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

a2z-h-smallA to Z Blog Challenge

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. 

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

The Strawberries are Here!!!

My local farmer’s market had “Strawberry Fest” this morning!

I can’t even believe how good these smell and how beautiful they look.

strawberries at Franklin

 

I bought ten pounds of these beauties. Enough to freeze…

beauties

 

Enough to make jam…

jam

 

And a few left over for a strawberry shortcake and a late-night snack.

strawberryshortcake

 

God bless strawberry growers!!

If you’ve ever canned, you know my kitchen is popping away right now. 🙂

Earthquakes in Tennessee??

Not only earthquakes, but huge 6.8 to 8.8 earthquakes!! They happened back in December of 1811 and January of 1812, but they could happen again.

new madridThe New Madrid Seismic Zone, (shown here compliments of Encyclopedia Brittanica) is six times larger than the San Andreas fault zone in California. It lies centered in New Madrid, Missouri, and the last time it shook it’s ugly head was two hundred years ago. It’s waaaay overdue!! Back in 1811/12, there were over 2000 earthquakes and aftershocks that shook the midwest. They were felt as far away as NY, Boston, and Washington D.C. President James Madison felt them at the White House.

No other quakes have produced so much damage in the history of the world. The Mississippi River ran backwards, crevasses opened up in the land, and missing people were assumed swallowed by the earth. It created two waterfalls in Mississippi.

The prediction for the future?? Some say an earthquake this size will split the United States in two. Some say we haven’t seen any activity from the New Madrid fault for two hundred years, so why worry about it now?

41n6zHpRqRL._UY250_My book Elly Hays opens with Tecumseh’s prediction for the quake, and the quake is the cause for the family moving from Tennessee to the Mississippi Territory. The story isn’t about the 1811/12 quakes, but they are the reason the story happened. Elly Hays is based on a true story and is the tale of my 5th great grandmother Elizabeth Hays Rodgers. It is the epic clash between a fearless warrior with nothing to lose and a young mother on the verge of losing everything.

Elly Hays is on SALE for only $0.99 at Amazon on Kindle April 1-5!

 

 

52 Ancestors – #28 Elly Hays

52ancestors-2015

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

Marriage document James Rodgers and Elizabeth Hays GreeneCoTN1790Elly Hays was sixteen when she married James Rodgers in Tennessee on 20 Dec 1790. The document to the left is their marriage license. She birthed twelve children.

In 1811, the family packed up and moved to the eastern Mississippi Territory – a place now called Alabama, which wouldn’t become a state until 1819.

You know how difficult it is going on a road trip with little kids in the car? Imagine being on a covered wagon for two months with a dozen of the little rug rats and not a McDonalds in sight.

ban-mcdonalds

This was a time in history when the U. S. was flexing its political muscle and tensions were escalating, leading up to the War of 1812. And little did the Rodgers family know, they were moving into Creek territory. Not only were the Creek Indians fighting the U.S. Government, they had also broken into two factions and were fighting among themselves in a civil war called the Red Stick War. The Rodgers family moved into the middle of a hornet’s nest. They were harassed for years by the marauding Indians, who taunted them and stole their livestock, and the final straw, burnt down their home.

Eventually, in 1818 the family took another long road trip and moved west to Lauderdale County, Mississippi, to the land of the friendly Choctaw Indians.

James died in Mississippi eight years later, and Elly moved back to Clarke County, Alabama and probably lived with her daughter. She died in the 1830s in her 60s in Grove Hill, Alabama. The exact date of her death is unknown. Her burial place is unknown.

Her story is told in detail in my book Elly Hays available at Amazon.

52 Ancestors #18 James Rodgers Sr.

52ancestors-2015

This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small,

and this week’s challenge is “Where there’s a will.”

I find it interesting that in the case of wills left by men, they always contain land, money, and sometimes slaves. When we see a will left by a woman, it contains things more intimate in nature – books, sheets, dishes. The following are wills left by my 6th great-grandparents, James Rodgers Sr (1734 MA – 1794 TN) and his wife, Margaret Woods Rodgers (1746 VA – 1811 TN). I highlighted the items so you don’t have to read the whole things. 🙂

last-will-and-testament

Will of James Rodgers

In the Name of God, Amen. I, James Rodgers Junr. of Green County and Western Territory south of the Ohio, being very sick and weak in body but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto God, calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament. That is to say, principally, and first of all, I give and recommend my soul into the hand of Almighty God that gave it, and my body I recommend to the Earth, to be buried in a decent Christian manner at the discretion of my Executors. And as touching such wordly estate wherewith it hath pleased God in bless me in this life, I give and dispose of the same in the following manner, Viz, after defraying funeral expenses and discharging all just debts, I will bequeath unto my dearly beloved wife Margaret, a Negro girl named Esther, one sorrel mare seven or eight years old with saddle and bridle, two cows, one bed and beddings, wit the third of all my movable property, to her, her heirs and assignees forever. I likewise will that she shall have the use of the Plantation I now live on during her widowhood, for the support of her and her children, with all necessary farming utensils. 


Item. I likewise will and bequeath to my son Joseph one hundred and fifty acres of land to be cut of the upper end of my Plantation with five pounds of Virginia currency to be paid in cash.

Item. I will and bequeath to my son John, and my son Samuel, the plantation I now live on in the following manner, and my son John to have upper end joining my son Joseph, and my son Samuel the lower end, to be divided equally betwixt them in quantity and quality, not withstanding should my son John, or my son Samuel, or either of them, come of age during my wife’s widowhood, that they then shall have liberty of improving the woodland belonging to their part as they think proper.

Item. I will and bequeath to my son James and Thomas, the sum of fifty pounds Virginia currency each, to be paid by my sons John and Samuel two years after full possession of their land each paying an equal part.

Item. I will and bequeath to my daughter Sarah one sorrel mare three or four years old with saddle and bridle.

Item. I will and bequeath to my daughter Margaret the sum of fifteen pounds Virginia currency to purchase a horse at her discretion with her saddle and bridle.

Item. I will and bequeath to my daughter Jean, one Negro girl named Hannah, to be her property during said Jean’s life and at her death my executors to sell said Negro and after paying the person who had the care of her during her life, what they think sufficient for their trouble, that then the remainder to be divided equally amongst my Legatees. I likewise constitute and appoint my loving wife Margaret my executrix and my Trusty Friends David Fleming and Samuel Froesure my executors to this my Last Will and Testament and I do hereby utterly disallow, revoke and dismal all and every other former Testaments, Wills, Legacies, Bequeasts and Executors by me, in any ways before named, willed and bequeathed; Ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my Last Will and Testament in witness whereof I have herein to set my hand and seal this fifth day of July, in this year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and ninety four.

Will of Margaret Rodgers

Margaret Rodgers dec’d (Min. 6 P. 155)
Tuesday 29th January 1811. This execution of the last will and testament of Margaret Rodgers dec’d was duly proven by the oath of Jacob Kilo and Margaret Campbell, late Margaret Rodgers Jr., their subscribing witnesses, and ordered to be recorded and is as follows. In the name of God Amen.

I Margaret Rodgers Senior of the County of Green and State of Tennessee, being weak and indisposed in body, but of sound, mind and judgemen, do make and ordain this to be my last will and testament. First I will that my funeral expenses be paid by me executors hereafter named and that all lawful debts be paid. Likewise I will and bequeath to my three daughter (viz) Sarah, Margaret, and Jane all four sheets and table linen, to be equally divided between them. Likewise I will and bequeath to my two daughters Sarah and Margaret, my two dishes and puter plates to be equally divided between them. Likewise, I will and bequeath to my daughter Margaret on three year old heifer spotted red and white, and one young sow. Likewise, I will and bequeath to my daughter Jane one new twilled feather bed, two good sheets, three good blankets, one rug, one red, blue and white coverlid, one calico and a linen quilt, one bolster, two pillows with proper cases and bedstead. And likewise all my new seven hundred linen. Also one hundred and fifty dollars to be let to intrust for her use, and if she the said Jane should decease before said money is for her lawful maintenance, then and in that case the money all or in part (as the case may be) shall be divided equally amongst the rest of my heirs. Also one good hog one cow and calf, one set of bed hanglings. It is likewise my earnest request that my daughter, Sarah Kelly, shall keep and nurse my said daughter Jane and it is my will that said Sarah get all the said Jane’s clothes, bed and furniture at her decease. I likewise bequeath to my daughter Margaret, one blue and white coverlid. Likewise I wil and bequeath my fowls of all kinds to my son John Rodgers’ wife, Jane, my daughters Sarah and Margaret. Likewise I will and bequeath one margin Bible to my son James Rodgers. Likewise I give to my daughter Margaret one pocket Bible. Likewise I will and bequeath to my sons Thomas John and Samuel Rodgers and likewise my daughter Sarah each one school Bible. The rest of my estate to be sold and divided equally amongst all my heirs. Likewise or ordain and appoint my son John Rodgers and William Kelly executors of this my last will and testament. Witness my hand and seal this first day of September one thousand eight hundred and nine. 
Signed and acknowledged in presence of
Jacob (his mark) Kilo

Margaret (her mark) Rodgers 

Coddicil to this will. Whereas my son Samuel Rodgers hath some time past purchased a horse from me for which he was to pay me the sum of twenty pounds Virginia currency and have never paid the same, this is therefore to will that the said twenty pounds be added to the dividend of my estate and be reducted out of his part.

52 Ancestors #9 Howell Joel “Hobby” Wedgeworth

52ancestors-2015

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

You can’t get more close to home than this story. I live just south of Franklin, TN and my great aunt’s father was captured in Franklin during the Civil War, nearly in my backyard.

wedgeworth howell joel hobby and martha morrow, par of ora wedgeworth culpepperHowell Joel “Hobby” Wedgeworth was born Nov. 26, 1837 in Greene County, Alabama to Rev. Joel Walker Wedgeworth and Margaret Jane Smith. In 1852, he married Elvira Hughens and had one daughter Margaret Jane in 1858. Sadly, his wife died in 1860. I don’t know the fate of his little girl, as he went off to fight in the Civil War as a bachelor.

During the war, Hobby served with 5th Mississippi Regiment Co K as a musician. He was wounded in December of 1862, but kept serving. On November 30, 1864, he was captured at the Battle of Franklin, TN and sent to Louisville, KY to military prison, then to Camp Douglas in Chicago. After the war ended, he was released on June 18, 1865. You can read more about the Franklin battle HERE.

It was told by his granddaughter that Rev. Joel Wedgeworth went to a designated meeting place to pick up his son after the war and didn’t even recognize him because he was so thin and worn.

When Hobby returned from the war, he immediately married Martha Morrow (pictured with Hobby) in 1865 and had eight children, the youngest being Ora Wedgeworth who married my great grandpa’s brother, Floyd Culpepper.

Hobby died Jan. 5, 1907 in Neshoba County, Mississippi at the age of 69. He is buried with his wife at Hester Cemetery in Neshoba.

IMG_20141115_150317159_HDRI attended the 150th anniversary muster of the Battle of Franklin November 2014 and witnessed the re-enactment as well as a memorial salute performed in the Confederate cemetery located at the site.IMG_20141115_150047367