Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Sunday, May 31, 2015

52 Ancestors #13: Mary Elizabeth "Bettie" Shoemake Evans 1787 - 1872

Bettie Shoemake was born in PeeDee, South Carolina about 1787.  The Shoemakes were "free people of color" in South Carolina at the time; possibly mixed European, Native American and African.  Bettie was the daughter of Solomon Shoemake and his wife, Mary Elizabeth.  Many of the free people of color living in South Carolina, including Bettie, appear to have moved into the Cumberland Mountains in East Tennessee in the early 1800's.  There, in Campbell County, Bettie married Andrew Evans about 1810.  Andrew was also of mixed race (they are alternately listed as "colored' and "mulatto" on census records).  They had four children over the next four years:  Elizabeth, Hettie, Samuel and William.

In May of 1853, Bettie was living in Jackson, Alabama, along with her children; from the census records, it appears they moved from Campbell to Jackson between 1840 - 1850.  Jackson County had a large population of settlers of mixed white and native blood, possibly hoping to avoid removal to Oklahoma.  Bettie made an application for a widow's bounty land claim based on Andrew's service in the War of 1812.

According to her application, Andrew was drafted into the 1st Regiment Tennessee Militia in September of 1814.  He was mustered in at Knoxville for a period of six months.  She says that he died of disease at camp in Mobile, Alabama on March 1, 1815.  Unfortunately, there were no discharge papers made before his death and she has a difficult time proving his service.  While she had a number of people testify on her behalf that they knew her to be Andrew Evans widow, there were no men who had served with her husband and no papers to prove her claim.  Ultimately, her application was denied.

The pension file answers a number of questions I had about Andrew.  While I had seen stories that he served in the War of 1812, there was nothing that gave any concrete information.  His death date was given as "about 1818" and he supposedly died in Campbell County.  I now know he died in 1815 in Mobile.

The Battle of New Orleans in January 1815 is usually thought of as the last battle of the War of 1812, but in fact, the second Battle of Fort Bowyer in Mobile took place a month later.  While the Americans had repulsed the British in September 1814 at Fort Bowyer, in February 1815, they were defeated.   The 1st Regiment Tennessee Militia was in the second battle, and based on the date of the battle and the date of Andrew's death, I think it's likely he was in this last battle before his death.

I have found pension records to be such a great source of information - I hope everyone takes the time to read them through when they are found.  Fold3 is a great source; check with your local library to see if you can access the records at no charge through your library membership. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tennessee Valley, Family Removal and Population Readjustment Files, 1934 - 1953

Hit upon another great source of information on with the Tennessee Valley, Family Removal and Population Readjustment Files, 1934 - 1953.  My husband's family has several members who were apparently relocated in Jackson, Alabama during the 1930's.  The files contain a good deal of information about them - their source of income, circumstances (this during the Depression), education, children, health, etc. 

A. J. (Andrew Jackson) Shavers was 60 years old in 1936 when his relocation form was filed.  He was living on a farm he had rented from W. T. Campbell in Langston for eight years.  The home had a well for water, a fireplace for heating, and a couple of outbuildings.  The toilet facilities were not in the house.  Compared to some of the other family members I've found, Andrew was fairly well-off.  

According to his expenditures and receipts, he seems to have been making a profit.  He had a burial insurance policy and owned several pieces of farm machinery.

In contrast, his son O.V. (Orvis Virgil aka "Dock") is having a rougher time.  He is also renting a house in Langston, depending on a spring 100 yards from the house for water.  He is in good health (no defects), but his wife has unspecified "female trouble."  Dock is doing road work for the WPA, having lost his farm.  He and his wife have 6 sons and 5 daughters; two boys and one girl have died by 1935.  Five children are still at home, two are living away from home and one is noted as "one girl away from home permanently."  Dock worked 150 days in 1935 for an income of $210.

I plan to continue to search for more family members who may be in these files - this is a real goldmine of the kind of information you don't find in most records. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

52 Ancestors #12 - Francis Marion Tobe Stroud 1845 - 1920

Francis Stroud was born in Franklin, Tennessee in 1845; he was the youngest son, and 11th of the 12 children of Jonathon F. Stroud and Easter Huntsucker.  The family had moved to Franklin from Greenville, South Carolina a few years before Francis's birth; they moved on to Madison, Arkansas by 1860, when he was 15.

When the Civil War began, Arkansas was, of course, a southern state and Francis's older brothers (including my great-great-grandfather) enlisted in the Confederate Army.  His two oldest brothers had married and moved to Texas before the war began, but they both fought for the southern army there.  There were no Union regiments formed in Arkansas in the first two years of the war, however, after the Battle of Bayou Forche near Little Rock in September 1863, a Union victory, northern sympathizers, who had previously gone to other states to enlist, began to form regiments in the state.  In January of 1864, Francis Stroud enlisted in the 1st Arkansas Infantry, Union, at Fayetteville, Arkansas.  He was an 18 year old farmer, and newly married to Lucinda Hamilton. 

The 1st Arkansas was at Ft. Smith after Francis's enlistment until March, when they began moving south on the Camden Expedition toward Shreveport, with an eye on taking that city, and then moving on to Texas.  After the Battle of Marks Mills in April, where 2,000 Union men were captured, the 1st Arkansas began a retreat back toward Little Rock.   The Camden Expedition was one of the worst Union disasters of the war, with more than 2,500 men captured, many wagons taken and no success in taking Shreveport or Texas.  The Confederates retained control of most of Arkansas and the Union forces stayed in Ft. Smith, Little Rock, Pine Bluff and Helena. 

The 1st Arkansas returned to Ft. Smith in May of 1864.  The regiment was frequently sent to rescue Union men and participated in several skirmishes in northwestern Arkansas.  Francis is reported as being present on company muster rolls until September, when he is shown as having deserted on September 25 at Ft. Smith. 

What led Francis to desert just a few months after he enlisted is unknown.  Perhaps the realities of the war that he encountered on the Camden Expedition soured him on it.  Being on the opposite side of the conflict from the rest of his family must have been difficult and may have caused trouble.  He may have simply wanted to return home to his young wife.  Francis continued to be reported as absent without leave until June 16, 1865, when he was arrested and confined to the guard house at Ft. Smith.  How long he was held there is not recorded, however, the war had ended earlier that month, so he may have been released soon after. 

The 1870 census shows Francis living in Madison, Arkansas with his wife and their three-year-old son John, and two-year-old daughter Amanda.  He is a farmer and lives on the farm neighboring his brother (my great-great-grandfather), William.   In 1880 he and his family are living on a farm in Bastrop, Texas (with another son, Joseph) near his eldest brother, Bale.  By 1900, they are back in Madison, where Francis's occupation is listed as U.S. Marshall.  His daughter Amanda and her husband John Littrell and their son live with Francis and Lucinda.  In 1910 he is a retail merchant in a grocery store in Madison.  His children have all married and live nearby.  By 1920, he and Lucinda are living with their son Joe and his family in Ft. Smith.  At 75 years old, Francis is working as a laborer in a scissors factory.   He died in Ft. Smith on December 24, 1920 at 75.   Lucinda died two years later at age 80.  They are buried at the Forest Park Cemetery in Ft. Smith, Arkansas.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

This is a photo taken in 1989 of me with my firstborn, my mother and her mother.  We were visiting my grandmother at her home in Oklahoma and wanted a four generation photo.  It's not the greatest photograph ever made, but it's a keepsake for me.  My grandmother died about a year later.  My mom is thankfully, still with us at 84.  The baby girl in the picture is now 26.   A sweet reminder of the mothers who came before us and made us the mothers we became. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Family Recipe Friday: My Favorite Strawberry Jam

It's almost summer and the strawberries are looking better every week.  Here's a jam recipe from Grandma's cookbook, originally published in RNA Magazine in June 1980.

My Favorite Strawberry Jam

4 cups prepared strawberries
4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Wash, hull and slice strawberries, then measure into a large saucepan.  Add cups of sugar.  Heat and boil hard for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add lemon juice and the remaining 2 cups of sugar.  Bring to a boil and boil hard, stirring constantly, until ready to jell.*  Pour into shallow dish and stir occasionally while cooling.   Let stand overnight to plump fruit.  Pack cold in sterilized jars and seal.  Makes 2 pints.

*Jell test:  Dip a clean metal spoon in boiling jam; hold up edgewise.  When 2 heavy drops form and slide together at edge of spoon, jam is ready to jell.  This takes from 2 to 20 minutes, depending on pectin in fruit.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Those Places Thursday: Little White House, Warm Springs, Georgia

I finally visited the Little White House last week; I live within a couple of hours of Warm Springs, but hadn't ever made the trip. 

The house is surprisingly small, but very lovely.  It's maintained exactly as it was when FDR died there in 1945 (right down to the roll of toilet paper in the bathroom).  There are two small buildings in front of the house, one that is a guest quarters and one that is servant's quarters.  There are also guard posts that were used by Marine and Secret Service guards.

Entrance to the Little White House

Servant's quarters (left) and guest quarters (right0

The house itself has a small kitchen, then opens into a great room with a dining table on one side and sofas and chairs around a fireplace on the other.  Roosevelt's wheelchair sits in the corner of the room.  There are three small bedrooms and two bathrooms in the house, and a patio in the back that looks down over the forest that surrounds the house.  In the kitchen, there is a handwritten note on the wall from Daisy Bonner, the Little White House cook, stating that she had prepared the President's first and last meals at the house.  (The President was to have attended a BBQ and show the night he died.  Mrs. Bonner was going to prepare his favorite dish, Brunswick Stew.)

The President was sitting for a portrait at the time he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage.  He was carried to the bedroom, where he died. 

The famous unfinished portrait is in a separate area of the grounds, along with a finished version the artist did later.  A museum contains a number of artifacts about President Roosevelt and the Depression era. 

Roosevelt's car equipped with special hand controls

Letter to the President from Winston Churchill

The pools where Roosevelt swam to relieve his polio pain are about a mile from the house.  There is a rehabilitation hospital nearby that still contains some of the original cottages from the Roosevelt era.