It's my genealogy blog, version 2.0, where I tell stories about our famous (and infamous) ancestors- our unsung heroes, our common man, our ordinary people who did extraordinary things- for our children. "[H]istorians talk about events of the past…[r]arely do we talk about the common man, the unsung hero. These people, many times, are unknown to us. All those people’s story mattered just as much as the stories of the great leaders. It’s easy to lose track of all those individuals but they’re there and they deserve to be remembered. One of the great lessons of history, all history, is that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. [T]hey are doing something not just for themselves, but for posterity. For their children." (Author unknown to me) Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. (The Holy Bible)
I wrote this blog post a couple of years ago while I was chaperoning a senior trip to San Antonio, Texas. Things got busy and I didn’t finish it and then other things happened when I got home and it has stayed in draft form ever since. When I saw that this week’s theme is ‘music’, I knew it was time to pull it out and finish it. I’m going to leave it mostly as I wrote it back then, even though it’s been two years. This was originally written 20 May 2019.
Just a side note for anyone new to the blog: the Stories for the Boys series is specifically written for my grandsons so they will know a little about mine and my husband’s lives in addition to those of their ancestors. It is my hope they will be interested in these stories at some point in their life. I know there are so many times I wish I’d listened closer to my grandparents and great-grandparents when they told stories. Now they’re gone and I can’t ask them for details anymore. Hopefully this will help alleviate that problem for my grandchildren. Additionally, I mention my son in this post. When he was in high school, he “copyrighted” the spelling of his name. He always wrote “DeReK” with a little copyright symbol after it. So I will often retain that spelling when I’m writing about him. So no – it isn’t a grammatical error, it’s a tiny homage to my son and his unique personality. I hope you enjoy reading the post this week.
May 20, 2019: Ft. Worth, Texas to San Antonio, Texas via Amtrak
I’m currently en route to San Antonio, Texas with a group of 12 teens who graduated from high school last week. This is their senior trip- their final moments together before they launch into their adult lives. Two of them were aides for me in my library this past school year so I got to know them better than other students. It’s always a little bittersweet saying goodbye to a group of students at the end of each year knowing that it may be years before I see them again- or maybe I won’t see them again at all in this lifetime.
To be completely honest with you, I’ve been dreading this trip all year. It didn’t help that one of the other (experienced) senior co-sponsors spent one evening telling me all the senior trip horror stories. Then my dad, bless his heart, told me a couple more senior trip horror stories just yesterday. There are a lot of reasons I didn’t want to be on this trip- mostly selfish ones. But, from the moment we boarded the train in Oklahoma City I began to find many reasons this trip was a good thing to do. We haven’t even reached San Antonio yet and I’ve already experienced a moment that I know I will treasure. Let me tell you about it.
When we switched trains in Fort Worth, Texas, we boarded a train where a group of Amish women were already on board. Sometime in late evening they began singing hymns in the lounge car. When I realized what they were doing I moved into the lounge area to listen and a few students also came to listen.
It’s always so nostalgic for me to hear the old hymns and they were singing a capella which I love. After a while there was a lull so I got up some courage and went and asked them to sing one of DeReK’s favorite hymns, It Is Well With My Soul. You can hear it below.
Later one of the students got brave enough to request I’ll Fly Away which is one of my all-time favorites. You can also hear that one below.
I’ll leave you with these beautiful hymns (the recordings don’t do these women justice- I had to sit too far away due to all the seats being full) and I’ll also leave you with my view from the train car window during our impromptu concert. God is good.
While you’re listening, say a prayer for these women. They are traveling down to Mexico to teach English for six weeks.
What a way to start the trip. Music calms me. I loved this moment in the trip. It was like a reassurance from God that everything was going to be okay.
Update: as I edit this on 30 March 2021 in preparation to finally publish it, I’m adding a couple more photos that were taken on the trip down to San Antonio and one more snippet from a song sung by the Amish women. I hope you enjoy my trip down memory lane. I sure do miss these kids and hope they’re doing well in life.
Last week I filled you in on the story of the YOCHUM family. While researching last week’s post I came across a little nugget of a story that I wanted to flesh out and bring to you this week. The theme this week is ‘lost’ and we’ll be talking about little Roney LITTRELL, a cousin-by-marriage to Nancy BEAR (the sister of Eliza Jane BEAR to whom we are genetically related according to my DNA). Dad’s family does have a Littrell line so it may be that in the future I discover we are blood related to this little boy in some way. In any case, it fit the theme and I found it interesting. Unfortunately, I didn’t find a lot of information so this post will have two halves- Roney LITTRELL who was lost around age 6 and another of my Dad’s lines, the CHAMBERS line which also had a boy that got lost. So grab your kleenex box and let’s get started.
Roney Littrell – A Life Barely Started
Roney LITTRELL was born about 1808 in Lincoln County, Tennessee. Lincoln County is about an hour to hour and a half south of Nashville, Tennessee to give you some idea of geography. His parents were Jesse and Frances (SHELTON) LITTRELL. DNA says we are connected to Roney but, of course, it doesn’t say how and I have yet to figure that out. We have both BEARs and LITTRELLs in my Dad’s line and both of these lines, along with YOCHUMs, intermarried. When Roney was about 6 years old, he and his dad went out with a group of people to hunt Sweet Gum trees. Sweet Gums are hardwood trees native to Tennessee and are considered ornamental in some areas of the US. I found a wonderful blog that laid out exactly what Sweet Gums can be used for. Thriving Earth Farm and Development says that for humans (as opposed to animals for which Sweet Gums are also food), parts of the Sweet Gum tree are used medicinally. Hobby Farms has a short article about medicinal uses. Sweet Gums can also be used for making baskets, for firewood if they are dried well, and for building material (including “high quality millwork” in houses). Some have even talked about using the wood to make their own lures at Tackle Underground. Any gardeners in the house? If so, check out FutureFarming’s website. They give a list of things you can do with Sweet Gum in the garden. A blog that I love, Eat the Weeds, says the dried sap of the tree is the only edible part of the tree but it does make a fragrant, bitter chewing gum. The sap is also used to add flavor to smoking tobacco. Any other edible uses are in the form of medicine which Eat the Weeds does talk about in the linked blog post. If you’re interested in making medicine be sure to read comments on the linked Eat the Weeds blog post as there are a variety of ways to make the medicine. When Sweet Gum is discussed for it’s medicinal properties, the brand name Tamiflu has been mentioned so if you have a Sweet Gum tree you may want to check that out. You can go to your pharmacy and get Sweet Gum in the form of “Compound Tincture of Benzoin”. If you feel more comfortable with a scientific study on the medicinal properties of Sweet Gum, you can check out the U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health study. By the way, do you want to know how to make the gum? I got you covered! Go to BushcraftUSA‘s website and start reading!
Now back to Roney and his dad. I can’t say for sure why Roney and Jesse were hunting Sweet Gum that day. It could have been any of the reasons listed above. In any case, there they were with this group. I don’t have details about how it all went down but this is how I imagine it. Roney grouped up with the other kids his age, as kids often do. At some point, Roney separated from the group. When Jesse went to find him or to check on him, he was gone. I can only imagine the aftermath. If Roney’s mom (they called her Frankey) wasn’t with the group then Jesse had to go home – without Roney – and tell her what happened. My heart breaks for both of them. The story goes that Jesse hunted for Roney for two years after that, wandering in and out of Indian encampments looking for his son. I can only imagine the aftermath of that group trip. I cannot find any information that indicates Jesse and Frankey ever found Roney.
Alexander John Chambers- In His Heart, A Sea Captain
Relying on the research of others (specifically that research done by William Davis CHAMBERS and posted at Chambers History: Trails of the Centuries website), I offer you the following stories. Alexander CHAMBERS was born in 1749 in Ireland to Samuel and Mary (THOMPSON) CHAMBERS. They were from a Scots-Irish family. When Alexander was 15 years old, his family made the voyage to America, settling in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. Alexander loved the sea. So much so that when the family arrived, Samuel and Mary indentured Alexander to a man 80 miles inland to keep Alexander from becoming a sailor. The family arrived in 1765. At that time, Philadelphia was suffering from a Smallpox epidemic that had broken out the previous year and lasted into 1766. According to Revolutionary War Journal‘s website, in 1765 Philadelphia suffered epidemic outbreaks of Smallpox (from 1764-1766), Scarlet Fever and Smallpox in 1769, and Influenza from 1770-1771. They had some difficult years leading up to the Revolution. You can see previous and subsequent epidemic outbreaks on that website. It’s very interesting. Our Covid-19 crisis seems to have been their “normal” from about 1763-1783. It was about halfway through this Philadelphian pandemic period (about 1771) that Alexander became an adult. He left his indenture status and returned to Philadelphia to be with his parents. In 1771, Philadelphia was suffering back-to-back epidemics of Influenza and Whooping Cough. During these back-to-back epidemics, many people left Philadelphia in an effort to save themselves and their families. When Alexander arrived in Philadelphia to be with his parents he could not find them. They had left while he was indentured. William Davis CHAMBERS received a letter from a family member who indicated that Alexander’s parents left because of the epidemics. According to his grandson, Alexander made an initial search for his parents but didn’t find them. He searched the rest of his life for his parents and never found them. Alexander eventually moved to Kentucky and then Indiana. Throughout his life he continued the search for his parents and his grandson remembers his dad (Alexander’s son) making two long trips with Alexander in search of Alexander’s parents. I can only assume that they also looked for him and never found him.
Wandering the Woods and the City Streets
I’d love more time to research and write about these families but I’ve run out of time for this week’s blog post. I think my ancestors would understand if they knew that I have living people to care for this week and an old friend to mourn who passed away this week – far too soon in his life. The stories will wait. The living people I love need to be loved and cared for now, not later. Maybe next week we’ll have a longer story time, but this week we’re going to leave these lost boys where they are – wandering the woods and the city streets trying to find their way back. There are many in the world today who are lost. Pray for them. Squeeze your loved ones tight and don’t take your eyes off your littles. Life is too short and too precious.
Wishing you love, safety, and a life of never being lost.
This week’s theme is ‘fortune’. I don’t know about you but I love a good buried treasure story! I’ve been waiting a while to tell this story and now is the perfect time! Back in August of 2019 I told you about my DNA adventure with the BAIR/BEAR/BARE family. See this post:
In that post I briefly mentioned Henry and Elizabeth (YOCUM) SCHELL.
I mentioned that Henry was murdered by bushwhackers and I believe the murder was tied to a hidden treasure called “Yocum’s Silver Dollars”. I didn’t really go into much detail in that post because I didn’t feel I could bring you a good enough story about it at that time. I’ve since done some more research and it fits perfectly with this week’s theme so we’re going to unpack and dig into the legend of Yocum’s Silver Dollars!
The First Non-Indian Residents in Stone County, Missouri
There are so many YOCUM family stories online that it took me two days to locate and read through the stories about JUST the Stone and Taney County, Missouri YOCUMs. I’m still finding stories so I know I haven’t gotten them all. The abundance of information about this family is almost overwhelming. At the bottom of this post I will link to a crude bibliography I created so you know what information I looked at to get this post written. One of the links I found identified James YOACHUM as being the first non-Indian resident to live in Stone County, Missouri.
Some say the YOCUM family (then spelled YOACHUM) was in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri as far back as the 1790’s. I can neither confirm nor deny this information. I can say with some degree of confidence that James YOACHUM/YOCUM left Illinois shortly after the death of his first wife and moved to Taney County, Missouri by at least the very early 1800’s, some say after the War of 1812. He left his son with his brother Solomon (who went by Sol). In the spring, James would return to Illinois to see his son, Jacob, and then return home in the summer with provisions. By 1815, James had convinced Sol and Jacob to move to Missouri with him. Around 1818, the US Government signed the St. Mary’s Treaty with the Delaware Tribe which ordered the tribe to move to land west of the Mississippi. Two governors got together and declared the area around Taney County, Missouri to be Delaware Indian Reservation land so that’s where the tribe settled. This was the same land/same area that James YOACHUM lived on and farmed. James eventually married a Delaware Indian woman named Winonah. In 1825, the government’s Indian Sub-agent, John Campbell, got the YOCUMs evicted off the Delaware Reservation land by writing a letter to his superior stating that James YOCUM and other “outlaws” were distilling liquor and selling it to the Indians. Specifically, he had this to say about our YOCUM family:
“Solomon Yoachum has erected a distillery… and has made a quantity of peach brandy and has been selling it for some time in quantities to the Indians. There is a number of those outlaw characters all below him who are selling whiskey constantly to the Indians.”
The previous year, John Campbell- the Federal Indian sub-agent who had sole jurisdiction over the Delaware Indian Reservation land, had complained about “relations between whites and Indians” and said,
“I think it bad policy to permit traders to cultivate so much of the Indian soil and to keep such large stocks of horses and cattle in the neighborhood of the villages and they pay the Indians no rent and sell their corn at an extravagant price to them… Some of the traders are now clearing more land, those who have Indian families of children I think ought to be allowed to cultivate soil sufficient to support their children but nothing more.”
It was, however, seemingly acceptable to Sub-agent Campbell that the likes of John Jacob ASTOR had a monopoly on trade in the area via a trading post that “extended credit” to the Delaware people. ASTOR maintained quite the lucrative venture from 1823-1827. The YOACHUMs weren’t going to win this particular battle against the government. They were evicted from their land by the government and they moved just southwest of the reservation to the mouth of the Kings River where it empties into the White River.
The Silver Mine Enters the Story
The Delaware were later moved off this land to a different location and sometime before the Delaware Tribe left, James traded horse, blankets, and soap to the Delaware in exchange for a silver mine (or cave, depending on who is telling the story). Eventually, James was joined by both his brothers as well as his son. The three brothers built the first cabin across the valley from the mine entrance so they could guard it. Later they built James’ cabin directly in front of the mine entrance and made a secret mine entrance so they could access the mine from inside their home.
In the early 1800’s money, especially silver, was scarce. This is where the story diverges. Some say it was because of the scarcity of silver that YOACHUMs decided to make their own from the ore in the mine. Others tell a different story about how the YOACHUMs came into possession of the silver. In either case, it wasn’t illegal at that time to coin your own money and many did it. (Minting your own coins wasn’t illegal until 1862 when Congress got involved and started passing laws.) There are so many versions of the story and they all start to diverge right about this point in the story. Some people believe James’ son, Jacob Levi YOACHUM, was responsible for making the dies with which they struck the coins. Some believe the coins don’t exist at all. Several of the YOACHUMs were expert blacksmiths so it’s very possible that one or some or all of them did create some dies and use the dies to mint some silver coins.
Again, the country as a whole was very short on physical money in the early 1800’s. The government had forced the limiting of the production of coins. President Jefferson had imposed a moratorium on production in 1806 and maintained that limitation until 1837. There was a great deal of private coinage in circulation during this time. Privately minted coins in circulation at the time bore the name of the creator of the coin and was generally accepted as money. There were no banks in Missouri at that time – not until 1837 would there be a bank in Missouri. Bartering was a normal way of life and if you minted your own coins, provided they met a certain standard, they were a very welcome way of paying for goods. YOCUM dollars were used by everyone in the area. No one objected to the YOCUM dollars until one day a group of 6 men went to Springfield, Missouri to the land office there because they’d been told that even though they’d been living on their land a long time, now they had to go pay a filing fee to the government land office and homestead their land if they wanted to keep it. So they arrived in Springfield with their Yocum dollars to pay up. When they presented their YOCUM dollars, the land agent objected to them and said they were counterfeit. The settlers refused to leave without title to their land. The land agent confiscated the coins and sent one to Washington, D.C. for assay and a judgment on the legitimacy of the coins. The coins assayed at almost pure silver – worth more than the federal silver dollars. The government ordered the confiscation of all Yocum Silver Dollars, ordered agents to locate the silver mine/cave then confiscate it and not homestead that land to anyone.
Sticking It to the Man…Twice
Some time after that, James and Winonah YOCUM were said to have been killed when the silver mine caved in while they were inside it. This was about 1846-1848. Around this time, a federal agent showed up looking for the YOCUMs’ silver dollars, the mine, and the minting equipment. He didn’t find any of it. The YOCUMs refused to tell him the location of any of it. If anyone else knew the location, they didn’t give it up either. YOCUMs advised the agent to leave the country and never come back. The agent left. However, 8 years later the same government agent showed up again with 8 more agents. The agents and the YOCUMs did eventually arrive at an agreement that the YOCUMs would not mint any more coins and the government agent would go away and never come back. This was, apparently, the only concession made by the YOCUMs. (Way to stick it to the man, Sol!) After the death of James and Winonah, Sol packed up his family and left for California to see if they could strike it rich in the California Gold Rush. The silver mine/cave has never been located. Sol was the last surviving YOCUM who knew the location of the silver mine or any remaining hidden caches of YOCUM silver dollars. After having a stroke, Sol gave his grandson William a map with the location of the silver mine on it but the grandson was never able to find the mine. William’s son, Joseph, took up the search in 1958 but was also unsuccessful. Joseph gave the map to Artie AYRES who owned the land where the cave/mine was supposedly located. Artie never found the mine/cave either. Artie did, however, write a book which is now so rare it sells for $100 if you can manage to find a copy to buy. Eventually the White River was dammed and Table Rock Lake was created which covered up the alleged location of the mine and the alleged location of hidden caches of YOCUM silver dollars (along with the hidden dies used to mint the coins).
Adapt and Overcome
That’s the basic story of the Yocum Silver Dollar that I believe to be truthful. There are a lot of background details and side stories that are missing though so I want to fill in a few holes in the story. For instance if you believe the government and their experts, there are no known silver mines in either Stone or Taney County, Missouri that actually produce silver and professional geologists have said there will never be a producing silver mine in this area due to the geography of the land. They say it isn’t possible. I’m not an expert so I can’t say one way or the other. I can only ask myself if anyone offering a story has a reason to mislead and then base the “believability” of a statement on the conclusion I come to. (I can say that as recently as this week, I’ve found the government and one of their agencies being less than truthful about the existence of something. So there’s that.) I will say, some stories mention a silver mine or silver cave that had solid silver walls. I excluded that detail because I don’t believe it to be true. All of this to say, you’re getting the details *I* believe to be true. You’ll have to make up your own mind for yourself.
I did find someone on a message forum who said they were family of the YOACHUMs. This person told the most believable story of all and said they got it straight from other members of the family. It makes the most sense to me of all the stories I’ve read so far. This person says the truth is there was no silver mine. That story was created and perpetuated to throw off the government and to explain how the (very impoverished) YOACHUM family came into so much silver when it was so hard to come by. The truth is they distilled whiskey and brandy and sold it to the Indians which was an illegal act at the time. The Indians received payments from the federal government because of the treaties and the government paid the Indians with…you guessed it, silver dollars. So when the Indians got their government money, the YOACHUMs (being the wise entrepreneurs they were) brought out the peach brandy and whiskey. The Native Americans paid for the alcohol with the government silver. Now, the government silver would have proved the YOACHUMs to be criminals so they melted down the silver, re-minted it with their brand, and then were able to use it. Yes, the YOACHUMs laundered money…in a 19th century kind of way. They illegally sold homemade liquor and then laundered the silver coins they received in exchange for goods. They likely laundered money in this same way for other illegal distillers in the area as well. They did what they had to do to survive. There was a severe economic downturn in 1837. They adapted and overcame.
If you’re still doubting the YOCUM silver dollars ever actually existed, perhaps it will sway you to know that at some point there was a witness who said they visited YOCUM’s blacksmith shop and reported seeing a barrel full of YOCUM silver dollars. Again, you have to make up your own mind based on the information you find and the bias of the people offering the information.
Missouri…The Show-Me State
Perhaps, like me, you’re wondering what the YOCUM silver dollars looked like. There are a multitude of descriptions. I’ll give them all to you and you can decide which you find most likely to be credible.
Description #3: The YOCUM dollars were “crudely fashioned” and possibly only said “YOCUM Dollar”.
Description #4: Each was roughly 2 inches in diameter and embossed with the YOCUM name.
Description #5: There is outlined a number ‘1’ in the center with ‘DOLLAR’ curved below the ‘1’. Also there are some very small letters at the bottom which are illegible. It looks like there are about 4 numbers or letters that are illegible.
Description #5: The coins had hand punched denticals on both sides resembling a half circle pattern of connecting shapes that go completely around the outer circumference on both sides. The dies were primitive and crudely lettered. The die rod ends opposite the devices show expansion from being hammered on. Obverse has ‘YOACHUM’ punched halfway curved around the top while the curved date of 1822 is at the bottom. There is a single central star in the middle of the coin with 8 stars going around the central star. Two other stars are located on either side and connect ‘YOACHUM’ with the ‘1822’ date. The lettering is crude, resembling a chisel impression and not that of a lettered punch. Reverse has ‘UNITED STATES OF AMERICA’ going around and having smaller lettering than the obverse. (Yoachum Dollar (or Yocum) information desparately saught. — Collectors Universe)
There was one coin found in an old trunk in Kansas and it was reported to have been displayed at Missouri State Archives several years prior to 2017, according to Bob DERRYBERRY, the great-great-grandson of George YOCUM. Four coins were found under the floor of an old cabin that was being razed in 1923. There was allegedly 236 coins found in a metal box in South Branson, Missouri by a St. Louis, Missouri man. These 236 coins match up with Description #4 above.
J. R. BLUNK of Galena, Missouri, found YOCUM dies on 11 March 1983 while digging along the White River on property adjacent to the YOACHUM Settlement. The dies were buried and were preserved in a waxy substance that resembled animal fat. (More about this below.)
Although most stories credit James YOACHUM with being the first YOCUM in the Stone and Taney County, Missouri areas and they say he owned the silver mine, the family story that I found most reliable says George W. YOCUM (nephew of James) was the one who minted all the YOCUM silver dollars, not James and his son Jacob. The family says George and his wife came to Missouri from Ohio in the 1820’s. Many YOCUMs came to the area from Illinois and Ohio and all settled along the White River. Later, some moved north to the James River west of Branson, Missouri. I cannot tell you which version is correct on this particular detail.
A side note, the James River in southern Missouri is said to have been named after James YOACHUM. As of today, I still have not found a Taney County, Missouri map of the right time period with James River on it but I did find this 1830 map showing where the Delaware tribal reservation land was.
A more interesting side note: on Underground Ozarks forums there’s a post which ties together a lot of Branson area locales. For instance, I had no idea (and never really thought about it) that Silver Dollar City took it’s name from the YOCUM silver dollar legend. In the 1980’s when Branson was still a small-town attraction, there was a small outdoor amphitheater called Lost Silver Mine Theater that told the story of the YOACHUM family and the lost silver mine. If you’re looking for a podcast to listen to, I recommend Episode 4 of Ozarks Haints and Hooch where one of the hosts discusses her time as an actress at the Lost Silver Mine theater in Branson West (which was then called Lakeview and not Branson West). Dogpatch and Li’l Abner both based their main characters off the YOACHUM family as well. In addition to all this, there used to be a Camp Yocum in the Galena, Stone County, Missouri area. It was a summer resort on the James River during the 1920’s.
Other interesting family facts:
As of 2009, YOCUM descendants still lived around the Shell Knob, Missouri area.
On the Above Top Secret forums, someone who once saw the maps that Sol passed down to William (the maps that ended up with Artie AYRES) suggests the silver mine/cave is actually in the Reeds Spring, Missouri or Galena, Missouri area rather than in the Branson, Missouri area. Oddly enough, this fits in with other details I’ve read that were more obscure. Even odder, this is where my 3rd great grandfather, Jehue BAKER, lived and is buried. Jehue’s mother was Mary BAIR/BEAR and is our connection to the YOCUM/YOACHAM and SCHELL/SHELL families.
For those of you interested in the Native American heritage, it is said that YOCUMs have Osage, Cherokee, and Delaware blood.
There is so much more I’d love to know about this family. I wouldn’t mind trying a sip of that peach brandy either. Unfortunately, I’ll have to settle for reading my copy of a magazine I just scored off eBay this past week – the November/December 1988 issue of Treasure Search magazine which carried the article about the “Yoachum Dies” being found. Sometimes you have to take what you can get.
This week I hope you don’t have to settle for just “what you can get”. I wish you the best of the best and no being forced to settle. Make it a great week, friends. And if you do have to settle – just know that your turn for something perfect is coming. Make the best of it no matter what you get this week. Your attitude is the only thing you get to control.
“…a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” ~ Juliet in Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare
“…[A] rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” – but would it really? Is Cherokee County, Oklahoma just like Cherokee County, Kansas or Cherokee County, Georgia? This week’s theme is “name’s the same”. In the past I’ve done this theme using first names. This week I wanted to do something different – taking a look at place names that are the same. Often, as immigrants moved westward they named a new place after an old place. I find that interesting so today we’re looking at same-place-names.
Cherokee County, Georgia
My mom’s BATES family started out in Georgia. I got to visit Cherokee County, Georgia a few years ago and was able to go to some of the places that played a part in the BATES family history. It looks amazingly like Cherokee County, Oklahoma. Rolling hills, lots of green trees and forests. It was a nice trip and a beautiful place.
I could have chosen a better picture but the picture above is one that is special to me. I took it on my trip to Georgia. This was as close to my 3rd great grandparents’ homeplace as I could get that day.
The ancestors in my BATES line who lived in Cherokee County, Georgia were:
John C. and Mary Jane (MOBLEY) BATES (my 3rd great grandparents); John was born in Cherokee County, Georgia about 1818. John fought for the Confederacy during Civil War. He was a prisoner of war at Rock Island – the Yankee version of Andersonville Prison. Until recently, I thought he’d died as a prisoner of war at Rock Island. However, I discovered he was a part of a prisoner exchange. He managed to survive until his arrival in Savannah, South Carolina. There, he passed away. He was so close to home and yet so far away. I’m very proud of his service. I believe his family thought he died at Rock Island. He is recorded in the Murray County, Georgia books as having died as a prisoner of war.
Jesse A. and Delila (ARENT) BATES (my 4th great grandparents); In 1832, Jesse was appointed postmaster of Hickory Flat, Cherokee County, Georgia in 1832. Jesse and Delila remained in Cherokee County, Georgia until their deaths. They are said to be buried at the Hickory Flat Cemetery but when I went I could not find their graves. After Jesse died, Delila married William JOHNSON:
John and Frances Lucinda “Fanny” (BURNETT) BATES (my 5th great grandparents); like Jesse and Delila, John and Fanny were supposed to be buried in Hickory Flat Cemetery. I was unable to locate their graves when I went there. Another researcher has documented other efforts to locate the graves and no one has succeeded. John BATES was a blacksmith. Fanny’s dad (John Harrison BURNETT) died in the winter of 1777/1778 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Which means he must have known and interacted with George WASHINGTON. What an amazing history. This is definitely going on the list of future stories to write.
Burwell Meadows and Elizabeth Ann “Eliza” (MANNING) MOBLEY (whose daughter, Mary MOBLEY, married into the BATES family; they are my 4th great grandparents). Reuben MANNING (father of Elizabeth MANNING MOBLEY above) wrote a deed that I especially love. The deed can be found in Henry County, Georgia, Deed Book F, p 186:
Reuben MANNING of the state of South Carolina, Chester District, sold to Burwell MOBLEY of Henry County on 12 October 1832 for the respect I have for Burwell MOBLEY and his three children which are my grandchildren: Mary Jane MOBLEY; Sarah H A MOBLEY and Joseph Manning MOBLEY, 101 1/4 acres, the east end of Lot #90 in District 12. Witnesses: William WOODWARD and Sarah WOODWARD. Recorded 11 Feb 1834.
Henry County, Georgia, Deed Book F, p 186.
“For the respect I have for Burwell MOBLEY and his three children”. That’s an amazing thing to write about a son-in-law. I love that!
Vashti (COLEMAN) MANNING (grandmother of Mary MOBLEY who married John BATES; my 5th great grandmother); I found a transcription of a letter to Vashti from her father-in-law, John WILLIAMSON. Vashti married It was an interesting read. I’d sure like to know the story behind it. You can see the letter here:
So, as you can see – some interesting finds coming out of Cherokee County, Georgia. Georgia’s smelling pretty rosy to me!
Cherokee County, Kansas
We’re going to head west to Cherokee County, Kansas. Cherokee County, Kansas is still very green and has plenty of trees but it isn’t quite as hilly. Like it’s same-name in Georgia, it has lots of rural areas. This area of Kansas is rich in mining, though. In this single county, you can find my ancestors on both my dad’s and mom’s side, my husband’s ancestors from his dad’s side, and even the ancestors of my daughter-in-law and ex-son-in-law! Cherokee County, Kansas is a gold mine for me! Today though, I’m going to focus on my husband’s people for this area of Cherokee County, Kansas.
The one that I’m certain spent time in Cherokee County, Kansas is my husband’s great grandfather, George Benjamin PAGE. George mined in 1918. At that time, he was working in Baxter Springs, Cherokee County, Kansas at Pioneer Lead and Zinc Company. The photo below is George PAGE on his drill in Blue Goose Mine. His helper is Arie BRIGGS. The mine was located just across the state line in Picher, Ottawa County, Oklahoma but is a good example of what George did in the mines.
You can read more about George in one of my other posts:
It’s time to head south now to Oklahoma. Like the other two Cherokee County locations, Oklahoma has lots of rural areas and green trees. Like Georgia, it also has foothills. For this location, I’m going to focus on my Dad’s family. The following ancestors are known to have lived in Cherokee County, Oklahoma:
Joseph L. and Mary Elizabeth (LANE) LARKIN (my 3rd great grandparents); for a very short period between about 1906-1910, Joseph and some of his extended family lived in Cherokee County, Oklahoma. During this time they also appeared in the city directory of Tulsa. Based on all the evidence I have, I believed their permanent residence was in Cherokee County, Oklahoma but they worked in Tulsa for Tulsa Vitrified Brick and Tile Company. On the days they worked, they stayed in Tulsa and lived in a tent city near the brick plant. I believe they lived in a tent city because there is a wonderful article (well, wonderful for me- not so much for Joseph and his son William) that my sister-in-law found that talks about a fire where William lost money.
You can find more of my posts about Joseph LARKIN or his wife, Mary Elizabeth LANE LARKIN, here:
William and Minerva Jane (UNDERWOOD) LARKIN (my 2nd great grandparents); this William is the William in the article above and I’m confident that his dad Joseph was living with him in the tent city in Tulsa. Listen, $55 doesn’t sound like much today but I looked it up online and his $55 in 1906 had the same purchasing power as $1,598.56 in today’s money! In addition to the money, they lost the majority of their possessions. This was a HUGE loss for the family. You can find more articles about William LARKIN here:
Infant LARKIN (my 1st cousin 3 times removed); I include the infants because there is no one to remember them, so I will remember them. This baby belonged to Samuel Anglus and Frances (DEAN) LARKIN (my 2nd great granduncle and 2nd great grandaunt). The baby was born and died in 1917 while the family lived in Cherokee County, Oklahoma. The following year Frances was appointed Postmaster at McBride, Cherokee County, Oklahoma. Samuel owned a business in Hulbert, Cherokee County, Oklahoma. I imagine Samuel must have been quite a character and at some future point I hope to write his story. This article located on newspapers.com screams, “Write my story!”
Coming Full Circle
We’ve finally come back around to our original question – is a rose [or a Cherokee County] by any other name really just as sweet? And to that, I would give you a slightly fuller version of Juliet’s line from Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Yes, it would. A Cherokee County is as lovely in Georgia as it is in Kansas and as it is in Oklahoma. You know, I still have at least 5 other Cherokee Counties in the US that I have not visited and to that I offer another of Juliet’s lines (although slightly modified), “O Cherokee, Cherokee, wherefore art thou, Cherokee…” to which I also respond- Alabama, Iowa, Texas, and North and South Carolina!! I’m ready to travel!
I love all three of these Cherokee Counties. Not just because these places helped sustain my ancestors and gave them a home but because they are each interesting and beautiful in their own way. Before I could afford to travel, I would pull out maps and daydream about all the places I might go some day. We have a beautiful country. I hope you are fortunate enough to be making some summer travel plans even if it’s close to home. Pull out your maps and DREAM BIG!