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.

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. 

A to Z – D is for David Hopkins

a2z-h-smallA to Z Blog Challenge

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

 

A to Z – C is for Captain Charles Windham

a2z-h-small

 

 

A to Z

C is for Captain Charles Windham,

His Majesty’s Commander

 

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Seeman the younger, Enoch, c.1694-1745; Captain Charles Windham of Earsham (d.1747)Birth 1709 Virginia

Death 20 Aug 1771 South Carolina

My 6th great grandfather

Photo credit: National Trust

The Windham family is on my father’s side. A female Windham married a Mercer, and a granddaughter from that union married a Crane.

 

 

 

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wymondham signCharles’s Windham /Wymondham /Wyndham line is traced back to Sir John De Wymondham in 1320 Wymondham, Norfolk, England.

Three hundred years later, in the early 1600s, Charles’s great grandfather was also born in Norfolk. Apparently the family didn’t get around much. Grandpa  was a judge and military advisor. He migrated to America in 1634 on the ship “John and Dorothy.” After hundreds of years in the same town, I wonder what the family thought of him going to America. I would imagine they weren’t very pleased.

The family settled in Virginia for a couple generations, then Charles moved south to South Carolina. Charles married Mary around 1730 and had at least five children in South Carolina before her death around 1750, including my 5th great grandfather Major Amos Windham who served in the American Revolution in South Carolina.

From Virginia Colonial Records:

Public Record Office, London

Book of Letters Vol. 5

4 Feb 1737. Encloses report of threatened attack by Spanish on Georgia and South Carolina. Has asked Capt. Windham for help. Windham was send to Virginia.

29 Mar 1737. Capt. Windham has ordered Capt. Compton at Virginia to join him quickly.

In the early 1730s, King George II established Georgia as a colony. His main reasoning was to keep the Spanish who were occupying Florida and the Native Indians from attacking South Carolina. Georgia was nothing but a buffer, but King George dumped time, money, and settlers into the colony, helping it to grow and prosper. Wonder where he got the name from? 🙂

The best part of the story is while the King was sending over settlers to build up the colony and munitions to fight off invaders, the Princess of Wales gave birth to a son who would later become King George III. This is the same King the colonists would declare their independence from in 1776. They would never have been able to do so if George II hadn’t supplied them with weapons. Hmmm.

 

A to Z – B is for Benjamin Berry Pickett

a2z-h-smallA to Z Blog Challenge

B is for Benjamin Berry Pickett

Ben was born November 15, 1893 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. He was the second of six children born to Joseph Lawson Pickett and Caledonia “Callie” Fisher. Five boys and one girl. Joseph died in 1910, leaving Callie with young children between the ages of 6 and 13. There wasn’t much money. Their home had no ceiling, only the Cyprus shingles above their heads. The floors had cracks in the wood where one could see the chickens running under the house. They were, in a word, poor.

moonshineIn 1919, the entire nation had gone dry when prohibition was passed, and the boys needed a way to make money. There was no better way in that south than by making moonshine.

All of the boys, Robert Elbert “Ebb”, Ben, Joe Jr, Mark, and Clyde had moonshine stills. By this time, the three older boys had their own homes and families but came back to the family farm to run their stills.

On July 10, 1924, a Federal Prohibition agent with an itchy trigger finger, Dan Cleveland, bought some ammo at a local store and said to the clerk, “I’m going to start me a Pickett cemetery.” He blackmailed one of the local boys who had been running moonshine for the Picketts to show him the locations of the stills.

That morning, all of the boys except Mark were there. Fifteen-year-old Clyde had a pistol and twenty-year-old Ben had a shotgun. The others were unarmed. When the revenuer approached the scene, he aimed at Ben and yelled, “Put your guns down!” After that, it was mayhem.

At the end of the bloody gunfight, Cleveland was dead, Ben was shot in the shoulder, and the boys high-tailed it out of there in Ben’s Packard.

It had been raining all day and the tire tracks were easy to follow. By nightfall, the boys were taken into custody and placed in the local jail.

parchman-1200x695During the trial, witnesses testified that Cleveland was heard to say he was going out to kill Picketts, and that he had no intention of going out to simply shut down stills. Ben also testified that Cleveland shot first. The State didn’t waiver. Both Ben and Clyde were sentenced to life in Parchman Penitentiary. Ebb and Joe were convicted of distilling and both received short sentences. They resumed moon-shining upon their release.

In October of 1928, Joe was hauling some pure alcohol up from New Orleans and ran into a Mississippi police barricade. His car was riddle with bullets and he died at the scene.

In Spring of 1933, Ben and Clyde were released on good behavior.

Ben was my great grandfather. He was married to Eula Keene. Read her story here.

ben and eula

April AtoZ American Revolution

a2z-h-smallApril AtoZ Challenge

I’m late, but I’m here. I’ll get caught up the next couple days!

A is for American Revolution

IMG_20180403_184649654I’m a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution under my grandfather Joseph Culpepper, who fought in the state of Georgia.

I am also descended from the following patriots, whose supplemental memberships I have not applied for as yet. The more I research, the more expensive my membership gets. Ouch. The following are my 5th, 6th, and sometimes 7th great grandfathers:

  • William Crane (Crain)

William served in Pennsylvania. He was born in Ulster, Ireland in 1704 and came to America in 1732. He and his wife Jean are buried in old Hanover Presbyterian Church cemetery in Pennsylvania.

  • Isaac Weldon Sr

Isaac was born in 1745 in North Carolina and served in Richmond County, Georgia. His family was originally from Nottinghamshire, England and came to America in the early 1600s. At the time of the revolution, he was a 5th generation American.

  • Amos C Windham

Amos was born in 1741 in South Carolina. He served as a lieutenant, captain, and major in South Carolina. I’ve traced the Windhams back to Virginia in the early 1600s, but am not sure where they came from. I suspect England.

  • Robert Farish

Robert was born in 1738 in Virginia. His grandfather migrated to America in 1714 from Cumberland, England. He served in Virginia.

  • Samuel Truss

Sam was born in 1735 in North Carolina and served in the North Carolina Militia. His grandfather was from Oxfordshire, England.

  • George Williamson

George served in Pennsylvania. He was born in 1748 in Pennsylvania, and his father was an immigrant from Armagh, Ireland.

  • Thomas Hambrick

Thomas served in Virginia. He was just a young boy at the time, born in Virginia around 1765.

  • Reuben Dollar

Reuben served in South Carolina. He was born in South Wales in 1755. His father died there in 1770, which may be the reason he ended up in America.

  • John Clearman

John was born in 1736 in Germany and arrived on the shores of NY in 1761. He served in NY and is buried in New Jersey.

  • John Swearingen

John was born in 1745 in South Carolina and served there. He died at the very beginning of the war at the age of 30.

  • Joseph Culpepper (my official patriot for the DAR)

Joseph was born in 1765 in Anson, North Carolina. He enlisted as a private in the 3rd South Carolina Rangers Regiment. He died in 1816 in Georgia.

  • William Henry Blanks

William was born in Virginia in 1755 and served there. He died at the age of 68 in Georgia.

  • John Hill

John was born in North Carolina in 1750 and served there. He died in Georgia in 1817 at the age of 67.

  • Thomas Young

Thomas was born in Virginia in 1747. He served in North Carolina.

  • John B Rice

John was born in Bute County, North Carolina in 1755. He served for fifteen months as a Private and enlisted again for another three months as a Lieutenant in the North Carolina troops. He died in Nash, North Carolina at the age of 81.

  • James Rodgers

James was born in 1732 and grew up in Virginia. By the time of the war, he was living in Tennessee but there are records of some children being born in Virginia. He was in his mid-forties when the war began and I understand that he assisted the troops with shelter and food. I don’t believe he took part in being a soldier, but he is recognized as a patriot of the revolution, none the less.

  • Captain James Scott

James was born in Virginia around 1728. He served in Virginia. He died about age 71 in South Carolina. With a name like Scott, he’s probably from, oh, I don’t know, Scotland maybe.

  • William Howington

William was born in 1750 in North Carolina and served there. He died in Edgecombe, North Carolina around 1828 in his late 70s.

There are so many more I haven’t had the time to research, along with numerous uncles. I guess that makes me about as American as apple pie, with a little German shortbread, and a big shot of Irish whiskey.

07-9103AThank you, gentlemen, and may you rest in peace. ♥

 

Dante Cicchetti 1924-2017

I usually write about my own blood family, but today is a special day. Today I am attending the memorial service of my husband’s grandfather.

dante cicchetti with great grandson alex jackDante Cicchetti (pronounced Seh-KEH-tee) was born 7 Dec 1920 in Italy. He was the third child of Nicholos Cicchetti and Maria Leonarda Scarlato. He had an older sister and an older brother. Following him was a girl born in June of 1924, and 11 Oct of the same year, the family landed on the shores of America in New York.

Through the early 1900s, many Italians were not treated well in Italy. I won’t go into the gory details, but they were used, starved, women were raped, men suffered, and most were desperate to escape. They did anything they could to scrape up enough money to book passage to America. America was in the middle of an industrial boom and needed laborers. Hardworking, desperate Italians fit this bill.

Not all were happy about the Italian boom. In the 1911 Dillingham report, propaganda reigned supreme, and most of the crime was blamed on Italians. This led to the Immigration Act of 1924 which barred most Italians from entering the country. I’m not sure how the Cicchetti family even got into the country, but standing by my husband’s side at his grandfather’s mass, I’m glad they did.

Following their arrival, the family found their way to Michigan and took up residence in the Detroit area. This is where Dante’s youngest sister was born in 1927.

In 1940, Dante served in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. He spent time in the Philippines and in Bermuda, among other places. I remember looking through the old photographs that line the walls at the Royal Naval Dockyard Museum in Bermuda, searching for his face, but I wouldn’t know a 20-year-old grandpa if I saw him.

bettylee joyce stewart and dante cicchettiDante married Bettylee Joyce Stewart 19 Sep 1942 and had five daughters and one son. The following decades saw his family expand to a host of in-laws, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Dante and Bettylee traveled the world, they wintered in Florida, and they were by each other’s side for 66 years.

 

In 2008, he lost his bride and he was never the same. He missed her deeply and kept himself busy taking care of his home. Until the last few months of his life, he lived alone in his house, shoveling his snow, tending his garden, cutting his grass, and cleaning his gutters. Imagine the frustration of family members arriving at his house and finding 92-year-old grandpa on the ladder again.

He was an entertaining gent with tons of stories of his Italian family, raising his children, and traveling around the world.

He died 31 Dec 2017 following complications of surgery while repairing his broken hip. I’m surprised he didn’t break it many times before while climbing ladders.

Rest in peace, Grandpa. We love you.

cicchetti dante dog tag usn