Saturday, May 31, 2014

52 Ancestors #22 - Edward Riggs: Early Massachusetts Puritans

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".

Edward Riggs is my paternal 9th great grandfather.

Edward, son of Richard and Elizabeth Chamberlyn Riggs, was baptized March 30, 1589 in Roydon, Essex, England. (A copy of his baptism record can be found near the bottom of the page here.) He married Elizabeth Holmes. Their children are Edward Jr. (I descended from him), Lydia, Elizabeth, John, and Mary. Their children were all born and baptized at the Nazeing Parish in England. The family left England in 1633 and settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Wikipeadia, Creative Commons license
Boston was located on an isthmus. Today it has been land-filled. Roxbury was at the bottom of Boston in what is known as Boston Neck (bottom of map).

It was originally called Rocksberry because the rocks in the area were a challenge to farmers.

Edward was admitted as a Freeman (free from bondage). Only "free" men were allowed to own land, vote, and hold public office.The family attended the First Church of Roxbury. The church also served as a meeting place for government.

The mortality rate was high. Edward and Elizabeth lost three of their children within thirty months of arrival.

Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988; (
                                                            Lydia 1622-1633    Elizabeth 1627-1634    John 1630-1634

                                      Death held a firm grip on the family. Edward's wife, Elizabeth, died in August 1635.

Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988; (

Edward lived to be eighty-three years old which was very rare for his lifetime. He made his Will on September 2, 1670. He died March 5, 1672 at Roxbury.

Beam me up Cathy - back to top

Thursday, May 22, 2014

52 Ancestors #20 and #21 - Albert and Pauline Hill Sowders: My Jailbird Parents

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".

I missed a week of posting. This week I'm bending the rule a little and posting two on one page. My Parents are Albert Herring Sowders and Pauline Hill (aka. Polly).

We were browsing through photos one day when I found a photo of Mama and Daddy in jail. Inquisitive me had to know the entire story from start to finish. (I knew the "who" but wanted to know - where, when, how, and why!)

 He said:

 I knew your mother most of my life. I actually "hung out" with her older sister first but we didn't "court". We were just friends and enjoyed "hanging out"  together. She married her "beau" while I was in the military.

 Your mother was very young when I enlisted in World War II. I enlisted in 1941 and was discharged in 1945. The closest the military could get me to home was Dallas,Texas. I contacted your mother's sister in Dallas and she agreed to pick me up at the Dallas bus station and take me home to Kosse,Texas.

 She said:

Your daddy was twenty-five when he went into the military. I was only fourteen and still in school. Men were the last thing on my mind at the time.

The day he contacted my sister to meet him at the bus station, my sister asked if I would like to go with her. I said "sure" as I had nothing else on my agenda for the day.

I had just turned eighteen and he was twenty-nine.

He said:

I was in for the "shock of my life" when they showed up at the bus station. "That little girl from down the street had grown into a very beautiful woman".

Her sister drove. I sat in the front seat. Your mother sat in the back. I kept turning around to look at her.

"I couldn't take my eyes off her."

      She said:

      "Your daddy was so handsome." Every time he turned around I would smile. I wondered why my      
       sister had not "snatched him up when she had the chance".

      We took him home but it was not long until he showed up on my doorstep.
      We saw each other daily.

      Our "whirl-wind romance that lasted a whole three weeks".


They said:

We married at the Groesbeck Courthouse in Limestone County, Texas on July 27,1945.

We spent the night at the Cynthia Ann Parker Motel which was located a few miles north of Mexia, Texas.

The next day we drove into Dallas and attended the State Fair. We rode rides, ate cotton candy, and watched the stock show.

We stopped by a photo booth and had our photo taken.

You could say we became officially "locked" into matrimony at the photo booth.

Albert Herring Sowders is the fifth child of Virgil Elmer and Martha Elizabeth Harper Johnston Sowders. He was born January 13, 1917 in Kosse, Limestone, Texas. He pursued many interests in life including farming, military, ordained minister, truck driver, carpenter, mechanic, and supervisor. He was a great husband and father who devoted his life to his family.

Pauline Hill is the daughter of Albert Josiah and Minnie Lee Williams. She was born May 16, 1927 in Rosebud, Falls, Texas. Her interests in life included playing the guitar and piano, church secretary, seamstress, waitress, and assembly work. She was a wonderful wife and mother. She always put us first in her life.

My parents were married thirty-two years.



Beam me up Cathy - back to top

Monday, May 19, 2014

52 Ancestors #19 - William J. Barefield: Unsolved Puzzles

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small".

I was unable to post last week so next week I will be posting two ancestors.

William J. Barefield is my maternal 2nd great grandfather.

William J. Barefield has been one my unsolved puzzles. There are only two records that I have been able to obtain for him - the 1840 and 1850 census. 

The 1840 census shows him living in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana with his first wife and son. He is listed as age 20-30. His wife is in the same age group and his son is under 5. The head of the household listed below him is J. H. Barefield. I have found no information or connections to this J. H. Barefield.

Source Citation: Year: 1840; Census Place:  , Claiborne, Louisiana; Roll: 127; Page: 97; Image: 201; Family History Library Film: 0009689.
His wife and son disappear sometime around 1842 and by 1843 he is married to my 2nd great grandmother Elizabeth Caroline Cargill. She used her middle name on records. William and Elizabeth had three known children: Hester, James, and Louisa (she is my ancestor). They are listed together on the 1850 census living in Western District, Bienville, Lousiana. The Leatherman children listed with them are Elizabeth's children by her first marriage. There are also two men living with them and a girl age fourteen (George Pierce (?), Vinson Gillet, and Hester A. Sanfrancisco (spelled as shown on the record).

Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place: Western District, Bienville, Louisiana; Roll: M432_230; Page: 278B; Image: 73.
This census shows his age as 30 but we know from the first census that he was 30 or older ten years earlier. The later census shows him to be eleven years older than his wife. I have estimated his birth as 1816 which would correspond with his first marriage and child.

William was a gunsmith. The value of his real estate property is listed as $1,000. It is the lowest valued property on the page. It shows that he was born in Arkansas.

Elizabeth, his second wife, is listed without William on the 1860 census in Milam County, Texas. The non-population schedule shows her farm valued at $500.

That's it folks! Those are the only records I have concerning William J. Barefield.

Did William die in Arkansas or Texas...or did they divorce?
Is the girl named Hester A. Sanfrancisco related? (William and Elizabeth named their first child Hester A.)
Who were his parents and siblings?
What happened to his first wife and son?

Beam me up Cathy - back to the top

Monday, May 5, 2014

52 Ancestors #18 - Virgil Clark Sowders - Story Telling Photo Collage

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Amy Crow has posted a challenge on her blog "No Story Too Small."

Virgil Clark Sowders is my paternal Uncle.

One of my favorite things to do is to create photos that I call Story Telling Photo Collages. I collage photos of a person from my family tree in a way that a story can be told when showing the collage. It's a great way for those viewing the collage to retain the memory of their ancestor; especially when they never knew that ancestor.

Virgil is the sixth child of seven born to Virgil Elmer and Martha Elizabeth Harper Johnston Sowders. He was born on
August 2, 1918 in Kosse, Limestone, Texas. Virgil always wanted to be a soldier. He greeted people with a salute instead of hand shake. He was four years old, saluting, in the center photo.

Virgil's wish came true on November 27, 1942 when he enlisted in the Army for World War II. The two photos (left and right) were taken in Italy. He enlisted for the duration of the war plus six months. He loved being in the military and expressed his desire to make a career of the military. His career was cut short. Virgil was shot and died on December 1, 1943 while in Italy. The tree in the background is a tree located in Eutaw Cemetery, Kosse, Texas where Virgil is buried. Virgil never married and had no known children.

Today I salute my Uncle Virgil and honor is given to him for the service he gave to protect our country as well as others. I never knew my uncle. My Dad spoke of him so often that I feel as if I did know him. 

Thank you Uncle Virgil. I wish I could have known you.

Beam me up Cathy - back to top.