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Sunday, December 28, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #51 Eliza Hairston, My Great-Great-Grandmother

The solid lines indicate that the connection to the family is documented while
the dotted lines indicate that direct evidence has not yet been found to
make the connection. Click on the family tree to see a larger image.

My great-grandfather, Phillip A. Hairston was born in Hinds County, Mississippi in 1852. His father was John L. Hairston, born in South Carolina, and his mother, Eliza, thought to be born in Georgia.  Eliza's maiden name is unknown and a marriage date and place for John and Eliza cannot be found. 
Eliza Hairston's first name has only been seen in four places; the 1850 United States census record as Eliza,  Liza on the death record of Phillip A. Hairston in 1917, as Eliza on the death record of Permelia Hairston, and as Luiza on a deed record. 

There are family stories about a Native American ancestor in the Hairston family and Eliza appears to be a good candidate. According to my father, "one great-grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee." Distant cousins (Noahs, Thompsons, Greshams, and Chisums) had heard family stories about Native American heritage. One Thompson cousin said that her father treated it as a family secret. In an old Bryan family letter, my grandmother was referred to as "an Indian woman named Hirston."

Eliza is first found on the 1850 census. Her age was 30 years old, her birthplace was recorded as Georgia, and it was reported that she did not read or write. 

In 1860, Eliza was seen as E. Huston and her age was reported as 39, giving her a birth year of 1820 or 1821. 

Eliza and John had the following children indicating that they lived for a time Arkansas and possibly spent some time in Alabama.

Mary Ann Hairston was born about 1840 in Alabama or Arkansas
Permelia Hairston March 15, 1843 in Bradley County, Arkansas
Sarah Jane Hairston born about 1845 in Arkansas.
William born about 1846 in Mississippi.
Adeline Hairston born about 1849 in Mississippi.
Phillip A. Hairston born on May 17, 1852 in Mississippi
Martha Elizabeth "Mattie" Hairston born on August 2, 1858 in Mississippi.

On October 10, 1865 John L. Hairston and wife sold his land in Hinds County to George W. Prince for $600. John's wife's name is clearly written as Luiza. I would guess that this was a transcription error made when copying from the original deed, but we will never really know.

Hinds County to Bradley County to Falls County
Click here to see a larger version of this map at Google Maps.

A story from Permelia Hairston Noah's descendants was that, after the war ended, the Hairston family left Hinds County, Mississippi for Falls County, first stopping in Bradley County, Arkansas. No mention is made of what happened to Eliza. The family was in Falls County, Texas by 1867 and on September 21, 1868, John L. Hairston married Cynthia H. Moffitt.


© 2014

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

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

Deed of Sale from John L. Hairston and Luiza Hairston to Geo. W. Prince, 10 Oct. 1865. (filed 15 Nov. 1865), Hinds County, Mississippi, Deed Book 28, page 697. Chancery Clerk's Office, Raymond, Mississippi.

Houston, John L. and Moffitt, Cynthia, Falls County Marriages, County Clerk's Office, Marlin, Texas.

Year: 1850; Census Place: Hinds, Mississippi; Roll: M432_372; Page: 165A; Image: 336

Year: 1860; Census Place: Hinds, Mississippi; Roll: M653_582; Page: 674; Image: 206; Family History Library Film: 803582

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