So, I Got These Chickens…

I’ve been trying to do the A to Z Blog Challenge, but between work and getting the garden planted, I’ve been a little busy!!
Aaannnd, I got these chickens…

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It seemed like a great idea, nice pets, fresh eggs, but darn if they haven’t sucked the last of the free time out of my life.
They were cute little peeps at week one, but you need to keep one-week-old chicks at 95 degrees, so I checked the temperature every hour for the first week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By two weeks, I relaxed on the temperature a bit. They were very healthy. They were growing the cutest little feathers on their wings. Adorable!

 

They were eating more, and you know what that means…pooping more, so I cleaned out their “box” at least twice. We also began putting their coop together outside, deciding where to put their run and how to predator proof it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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By week three, they were jumping on top of their water container and occasionally knocking it over. Wet chick bedding is NOT a good smell, and of course, the bottom of the box got soaked. I dumped all the Christmas items out of my gigantic Christmas tote and moved the chicks in there. While moving them, I let them play in a cat litter box filled with peat moss. They love to flop around in there and take a dust bath. By the time the tote was ready for them, they had the entire guest bathroom covered with peat moss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Week four began a race to the finish. They were quickly outgrowing their tote, and since they didn’t have all their feathers yet, they were looking like awkward teenagers. Without all their feathers, it’s not safe for them to live outside. The nights would be too chilly for them, and besides, the coop wasn’t finished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Week five. The coop was ready and they were almost completely feathered, but the nights were still cold, so I took them one-by-one out to the coop during the day and one-by-one back into the house at night. There was some serious squawking going on. When they were inside, they wanted to be out. When they were outside, they wanted to be in.

 

Week six. Yay! Finally getting these chickens out of my kitchen. They are feathered. The nights are balmy. The Christmas tote has been washed out and disinfected and the Christmas items replaced. The coop is finished and officially named the “Taj MaHen.”

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Now if we can just get the dogs to relax…

A to Z – I is for Ireland

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A to Z Blog Challenge

I is for Ireland

 

 

Over the years, I’ve trace a majority of my family from England, but I’ve found a few stuck in there from Ireland!

 

 

 

dublinMy 2nd great grandpa, John Francis Burke, according to family history, was from Dublin. He stowed away on an America-bound ship at the age of 15 in 1861. He was found en route and told by the captain they could not take him back. He said, “If I wanted to go back, I wouldn’t have stowed away.” They dropped him off in Florida – right at the beginning of the Civil War.

I’ve found Confederate records of three different men who could be him. I’m not sure which, if any, is him. He next shows up in the 1880 census married to Nancy Didama Spencer and living with her family in Mississippi.

Another 2nd great grandpa was Thomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene. He doesn’t have much of a history. Seems his parents died when he was young. Family rumor has it the Keene family also came from Dublin and were originally O’Keene.

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My 7th great grandpa James Rogers came from Tyrone County in Northern Ireland. Looks like a beautiful place! He was married to Mary McPherson. Go ahead, say that with an Irish accent!

 

 

I find it interesting that all these people came from another part of the world, joined in marriage and children, and the outcome was ME! We ancestry-type people spend so much time thinking of the past. I wonder if they did too. And, I wonder if they ever thought of the distant future. My mind doesn’t go much past children and grandchildren. What if seven generation from now, people we couldn’t even imagine are thinking about us?

 

A to Z – H is for Hollingbourne

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H is for Hollingbourne Manor

 

My mother was a Culpepper. I’ve done tons of research on them. I’ve even written four books about my 10th great grandpa, John Culpepper.

 

 

h1John’s uncle owned a house called Hollingbourne Manor in Kent, England – about five miles outside the town of Maidstone – about two miles from another family home, Leeds Castle. The house, and I use that term loosely, was acquired in 1590 by Francis Culpepper of Greenway court. It was bequeathed to his son Thomas the Elder, and later to his son, Thomas Jr. who was a knight. The last owner was Thomas Jr.’s son William. It was in the family for about 125 years.

 

Hollingbourne-Outside-Grave-AreaThomas the Elder built a chapel in the local Hollingbourne church, All Saints Church, as a monument to his wife Elizabeth. In the marble effigy, Lady Elizabeth’s hands each wear a ring tied by a single cord that disappears up the sleeve of her dress. The epitaph written by her husband reads: Optima Faemina, Optima Coniux, Optima Mater, which means: The best of women, the best of wives, the best of mothers.

 

AllSaintsWindowThere are many lead coffins beneath the chapel containing the remains of various Culpeppers. The entrance has now been sealed. The window in the chapel at the foot of Lady Elizabeth’s coffin bears the Culpepper coat of arms. It is the white square in the upper left with the red diagonal line.

 

Some day I shall visit.

 

 

 

 

 

If you love this old England stuff, check out the Culpepper Saga on Amazon.

culpepper saga

A to Z – G is for GW Spencer

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G is for George Washington Spencer

GW was my 3rd great grandfather. He was a Confederate soldier in 1862, but in the 1860 census, he was listed as a school teacher.

He was born in June of 1829 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Rev. William Saladin Spencer and Martha Didama Gross. He was the 10th of 11 children, with only 1 girl in the bunch. His father died in 1841 when GW was only 12 years old.

geo wash spencerIn 1858, he married Nancy Virginia “Jenny” Holdcroft in Kemper, Mississippi, and the union produced 7 children, 5 girls and 2 boys. They made their home in Newton County, MS.

There was no organized education at the time, so communities usually gathered money and asked someone to educate their children. GW stepped up to the challenge for a moment.

When the war began, he enlisted 1 Mar 1862 with Co. B 35th MS Infantry. He was sick most of the war due to a leg infection and was medically discharged 10 Jan 1864. The family story is that his wife went by horse and wagon to pick him up from a Confederate hospital.

Following the war, he didn’t go back to teaching. He is listed on census records as a farmer until his death 22 Jul 1901. He is buried with his wife in unmarked graves at Hickory Cemetery in Newton County, Mississippi.

A to Z – F is for WT Fisher

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F is for WT Fisher

WT stands for William Thomas Fisher. He was my 3rd great grandpa. He was born 5 Jun 1819 in Alabama to Southy Fisher and Elizabeth Butler. It seems he was the only boy with three younger sisters. His sisters were all born in Mississippi quite a while after he was born, so there may have been some unrecorded children who died young in the family.

 

William T. and Ann Eliza (Butler) FisherIn 1846, WT was involved in a shoot out at the Brickyard, which was a mustering point for soldiers in the Mexican-American War. The owner of the Brickyard was a man named Shumate and his wife Muggie. There was a disagreement with WT’s dad, Southy, over the ownership of the Brickyard.

There were many incidences between the men at the Brickyard, but on this particular occasion, the Fisher boys came around armed and ready for a fight. It wouldn’t be a quick fight as each was armed with a Flintlock single-shot weapon that took time to load and fire.

When the Fishers made their presence known, Shumate and Muggie loaded their guns and came out of the house. Shumate had a single gun. Muggie had two.

Muggie was the first to fire and took down Southy. WT shot back and missed. Muggie tossed away her empty gun and fired at WT with her second gun, taking him down. Neither of the Fishers were dead, only injured. Shumate, frightened by the gunfire, dropped his weapon and ran. Muggie grabbed his discarded gun and fired at her coward husband, killing him instantly. This perhaps wasn’t the best move as Southy still had a loaded weapon. He fired at Muggie, killing her before she could reload.

Obviously, the Fisher clan wasn’t one to mess with.

1858 was a year of change. WT was 38 at the time. His mother died 19 April and his father died 24 July. I can’t imagine losing both parents so closely together. His father left everything to him in his will, only leaving the daughters $5 each, but leaving WT the farm, the animals, the numerous slaves, everything.

Shortly after the death of his parents, the family story is that he rode to North Carolina where his family was originally from, and he brought back a bride. Ann Eliza Butler rode back to MS with WT on horseback. She was 15 years his junior. Since his mother’s name was also Butler, I feel they may have been cousins or something, but I haven’t been able to make the connection.

I guess there wasn’t enough help at the farm and shortly after the marriage, WT went to Mobile to buy a slave to help Ann in the kitchen. While he was there, he noticed a small black boy with light patches of skin. He asked the slave traders what they were going to do with the boy, who was about 5 years old. The traders said they would throw him to the sharks on their way back. WT brought the boy home and raised him. The boy’s name was Charlie “Fisher” and he stayed at WT’s side even through the Civil War. Charlie drew a pension from the war until his death in 1928.

At the end of the Civil War, WT not only freed Charlie, but also gave him 80 acres of family land on Fisher Road in Zero, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, where Charlie’s descendants live to this day.

In 1860, before the war began, WT was imprisoned at Mississippi State Prison in Jackson, Mississippi for killing a man named McGinnis in his corn crib. The story is that McGinnis was caught stealing, but the belief is that it was a card game gone wrong and WT caught McGinnis cheating and shot him. WT was forced to sell off a lot of land to pay off the judge and lawyers to try and stay out of jail, but he served time anyway. When the war began, he was release to serve in the Confederate army and joined as a Captain.

During and following the war, WT and Ann had 11 children, 5 girls and 6 boys.

fisher william thomas headstone, callies fatherWT died at the age of 62 on 13 May 1882. He is buried in the family cemetery on Zero Rd.

His wife Ann died in 1910 at the age of 75 and is laid to rest next to her husband.

A to Z – E is for Elizabeth “Elly” Hays

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E is for Elizabeth “Elly” Hays

Elly was born in North Carolina in 1774 to Nicholas Hays and Ally Steele. It’s been very difficult finding a paper trail of her young years. The first I’ve found is her marriage certificate 20 Dec 1790 to James Rodgers Jr, which is signed by her brother Samuel Hays. This is in Greene, Tennessee. All of the family records bounce back and forth between Tennessee and North Carolina, so I suspect the state border was blurred at that time.

Once she married, the paper trail becomes clearer.

She gave birth to Elizabeth in 1791, Hays in 1793, a female who is listed in James’s will as “my deceased daughter” in 1974, Absolom in 1796, Margaret Peggy in 1797, Susannah in 1799, Harvey in 1800, Martha Ellen “Ellie” in 1801, Polly in 1806, Napoleon Bonapart in 1808, and Andrew Jackson in 1810, and finally, Lavenia in 1819.

clarke-in-alabamaIn 1811, the family, yes, all thirteen of them (Lavenia wasn’t born yet), moved by wagon from Tennessee to Clarke County, Alabama. At the time, Alabama was part of the Mississippi Territory as Alabama did not become a state until 1819. The area was a wild frontier, filled with the Creek Indians who were causing all the mischief and death they could to keep the white man from encroaching on their land. This was also a few months before the War of 1812 began. In the south, the war was between the Americans and the Indians, who were armed by the British.

The family suffered through serious harassment by the Creek Indians. Their livestock was raided and it is reported their home was burned to the ground. This was at the time both of her older sons, Hays and Absolom, were off serving in the Mississippi Militia and were not home to help.

When the boys were discharged in 1818, Elly packed her family and moved west to Lauderdale County, Mississippi, to the land of the gentle Choctaw Indians.

Following her husband’s death in Mississippi in 1826, Elly moved back to Alabama and lived with her eldest daughter, Elizabeth.

An abstract of her husband’s will is as follows:

WILL OF JAMES RODGERS

Copiah County, Mississippi, August 7, 1826 – Page 180

Orphans Court.

In the name of God Amen, I James Rodgers, doth find myself weak and infirm in bodily health, though strong in recollections and understanding doth therefore recommend my soul to God, my body to the Grave and my worldly effects to be deposed as follows–

 To my dearly beloved wife Elly Rodgers

 My oldest daughter Elizabeth Matlock

 My Eldest son Hays Rodgers

 William H. Wilson, the husband of my daughter and deceased, I give $1.00,

 My son Abslum Rodgers

 My daughter Peggy Rodgers

 My daughter Susanah Rodgers

 My daughter Ellie Kirk

 My son Harvey Rodgers

 My daughter Lavina Rodgers

 My daughter Polly Hendricks

 My son Bonapart Rodgers

 My son Jackson Rodgers

Lastly I, constitute and appoint my son Hays Rodgers and John Deaton, Executors.

 

 

Elly died in Grove Hill, Clarke County, Alabama in 1839.

The exact date of her death is unknown. Her burial place is unknown.

Elly is my 5th great grandmother.

41n6zHpRqRLI wrote a book about her called “Elly Hays.”

It’s available at Amazon. Click here. 

A to Z – D is for David Hopkins

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D is for David Hopkins

David is my 6th great uncle, brother of my 5th great grandmother Elizabeth Hopkins Rice. There were about eleven children in the Hopkins household born between 1760 and 1807. David was born in Nash County, North Carolina, though I’m not sure of the year. Some records say he was born in 1807, but his father’s will below seems a bit strange if that’s the case.

An abstract of his father’s will is as follows:

“Wake Co. NC Wills 1777-1848, page 44.”

219. PETER(x)HOPKINS 9 Nov 1807 Feb Ct 1808
I am sick and weak in body” 
Son JOHN HOPKINS – 250 acres in Wake Co. on Little River joining MATTHEW STRICKLAND, Griffins Branch, Joseph Hopkins, negro girl Eady; etc.

Son JOSEPH HOPKINS – 250 acres in Wake Co. joining MATTHEW STRICKLAND, JOHN HOPKINS, WILLIAM HOPKINS; boy Robert, etc.

Son WILEY HOPKINS – 568 acres in Wake Co. joining MATTHEW STRICKLAND, JESSE BURN, ISRAEL PRIVETT, JOHN HOPKINS, etc.

Son WILLIAM HOPKINS – 300 acres in Wake Co. near Little River joining MATTHEW STRICKLAND, JOSEPH HOPKINS, GEORGE BELL; 300 acres in Nash Co. joining JOHN RICE, Jumping Branch, etc.

Son PETER HOPKINS – 200 acres in Wake Co. on Little River joining BURRELL FOWLER, GEORGE CRUDUP; boy Toney, etc.

Son DAVID HOPKINS – 400 acres in Nash & Jonson Co. on each side of Mocason Creek joining HARDY PRIGEON, BURRELL STRICKLAND; boys Haywood & Arthur, etc.

Daughter ELIZABETH RICE – boy York, etc.

Son ALSEY HOPKINS – man James, boy Jacob, etc.

Daughter MARY HOPKINS – woman Rachal, girl Cherry, etc.

Daughter SUSANNAH HOPKINS – woman Silvy, boy Jack, girl Clary, etc.

Wife WILMOTH (Fowler) HOPKINS – lend to her man Isaac, man Kit, woman Affey, girl Amey, boy Emsley; also lend to her 300 acres in Nash Co. including where I now live, etc.

Son CRAWFORD HOPKINS – properly lent to wife at her death.

Residue of estate to ALSEY & CRAWFORD HOPKINS
Ex. sons ALSEY & DAVID HOPKINS

 

David doesn’t show up in records again until his marriage. In 1835, David married Milbrey “Miley” Ferrel and immediately had a daughter, Susan. A few years later in 1841, he had his only son, Alsey.

I don’t know what prompted him to write his will at such a young age with children only twelve and six, but it was probated on 6 Mar 1847 in Nash, North Carolina. His will is in the North Carolina Wills and Probate Records 1665-1998 in Book 1, Vol 5, 1778-1897 and is as follows:

David Hopkins will

 

It appears his wife Miley died a short time later in 1855, leaving the children as orphans at the ages of 19 and 14.

Fortunately, Susan and Alsey didn’t take after their parents and grandparents dying at a young age. Susan died at the age of 85 and Alsey got married in 1860 and is the man seen below on the horse. (Photo courtesy of Mary Sue Lyon.) Alsey died in 1913 at the age of 71.

Alsey Hopkins