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Sunday, March 30, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #13 James Hairston Who Died in Falls County, Texas on March 25, 1905

No Story Too Small
James Hairston isn't of any particular interest to me as I really don't believe that he was part of my direct family line. However, because he died in Falls County, Texas, where my Hairston family once lived, he shows up in Public Member Trees at (and other sites on the web) as a son of my great-great-grandfather, John L. Hairston. I feel a need to prove or disprove this theory. 

The Report of Death states that James Hairston died near Durango in Falls County, Texas on March 25, 1905. His age was recorded as 36 giving him a birth year of 1868 or 1869. 

In 1900, a James W. Hairston, age 31, is living in Falls County with his wife, Laura, and several children. James was born in Alabama in October 1868. His parents were both born in Georgia. J. W. Hairston married Laura Lemly on June 19, 1890 in Bell County, Texas. This appears to be the same family as by 1910, Laura Hairston, a widow, and these same children were living in Bell County very near James T. Lemly, her brother. 

I do find the assumption that James Hairston was the son of John L. Hairston very unlikely. Most records point to John L. Hairston as being born in South Carolina, not Georgia. And, by 1868, John L. Hairston was paying taxes in Falls County, Texas. 

A few people have pointed to the questionable James in the 1880 census record of John L. Hairston's family in Falls County. I believe that the entry that looks like James is actually Jane. Even if it is a James, it cannot be the James who died in Falls County in 1905. This James/Jane was 34 years old and the James who died in Falls County would have been only 12 years old in 1880. 

John L. Hairston had a son, William, born in 1846. Some trees indicate that William and this James could be one in the same. Again, the ages don't match.

In 1883 it is assumed* that John L. Hairston died. His son, Phillip Hairston, his two daughters, and their families sold land and moved from Falls County to Erath County, Texas. Around that same time, Hairstons from Alabama moved to Falls County, Texas. 

Edd and Jesse Hairston, sons of Samuel B. Hairston of Alabama were counted in the 1900 census of Falls County. Samuel's daughter, Ella Simonton, lived in nearby Bell County and his youngest son, Peter, lived in Fort Worth. 

Samuel B. Hairston also had a son, James "Jim" Hairston, born about 1868 or 1869. Jim is found, with this family, on the Chambers County, Alabama census records at age 2 in 1870 and age 12 in 1880.  This James W. Hairston in the 1900 census matches young Jim in age as well as his birthplace.

I believe that James Hairston, who died in Falls County, Texas on March 25, 1905, is the son of Samuel B. Hairston, not the son of John L. Hairston, my great-great-grandfather. John L. and Samuel B. Hairston are both said to be the sons of Hugh Brown Hairston. So, if this is true and James is the son of Samuel, then James W. Hairston would be John L. Hairston's nephew. 

I cannot definitively prove this with the information that I have; however, I do feel that I have enough persuasive evidence that points in this direction. Further research, both in Alabama and Texas, might need to be focused on land and probate records. 


© 2014  

 * No one really knows when or where John Hairston died and is buried. 1883 was the year that Phillip and the rest of the family moved to Erath county, but it's also the year that Phillip's mother-in-law died leaving her daughter land and possibly money. John might have died, but he might also have moved to Erath County with the family and might even be in an unmarked grave in the Bethel Cemetery. Just another theory . . . 


"80 Year Old Temple Resident." E. V. "Ed" Hairston. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <>

1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Falls County, Texas, Phil Hairston household; National Archives microfilm publication roll M432; digital image,, (accessed 27 Feb. 2014). Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. Original data:  Texas Department of State Health Services. Texas Death Certificates, 1903–1982. Archives, Orem, Utah. Public Member Trees [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2006.

Quinn, Diana. "Moments in Time, A Genealogy Blog." : 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #8 William Hairston. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <>.

Quinn, Diana. "Moments in Time, A Genealogy Blog." : 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #9 Sarah Jane Hairston and a Challenging Census Record. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <>.

Quinn, Diana. "Moments in Time, A Genealogy Blog." : 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #12 Samuel B. Hairston of Georgia and Alabama. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <>.

"Texas, County Tax Rolls, 1846-1910," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 Mar 2014), Falls county > 1868 > image 33 of 92; citing State Archives, Austin.

"Texas, Marriages, 1837-1973," index, FamilySearch 
( : accessed 28 Mar 2014), J. W. Hairston and Laura Lemly, 19 Jun 1890; citing , Bell, Texas, , reference 2:TMX5RP; FHL microfilm 981036.

Year: 1870; Census Place: Fredonia, Chambers, Alabama; Roll: M593_6; Page: 87A; Image: 176; Family History Library Film: 545505.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Bloomingdale, Chambers, Alabama; Roll: 5; Family History Film: 1254005; Page: 240D; Enumeration District: 178.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Precinct 5, Bell, Texas; Roll: 1290; Family History Film: 1255290; Page: 386B; Enumeration District: 005.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Justice Precinct 4, Bell, Texas; Roll: 1610; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0023; FHL microfilm: 1241610.

Year: 1900; Census Place: Justice Precinct 4, Falls, Texas; Roll: 1632; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0022; FHL microfilm: 1241632.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Justice Precinct 4, Bell, Texas; Roll: T624_1530; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0012; FHL microfilm: 1375543.

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