Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Delila Reid's (probable) ancestry discovered!

My ancestor Delila Reid was the wife of John Naramore who lived in Walker County, Alabama in 1830.  Joseph died or disappeared in the late 1830's and she ended up marrying John Woodiel.  (For the full story, go here.)  I have been searching for her ancestry for decades with no luck.

Ancestry's new ThruLines feature gave me a suggestion that Delila was the sister of an Elizabeth Reed, daughter of Reuben Reed/Reid and Editha Murphree.  But these matches are speculative and sometimes based on faulty trees.  So I investigated some more.

1. DNA.  My father matches at least 6 descendants of a Murphree on MyHeritage.  All of these either have a Murphree ancestor in their tree in Alabama, or a 3-way DNA match (triangulation) with another Murphree.  Part of the Murphree DNA lines up with a known John Naramore (son of Joseph and Delila) descendant. That is extremely strong evidence for a Murphree ancestor on the Nar(a)more branch of our tree.
2. Delila's presumed parents were named Reuben and Editha.  Two of her children were Reuben and Editha.  Very strong evidence she is their child, as opposed to a niece or a cousin (which would still be consistent with the DNA, although at a lesser probability).
3. Joseph and Delila's next door neighbors in 1830 were Martin Ward and Elizabeth Reed, who is Delila's presumed sister. screenshot showing overlap of my father's DNA match with a Murphree descendant (lavender) and a John Naramore descendant (spring green).

Given these three strong pieces of evidence, I think there is extremely high probability that Ancestry's proposed relationship is correct--that Delila Reid is the daughter of Reuben Reed and Editha Murphree.

Furthermore, there is a Levi Reid that I have long suspected was a relative.  He was the sheriff of Jefferson County in 1819 (Joseph was a constable shortly after that).  He is also reported to be the first person to ship coal from Walker County.  Levi lived just a few houses away from Delila and her second husband John Woodiel in 1850.  Also Joseph and Delila had a child named Levi.  So I think Levi Reid is very likely a brother of Delila.  [I have a note of a DNA match to Levi Reid's family which I need to double-check.]

More on the Murphree family can be found at Bob's Genealogy Filing Cabinet.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Private John Naramore, CSA

Union guard at Strawberry Plains bridge.
John Naramore, my great-great-grandfather, enlisted in the 43rd Alabama Infantry (CSA) in 1861 in Tuscaloosa.  He was discharged in 1862 for disability (further details unknown?) but reenlisted in October 1863.  (Luckily for him, he just missed the Battle of Chickamauga.)  Several of his brothers, brothers-in-law, and other relatives and neighbors from the small community of Mud Creek were enlisted in the 43rd.  The 43rd was involved in some battles over several important railway bridges in East Tennessee.  One of these, the Strawberry Plains Bridge, over the Holston River, was where John was taken prisoner, on December 4, 1863. 
Pier from old Strawberry Plains bridge, next to new bridge.
He died of typhoid fever in the Knoxville military prison's hospital on Jan. 19, 1864, and was buried in an unmarked grave, with a card bearing his name, rank, and company, in the "city cemetery", which is believed to be the Old Gray Cemetery.  The winter was particularly tough on the survivors, and Longstreet's campaign has been called the "Valley Forge of the Civil War".

This week, I visited Knoxville and was able to locate where the old bridge stood.  There is a newer railroad bridge there, but two of the stone piers that supported the bridge are still standing.  I also drove and walked around Old Gray Cemetery, but I was unable to find any sign of some unknown Confederate graves.  Incidentally, Old Gray Cemetery was one of the first "garden cemeteries" in the US and was named for English poet Thomas Gray, who wrote Elegy in a Country Churchyard.

 The 43rd was involved in the siege of Petersburg and the Battle of the Crater there, and surrendered at Appamattox.

Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville
Further reading:
This link relates the following anecdote.  A Federal captain was released by General Gracie of the 43rd, with a note to General Sheridan, who he had known from West Point and from being stationed together in the west.  "Dear Phil:  I have got you, so come in."  The reply was sent back, "Dear Archie:  Oh no, you must come and get me first."  [It is amusing that old friends could write such banter in the midst of such death and suffering, but it also makes the deaths that much more tragic.]

Holston River, at flood stage.

New Strawberry Plains rail bridge, with pier from old bridge.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Roy W. Coburn, WWII paratrooper

I had never heard of Roy Coburn, but he was a second cousin to my grandmother, from the Colbert County Coburns.  I ran across his death record from WWII and was curious about his service.  This is what I found.

Roy Walker Coburn was born in 1921 near Tuscumbia to Herman Edison Coburn and Annie Mae (Lewis) Coburn.  Herman's father was Theophilus Bester Coburn, Jr. and his mother was Katie Bell (Richardson).  In 1940, Roy was living with his father (now divorced) in Birmingham.  There he married Alice Elizabeth Cowherd.

He enlisted in the US Army and was assigned to the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, Company A.  This unit parachuted into Normandy on D-Day after training in the US and England.  They saw combat in France, Holland, and Belgium.  He died 23 Dec 1944 in Belgium and is buried in the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium (plot F, row 1, grave 19).  His rank was Private First Class.  His grave marker lists Florida as his home state, probably because his unit was based in Florida. gives detailed information on the history of the 508th.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

New finds in Cockburn/Williams ancestry

My 5th great-grandmother was Frances Cockburn, wife of George Cockburn (1750-1799) of Martin and Edgecombe Counties, NC.  I had her maiden name as possibly Williams for a long time, but without much evidence.  (I can't remember where I found that now.)

I recently found a remarkable document online.  "Pedigree of My Mother's family, a part of which, is as was told to me by my Gr. mother,Mary Lanier, in 1856."  compiled by Cornelia S. Dickson ("Aunt Nealie") based on correspondence with family members.  This was posted to Geocities (!) in 1997 by Nita Munoz.

This document lists the children of one Joseph Williams Jr. and Mary Hix:

  • Joseph Williams married Mary Hix daughter of Daniel Hix and his wife Edith Fonville, of Hix's ford, Virginia.
    His children were: Ben, Daniel, Theolopus, Hester, Susanna, Frances, Esther, Elizabeth and Mary.
    1. Ben Williams, son of Joseph, lived in Brunswick, N.C.
    2. Daniel Williams, son of Joseph, served through all of the Revolutionary War, moved to Dickson County, Tenn., which county was named for his nephew, Dr. William Dickson, as a compliment for services in Congress.
    3. Theolopus was killed.
    4. Hester Williams married Wm. Whitfield of Lenoir Co., Neuse River, N.C.
    5. Susanna Williams married Frederic Barfield, Duplin Co. N.C.
    6. Frances married George Cockburn of Birtie Co. N.C.
    7. Esther married James Morris of Newbern, N.C.
    8. Elizabeth married Charles Hooks.
    9. Mary married William Dickson of N.C.
Line 6 is clearly my ancestors, so this looks like pretty good evidence that Joseph Williams and Mary Hix are Frances' parents.

It also relates the following family tradition:
Theopolus and Ben Williams (fourth in descent from Oliver Cromwell through his daughter Frances) came from England. 
Theophelus Williams settled near Halifax, N.C. 
Ben Williams, Sr. married Christian Bryan. His sons were: Ben, John, James, Louis and Joseph.

If true, the bit about Oliver Cromwell is pretty interesting, that would be my most famous direct ancestor by far.
I think there is an error here about the husband of Christian Bryan.  I found another researcher that has done extensive research on the Williams family and he lists Christian's husband as Theophilus Williams rather than Ben (apparently they were brothers).

The Williams page can be found here.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The distinguished Moultries

Update, July 18, 2019--I placed Ruth Moultrie (my ancestor) in this family because this is claimed in the book Notable Men of Alabama.  A friend and genealogical expert has told me that that book is "riddled with errors".   I do not have any DNA links in Ancestry's ThruLines with the rest of this family, although I have many through Ruth.  So at this point I consider this connection doubtful.  Still, I will leave the information as it may be interesting and useful to others.  

Dr. John Moultrie (1702-1771) was born in Fife Scotland, and came to America in 1733.  He was said to be at the head of his profession for 40 years in Charleston, with a talent for finding out the hidden causes of disease.  According to one biographical sketch, "The year following his death an unusual number of females perished in childbed, apparently from despondency."

His children:
a son who graduated at Edinburgh at 1749, a distinguished scholar and eminent practicioner of medicine in Charleston.  (I am not sure if this matches one of the sons named below or not.)

Dr. John Moultrie (Jr.) (1729-1798).  Graduated at Edinburgh at 1749, a distinguished scholar and eminent practicioner of medicine in Charleston.  Moved to East Florida (now just called regular Florida) in 1767 and became a planter, then became deputy governor before the Revolution.  Acting governor from 1771-1774.   He was an English loyalist who returned to Britain in 1784 when they ceded Florida to Spain.
Dr. John Moultrie (Jr.)

General William Moultrie (1730-1805).  Prevented the British from taking Charleston.  He designed a flag with the word "Liberty" on a crescent moon on a blue field.  This flag was shot down in the defense of the fort, and held aloft by Sgt. William Jasper, rallying the troops.  The fort was named in his honor.  This flag became the basis for the South Carolina state flag.  Moultrie, Georgia is named for him, as is Moultrie County, Illinois.

General William Moultrie, portrait by Charles Wilson Peale.
Moultrie flag.

James Moultrie (1734-1765), chief justice of British East Florida.

Capt. Thomas Moultrie (1740-1780), killed in action in the Revolutionary War fighting for the Americans.

Alexander Moultrie (1742-1743) died in infancy.

Col. Alexander Moultrie (1750-1807) [apparently they reused the name after the death of his brother].  An American Revolutionary soldier.  State attorney general in SC, impeached 1792 for embezzlement.  (I report the good and bad both!)  There is a letter from him to Thomas Jefferson here and if you click on his name at the link you can see his correspondence with four of the first five presidents.
Hon. Alexander Moultrie of SC, b. abt. 1750, son of immigrant Dr. John Moultrie. First Attorney General of South Carolina, US Representative. From The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 4 (Oct., 1904), pp. 229-260 Published by: South Carolina Historical Society

Ruth Moultrie (1769-1830) , who married Daniel Cook and died in Trigg County, Kentucky.  Her daughter Margaret Cook married Holden Barrett and came to Franklin County, Alabama with her daughter after his death.  (Margaret and Holden are my ancestors through the Kimbroughs and Narmores.)  [See note in first paragraph, it is doubtful that she is one of the siblings of this family.]

New Rump Immigrant discovered

Previously I have written a lot about my 3rd-great-grandparents, August Christian Wilhelm Rump and Anna Sophie Diederike Hinrich Rump, who emigrated to America about 1867-1868, arriving at New York (at least Mrs. Rump and the children), and somehow winding up in Huntsville, Alabama by 1870.  I had heard family stories about them for years before finally finding records of the family in Germany that let me extend their tree back two more generations, including finding birth records of August's siblings and cousins from German church records.

Using Ancestry DNA, I found a couple of Americans with Rump ancestry who had a common DNA match with me, but they were not from the Rump line who came to Alabama.  Looking at their Ancestry trees, they trace back to an immigrant to New Jersey, Charles Rump (1871-1951).  One person, who lists the New Jersey death certificate as his source, has a birthdate for Charles of 27 July 1871, which exactly matches the German church birth records for August's cousin Carl Friedrich Rump.  Furthermore, he lists the nickname "Carl".  Not only that, he lists the parents names as Friedrich Rump and Amelia Neckrog.  From the German records, that matches (except for spelling) Friedrich Hermann Rump and Louise Frederike Amelie Nicking.  I don't believe the person who entered this (I am waiting to hear from him.) was using the German records for this information because the spelling differs and he cites the death certificate.  So we have a multiple DNA match (from New Jersey, where I don't have any known relatives for many generations), a birthdate match, and a close name match for Charles/Carl and his parents from the US records and the German records.

So, I am pretty confident that August's cousin Carl Friedrich emigrated to America like his cousin around 1885, about 17 years later.  August became the head of a large family in Alabama and Charles in New Jersey.  I wonder if he Charles knew about August.  Interestingly, Charles' occupation on the census is variously listed as dock laborer, freight barge, and boat man (coal company).  August had been a sailor and a ship's carpenter, and their was another Rump on some of the crews with him when he was with the North German Lloyd (Norddeutscher Lloyd) shipping company.  So it seems the Rumps had an affinity for sailing.