Once Upon a Time

Today’s story will be a little different. At least one of the parties involved would be very upset to be connected to or named in this story. So out of respect I’ll only be taking the names in this genealogy so far down the line and then I’ll stop. I’ll be telling the story in such a way that even if the persons involved read this story, they would not know it was their story. So forgive me if it’s a little vague at times.

Once Upon A Time
Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl…but it’s not what you think. They were brother and sister- Rebecca and William HENDRY. They were two of at least eight children born to George and Deborah (BORDEN) HENDRY. The children grew up in Virginia. I’m not going to go into a lot of details about their childhood since my information is conflicting on some points and I don’t want to pass on bad information. So their marriages are where their lives begin to diverge and that’s where we’ll go with this story.

The Girl
In the girl there’s a room,
in the room there’s a table,
on the table there’s a candle
and it won’t burn out.

In the woman there’s a song,
in the song there is hope,
in the hope, revolution.
~ Sara Groves, In the Girl There’s a Room

Rebecca HENDRY grew up and fell in love with Jeremiah Dungan.

Jeremiah Dungan Mill in Tennessee.

Rebecca and Jeremiah were married in Pennsylvania. One of their fourteen known children was a daughter, Sarah DUNGAN. Sarah was born in Tennessee. She married Zebulon SMITH. One of Sarah’s and Zebulon’s six children was a daughter named Elizabeth SMITH. I can’t go any further than this with naming names as I wish to try to maintain some anonymity for the person I mentioned above. So I will tell you that Elizabeth was born in Tennessee and was still there when she married. She and her husband- we’ll call him “Steven”- had ten children and one was a daughter named “Ann”. Ann married “Paul” in Indiana and together they had seven children. Paul and Ann’s son, “Mark”, was born in Indiana. Mark and his family moved to Missouri. There he met and married “Haley” and they had a daughter- “Lorene”. Lorene was the fourth of eight children. She married “Bill” in Arkansas and their daughter “Katherine” was born there. Katherine married “Tad” in Arkansas and their daughter was “Shelley”. Shelley married “Edward” and their daughter was “Lana”. Lana married “David” and they had a daughter named “Mary”. Remember Mary- we’ll come back to her later.

The Boy
In the boy there’s a voice,
in the voice there’s a calling,
in the call there’s a promise
and it won’t quiet down.

In the man there’s vision,
in the vision is a road,
it’s the road to his freedom…
~ Sara Groves, In the Girl There’s a Room

Log cabin built by William Hendry, refurbished about 1985

Remember Rebecca HENDRY’s brother- William? Let’s talk about him now. William HENDRY grew up and fell in love with Elizabeth JONES. They were married in Virginia. Like William’s sister Rebecca, William and Elizabeth moved to Tennessee where they had a daughter named Mary Ann HENDRY. Mary Ann was the middle of three children. She married John BEAGLES. John and Mary had a son named Edmund who was born in Tennessee. Edmund was the third of four children born to John and Mary Ann. Edmund BEAGLES married two women and I’m not sure which is Julia’s mom so I’m going to call Julia’s mom “Malinda” for now. Edmund had quite a few children- numbering in the teens. For this story, I’m only interested in his daughter named Julia Ann. Julia was born in Tennessee. Julia married a man I cannot name for the reasons listed above. We’ll call Julia’s husband “Johnny”. Julia and Johnny had a son- “David”. David was born in Indiana and he married “Angeline”. The first of David’s and Angeline’s four children was a son named “Monroe” who was born in Arkansas. Monroe married “Lizzie”. The oldest of Monroe’s and Lizzie’s sons was “Isaac”. Isaac married “Lillian” and together they had eight children one of whom was “Donald”. Donald married “Irene” and together they had “Ruthie”. Ruthie was married briefly to “Allen”. Together they had two children, one of whom was “Terry”. Remember Terry- we’ll be coming back to him.

The Girl + The Boy = A Dream
Tell me what you know
about God and the world and the human soul,
how so much can go wrong
and still there are songs.

In the man is a work
and the work is his future
and the future is his children
and he won’t slow down.

In the woman there’s a faith,
in the faith there’s a prayer,
in the prayer there’s a promise…
~ Sara Groves, In the Girl There’s a Room

Sometimes when a boy and a girl meet, they fall in love. They marry, they have children. They dream of a long, wonderful life together. Sometimes that long, wonderful life happens- and sometimes it doesn’t. Then their children grow up and the cycle starts all over again. Boy + Girl = Dream.

We started with a sibling set- William and Rebecca HENDRY. They started life together as siblings and we watched as their families expanded and traveled until both families ended up in Arkansas but neither family knew anything of the other. Now, we’ve made our way to another boy and another girl, “Mary” and “Terry”.

Another Boy + Another Girl = Another Dream
In the boy is a dream,
in the dream he is standing,
and he stands without fear
and he won’t sit down.

In the girl is a song,
in the song there is hope,
in the hope there’s defiance…

Tell me what you know
about God and the world and the human soul,
how so much can be wrong
and still there are songs.

In their hearts and souls
an unstoppable refrain,
Hope sings in defiance.
~ Sara Groves, In the Girl There’s a Room

Mary and Terry didn’t grow up together. In fact, they didn’t know each other until shortly before they married. Mary knew nothing of Terry’s family. Likewise, he knew nothing of hers. They fell in love. They got married. They had children. Neither one ever knowing that Mary’s 8th great-grandparents were George and Deborah (BORDEN) HENDRY- parents of William and Rebecca; neither one ever knowing that Terry’s 8th great-grandparents were the same George and Deborah (BORDEN) HENDRY- parents of William and Rebecca.

The Moral of the Story

Adam and Eve painting by Domenichino

Know your family. Know your family history. Know your mate’s family history. And if you’re the one yelling, “Gross!” right now- this story IS yours. It happens all the time. Don’t think you’re exempt. You’ll never find anyone to whom you AREN’T related. Besides, if you’re a Christian you should have known that we all go back to ONE BOY and ONE GIRL – Adam and Eve- and ONE DREAM- to love and be loved and have a long, wonderful life.

Love the ones your with- they’re the ones God gave you. In the lyrics at the beginning of this tale it says, “in the hope [is] revolution” and at the end of the lyrics it says, “Hope sings in defiance.” So sing out in defiance of hate and loneliness. Sing out – and reach out – with love. Love is the revolution we need. Be defiant:


Until next time,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

My Beloved Wife Mary and My Two Daughters

Screen shot of Frederick FOSTER’s will.

To support my genealogy habit, I’m a teacher by day. This week was spring break week and it was much needed this year. On Thursday and Friday my husband and I took small day trips to get in some genealogy time. On Friday we went to Mt. Vernon, Missouri, and my mom went with us. We went to research Charles SEELY and his father-in-law, Frederick FOSTER. Both families were living in Lawrence County, Missouri, in the 1850’s and 1860’s. We enjoyed our time together and were able to find a couple of documents while there. This blog post examines what we found- a marriage certificate for Charles SEELY and Sintha FOSTER and a record of a will and probate for Frederick FOSTER.


Death- especially one’s own death- has a way of cutting through to the heart of a matter (or a life). Being faced with one’s own mortality causes a whole new mindset that others who haven’t done the same cannot understand. And sometimes in life, no matter how hard we try, we end up having favorites- and more importantly, showing favorites. I’m not sure in this case if Frederick FOSTER was showing favorites or if, after coming face to face with his own mortality, he was just disposing of his possessions in such a way as to meet everyone’s needs the best he could.


I work with a teacher and she is constantly telling the students, “Fair is NOT everyone getting the same thing. Fair is everyone getting what they NEED.” I love that. I’d like to think that was what Frederick was doing- being fair to everyone- meeting everyone’s needs the best he could at that time. (But then, as I’ve said before- we always want to think our ancestors were the nicest people rather than face the fact that some of them were NOT.) Having said that, here is a transcription of what his will says.

Will of Frederick Foster, Deceased
State of Missouri, Lawrence County,
“This being my last will and testament
Know all men by these Presents that I Frederick Foster; that I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Mary Foster, my household and kitchen Furniture her lifetime or widowhood, and after her death to my two daughters Nancy L. Foster and Sarah E. Foster, I also give and bequeath unto my wife her lifetime or widowhood and at her death to my two daughters Nancy L. Foster and Sarah E. Foster, one forty acres of land with a Premson (?) on it; and also four acres of land where my house Stands, offen my eighty acre peace, I give and bequeath unto my wife and two daughters two cows and calves to wit: Nancy L. Foster and Sarah E. Foster. I give and bequeath unto my wife and two daughters one hundred dollars to wit: Nancy L. Foster and Sarah E. Foster.
“I give and bequeath unto the rest of my children the remainder of my Estate to wit: my cows and land, horses, notes and money if any to wit: Martha Stephens, Jemima Foster, Jane Paige, Susannah Bundy, Elizabeth Hicks, Cynthia Sealy, Mary Weldy, Delila Anderson I want them to hold after my death and all my just debts are paid, this being my last Will and Testament, and I hereby set my name and seal,
“Given under my hand this 27th day of February 1863.
“Frederick Foster (his mark)

“Testes.: Henry Johnson (his mark)
John Anderson (his mark)”

As you can see, his daughters were married except Nancy and Sarah so I would like to think that is why they received more than the others. I’m waiting on the probate record so we can learn more about this family at this time in their lives. Until then, you can think this one over and come to your own conclusions. (And by the way, Mary FOSTER’s maiden name was BURNETT- in case you want to research on your own. The John Anderson who witnessed the will was Frederick’s son-in-law who was married to Delila. John and Frederick seemed to have a close relationship.)

I Give and Bequeath Unto My Children…Cynthia Sealy

Frederick FOSTER’s daughter, Sintha SEELY (her first and last names are spelled many ways), married Charles SEELY on 15 October 1845 in Lawrence County, Missouri. They were married by Presiding Judge Joseph SCHOOLING. Theirs was one of the first marriages officially recorded in the county. This was also the other record we found on our visit. Sometimes women are hard to find and while I already knew about Sintha, this is just one more official record connecting her to her husband and her father. Old records are generally based upon the male’s transactions and activities so connecting a woman to the men in her life is very important when looking at older records.

SEELY-FOSTER marriage certificate.


While we were in Lawrence County, Missouri, on Friday we found some other miscellaneous information but I’m still looking through all that so maybe another time I will post on that information.

Until then,
Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

We All Have Secrets

Genealogy is like a big puzzle. Each of us has a piece- or pieces if we’re lucky- that we can share with each other. It’s midnight. I really should be sleeping. Instead, I want to share some puzzle pieces with you before I call it a night.

Recently, Annie Blanchard contacted me via Ancestry to talk about our common connection. You may remember Annie. I linked up to her Digging Genealogy blog in this post about Samuel Williams. Samuel’s father is mine and Annie’s common ancestor. Annie had puzzle pieces I didn’t have. (THANK YOU, ANNIE!) Specifically, she had a letter written by John WILLIAMS’ third wife (her ancestor; his first wife was my ancestor). She posted this letter along with a transcription of it on her blog. I read through the letter. Thought on it for a couple of days. (It’s book fair time at school so finding time to even think about the letter long enough to process it is hard.) Then this evening I got back to the letter and re-read it. I always find something new when I take the time to read it again after letting it settle in for a bit. I began to be very interested in the various people she mentioned in her letter. Some of them were relatives and Annie had done a good job of keeping track of those people but my ever-curious mind wanted to know about the OTHER people. (Surely you remember that particular bent of mine from my notoriously long 2 part post on Nicholas REITER, right??)

In any case, here I am hours later to let you know what I found. I was plugging along looking up each name trying to match up Mr. FOSTER with the most likely FOSTER listed in the records (or Mrs. CROSBY, or “old man LINGO”, etc.). And then I got to the name of Fannie HERRINGTON. I plugged her name into the Ancestry search engine and got quite a shock. Fannie was widowed and her second husband was…SAMUEL WILLIAMS! I thought, “Surely NOT!” So I dug around a little more. It’s possible that this really is MY Samuel WILLIAMS, but I don’t know for sure.

Let’s Reason This Out

1. According to Annie’s information, Samuel was disowned by his father when he married my ancestor, Eliza Emeline BELL (also known as Emma or Emeline in some records) because John (Samuel’s father) didn’t like her.

2. Samuel and Eliza had a hard life together. If you recall, they averaged a loss of one significant person in their lives every 1 1/2 years. Some people even speculated that Samuel committed suicide as opposed to his death being an accident.

3. Timeline:

12 August 1903- Armazinda WILLIAMS, the woman who had raised Samuel since he was 8 years old, passed away.

1903-1904- Fannie HERRINGTON was a widow living near Samuel’s dad (John WILLIAMS) in
Upton Township, Texas County, Missouri. Samuel and Eliza WILLIAMS were a married couple living in
next-door Roubidoux Township, Texas County, Missouri.

Late-May/Early-June, 1904- Eliza became pregnant with hers and Samuel’s last child, Mart.

6 September 1904- Samuel’s dad, John, died.

2 October 1904- Samuel WILLIAMS and Fannie HERRINGTON get married.

February, 1905- Samuel and Eliza’s last child, Mart, was born.

1905- Family oral history states that sometime around the 1904-1905 timeframe, Samuel was hit and killed by a
train. You may also recall that I have not found one single source of information that backs up that
story. No juicy newspaper article, no obituary…I can’t even find his grave.

So conceivably, he could have impregnated Eliza, faked his own death, and then married Fannie HERRINGTON in October of 1904. Alternatively, maybe Samuel and Fannie somehow became romantically involved, Eliza found out so he and Eliza split up, and in order to satisfy Eliza’s religious family they made up the story that he was killed rather than face the social shame of a divorce or of everyone knowing their personal business.

As I said before- I’m not sure it’s the same Samuel WILLIAMS. There were other men with the same name in that general area at that time. (If you’ve tried finding someone with the last name Williams, Smith, or Jones you understand completely what my dilemma is here.)

I’d love for you to chime in with your thoughts on the matter. Was he really killed? Or did he fake it so he could finally satisfy his dad even though his dad had already died? Sometimes regret does funny things to our decision-making skills. I’ll definitely be trying to follow up on any leads. Hopefully Annie will have some ideas of her own when I tell her all about this tomorrow. Oh wait…it IS already tomorrow. Well- later today I’ll let her know and then I’ll pass any new information on to you. For now, it’s 1:15 a.m. and I’m tired. Now that I’ve got all this off my chest, I think I’ll go to bed.

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives