Category Archives: Ham

Genealogy of the Ham Family

America – On the Move

As most of you know, when I delve into the life of an ancestor, I very often am not satisfied with only obtaining their statistics – I want to understand the time period and the circumstances that they lived in. In addition to learning about the various family branches, I have truly enjoyed receiving a lesson in American history – in fact – learning much more than I ever did in history class!  As I scoot around town in my little Nissan – whether it’s heading off to work or to church or running a spur-of-the-moment errand – I, like most of us, take it for granted – not realizing the many difficulties and challenges our ancestors faced when traveling from place to place.

My father, Richard Montoya - can anyone tell me the year, model and make?!

In the 1800s, the most practical (and quickest) mode of transportation for our ancestors was via our country’s waterways. Because of this, many towns and settlements cropped up close to rivers, lakes and coast lines. By way of example, the family of Richard Spencer and Mary Earnshaw, my gg-grandparents, sailed from the Port of Liverpool, England on 7 Feb 1841 and arrived at the Port of New Orleans six weeks later on 31 Mar 1841. The family then made their way up the Mississippi River (presumably by riverboat) to the “Kanesville Branch” in Pottawattamie County, Iowa (present day Council Bluffs).

George Washington Grantham

A few roads did exist during that time period; however, they were clustered in and around settled areas and were time-consuming and difficult to travel. After Richard’s death, the widow Mary Earnshaw Spencer and her children began their journey across the prairie from the outfitting post at Kanesville, Iowa on 7 Jun 1852. Their journey lasted over three months. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on 27 Sept 1852. The company consisted of 293 individuals – 10 total families – and about 65 wagons. Many of these people walked, pulled hand carts, rode horses, etc., etc. Those lucky enough had oxen which pulled their belongings in a covered wagon. It is no small wonder that many of our ancestors lived and died in the same region – some never leaving the county they were born in. I can speak for myself – I probably would not have lasted one day!

The coming of the railroad changed the course of American history. Between 1830 and 1860 America experienced a massive railway building boom. The railroad began to transport food items, livestock and coal to outlying areas – something which would have previously been impossible to undertake. The railroad provided jobs to thousands and was a boon to many industries. People began to spread their wings and many settlements began to sprout up along the new rail routes. By 1869, rail workers completed the first coast-to-coast rail line. By about 1900, the average American was enjoying such things as fruits and vegetables from California and store-bought clothes from the Sears & Roebuck catalog – all thanks to the speed and efficiency of the railroad.

Atwood Family – Migration from Missouri to Texas

And then at the turn of the century came the beloved American automobile. At first only the upper class could purchase this new contraption. By 1920, eight million Americans owned their own automobile. The burden of travel was slowly lifting; however, automobile travel remained difficult for some period of time as few good roads existed. In addition, it should be remembered that in the 1920s and even into the 1930s, horse-drawn wagons and cars shared the same road.

By the 1930s, more than half of America’s families own an automobile. This further fueled businesses such as repair shops, tire stores and gas stations. By the 1950s, nearly 50 million cars were on America’s roadways.  And we do love our cars, don’t we?!  In fact, it became part of the much spoken of “American Dream,” symbolizing our freedom and independence.  Today, most American households have multiple vehicles.  We have the freedom to shop and work practically anywhere we want.  Our cities have grown large and sprawling.  We started with riverboats and horses – and for most of us, the automobile is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.

Samuel David "Mack" Ham with new bride Ruby

And then there was the Saturday morning that my husband quit his job – and we promptly went to the car dealership and bought a new car AND a new pick-up.  That’s just how us Curbows roll – I wonder what the ancestors would have thought about that?!

Floyd M. Puckett and new bride Mable Jemima Ham


Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Grantham, Ham, Montoya, Times and Places


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Ora Deborah Ham Ward – Daughter of Robert Montgomery Ham and Tabitha Clementine Kenady

Ora Deborah Ham - about 1894

Ora Deborah Ham was one of the daughters of Robert Montgomery Ham and Tabitha Clementine Kenady, and she was a first great-aunt from my husband’s Ham family line. Ora was born in Ellis County, Texas on 21 Jan 1885 – and she lived to be 100 years old!

The earliest record pertaining to Ora other than her birth is the 1900 census which was enumerated on 4 Jun 1900. There we find her living in Justice Precinct 7 of Kaufman County, Texas. She is 15 years old and attending school – she can read and write. Ora is living with her father Robert Montgomery Ham and mother “Tabbie.” In the home is her brother William Neal Ham and his new wife Julie E. (Stone). Also in the home is Ora’s older sister Maud (and 2 young daughters), who has divorced her first husband, Festus James. Also in the home are Ora’s three younger siblings: Robert, 13; Mac, 9; and Mabell, 3.

The next year, on 23 March 1901, Ora Deborah Ham, at the age of 16, married John Brady Ward in Kemp, Kaufman County, Texas. John Brady Ward was born to John H. Ward and Mary Janette Beavers on 10 Aug 1880 in Kaufman County, Texas.

Wedding Photo - John Brady Ward and Ora Deborah Ham

Ora and John had a very large family, 12 known children: Cuba Helen (1903-1989); Vivian Trudy (1905-1993); John Brady (1907-1989); Norma (1908); Ronald Byron (1911-1963); Grady Meyers (1912-2008); Edna Louise (1914); Inez Faye (1915-1979); Carmen Dee (1917-2002); Bessie “Becky” Lou (1921-2006); Edith Mabel (1923-1941); and Laura Lee (1927). 

By the 1910 census, Ora and John are renting a home and John is farming in Kaufman County, Texas. The couple has been married for about eight years and have had four children; three of them have survived: Cuba E., age 7; Vivian, age 4; and John B., age 3 (presume that Norma is the child that died). The small family is living a few doors down from John’s father, John H. Ward and step-mother, Harriet.

By February of 1920, the family has relocated to McCulloch County, Texas. There we find them again farming. Ora is indexed as being 35 years old living with her husband John, 48, who rents. The children in the home are: Cuba, age 15; Vivian, age 13; John B., age 12; Ronnie, age 9; Grady, age 7; Louise, age 6; Inez, age 4; Carmen, age 2. Also in the home is John’s cousin, Lee V. Hagerty, age 20. Living nearby is Ora’s sister Maud, who has married Andrew Rickman. Maud’s daughter, Ora’s niece, Artie also lives nearby with her husband John McKnight.

The 1930 census was enumerated on 3 May 1930, where we find that the family has once again relocated – this time to Taylor County, Texas. Ora by this time is 44 years old. She is with her husband John, age 47 who is indexed as a “house carpenter.” They are renting a home which they state is worth $12.50. The children in the home are: Ronald B., 19 and Grady M., 18 who are doing “odd jobs.” The younger children include: Louise E., age 16; Inez F., age 14; Carmen D., age 11; Bessie L., age 9; Edith M., age 5; and Laura L., age 2.

This is basically the last record I can locate on Ora (other than her death and burial). I have been told that The Dallas Morning News published an article on 29 Jan 1985 pertaining to Ora’s 100th birthday celebration. If any of you Ham/Ward researchers out there could provide me with a copy of that article, I would be very appreciative. Further, according to some of Ora’s grandchildren, Ora moved to Dallas and Brady stayed on the farm in Kemp, Texas.

Ora Deborah Ward Ham - 100th Birthday Celebration

Brady died in Dallas, Texas on 22 Mar 1970 and is laid to rest there in Lone Oak Cemetery.

John Brady Ward - Final Resting Place

As mentioned earlier, Ora lived to the ripe of age of 100 years, and died 15 Dec. 1985 in Dallas, Texas. She is laid to rest there in Grove Hill Memorial Park.

Ora Deborah Ham Ward - Final Resting Place

Inscription on her headstone reads:  “Beloved Mother – She gave so much and demanded so little.” 

What a tribute!



Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Ham, Ward


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Maud Ellen Ham – Daughter of Robert Montgomery Ham and Tabitha Clementine Kenady

Maud Ellen Ham was the oldest daughter of Robert Montgomery Ham and Tabitha Clementine Kenady. She was the sister of William Neal Ham and she was my husband’s 1st great grand-aunt.

Maud Ellen Ham

Maude was born on 18 May 1878 in Egan, Johnson County, Texas. This date of birth was retrieved from the Montgomery-Ham family bible which is now in the possession of Marian Ham Miller of Texas. The Johnson County birth location is confirmed by her Texas Death Certificate.  The Egan location has been provided by Ham family members. Egan lies eight miles northeast of Cleburne in north central Johnson County. This area was settled during the Civil War era.

In the 1880 census Maud is living with her family in Precinct 6 of Johnson County, Texas. She is indexed as “M.E. Ham,” age 2 born 1878 in Texas. She is with her father “R.M.” (Robert Montgomery, age 27, farmer; and mother “T.C.,” (Tabitha Clementine), age 20; and brother “W.N.,” (William Neal), age 4. Living right next door are Maud’s grandparents, Jim M. Thomason, age 35 and Jemima Clementine Rawls, age 50. (It looks like Jemima caught herself a seriously younger man!)

At the age of 14, on Christmas Day of 1892, Maud married Festus Orlando James in Johnson County, Texas. Festus was born 13 Jul 1873 in Alvarado, Johnson County, Texas, the son of John James and Mary Elizabeth Rosaline Bradley. He died in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas on 8 Aug 1961. And yes, if you were wondering, Festus Orlando James is related to the outlaw Jesse James!

James x Ham – Marriage Certificate

The marriage to Festus James apparently was a short-lived one – by the 1900 census Maud (along with two children) is back at home with her parents and siblings. The family has relocated to Justice Precinct 7, Kaufman County, Texas. She is indexed as “Maud James,” age 22, born May 1878 in Texas. She has given birth twice – and both children are living. She is with her father Robert, age 46; her mother Tabbie, age 40; her brother Will, age 24 (and his wife Julie E,, age 18); her daughters Artie, age 6; and Willie B., age 3; Maud’s other siblings in the home are: Ora, 15; Robert, 13; Mac, 9 and Mabel, 3.

Festus Orlando James - first husband of Maud Ellen Ham

Sometime during the second half of 1900, Maud married her second husband, Andrew Archiebald Rickman. Andrew was born 27 Apr 1881 in Faulkner County, Arkansas and died 4 May 1955 in Zephyr, Brown County, Texas. He was the son of Robert Francis Rickman and Mary Elizabeth Franklin. The date is an ESTIMATE based on the first child‘s birth, and I have not sourced it. (If there are any Rickman researchers out there that have a Marriage Certificate – I would love to have a copy.)

The 1910 census was enumerated during April of 1910. Maud is indexed as “Maud Rickman,” age 31 born 1879 in Texas. She confirms that she has been married twice and has given birth 6 times with all 6 children living. She is with her husband “A.A. Rickman,” age 30 who has been married 1 time and has been married for 10 years. He is a farmer. Children in the home in 1910 are: Artie James, 16; Willie James, 13; all of the Rickman children are misindexed as “Richman.” Fannie, 8; Bady, 6; Vernon, 4; and Mary, 1. Living right next door is Maud’s brother (and my husband’s great grandfather), William Ham and wife Julia Emma Stone and family.

The 1920 census was enumerated during the months of February and March of 1920. The family has relocated to McCulloch County, Texas. Maud is indexed as “Maud Rickman,” age 39, born in 1881 in Texas. She states that she is able to read and write. She is living with her husband “Andrew A.,” age 40 and children: Brady, 16; Vernon, 13; Mary H., 10; Beatrcie, 7; Drew, 5; and Estella, 3. The family is renting a farm. Living on one side of the Rickman family we can find John B. Ward and his wife Ora Ham, Maud’s sister. On the other side of the Rickman family we can find John W. McNight and his wife Artie James, Maud’s daughter.

The last two records we need to talk about are Maud’s death and her burial. Maud died at the young age of 48 on 27 Jan 1927 in Placid, McCulloch County, Texas. Her Texas death certificate states that she became ill with influenza on 2 Jan and that she died 25-days later of pneumonia. Sadly, she left small children behind.

Maud Ellen Ham Rickman - Texas Death Certificate

Maud is laid to rest in Placid Cemetery in McCullough County, Texas, alongside her husband.

Maud Ellen Ham Rickman - Final Resting Place

I have not done any of my own research on the children of Maud Ellen Ham James Rickman – and corrections are certainly welcome – this is a list of her children and their spouses which I have compiled:

  • Artie Mae James (1894-1984) – She married James W. McNight and later William P. Perkins
  • Willie Bernice James (1897-1962) – She married Charles Wesley Oliver
  • Fannie Lou Rickman (1901-1987) – She married Monroe Oscar McClusky and Robert Chatman Wagoner
  • Brady Leon Rickman (1903-1976) – He married Edyth Alva Bush
  • Vernon Jackson Rickman (1906-1927)
  • Mary Hallie Rickman (1909-1996) – She married Bolden Green Stuart, Jr.
  • Beatrice Evedna Rickman (1912-?) – She married Fabius Aldus Parker
  • Drew Finis Rickman (1914-1982) – He married Ruth Allen Wells
  • Estelle Rickman (1917-1997) – She married Buster Stuart

Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Ham, James, Rickman


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Harmonizing Ham Family

If ever there was a family that had musical talents, it surely is the Ham family. 

My father-in-law fondly remembers his Uncle Mack and Aunt Ruby beautifully singing in the church quartet at the Nazarene Church in Brownwood.  Uncle Mack was Samuel David “Mack” Ham (1891-1976 – son of Robert Montgomery Ham and Tabitha Clementine Kenady), and he was the Pastor of the Nazarene Church in Brownwood, Texas.   Aunt Ruby was Ruby Dora Barnett (1898-1989 – daughter of Berry Alexander Barnett and Elizabeth Martin). 

Uncle Mack and Aunt Ruby – on their wedding day – 1915

Uncle Mack and Aunt Ruby passed their musical talents on to their children.  Their son Norman Neely Ham (1923-1997) and wife Martha Eunice Sparkman (born 1928 – daughter of William Travis Sparkman and Alice Head) were very involved in the Texas gospel music scene, and in fact, were inducted into the Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame.  

Family of Norman Neely Ham

Norman Neely Ham and Martha Eunice Sparkman produced some talented boys!  Their son Warren Lee Ham was born in Tarrant County in 1952.  Warren is a gifted musician who has played along side of Cher, Donna Summer, Amy Grant, Neil Diamond, Diana Ross and Olivia Newton-John, just to name a few!  He plays the saxophones, harmonica, flute, keyboards – and as is the family tradition – he has a great voice!  During the early 1970s, Warren and his brother William Mack “Bill” Ham formed The Ham Brothers Band.  When Kerry Livgren left the rock band Kansas to form his own Christian rock band (AD), Warren went with him as the new band’s lead singer.

The attached video from YouTube is rather silly; however, it is Warren Ham singing with Olivia Newton-John – and he has a fantastic voice.  Listen for yourself:




Posted by on February 26, 2011 in Blair, Ham


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Lenora Adelina Ham

Lenora Adelina Ham was the second daughter born to Joel Ham and Mary Emily Montgomery.  She was born in Mississippi on 31 July 1846, probably Yalobusha County.  She came to Texas with her family some time around 1858 – and we can find her there in the 1860 census residing in Titus County.  

Blair Family – Photo from the collection of Lucy Echels Blair

(This photograph is from a book entitled, John Blair of Guilford County, North Carolina, written by Lucy Echels Blair.  It states that on the back row are:  Helen Blair, James Hester Blair, Nora (Lenora Adelina Ham).  In front are:  Effie Calidonia and Garrett Blair.  I believe the picture is mislabeled – Effie Calidonia was the older of the two girls.  Consequently, Effie is on the back row and Helen is on the front row.  The family looks very relaxed and comfortable together, don’t you think?)

On the 28th of December 1878, when Adelina was 32 years old, she married James Hester Blair in Johnson County, Texas.  James was the son of John Dickey Blair and Clarissa Fineta Leach, born 18 Feb 1843 in Gibson County, Tennessee.  John Blair was a Confederate soldier who enlisted into the CSA on 19 Mar 1862 out of Hill County, Texas.  He served with Company H of the 12th Texas Infantry (Young’s Regiment). 

Some time around 1903 the Blair family left Texas and relocated to Texico, Curry County, New Mexico which is about 15 miles southeast of Clovis, New Mexico.  Curry County borders the State of Texas.  We drove through Texico last year on our way to Santa Fe – and I have to ask – what were they thinking?!  It’s very un-lovely out that way 🙂

Curry County, New Mexico

James Hester Blair died there shortly after the move on 28 November 1906.  Lenora can be found living with her daughter Helen Norris and family in 1910 census and is listed as head of house and a widow.

Lenora Adelina Ham Blair was 71 years old when she died on 15 Jan 1918 in Texico, Curry County, New Mexico.  She is laid to rest in the Texico Cemetery with her husband.

Lenora Ham Blair - Texico Cemetery






Lenora and James had three children:

  • Effie Caledonia Blair was born 6 November 1879 in Johnson County, Texas.  (I am not 100% sure of the spelling of her middle name.)  Effie was only 20 years old when she died of measles on 12 Feb 1900.  She is laid to rest in Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Franklin County, Texas.  It is unknown whether Effie married before her death.  Some members of the family maintain that she married to “Unknown” Rodgers, and had a son named “Jesse Rodgers,” the “radio singer.”   
  • Ethan Garrett Blair was born 16 Feb 1881 in Johnson County. Texas.  In 1911 he married Nettie Ola Balch.  The couple had three children:  Doris, Joseph and Helyn.  Ethan was the vice-president of Curry County National Farm Loan Association.  Ethan Garrett Blair died 14 March 1955 in Texico, Curry County, New Mexico.  He is laid to rest there with his family in the Texico Cemetery.  
  • Helen Blair was born in Quitman, Hill County, Texas on 11 Aug 1882.  She married John Calvin Norris on 29 Mar 1906 – he was about 24 years her senior.  This couple had two children:  James Henry Norris in 1907 and Beulah Beatrice Norris in 1910.  After the death of her husband in 1920, she married John E. Bingham in 1925.  Helen is also buried in the Texico Cemetery. 
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Posted by on February 26, 2011 in Blair, Ham


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Joanna Elizabeth Ham

Joanna Elizabeth “Jo” Ham was the first daughter born to Joel Ham and his wife Mary Emily Montgomery.  She was born in Mississippi, probably in Yalobusha County, on 31 Aug. 1843.  Joanna can be found there with her parents in the 1850 census.  By 1860, the Ham family is in Texas, and we find Joanna there with them in Mount Vernon, Titus County.  There she grew up and met Benjamin Franklin (known as Bing) Edwards whom she married on 3 Jan 1862 in Hopkins County, Texas.     

Bing was born in 28 September of 1840 in Cherokee County, Alabama.  He is one of the sons of Gideon  and Jane Edwards.  Bing served the Confederacy in the Civil War.  He was a Sergeant in Company K, 19th Texas Infantry.  His tombstone states that he was a “Badge of Courage” recipient. 

The family spent time between several different counties in Texas – 1870 they were in Hopkins County; 1880 they were in Johnson County; and in 1900 they were in Hill County.

To say that Jo and Bing had a large family would be a huge understatement.  In the census records Joanna advised the census taker that she had given birth 14 times and that 11 children survived.  Now…I don’t know about you – I barely managed to bring forth one child.  Can you image what it was like to be pregnant 14 times?!  And to give birth 14 times?!  And all this without prenatal care?  And then to lose three children – what heart-break. 

 These are the children that we know about:

  1. Calidonnia “Donnie” Mansfield Edwards (1864-1939)
  2. Alice Lenorah Edwards (1866-1946)
  3. Mary Udora Edwards (1868-1943)
  4. Sara Edwards (1871-?)
  5. Joanna Elizabeth “Betty” Edwards (1872-1930)
  6. Ninnie M. Edwards (1875-?)
  7. Benjamin Franklin Edwards, Jr. (1877-?)
  8. Lula L. Edwards (1879-?)
  9. William Arthur Edwards (1880-1898)
  10. Robert Eston Edwards (1882-1974)
  11. Ola Etna Edwards (1885-1971)
  12. Thomas E. Edwards (1886-1950)

Joanna’s husband, Benjamin Franklin Edwards died in Hill County, Texas on 4 July 1910 at the age of 69.  He is laid to rest in Derden Cemetery in the county.  That same year in the census record Joanna is living with one of her daughters, Ola Etna Edwards Mabe and her husband Clarence.  Joanna died five years later at the age of 72 on 20 Sept 1915 in Buel, Johnson County, Texas.  She is laid to rest in the Buel Cemetery.  Her death certificate below is a rare find.  Even though death records were sometimes kept as early as 1900 in Texas – it is unusual to find one this early (1915).  

Joanna Elizabeth Ham Edwards - Texas Death Certificate

This branch of the Ham family tree frankly still needs a lot of work.  We don’t have much information on any of Joanna’s children and no photographs.  For those of you that know me – you know I love the old family photographs most of all.  It helps to put a face to a name when researching a family line.  Theoretically, there should be a lot of descendants out there!  We would love to hear from any of you that are interested in exchanging information on the Ham family genealogy.  

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Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Civil War, Edwards, Ham


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John Montgomery Ham

Another wonderful find thanks to  It just goes to show that you should review your tree often as folks are daily adding new and exciting things to their database.  Today as I was thinking about which Ham ancestor I would write about, I thought of John Montgomery Ham, the older brother of Robert Montgomery Ham, my husband’s gg-grandfather.  As I looked at his profile I noticed that there were several other family trees containing his name and that several of the trees contained photographs of him and his wife that we did not have.  Exciting for a photo geek like me!

John Montgomery Ham – from the collection of James Triplett

John Montgomery Ham was born 24 Sept 1841 in Tennessee.  Only one census, the 1880, indicated that he was born in Mississippi – although this is believed to be incorrect.  He was the oldest son of Joel Ham and Mary Ellen Montgomery.  On 27 Jun 1866, at the age of 24, he married Eliza Charlotta Mead, the daughter of Francis Burdette Mead and Mary Ann Jennings Smith.  The couple had the following children:  Robert Walter in 1867; William Montgomery in 1868; Joel Burdett (or Birdit) in 1871; Mary Francis in 1873; Martha Elizabeth Clementine in 1879; Joannah Adeline in 1882; John Meridith Clinton in 1885; Alice Ora in 1888; and Lelah Selestice (or Celeste) in 1891.  It appears that the family spent most of their lives in Hopkins County, Texas, where John farmed.  

Eliza Charlotta Mead – from the collection of James Triplitt

Eliza Charlotta Mead died in 1907.  In 1910 John is still living in Hopkins County with his youngest child and is indexed as a widower on the census.  Several of John’s sons ended up in Franklin County, Texas, and it is possible that John could have been living with one of them prior to his death. 

John Montgomery Ham passed away at the age of 71 years on 11 Jul 1913 in Franklin County, Texas.  He is laid to rest there County in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery.  

Pleasant Hill Cemetery near Purley in Franklin County, Texas



Posted by on February 5, 2011 in Ham


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