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.

Searching for Scandinavia

I finally did it! I had my DNA done for my ancestry quest. I knew most of it.

 Europe West 24%
 Scandinavia 21%
 Ireland/Scotland/Wales 20%
 Great Britain 14%
 Europe East 9%
 Iberian Peninsula 6%
Most of the family I’ve traced hail from England, Scotland, Ireland, and I assume a few snuck in there from France and Spain way back in the day, hence that small percentage from the Iberian Peninsula. But 21% Scandinavian?? I have no idea where that came from. Norway, Sweden, Denmark? No clue. Though “Viking Princess” suits me. 🙂
scandinavian woman
While I was searching, I ran across a new line I didn’t know I had. Apparently these folks were from Switzerland. Really? Where does that fit in?
A great great grandmother on my mother’s side was a Spencer, and a few generations before that, one of the Spencer wives was a Flournoy. I had never heard of these Flournoys and traced them back to their first entrance into the U.S. in the early 1700s.
My 8th great grandfather was Jean Jacques Fleurnois – in American – John James Flournoy. He came to Virginia in 1705 before sending for his family in 1717.
Name: Jacques Flournoy
Arrival Year: 1705
Arrival Place: Virginia
Source Publication Code: 613
Primary Immigrant: Flournoy, Jacques
Source Bibliography: BOCKSTRUCK, LLOYD DEWITT. “Naturalizations and Denizations in Colonial Virginia.” In National Genealogical Society Quarterly, vol. 73:2 (June 1985), pp. 109-116.
Page: 111
His son, my 7th great, John James Jr, was born in Geneva on 17 Nov 1686. He would have been about thirty years old when he arrived on the Virginia shores in 1717. He was son of Jacques Flournoy of Geneva and Julia Eyraud. He settled in Williamsburg where in 1720 he married Mary Elizabeth Williams, daughter of James Williams and widow of Orlando Jones. They set up house in Henrico County, VA and over the next nineteen years, they had about eleven children. Records say John James Jr. died in Henrico Co in 1739 at the age of 52.
He had a son named John born 1726 and died 1825, so the record below must have been his grandson and namesake. This would not be one of my direct ancestors but interesting none-the-less. The following is on file in the Archives Dept. State Library in Virginia.

Point of Fork, 18 Aug., 1783. I do certify that Jean Jacques Flournoy enlisted with me the first of Oct., 1782, in the Va. Contl. line, to serve three years, and was in actual service until the 22 of August following, at which time he died, and that he received only four months pay. Signed, Jacob Brown, Lieut. Quartermaster and Paymaster of the 1st Va. Regiment.

Thank you for your service, Sir, for our freedom, and for your ultimate sacrifice.

This an interesting web that will require more research.

Still haven’t found the Scandinavians!

52 Ancestors – #27 Joseph B Culpepper, Patriot


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


I guess there is no better example of Independent than one of my grandfathers who fought for American independence in the American Revolution.

Page 2Joseph B. Culpepper Jr. was a fourth generation American and the third Joseph in the line of fathers and sons. His 3rd great grandfather, John Culpepper, immigrated to America from Kent, England following the English civil war in 1650, though the man was a merchant between Virginia and England and had been to the country countless times before.

The information I have of Joseph shows him born in Anson, North Carolina around 1760-1765, and even though I’m sure that is slightly off, he was still just a kid when he enlisted in the 3rd South Carolina Regiment 03 Aug 1776. His parents were Joseph Culpepper and Piety Gibson. The records I have say that Piety died around 1764, so you can see how the dates are a little off. I bet his father must have been beside himself with worry as Joseph’s brother Benjamin Culpepper also signed up. Benjamin served as Lieutenant under Capt. Peter Burns, Col. Wade Hampton and Gen. Sumter. AA 1683A: M228, DAR SC Roster pg 223. I assume Joseph wasn’t far away, perhaps serving under the same captain. I belong to the DAR under his patriotic service. A028466.

What I find amazing about the history is that my great, great grandfather Joel B Culpepper fought in the American civil war. Joel’s great grandfather was Joseph, our patriot named above. Joseph’s great grandfather was Robert Culpepper, who is the five year old in my latest book, John Culpepper Esquire. Even though the story I wrote, taking place in the 1600s, seem so many generations away, they are really so much closer than we imagine.

Joseph died 05 May 1816. He left behind his father, his wife Nancy Pickett, four sons, and three daughters.

Rest well, soldier.


52 Ancestors #21 Sharpshooters and Soldiers


This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small,

and this week’s challenge is “Military.”


I can’t only honor one of my ancestors. I need to honor all of them.

My grandfathers who served in the United States military

An * denotes he died in service.

Joel Bluett Culpepper – Confederate Army

William Thomas Fisher – Confederate Army

William Lafayette Brown Jr – Confederate Army

Rev. Joseph M Culpepper – Confederate Army *

Rice Benjamin Carpenter – Confederate Army *

George Washington Spencer – Confederate Army

James C Howington – Confederate Army

William Henry Blanks III – Confederate Army

Hays Rodgers – War of 1812

William Henry Blanks I – American Revolution

Joseph Culpepper Jr – American Revolution

Thomas Young – American Revolution

John B Rice – American Revolution

James Rodgers Sr – American Revolution

Captain Jacob Prickett – American Revolution

My uncles who served in the United States military

George M Graham – Confederate Army

Timothy Rodgers – Confederate Army *

Wilson Rodgers – Confederate Army *

Hays Rodgers Jr – Confederate Army

John W Rodgers – Confederate Army *

Howell Joel “Hobby” Wedgeworth – Confederate Army

Benjamin M Culpepper – Confederate Army

Hilliard Carpenter – Confederate Army *

James Monroe Chatham – Confederate Army *

Rev. James Lafayette Blanks – Confederate Army

Richard Lane Blanks – Confederate Army

John Henry Brown – Confederate Army

Absolom Rodgers – War of 1812

…and so very many more. Sleep well, soldiers. Your job is done.

52 Ancestors #17 John B Rice


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

downloadMy 5th great grandpa was John B. Rice. I’m sure the B is for Benjamin as that was one of his son’s names. John was born in 1755 in Red Bud Creek, Bute County, North Carolina. In 1779 Bute County was divided into Franklin and Warren Counties and ceased to exist. John was born to Jared Rice and Lettie Potts. (My 2nd great grandmother’s name was Martha Lettie Carpenter. I always wondered where Lettie came from. Turns out it was her great grandmother’s name.) John signed up to serve in the American Revolution in 1776 at the age of 21 as a private and sergeant, and received a pension according to the North Carolinians list of pensioners as reported by the Secretary of State to Congress in 1835. He married Elizabeth Hopkins a year into the war and they had a total of eight children. By age 27, the family had moved to Nash County, NC, where John lived a long life and died on 29 April 1836, at the age of eighty-one.

last-will-and-testamentJohn’s will contains info as follows:

Probated August 1837. Page 443, Will Book I. Nash Co, NC. It names wife Elizabeth and son John. Daughter Nancy and her husband Benjamin Carpenter (my 4th great grandparents). Daughter Elizabeth and her husband William Richardson. Son Hopkins Rice. Two people I can’t place Reden Richardson and William Earppe. Grandson: Richardson Rice, son of William Rice. Children of son Benjamin Rice: John B. Rice, Nicholson Rice, Boykin Rice, heirs of Jincy Strickland. Legatee: John Leonard. Exec: Benjamin Merritt, John Rice. Witnesses: William M.B. Anndell, Boykin Denton.

The above named daughter Nancy Rice Carpenter was my fourth great-grandmother who married Benjamin Carpenter. They moved to Lauderdale County, Mississippi in 1821 when Indian land was being sold by the U.S. Gov’t for cheap. She lived as a pioneer woman, raising ten children in near squalor. After reading the following story, I’m under the impression she either must have been rebelling against her family or she really, really loved Benjamin Carpenter. But I found in John Rice’s will that he left items to Benjamin and Nancy and their children, so if she did rebel, they must have made up before John’s death.

I found the following somewhere on line:


Nash County, North Carolina 1787.

A black woman by the name of Chaney was born. Little is known about her background, but it is believed she was the daughter of an African. She and her sister were slaves of the Hopkins Family.

Peter Hopkins, born in 1730, was the first in his family to move to Edgecombe County, North Carolina. He married Wilmoth Fowler who was born in Wake County, North Carolina in 1747 to Joseph and Anne Fowler. The couple had the following children:

  1. William Hopkins
  2. John Hopkins
  3. David Hopkins
  4. Elizabeth Hopkins-Rice (the above wife of John Rice)
  5. Susannah Hopkins-Russell

Elizabeth married a Revolutionary War Hero named John Rice. The two purchased about 800 acres of land on Lee’s Creek. They had eight children as follows:

  1. John Rice Jr
  2. William Rice
  3. Elizabeth Rice-Richardson
  4. Nancy Rice-Carpenter (my 4th great-grandmother)
  5. Mary Rice-Marriott
  6. James M. Rice
  7. Benjamin Rice
  8. Hopkins Rice

Chaney was brought to this 800 acre plantation of John Rice and Elizabeth Hopkins Rice. Most of her children were born here. She had at least five children. In the early 1800’s, John Rice deeded Chaney and her children to his youngest son Hopkins Rice and his wife Jane.

In the early 1820’s Hopkins Rice and his family migrated to Greene County, Alabama and in 1828, they purchased land in the Clinton and Pleasant Ridge areas. Over the years, some of the slaves were sold to various plantations in the area. One of Chaney’s sons, Anderson, was sold to Eldred Pippen. Jesse was sold to Gaston Wilder of Pickens County, Alabama. Richard was sold to William Gilmore of Mantua. The last son, whose name is unknown, was sold to a Mr. Harkness. Her grandsons were also sold.


Nancy Rice-Carpenter is my 4th great-grandmother. Her parents, Elizabeth and John Rice are my 5th great-grandparents. Elizabeth’s parents Peter and Wilmoth Hopkins are my 6th. Though Nancy, being a girl, probably didn’t stand to inherit much of the family’s wealth, I still think it strange that she moved away from her obviously prosperous family.

52 Ancestors #8 James Rodgers


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

I don’t have any “deeds” for my ancestors, but I do have some “land grants.”

The following is a land grant for my 6th great grandfather, James Rodgers Sr, who was born to James Rodgers and Mary McPherson in 1732 in Massachusetts. He married Margaret Woods in 1766 in Augusta County, Virginia, and they must have immediately moved to Tennessee, as my 5th great grandfather was born in Greene County, Tennessee in 1767. (For family members who follow this blog, this James Rodgers is the grandfather of Hays Rodgers, the father-in-law of Elly Hays.)

James was forty-four years old at the beginning of the Revolution and did not fight, but he served by housing soldiers. In return for his patriotism, he was granted 200 acres of land in Greene County, Tennessee in 1792. He did not enjoy it long, as he died on the land in 1794.

The thing that strikes me is the property lines were set by trees. No wonder people ended up having feuds over whose hog was on whose property.

downloadNorth Carolina Revolutionary War Land Grants

Roll 12: Book 1: Page 284 (Greene County, Tennessee)

The State of North Carolina, to all whom these Presents shall come. Greeting:

Know ye, that we, for and in consideration of the sum of Fifty Shillings for every hundred acres hereby granted, paid into our Treasury by James Rodgers

Have given and granted and by these presents do give and grant unto the said James Rodgers a tract of land containing two hundred acres lying and being in our county of Greene on the north side of Nolachucky on Deals Branch of Lick Creek.

oak-treeBeginning at a Spanish oak, white oak and dogwood and yew. Thence south two hundred and forty poles to a white oak and black oak. Thence with said Rodgers line one hundred and thirty six poles to a stake. Thence to the beginning. As by the plat here unto annexed doth appear together with all woods, waters, mines, minerals, here did with and appurtenances to the said land belonging or appertaining to hold to the said James Rodgers his heirs and assigns forever yielding and paying to us such sums of money yearly or otherwise as our General Assembly from time to time may direct provided always that the said James Rodgers shall cause this grant to be Registered in the Registers office of our said county of Greene within twelve months from the date hereof other sum the same shall be void and of none effect.

In Testimony Whereof, we have caused these, our letters to be made patent and our great Seal to be hereunto affixed.

Witness Alexander Martin

Esquire, our Governor, Captain General and Commander-in-Chief at Danbury this 11th day of May, in the 16th year of our Independence and in the year of our lord 1792.

Alexander Martin (signed)

October Ancestry Challenge – William Henry Blanks II

oct ancestry challenge-001The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 – 23 posts/23 days/23 ancestors.

We’re in week three!

Ancestor #10 – William Henry Blanks II and kids

William Henry Blanks II was my 3rd great grandfather. He was born in 1800 in Greene County, Georgia. His father, grandfather, great grandfather, 2nd great, and 3rd great were all born in Virginia, dating back to 1660.

His grandfather was Henry Blanks. The following is Henry’s will.


HENRY BLANKS 1794 will

Will of HENRY BLANKS-Pittsylvania County, Va., dated September 15, 1794-, recorded October 20, 1794.

“IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN I HENRY BLANKS of the County of Pittsylvania being sick and weak of body but of sound sense and memory and considering the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time thereof have thought fit to make this my last Will and Testament in the manner followeth.

ImprImis I recommend my soul to God who gave it me and my body to the earth to be interred at the discretion of Executors hereafter named,

Item I lend to my beloved wife during her widowhood my house hold and kitchen furniture, all my stock of horses, cattle and hogs, the tools and plantation utensils belong to the plantation whereon I live together wilth use of the same during her widowhood after my just debts are pay’d

Item I give to my Sons JOHN and JOSEPH two hundred and ten acres of Land that I now Live on joining Bannister river to be equally divided between them. Also it is my will and desire that the above mentioned household and Kitchen furniture and all my stock of horses, cattle and hogs, the tools and plantation utensils belong to the Plantation should be equally divided between my Sons JOHN and JOSEPH and my Son in law WILLIAM PARSONS and POLLY his wife , WILLIAM FARTHING and TABITHA his wife .

Item I gave to my Son JAMES of Georgia a horse now in his possession to him I give the same to his heirs forever

Item I give to my Son WILLIAM of Georgia a mare cow & calf and a sow now in his possession to him I give the same to his heirs forever

Item I give to my Son in Law BENJAMIN WATKINS and his wife SARAH five Shillings and of my movable Property after my wife’s widowhood

Item I give to my Son in Law DANIEL BAYTS and his Wife ELIZABETH a cow and calf now in their possession to him I give the same to his heirs forever

And lastly this is my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former Wills by me made. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal this fifteenth day of September one thousand seven hundred and ninety four.

Signed, Sealed and published in the

presence of us who subscribed the same

in the presence of the said Testator

Thomas Anderson, Francis Anderson

Elkanah Echols, Richard Anderson

AT A COURT held for Pittsylvania County the 20th day of October 1794– within written last Will and Testament of HENRY BLANKS deceased was exhibited into Court and proved by the Oaths of two of the witnesses hereto and Ordered to be Recorded. And on the motion of NAOMI widow and relict of the said Testator Certificate is granted her for obtaining Letters of Administration of all and singular the Goods and Chattels, rights and Credits of the said Testator with the said Will annexed she having first taken the Oath by Law prescribed and together with JOHN BLANKS, JOSEPH BLANKS and JOHN OWEN the securities entered into Bond and acknowledged. the same By the Court Teste Will Tunstall C. C. -Pittsylvania County, Va., Deed & Will Bk. 10, p. 75.


blanks william henry blanks I Georgia Journal 27 Jan 1824 pg 3William Henry II’s father William Henry I was born about 1760 in Virginia and was captain in the NC militia during the American Revolution. He served 1779-1780 and defended Charleston, SC under Brigadier General Caswell. In 1799, after five generations in Virginia, the family moved to Georgia, but as evidence of the above will, there was already some family there. After William Henry I died in 1823, his son sold all of his belongings. The newspaper clipping is from the Georgia Journal, 27 Jan 1824, pg 3.

William Henry II married Nancy Young in 1819 and had 8 children in Greene County, Georgia. Sometime between 1840 and 1850, he moved his family to Lauderdale County, Mississippi. I don’t know the reason, but every one of them went.

His two eldest sons James Lafayette Blanks and Thomas Young Blanks became Reverends and also served in the Confederate Army. His third son Jefferson Franklin Blanks moved to Arkansas between 1857 and 1860. Next, he had a fourth son Richard Lane Blanks and two daughters Martha Ellen and Nancy Ann. Finally, his youngest child was my 2nd great grandfather, William Henry Blanks III.

blanks william henry III and mattie carpenter blanksWilliam III married Martha Lettie “Mattie” Carpenter and remained in Lauderdale County until he retired. He spent his golden years an hour away in Laurel, Jones County, Mississippi. His death certificate states he died of senility and chronic bronchitis in 1922. His wife died eleven years later, following a stroke.

blanks family bibleI find it strange that all of the children remained in Lauderdale County except for Jefferson. I wonder what was so intriguing about Arkansas  in the late 1850s to make him leave his family. Jefferson married, had seven children, and raised them in Arkansas.

His youngest son was Jack Bruce Blanks. Jack also moved away from his family and married a girl in Louisiana and opened a general store. I don’t know which one in this photo is him, but I love this old picture. blanks jack bruce general store

According to William II’s will, his youngest children Nancy Ann and William III were his favorites. He left them his entire estate. He left $1 to each of his other children.


The Last Will and Testament of William H Blanks… State of Mississippi Lauderdale County August 18,1859.

Know all persons by these present that I do this day bequeath to my daughter Nancy & son William the sum total of my Estate being in consideration of my parental affection and love for them. My sons James, Thomas, Jefferson, and Richard I do give unto one dollar a piece also my daughter Martha English I give the same one dollar to be by each and all of them held in peace for life. My daughter Nancy and son William are by the Law of the Land old enough to choose their own guardians. Let them choose who they please their money is to be for their education and raising to be laid out on them at the will of their Guardian he to give Security for his management of the same, all of the above do request as the Last Will on Earth hoping the same may be satisfactory to all people on Earth in Testimony on which setting my hand and Seal Witness by undersigned. W H Blanks

W J Brown, P H Higgins

Jas F Ginnen                                                                  

P. S. It is my wish for Nancy & William to have their brother Thomas to hold their business in charge.

Will Book 1, Page 17 Lauderdale County Courthouse, Meridian, Mississippi.