On This Day in 1836

On This Day in 1836 my 3rd great grandmother Sarah Ann Elvira Dollar was born.

Don’t you find the name “Dollar” to be a little strange? Well, her father was Ambrose Dollar, her grandfather was Reuben Dollar who came to America from Wales and fought in the Revolution, and her great grandfather was Edward Dolier – probably French Doh-lee-AY or Irish D’Olier. Either one of those makes more sense than Dollar.

Sarah Ann’s mother was Jemima Clearman, whose father was Jacob Van Clearman, whose father was John William Clearman from Germany.

Well, that’s just a crazy European mix, isn’t it?

Let’s go back to her dad’s side for just a moment. This is the transcription of the sworn statement of Dr. J.M. Dollar, the great grandson of Reuben Dollar.

betsy-ross-flag-usa-united-states-of-america-americaGause Texas, August 4th 1913
This is to certify that my great grandfather Reuben Dollar told me of fighting in the Revolutionary War when I was a boy. He came from Wales and fought in the war. He returned to Wales and was disinherited by his father for having fought against the British Crown. After which he returned to America and settled in Edgefield S.C. He died in Miss. in 1858 at the age of 113 years.
Signed J.M Dollar
State of Texas:
County Of Milam:
subscribed and sworn to before me this August 4th. 1913
J.R. Fraim, Notary Public, Milam co. Texas

I find these old records fascinating!!

Anyway, back to Sarah Ann…

pickensShe was the 6th born of 8 children, half boys, half girls. She was born March 11, 1836 in Pickens County, Alabama. Pickens County is right on the Mississippi border, and at some point between 1840 and 1850, the family moved west to Mississippi. At the age of 17, on October 6, 1853, she married William Lafayette Brown, Jr. in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. Keep in mind, the above Patriot grandfather was still alive until 1858 and died in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, so he might have been living with them. If not living with Sarah Ann and her husband, at least with a nearby family member.

Sarah Ann gave birth to her first child at the age of 18, James Floyd Brown in 1854. He was followed by John Ambus Brown in 1857, Angeline Brown in 1859, William Harrison Brown in 1860,  Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown in 1862, Warren Brown in 1865, Franklin Carlton Brown in 1867, Charles Berry Brown in 1871, Pinkney Earlie Brown in 1874, and Martha Catherine Brown in 1877.

Do you notice anything strange about those birth dates?

Page 1When the Civil War broke out in 1861, her husband was about 25 years old. Yes, he went to fight for the Confederacy. As a matter of fact, he was a sniper who guarded Mississippi bridges in the area. At one point, he was captured by the Union. He escaped. He went back and allowed himself to be captured again to help others escape, which he/they did. After that, he had a bounty on his head for the rest of the war.

It doesn’t look like the war or the captures between 1861 and 1865 stopped him from visiting home at least a few times. Obviously he stopped by the house long enough for some hanky panky. The girl born in 1862 was my second great grandmother. Her birthday is the same day as mine, November 19.

One thing for sure, these people didn’t back down from a challenge! I look forward to doing more research on the Dollars and Clearmans very soon.

Sarah Ann died in Mississippi July 18, 1915 at the age of 79.

Happy birthday, Grandma Sarah Ann!!

brown william L and Sarah A at goodwater cemetery

This post brought to you by “On This Day,” a perpetual calendar for family genealogy.

52 Ancestors #32 – 32


This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small and this week’s theme is “32.”

For those of you don’t do genealogy, you have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 2nd great-grandparents, and 32 3rd great-grandparents. The family tree grows exponentially.

This generation of 32 people in my past have been on my mind a lot lately due to the feeding frenzy of liberals trying to erase the history of the Confederacy. Personally, I don’t have a problem with the Confederate flag, but I understand that hate groups have adopted it and it may no longer represent the South throughout the rest of the United States. Perhaps it is time for a discussion about where it should and should not be flown.

I do, however, have a problem with the hatred that these history-erasing people, including some of my very own friends, are spewing and the way vandals are destroying flags, graves, statues, and monuments. You’ll see why in a moment. I’ve decided to not write about only one of my 32 grandmas and grandpas, but all of them.

Jeremiah William Crane, born 1828 Alabama

Sarah Frances Grimes, born 1824 Alabama

Amos Windham Mercer, born 1799 South Carolina

Amanda Merron, born 1829 Florida

Archibald White, born 1808 North Carolina

Elizabeth B Farrish, born 1824 Alabama

Leonard H Morrow, born 1812 Tennessee

Silvia Truss, born 1814 North Carolina

Robert Theodore Pickett, born 1836 Mississippi

Lucy Ann Rackley, born 1834 Alabama

William Thomas Fisher, born 1819 Alabama*

Elizabeth Ann Butler, born 1834 North Carolina

Green Keene, born 1834 South Carolina

Sarah Tabitha unknown, born 1833 Alabama

William Lafayette Brown, born 1836 Mississippi*

Sarah Ann Elvira Dollar, born 1836 Alabama

Rev. Joseph M. Culpepper, born 1822 Georgia**

Nancy Yarbrough, born 1822 Georgia

William Henry Blanks II, born 1800 Georgia

Nancy Narcissus Young, born 1800 North Carolina

Rice Benjamin Carpenter, born 1828 Alabama**

Mary Ann Rodgers, born 1828 Mississippi

George Washington Spencer, born 1829 Alabama*

Nancy Virginia “Ginny” Holdcroft, born 1839 Mississippi

James C Howington, born 1823 North Carolina*

Amelia Ann Elizabeth Smith, born 1827 Alabama

Of the six missing names; two were in Dublin, Ireland, their son (my 2nd great) arrived on the shores of Florida in 1861; two were Choctaw Indians in the Choctaw Territory of Mississippi but I don’t know their names; and the final two are unaccounted for as I have not been able to trace them, but their daughter (my 2nd great), was born in Alabama in 1848, so they certainly lived in the South.

Notice anything?? Yes, 26 (28 if you count the Choctaws, 30 if you count the folks living in Alabama) of my 32 3rd great-grandparents were born in the Confederate States, and EVERY ONE of my 16 2nd greats lived there also. From the records I have: six of the men above fought with the Confederacy (noted by *) – two died in battle (noted by **). Three of my 2nd greats (sons of the above) fought with the Confederacy, not to mention the countless brothers and other sons who served and sometimes died. Mary Ann Rodgers named above lost three brothers, three brothers-in-law, and her husband.

Off the top of my head, eight to ten of these families were in America during the Revolution, fighting for freedom – the freedom to say and do as you please. You have the freedom to be “offended” by the Confederate flag. It was given to you by MY ancestors who have been struggling since the 1600s to build a great country, even before it was a country.

Here’s where I have a problem. You don’t have the freedom nor the “right” to desecrate Confederate graves, statues, monuments, Confederate cemeteries, or the flags within their boundaries, and you certainly don’t have the freedom to take away my heritage. You will never accomplish that. You will never change how I feel about the men who fought in the Confederate Army. They are AMERICAN soldiers. They will always have my deepest respect for being willing to die for what they believed in, whether you agree with their cause or not. My heritage will not be erased. It will not disappear. Do you want to know why? Because I will fight to keep it alive in my family, my community, my descendants, and my heart. I will fight with the same veracity shown by my grandparents when they fought for their freedom. After all, their blood runs in my veins, too.



52 Ancestors #4 Bettie Brown


This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small, and this week’s theme is “Closest to your birthday.”

This week’s theme is a piece of cake for me – birthday cake! My birthday is November 19, 1962. The ancestor closest to my birthday is my great great grandmother who was born November 19, 1862.

Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown Keene

brown william lafayett bibleSarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown was born to William Lafayette Brown Jr and Sarah Ann Elvira Dollar Brown in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. (photo: transcribed family Bible) There were ten children in her family, seven boys and three girls, one of whom died at birth. Five of the children were born just before the Civil War began, and her father was a sharp shooter guarding the railroad bridges at Chunky, Mississippi, so her mother was home with a handful of children under the age of eight at the start of the war. When her father returned from the war, the next child was born in 1865. They wasted no time!

At the age of 18, Bettie married John Thompson 16 Nov 1881 and had one daughter, Fleta. I don’t know what happened to Mr. Thompson, but in 1890 Bettie married Thomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene who served as Lauderdale County’s treasure 1904-1907. They had seven children: Eunice Tabitha, Isaac, Essie Mae, Ernest Grady, Benjamin Blaine, Eula Ouida (my great grandmother), and Earl Vandorn. Bettie outlived her husband by five years and died on 18 Jul 1926 at the age of 63.

Brown Sarah Elizabeth Bettie Brown Keene

On This Day in 1890

On This Day in 1890, my great great grandparents were wed.

plaque in Lauderdale Co Court House in MeridianThomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene was born 20 Apr 1859 to Green Keene and Sarah Tabitha Keene and grew up in Mississippi. According to records, I believe his parents died during the Civil War. He is shown living with them in the 1860 census, along with his siblings John (1849-) Martha (1851-) Minerva Ellen (1852-1914) and Mary (1855-). He was only an infant. In the 1870 census, he and his sisters are shown living with a woman named Elizabeth Keene (not married) and an 80 year old man named Gilbert Keene. I believe this is his aunt and his grandfather who is Gilbert senior. There is also a Gilbert junior in an earlier census born in 1815.

He more or less disappeared from records until his marriage in 1890, and the next record of him is the marble plaque that is in the Lauderdale County Court House in Meridian, Mississippi showing him as the County Treasurer 1904-1907. (For you “Stuckey’s Bridge” fans, check out the top name – JR Temple, Sheriff.) Later census records list TGL as a member of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, also as a farmer and a Justice of the Peace. He died 26 Sep 1921 and is buried next to his wife at Oak Grove Baptist Cemetery in Bonita. His death certificate lists no parents.t g l keene headstoneTGL Keene death cert




brown william lafayett bible







Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown was born 19 Nov 1862 (my birthday also) to William Lafayette Brown Jr and Sarah Ann Elvira Dollar Brown in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. (Right is the transcribed family Bible.) There were ten children in her family, seven boys and three girls, one of whom died at birth. Five of the children were born just before the Civil War began, and her father was a sharp shooter guarding the railroad bridges at Chunky, Mississippi, so her mother was home with a handful of children under the age of eight at the start of the war. When her father returned from the war, the next child was born in 1865. They wasted no time!

At the age of 18, Bettie married John Thompson 16 Nov 1881 and had one daughter, Fleta S (1885-1923). I don’t know what happened to Mr. Thompson, but in 1890 Bettie married TGL Keene. They had seven children: Eunice Tabitha (1891-1964) Isaac (1893-1894 infant who is buried near his parents) Essie Mae (1895-1981) Ernest Grady (1895-1947) Benjamin Blaine (1898-1960) Eula Ouida (1899-1981 my great grandmother) and Earl Vandorn (1901-1939). Bettie outlived her husband by five years and died on 18 Jul 1926 at the age of 63. Brown Sarah Elizabeth Bettie Brown Keene

TGL and Bettie lived in the Tunnel Hill area until 1910, when they show up on the census records as living in Meridian.

Happy Anniversary TGL and Bettie!


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October Ancestry Challenge – William Lafayette Brown Jr

oct ancestry challenge-001The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 

23 posts/23 days/23 ancestors.

Ancestor #13 – William Lafayette Brown Jr




brown william lafayett bibleMy 3rd great grandfather was William Lafayette Brown Jr. He was born in 1836 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi to William Sr and Martha Hamrick Brown. He only had one brother, John Henry, and six sisters. Poor boy.  The document to the left is the transcribed family bible.

William Jr (24) and John Henry (29) both signed up for the 37th Mississippi Infantry during the Civil War in May 1862. They were in Company D under Lt H. G. Hamrick. As close as everyone was in Lauderdale County at the time, I’m sure Lt Hamrick was a relative. In November of 1862, William Jr was promoted to Corporal. In November of 1863, he was sent to work with the Calvary, and in February of 1864, he was promoted to 3rd Sargent.

7872_561759593863541_1656188250_nFor you Civil War buffs, here are the details of his company

Officers of Company D (Enterprise Tigers)
Whitman C. Turner, Capt., r. January 3, 1863
F. S. Pickle], Capt., r. August 29, 1864
Allen C. Carter, 2nd Lt., died August 23, 1862
H. G. Hamrick, 2nd Lt., r. July 27, 1862
Ira J. Williams, 1st Lt., died April 9, 1862
J. L. Peters, 1st Lt.
D. Lindsey, 2nd Lt.
N. R. Sumrall, 2nd Lt.

Stationed at Enterprise, Mississippi, March 7, 1862.
March 7. Muster-in roll of Captain Whitman C. Turner’s Company, the Enterprise Tigers, of Mississippi Volunteers . . .
called into the service of the Confederate States of America by virtue of a proclamation of the Governor of the state of Mississippi January 1862 from March 7, 1862 for the term of three years or for the war, unless sooner discharged. . . .
ROBERT McLAIN, Mustering Officer.

Stationed at Columbus, Mississippi, March 7-June 30, 1862.
Stationed at Saltillo, Mississippi, July-August 1862.
Stationed near Lumpkin’s Mill, September-October 1862.
September 10. Left for Iuka from Baldwyn.
September 14. Took possession of Iuka.
September 19-20. Had battle on the evening of September 19 and evacuated the place on the morning of September 20 and retreated back to Baldwyn, traveling about 100 miles.
September 25. Left Baldwyn for Corinth via Ripley.
October 3-4. Gave the enemy battle at Corinth and began our retreat from Corinth on the evening of October 4 and came back to Ripley and thence to this place, traveling about 140 miles on that march.
Stationed in barracks, Yazoo County, Mississippi, November-December 1862.
Stationed at Snyder’s Mill, Mississippi, January-February 1863.
Stationed at Enterprise, Mississippi, April 30-October 31, 1863.
Stationed near Enterprise, Mississippi, November-December1863.
Stationed near Pollard, Alabama, January-February 1864.
Stationed at Atlanta, Georgia, February 29-August 31, 1864.


Okay, let’s back up just a moment, and then we’ll fast forward to the good part.


william lafayette brown and sarah dollar marriage licenseBefore joining the Infantry, William Jr married Sarah Ann Dollar on October 6, 1854. The document to the left is their marriage license. They had three boys and a girl. While he was running around fighting, his wife gave birth to my 2nd great grandmother Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown on November 19, 1862 (100 years to the day before I was born). Once he returned from the war, they had five more children: four more boys and another girl.

He was obviously a viral young man, and while he was away from home from 62 to 65, he needed to find a way to burn off all that testosterone. The story is: he was a sniper and guarded the railroad bridges at the Chunky River in Mississippi, and was captured by Federal forces. He dug a hole out of the stockade and escaped. Later, he allowed himself to be captured a second time to help others escape. He/they did. He had a bounty on his head by the Union for the remainder of the war.



brown william L and Sarah A at goodwater cemeteryWilliam Lafayette Brown Jr, the father, the Rebel, and the war hero, died at the age of 52 on September 23, 1889 and is buried at Goodwater Cemetery in Enterprise, Mississippi.



October Ancestry Challenge 2013 – Eula Ouida Keene Pickett

oct ancestry challenge-001

The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 is 23 posts in 23 days (Monday through Friday) about 23 ancestors. It’s still not to late to join us. Come on, you can catch up.

Ancestor #4 – Eula Ouida Keene Pickett

eula and benOne of my favorite people in the whole world was my great grandmother Eula Ouida Keene Pickett. She was my devoted pen pal while I was growing up (as we lived in different states), and I still have many of her cards and letters in my scrapbooks. I spent every summer with her as a child and remember gathering chicken eggs, watching her sew quilts, and staying far away from her nasty little chihuahua who was blind in one eye and would bite you if you got too close.

She was the daughter of Thomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene, an upstanding business man who served as Treasurer of Lauderdale County, MS from 1904-1907, and Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown, daughter of a Confederate hero who was captured by the Union army and escaped, then allowed himself to be captured again to help others escape, which he/they did.

She was born 18 March 1899 and was the sixth of seven children totaling three girls and four boys. She also had an older half-sister from her mom’s first marriage.

Eula married Benjamin Berry Pickett in Lauderdale County, Mississippi in 1916 at the age of 17. They had 3 children: Howard, Azalea (my grandmother), and Fleta Clarice.

Eula’s older half-sister, who was also named Fleta, was 14 years her senior, and the two had a special relationship. In 1920, Fleta had a daughter and named her Eula, and in Dec 1921, Eula had a daughter and named her Fleta Clarice. While Eula was six-months pregnant with Fleta, her father died in Sep 1921. If that wasn’t hard enough to endure, on 8 May 1923, baby Fleta Clarice died of pneumonia. She was seventeen months old.

MS Cemetery 053The Meridian Star, May 8, 1923

 Fleta Marie (Clarice) Pickett Born: December 1, 1921 in Lauderdale County, MS 

Died: May 8, 1923 in Lauderdale County, MS 

Fleta Marie (Clarice) Pickett Fleta Marie Pickett, 17-month-old daughter of Ben Berry and Eula Keene Pickett, who reside near Zero, MS., passed away this morning at 4 o’clock. Funeral services will be held from the residence Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock. Interment is to follow in Fisher Cemetery. 

I find it interesting that they held the funeral in the living room.

A month later on 23 June 1923, Eula’s sister Fleta died at the age of 38.

thunder at meridian1923 was NOT a good year for the family. Eula’s husband Ben and his brothers were involved in a bloody shoot-out with local law enforcement over a moonshine still. A revenuer (tax collector) was killed, and Ben was sent to prison for murder. This story is in a book by Hewitt Clarke called Thunder at Meridian. BTW, my grandmother Azalea was outraged by the book and said none of it was true. Then again, she was four at the time, and I’m sure the grown-ups did not tell her the all the gory details. I personally spoke with Mr. Clarke in September 2013 and he said he got that story from interviewing Clyde Pickett (Ben’s little brother) in Zero, MS and pieced the rest together from newspapers and court records.

Keep in mind, all of this occurred before Eula’s 25th birthday.

I don’t know how long Ben was in jail, but I know he served his time and was eventually released.

On September 2, 1936, Eula and Ben receive the phone call all parents dread: their 19-yr-old son, Howard, had been in an auto accident. According to his obituary, following a tire blow-out, the car rolled several times. Howard had internal injuries and did not regain consciousness. He died the following day.

MS Cemetery 054The Meridian Star, September 5, 1936

Howard Benjamin Pickett 

Born: November 19, 1917 in Lauderdale County, MS 

Died: September 3, 1936 in Newton, MS 

Howard Benjamin Pickett, 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Berry Pickett of Meridian, who was injured in an automobile crash near Newton on Highway 80, died in a Newton hospital late Thursday. Miss Hazel Brasfield, 15, also of Meridian, remained in a critical condition Friday morning. Pickett, who was said to have been driving the automobile when it crashed at 5 a.m., received internal injuries. He never regained consciousness. Miss Brasfield is suffering from a crushed thigh. Other occupants of the machine were Jim Edwards, Billy White, Neva Ezell, Jack Ward, and Geneva Burt, all of Meridian. All were slightly injured but were able to return to Meridian soon after the accident. Pickett is said to have rented the automobile from a 630 taxi driver at 7 a.m. Wednesday, stating he intended to go to Jackson. The crash occurred when a tire blew out, causing the machine to leave the highway, overturning several times before striking a stump. Funeral services will be held at 4 p.m. Friday from the Eight Avenue Baptist Church. Surviving are his parents: Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Berry Pickett and one sister, Azelea Pickett, all of Meridian. The Rev. Ed Grayson and Rev. Blanding Vaughan will officiate at the funeral. Interment will follow in Fisher Cemetery.

MS Cemetery 050My great grandma Pickett was a very strong and devoutly religious woman. The more I learn of her life, the more I understand why she was that way. Ben’s mom was a Fisher, so Ben and Eula and their three children are all buried in the family plot at Fisher Cemetery in Zero, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, which is still maintained by the Fisher family.

Coincidental Dates (cue Twilight Zone music)

For you genealogy buffs: Do you see the same dates over and over when you work on your family tree?? I always see the same four dates – the birthdays of my kids, my birthday, and my wedding anniversary. Note: I NEVER see hubby’s birthday, my mother’s birthday, or any other family date. Only Feb 5, Oct 12 and 31, and Nov 19.

Strange? Yes.

I figured since I have absolutely nothing to do (sarcasm) I will compile all the strange dates.

February 5

My son’s birthday

My aunt’s birthday, Bobbie Jean Culpepper McQueen

My cousin’s birthday, Judy McQueen

My cousin’s birthday, Carolyn Burke Goss

My mother’s wedding anniversary, Linda Faye Culpepper

October 12

My daughter’s birthday

My great great uncle’s death date, James Rodgers

My great great great grandfather’s birthday, William Henry Blanks II

My third cousin’s birthday & death date, Claude Wesley Gardiner

My great great uncle’s birthday, Thomas Culpepper

October 31

My anniversary

My grandfather’s death date, Benjamin Berry Pickett

My father’s death date, Andrew Frank “Andy” Crane Jr.

My great great grandparent’s anniversary, Martha Lettie Carpenter and William Henry Blanks III

November 19

My birthday

My great great grandmother’s birthday, Sarah Elizabeth “Betty” Brown Keene

My great uncles birthday, Howard Pickett

I’ve heard stories of people re-incarnating in groups and around dates. I find the concept curious, but I have no convictions about it either way. I do, however, find it interesting that my dad’s Grandma Pickett has all of the Oct 31 and Nov 19 dates in her family. The people listed are her mother, husband, son, grandson, and great granddaughter (me).

That’s weird that my birthday and anniversary all coincide with dates on my dad’s side of the family.

I also find it oddly curious that my mother has my kid’s (Feb 5 and Oct 12) birthdays repeated over and over in her family. Those listed are her sister, two cousins, niece, two great uncles, great great grandfather, grandson, and granddaughter.

That’s really, really weird that my kid’s dates are all on my mom’s side.

What’s even more strange is that I would think of this today – the anniversary of my grandma’s death. RIP Mamaw.

burke Ina Inez Burke headstone