Thursday, June 21, 2018

William Thomas Hardy

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

One trick for searching newspapers for information is to look for articles other than birth, wedding, and obituaries. Instead, look for wedding anniversaries and birthdays. The longer an individual lived or was married, the more likely there was to be an article about the event. I have to confess, though, that I found this while searching for William J. Hardy.

This article about my great-grandmother Louise (Davis) Dendy's nephew, William Thomas Hardy, is rich in family detail. On the surface it does not seem to be about my direct ancestors. However, when the Hardys moved from East Texas to West Texas, my great-great grandparents, Eli Van Buren Davis and Mary LaVaney Yarberry, also made the move. In her old age, my great-great grandmother live with her daughter, Mary Elizabeth, and son-in-law, William J. Hardy. Thus, William Thomas Hardy's recollections of his childhood are very pertinent.

Tulia Herald; Tulia,TX; Thurs. 8 Oct 1981
Click on Image to Enlarge

Monday, June 4, 2018

Burrell B. Pugh's Bible

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

Years ago, the Dendys met on a regular basis for a family reunion in DeKalb, Texas. We always met on a Saturday in mid to late October when the Texas heat has mostly burned itself out. A cousin had told me for years that his father owned the old Pugh bible. One year it was brought to the reunion. We were told that sadly there was no family information in it. One of the other researcher cousins suggested that we look between the old and new testament because a lot of people recorded their information there. I did not have a lot of hope, but when my cousin turned to the pages between the old and new testaments, sure enough, there is was. The record was brief but thrilling.

Click on image to enlarge.

The significant bit of information on this page is that the Bible was published in 1819, so this is a period Bible and not a Bible that was published after the fact with earlier information recorded in it. Evidently, Burrel B. Pugh had purchased the Bible as a newlywed. He had married Barbara Smith, daughter of John and Hannah (McGuire) Smith, in Clarke County, Alabama in December of 1823 and purchased his bible the following month. For some reason only the birth of their eldest son is recorded in this Bible. It could be that there are pages missing, or that he switched to a different bible. My camera had stopped working at the time, but another cousin photographed the bible and sent me pictures.

Click on image to enlarge.

Burrel B Pugh
his Bible bought
12th day 1824
price $1.50
Burrel B Pugh
his Book bought
January ???????????
Price $1.50

Click on image to enlarge.

Burrel B. Pugh
Born November 27th day
In the year of our Lord
Barbara Pugh borned
September 13th day of the year of
Burrel and Barbara Pugh 
Married December 18th
In the year of our lord
John S Pugh
Born November 5th in the
year of our lord 1824

Friday, April 6, 2018

Nathaniel Holcomb's Wife, Hanah?

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

Last night I continued scrolling backward on LDS film # 008114991 on FamilySearch, which are the Court  Records, 1815-1819 for Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri. It turns out that there are records in that group that are dated previous to 1815. Just something to keep in mind as you browse through the records in FamilySearch's catalog.

I was on a mission to find more records about Nathaniel Holcomb or his heirs after having found the guardianship for four of Nathaniel's children (Isaac, Nathaniel, Phebe, and Hannah) that was granted to Titus Strickland on 10 October 1817. I thought that I might find other references to this record or that I might find the older children (Enoch, Esther, Azariah) requesting their own guardians. It is important to remember that I knew Titus Strickland was a guardian to Nathaniel Holcomb's heirs because of this newspaper notice, which appeared in the National Intelligencer in Washington DC on Saturday, 3 January 1818:

It is likely that Titus Strickland became the children's guardian for the sole purpose of representing their land claim. 

Going backward on LDS film # 008114991, image 440,  I first found a reference to three lawsuits, which are repeated in image 437.

Thomas Maddin brought these three lawsuits--two against Hanah Holcomb and one against Robert Jamison, which were filed in the Court of Common Pleas on 16 July 1814. Thomas Maddin was a surveyor and one of the wealthest men in Ste. Genevieve County. He frequently brought suits against those who could not afford to pay his surveyor fees. These lawsuits may be indicative of land that belonged to Nathaniel Holcomb's estate. Robert Jamison may have been married to Esther Holcomb by this time. The Hanah Holcomb in these suits is too old to be Nathaniel Holcomb's daughter Hannah, who would have only been a small child at this time. This Hanah Holcomb is probably Nathaniel Holcomb's widow. (Another Hannah!!) It may be that Nathaniel Holcomb had arranged to have his land surveyed, and then died before paying for it. That would mean that he was deceased by 1814.

The next record of interest that I found was for an Enoch Holcomb:

This suit filed by the United States against Enoch Holcomb in 1814 also involves Thomas Maddin. However, my best estimate is that Enoch Holcomb, born about 1799, would only have been 15 years old in 1814. Would a fifteen year old be sued in that time period? Or is this another Enoch Holcomb??

The last item that I found was apparently a summons for Enoch Holcomb to give evidence before the grand jury in 1813. I do not think there were any age limitations for testifying. There is no indication what this testimony was about.

The only conclusion I can come to at this point is that this Hanah Holcomb is likely the mother of  Phebe Holcomb, Hanah Holcomb, and James Brown. There is no way to know at this point if she is also the mother of the older Holcomb siblings.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Nathaniel Holcomb of Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

At long last, I've found documentation that Nathaniel Holcomb was the father of the Holcomb siblings. Early research revealed that Titus Strickland was acting as the guardian of the heirs of Nathaniel Holcomb, but those heirs were not named in any of the records to which I had access.

This evening, I was exploring Ste. Genevieve County in the FamilySearch catalog. Specifically, I went into the Court Records for 1815 - 1819. I knew that Strickland was acting as the guardian of Nathaniel Holcomb's children by 1818, so I located the end of 1818 and started scrolling backwards. Since these records are not indexed, and I don't want to wait until they are indexed, there was no other option. I found the record in the October Term of 1817. Four of Nathaniel Holcomb's children were listed in the record: Isaac, Nathaniel, Phebe, Hannah. This is exactly what I needed--a configuration of some of the Holcomb sibling's names. All four of these names are a fit.

These four Holcomb children are Enoch Holcomb's siblings as are Azariah Holcomb and Esther Jamison. My conclusion is that all of these Holcomb siblings are the children of Nathaniel Holcomb.

Now I will have to start referring to them as Nathaniel Holcomb's children.

"On application the Court have and do hereby approved Titus Strickland Guardian for Isaac, Nathaniel, Phebe & Hannah Holcomb orphan children of Nathaniel Holcomb of the County of Ste Genevieve dec'd and the said children being under the age of fourteen years."

This record can be found in LDS film #008114991, image 543. I stopped at this image, and I am looking forward to finding what else might be on this film.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Heirs of John Kelly of Kershaw County, SC

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

I have made some progress in identifying the mystery individuals in Nancy (Owens) Kelly's 1860 bill to partition husband John Kelly's estate in Kershaw County, South Carolina. Those mystery people were Thomas Thomas Jr., John K. Thomas, William Thomas, Frances Booth, Nancy Redding, and Charlotte Staggs. You can read about the mystery heirs here.

My breakthrough came when I dug back into my files and double checked John Kelly's probate records. I was looking for each of the individuals named in the bill. None of them were mentioned in the estate settlement by name. However, I did find a reference to the heirs of Mrs. Thomas. That was important and disappointing all at once because there was no indication of her name or her husband's name or her relationship to John Kelly.

Then I readjusted my theory. What if these people were not the children of John Kelly, but the children of Mrs. Thomas, who was obviously deceased? She could be a daughter of John Kelly, and they could be his grandchildren.

With the new idea that these individuals were younger than I originally thought, I went to FamilySearch and searched through the trees. The flood gates opened when I entered the following fields--

First Name: Frances
Last Name: Thomas
Spouse last name: Booth
Father's last name: Thomas
Mother's last name: Kelly.

As a result, I found Frances Emaline Thomas, wife of John Thomas Booth, Jr, daughter of William B. Thomas and -----Kelly. Frances Thomas and John Thomas Booth had married in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama in 1858. In the online tree, she was the only child of William B. Thomas. However, when I went to William B. Booth and began looking for additional matches, I pulled up a William B. Booth of Pickens County, Alabama who in 1850 had children: Frances, Charlotte, Thomas, and William. There is also a Jane A. Thomas in the household but it is hard to say if she is a young second wife or a daughter. In the 1860 census I found a Charlotte Staggs in Pickens County. In 1880, I found a Nancy Redding, niece of William Thomas Jr. This younger Nancy Redding is evidently the daughter of the Nancy Redding I am looking for.

1850 Pickens County, Alabama Census

This is a very good fit for the mystery people I am seeking. I still have questions about Mrs. Thomas. Was she a daughter or sister to John Kelly? My best guess is that she was a daughter from a previous wife. Based on the probate settlement, she was probably the only "surviving" child from that marriage with children. What was her name? Where was she born? Who was her mother? Answers to all of these questions would shed more light on John Kelly.

Keywords: Nancy Missouri Owens Kelley; John Kelley

Monday, March 26, 2018

Sarah Owens, daughter of Richard Owens

© Kathy Duncan, 2018

Nineteenth century women frequently fall through the record cracks. Many of them simply cannot be found. Did they marry and move away? Die young? They are the biggest challenge in trying to do whole family research.

Sallie Owens was my great-great-great grandmother Nancy Missouri (Owens) Kelley's sister. They were both the daughters of Richard and Elizabeth Owens of Kershaw County, South Carolina. In 1850, Sallie was still living at home with her parents.

On 24 February 1859, Sarah Owens, daughter of Richard Owens married Daniel Coats. Since South Carolina did not maintain marriage records, we are lucky to have this information from the Charleston Mercury:

This obituary for Sarah (Owens) Coats appeared in the The Camden Weekly Journal just ten months later. The heart breaking entry indicated that Sallie died shortly after her newborn babe died. I have not been able to locate a tombstone for either one of them. Hickory Head Baptist Church is now known as the Bethany Baptist Church at Westville, where Nancy Missouri (Owens) Kelley is buried.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Browning Duncan's Family Tree

This is my great-great-great grandfather, Browning Duncan's family tree. I have not found any primary documentation to support that his grandmother Sarah Duncan, wife of Charles Duncan was a Browning.

Children of Browning Duncan: