A Terrorist in the Family – Or Not

In the Papers – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

I was all set to tell you all about my great-grandfather, John William “Will” Higgs, and his years running a host of newspapers across Arkansas and Oklahoma in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I was going to tell you about my theory of how he and his bride might have met, and how I found that idea in the paper.

But, instead, I was taking a new look at my step-dad’s family and was reminded of a story that is way too good not to share. It’s a huge mystery to me, still. So, I’ll just tell you what I know.

Jacob (or Jakob, or maybe Jakub) Reglin was born in about 1848. Maybe he was born in Switzerland. Maybe even around Lugano. Maybe that’s bogus. I think it’s likely to be true. The little bit I have tried to do with Swiss research has only frustrated me in finding access to records online. I’ve not yet written away for the records, but should. Of course, since this is in the part of Switzerland that speaks Italian, I have been advised to write in Italian rather than even English. Luckily, I have a good friend who is fluent.

He came to America about 1867, though we are still trying to decide whether the passenger records we have seen are for him or for someone else. He landed in New York and settled in Newark, New Jersey. On 9 Sep 1872, he married Franciska Siehe, the daughter of Frederick Carl Seihe and Louise Christiane Herboth. Frederick and Louise were both from Prussia and Franciska had been born in Manhattan in 1854. Jacob and Franciska had four children together, though only one, Frederick, born in 1879, lived beyond the age of five.

Apparently, things went well in their marriage. For a while. And then, they didn’t. According to the annual report of the City Attorney, in the “Message of Hon. Joseph E. Haynes, Mayor, together with the Reports of City Officers of the City of Newark, N.J. for the Year 1886”, there was trouble in paradise. In April 1886, Franciska brought suit against Jacob for refusal of support. John McLorinan, Overseer of the Poor, had Jacob arrested on 27 Sep 1886. He plead not-guily and bonded out of jail on May 1.

Report of the City Attorney in Report of City Officers of the City of Newark, NJ, 1886, page 458

On 27 Jun 1886, the case went to trial, with no verdict from the jury. It was tried again on 20 July 1886 and Jacob lost. He was forced to pay $5 per week. He appealed and on 23 Sept 1886, the case was heard by the Quarter Sessions Court with no jury. Jacob was found not-guilty this time. (By the way, there’s no record in the city attorney reports for ten years either side of this of any other actions. But, I expect looking at the court proceedings might show a different story.)

But, whatever had led up to this was apparently still a problem in their relationship.

Meanwhile, half a world away, there was turmoil in England as Irish Republicans were carrying out a campaign of dynamite and other attacks as a part of their quest for Irish Independence. In the midst of this, there were Irish secret societies in America, primarily made up of immigrants to the U.S. from Northern Ireland. Some of the battle played out on this side of the Atlantic.

And there was collusion from across the Atlantic. It seems that there was a group in the Philadelphia area, made up of immigrants, who after receiving U.S. citizenship, made their way back to England to fight for Irish independence. One of their number, maybe known as Joseph Cohen, or maybe Brown, died of disease while in England and the connection to Philadelphia was discovered.

(Note, all of these newspaper articles about the dynamiter are large. Click on the page, then use the link in the lower right corner to view full-size. For the Irish Times and The Standard, the story is in column 3. In the Times of Philadelphia, it is at the top of column 6.)

October 1887 is about a year after Jacob was found not-guily of refusing to support his wife. But, she must have still be angry and their relationship deteriorating on both parts. In the midst of all of the press about the dynamite attacks and the questions about Cohen’s actual identity, we find an article in the New York Evening World on 24 November 1887:

Franciska and her father went to the police and reported that Jacob was the mad bomber! They said that he and Franciska had been married for about twelve years, but in the last two, he had been withholding his pay from his wife (remember her previous charges?) and becoming more and more disagreeable. Finally, she said that he had left the country for Europe in July and she had heard nothing more from him. Hold Everything! Stop the Presses! Get this in the evening edition.

Another local paper, the New York World, must have also reported this, though they took the time to look into it more deeply. On the next day, they reported about further developments:

The New York Tribune sent a reporter over to talk to Jacob’s employer who immediately said that the picture from Scotland Yard was not Jacob. Moreover, they said that they had received a letter from him from Chicago recently. Strange, then, that Franciska, her father, and the local street commissioner for their neighborhood all said the photo was Jacob.

I’ve not found anything more in the newspaper on either side of the Atlantic to clear this up. But, eventually Jacob comes back. By 1900, he is back in Newark, living alone, a few blocks from Franciska. He died in Newark in 1906 and was buried there.

You would think this would be the end of the story. But wait! There’s more! The Evening World said he worked for Darsch & Co. as a mechanic. The Tribune said Dorah & Sons, a shoe manufacturer was his employer and had received a letter from Chicago. Where was Jacob between 1887 and 1900? Chicago? Europe? Newark? Somewhere else?

So, on 5 Nov 1888, there’s an article in the Inter Ocean newspaper of Chicago about a shoemaker named Jacob Reglin, of about the right age, naturalized citizen of the U.S., originally from Switzerland, who apparently had a bad temper. He went into a butcher shop with his dog (who had a big rat in its mouth at the time). The wife of the owner shooed them out. He got mad, so the butcher tossed him out. Jacob came back and shot at the butcher with his pistol and then ran, since this alerted the police. The police gave chase. Jacob shot at one of the officers and hit him in the hand. The officer’s partner shot Jacob in the abdomen. He was taken into custody and then to the hospital.

The article says Jacob is a married man with four children. It also says he “bears a hard reputation in police circles.”

So, is this the same Jacob? I don’t think so. We can find New Jersey Jacob in Newark consistently until his troubles with Franciska. There’s not enough time for him to have gone to Chicago, had a family of four children and create a “hard reputation” in less than a year. And there is a shoemaker Jacob in the 1880 Census and other Chicago records.

But, is there a connection between the two Jacobs? Could they be related? Who knows. That’s one of the mysteries that has vexed us for a long time.

But, between these newspaper stories, we get an idea that there’s a lot more to this story than just some census records, marriage, baptism, and death certificates. The newspapers really pique your curiosity and make you want to find out more about just exactly what sort of people there were in the family.


Twelve – as in 1812

“12” – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

When Amy Johnson Crow gave this week’s hint as “12”, I have to admit I was a bit befuddled. Last week, we did a big family, so 12 kids seemed right out. I pondered and pondered without anything really coming to mind. Sort of frustrating, since I next week was a slam dunk as soon as I saw it.

I was thinking about the folks in my tree that served in the War of 1812, looking to see who all there was and to see if I had collected their pension records. The War of 1812 is one of those forgotten conflicts. It doesn’t occupy the place in our national memory that the Revolutionary War or the Civil War or World War II does, but it was every bit a fight for our young nation’s survival. Hmmm. War of 18-12! There’s my twelve.

When I look in my family, I can identify quite a few Revolutionary War soldiers and supporters. I can find dozens and dozens of who fought in the Civil War. But, so far, only a handful of men who served in the War of 1812.

  • Col. Uriah Allison – Veteran of the War of 1812 and the Creek War. He served in the 8th U.S. Infantry. His sister, Susan M. Allison, was my 4th-great-grandmother.
  • Francis Baker Bailey – Served in Captain Burchett’s company of Virginia Militia. He was my 4th-great-grandfather.
  • Abner Dickson – A Private in Captain Williams’ company of Tennessee Volunteers, serving under General Jackson in the Campaign for Pensacola and New Orleans. More about him later.
  • Aylesbury Shehee – Served in Freeman’s squadron of cavalry in the Georgia Militia. He was another 4th-great-grandfather.

I am pretty sure that there are some others in there that I have not yet researched.

I’ve said before that my Dicksons have always been a mystery to me. Once I finally climbed over the brick wall of John H. Dickson’s parents, things have become easier. I just have not yet had the time to dig into this section as much as I would like. There is a really good, well researched, and well footnoted history of the Descendants of Simon Dickson, compiled by Claire Jean Potter Ferguson Sullivan, Ph.D. It has, so far, reliably pointed me in the way of my Dicksons.

So, twelve. I started poking around, looking again at my 1812 veterans and discovered that Abner was a very interesting story. As far as I can tell, Abner Dickson was born somewhere around 1786-1790 in Duplin County, North Carolina. His parents were Joseph Dickson, Sr. and Jane Moulton. (I wonder if that means we are kin to Sarah Moulton from FoodTV? Kathleen says she thinks she is from the Boston area, so not likely.) His brother, Joseph Dickson, Jr., is my 4th-great-grandfather.

My Relationship to Abner Dickson

Joseph Sr. came to Dickson County, Tennessee shortly after Tennessee statehood (1796). He died in Dickson County in 1803, so he wasn’t there very long. The family’s coming to Dickson county was hardly a coincidence of naming. The county was named for Joseph’s cousin, William Dickson, Jr., who was a good friend of Andrew Jackson. But that’s a story for another day.

When the war with England broke out, volunteers were raised in Tennessee to fight for our new nation. Abner answered the call. It looks like at least five of his brothers also served, including my ancestor, Joseph Jr. I just need to research this more. Abner enlisted as a private in the 1st Reg’t Mounted Gunmen (Dyer’s), Tennessee Volunteers. He served under Captain Williams, in General Coffee’s brigade. They were part of the Campaign for Pensacola.

Ultimately, Abner and his unit ended up with General Andrew Jackson in New Orleans for the famous Battle of New Orleans. New Orleans and southern Louisiana was even swampier then than it is now. Apparently Abner came down with some sort of a spinal infection while in the swamps. He was rendered completely unable to walk and had to be carried back home on a litter. As a consequence, he very quickly was awarded a life pension of $8 per month as an invalid.

Just this week, Judy G. Russell, the Legal Genealogist, had a post called “Down the legal rabbit holes”, all about private laws. Turns out this was a great and timely post. When I read Abner’s pension file, I discovered that there was actually a private law passed by Congress to increase his pension from $8 to $16 per month. What an awesome coincidence! (By the way, the 12th Congress was during the War of 1812. Just saying….) This act doesn’t have nearly as much genealogical information in the Act itself as some, but the depositions and comments in the pension file supporting it are interesting and helpful.

Abner applied through his Congressman for this bill to be sponsored. It was read in committee, voted on, approved in committee, and passed by Congress. I am still trying to figure out exactly when this happened. The text of the act says 1836, but it appears to have been passed in 1856, retroactive to 1836. The pension account has a note that the increase occurred in 1836 and was paid in full in 1856.

His increased pension didn’t last for long. Abner died 11 Sept 1857 in Franklin County, Alabama. At the end of his life, he was living with his sister-in-law, Hannah, the widow of his brother Hugh. He never had a home of his own and appears to have always lived with family. He never married, being disabled and unable to take care of himself. But, there are a number of deeds and land warrants that he appears to be party to. That’s another area to research.

So, with a mystery topic like “Twelve”, we look at a sort of mysterious and unknown part of our history, the War of 1812. We find the secrets of private laws. And we continue to be amazed at the records that can be found today, 200 years after the fact, that can illuminate the lives of those who have gone before us.

Large Family – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Thomas Ware – A Real Texas Pioneer

Sometimes, I immediately know what to write about as I start on my 52 Ancestors post for the week. Sometimes, it’s really hard to get a hook and get started. This week sort of hits on both sides of that wall.

Thomas Ware was an early pioneer into the Republic of Texas, actually Mexico. I’ve always known that. And I’ve known that he had a pretty large family. Well, really he had multiple families that when added up make a large family. But, as I dug in to tell his story, I realized how little of that story I actually knew. So, this week, I’ll tell you what I know and then sketch out a research plan to find out more about what I don’t know.

Whenever you start to research someone, it’s really important to figure out what you want to know, and to be specific about it. Make good research questions and then figure out what to look at in order to find the answers.

But, in order to make the questions, you have to start with what do you already know and why you believe it to be trustworthy. So, we will start with that.

Who was Thomas Ware?

Thomas Ware was born about 1770. Where he was born is a bit of a question. One author says in Maryland, though other folks say that it could have been in Virginia or in North Carolina. I think I would probably lean on Virginia, since his father and grandparents were there for years, or North Carolina, since it would be along the migration route to Georgia, where they ended up by the time that Thomas was married.

Thomas and Mary Sarah “Sarah” Jimerson married in about 1793-1796. The US and International Marriage Records database says that this took place in Talladega, Alabama. This also seems unlikely. At that time, Alabama was a part of Georgia. The Ware families were congregated in Lincoln County, which is along the Savannah River, north of Augusta. So being on the western frontier, which was not open to white settlement, seems unlikely.

Thomas and Sarah’s first daughter, Margaret “Peggy” Ware, was born about 1797 in Lincoln County, Georgia. They went on to have another eight children in Lincoln and Green Counties between 1797 and 1813. The family had moved a little bit west from Lincoln County into Greene County, south of Athens, around 1805. Sometime before Jun 1818, Sarah Jimerson Ware died.

The Family of Thomas Ware and Mary Sarah “Sarah” Jimerson

  1. Margaret “Peggy” Ware, b. abt 1797, Lincoln County, Georgia
  2. John Ware, b. 1798, Lincoln County, Georgia
  3. Jamison Ware, b. 1800, Lincoln County, Georgia, d. 20 Jul 1863, Calhoun County, Arkansas
  4. Robert Ware, b. 1802, Lincoln County, Georgia
  5. Martha Ware, b. abt. 1804, Lincoln County, Georgia, d. 1854
  6. Elizabeth K. Ware, b. Aug 1805, Greene County, Georgia, d. 28 Mar 1875
  7. Sarah Jamison Ware, b. 24 Nov 1807, Greene County, Georgia, d. 16 Dec 1883
  8. Ezekiel P. Ware, b. 1810, Greene County, Georgia
  9. Henry B. Ware, b. 29 Jul 1813, Greene County, Georgia, d. 9 Jul 1898, Pass Christian, Harrison County, Mississippi

In June 1818, Thomas Ware married a second time to Phoebe Peeler. Thomas and Phoebe went on to have another six (or maybe seven) children between then. The first was born in Greene County, but the rest were in Gwinnett County, just to the east and north of present day Atlanta, but west again from Greene County.

The Family of Thomas Ware and Phoebe Peeler

  1. Mary Ann Ware, b. 1820, Greene County, Georgia, d. 1880
  2. Lucy E. Ware, b. 17 Feb 1821, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. 16 Jul 1901
  3. Louisa Parks Ware, b. 6 Jul 1824, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. 13 Dec 1889
  4. Nicholas Tyler Ware, b. 7 Feb 1826, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. 1 Jan 1893
  5. Artemesia Ware, b. 17 Nov 1827, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. 9 Dec 1909
  6. Virginia Carolina Ware, b. 1829, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. bef. 1852

Here’s where we begin to see the lack of breadth of my knowledge of this family. I first looked at Thomas and his family when I first began researching. I found a pretty well researched book on the Wilder and Ware family. And from there, I made a beeline through my ancestral line. I’ve never got around to going back to fill in the gaps. I think this blog is going to make me to that.

As I look at the family here, I have to assume that the children of Thomas and Sarah moved with Thomas and Phoebe into Gwinnett County. Well, at least some of them did. By that point, in 1821 when they got to Gwinnett, the oldest children would be married and out of the house, but the youngest children of Sarah would be less than ten years old still.

The family appears in the 1830 US Census in Gwinnett County. But, Thomas hears the call to go west again and heads to Texas, taking up in the Republic of Texas by 1840. He is one of the foundational ancestors of the Sons and Daughters of the Republic of Texas. By 1844, I find him on tax rolls and on land transactions. I think once I get more research done on him and his family, there will be lots of stories to tell. I have already found passing references to Thomas and his son Nicholas being brought up on charges of attempted murder. But it also sounds like the intended victim “needed killing”. There’s got to be a good story there.

The children of Thomas and Sarah (his first wife), by and large did not accompany Thomas and Phoebe to Texas. Remember that by the time he headed to Texas, Thomas would already have been 70 years old. But he would have had an 11 year old daughter and a total of four children under the age of 18. I find these in the Texas records, so they for sure came with him.

By 1844, Phoebe died and Thomas married for a third time to Jerusha W. Gordon Hope, a widow. They had one child, but I have not found good records there yet. She died by 1848 when Thomas married for a fourth and final time (at the age of 78) to Nancy A. McClosky, another widow.

So, what are my questions about this big family and what do I want to discover about them? Here’s a list:

  • When and where was Thomas Ware actually born? This means I need to investigate his parents and their movements to figure out where they lived when Thomas was born.
  • When and where were Thomas and Sarah actually married?
  • When and where was Sarah born?
  • What went on in Thomas’ life prior to his marriage?
  • Fill in the gaps on the children of Thomas and Sarah, Thomas and Phoebe, Thomas and Jerusha.
  • What kind of property did Thomas own in each of the places he lived? This helps to understand when they were in each place.
  • Fill in the gaps to the other three wifes – Phoebe Peeler, Jerusha W. Gordon Hope, Nancy A. McClosky
  • What role in Texas history did Thomas and the Ware family play?
  • Was the land patented in 1857 in Fannin County by Thomas Ware this Thomas or his descendant?

These are a pretty big list of questions for a guy who lived a pretty big life and who had a pretty big family.

Bachelor Uncle – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Where’s Hume?

Hume Field Bailey, Jr. – b. 1879

For years, Garrison Keillor told stories of Norwegian bachelor farmers and all of their idiosyncrasies on A Prairie Home Companion. At least the Norwegian bachelor farmers stayed put. My bachelor uncle was neither Norwegian nor a farmer and seemed to be forever on the move.

Hume Field Bailey, Jr. was the last of the six children born to Hume Field Bailey and Sarah Louise Council. With his birth in 1879, he became the 11th child in their Brady Bunch family. Hume Sr. and Sarah were both widowed when they married. Sarah had two children with her first husband, John Oliver Brewer, and Hume had three children with his first wife, Amanda Shafer.

Growing up on the family farm in Hackett, Sebastian County, Arkansas, it seems like Hume and his parents, brothers, and sisters lived pretty close to the margins. It was a small piece of ground, just across the river from, at that time, the Indian Territory. The house was a log house without a lot of comforts, but they got by. Since there are so many saved letters and photos and lists of the family record that have been saved throughout the years, it seems like family was really important to the Baileys.

But as important as family was, there was a sense of adventure. Two of Hume’s uncles headed to Texas before the establishment of the Republic of Texas. One uncle was a Forty-Niner in the California gold rush. Of his brothers and sisters, only his brother, Charlie, stayed put. Even his two sisters headed west, on their own, as single women!

Hume must have come back to Fort Smith around 1915. This is a photo of Hume (left) and his brother Charlie (right) standing by their father’s gravestone in the Vinita Cemetery in Hackett, Arkansas. The ground in front of them looks freshly turned, so I think this is a photo taken when their mother died. Sarah Louise Council Bailey died 23 Mar 1915, so this must have been taken around that time. The baby in Charles’ arms must be his son Clifton, born in August 1913.

Hume went to work for the railroad as a mechanic. He traveled from place to place, working in different stations. It seems like, as a young man, he would travel and then come at least close to home for a while, and then travel again. But, as times and circumstances changed, he started moving more and more. There has to be more to that story, but I’ve not yet found it. Maybe it’s time to get into the courthouse (like we talked about last week)!

King of the Road

It’s been hard to find a lot of traditional records for Hume. I don’t find a census record for him after 1880. But, I’ve got some letters he wrote home to his family. And I hit the mother lode on Ancestry in the personnel records of the Northern Pacific Railroad. I find him moving all over everywhere:

Travels of Hume Field Bailey, Jr.
  • 1902 – Hume is in Salida, Chaffee County, Colorado. The photo of him at the top of this story says it was made in Salida, Colorado in 1902.
  • 1907-1908 – He is working in Muskogee, Oklahoma, close to home. He’s working for the Midland Valley RR.
  • 1908-1909 – Hume is in Parsons, Labette County, Kansas working for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas RR (the Katy)
  • 1909-1910 – He’s in Springfield, Missouri working for the Frisco RR
  • 1910 – Hume is in Pasco, Franklin County, Washington working for the Northern Pacific RR
  • 1914-1916 – He’s in Heavener, Oklahoma working for the Northern Pacific
  • 1916 – He has moved on to Mason City, Iowa with the Northern Pacific
  • 1918 – He finds his way back to Fort Smith, Arkansas working for the Frisco RR. Here he registers for the WWI draft.
  • 1926-1927 – He is a paid member of the Heavener, Oklahoma Masonic Lodge

In mid-September, Hume was living in Tomah, Monroe Co., Wisconsin. He said in a letter that he is on his way to La Crosse, Wisconsin to try to find work and that he is trying to get his belongings from his last job in South Bend, Indiana.

On 11 June 1930, Hume sends a long letter home from Minden, Louisiana. He came back here trying to find work in a place he had been before, with no luck. Instead, he and another mechanic have set up a tent on Lake Burton and are trying to make a living fishing and running trot lines.

It seems like, as Hume gets older, his time in each place gets shorter. In his railroad employment records, he resigns after a few weeks and moves on frequently. Each time it is phrased as he is allowed to resign and his performance is satisfactory. Today, I would take that as a red flag that there is something else going on and that there was perhaps some sort of trouble. I wonder what was going on that caused him to move around so much. I wonder if that were true. The first thought that came to mind was that he had to move along because of troubles at work, maybe from a problem like drinking. But, his employment applications all say that he neither drank nor smoked. I wonder if there was something else going on, or whether he just liked to be on the move.

When he was in Livingston, Montana in 1916, he seemed to falsify his application for employment with a different birth date and birth place. After a few days, a letter of inquiry showed up from the home office and again he was “allowed to resign”.

I found a document you can help me with. It looks like it is a list of dates, places, and railroad lines. The names on the scrap of paper look like names found in Hume’s employment record. I can’t quite make out all the railroads and places. But, what I can see often matches with Hume’s record with the Northern Pacific. I wonder if this is a list he made of places he lived and worked. Or a list that his brother Charlie made after he died. What do you think?

Hume was also up against the Great Depression. By 1929, work was hard to come by. He says in his letters that a man his age has to compete against the 25 and 30 year old men looking for jobs. I guess age discrimination is nothing new. It’s always been there when jobs are scarce. From his letters, it sounds like he spent time living out-of-doors and riding the rails to get places – the prototypical Depression hobo, maybe.

After his letter home in September 1929, I haven’t got any records for Hume. I have a note in my files that he died 1 Jul 1930, but for the life of me, I don’t know where that came from. With his moving around so much, he’s really hard to track in newspapers or court records. I mean, he could be absolutely anywhere! I would love to see what happened. I’ve never found a death record, or a grave, or an obituary. If he was on the road, he may well have ended up in a Potter’s Field somewhere.

I hope that in his rambling, it was driven by a sense of adventure rather than desperation or mental anguish. I hope that he loved seeing the country as he rode from railway station to railway station. And I hope that he was ultimately happy being our bachelor uncle.

At the Courthouse – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

You never know what you’re going to find.

I have a confession to make. I have been a genealogist for thirty years. But, I rarely do courthouse research. I travel *a lot* for work. Courthouse research has to be done on-site, in-person, during business hours. Nearly none of my family is from anywhere convenient to where I live. So, my opportunities to go to courthouses are pretty limited.

But…. Over in northeast Alabama, in Limestone County, the courthouse has transferred its records to a county Archive. It used to be in the courthouse, but is now in the old railroad station. And it’s wonderful! The front part of the Limestone County Archives is a library. The whole back part of the building is the collection of the old books – deeds, marriages, probate, wills, court minutes, chain gangs, road commissioners, everything!

The last couple of times that I went to Limestone County, the object of my research was Thomas M. Higgs and his wife Mary J. Sartain. You saw photos of them in my last post on Family Photo. I found their marriage record, but otherwise struck out. My backup plan was to work on other family who had been in Limestone County.

John Favor was born in 1763 in Virginia (probably Culpeper County). His parents were John Favor and Ann Covington. As a young man, a boy really, John served in the Revolutionary War as a private in Virginia. He married his cousin, Henrietta Faver in about 1794 in Culpeper County, Virginia. The two of them had three children: a daughter Elizabeth “Bettie” Faver, and two sons, John and Silas.

Now, the John Faver / Favors have always been a bit of a challenge to track. There was a string of at least four John Favers in my line. There were more that were cousins, but four in my direct line – my 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th great-grandfathers. And all of their sons had pretty much the same names. So, they were pretty hard to track.

Maybe you’ll find a horse.

John Faver moved from Virginia into northern Alabama with his family in the 1820s. I never knew exactly when. I found them in a Limestone County 1830 US Federal Census, so it was no later than that. While scouring the old books in the Limestone Archive, I was able to narrow down a bit more when John and Henrietta came to Limestone. I found an original record in the “Animal Take-Up Records” or “Estray Records” that places John Sr and his son John Jr in Limestone County on 21 Jan 1824.

Here’s where I could use your help to really understand this record. It says

No. 608 – Proved Away
Taken up by John Young of Round Island a dark horse shod all around between twelve and fifteen years old appraised to five dollars January 21st day 1824 by
D.D. Robertson Esq
John Faver Jur.
John Faver Sen.

Is my reading correct? John Young found the horse. D.D. Robertson appraised it. And John Faver Jr & John Faver Sr. proved it away, that is to say proved that it was theirs and reclaimed it? I see other entries that say (after some months) that an animal was “proved away” by someone not listed on the note. Does that mean that they claimed it somehow? How exactly does one read these estray records? No matter what, though, John Faver was at Limestone County Courthouse on 21 Jan 1824.

Or maybe you’ll build a church

The Faver family was active in the Round Island Baptist Church. And by active, I mean you really ought to read the history of the Round Island church. The Favers were accused of all sorts of disruption within the church. But, in 1825, they deeded a piece of land to the church so that it could build a meeting house. Apparently, they had offered the land earlier, but finally made it all official in 1825. This is still the site of the Round Island Baptist Church, a thriving congregation today.

Opening part of the Deed from John and Henrietta Faver to the Round Island Baptist Church

John’s story keeps going, but that’s for another day. Henrietta died in before 1836. John remarried a woman fifty years his junior and had three more children with her. So the gap between his daughter Bettie (my great-great-great-grandmother) and her youngest sibling was forty-seven years! And John, the Revolutionary Soldier, had a daughter who was alive well into the 20th century

So, you can find all sorts of things in the courthouse, or its annex in the archives next door. I hope to be able to eventually spend more time in court houses, when I am not in Courtyards and airplanes. But, for now, I will have to suffice with what I can get.