Monthly Archives: January 2011

Lou Ida Belle Miller Mason Watson

Lou Ida Belle Miller was my husband’s first cousin (3 times removed) and the loving grandmother of fellow family researcher Tom Hedges.  Most of the information that I have on Lou Ida Belle comes generously from Tom. 

Lou Ida Belle Miller - Photo from the collection of Tom Hedges

Lou Ida Belle Miller was the youngest daughter of Harriet Curbow and Elijah Spencer Miller.  She was born in Itasca, Hill County, Texas on 3 June 1892. 

On 27 Jan 1907 (at the tender age of 14 years old), Lou Ida Belle married Jesse Monroe Mason.  A short nine months later in September of 1907 Jesse Mason died.  Out of this union came one child:  Jessie Isabel Mason who was born on Christmas Day 1907. 

By the age of 20, Lou Ida Belle Miller has remarried.  Her new husband is James Monroe Watson.  The couple had six children:  Minnie Estel in 1912; Bonnie Gertrude in 1916; John Edward in 1918; Ruby Pauline in 1920; Willie Mae in 1925; and James Thomas in 1929.  The family lived in and around the Carter County, Oklahoma area until 1933 when James Monroe Watson died following a surgery. 

After the death of her husband, Lou Ida Belle Miller left Oklahoma with her children and migrated to Arizona.  This is what Tom

Lou Ida Belle Miller - Greenwood Memorial Lawn Cemetery

shared with me about his grandmother:  My grandmother moved with all her children to Arizona to find work. With the great depression and ‘dust bowl’ during that time, they were among the many ‘Okies’ that moved west to find work.  All of her children stayed in Arizona, except for one.  Her daughter Ruby Pauline and Ruby’s husband Robert Harris moved back to Oklahoma, and remained in Oklahoma the rest of their lives.

 Lou Ida Belle Miller Watson died in Phoenix, Maricopa County on 8 Jan 1969.  She is laid to rest at the Greenwood Memorial Lawn Cemetery.

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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in Miller


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Willie Mae Miller Mason

Willie Mae Miller was born sometime around 1890 in Texas (either McLennan County or Hill County).  She was one of the daughters of Harriet Curbow and Elijah Spencer Miller.  Because her birth year fell during the missing 1890 census – and the 1900 census where the Miller family cannot be found – I never even knew that Willie existed until Tom Hedges told me about her. 

Based on the birth year of her first child and 1910 census record, Willie married in 1907.  She married John Wesley Mason (the brother of Jesse Monroe Mason (first husband of Willie’s sister, Lou Ida Bell Miller).   The couple had four children:  Pearl Lee Mason (a male – 1908-1992); Thomas Wesley Mason (1910-1979); Ethel Mason (1913) and Spencer Mason (1923-1984).  The family lived in Caddo and Carter Counties through the 1930 census.  It is believed that after the death of Willie’s husband, she and the children migrated to California.  There she lived until her death on 21 December 1971 in Stanislaus County, California.

Willie Mae Miller Mason - Photo from the collection of Tom Hedges

 I would be interested in hearing from any of Willie’s descendants who could provide me with the location of her final resting place.

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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in Miller


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Elijah Spencer Miller – Update

Just when I had about given up on finding new information on Elijah Spencer Miller and his family — today I stumbled on a family tree on that I had never seen before.  Imagine my shock and surprise when I found two pictures of Elijah that I had never seen.  I have contacted the owner of the tree in hopes that they can shed some light on the life of Elijah and wife Harriet Curbow and wife Rosa Mosby Long.  Elijah looks very young in this first photograph.  I’ll take a stab in the dark and assume that this photograph was taken in Waco while he was married to Harriet Curbow.

Elijah Spencer Miller = Photo is courtesy of James Dudley


Elijah Spencer Miller - Photograph is from the collection of James Dudley

Elijah looks much older in this second photograph and my assumption would be that it was taken in Oklahoma. 

 I am hopeful that I will hear back from the owner of the tree.  It appears that they are descended from Cleo Hazel Miller (the oldest daughter of Rosa Mosby Long and Elijah Spencer Miller). 
Stay tuned for further updates and Elijah and family!
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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in Miller


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Cynthia Alice Spencer Hutchison

Cynthia Alice Spencer Hutchison was my great grand aunt and the oldest daughter born to John Henry Spencer and Lucy Lodicia Elmer.  She was born in Payson, Utah County, Utah on 15 Apr 1867.  Cynthia grew up with her family in Utah and Sanpete Counties. 

Cynthia Alice Spencer Hutchison

 On 11 Dec. 1885, when she was 18 years old, she married William Greenville Hutchison in Logan, Cache County, Utah.  The couple raised a very large family:  John Henry was born in 1886; Sarah Lodica in 1888; Ethel Eva in 1890; Lydia Ann in 1892; William Richard in 1893; Alice Maida in 1896; Zettie Delora in 1899; Diean Lucy in 1900; George Earl in 1903; Lloyd L in 1905; and Lorin Spencer in 1908.

By 1920 the family has relocated to Marysville, Freemont County, Idaho.  According to the census record, her husband William was a farmer, and they owned their own home. 

William Greenville Hutchison

Cynthia died at the age of 79 on 23 Dec 1946 in Blackfoot, Bingham County, Idaho.  She is laid to rest there in the Grove City Cemetery. 

Cynthia Alice Spencer Hutchison - Grove City Cemetery


Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Spencer


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Jose Leopoldo Montoya


Jose Leopoldo Montoya – Photo courtesy of Margie Montoya

Jose Leopoldo Montoya was my grand uncle – born 27 Aug 1902 in Bosque, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico – one of the sons of Maximiano de Herrera Montoya and Maria Juana Adelia Martin – and the older brother of my grandfather.  Leo was christened in the San Juan de los Caballeros Catholic Church on 7 Sept 1902.  Leo spent his childhood with his family growing up in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico.  We can find him there in the 1910 and 1920 census periods.  Leo states that he has been attending school; that he can read and write; and that he speaks English. 

In the 1930 census there is a Leopoldo Montoya, age 28, born 1902 in New Mexico living and working at the Sunnyside Mine in San Juan County, Colorado.  (Sunnyside was a gold/silver/lead/copper/zinc mine.)  Leo is indexed as a boarder and a Mexican.  With him is a Joe Montoya, age 23.  I don’t know for certain that this is Uncle Leo (and my grandfather Joe Montoya) – but it’s a strong possibility.  My grandfather and my uncle were ore miners.  They left New Mexico during the Great Depression looking for work.  They ended up in Bingham Canyon, Utah where they worked the Kennecott Copper Mine (also known as the Bingham Canyon Mine). 

Bingham Mine - 1942

 Kennecott is located southwest of Salt Lake City in the Oquirrh Mountains.  It is the deepest open-pit mine in the world.  The mine has been in production since 1906  – and has been designated as a national historic landmark.  

Bingham Mine

 According to his death certificate, Leo did marry.  I do not know when and where.  His wife’s name was Ermelinda Herrera.  Ermelinda was born around 1900 in New Mexico.  I do not know what became of her – and would be interested in hearing from any of her children and/or grandchildren.

Unfortunately, Jose Leopoldo Montoya died young in life (as did many of Maximiano’s children) – he died of pneumonia after abdominal surgery at the Bingham – Salt Lake County Hospital at only 32 years of age on 16 May 1935.

Leo is laid to rest in the Bingham Canyon Cemetery in Salt Lake County, Utah.  The Bingham Canyon Cemetery is defunct and abandoned and was taken over by Kennecott Mine several years ago.  Most of the remains were moved to the newer Bingham Cemetery on old Bingham Highway.  A volunteer checked the cemetery map for me.  He found Jose Leopolodo Montoya – but sadly he is listed as “unknown.”  He is one among 1,100 unknown burials.  The majority of these people were employees at Kennecott Copper Mine.  There have been several attempts to clean the cemetery, but most of the markers are in disrepair, and there was an estimate that 75 percent of the graves aren’t actually marked.  The volunteer has visited the cemetery on many occasions and he stated that a good portion of the graves are marked with tin funeral home markers that are so worn from the elements, a name doesn’t even remain, just a weathered tin rod.  There is a cemetery survey that was completed as part of a Boy Scout project a few years ago online:

Name: Leo Montoya
Birth: 28-Aug-1903, Lyden, New Mexico
Death: 16-May-1935, Bingham Canyon, Utah
Burial: 19-May-1935
Cause Of Death: Bilateral Lower Lobar Pneumonia. Surgery for Pyloroplasty, Cholecystectomy
Father: Maxiniono Montoya – New Mexico
Mother: Juanita Martinez – New Mexico
Spouse: Ermelinda Herrera Montoya
Cemetery section: UNKNOWN
Original Cemetery Reference #: M84 & M118
Information about this burial in old Bingham Mortuary records: YES

Bingham City Cemetery


Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Montoya


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Jesse Richardson Grantham

Jesse Richardson Grantham was my husband’s 3rd great grandfather.  According to what is inscribed on his tombstone he was born 6 Jan 1834 in Harris, Union County, Georgia.  Many of my husband’s ancestors migrated from the north Georgia area to Texas.  This is also the case for Jesse Grantham.  Union County lies in far north Georgia bordering North Carolina.  Jesse was the youngest son of William M. Grantham (1783-1863) and Susannah Richardson (1800-1873). 

Jesse Richardson Grantham; Photo is courtesy of Tina Nored Kasiske

At the tender age of 17 – Jesse Richardson Grantham married Susan Adeline Parks (1833-1924) on May 11, 1851 in Union County Georgia.  The couple raised a very large family:  Monroe Mathias born in 1852; Hillard Cisero born in 1854; Benjamin Franklin born in 1857; Rufus Marion born in 1859; Ira Foster born in 1861; Alice E. born in 1865; Emma Leticia born in 1867; Ada Elizabeth born in 1871; and Mary Etta born in 1876.  

Jesse Richardson Grantham and wife Susan Adeline Parks - Photo courtesy of Linda Cheesman


By 1870 the family has left their north Georgia home and has relocated to Burlingame, Osage County, Kansas.  Osage County is in the eastern portion of the State near Topeka.  It is unknown to me why the Grantham family moved to Kansas.  Burlingame – which was originally established as Council City – was an important stop on the Santa Fe trail. 

The next thirty years of Jesse Richardson Grantham’s life are a mystery to me.  I cannot find him in any census record until 1900 when he is 66 years old living with wife Susannah in Erath County, Texas.  In every census period he lists himself as a farmer.  Susannah states that she had given birth to nine children and that eight are living.  (Alice E. Grantham died as an infant.) 

 Again, according to his headstone, Jesse Richardson Grantham died 3 Sept, 1903.  Family members say that he died in Stephenville, Erath County, Texas.  He is laid to rest in Live Oak Cemetery, Dublin, Erath County, Texas.


Jesse Richardson Grantham – Live Oak Cemebery; Dublin, Erath County, Texas

*Please note – there are various researchers that have various dates of birth and death for Jesse.  For our purposes – the only source I have are the dates on his headstone.


Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Grantham


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Thomas Jefferson Atwood

Thomas Jefferson Atwood was born 20 November 1823 in Lincoln County, Tennessee – he was one of the eleven children of James Atwood and Elizabeth Ann Miles – and he was my husband’s 3rd great grandfather. 

Thomas Jefferson Atwood

As a young man Thomas Atwood moved to Columbia, Missouri around 1845 or 1846.  While on a trip to Herman, Missouri, he met Matilda (Hough) Pinnell, the widow of William Pinnell and the mother of two small sons, Benjamin & Wiley.  Matilda was born in Laclede County, Missouri and moved to Herman, Missouri after marrying William Pinnell.  It is said that William was killed by Indians in January of 1843 at Toby’s Landing near Jefferson City, Missouri.

The couple had three more sons:  William Payton in 1894; Russell Columbus in 1853; and Joseph Ashford in 1856.  Eventually, Thomas and Matilda moved to Texas and settled near Round Rock in Williamson County.  

Shortly after the Civil War, the family took a trip to Mexico.  There is some family disagreement as to what the purpose of this trip was.  Some contend Thomas and Matilda were among a large colony of southern sympathizers who moved to Mexico during that time period to escape ‘carpet-bag’ rule and to establish a Confederate colony south of the border.  Other family members however contend that the trip was simply taken to purchase cattle from the Mexicans and that Thomas and Matilda had no intention of remaining there.  Whatever the case, sadly, Matilda fell ill on the return trip, and died on the trail, near Uvalde, Texas and was buried on the banks of the Nueces River. 

Interestingly, there are Civil War Muster cards for a Thomas Atwood who served with Company I, Texas 17th Infantry and also the 20th Battalion Texas State Troops.  It appears that enlistment was out of “Camp Terry.”  By November 1863, the last muster card states:  Deserted…gone to parts unknown.  I do not know if this is “our” Thomas Atwood. 

After Matilda’s death, the census records tell us that Thomas spent time in Hays County, Callahan County and then he returned to Williamson County, where he died near Round Rock on the Carrington Ranch in 1882.   He is laid to rest in the historic Round Rock Cemetery which was established in the early 1850s in what is now known as Old Round Rock.  This cemetery is the burial ground of many area pioneers and outstanding Round Rock citizens.  Numerous war veterans are buried here, as is bank robber and outlaw Sam Bass, who died July 21, 1878, two days after being shot by Texas Rangers in Round Rock. 

Who could have ever guessed that we would find a great-great-great grandfather laid to rest in a cemetery just minutes from our house? 

Thomas Jefferson Atwood - Round Rock Cemetery

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Posted by on January 23, 2011 in Atwood


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