Over the years I’ve been fortunate to correspond with people who provided information about my family from personal knowledge. This case concerns the mother of my great-grandfather James Edward Chipman (1879–1956).
James Edward Chipman’s father was known to be Joe Chipman. Family tradition held that his mother was Cynthia Miller. That assertion found its way into his obituary in The Dunklin Democrat of Kennett, MO for 9 Feb 1956 (his wife was Allie—not Ollie—Oxley; a second obituary in the same issue corrected the names of his children):
The first record I have in Dunklin Co. MO for James Edward (“Ed”) Chipman is this entry in the 1900 Dunklin Co., MO census (Series T623, Roll 853, p.4), which shows him living with his cousin Charles Monroe (“CM” or “Charley”) Chipman:
Charley Chipman was James Edward Chipman’s cousin, but also a close friend. Charley Chipman was the son of Thomas Jefferson Chipman and wife Nancy Tennessee Manning. Nancy was called “Tennie.”
There were two Thomas Jefferson Chipmans in Lauderdale Co., TN: one the son of William Chipman, and the other the son of William Chipman’s brother George Chipman.
The above is the death certificate of Charley Chipmans’s father Thomas Jefferson Chipman, whose own father is given as William Chipman. The next death certificate, which belongs to Thomas Jefferson Chipman’s brother Benjamin F. Chipman, adds another piece of information: the mother’s maiden name is shown as “Stanford.” “Stanford” is a corruption of “Standifer,” which was also rendered as “Standefer,” “Standford,” and “Standiford.”
Of William Chipman’s wife Milly (Standifer) Chipman, I have this from the National Archives and Records Administration, which shows that Nancy (Echols) Standifer died in 1864, and was survived by her children Joshua Standifer, Sarah Howard, Milly Chipman, and Leroy Standifer. The letter is part of the Revolutionary War pension file of Milly’s father Benjamin Standifer, who died in Bledsoe Co., TN on 13 Mar 1839.
William Chipman didn’t leave a will or estate. He had mortgaged his farm in exchange for supplies and was unable to pay off the note. He had nothing to pass on to his children. The irony is that William Chipman, unlike his brothers George Chipman and Washington Chipman, was not a slave owner. And yet Reconstruction was a disaster for William, but his brothers sailed through it.
Let’s return to the primary focus of this piece: was James Edward Chipman’s mother really Cynthia Miller?
Actually, her name was Sarah A. Miller. And a correspondent from Lauderdale Co., TN, where the Millers lived, furnished the proof. The “Cynthia” under discussion here is Cynthia Ann Chipman, sister of James Edward Chipman.
This is excellent evidence from someone who knew the Koonce family intimately, being related to it by marriage. Bessie Koonce’s husband was the nephew of John Bennett Koonce, and John Bennet Koonce was Cynthia’s husband. Like many Southerners, John Bennett Koonce used his middle name.
On page 2, Bessie Koonce states a relationship between Cynthia and Wes Miller: Wes Miller was Cynthia’s uncle. How can we use this information to conclusively establish the identity of James Edward Chipman’s mother?
The 1880 Lauderdale Co., TN census (p. 40, SD 5, ED 84) shows Howard Miller with a son named Wesley. Wes Miller was Cynthia’s uncle, so Howard Miller was Cynthia’s grandfather. Therefore, Cynthia’s mother had to be a daughter of Howard Miller.
Howard Miller didn’t have a daughter named Cynthia, but he did have a daughter named Sarah, as shown in the 1870 Lauderdale Co., TN census (p. 595):
(Sarah’s brother William E. “Billy” Miller had married Mary Ann Chipman, daughter of William Chipman, on 6 Oct 1867, and wasn’t present in Howard Miller’s household in 1870. He was present in Howard Miller’s household in 1860.)
Joseph Chipman (middle initial “H”) was the son of William Chipman. The Chipmans lived near the Millers, as this 1870 Lauderdale Co, TN census entry shows (p. 595):
Sarah A. Miller married Joseph Chipman. W.E. “Billy” Miller was the bondsman:
(Actual marriage record. Click on image to enlarge it.)
Joseph Chipman named his eldest son Benjamin after his brother Benjamin, his daughter Cynthia Ann after his sister Cynthia, and his youngest child James Edward after his grandfather James. James Washington Chipman, son of William Chipman’s brother George Chipman, was Joseph Chipman’s first cousin; their descendants were close friends as the families moved further south into Arkansas.
Joseph Chipman is listed in the 1880 Lauderdale Co., TN Agricultural census as farming 15 acres of rented land in District 6. Like many Southerners, he struggled in the aftermath of the Civil War.
Sarah A. (Miller) Chipman didn’t live to see her three children become adults. According to James Edward Chipman’s medical records, she died of pneumonia. On 29 Jun 1881, Joseph Chipman (“Jo” is an abbreviation of “Joseph”) married Addie Osteen. Joseph Chipman’s brother Benajmin F. Chipman was the bondsman. There was no issue of the marriage.
(Actual marriage record. Click on image to enlarge it.)
So who was Addie Osteen? Adaline Osteen, age 16 (born in 1864) was residing with her aunt Jane Singleton in the 6th District of Lauderdale Co. (1880 Lauderdale Co., TN Federal Census, p. 163). The 1870 Federal Census (p. 591) shows Adaline as the daughter of William and Cathy Osteen residing in the 6th District. Addie was no more than 18 years old when she married Joseph Chipman. Joseph Chipman was typical of men in rural communities—he didn’t look far afield for a wife.
Thus far, the famiy history is well documented, but there’s one loose end: what happened to Joseph Chipman?
In the late 1980s, I visited the Lauderdale Co., TN courthouse in Ripley. I asked a clerk about the county’s old tax records. I was directed to a room in the basement. There I found old tax books in no particular order, and leafed through them, copying the names of various Chipmans who had lived in the county. I managed to locate the books for 1873, 1875, 1877–1881, and 1888–1889. I found Joseph Chipman in the 1875, and 1877–1881 Tax Lists. Sometimes he was listed as “Joe,” and sometimes just “Jo.” The 1881 Tax List reported him in District 6. And that’s the last record I have for Joseph Chipman in Lauderdale County, but I did not examine Tax Lists for 1882–1887. By 1880, all of Joseph Chipman’s three children had been born.
These notes were taken directly from the tax books. I don’t know if the tax books still exist or where they are now.
When Sarah A. (Miller) Chipman died, as was often the case the children were sent to live with relatives. A widower could not work and take care of small children. Second wives, especially those as young as Addie, might balk at caring for children who weren’t hers. Benjamin, Cynthia Ann, and James Edward lived for a time with Joseph Chipman’s sister Mary Ann, who had married William E. “Billy” Miller in Lauderdale Co. on 6 Oct 1867. After Billy Miller died on 10 May 1884, the children were placed with Joseph Chipman’s brother Thomas Jefferson Chipman. Tom Chipman resented taking care of three more children, and made certain the children knew it.
Joseph Chipman never returned for his children. According to James Edward Chipman’s medical records, Joseph Chipman died in 1888 of grippe (an archaic term for “influenza”), a highly contagious viral disease that produces a fever.
Therefore, the following deed is not that of James Edward Chipman’s father. In Madison County, TN, on 1 Jan 1892, “Joe Chipman” purchased a tract of 80 acres from W.C. Pipkin. W.C. Pipkin was William Clark Pipkin, a grandson of Washington Chipman. The terms of the sale were these: Joe Chipman promised to pay a series of 7 installments of $150.00 each, every 1 Jan from 1892 to 1898. After Pipkin received the installments for 1892 and 1893, he registered the deed:
I conducted a thorough search of records in Madison Co., but could not locate another deed or any probate papers for this individual. The deed probably belongs to a freedman, who married Hattie Dunlap on 8 Jan 1881 in Madison Co., TN.
Family tradition isn’t always accurate and should be verified with facts. In this instance, family tradition correctly identified the surname of James Edward Chipman’s mother, but was in error regarding her given name—an error repeated in the letter that follows. Why was Sarah A. (Miller) Chipman known as “Cynthia”? Sometimes a woman didn’t like her given name and took another. In the specific case of this family, there was a precedent: Sarah’s mother Leitha (Hargis) Miller also went by the name of “Caroline.”
This excerpt is from a letter dated 12 Oct 1962 from Ruby (Bohannon) Chipman, wife of Jewell Vester Chipman (brother of my grandfather Beecher Edgar Chipman) to Pauline Aquilla (Chipman) Page and her husband Carl Davis Page. In the transcription that follows, I’ve left the spelling errors intact. “Papa Chipman” is James Edward Chipman.
“The new clipping you sent was quite interesting because when we attended Charley Chipman sisters funeral at Ripley Tenn. When we were living at West Memphis we meet some Drumwrights they are apart of Papa Chipman family.
Papa Chipmans mother was a Cynthia Miller and the Millers at Kennett and Cardwell are his relatives also the Wilborns at Senath and Cardwell but I do not know how the Wilborns are connected. Charley Chipmans sister married Frank Miller and she was Mollie Chipman. She still lives at Kennett. While we were at W. Memphis we went to visit Jewells cousins at Ripley and Memphis. They are aunt Cynthia Koons or (Coons) children Duprie, Gertrude ? And Mrs. Cecil B. Keltner 645 Pope. (This is Lily Mae Koons) They seemed to hardly remember you all and we didn’t find much in common to talk about.
The one in Memphis was much easier to talk to and seemed glad that we came. We visited her after we had visited the others and perhaps they had told her about our visit and she had time to think. The others were taken by supprise.”
It’s not the Miller family that interests me here. I puzzled over the reference to “the Wilborns” for some time, and then I discovered this in A Chipman Genealogy (1970) pp. 69–70, in the biography of John Chipman of Guilford Co., NC. The line as given by John Hale Chipman III was not entirely correct: John Chipman was the son of Paris (or Perez) Chipman Jr., but Paris Chipman Jr.’s parents were James and Mary (Minor) Chipman. The rest of the line is accurate. Our ancestors frequently spelled phonetically and Paris was pronounced “Perez” as in a southern drawl.
I found the answer to the puzzle in 107–iii: “Deborah Chipman b. Nov. 3, 1787; m. Moses Wilborn.” John Chipman of Guilford Co., NC and James Chipman of Bledsoe Co., TN were first cousins. Note that John Chipman was born in Kent Co., DE, as was my 4th great-grandfather James Chipman. John Chipman and James Chipman would have known each other. James Chipman was about 13 years old when at age 23 John Chipman moved to Guilford Co., NC. My 3rd great-grandfather William Chipman (1814–1874) was Deborah (Chipman) Wilborn’s second cousin.
Back in the late 1980s I exchanged a series of letters with Robert L. Shearer, a descendant of John Jump. John Jump allegedly had a daughter named Nancy who married John Chipman of Grant Co., KY. Robert, author of Jump Genealogy, proved that John Jump wasn’t from Guilford Co., NC—and he sent me a copy of this letter, now 25 years old, which is quite helpful. It shows that Deborah (Chipman) Wilborn died in MO.
The notes are a little hard to read, so I’ve transcribed them:
26. Dauphin Perkins b. Sep 1809 OH d. 24 Nov 1893 m. 15 Sep 1849
27. Caroline Welborn b. 22 Apr 1829 NC
54. Moses Welborn b. 9 July 1783 Rowan Co. NC d. 11 Jan 1851
55. Deborah Chipman b. 8 Nov 1787 Guilford Co. NC d. 18 Sept 1872
110. John Chipman b. 24 Mar 1761
111. Mary (Harris) b. 23 May 1761
Serendipity: the discovery of something fortunate; the accidental discovery of something pleasant, valuable, or useful.
FAMILY OF CYNTHIA ANN (CHIPMAN) KOONCE, SISTER OF JAMES EDWARD CHIPMAN (1879-1956)
I don’t have many records on the Koonce family. James Edward Chipman’s sister Cynthia Ann (Sinthy) Chipman married John Bennett Koonce on 7 Dec 1895 in Lauderdale Co., TN.
According to her death certificate, Sinthy died on 1 Dec 1926 at Central, in Lauderdale Co. When I visited Ripley, TN about 20 years ago, I stopped by the local newspaper, and found this brief obituary in “The Lauderdale Co. Enterprise” 3 Dec 1926, p. 5:
“Mrs. J.B. Koonce died Wednesday at her home near Central after an illness of several weeks. She is survived by two children. Her husband died a few months ago. Her remains were laid to rest in Mt. Pleasant cemetary Thursday morning.”
The children of John Bennett and Cynthia Ann (Chipman) Koonce were:
Dupree D. (Dewey) Koonce b. 28 Oct 1898 d. 21 Jun 1972; Edna Gertrude Koonce b. 1902; Lily Mae Koonce b. 1908; Ethel Koonce b. 1911; Imogene Koonce b. 1915; and William Koonce.
The 1880 Lauderdale Co., TN Federal Census lists Howard Miller living in District 7, p. 186:
Howard Miller 66 b. NC (widower, deceased wife b. LA), Jane 20 b. TN (dau.), Ellen 15 b. TN (dau.), Millage 17 b. TN (son), Wesley 7. b. TN (son), Margaret A. 4 b. TN (granddaughter).
The 1870 Lauderdale Co., TN Federal Census lists Howard Miller in District 7, p. 595:
Howard Miller 57 b. NC, Caroline 48 b. FLA, Sarah 21 b. TN, Mary 17 b. TN, Jane 12 b. TN, James 9 b. TN, Miledge 6 b. TN, Ellen 4 b. TN
Joseph H. Chipman married Sarah A. Miller on 31 Aug 1873 in Lauderdale Co. Sarah was born in Shelby Co., TN, where she’s listed with her parents, Howard M. and [Leitha] Caroline Miller in the 1850 Shelby Co. Federal Census, p. 258. Philip B. Hargis was residing in an adjacent household.
Howard Miller married Leitha Caroline Hargis on 20 Jun 1844 in Shelby Co. By 1859, the family had moved to Lauderdale Co., when on 3 Oct 1859, Howard Miller mortgaged his cotton crop and a two horse waggon to B.M. Flippin (Lauderdale Co., TN Deed Book H, p. 356).
The 1860 Lauderdale Co., TN Federal Census lists Howard Miller in District 7, p. 371:
Howard Miller 46 b. NC, Lethe 33 b. GA, Frances 15 b. TN, William 13 b. TN, Sarah 11 b. TN, Emiline 9 b. TN, John 7 b. TN, Alexina 5 b. TN, Mary 3 b. TN, Eliza 1 b. TN (This record shows that Leitha Caroline Hargis was born in GA in 1827. Philip B. Hargis was living in Randolph Co., GA in 1830.)
The 1850 Shelby Co., TN Federal Census lists Howard M. Miller on p. 130A:
Howard M. Miller 23 b. NC, Caroline 20 b. GA, Frances 5 b. TN, Wm. 4 b. TN, Sarah 1 b. TN
What fascinates me about Howard and Leitha Caroline (Hargis) Miller is this: Howard’s wife was “Letha” when he married her in 1844, called herself “Caroline” in the 1850 Shelby Co. census, became “Lethe” again in 1860, and wound up as “Caroline” once more in 1870. By 1880 she was deceased. Presumably the angels sorted it all out when she presented herself at the gates of Heaven.
Leitha Caroline (Hargis) Miller was probably the daughter of Philip B. and Marian W. (Fincher) Hargis, who married 10 Oct 1820 in Burke Co., NC. Philip B. Hargis was the son of Jonathan and Priscilla (Askew) Hargis, and a grandson of Shadrach Hargis (d. 25 Jan 1816), a Captain in the Revolutionary War. Jonathan Hargis died in Tipton Co., TN on 14 Aug 1837. The Hargis family was of colonial Maryland origin.
Philip B. Hargis had a son Milledge A. Hargis (living in Conway Co., AR in 1860), and Howard and Leitha Miller had a son Millage Miller. It’s a very unusual name, and onomastic evidence in this instance is compelling.
On 16 Mar 1846 in Shelby Co., Howard Miller and P.B. Hargis witnessed the will of Polly Bennett (Shelby Co. Will Record C-1, pp. 338-339). Philip B. Hargis was living as late as 24 Jan 1856, when he sold Levi Baldock his interest in a tract of land (Shelby Co., TN Deed Book 24, p. 618). Except for Leitha Caroline (Hargis) Miller, all of Philip B. Hargis’s surviving children moved to Conway Co., AR.
Sally Hargis, a daughter of Jonathan and Priscilla (Askew) Hargis, married Hiram Miller 31 Mar 1821 in Burke Co., NC. Howard Miller (born NC) doesn’t appear to be connected to any Miller family residing in Shelby Co. at the time, but Miller being a common name, I’ve been unable to further trace his ancestry.
This is another family for which I have few records, but I have corresponded with Robert Craig, a grandson of Charles Samuel and Willie Edna (Chipman) Craig.
FAMILY OF BENJAMIN CHIPMAN (1874-1913), BROTHER OF JAMES EDWARD CHIPMAN (1879-1956)
Benjamin Chipman b. Nov 1874 in Virginia, d. 23 Dec 1913 in Blytheville, Mississippi Co., Arkansas, buried at Sawyer Cemetary in SE Blytheville (no marker).
Married 2 Mar 1899 in Mississippi Co., (her first) Annie Ashcraft, b. 12 Oct 1878, d. 18 Apr 1970 in Osceola, Arkansas.
Willie Edna Chipman, b. 1 Apr 1900, d. 21 Jun 1980, m. Charles Samuel Craig
Marvin Chipman, b. 10 Jul 1902, d. 25 Jul 1980
Gertie Chipman, b. 24 Apr 1904, d. 23 Sep 1980
John Chipman, b. 28Jan 1906, d. 10 Jan 1987
Joe Bill Chipman, b. 7 Mar 1908, d. 16 Nov 1973
Lillie Chipman, b. 5 Jun 1912, d. 22 Oct 1928
Mollie Chipman, b. 8 Mar 1914 (posthumous)
Annie (Ashcraft) Chipman married (2nd) Noah Wright.
Hazel Wright, b. 28 Apr 1918, d. 1967
Mabel Wright, b. 28 Apr 1919