52 Ancestors #32 – 32


This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small and this week’s theme is “32.”

For those of you don’t do genealogy, you have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 2nd great-grandparents, and 32 3rd great-grandparents. The family tree grows exponentially.

This generation of 32 people in my past have been on my mind a lot lately due to the feeding frenzy of liberals trying to erase the history of the Confederacy. Personally, I don’t have a problem with the Confederate flag, but I understand that hate groups have adopted it and it may no longer represent the South throughout the rest of the United States. Perhaps it is time for a discussion about where it should and should not be flown.

I do, however, have a problem with the hatred that these history-erasing people, including some of my very own friends, are spewing and the way vandals are destroying flags, graves, statues, and monuments. You’ll see why in a moment. I’ve decided to not write about only one of my 32 grandmas and grandpas, but all of them.

Jeremiah William Crane, born 1828 Alabama

Sarah Frances Grimes, born 1824 Alabama

Amos Windham Mercer, born 1799 South Carolina

Amanda Merron, born 1829 Florida

Archibald White, born 1808 North Carolina

Elizabeth B Farrish, born 1824 Alabama

Leonard H Morrow, born 1812 Tennessee

Silvia Truss, born 1814 North Carolina

Robert Theodore Pickett, born 1836 Mississippi

Lucy Ann Rackley, born 1834 Alabama

William Thomas Fisher, born 1819 Alabama*

Elizabeth Ann Butler, born 1834 North Carolina

Green Keene, born 1834 South Carolina

Sarah Tabitha unknown, born 1833 Alabama

William Lafayette Brown, born 1836 Mississippi*

Sarah Ann Elvira Dollar, born 1836 Alabama

Rev. Joseph M. Culpepper, born 1822 Georgia**

Nancy Yarbrough, born 1822 Georgia

William Henry Blanks II, born 1800 Georgia

Nancy Narcissus Young, born 1800 North Carolina

Rice Benjamin Carpenter, born 1828 Alabama**

Mary Ann Rodgers, born 1828 Mississippi

George Washington Spencer, born 1829 Alabama*

Nancy Virginia “Ginny” Holdcroft, born 1839 Mississippi

James C Howington, born 1823 North Carolina*

Amelia Ann Elizabeth Smith, born 1827 Alabama

Of the six missing names; two were in Dublin, Ireland, their son (my 2nd great) arrived on the shores of Florida in 1861; two were Choctaw Indians in the Choctaw Territory of Mississippi but I don’t know their names; and the final two are unaccounted for as I have not been able to trace them, but their daughter (my 2nd great), was born in Alabama in 1848, so they certainly lived in the South.

Notice anything?? Yes, 26 (28 if you count the Choctaws, 30 if you count the folks living in Alabama) of my 32 3rd great-grandparents were born in the Confederate States, and EVERY ONE of my 16 2nd greats lived there also. From the records I have: six of the men above fought with the Confederacy (noted by *) – two died in battle (noted by **). Three of my 2nd greats (sons of the above) fought with the Confederacy, not to mention the countless brothers and other sons who served and sometimes died. Mary Ann Rodgers named above lost three brothers, three brothers-in-law, and her husband.

Off the top of my head, eight to ten of these families were in America during the Revolution, fighting for freedom – the freedom to say and do as you please. You have the freedom to be “offended” by the Confederate flag. It was given to you by MY ancestors who have been struggling since the 1600s to build a great country, even before it was a country.

Here’s where I have a problem. You don’t have the freedom nor the “right” to desecrate Confederate graves, statues, monuments, Confederate cemeteries, or the flags within their boundaries, and you certainly don’t have the freedom to take away my heritage. You will never accomplish that. You will never change how I feel about the men who fought in the Confederate Army. They are AMERICAN soldiers. They will always have my deepest respect for being willing to die for what they believed in, whether you agree with their cause or not. My heritage will not be erased. It will not disappear. Do you want to know why? Because I will fight to keep it alive in my family, my community, my descendants, and my heart. I will fight with the same veracity shown by my grandparents when they fought for their freedom. After all, their blood runs in my veins, too.



Amazon Paperback Giveaways and Growing Twitter

Hi authors! I’m not dressing up this post with pictures and frills. This is business! If you’ve been trying to grow your Twitter following, this post is for you.

Amazon has a new program for authors of paperbacks. Scroll to the bottom of your Amazon paperback page, underneath your reviews. You’ll see “Set up an Amazon Giveaway.”

Here’s how it works:

You can offer as many books as you’d like, keeping in mind you have to pay retail price + shipping + applicable tax. You can set up the giveaway in two ways. 1) first come, first serve. Don’t pick that one. Or 2) offering your book to a lucky number (entrant). You can require your entrants follow you on Twitter. If you choose option 2, click “lucky number” and the button to connect to your Twitter account, select the winning entrant from 2-50,000, enter the number of books you’re giving away. The giveaway will run for one week. You cannot change the dates.

MATH: I know what you’re thinking – if I give away 5 books, 1 to every 20th entrant, I’ll get at least 100 new Twitter followers. No, no, no, think bigger. That’s what I did the first time and the 5 books were gone in less than a half hour. Yes, I got just shy of 200 Twitter followers, but the giveaway was over before I even told my Facebook people to enter. Set it up for a BIGGER number. If you give a book away to every 1000th follower, you would get 5000 Twitter followers! FIVE THOUSAND. It’s taken me two years to get to eight thousand. Maybe even go bigger if you’ve got the guts! You need to fill out three short blurbs, one to announce the giveaway, one for the people who didn’t win, and one to congratulate the winners. The contest is instantaneous. The entrant learns if they’ve won or not at that moment, so they’re not going to put off buying your book because they want to wait and see if they’ve won. I filled out the forms like so: Enter to win one of five paperbacks of XYZ. – Sorry, you didn’t win this time, but stay tuned for future giveaways. – Congratulations, you’re the winner! Enjoy XYZ and please check out all my books.

WORK: The cool thing is that Amazon does all the work. They contact the winners. They ship the books. You do nothing! It costs more than hosting a giveaway yourself, but when’s the last time you got 5000 Twitter followers from your giveaway?

MONEY: My paperback sells for $9.99, so my total cost for 5 books with shipping and my Tennessee tax was about $82. I got $13 back in royalties from CreateSpace AND I got credit for the sales in my Amazon rankings.

THE PIS DE RESISTANCE: If you don’t give away all your books in the allotted week, Amazon will return your unused money.

If you try it, let me know your outcome. We’re all in this together. 🙂



Lori Crane is a bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Her books have climbed to the Kindle Top 100 lists many times, including “Elly Hays” which debuted at #1 in Native American stories. She has also enjoyed a place among her peers in the Top 100 historical fiction authors on Amazon, climbing to #23. She resides in greater Nashville and is a professional musician by night – an indie author by day.

52 Ancestors #23 Florence J Smith Howington


This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small and this week’s theme is “Challenging.”

john thomas howington florence j smith marriage recordThe most challenging ancestor for me to trace is not only challenging and frustrating, but darned near impossible.

Florence J Smith Howington was my 2nd great-grandmother. The only thing I know for sure is she married John Thomas Howington in Newton County, Mississippi on 1 Aug 1892. The marriage record (photo, click to enlarge) says she was sixteen years old, making her birth around 1876, although the 1900 U.S. census says she’s white and 28. The 1910 census says she’s 36. Her husband was married previously in 1880 to Ellen Raynor who died in 1891. There is no record of any children. Once John and Florence married, they had eight children between 1893 and 1910, the eldest being my great grandmother Mary Elizabeth Howington.

howington, john thomasJohn Thomas Howington died in 1913 and Florence never remarried. She died at the age of 93 in 1969. There is a blank spot in the Pine Grove Cemetery in Collinsville, Mississippi next to John’s headstone (photo). If Florence is buried there, she has no marker.

The frustrating thing about tracing her is that I was always told I had a grandmother who was of Choctaw Indian descent, and if that’s true, she has to be the one. The Choctaw were run out of Mississippi at the signing of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in the 1830s. They migrated to Oklahoma. The ones who stayed changed their names to assimilate into the white European culture. Of course, there would be no prior record of them, and seeing as they probably couldn’t read or write English, there wouldn’t be a record of their name change.

There are a lot of Smiths listed in the Choctaw registries in Mississippi from 1847-1933, but I haven’t been able to trace Florence without knowing at least one of her parent’s names. There are also census records of Choctaw families residing east of the Mississippi River and in the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. One such record is a census called the “Cooper Roll,” made by Douglas H. Cooper, US Agent for Choctaws, in conformity with the order of  the Commissioner of Indian Affairs dated 23 May 1855.

The following is part of the Cooper Roll naming the Chunkee Clan (Chunky is the town in Newton County, Mississippi where Florence lived.) Obviously the names were spelled phonetically. I have no clue which one, if any, could be Florence’s family, but seeing that the list was made twenty years before her birth, I wonder if one of the names is her grandfather.

Alsh-fra-sa-hubbee (?)
Hit h-la-ho-ka
Tak-lam-bee (or Tok-lam-bee)
Anah-chi-hat-tah Co-chin-tubbee
Eah-hoka-tubbe e
Emah note:..and off hunting about 20 families; and about the same number living near Harrisons who refused to give their names.

52 Ancestors – #28 Elly Hays


This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small and this week’s theme is Road Trip.

Marriage document James Rodgers and Elizabeth Hays GreeneCoTN1790Elly Hays was sixteen when she married James Rodgers in Tennessee on 20 Dec 1790. The document to the left is their marriage license. She birthed twelve children.

In 1811, the family packed up and moved to the eastern Mississippi Territory – a place now called Alabama, which wouldn’t become a state until 1819.

You know how difficult it is going on a road trip with little kids in the car? Imagine being on a covered wagon for two months with a dozen of the little rug rats and not a McDonalds in sight.


This was a time in history when the U. S. was flexing its political muscle and tensions were escalating, leading up to the War of 1812. And little did the Rodgers family know, they were moving into Creek territory. Not only were the Creek Indians fighting the U.S. Government, they had also broken into two factions and were fighting among themselves in a civil war called the Red Stick War. The Rodgers family moved into the middle of a hornet’s nest. They were harassed for years by the marauding Indians, who taunted them and stole their livestock, and the final straw, burnt down their home.

Eventually, in 1818 the family took another long road trip and moved west to Lauderdale County, Mississippi, to the land of the friendly Choctaw Indians.

James died in Mississippi eight years later, and Elly moved back to Clarke County, Alabama and probably lived with her daughter. She died in the 1830s in her 60s in Grove Hill, Alabama. The exact date of her death is unknown. Her burial place is unknown.

Her story is told in detail in my book Elly Hays available at Amazon.

52 Ancestors – #27 Joseph B Culpepper, Patriot


This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small and this week’s theme is Independent.


I guess there is no better example of Independent than one of my grandfathers who fought for American independence in the American Revolution.

Page 2Joseph B. Culpepper Jr. was a fourth generation American and the third Joseph in the line of fathers and sons. His 3rd great grandfather, John Culpepper, immigrated to America from Kent, England following the English civil war in 1650, though the man was a merchant between Virginia and England and had been to the country countless times before.

The information I have of Joseph shows him born in Anson, North Carolina around 1760-1765, and even though I’m sure that is slightly off, he was still just a kid when he enlisted in the 3rd South Carolina Regiment 03 Aug 1776. His parents were Joseph Culpepper and Piety Gibson. The records I have say that Piety died around 1764, so you can see how the dates are a little off. I bet his father must have been beside himself with worry as Joseph’s brother Benjamin Culpepper also signed up. Benjamin served as Lieutenant under Capt. Peter Burns, Col. Wade Hampton and Gen. Sumter. AA 1683A: M228, DAR SC Roster pg 223. I assume Joseph wasn’t far away, perhaps serving under the same captain. I belong to the DAR under his patriotic service. A028466.

What I find amazing about the history is that my great, great grandfather Joel B Culpepper fought in the American civil war. Joel’s great grandfather was Joseph, our patriot named above. Joseph’s great grandfather was Robert Culpepper, who is the five year old in my latest book, John Culpepper Esquire. Even though the story I wrote, taking place in the 1600s, seem so many generations away, they are really so much closer than we imagine.

Joseph died 05 May 1816. He left behind his father, his wife Nancy Pickett, four sons, and three daughters.

Rest well, soldier.


Culpepper Saga People and Places

Culpepper_1Only a few more days until “I, John Culpepper” is released!! April 10th!!!

Over the years, and quite a bit recently, I’ve blogged about the people and places found in the book, but if you missed anything, below is a comprehensive list to guide you through the characters. Every one of these people were real. Every one of these homes and castles were real, most still standing today. Being historical fiction, most of the story is also real.

Some of these blogs are old and some are new, but if you click on any name, you can find out more about the person or place.

John Culpepper the merchant, our hero

John’s grandpa, John Culpepper of Wigsell

John’s dad, John “Johannes” Culpepper

John’s mom, Ursula Woodcock Culpepper

John’s son, John Culpepper Jr. of the Culpepper Rebellion

John’s brother, Thomas Culpepper and his wife Katherine St. Leger

John’s childhood friend, Sir William Berkeley

John’s childhood homes, Greenway Court and Astwood Court

John’s niece, (Thomas’s daughter) Frances Culpepper Berkeley

John’s cousin, Lord John “JC” Culpepper, 1st Baron of Thoresway

“JCs” son, Lord Thomas Culpepper, 2nd Baron of Thoresway

Sir William Berkeley – Culpepper Saga

Culpepper_1For the next few Saturdays, in place of my usual “Saturday Snippets,” I’m going to give you some background into some of the people and places in my new series, The Culpepper Saga. The series consists of four books which will be released between April and September.

One of the main characters is Sir William Berkeley. I write stories of my ancestors, but Berkeley is not one of my ancestors. He was, however, a life-long friend of our hero and my 10th great grandpa John Culpepper.

In the 1st book, Berkeley and John are young law students in England. In the 2nd and 3rd books, Berkeley plays a daily role in John’s life and is the Governor of Virginia. In the final book, Berkeley is married to John’s niece and is at the center of a deadly rebellion.

SirWilliamBerkeley2William Berkeley, referred to as “Will” by his family and friends, was born in England in 1605. He was the colonial governor of Virginia from 1642 until his death in 1677. Upon his arrival in Virginia, he built a plantation called Green Spring House and planted corn, wheat, barley, rye, and tobacco, though he despised tobacco. In 1670, he wed thirty-six-year-old Frances Culpepper, the niece of our hero John. Historical records show him fleeing Jamestown during Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 and taking refuge in Accomac, Virginia. Most people leave it at that, but in my writing world, I happen to know that John had a house in Accomac, so it is obvious he went to John’s. After all, they had been friends for many years, and they were family through marriage. I’ll let you read the rest of his story in the Culpepper Saga, but I’ll leave you with a tidbit from the day he and John met as young boys at law school–a place called Middle Temple.

Note: Wikipedia does not confirm that Berkeley attended Middle Temple, but in “The History of Middle Temple” by Hart Publishing, records of Middle Temple show Berkeley as a student. He also wrote and published a few plays in the 1630s, which was a large part of the curriculum at the school.

The following is an excerpt from “I, John Culpepper.”


John clapped along with the other boys as the headmaster strolled toward the center of the room. The man looked as stern as JC had warned. A pair of spectacles rested on the tip of his pointed nose, and his rather large ears stuck out from under his cap. He began stroking his goatee as if caressing the family pet. For a moment, John couldn’t put his finger on what was so amusing about the man’s appearance, then it struck him—the man looked like a goat. John tried unsuccessfully to stifle a giggle.

Barnaby’s brow wrinkled and the corners of this mouth turned down like a fish as he scanned the group of boys. He looked at each one as if viewing a repulsive heap of trash. He cleared his throat and his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down. Just as he opened his mouth to speak, a frizzy-headed boy ran into the room, allowing the door to slam behind him. The sound echoed loudly within the stone walls and the tardy boy’s face turned red with embarrassment. Barnaby followed the boy’s movement with his narrowed eyes as the boy took the only empty seat in the room—right next to John. John felt a trickle of sweat drip down his back as the headmaster slowly walked toward them.

“You’re tardy for my class,” the man scoffed, his eyes filled with hostility. When he said the word class, he drew out the a for an inappropriate amount of time, and John was again reminded of a goat, but with the man standing directly in front of him, he didn’t dare giggle.

“My apologies. I just arrived, sir.”

“What is your name, boy?” Barnaby growled.

“William Berkeley, sir.”

“William Berkeley.” He stared at Berkeley for a long time, as if attempting to memorize every feature of the boy’s face. He then repeated the name. After what seemed like an hour of uncomfortable silence, with the tension in the room growing by the second, Barnaby said, “William Berkeley, I will speak with you in private following this evening’s supper.”

“Yes, sir.” William lowered his eyes to the floor.

As Barnaby turned his back on Berkeley and returned to the center of the room, Berkeley glanced around the room at the other boys. John wondered if Berkeley’s humility was in respect for the headmaster or due to his embarrassment for being late, or both.

Berkeley leaned over to John and whispered, “Who’s that old goat?”

John almost laughed out loud and his hands flew up to his mouth.

Berkeley winked at him and grinned.


The first book in the Culpepper Saga, “I, John Culpepper,” will be released April 10, 2015.

52 Ancestors #6 Chlodio 395-448 A.D. No, Really.


This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small, and this week’s theme is “So Far Away.”

So, So, So, Very, Very, Far Away!

My Culpepper line is very well traced by many people, including having its own website – Culpepper Connections. My 13th great grandfather William Culpepper married Cicely Barrett. The Barrett line intersects with the Bellhouse line and the Poyntz line and can be traced all the way back to King Charlemagne, King of the Franks 748-814 A.D.

charlemagne-hero-ABIf you Google King Charlemagne’s paternal line, you can go back to his 10th great grandfather. Charlemagne is my 39th, making Chlodio my 51st.






Pépin_the_youngerPepin the Short 714-768 King of the Franks














Charles Martel 688-741 Duke of the Franks, a statesman and military leader










Pepin of Herstal 635-714 Duke of the Franks











Ansegisel 610-670ish Served King Sigbert III as a Duke. Murdered.










Arnulf of Metz 582-640 Frankish bishop of Metz and advisor to the Merovingian Court.







Bodegisel ?-585 Frankish Duke. Served Kings Chilperic I and Chilperic II.







Mummolin ? Mayor of the Palace of Neustria. Married Chilperic II’s daughter.



munderic_largeMunderic ?-532 Merovingian with a claim to the Frankish throne. Married a Roman senator’s daughter.



clodericCloderic the Parricide ?-509 Murdered his own father in order to take the kingdom, then was murdered himself.





170px-Rathausturm_Köln_-_Sigibert_von_Ripuarien_(5907-09)Sigobert the Lame 445-509 King of the Franks, murdered by his son Chloderic the Parricide.









ChlodebaudChlodebaud 430-450 King of the Franks




Chlodio Long-HairChlodio Long-Hair 395-448 A.D. King of the Franks

Sailing to Jamestown

I was doing research for a new book and found three ships sailed from England in 1606 and founded Jamestown, Virginia. Their names were Susan Constant, Discovery, and Godspeed. On a side note, there is some evidence the the first ship was actually named the Sarah Constant, but that’s neither here nor there. The ships carried 105 passengers and 39 crew, and it took them four months to cross the Atlantic. I added the ships to my story and didn’t think much else about them, until I saw the following picture…

susan constant, discovery, goodspeed replicas on the chesapeake

These are the replicas of the original ships. They were used in 2007 to celebrate the 400th birthday of Jamestown and remain docked on the James River. Well, if you know me, you know I love tall ships, so now you have my interest. The more I researched the ships, the more exciting tidbits I found.

Many American’s know the name John Smith (of John Smith and Pocahontas fame) as being one of the original settlers of Jamestown, but few know that he sailed to American on the Susan Constant, and less know that he was almost hung for having a disagreement with one of the ship’s officers. Instead of killing him, they imprisoned him on board the ship for the remainder of the journey. Four months is a long time to be confined to the hole.

The captain of the Godspeed was Bartholomew Gosnold. He had made voyages to the colonies before. In 1602, he discovered and named Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyards, but the settlements he tried to place there didn’t take hold. After securing funding and ships, he sailed again in 1606. This time confident that a settlement could be formed. The thirty-something husband and father never saw his family again, as he died of scurvy and dysentery only four months after landing in Jamestown. Don’t drink the water!

The Jamestown colony was settled in 1607 by adventurers bent on making a profit. The Plymouth colony was not settled until 1621. Plymouth settlers fled to the new world for religious freedom. Why is it that Plymouth is so much more popular in the American history books than Jamestown? Is it because of Thanksgiving and those silly hats the Puritans wore?


Genealogy 101

613treeI blog a lot about my ancestors, as I have over 9000 people in my family tree. I am not a professional genealogist, but I have researched my family since I was in my teens. I’m 50mumble now. Not only was I researching my family before Ancestry.com was born, I was researching them before COMPUTERS were born. Take that!

Some visitors to my blog have asked me where to begin in their own search. Below are some basic tips. These tips are for people who have access to their families. If you were orphaned or adopted, you may need the help of a professional to assist you in your search. In some cases, that professional would be a genealogist, in others cases, it would be a private investigator, in others, a lawyer to help you gain access to court documents.


  • The first place to start is with your living relatives. (Take a tape recorder and/or a pad of paper with you!) Ask them what they know about the family. You’ll often find elderly family members will not only be a wealth of information, they will be happy to stroll down memory lane and fill you will stories of the past. Stories of their parents and grandparents, and stories of their great grandparents that they heard when they were small. Write these stories down. They don’t exist anywhere else and can shed light on records you will find. An elderly man in my family said his sibling had pink eye when they were about to immigrate to America, so they were not allowed to board the ship from Italy. When we found the immigration records at Ellis Island, there were two dates of immigration for the family – three months apart. We would have wondered what happened at immigration had we not been told the pink-eye story.
  • The next thing to do is dig through attics and basements. Look through photo albums, newspaper clippings, programs and announcements. I’ve seen old wedding invitations at my aunt’s house and had no idea who the couple was, but once she explained to me the connection to the family, I began extending my tree.
  • Now that you have a handful of names, dates, and places, Google them. You may be pleasantly surprised to find records online or find someone else has already been researching your family. If you find some of your ancestors have already been researched on Ancestry, you may decide to join. There are also other sites to store your findings – My Heritage, Family Search, Genealogy.com – or you can purchase software like Family Tree Maker, or you can use a notebook. Whatever works for you.
  • Check U.S. Census records. They are all online and you can find them at sites like Ancestry and Find My Past. There are also directions on those site on how to search records. Be warned that the 1890 census was mostly destroyed in a fire, so you’ll have to connect your own lines between 1880 and 1900.
  • If you are near the city your ancestors lived, drive to the history/archives office. Also check old newspapers which are usually kept at the library, court records, church records, and cemetery records. Visiting cemeteries where your ancestors were buried can also shed light on the family. Infant mortality used to be a lot higher than it is now. If you are not near your ancestor’s city, visit Find A Grave.com. where volunteers catalog grave sites. You can ‘virtually’ visit cemeteries all over the country.
  • Don’t be discouraged if you run into a dead end. Attempt to go around your ancestor. I got stuck on my great grandmother because she lived a quiet life in the country and didn’t leave any records, but when I looked up her brother, the whole family came to life. If your ancestor didn’t leave records, he/she may have siblings or children who did. Keep searching.
  • Keep meticulous notes. When you find something, write yourself a detailed note of where and what the document was. Many times I’m asked how I know something, and it’s always good to verify the information came from a Bible Record or a Last Will. Beware of anyone else’s information. Sometimes people fill in the gaps in their research with guesses. Once others start to latch onto those guesses, everyone begins to take the information as fact. Keep notes. Research things for yourself.

Not only will you learn about your family and your heritage, you will also learn an amazing amount of history. When you take your ancestors birth and death dates and add the history of the town and the political and religious climate of the world into the mix, you begin to understand who you are and where you came from. Researching genealogy is a time-consuming hobby, but it’s an exciting journey!