Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch- Changes

So many changes are coming! I’m opening up a shop! The new name of the website is now the name of my business – Honeysuckle Farm, LLC. The blog will remain and will keep the name Days of Our Lives. I named it that because my paternal grandmother and great grandmother (Audrey and Bess) were always watching soap operas when I was little and when I talk about my blog I always think of them. What can I say? I’m a sentimental person.

I’m attempting to point my Shopify shop here. I have no idea what I’m doing so bear with me! I’m figuring it out as fast as I can. I’m hoping that connecting the shop will help me centralize everything. We’ll see… I only have a free trial of Shopify so if it doesn’t work out I’ll have to figure out something else so changes may continue for a month or two while I get it together. For now, you can view my shop items on the Collections page. Once you arrive there, you can click on the titles under each picture to go to each collection although I will tell you that the only one with products listed right now is the Family History Collection. There are only a couple of items listed right now due to the amount of time it’s taking me to learn the new software and get the information online.

Thanks for your understanding and for sticking with me through these changes. I’ll get back to blogging soon. I forget how insanely busy the last few weeks of the school year are but we’re almost there – just two more weeks and then I can focus just on my shop and my blog (and Cousin Camp because YAY- 2021 Cousin Camp is coming at the end of June!!!).

While you’re waiting on me to pull myself together, here are a few pics of one of my absolute favorite places and a place I took the boys for their Cousin Camp field trip a couple of years ago. It was one of my favorite field trip days with the boys.

Saline Courthouse – the only original standing Cherokee courthouse in what was Indian Territory. There were 9 in Indian Territory and only this one remains.
Current hours of operation.
June 27, 2019 Us and the boys at Saline Courthouse for Cousin Camp Field Trip day.
June 27, 2019 Bart’s parents and the boys at Saline Courthouse for Cousin Camp Field Trip day.
June 27, 2019 My parents and the boys at Saline Courthouse for Cousin Camp Field Trip day. You can see the courthouse in the background. In 2019 they were still renovating it.
June 27, 2019 The boys being goofy at Saline Courthouse for Cousin Camp Field Trip day.

If you get a chance to visit Saline Courthouse, go! And while you’re in the area, try to find the Cherokee Nation Buffalo ranch and visit the Buffalo. Here’s a website to get you started. https://www.visitcherokeenation.com/attractions/saline-courthouse-museum. You can view inside the courthouse with that link but it doesn’t do justice to the location. Make time to go there!

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

Mother’s Day Sale!

Days of Our Lives ~ Gift Stories for Mother’s Day

It’s time for a Mother’s Day sale! DO NOT wait until the last minute on this gift option. 🌺 This is the perfect gift for moms who “have it all”.

OPTION 1:

$35 per story if you can provide me with about 4-5 generations of your ancestors (that’s back to great or great-great grandparents). I don’t have to have every single name but I will need a majority of the names/info. You will get a digital story that is password protected so that only you and those to whom you give the password can read it. (You can choose to make it public if you prefer.) For an additional $2 you can choose to get a print copy of the story which will come printed on beautiful linen, cotton or parchment paper.

OPTION 2:

I can do your pedigree chart for you back to great or great-great grandparents PLUS write the story. The cost is $50 for this option. You will receive a digital copy of your pedigree chart PLUS a digital story that is password protected so that only you and those to whom you give the password can read it. (You can choose to make it public if you prefer.) For an additional $3 you can choose to get a print copy of the story and the pedigree chart which will come printed on beautiful linen, cotton or parchment paper.

Once I receive (or have researched and compiled) your pedigree chart I will look at the backgrounds of a number of your ancestors and choose one with an interesting history to write about. I don’t mind if you tell me who you’d like me to write about, but be aware I may not be able to fulfill your request. I will do my best to fulfill specific requests whenever possible.

I’m looking forward to working with you to create a special gift for someone you love!

She’s a Brick Wall

This is going to be a short post. The theme this week is ‘brick wall’. I’m going to highlight a problem line from my husband’s family tree. I’m writing about his paternal 2nd great grandparents, Samual and Malinda (KAYLE) WILLIAMS. Since Samual’s father was also named Samuel and I’ll be mentioning them both, I’ll be calling the older one Samuel Sr. and then calling the younger one (the actual subject of this post) Samual. I’m spelling their names as I found them on records. Another caveat: I’m not entirely sure Malinda’s last name is KAYLE but it’s the only lead I have in regard to her maiden name. ‘Samual Williams’ is a popular name so as you can imagine, making headway is very difficult. I have my own Samuel WILLIAMS (unrelated to his) who stumped me for years and still is somewhat a mystery to me.

Samual Williams

Samual WILLIAMS was born between 1850 and 1854 probably in Hancock County, Illinois (but also possibly in Missouri- I really don’t know). I believe his parents were Samuel Sr. and Nancy Ann (MONROE) WILLIAMS. I believe that Samual’s father died when Samual was very young. I believe by age 10 (and possibly well before that – maybe as young as age 2), Samual was already an orphan.

While writing this blog post, I’ve discovered a new family tree on Ancestry that looks to be Samual’s parents and a brother I was unaware of. Below is a photo from that family tree of a man I believe may be Samual’s brother. The man is Jay Williams and he’s on the far left. If you belong to my husband’s WILLIAMS family and you see a family resemblance please be sure to let me know in the comments section below.

Photo of Jay Williams, far left.

Malinda Kayle Williams

Malinda KAYLE was born between 1854 and 1856 in Arkansas. I don’t know who her parents are. I believe she also died at a fairly young age and probably before her children were grown.

Mr. and Mrs. Samual Williams

Samual and Malinda were married in August of 1870 in Izard County, Arkansas. Together they had 4 known children – William, Walter, George, and Dee Barton. There was possibly also a 5th child but I’m not sure. (Dee Barton is my husband’s great grandfather.) I don’t know the death dates or burial places for Samual or Malinda (KAYLE) WILLIAMS.

Final Thoughts

I would absolutely love for someone to help me break through this brick wall. If you have information about this family or you think you have a connected WILLIAMS family please contact me and let me know. I hope you have a great week!

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives Genealogy blog

The Soul(e) of Great Nine Partners in Dutchess County, New York

This week’s theme is ‘great’. In trying to make my blog post different from others coming out this week, I chose to look for a place name or some feature about location that reflected the theme of ‘great’. What I found was my maternal 7th great grandfather, George W. SOULE, who spent his final years in the Great Nine Partners Patent area of Dutchess County, New York.

Great Nine Partners ~ Dutchess County, New York ~ 1697

Let me tell you, you will not find a town called Great Nine Partners (as it was presented to me). “Great Nine Partners” refers to a land patent area. The “Nine Partners” were Colonel Caleb HEATHCOTE, Major Augustine GRAHAM, James EMOTT (aka EMMOT), Lieutenant Colonel Henry FILKINS, David JAMISON, Hendrick TEN EYCK, John EVERTSON (aka Jan AARSTON), William CREED, and Jarvis MARSHALL. It was called “Great” because the land mass was greater than what was given in the Little Nine Partners land patent which occurred nine years later. Current towns/cities in the former Great Nine Partners land patent area include Stanford, part of Hyde Park, and Clinton among others.

Here is an early map of the Great Nine Partners Patent along the banks of the Hudson River:

Great Nine Partners Land Patent Map.

I’m going to resist the urge to tell you about the Nine Partners. That’s another story for another day. However, if you’re dying to know more about the Quakers in Dutchess County, New York during the time George lived there, you can check out this interesting read online: A History of the Quakers in Dutchess County, New York, 1728-1828 by Dell T. Upton.

George W. Soule

George was born in 5 October 1695 – two years before the Great Nine Partners Land Patent grant. George was born at Dartmouth in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay (now Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts). His parents were William SOULE and Hannah EATON SOULE. George was the third of eleven siblings. He married Lydia HOWLAND. In regard to religion, they were Friends (Quakers). Notes from the Dartmouth Monthly (Friends/Quaker) Meeting, we learn that George and Lydia were disowned (by the church) after announcing their intention to marry which was in disobedience to a direct order from the Quakers not to get married. In 1741, they were reunited with the church and were given a certificate to attend meetings at Mamaronock. Because the Friends kept monthly meeting notes, we know that George and Lydia also attended Meetings in either (or maybe both) Oblong and Nine Partners. Although specific dates are written in the Monthly Meeting notes, I haven’t included those here because I don’t feel I’m knowledgeable enough about the Julian Calendar and the Quaker Calendar to adequately impart to you the correct dates. You can read about the Quaker Calendar here and you can find sources for the Monthly Meeting notes here. George and Lydia had eight children. At about age 14, George’s father apprenticed George to John Russell. George became a blacksmith.

The Quakers were persecuted from their inception in 1640 to about 1725 (almost halfway through George’s life). Between 1640 and 1725, Quakers were whipped, imprisoned, fined, and some were even hung for their faith. People could even be punished simply for having a Quaker in their home for the evening. Ships found to be importing Quakers could be confiscated! Peter STUYVESANT, director (roughly equates to present-day governor) of New Netherland (which was later split and became New York and New Jersey and smaller parts became attached to other states), was particularly brutal to religions he opposed. He himself was Dutch Reformed. He conflicted with Lutherans, Jews, Roman Catholics and Quakers, all of whom attempted to practice their religion in New Netherland. When the town of Flushing challenged him on the fact that he was violating their charter, he replied by cancelling their right to hold town meetings. If you want to see how this turned out, be sure to read page 15 of the Quaker history linked above!

To be fair though, if what I’ve read this week is true, the Quakers were said to have been aggressive toward other religions in their early years so some of what they endured probably came from a place of retribution for actions the Quakers themselves initiated. When they were actively aggressive toward other religions, other religions pushed back. When other religions pushed back, the Quakers ramped up instead of letting things be. Despite ramping up their aggressiveness toward other religions, when it came time for the Revolutionary War they claimed they were exempt from fighting because their religion was a pacifist religion and they didn’t believe in war or violence. Even though they claimed exemption, many fought on the side of Britain and against American freedom from the Crown. So you can see how their actions were conflicting with their words and why many didn’t respect their right to be left alone (when they themselves wouldn’t leave others alone). You can read about it in the Quaker history document I linked above. As with all groups, I’m sure there were extremists in the religion and perhaps the actions I’ve read about and described came only from the extremists. I only know what I’ve read. Up until now, I knew the Quakers to be peaceful but the paper (the Quaker history document) which I linked above did not describe them that way during the period in question. By 1728, their persecution had ended and by 1741 when George moved to the Great Nine Partners area in Dutchess County, it was a distant memory for the Friends. Religious freedom had made big strides in American during this time and that helped to end the persecution.

The Revolution

Speaking of the Revolution, there is information floating around on the internet that Benjamin SOULE (my maternal 6th great grandfather and son of George W. SOULE) supported Britain during the Revolution. According to Daughters of the American Revolution, this is incorrect. There was another Benjamin SOULE who did support Britain. As of this date, I’ve not found any information that indicates which side our Benjamin supported. I have also seen information saying Benjamin’s dad George was also a Loyalist, but again, I can’t find reliable documentation to show this. I will say that Benjamin’s brother Rowland fought as a Patriot during the Revolution. So even if some of the brothers were Loyalists, not all were. At this point in time, I would imagine that all of this particular family supported the Patriots though since they had been in this country for quite some time. The immigrant ancestor was George SOULE (great grandfather of the George SOULE from this post) and he came from Britain. I doubt that three generations later the family is still supporting Britain.

I wish I could tell you more about the SOULE family during the Revolutionary War period but I can’t seem to find them anywhere. They were Quakers so it’s entirely possible that most of them did not serve in any official capacity during the war.

“I, George Soule of the Great Nine-Partners…Black Smith”

Death came for George SOULE in 1776. He was either proud of of his craft or he was distinguishing himself from all the other George SOULE’s when he wrote his will. It begins,

In the name of God, Amen. I George Soule of the Great Nine-partners and County of Dutches and province of New-York Black Smith…

New York will of George SOULE.

George appointed his son Rowland (the Revolutionary War patriot), along with his wife Lydia, to be the executors of his will. The appointment of his patriot son as executor is another reason I believe that our George was not a Loyalist but rather a Patriot – or at least he was as supportive of the Patriots as he could be given he was a Quaker. In George’s will he divided his land between his wife and children. Three of his children died prior to him (George, Margret and Lydia) and George gave their portions to each of their children.

George’s will ended with these words:

In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal the twenty-ninth Day of Sixth month in the Sixteenth Year of the Reign of King George the Third King of Great Britain etc., and in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six.

New York will of George SOULE.
Will of George SOULE.

George signed his will along with witnesses John WHITE and Elijah HOAG. I believe Elijah HOAG is probably related to George. It’s possible both men were related to George.

Final Thoughts

I wish I could tell you more about George SOULE but this is all I know right now. Just a note of caution, I am relying on the information and research of others. I have vetted what information I could but there still may be mistakes. I’ve done the best I could right now to bring you credible information about our SOULE family from the Great Nine Partners area of Dutchess County, New York. Now that I’ve introduced him, perhaps we’ll learn more stories about him in the future.

I’m wishing you all a very happy Friday tomorrow and hoping you have a wonderful weekend. Learn something new this weekend! It’s energizing to learn new things!

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives Genealogy blog

Stories for the Boys: It is Well

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.

It Is Well With My Soul

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 Fly Away

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.

The scenery was pretty and relaxing. I very much enjoyed the train ride.
Another scenery shot from the trip down to San Antonio, Texas.
The depots we passed were pretty.

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.

I Am Thine For Service Lord

Peace,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

Little Boy Lost

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.

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives genealogy blog

Fortunes Won, Fortunes Lost, and Fortunes Seized by the Gubbamint

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:

Revisiting Sugar Creek: Stormy Nights, Buried Treasure, a Bushwhacker Murder, and a Family Mystery

In that post I briefly mentioned Henry and Elizabeth (YOCUM) SCHELL.

Elizabeth (YOCHUM) SCHELL, about 1885. Genetically, we are related to her but I don’t know how. I know that SCHELLs married BEARs, BEARs married BAKERs, and BAKERs married DRAKEs. That’s as close as I can get right now, but DNA (combined with genealogical research) says we are her family. I believe Elizabeth is the daughter of Jacob Levi and Sarah YOACHUM. Jacob Levi is said to have made the dies with which the family minted the YOCUM silver dollar. If you’re thinking Elizabeth is highly identifiable as Native American, you would be correct. Elizabeth’s mother is said to be full-blood Cherokee.

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 Yocum Silver Dollar (thelibrary.org), accessed on 3/4/2021.

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.”

The Yocum Silver Dollar (thelibrary.org), accessed on 3/4/2021.

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.

YOCUM Silver Dollar dies/coins, Sprinkle Coins (treasurenet.com)

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 #1: “Same size as a Spanish Silver Dollar coin”. (per yoakumrendezvous.pdf)

Description #2: The silver dollars had ‘YOCUM’ on one side and were larger than the standard U.S. silver dollar. (Yocum Silver Dollar: Fact or Legend? (thelibrary.org))

Description #3: The YOCUM dollars were “crudely fashioned” and possibly only said “YOCUM Dollar”.

Silver Dollar City – Waterside Kennels Mysteries (dogmysteries.com)

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)

yoakumrendezvous.pdf (oldstagecoachstop.org)

Finders Keepers

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.)

Final Details

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.

You can locate this map at https://pps-west.com/product/finley-missouri-1830/.

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.

Lost Silver Mine Theater Building; Steve Almquist photo. “Lost Silver Mine” Drama in Branson West – Page 2 – Underground Ozarks
Lost Silver Mine Theater signage; Steve Almquist photo; “Lost Silver Mine” Drama in Branson West – Page 2 – Underground Ozarks
Lost Silver Mine Theater stage cabin; Steve Almquist photo; “Lost Silver Mine” Drama in Branson West – Page 2 – Underground Ozarks
Lost Silver Mine Amphitheater; Steve Almquist photo; “Lost Silver Mine” Drama in Branson West – Page 2 – Underground Ozarks

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.
  • In 2016, John R. BLUNK filed for a trademark on the YOACHUM silver dollar. (YOACHUM SILVER DOLLAR YOACHUM 1822 Trademark – Serial Number 86892222 :: Justia Trademarks)
YOACHUM SILVER DOLLAR YOACHUM 1822 Trademark – Serial Number 86892222 :: Justia Trademarks
  • For those of you interested in the Native American heritage, it is said that YOCUMs have Osage, Cherokee, and Delaware blood.

Final Thoughts

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.

I could not believe I found this on eBay at exactly the time I chose to write this story!! #Serendipity #TheAncestorsLoveMe
Pics on first page of the magazine story.
In case you wondered what Mr. Blunk looked like in 1988…reminds me of the BeeGees.
Restrikes from the found dies. I love that they did this. There used to be a coin minting company that did reproductions of these but they no longer do it and said they probably won’t do it again.

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.

Until next week,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives Genealogy blog

A Rose by Any Other Name?

“…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.

Georgia near my 3rd great grandparents’ homeplace.

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.
John Bates
John BATES’ grave in South Carolina.
  • 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:
Cherokee County, Georgia marriage record of Delila (ARENT) BATES and William S. 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:
Letter written in 1831 to his daughter-in-law, Vashti Coleman Williamson
Transcription of a letter from John WILLIAMSON, Sr. to his daughter-in-law, Vashti (COLEMAN) MANNING WILLIAMSON.

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.

George PAGE on his drill with his helper Arie BRIGGS at Blue Goose Mine in Picher, Ottawa County, Oklahoma. Thanks to Gerald WILLIAMS for sharing the photo.

You can read more about George in one of my other posts:

Cherokee County, Oklahoma

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.
William Larkin 16 sep 1906 sun. Morning Tulsa Daily World OK -
The Morning Tulsa Daily World (Tulsa, OK), 16 September 1906.

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:
  • William Larkin: Farmer, Mine Owner, and Road Paver
  • Brick by Brick
  • 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!”
SA Larkin Manslaughter
The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK), 17 March 1934.

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!

Wishing you the best summer travel plans,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives Genealogy blog

The Single Most Favorite Double in the World

1979 Doublemint twins ad from YouTube.

This week the theme is ‘multiples’. This theme was almost too broad for me to decide what to write about! After some debate I narrowed it down to two topics. After looking at the 2021 weekly topics list I felt the other story would fit into an October theme and this particular story for this week didn’t really fit anywhere else. So, this week we’re talking about multiple births. I’m going to look into something I’ve always wondered: how many sets of twins did my direct-line ancestors have? I’ll be going back as far as my 2nd great grandparents. I chose that as a stopping point so this blog doesn’t get too lengthy. Out of the 8 pairs of my 2nd great grandparents, 3 of the couples had twins.

Dad’s Family: Double Your Sentiment

90’s Doublemint twins ad.

In the 21st century the statistical probability of having twins is about 3%, or 3 in 100. That is a higher probability than previous generations. In my family (in that 2nd-great-grandparent generation) mixed sets of twins were more popular (mixed meaning a boy-girl set of twins versus same-sex twins). Out of my dad’s great grandmothers, he had one who had twins. Eliza Emoline BELL WILLIAMS (and her husband, Samuel Morris WILLIAMS) had a set of twins in 1900- two boys named Lorenzo Dall and William Sherman WILLIAMS. Neither baby survived. I’m guessing the babies are probably buried in Oakland Cemetery in Success, Texas County, Missouri since the family lived in that area and other family members are buried in that cemetery but I can’t say for certain where the babies were buried. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this family today because I’ve written about them quite a bit. You can find previous posts at:

Mom’s Family: Double Good

Early iteration of the Doublemint twins ads.

My 2nd great grandmother, Sarah C. DAVIS REITER, and her husband Nicholas Wilhelm REITER had a set of twins in 1864. My mom thinks Sarah’s twins were mixed – one boy and one girl. She can’t remember their names but is going to try to find that information for me. I’ve not found their names anywhere but if mom locates that information I’ll be sure to let you know. The babies did not survive. I don’t know where they’re buried but I’m sure it’s in Illinois, in the area of Perry, Pike County, Illinois since that’s where the family lived. This is another family I’ve written about quite a bit so I won’t spend a lot of time on them today. You can read more about Sarah and her family at:

My 2nd great grandmother, Druziller Mahala LATTY BULLOCK (and her husband James Mathaniel BULLOCK), also had a set of twins born in 1892. For this grandma though, both twins survived – one girl named Alice May and one boy named Oscar Morris.

1982 Wrigley’s Doublemint gum twins ad.

Alice May and Oscar Morris BULLOCK were born 17 April 1892 in Benton County, Arkansas. They remained in Benton County, Arkansas until after they married. Alice married Martin Rotramel when she was 17 years old. Together, Alice and Martin and had 8 children – and no twins. Here is Alice in her later years with her dog, Major. I love this photo.

Alice BULLOCK ROTRAMEL and her dog, Major.

Alice lived to be 92 years old! The last 52 years or so of her life she lived in Delaware County, Oklahoma. Alice passed away on 1 December 1984 in Jay, Delaware County, Oklahoma. She’s buried in Hillcrest Cemetery beside her husband in Gravette, Benton County, Arkansas where her parents are buried.

Oscar Morris BULLOCK grew up with his family in Benton County, Arkansas. He served as a Private in the U.S. Army as evidence by the Army transport document below.

Army Passenger List.

I don’t fully understand that document. It looks like perhaps he was transported to a Veterinary Hospital. It would be interesting to know what he did in the Army. Oscar fought in World War I. I do know he arrived in New York in June of 1919 on his way to fight in France.

Army transport document.

According to military records, Oscar was serving with Veterinary Hospital #16 MR. as a Private V.C.. Oscar served in France in 1919. During that time, the final US deaths of the war happened and the Treaty of Versailles was drawn up. The treaty was signed the day after Oscar arrived back on US soil. Oscar shipped out from Marseille, France on the ship Taormina and arrived home at New York, USA on 27 June 1919.

Some researchers say that at age 27 Oscar married Stella BROWN. He lived in California at the time but the marriage certificate was in Arkansas. I haven’t done extensive research on this line so I can’t say what really happened. I know that in his obituary no children or wife were listed. Oscar passed away at 80 years of age. He died on 17 February 1973 in Fayetteville, Washington County, Arkansas. He was buried in the Fayetteville National Cemetery in Fayetteville, Washington County, Arkansas.

Doing the Numbers

So, let’s bring this all together. I looked at all my direct line ancestors from my parents up through all of my 2nd great grandparents. The only generation that included twins were my 2nd great grandparents’. Out of 8 sets of 2nd great grandparents, only 3 couples (2 on my mother’s side and 1 on my father’s side) had twins. The paternal set of twins passed away or were stillborn; their names were Lorenzo and William. One set of maternal twins also passed away or were stillborn and included one girl and one boy; I don’t know their names but they were given names. The final set of maternal twins (Alice and Oscar) lived to adulthood and at least one of them had their own offspring but did not have their own set of twins.

According to official statistics:

The gender chances of a fraternal twin pregnancy are; 25% chance that a mother will have two boys, 25% chance that a mother will have two girls, and 50% chance that a mother will have a boy and a girl. On the other hand, identical twins are always the same gender.

https://healthresearchfunding.org/24-interesting-fraternal-twins-gender-statistics/, accessed 28 Feb 2021.

So, according to Health Research Funding, Alice and Oscar were fraternal twins as were the DAVIS twins. Only the paternal twins- Lorenzo and William WILLIAMS- had a chance at being identical twins. I found that very interesting.

I was wondering about what my chances of having twins might have been in my childbearing years. Since 3 out of 8 couples in my 2nd great grandparents’ generation had twins, I felt like statistically I stood a better chance of having twins in my child bearing years. MedlinePlus.gov confirms it as does Washington State Twin Registry. Turns out, fraternal twins- especially if they occur on the mother’s side- are associated with an increased likelihood of twins being hereditary in families. I searched some more and I hit some good information:

A family history of identical twins does not necessarily make it more likely you’ll have multiples, although the offspring of male identical twins may be more likely to have their own identical twins. However, if you have fraternal twins (non-identical) in your family, your chances of conceiving twins rise. If there are fraternal twins on both the mother and father’s side, your odds for twins goes up even higher.

Lazarov S, Lazarov L, Lazarov N. Multiple pregnancy and birth: Twins, triplets and high-order multiples. OverviewTrakia J Sci. 2016;1:103-107. doi:10.15547/tjs.2016.01.015 

There are other factors that play a role as well. As it turns out, having children when you’re older increases your odds of having multiple births from one pregnancy. So I went back to my charts to check ages of the mothers. Eliza Emoline was 28 years old when she had Lorenzo and William. Sarah C. was 27 years old when she had her twins. Druziller Mahala was 34 years old when she had Alice and Oscar.

Final Thoughts

One last statistic about twins from Health Research Funding.

A woman named Mary Jonas, who died in 1899 had 15 sets of fraternal twins.

24 Interesting Fraternal Twins Gender Statistics – HRF (healthresearchfunding.org)

I found that tidbit interesting since two sets of the twins I talked about today were born during the 1890’s. I will spare you one last Doublemint commercial. Hopefully the song is now stuck in your head so I don’t have to suffer that fate alone now.

If you’d like to learn more about the BULLOCK family, you can find more of my posts at:

If you’re looking for more blogs to read later in the week, you can go to:

If you’re interested in joining me on this family history writing adventure, well…the more the merrier! You can join at Amy Johnson Crow’s website. There’s a Facebook page that goes along with the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. The only rules are the rules you make up for yourself on this writing adventure. Anything you get down in writing is more than you had before so get writing! Don’t miss out on Amy’s blog and podcast either. Both are very good.

Enjoy your week and make the most of it!

Until next time,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives Genealogy blog