Monday, August 21, 2017

Using DNA To Solve A Family Mystery: Sarah Ann Eva Vaughan, wife of John Lafayette Vaughan

For the last several months I have been working to solve a mystery in our family that it was believed only DNA could unravel. It was a question none of the Vaughan family historians have been able to answer: Who was Sarah Ann "Eva" McCarty, the first wife of our ancestor John Lafayette Vaughan? Where did she come from? Who were her parents? [For a biography of John Lafayette Vaughan, please visit here: http://thesaltofamerica.blogspot.com/2012/08/john-lafayette-vaughan-belle-starr.html]

These questions were never able to be answered during the lifetime of my beloved cousin, Colleen Vaughan Allen. I believe she would be very proud that I believe I have solver the mystery beyond a reasonable doubt.

We have only ever had two records of this woman: her marriage record and her headstone. We knew she was the mother of Mattie Mae Vaughan, William "Bill" Riley Vaughan, and an unnamed infant whom she died giving birth to. But that was the extent of our knowledge. Even in Census records, the space for Mattie's and Bill's mother's birthplace would be filled with "United States", not even a particular state. So it appears that even the woman's husband and children knew virtually nothing about her.

Here is the marriage record for John Lafayette Vaughan and S. A. McCarty, the original of which is in my possession:


And this is her headstone, courtesy of FindAGrave.com contributor MillieBelle:

Eva's headstone at Choate Prairie Cemetery, west of Inianola, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma.

One will notice that the names on the marriage record and the stone don't match. Where does "Eva", fit into "S. A.", you might ask? Well, that has been a part of the mystery. Family records have said that "S. A." stood for "Sarah Ann", but there was no primary source for that listed; it is possible that Mattie, Bill, or John gave that name to relatives who inquired about John's first wife, but no genealogical record located actually states "Sarah Ann". The marriage and the headstone are the only two items with her name. But this procured another question for my aforementioned cousin Colleen Vaughan Allen, who was long the family authority on the Vaughan family history, a title she inherited from her daughter Lou Ona Vaughan White, daughter of John Lafayette Vaughan by his second wife: Could S. A. and Eva have been two different people?

Colleen certainly thought it was possible. John could have married S. A. and then married Eva, and they could be two entirely different persons and we just may not have a marriage record. This is hardly unheard of; even today, the marriage record for my great grandparents, Sampson Lafayette Vaughan and Lillian Auston, continues to elude us despite their marriage occurring in the last hundred years, roughly around 1922. So this was a perfectly possible scenario, but we knew so little about this woman that we could not say for certain.

Fast forward to this year and I have procured a DNA sample for Norma Marie Vaughan, daughter of Bill Vaughan and last living grandchild of our mystery woman (or one of them, if there were indeed two woman). Once Ancestry.com had completed their testing and shared the results, I began to comb through DNA matches. Most of her closest matches were what I expected: a lot of Vaughans, a lot of Hamiltons, and a fair few Browders. Norma's mother was Lola Mae Hamilton, daughter of William and Margaret Browder Hamilton. So I was seeing a lot of cousins connected to her 3 known grandparents as expected.

There was a conspicuous absence among her matches: Persons with the surname McCarty in their families. If Norma's grandmother's maiden name was McCarty, one would expect to see some of that family among her matches. But in searching her matches' trees, there was one Very High match with that surname in the tree, a handful of "High" matches, and then mostly "Good" and lower matches. Her closest match with that name in their tree was a man who matched at 48/2; his McCarty family came to Texas by way of Tennessee. This McCarty family was not connected to any of the McCarty families of the next 3 highest matches, and none of them were connected to each other either.

I was side-tracked for a while exploring her closest match, a woman named Staci, who did not know who her biological father was. Eventually we figured it out. That saga can be read here: http://thesaltofamerica.blogspot.com/2017/04/a-father-found-but-lost-again-dna-story.html

So since I wasn't finding anything by searching the surname McCarty, eventually I began sorting through matches find people who were not related to the Vaughans, Hamiltons, or Browders. After a while, I finally found a few. Most of them were also related to each other, so that told me I was looking at cousins from the family of Norma's unknown grandmother.

These matches led me to a man named Bird Lewis Stafford of Dallas County, Missouri.

Headstone of Bird Lewis Stafford, courtesy of contributor Genealogy Researcher on FindAGrave.com.

Nearly all of the matches I was finding that actually had trees could be traced back to this man. I zeroed in on the 8 closest Extremely High confidence matches (though there were several Bird Lewis Stafford descendants who matched with varying degrees of confidence) and began to gleam what I could from the information I now had.


As you can tell just by this chart, Bird Lewis Stafford had quite a few children. As I researched him, I found that he had at least 11 children that grew to adulthood--so not even including the children that died in infancy. These matches represented descendants of 5 of these 11 children, and all from his first wife, Lucy Parker. (Two of Bird's children that grew to adulthood were from his second marriage.)

From here, I needed to pull out the handy DNA Detectives relationship chart:


Based on the shared centimorgans between Norman and that matches, I knew her relationships to the matches would most likely be in groups F, G, and H. 

Going back to what little we knew about Eva, I knew she was likely born about 1874-1875 based on her headstone stating she was aged 23 years when she died in September, 1897. Bird died in 1867, meaning he was not Eva's father. Eva's age ruled her out as being the child of Bird's two youngest daughters who were born in 1864 and 1868. Her age along with Norma's genetic distance from the seven 3rd great grandchildren and one 2nd great grandchild of Bird Lewis Stafford appeared to rule her out as a grandchild of Bird as well. Based on her age and DNA matches, it appeared most likely that Eva was a great grandchild of Bird Lewis Stafford by one of his 9 adult children that grew to adulthood from his first marriage.

This would presumably make Norma a 4th cousin (or closer) to 7 of the 8 matches, and a 3rd cousin once removed (or closer) to S. C. Since Eva could be descended from one of the five children of Bird from whom these 8 matches descended, it was possible that some of the matches were even closer. The lowest 5 of the 8 certainly appeared to fit in Group H--3rd cousin once removed or other distant (4th) cousin. At 75/4, K. L. could be on the highest end of Group H, or right in the middle of Group G. 

At this point my progress stalled. It was May, and I had a lot on my plate, so I set this project aside for a while. I hoped that maybe in a few months Norma would have more matches that would indicate a likely connection to one of the nine children.

Now it's August and I check again. She had no new matches in this family as best I could tell, so I decided to look harder at a few other intriguing matches.

In looking at her top 4 matches in the group of 8, the two highest descended from Cynthia and the next two highest from her brother Lewis. What was interesting is that Cynthia and Lewis married a pair of relatives: Asberry/Asbury Benjamin Chapman and Matilda Cheek, respectively. Asberry was the son of William Chapman and Mary Bond. Matilda was the daughter of James Cheek and Elizabeth Chapman, another child of William Chapman and Mary Bond. So Asberry was an uncle of Matilda. Since Norma shared the most DNA with these linked families, I decided to look focus on their respective descendants.

Headstone for Louis/Lewis Stafford, son of Bird, and his wife Matilda. Courtesy of contributor Pat Faulkner on FindAGrave.com.

First, I looked through their respective families. Lewis (also spelled Louis) was younger than Cinthia. He was still having children in the mid-1870s when Eva was born, and genetically we had ruled Eva out as a grandchild of Bird. This seemed to rule Lewis out as Eva's father. Cinthia and her husband married about 1849, and had five children between that time and Asberry's death in the Civil War in Memphis in 1863. Eva could not be the child of the youngest member of this family, Elias (b. 1862), but could be the child of any of the remaining four, though Martha (b. 1858) was less likely because she would have been only roughly 16-17 at the time of Eva's birth. That would be uncommon but not impossible.

Second, I checked her DNA matches for additional Chapman descendants. In more than one case, I had to dig into matches' family trees to find the connection. These people had trees with people in them, but had not connected to the Bird Stafford or William Chapman families, so I had to do some digging myself. I did that once already with B. H., a match mentioned above who was the highest match to Norma in this family. I found four additional interesting matches:


The first of these matches, Robert, is intriguing because despite being a full seven generations removed from Bird, he still shared enough DNA with Norma that he could be in Group G or even Group F, and he is a descendant of Cynthia. The next match is a lower-end four generation match to a descendant of Bird's son Lewis again. The 3rd match, V. J. F., is intriguing because she is not a Stafford at all--but she is a Chapman from the same Chapman family as the aforementioned Asberry (husband of Cynthia) and Elizabeth (whose daughter Matilda married Lewis). She descends from another sibling of this pair, William Chapman, another child of William Chapman and Mary Bond. V. J. F. is four generations removed from this couple. The fourth match is yet another descendant of Cynthia Stafford and Asberry Chapman. 

These four matches combined with the previous eight convinced that I needed to be looking hard at the family of Cynthia Stafford and Asberry Chapman. The match with a Chapman who is NOT also a Stafford, and the match with Robert Y. with 70 cm despite 7 generations removal from Bird told me this is the right direction to be looking. I decided the most logical step would be to start with the eldest child of Cynthia and Asberry. And it is fortunate that I did, because I believe it saved me a lot of time.

Mahala Jane Chapman was the eldest child of this family. She appears as an 8 year old in the household of A. B. and Cynthia Chapman in 1860. 

1860 Census - A. B. Chapman household - Dallas County, Missouri - Courtesy of FamilySearch.org

Some Stafford/Chapman family records have her year of birth as 1850. Her headstone also has this year. But her Census records reflect a year of birth between 1864-1857, and this one indicates closer to 1851-52. I believe this one is likely the most accurate given that she is clearly older than her brother William, who is traced easily, but not born by the 1850 Census. 

On 16 Jul 1868, Mahala married a man named Silas R. Busby, or at least that is how his name appears in the marriage record and 1870 Census. By 1880, his name appears to be listed as "Billy S.", but his wife's name and age and the eldest child of the family confirm that "Silas" and "Billy" are the same. His name could have been William Silas, or William Silas R., or some other combination of those names. I cannot locate any records on him prior to his 1868 marriage or after the 1880 Census, so I cannot determine what his proper name should be. But since two records indicate "Silas R.", that is how I will refer to him.

And when I found the family on the 1880 Census, there it was: the answer I had been seeking.

1880 Census - Silas/"Billy" Busby household - Sebastian County, Arkansas - Courtesy of FamilySearch.org

The 3rd child down you'll see her. "Sarah A. E.", age 5. Now am I crazy, or is that "Sarah Ann Eva", born 1875? The "A." kind of looked like an "H." though, so I looked for other examples on the page to compare the census-taker's writing to.

1880 Census - Sebastian County, Arkansas - Courtesy of FamilySearch.org

So here you'll see the "A" in Alexander and the "H" in Henry each underlined in red. Based on comparing these, it is clear to me that the letter after "Sarah" in the above image is indeed an A and not an H.

It would appear I have a match. Sarah A. E. Busby would be a great grandchild of Bird Lewis Stafford as the daughter of Mahala Jane Chapman, daughter of Cynthia Jane Stafford. The age matches, and the name matches right down to her being able to sign as "S. A." and go by the name "Eva". 

Now I needed to see if this relationship gelled with the DNA matches. In looking closer at the tree of Robert Y., I suddenly had an explanation as to why he matched Norma so closely despite the 7 generation removal from Bird Stafford--Robert also descends from Mahala Chapman Busby. He descends from her daughter Mary Cynthia who married James Joseph Phipps. If Norma's grandmother is actually Eva "Busby", then she is three generations removed from Silas and Robert is five generations removed from Silas. That would make them 2nd Cousins Twice Removed. And what does the DNA Detectives chart say? Well, it says that 70 centimorgans shared is certainly enough to fall into Group G, indicating a possible relationship of 2nd cousins twice removed. 

So now I needed to go through all of the other 11 DNA matches I have been looking at see if the possible paper relationship between Eva/Norma matches with each of them.


Please note that other than V. J. F., who is not a Stafford, all of these relationships were calculated based on the matches' mutual relationship to Bird Lewis Stafford. However, in the cases of those who are descended from Lewis Stafford are also descendants of the same Chapman family as Cynthia's husband, so Norma would theoretically share more DNA with those persons because they share Stafford and Chapman DNA, not just Stafford DNA.

But as you can see across the board ALL 12 DNA matches fit when comparing centimorgans shared to relationships on paper. Three 3rd cousins, one 2nd cousin twice removed, three 3rd cousins once removed, and five 4th cousins all match Norma appropriately. It would be preferable to have some more DNA matches from the Busby family to fully 100% confirm this relationship, but in this case all of the circumstantial evidence genetically is very strong.

The last thing for me to do was to see if there was any more circumstantial evidence outside the realm of DNA to help support the assertion that S. A. "Eva" 'McCarty' is really a BUSBY. I found only one thing.

In the 1900 Census, both Eva's widow John L. Vaughan and her presumed mother Mahala Chapman can be found in the Choctaw Nation of Indian Territory. But the Vaughans are in modern-day Pittsburg County, and Mahala, with her new husband William McDonald, is in modern-day Bryan County, near the current town of Calera. This Census says Mahala has had only one child, and that only child is still surviving. I believe this was an error and was referring only to her current marriage; she had only one child with William McDonald.

In 1910, Mahala is still in Bryan County, widowed again, and living with her now-adult daughter from the second marriage. This Census record states she was the mother of 9 children, 2 of whom are still living. One of those two would be the child from her second marriage she is living with. The other would be the aforementioned Mary Cyntha Busby Phipps, the ancestress of DNA match Robert Y. I could find virtually no information at all on any of the other children listed in the 1880 household for Mahala and Silas/"Billy" Busby. This indicates that Mahala's daughter "Sarah A. E." is indeed deceased, which aligns with "our" Eva having died in 1897. While that is not the strongest piece of evidence, as piece of this entire puzzle it does support the final conclusion.

That final conclusion is this: Based on the DNA evidence indicating that Norma Marie Vaughan is certainly a descendant of Bird Lewis Stafford, and is most likely a descendant of William Chapman, and those men have a mutual descendant named Sarah A. E. Busby who is the same age as our Sarah Ann Eva, grandmother of Norma Marie Vaughan, and there does not appear to be a 2nd woman with the same name that "could be" that woman, then it follows that Sarah A. E. Busby is most likely Sarah Ann Eva McCarty Vaughan. McCarty was most likely a previous married name before she married John Lafayette Vaughan, as DNA evidence does not indicate that she is a biological McCarty.

I believe all of the above-listed evidence supports this conclusion. I would be glad to hear from anyone that can provide further evidence to support my assertions, or I would be equally interested if someone could submit evidence that contradicts my conclusion if such evidence exists. Until that time, I believe it would be safe to list the first wife of John Lafayette Vaughan as Sarah Ann Eva Busby, born about 1875 in Missouri, died 29 Sep 1897 and was the daughter of Silas R. Busby and Mahala Jane Chapman.

Friday, August 4, 2017

2017 Arkansas Genealogy Road Trip

Two years ago I took an awesome two-day, three-night camping trip to Arkansas, met several wonderful cousins, collected some incredible pictures from those cousins, and saw some family landmarks that up to that point I had only heard about. The trip focused on the families of my great grandfather, Tom Martin, and his Martin, Rorie, and Wolf kin in Baxter, Izard, and Stone counties. That trip can be read about in full here: http://thesaltofamerica.blogspot.com/2015/04/genealogy-road-trip-journey-to-ozarks.html

This year, I took an extended five-day, five-night trip that encompassed more counties and all branches of all four of my grandparents' trees. We had extended stops in Sevier, Howard, Grant, Conway, Pope, Marion, Baxter, Newton, Johnson, and Madison counties, with a brief stop in Izard County and an unplanned stop in Boone County, bringing our total to 12 counties, not including the ones we drove through in between stops. We re-visited some old stops, and experienced plenty of new ones. It was another amazing experience and, once again, I'm chronicling the adventures my son and I experienced here on my blog. I encourage anyone connected to these families to do the same yourselves one day!

Day 1

On our first day, we drove from Tulsa toward De Queen, Arkansas. Shortly after passing over the Arkansas state line, we made our first stop near the former community of Ultima Thule. Pronounced Ul-tima [like the beginning of the word ultimate] Th-ool [rhymes with drool], it was once a bustling town that straddled the Oklahoma-Arkansas line. My Moose family forebears resided in and around the Ultima Thule vicinity from the late 1880s or early 1890s into the early 1900s. My Sain family also apparently lived there or in the immediate vicinity as well during the 1890s before later living at the nearby Chapel Hill community.

The 1893 marriage record of my 2nd great grandparents, Adolphus Franklin Moose and Sarah Olive Sain, gives both their places of residence as Ultima Thule.

Courtesy of FamilySearch.org

The Chronicles of Oklahoma printed an interview of a man named Peter Hudson in 1932 (http://digital.library.okstate.edu/Chronicles/v010/v010p501.html). Regarding Ultima Thule, he stated: "Ultima Thule (Latin words, meaning "The Last Line") is just across the line from the Choctaw Nation in Arkansas. The Choctaw people could not pronounce Ultima Thule so they called it Yakni-Vlhpisa, meaning "measured land," or "boundary line." Rock Creek flowed by Ultima Thule. The Choctaw people called Rock Creek "Tali Bok." There was a postoffice, blacksmith shop, general store and a gin at Ultima Thule."

Today, all that remains of this former community is an overgrown, out-of-the way cemetery. The cross on this map indicates the location of the Ultima Thule Cemetery and its relation to what is today Highway 70 which leads straight to De Queen.

Courtesy of Topoquest.com

Before Elliott and I arrived, I secured permission from the man who owns the land the cemetery now sits on to access the site. Will Pickering kindly obliged, and had one of his workers meet us at the closest gate from the highway. We then hoofed it about 300-400 yards until we came upon the cemetery gate.


The first of two large fields we had to cross to find the cemetery.


The second of the two fields. The cemetery is located on the right side of this field.


Most of the stones in this cemetery are virtually inaccessible to those who don't want to risk stepping into poison ivy, thorns, or onto a snake due to the extreme overgrowth. The place is still hauntingly beautiful.


This marker commemorates the cemetery and the members of the McKean family buried here.

My hope was that the cemetery might be clear enough that I could look at all the headstones. There is a VERY remote possibility that my 3rd great grandmother, Sarah Jane Ribelin Moose, wife of Lawson Jeremiah Moose and mother of the aforementioned Adolphus, could be buried here. According to family records, she is said to have died in 1888. By 1889, her husband and children were in Sevier County, but it has not been known if she died and was buried in Sevier County, or at their previous residence in Garland County north of Hot Springs, or somewhere else we aren't aware of. Unfortunately, the cemetery was too overgrown for me to safely traverse with a 6 year old in tow, so I had to accept that at least for now the possibility of Mrs. Moose being buried here will remain a mystery. To be sure, it is not very likely, and it is much more likely she is buried in Garland County, but I remain of the position that Sevier County cannot be fully ruled out as a possibility.

Sarah Jane Ribelin Moose, daughter of Isaac Ribelin and Mary Eagle. Wife of Lawson J. Moose.

Our next stop was our campsite for the night, Oak Grove Campground near De Queen Lake.


Elliott wanted to start a fire of his own, creating an encircled fire pit and rubbing sticks together.

The site was wonderful, and the hosts very friendly. I would highly recommend this spot to anyone looking to camp in the De Queen area.

Day 2

The next morning, we were up bright and early and headed for Chapel Hill Cemetery. The now-extinct community of Chapel Hill now runs together with modern-day De Queen. The cemetery is essentially all that remains of the community where my Sain family resided off-and-on for roughly two decades. Newspaper obituaries indicate my uncles Will and Mat Sain are buried there. Family tradition in the Provence family also indicates that my aunt Maude Sain Provence is also buried there. 

Mat Sain

Maude Sain Provence

Will Sain

William Andrew Sain was killed in a hunting accident in 1901. Maude Ellen Sain, wife of Samuel Moore Provence, died June 25, 1907 according to her mother's family record; no obituary has been found for her to confirm this date, and therefore her place of burial has not been verified. But her brother and her husband's kin were buried there at the time of her death, and one of her still-living grandsons, Pete Nunn, told me his understanding from family lore was that his grandmother was buried at Chapel Hill. Matthew Absalom Sain died in 1909 in Arizona, and his remains were brought back to Chapel Hill for internment. 

The De Queen Bee - 31 Dec 1909 - Page 3

The De Queen Bee - 6 Sep 1901 - Page 1

I feel strongly that these three, children of Samuel Daniel Sain and Phoeba Louiza Holmes, must have had headstones at one point, even if they have been lost, destroyed, or sunken into the ground since their deaths. William was married, and between his parents, adult siblings, and in-laws, I feel confident a headstone would have been procured for him. I feel the same way for Maude. For Mat, though he was unmarried, I don't think his family would have bore the expense of moving his remains hundreds of miles across multiple states to have him rest in an unmarked grave.

But alas, what headstones there may have once been are now gone. We searched throughout the cemetery but could not find them. There were a number of broken stones with only illegible pieces left, or small stone stumps sticking out of the ground where a stone once stood. There were also a number of fieldstones and weathered stones that are now blank. Whether any of these belonged to our Sains, or their's have just sunk into the ground or otherwise disappeared, is not known.






Next up was the Sevier County Courthouse. I was hoping to find any land and tax records I could on Adolphus F. Moose, his father Lawson J. Moose, his father-in-law S. D. Sain, and his supposed brother, Everett Moose, who we have failed to ever find any record of. The Sevier County Library, just down the road, was also on our agenda. I hoped to find any other supplemental materials there, including hopefully obituaries for my aunts Maude Sain Provence and Susan Sain Gibson. 

While I was not able to find anything on Everett Moose--and actually didn't find anything on Adolphus either, though I'm not sure he lived there much past his marriage--nor did I find the obituaries I was sought, I did find some good information. Sevier County's real estate tax lists were not alphabetical and would take the better part of a day to scour for two surnames per year. However, their poll taxes were alphabetical and began in 1893. 

For the following years, I found either Samuel D. Sain or Lawson J. Moose, or sometimes both or neither.

1893 - Samuel
1894 - Samuel
1895 - Lawson
1896 - Lawson
1897 - Lawson
1898 - Lawson
1899 - Neither
1900 - Samuel, and an unknown J. J. Moose--could be a deviation of L. J.
1901 - Samuel, and an unknown M. J. Moose, again a possible deviation
1902 - Samuel
1903 - Both
1904 - Neither

As you can tell, there isn't a lot of consistency. I don't know if they were moving back and forth from more than one home (they may have moved seasonally) or what the explanation is for their appearing some years but not others. It is also possible one or the other simply did not vote that particular year. I will not be posting images of all of these tax lists, but I did make copies, and I will gladly send them to those who might be interested.

I was fortunate to find hidden in a small collection of miscellaneous files two pages concerning the estate of S. D. Sain. The file was difficult to find, and the Sains' names were at the very bottom.





We next visited the Howard County Courthouse in Nashville. They were unable to locate probate records for Elisha R. Sain, Elish T. "Tom" Sain, or Thomas Lawrence, brother of Sarah E. Lawrence Sain. Across the street from the courthouse is the Nashville Cemetery, where we met Lester Bradley, a local historian and caretaker for the cemetery.



While awaiting his arrival, I was able to easily locate the Sain plot belonging to my uncle, David Bennett Sain, a former judge in Nashville. His plot was filled with a number of his children and grandchildren.


Headstone of Hon. David Bennett Sain, son of E. R. and Sarah E. Sain.


Headstone of Nancy Ellen Merrell Sain, daughter of  John and Elizabeth Stone Merrell.


Headstone for an infant son of John Guthrie Sain. You'll notice the large spider on the stone.

According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas entry on Nashville (http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=899), a man named Reverend Isaac C. Perkins was the earliest settler of the Nashville area. A travelling preacher, he would go on to establish a Baptist church in Nashville in 1835. The city's cemetery then sprung up around this church. There is a large space in between the graves in the oldest section of the cemetery, and according to Mr. Bradley, it is believed this spot is where the old original church once stood. It is not clear when that structure was torn down or moved, but to this day no graves have been placed in the area.


Open space in the Nashville Cemetery where the town's original Baptist church once stood.

The original Sain plot is extremely close to this gap where the church once stood, and according to Elisha's obituary, his funeral was held at the church. Rev. Perkins and his family are buried around a large memorial to the family about 50 yards from the Sain plot.


Point of reference for how close the Sain plot is to where the church once stood.

Elisha Reynolds Sain settled in Nashville sometime between 1870 and 1880. He moved about the country quite a lot throughout his life. He was born in Franklin County, Tennessee to George and Patsey Sain; his mother's maiden name may have been Davis. His birthplace comes from his Civil War service record. He appears to have spent his boyhood in Warren County, Tennessee. His parents died when he was a pre-teen boy, and he and his 3 brothers were taken in by Daniel and Mary Sain. Daniel was an uncle of Elisha's father, and Mary (nee Davis) was likely an aunt of Elisha's mother. Elisha likely moved with his uncle and brothers to the area of Coffee and Grundy counties in Tennessee. His aunt and uncle would die there, and most of his brothers stayed there as well, but Elisha ventured onward.

By 1842, he was in Shelby County, Alabama, where he married Sarah Elizabeth Lawrence, daughter of Thomas Lawrence and his first wife. Mr. Lawrence would become the father of 19 children that we know of, and today has thousands of descendants. Elisha went with the Lawrence clan to Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. By 1860, he had moved on to Lowndes County, Mississippi. The family lived at Caledonia, which was close to the Alabama border, and less than 70 miles from Tuscaloosa. From there, Elisha and his eldest sons would enlist to serve the Confederacy in the American Civil War. 


Lowndes County, Mississippi Monument to Civil War Soldiers in front of the courthouse. Courtesy of courthouselover on flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/courthouselover/)

Elisha's sons Elisha Thomas (who went by Tom) and William Houston joined the 6th Mississippi Cavalry. William would later also serve in 43rd Mississippi Infantry. Elisha Reynolds Sain was 47 years old in 1864 when he was compelled to enlist with the 1st Regiment Mississippi State Troops. Little historical information is known on this unit other than that it was comprised primarily of older men and teenage boys. It was a unit created from an act of the Mississippi State Legislature requiring all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 55 to serve in the Confederate Army.

Per The Official and Statistical Register of the State of Mississippi, published in 1908 by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, page 926: 

"In August, 1864, Governor Clark was authorized to call out every able-bodied man in the State to repel invasion, and all capable of bearing arms were called to assemble at Grenada, Okolona or Macon. In August also, the Legislature authorized General Forrest to order on military duty for thirty days boys and men between the ages of 16 and 55 years.

Col. J. J. Pettus, commissioned August 8, 1864, was put in command of rendezvous at Grenada, with P. S. Layton as his Adjutant. Col. John M. Simonton, commissioned August 13, was assigned to command of the rendezvous at Okolona. Col. Jeptha V. Harris, commissioned August 26, was in command at Macon. There was also a rendezvous at Brandon, under Colonel Thornton. Col. O. J. E. Stewart commanded District No. 5.

First Regiment--Infantry

Organized August 24, 1864. 
Colonel--William S. Patton.
Lieutenant-Colonel--Samuel M. Meek.
Major--W. D. Outlaw.
Assistant Surgeon--J. G. Carroll.
Chaplain--P. P. Neely.
Adjutants--A. J. Gillespie, Phil. M. Jenkins.
Quartermaster--J. D. Tolson.

...

Company G, of Lowndes County, enlisted at Artesia 18 August, 1864. 
Captain--Cornelius Hardy.
Lieutenants--Richard C. Sanderson, Herbert E. Hardy, Addison W. Butler.
Enrolled, 66."

Elisha Reynolds Sain - 1st Regiment Mississippi State Troops

After the war, his family removed to Independence County, Arkansas, where many of his Lawrence in-laws had settled. Between 1870 and 1880, the family moved again to Nashville in Howard County, where Sarah's brother Thomas Lawrence (1828-1892) also resided. Sarah died there in 1892, and Elisha in 1895. Elisha was a well-respected blacksmith by trade.

From The Nashville News, Nashville, AR - Saturday, 30 Jan 1892, page 3:

"Mrs. Sarah Sain, wife of Mr. E.R. Sain, died suddenly at Mineral Springs Wednesday night _____ at a ripe old age. Mrs. Sain was seemingly in good health at nightime but before daylight she was a corpse. Mr. and Mrs. Sain lacked only 14 days of being married 50 years. THE NEWS joins their friends in sympathy."


Headstone of Sarah Lawrence Sain at Nashville Cemetery.

There is some conflict regarding Sarah's middle name. This stone shows her middle initial as A., as does the 1870 Census and a 2nd stone bearing her name placed later. The 1880 Census lists her as "Ellen" for an unknown reason. Her daughter-in-law Phoebe Holmes Sain lists her in the family record as Sarah Elizabeth Lawrence. It is not clear which is correct.


Headstone of Elisha Reynolds Sain at Nashville Cemetery.

From The Nashville News, Nashville, AR, Saturday, September 28, 1895, page 3:

"Death of E.R. Sain

Mr. E.R. Sain, one of our oldest and most respected citizens, died in this city Wednesday morning at about 7 o'clock, after an illness of several days during which he suffered very much.

Mr. Sain was nearly 78 years old, but was as strong and active as most men of 50. He worked hard all this year in his blacksmith shop and only rested a few days. He was a fine workman.

Mr. Sain came here from Tennessee many years ago. He had raised a large family to honorable manhood and womanhood, and all but two of his children were with him in his last hours. The two absent ones live in the northern part of the State.

Rev. C.W. Strickland conducted the funeral services at the Baptist church at 9 o'clock Thursday morning after which the Masonic fraternity took charge of the remains and laid them to rest with appropriate ceremonies.

THE NEWS tenders its sympathies to the bereaved ones."

Between these two stones, a third shared stone was placed by an unknown family member. It is in the same style of the stones in the David Bennett Sain plot, and appears to be roughly the same age, so it was likely put in place by one of David's children, or possibly David himself.



Elliott R. V. Marks with the stones of his 5th great grandparents, Elisha and Sarah Sain.

Also buried at Nashville are my 3rd great grandfather Samuel Daniel Sain and his brother Robert, both sons of Elisha and Sarah. Samuel's obituary states he is buried here; Robert's death certificate gives this as his place of burial. No plot records for the cemetery from these times survive, so it is unknown where in the cemetery they were placed. Neither of their headstones have been located. It is possible they never had stones in the first place, or the stones have been lost or destroyed over time. There are open spots in the Sain plot, and it would make sense that they would be interred with their parents. There are even remains of old lost stones next to these graves still evident in the ground. I believe Samuel and Robert were almost certainly buried in this plot.

From The Nashville News:

"S.D. Sain, of Cerro Gordo, Ark., died at the residence of A.F. Moose in this city Monday afternoon at 5 o'clock, and the remains will be buried in the Nashivlle cemetery today. The services will be conducted at the Moose residence at 3 o'clock p.m. Mr. Sain was 55 years of age, and is survived by his wife and several children, Mrs. A.F. Moose, of this city, at whose home his death occurred, being a daughter. He was also a brother to D.B. Sain and Mrs. D.A. Gibson, of this city. Ulcerated stomach and bowels caused the death of deceased. He came to this city a short time since for medical treatment, but his condition became worse, and he became confined to his bed last Wednesday."






The remains of two stones immediately to the right of Elisha's stone could either be what remains of Samuel's and Robert's stones, or possibly could be the head and foot stones of a child, based on how close together the two stones are. Mr. Bradley said most of the old plots in the cemetery were for 8 people, and as there are only 3 marked in this plot (the 3rd belonging to a Minnie Chastain, no known relation), it stands to reason that Samuel and Robert would like be in the remaining 5 plots.

Our next stop was the Grant County Courthouse in Sheridan, Arkansas where we hoped to find traces of my elusive 3rd great grandparents, James H. and Mary Ann Frances "Frank" (nee Mooney) Waller. They lived in Grant County from about 1881 to as late as 1904, though they may have left earlier. That is a point of debate in the family. It appears most likely that Frank died in Grant County and is buried at Jacobs Graveyard where at least her brother William, and possibly her brother Reuben, is buried. The cemetery is very near where the family resided at Belfast, and Mooney family records indicate she is there. James sold the family property in 1904, according to records my cousin Colleen Vaughan Allen found on a trip the Grant County Courthouse. He likely then removed to Oklahoma where his daughters were living. It is believed he is buried at Choate Prairie Cemetery southwest of Indianola, Oklahoma. The couple are NOT buried at the Weogufkee Cemetery (AKA Muddy Water Cemetery) as the family believed for many years. See my complete survey of the cemetery and those interred there here: http://thesaltofamerica.blogspot.com/2016/04/weogufkeemuddy-water-cemetery-survey.html

The aforementioned Colleen Allen listed a number of items she found at the Grant County Courthouse on her visit, but I have not been able to find actual copies of those records. My hope was to find them again and get copies for my records using her list as my point of reference.


Unfortunately, this venture was not meant to be. One of the workers in the County Clerk's office told me that all of the old tax list books and most other 19th century record books were no longer available for public viewing. Many are in extremely poor shape and are falling apart, so until they can be properly preserved no one is allowed to touch them--even with archival gloves. This was disappointing, but there was nothing I could do about it. So the tax lists I sought that listed James H. Waller were not available.

After scouring all of the deed and land sale books I could find, with the help of one of the clerks, for over an hour, I was also unable to find the 1904 sale of the Waller land that Colleen found. This was also a disappointment, but hopefully one of these days Colleen's copy of the record can be found among her massive archives currently held by a cousin of mine.

I was, however, able to find one record concerning James H. Waller that Colleen did not mention having found. In Grant County Deed Record N, I was able to find a land purchase for James H. Waller, which gave me the description of his land and will allow me to find exactly where they were living in Grant County. It's rather amazing how it happened as well. As I was discussing James H. Waller with the clerk assisting me, she opened Deed Book N (which is NOT indexed, of course, meaning every page will need to be searched over one by one), and while we were talking, I noticed she had actually opened the book right onto a page with James's name.


This was the only record I found with James H. Waller's name on it, though I did find a handful of Mooney-related records as well. So while I did not find everything I hoped to, I at least left with a few things I didn't have before.

The last leg of our journey for the day was to Petit Jean State Park outside of Morrilton, Arkansas. It was a beautiful drive, and the park is one of the most well-kept I have ever visited. We set up camp, cooked dinner, and went to bed soon after nightfall. We did have one more event that evening--a raccoon living in the vicinity of our campsite came up to our table while we were looking the other way, and took off with our ENTIRE bag of marshmallows. The whole thing, almost completely full. Later that evening we heard a loud fight between two raccoons nearby, and I hope the little creature was robbed by a bigger raccoon!




Day 3

We were up early the next morning to head to the Conway County courthouse in Morrilton. My Vaughan and Napier families lived in and around Conway County from the 1870s into the 1890s or so. I was hoping we might find some interesting records on them there, though I wasn't looking for anything very specific.


Conway County, Arkansas Township Map

I immediately spotted a township map of Conway County which I snapped pictures of. I knew my people had lived around Lick Mountain township. I found out while there that as many other courthouses have, Conway County Courthouse has burned at least once, leading to massive record losses. I went through every 19th century record book I could find and copied what I could that had the surnames Vaughan and Napier. I did not recognize a lot of the folks I found, but there were a few I knew, including my uncles William R. and James W. Vaughan. 

Our next stop was the Pope County Courthouse in Russellville. Pope County is adjacent to Conway, and all of my Vaughans and Napiers who were in Conway County at one time were in Pope County before then. Unfortunately, I did not find a whole lot here either. I found some records mentioning my uncle Reuben P. Vaughan, and a lot of information on my uncle Captain Archibald Dodson Napier and his estate. But I could not find anything on my ancestor Stephen C. Vaughan, his father James A. Vaughan, or his father-in-law Archibald H. Napier. I coped what I did find anyway, and we then made our way to the Pope County Library. 

The library did not yield much new information either, but Elliott enjoyed their excellent children's section, and we then went out to find the best burger in town.



We definitely succeeded this time! This was a great and extremely popular burger joint, and the burger was excellent! After lunch, we made our way to what would be one of our more treacherous spots--our family's old burial ground, Napier Cemetery, north of Hector, Arkansas.

I did a lot of research on the location of Napier Cemetery before we left. No GPS coordinates were available for it online, but I found some written directions and contacted a some people online who had been there. I knew it was in the middle of nowhere and could be a potentially treacherous road, but I was determined to visit my family's cemetery where an ancestor and multiple aunts and uncles are interred. The family surname Napier is dear to me as it is the only surname I get from both my mother's and father's sides of the family. Both my parents descend from Robert Napier (1660-1731), son of Dr. Patrick Napier, who was an early colonial physician in Virginia. 


Historical Roadside Marker for Dr. Patrick Napier. Courtesy of MarkerHistory.com.

Don't worry, my parents' connection is so distant that they don't share any common DNA, as proven by DNA testing on my paternal grandfather and my maternal grandfather's sister. Both their great grandmothers were Napiers, but their common line diverges at Robert, who as noted above died in 1731. My parents are 7th cousins twice removed through the Napier line. And if my grandfather and great aunt share no DNA as 6th cousins once removed, then their next generation removed don't share any either. But the Napiers are a favorite family for me since I have spent more time on this surname than on any other in my family, simply because I have thoroughly researched two different Napier families. So I feel a strong sense of connection with this name.

The closest my GPS through Google could get me to Napier Cemetery was by taking me to Napier Hollow, a geographic term used by the U.S. Forestry Service for this particular region.  I took Highway 27 from Hector going north toward Tilly, and turned onto White Oak Mountain Road, which was unpaved, uneven at parts, and as treacherous as I thought it would be.


Napier Hollow in Jackson Township, Pope County, Arkansas, on White Oak Mountain Rd. off of Highway 27. Courtesy of Google Maps.

I knew that after crossing a low-water bridge, I would veer left onto Forest Service Road 1301-D and have to cross the water on foot, as only a pick-up truck would be able to traverse the water at that point.


The view as we crossed the low-water bridge over the East Fork Illinois Bayou by car.


After we parked, we had to cross the water on foot here.

After crossing the river on foot, we walked roughly 3/4 of a mile down Forest Service Road 1301-D until we came upon the cemetery. It does not appear to have been mowed for some time (past visitors have sometimes reported it to be well-kept, and others report it being in poor shape). Further, a tree had apparently come down during a storm and damaged some of the fence on the right side of the cemetery. Overall though, I have certainly been to cemeteries that are less well-cared for even though this is by far the most remote and desolate cemetery location I have ever visited.


Front view of Napier Cemetery.


Napier Cemetery entrance and sign.


Short video of the front part of Napier Cemetery.

Within the cemetery, stones were in a variety of conditions. Some had been knocked over and were partially crumbled, and others were in good shape. We found the headstones of several immediate family members including my 4th great grandfather Dr. Archibald Hubbard Napier, his son Captain Archibald Dodson Napier, my aunt Mary Vaughan Napier [aunt by marriage as wife of Archibald Dodson, and by blood as sister of my 3rd great grandfather], aunt Eliza Vaughan Brown, uncle John C. Vaughan, and uncle James H. Vaughan, sometimes referred to as James W. Vaughan (some spelled his middle name Horton, and other Whorton. H is on the stone, but James's 1860 Census, Civil War service records, and Civil War pension give him the middle initial W). 

My 3rd great grandmother Amanda Smith Napier was the daughter of Archibald Hubbard and sister of Archibald Dodson. She married Stephen Clinton Vaughan, a full brother of the aforementioned Mary and Eliza, and half-brother to the aforementioned John and James. It is believed that several other relatives who lived in close proximity to this cemetery and had familial connections to it are most likely buried here as well, including possibly the father of the Vaughan siblings, James A. Vaughan, and most likely Isaac C. Napier, another son of Archibald Hubbard who died the same year and possibly the same day as his brother Archibald Dodson. The 2nd husband of Isaac's widow, Parthena Carter Napier, was Enoch Vaughan, and he is also buried here. Despite the surname Vaughan, DNA testing has proved he was not related to James A. Vaughan, the progenitor of most of the Vaughans in this area, though previous generations of genealogists believed them to be brothers.


Captain Archibald Dodson Napier and his wife, Mary Vaughan. Courtesy of Colleen Vaughan Allen.

Captain A. D. Napier, who was appointed Pope County Sheriff after the war, was assassinated as the first victim of the Pope County War, and legend states that his brother Isaac was either killed the same day or shortly after. Both men were mere weeks from having returned from their service in the Civil War. The brothers were Union soldiers who were gunned down by neighbors that were former Confederate soldiers.

Per the Encyclopedia of Arkansas: "The Pope County Militia War was a conflict between the Reconstruction government of the state and county partisans, some of them former Confederates, who opposed Reconstruction. It entailed the assassination of many local officials and is often seen as a prelude to the Brooks-Baxter War of 1874.

Pope County, lacking a large slave economy, had been divided in terms of loyalty during the Civil War, and those divisions ran high even after the formal end of hostilities. In 1865, Governor Isaac Murphy appointed Archibald Dodson Napier, a former Federal officer, as sheriff of Pope County. On October 25, 1865, he and his deputy, Albert M. Parks, were both shot from ambush as they rode horseback along the old Springfield road east of Dover, then the county seat. George W. Newton, a former Confederate major and later a Baptist preacher, was the assassin of Napier, though this was unknown at the time. Newton struck again on December 4, 1865, when he killed County Clerk William Stout, who had been elected to office before the Civil War, in his home." [http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=2277]


Headstone of Dr. Archibald Napier.


Headstone of Mary Vaughan Napier in 3 pieces.


Headstone of Mary Vaughan Napier.


Headstone of Captain Archibald Dodson Napier.


Headstone of Eliza Vaughan Brown.


Headstone of John C. Vaughan.


Headstone of James H./W. Vaughan.


View within the Napier Cemetery.


View within the Napier Cemetery.


Unmarked fieldstones within the Napier Cemetery.


View within Napier Cemetery.

As we headed back to the car, it was easy to daydream what it must have been like for my Napier and Vaughan forebears to have lived out here. One would have difficulty finding another place with so much solitude and stillness. These families clearly had their own "holler" where they were related in some way to just about the people in their vicinity. They worked together and kept each other sage. I envy that way of life, and often think we might all be better off if we still lived this way--secluded from others, helping our relatives, and ensuring as peaceful of a life as we can for our families.

I believe the Napiers and Vaughans lived in close proximity to the cemetery. The cemetery itself was likely on Archibald Hubbard's or Archibald Dodson's property at one point, and the properties of the others likely surrounded it, including the home of my 3rd great grandparents and the birthplace of my 2nd great grandfather, John Lafayette Vaughan. I took video of our walk back to the car to help illustrate the tranquility of this area. This is almost certainly the road my 3rd and 4th great grandparents would have traveled frequently, and at minimum would have done so when coming to bury their kin.


By this time it was mid-afternoon and we made our way into Searcy County (where a number of my relatives, including the Holmes, Shipman, Snellgrove, and other families once lived) and finally into Baxter County. We first visited Big Flat Cemetery. Big Flat was a part of Searcy County before Baxter County was formed, and it was the home of my Rorie and Selph families. We have a large number of relatives in the cemetery, but luckily all of our closest kin were clumped together in a single plot.


Elliott in the entrance to Big Flat Cemetery.


Elliott with the headstone of his 4th great grandmother, Louisa Lauvice Selph Rorie.


Headstone of Louisa Rorie Selph and Henderson Rorie. She died from complications of giving birth to Henderson a couple months after he was born, and he followed her to the light two months after her death.


Sarah Ann King Selph, wife of George W. Selph. She raised her niece Louisa as a daughter.


George W. Selph. I used to think that George was Louisa's father based on the 1870 and 1880 Censuses before realizing he was only 19 and was unmarried when she was born. It turns out that he was her uncle, the brother of her father Calvin Selph, who died during or shortly after the Civil War. Calvin's 5 children were split among relatives, and George took in Louisa and raised her as his own.


Infant son of George W. Selph and his second wife, Maggie E. Dixon Tomlinson Selph.


Rebecca Ann Selph Bryant, daughter of George W. and Sarah Selph. Her husband C. C. Bryant would remarry to her sister.


Henry N. Rorie, my uncle, son of Absolom Josiah Rorie and Mary Snellgrove Rorie. Buried next to his sister-in-law, Louisa, who was married to Henry's brother, Bill.


View within Big Flat Cemetery.

We next drove about 22 miles to the Table Rock Cemetery and Community Center near Calico Rock. More of our Rorie kin are buried here, including my 4th great grandparents, Absalom Josiah Rorie and Mary Snellgrove. Absalom served on both sides in the Civil War. He originally served in the Arkansas 14th Infantry (Powers') with a number of his Baxter County neighbors. After his father, Absalom Rorie, and brother, Hezekiah, were killed by Union soldiers, Absalom's life and the lives of two of his brothers were spared after they agreed to join the Union army. 

From the Encyclopedia of Arkansas: "Scouts were sent to find Freeman, with the remaining Union troops moving to Riggsville—present-day Mountain View (Stone County)—to join the Eleventh Missouri Cavalry that had gone south out of Batesville. The scouts reported back that Freeman was camped on Middle Sylamore Creek at Rorie’s Mill. Union soldiers were dispatched. The Confederates fired into the Union army from “very steep and high hills,” but to no avail. Lt. Col. Baumer’s command rode on toward Riggsville, camped, and rode back to Sylamore the next day (January 26), but the Rebel forces had gone, making their way to a point farther west on the Middle Sylamore Creek. Angry that Freeman had gotten away, the Union soldiers burned the Rorie family’s sawmill and grist mill to the ground, but not before torturing and killing three men of the Rorie family in an effort to determine the location of Freeman and of Rorie’s Cave, believed to be producing powder works. Absalom Rorie and his sons, Andrew and Hezikiah, had their arms tied to separate horses, which were driven in opposite directions, dismembering the bodies." [http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=6730]

This account errs in reporting that Andrew B. Rorie died. Records prove he joined the Union army like his brothers Absalom Josiah, who went by "Jody", and John G., and later died in its service. The family story is that the Union soldiers spared these brothers' lives when they agreed to join the Union cause. Andrew would die serving on the same side as the men that killed and tortured his father and brother. Absalom would later acquire a federal pension for his service in the war.


Absalom Josiah "Jody" Rorie and Mary Elizabeth Snellgrove. 


Table Rock Community Center and Cemetery Entrance Sign.


Elliott in front of the entrance to Table Rock Cemetery.


Headstone for Absalom Josiah "Jody" Rorie.


Headstone for Mary Snellgrove Rorie.


Headstone for John Rorie, son of A. J. and Mary.


Headstone for Sarah Rorie, daughter of A. J. and Mary. A family member bought updated stones for a number of the damaged and illegible Rorie stones in the cemetery.


Headstone for Acenettie Rorie, my aunt, daughter of William Josiah "Bill" Rorie.


Elliott with the stones of his 5th great grandparents, A. J. and Mary Rorie.


Fieldstones in and near the Rorie plot, likely marking other Rorie relatives.


One will notice one of the updated stones placed by this original one. That updated marker is for Acenettie  even though her original stone is next to this one. It is believed, per their nephew A. J. Rorie, that this stone is for Donnah Rorie, a sister of Acenettie and daughter of Bill, that died in 1918 in the flu epidemic. 


A view of what we believe is Donnah Rorie's stone between her sister Acenettie and aunt Sarah.


William Ward was the son of Martha Snellgrove, and therefore a 1st cousin to me and a nephew to Mary Snellgrove Rorie. He was also married to Rebecca Rorie, daughter of Hezekiah, the brother of Jody that was killed by Union soldiers.


The Rorie family plot.


View within Table Rock Cemetery.

On our way to our next campsite, we stopped in Calico Rock, which simply has to be the most charming little town in Arkansas. Sitting along the White River, it is one of the most quaint and picturesque places I have ever visited. Unlike our last visit, we arrived this time when all the downtown businesses were already closed for the day, but we still walked around a little and enjoyed this little Arkansas jewel.




Shortly after this, we passed through Old Joe and got to our campsite at the Hideaway on the White River (formerly Red's Landing). We got to camp right along the river.


What made this campsite even more ideal is that we were only a stone's throw from where our Wolf family forebears once lived. Just a couple hundred yards from the entrance to the campground sat the old Wolf Cemetery, which contains the earthly remains of several relatives and neighbors of my 4th great grandmother, Nancy Wolf Hutcheson. She was a sister of Major Jacob Wolf, a well-known historical figure in these parts. Its is believed he is buried here, along with his wife Maldred and some of his children. It is believed their father Michael, my 5th great grandfather, is likely among the graves here as well.

The majority of the graves here are marked only with fieldstones, leaving their owners anonymous. Many of the stones are extremely aged and weathered. Some of the earliest marked graves you'll find in the state of Arkansas are here. The cemetery was overgrown and neglected for decades before being restored in the last few years; some family members have added new markers for their loved ones. It is a small cemetery next to some railroad tracks, but is as nice a burial ground as we've visited.






Military marker for Jesse Wolf, son of Major Jacob Wolf.

We then spent the rest of our evening until sundown having dinner by the river and enjoying all the sights and sounds of the area.






Day 4

Our fourth day got off to an interesting start--a big storm forced us from our tent into our car around 2 in the morning. I wish I had filmed all the thunder and lightning--I've honestly never experienced a storm quite like it. Being in the mountains, all of the thunder echoed repeatedly, and the lightning seemed to surround us. We woke up before the storm actually reached our shore. Just a couple of weeks prior to our camping there, our site was completely underwater, as shown to us in pictures from the site's owners. With concerns of the flooding returning in mind, Elliott and I packed up our tent and belongings and spent the rest of the night in the car. The storm did eventually reach us and what a storm it was. We managed to get a few more hours of sleep before heading for Norfork and Martin Springs a few hours later.

While passing through Norfork, we stopped at the Jacob Wolf house. We'd stopped there two years ago as well, and Elliott remembered "Uncle Jacob's House" well. He's definitely grown a lot in two years--and he's clearly still a Batman fan!


Elliott in 2015 at the Wolf House.


Elliott in 2017 at the Wolf House.





As we made our way to Martin Springs, we stopped at the Martin Cemetery to visit the graves of my 2nd great grandfather, his parents, and several aunts and uncles.



The graves of Richard "Dick" Martin, his parents Tom and Susan, his son Wilson, and four of his siblings are lined up together in a row.

Upon arriving at the Martin Springs Schoolhouse, Elliott of course wanted to first visit the old outhouse there. He gets just as much of a kick out of it now as he did then. And he hammed it up for me a little bit too.




Martin Springs Schoolhouse, 2017. My great grandfather Tom Martin went to school here.



Elliott in front of the Martin Springs Schoolhouse.




The old "Bully" Joe Martin, where our uncle and his sister, our aunt, once lived.



Martin Springs, 2017.



Next we traveled to Flippin, Arkansas in Marion County where we visited the graves of more of our Rorie family. My 3rd great grandfather W. J. "Bill" Rorie, his second wife Mary M. Norman Rorie, and some of their children and other kin, including a number of Bill's siblings and cousins, are buried here.


Headstone for my uncle Allie Forest Rorie, son of Bill, and his wife, Helen.


Headstone for my uncle Franklin Winfield Scott Rorie, son of A. J. Rorie.


Headstone for my uncle Hugh Alec Rorie, son of A. J., and his wife, Salina.


Headstone for my 3rd great grandfather, William Josiah "Bill" Rorie, son of A. J.


Headstone for Mary Mahala Norman Rorie, my step-3rd great grandmother, wife of Bill.


Headstone for Orastes Rorie, my uncle, son of Bill.

I was most looking forward to visiting the grave of Orastes Rorie. My uncle has held a place in my heart since two years ago when I heard the story of his tragic demise. His father, Bill Rorie, was a cruel man. One day, he made Orastes ride into town to pick up supplies in a downpour. He returned extremely ill, but Bill didn't care. He put Orastes back to work, digging in the yard. He was found dead hours later having been worked to death by his father. He was just over 25 years old. I can't help but wonder what his life would have been like had he been able to live a full one, and how he could have, as an uncle to my great grandfather, have somehow influenced the lives of my family for the better in some way.


After a lunch at Pizza Hut somehow consisting primarily of cherry tomatoes, we headed for the 1890 Mountain Village in Bull Shoals. There, we got to see a number of 19th century buildings from around the Ozarks, and learned about what kind of lives our family was living when they lived in this area before, during, and after the 1890s.


An old train from the 1890s.




The gallows!



An old jail from Calico Rock--good chance we had some cousins locked up in this exact cell a time or two!


Next, we were off to visit the Bull Shoals dam. The Visitor's Center there had a lot of great information on the history of the dam and area in general, as well as the fish and animals that roam the surrounding state park.

Per Wikipedia: "Bull Shoals Dam is a concrete gravity dam on the White River in northern Arkansas in the United States. The dam lies on the border of Marion and Baxter Counties, and forms Bull Shoals Lake, which extends well northwest into Missouri. Its main purposes are hydroelectricity production and flood control.

The dam was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in response to severe flooding between 1915 and 1927. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized the construction of the dam as well as six others on the White River and its tributaries in the Flood Control Act of 1938. Construction started in June 1947 and the dam was completed in July 1951. When finished, the dam was one of the largest concrete structures in the world." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bull_Shoals_Dam)








Next, we drove back to Mountain Home and were given access to the Baxter County Heritage Center's museum library by David Benedict. We collected some interesting information on the Wolf House and the Wolf and Hutcheson families. Mr. Benedict was also kind enough to take us on a tour of the Casey House. The house's former owner, Col. Randolph Casey, was an uncle of Dr. John M. Casey, whose courtship letters to my cousin Mary Wolf, daughter of Major Jacob Wolf, have been an extremely useful genealogical resource to Wolf researchers.

Per Encyclopedia of Arkansas: "The Casey House, the oldest existing house in Mountain Home (Baxter County), is a pioneer home built in the “dog-trot” style. The house is unusual, principally for the materials used in its construction. It was the home of Colonel Randolph D. Casey, who is considered one of the first citizens of Mountain Home. The Casey House was accepted into the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

Built in the pioneer dog-trot style, which is named for the breezeway that offers dogs protection from the elements, the Casey House has two large rooms on either side separated by an open breezeway through the middle. Architecturally, the Casey House is unusual in that clapboard siding sheathes the exterior and wide flush-boards line the central breezeway. A shed roof shades a wide verandah crossing the front, which is an extension of a wood-shingled gable roof. The symmetrical facade is divided by the central breezeway. Each of the two rooms has a single front entry with a transom over its paneled door. Most pioneer homes built in this style were constructed entirely of rough-hewn logs. The Casey House, however, was built with milled lumber over the log framing. The interiors are lined in flush-board over paneled wainscot, and transoms top the paneled doors.

In about 1855, Colonel Randolph D. Casey built this home as his residence." (http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=1118)


Unfortunately, soon after this storms began to roll into the area. The weather forecast showed that storms were going to blanket just about this entire region of Arkansas and into Missouri. That took our plan of camping in Mountain Home off the table. Ultimately, we decided to drive to Harrison, which was the closest city to our next destination, and kip in the car at a rest stop there. The storms were pretty loud there for a while, and sleeping in the driver's seat of my vehicle wasn't exactly comfortable, but we had a good time talking and listening to the radio before finally getting some sleep.


Day 5

We were off early the next morning and made our way into Newton County. On our way to our first destination, we had to make a stop at Arkansas' Grand Canyon to check out the view.




We next stopped at Cowell Cemetery near Sand Gap, Arkansas. Our uncle William Houston Sain, son of the aforementioned Elisha and Sarah Sain, is buried here with his family. I have found it interesting how close my mother's family and father's family have lived to one another in both the 18th and 19th centuries before their lines finally merged. Based on where my mother's Sain family lived in Newton County, it appears possible if not likely that they at one point would have crossed paths with my father's Radford and Eversole families who also lived in Newton County. I have previously proven that my mother's Holmes family mingled closely with my father's Rorie and Snellgrove families in Searcy County, and in Colonial times, three of my grandparents' ancestors were rubbing elbows in Loudoun County, Virginia: my paternal grandfather's Marks family, my paternal grandmother's Butcher and Phillips families, and my maternal grandfather's Lewis family. Little did these folks know that generations after they knew each other their progeny would merge into a mutual line. Funny how these things happen.



Headstone for William Houston Sain, son of E. R. and Sarah Lawrence Sain.


Headstone for Samuel H. Sain, son of William H. Sain.


Stone between the graves of William and Samuel believed to be for William's wife, Mary Moore Sain.



Confederate headstone for William H. Sain's service in the 6th Mississippi Cavalry.


Within Cowell Cemetery.

Our next destination was a small cemetery called Union Grove Cemetery. It was by far the most difficult cemetery to reach that I have run into. Off a single-lane, curving, unkempt dirt and gravel road for over 4 miles off the highway, you really need to know exactly where you're going if you want to find it. I uncovered my (believed though admittedly circumstantial) connection to this cemetery on accident. At the Muskogee Public Library in Muskogee, Oklahoma several months ago, I decided to thumb through the indexes for some resources they had for Newton County, Arkansas, including old issues of their historical society's newsletter and some cemetery books. I was searching for the Eversole and Radford surnames and only found one match.

In the Winter 1990 edition of the Newton County Historical Society newsletter there was a survey for Union Grove Cemetery. A woman named Betty Cowell had surveyed it in 1990, and apparently spoke to others with connections to the cemetery in order to collect the names of those buried in the numerous unmarked graves with blank fieldstones on them. Among those was a "Mr. Radford" whose grave was number 9 in Row 6. This unknown Radford's name was also reflected in the survey of Union Grove published in the "Newton County Cemeteries" book in 2001 by Herman and Oleta Haddock. It appears that someone with a significant connection to or lifelong history with told Mrs. Cowell who was buried in some of the unmarked graves, and she must have recalled that a "Mr. Radford" was buried in one of the particular fieldstone-marked graves.



Now Radford was not a common name in these parts and this cemetery is roughly 22.5 miles from the Radford family homeplace. I believed then, and still strongly believe, that this unknown "Mr. Radford" is one of my uncles. He is not listed as "Child" or "Infant" Radford, but rather "Mr.", which implies he was a grown man. The burials of seven of my ten Radford uncles who grew to adulthood are definitively; the three who were not accounted for were Henry (1877-after 1915), Eliga (1881-before 1924), and Wright (1876-after 1939). Their father Jesse reports that Henry is alive in 1915, but no record on Henry has even been found after the 1880 Census; it is believed he did not remain in Arkansas and may have headed west. Wright was a tramp who may have also been mentally disabled; he was last seen alive by his niece about 1939, and it is not known what became of him. This left me with Eliga "Lige" Radford.

Eliga is living in Lincoln County, Oklahoma in 1920 nearby several of his siblings. His brothers Sy's and Dillard's death certificates have been found, but his never was. Eliga's 3rd child was born in 1921 in Oklahoma. In 1924, his wife Cora remarries in Arkansas, so we know he died between Martha's conception and Cora's remarriage. Cora is in Arkansas in 1924. It has never been clear if she was widowed in Oklahoma and then returned to Arkansas, or if the family returned to Arkansas and she was widowed there. However, it turns out that Cora's brother Herman was eventually buried at Union Grove, as well as his daughter in 1941 and later his wife in 1981. With a cemetery of only roughly 50 marked graves, I believe this connection to Cora's family is a huge clue and points to the likelihood that "Mr. Radford" is Herman Rich's brother-in-law, the husband of his sister. I believe Lige died about 1923 after the family came back to Arkansas and was buried at Union Grove.

The survey shows Mr. Radford to be between the unmarked graves of John Bean and Eddie Ramsey, which lie between the marked graves of Mary F. Bean and Audie Ramsey. Row 6 is mostly made up of unmarked graves, but at the end the graves of W. J. and Mary F. Bean are marked in graves 12 and 13, meaning we could work our way downward from those graves in order to find Mr. Radford, who I believe to be Lige.


Entrance to Union Grove Cemetery.


The grave of W. J. Bean at the end of row 6.


The grave of Mary F. Bean near the end of row 6.


Based on Cowell's survey, this should be the grave of John Bean, brother of W. J.


Based on Cowell's survey, this should be the grave of Mr. Radford, who I believe is Lige Radford.


Based on Cowell's survey, this should be the grave of Eddie Ramsey, son of Luther and Elizabeth Ramsey.


Based on Cowell's survey, this should be the grave of Elizabeth Grooms Ramsey, wife of Luther.


Grave of Audie Ramsey, the other marked grave between which the above four fieldstones lie.


Within Union Grove Cemetery.

We were hoping to make our next stop the original homestead of my 3rd great grandfather, Robert Eversole. (You can read his biography in full here: http://thesaltofamerica.blogspot.com/2016/08/where-is-robert-eversole-his-life-his.html) Unfortunately, this forest service road is not maintained well enough for me to traverse its large potholes and other gaping spaces in the rough road in anything other than a large pick up truck. I got about a mile down this road and had to turn back out of fear of ending up stranded. While I really wanted to visit the original Eversole homeplace in Arkansas, my desire to see it was outweighed by my desire to not be stuck in the middle of nowhere without cell phone service.

Fortunately, our next stop was just a few yard from our turn back onto the paved highway. Sutherland-Boling Cemetery is located outside of Fallsville, Arkansas, and I believe it is the resting place of my 4th great grandmother, Lucy Boling Eversole, the mother of Robert Eversole and 1st cousin of the cemetery's founder and namesake, George W. Boling.


Map showing area northeast of Fallsville where Bob Eversole and Jim Bailey lived in relation to the Boling-Sutherland Cemetery. Courtesy of Google Maps.

I lay out my case for Lucy's burial at the Boling-Sutherland Cemetery on the Find A Grave memorial I created for her: "Lucy and Sally lived on the land of and worked for a man named Jim Bailey, per Sally's Widow's Application for Union Pension for her husband Jesse Radford's service. Sally eventually bore a child with Bailey out of wedlock. Sometime after that, Sally went to live with her brother John, and when he died, with her brother Robert, before marrying the father of Robert's wife Eliza, Jesse Radford.

Lucy is not mentioned again in the pension after the reference about living with Jim Bailey. It is presumed she died around this time. The year 1885 is purely a guess; it is between the birth of Sally's son by Jim Bailey and her marriage to Jesse Radford. As Jim Bailey's place was the last known residence of Lucy, that location and the confirmed location of her son Robert's homestead were used as reference points for where Lucy was most likely to be buried. Her son John died in this same timeframe while living in the same vicinity, so it is presumed the two are buried together.

The Bolins and Eversoles, like their eastern Kentucky and northern Arkansas brethren, were the clannish type. They moved with, lived near, and were buried with their kin. While the Case and Curtis cemeteries in rural Newton County were considered as possible burial places for Lucy and John, neither were particularly close to the Bailey or Eversole homesteads, and neither appears to have any close family to Lucy buried there. The Sutherland-Bolin cemetery, however, meets both criteria. Geographically, it is the closest cemetery to the Bailey and Eversole homesteads. Further, several of Lucy's Bolin kin are buried there, including her first cousin, George W. Bolin. George's father William and Lucy's mother Hannah were siblings." (Find A Grave memorial: https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=175330888) I also believe Lucy's eldest son, Robert's brother John Eversole, is almost certainly buried here as well.




Like all of these Arkansas Ozark cemeteries, there are a number of unmarked graves and fieldstones scattered throughout the cemetery. Any one of them could be the graves of Lucy and John Eversole.



Headstone for George W. Boling, first cousin of Lucy Boling Eversole, and his wife Agatha.

We next headed for Patterson Springs. On our way there, we drove through Fallsville, Arkansas, or what remains of it. Dotted with a few homes but mostly abandoned and dilapidated structures, if not for a double-sided sign labeling the area as Fallsville, you probably wouldn't even notice you were passing through the town.




It wasn't long after Fallsville that we were back on yes another seemingly never-ending dirt and gravel road as we had been for much of the day. This road would lead us to Patterson Springs church and cemetery, and the Decoration Day gathering there awaiting us.


Sign from the road pointing to Patterson Springs and Oark.


Patterson Springs Church road sign.




The church has been really well maintained. Every year, the Decoration Day committee gathers funds to keep the cemetery mowed and for the general upkeep of the church. To me, it looks just like it would have in Robert Eversole's day--except for having electricity now, of course. My 3rd great grandparents Robert and Eliza Radford Eversole went to church here. Robert's funeral was almost certainly held in this room, and he is almost certainly one of the 5 Eversoles buried here.


The inside of the church with musicians preparing to play some old praise and gospel songs for a short service before lunch.


On the left is my grandfather, Clyde Marks, who met us at the church for the celebration. On the right is his mother's 1st cousin, Artis Eversole, who he has never met before. Artis is the son of Elige and Bultha Anglin Eversole and is my great grandmother's 1st cousin. Artis's son Bruce from Kansas is next to him, and Bruce's daughter is in the pink. We sat together and looked through pictures and genealogy materials my grandfather and I had brought to share. Artis is one of 4 remaining grandchildren of Robert and Eliza Eversole, along with Ruby the daughter Polly Eversole Manus and two children of Jesse Eversole.

While going through photos, my grandfather pulled out a folder of "Unknown Photos" he had brought along. They belonged to his mother, Leola Marie Barnett, and are believed to be mostly Eversole kin with some occasional Barnett and Marks relatives thrown in at times. I had not looked through these photos for a good five years or so, and two of them quickly caught my attention.


This first one is pretty difficult to see, but appears to have been taken in Arkansas and looks to be a gathering of Eversole kin. The man on the far left could be Grady Manus, and the man on the far right could be Andy Barnett, my great great grandfather. It's difficult to make out the faces in this old picture, but regardless it's a really neat photograph.


This photo is a true treasure by any definition of the word. About 2 years ago, I received a photo of Sarah "Sallie" Eversole Radford, who was the sister of my 3rd great grandfather Robert Eversole and became the 2nd wife of my 4th great grandfather Jesse Radford. So I immediately knew that she was the woman in the upper right hand corner. We could also tell right away that the girl in front of her on whose shoulders her hands rest was Hannah Radford, her daughter. Using logical deduction, we concluded that this is a photo of Sallie with her 5 biological children. The oldest in the back middle would be William Garrett Eversole, Sallie's son by Jim Bailey. Next to him in the back on the left would be her son Jim Radford. In the middle would be Jack Radford. And what really makes the picture incredible is the girl in front and to the left. I believe this is Fanny Radford. 

We have only two references to Fanny, and only one by name. Jesse lists her as his "deceased" daughter in a 1915 list of his children. Sallie, when asked about her children, says "The one that died was a girl". We previously assumed that she died as an infant, but based on this picture we now believe she lived to be roughly 7-9 years old. Based on her place in the birth order, we believe she was born about 1892, and since she was not in the 1900 Census, she had died right around age 8, likely in 1899 or early 1900. This would be the only known photo of this girl.



A potluck meal is served for the group, which included an area Amish (or Mennonite, I wasn't sure) family. Elliott can be seen in the front showing off his Leappad to the other kids, and he did a great job of sharing it with all of them as well, making himself a bunch of little friends in the process.


Elliott's favorite part was obviously dessert.


Clyde Earl Marks Jr. and Artis Eversole, great grandson and grandson of Robert and Eliza Radford Eversole, respectively, standing before the church where Robert's funeral was held nearly 100 years after he died.


5 Generation Eversole photo: 1. Artis Eversole; 2. Clyde Marks and Bruce Eversole; 3. Bruce Eversole's son; 4. Nathan Marks; 5. Elliott Marks


We also spent a good deal of time in the well-kept Patterson Springs Cemetery.


This line of 5 Eversole graves is believed to mark the resting places of Robert Eversole and four of his grandchildren, children of Elige Eversole. They were Artis's siblings. Most died before he was born or when he was very young. One of the boys was Samuel, and one of the girls was Juanita, but the names and sexes of the other two have been forgotten.The 5th Eversole marker, the one closest to the front of this picture, has become covered in grass and sunken into the ground. I found it and with help had it uncovered. The cemetery's record keeper previously had only 4 Eversole markers in her book, but we showed her that there is indeed a 5th stone and she altered the cemetery records accordingly. We were all thrilled to uncover it. It is not clear which stone belongs to whom, so we do not know which is Robert's, but all five of them are our blood and we are glad to have gotten to visit them and pay our respects.


The "lost" Eversole marker we uncovered and brought back to the surface.





Next we went down the road less than 2 miles to the approximate area where Robert Eversole's 2nd homestead was located. The area is completely overgrown, so if it was once cleared for his home and other buildings, those spots have been completely reclaimed by nature.


Location of 2nd Eversole homestead. Courtesy of Bureau of Land Management GLO records.



Our last stop for the day was Radford's Freewill Cemetery. It took us about half an hour to get there mostly because we had to traverse more unpaved road, but we eventually made it. This cemetery was owned by my 4th great grandfather, Jesse Radford. It is not on his original plot, but rather on a neighboring one that I believe he eventually purchased. Either that, or the cemetery took his name because his family were the first to be buried there. I believe his first wife, Grace Holland, was the first person to be buried there. Unfortunately, if her grave was marked at one point, it no longer is today, and we do not know which of the fieldstones scattered throughout the cemetery was placed for her. Other unmarked Radfords buried here include the aforementioned Fanny Radford, Jesse's mistress Mary Jane Boling, Jesse and Grace's children Davy Radford and Rebecca Radford Stepp, and Jesse's second wife, the aforementioned Sarah Eversole Radford.





Headstone for  Sarah "Sally" Eversole Radford.


In cemetery survey, this stone has been listed as "N. Y. Radford". I have not identified who any "N. Y." could be. Upon closer inspection, it appears the stone might say "Jess". This may have been Jesse Radford's original headstone before his military stone was put in place. This grave is in the same cluster of graves with Jack's 3 children that all died within months of Jesse, and is right next to his wife Sally's stone.


Edward Radford, son of Jack. He and his twin Edna were said to have died of the flu in 1918 within hours of each other. They went to bury one twin, and when they came home the 2nd had died.


Edna Radford, daughter of Jack. The 2nd twin in the aforementioned set belonging to Jack that died in 1918.


Helen Radford, daughter of Jack.


Irving Del Radford, son of Jack Radford. His sister says they found him dead in the garden one day; they were not sure what he died of, but possibly heat stroke.


Nancy Holland Roberts, my aunt, sister of Grace Holland Radford.


Cluster of fieldstones in the cemetery; any of these graves could mark some of our missing folks in this cemetery, including Grace, Davy, Fanny, and Rebecca.


John Roberts, husband of Nancy Holland.


Jesse Radford's military stone. It is not clear when this stone was set, but I believe the above-pictured stone is his original stone and marks the place where his actual remains are.


We decorated Jesse's grave, as the next day was Memorial Day after all.


A cluster of fieldstones near Jesse's military headstone.



After this, we all headed down to Clarksville, had dinner, and then my grandfather generously put us up in a hotel for the night before making his way back to where my grandmother was staying.




Day 6

The next morning we, of course, had to have waffles for breakfast.


We had one more stop before heading home--the Johnson County Historical Society. Lance Spanke generously took the time on a holiday to let us visit the society and check out their library. I found a few pieces of information, the best of which was the funeral home record for my uncle Nathaniel Radford proving his place of burial at Coal Hill Cemetery.


And then we were off! It was finally time to get home to the rest of our little clan, but we sure had a great time. These annual camping trips with Elliott have been amazing, and getting to see so many places related to our family history has been a real blessing. I hope it helps to give Elliott a better sense of where and who he came from, and will give him an appreciation for his family history when he gets older. After all, I don't only do all this to honor my forebears myself, but to make sure my own descendants do the same so as to ensure they are never forgotten.