A to Z – G is for GW Spencer

a2z-h-smallA to Z Blog Challenge

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

a2z-h-smallA to Z Blog Challenge

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.

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.

Maury County’s Worst Christmas

This is where I live…right in my back yard. This Christmas day, we are blessed.

Historic Maury County

Maury County has seen many joyous Christmas seasons since its founding in 1807. With so many cheerful tales of Christmases past, it would be hard to single one year out as the best Christmas in local history.

But, one year is agreed upon as the worst Christmas Maury County has ever seen—Christmas 1864.

Frank H. Smith, in a special December 1904 edition of the Columbia Herald, wrote, “At this, the most prosperous Christmas tide that Maury County has ever known, it may be interesting to recall some incidents of this season forty years ago, the gloomiest and most depressing holidays our country ever had.”

SmithPhoto2 Frank H. Smith (third from the left) sits on the front porch of the Athenaeum Rectory with his siblings.

Why was this the “gloomiest and most depressing” Christmas? Simply, the Civil War was the cause of this county-wide depression.

After the fall of Atlanta, Confederate…

View original post 1,268 more words

A to Z – United Daughters of the Confederacy

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April A to Z Challenge – I’m writing about history.

U is for United Daughters of the Confederacy

 

 

 

 

udc2The UDC, without the name, began before the civil war as quilting circles and hospital associations that aided the soldiers throughout the war. After the war, they continued their work in cemeteries, veteran’s homes, and other such organizations.

Today’s UDC was officially founded in Nashville, TN in 1894 by Caroline Goodlett and Lucian Raines and grew out of the original sewing circles.

The organization finally incorporated in 1919, and its bylaws state its objectives are historical, benevolent, educational, memorial and patriotic. Its goals are as follows:

  1. To honor the memory of those who served and those who fell in the service of the Confederate States.
  2. To protect, preserve, and mark the places made historic by Confederate valor.
  3. To collect and preserve the material for a truthful history of the War Between the States.
  4. To record the part taken by Southern women in patient endurance of hardship and patriotic devotion during the struggle and in untiring efforts after the War during the reconstruction of the South.
  5. To fulfill the sacred duty of benevolence toward the survivors and toward those dependent upon them.
  6. To assist descendants of worthy Confederates in securing proper education.
  7. To cherish the ties of friendship among the members of the Organization.

 

culpepper Joel B CulpepperI joined the UDC in Meridian, MS under the service of my great, great grandfather, Joel Bluett Culpepper (photo). He is only one of eight (that I’m aware of) of my grandfathers who served. The others were 2nd great William Henry Blanks III, 3rd great Rice Benjamin Carpenter, 3rd great Rev. Joseph M Culpepper, 3rd great William Thomas Fisher, 3rd great William Lafayette Brown Jr, 3rd great George Washington Spencer, 3rd great James C Howington. I am very proud of the Confederate blood that runs through my veins and always will be.

 

A to Z – Okatibbee Creek

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m writing about history.

O is for Okatibbee Creek. I’ve written about Okatibbee Creek (pronounced oh-kuh-TIB-be) many times as it is the title of a book in my bibliography, but Okatibbee Creek was and is a real place with real people and real history. Here’s one of the stories.

 

 

Rodgers, Mary Ann Rodgers Carpenter Jolly

She was just a name in my family tree. Mary Ann Rodgers Carpenter Jolly. My third great grandmother. 1828-1898. I visited her grave at Bethel Cemetery in Lauderdale County, Mississippi in 2012, and my husband asked, “Now, who is this again?” We sat at the foot of her grave and I told him her story.

She lost her husband, Rice Carpenter, in the Civil War in 1862. How sad to lose the one you love, but hey, it’s war, people die. After he died, she remarried in 1864.

The 1870 census said she married William Jolly and was living with his children, her children, and three children they had together. It was a house-full! But at least their three children were proof they must have liked each other, right? That’s good. So, who was this William Jolly? I looked at his 1860 census. In 1860, he was living with his wife Harriet, their four children, and a woman named Nancy Carpenter who was 69 years of age.

Carpenter? Nancy Carpenter? The only Nancy Carpenter I know is Rice’s mother. Why was Mary Ann’s mother-in-law living with her future husband in 1860?? Were they neighbors? Was Nancy the cleaning lady? I clicked on Nancy Carpenter and saw her relationship to the “head of house” was listed as “mother-in-law.” She was William’s mother-in-law? What??

So, I went back and looked at Rice’s family, and sure enough, his sister Harriet was married to William. Rice died in the war 31 Dec 1862 and Harriet died a month later of typhoid on 30 Jan 1863. Their spouses, Mary Ann and William, brother-in-law/sister-in-law, married in 1864. Well of course they did. They had known each other for many years, hadn’t they?

The more I looked at the Rodgers and Carpenter families, the more I was amazed by the sheer number of family members they lost to war and typhoid. At the time of my research, I remember counting SEVENTEEN, but I’m sure there were many more I missed. I couldn’t wrap my head around that kind of heartache and quickly became impressed with Mary Ann’s strength. Not only was she raising her children alone before she married William, but her brother and sister-in-law died (within days of each other, also of typhoid) and she was raising their five kids. She owned a general store that was probably losing money and customers by the day. The Confederate dollar was shrinking with inflation. There were no men to harvest the farms. Food was short. Hope was shrinking. In October, her father died of typhoid, then her husband in December, in February her infant son died, followed by her mother a month later. How would you react if you lost two or three family members this year? You would probably need Prozac. How would you respond if you lost a dozen? I wouldn’t even be able to get out of bed. Seventeen in one year? I can’t even fathom that.

51-lUHhsD7L._UY250_This is our heritage. These are the strong women we come from. We are the living proof of their strength. We are the survivors. I dug deep down in my heart and soul to tell her story, a story she would be proud of. I wanted her to know that she didn’t endure all of that heartache in vain. I am here. I am her legacy. Her story has been written down to help us realize our own strength. We are the products of our ancestors fortitude and integrity. We are the children our grandmothers fought so hard for, and I want Mary Ann to be as proud of me as I am of her.

*********************************

Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day. Okatibbee Creek  was the bronze medal winner in literary fiction in the 2013 eLit Book Awards. It was also named as honorable mention in historical fiction at the 2013 Midwest Book Festival.

Lori’s books are available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

A to Z – Jefferson Davis

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]April 2016 A to Z Challenge – I’m blogging about history.

J is for Jefferson Davis

 

 

 

 

jefferson davisMost everyone knows Jefferson Davis was the President of the Confederate States during the Civil War. Here are some interesting facts you may not know. (photo www.biography.com)

Jefferson Davis served in the U.S. Army for a time. While there, he fell in love with his commander’s daughter, Sarah Taylor, daughter of future president Zachary Taylor.

Ole Zach wouldn’t give them permission to marry for he thought being a wife in an army post was too hard a life for his little girl. Jeff was depressed by the judgment, though he understood Zach’s stance. He traveled south to talk to his brother Joseph Davis about it. Joe had also been in the army and had resigned to move south and start a plantation. The brothers came to the conclusion that being in the army wasn’t such a great life. Jeff made a decision to leave the army. On June 17, 1935, he married Sarah, and on June 30th, he resigned his position.

Jeff and Sarah moved south to help his brother with the plantation. Joe gave Jeff a portion of the land that was covered with briers and bushes. To escape the summer heat, Jeff and Sarah traveled south to the coast to visit his sister in Louisiana. Sarah contracted malaria, yellow fever as it was known at the time, and she died only three months after they were married.

brierfieldFor years following his bride’s death, he was a recluse. He spent his time developing a 1000-acre plantation on his brother’s land and he called it Brierfield. (photo http://mshistorynow.mdah.state.ms.us)

In 1944, he eventually remarried. By this time, his plantation was successful and he had over 100 slaves. He spent the next decade being placed in various offices by the governor of Mississippi. When Mississippi succeeded from the union, Jeff was acting as the state senator. He was very saddened by the news of succession and delivered his farewell address to the Senate and returned to Mississippi. He was soon appointed commander in chief of the Confederate armies, then appointed President. He was not happy about the war. He certainly did not want the job as President.

Upon leaving the Senate, he returned to Brierfield for a short time before moving to Montgomery, Alabama which was the capitol of the Confederacy.

What I find interesting about the story is that when Sherman started his campaign in Vicksburg, MS, he burnt down Hurricane Plantation, Joe’s home. He didn’t burn Brierfield Plantation next door. He used it instead as a supply post for the Union army. Coincidence? I doubt it. Imagine how angry Jeff was after spending his mourning time building it. It was almost a shrine to Sarah. Now it was in the hands of the enemy.

After the Confederates surrendered to the Union in 1865, Jeff was imprisoned as a traitor for a while, but released after two years. He returned to Brierfield but found it unlivable.

Joe had never given Jeff the title to the land, and while Jeff was in jail, Joe had sold Brierfield to their former slaves. After Joe died, the new owners defaulted on the payments. Joe’s grandchildren claimed ownership of the land, but Jeff took them to court and won Brierfield back. For the very first time, after forty years, it was legally his. While he lived in Biloxi at Beauvoir, he tried to make Brierfield profitable again. He was working on the property in the fall of 1889 when he contracted pneumonia. He died a few weeks later.

His surviving family never lived at Brierfield.

The house was destroyed by fire in 1931.