother to my ancestor, Grandison D. Nevill. It pinpoints the location of Solomon Nevill Sr.'s property: "near St. Bethlehem, on what is now the Dunlop farm."


 

Monday, April 6, 2015

JOHN REEVES, Wife Murderer

© Kathy Duncan, 2015

One of the cardinal "rules" of genealogy is the warning that oral tradition is at best flawed, but usually contains a grain of truth. It is often very difficult to prove or disprove elements of oral tradition.

This photograph appeared on facebook recently and sparked a great deal of discussion. It is a picture of John Reeves, taken in 1905 just moments before he was executed in Clarksville, Texas for the 1904 murder of his wife, Minnie:



One facebook follower objected to the angle the photographer used to shoot the photograph. Something about it rang false. For the follower, it seemed to discredit the photograph as authentic. I'm not sure why this seemed like such a curious angle. The photographer was obviously not on the gallows and did not have access to another structure that would make him level with the scaffold. That left him with the only option to shoot up from the ground. I've seen a lot of execution and lynching photographs, and this one does not seem all that odd. In fact, it is a bit refreshing to see the convicted still alive rather than dangling lifeless at the end of the rope.

Another facebook follower voiced an objection to the writing style of the period newspaper article that accompanied the photograph although the article was cited as being from the Honey Grove Signal newspaper. To the reader, the language seemed too over the top to be authentic. Yet another facebook follower found the use of the word "ozone" in the article suspicious, claiming that the ozone had not been discovered that early. Perhaps not, but I found the word ozone being used in newspapers as early as 1881; it referred to a "pure" form of oxygen that was being used for medical purposes. The article was, in fact, very over the top, and very in keeping with the period. Below is the orginal article:




My take away from all this is that most people of the 21st century have spent very little time reading early journalism or looking at early photographs. I think I would have just shrugged off the whole thing, except I remembered my grandmother, who had spent most of her life in Avery, Texas, telling me about the murder of John Reeves' wife. In her version, John Reeves had killed his wife and buried her in the garden. Then he told her father that she had run off. Her father noticed that some of the plants in the garden were wilted and dying, but had been fine the last time he'd been there, so he ran a metal rod down in the spot and found her body. My curiosity was piqued.

Yet another, facebook follower was curious enough to search the internet and came up with this bit of information about the murder, which can be viewed on a genealogy site for the "Descendants of Douglas Childress":

"Notes for MINNIE MAHALA MCCUISTON:
She suspected her husband and his father were making counterfeit money using a foot stone of a grave marker from the De Kalb Cemetery threatened to turn them in to the law. he killed her by sticking her in the heart with a hat pin. He then saddled the horse and took it into the woods, let the reins drop so that it would look like she had been thrown and the horse had run off. The next morning he told that she had left after an argument. The Sheriff became suspicious after seeing a scratch on his face.The garden was freshly plowed even though there had been a heavy rain the night before and there was some fresh clay showing on top of the ground. They search the garden with wagon rods and Samuel McCuiston, Minne's father found her body about 2 feet underground, wrapped in a quilt. John Reeves was tried and convicted and hanged for her murder. the tome stone of Minnie reads,"Minnie, the daughter of Martha and S.. McCuiston."
There was no mention of her married name!"

This information appears to also be based on oral tradition. I wondered how much of it could be proven. So far this is what I've found:

John H. Reeves married Minnie Quinn in Clarksville, Red River County, Texas on 18 May 1897.
She was the widow of Thomas Quinn, who she married on 7 July 1895 in Red River County, Texas.

John H. and Minnie Reeves only appear together on the 1900 census along with Minnie's daughter Eula, who the census taker recorded as Ulah Reeves. It may be that Eula was using her step-father's name at this time or that the census taker made an error.

4 July 1900, Pct. No. 8, Red River Co., TX:

374-384
Reeves, John H. head W M Nov 1877 22 M-3 b. TN fb. TN mb. TN
----- Minnie wife W F Sept 1876 23 M-3 1-1 b. TX fb. MO mb. MO
-----Ulah s-dau W F Jan 1892 7 S b. TX fb. blank mb. TX

Unless familysearch.org's wedding date for Minnie McCuiston and Thomas Quinn is in error, Eula's birth predates their marriage. If that is the case, Eula's surname would have been McCuiston. Eula's mother Minnie was buried in the Garland Cemetery in Red River County, Texas where her parents are buried. The Reeves name does not appear on her tombstone. It seems likely that Eula was taken in by her McCuiston relatives, probably her grandparents.

On 28 Jan 1906, Eula McCuiston married W. J. Morrow in Red River County, Texas. She was only 14 years old. On 7 June 1907, Eula and Will Morrow, who were living on Anderson Creek in Red River County, Texas had a son whose given name was not recorded. This son does not appear with them on the 1910 census:

2 May 1910, Boston Road, Pct. #8, Red River Co., TX, p. 308:

213-214
Morrow, W.J. head M W 27 M-1 4 b. MS fb. MS mb. MS
-----Eula wife F W 18 M-1 4 2-1 b. TX fb. un mb. TX
-----Elais son M W 3/12 S b. TX fb. TX mb. TX

This census shows that Eula and W.J. Morrow had been married for four years, and that Eula had given birth to two children, only one of whom was still living. Evidently, the child born in 1907 was deceased. 

Eula was still living in Red River County, Texas in 1918 when she was named as W.J. Morrow's permanent contact on his WWI draft registration card. 

The murder of Eula's mother Minnie (McCuiston) Quinn Reeves was one of the most gruesome events to ever occur in Avery, Texas. The execution of her husband John Reeves for her murder, brought thousands of spectators to Clarksville. One wonders where Eula was on the night of the murder. Was she present at the execution of her step-father? 

The following articles appeared in Texas newspapers. None of them support the idea that Minnie was stabbed in the heart with a hat pin. None of them support the story that John Reeves and his father were counterfeiters. Although John Reeves' father was arrested in conjunction with the murder of his daughter-in-law, Minnie, he seems to have been  released and does not seem to have ever been tried let alone executed. In addition to these newspaper articles, John Reeves' appeal is available online: John Reeves v. The State, No 2992, Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas Decided November 23, 1904.

WOMAN'S DEAD BODY FOUND
Husband Arrested, Charged with the 
Crime and Taken to Jail at Paris
for Safe Keeping

 Special to The News
Clarksville, Tex., April 4--Last Thursday morning Mrs. John Reeves was missed from her home. From the best information it is stated a search was made through the neighborhood, but no trace of her could be found. Sunday the search was continued and in the freshly plowed garden some clay was found which appeared to be from a greater depth than the plow had gone and parties began probing the ground with an iron rod. They found a place where the rod penetrated several inches and begun digging and found the body of the woman wrapped in a quilt. Her tongue protruded from her mouth and finger marks on her throat indicated she had been choked to death. John Reeves, husband of the dead woman, was arrested.

Last night the officers received a message that the people were aroused, and fearing mob violence, they took Reeves to Paris for safe-keeping.
[Source: Dallas Morning News; Dallas, TX; Tues. 5 April 1904]

Jailed at Paris
Special to The News
Paris, Tex., April 4.--R. Reeves and J.H. Reeves, charged with killing the latter's wife near Avery, Red River county, were spirited from the Clarksville jail last night and brought here about daylight by a couple of Deputy Sheriff's to escape possible violence. Sheriff Carpenter kept their arrival a secret. All is quiet tonight and no trouble is anticipated.
[Source: Dallas Morning News; Dallas, TX; Tues. 5 April 1904]

TAKEN BACK TO CLARKSVILLE
Sheriff Expects the Release of the Elder Reeves
Special to The News
Paris, Tex., April 5 - R. Reeves, who was arrested with his son, J. H. Reeves, in connection with the killing of the latter's wife near Avery, Red River County, and brought with him to Paris for safe-keeping, was taken back to Clarksville today by Sheriff Dinwiddie and Deputy Scaff. Mr. Dinwiddie stated that he would probably be released. J.H. Reeves, the husband of the dead woman, is still in jail here.
[Source: Dallas Morning News; Dallas, TX; Wed. 6 April 1904]

SEEKS COMMUTATION
John Reeves Wishes Death Sentence 
Changed to Life Imprisonment
Special to The News
Paris, Tex., Feb. 2 -- John Reeves, under sentence to be hanged at Clarksville on Feb. 17 for wife murder, has sent a petition, through an attorney of this city, to Gov. Lanham, asking that his sentence be commuted to life imprisonment. The petition bears only the signature of the brother and brother-in-law of the condemned man.
[Source: Dallas Morning News; Dallas, TX; Fri 3 Feb 1905]

To Hang on Friday
Special to The News.
Clarksville, Tex., Feb. 14--The petition gotten up to have John Reeves' penalty of death changed to a life sentence, which was sent to the Governor a few days ago, has not been heard from and he is to be hung publicly on next Friday at 2:30 o'clock.
[Source: Dallas Morning News; Dallas, TX; Wed. 15 Feb 1905]

WIFE MURDERER EXECUTED
John Reeves Executed at Clarksville This
Afternoon for Crimmitted
Last May
Paris, Texas, Feb. 17.--Between the hours of 1 and 2 o'clock this afternoon John Reeves was hanged at Clarksville, thirty miles east of Paris, for wife murder. The crime was committed last May, when the woman was choked insensible and buried before life was extinct.

When her death was discovered excitement was so intense that the husband was brought to Paris to save him from the mob.

Reeves made a full confession and was baptized before the execution.
[Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Ft. Worth, TX; Fri. 17 Feb 1905]

JOHN REEVES HANGED FOR MURDER OF WIFE
EXECUTION AT CLARKSVILLE WITNESSED BY THOUSANDS
Broke Her Neck and Buried Her Body
Under the Onion Bed - Had Apparently
Lived Happily With His Victim
Clarksville, Tex., Feb, 17.--(Special)
John Reeves was hanged this afternoon for the murder of his wife. Sheriff Dinwiddie sprung the trap at 2:08 and the body was cut down fourteen minutes later. The neck was broken. The execution was public and was witnessed by several thousand people.

After being cut down the body was taken by his relatives to Avery for burial. Reeves joined the Catholic church and was baptized by Father Kelly yesterday afternoon. He made no public confession and during the ride from the jail and while on the scaffold, said nothing except to the priest.

Story of the Crime.

John H. Reeves was convicted in the district court at Clarksville on June 22, 1904, of the murder of his wife, Minnie, during the night of March 30, preceding. The case was affirmed and rehearing denied and Judge Denton passed sentence on him Dec. 28. A petition for commutation, was presented to Governor Lanham, but was denied.

Reeves and his wife lived on a farm near Avery, Red River county. Mrs. Reeves was the daughter of Jesse McCuistion, a prosperous farmer and was a widow with one little girl, when she met Reeves, about eight years ago. He went to Avery from Fannin county, worked for McCuiston as a farm hand, and married his daughter. The father gave the daughter a farm and stock, and for seven years Reeves and his wife lived and prospered and were apparently happy. There was no apparent motive for the crime.
[Source: San Antonio Express; San Antonio, TX; Sat. 18 Feb 1905]

CLAIMED BY GALLOWS
LIFE OF JOHN REEVES, CONVICTED
OF WIFE MURDER, IS BROUGHT
TO AN END
PRESENCE OF GREAT CROWD
Largest Gathering Ever Seen in
Clarksville Witnesses the Legal
Execution of Sentence
Special to The News
Clarksville, Tex., Feb. 17 --At 2:09 o'clock today John Reeves paid the penalty with his life on the gallows for wife murder. He refused at any time to make a statement or to say anything concerning the crime. Just before going to the gallows and in response to the questions by Sheriff Dinwiddie as to whether he wanted the death warrant read, he replied that he did not, and was conducted straightway to the hack that conveyed him to the place of execution. The trap was sprung at 2:09 and at 2:23 he was pronouced dead.

Reeves joined the Catholic Church yesterday morning and Father Kelley, the local priest at this place, was with him to the last. The remains were shipped to Annona this afternoon for interment. It is estimated that the hanging drew the largest crowd of men ever witnessed at this place, great numbers coming on all trains, as well as from the country.

The crime for which Reeves paid the penalty with his life was committed March 31, 1904, three and one-half miles west of Avery, a small station on the Texas and Pacific Railway, east of this place. The particulars of the crime are as follows:

On the day before the crime was committed that night Reeves and his wife worked together building fence. They had a contract to supply a neighbor with water, and quitting in the afternoon, they hauled the water as usual. While at this neighbor's house Mrs. Reeves remarked that they must hurry back, as her husband was going fishing that night. Reeves says that he went fishing that night, and returning about 10 o'clock, found his wife had retired and he went to bed himself. The next morning on rising he said his wife was missing. Going out into the yard he found the horse at the gate with the side saddle on. Going to the stable and taking the animal's tracks, he found it had gone into the woods about half a mile away and then returned to the home. He then spread the news that his wife could not be found and general search was made by the neighbors, which lasted until Friday, when Sheriff Dinwiddie began to suspect foul play and arrested Reeves and placed him in jail. Reeves had some scratches on his face, which he claimed were made by a projecting shingle in the shop when he went to get a single-tree on Wednesday to plow the garden, which he claimed to have done before hauling water. Sunday morning while neighbors were searching the premises at Reeves' for a clew to the mystery Mr. McChristian, father of the missing woman, found in the newly plowed garden where there were lumps of fresh clay which he knew the plow could not have turned up. Already suspicious that his daughter was buried under the plowed ground, he had a rod of iron with which he was searching for soft ground to a depth below that broken by the plow, and at this point he found it. Officers were notified and went down on the noon train. Esquire E.M. Posey, Justice of the Peace of Precinct No. 8 having already been notified. On digging down they found the body of Mrs. Reeves wrapped in a blanket. Her tongue was out, finger marks were on her throat and her neck twisted and broken. There were several  other small bruises on head and body.

Justice E.M. Posey held the inquest and returned the verdict that she came to her death by violent deeds. Later Reeves made the statement that he had killed his wife and only gave as a reason that the was drunk.

During the entire time of his confinement in jail he refused to see but few people, except old acquaintances, and would not talk up to the very last with any one about his life except that the was born in Tennessee, had lived in the Territory, but for the last ten years had resided in Texas, the greater part of the time near Avery, and that he had never been arrested before in his life.
[Source: Dallas Morning News; Dallas, TX; Sat. 18 Feb. 1905]

Clarksville Times: The manner in which a greater interest is shown in the bad rather than in the good deeds of an individual, while always evinced, has this week been more forcibly brought to our mind than ever before by the great number of calls and requests for extra copies of the Times containing an account of the crime, trial and execution of John Reeves. These calls have not only come from around us, but many letters have been received from other States as well. No matter what the deed may be, no man in Red River County could accomplish an act of love, charity or kindness an account of which would be sought with one-tenth the eagerness that has characterized that of the recent unpleasant episode in this sity [sic].

There is a great deal of human nature in Red River County as well as elsewhere.

The man Reeves committed a shocking crime and was fittingly punished. We are all endowed with more or less morbidity of mind, and nothing appeals to our mental appetites more urgently than tragedy. It is an inheritance from primeval ancestors who survived through the rule of the survival of the "fightingest." Cycles of years have refined man to a degree; that is, he is apparently further removed today from the vicarious passions which governed his progenitors of two thousand years ago. But more thousand years will be required for his complete emancipation from the thralldom of an inherent lust for blood and combat.
[Source: Dallas Morning News; Dallas, TX; Sun. 26 Feb 1905]

The last article was written as a sermon to warn other young men to avoid following in the footsteps of John Reeves:

Our Lay Sermon
But few men, perhaps, who witnessed the scene most sickening in this city this afternoon failed to stop for one moment and reflect: "It might have been." All men are born into the world with a future--the future of their choice, and while but few reach the topmost round in their chosen vocations all men attain that degree of success in any pursuit that their efforts warrant.

John Reeves, whose soul was ushered into eternity this afternoon, was no exception to the general rule. His surroundings may not have appeared to him as favorable as those of some other people, yet he failed to take advantage of the opportunities afforded. Many of his schoolmates and boyhood friends are no doubt today placed in positions of trust and worthy of the confidence bestowed.

With John Reeves the case is different. Arrested, bound, imprisoned, convicted and slain by his fellowmen, his career has yet only begun. Once more must he be judged for the crime which cost him his life today--then, eternity.

John Reeves was once an innocent child, the object of a devoted mother's guiding hand, and earnest prayer, once a young man with a broad and useful future, once a peaceable, law-abiding citizen, and once upon an equal with other men in the greatest country on earth.

The scenes have been shifted, the acts have ended and all that remains tonight to remind the peope of a busy world that a criminal of the darkest type has been executed is the black coffin supported by two plain chairs in a lonely little home near the scene of one of the most brutal murders ever committed in north Texas. Tomorrow the remains will be interred.

But a few miles from the grave to be made tomorrow is another mound which contains the remains of one to whom was once promised the love and devotion of a husband at the altar of God. Were those solemn obligations fulfilled--they "might have been."--Clarksville Times.

"It might have been.

It might been different with John Reeves if he had been true to the teachings of his early childhood. It might have been that he would have been a man of the truest type, with lofty ambitions, a clean soul and filled a place of usefulness and honor in this world if he had been strong enough to withstand temptation and had walked in the paths of honor and rectitude.
But he did not.

On the contrary, he was led from proper paths by evil associations and rapidly went from bad to worse. He did not have the manhood to put evil things behind him, but listened to the insidious whisper of the tempter until he reached the very bottom of human degradation and crime.

John Reeves was convicted and hanged for the murder of his wife.

The woman he had sworn to love, honor, and cherish in the sight of God was found murdered and her body buried in the garden where John Reeves had been plowing as unconcernedly as if no human life had been sacrificed. The body of the woman gave evidence of having undergone a fearful struggle for life, and John Reeves' person also bore evidence of the same kind. He was convicted by the jury, his sentence was affirmed by the higher court, and there was nothing left for John Reeves to do but to make his peace with God and pay the awful penalty for one of the most hideous crimes ever perpetrated in Red River county.

But it might have been do different.

God Almighty, endowed this man with a good mind. He was given the power of discerning between right and wrong, and in his bosom was placed the same mentor that has been placed in every human breast. When thoughts of murder came into that man's heart he knew they were wrong. He realized he was violating and outraging the laws of both God and man, but it did not deter him from his purpose. Conscience was of no avail. His oath to protect this woman was a nonentity, human instinct gave way before the red fire of brute passion and anger, and the hand of the man was raised against the woman and raised to kill.

It was an unnatural condition, but that fact did not operate as a deterrent in the dire results. The strength and anger of man was pitted against woman's frailty, and the woman suffered death at the hands of the man. This is not the first time in the annals of time that such crimes have been committed. The criminal history of the country is reeking with just such incidents, but that is no justification.

In every such incident that has ever transpired it might have been different. 

The Good Book tells us that the wage of sin is death. This man sinned grievously and has reaped his reward, even as others who come after him will reap the same form of reward. But God knows it might be different.

It may be true that the human heart is naturally depraved. It may be true we are conceived in sin and born in sin, but those facts do not license us to commit every form of sin known to the decalogue. Neither does it imply that it is impossible for us to largely overcome the inclination to sin.

Of ourselves we can do nothing except to determine with God's help we will strive to abstain from sin. That we will lead pure lives and turn a deaf ear to temptation, and that we will strive to place ourselves in line to claim the promises of the true and living God. The world is all around and about us. It is teeming with snares and pitfalls for the feet of the unwary, and he who hesitates is lost. There must be a buckling on of the armor of righteousness, and a firm and unyielding determination to stand only for the things that are right in the sight of God.

The death administered to this unfortunate young man should not be without its admonitions to the young men of today. Many of these are no doubt well started on the very same path that the feet of this man have trod before them. Few of them may be natural murderers at heart, but when a man once starts out in life as an associate with criminals his downward career is by rapid and easy grades. He soon reaches the point where there is almost total obliteration of all the real feelings and instincts of the human and these superseded by the instincts of the brute. When this period is arrived at there is absolutely no hope. The end is in sight, and it is an end that is truly horrible to even contemplate.

But it might be different.

Reader, resolve in your heart that it shall be different at least in your own case. If you have started on this rapid sliding scale, call a halt right now and turn back to the things that are right and clean. You have an immortal soul at stake, and you cannot afford to do these things that lead to death and destruction. Instead of "it might have been," quickly resolve that with the help of God it shall be.

"Whatsover a man soweth, that also shall he reap."
[Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Ft. Worth, TX; Sun 12 Mar 1905]

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Juan Cristobal Salazar

© Kathy Duncan, 2015

Juan Cristobal Salazar was the son of Domingo Antonio Salazar and Maria Guadalupe Gurule.

Births of the children of Juan Cristobal Salazar and Barbara Valdes:

21 Dec 1826 Maria Concepcion of the Rancho 4 days old, daughter of Cristoval Salazar and Barbara Valdes, residents of San Francisco del Rancho. Paternal Grandparents Domingo Salazar and Guadalupe Gurule. Maternal Grandparents Juan Bautista Valdes and Anamaria Archuleta. Sponsors Juan Bautista Trugillo and Maria Casilda Quintana, residents of San Francisco del Rancho.
[Source: Taos County, New Mexico Baptisms transcribed by Karen Mitchell]

13 Jan 1828 Jose Julian Salazar del Rancho 5 days old, son of Juan Cristobal Salazar and Maria Varvara Valdes, residents del Rancho. Paternal Grandparents Domingo Salazar and Maria Guadalupe Gurule. Maternal Grandparents Bautista Baldes and Ana Maria Archuleta. Sponsors Jesus Gallegos and Maria Barvara? Chago? residents del Rancho.
[Source: Taos County, New Mexico Baptisms transcribed by Karen Mitchell]

17 Jan 1830 Maria Francisca 3 days old del Rancho, daughter of Cristobal Salazar and Maria Barbara Baldes, residents del Rancho. Paternal Grandparents Domingo Salazar, dead, and Maria unreadable Gurule. Maternal Grandparents Bautista Baldes and Ana Maria Archuleta. Sponsors Manuel Aragon and Maria Paula Baldes, residents del Rancho.
[Source: Taos County, New Mexico Baptisms transcribed by Karen Mitchell]

11 Jan 1832 Maria Francisca 4 days old, daughter of Cristoval Salazar and Maria Barvara Baldes. Paternal Grandparents Domingo Salazar, deceased, and Maria Guadalupe Gurule. Maternal Grandparents Juan Bautista Baldes, deceased, and Maria Archuleta, all residents del Rancho. Sponsors Ygnacio Baldes and Maria Dolores Duran, residents of San Fernandes.
[Source: Taos County, New Mexico Baptisms transcribed by Karen Mitchell]

9 Feb 1832 Death of Maria Francisca 1 month old, daughter of Cristobal Salazar and Maria Barbara Baldes. This Entry was crossed out because it was put in the wrong book.
[Source: Taos County, New Mexico Baptisms transcribed by Karen Mitchell]

25 Mar 1833 Maria Encarnacion 6 days old, daughter of Cristobal Salazar and Maria Varvara Baldes, residents del Rancho de San Francisco. Paternal Grandparents Domingo Salazar and Maria Gertrudis Gurule. Maternal Grandparents Juan Bautista Valdes and Anna Maria Archuleta. Sponsors Pedro Salazar and Trinidad Valdes, residents of the same place.
[Source: Taos County, New Mexico Baptisms transcribed by Karen Mitchell]

Marriages of the children of Juan Cristobal Salazar and Barbara Valdes:

2 Nov 1841 – Juan de Jesus Martines, single son of Francisco Martines and Maria Ygnacia Ruybal, from the Plaza of San Francisco del Rancho and originally from the Mission of Picuris with Maria Juliana Salazar, single daughter of Cristobal Salazar and Maria Barbara Valdes, residents of the same place, Padrinos: Jose Romero and Maria Manuela Romero residents of the same place, Witnesses: Jesus Maria Martines and Jose Rafael Tenorio, residents of the Plaza of Nuestra SeƱora de Guadalupe

7 Dec 1846 Juan Benito Romero, single, son of Jose Rafael Romero and Ana Maria Ortiz, residents of San Francisco del Rancho and native of Taos, with Maria Francisca Salazar single, daughter of Cristobal Salazar, deceased and Maria Barbara Valdes, resident of the same place and native of Taos, Padrinos: Jose Manuel Romero and Maria Ygnacia Gonzales, residents of El Rancho, Witnesses Manuel Miera and Rafael Tafoya, residents of San Fernando

Deaths of the children of Juan Cristobal Salazar and Barbara Valdes:

Salazar, Encarnacion died 9/27/1911 age 78y, child of Cristoval Salazar & Barbara Valdez 
[Source: Ranchos Cemetery, Taos County, New Mexico by Karen Mitchell]

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Littleton Kelly

© Kathy Duncan, 2015

Littleton Kelly, son of John Kelly of Fairfield District, South Carolina died between 6 May 1849 and 30 June 1849 in Hinds County, Mississippi.

He married first, Jane Robinson, daughter of Alexander Robinson of Fairfield Dist., South Carolina before 1827.

Jane Kelly, wife of Littleton Kelly, is named as sister in the estate settlement of William Robinson, who died intestate prior to 19 April 1824.
[Source: North of the Broad River: The Land and The People, vol 2 by Buford S. Chappell p. 111]

Jane Kelly, wife of Littleton Kelly, is named as a daughter in the probate of Alexander Robinson of Fairfield Distict, SC in 1827.

Children of Littleton and Jane (Robinson) Kelly, birth order unknown:

1. Sara Ann Kelley,  died by 1849,  married  Thomas J. Davis on 11 Aug 1842 in Hinds County, MS with Hiram Kelly as bondsman. Their only known childe was Sarah Jane Davis born before 1849.
2. William Kelly
3. Henry Kelly
4. James Kelly b. c. 1836
5. Lafayette b.c. 1838
6. John Kelly b.c. 1840

1830, Fairfield Co., SC:

Littleton Kelly 21011 - 10001

two males under 5 =
one male 5 - 10 =
one male 15 - 20 =
one male 20-30: Littleton Kelly, Sr.
one female under five = Sarah Ann Kelly
one female 20-30: Jane (Robinson) Kelly 

Littleton Kelly married second, Sophronia C. Hutson Presswood abt. 7 May 1839 in Hinds County, Mississippi, with bondsman William Hutson. There was no marriage return, but they apparently did live together as man and wife since they had at least two children. 

Sophronia had been married previously to  Robert Presswood abt. 4 Aug 1834 in Hinds County, Mississippi. No return on this marriage license. Bondsman Wm. Broom.

Sophronia and Robert Pressman’s children:

1. Mary Pressman b. c. 1835 in MS

Littleton and Sophronia  Kelley’s known children:
7. Franklin Kelly b.c. 1840
8. Littleton Kelly b.c. 1845

1840, Hinds Co., MS:

Littleton Kelly 2211001 - 01101
[Living next to Hiram Kelly]

two males under 5 = Lafayette Kelly, John Kelly
two males 5 - 10 = James Kelly
one male 10 - 15 =
one male 15 - 20 =
one male 40 - 50 = Littleton Kelly Sr.
one female 5 - 10 = Mary Pressman
one female 10 - 15 = Sarah Ann Kelly
one female = Sophronia (Hutson) Pressman Kelly

Will of Littleton Kelly, page 241, dated 6 May 1849, probated 14 July 1849.  Wife:  Sophronia Kelly, dwelling, lot and blacksmith shop in Utica.  Children:  William Henry, James Lafayette, John Franklin and Littleton (youngest child).  Granddaughter: Sarah Jane Davis, daughter of Sarah Ann Davis dec’d.  Step-daughter:  Mary Presswood.
Ex.: Brother:  Hiram Kelly.  Wit:  Robert White, W.H. Taylor, G.W. Harrison. 
[Notation: Given the other records generated in Hinds County, regarding the children of Littleton Kelley, is it uncertain where the commas separating them should be placed. Certainly William and Henry are two people and not one. James Lafayette is clearly two people and not one. ]

Littleton’s naming of his brother Hiram as his executor indicates that Hiram is also living nearby and is most likely to be the same Hiram found on the census. Of the witnesses of Littleton Kelly’s will, Wm. Taylor had married Mary Fair and G.W. Harrison had married Tennessee C. Kelly. The 1850 mortality schedule included only those individuals who died between 1 July 1849 and 30 June 1850. Since Littleton is not included on the mortality schedule, he must have died between the writing of his will on 6 May 1849 and 30 June 1849.

By November of 1849, sons William and Henry Kelly, along with granddaughterSarah Jane Davis's guardian (her father) brought suit against Hiram Kelly, Sophronia Kelly, and Mary Presswood, alleging that Littleton's will was not valid. The case was not settled until the April 1859 term of the State Supreme Court. That suit reveals that Littleton Kelly died in May 1849 and that his estate was worth $40,000. Not all of his children are named in the suit. 

Littleton Kelley's widow Sophronia (Hutson) Presswood Kelley married  13 Jun 1850 in Hinds County, MS to  John Witham . 

In 1850, the younger chidren of Littleton Kelly were divided between two households:

27 Oct 1850 Hinds Co., MS, p. 167:

772-772
John Witham 25 M MD $1,000 b. ME
Sophronia  30 F b. LA
Mary Pressman  15 F b. MS
Franklin Kelly 10 M b. MS
Littleton b. 5 M  b. MS
Henry Baskin 21 M b. MS

In 27 Oct 1850 Hinds Co., MS census page 167:

766-766 
Nathan G. Martin 33 M Overseer b. TN
Nancy 28 b. SC
Infant Martin 1 (male) b. MS
James Kelley 14 M b. MS
Lafayette 12 M b. MS
John 10 M b. MS

It seems likely that Nancy Robinson was related to Littleton Kelly's first wife Jane because Nathan G. Martin married Nancy Robinson on 9 Feb 1843 in Hinds County, MS with J.S. Baird as bondsmand.

Based on the 1849 lawsuit and the 1850 census, one guess is that the children are split between two households because Franklin and Littleton are Sophronia's children while James, Lafayette, and John are the children of Littleton's first wife Jane. That would mean that Jane may have died in childbirth or shortly after John's birth. Littleton, having a newborn and other young children in the house would have remarried quickly. That means that Franklin was born during the first year of Littleton and Sophronia's marriage. This would also account for John G. Kelly choosing his uncle Thomas J. Davis as his guardian. 

Nancy Y. Robinson, wife of N.G. b. 9 Jan 1812, d. 9 Feb 1867 is buried in the James V. Robinson Cemetery located behind the old Broome house near Cessan in Utica, Hinds Co., MS. Also in this cemetery are James V. Robinson b. 1787, d. 6 June 1861 and his wife Mary b. 1780, d. 26 Aug 1859. A notation on findagrave says that family records place Nancy Y. Robinson's birth in 1822.

Nathan Green MARTIN is buried in the Utica Town Cemetery in Hinds Co., MS. His stone indicates that he was born in Winchester, TN on 20 July 1821 and died on 6 May 1886. Also in the Utica Town Cemetery is another stone for his wife Nancy Jane (Robison) MARTIN.  It seems probable that a child of theirs erected a memorial stone for Nancy in the Utica Town Cemetery since it would be less expensive to do that than to more her body and her tombstone.

5 April 1853, fourteen years old John G. Kelly, minor heir of Littleton Kelly, asked the court to appoint "his friend & relative Thomas J. Davis his legal guardian."
Filed in Hinds Co., MS.

John Wickham was named guardian of Franklin L. and Littleton J. Kelley on 3 Aug 1854 in Hinds Co., MS. 

3 Aug. 1854 in Hinds Co., MS, John Wickham paid guardian bond for Franklin L. and Littleton J. Kelly.

6 Jan 1855 in Hinds Co., MS, N.G. Martin paid guardian bond for John G. Kelley, son of Littleton Kelley dec’d .  

6 Jan 1855, Thomas J. Davis, guardian of John G Kelly reported that "said Ward is now about sixteen years of age and desires petitioner to resign his said Guardianship." Davis also reported that Kelly had chosen Nathan G. Martin as his new guardian. He asked for a final settlement of Kelly's estate so that he could be discharged.
[Source: Hinds Co., MS Probate Court]

By 1860 Sophronia and John Witham had moved to Copiah County, Mississippi.

25 Oct 1860, Copiah Co., MS:

1240-1250
John Witham 35 M MD $600-$1,100 b. ME
Sophronia 40 F b. LA
Edgar 6 M b. MS
Edith 2 F b. MS
Littleton Kelly 14 M b. MS

7 Feb 1866. Thomas J. Davis, the former guardian of Sarah Jane Davis, wished to file a final settlement on his daughter's accounts without the appointment of commissioners. Davis stated that "the property of his said late ward consisted of slaves, and money derived from the Estate of her maternal grandfather, Littleton Kelly deceased, and from the hire of said slaves," of which "the former have become free and passed beyond his control, and the latter has been expended in the maintenance and education of his said late ward."
[Source: Hinds Co., MS Probate Court]









Saturday, March 14, 2015

Middleton Kelley

© Kathy Duncan, 2015

Middleton Kelley, son of John Kelly of Fairfield District., South Carolina was born 20 June 1798 died 13 Oct 1851. He is buried in the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Cemetery in Jefferson County, Mississippi.

He married 1.) Elizabeth Burns on 28 Apr 1822 in Jefferson Co., MS, and 2.) Matilda Short on 6 June 1832 in Jefferson Co., MS. She was born on  6 Dec 1816 and died 16 Apr 1843. She is also buried in the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church Cemetery in Jefferson County, Mississippi.

Children of Middleton and Matilda (Short) Kelley:

1. Francis Kelley
2. S. Kelley

The Democrat published at Huntsville, AL on 11 Jan 1840:  Runaway slaves committed to jail.  Belongs to Middleton Kelly of Jefferson County, Mississippi. M. Kelly, sheriff.
[Source:  Marriage, Death and Legal Notices From Early Alabama Newspapers 1819-1893 by Pauline Jones Gandrud]

1840 Jefferson Co., MS:

Middleton Kelly 110011 - 11021

one male under 5 = S. Kelly
one male 5 - 10 =
one male = 20 - 30
one male = 30 - 40 = Middleton Kelly
one female under 5 = Francis Kelly
one female 5 - 10
one female 5 - 10
two females 15 - 20
one female 20 - 30 = Matilda (Short) Kelly

8 Aug 1850 Twp 9 East Jefferson Co., MS p. 104:

357-357
Middleton Kelly 53 MW Planter $2,880 b. SC
Francis Kelly 15  FW b. MS
S. Kelly 11 M W b. MS

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

James Wallace Pinkney Seastrunk

© Kathy Duncan, 2015

James Wallace Pinkney Seastrunk, son of Samuel and Lydia (Kelly) Seastrunk, was born in South Carolina in 1840.

During the Civil War he enlisted at Tyler, TX in Co. C, 17th Texas Calvary on Feb 26 1862. He was still with this unit when he was captured at Arkansas Post on 11 Jan 1863. He lived a little more than a month after his capture, dying at Camp Douglass in Chicago, Illinois on 13 Feb 1863.

James Wallace Pinkney Seastrunk is buried in a mass grave known as Confederate Mound at Oak Wood Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois. His name appears on the memorial plaque as J.W. Seastrunk.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mary (Kelley) Fair

© Kathy Duncan, 2015

Mary Kelley, daughter of John Kelly of Fairfield District, South Carolina, married William Fair.

Currently, it is unknown where William and Mary (Kelley) Fair settled. A William Fair lived in Hinds County, Mississippi. His children and in-laws were interacting with the other Kellys and their allied families, so at this time it is thought that he may be the same William Fair who married Mary Kelley.  Further research needs to be done in this area.

The following estate notice was run in the Raymond, Mississippi Gazette on 11 May 1849 for William Fair:

“April 1849 Term, Probate Court, Hinds Co., MS. Frances Stubbs, Admr."

Two years later The Hinds County Gazette ran the following notice for nonresident heirs of William Fair on 6 Nov 1851, naming:

“Isaac H. Fair, William H. Fair, Mariah and Thomas H. Floyd, Eliza and Joe A. Tyler."
[Source for both estate notices of William Fair: Newspaper Notices of Mississipians 1820 - 1860 by The Mississippi Genealogy Society, 1960]

William Fair may have died in Hinds County by mid-1849.  A wife for him is not named in either notice.

The following Fair marriages occurred in Hinds Co., MS:

Jefferson M. Hutson married Harriet Frances Fair with John S. Fair as bondsman on 10 May 1844
William Taylor married Mary Fair, with John J. Fair as bondsman, on 4 June 1844
Thomas H. Floyd married Mariah Fair, with Jefferson M. Hutson as bondsman, on
17 June 1846
Joseph Seastrunk married Elizabeth Jane Fair, with Samuel Plandell as bondsman on 22 Nov  1848