October Ancestry Challenge – John Francis Burke

oct ancestry challenge-001The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 23 posts – 23 days – 23 ancestors.

Ancestor #16 – John Francis Burke, my 2nd great grandfather from Dublin, Ireland.

Family stories say he stowed away alone on an America-bound ship when he was 15 years old. The captain found him en route and told him he could not be taken back. He told the captain, “If I wanted to go back, I wouldn’t have stowed away.” So, they dropped him off in Miami in 1862, in the beginning of the Civil War.

There are a few John Burkes in Confederate military records and census records from 1862 to 1870, but I don’t know which one, if any, is him. There is one in particular in the 1870 census listed as a farmhand in Alabama that I am leaning toward, but I’m not sure.

The next record of him was his marriage in 1879 to Nancy Didama Spencer of Mississippi, daughter of my Ancestor #5 George Washington Spencer. He is shown living with her family in the 1880 census and is listed as a “ditcher.” The record said he was 30 years old, making his birth about 1850, making him only 12 years old when he ran away from home. I wish I could figure out the truth, which may require a trip to Dublin.

burke JP Burke Sr headstoneHe and “Grandma Damie” had six children between 1880 to 1894. There are no other records of him. Strangely, Damie is listed as a widow in the 1900 census, though John Francis did not die until 1909. Family members tell me Damie did not believe in divorce, and Damie and John spent the last ten years of their marriage under the same roof, but not speaking. When Damie spoke to the census-taker, she said she was a widow. I don’t know what he did to make her so angry, but it must have been a doozey. This explains why they are not buried next to each other at the cemetery. I always wondered why they are in different rows.

On a side note: One of their children was John Patrick Burke who married Mary Elizabeth Howington. I think Mary Elizabeth Howington’s mother was a Choctaw Indian, but I’m still trying to prove that fact. Anyway, John Patrick Burke’s mother, Grandma Damie, was a doctor and rode around the community side-saddle taking care of the sick. My mother told me a story about a grandmother who was a “medicine woman” who knew every plant and tree and how it could be used to heal people. She told me it was my other grandmother who was a Choctaw Indian, but I believe she got the women confused, and she was speaking of Grandma Damie as the doctor, but the other grandma was the Indian.

Family members told me John Francis left home because he was angry with his father. I don’t know who his parents were, but if I ever venture into Dublin, Ireland records, I should be able to find him because his children were named after his siblings. His children were John Patrick “Pat”, Robert Emmett “Bob”, George Washington (Probably won’t find a sibling with that name. That was his father-in-law’s name), Nina Virginia, Kathlene L, and David Edmund.

I don’t know what kind of childhood his son (my great grandpa), John Patrick “Pat” Burke, had as he died four years before I was born, but I do know he played fiddle every Saturday night at the community barn dances. A cousin has his fiddle and the family pump organ stored away. Being a professional musician, I would give anything to get my hands on those. I wonder where my great grandfather learned to play fiddle. It’s such an Irish thing to do, don’t you think? Perhaps his father taught him. Hmmm.

tattooI’m not sure I will ever find my Irish ancestors, and I feel sorry for John Francis’s mother, never knowing what happened to her rebellious fifteen-year-old son. John Burke could have pulled that name out of the sky or it could have been Bourke or O’Byrne or something. Either way, here’s a toast to my grandfather, John Francis Burke. For without his braveness at the tender age of fifteen, I would not be here.

October Ancestry Challenge – Ina Inez Burke Culpepper

oct ancestry challenge-001The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 is 23 posts in 23 days (Monday through Friday) about 23 ancestors.

We’re in week two!

Ancestor #7 – Ina Inez Burke Culpepper

My maternal grandmother Ina Inez Burke Culpepper.

 

 

burke ina and gdaughter loriI called her Mamaw. That’s her holding me in 1966.

She was born Feb 8, 1915 to John Patrick “Pat” Burke and Mary Elizabeth Howington and was the eldest of seven children. The family always thought there were six children total until last year when I visited the family cemetery and found a headstone for Rudolph Owen Burke 1916-1917. I researched all her dad’s brothers and her brothers, but none of their ages fit to have a child born in 1916 except her parents. Also, the middle names of all her brothers were Otho, Otis, and Olen, so Owen seems to fit in there nicely.

culpepper earl and ina in front of carMamaw married Earl Wilmar Culpepper on August 1, 1936 at the age of 21. They live a quiet life in and around Meridian, Mississippi and had two daughters, one being my mother. She worked as a seamstress and could sew anything by looking at it in the store for a few minutes. I’m positive she made the dress she’s wearing. If she were young today, I’d make her go on “Project Runway.”

Burke, ina inez obitShe died following open heart surgery in 1975 at the age of 60. She came out of the surgery just fine, but no one told her to NOT take aspirin once she got home. I guess in those days, when you were in pain, you popped aspirin. She awoke unable to breathe and my grandfather said her neck was swollen and black and blue. She died of “complications of aortic valve replacement/respiratory arrest/laryngeal hemorrhage and edema/anticoagulation.”

 

 

 

 

 

burke Ina Inez Burke headstoneShe is buried with her husband, parents, and paternal grandparents at a little cemetery in the middle of nowhere in Newton County, Mississippi – Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery.

 

 

 

 

The best part of the story:

culpepper annie blanks culpepper obitI couldn’t trace her mother’s family, the Howingtons. Her mother (my great grandmother) Mary Howington Burke was a brick wall for a long time. One day, I saw an obituary for her husband Earl’s mother (yes, my other great grandmother Annie Culpepper – Ancestor #1 blog). It said Annie was survived by a daughter named Mae Howington. I knew my grandfather’s little sister was Zeffie Mae, but who was this Howington she was married to?

Turns out, it was the man I always knew as Uncle Sug (as in Sugar). Melton “Sug” Howington was Mary Howington’s little brother. Mamaw’s uncle.  Since he was married to Earl’s little sister, that also made him my mother’s uncle. Long story short, I traced Melton and found the whole Howington clan! Yay!

So, in closing, I just want to tell you that what they say about the south is true, and it is possible I’m my own cousin!

If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough

My great great grandfather, John Francis Burke. Born 27 Feb 1847 in Dublin, Ireland.

tumblr_m10cm7o9fx1rpv9aho1_400

Family stories say he stowed away alone on an America-bound ship when he was 15 years old. The captain found him en route and told him he could not be taken back. He told the captain, “If I wanted to go back, I wouldn’t have stowed away.” So, they dropped him off in Miami in 1862, in the middle of the Civil War.

There are a few John Burkes in Confederate military records and census records from 1862 to 1870, but I don’t know which one, if any, is him. There is one in particular in the 1870 census listed as a farmhand in Alabama that I am leaning toward, but I’m not sure.

The next record of him was his marriage in 1879 to Nancy Didama Spencer of Mississippi. He is shown living with her family in the 1880 census and is listed as a “ditcher.”

He and “Grandma Damie” had six children between 1880 to 1894. There are no other records of him. Strangely, Damie is listed as a widow in the 1900 census, though John Francis did not die until 1909. Family members tell me Damie did not believe in divorce, and Damie and John spent the last ten years of their marriage under the same roof, but not speaking. When Damie spoke to the census-taker, she said she was a widow. I don’t know what he did to make her so angry, but it must have been a doozey. This explains why they are not buried next to each other at the cemetery. I always wondered why they are in different rows.

burke JP Burke Sr headstone 2

On a side note: Grandma Damie was a doctor and rode around the community side-saddle taking care of the sick. My mother told me a story about a grandmother who was a “medicine woman” who knew every plant and tree and how it could be used to heal people. She told me it was my other grandmother who was a Choctaw Indian, but I believe she got the women confused, and she was speaking of Grandma Damie.

Family members told me John Francis left home because he was angry with his father. I don’t know who his parents were, but if I ever venture into Dublin, Ireland records, I should be able to find him because his children were named after his siblings. His children were John Patrick “Pat”, Robert Emmett “Bob”, George Washington (probably won’t find a sibling with that name, that was his father-in-law’s name), Nina Virginia, Kathlene L, and David Edmund.

I don’t know what kind of childhood my great grandfather, John Patrick “Pat” Burke, had as he died four years before I was born, but I do know he played fiddle every Saturday night at the community barn dances. A cousin has his fiddle and the family pump organ stored away. Being a professional musician, I would give anything to get my hands on those. I wonder where my great grandfather learned to play fiddle. It’s such an Irish thing to do, don’t you think? Perhaps his father taught him. Perhaps his father learned from his grandfather. Hmmm.

I’m not sure I will ever find my Irish ancestors, and I feel sorry for his mother, never knowing what happened to her rebellious fifteen-year-old son. John Francis Burke could have pulled that name out of the sky or it could have been Bourke or O’Byrne or something. Either way, here’s a toast to my grandfather, John Francis Burke. For without his braveness at the tender age of fifteen, I would not be here.

shamrocksHere’s to the land of the shamrock so green,

Here’s to each lad and his darling colleen,

Here’s to the ones we love dearest and most.

May God bless old Ireland, that’s this Irishman’s toast!

Coincidental Dates (cue Twilight Zone music)

For you genealogy buffs: Do you see the same dates over and over when you work on your family tree?? I always see the same four dates – the birthdays of my kids, my birthday, and my wedding anniversary. Note: I NEVER see hubby’s birthday, my mother’s birthday, or any other family date. Only Feb 5, Oct 12 and 31, and Nov 19.

Strange? Yes.

I figured since I have absolutely nothing to do (sarcasm) I will compile all the strange dates.

February 5

My son’s birthday

My aunt’s birthday, Bobbie Jean Culpepper McQueen

My cousin’s birthday, Judy McQueen

My cousin’s birthday, Carolyn Burke Goss

My mother’s wedding anniversary, Linda Faye Culpepper

October 12

My daughter’s birthday

My great great uncle’s death date, James Rodgers

My great great great grandfather’s birthday, William Henry Blanks II

My third cousin’s birthday & death date, Claude Wesley Gardiner

My great great uncle’s birthday, Thomas Culpepper

October 31

My anniversary

My grandfather’s death date, Benjamin Berry Pickett

My father’s death date, Andrew Frank “Andy” Crane Jr.

My great great grandparent’s anniversary, Martha Lettie Carpenter and William Henry Blanks III

November 19

My birthday

My great great grandmother’s birthday, Sarah Elizabeth “Betty” Brown Keene

My great uncles birthday, Howard Pickett

I’ve heard stories of people re-incarnating in groups and around dates. I find the concept curious, but I have no convictions about it either way. I do, however, find it interesting that my dad’s Grandma Pickett has all of the Oct 31 and Nov 19 dates in her family. The people listed are her mother, husband, son, grandson, and great granddaughter (me).

That’s weird that my birthday and anniversary all coincide with dates on my dad’s side of the family.

I also find it oddly curious that my mother has my kid’s (Feb 5 and Oct 12) birthdays repeated over and over in her family. Those listed are her sister, two cousins, niece, two great uncles, great great grandfather, grandson, and granddaughter.

That’s really, really weird that my kid’s dates are all on my mom’s side.

What’s even more strange is that I would think of this today – the anniversary of my grandma’s death. RIP Mamaw.

burke Ina Inez Burke headstone

Tracing Your Roots: Using the Back Door

Sometimes you search for information about an ancestor and find oodles of information; sometimes you search for information and find…NOTHING?

How is that possible? Was she in the Witness Protection Program? If the person didn’t die young, there has to be SOMETHING. Census, will, land record, cemetery record, obituary, marriage record, ship log, family bible, something, anything.

I got stuck a while back researching my maternal great grandmother. I knew her name was Mary Howington. I knew she married John Patrick Burke. I knew she had 3 girls (one being my grandmother Ina Inez Burke), and 3 boys, and when I traveled to the cemetery, I found the headstone of a fourth boy who died as an infant.

I knew her in-laws, her children, when she was born, where she lived, when she married, when she died and where she is buried.  Why could I not find her parents? Her siblings? Her past? Her entire past could not simply vanish into thin air.

Her daughter (my grandmother), Ina Inez Burke, married Earl Culpepper. I was working on the Culpepper line when I read Earl’s mother’s obituary for the hundredth time (my other maternal great grandmother).

culpepper annie blanks culpepper obit

“November 16, 1961

Mrs. Annie Culpepper

Funeral arrangements were being completed today for Mrs. Annie Blanks Culpepper, 84 of Mobile, a former resident of the Martin community who died yesterday at Mobile.

Mrs. Culpepper was a member of the Duffee Baptist church and had been active in its various organizations until she suffered a broken hip three years ago.

Her two daughters are Mrs. Mae Howington of Meridian and Mrs. Aaron Spears of Enterprise. She is also survived by five sons…”

WOAH! Wait! Did that say Mae Howington? The only Mae I know is my grandpa’s little sister Zeffie Mae. Was Aunt Zeffie married into the same Howington family? How many Howington lines could there possibly be in the same town?

When I researched Aunt Zeffie, I found she was married to Milton Howington, who I remember as “Uncle Sug.” And when I researched Milton, I found his parents and siblings. His eldest sister was named Mary Howington and had the same birth and death date as MY Mary Howington. And then I found most of the siblings are buried in the same cemetery. I have photos of all of those headstone, but I didn’t know who they were. And then I found when Mary married John Patrick Burke, her sister married David Edmund Burke. Two Howington sisters married two Burke brothers.

After a year of searching, the mystery blew up full-force in less than five minutes. My “Uncle Sug” was my great grandma’s little brother. I didn’t know that. Now I have the male Howingtons traced back to 1750 in North Carolina, and the female line of the Howingtons traced back to 1550 in Wales. BAM!

I knew in the back of my mind that you can find leads if you trace siblings, but it was never cemented until that moment.  Since then, I have used that technique many times, and it ALWAYS works. If you get stuck, look at the siblings. It may take you back farther than you can imagine.

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.

Ancestry – or – Why I’m So Jacked Up – part IIa (mom’s side)

The Great Grandparents.

My mother was a Culpepper.

Her dad’s parents were William Samuel Culpepper and Annie Josephine Blanks.

Her mom’s parents were John Patrick Burke and Mary E Howington.

They appear on this page in that order.

My great grandfather William Samuel Culpepper

Sam was born in Alabama in 1874 and moved to Mississippi in his late adolescence. In early 1899, he was living at Tucker Springs.

At age 23, on May 14, 1899, he married Annie Josephine Blanks (1877-1961) of Lauderdale Co, MS and had 9 children.

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

Annie says, “Sam was really a handsome man with rosy cheeks, dark curly hair, and teeth as white as pearls.”

Jewel Culpepper Lowrey says, ” Yes, I remember good times at uncle Sam’s. I remember once when we were visiting and uncle Sam and Papa (Floyd) robbed a big bee tree. They brought a huge pan of honey back to the house.”  Charles Culpepper says, “Yes, I remember that pan of honey. I ate my fill and I don’t think I have ever been sicker.”

Sam was a sawyer and followed the sawmill business, sometimes being gone for weeks at a time. The family lived on a farm and the children were taught how to run it. He was said to be a strict but loving father. He enjoyed making music and he had a harmonica and a pump organ.  In his old age, the grandchildren would work the pedals for him while he played the organ.

Sam died in 1939 at the age of 65. His death certificate states he died of cerebral hemorrhage caused by hypertension.

Below: Sam and Annie

Note the webbed feet: Sam and Annie’s son Earl Culpepper married Ina Burke (my grandparents). Ina’s mother was Mary Howington, married to JP Burke. I didn’t know a lot about the brothers and sisters of my grandparents when I first started on this journey, so imagine my confusion when I found in Annie’s obituary that her daughter Zeffie Culpepper (my grandfather’s little sister) was listed as Zeffie Howington.  Whoa! Wait! What? Howington?? Grandpa and Grandma just collided.

Let’s go back for one second and make a flow-chart. Sister’s Mary and Julia Howington married brothers JP and David Edmund Burke. Mary and JP had a daughter, Ina (my grandma), who married Earl Culpepper (my grandpa). Earl’s little sister, Zeffie, married Mary and Julia’s little brother, Melton. Imagine me trying to explain to my aunt that her Uncle Melton was also her momma’s Uncle Melton.  Scoring update: Burke 2. Culpepper 1. Howington 1. However, Julia and David Edmund had two daughters who married two Scarbrough brothers, so the scoring update should read: Burke 2. Scarbrough 2. Tied.

(There is also a story that the Scarbrough brothers spent time in jail for stealing fur coats for their girlfriends. That makes me giggle.)

Ok, nevermind…back to the Culpepper/Blanks side…

My great grandmother Annie Josephine Blanks

Grandma Annie was born in 1877 in Louisiana.  She appeared at the age of 3 in the U.S. Census in Lauderdale Co, MS and lived there until her husband died in 1939. At some point following his death, she moved to Mobile, Alabama with her son Freddie Lee and his wife Katie. She died in Alabama in 1961 and is buried in Lauderdale Co, MS. That was about a year before I was born, so I never knew her. 😦

Below: 3 of her 9 children (l to r) Frank, Clinton and Fred

(There is also a story of Clinton, the man in the middle in the above photo. In 1922, he married a woman named Eloise and had 2 daughters. Eloise was diagnosed with breast cancer, and Clinton thought he could not live without her, so he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Amazingly, he survived the gun shot wound and his wife survived the cancer, but the marriage didn’t survive the stress, and about 10 years later he re-married. He married a woman named Thelma, who was later also diagnosed with breast cancer. He again put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. He again survived the gunshot wound, but now had the mentality of a child. He could take care of himself and cook a little, but his speech was severely impaired. Thelma also beat her battle with cancer and took care of Clinton for the rest of her life. She died in 1984. He died shortly after in 1985.)

Annie was the daughter of William Henry Blanks III and Martha Lettie Carpenter. She was the third born of six girls.  In 1916, her little sister Ora gave birth to her 4th child, William Lenard Bates.

Below: Ora Alice Blanks

Below: Ora Blanks with her husband Shellie Houston Bates and her children, (l to r) Shellie Lamar, Roger Lee, Mary Louise and holding baby William Lenard.

Little William Lenard died shortly after this photo was taken, on 29 May 1917. The family moved to Alabama following his death, but Ora did not recover from the tragedy. She died on 2 Sep 1917 – just over 3 months later. The official cause of death on her death certificate was “Acute Melancholia”. There were also some medical records stating she was having convulsions. I’m not sure what medicine one would take in 1917 to feel better after the death of a child, but whatever it was, it may have killed her.

I had some thoughts that perhaps she overdosed or committed suicide. When I first heard the story, I was very angry for days over the whole situation. I especially felt bad for the small girl in the picture, Mary Louise, who was now 3 years old and without a mother.

As I searched for more answers, I came across a person who seemed to have a lot of information about the family. It turns out this person was Mary Louise’s granddaughter! Mary Louise stayed in Alabama and was raised by her father’s sister in a happy, stable home. She married and had children and live to be 78 years old.

Below: Mary Louise with her maternal grandmother (my great great grandmother), Martha Lettie Carpenter Blanks.

My great grandfather John Patrick “Pat” Burke

The family story was that Pat was a red-headed Irishman, but my Aunt swears she never saw him with anything but white hair. Pat was born in Mississippi in 1880 of an Irish immigrant, John Francis Burke, and Nancy Didama Spencer. (There is a question about Nancy’s middle name. All census records show Nancy D, and her grandmother’s middle name was Didama. There are also elderly family members who swear she was called Didama, Aunt Damie, and Grandma Damie, but her headstone reads Nancy Jamie.)

Pat married Mary Howington around 1914 and had 7 children. He lived in Newton Co, MS until his death in 1958. Their grandchildren in Mississippi still have his fiddle and her pump organ. He played the fiddle for square dances in the Lauderdale Co, MS area every Saturday night.

Note: Pat’s brother, David Edmund, married Mary’s sister, Julia. See above “webbed feet flow chart”.

Below: Pat and Mary Howington Burke

My great grandmother Mary Elizabeth Howington

The story I always heard from my mother was that Mary Howington was a Choctaw Indian. Choctaw’s were from that Alabama/Mississippi area. Howington sounds Indian, doesn’t it?? Mary was born in 1893 in Mississippi to John Thomas Howington and Florence J Smith. I read someone’s blog who was trying to tie her Howington ancestor to the Choctaw Indians also. The problem we are having is that after the signing of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830, the Indians either moved to Oklahoma or changed their names and assimilated into the white, European culture, making them the first non-European U.S. citizens. The blog ended with the writer stating that her cousin said their Indian heritage did not come from their Howington ancestor, but from his wife, who was a Smith.

LIGHTBULB!! Of course the Indians with names like Lou-a-chubbee, I-ath-le-fiah, and Anah-chi-hat-tah would take generic names like Smith to assimilate into the white culture. Duh! I’m such a dork for thinking Howington was the Indian. Anyway, I’m still struggling with proof of Choctaw heritage. Maybe someday I’ll get it figured out.

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Stay tuned for Why I’m So Jacked Up part IIb – the great grandparents on dad’s side…moonshine, murder, and more webbed feet.

Ancestry – or – Why I Am So Jacked Up – Parents and Grandparents

That title is a total fabrication. In reality, I come from strong, sturdy stock. My ancestors hail from England, Ireland, Scotland, and places of incredibly hardy men and women in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi. I’ve studied my ancestors for about 25 years and have built up quite a collection of information, pictures, certificates and documents. I need a place to put all this stuff. How about here?

Let’s start with mom and dad…

Father: Andrew Frank “Andy” Crane II 1940-1994. Andy was born in Mississippi and died of complication of a pituitary tumor removal in Tennessee at the age of 54. He married my mom in 1960 at age 19. They divorced when I was small, and he married another woman and had 2 sons. I have no full-blooded brothers or sisters, but I do have 2 half-brothers from his second marriage, along with 2 sister-in-laws, 3 nieces and 2 nephews.

Daddy

Mother: Linda Faye Culpepper 1944-2001. My mother was also born in Mississippi and was 15 when she and my dad were married. She gave birth to  me at age 18. After their divorce, she moved to Michigan with her second husband, dragging me to the snow and ice. She made her living as a nurse. She died in Michigan following a fall from her balcony at the age of 56.

Momma

Grandparents:

Andrew Frank “Frank” Crane I 1903-1979  and Margaret Azalea Pickett 1919-2006

Frank and Azalea were both born in Mississippi. He died in Mississippi at age 76, and she died at age 87 in Florida while living with her daughter. Grandpa Frank was the strong, silent type. He was quite a bit older than his wife, and as I remember, was already retired when I was small. “Miss Crane” (she would not allow us to call her “grandmother”) was a nurse. I don’t remember much of them due to my move to Michigan. I only saw them on summer vacations, but spent most of my time there with my cousins (who lived next door) and Miss Crane’s mother (who lived next door to my cousins).  Grandpa Frank was married previously and had two boys and two girls in the 1920s and 1930s. He and Miss Crane had one boy and one girl in the 1940s. The girl, my aunt, had three daughters (yes, the cousins who lived next door). Sometime in the early 2000s, my aunt and Miss Crane moved to Florida. Frank is buried in the family cemetery in Mississippi, and Miss Crane has a headstone there also; however, her ashes remain with her daughter in Florida.

Apparently, Ms Crane was not the most “domestic” woman in the world. I heard a story that my mother went to the house and found Ms Crane “mopping” the kitchen floor by using the hose from outside to “wash” it and mopping it out the back door.  😀

Grandpa and Miss Crane

Frank with brothers Horace T. and Thomas Jackson “Tommy”

Earl Wilmer Culpepper 1914-1994 and Ina Inez Burk 1915-1975

“Papaw” and “Mamaw” were both born and died in Mississippi. They married in 1937 and had 2 daughters who were 7 years apart in age. I seem to remember my mother saying there was either a boy stillborn between them or that she was the twin of a stillborn boy. I can’t find any documentation of this, and there is no one left to ask.

My aunt married and had three boys. While my aunt was delivering her third boy, my mother babysat the older two boys. They were 2 and 3 yrs at the time. After spending a week with two toddlers, my mother said, and I quote, “I will never, ever have children.” Nine months to the day after the third boy was born, I was born. Never say never.

Mamaw was a seamstress at the local shirt factory, and Papaw work in the shipping department. She was a fabulous cook, which is what killed her. She died of complications following open heart surgery at age 59. Papaw married a lady from the factory after Mamaw’s death, and we kind of lost track of him after that. He was pretty involved with his new family (the lady had 2 teenage daughters still at home).  He loved to fish and hunt and play his guitar and drink. He died following a stroke at age 80. Mamaw and Papaw are buried next to each other in Newton County, Mississippi.

Story: Not only did Papaw like to fish and hunt, there is also a story that he liked to walk down to the swamp in the dark and catch big frogs. I guess one day when he returned, Mamaw was not happy with him for some reason, perhaps just wondering where he had been. So, to show her what he had been doing, he dumped the bucket of live frogs on the kitchen floor. I can just imagine big frogs jumping around the kitchen.

Papaw and Mamaw

Me and my 3 boy cousins with Mamaw and Papaw

Coming Soon: Ancestry – or- Why I Am So Jacked Up – Great Grandparents

Featuring – The Great Grandparents!! Don’t miss the stories of  the Irishman, the Choctaw Indian, the moonshiner who went to prison for murder, a picture of baby grandpa, and the sad, sad story of the young woman who died three months after her 10 month old son died. Was it suicide, medical negligence, or as the death certificate says, acute melancholia?

Stay tuned…