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

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.)

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.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Felix Paden

After receiving an unexpected photo of my great uncle Felix Paden, who was a policeman in Detroit, I started searching and turned up a bunch of old newspaper stories about him.  I thought I would share the pictures, and since I have enough information to do a biographical sketch, here it is.

Felix Vester Paden was the third of seven siblings born to David Leroy Paden and Minnie Viola Gardner Paden.  The family lived in Mynot in western Colbert County, Alabama.

In June 1929, he married Lydia Bendall, an Alabama native.  They must have moved to Detroit at this point because he appears in a news story there in August.  In the 1930 census, he is listed as a patrolman.  They had one daughter.  Felix and Lydia divorced in 1934.  At the alimony hearing, he argued with the judge to ask him to raise  his payment (to the great astonishment of the news writer).
In 1948, he married Marion Law, a Michigan native, They traveled to Alabama to get married before returning to Detroit.  He retired from the force in 1951 and they remained in Detroit until his death in 1972.  Marion moved to Virginia and only died a few years ago (2011).  Felix and Marion had one daughter.

[Daughters names omitted for privacy; I don't know their whereabouts.]

There are some quite interesting stories about his activities.

* A thief pulled a gun on him, which he wrestled away.  Then the thief pulled a second gun on him and Felix shot him.
*He was made an honorary member of the Sioux Indian tribe.
*He was responsible for providing baseball uniforms for neighborhood youth.  I am amused to see one of the teams seems to be named Padens.
*He helped raise funds for a bedridden boy to buy a television set (when they were brand new).
*An arrest in an organized crime case.
*He testified on behalf of someone accused of being a Communist.

It's interesting to see how my relatives' lives were touched by things I know from history, like the Red Scare and the 1930's organized crime.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

An unexpected photo find

Angel wings?
Unknown children

Maybelle Paden and Lester Williams

Ed and Alonzo Gardner, brothers of Minnie Viola Gardner (Paden), Goldie's mother.
Minnie Viola Gardner Paden  (and grandchildren?)

Vester Felix Paden? and wife Marion Law?

"Doc" Early Paden, his wife Gertrude, and  Felix Vester Paden, who was a policeman in Detroit.  My great uncles and aunt.

No idea who these gentlemen are.  Can anyone identify the uniform, or the plane?  I'm not aware of any Asian(?) relatives.  Maybe someone was stationed overseas?  From the style of photo I am guessing late 1970's or early 80's.

Showing off a snake?