Ancestry – or Why I’m So Jacked Up – Great Great Grandparents (mom’s side)

My Great Great Grandparents on my mother’s side were:

Joel Bluett Culpepper and Mary A “Mollie” McFarland

William Henry Blanks III and Martha Lettie “Mattie” Carpenter

John Francis Burke and Nancy Didama “Damie” Spencer

John Thomas Howington and Florence J Smith


Joel B Culpepper and Molly McFarland

Joel B was born in Clarke Co, MS in Jan of 1847.

At the age of 17, he was active in the Civil War and was a member of Company K, 63rd Alabama Infantry. He was captured by Federal Forces and held as a prisoner of war at Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island until the end of the war.

After his release, he returned to Choctaw County, Alabama and married Mollie in 1870 and had 6 children: Mary Eudora, William Samuel (my great grandfather), Joseph Floyd, Rev Andrew Bluitt, a son who left home early, and a daughter who died young. Some were born in Sumter County, Alabama and some in Alamoucha. (See photos below of Mary Eudora, Joseph Floyd and Andrew Bluitt. See partIIa for photos of William Samuel.)

From Culpepper Footprints on the Sands of Time by Jean Culpepper Smith:

When Miss Minnie Dorrough, a retired school teacher of Sumter County Public Schools, was asked if she remembered the Culpepper family, she replied: “Yes Maam, I remember Mr. Joel Culpepper, he lived about two miles up the road from us. He worked in the saw mill business with Mr. Bill Woodall. He left this community and moved out beyond Meridian to Collinsville. Also, I remember two of his sons, Sam and Floyd. Sam came back and visited one Christmas. He had quite a romance going with a girl in the community, Ella Yarbrough.”

After Mollie’s death in 1908, Joel B lived with his children until he entered Beauvoir (1910), where he lived until his death.

Joel B. Culpepper died at Beauvoir in Biloxi, MS. He is interred at Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Kemper County, MS. He entered Beauvoir Soldiers Home under his rights as a Confederate soldier on April 7, 1910 at the age of 65 and died there on November 11, 1911.

Picture below: Daughter Mary Eudora and her husband Will Saterfiel.  Front row l to r: Dewey Oliver Saterfiel, Will B Saterfiel, Mary Eudora Culpepper, baby Alma, Joel B Culpepper. Back row l to r: Evie Mae Saterfiel Hodges, Indeola “Necie” Saterfiel Byrd, Willie Carlos Saterfiel, Adie Joseph Saterfiel . Joel B, Will B and baby Alma are buried at Zion Cemetery, Kemper Co, MS. All others are buried at Pine Grove Cemetery in Lauderdale, MS.

Side note: I ordered my grandparent’s marriage license from Lauderdale County, MS, and the name of the witness was “D.O. Saterfiel!” Dewey Oliver Saterfiel was my grandfather’s cousin. I often forget that these people actually knew each other. 🙂

Family notes: Evie married George Hodges, son of John Wesley Hodges and 1st wife Mary Etta Davis. Adie, married Mary E Hodges, daughter of John Wesley Hodges and 2nd wife Hulda Ethridge. Willie, married Carrie Hodges, daughter of John Wesley Hodges and 3rd wife Mary Ann Moore. Lots of Hodges/Saterfiels in that family. Baby Alma only lived to be 4 years old: Jun 1907-Feb 1912. Father Joel B entered Beauvoir shortly after this photo. After Will Saterfiel’s death in 1925, Mary Eudora married George Watson in 1929.

Joseph Floyd: Joseph Floyd married Ora Wedgeworth and had 8 children.

2 of Joseph Floyd and Ora’s children: Ruth Jewel and Charles Emmet

Ora’s parents: Howell “Hobby” Wedgeworth and Martha Morrow (Martha’s brother, David Morrow, married Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Rodgers. She was one of the 5 orphans of James Rodgers who died of typhoid in 1862. She was niece of Mary Ann Rodgers.)

Rev Andrew Bluitt and wife Ollie Kitrell. They had two children, both boys.

Andrew Bluitt’s sons, Louis Curtis and William Obie.


William Henry Blanks III and Martha Lettie “Mattie” Carpenter

William was the son of William Henry Blanks II and Nancy Narcissus Young. He was the last born of seven children.  He was born in Georgia in 1846 and shows up in the Lauderdale Co, MS census in 1850 at the age of four. He married Martha Lettie “Mattie” Carpenter on 1 Nov 1867 in Lauderdale Co at the age of 21. They had 6 girls, including my great grandmother, Annie Josephine Blanks Culpepper (see part IIa for pictures and stories).

Martha Lettie “Mattie” was the daughter of Mary Ann Rodgers and Rice Benjamin Carpenter. She was the first born and only daughter of 5 children. At the age of 14, her father was killed in the Civil War at the Battle of Murfreesboro in Tennessee on 31 Dec 1862.

Her father’s sister was Harriet Carpenter. Harriet married William Eades Jolly and had 5 children. At the end of 1862 and beginning of 1863, Typhoid Fever ran through Lauderdale Co, MS and wiped out many of the residents. Harriet was one of the fatalities. (Mary Ann’s youngest son, Martha Lettie’s baby brother, was also a fatality.)

In 1864, Mary Ann Rodgers Carpenter and her brother-in-law, William Eades Jolly, married. They had 3 more children. Martha Lettie’s cousins were now her 1/2 siblings, and her uncle William was now her step-father.

Martha Lettie and William Henry are buried at Hickory Grove Cemetery in Laurel, Jones Co, MS. William died at age 74 in 1922 of senility and chronic bronchitis; Martha died at age 84 in 1933 of cerebral hemorrhage.


John Francis Burke and Nancy Didama “Damie” Spencer

John Francis Burke was born in 1847 in Ireland. He is seen in the 1880 MS census living with his wife, Nancy Spencer, and her parents and siblings. Family members say John was a red-headed Irish immigrant, and the 1880 census says he was born in Ireland. Through family stories, he is said to have stowed away on an American-bound ship at the age of 15. He was found by the Captain enroute and was told that he could not be taken back to Dublin. He said, “If I wanted to go back, I would not have stowed away.” He was let off the ship in Miami in 1862. I am still looking for records from 1862 to 1880.

Nancy Didama “Damie” Spencer was the daughter of George Washington Spencer and Nancy Virginia “Jennie” Holdcroft. There are no records of her middle name being Didama, but family members say she was called Damie, a few census read Nancy D, and her maternal grandmother was Martha Didama Gross. Her tombstone reads Nancy Jamie. She was a doctor and road around the countryside side-saddle taking care of her neighbors.

There was a story from my mother that her grandmother was a medicine woman. She said it was Mary Howington’s mother, but as it turns out, it was Mary Howington’s husband, John Patrick Burke’s mother.

John Francis and Nancy Damie married in 1880 and had 6 children, the oldest being my great grandfather, John Patrick (see part IIa for pictures and stories). The oldest, John Patrick, and the youngest, David Edmund, married sisters, Mary and Julia Howington, respectively. John Francis Burke and Nancy Didama Spencer Burke; children John Patrick Burke, George Washington Burke, Kathleen Burke McGee, David Edmund Burke, and daughter-in-laws Mary Howington and Julia Howington and their parents are all buried at Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery in Duffee, Newton Co, MS, along with various grandchildren and great grandchildren, and other Howingtons. Other children, Robert Emmett Burke and Nina Virginia Burke are buried elsewhere. I have not researched John Francis Burke in Dublin, Ireland as of yet, but through family, I was told that his siblings are named the same names as his children, so when I research him, I should be able to find something.


John Thomas Howington and Florence J Smith

John was born in MS in 1853 to James C Howington and Amelia Elizabeth Smith. He was the 6th born of 12 children. In 1892, at the age of 39, he married Florence J Smith. They had 10 children, my great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Howington, being the oldest (see part IIa for pictures and stories).  Mary and second born, Julia McKenly Howington, married the Burke brothers, as mentioned above.

Florence was born about 1876 in Newton Co, MS. I am having trouble finding much on her. I think she was a Choctaw Indian. In 1830, when the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was signed, the Indians either moved to Oklahoma or changed their names to assimilate into the white, European culture. I think her father changed their names to Smith. Therefore, there are no records of her or her family before her marriage on 1 Aug 1892. Her age is listed as 16.

John Thomas and his parents are buried at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery in Newton Co, MS. Florence is buried next to him in an unmarked grave.

Stay tuned for Part IIIb(dad’s side) and Part IV showing how almost an entire generation was wiped out by war and disease.

7 responses to “Ancestry – or Why I’m So Jacked Up – Great Great Grandparents (mom’s side)

  1. Pingback: A to Z Challenge – U is for U.S. Military | a day in the life of patootie

  2. Lori: I am researching my significant other’s line. It appears his line is right there with yours. His 3rd GGF and GGM are Willilam Henry Blanks, II, Nancy Narcissus Young; Mary Ann Rodgers and Rice B. Carpenter. His 4th GGF is Benjamin J. Carpenter (see below) I would love to be able to add info from your postings into Gary Henry’s tree. Would that be okay with you as long as I give credit to your “A day in the life of Patootie?”

    I stumbled onto your post by accident and am absolutely hooked. Am definitely going to have to order your books. I realized then too that the burial information I have on them were all created by you. I got him to submit to a DNA test to Ancestry and have been contacted by a couple of people who are kin and are trying to verify and add to the Rodgers line.

    Thanks for any assistance you can give.
    Bobbye Schillereff 228-990-5376, Gautier, MS

    Benjamin J Carpenter (1790 – 1865)is your 4th great grandfather
    Rice Benjamin* Carpenter (1828 – 1862) son of Benjamin J Carpenter
    Mattie Lettie* Carpenter (1848 – 1933) daughter of Rice Benjamin* Carpenter
    Ada Martha Blanks* (1876 – 1933) daughter of Mattie Lettie* Carpenter
    Ada Mae Jones* (1910 – 1991) daughter of Ada Martha Blanks*
    Catherine Virginia** Daly* (1926 – 2001) daughter of Ada Mae Jones*
    Gary Willard Henry – son of Catherine Virginia Daly

    • Hi Bobbye! Thank you so much for contacting me. Ada Martha Blanks was sisters with Annie Josephine Blanks who married William Samuel Culpepper. Annie and Sam are my great grandparents. Their son was Wilmar Earl Culpepper, my grandfather, and his daughter was Linda Faye Culpepper, my mother. Our lines are really close. If you’re on Ancestry, search for Gail6000. Her tree is called “Ken-Gail Genealogy.” She’s a descendant of Ada and Annie’s sister, Ora Alice Blanks. Most of the Blanks photos I have came from her. Also, if you’re on Facebook, join our Facebook page “Descendants of Hays Rodgers Sr.” One of our Rodgers cousins, Nick Gombash, is on there with us and he is a professional genealogist, though he specialized in Hungarian ancestry, but you can be confident his sources are accurate. There are quite a few of us out here! Feel free to use whatever info you find here. I’m happy to share, and I’m glad to make you’re acquaintance. Feel free to email me at I work on a cruise ship for months at a time, so sometimes I’m slow in responding. Internet on the ocean is really expensive.:)

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