Genealogy on the Road – Old Success, Missouri

Lots of people go on road trips. They might drive to a scenic area and picnic, go to the lake or park. Normal-people stuff. Right? Ruby and I love to go on road trips together. Ruby is my first cousin on my mama’s side (gotta read that with a southern twang). We enjoy going on genealogy research road trips together. For fun. As genealogists, our road trips are a bit different. We don’t go to the usual tourist areas. Instead, we will take the back roads, we might have a picnic but it will be in a cemetery, Spending the day at courthouse archives, cemeteries and trudging through cow pastures to find a long-forgotten gravesite, is our idea of entertainment. Not “normal-people” stuff.     Destination: Texas County, Missouri Research Subjects: William Scyler Langley and Myrtle Odessa Stogsdill Langley our grandparents. We wanted to go to Texas County, Missouri as it was home to many of our ancestors for several decades.  Determining our research goals. We began by determining our research goals individually and collaboratively.One of my goals was to document and visit the property of our family members, another was to locate my Great Grandmother Adeline Winn Stogsdill’s burial plot. One of Ruby’s goals was to see and take photos of our 3rd great-grandparents Joseph and Julia Langley’s graves. Number one on both of our lists was to visit and learn more about the old town that our great-great-grandfather, William Braz Langley, helped establish in the late 1890s to early 1900s. Old Success, Missouri. Tag Team Researching Ruby and I are a good research team. Ruby never met a stranger and she will talk to anyone. ANYONE. But me, not so much, I prefer to stand back, watch and listen. My contribution is planning the trip and research priorities, then together we document and organize our discoveries.   We used online tools to plan and organize. To plan the trip, I plotted out the places we wanted to visit on a Google Drive map which allowed Ruby and I to collaborate. We also used the Marco Polo app to make it even easier to plan. Lots more fun than just texting or talking on the phone. Google Drive has so many tools that you can use to organize your genealogy and collaborate and there are many YouTube video tutorials on the subject. Check it out! Research Tip: Search Facebook for a local group focusing on your area of research interest. Through a Facebook group, Ruby found a gentleman that knew a lot about Old Success and was even compiling a book on the old town. He agreed to take us on a personal tour of the area and share his expertise with us. I’m so glad she reached out to him or we would have never known where the old townsite was located. We worked our plans around his schedule as we did not want to miss talking with him. Get a room. While she was making arrangements to meet him, I found a fabulous Air BnB called the Swedish Country Hideaway near Rolla, Missouri. If you need a place to stay in the Rolla or the Ft. Leonard Wood area we highly recommend staying at the Swedish Country Hideaway. We used it as our home base for our daily research outings.   Use common sense when booking an Air BnB. I read all the reviews and the “about me” page about the Swedish Country Hideaway before I made any reservations and made sure we would feel and be safe. We were very safe and felt at home during our visit and will definitely stay there again when we are back in the area. Goal setting is done, now what? My goal of finding where my Great Grandmother Stogsdill was buried, was most likely to be found at the Genealogical Society. She is probably buried in an unmarked grave, as there is no photo of a marker on Find a Grave. If we can locate her grave, we would like to place a headstone in her memory. Based on our goals we decided that the Texas County Genealogical Society was a priority as well as the Texas County Recorder of Deeds at the Texas County Courthouse in downtown Houston.  Research Tip: Always call ahead to local archives and courthouses. However, by calling ahead we discovered that we could only visit the Genealogical Society Friday morning from 10-12. I’m so glad Ruby called ahead because the Society had not updated their Facebook page on the days they were open and we would have missed visiting the Society. We adjusted our schedule to be able to visit the society. So after a few tweaks, we had our plan. Thursday: Drive to Houston, Missouri Texas County Public Library Check-in at the Swedish Country Hideaway Friday: Recorder of Deeds at the courthouse at 8 am Texas County Genealogical Society at 10 am until 12. Lunch Back to the Recorder of Deeds until closing. Saturday: 9 am Meet Rick to go on our tour of the Old Success townsite and visit the cemeteries nearby. Sunday: Depending on what we find at the courthouse on Friday we would spend Sunday visiting the areas where our relatives owned property and cemeteries we’ve located on Find A Grave. We had a plan and headed off to Missouri Part Two coming soon! 

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He died on Mr. Lenhart’s Porch

While researching the death of Eli Langley, who died while a prisoner of war at Andersonville Prison in 1864, I came across his widow’s Rachel McCoy Langley pension application files 1. One hundred and six pages of pension records-a genealogist’s jackpot!2 But this post isn’t about Eli, it’s about Rachel’s second husband, Andrew Hutchison. After the death of Eli, Rachel had a child (William Langley), fathered by Eli’s brother Braz Langley. I have found no record of their every marrying. Rachel went on to marry her second husband, our mystery man, Andrew Hutchison in 1870. It is unknown who his parents were. There are a lot of Hutchisons in Union County, Tennessee as well as McCoys, Langleys, and Loys that all intermarried and created family lines that resemble a plate of spaghetti. Not much is known about Andrew and it seems that his death was a bit of a mystery as well. So what happened to Andrew?  Thanks to military pension records we have insight into the life and death of Andrew Hutchison. In order to receive her widow’s pension benefits, Rachel gave a deposition regarding her second husband’s death. In her deposition, she states: “On July or August 1875, my husband who was working for a neighbor called Stooksbury left my home in this neighborhood on a Monday night to go work for Lewis Stooksbury. I heard no more of him until the following Thursday morning when I heard that he was dead.” “I heard no more of him until…I heard that he was dead.” For almost three days she was unaware of her husband’s demise. Further, she states: “What I know of his death was told me by others and principally by the miller Mr. Lenhart.” Mr. Lenhart in his deposition stated that a man driving Mr. Stooksbury wagon came to the mill. The man was sick and “he had him put to bed. During the night the man went out to the porch and that’s where he died”. He did not recognize the man but did recognize Stooksbury’s wagon.  He had two negros dig the grave and the unknown man was put in a dry-goods box and buried as soon as possible. Witnesses say that owing to the fear surrounding cholera, those who died during this period were buried quickly without ceremony or record. It was noted, by the pension board interviewer, that Mr. Lenhart, a wealthy man, was irritated that he had to “pay” for the unknown man’s burial and was never repaid by the family. Fortunately, before he was buried a neighbor of Andrew’s saw his body on the front porch and recognized him. Otherwise, there would have been no legal witness as to his identification.  His deposition is on record in her widow’s pension application. Throughout the records, witnesses maintained that Andrew Hutchison died from cholera, which was rampant in the area. Mr. Stooksbury, his employer, lost a family member to cholera the same week. It is likely that Andrew contracted cholera when he picked up the grain to take to the mill. After the burial, Mr. Stooksbury retrieved his wagon along with the clothing and boots of Andrew. He held onto the effects for a while for unknown reasons, perhaps out of fear of spreading the disease, eventually returning them to the widow. The Langley’s, McCoy’s, Hutchison’s lived in the area known as Loys Crossroads, Racoon Valley and Warwick’s Crossroads in Union County, Tennessee. The area is now mostly under the waters of Lake Norris at Big Ridge State Park. A few of the cemeteries remain, such as the Langley Cemetery. I’ll be searching for the parents of Andrew Hutchison and as there are many Hutchisons in Union County, Tennessee it may take more than a lifetime, it’s quite a tangled web. National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Index to Pension Applications Files of Remarried Widows Based on Service in the Civil War and Later wars in the Regular Army after the Civil War; NAI Number: 2588478; Record Group Title: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 – 2007; Record Group Number: 15; Series Number: M1785; Roll Number: 4 [↩]Page 6 – Case Files of Approved Pension Applications of Widows and Other Dependents of Civil War Veterans, ca. 1861 – ca. 1910Web address [↩]

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Are you a taphophile?

I’m a taphophile and a tombstone tourist. It’s a hazard of being a genealogist.  It’s not as creepy as it sounds. It just means I like to visit graveyards and cemeteries. As a genealogist, one of my ideas of fun is visiting cemeteries and graveyards. Not in a weird ghost hunting way (although I do enjoy a good ghost story or two), but instead, a way of learning about the history of an area and its citizens. The only remnant of some old towns or settlements is the cemetery. If we take the time to stop and look, the history of the place is there, set in stone. It’s amazing when I find a graveyard in the middle of nowhere and realize that once there was a bustling community nearby. It sparks all kinds of questions, which can prove useful as it can create great leads in genealogy research.   There is a lot of information in a cemetery if you take the time to “listen” to the residents. The stones have something to say. The gravestone of Carney Parsons and his family speak of tragedy. They all died on the same day, October 12, 1906. The family gravesite consists of Carney, his wife Minnie and his children Edward, Jessie, and Franklin. Carney Parsons was my 1st cousin 3x removed. The grave is marked by a more recent type stone, the graves were originally unmarked. The Parsons’ lived in Licking, Missouri and were well liked in the community. Carney previously worked as railroad tie maker in Miller County and decided to move his family back there to live. He sold his farm and crops to Jodie Hamilton and packed up his family and set off on the road that led out of Licking.  Hamilton was unhappy with the agreement they had made and accosted the family on their way out of town. After arguing, Hamilton pulled out his shotgun and discharged both barrels hitting Carney in the leg, then beat him with the gun barrel. Minnie Parsons came to the aid of her husband and Hamilton beat her and her children to death. The oldest child was 11, the youngest only 1 year old.  Hamilton loaded them into the wagon and hid them in the woods. Unbelievably after the murders, he went to a revival meeting at the local schoolhouse. After the revival, he returned to the wagon, loaded up the bodies and went down to Pine Creek nearby where he dumped the bodies. Men fishing in the creek found two of the bodies. The rest of the bodies were found after a search of the area. Hamilton was arrested after he was found leading the Parsons’ mule through town with his girlfriend Mae Thompson riding it. A raving lunatic After his arrest, the sheriff told reporters that Hamilton was a raving lunatic and had attempted suicide by stabbing himself with a knitting needle and by beating his head against the wall. Rumors of a lynching spurred the sheriff to transfer Hamilton to a jail near the Arkansas line. Hamilton was tried and found guilty after a short trial and sentenced to death. When it was time for Hamilton’s hanging, a stockade was built around the gallows.  It did not stop onlookers from climbing nearby trees for a better look. They had to hang him twice! The local newspaper “The Houston Herald” reported the hanging in the 27 December 1906 issue. “Hamilton added a few more remarks and then stepped upon the trap; he stood perfectly still and immovable while his arms and legs were being tied, seemingly without fear or tremble. The black-cap was adjusted at 11 o’clock, and Sheriff Wood shook hands with him saying “Goodbye, Jodia, may the Lord have mercy on your soul.” Sheriff Wood then sprung the trap at 11:02 and then occurred the feature that caused a groan of horror to arise from the crown. The knot slipped and the man’s body fell to the ground. He was injured but not unconscious. Another knot was tied by Sheriff Bay of Shannon County, and the condemned man was carried back to the scaffold. The noose was again adjusted and two minutes later the trap was sprung the second time by Sheriff Wood. This was 11:04 and in just 11½ minutes the young man was pronounced dead by the attending physicians.     The Cantrell Cemetery in Licking Missouri is the burial place for the Carney family. For more information click on the following links. Bittersweet Magazine Find A Grave – Parsons Family Find A Grave – Jodie Hamilton

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You Think You Know Everything

I know I must have read those documents at least a dozen times.  How could I have missed something so obvious?  I had unintentionally blinded myself to what was written on the paper. But now it was so apparent. I had smugly assumed that I already knew everything about my great-grandfather Schuyler Colfax Langley. Considering him “done” I started to move on to the next generation. Until…I really read the one sentence that changed everything I knew about him.  According to the papers found in the family bible, S.C. was born in Tennessee in 1868 and he was the son of William Braz Langley and Issa Browning. Check! I knew that, moving on.  The next line was a quote from a distant cousin.  “Schuyler Colfax was living with his mother in Kentucky and William Braz wanted him to live in Missouri with him and his wife Issa. So he went to Kentucky found Schuyler and took him back to Missouri.”  Wait, back up, Issa wasn’t his mother? Who was? How could I have missed this?! The story further went on to say that William Braz made Schuyler cross the river by himself so no one could accuse him of kidnapping him!  Hillbilly soap opera. Feeling the need to redeem myself, I was determined to solve the mystery of Schuyler’s mother.  So I started with what I knew. Facts for which I had solid sources and evidence.  Schuyler was born in 1868 in Tennessee.  That would make the 1870 census the first census he would be listed in. I start in Tennessee where he was born.  I look for Schuyler Langley in the 1870 census in Tennessee. Nothing. Then I look for his dad, William Braz Langley. Bingo! He’s living in Union County, Tennessee with his parents, he’s 24 and he’s single without children. ??? Totally confusing, I thought I would find him as married with one son around age 2. But there he is still living with his parents and single. By this time, I have reached out to my cousin Ruby and we discussed the question of Schuyler’s mother. We checked out the neighbors. (Back in the early days our ancestor’s world was very small, primarily consisting of only their family and nearby neighbors. They tended to stick together for protection and socials.)  FAN Club strategy F=Friends or Family A=Associates N=Neighbors a strategy taught by Elizabeth Shown Mills. Ruby found a family listed on the same page as William Braz and his parents. They were the Hutchisons. The name meant absolutely nothing to me. But she had noticed something about the family. In the Hutchison household was a boy named Schyler age 1! The census was taken in July of 1870, Schuyler didn’t turn 2 until November 1870.  Could it be? Is this our Schuyler?!  Along with Schuyler, the Hutchison household consisted of a John and Sarah in their 60’s, and Catherine, 40 and Sarah, 31. The Hutchison parents were too old for childbearing so Schuyler had to be either Catherine’s or Sarah’s. Furthermore, William Braz was living next door. Coincidence?  I need more information. I needed to know more about the Hutchisons. My next step was to find Catherine and Sarah in the 1880 census. I found them fairly easily because they were still living near their parents in the same area. Catherine had married by this time and had a couple of children, but no Schuyler.  That left Sarah. She married Marcus Price in 1876. Marriage record of Mark Price and Sarah Hutchison 11 Oct 1876 1880 Census for Union County, Tennesse 7th Civil District She was listed on the same page of her sister Catherine in the 1880 Union County, Tennessee Census. Along with her new husband and a boy named Colfax age 12.  Now we were fairly sure this was our Schuyler Colfax and we had his mother! Thank goodness for unusual names. Our hypothesis was confirmed when we searched our DNA results for Hutchison matches and found a long list of Hutchison and allied family matches. Sarah Hutchison was Schuyler Colfax Langley’s mother!  But what happened to William Braz? Where was he? But…What happened to Dad? By the time the 1880 census was taken William Braz Langley had moved to Missouri and had married Izza Browning. He and Izza become two of the founding citizens of a new town in Texas County, Missouri. Success, Missouri.  It was sometime after the 1880 census that William Braz decided to “kidnap” Schuyler and take him back to Missouri and raise him. His motive for retrieving S.C. is unknown. A deciding factor could have been the death of S.C. Langley’s 16 year-old, half sister Catherine in 1881 of typhoid fever. Perhaps fearing the well-being of his son, Braz made the decision to bring him to Missouri.  Unfortunately, due to the loss of the 1890 census, we don’t see Schuyler again until 1900 when he is married with children and living in Lamar County, Texas. We don’t know what life was like for the young boy. I wonder if Schuyler’s mom try to find him? Did she try to get him back? Did she ever see him again? Did he want to be with his dad? I’ll never know, there’s no one left to ask. But for now, I have learned a valuable genealogy lesson. Slow down, take the time to thoroughly dissect the source of information.  “Flesh out” the individuals on my chart by educating myself about their time period and their family dynamic during that time. In addition, I was reminded that since new records pop up almost everyday, that one is never truly done!  ****UPDATE**** Found Schuyler Colfax Langley on the 1890 Tax List in Texas County, Missouri along with his father William Braz Langley.  Now we know where he was in 1890!  

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Adella Lynn Langley Born Feb 8 1869 Died Oct 1923

It’s About Time

A quick update about my great-grandfather Schuyler Langley and his wife Adella “Della“. They are buried in Sawyer Cemetery in Choctaw County, Oklahoma, and we were recently able to fix his grave monument thanks to our family’s donations. Not only that, we also got a marker for his wife, Adella Lynn Langley, who unfortunately didn’t have a marker before. It was a bit tricky to find their graves because they were so old, but we managed to get help from a company that uses witching rods. And guess what? It worked! We were thrilled to place Adella’s marker on her grave, finally giving her a proper memorial after all these years. We don’t know exactly when or how Adella passed, but knowing that she now has a marker after almost a century is really special. It’s a small gesture, but we hope you like it, Della. S.C. Langley Gravesite Circa 1910 Sawyer Cemetery, Choctaw County, Oklahoma Circa 1898, Lamar County, Texas. Schuyler Langley and Adella Lynn Langley back row. Boy on the left is Cecil Langley, Sarah Ann Langley Whitlock, Gilbert Langley on the right, the smallest boy is my grandfather William Scyler Langley. Adella is the taller lady in the middle. Posing with her half-sister Ida (l) and her sister Ladoska (r)

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