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Sunday, April 27, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #17 Lodema Walker Criswell, My Great-Grandmother

Lodema as a young woman - date unknown, Lodema and family - about 1893,
Lodema with her brother 1912 - Thomas Leroy "Whit" Criswell,
L.W.H. - found in the Bryan Family Bible

Lodema  Walker Criswell was born in Cherokee County, Texas on June 4, 1856. Her parents, William M. Criswell and Mary Ann “Polly” Evans, moved to Falls County, Texas three years after her birth. 

Lodema married Phillip A. Hairston at age 17.  They had two children, a baby boy who died in infancy and a daughter, my grandmother, Myrtie Hairston. In 1883, the Hairston family moved to Erath County, Texas where Lodema lived with her husband and daughter in the Bethel Community. In 1905, Lodema and Phillip moved to Baylor County with their daughter, her husband and children where they remained until their deaths. Lodema died on October 3, 1919, two years after her husband, Phillip. She and Phillip are buried in an unmarked grave in Seymour, Texas.  

No Story Too Small


© 2014


Family photographs and documents from the collection of Diana Bryan Quinn.

Stephenville Tribune [Stephenville] 11 Nov. 1905: Microfilm

"Texas, Deaths (New Index, New Images), 1890-1976." Index and Images.FamilySearch. : accessed 2013. Citing Bureau of Vital Statistics. State Registrar Office, Austin.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday's Photo: Do you recognize this young man?

This photograph was sent to me about 15 years ago by my cousin, Jackie. There were no markings on the photo. It could be a classmate, friend, or relative of any of my father's family members - Bryan, Hairstons, Thompsons, Noahs, Criswells, Albrittons, and more. Does anyone have this photo? 


© 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #16 Ella Hairston Simonton, A Timeline

This week, I decided to write about Ella D. Hairston as I had a little information from a research trip that might not be available online. I didn't expect to be able to find such a large amount of information about her from the Internet. As I sifted through this information, I wondered if Ella's family had known my Hairston family. 

No Story Too Small
If Ella's father, Samuel B. Hairston, and my great-great-grandfather, John L. Hairston, were brothers, then Ella and my great-grandfather, Phillip, were first cousins. Ella and her family were in Texas by 1882 - probably Bell County. In 1882, Phillip was living in nearby Falls County and three of Ella's brothers were in Falls before 1900 - maybe much earlier. Could any of those many "unknowns" in my pictures be of this Hairston family? 

Ella D. Hairston was the daughter of Samuel B. Hairston and Matilda Glasgow. She was born on July 31, 1852 in Georgia, probably Troup County. On the death certificate of her daughter, Zula Mae, Ella's name was written as Ella Deborah Hairston. 

In 1860, seven year old Ella was living with her parents in Randolph County, Alabama along with six year old twins, Sarah and Mary, Edward - age 4, and Jessie B. - age 1. 

Ella was 18 years old when she appeared on the Chambers County, Alabama census in 1870 along with her parents and siblings. Two year old James was an addition to the family. 

Ella married Fuqua B. Simonton* on September 26, 1875 at the home of Jeremiah Parris in Chambers County, Alabama. She was 23 years old and was college educated. In an old family letter it was written that she attended a school in LaGrange. According information found in the letter, it was not LaGrange College for Women, but "the other place." This might be Southern Female College, a Baptist affiliated college, which prior to 1854 was known as LaGrange Female Seminary. 

Sulla Belle Simonton, daughter of Fuqua and Ella Simonton, was born in 1877 in Alabama.

The 1880 census places Fuqua (written as Fuquasby), Ella, and Belle in Chambers County, Alabama. Also living in the household was Ella's 21 year old brother, Jesse Hairston. 

The Simonton family was in Texas by 1882 as Henry Lewis was born on November 7, 1882. Their youngest son, Thurman Lee was born in Texas on August 28, 1888. Zula Mae, the youngest Simonton child, was born on June 23, 1892.

In 1895, Sula Belle married Henry D. Hargroves.  Click here to read the story of Sula Belle's marriage, Love Will Win, as found in the Fort Worth Gazette.

In 1900, Ella and her family lived in Bell County, Texas with husband F. B. and children - 18 year old Henry, 11 year old Thurman, and 7 year old Zula.  Sula and Henry were living nearby with children Cicle and Clifton.  

In 1910, Ella, Fuqua, Thurman, Zula, and Matilda Hearston {Hairston} were living in the Simonton family home.  Ella's mother Matilda was 79 years old and a widow. It is assumed that Matilda was visiting Ella. It was written in an old family letter that Matilda visited her daughter in Texas; however, the daughter was named as "Mollie."

In 1920 Ella and FB were living in Bell County with son Thurman and three grandchildren - F. D., Letha, and Lucille.

Photograph courtesy of Larry Lagut
F. B. Simonton died March 24, 1930. That year, Ella appeared on the census with Thurman and his three children in Bell County. 

In 1940, Ella was living with son, Thurman, and her grandson - F. D. and his wife, Ruby. 

Ella Hairston Simonton was 92 years old when she died on February 13, 1945 in Temple, Texas. She is buried with her husband in Little Flock Cemetery near Temple.  

*F. B. Simonton's actual name is not often found. On his daughter's birth record and on his son Thurman's death certificate, his name is written as Fuqua Beasley Simonton. In 1880, on the census record, his name is written as Fuquasby and in 1900, it is actually written as Fuqua B., but transcribed as Fu??Ne B.  Most other documents have his name as F. B. Simonton. In family trees, his name is also seen as Frances Beasley and Fugersby. I believe that Fuqua is his name. Fuqua is an actual name while Fugersby and Fuquasby, when Googled, can only be associated with F. B. Simonton. 


© 2014

"Chambers County, Alabama Marriage Records." Tap Roots 10.4 (1973): 199. Print.

Greenway, Carl (New York, New York) to "Dear Bill" [William H. Hairston, Jr.]. Letter. 22 November 1965. Formby Family Genealogical Collection [Manuscript]. Georgia Archives, Morrow, Georgia.

Fort Worth Gazette. (Fort Worth, Tex.), Vol. 19, No. 98, Ed. 1, Sunday, March 3, 1895, Newspaper, March 3, 1895; digital images, ( : accessed April 12, 2014), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.

"SOUTHERN FEMALE COLLEGE RECORDS." Troup County Archives. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.<>

"Texas, Births and Christenings, 1840-1981," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 Apr 2014), Fuqua Beasley Simonton in entry for Zula Mae Simonton, 23 Jun 1892; citing Temple, Bell, Texas, reference ; FHL microfilm 1637712 IT 1-2.

Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013.

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

Year: 1910; Census Place: Justice Precinct 4, Bell, Texas; Roll: T624_1530; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0011; FHL microfilm: 1375543.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Justice Precinct 4, Bell, Texas; Roll: T625_1776; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 13; Image: 414.

Year: 1930; Census Place: Precinct 4, Bell, Texas; Roll: 2290; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 0015; Image: 960.0; FHL microfilm: 2342024.

Year: 1940; Census Place:  Bell, Texas; Roll: T627_3983; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 14-17.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #15 Jane Hairston married Thomas W. Cook in Tallapoosa, Alabama

According to Volume II The WHITAKER and Related Families by Mary Lee Anderson, Hugh Brown Hairston and Sarah McElhaney had a daughter, Jane. I have currently found only two references to a Jane that possibly tie into this Hairston family. 

No Story Too Small
The first, a marriage record, indicates that a Jane Hairston married Thomas W. Cook on December 24, 1846 in Tallapoosa County, Alabama.  The certificate above is one of seven photocopied records documenting this marriage found at Family

The second, was Jane Cook on the 1880 census of Tallapoosa County. Fifty year old Jane Cook, a widow, was living with Henry Stalins, Vincent  Hurston, and a Roberts family (Tim, Amy, and Amanda). I don't know the relationship of this Roberts family. H.C. Stalins might be Henry Stallings, son of Jane's sister Mary, and Vincent is probably Jane's brother.  

Exhaustive on-line searches for Thomas W. Cook and Jane Hairston revealed no additional records. Thanks to this search and my search for #14, Mary Hairston, my Hairston files are in perfect order, but give no additional clues for Jane and her family. 

Additional strategies are needed to find so many of these Alabama Hairstons. A trip to Alabama would be ideal, but until then, more library research is needed. Other considerations might be to borrow Alabama newspaper microfilm through interlibrary loan and join the Genealogical Society of East Alabama. 


© 2014


"Alabama, Marriages, 1816-1957," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 08 Apr 2014), Thomas W. Cook and Jane Hairston, 24 Dec 1846; citing reference ; FHL microfilm 1302444 V. 1-3.

Anderson, Mary Lee. Volume II The WHITAKER and Related Families. Date unknown. Print and online

Year: 1880; Census Place: Kinderhook, Tallapoosa, Alabama; Roll: 33; Family History Film: 1254033; Page: 419A; Enumeration District: 146; Image: 0445.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday's Photo: National Siblings Day

Yesterday was National Siblings Day so it is appropriate that I post this picture of me with my brother at Jones Beach in New York in 1963.  I love the hats! Note that my brother is wearing a USS Ashland shirt. Our Dad was stationed on that ship in the 1960s. 


© 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #14 Mary Hairston who was last found in Macon County, Alabama.

Mary Hairston, possible daughter of Hugh B. Hairston and Sarah McElhaney, was born in South Carolina in about 1831.

A Mary Herston married Alvis Stallings in Troup County, GA in 1848. A Mary A. Stallings is also found in 1850 on the Macon County, Alabama census record just below Sarah Hurston, who is thought to be her mother, and Robert and Vincent Hurston, her probable brothers. On this 1850 census, nineteen year old Mary A. Stallings is living with her twenty two year old husband, "Elias" Stallings, and their baby, Hughey B. Stallings.  Is there any doubt that Hughey B. is the grandson of Hugh Brown Hairston?

No other record can be found of this Alvis/Elias and Mary Stallings household. Where were they in 1860? Sarah Hairston is also missing from that census.

An Alvis Stallings married a Martha Cogan in nearby Tallapoosa County in 1860 and have no children in their household on the census record for that same year. If this Alvis is the same Alvis/Elias married to Mary, there is definitely a problem with the reported ages as in 1850 he was 22 years old and 25 years old in 1860.

Hughey B. Stallings and Sarah Hairston reappear in 1870 on the Lee County census. Twenty year old H.B. Stalling was living with V. Hairston, 80 year old Sarah Hairston, and two more Stalling children; H.C. and S. F. Stalling born about 1855. Were these last two children twins? H. C. was a male and S. F. was female.

In 1880, Henry Stalins, age 24, was living with a Jane Cook, Vincent  Hurston, and a Roberts family (Tim, Amy, and Amanda) in Tallapoosa.  Could Henry be H. C.? If so, Jane is probably an aunt (more on that later) and Vincent is his uncle. Who is this Roberts family? I assume that Sarah passed away prior to 1880. What happened to Hughey and S.F.? 

There are so many questions in this post. I hope that my year of posting 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, will help me find some of these answers and many more!


© 2014


"Alabama, Marriages, 1816-1957," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 08 Apr 2014), Alvis Stallings and Martha Cogan, 01 Feb 1860; citing reference ; FHL microfilm 1302445 V. 4-5.

Dodd, Jordan, Liahona Research, comp.. Georgia Marriages, 1851-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.

Year: 1850; Census Place: District 21, Macon, Alabama; Roll: M432_9; Page: 276B; Image: 173.

Year: 1860; Census Place: Western Division, Tallapoosa, Alabama; Roll: M653_25; Page: 295; Image: 297; Family History Library Film: 803025.

Year: 1870; Census Place: Loachapoka, Lee, Alabama; Roll: M593_23; Page: 305A; Image: 184; Family History Library Film: 545522.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Kinderhook, Tallapoosa, Alabama; Roll: 33; Family History Film: 1254033; Page: 419A; Enumeration District: 146; Image: 0445.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday's Photo: Rattlesnake RoundUp!

My second cousin, Jane, has been sending me some awesome photos and I am learning more about a part of my Bryan family that I knew little about. Jane's grandmother, Dollie Bryan Wylie, was the sister of my grandfather, Redic Bryan. Jane's father, McNeil Wylie, is in both of these photos. He is the man holding the snake in the picture below.

Bounty on Rattlesnakes 1928
Jane wrote that she always thought that these photos were taken near the Wylie family home in Bronte, Coke County, Texas.

However,  this week, she noticed that the pictures were finished by The Wiseman Studio in Hico, Texas. Were they taken in Hico or just developed in Hico? Did photographers from The Wiseman Studio travel to other areas?

The photos were thought to have been taken in the 1920s. In 1928, Nolan County, Texas was offering a bounty of $3 per dozen rattlesnakes killed. Nolan County was adjacent to Coke County and is known for their Rattlesnake Roundups. 

So, when and where were these photos taken? And, who is the tall man with the dark hat?


© 2014


"Nolan County Offers Bounty on Rattlesnakes." Abilene Reporter-News [Abilene] 19 February 1928. Web. Accessed 2 April 2014.

Photographs used with permission. From the collection of Jane F. Aebersold.