Revised Aug. 30, 2016

Schwieder, Dorothy.  (1996).  Iowa The Middle Land.  Ames, Iowa:  Iowa State University Press.

The Black family of Champaign Co., OH, and Henry Co., IA were ancestors of my grandfather Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff.  Samuel Black Jr. served in the Civil War in Co. H, 37th (“Graybeard”) Regiment, Iowa Infantry, enlisting at age 54, which in that era was considered an advanced age.  Most of the deaths in the unit were from disease.

The Black family, like those below, was of German descent.

Below: Grave marker of Samuel Black Jr. (1808–1865) at Green Mound cemetery near Trenton, Henry Co., IA.  The stone has tipped over and is flat on the ground.  Note the GAR star at the bottom right.  Trenton, named after the capital of New Jersey, was once a viable community, but the railroads at Fairfield were stiff competition.

On 3 Jul 1831 in Champaign Co., OH Samuel Black Jr. married Mary Adamson.  Of her family I have nothing.  Like her husband, she’s buried at Green Mound cemetery.  The clasping hands are a common motif on grave markers of the period.

“The Free Press” of 18 Aug 1887, published in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa reports: “Mrs. Mary Black died at her residence two miles west of here, July 15th.  She was born in Ohio in 1814, and after her marriage to Samuel Black, moved to Henry county Iowa, where she resided for forty-eight years.  She was a kind good woman and died respected by her neighbors.”  Her grave marker says she died July 11th.

Samuel Black Jr.’s daughter Mary Ann married Tyler Huffman, who was also a Civil War veteran, on 3 Sep 1868 in Henry Co., IA.  Their daughter Effie Viola Huffman became Jesse’s mother.

Above: Portrait of Effie Viola Huffman, probably taken prior to her marriage to Earnest Ervin Jeffery. 

Below: Effie is buried at Green Mound cemetery.  Her grave marker has been recently installed.

Above: Grave marker of Samuel Black Sr. (1775–1846) at Black Cemetery, Woodstock, Champaign Co., OH; father of Samuel Black Jr. of Henry Co., IA. Samuel Black Sr. married in Washington Co. PA, Elizabeth Stricker, daughter of Lawrence (Johan Lorentz) Stricker.  (See: Lawrence Stricker will, dated 1 Apr 1816, Washington Co. PA Will Book 3, p. 93 which names “my daughter Elizabeth Black wife to Samuel Black.”)  In 1811 Samuel Black Sr. moved from Buffalo Township, Washington Co., PA to Champaign Co., OH.

(Will of Samuel Black Sr., Champaign Co., OH Will Book B, pp. 413–414.)

Samuel Black Sr. was the son of Peter Black of Washington Co., PA.  Peter Black was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

This NEXT cluster of families also belongs to my grandfather Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff. It’s a new cluster stemming from his grandmother Catherine (Stafford) Jeffery.  I discovered the maiden name of Catherine’s mother Susan by taking another look at the cemetery records at Lower Richwoods Cemetery in Jefferson Co., IA, which show Susan’s maiden name as Hanawalt.  I was then able to identify Susan’s family in Mifflin County, PA.

I still haven’t determined the parents of Susan’s husband James Stafford, who was born 8 Jul 1792 in England.  James Stafford must have married Susan (or Susannah) Hanawalt in Mifflin Co., PA. Unfortunately there are no marriage records there until 1885, and this marriage took place ca. 1831.

James Stafford’s tombstone at Lower Richwoods Cemetery is still standing.  Also buried at Lower Richwoods Cemetery is George Hanawalt (23 Apr 1795–22 Jul 1867), brother of Susan (Hanawalt) Stafford.


In the 1850 Jefferson Co., IA census (p. 41), Susanna Stafford is living in Walnut Township, as follows:

Susanna Stafford aged 43 b. PA; Mary Stafford aged 17 b. PA; Henry Stafford aged 15 b. PA; Annette Stafford aged 11 b. PA; Catharine Stafford aged 9 b. PA; Nelson Stafford aged 7 b. PA (Nelson’s full name was Admiral Nelson Stafford)

By the 1860 Jefferson Co., IA census (pp. 136-147), the family is still in Walnut Township, but things have changed a bit:

Household 978:  Oliver Frazier aged 23 b. NY; Catharine Frazier aged 19 b. PA  (Catherine Stafford and her first husband, Oliver Frazier, living next door to Catherine’s mother, before the Civil War.  “Frazier” is sometimes spelled “Frasher.”)

Household 979:  Susan Stafford aged 52 b. PA; Henry Stafford aged 24 b. PA; Athena Stafford aged 21 b. PA; Nelson Stafford aged 17 b. PA; John Stafford aged 10 months b. IA

In the 1870 Henry Co., IA census (p. 247), Catherine Stafford is residing in Jefferson Township, Mt. Pleasant P.O. with her new husband:

Francis A. [sic] Jeffery aged 31 b. OH; Catherine E. Jeffery aged 28 b. PA; James P. Frasher [sic] aged 9 b. IA; Eva Jane Jeffery aged 4 b. IA; William Jeffery aged 2 b. IA; Thomas Jeffery aged 7 months b. IA; Garret I. Jeffery aged 66 b. NJ

The 1880 Henry Co., IA census (p. 194), Jefferson Township, shows that Francis I. Jeffery had adopted James P. Frazier, Catherine Jeffery’s son by her first husband.  This census also documents the relationships in the household.  “Jeffery” has been corrupted to “Jeffries”:

F.I. Jeffries [sic] aged 42 b. OH; Catharine Jeffries (wife) aged 39 b. PA; James P. Jeffries (son) aged 19 b. IA; Wm. Jeffries (son) aged 11 b. IA; Thomas S. Jeffries (son) aged 10 b. IA; John L. Jeffries (son) aged 8 b. IA; Garit Jeffries (father) aged 76 b. NJ

Above: Grave marker of Francis Irons Jeffery at Green Mound cemetery.  The grave has a GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) star.  Beneath “GAR” is the legend “1861–1865.” Francis Irons Jeffery served as a corporal in the Union Army during the Civil War.  GAR was founded on 6 Apr 1866 in Decatur, IL by Benjamin F. Stephenson as a fraternal order for those who had served in the Union armed forces.  Its last member, drummer boy Albert Woolson, d. 2 Aug 1956, and was thought to be about 109 years old.  Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War is the GAR endorsed successor organization, which is still active today.  Estimates of those killed in the Civil War, from combat or disease, range from 620,000 to 750,000. 

Below: Francis Irons Jeffery’s grave marker was paid for by the Office of the Quartermaster General, which supplied through local contractors grave markers for thousands of Union veterans.  According to their records, he died on 20 June 1897.  The grave marker, being of porous stone, is in bad condition.  This record gives an accurate date of death.  The grave marker was actually installed nearly six years later.

By the 1900 Henry Co., IA census (SD 74 ED 33 Sheet 9), Jefferson Township, Catherine Jeffery is once again a widow:

Catherine Jeffry [sic] (widow, head of household) b. Nov 1844 PA; Wm. L. Jeffry (son) b. Jul 1876 IA; Alonzo Jeffry (son) b. – 1879 IA; Earnest Jeffry (son) b. Feb 1881 (Earnest Ervin Jeffery was father of my grandfather Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff)

And finally, in the 1910 Henry Co., IA census (SD 1 ED 40 Sheet 11B), my grandfather is living with his aunt Emma and her husband John Scarff:

John H. Scarff (head) aged 45 b. IA; Emma A. (wife) aged 40 b. IA; Jesse Otto Jeffery (nephew) aged 6 b. IA (Jesse was Emma’s nephew, not John’s)

I wanted to solve the mystery of Catherine E. (Stafford) (Frazier) Jeffery’s first husband, Oliver E. Frazier.  What happened?

Oliver E. Frazier served in Co. K, 7th Regiment, Iowa Infantry.  After numerous battles throughout the South, the unit was attached to the Military Division of the Mississippi under the command of Maj. General William T. Sherman.  The Battle of Resaca, the first battle of Sherman’s Atlanta campaign, was fought from 13–15 May 1864 in Gordon and Whitfield counties, GA.  Oliver E. Frazier was killed at Resaca on 15 May 1864, and is interred at Chatanooga National Cemetery, Chatanooga, TN.  Cemetery records leave no doubt that the soldier interred at Chatanooga was Catherine’s husband Oliver.  Oliver never made it home in more ways than one.

(Battle of Resaca, by Kurz and Allison, 1889.  Kurz and Allison, based in Chicago, were a publisher of chromolithographs of Civil War battles and other historical events.  They would be found in Victorian era parlors of middle class homes.)

But how did Francis I. Jeffery, whose home was Henry Co., IA, marry a widow who resided in Jefferson Co.?  How did he know of her?  Francis was in Co. B, 25th Regiment, Iowa Infantry—and he fought at the Battle of Resaca.  Evidently Francis knew Oliver, and when he mustered out, he visited Catherine.

On 6 Sep 1866 in Jefferson Co., IA, Catherine E. Jeffery posted a Guardian’s bond for the benefit of James P. Frasher, a minor.  Witnesses were Henry Stafford and Daniel W. Benson.

Catherine was the widow of two Civil War veterans.  The pension claims stemming from the Civil War service of Oliver E. Frazier and her second husband Francis I. Jeffery were consolidated under her Widow’s claim No. 679.892.  Records show her son James P. (Frasher) Jeffery eventually received money through his father’s pension while residing at Fairfield, IA.

(Click on image to enlarge.)


Although it is known that Susan (Hanawalt) Stafford is buried at Lower Richwoods Cemetery, she doesn’t have a grave marker and her exact date of death is unknown. However, the 1870 Jefferson Co., IA census (p. 225), P.O. Lockridge, taken on 7 Jun 1870, shows Susan aged 64 living with her son Henry Stafford.

James and Susan (Hanawalt) Stafford’s son Admiral Nelson Stafford (2 Jan 1844—7 Jul 1919) moved to Polk Co., NE, where he resided at Stromsburg.  He drew Pension No. 212,777 for his Civil War service, and is buried in Stromsburg cemetery.

On 30 Nov 1844, for the sum of $500.00, Hugh Johnston and Leah his wife sold to James Stafford 160 acres in Jefferson Co.  William Kimberly and George Hanawalt were witnesses to the deed.  On 1 Mar 1846, the United States of America issued land grant No. 11397 for 40 acres to James Stafford of Jefferson Co., Territory of Iowa.

Below: Grave marker of James Stafford at Lower Richwoods cemetery, Jefferson Co., IA.  At some point the grave marker was split, and has been repaired with iron bands.

James and Susan (Hanawalt) Stafford were real Iowa pioneers.  The following, cited in a 1914 history of Jefferson Co., IA, are part of the field notes submitted on 18 Nov 1837 by E.F. Lucas, Deputy Surveyor, which describes conditions in Walnut Township when James and Susan settled in Iowa Territory:

“It may be said of this township that it embraces a considerable quantity of good soil, and to all appearance well adapted to the purpose of cultivation, good timber for the support of farms is not in that abundance that would be looked for in all cases, but yet, there is a sufficiency.

There passes through the center and out at the South Boundry a Creek called Wallnut which a great portion of the year will be sufficient to propel mills and other machinery.  There are great quantities of Limestone disposed through out, and from appearance stone coal may be easily procured in large quantities.  It is perceveable in the washings of all the brooks Creeks, etc.  On the N. boundary is what is called the Pleasant Prairie.  But of the river bottoms nothing flattering can be held out—they are not wide in most places—and the numerous ponds, and lakes and marshes spoil them either for beauty or cultivation.”

Mifflin Co. is in the central section of PA.  These individuals are of German descent and considered “Pennsylvania Dutch” (“deutsch”).  Any descendant of James and Susan (Hanawalt) Stafford is eligible for DAR on three lines, as discussed below.  All lines have been used for DAR membership.

  1. Johannes Rothrock, b. 1684 in Leiselheim, Germany (in the Rhineland near Worms); m. 1712 Anna Margaretha (maiden name unknown), b. 1688, liv. 1730; Johannes Rothrock said to be son of Michel Rothrock


  2. Johann Georg Rothrock, b. 1721 in Germany, d. 1806 in Northampton Co., PA; m. Elizabeth Roemig, d. 1798; Johann Georg Rothrock (George Rothrock) signed an Oath of Allegiance to the United States on 29 May 1778, NSDAR qualified (Ancestor No. A098781); according to NSDAR wife was Elizabeth Roemig, parents unknown


  3. George Rothrock, b. 1747 in Bucks Co., PA, d. 1 May 1826 in Derry Township, Mifflin Co., PA; m. Elizabeth (Myers or Meyers?), b. 1751, d. Jul 1827, Mifflin Co, PA; George Rothrock served in Battalion 8 Cumberland Co., PA militia during the Revolutionary War, NSDAR qualified (Ancestor No. A098782); NSDAR doesn’t give a maiden name for wife


  4. Mary Rothrock, twin of Susanna Rothrock, b. 24 Dec 1773 in Cumberland Co., PA, d. 1840 in Mifflin Co., PA; m. ca. 1793 in Mifflin Co., PA, John Laman Hanawalt, b. 1773 at or near McVeytown, Mifflin Co., PA, d. 22 Feb 1829 in McVeytown, Mifflin Co., PA; John Laman Hanawalt was the son of Henry George Hanawalt and Catherine Elizabeth Laman (or Lehman); Henry [George] Hanawalt, ca. 1731–1794, is NSDAR qualified (Ancestor No. A050781) for rendering Patriotic Service (paid Supply Tax 1779–1782) 


  5. Susan (or Sussanah) Hanawalt, b. 1807, d. after 7 Jun 1870 in Jefferson Co., IA; m. ca. 1831 in Mifflin Co., PA, James Stafford, b. 8 Jul 1792 in England, d. 8 July 1847 in Jefferson Co, IA; James and Susan (Hanawalt) Stafford are buried in Lower Richwoods Cemetery in Jefferson Co., IA; Susan has no marker


  6. Catherine E. Stafford (middle name probably “Elizabeth”), b. November 1842 in Pennsylvania, d. 23 Oct 1902 in Henry Co., IA; m. (2) 12 Apr 1866 as his second wife, Francis Irons Jeffery, b. 21 Aug 1838 in Marion Co., OH, d. 20 Jun 1897 in Henry Co., IA, Union Civil War veteran, buried Green Mound Cemetery near Trenton, IA, son of Garrett Irons Jeffery and wife Ann McCray; Catherine’s first husband Oliver E. Frazier was killed in the Civil War, and by him she had one son, James P. Frazier

Who was James Edward Chipman? / William & Milly (Standifer) Chipman’s Family / Cynthia or Sarah: Who was James Edward Chipman’s Mother? / Lauderdale Co., TN Tax Lists / Who were the Wilborns? / Miller Excursus/ James Edward Chipman’s siblings: Cynthia Ann (Chipman) Koonce of Lauderdale Co., TN & Benjamin Chipman of Blytheville, AR

•July 23, 2017 • Comments Off on Who was James Edward Chipman? / William & Milly (Standifer) Chipman’s Family / Cynthia or Sarah: Who was James Edward Chipman’s Mother? / Lauderdale Co., TN Tax Lists / Who were the Wilborns? / Miller Excursus/ James Edward Chipman’s siblings: Cynthia Ann (Chipman) Koonce of Lauderdale Co., TN & Benjamin Chipman of Blytheville, AR

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 married Allie May Oxley on 25 Dec 1901.)

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.

(Thomas Jefferson Chipman, 1846–1930, son of William 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 family 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 belongs to Jos Chipman who married Hattie Dunlap on 8 Jan 1881 in Madison Co., TN.  They were African-American.

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 photo was obtained by Ralph Vernon Chipman during a visit to Ripley, TN.  The photo is of William Mack Chipman (right) with son “Fletcher,” although I’m not certain that was the son’s name.  William Mack Chipman was a grandson of William Chipman (1814–1874).

(Notes by Ralph Vernon Chipman.)

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

Some sources say Deborah (Chipman) Wilborn died on 17 Sep 1871 in Pilot Point, TX.  This is an example of a specific, though wrong, date of death, and wrong place of death. How did that happen?  The bible record is preferred over other sources.  Deborah (Chipman) Wilborn actually died a year later, and is buried in a family cemetery in DeKalb Co., MO.


Serendipity:  the discovery of something fortunate; the accidental discovery of something pleasant, valuable, or useful.



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.


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.

[Obituary for Annie (Ashcraft) Chipman Wright, “The Courier News,” Blytheville, AR for 20 Apr 1970, p. 4.]


Willie Edna Chipman, b. 1 Apr 1900, d. 21 Jun 1980, m. Charles Samuel Craig

[Tombstone for Willie Edna (Chipman) Craig at Elmwood cemetery, Blytheville, AR.  Tombstone gives death date as 23 Jun 1980.]

Marvin Chipman, b. 10 Jul 1902, d. 25 Jul 1980, bur. at Mississippi Memorial Gardens in Osceola, AR; m. Jody Viola Raport

Gertie Chipman, b. 24 Apr 1904, d. 23 Sep 1980; according to mother’s obituary m. — Flanigan

John Chipman, b. 28 Jan 1906, d. 10 Jan 1987

(“The Courier News,” of Blytheville, AR.  There is a discrepancy: the family information I received indicates John David Chipman was 81 when he died.)

Joe Bill Chipman, b. 7 Mar 1908, d. 16 Nov 1973

(“The Courier-News” of Blytheville, AR, Saturday, November 17, 1973.)

Lillie Chipman, b. 5 Jun 1912, d. 22 Oct 1928

(“Blytheville, Ark. Courier News,” for Monday, 22 Oct. 1928, p. 2.)

Mollie P. Chipman, b. 8 Mar 1914 (posthumous), m. A. Marvin Humble

[Tombstone for Mollie P. (Chipman) Humble, Jonesboro Memorial Park cemetery, Craighead Co. AR.  Again, a departure from family information: here her birthdate is given as 7 Mar 1913.]

Annie (Ashcraft) Chipman married (2nd) Noah Wright.


Hazel Wright, b. 28 Apr 1918, d. 1967

Mabel Wright, b. 28 Apr 1919


A helpful website for Lauderdale Co. research is:



(1861).  Journal And Proceedings Of The Missouri State Convention Held At Jefferson City And St. Louis March, 1861.  St. Louis:  George Knapp & Co., Printers And Binders. 

Freemasons have a long and distinguished history in the United States.  My 3rd great-grandfather Thomas Scott Jr.  (1816–1897), son of Thomas and Sarah (Mahurin) Scott, was a player in Missouri politics.  Scott was a member of Flatwoods Baptist church, and a member of Miller Co., MO Masonic Lodges in Linn Creek (Nos. 66 & 152), Mt. Pleasant (No. 139), and Tuscumbia (Nos. 169 & 437).

Thomas Scott Jr. and America (Stillwell) Scott had migrated to Miller Co., MO from Dubois Co., IN.

(“Thomas Scott Jur” means Thomas Scott Jr.)

[Tombstone for Richard Stillwell, probable father of America (Stillwell) Scott, located at Simmons Family cemetery near Holland in Dubois Co., IN.  The tombstone is quite unusual in that it has no dates.  The 1830 Greene Co., IN Federal census lists Richard Stillwell as aged 60–70, and thus born ca. 1760–1770.  Although the tombstone claims Richard Stillwell was a Capt. in the PA militia during the Revolutionary War, according to DAR that service actually belongs to another Richard Stillwell.  In the 1880 Miller Co., MO Federal census America stated both of her parents were born in NC.  A search of NC troops showed no Richard Stillwell served there.  Richard Stillwell is said to have died in 1836.  This stone was probably erected at a much later date and is inaccurate.]

Thomas Scott Jr. was the son of Thomas Scott Sr. (“Thomas Scott Ser” means Thomas Scott Sr.) and wife Sarah Mahurin:

( transcription of 1850 Miller Co., MO Census, District 13, p. 445a, Family 533.)

Miller County was in the 27th Senatorial District.  Thomas Scott Jr. served as a Resident State Senator from 1858 to 1862.  He was elected Justice of the Miller County Court on 2 Aug 1860, and also served as a Justice of the Peace for Equality Township.

Wilson Milton Vaughan family from a photo dated ca. 1895.  On 11 Mar 1875 in Miller Co., MO, Wilson married Rachel Jane Scott, daughter of Thomas Scott, Jr. and wife America Stilwell.  Rachel d. on 30 Mar 1894.  Left to Right / Bottom Row: Lafe Vaughan, Floyd Vaughan; 2nd Row: Eric Lyman Vaughan, Wilson Milton Vaughan, Everett Vaughan; Top Row: Ethel Vaughan, Theron Vaughan, Teresa Vaughan.  Wilson Milton Vaughan, my 2nd great-grandfather, was a well-known character in Tuscumbia, MO and lived to be nearly 100.  He was the son of Joshua Vaughan and wife Betsy Birdsong.


In 1861 Scott was a representative to the Missouri State Convention and voted to keep Missouri in the Union.  He’s listed in the official roster of the Convention (p. 7) as born in Kentucky, age 44, Farmer, of Tuscumbia (county seat of Miller Co.).  In 1862 he was elected State Representative from Miller County and is listed in the Missouri House Journal.  

Scott studied law and he and Jacob Gantt had a law office in Tuscumbia.

[Thomas Scott Jr., (1816–1897).]

Scott supported the Liberal Republican Party which in 1872 unsuccessfully opposed the reelection of President Ulysses S. Grant by nominating newspaperman Horace Greeley. Greeley, who is credited with coining the phrase “Go West, young man” (although he may not have used those exact words), died before the electoral votes were counted.

Scott tried his hand at gold mining in CA.  There’s confusion as to when and where he located in CA. “Scott, Thomas” age 63 and b. in KY is found in the 1880 Placer Co., CA Federal Census, p. 42, SD 42, ED 72, Butcher Ranch Precinct, Household 527/527, residing as a boarder in the house of William Bennett.  Placer Co. is in northern CA bordering NV.

I have the text of a letter Scott wrote from U.S. Ranch, Cal., to Wilson Milton and Rachel Jane (Scott) Vaughan, dated 11 Jan 1880, in which he said:

“We have had the hardest winter so far that has ever been known in the country.  Ice has frozen two inches thick something never known before.”

According to a letter of Scott’s grandson, Everett Vaughan, dated 2 May 1952:

“Grandfather Scott also went to California…. He apparently had some trouble with his family, especially the boys.  He deeded each of the boys a farm and left for California without telling anyone he was going.  I recall his return, about 1886.  He came to our place and stayed there for a few months.  He then moved to Uncle Newt’s, where he died.  Uncle Newt then lived on what later was known as the Fogleman place, where we lived for a while once.”

Since Scott’s wife, America (Stilwell) Scott was yet living, it’s inferred that the couple’s marriage had soured.  That may have been the motive for his sudden departure to CA. 

This symbol found on the $1.00 bill is a testament to the Founding Fathers’ association with Freemasonry.  The “Eye” symbol and motto “Annuit Coeptis” are loosely translated as “Providence Favors Our Undertakings.”  “Novus Ordo Seclorum” means “New Order of the Ages.”  The use of the mottos and symbol reflect the Founding Fathers’ confidence in the new United States. “MDCCLXXVI” are Roman Numerals for “1776.”

Revised Dec. 23, 2016

Branching Howland (how Ralph met Val)

•June 19, 2017 • Comments Off on Branching Howland (how Ralph met Val)

This column was one of my Thanksgiving projects that had an unforeseen result.

My parents share common 17th century ancestors: Henry and Margaret Howland of Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire, England, parents of Plymouth Colony immigrants John Howland, Henry Howland, and Arthur Howland.  Henry and Margaret Howland are buried in the churchyard of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Fenstanton.

My father is a descendant of Mayflower passenger John Howland. My mother can trace her ancestry to John Howland’s brother Arthur Howland, who came to Plymouth Colony at a later date, first mentioned as a planter of Duxbury in 1640. He was a Quaker at a time when Quakers were subjected to much persecution.  Arthur Howland was buried at Marshfield on 30 Oct 1675.  His wife, Margaret Reid, a widow (maiden name unknown), was also buried at Marshfield, on 22 Jan 1683.  Arthur Howland is an ancestor of Winston Churchill.

My mother’s line from Arthur Howland is as follows, beginning with Henry and Margaret Howland:

(1) Henry & Margaret Howland (2) Arthur & Margaret Howland (3) Elizabeth Howland & John Low (4) Elizabeth Low & Walter Joyce (5) Bathsheba Joyce & Ebenezer Mahurin (6) Stephen Mahurin & Unknown (7) Samuel Mahurin & Unknown (8) Sarah Mahurin & Thomas Scott Sr. (9) Thomas Scott Jr. & America Stillwell (10) Rachel Jane Scott & Wilson Milton Vaughan (11) Eric Lyman Vaughan & Nora Ann McMillen (12) Hillary Lillian Vaughan & Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff (13) Valerie Berniece Jeffery Scarff & Ralph Vernon Chipman.

Above:  Memorial plaque for Henry Howland, father of Mayflower passenger John Howland, in the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire, England.

Couple No. 13 are my parents.  Ebenezer Mahurin (d. 1755) was the son of Hugh Mahurin of Taunton, MA (d. 1718).  Hugh Mahurin’s only proven child is Ebenezer, but it’s known he had other children.  The Mahurins are presumed to be of Scots-Irish descent.

The most comprehensive study of the Mahurin family is “Hugh Mahurin Of Taunton, Massachusetts” by Francis H. Huron, in the January, April, and July issues of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register for 1982.  According to Walter E. Hazen, who summarized some points of the Huron article:

The earliest record of Hugh Mahurin that we have is in Taunton, Mass. March 1692/3. Possibly he initially came, or was brought, there to work in one of the forges or iron works.  This is conjecture, but his son Ebenezer was later called ‘collyer’ in New Jersey, a term applied to iron workers in that period. This also could explain why Hugh received a grant of land at Taunton half a century after the town was established (Taunton Proprietor’s Records, 4:296, Bristol County Registry of Deeds):

This 15th of March 1692/3 is voted and granted to Hugh Mehurin ten acres of land in the plain that lieth between Samuel Crossman’s and Hart’s meadow in a valley near Stage pond provided it be no way prejudicial to any highway or former grant.

On 26 July 1695 Charles Williams of Taunton “for and in consideration of five pounds in silver money to him in hand paid by Hugh Mahurin of Taunton” sold him two adjoining parcels of land, one of ten acres, the other of seven-and-one-half acres (Bristol County Deeds, 12:117). Hugh Mahurin’s land was in the northeasterly section of Taunton which in 1731 became the town of Raynham. He acquired additional small amounts, as evidenced in the follow extracts from a deed dated 19 March 1717/18 (ibid., 12:116), which also contains vital information concerning his family:

Know ye that I Hugh Mahurin of Taunton in the County of Bristol–for & in consideration of that Love and affection which I beare to my Eldest son Ebenezer Mahurin as also in Consideration of a bond given me by my said Son Ebenezer Mahurin for the payment of fifteen pounds to my other Children in manner as is Expressed in said bond–Have given granted–& confirm unto him said Ebenezer Mahurin Two parcels of land which lay adjoining together within the Limits and bounds of said Taunton on which my dwelling house stands which I bought of Charles Williams by deed dated the Twenty Sixth day of July one thousand Six Hundred and Ninety and five. The first parcel being Ten acres more or less–The second Parcel is seven acres and half more or less–Together with five acres of land granted by the Proprietors on January 8th 1695 to me said Hugh Mahurin to lay on the left hand of the way by my own land neare Titicut Pond & five acres on the Right hand of the way opposite to it Together with a Little Piece of land about one acre and half or two acres lying adjoining to my own land on the Easterly of the lay Rhoad granted on January 19th 1713/14–only my son Ebenezer may at Present Improve Two acres where his house now Stands and the whole after the decease of his Father, Excepting only that my present wife Mary if she survive me and while she Continues my Widow shall enjoyed my present dwelling house and half an acre of land where the house stands which runs towards my son Ebenezer’s Farm.
The deed was witnessed by Samuel Danforth and Ebenezer Campbel.

Hugh Mahurin died intestate. The inventory of his estate noted “A true Inventory of all and singular the goods & chattels and credits of Hugh Mahurin yeoman deceased seized at Taunton on the nineteenth day of May in the year 1718 & by John Leonard & Ebenezer Cambel & John King,” and itemized a list of household goods, farm tools, and livestock with a total value of LB45.17 (Bristol County Probates, 3:439). The account of Ebenezer Mahurin, administrator of the estate of his father Hugh Mahurin, dated 4 February 1722/3, listed additional receipts and the payment of a lengthy list of debts and disbursements (ibid., 4:110).

The above records prove Hugh Mahurin had more than one son, and at least three children.

The maiden name of Hugh Mahurin’s wife Mary is unknown, but may have been Campbell. She married second William Bassett 19 Feb 1719 in Bridgewater.

John Low, father of Elizabeth (Low) Joyce, has been alleged to be a son of Thomas Low by his second wife Susannah; the claim being Thomas Low had sons named John by both wives.  I queried Bingham J.F. Lowe, the expert on this family, and was informed that our John Low wasn’t a son of Thomas Low, as Thomas Low didn’t mention him in his bible. Therefore, John Low’s ancestry is unknown.  John Low died 26 Mar 1676 during an Indian ambush in King Philip’s War.

[p. 349 lists John Low of Marshfield as a member of Capt. Michael Peirse’s company.  On Sunday, 26 Mar 1676 Peirse was lured into an ambush on the bank of a river near Seekonk (evidently the Seekonk River) and surrounded by a large force of Indians.  Available as free download from Google Books.  Click on image to enlarge.]

It’s not always possible to identify wives of pioneers, but I did locate the marriage bond of Thomas Scott Sr. (son of Arthur Scott) and Sarah Mahurin (daughter of Samuel Mahurin) in Shelby County, KY:

Dr. George E. McCracken, FASG, wrote a brief article about Arthur Howland, including a transcription of his will and inventory.  Rather than re-invent the wheel, here it is:

Anthony Snow, an ancestor of my father’s, took the inventory.  Arthur Howland left my mother’s ancestress, Elizabeth Low, 10 pounds to be paid after the death of his wife.  Though McCracken gives the wife of Henry Howland of Fenstanton as “Ann,” Susan E. Roser and others call her “Margaret.”   You’ll note that McCracken complains about Franklyn Howland’s slipshod transcription.  I can sympathize—transcribing a document that old is hard work.

Revised Sep. 19, 2016

The Ancestry of Allie May (OXLEY) Chipman: 3 False Beckwith Royal Lines / Beckwith and Creath of Cape Girardeau Co., MO / Riddle of Stoddard Co., MO / Oxley and Faulkner of Lenoir Co., NC

•December 1, 2016 • Comments Off on The Ancestry of Allie May (OXLEY) Chipman: 3 False Beckwith Royal Lines / Beckwith and Creath of Cape Girardeau Co., MO / Riddle of Stoddard Co., MO / Oxley and Faulkner of Lenoir Co., NC

John Franklin Riddle (1828-1904) and Joellan Beckwith (1831-1896) were the grandparents of Allie May (Oxley) Chipman, wife of my great-grandfather James Edward Chipman.  It’s their families we’ll explore in this column.

[Death certificate for Allie May (Oxley) Chipman; date of death 27 Dec 1935; parents given as “Aquilia Oxley” and “Mary Caroline.”]

[Grave marker for James Edward and Allie May (Oxley) Chipman at Senath cemetery, Dunklin Co., MO.]

John Franklin Riddle’s father George Riddle had settled in Stoddard Co., MO.  John Franklin Riddle moved to Dunklin Co., MO, where on 1 Apr 1858 as “John Riddle, of Dunklin County, Missouri” he received land grant Certificate No. 24.703 for 40 acres.  (Bureau of Land Management records.)

Allie’s parents, Aquilla Voin Oxley and Mariah Caroline Riddle, were married on 2 Jul 1874 in Dunklin Co., MO.  Aquilla’s middle name was “Voin,” not “Vester,” as the marriage record proves (Dunklin Co., MO Marriage Book 1, p. 38).

[Tombstone of Aquilla Voin Oxley, born Dec. 5, 1847, died Nov. 18, 1887, father of Allie May (Oxley) Chipman, at Rocky Hill Cemetary near Campbell, Dunklin Co., MO.]

On 5 Jan 1888, Mariah C. Oxley applied for Letters of Administration on her husband’s estate, and the application lists A.V. Oxley’s heirs as William V. Oxley, Ida Oxley, Jennie Oxley, and Allie Oxley:

[Death certificate for Mariah Caroline (Riddle) Oxley, widow of Aquilla Voin Oxley; date of death 8 Nov 1934; parents are shown as “Jhon Riddle” and “Ella Beckwith.”  Her parents’ formal names were “John Franklin Riddle” and “Joellan Beckwith.”]

[One of my favorite family photos: Oxley family reunion ca. 1926 in Clay Co., AR.  In the 1st row Left in the black dress is Mariah Caroline (Riddle) Oxley.  The ancient gentleman seated to the Right of her is her brother-in-law George Milton Oxley.  The young girl holding a baby at the end of the 1st row Right is Pauline Aquilla Chipman.  At the Left behind the woman in the patterned dress is Allie May (Oxley) Chipman, and next to her wearing a sweater vest is her son Winford William Chipman.  James Edward Chipman is in the far Right back row.]

[Service record for George Milton Oxley, CSA.  He was released by his Union Army captors on 6 Jun 1865 at Grand Ecore, LA.  Dunklin Co., MO, with its cotton operations, had sympathized with the Confederacy.  George Milton Oxley participated in Maj. Gen. Sterling Price’s Missouri raid of 1864, and received a Confederate Pension from the State of Arkansas (Application No. 15623).  He died in 1940.]

Above: George Milton Oxley grave marker, Gravel Hill Cemetery, St. Francis, Clay Co., AR.  The tombstone is wrong: George Milton Oxley was born in 1849, not 1847.  His brother Aquilla Voin Oxley was born in 1847.

Below: the question of George Milton Oxley’s birthdate is resolved by this detail from the 1900 Chalk Bluff, Clay Co., AR Federal Census, SD 1, ED 5, Sheet 5, which clearly shows his birthdate as Sep 1849.  In his pension he also gives his birthyear as 1847, which suggests he lied about his age when he enlisted with the CSA.  He was actually only 15 years old when he was paroled in Louisiana.

[Death certificate for William J. Oxley, another brother-in-law of Mariah Caroline (Riddle) Oxley; date of death is 8 Nov 1913; parents listed as “James Oxley” and “Rillie Faulkner.”  His mother’s name was actually “Annaretta Faulkner.”]

The James Oxley family is found in the 1850 Haywood Co., TN Federal Census, District No. 12, pp. 40B–41, Household 525, as follows: James Oxley 51 b. NC, Ann Oxley 38 b. NC, Wm. Oxley 12 b. TN, John Oxley 10 b. TN, Clay Oxley 8 b. TN, Cintha Oxley 6 b. TN, Nancy Oxley 5 b. TN, Aquilla Oxley 3 b. TN, Milton Oxley 1 b. TN (The first son William was evidently named after Annaretta’s father William Faulkner, and the second son John probably named after James’ father John Oxley.)

Below: this article from a Clay Co., AR newspaper gives some general information regarding the Oxley family.  (Click on image to enlarge.)

What is known of the origins of John Franklin Riddle and Joellan Beckwith, the parents of Mariah Caroline (Riddle) Oxley?

Joellan Beckwith was the daughter of Joseph and Eliza Jane (Creath) Beckwith, who married on 20 Jan 1823 in Granville Co., NC.  Joseph Beckwith was born in CT, and thus presumably a descendant of Mathew Beckwith, of Lyme, CT.  Joseph Beckwith d. in 1847 in Stoddard Co., MO.

Mathew Beckwith was deceased by 6 Jun 1682, when his inventory was filed. He’s said to have died falling from a cliff.  He had four sons: Mathew, Joseph, Nathaniel, and John, and three daughters.

Three royal lines have been claimed for our Beckwith family, all of them false:

Beckwith, Paul.  (1891).  The Beckwiths.  Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s Sons.  (Book is available as a free download from Internet Archive and Google Books.)

I.  On pp. 17, 18, 27, 28, 73, 74, Paul Beckwith discusses Mathew Beckwith.  The Beckwiths is notorious in the genealogical community.  Paul Beckwith was one of the most practiced pedigree peddlers of his era.  To correct the incredible number of errors would require a book of its own. 

On p. 17 Paul Beckwith says:  “We must now return to Marmaduke Beckwith of Clint and Dacre, and find mention of Mathew Beckwith, who is possibly the Mathew Beckwith who is first recorded at Saybrook Point, Conn., in 1635, and the ancestor of by far the largest, numerically, of the American Beckwiths and whose descendants are to be found in every State of the Union, Canada and the Sandwich Islands.”  But on p. 27, the author claims without caveat that this Mathew Beckwith was the son of Marmaduke Beckwith and his wife Anne Dynly.  And p. 73 states Mathew Beckwith was born ca. 1610 in Ponteferact, Yorkshire, England.

Between 1899 and 1907, Albert C. Beckwith (later joined by Edward S. Beckwith) of Elkhorn, WI, published 6 Volumes of Beckwith Notes which cover the descendants of Mathew Beckwith.  The authors were highly critical of Paul Beckwith and corrected many errors in The Beckwiths, among them refuting the claim on chronological grounds that Marmaduke Beckwith and Anne Dynly were Mathew’s parents, as Anne Dynly would have been about 81 years old when Mathew was born (see No. One, pp. 6–7).

There appears to be confusion over the identity of this Marmaduke Beckwith.  The English Baronetage, Vol. III Part II (1741), p. 680, gives a different account, but shows the couple without a son Mathew (who according to most authors was b. ca. 1610):

II.  It’s also alleged that Mathew Beckwith’s wife was “Elizabeth Lynde” (sometimes called “Mary Lynde”), daughter of Enoch Lynde and wife Elizabeth Digby.  Douglas Richardson’s Plantagenet Ancestry (2004) p. 483 lists 5 sons and no daughters for Enoch Lynde and Elizabeth Digby.  Richardson’s Royal Ancestry (2013), Vol. III, p. 682 repeats the same information.  Since the line fails at “Elizabeth Lynde,” it’s unnecessary to examine the rest of the pedigree. 

Where did the tale of “Elizabeth Lynde” originate?  On p. 73 of The Beckwiths, Paul Beckwith states Mathew Beckwith “was left a legacy by Capt. Lyrado….”  In Beckwith Notes No. One, p. 9, the authors remark: “If Capt. ‘Lyrado’ (perhaps somebody’s misreading of ‘Lynde’) left to Matthew a legacy of mentionable value the legatee was very likely the testator’s son-in-law.  The earliest Lyndes were first of Boston and later of Saybrook.  Until proof or fair presumption of such a legacy can be shown the Beckwiths need not care how the Lyndes were descended from ancient kings and mediaeval nobles.”

We have already seen that the purported parents of “Elizabeth Lynde” (or “Mary Lynde”) had no such daughter.  From whom, if anyone, this supposed legacy was received has not been demonstrated.  The only reason “Lynde” had been suggested was familiarity with the name.  Clearly someone read Beckwith Notes No. One and decided to go forward with the tale without any documentation.  The motive was linkage to a known medieval pedigree.

So there’s no proof for any of it.  Nobody knows from whence Mathew Beckwith came, although it’s a safe assumption he emigrated to Connecticut from somewhere in England.  There’s no evidence he was born in Yorkshire as Paul Beckwith claimed.  The identity of his wife is unknown.  Mathew Beckwith is far more likely to have been the son of a tradesman than the scion of an illustrious house.

III.  John Beckwith’s son John m. Prudence Mainwaring, daughter of Oliver Mainwaring. The Mainwaring family has a valid royal line from King Edward I of England. Seth Beckwith, a Revolutionary War soldier and resident of Montville, CT, was a descendant of John and Prudence.  Seth Beckwith had a son Joseph who was b. 25 Jan 1785, but that Joseph d. 1820 in Montville.  Joseph and his brother Russell served in the War of 1812.  Joseph Beckwith of Stoddard Co., MO was just a contemporary of Seth Beckwith’s son Joseph.

[Beckwith, Albert C. & Edward S.  (1907).  Beckwith Notes Number Six.  Elkhorn, WI: The Authors. p. 41]

There are 3 main stemma of Beckwiths in the United States: descendants of Mathew Beckwith (CT); of George Beckwith (MD); and of Sir Marmaduke Beckwith (VA).  I have not seen evidence proving any of the 3 are actually biologically related.

The Beckwith stemma varied significantly in social class: Mathew Beckwith a yeoman; George Beckwith an indentured servant; and Sir Marmaduke Beckwith a baronet of distinguished ancestry.

[Record of creation of Beckwith baronetcy from Complete Baronetage by G.E.C., Vol. IV (1904).]

I received this from Beckwith expert Hubert S. Beckwith:

Families often left their home state in search of land to support their families.  They might stop somewhere for a few years before continuing on, and along the way, family members could die.  Finding the parents of Joseph Beckwith of Stoddard Co., MO could be difficult.

To illustrate the scope of the problem, by the 1800 Federal census there were 130 Beckwith households in the USA, with 111 of those reasonably attributable to descendants of Mathew Beckwith the immigrant.  78 of those households are found in CT alone, and a further 23 in NY, which was a popular migration point.  Some descendants of Mathew Beckwith are found in the 1800 NC census as well, although I haven’t been able to connect any of those NC Beckwiths to our Joseph Beckwith.  And those are just households listed under the name “Beckwith;” there were undoubtedly more Beckwiths in households enumerated under a different name, as in the case of Beckwith widows who remarried.  Her Beckwith children will be merely numbers in the household of her new husband.

Can we say anything about the birth date of Joseph Beckwith? There are only two extant census records for Joseph Beckwith, both in MO: in 1830 he’s listed in Cape Girardeau Co. (p. 454) as 30-40, and in 1840 in Stoddard Co. (p. 4) he’s 50-60. This gives a range of birth years of 1780-1800. A discrepancy like this can mean he was born in a census year. That would place his year of birth as ca. 1790.

The early probate records in Stoddard Co. are lost, but I located in the Stoddard Co. court record books sufficient proof of Joseph Beckwith’s heirs.  Joseph Beckwith was deceased by 5 Oct 1847 when his administrator, David Huddleston, was ordered to cover the estate’s debts.  By 3 Jul 1849, Joseph’s widow Eliza had become administratrix.  The court records listed the following heirs of Joseph Beckwith:  Franklin Beckwith a minor, Joanna (Joellan) Beckwith a minor, Amanda Beckwith a minor, and Laura M. Beckwith a minor.  Brumfield Beckwith wasn’t listed because he wasn’t a minor at the time.  Eliza posted a $400.00 bond. 

Three of Joseph Beckwith’s children had issue: Brumfield, Joellan, and Laura.  Franklin Beckwith d. childless on 18 Mar 1873.  An affidavit filed 31 Mar 1873 listed his heirs as Bromfield Beckwith, Joella Riddle, Lorah McWherter, Amanda Cosby, and Elizabeth Beckwith (Franklin’s wife; her first name was Mary):

On 18 Nov 1878, in Dunklin Co., MO, John Franklin Riddle, husband of Joellan (Beckwith) Riddle, was granted guardianship of “Amanda Crosby (insane).”  Amanda had married W.L. Cosby, a miller.  In the 1860 Federal census the couple was residing in New Madrid Co., MO, with three children:  Mary J., James, and Sarah M. Cosby.  It’s not clear if any of the children were Amanda’s.

Joellan (Beckwith) Riddle and Laura M. (Beckwith) McWherter have descendants.

Brumfield Beckwith, died 10 Jan 1877, has descendants in the male line.  I salvaged 14 pages from his probate file, which was in a deteriorated condition, and may have disintegrated by now.  On 5 Feb 1877, in Dunklin Co., administration of Brumfield Beckwith’s estate was granted to Jacob R. Beckwith and Nathaniel Payne.  Brumfield’s heirs were listed as Harriet A. Thompson, Jacob R. (Russell) Beckwith, and M.F. (Moses Franklin) Beckwith.

If we are to learn anything further of the origins of Joseph Beckwith, it will probably come from descendants of Brumfield Beckwith, of whom I compiled the following:

Above: detail from 1822 Islands Creek District, Granville Co., NC Tax List.  The sixth entry from the top reads “Beckwith, James,” followed by “Creath, John Sr.”  In my opinion the “Beckwith, James” entry is an error, and should have been “Beckwith, Joseph.”  I have never found a James Beckwith that had a demonstrable connection to Joseph Beckwith.  Errors do occur in official documents.  Why was Joseph Beckwith in Granville Co., NC?  Granville Co. is in central NC on the VA border, across from Mecklenburg Co., VA, where John Creath Sr. had relatives.  Click on image to enlarge.

A deed, made in Cape Girardeau Co., MO 11 Aug 1831, recorded 14 Sep 1831, from Joseph Beckwith and Eliza his wife, witnessed by Oliver Creath and Sarah M. Creath, to Franklin Cannon, for two lots in the town of Jackson, MO, might contain a clue to the ancestry of Joseph Beckwith.  Joseph and Eliza J. (Creath) Beckwith had a son named Franklin.  “Franklin” as a given name isn’t completely unknown during this period, but “Francis” is more common.  Onomastic evidence is sometimes very helpful , but it can be misleading.  Then as now, couples could use a name they liked, whether or not it belonged to a relative.  Joellan Beckwith married John Franklin Riddle, and there’s no known “Franklin” in his pedigree—“Franklin” may have been derived from a county in VA where his mother’s family, the Hales, had once resided.  Nonetheless, it’s a striking coincidence that Joseph and Eliza sold land to Franklin Cannon, and named a son Franklin.  “Cannon” isn’t a surname that shows up in the ancestry of Eliza J. (Creath) Beckwith.  It appears that Franklin Beckwith was named for Franklin Cannon.

There’s evidence that Joseph Beckwith wasn’t a good businessman: in 1831 he was sued in the Cape Girardeau Circuit Court by William Ranney and John Ranney over a debt of $67.00.  His wife Eliza Jane (Creath) Beckwith was involved in extensive litigation surrounding her husband’s estate that eventually wound up at the Missouri Supreme Court in 1853.

Eliza Jane Creath, b. ca. 1801, was the daughter of Samuel Creath (ca. 1773–1813) and wife Nancy Ragland, m. 14 Feb 1795 (Samuel Creath’s brother John Creath m. on 1 Jan 1794 Mary Irby).  Samuel Creath’s will dated 31 Aug 1812 in Warren Co., NC, probated Feb. Court 1813, leaves entire estate to wife Nancy for her lifetime, with reversion to his children. Nancy (Ragland) Creath was the daughter of William Ragland (DAR no. A0933397), whose will made 23 Oct 1823, probated Feb Court 1825 in Granville Co., NC, mentions his daughter Nancy Creath.  William Ragland’s ancestry is traced back several generations in the colonies, but connection to any family in England and Wales is unproved.

Joseph and Eliza Jane (Creath) Beckwith and Eliza’s relatives moved from Granville Co., NC to Cape Girardeau Co., MO.  John Creath on 24 Jan 1837 received 43.46 acres (Certificate No. 3302) and on 25 Jun 1841 received 40 acres (Certificate No. 6076). Nathaniel and William Creath on 6 Nov 1823 received 122.74 acres (Certificate No. 338). Harriet Creath on 17 Feb 1847 received 40 acres (Certificate No. 8091).  [Harriet (Webb) Creath was the wife of John Creath.]

John Creath also had a son named Franklin b. ca. 1838.  Franklin Beckwith was b. ca. 1829, so he wasn’t named for Franklin Creath.

The probate papers of Nathaniel Creath, who owned a saddlery shop in Jackson, MO, dated 23 Mar 1823, list his heirs as William Creath and Albert G. Creath (m. Elizabeth Juden) of Cape Girardeau Co., MO and Nancy and Jane Creath of Granville Co., NC. “Jane Creath” is Eliza Jane (Creath) Beckwith.  At the time Nathaniel Creath’s estate was probated, William Creath, his administrator, didn’t know that Eliza Jane Creath had m. Joseph Beckwith 2 months earlier in Granville Co., NC.  Nancy Creath is Nathaniel Creath’s mother, Nancy (Ragland) Creath, who was living when his estate was probated. As noted above, Nathaniel Creath and William Creath filed a land grant on 6 Nov 1823, but at that point Nathaniel Creath had been deceased for more than 7 months.

William Creath and Minor W. Whitney in Nov 1820 founded newspaper “Independent Patriot” at Jackson, MO.  William Creath was sheriff of Cape Girardeau Co., MO from 1822–1828.  Later he’s found in Wayne Co., MO where on 30 Dec 1835 he received 40 acres (Certificate No. 1601), on 17 Jan 1837 received 16.5 acres (Certificate No. 1822), and on 1 Aug 1842 24.4 acres (Certificate No. 2782).  William Creath, d. 1839, m. Martha Atkins, d. 1871.  They were the parents of 10 children.  In 1828 William Creath settled in Greenville, Wayne Co., and was a merchant.

An appeal to the Supreme Court of MO filed in 1853 in Wayne Co., MO, regarding the settlement of William Creath’s estate, lists the surviving heirs as: Albert Creath, George Creath, Joseph White, Samuel Creath, Martha Past, Sophia White, and John Past.

A Dunklin Co., MO resident with a connection to the Creath family of Granville Co., NC was Erby (Irby) Beckwith Creath (11 Sep 1855–18 Feb 1937), son of Oliver Creath.  On 26 Oct 1876 he married Susan Emily Elder, and is buried at Elder Cemetery at Campbell.  I believe this individual to be a descendant of Samuel Creath’s brother John Creath, and thus a relative of Eliza J. (Creath) Beckwith.

Deloris Williams, a family historian working with records of Granville and Warren Cos., NC cleared up a family mystery:  a close friend of the Samuel Creath family was Bromfield Ridley (ca. 1742–1796), who was also called “Broomfield.” Bromfield Ridley was the son of James and Mary (Bromfield) Ridley.  Brumfield (or “Broomfiled”)  Beckwith was evidently named after Bromfield Ridley.

I compiled these notes on the Creath family:

(The above notes refer to Samuel Creath and Peter Oliver as being “insane.”  At the time, the elderly who suffered from senile dementia were termed “insane.”  I’ve seen this before.  Having the elderly adjudged “insane” allowed the family to take control of their affairs.)

The following item corroborates the above notes:


John Franklin Riddle was the son of George Riddle (or Ruddle), born ca. 1790 in VA, died ca. 1859 at Crowley’s Ridge in Stoddard Co., MO, and his wife Sarah Hale (liv. 1860).  George Riddle married Sarah Hale on 8 Nov 1818 in Floyd Co., KY.  The origin of George Riddle is unknown, but he named one of his sons Bird Riddle.

I urge readers to exercise care when researching the Riddle or Ruddle family—you’ll encounter contradictory statements.  The first assumption made in the literature is that John Ruddell Sr. and wife Mary Cook are the progenitors of the Ruddle family of VA.  There is no definite proof that any Riddle or Ruddle male married a Bird.  However, the following from John Ruddell of the Shenandoah Valley: His Children and Grandchildren by Harold Turk Smutz (June 1974) seems relevant to our Riddle family:

Smutz lists the following children for this George Ruddle:  John, Elizabeth, George, Andrew, Ingabo, William, Mary Ann, and Clare.  I have not personally verified this information.  I know of no will or estate for this individual, and this list of his children must be conjectural—but he seems a good candidate for the grandfather of George Riddle of Stoddard Co., MO.

So far we’ve extended the pedigree of Allie May (Oxley) Chipman into the mid to late 1700s, but there’s another ancestral line we should examine.  John Franklin Riddle’s mother, Sarah (Hale) Riddle, has some interesting VA ancestry.  She was the daughter of Peter and Sarah (Morris) Hale.  The following are notes I made concerning the Hale family:

Peter Hale was the son of Joseph Hale of Patrick Co., VA (will dated 8 Dec 1798), and there his pedigree ends, but Peter Hale’s wife Sarah Morris was the daughter of Ezekiel Morris, son of Daniel Morris, and Mary Thurmond (or Turman), daughter of Benjamin and Frances Turman. 

The next item is a letter I was fortunate to receive from Debbie Hudspeth of Louisville, KY.  Mrs. Hudspeth must be long departed, and though her disapproval of incompetent genealogists is obvious, I think I may now in the year 2011 share her research into the Hale family.  She was very thorough and I was unable to improve upon her work.


The Oxley family had deep roots in the colonial NC.  A catastrophic courthouse fire in 1878 was thought to have destroyed all records in Lenoir Co., NC (formed 1791, county seat Kinston), from whence came her grandfather, James Monroe Oxley and his wife Annaretta Faulkner, daughter of William Faulkner.  In this instance, the citing of many notes will answer few questions.

The following from a history of Dunklin Co., MO, supplies all that is definitely known of Allie May Oxley’s family, except that Annaretta Faulkner was the daughter of William Faulkner. William J. Oxley was Allie’s uncle.


Certainly among the among the names below are the parents and relatives of James Monroe Oxley and William Faulkner.

The progenitor of the Oxley family in NC was John Oxley Sr., who was in Bertie Co., NC as early as 1738, and left a will dated 24 Feb 1767, naming the the following:

Sons, George and John Oxley; Son-in-law Isaiah Johnson and Mary his wife; Daughter, Olive Oxley; Son-in-law John Parrot and Elizabeth his wife; Son-in-law John Ray and Rachal his wife; Daughter, Martha Oxley; Son-in-law William Fleetwood; Son-in-law James Baker; Granddaughter, Susanna Fleetwood; Wife, Ollive Oxley; Friend, Joseph Parker.  Executors: George Oxley, Isaiah Johnson and John Crickett.  Proved March Court 1767.

As his will proves, John Oxley Sr. had only two sons:  George Oxley and John Oxley Jr.  The general structure of the Oxley family is that the Oxleys of Lenoir Co., NC were descended from George Oxley, who had moved to Dobbs Co., NC (which later became Lenoir Co.), while those of Bertie Co., NC were descended from John Oxley Jr.

George Oxley’s will is lost, but that of his brother, John Oxley Jr., made 8 Jan 1805, was recorded in Bertie Co., and names the following:

Wife, Elizabeth Oxley; Son, John Oxley; Son, Hardy Oxley; Daughter, Martha Henry; Daughter, Elizabeth Oxley; Daughter, Salley Reddy; Son-in-law George Ward and daughter Nansey Ward; Daughter, Charlotty Oxley; Son, Quilley Oxley; a tract of land purchased from his brother, George Oxley.  Executors:  William Copeland, Hardy Oxley, Geo. Ward.  Proved August Term 1805.

Elizabeth Oxley, daughter of John Oxley Jr., never married, and in her will dated 6 Mar 1839, proved November Term 1840 in Bertie Co., she left her estate (except for a cow bequeathed to her niece, Nancy Ward) to the daughters of her brother, Aquilla Oxley:  Elizabeth, Manday (Mandy), Anjackline, and Dicy.  The 1820 and 1830 census data indicates Aquilla Oxley had sons, but they received nothing from their aunt.

The will of Hardy Oxley, undated, was proved February Term 1836 in Bertie Co.  It names his wife Sary and mentions his children, but doesn’t give their names.  He nominated his “frend” Aquillah Oxley (actually his brother) as Executor.

However, in a rather strange turn of events, Hardy Oxley’s wife Sarah on 2 Jan 1830 made her own will, “in addition to my Husbands will,” proved February Term 1830, naming:  Son, William Oxley; Daughter, Sally Ann Oxley; and children Nancy Oxley, Elizabeth Oxley, John D. Oxley, and Jonathan H. Oxley.  Executors:  Jas. Mardre and Thos. J. Castellaw.

Thus, Hardy Oxley’s will was actually written before that of his wife, but he survived her—and he didn’t write a new will.  I have no will for John Oxley, brother of Hardy Oxley and Aquilla Oxley, who disappears from the scene after 1810.  Aquilla Oxley wasn’t old enough to have a son born ca. 1803.

In any event, these wills don’t show a son named James.  While technically James Monroe Oxley could have been a son of John Oxley Jr.’s son John, John isn’t present after 1810, so he’s not a very good candidate.  Since the Faulkners resided in Lenoir Co., it’s far more likely James Monroe Oxley was a grandson of John Oxley Jr.’s brother George Oxley of Lenoir Co., and that tracks with everything else we know about them.  

Obviously, George Oxley of Lenoir Co. did have descendants. This is a plausible reconstruction of the family of George Oxley Sr., died ca. 1798: Mary Oxley in the 1800 Lenoir Co. census was his widow (a 1774 deed recorded in Bertie Co. identifies her as his wife); and he had sons John, Jonas, and George.  Penelope Oxley must have been the widow of Jonas Oxley, as Jonas is absent in the 1820 Lenoir Co. census, while George Oxley and John Oxley are still living.

The James Oxley who appears in the 1820 Lenoir Co. census isn’t the same individual who appears in Pitt Co., NC in 1830; that James Oxley was b. ca. 1807, and was still residing in Pitt Co. in 1850, so he was not James Monroe Oxley, who was in Haywood Co., TN by 1838.  This 1820 Lenoir Co. James Oxley must be the son of John Oxley, living in his own household.

John Oxley was born ca. 1770-1780, and George Oxley was born ca. 1780-1790.  Because Jonas Oxley died before the 1830 census, placing him in the correct birth order is difficult.  In 1800, Jonas Oxley was in Craven Co., NC, unmarried, and born ca. 1755-1774.  Combining the data from the 1800 and 1810 censuses, he was born ca. 1765-1774, and may have been the oldest of George Oxley’s sons.  His wife Penelope was born ca. 1780-1790.  At least we can say that Jonas Oxley and John Oxley were older than George Oxley.

James Monroe Oxley is found in the 1840 Haywood Co., TN census, p. 416, as follows:  2 males under 5, 1 male 30-40, 1 female 10-15, 2 females 20-30.  At this point, we don’t have enough data to concretely identify the father of James Monroe Oxley, but we do know that his father was likely a son of John Oxley Sr.’s son George Oxley.  Given the chronology, my best guess is that his father was John Oxley rather than George Oxley, so as a hypothesis, our line looks like this:

Allie May Oxley 6, Aquilla Voin Oxley 5, James Monroe Oxley 4, John Oxley 3, George Oxley 2, John Oxley 1.

Given the loss of records in Lenoir Co., NC, proving the critical Generation 3 in this pedigree may be very difficult.  Although the Lenoir Co. deeds are lost, the Grantor Index for Deed Book 19 (1799-1801) pp. 246 & 249 shows George Oxley making two conveyances to John Oxley, probably his son.

Below: While previously I thought no NC Oxley had participated in the American Revolution, I found George Oxley listed as a private in the Dobbs Co., NC militia, established 9 Sep 1775.  This can only be James Monroe Oxley’s probable grandfather George Oxley.  Dobbs Co. was the precursor of Lenoir Co.  According to militia records, George Oxley (5th from bottom) served under Col. James Glasgow, and on 14 Jul 1780 received $150.00.

Annaretta (Faulkner) Oxley, daughter of William Faulkner ( ca. 1787-1870), and wife of James Monroe Oxley (b. ca. 1803), was born ca. 1813 in NC.  By 1838, James Monroe and Annaretta (Faulkner) Oxley were living in Haywood Co., TN.  They resided in Haywood Co. until 11 Jan 1860, when they sold their land and moved to Dunklin Co., MO.

William Faulkner (ca. 1787-1870) left a will dated 10 Oct 1870, recorded in Haywood Co., TN Will Book E, pp. 332–333.  It’s an interesting document.  In it he mentions the following:

To wife Harriet M. Faulkner (not the mother of his children), the household furnishings she possessed when she married him, plus $150.00 per year for life paid to her by his sons William and Murphy M. Faulkner in lieu of her dower interest in his lands; to daughter Annaretta Oxley $500.00; to daughter Teresa Sandlin $500.00; to daughter Talitha Jones $500.00; to daughter Jane Ward $500.00; to the children of his deceased son Jessee Faulkner $500.00 to be divided among them, but the youngest child Jessee Catharine to have $300.00 of it; to son Lafayette Faulkner return of a note for $100.00 which William Faulkner paid on his behalf to H.A. Partee, and that is all Lafayette is to have; the residue of his estate to sons William Faulkner Jr. and Murphy Moore Faulkner, who are enjoined to pay his wife the $150.00 per year as promised. 

The name of the mother of William Faulkner’s children is unknown.

Allie May (Oxley) Chipman is a respected figure in our family, and researching her ancestry has been a fascinating look at some genuine American pioneer families.  Some lines are proved and others conjectural.  This is the first time a comprehensive survey of her ancestry has been attempted.  These are yeoman families, the backbone of the pioneer class that carved out roads and built towns.  I see no royal or noble descents here.

Peyton Milton Wilcox obituary from “Osage Valley Banner” 19 Aug 1880 / Tombstone of Manervia (Minerva) J. (Duncan) Wilcox

•November 22, 2016 • Comments Off on Peyton Milton Wilcox obituary from “Osage Valley Banner” 19 Aug 1880 / Tombstone of Manervia (Minerva) J. (Duncan) Wilcox

    This strange and affecting obituary was written for Peyton Milton Wilcox of Miller Co., MO.  He’s buried in Camp Vaughan Cemetary near Tuscumbia.  There’s a tree growing from his grave.


Mr. Payton M. Wilcox, died at his home in Miller Co., on the 12th day of August, 1880, at 12:05 o’clock, after suffering with malaria billious fever since January 1st.  Mr. Wilcox was a native of Virginia having been born in Scott county in that state on the 30th April, 1826.  Was married to Miss Minerva Duncan on the 5th April, 1849, in Scott Co., Va.  Shortly after he emigrated to Missouri, selecting as his home Miller Co.; he turned his attention to farming; from that time till his death he has continued the pursuit of farming with success.  As a man he was always under all circumstances, urbane, kind, courteous and genial.  Ever thoughtful of the happiness and well-being of others; he was of necessity a marked favorite in the community in which he lived.  Possessing those noble qualities in a high degree, he endeared himself to all with whom he was intimately associated.  But there are none who know so well the full measure of his noble generosity, of his kind and sympathizing heart as do the grief stricken wife and children who were the recipients of all that is good and noble in a husband and father.

Never gathered the reaper fruit more fair,

Never the shadows of dark despair,

Fall on a deeper woe.

Gone from his task half complete,

Gone from caresses kind and sweet,

Into Death’s arms of snow.

I have no language to describe my feelings as I viewed his form encased in the casket of the dead.  Handsome in death as he was pure in life.   I thought of the divine promise of the Savior of mankind:  “In my Fathers house are many mansions.  If it were not so I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.”

The funeral of Payton M. and Manuel Wilcox will be preached at the Elm spring church house on the second Sunday in October, by the Rev. David McComb.”

{“Osage Valley Banner” of Tuscumbia, MO, Thursday 19 Aug 1880, p. 3, col. 3.  Rev. David McComb was a Baptist minister.}

Tombstone of Manervia (Minerva) Jane (Duncan) Wilcox, wife of Peyton Milton Wilcox, at Camp Vaughan Cemetery in Miller Co., MO; as follows:




Born in Scott Co. Va

Mar. 30, 1830


Oct. 21, 1891


61 Ys 6M 21 Days

Peyton Milton Wilcox and wife Minerva Jane Duncan were my 3rd great-grandparents.

Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu & Zen Too

•November 20, 2016 • Comments Off on Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu & Zen Too

Chen, Ellen M.  (1989).  The Tao Te Ching A New Translation With Commentary.  St. Paul: Paragon House.

Chuang Tzu; Palmer, Martin, trans.; et al. (2006).  The Book of Chuang Tzu.  London and New York: Penguin Books.

Dogen, Eihei; Tanahashi, Kazuaki, ed.; Aitken, Robert, et. al., trans.  (1985).  Moon in a Dewdrop Writings Of Zen Master Dogen.  New York: North Point Press Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Padmasambhava; Dorje, Gyurme, trans.; Coleman, Graham and Jinpa, Thupten, eds.  (2007).  The Tibetan Book Of The Dead First Complete Translation The Great Liberation By Hearing In the Intermediate States Introductory Commentary by His Holiness The Dalai Lama.  New York: Penguin Books USA.

Shibayama, Zenkei; Kudo, Sumiko, trans.  (2000).  The Gateless Barrier Zen Comments on the Mumonkan.  Boston:  Shambhala.

The practice of Tao is mankind’s oldest religious practice, although Taoism is neither religion nor philosophy.  The Tao is the Reality which exists before words.

There’s confusion about the meaning of the Tao symbol:

The Black is the Source, which is Non-Being.  The White is the Phenomenal Universe, which is Emptiness.  The White dot in the Black and the Black dot in the White signify that the Black and the White are not different.  All of reality is subsumed in the symbol as the Eternal Wheel.

It was said of the Ancients that they were Complete.  We do not know exactly who wrote The Tao Te Ching, but it is probably the work of several hands.  It was common in the ancient world to attribute important works to someone of eminence, so we may presume Lao Tzu, the reputed author, was a real person.  How much he contributed to the work that bears his name is unknown.

Taosim is certainly older than Buddhism, and the Chinese, being practical, adapted Buddhism to their own mind.  In the sayings of the Chinese Zen masters, whether as koan (teaching points) or mondo (more elaborate exchanges), the monk’s anguished questions “What is Buddha?” or “What is Tao?” are the same: “What is Reality?  Who am I?” Sometimes the monk is defeated in the koan but emerges victorious in the commentary, so keep an eye on the monk.

Although the mind innately perceives both the Source and the Phenomenal Universe, because the Source is mistaken for ignorance we’re prone to dualistic thinking, abstract concepts, and speculation.  We all correctly perceive the Source as Non-Being, but erroneously conclude we are lacking something, when in fact we lack nothing and are in full possession of the Truth.  We have an intellect, and intellect demands an object, but Non-Being is not an object and cannot be conceptualized. Thus we posit an artificial, dualistic “self” (or ego) which is purely a creation of the intellect, an invention to fill a void.  There is nothing wrong with that per se—we all live our story—but its foundation is misconstrued.

This feeling of  lacking something is what sends us all on a perilous metaphysical journey in search of answers.  And though our metaphysical problem is intellectual, not existential, even clever Zen students can wear out many sandals before realizing they are pursuing an abstraction.  What fascinates me about this universal human condition is that the creation of an artificial, dualistic “self” is actually based upon an accurate, yet misunderstood, perception of ultimate reality which is Non-Being.

Taoism went into decline, becoming a vapid Yin-Yang cult centered around the quest for longevity. The belief that the Tao symbol referred to the potential of complementary or harmonious opposites became widespread:  that everything within itself contains the seed of its opposite—kind of cosmic Ping-Pong, the interplay between the Black (male) and White (female) which gives rise to all things.  As there are no opposites this is false, but it was more easily grasped than the true meaning of the symbol. 

Due to its brevity there have been many translations of The Tao Te Ching, but the translator may be led astray if biased by a theory of its meaning.  In writing about Taoism and Zen, one must use words as a reference point rather than a destination, and that requires skill.  Ellen M. Chen’s translation of The Tao Te Ching is beautiful in its simplicity and directness, with a commentary that relates the text to other seminal works, including Christian writings.

The Book of Chuang Tzu, a genuine Taoist work dating to the 4th century BC, is interesting because it is so antagonistic to Confucian traditionalists.  Evidently Taoists found Confucius too objective.  The Book of Chuang Tzu contains this passage:

Toeless said:  “Confucius has definitely not become a perfect man yet, has he?”

Lao Tzu said:  “‘Why not help him to see that birth and death are one thing, and that right and wrong are one thing, and so free him from the chains and irons?”

From this it is obvious that later Taoist practitioners were utterly confused.  To be free from chains and irons is to have no obstruction.  To have no obstruction is to be Complete. To be Complete is to recognize the Source and Universe as non-dual.

Some people believe life is a dream.  It’s not a dream.  Life is an illusion.  An illusion that like a dream has no beginning and no end.  A dream is an illusion of a dream within an illusion.

What we perceive as reality is actually the reflection of Non-Being, like reflections in a mirror. Those reflections are the Phenomenal Universe, including our body and all that we sense:  sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and mental phenomena. The reflection is a projection, and the medium is mind.  Beyond this there is nothing.  This is what the Ancients sought to preserve in the Tao symbol.

One  of the problems challenging Westerners in understanding Taoist and Zen texts are contradictory statements.  The great Japanese Zen master Dogen wrote:  “You should not remain bewildered when you hear the words, ‘Mountains flow’; but together with buddha ancestors you should study these words.  When you take one view you see mountains flowing, and when you take another view, mountains are not flowing.  One time mountains are flowing, another time they are not flowing.”

I would tell Dogen:  If one lives without self-consciousness, there is neither “Flowing” nor “Not Flowing.”  Before it is called a mountain it is a mountain; we call it a mountain to remember it.

Zen is very easy to understand and very difficult to understand.  An abstraction is a frozen “thing,” a concept or definition. We constantly revise concepts and definitions of things, and think that brings us closer to reality when we have actually erected a more sophisticated barrier.

When we take a point of view, when we reference ourselves, there is “Flowing.”  That is the Relative.  When we take no point of view, there is “Not Flowing.”  That is the Absolute.  But in Zen, we’re not concerned about “Flowing” or “Not Flowing.”  We can experience either without entrapping ourselves.  Then “Flowing” is “Not Flowing,” “Not Flowing” is “Flowing.”  To deal with “Flowing” and “Not Flowing” is to be the Master of Words.  To be confused about which is right and which is wrong is to be Bound by Words.  People read Dogen and do not understand that his Way is strewn with words.  For Dogen, these words are the expression of his Life, but for others they may be a trap.

All things change as they flow. The changes can be dramatic or nearly imperceptible.  A “thing” cannot flow—it’s artificial. Life isn’t a “thing,” it’s a dynamic. In order for a “thing” to flow, it must become something other than itself, in which case the “thing” that it was is meaningless, because it was never really that “thing.”  I know this sounds nonsensical, but it’s the truth.  We can feel ourselves flow, and as we flow, so does all of existence. Synchronicity.  For us to perceive anything it must flow with us. If it didn’t, we could not perceive it. Therefore, ourselves and what we perceive are not a duality. 

So for anything to flow, it must be Nothing.  I call that Non-Being: it’s never really anything and cannot be said to exist in the conventional sense.  The Universe is not something created, it’s the ceaseless activity of Non-Being.

But even after being told that abstraction by its very nature isn’t reality, we keep trying to understand reality in abstract terms.  The only obstacle to the Direct Recognition of Reality is our addiction to abstraction.  Zen isn’t something you figure out, it’s your Life. More words don’t make more understanding. Philosophically minded people might find this explanation useful. 

If you can grasp the principle of one second following another, you can walk from one end of the Universe to the other in a single step.

Zen Rock Garden

This column discusses my experience with Zen.  TV and Madison Avenue to the contrary, not everyone loves Zen.  Ultra-conservative Christian groups consider Zen Buddhism to be a cult. Zen Buddhism is not a cult.  It traces its history to the Indian Buddhist Patriarch Bodhidharma, who appeared in China about 1500 years ago.  Over the course of its 2500 year history, Buddhism has experienced sporadic repression, most recently in Tibet and Vietnam. There are also those who condemn Zen as Nihilism or Infantile Narcissism, but the ills which so often plague mankind seem rather the province of Objectivism.   

The confluence of Mahayana Buddhism and Chinese Taoism marks the development of the spiritual practice known as Zen Buddhism.  Mahayana Buddhism and Taoism were not in themselves deficient, but the resulting practice became very popular due to its immediacy, directness, and ability to incorporate cultural metaphors.  

Although it’s difficult to get a precise figure of the number of Buddhists in the United States, in 2012 the newspaper U-T San Diego estimated 1.2 million.  Of these, Pure Land, Tibetan, and traditional Theravadan Buddhists certainly outnumber Zen Buddhists, whose numbers are below 100,000, and perhaps closer to 50,000.  It’s estimated 40% of the nation’s Buddhists live in Southern California.

In this piece I used the term “Non-Being” for Ultimate Reality rather than Bankei’s “Unborn,” DT Suzuki’s “Unconscious,” or Suzuki-Roshi’s “Big Being.”  “Unborn” and “Unconscious” are both words that in the West have other definitions, which can be confusing.  “Big-Being,” and terms like it such as “True-Self,” “Big-Self,” “Mind” (with a capitol “M”) etc. also have problems.  Those terms are not intended to encourage conceptualization, but they do.  If there is a “Being,” then the intellect wants to know what “That” is.  The Western consciousness is absorbed in ontology, and words, being abstraction, can only convey the spirit of Zen.  “Non-Being” utterly wipes out any conceptualization while preserving the central mystery which is dynamic.  To put it into Zen terms, since there is not even a hair’s separation of one thing from another, “Non-Being” is a good phrase for one pole of reality. Of course, “Non-Being” and the “Phenomenal Universe” are not really a duality.

If you want to study Zen, I recommend studying under a teacher from an authorized lineage so you know who are their spiritual ancestors.  A Zen teacher must have the experience to size up a student and assign an appropriate practice. If a student experiences “enlightenment,” “awakening,” “kensho,” or “satori,” that doesn’t mean the student can instruct others or has the temperament to instruct others. An individual’s practice isn’t a straight line and they need a teacher who understands how to deal with that.  Avoid charlatans—there are always those who prey on the naive and bewildered for their own material gain.

Revised Apr. 9, 2016