Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Eleanor Keys Rogers, 1812 - 1847

Eleanor Keys Rogers is my husband's 2nd great-grandmother, the first wife of Benjamin Clark Healset.  So far, Eleanor's background is a brick wall.  She married Benjamin in 1835 in Talladega, Alabama, and had their first child, Harriett, a year later.  Harriett was followed by four brothers and two sisters over the next 12 years, the youngest daughter, Martha Jane Massengale "Mat" Heaslet being my husband's great-grandmother. 

Eleanor died in July 1847, about four months after giving birth to her youngest son.  She is buried at the Old Fort William Cemetery in Talladega County.  Eleanor was just 35 at the time of her death.

Benjamin remarried a few years later and had nine more children (for a total of 16) and raised his family in Talladega.  

Trying to trace Eleanor's ancestry. to get a name for her father and mother, is proving difficult.  Even with dna helping provide some clues, I have yet to figure out who her people were.  One hint might be the middle name of Martha Jane - Massengale - a surname that I find linked with people named Rogers in the North Carolina/Tennessee/Alabama area around the time Eleanor's parents would have lived.  But even these hints have not provided any kind of map to figuring out who Eleanor's mother and father were.  I'm still very new to using dna to find ancestors, and at this point, I feel like I'm in a maze that goes nowhere. 

The search goes on and hopefully, at some point, we'll figure it out.  Martha is one of those ancestors who are said to be "part Indian," although I've found no proof of that yet; if I ever find her mother and father, we may know for sure.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Col. William Overton, Roundhead

Col. William Overton
William Overton, my 7th great-grandfather, born in Yorkshire, England in 1638, was the son of Gen. Robert Overton, a prominent soldier in the Parliamentary Wars in England in the 1640's and 1650's.  Robert Overton was a republican, a Roundhead, who supported deposing Charles I.  Overton was with Cromwell when he invaded Scotland and was appointed governor of Edinburgh there.   He remained until his father's death in 1753 when returned to England to take his father's place at their estate in Easington.  Some time later Overton became disenchanted with Cromwell; he was arrested in December 1654 and imprisoned in the Tower of London.  He was later moved to a prison in Jersey and released in 1671, when he returned to England to live near his daughters.

By the late 1660's, Robert's son, Col. William Overton was being sought by Charles I.  William, like his father, was a republican.  According to family stories, he was saved by his future wife, Mary Elizabeth Waters, when her nurse brought her word that the soldiers of the king were approaching to arrest William.   Mary hid him in a secret chamber of her house; at midnight, she wrapped him in a cloak and they were guided by the nurse to a ship bound for the New World.  Mary, a Catholic, knew her parents would not consent to her marriage to a "roundhead," so she later disguised herself as a gypsy and boarded another ship to Virginia.

William's arrival in Virginia is recorded as being in 1669 and Mary's in 1673.  Their marriage is recorded as November 1670; some records say they married in England and some say Virginia.  Their first child, a daughter named Anne Elizabeth, my 6th great-grandmother, was born in 1673 in New Kent, Virginia.  Two more daughters and two sons followed.  William died in either 1690 or 1697 in Albemarle, Virginia at about age 52 or 57, and is buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hanover County.  Mary died in 1697 at age 42.  Her burial place is unknown.

Anne Overton married Col. John Dabney Pettus, and after his death, George Poindexter.  Anne and John Pettus were the parents of ten children.  Son James Overton was an early settler of the Kentucky wilderness.  Temperance Overton married Col. William Claiborne Harris and was the mother of 12 children, remaining in Hanover, Virginia throughout her life.  Samuel Overton also remained in Hanover with his wife and four children; Barbara Overton married Col. John Winston and had three children.  She and her family lived in Hanover County.

Monday, May 9, 2016

52 Ancestors: Col. Thomas Pettus 1712 - 1780

Thomas Pettus, my 5th great-grandfather, was born in Middle Plantation (Williamsburg), Virginia on Christmas Day 1712.  He was the son of Col. John Dabney Pettus and Anne Elizabeth Overton.  The Pettus family emigrated from England to Jamestown about 1648. 

Thomas married Amey Ann Walker in 1735 and they settled in Lunenburg County, eventually becoming parents to six children.  Thomas was a Vestryman for Cumberland Parish and was elected to the House of Burgesses the representative branch of Virginia's government, in 1765.

The House of Burgesses protested the Townshend Act, imposing duties on British Imports to the Colonies.  Because of this, the Governor dissolved the Burgesses in 1769.   The more radical members, under the leadership of Patrick Henry, met at the Apollo Room of The Raleigh Inn, forming an early non-importation association.  Thomas, along with members like Henry and Thomas Jefferson, began communications with other colonies, a step toward unifying the Colonies against Britain.  The Burgesses were again dissolved when they protested the closing of Boston Harbor after the Boston Tea Party, but reassembled in 1774 to form another non-importation association, drafted by George Mason, and introduced by George Washington. 

Because of Thomas's protest of British taxation he is considered a patriot, and his name is on the plaque outside of The Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg.  The title of Colonel is likely honorary, as no record of military service can be found. 

Amey died in 1778 and Thomas in 1780 at the age of 67 in Lunenburg County.  Their burial places are not known. 

The Raleigh Inn, Williamsburg, Virginia

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day: Remembering Our Mothers and Grandmothers

Today is a day to remember our mothers and grandmothers and all the women who came before us.  These are some from my family.

Mary Herndon Fuller Rose was born in Atlanta, Georgia on December 18, 1896, likely a foundling, who was adopted from the Atlanta Home for the Friendless as an infant by Spann L. Fuller and  his wife, Mamie Herndon.  Spann and Mamie adopted another daughter, Maud, around the same time, in order to qualify for a homestead in their home county of Habersham, Georgia.  From what little information we have pieced together, Mamie was not a very attentive or loving mother, but both daughters seem to have had a close relationship with their adopted father.  Mary married my grandfather, Robert Rose, some time before 1917, when their oldest child, Essie Louise, was born.  They went on to have eight more children before they divorced in 1935.  She was a grass widow during the Depression and surely struggled to provide for her children.  "Granny Rose" died in her long time home of Jacksonville, Florida in 1987, at the age of 91.  She was preceded in death by two of her children, baby Joann, who died just before her second birthday, and son J.D., who died in 1949.  They are buried together in Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville.

Easie Mae Stroud Stanfill Berry was born on March 10, 1904 in Madison, Arkansas.  She was one of three children of William Farley Stroud and Sarah Elizabeth Sparks.   Easie briefly taught school in Madison County before marrying my grandfather, George Stanfill, in 1925.   After having a son and daughter and running a farm for the first few years of their marriage, they moved to Nowata, Oklahoma about 1931 and opened a grocery store there.  In the next few years, they would open two other stores in nearby towns.  George died unexpectedly of encephalitis in August of 1941 and a month later, their store in Nowata burned down.  Easie was just 37 when she was widowed, and the loss of her husband and their business in such a short span of time was no doubt devestating.  She rebuilt the store and a creamery and continued running the businesses until after she remarried in 1949.  Her second husband was Wesley Berry, a widower with four children.  After she retired, Easie and Wes remained in the little town of Nowata, where she was active in numerous clubs and activities there.  "Grandma Berry" was the grandparent I was closest to and I spent many wonderful times with her in their little town.  She was an awesome cook, who was never without a "deep freeze" full of wonderful food.  She died in 1993 at age 86, preceded by her son Eugene,  and is buried at Nowata Memorial Cemetery. 

Sarah Elizabeth Sparks Chapman Stroud, born August 1, 1874, was the daughter of James Sparks and Nancy Bunch.  She was one of eight children and grew up in Madison, Arkansas where her father had a farm.  She was married to Francis Marion Chapman in 1892 when she was 18; very little is known about her first husband or the time in which they were married.   They had no children and he died four years later.  Two years later, she married William Farley Stroud, her brother Hiram's brother-in-law, who was a prosperous farmer in Madison.  They had three children and lived in Madison until Farl's death in 1939.  Sarah lived for a time after that with her youngest daughter, Beulah and her husband in California, then moved to Nowata, Oklahoma, to live with daughter Easie.  She died there in 1949 at age 84.  She is buried at Alabam Cemetery in Madison, Arkansas next to Farl. 

Drusie Dorsey Stanfill was born in Madison, Arkansas on April 10, 1868.  Her father was Alexander Bowden Dorsey and her mother was Eliza Boyd.  Alexander had 17 children from three relationships; two marriages and one relationship with a woman who eventually became his third wife.  Nine of the children were born from that relationship while he was married to Drusie's mother.  Drusie and Jesse Carl Stanfill were married in about 1887 and had six children.  Jesse was a farmer in Madison, and later Kansas, and lost a hand in an farm accident.  He and Drusie later moved near their sons in Oklahoma, where both men operated grocery stores.  They lost two of their children, Avery and George, before their own deaths; Drusie passed away at age 77 in 1945.  She and Jesse are buried at Drake's Creek Cemetery in Madison, Arkansas.