Monthly Archives: January 2011

Joel Ham

Joel Ham is my husband’s 3rd great grandfather.  He was born on Christmas Day 1815 in Georgia.  (We know that Joel was born in Georgia because he states this in his own hand on the 1867 Texas Voters’ Registration Information Card which was required to reinstate voting rights following the Civil War.)  Joel is our brickwall Ham ancestor – we do not at this time know who his parents or siblings were.  If and when we discover his parentage, it is thought that there is a good chance that he can be linked to the South Carolina or Virginia Ham families – who are very well documented. 

On 23 Dec 1840 Joel married Mary Ellen Montgomery (1821-1874) in Carroll County, Tennessee.  Mary Ellen was the daughter of John G. Montogomery and Joannah DeMoss. 

Joel Ham - Marriage Record

By 1841 Joel and Mary Ellen can be found living in Yalabusha County, Mississippi where they are living north of the Yalabusha River.  Also in the county is a Mortimer Ham and family.  I suspect that there is a family connection but I have not been able to verify it. 

 By 1858 Joel and family have migrated to Texas – they are living in Mount Vernon, Titus County, Texas during the 1860 and 1870 census periods. 

Joel Ham died on 28 April 1874 in Grandview, Johnson County, Texas.  His wife Mary Ellen Montgomery Ham died just ten days later on 7 May 1874 in Grandview, Johnson County, Texas.  They are laid to rest together in the Grandview Cemetery.  It seems that perhaps they suffered an illness or an injury together given that they died fairly young and only ten days apart. 

Joel and Mary Ellen had four children:  John Montgomery in 1841; Joannah in 1843; Lenora Adelina in 1846; and Robert Montgomery in 1852. 

A special thanks to Marian Ham Miller for reviewing and confirming all of our Ham genealogy work.  She has been researching this line of the Ham family for decades.  Many of the names and dates for Joel Ham and wife Mary Ellen Montgomery and children are contained in the Montgomery-Ham Bible which she owns and which Marian generously shared with us. 






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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Brick Walls, Ham


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Elijah Spencer Miller – Husband of Harriet Curbow

Harriet’s husband, Elijah Spencer Miller, was born in Mississippi in about 1849.  He was the oldest son of James Turner and Rebecca Anderson Miller.   Elijah’s grandfather, Alfred W. Miller and his father, James, were both land/slave owners in Mississippi prior to the Civil War.  Elijah’s father, James Turner Miller, was a 3rd Sgt. during the Civil War serving with the Texas Militia out of McLennan County, Texas.  According to the Miller family oral history, Elijah’s father, James Turner Miller, was a wealthy man – owning cotton gins and a large property east of Waco, Texas on the Tehuacana Creek which he bought with gold.  Elijah’s mother (Rebecca) died in childbirth while Elijah was a young teen.  His father remarried, and the name of his second wife was Catherine Young.  The family oral history goes on to state that Elijah’s father was murdered by cattle rustlers as he returned home from Waco on a supply trip.  

After Harriet’s death, which is presumed to have occurred prior to December of 1904, Elijah Spencer Miller can be found in Springer, Pickens County, Indian Territory (Chickasaw Nation) (present day Carter County, Oklahoma), where he has remarried.  His new wife is Emily Rosa Mosbey Long (1874-1931) whom he married on 4 Dec, 1904.  Emily was the widow of H. C. Long and she had two sons by him – Walter L. Long and Floyd Daniel Long. 

Emily Rosa Mosbey Long Miller

It appears that Rosey Miller received a widow’s pension for her husband’s service in the civil war.  It is unclear if the pension was for the service of H. C. Long or for Elijah Spencer Miller.  I have been unable to locate service records for either of them.  If the pension is for Elijah’s service, it is believed that he must have served out of Texas – because he was in McLennan County by the age of 11.  The following documents were received from Tony Crow of Harrah, Oklahoma – a distant Miller descendant. 

Letter dated September 27, 1928 from Office of Judge of County Court, Caddo County, Anadarko, Oklahoma to Mrs. Rosey Miller of Cyril, Oklahoma:  Dear Madam:  Your application for widow’s pension is not executed properly.  The birth date and name of your child not given and your statement as to income and property is not satisfactory.  I am returning the same to you for correction.  Yours very truly, R. L. Lawrence, Judge.

Undated letter to Judge of County Court, Caddo County, Anadarko, Oklahoma from Mrs. Rosey Miller:  Dear Sir – I received the letter and taken it to the note republic (notary public).  He said I would have to go and see you.  I am 53 years old the 18th of this last August.  I am crippled up with the rheumatism so I can’t get out pick cotton.  I am so heavy on my feet.  I have no income – me and little girl are living with my son-in-law and he is working on the railroad.  Cannot make enough to clothe me.  This is the reason I need a pension.  If you want me to come let me know at once.  Will you please grant me a pension?  Yours truly Mrs. Rosey Miller.

Letter dated February 18, 1930 from County Judge to Mrs. Rosey Miller, Cyril, Oklahoma:  Dear Madam:  Information has been brought to this office that your daughter, Hattie Miller, age twelve years, is not attending school.  I have held you on the widow’s pension list since in 1929 and one of the provisions of the widow’s pension law is that the children shall attend school.  If there is any reason for this child remaining out of school, inform me at once to save your widow’s pension from being cut off.  Yours very truly, County Judge.

Annual Report of Rosie Miller to County Judge dated 4 Sept. 1928:  States that she has not remarried; has one minor daughter, Hattie Miller, age 13.  States – I am disabled to do anything.  Sure do need the pension.  Explains that her daughter Hattie cannot got to school because she is picking cotton.  Six individuals sign on Rosie’s behalf stating that she is conducting a home that is morally fit to rear children and that Rosie is a fit person.  These people included several grocers, the Chevrolet dealer and the dry goods store owner.  Additionally, the report listed another six people that were “acquainted with” Rosey – these included her banker, another grocer, her druggist, the filling station owner and the barber.  She further states that she is the widow of Spencer Miller who died on 16 Sept. 1924.  She has one minor child, “one girl,” age 11 who was born Jan 23, 1917 – Hattie Miller.  She owns no real estate or personal property or income.  She states that her rent is $7.00 per month. 

Annual Report of Rosie Miller to County Judge dated 28 Sept. 1929:  She states that she has one minor child, Hattie Miller, age 12, born January 23, 1917.  She has not remarried.  She does not work – she claims to be disabled.  She is living with her son-in-law.  She pays no rent.  She owns no personal property.  Her daughter does not attend school because she is picking cotton.  I am living with my son-in-law.  He is not able to take care of me and my daughter for his wages are only $2.56 cents a day and has to pay $10.00 a month house rent.  He works on the railroad.  My daughter attends school at Cyril when she goes, but she is picking cotton now.  I haven’t got any widow’s pensions for 3 months.

 Elijah and Rosey had the following children:

Cleo H. Miller - Photograph courtesy of Tony Crow

Cleo Hazel Miller was born 12 Jan 1906 in Oklahoma City.  She married Nathaniel Sheridan Murry.  The couple had children:  William Spencer born 1927 and Evelyn Ruth born in 1929.  {Several other children are still living.}  Cleo died in Oklahoma County on 19 Jun 1998.  She is laid to rest with her husband in Arlington Memory Gardens in Oklahoma City.

Lucille Lillian Miller (Lou) was born 28 April 1910 in Oklahoma.  She married John Lothra Crow on 29 April 1926 in Apache, Caddo County, Oklahoma.  The couple had three children:  Joe Lothra; Marian Lillian; and Jewell Lee (1927-1997).  Lou died 11 Jun 1989 in Caddo County, Oklahoma.  She is laid to rest with her husband in Fairview Cemetery, Apache, Caddo County, Oklahoma.

Nellie Argiedell Miller was born in Glenn, Oklahoma on 13 Aug. 1912.  She married first Decater Brumbelow (1904-1996) and they had one daughter – Rachael.  She married second Jack Allen Cisero Baskett (1899-1949) and they had two boys – Jack and Floyd Buddy Allen (1929-1987).  She married third Travis Gideon “Giddy” Northcut.  Nellie died in Lawton, Comanche County, Oklahoma on 14 Oct. 1998.  She is laid to rest in Granfield Memorial Cemetery in Tillman County, Oklahoma. 

Hattie Louisa Miller was born in Oklahoma on 23 January 1917.  On 15 May 1931 she married Andrew Monroe Crow.  The couple had two children:  Martha and Adran (1935-1941).  Hattie died in Apache, Caddo County, Oklahoma on 6 Jun 1986.  She is laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery in Apache.

Elijah Spencer Miller died at the age of 75 on 16 September 1924 in Carter County, Oklahoma.  His burial location is not known to me at this time. 

His widow Emily Rosa Mosbey Miller died in Chickasha, Grady County, Oklahoma on 10 May 1931.  She is laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery in Apache, Caddo County, Oklahoma. 

I would like to connect with any of Elijah’s descendants.  I am particularly interested in knowing where Elijah is laid to rest.  Additionally, I would be interested in learning more about Rosa Mosbey’s background.  Who was her family?  Who was her first husband?   

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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Miller


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Frank Edward Story – Son of Jennie Curbow and Robert Alexander Story

Frank Edward Story was born in Axtell, McLennan County, Texas on May 16, 1892.  He was the youngest and sole surviving son of Jennie Elizabeth Curbow and Robert Alexander Story.  He was known to his family and friends as “Ed.” 

Ed was a World War I veteran.  On his draft registration card he is listed as a self-employed farmer.  He describes himself as being of medium height and slender build with brown hair and brown eyes. 

Frank Edward Story – World War I Draft Registration Card

Ed was a private in Company B, 326th Infantry, 82nd Division of the United States Army during World War I.  The division consisted entirely of newly conscripted soldiers and deployment was to Le Havre, France in 1918.  This division spent much time in the British-held region of Somme directly on the front lines.  I do not know when Ed was discharged from the military.  McLennan County has his discharge papers on file, but they will not release them to me for privacy reasons. 

Based on the census records, we know that Ed returned to Axtell after his service in World War I.  According to his death certificate, Frank worked at a cotton gin. 

Although there are questions to be answered regarding Ed’s marital status, it does appear that he married at least one time and possibly twice.  He stated on his World War I draft registration card (which he filled out in 1917) that he was married.  By 1920 he is listed in the census as a widower.  I have not been able to locate a marriage record for him in McLennan County, Texas that matches these dates. However, there is a marriage record in McLennan County for: F. E. Story x Doris L. Story on Feb. 14, 1924 (married in the Methodist Church).  Interestingly, there is another marriage record for Doris L. Storey x W. C. Price on 11 October 1923 in McLennan County.  Who Doris L. Story is – and who W. C. Price is – and how they fit into the life of Frank Edward Story – is unknown to me at this time. 

Even though I have never found any children with Ed Story in the census records, his father’s obituary states that he had a granddaughter – Lowell Story. (Frank Edward Story’s obituary does not mention any children that may have survived him.)

Frank Edward Story lived out his life in Axtell, Texas, and died in the Veteran’s Hospital at Marlin, Falls County, Texas on 28 Apr 1954.  He is buried in Axtell Cemetery with his parents. 

Frank Edward Story; Axtell Cemetery

 F. E. Story, 61, of Axtell, Dies – F. E. (Ed) Story, 61, of Axtell died at 8 p.m. Wednesday in a Marlin Hospital.  Funeral Services will be held at 4 p.m. Friday at Wilkerson-Hatch Chapel, burial in Axtell Cemetery.  James A. Edmond Post 121, American Legion, will have charge of graveside services.  Surviving are four cousins, Mrs. L. J. Campbell, Mrs. Eugenia Holley (daughter of Joseph Story and Mary Susan Blake ) and Miss Belle Lytle (daughter of Lucinda Curbow and William Henry Lytle), all of Waco and Mrs. Elma Barrett (daughter of Joseph Story and Mary Susan Blake ) of Axtell.

I would be interested in hearing from anyone who knows who Lowell Story was/is. 


Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Story


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Robert Alexander Story – Husband of Jennie Curbow

Jennie’s husband, Robert Alexander Story, was born in Texas on 22 Aug 1844, the son of Joseph James Story and Tenny Humphries.  He was one of nine children.  His parents came from Mississippi and settled in Panola and Shelby Counties, Texas where they can be found in the 1850 and 1860 census records.  Robert Alexander Story’s grandfather, Ephraim Story, based on various census records, slave schedules and land claim records, was a well-to-do early settler of the Mississippi Territory. 

Although Robert Alexander would have been the proper age and eligible to serve, I do not find any military records for Robert that would indicate that he served in the Civil War, nor are there any applications for pensions for him or his wife Jennie.

According to a Deed found in the records of McLennan County, Texas, Robert Alexander Story bought 97 acres of land on Williams Creek in the De La Vega Land Grant on 28 Nov. 1877 from J. C. League of Galveston, Texas.  He paid a total of $388 for the 97 acres (with a payment due in two equal sums of $194 – one payment due in 1878 and one payment due in 1879).  Based on the McLennan County Tax Rolls, it appears that Jennie and her husband spent their entire married lives living on that property in Axtell, Texas.  Axtell is located about 10 miles east of Waco, Texas and about 5 miles from where the Branch Davidian – FBI standoff occurred. 

Again, based on various tax rolls in McLennan County, it appears that Robert Alexander purchased an additional 200 acres some time between 1886 and 1887.  In tax years 1895 and 1896 the couple owns a total of 456 acres in the La Vega Grant.  The property is described as being “in Axtell near the railroad.”  There is a home on the property which is valued at $500. 

Robert died 28 Feb 1931 in Axtell, Texas. 

The Waco-Times Herald – Published Saturday, February 28, 1931R.A. STORY – R. A. Story, 86, died at 6:45 a.m. Saturday at his home in Axtell, and funeral services will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Axtell Methodist Church.  Rev. T. H. Yarbrough officiating.  Burial, Compton in charge, will be in Axtell Cemetery.  Pallbearers are C. A. Slaton, C. C. Barron, C. E. Bloodsworth, W. D. Thompson, Pat Morgan, Frank Willis.  Mr. Story had lived at Axtell 70 years.  He is survived by one son, F. E. Story of Axtell, a granddaughter, Miss Lowell Story; six nieces and one nephew. 

Robert Alexander Story - Texas Death Certificate

I would be interested in connecting with other Story family researchers – particularly those from Texas.

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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Story


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William Henry Lytle, Jr. – Son of Lucinda Curbow and William Henry Lytle

Lucinda and William had one son – William Henry Lytle, Jr. – who was born in Waco, McLennan County, Texas on 3 Nov 1887.  William married Margarette Logan about 1921 – they had no children.  His occupation varied from clerk to driver in his younger years to a machinist for the Katy Railroad Shop later. 

William Henry Lytle was a World War I veteran (Ord Sgt III MBL Ord Repair Shop).  On his draft registration card William describes himself as tall and slender with grey eyes and light hair. 

William Henry Lytle – World War I Draft Registration Card

His wife, Marguerite, died of cancer in 1941, and it does not appear that he remarried. 

On the afternoon of May 11, 1953, Waco, Texas was struck by a F5 tornado.  William perished in that storm when the building he had taken shelter in collapsed on top of him.  He is laid to rest with his family in the Lytle family plot in Greenwood Cemetery (formerly known as East Waco Cemetery). 

William Henry Lytle, Jr. - Greenwood Cemetery, Waco, McLennan County, Texas

THE WACO NEWS-TRIBUNE (City Edition, Part 4/Tornado Obits) and WACO TIMES HERALD (Page 17); Wednesday, May 13, 1953:  William Henry Lytle, 64, OF 2915 Windsor (located west of IH-35 and east of Waco Lake in the Dean Highlands area of Waco), died Monday afternoon in the tornado.  Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday at Comptom’s Chapel, Chaplin Harris of Veteran’s Hospital officiating, assisted by Dr. D. L. McCree, burial in Oakwood Cemetery. Survivors: one sister, Miss Bell Lytle of Waco; one-step daughter, Mrs. Marvin Booker, Sr. of Fort Worth, one step-grandchild, Marvin Booker, Jr.  Active pallbearers – E. H. Bergner, Mr. Pueblo, Tom Conway, Marvin Booker, Sr., Marvin Booker, Jr., R. B. Marshall.   Mr. Lytle was born in Waco and lived here all his life. He was a retired machinist. Employee of Kathy Shops, Bellmead. Compton’s Funeral Home, 1024 Austin, Phone 4-1441.

William Lytle’s wife, Marguerite, had been married one time before her marriage to William.  This marriage produced a daughter named Irene Margaret Smith.  This young lady married Marvin Matha Booker.  The step-grandchild mentioned in William Lytle’s obituary is Marvin Matha Booker, Jr.  Mr. Booker was born in 1928 and is presently 82 years old.  I was lucky enough to visit with him in the summer of 2010 about his step-grandfather – William Henry Lytle – and this is what he shared with me:

I called my step-Grandfather “Big Daddy” and Grandmother “Big Mother.”  Most of the years that we visited them at their farm in Waco, I was very young, and had little interest in family history – I preferred playing outside.  During World War II, we were allowed three gallons of gas a week, so we didn’t travel much.  I do not remember Big Daddy ever speaking of his family or his life as a youth at his home. 

Regarding Big Daddy’s military service – He was a Sergeant in the 36th Division Texas National Guard before the U. S. entered WWI.  Due to the strong German influence in Mexico prior to our entering the war, the Texas Guard was activated and sent to the Mexico border to stop any invasion of United States soil.  I believe the troops were on the border about a year.  He often spoke about the Mexican military, probably influenced by the Germans, firing on our troops.  He said when they received fire from the Mexicans; they would expend rounds into the Mexican lines usually causing casualties.  He always spoke of the border time as an enjoyable period.  Regarding World War I – He talked about the Mexican border expedition more than his combat experiences in Europe.  He spoke a number of times about how the artillery would use the church steeples in French villages as aiming stakes for firing missions.  He also commented about the poverty and destruction in France.  He never spoke about actual combat.

 Big Daddy loved to hunt and he would let me tag along as long as I followed instructions and stayed close.  The only times he ever talked about the border expedition and Europe was out hunting, never around the house.  He left his shotgun to me when he was killed.  I do not know where or when Big Daddy and Big Mother were married.  I can’t remember Big Mother’s funeral, but her battle with cancer was somewhat long and very bad.    

Regarding the tornado – Big Daddy went into downtown Waco most afternoons to play 42 with other retired Katy Railroad people that worked at the Bellmead shops.  During their last game the sky turned black so they decided to leave early and go home.  One of the other men and Big Daddy started walking to their cars and it started raining.  The other man kept walking, but Big Daddy entered the six-story R. T. Dennis Furniture Store to wait out the storm.  This building took a direct hit from the tornado and caused all of the floors to come straight down.  Twenty-two people died in the Dennis building including Big Daddy.”  (News reports indicate 30 people.)

R. T. Dennis Furniture Store – destroyed in Waco Tornado

The Waco tornado remains tied with the 1902 Goliad tornado as the deadliest in Texas history and the tenth-deadliest in US history. No deadlier single tornado has struck the United States since then, making it the worst storm of the last 75 years. The tornado killed 114 people and caused 597 injuries and up to $41.2 million in property damage.  Over half the dead – 61 – were in a single city block bounded by 4th and 5th Streets and Austin and Franklin Avenues.  The Waco tornado struck at 4:36 p.m. The tornado, over two blocks wide, hit the downtown area. Many people on the streets crowded into local businesses for shelter. However, few of the buildings were constructed sturdily enough to withstand the winds, and they collapsed almost immediately. The best-known example was the six-story R.T. Dennis furniture store, which crumbled to the ground and killed 30 people inside.  Newer buildings with steel reinforcement, including the 22-story Amicable office building (now called the ALICO Building) just across the street, weathered the storm.  William Henry Lytle’s name appears on the Waco Tornado Memorial. 

Waco Tornado Memorial

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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Lytle


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Belle Sarah Lytle – Daughter of Lucinda Curbow and William Henry Lytle

Lucinda and William had one daughter that survived to her old age – Belle Sarah Lytle – who was born in Waco, McLennan County, Texas on 17 Jul 1879.  Belle Sarah Lytle never married.  In various census records and Waco city directories she is listed as “telephone operator,” “stenographer for railroad,” and on her Texas Death Certificate it lists her occupation as a “Stenographer-Clerk” for M.K. & T Railroad.”  

Her grand nephew, Marvin Matha Booker, Jr. remembers her this way:  When we went to Waco for a visit, Miss Belle {Belle Sarah Lytle} usually had Sunday dinner with all of us either at the farm or in downtown Waco.  She was a quiet lady allowing others to carry the conversation.  I remember her mostly talking about her church.

It appears that Belle Sarah Lytle spent all but the last six months of her life living in Waco, Texas.  Belle Sarah Lytle died in Katy Employee Hospital in Denison, Grayson County, Texas on 5 May 1963.  She was 83 years old.  She is laid to rest in the Lytle family plot in Greenwood Cemetery (East Waco Cemetery). 

Belle Sarah Lytle - Greenwood Cemtery, Waco, McLennen County, Texas

WACO TIME HERALD, PAGE 17, MONDAY, MAY 6, 1963: Lytle, Miss Belle – Miss Belle Lytle of 1900 Webster Avenue died at 9:00 a.m., Sunday in a Denison hospital. Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday in Wilkerson and Hatch Chapel. Chaplain Charles D. Harris and Rev. Urban Schultze officiating. Burial at Greenwood Cemetery. She has no survivors. Wilkerson and Hatch Funeral Home, 1124 Washington Ave.


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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Lytle


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On Thursday I made a last minute decision to spend my lunch hour at the Texas State Archives.  All the librarians there know me already!  The weather was beautiful so I took off with only my tablet and pen in hand – no coat or gloves.  While I was there poring over the microfilm machine – a Texas cold front blew in.   The temperature dropped about 25 degrees and the wind was blowing at about 30 miles per hour.  I literally ran – freezing – the 7 blocks back to my office – dodging the panhandlers all the while.  Now THAT is obsession!  But was it worth it?  Oh yes….found more Curbow/Bedwell/Lytle/Story family members in the McLennan County Tax Rolls…….will this job ever end?!  I hope not.   🙂

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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Odds and Ends

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