Documenting my family's past for future generations. My family tree includes the Smith/Mansell families of Alabama and Oklahoma, the Castle/Day families of Kentucky and Oklahoma, the Wheat/Ming families of Texas and Oklahoma, and the Bell/Roberts families of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Back to the Books: 1850 Census, Jackson County Tennessee, Family #1110

Family #1110 on the 1850 Jackson Co. census is William Lambert, age 39, with his wife of 2 years, Elizabeth “Betsy” Pharris, age 18. Enumerated with William and Betsy are William’s children by his first marriage to Katherine Lewis: Lewis, age 18 (same age as William’s new wife); Nancy, age 16; Anderson, age 12; Judah, age 12; William, age 10; and Andrew, age 6. James, age 1, would appear to be the child of William and Betsy.

William Lambert family, 1850 census,
Jackson County, Tennessee
William Lambert was a comparative newcomer to Jackson County, having arrived sometime between 1840 when he was enumerated on the census in Surry, North Carolina, and 1850 when he appears on this census. According to a note by a descendant on findagrave, Katherine died en route to Jackson County. William and Katherine’s marriage bond may be found in Surry County, NC, dated 29 April 1831. William was also supposed to have had a second wife, Nancy Philpot. If Katherine did die en route to Jackson Co., then it’s possible that William and/or Andrew were sons of Nancy.

Elizabeth Pharris was the daughter of William Pharris, usually called “Billy” to distinguish him from his father William (“Big Bill”) and his grandfather William (“Old Man”).  Elizabeth’s mother, Mariah Vinson, had died when Elizabeth was only 2 (3 Sept 1834), and then her father died two years later (25 Feb 1836). She was raised by her grandparents, James and Elizabeth (White) Vinson. According to the Chancery Court Minutes of Jackson County, Elizabeth “…went from the grave (of her mother) to Vinson’s house and staid there till she married.”

Why was Elizabeth’s childhood a matter for the court? Because not long after she married William Lambert, they sued the administrators of her father’s estate, James Pharris and James Vinson, stating that “they believe James Pharis and James Vinson still owe money to Elizabeth from this Estate.” The case dragged on for years in Jackson County’s Chancery Court.

William and Elizabeth went on to have several more children, according to the 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses. They were: Mariah, second child and first daughter, born 1851; Alitha, born 1853; Eliza, born 1855; William, born 1858; Samuel, born 1862; Millie, born 1866; Matthew, born 1869; and Elizabeth “Bettie,” born 1874.

William and Elizabeth (Pharris) Lambert
Photo contributed to

 The last census on which William Lambert appears is the 1880 at age 68. He is enumerated with his wife Elizabeth and four children still living at home: Samuel, Millie, Matthew (enumerated as Madison, but it has to be Matthew); and Bettie. Elizabeth Pharris Lambert is still living on the 1910 census with her daughter, Bettie Philpot, a widow, and four of her children.

Mariah is the child of William and Elizabeth that is most interesting to me, because she has a connection with my Huff/Roberts ancestors. Mariah married George Washington Huff, son of Samuel and Lucinda (Hardcastle) Huff, on 16 July 1870. They are enumerated twice on the 1870 census. They were enumerated as family #63, apparently in their own home, as they are the only names at that residence. Their neighbors on either side were Leonard “Knight” Huff (listed as Luna Huff) and his son, James Pendleton Huff (listed as Penelton Huff and transcribed as Perretta!) They are enumerated again at Stephen and Elzina’s home, #179, where they were apparently visiting next door to Mariah’s parents, William and Elizabeth, who lived at #178.

George Washington and Mariah (Lambert) Huff,
1870 census, Jackson Co. TN at their own home

For a long time I have tried to make much of the fact that George and Mariah were at Stephen and Elzina’s house on that enumeration day. At first I thought they were living with the Roberts family, until I found them enumerated at their own house. Then I tried to make a connection with George Huff’s family, thinking that Elzina and George might have been siblings, both children of Samuel Huff. (I still haven’t completely given up that theory, as Samuel was of age and unmarried at the time of Elzina’s birth. He didn’t marry Lucinda Hardcastle until he was almost 40. Could his first wife have died, leaving him with a baby Elzina that he gave to his mother Susannah to raise?) Finally, now that I know I am also a Pharris descendant, could Mariah, daughter of Elizabeth Pharris, be the connection?

George Huff and Mariah Lambert married on 16 July. They were enumerated at their own home on 30 August and at Stephen and Elzina’s on 3 September. It’s pretty apparent they were just visiting. Now—were they visiting cousins, siblings, or just friends and neighbors? I wish I knew.

So, the point of this exercise is to look at connections among these Jackson Co. families. Through Elizabeth’s ancestors, connections have been made to the Vinson and Pharris families. Through Elizabeth’s descendants, connections have been made to the Huffs. I’m looking forward to digging into the Lamberts’ neighbors at house #1111, Caleb and Sally Huff Roberts and at house #1112, Samuel and Lucinda Hardcastle Huff.

I can’t leave William and Elizabeth Lambert without pointing out that one of their descendants is one of my largest DNA matches at 122 cM’s. By the early 1900’s George and Mariah and many of their 10 children had moved to Illinois. George appears for the last time on the 1910 census in Johnson Co. IL. He died 4 Sep 1911 and is buried in Williamson Co. IL. Mariah appears on the 1920 census in Williamson Co., and she died there on 11 Nov 1929.

George and Mariah’s son, Mitchell Cullom Huff (appears in some places as Joseph Mitchell Huff), married Lizzie Keith in Jackson Co. on 24 Dec 1910, and died in Johnson Co. IL on 21 Dec 1954. Mitchell and Lizzie’s son Andy, born in Illinois in 1920, is my big DNA match, probably because we share both Huff and Pharris DNA. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Back to the Books (and a Little DNA): 1850 Census, Jackson County Tennessee, Family #1108

A few weeks ago my cousin Barbara sent me an annotated list of 15 households that were living near each other on the 1850 Jackson County, Tennessee, census. She suggested we take another look at the relationships among these families. Believe me, it is not that easy in Jackson Co. TN. These are the most complicated relationships I’ve ever seen. At least it seems so to me 165 years later; I’m sure the citizens of Jackson Co. in 1850 knew exactly who they were related to. Too bad somebody didn’t write it all down. The best we can do in 2014 is try to find clues in the census, court records (of which there were many), and DNA results.

Our related families lived in District 15 of Jackson Co. The enumeration of District 15 runs 12 pages, and Barbara’s list begins with the families on page 10. (My Stephen and Elzina—enumerated as Elsy—are on page 7.) The first family on Barbara’s list, shown as Family #1108 on the census, is Polly Carter, age 68; Leroy, age 27; and Isabella, age 12.

1850 Census, Jackson County TN, District 15, Page 10

Just taking this family as an example ought to give you an idea of the craziness of Jackson County. To begin with, Polly Roberts Carter was the long-time paramour of the infamous Enoch Carter. Enoch was married to Susannah Wilkinson in Greene Co. TN in February 1794, and they arrived in Jackson Co. about 1804. While he was still married to Susannah, he lived off and on with Catie Johnson, widow of William Pharris, and helped her spend the inheritance intended for William’s children. Catie finally left him when he married Polly, with whom he had also had a long-time affair. (By the way, Enoch may have been married a couple of times before he married Susannah, and he wasn’t finished when he married Polly. In between and after his marriage to Polly, he also had relationships—and children--with Rhoda Manier and Sookie Huff.)

Barbara is descended from Enoch and his wife Susannah Wilkinson, but she has long thought that my 2nd great-grandfather, Stephen Roberts, and his brother Caleb were the children of Enoch Carter and Polly Roberts before they were married. Honestly, I resisted for a long time because I had trouble believing anybody in the 1800s could treat marriage so flippantly, but it looks like Barbara is probably right.

Following Polly back to the 1840 census was my first clue. On that census her family consisted of 2 males 15-19, 1 male 20-29, 1 female under 5, and herself (1 female 50-59.) One of the males 15-19 is probably Leroy who is 27 on the 1850 census. The 5-year-old female could be Isabella, who is 12 on the 1850 census. I know it’s not conclusive, but I just can’t help but think that the male 20-29 is Stephen. He is not enumerated by name on the 1840 census, and he is not living with his brother Caleb. Nor is there a male 20-29 living with any of the possible Roberts families.

I shared with Barbara that I was coming around to her point of view on the parentage of Stephen and Caleb. She said, “I don’t know why I never thought of this before! Why don’t you check your DNA results and see if you have any matches who show Enoch’s maternal grandparents, Daniel McPherson and Ruth Shires, in their trees? If you have even one, it’s a good bet you are also a descendant of Enoch Carter!” I have at least 8, and that’s just on A few more show up on Family Tree DNA.

Polly does not appear on the 1860 census, but Leroy is enumerated as L.S. Carter, age 37, with his daughter Mary, age 5. What in the world is his occupation? The enumerator had quite fancy handwriting. Does it say “Whiskey & Candy”? The “whiskey” is clear, but I can’t decipher the rest of it. Apparently, Leroy’s wife had died. About 1867 he married Sarah Elizabeth Samples, who had previously been married to a McKinney. On the 1870 census Leroy, age 49, is enumerated with wife Sarah, age 36; Mary, age 16; John McKinney, age 14; Feby McKinney, age 11; Linder A. McKinney, age 9; and Mariah Carter, age 2. Trees on list two more children: Nora “Nobie” Ann Carter, born 1871, and Leroy, born 1874. No occupation is listed for Leroy in 1870.

This photograph shows half-brothers Leroy Carter (son of Enoch Carter and Polly Roberts) and Enoch Chapman Carter (son of Enoch Carter and Catie Johnson.) I guess the brothers must have been close at one time, or why have their photographs taken together? However, the relationship ended in tragedy. They argued in the street one Sunday after church over a matter of scriptural interpretation. Enoch, in a pique of temper, threw a rock at Leroy and killed him. According to Carter family lore, Enoch changed his name and moved to Oklahoma, never to be seen in Jackson County again.

Leroy Carter and Enoch Chapman Carter
Photo contributed to

Well, that’s family #1, and one brick wall may have fallen. Until something convinces me differently, I think I believe that my great-great-grandfather Stephen Roberts is the son of Enoch Carter and Polly Roberts.