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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Things To Come In 2012

William Noah Crow and Fannie Mae Whitten (ca. 1903) - g grandparents
Beginning my quest of discovery this year to go back to my roots has been an awarding experience beyond measure. I began with a major thrust last winter and never looked back.  Making this all the more interesting, I began to pursue the families of all four of my grandparents.  The number of individuals and families has become massive and it may take my lifetime to completely analyze all of my sources.  I'm no professional genealogist and they would likely say that I need to correct my methods and source collection - among other things.  But that too is all the process of discovery. I've slowed my research a bit to begin to pace myself and to try to patch up informational and procedural mistakes before I go further.  Yes, I've made mistakes, and there will be mistakes found as you go through the links to the family trees, but I view these as only beginnings and items to be corrected.  However, I need the help of my cousins, and aunts, and uncles, to assist me in this endeavor.  

The Phil Erwin's Family Story website is only the beginning.  This Plains Holly Tree blog is intended to convey stories handed to me or learned by me during the process of discovery. I am proud to hold the record here and to share it with all my relatives. But I am also sharing with scores of people who are on their own missions of discovery as well.  Several distant cousins from the Crow, Street, and Erwin lineage have now contacted me via their search as they discovered these sites, and they are telling me much about our common ancestors.  My parents and their siblings have found a renewed interest to rediscover their past and their memories.  I think this can only grow from here out.

I have started something here I would love to see grow into a movement by my cousins.  In the coming year, I will endeavor to find the best solution to provide each of my cousins a place to come and to write about memories and stories of our ancestors. This can be a diary of memories. It will not just be my story of discovery, but yours as well. My intent would be to provide a single place to just come and write, or send scanned documents, for sharing. I also encourage each of the younger cousins who would like to start their own sites, or might like to contribute to this one, to reach out to our elders and begin to convey their information to paper or to digital storage.  Let's discover our lost treasures of photos and other documents and begin to share with each other.  There is a wealth of memories and shared history to give to each other.  In the process,  I believe this will also bring us back together.

This work is a gift to myself.  But it is also my gift to all of my family.  I've learned in rediscovering my cousin Lynette, whom I had not seen in so many years, that there is great warmth and strength in the bond of family. It has never lost us.  We lose each other.  There is much for us to rediscover and to find anew. There are lifetimes of stories to share with each other.  I hope you will find my website as a beginning for this endeavor and we can build up from this foundation. 

Hardy Street - g grandfather

For 2012, you can access my page, 'Erwin/Street - Howard/Crow of Oklahoma' .  It also has Ricard links for my wife, Mary. Yes, I've been busy.  It's also accessible at a link at the bottom of the Family Story main web page. If you want to start your own search, I recommend you try my 'Reference and Other Genealogical Research Sites' page for starting places.  The Google form at the top is handy in trying to use Google Search to find information on family.  There's a lot of information out there beyond and other genealogy web sites.  The great thing about genealogical research is that everyone helps each other. has some new items coming up for 2012 which is working to make it more useful to researchers everywhere. Everyone is all excited about the 1940 census coming online later this Spring and there will be multiple ways to access those records.  It's important to note that you don't have to have a paid subscription to any site to be successful in your research, but they can have conveniences you might find helpful.  It's not only about accessing records, but having them organized and traced with other families.  You can access the earlier census records on Internet Archive (a free site), but digging through them - and knowing the right one - is the chore. Find the paths of least resistance and you'll be less frustrated.

David Jackson Howard and Helen Warhurst Howard - g g grandparents

Finally, in 2012, I hope to find the courage, the time, and the resources, to be able to go find people and locations and share and talk about our ancestors.  To date, I have done very little outside of web research and collecting the known information from relatives, like Uncle Lawrence, who have committed great time and resources to discover our past.  At some point, I have to go down the roads not yet traveled.  This is the true great journey still before me.  I hope from my heart you will share in this exploration with me.

Any guesses?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The French Ricard Invasion

It has been several months since I last updated the GEDCOM files for the Erwin/Howard genealogy page so I thought it was about time I brought us up to speed on the research to date.  It's been a slow summer for finding new information on Howards, Crows, Streets and Erwins, though I did post a few discoveries on this blog.

As to the French invasion, I resolved to begin an investigation into the allied families of my wife Mary. Her family name through her father is Ricard which migrated in the mid-nineteenth century to America (around Rutland, Vermont) from the Montreal, Canada vicinity.  The Ricard name, of French origin, had established itself near Montreal by an immigrant named Jean Ricard in 1664 after he arrived there on the Dutch ship Le Noir.  Jean Ricard was not a Huguenot of the group that had settled in America (discussed in a previous posting), but was devoted to the Catholic faith. Although you will find names going further back to southern France on my ancestral charts, I have not been able to substantiate the parentage of Jean with any accuracy. It's pure speculation and picked up form other sources. I'll leave the information on the tree for confirmation.

There was one critical link between Edward Ricard (Mary's g-grandfather) and the family Fortier I found in the 1900 census that confirmed the Ricard family linkage established in The Ricard of North America website.  I was able to find more information on the Van Guilder family from an old post honoring Mary's great-grandparents,  Raymond Van Guilder (1885-1978) and Mary Durham (1890-1982).  Raymond's father, James Franklin Van Guilder (1845-1924), was a Civil War veteran of Company G of the Vermont Volunteer Cavalry.  Since I have ancestors (the Phillips) who also came through Vermont not far from Rutland, I'm intrigued to find if there might be any connections with Mary's extended families from the past two centuries.
James Franklin Van Guilder (1845-1924)
I have not yet begun to scratch the surface on the Garza side of the family. Mary's mother, Andrea, passed just last year, and I hope to be able to establish a solid family tree in her honor. There is a rich heritage from southern Texas and Mexico waiting to be discovered.

Anyway, the main website is now updated and the family tree is loaded with over 1800 names now listed. I've added a new Ricard/Garza page that is currently under construction as is much of the other individual family sites that haven't had much touch up since last Spring. I'll try to have more done on those before Thanksgiving so family can have access for our big gatherings. I'm learning more and more about using Google Sites web pages and beginning to realize the potential uses of them.

The family is having difficulty looking into the history of our dear Fannie Mae Whitten (Crow) who was born in Purcell, Oklahoma in 1888. This seems to be my 'brick wall' that is the most frustrating to address. I have also stalled my search on finding the immigrant Howard who first settled these shores. There tends to be plenty of confusion by the time we get back to Kentucky who came from where.  The earlier Crow, before John Crow (1765-1864), is also still a mystery as I have serious doubts to some connections that were made to an Isaac Crow of the Sabine River, Texas, at the beginning of the 19th century.

I'm learning new tools as I go deeper into genealogy and yet I feel I've only scratched the surface.  Fortunately, new databases are coming online and I'm getting anxious to start digging into the 1940's census records when they become available early next year.  It's exciting times for the genealogist - no matter your level of involvement or skill.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Orphans of John Nelson Erwin

I suppose it is in the history of all families we find the stories of children facing the death of a parent. We see this recorded in my families and notably on this blog several times in the stories of Rufina Vincent and Nancy Street.  It is through the 'Robert Woodley Family History Web Site' that I was able to find record of the death of John Nelson Erwin (1789 - 1841) and how his large family was placed under the care of another. As it is with genealogy, many of our discoveries are found from the detailed work of our far distant cousins. Though I found some collected data in this source that may not be correct (namely, the history of the family in America before John Erwin), the recorded documents by the courts speak for themselves.

John, a young farmer of Pennsylvania, was married to Susan Bailey (1796-1885) on December 4, 1814.  Peter Erwin, their first born in 1817 (and my great-great grandfather), would later lead his own family westward to settle near Tecumseh, Nebraska. In the years after the birth of Peter, Julia Ann, Rebecca, Hannah, Else, Susanah, Jacob, Christiana, Charles, and John, Jr. came along before the elder John Erwin died in 1841.  

The following was recorded.

"Book D, page 211, Orphan’s Court January Term AD 1842

A summary of the minor heirs of John Erwin:

Minor children under the age of 14:

Jacob Erwin
Christiana Erwin
Else Erwin
Charles Erwin
John Erwin

Minor children over the age of 14:

Hannah Erwin
Julian Erwin
Susanah Erwin

Children, not minors, mentioned in this or in other Court documents:

Peter Erwin, listed as their next friend
Rebecca Erwin, listed as the wife of George Richart in signing off on a deed.

Note that Jacob Bailey, named as guardian, was probably the brother of Susan Bailey, the mother of the children and widow of John Erwin.

Petition of Peter Erwin for Guardian for the Minor Children of John Erwin Deceased
The Petition of Jacob Erwin, Christiana Erwin, Else Erwin, Charles Erwin & John Erwin by their next friend Peter Erwin 
Humbly showeth that the said Jacob Erwin, Christiana Erwin Else Erwin, Charles Erwin & John Erwin otherwise late of said County Decd. all under the age of fourteen Plead That the said Minors have no person legally authorized to take charge of their persons and Estates, therefore the said Peter Erwin, in behalf of the said Minors, prays the Court to appoint some suitable person as Guardian for the purposes written mentioned and he will ever pray the etc. - Peter Erwin July 5th AD 1842.

Petition made and the Court appoint Jacob Bailey Guardian for the Minor Children as set forth in said petition etc. direct him to give bail in the sum of $500 each Samuel Bellman approved as bail.
by the Court, E. Youngman, Clk

Petition of Hannah Erwin, Julian Erwin, Susan Erwin for Guardian
The Petition of Hannah Erwin, Julian Erwin & Susanah Erwin 
Respectfully represents That your Petitioners are Minors Children of John Erwin late of said County Decd. that they are above the age of fourteen years state they have no person legally authorized to take care of their persons and Estates and they pray the Court state they may be permitted to make choice of a Suitable Guardian for that purpose and they will pray etc. - Hannah Erwin, Julian Erwin, Peter Erwin for Susanna Erwin.
July 5th AD 1842. 
by the Court E. Youngman Clk
Petition read and the Court give leave to choose whereupon the Minors Choose Jacob Bailey and the Court approve & direct him to give bail in the sum of $500 for each Minor. Samuel Bellman approved as bail."

It appears that Susan Bailey received assistance from her brother(?), Jacob Bailey for a period of years after John's death. However, a later recording indicates that Jacob Bailey would pass away and a new person was appointed to care for the young Erwin children. Peter Erwin, the eldest brother, was nearby to support his mother and his siblings.

"Book E pg 25, Nov term 1846
Susan Erwin widow of John Erwin comes to the court and says that Jacob Bailey is now deceased. Needs a new guardian for children. Charles Tallman is appointed."

All of the children would eventually grow up and find themselves married to raise their families in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, or move on to distant places.  Peter had married Mary Goodlander in 1838.  He, with his family, would go west with his young brother Charles, to Jo Daviess County, Illinois and eventually Nebraska.  Peter's eldest son William, who was just two years of age when John Erwin passed on, would be killed at Missionary Ridge, Tennessee in 1863.  Having successfully raised her children with the support of the family and local community, Susan Bailey died in 1885 in Jo Daviess County.

Note:  I found a record of a Charles Tallman in the Lycoming Co. area, but it is unclear if this would be the same person. There are connections of the Tallman and Bailey families in Pennsylvania and this may be a Charles Tallman cousin.

Genealogy Site Rankings

A fellow blogger has made a compilation of the global rankings of a selection of genealogy-related websites.  Link in and begin your search.  I've also listed them below.  My favorite sites are noted in bold.

Most of these websites are not linked on the reference page of my website. 1,103, (1,076), (984) 3,524, (4,573), (3,886) - My site is basic and not yet built. 7,768 (7,068), (8,086) 8,497, (9,138), (9,120) 12,295, (12,691), (12,190) 17,366 (17,053), (18,209) - recently upgraded with census records.  15,944, (17,199), (17,243) 21,600, (21,801), (18,550)  41,077, (38,146), (41,700) 50,347, (51,699), (46,279) 54,036, (51,631), (42,325)  57,972, (67,246), (80,397)  68,220, (69,394), (81,411) 116,532, (101,523), (86,990) 135,238, (123,589), (150,226) 129,664, (176,217), (168,666) 177,305, (194,673), (193,436) 178,177, (204,998), (212,655) 216,098, (198,889), (161,170) 205,946, (250,031), (175,547) 296,260, (309,746), (201,288) 304,733, (307,860), (527,236) 325,569, (334,563), (273,131) 471,773, (452,499), (296,376) 528,067, (469,630), (372,173) - excellent free tree builder. 292,785, (507,702), (770,719) 568,638, (413,274), (276,418) 615,133, (839,046), (784,440) 671,941, (635,502), (438,407) 702,073 (895,754), (525,834) 1,023,413, (993,634), (994,049) 1,050,849, (965,288), (708,746) 1,101,224, (1,019,853), (830,338) 1,201,950, (1,210,668), (1,267,779) 1,407,276, (1,624,999), (2,418,382) 1,414,288, (-), (-) 1,487,132, (1,440,397), (1,289,655) 1,555,150, (1,328,035), (1,093,695)  2,030,679, (2,724,618), (1,340,610) 2.329.800, (1,874,498), (1,601,646)  2,407,513, (1,684,518) (1,836,425) 2,427,784, (1,815,516), (2,677,921) 2,452,985, (1,902,137), (1,648,569) 2,541,927 (4,938,796), (7,145,992)  2,763,979, (2,224,075), (1,881,611) 2,803,254, (2,343,474), (2,356,437) 3,361,982 (3,459,358), (3,313,414)  10,981,334, (10,510,651), (3,234,636) 12,118,104, (9,884,139), (6,654,860)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Howard Family and The Huguenots

Huguenot Cross
The Huguenot Cross

In my short time of conducting our family tree(s), I've come across some interesting branching that not only links our heritage to Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland but go to other shores.  The Oklahoma Howard lineage also has some connections to German (Trout) and French ancestry.  The Huguenot Society of the Founders of Manakin in the Colony of Virginia is the standard bearer in America for helping us understand the history of the people of France who had escaped the worst kinds of religious persecution.  

The family ties to the Huguenots includes five generations of Allegre's:

HOWARD - Monroe Howard - David Charles Howard - Helen WARHURST - Rufina VINCENT - Elizabeth ALLEGRE - Giles Allegre - Matthew Andrew Allegre - James Giles Allegre - GILES ALLEGRE.

Who were the Huguenots? The Society provides details and resources to help learn more about them.  

"In France as early as 1522 certain clergy and laity became so concerned with the worldliness within the Established Church of France that they sought reforms. This having failed, they began to withdraw and form congregations which they felt adhered more closely to the Bible. The French Court and the Church were allies and considered the Reformers heretics, calling them Huguenots in ridicule. Persecutions became so severe that hundreds fled to other countries rather than give up their new faith. After two tragic massacres King Henry IV granted them the Edict of Nantes in 1598. This Edict gave them limited religious and civic privileges. Afters his death in 1610 the extreme persecutions were renewed. In 1685 Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes thus outlawing the Reformers. Hundreds of thousands escaped under drastic circumstances to friendly countries, many of whom reached the American Colonies.
In 1700 King William III, and other prominent leaders of London, concerned with the welfare of the Huguenots who reached England, made possible the emigraiton to manakintown. The first settlers came on the "Mary and Ann" and "Ye Peter and Anthony." Some who came on the "Nassau" and two other ships also settled at Manakintown.
The Virginia House of Burgesses granted them 10,000 acres for homes and farms on the south side of the James River west of subsequent Richmond. On December 5, 1700 the House of Burgesses established King William Parish and the church which became manakin Episcopal Church. The first church building was erected in 1701 on glebe land granted for that purpose. The present brick building, the fifth church building, is modeled after Col. William Byrd's Church at Westover. The Parish House is nearby. manakin Church is the only congregation in King William Parish."

Giles Allegree is listed as a 'qualified Huguenot ancestor' for purposes of tracing a connection to the Virginia colony and is important for seeking membership into the society. I have yet to pursue the question of membership qualifications for members from our family, but this will be a matter for consideration once I can provide confirmations of my research to date. Membership is not my goal but I am looking to learn more of a bit of history of America that I have never explored.  I also wish to learn more about Giles and his parentage, and the region of France (Lyons) from which he originated. 

Before this is over, I may wish I would have learned French.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Charles Page and The Home

In 1903 Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, Hardie Street and Margaret Kennedy married and started their lives together in Phillips, a town just south of Coalgate. They had six children, with a seventh on the way, when Hardie died suddenly of a stroke on December 8, 1917. Hardie was buried near his mother, Nancy (who had died just two years earlier), in Rose Hill Cemetery in Wapanucka. As harsh as this was, times were to become much more desperate for Margaret and her family. On February 13, 1918, her new son William Hardy was born.

Charles Page, a man building a fortune in oil, had planned and built the city of Sand Springs and was sharing his wealth with the orphans of Tulsa County. He had built a dormitory, called 'the home', where the children he rescued from a failed orphanage could be raised with many of the same opportunities as more fortunate children. Aside from the dormitory, he built a widows colony in 1912 to provide shelter and aid for widowed and divorced women with children to support.  The colony had a chapel and nursery and provided for free rent and utilities and a quart of milk per child per day.

Margaret learned of the home and made the decision to travel north to Sand Springs where she and her family would find a new start and have hope of staying together.  However, the sorrows did not end as Margaret's toddler son, William, died in 1919.  Margaret did all she could do to keep her children safe and fed, but how she could keep her six children together without the help of Charles Page and the colony is uncertain. She worked as a laundress to make her way while the 'Charles Page Home' provided for the additional care and education of the children, the oldest of which, Dreada, was fifteen.  She did not give up and the children would grow up healthy and ready to venture on to their new lives.

Margaret's second daughter, Nancy Lou, or 'Nanny', was my grandmother who, from all accounts, was a most loving and caring soul who gave her all for her family.  Perhaps some of that love was grown from knowing the generosity of another caring soul like Charles Page.

Sand Springs Home is going strong still today, nearly 100 years later, providing hope for desperate and divided families. The legacy of Charles Page lives on in not only in the city he built, but for the many lives given hope.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Internet Archives Find: Rupert, VT - Historical and Descriptive 1761-1898

Internet Archives is a fabulous site for rare historical documents of towns, counties and other various topics of interest.  One great find in recent days has been this book from the Cornell University library system.
Angeline Phillips, Ada Phillips' mother.
The family of my great-great grandmother, Ada Phillips, came westward via Oswego, New York and a small town in western Vermont called Rupert.  Aside from the simple information taken from census records, these rare book gems provide resources beyond simple name recognition.  They help to define the community and the people and places around them.  This particular book introduced me to the name of the home - and the grave site - of Elihu Phillips of Vermont in Kent Hollow. I also learned more about the Weed family who married with the Phillips family - several times, actually.
Kent Hollow Cemetery - burial place of Elihu Phillips and his daughter  Cynthia Weed. (Find A Grave website)
You should really start venturing into Internet Archives if you haven't already.  The wealth of American history recorded here is tremendous.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Proem For Their Yesterdays

Published in Dallas Trees blog on May 27, 2011.

As I have dedicated most of my spare time of late to genealogical research, I decided I wanted a common place of vision from which to stand to reflect back on my forest of ancestors.  Hey, I like trees. I cannot judge them as a people who had displaced and made war against native people, or even their own brothers and cousins. I cannot judge some of them individually for the enslavement of others. I did not know these people. I cannot judge them for how they viewed the world, ignorant of some realities or choosing not to see others. It's not my place. It's my place to learn and grow from their experiences and help make my own part of the world a better place. 

My family came from places like Howards Mill, Kentucky, Spring Creek, Nebraska, or Ward's Grove, Illinois. They lived in small communities like Mount Holly, Brandywine, Fair Play, Oswego, Stamford, Ripley, Mississippi, and Rupert, Vermont. I needed a simple perspective from which to view their world as they might have taught their children - on their farms, in their towns, in their small country schools, and in their churches. These people only knew of family, community, and survival in harsh conditions, and at times, against the odds. They knew how to do much that was handed down to them through previous generations and supportive families. Much of that is lost to most of us, but still hang on in the skills and fortune of a few. However, their experiences were not mine.  I am in a period of relearning all that I have unlearned or had never inherited from centuries of growth.  I recently remembered an old book on my shelf and I thought that to know the past, I need to read from it.

Harold Bell Wright is most recognized today for his novel, The Shepherd of the Hills. However, in the early 20th Century, he wrote other novels, including Their Yesterdays, which was more a grouping of essays than an actual novel. But publishing companies, being as they are, sold it as another great romantic novel from this writing pastor.  Their Yesterdays is available online and in various formats.  I have read it from a hardback book that was shared by someone who held it in their hands a hundred years ago.  Wright had reason to hate the world from his youth, but he found a different perspective and published it.  These are the common themes that stay in my mind as I look back to my yesterdays.

"There was a man.

And it happened--as such things often so happen--that this man went back into his days that were gone. Again and again and again he went back. Even as every man, even as you and I, so this man went back into his Yesterdays.

Then--why then there was a woman.

And it happened--as such things sometimes so happen--that this woman also went back into her days that were gone. Again and again and again she went back. Even as every woman, even as you and I, so this woman went back into her Yesterdays.

So it happened--as such things do happen--that the Yesterdays of this man and the Yesterdays of this woman became Their Yesterdays, and that they went back, then, no more alone but always together.

Even as one, they, forever after, went back.

What They Found in Their Yesterdays

And the man and the woman who went back into Their Yesterdays found there the Thirteen Truly Great Things of Life. Just as they found these things in their grown up days, even unto the end, so they found them in Their Yesterdays.

Thirteen Truly Great Things of Life there are. No life can have less. No life can have more. All of life is in them. No life is without them all.

Dreams, Occupation, Knowledge, Ignorance, Religion, Tradition, Temptation, Life, Death, Failure, Success, Love, Memories: these are the Thirteen Truly Great Things of Life--found by the man and the woman in their grown up days--found by them in Their Yesterdays--and they found no others.

It does not matter where this man and this woman lived, nor who they were, nor what they did. It does not matter when or how many times they went back into Their Yesterdays. These things are all that they found. And they found these things even as every man and woman finds them, even as you and I find them, in our days that are and in our days that were--in our grown up days and in our Yesterdays.

And it is so that in all of these Thirteen Truly Great Things of Life there is a man and there is a woman."



from Their Yesterdays, by Harold Bell Wright, 1912

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sol Street's Demise

The story of Solomon Street in the Civil War is one of those interesting footnotes that came out of the South. Solomon was the brother of my great-great-great grandfather, Jim Street. As it was for most families of the South, most of the young men had journeyed off to war - or soon would - as the call to arms rang out. The Street families of Tippah County, Mississippi were no exception.  Jim Street would join two of his sons in one regiment while Solomon would eventually lead other Streets in his 2nd Mississippi Reserve Cavalry, Company A: The Citizen's Guards of Tippah County.

Well, the historians can speak to the war time activities of Captain Sol Street and his regiment.  There is an excellent history written by Andrew Brown for the Journal of Mississippi History from 1959. This story, however, is about a young man named Robert Galloway and how the career of Sol Street came to an end in Bolivar, Tennessee in 1864.  

The story was posted in Footnote under Interesting Civil War Stories by submitter 'bgill' on May 13, 2007.

View Street in a larger map

"Sol Street was one of 18 children born to Anderson and Keziah McBride Street, one of the earliest settlers of Tippah Co. Miss. Sol was a carpenter by trade and enlisted early in the war (1861) in the Magnolia Guards which later was merged into the 2nd Miss. Infantry. He served at First Manassas, Seven Pines, and the Seven Days Battles. After North Miss. was invaded in 1862 he hired a substitute under the provisions of the Conscription Act and returned home.
Street next is on record as having been made a captain in the Citizen's Guards of Tippah Co. Technically he was under Gen. Chalmers' command but was able to detach himself from the Gen.'s command so that he could harass the Federals along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad between Memphis and Corinth.
Street establish headquarters of sorts in an inpenetrable bottom of Tippah Creek, from which he operated an efficient and unorthodox intelligence system which served him well in his military activities. By 1863, Street had earned the enviable description of "noted Guerilla" and the unsubstantiated title of Colonel.
Finally, Street saw that his days as the leader of an independent group of hit-and-run fighters were numbered. He evaded (regular) Confederate service for the last time by moving into the extreme southwest section of Tenn.
Street's military career reached its peak while he was serving as a Major in the 15th Tn., a battalion under the command of Gen. N.B. Forrest.
After the engagement at Ft. Pillow, Tenn., the following account details Street's last days, which were spent in the Bolivar, Tn. area.
In Dec. 1862 William Galloway, a Saulsbury, Tn. farmer had an altercation with Street over the sale of cotton. Street killed Galloway without provocation.
Galloway had a son named Robert who swore he would avenge his father's death, sending word far and wide that he would kill Street on sight. Robert was not quite 17 but enlisted in Capt. Higgs' Independent Scouts and bided his time.
It was over a year before he ran across the man he had sworn to kill. On May 2, 1864, just after Forrest's command, numbering about 200 all told, had had a brush with over 1,000 Federal troops near Bolivar, Higgs' Scouts camped with Forrest's troops at Bolivar and there Robert met Maj. Street. True to his word, he avenged his father's death.
Shooting a Major of his command was to Forrest an unpardonable crime and young Galloway was placed in charge of a guard of ten men with the cheering information that as sure as the sun rose in the morning he would be shot, and admonished him to make his peace with his God. The guards were instructed to "bind him fast and have him forthcoming when called for, or their lives should answer for his escape." Forrest also ordered that he should be tied with a rope and two men at a time should stand guard over him, one of whom should "hold on to the rope." Accordingly, his hands were tied, a long rope was placed around his neck, which one of the guards held in his hand.
The first two to have charge of him were John W. Key of Washington, D.C. and L.H. Russ. Russ was about 16 years old and not much bigger than a piece of chalk--and for that reason was called the "baby of Forrest's escort." From the first his sympathies were enlisted on the side of the prisoner. Getting into conversation with Galloway, he got the entire story of the killing, talked it over with the guards, and won over the most of them to the idea of letting him get away. Russ stayed awake the whole night, and every 2 hours when the relief was changed, he asked, "is he still there?" hoping to that each succeeding relief would give him a chance to "skip".
Later Key and Russ were on duty guarding the prisoner in the corner of a rail fence and the two begin talking in a way to let Galloway know he had better untied himself and make his get-away. "That fellow is a fool to stay here and get shot," said Ross. "If he tries to get away I shall shoot at him--but I won't hit him," replied Key. "If I was in his place, I'd make a break for our horses over there and take one and ride like the devil," said Russ, "and I would not care if he got mine." Key was holding the rope and Russ laid down across it between Key and the prisoner, and Galloway worked around, got his knife out of his pocket, cut his bonds and stole away quietly to the horses. He perferred to leave on foot rather than give them any chance to track him, as they would be able to do had he taken a horse. Revellie was sounded just as he disappeared in the woods.
Waiting a sufficient time to give Galloway a chance to make his escape, the two guards began shooting their revolvers and running in an opposite direction from that taken by the prisoner. "Boots and Saddles" was sounded at once, the escort formed in lines and in two minutes Forrest put in an appearance, supposing the Federals were about to attack them.
On learning that the prisoner had escaped, and none of the guards being able to tell how it happened, the dashing cavalry leader began cursing the guard, damning them individually, collectively, in detail and by sections; damned his whole escort from the highest officer in it to the cook--not one escaped his wrath--and after cursing all of the State of Tenn. in general and Bolivar in particular he order the guard under arrest, with the statement that he was about to march to Tupelo, Miss., and on arrival there he "intended to shoot every damned one of the ten guards." They were ordered to fall in the rear of the escort and the march began.
On the way to Tupelo, the guards were all dishartened at the prospect of being shot except the "baby" who kept saying "Don't worry boys, Forrest won't shoot ten of his escort--good men are too scarce to kill 'em that way."
Arriving at Tupelo, Forrest put the guard in a little old shanty in which a number of goats had been housed for a year, again telling them he would shoot the whole ten of them at sunrise. They were kept there for a week or more, when Russ one day climbed up the old fashioned chimney while some of his companions engaged the attention of the guard, climbed down the roof made his way to his company quarters and got Capt. Jackson and Maj. Strong to interced with Forrest for their release.
Russ made his way back to the goat pen the same way he got out, and Forrest, who had somewhat cooled down by this time released all except Sgt. Sims, who was Sgt. of the guard, declaring he would court-martial and shoot him. Sims stayed in the goat pen a week longer, when he was tried by court-martial and there being no evidence to convict, he went free. Sims never knew till long after the war who turned the prisoner loose.
Many years later Galloway was visiting the Masonic Library during the meeting of the grand bodies and on looking over the register saw Russ' name. They had not met but each had a letter from the other. Galloway immediately went up to the lodge room, walked in, closely scrutinized every face and at last saw the features of the boy who 39 years before, snatched him from the jaws of death and gave him life and freedom. Going out into the anteroom, he had the Grand Sentinel call Russ out of the chapter room, and when he came Galloway found that he had faithfully remembered the features of the "baby of Forrest's escort."
Then, of course, that fearful night was reconstructed. The writer through a friend met the two and had the story told for his edification. It is no fairy tale, but an actual incident of the war. When Galloway was asked how he could remember the face of Russ so well, he remarked that the features of his preserver were burned into his very soul, and that he could never forget him. He added: "As long as I live that boy shall never want for anything and I have told my wife that, if I died before she does, she must share her last crust with him if he needs it, and you can safely bet that she will cheerfully do so."
Both are Masons and this cemented the bond of friendship between them. Cal Street, a brother* of the man Galloway killed was also a Mason. They are firm friends, but the killing has never been mentioned between them and probably never will be.
Shortly after Galloway had returned to Saulsbury, after the war, some of Maj. Street's friends went quietly to work to have him tried by civil authority for the killing of Maj. Street. The Sheriff put a quietus to it, saying: "Boys, Bob Galloway has more friends in this country than Steet ever had and if anything more is done toward trying him for what he did during the war, there will be a heap more dead men lying around lose in this neighborhood than you ever saw--and they will be those who stir up this matter too."
Here ends the account of how Robert Galloway was saved from the grave by L.H. Russ, a boy who took chances of being shot himself to save a total stranger. The two are fast friends and will be while life lasts."
* - Calvin Columbus Street was born in 1867 to Jim Street and was Solomon's nephew. I have no reference of a brother named 'Cal'.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

James Anderson Warhurst and Rufina Vincent

Our first narrative for our family history comes from the lineage of the Howard family. It was posted on the Warhurst Family Genealogy Forum on July 8, 2001.  James and Rufina Warhurst were the parents of Helen Warhurst, the wife of David Jackson Howard and grandmother of Monroe Howard of Logan, Oklahoma.

James was born in 1828 in Chariton, Missouri to Archibald and Martha Warhurst. Rufina was born in 1834 in Kentucky. Her parents, Zachariah and Elizabeth Vincent, died in 1840 at Chariton, Missouri, leaving Rufina  and her five brothers and sisters orphaned.

Contributed by Virginia Warhurst, 1631 Ardath, Wichita Falls Texas 76301, 25 March 1974, from information collected by Harry Warhurst; sent to Patricia Johnsen Hicks, Weaverville, California.
retyped by Pat Hicks July 8, 2001.  A special greetings goes to a distant cousin Stephanie Bradshaw (through Rufina's brother William) who shared this story on her web site.


"Many, many years ago, dark haired Rufina Vincent, a girl of 14, and James A. Warhurst, a stalwart youth of 21 summers, were married in a little church in Missouri. After a few short, happy years of life in Missouri, during which chubby Gus and tiny Bell were born to them, they decided to move to the territory of Kansas.

"Having sold their property and collected their possessions, they bought an unblemished team of young horses, a new wagon and harness, and clothing and cloth enough to clothe them for a year. They also bought a year's supply of flour, meat, sugar, coffee, and other provisions. They stored their supplies in their home.
"The evening before the day they planned to start was rather sad, for it was not easy for such young people as Rufina and Jim to say good-bye to their relatives and friends and go to live in such a lonely, uninhabited place.
On returning home this particular evening, they backed the wagon up to the door and put the harness under the wagon in order that they might be ready to load early the next morning. After turning the horses in their pen, they retired for the night.

"During the night they were awakened by fire falling in their faces. They snatched up the children and barely escaped with their lives. Their only belongings which were not destroyed by fire were their night clothes and their horses, as the crumbling house fell on the wagon and destroyed both it and their harness.

"Undaunted by such a hard blow, they sold their horses, bought a yoke of oxen, a wagon, and what supplies they could, and started on their journey to Kansas. They crossed the Missouri river at Iowa Point into Kansas, and began looking for a favorable location. They arrived in Kansas two years before it was open for settlement.

"They drove in a northwest direction across what was later Doniphan County, Kansas, and into what is Brown County, Irving township, and settled at a place. When it was surveyed, several years later, it proved to be the southwest quarter of section 21, township 1, range 18, east.

How did they happen to stop at this particular spot?

They were driving along the divide one day, hot, thirsty, and tired. The children were exceptionally cross and the oxen in great need of water. Suddenly the oxen smelled the water in the creek north of them, which was later called Cottonwood Creek, and in the creek which they were approaching, known as Roy's creek. Suddenly they (the oxen) took the matter of location into their own hands, and turned north, left the trail, and ran away, making for water. Jim ran beside the frenzied animals, whipping them over the head, but to no avail. After he had become winded, he jumped back into the wagon, and shortly after, the oxen plunged over a high bank into Roy's Creek, the water of which came into the wagon box.

"Rufina carried the children to the north side of the creek, climbed the steep bank, and said smilingly as she stood wringing the water from her skirts, "Now, Jim, that's a pretty mess," at which he smiled grimly. After she had the children as dry as possible, and he had led the oxen (now quite tame) out and tied them to a tree, they realized that all their earthly possessions were soaking in creek water. So, with no great amount of clothing, they proceeded to carry their goods and trappings out and spread them on the bank to dry.
"While Jim was occupied with the oxen, hauling the wagon out a piece at a time, Rufina took the babies and walked west, perhaps a hundred yards. She noticed water seeping out of a bank, and, with the aid of a stick, she soon had a nice little spring running and had it dug out enough so that one could dip water from it with a cup. Very enthusiastically, she ran to where Jim was and told him she had found water - a good place to camp. They later moved their belongings to the spring and camped.

"There was an abundance of grass near the creek, and on a flat west of the spring, the grass was higher than the oxen's backs. They decided that since nobody seemed to be near to have a claim, this was the very spot upon which to build their home. So they cut logs and dragged them across the creek and built a house near the spring. They laid claim to the creek bottom, staked out their claim, cleared the brush from a bend in the creek and plowed it, ready to plant a crop in the following spring.

"Spring came at last and Jim planted every kind of seed which he had brought from their home in Missouri: including corn, potatoes, squash, pumpkins, turnips, beans, etc. The year proved to be a very favorable one. Although they had more corn than they needed and all the hay they could cut with a scythe, and an abundance of everything, they could not sell a wagon load of their produce for 50 cents, because the only people near them were Indians who were always hungry, but never had any money to buy with.

"Rufina and Jim could not turn the Indians away, as they were in reality trespassers on Indian lands, and so they had to endure a great deal. While they had plenty to eat, they had no neighbors, no money, and could not sell anything they had. Consequently, they made trips to Missouri to work to get provisions and clothing. Later, they purchased a flock of sheep, and Rufina helped shear them. She then scoured, carded, spul and wove the wool into cloth from which she made the clothing for the family.

"In later years when the country was open to settlement and surveyed, the Warhurst place proved to be mostly rolling plains instead of bottom land as they had hoped. Their house was only 50 yards from the Brown county line. Shortly after their land was surveyed, their house burned and they built another higher up on the hill. They had lived on this place for over 35 years when Rufina died at the age of 50 years. Jim, broken hearted, sold the place and went to Oklahoma where he spent the rest of his life with his devoted daughter, Bell. Both Rufina and Jim were buried one-half mile from the place where their first house stood."

Grave site of James and Rufina Warhurst
Pleasant Hill Cemetery, near Hiawatha, Kansas - Find A Grave

Historic Map Works link (county map). See township link embedded in story.

View Howard in a larger map
Iowa Point is to the east along the Missouri River.