Week 13 – 52 Ancestor Challenge – The Old Homeplace – Texas Republic 1841, The Thomas Jefferson Walling Cabin

Thomas Jefferson Walling
(1811-1902)

Thomas Jefferson Walling (1811-1902) was born in White County, Tennessee to John Walling, Sr and Ann Chisum.  In 1832, he married his first wife, Nancy Ann Price, they had nine children.  TJ and Nancy migrated through Mississippi and Arkansas before settling in Nacogdoches, Texas near his brothers, John and Jesse, in 1836.  It was there that T J took the Oath of Allegiance to the Texas Republic and took part in the Texas Revolution with Captain Peck’s regiment.

In 1841 TJ claimed land near Henderson, Texas in Rusk County and he and Nancy built a one room log cabin measuring 20 by 19 feet, about 10 miles Northeast of Henderson, Texas. The cabin was built from hand-hewn pine timber joined at the corners by square notches and typical of many pioneer farm homes in the area. It is the only such structure known to survive from the era of the Republic of Texas in Rusk County.

When Nancy passed away in 1854, TJ married Eleanor Stone Hardy in 1855. They continued to live in the little cabin until 1859 when they moved to Hill County, Texas to the Walling Bend Community near his brother, Colonel Jesse Walling, who had fought with General Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto.

TJ and Eleanor had four children including my great-grandmother, Nancy Ella who was born at Prairie Valley.   The family migrated across Texas, Eleanor died in 1899 at Edna Hill in Erath County and Thomas Jefferson dying in Merkel, Northwest of Abilene, in 1902.

The house and 307 acres surrounding it were sold in 1859 to John Henderson.  A contract made by Harrison’s widow in 1867 states that  the house is the home built by TJ Walling and the entire contents of the house are listed in an inventory.

In 1982, the little cabin was discovered in the woods near Henderson and thankfully it was rescued. The Rusk County Historical had it dismantled and it was reconstructed at the Depot Museum in Henderson, Texas.  Today the cabin stands furnished as it was during the life of Thomas Jefferson Walling and his family.  The dedication ceremony and erection of a historical marker were attended by many of the descendants of T J Walling.

 

 

 

 

T.J. Walling Log Cabin

“In 1841 Thomas Jefferson Walling I811-1902) and his wife Nancy (Price) erected this one-room log cabin.  Typical of many pioneer farm homes in this area, it was built of hand-hewn timbers joined at the corners by square notches.

Walling was a veteran of the Cordova Rebellion and Indian Wars, 1838-1839, and lived here with his family until 1859.  The Walling log cabin was moved from its original site (10 Mi. N E) to this location in 1982.”

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1983

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Whispers from the Past…..

 

 

 

Week 12 – 52 Ancestor Challenge – Misfortune

Definition of misfortune

: an unhappy situation
2 : a distressing or unfortunate incident or event
My daddy’s family has been a mystery throughout the 40 plus years I’ve been researching.
Mary Rebecca Smith Black
31 Oct 1849 – 30 Oct 1930

Mary Rebecca Smith, my great-great-grandmother, was born on Halloween, 1849 in Georgia.   June 1869, she married John W Black in Grimes County, Texas, three sons and three daughters were born to their union.  John passed away in March of 1884 leaving the 35 year old Mary with six small children from four months to 13 years of age.

One would think that the young mother would have remarried, but as census records bear out, that was not the case.  In 1900 I found Mary and her two youngest children, Wayne and Fannie, living with her oldest daughter, Mary Alice, her husband, John M Machen, and their family.  June of 1911, Mary was committed to the Austin State Lunatic Asylum in Austin, Texas by her son-in-law, W T Higgins.
For 19 years, 5 months, and 13 days, this was her home, this is where she died.
I was able to obtain her commitment papers and her patient file a few years ago.  It was heartbreaking to read that the condition for which she was committed could have been easily treated with Vitamin B-12.
I’ve often wondered if she simply became overwhelmed with life after losing her husband.
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Whispers from the Past……

Week 11 – 52 Ancestor Challenge – Lucky or Blessed

I don’t recall anyone in my family named Lucky or, for that matter, anyone that was particularly lucky.  However, I can think of dozens of people who were and are hard-working, honest, salt-of-the-earth folks.

I was fortunate enough to have loving and supportive parents who always believed in and encouraged me.  I have sisters that are funny, compassionate, selfless people who are always willing to help someone in need.  I was blessed to have an older brother who had an amazing sense of humor, he was buried wearing Groucho Marx glasses because he just had to make us laugh one last time.  He had an imagination and talent for innovation that wouldn’t quit and a love for “his girls” that was all encompassing.

I “inherited” children and grandchildren when I married my husband and couldn’t love them more.  They’ve given me such joy over the last 22 years.  The many strands that make up the fabric of my family, both past and present, create a tapestry of love and blessings.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Over the 40+ years that I have been researching my family I have been what some might call lucky, I prefer to think of it as working hard, asking questions, and a good instinct for where to look for  information.  I have innumerable treasures that have been entrusted to my care by family all over the U. S.  My belief is that if you love the people you are researching, that love is rewarded.

Whether through luck, fate, chance, odds, or divine intervention, I’ve found long lost family and family we never knew existed.  The most special discovery of all was that of my cousin, MJ and her Daddy, George.

George Hooker Deer
&
James Coleman Black

Through DNA testing I discovered the older brother we never knew my Daddy had.  What a wonderful discovery that was! How exciting it was to see pictures of my Uncle George and see my Daddy smiling back at me.  I only wish I’d found him sooner but we believe that Uncle George was waiting to greet his little brother when Daddy passed away a month after making this joyous discovery.

So, while some may think that successful genealogy research consists of luck, I believe it really comes down to love, patience, and being blessed.

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Whispers from the Past…..

Week 10 – 52 Ancestor Challenge – Strong Woman – My Momma

“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It is nearly impossible to choose one woman in my family to write about when you are referring to a strong woman.  I come from many women of strength and courage.

My Momma, was raised by her widowed mother in the 1930s.  Her childhood shaped her in many ways but one of the things that stands out most in my mind is her will.  I’ve seen Momma literally “will” things to happen where her family was involved.  Momma was a single mother of three in the 50s, this created a bond, a dynamic between her and her three oldest children that went deeper than any other relationship I’ve ever witnessed.  I was her baby and as such, I got away with more than the older kids.  When I was about 12, she and Daddy went to Hawaii, when I was 39 Momma passed away and we discovered the letters she had written to each of us.  Even in death, Momma found a way to make sure her babies knew we were loved and in her typical style, she had also given each of us instructions as to what she expected for and from us.

She loved her children with her whole heart and wanted us to have better lives than she had.  It was important to her that we be children as long as possible because “adult life” came way too soon.  She made sure we got to sleep late in Summer, read every chance we got, play and just be kids.  Momma was determined that each of us would be able to stand on our own feet if anything happened to her and that we knew and believed that we could do anything or be anything we wanted, we just had to work for it.  She often said that she thought she might have gone a little overboard in the self-confidence area where my brother and I were concerned.  No matter what was going on in her life, her children and grandchildren were her treasures on earth and the most dangerous thing anyone could do was to hurt one of her babies.

I remember always knowing that Momma was there for me, no matter what I needed or what was going on in my life.  She was a literal “force to be reckoned with” when it came to her family.  Momma’s children respected her and loved her and we each knew that we were her greatest pleasure in her earthly life.  Momma prayed over us daily and she believed, without a doubt that God would always take care of us because He had promised her He would.  She was a fierce defender of each of us and the foundation upon which we have built our lives.

While I could have chosen any  number of women in my family to write about this week, there was never really another choice.  Momma was the anchor in our lives, the calm in the storm, the sweetness of love in it’s purest form, a mother’s love for her children.

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Whispers from the Past…..

Week 9 – 52 Ancestor Challenge – Where There’s A Will, There’s A Codicil

     “Where there’s a will, there are 500 relatives…..”

The Will of Giles Driver, Jr. offers a window into the dynamic of his family. Giles is very detailed in how he disposes of his estate, in some cases right down to the penny. He was specific regarding the circumstances surrounding who received what and the conditions that had to be met to receive the inheritance.  Two notes here – this is not an exact transcription as far as spelling and there are a few words that I couldn’t make out, thus the blanks. Where you see bold text, I have added information for clarification.

Will of Giles Driver, Jr
Click to Enlarge

Pike County, Georgia – Record of Wills, Volume C-D, 1844-1912, Page 492

19 July 1869

In the name of God Amen.  I Giles Driver of said State and County being of advanced age and knowing that I myself must shortly depart from this life, deem it right and proper, both as respects myself and family, that I should make a disposition of the property with which a kind Providence has blessed me. I therefore make this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking and annulling all others made by me heretofore.

Item 1st – I desire that my body be buried in a decent and Christian like manner, suitable to my circumstance and condition, but nothing unnecessary about it. My soul I hope and trust shall return to rest with God who gave it, as I hope for eternal Salvation through the blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Item 2nd – I desire and direct that all my just debts be paid by my Executors hereinafter named.

Item 3rd – I have given to my daughter Sarah R who intermarried with Charles B Hubble one thousand and thirty five dollars in cash, she leaving no child at her death my wish is for said Hubble to have no more interest in my estate whatever.

Item 4th – My wish and desire is for my youngest son Charles G to have one hundred dollars extra and more than the balance of my children this difference is made because he has not received his due proportion of education.

Item 5th – I give and bequeath to my wife, Mary, all the property that she was possessed of at the time of our marriage, to do with as she may think proper at her death. I also desire that three hundred dollars be laid out in hand of which she is to have full control during her natural life or widowhood but at her death or marriage for the lands to return to my estate and to be equally divided among my children or their children as the case may then be.

At this point in the will is a note “See Marriage Contract”. The placement is such that I don’t know if he is referring to his third wife, Mary M Carson, or to his son, Julius W, who is the subject of Item 6.

Item 6th – I throw (?) this restriction and qualification around the property or effects that may fall to my son Julius W, that is, it is not to be subject to any of his debts or contracts now made or hereafter made, but he is to use it for his support and benefit and that of his family and at his death to be equally divided among his children but his present wife and the Serepta Ann Rebecca Reeves wife neither of them is to have any interest in my estate or its increase whatever at the death of my son Julius W Driver I make this difference because he is divorced from the Reeves wife and I understand that the father of his present wife Sarah E Hogan intends to make a similar will.

Item 7th – My will and desire is for my Grandson Giles L Driver and my grand daughter Sarah F Driver (children of Julius W Driver and his 1st wife, Frances Jane Ussery) each to have one hundred dollars to be retained in the hands of my executors until these children become of age or marry. These amounts to be retained out of the portion falling to their Father.

Item 8th  – If any of my children die before or after me and have a child or children such child or children to draw their parents interest in my estate under this will.

Item 9th – I hereby put this condition and qualification upon the property or its effects that may be received by each of my children (to wit) if any of them die and leave no living or posthumous child then the property or its effects falling to such child to return to my estate and to be equally divided among all my children or their children as the case may there be in the manner herein specified for division observing the restrictions and qualifications in this will

Item 10th – My wish and desire is that each of my children that have not had a bed bedstead and furniture to have one after paying off all my just debts for each child to draw an equal share of my estate both real and personal, not counting (?) any old debts against any of them, observing the restrictions, qualifications and differences in this will

Item 11th – I have given my two sons Julius W and Robert P each a mule and each mule valued at one hundred and forty one dollars, sixty six cents, each of them have an extra cow which must be valued. I also paid Doyal & Nunnally fifty eight dollars for Julius ___ for cotton, twenty one dollars _____ due for that Thirty seven dollars these amounts I want counted against them without interest

Item 12th – I constitute and appoint my two sons Alonzo C Driver and James L Driver my lawful

Executors to this my last Will and Testament this 19 July 1869

Giles added a codicil that included the following –

First – Whereas I have understood that my son Julius W Driver intends to claim some property that he was in possession of at the time when he broke up house keeping and separated from his second wife Serepta Ann Rebecca Reeves and whereas I feel satisfied that I have fully compensated him for said property. Now if he claims said property and continues to contend for it then I want the five hundred dollars that I handed him when he started out to California counted against him without interest but if he relinquishes his claim to said property I want the will to be carried out without this codicil so far as he is concerned

Second – In lieu of the one hundred dollars mentioned in the fourth Item of my will to my youngest Charles G my wish is to alter it to Two hundred and twenty five dollars

Third – I also want my son James L to have two hundred and twenty five dollars These last two Items they are to have before there is any division made

Fourth – I want my wife Mary M Carson to have the bedstead and mattress that we lie on in lieu of her bedstead that she sold when she came here

Fifth – There is due from A C Driver Two hundred and twenty five dollars for his mare without interest

Sixth – My wish and desire is for the portion falling to my daughter Synthia E Pryor for her and her husband to have the use and benefits of the proceeds of the property but her present or future husband not to be allowed to trade off any of the property neither to be subject to any of his debts or contracts now or hereafter made the said property is to be exclusively for my daughter Synthia E and her children

Seventh – This I think will make my children as near equal as I can fix it


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Whispers from the Past……