You know that Jeff Foxworthy joke: “You know you’re a redneck if…your family tree doesn’t branch”? That would be me, at least on the Wheat side of the family.
My first clue was a headstone at the Carson Cemetery in Hughes County, Oklahoma. It read “Susanna Wheat Ming – 1836-1916.” My grandparents, John William Wheat and Cora Bell, are buried beside this woman. She is not John William’s mother, Cynthia Ming--nobody knows where she is buried. She is John’s grandmother, but on the Ming side not the Wheat side.
|Susanna Wheat Ming headstone|
Carson Cemetery, Hughes County, OK
As I began to research the Mings and the Wheats, I found out that Cynthia’s parents, William Frederick Ming and Susanna Wheat, were first cousins. Their mothers were sisters. Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, W.F. and Susanna’s daughter Cynthia turned around and married J. Wheat. (Who his parents and grandparents were has been a mystery only recently solved--I think--and a post for another day.) Susanna Wheat Ming’s parents were Samuel Wheat and Cynthia Stephenson. W.F. Ming’s parents were Thomas N. Ming and Susannah Stephenson.
|Thomas N. Ming headstone|
Marble Falls, Burnet County, TX
Cynthia and Susannah Stephenson were daughters of Robert Stephenson (sometimes spelled Stinson) and his wife Elizabeth Whitley. Elizabeth was the daughter of William and Esther Whitley. I remember how excited I was when I googled “William Whitley” for the first time and found out that he was a famous Kentucky pioneer and that his home still stood as a state park site in Kentucky. (More about that later, too.)
|Susannah Stephenson Ming's portrait at|
William Whitley House in Kentucky
Samuel Wheat was born in Virginia in 1787; married Cynthia Stephenson in Madison County, Mississippi Territory in 1814; was enumerated on the 1830 and 1840 censuses in Arkansas; and then helped organize the Pilot Grove Church in Grayson County, Texas, in 1847. His now-broken tombstone in the Hall Cemetery near Howe, Grayson County, Texas, once read: “In memory of Elder Samuel Wheat, who departed this life 23 Nov 1866, aged 79 years and 1 day. Elder Wheat had been an old-school Baptist from his youth and a Minister of the Cross for 50 years. Standing firm amidst the siftings and schisms among the Churches, the fearless advocate of Virginia immigrated to Alabama, then to Tennessee, then to Arkansas, then to Texas in 1847, making his first discourse to Pilot Grove Church in Grayson County to which he made his last a few days before his death.”
|Samuel Wheat headstone|
Hall Cemetery, Grayson County, TX
Samuel’s wife Cynthia is presumably buried in Milam County, Texas, where she was last found on a census in 1850. Thomas N. Ming is buried in Fairland Cemetery near Marble Falls, Texas. Susannah Stephenson Ming died in Grayson County, Texas.
Obviously, it was a time of great migration within the young United States. Grayson County, Texas was the final destination for a number of Wheats, although mine traveled on to nearby Collin County, and then eventually to Oklahoma.