Monday, June 26, 2017

Who was Thomas Hilliary Smith?

Thomas H Smith was a....

Cheating, lying, horny toaded goat, mean, old man who ran off and left his first wife, Agnes Arnold Smith, with a bunch of kids to support by herself.  He supposedly married a younger woman, but proof of the marriage has never been found.  Oh, and he was my second Great Grandpa from my Mother's side.

Thomas and Agnes came from Missouri into Arkansas. They had ten children together.
1) Christoper Columbus Smith (1842-1898) married 1) Martha Nix, 2) Martha Harger, and 3rd) Rachel McGraw. 16 children altogether.
2) Mary C Smith (1844-?) married James Marsh
3) Malinda Frances Smith (1845-?) married Abraham Eukley
4) Della Agnes Smith (1847-?)
5) Martha Jane Smith (1849-1921) married Zedoc Stutchman, 8 children.
6) Larkin Robert Smith (1851-1913) married 1) Margaret Ross, 2) Mary Chastian. 10 children altogether.
7) Charles B Smith (1852-?) married Sarah Fletcher
8) John Thomas Smith (1853-?) married Elizabeth Hobbs
9) Prudence Agnes Smith(1857-?)
10) David Elijah Smith (1859-1933) married 1) CJ Long, 2) Margaret McGill. 7 children with Margaret.

Larkin and John both were born in Missouri in 1852 and 1853 according to the 1860 census.  Charles B was born in 1855 in Arkansas according to the Census record.  I am not really sure which year is correct for Larkin, John and Charles (Charles was also called Black), but apparently, the family lived for three to four years in Missouri before moving to Arkansas.

David Elijah Smith who shows up as number ten on the list was my Great Grandfather and Margaret (Tenny) McGill was my Great Grandmother.  David and CJ Long did not have any children.

On the 1870 census, Agnes is listed as head of household. On the 1880 census, Agnes' marital status is listed as widowed.

On the records for Thomas, people had listed his death date as 1860 and his death place as Arkansas.  I guess it was because he was last listed in the census records in 1860 in Arkansas.  In more recent years, his descendants have looked for his grave but, of course they never found one since the information they had to go on was false.

There have been some rumors about what may have happened to Thomas but, we didn't know if any of it was true or not.  One of the rumors was that a couple of Agnes' brothers hunted him down and killed him for leaving Agnes and fooling around on her.  Another rumor was that either a couple of her brothers or a couple of their sons hunted him down and found him living with an Indian woman.  They tried to get him to come home and he refused.

In any case, it sounds like the family new that 'ole Thomas wasn't dead but waited for twenty years after he left before listing Agnes as a widow on the census records.

All of this time though, his descendants didn't know what had happened to him, until....

I matched up with a fourth cousin through my DNA on ancestry dot com.  This fourth cousin claimed that her second Great Grandpa was Thomas Hilliary Smith but, this Thomas had a different wife.  His wife's name was
Minerva Catherine Buck Smith. 

Apparently, Minerva was a widow who lived either in the same county as Thomas and Agnes or the county next to them.  She had a couple of children from her previous marriage.

Here is a photo of Thomas H Smith with his second wife and several of their children.  One thing we do know for sure about Thomas is that he was very prolific!  He and Minerva had another nine kids.

Not only did my new fourth Smith cousin match my DNA but, she also matches with several other Smith cousins from Thomas H Smith's first Smith family.  Oh Yes!  We always need more Smiths don't we....Lol.  Thomas sure did his part in supplying the world with Smiths.  One thing we know is that DNA Does Not lie even though 'ole Thomas did.

Thomas told Agnes that he was born in 1820 and told Minerva that he was born in 1812.  We know he died in 1897 in Cooke County, Texas and we know about where he is buried.  I am tempted to dig him up and do some DNA testing on him but, I guess I will just have to be satisfied with DNA test results from his descendants.

I have heard stories from his second family of descendants that tell how mean he was, how he took what he wanted, but he could also be quite charming.  Thomas was a Hell Raiser for sure!

If the research done by others is true, he came from a well to do, well respected military family that emigrated from England to Virginia in the 1600s.

One thing I can say about my Smiths is that they were a lively bunch!  More to come on Thomas and other Smiths later.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Gateway to Oklahoma History

What you can Find


The gateway is a wonderful resource for those of you that have a strong family history in Oklahoma.

You can find genealogy data such as information on the land lotteries and who the participants and winners were. The site has Marriage, Divorce, Prison, and Death Information; Census, Directories, and Incorporation Records; Biographies, Family History, and Lineage Groups; Military Resources, and much more.

I have found many articles and announcements about my ancestors in the historicals newspapers listed on the gateway.

I have also found information regarding the 1901 El Reno land lottery and where my 2nd Great Grandfather, Josiah Johnson was listed as having received land.

El Reno Homesteader Filings

Number   Name                City      State

1951         Josiah Johnson    Norman O.T.


In the photo above, the buses and bus barns are shown waiting for those who came to the August 6, 1901 land lottery to be transported.  This is how Josiah Johnson was taken to the lottery.  This photo was on the Gateway.

There is so much more information on The Gateway To Oklahoma History that I don't have the space to cover it all here.  Please don't pass up this valuable resource, and have fun exploring!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Cora Lee Meek & Lawrence Earl Johnson

Cora & Larry-Hell Raisers For Sure


Cora and Larry were my Grandparents and my Father's parents.  

They started off their lives together raising hell.  When they got married (for the first time), on June 29, 1925, they lied.  They lied about their ages.  Grandma Cora said she was 19, but she was really only 15.  Grandpa Larry said he was 22, but he was really only 19.  

They were married by the Justice of the Peace in Altus, Jackson County, Oklahoma.

Grandpa stated his occupation as being a Farmer.  Grandma stated her occupation as being a Farmer's daughter.  I guess after she was married, her occupation became a Farmer's wife.  It turns out that Grandma had many occupations after she got married.  Farmer's wife, baby maker, guard of the still where they made their white lighting/moonshine, etc.

The husband's parents were named as V. E. Johnson (Virgil Eagleton Johnson) who lived in Eakly, OK.  The wife's parents were named as Mrs. Martha Miller who lived in Binger, OK.

Please see their marriage record below where they told their tale....

Grandma and Grandpa had six children together.  Their first child died shortly after she was born.  Their second child was Jasper Edgar born 1927, Virgil James was born in 1929.  

Below is a photo of Grandma Cora with either Jasper or Virgil.
Cora Lee Meek

Grandma and Grandpa separated after Virgil was born.  I am not sure if they got divorced and remarried or not.  In any event, they were still seeing one another.  They got back together again when they discovered that Charles Paul was on the way.  Charles was born in 1931.  Ellen Jane was born in 1933, Lawrence Gerald was born in 1935.

Back row, Cora, Virgil, Front row, left to right, Lawrence, aka little Larry, aka John, Ellen, Charles
In the photo above, Jasper is missing.  He may been away somewhere.  My Dad, John has his hands all balled up like he was going to fight.  Being the youngest, he had to fight his brothers, and the Johnson boys were raised to be tough.  My Dad's hands are already almost as big as Charlie's hands.  I think this photo was taken after they came to California from Oklahoma.  Hell Raisers for sure in this photo.  I'm not too sure if any of them had any Holy Roller in them; maybe a tad toward the end of their lives.

Lawrence Earl Johnson is on the right and his brother, Harve Orville Johnson is on the left

I don't have very many photos of my Grandpa Johnson.  The photo above is one of the few that I have.  Again, a couple of Hell Raisers and then some! Not a drop of Holy Roller in these two!

My grandparents eventually divorced.  Cora went on to get married again to Don Sinclair.  Larry never remarried. 

I have many stories about the Johnson family.  Some of them went on great adventure.  Some of their adventures weren't so great.  I am debating whether to tell you about some of their adventures.  Lots of juicy stories, that's for sure!