I  have only a few memories of the rare vacation into the mountains of Wyoming, but the ones I do have stayed with me as clear and crisp emotions as well as images.  I do not recall the cabin itself, where I slept, or even who all was with us.  What I do remember is a closet shelf, mandatory ceiling light shining bright and a soft yellow blanket with satin ribbon binding.  I thought it was the most beautiful and soft thing I had ever felt. I wanted to sleep with it so bad.   You have to understand that blankets  for many people were not the new mass-produced luxury items but were heavy, course things recycled from the military (thin and rough!) or home made quilts out of recycled corduroy, denim, or heavy twill (quasi quilted or tied with yarn).  These tended to be in the various hues of brown, gray, dark, and drab.  No cheerful yellows....and none as soft as the blanket in the closet with its shiny border.   To this day, sometimes when I see a soft, soft blanket or see one in that particular soft warm butter yellow...I remember that one moment of seeing the most beautiful sight in the world. Forget those purple mountains majesty, that rich sapphire blue glacier lake or the fragrant green pine trees....the most lovely was that soft yellow blanket in a mountain cabin as a five year old.

Winter in the Middle of Summer

Brother, me, and Aunt - it was now cold enough I get to wear pants!
It was cold - a glacier lake was nearby and I recall it being very cold, very clear, and very blue.

Vacation Time!

Details are sketchy but this was about 1960 in Wyoming or Nebraska.  A marvelous tourist trap for a child ; stone tepees,  wagons, and other western accouterments.   Note the mandatory dress - no jeans for little girls.  Would love to locate this particular stop in more detail: where was it? Is it still around?  



Home fashions are sometimes very interesting in old photos.  You shake your head and wonder how in the world?  Not realizing they might look around our homes and do the same thing.  Styles, resources, and uses change over time.  Here in a photo from about 1957-58 in Kansas, I am helping my mother do the dishes.  Apparently, it was an emotional experience, as I seem to be saying, "there, there, mommy don't cry."  Either that, or I was saying, "You sure you want me to dry these things?"

When every week was a major laundry experience, the Victorians and Edwardians devoted an entire day to it.  Washing Monday was normally the day used to catch up on all the laundry, starching, ironing, and airing required.  Women judged themselves and each other by the whiteness of their  sheets and shirts  (did she or did she not use bluing to give it that glow?).  They also had unspoken rules about how long the laundry should hang on the line.   Washing machines were often in the 1950's as likely of being a tub washer with a wringer attachment as the more elite and expensive enclosed washing machines. The idea of curtains made from clear or opaque plastic must have seemed something out of a science fiction story. No more washing, ironing, or airing.  So modern....



Unk, Jess Hudson, Louis Hudson, unk, unk, unk, unk
Location possibly Butler Co., Mo, Cairo area of IL, or Oklahoma, ca. 1914-1920

Family guesses had assumed this to be a group of co-workers.  However, a physical feature of this Hudson line was the large ears (see clearly on Jess and Louis).  These are also prominent on several of their children.    Examining the photo closer there are some resemblances which might suggest not a work gathering but a family gathering.

Theory A : Group of co-workers gathered and a photo taken.  The photo, due to the youth look of Jess Hudson (who died in 1929) was probably taken about the time he married Effie Ray Conner in 1914.  They married in Cairo, IL but lived in Poplar Bluff, Butler Co., Mo til about 1918 when they moved to Oklmulgee, OK and then about 1925 to Bristow, Ok.  From about 1912 to 1925 Jess owned mules and operated his own team for hauling logs and machinery. After about 1925 he moved into a support field in the oil industry and at his death worked for Southwest Gas.

Theory B :  Children from the two families of Louis Hudson met and had a photo taken.  Louis Hudson was born 1871, Vanderburgh Co., Indiana to William Hudson (b. 1820, VA).He married #1--Victoria Waters d/o Jesse and Emily Waters. His children from that marriage were Jesse Hudson (B. 1890, Villa Ridge, Pulaski Co., Ill), Louis Eugene Hudson (b 1896, Alexander Co., Ill), and Elizabeth Hudson (b. ca. 1880-1890).

He married #2 Cordelia Holmes, c 1904 in Poplar Bluff, Mo. His children included William Everett (1904), Hezza Eugene (1908), John Hershel (1912), Bill Woodford (1913), Benjmain Wilford (1913), Herbert Chauncey (1917), Thomas Harold (1919).

Theory A is most probable as the children of theory B would have been too young.   The resemblances may be chance or they might include relatives who have been lost in the still murkey waters of this line of Hudson.

If you can identify any of these unknown men - please contact me.


The Poor Farm

Every community faces challenges presented by individuals who have no source of income due to temporary or ongoing poverty, disability, medical problems, or mental instability.  Families usually took 'care of their own' but sometimes there were multiple challenges and a family member might be sent to a local facility for the infirm, mentally handicapped, or physically limited.   

Barry Co., MO Poor Farm - where Barbara Ennis Terry was said to have died in 1883.
(Early History of Barry County, Mo)
Since communities seldom had the largess to create specific, separate entities often one place would serve several roles.  What started out as a 'Poor Farm' where the destitute or homeless might be given work and shelter morphed into the place where the insane, handicapped, or long-term ill went when a family could not care for them.  This happened with aging parents cared for by equally aging children. The family may not have been "poor" but were strapped for options.  

As fortunes ebbed and flowed conditions improved or deteriorated.  The Barry Co., Missouri Poor Farm was established to high hopes but within a few decades it had to be replaced.   The original wooden structure was superseded by a brick structure run on more a modern care home basis.   

The "Poor Farms" and the community "Pauper Graves" offer a challenge to most family historians.  Records were seldom kept, sometimes names were not even known, such locations were soon forgotten and built over, and thus locating a final resting place nigh impossible.   One person, on my husband's tree, was in a state hospital when he died from cancer and all that is known is one of four pauper cemeteries would have been used. All records of the deaths, grave allocation numbers, and similar data no longer exist. Sometimes, however, original plat books provide clues and occasionally death certificates provide addresses for the county cemetery set aside for indigenent and pauper graves.



Jessie Freeman Conner (right) and his half-brother Jesse Marvin Hudson (left). The location is either Butler Co., Mo or Okmulgee, Oklahoma.



Many families have such a woman of mystery on their family tree.  

She was supposed to be an 'Indian princes'.  She was supposed to have been a member of a southern tribe. Native Americans laugh and deride the claims, rightly feeling that at times it has been an attempt to 'get free stuff from the Government.'  Or worse, to grab land promised to Native peoples via various treaties.  

Sometimes, she was an African-American woman bought and sold in slavery.  She was devalued because of her color and her status.  Sometimes, she was Hispanic or Asian and disparaged for her color, language, or customs. Driven underground, living a lie to be accepted and raising families during terrible racism and limitation.

New DNA research is indicating that the myth of 'pure bloodlines' is mostly myth.  We are ALL products of a mixing and mating of diverse people groups since the first days we stood and looked around our world.  The concept of race is a fairly recent, and notorious, invention designed to limit and control.  

In my own family is such a story in one line.  She was supposed to have been 'an Indian' and her name was either Washtella or Watella or something similar.  She came to be a partner with an ancestor (I like to think it was love but am realistic to known such mating often occurred for very different reasons: economic, convenience, political,  etc).  She adopted the customs, name, and language of her new family.  She was a good mother and faithful wife, she was a quiet woman, and strong, yet who she was, who her birth family was, was lost and buried long ago.  

I can learn nothing about her for some of the reasons listed above. I have had the story laughed at and been accused of trying to 'get something'.  Well, yes I am. I am trying like any family historian to get the story and know the truth.  Who else will care about the mystery woman on the family tree?

Another group dealing with these issues are called the Melungeons.  This label refers to a group who may have started out as Portuguese sailors abandoned off the eastern seaboard of the US in the 1500's.  They also include people whose ancestry included Native Americans and African ancestry as well. They tended to seek out the lonely, isolated regions and are found in all the places where two family lines can be found.

I do not care if I have a Native American, African American, Asian, or Hispanic in my family tree.  I am opposed to the concept of race because it tends to divide people rather than unite them as humans.  

As DNA continues to break down the old structures and make clear how interconnected the human family really is, it is hoped that we can also mature in our acceptance of one another without registers, rolls, or government designations.

All because of that mystery woman on the family tree and our rediscovery of what it means to be humans rather than labels.



This image was in the belongings of Effie Algertie Ray Hudson and was labeled 'where the Ray's love, Lincoln, Il.'  It is undated.  The address unknown.  Lincoln is located in Logan County, IL.  Strangely there is a family of Elijah Ray who lives in that county at one time - are they a brother or cousin to Effie's grandfather Wilson Ray or occupied by her father Drury Edward Ray more recently?   Mysteries all - until someone identifies the house or the address. Does it still stand? Are there directories?


Oakley family - Franklin Van Scyoc (upper left corner),  woman in dark dress his wife Lucinda Oakley....



This photo is in need of identification of all people in it.  The man with the mustache in the upper left corner is thought to be Franklin Van Scyoc, the woman in front of him his wife, Lucinda Oakley VanScyoc, the obvious resemblance in several of the women indicates they must be sisters and/or mother of Lucinda.  The others.....



Sometimes one of the hardest parts of family research is the sense of loss.  Of people never known, of stories never heard , of jokes never laughed at, or family lore never learned.   Here is a picture of my fathers brothers and sisters I never had the chance to meet or get to know much as I was growing up. This photo was taken on the day of my father's funeral...
Siblings of Roy D. Terry, l toR: Ada Terry Norwood, Sister  Lola Terry, Brother Claude Terry, Opal Terry, sister.

Wesley Sartin Terry family of Barry Co., Missouri, ca 1932

Wesley Sartin Terry family of Barry Co., Missouri, ca 1912


The Forgotten Americans

One of the  most frustrating obstacles of family research are civic records which established a community mythos of who was important based on how much they could pay to be included in a community history.  In the 1880's communities had become settled and prosperous and so marketing to their sense of civic pride was big business.  The pioneers were not as popular as the prosperous.  Since many pioneers were in many ways non-conformists who sought out new, empty, lands to get away from city life, it is often ironic how their descendants sometimes portrayed them.  

What is unfortunate it that sometimes these histories were incomplete, mistaken, and inaccurate.  It cannot always be said that people lied....but truth did have a habit of  bending on occasion.  Some books were written by skilled 'spin' artists who carefully described their 'subject' in the most flattering tones and words possible: 'he received only the education afforded him by the common schools of his day' can be translated he did not go to school much past the ability to read and write (anywhere from eight to ten years of age in some time periods).  Status conscience descendants more interested in fitting into a new rising middle class of the 1880's than historical accuracy were more than happy to pay for inclusion in these volumes.  The ability to craft your history was appealing and so what if grandfather was run off from Ohio for nearly killing a man, we can smooth that wrinkle over with a phrase such as " the grandfather of our subject was a pioneer who longed to leave the farms of his native Ohio and explore the western lands."

Sometimes, simple and common people, unable or unwilling to pay for their inclusion in such tomes had real stories to tell.  Men who launched out into wild, untamed areas, as soon as they were opened battling harsh elements, isolation, and the dangers of both.  They worked at carving out a tiny space of their own, lost wives and children, but kept on.  They never achieved much in wealth, land, or recognition.  They did,  however, make it possible for the descendants to be able to enjoy a community, achieve some social status, and leave them out of the communal histories they helped to create.

Family researchers can encourage the development of health self-esteem by discovering their ancestors, appreciating their struggles, and celebrating their achievements. We should avoid, however, the tendency to gloss over their faults, minimize their climb from the harsh depths of existence, or place too great an emphasis on material possessions.  Issues of social status, class, economic standing, or education often meant little to the people who carved out a life, established a family, and left their legacy in the DNA each of us carry around as a memento of all who have gone before us.



Ubrecht ca. 1500's
In my husband's line is a fascinating name, Van Scyoc.  That should be easy to research, said I in my naive early years of doing family history research. Ha! The gods are fickle and they proved it with this fascinating name.  A wonderful elderly researcher named Melwood VanScyoc communicated with me and helped me with some information to get started.

He assured me that despite the variety of spellings, all the names represented people who were descendants of the same person who had arrived from Holland to the "New Amsterdam" of the old New York area.  This ancestor came from Ubrecht in the Netherlands in the early 1600's.

Tracking the same family across seven states, I found over sixteen spellings of the name in official documents.  Sometimes middle names were used as first names, officials misspelled names, and left off the "Van" in the last name all together.

A note about official records such as census, deeds, marriage papers, etc.  The custom was for the officer to write the names of the person.  Some were better at spelling, some had more knowledge of one language than another, some sounded it out, some guessed, and some actually asked!  Accented speech, speech impediments, and poor writing skills converge at times to create sheer havoc in records. While present day families may attack much meaning to a specific spelling, a researcher cannot assume all instances of the name in a record were the work of the person involved, that the name was consistently spelled, or that it is the one "correct" spelling.  In one family they had a family Bible kept for generations, but then discovered the person who had begun it was terrible at spelling and had misspelled words all of her life!

SOME variations of this name: VanScyoc, Van Scyoc, Van Seyeo, Van Scyre, Van Schyhock, Shyhock, Syoc, Van Lykowk, Van Schoiak, Van Sayoc, Van Schoiack, Vanscharack, Schoiack, etc.

Moving out of the New Amsterdam area, some went into Pennsylvania and Virginia, some into Ohio, some into Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Oregon, California, Kansas, Arkansas, etc.


For a generation of researcher, it was assumed there was a hard and fast process of courtship, marriage, and then reproduction. It was the Victorian way...

Ancestors may have not been weighted down by this process in the way later generations were.  Especially in certain times: the 1770's-1880's were rich in this fact.   "Ministers" and "Justice's of the Peace" were often slim on the ground.  Local leaders were known to unite a couple because they knew their valley would be cut off for a long, long winter or some religious groups provided their own 'lay ministers' who served the needs of their people.  Some did not seek secular recognitions for marriages at all. Then, when the trails or rivers were passable again, the visiting minister might have many couples to formally marry, some even with toddlers!   Some early records out of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas reveal this type of event, as do records and journals of traveling ministers from Methodist and Baptist traditions.

As a result, a family might have a child born in 1808 but the marriage record located indicates a date of 1812!  There must have been a previous marriage and they all died. Really? Maybe they were just experiencing the reality of life in remote mountain areas or areas with no regular person legally recognized to marry people.

Yes, sometimes nature takes its course and people will be people.   Sometimes, it is our understanding of the proper process that is at fault.  Be open minded and think outside the box we label as what is proper to discover the truth in the family story.


Family history is usually perceived as just that 'a family history' - and family can be very large and broad.  Information is shared with out sources, information is shared without credit, and information is shared simply to solve the mystery each researcher is dedicated to solving.   I spend hours in front of census records, deeds, and other historical data verifying, guessing, and leaping into the dark of a "what the heck!"

Some family lines had full, rich historical data that was freely shared among many offspring, so their information and stories are all the same.  Some hid their information like a forbidden treasure and it is leaked out as if trying to unseat a crooked politician; I have had people want to swear me to secrecy about some aspect of family history that was already common knowledge to anyone able to read a census or pension file!

Our ancestors were not perfect - get over it!  They had 'flings', they had bad marriages, and they enjoyed being human and all that means.  Their achievements or failures are theirs;  there is no reflected glory or reflected blame.  We have to reach their  level of achievement  or seek to do better with our lives than they did with theirs.

So recognize the work of others but also recognize the nature of family history is to share, freely, and then accept whatever we uncover, knowing that we are better, one way or another, for the knowledge.


Adam Ferguson

Adam Fergusan, GGrandfather of Sarah Farley VanScyoc Fletcher, of Fremont Co., Iowa

John Armstrong Meanor (Menor) - Civil War veteran

Ancestor of Elizabeth Menor VanScyoc Moore

Lucinda Ann Oakley

Lucinda Ann Oakley VanScyoc, wife of Franklin VanScyoc, and mother of James VanScyoc




One the issues of family history is the invisibility of females and thus the image of Margaret Ann Van Scyoc Shirley to the left (sent to me by a descendant) clearly illustrates a woman some -intentionally or unintentionally - try to hide.  It is often at such times that issues of social status, family status, race, or gender serve to further hide identity and information.

Once Upon a Time in Fremont Co., Iowa, there were two girls named Margaret VanScyoc.   
I n Fremont County, Iowa two Margaret Van Scyocs are confused. One married a SHIRLEY and one a CRABBS.
1) Margaret A. VanScyoc, daughter of Ashbill VanScyoc and wife Sarah Ann Farley VanScyoc. She was born in abt 1846 in Mo or Ia. She married John S. Shirley, had children W.A. and Daisy.  This is proven through a record of her mother estate settlement, Sarah Ann Farley Van Scyoc Fletcher.  She is found on numerous census records for Lucas, Ks.    
There were aunts or cousins in the county named Mustard and Keeler and in 1860 when her father was missing or dead many of her siblings were with these kin while her mother prepared to give birth in June to Almira VanSycoc, her baby sister..   The 1880 Census lists her in Kansas with her husband John S. Shirley.

MEANWHILE - There was also .....
2) Margaret E. Van Scyoc, daughter of John Van Scyoc and wife Julia Winters.   This Van Scyoc and Ashbel Van Scyoc may have been related in some manner resulting in the same surname and similar first names and research is ongoing.  This Margaret, however, married according to the country biographical history of 1881,  on January 17,1869, her father's business parter, Frederick Crabbs. She is in Fremont Co., Iowa on the 1880 census.

According to the Fremont Co., Iowa Biographies of 1881:
History of Fremont County, Iowa Des Moines: Iowa Hist. Co., 1881. Sidney  Township.(Transcribed by Cay Merryman and located in full at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~iabiog/fremont/f 1881/f1881-sid ney.htm#)

CRABBS, Frederick, P. O. Sidney, joint proprietor Cromwell House; born July 9, 1837, in Carroll county, Maryland. He there grew to manhood, employing his time in farming. Mr. Crabbs came to Cedar county, Iowa, in the year 1868, where he remained until 1872, when he came to Sidney. From the time he came to Iowa until 1874, he followed the occupation of a farmer. In 1875, formed his present partnership with Mr. Scyoc, and entered at once upon the conduct of the Cromwell House. January 17, 1869, he married Miss Margaret E. Scyoc, the daughter of his business partner, by whom he has two children: Frederick and John.
Same source:
SCYOC, John V., joint proprietor Cromwell House, P. O. Sidney; born January 9, 1816, in Perry county, Pa., where he attained the estate of manhood, and resided many years. His early life was passed as a farmer, and his educational advantages limited to the common schools of that day. He followed the occupation of a tanner for five years, and then, the four years following, engaged in railroading. In the spring of 1865 he moved to Cedar county, Iowa, following farming for one year, when, in 1866, he removed to Jefferson county, engaging in farming until the fall of 1871. He then moved to Fremont county, settling permanently at Sidney. In 1873 he rented the hotel propery, known as the Cromwell House, which he conducted until 1875. In that year he purchased the property, in copartnership with Frederick Crabbs, and these gentlemen still conduct the house. Mr. Scyoc was married June 1, 1843, to Miss Julia Winters, a native of Maryland, born August 12, 1819. They have four children living: Isaac, Margaret, Julia and Jennie, all married, and three deceased. Mr. Scyoc is a member of the Masonic fraternity; and both he and his wife are members of the M. E. church

A look at the census records clearly  indicate the CRABB/CRABBS group stayed in Fremont Co., Iowa and the SHIRLEY group remained in the Russell County, KS area. 

What may have contributed to the confusion was the fact the mother of John S. Shirley was a step-daughter to Margaret's mother Sarah Farley VanScyoc Fletcher.  Apparently the VAN SCYOCS, FLEtCHER, and FARLEY clans may have moved in sync from VA, Ohio, Indiana, and Missouri.  This may have been because they knew one another or a mere change of travel at the time.

Furthering confusing the issue is the information on the SHIRLEY ASSOCIATION WEBSITE which continues to associate the wrong Margaret VanScyoc with John Shirley. (http: //www.shirleyassociation.c om/NewShirleySite/Photos/ShirleyAssociationHistoricCollection/branch14margaretannshirleyandsonwillia mashirley.html). 

I had contacted them in 2005 about the confusion but it was not changed and continues to be found on trees. 

Marilyn A. Hudson, MLIS



Our ENNIS ancestors came from Ireland, around either Dublin and/or Athlone.  I strongly believe the name arrives in Westmeath with the Army if King James in 1690.

The following is a collection of notes about the ENNIS family of NW ARK & MO who came into that area from IND, KY, VA.

There is a transcript of a letter dated to the 1920's, Note that the letter contains wording that reflects oral history traditions (i.e., 'these are the generations as I have been caught..."). Oral history of this nature, stylized in format, was often extremely accurate and reflects a Celtic background. The transcription outlines the ancestry of the woman Adeline ENNIS Ussery, daughter of Zachariah.

Transcription from a statement recorded in 1923 from Adeline USSERY, Missouri stating her lineage:

"this is my statement as i hav bin teched about my ENNIS ginerasion JOHN ENNIS my grat grat granfather cam from dublin, irlin back in the coln days hee had one son named JIM ENNIS hee had 8 c children thar names was MARTN, an JOHN an WILLIAM an JIM ZACHRIAR an JESSA an JERAMIR and ELISABETH won girl next is our family ZACHRIAR family

now i will comens on ZACKRIAR our grandfather hee was JIM ENNIS son an he was JOHN ENNIS son hoo com from dublin IrlanZACKRIAR had 8 childrn nams ANNA an MARA an ELIZBETH ARONS boys JAMS and WILLIAM an ZACKRIAR an JHON an ELISA grandmother ENNIS her name bee for marig was ANNA BRADCHAW i think grandfather was bornd in for gina i don noo wher grandmother (i wont bee shore) borned she cam from Irlan too but wher shee was bornd her ir thair i dont remember

Your grandmother TERA was a ENNIS ELIZBETH ENNIS'S daughter your grandmother's mother was our fathers aunt, WILLIS Your grandmother TERA was Barba ENNIS before she marred wasnt she of the 4 ginrarations sam as you father and min

was 11 childrn in your fathers family thair was 14 in my fathers family sevn in the first famly an sevn in the last famly thair was 6 marred 2 of the first childern an 4 of the last family WILLIS ant a herin you i noo it will tak time an trubel i just rit becus i hav som wher to rit to i got a leter from Dow the other day hee sad hee was well but Miles had bin sicj but beter you sad you cedn't barly understand albut WILLIAM ENNIS

You noo your uncl WILLAM was my father an his uncle WILLIAM my fathrs uncle was my grandfather ENNIS'S brothe JAMES ENNIS brother JAMES ENNIS'S son.

this in the ENNIS children names of our grat grat gran father."

Note: The "TERA" refers to the husband of Barbra ENNIS, daughter of Elizabeth ENNIS, Barbara's husband was WILLIAM TERRY. These Terry's like many of the ENNIS clan settled in the early 1830-1840's in NW Arkansas and SW Missouri.

At some point in the 1920's and 1930's something triggered an attempt by some of the Ennis group to make claims concerning the Irish estate of the Ennis who first came to America.

A letter to Mr. W.L. Ennis, Cassville, MO (a home location for this line) from a man, assumed to be a lawyer in LA, CA dated Nov. 14, 1937 reads:

"In regards to the Ennis estate I beg to advise that we have produced a summary of all the evidence in the case like I referred to my previous letter. It appears that our claim must be solely based upon your relationship to Sir John Ennis, born in 1800 and died in 1878 and the papers that was sent you from London by F.H. Dougal & Co., seems to be correct. As far as teh monies in the bank I think that is going to be very easy to get which will amount to approximately $16,0000.00, that inclusive of interest since 1883. As to towns and lands mentioned in the famous lease June 10th and 11th 1744 which was sold by the commissioners in 1856 as nefore stated by F.H. Dougal and Co., or the monies derived from said sale and charged to credit of the suit filed in 1848, if the Irish Court awards you the towns and lands mentioned in said lease dated June 19th and 11th, 1744 between Rev. Blachford and George and Hugh Johnston for a sum of 500 lbs per annum which seems to have been paid !
to the Rev. Blachford until the time of his death and it seems that the said George and Hugh Johnston fell behind with their payments which might have resulted in the action of 1848 by Sir John Ennis et al, and if that is the case that may account for the suit between John Ennis and Joseph Johnston as mentioned in a former correspondence. I am certain that you all are going to receive some benefit from this estate. I have not heard from the heirs of William Ennis, or the Usserys. Would like to hear from you from time to time. Sincerely yours, Fred G. -------(last name is hard to read might be Haryl. Fred is followed by a large cursive letter G with os superscripted followed by J (or T?) aryl or b."
In reference to the story of "Sir John Ennis":
This John Ennis in the Westmeath County area claimed by Ennis descendents, may be the son of a Major John Ennis who was listed in the "Irish Landed Gentry when Cromwell Came to Ireland", in the "Retinue of King James the Second, Ireland, 1690. 

Also in this volume is a listing under "The Forty Nine Officers" (pg. 384) a Garrett Ennis.

Also in 
"Irish Pedigrees; Or the Origin & Stem of the Irish Nation, vol. 2", appendix #2, p.776 A John Ennis is listed with the "men of note" who came with King James.

The legend of the immigration of John Ennis to America involves a story that John killed a man being attacked by an English soldier. Versions differ as the reason: some have had a version that a man had poached birds because of hunger (i.e. the "bird killing" in some lines version of the events) and John killed the soldier; some that John killed a soldier abusing a tenant.
From another source comes this:
April 23, 1990
"Yet another story has surfaced about the reason Sir John Ennis came to American as a stow-a-way on a ship.

On Decembe 6, 1987, I received a letter from Alta MCCURRY, who is the grandaughter of Amanda Jane ENNIS HALL. She states in her letter, and I quote, with her permission,---"My father, all the years I was growing up, told me the Ennis story of their coming to America: He said, "grandma (Amanda Jane ENNIS Hall) tol him that Sir John Ennis did kill a man, but this is the story Grandma told Daddy & he told me---"Back in Sir John's time, he owned lots of land and towns, etc. taxes were very high and Sr John rode in the yard of one of his tenants farms and the tax man was there abusing the man (the tenant) about not paying his taxes, and Sir John shot him (the tax man). She further states, "So I would believe this story over the others as the English at that time were taking everyone (the Irish) very heavy. History can prove that." (end quote)

"Clara's note: Perhaps she is right! At least this story is more noble than the other stories, and it's true that the English relentlessly taxed the Irish."
The truth may never be known. It could be that John was the tenant and was defending himself from a soldier when the other man died, necessitating a speedy flight. One way to determine this would be to examine the tax and property lists for the areas of VA where the son, James, lived. If there was money in the form of large land values, the story gains credence.

Nearly every line of Ennis and Terry contacted had a version of the tale (again that oral history process).

If the basic assumptions of the stories about John being a landed individual are true, though, it does raise questions about the property (and income) he would have abandoned. This property may have been passed on to other relatives in the aftermath of his leaving.
However, if these Ennis' came with the army of James in 1680 and were awarded land many things could have happened in the intervening years, including reversals of fortune.
I have been unable, as of yet, to uncover any reports of a death such as the one recorded in the legend. However, there are gaps in the Irish records due to the unrest of the birth of the Irish Republic.
The chief source of the legend in its present form was a Mrs. Sylvia Black. Mrs. Sylvia Black gives the following information on what she thinks may be her great (5) grandmother & parents:

John ENNIS (1710) lived at Athlone Co., Westmeath, Ireland.
James ENNIS (c 1735) came to this country as a stowawy. Mrs. Black says he was only 3 yers old.
Evidently he settled with or without his father in VA, for he found with the North Virginia Regiment in the Battle of Germantown, PA where he was taken prisoner (4 Oct 1777) and reportedly died sometime next year.
"The Ennis Estate"
Sir John ENNIS became involved in the killing of an officer of the law and brought his three year old son to the American Colonies, leaving behind his property and lands.

Sir John married approximately 1733. A Mary Catherine married a John ENNIS, substantial land owener at Warren Point, Northern Ireland. (May or may not be related) James (his son) was heir to Augha, Cashel, Momragh, Bananarow, Caldragh, Tuelageh, amore Kachcullen, Gorthuane, Agapolo, Kilcross, all situated in the Barony of Leitrium (?). Spelling in question on two words.
Zachariah ENNIS b. 1766, Augusta Co., VA; d. Nov. 4, 1844, Madison Co. ARK
wife Anne BRADSHAW, b. ca 1770, North Burke Co., NCc; d. 1815
William ENNIS b. 1804 Burke Co., NC
Elisha b. 1814 Nov. Burke Co., TN
7 children but only two named.
William TERRY 7 Nov. 1785, TN
md Barbara ENNIS *(b. Burke Co., NC) b.24 Oct. 1788
In the Arkansas census of 1840 is listed a Elisha, John, Zachariah, William. First three in Madison CO. and the last in Pope CO
If you have more details, another version, family letters or records that verify or disprove this tale, please contact me.

Was Elizabeth the wife of Zechariah?  It appears not.  The birth dates of her children are before the recorded marriage of Zechariah to his wife.   The Elizabeth who is Zechariah;s daughter married someone else.  Again, the dates and places do not seem to fit.  "I am descended from Zachariah Ennis and Susannah (Anna) Bradshaw. Susannah was daughter of Mary Callicoat (Collicoat) and Rev. William Bradshaw. I have a copy of the marriage bond for Elizabeth Ennis, daughter of Zachariah and Susannah. She married George Aaron in Adair County, KY October 11, 1831. The bond is signed by both Zachariah Ennis and Abraham Aaron, father of George Aaron. This would be Abraham Aaron, Jr. If anyone is descended from this line, it involves three DAR memberships. One under Abraham Aaron, Sr., one under Abraham Aaron, Jr., and one under William Bradshaw, father of Rev. William Bradshaw."   And "I am also descended from Zachariah Ennis through his daughter (no proof on this one), Mary Ennis, who married Gideon Bradshaw July 26, 1816 in Burke County, NC. Possibly this is the Mara referred to. I have a copy of the marriage bond but it does not list father for either Gideon or Mary, though Isaiah Bradshaw believed to be father of Gideon and Zachariah Ennis believed to be father of Mary."

The truth is probably she was the daughter of another line of the family, did not formally marry the father(s) of her children and moved with the Terry group as they moved toward Indiana.



The Hudson family (and some children ) lived in and around Cairo, IL from abt 1880-1945.  Millie Hudson James lived at 1111 1/2 Washington and a step-brother, Thomas Benjamin Cain lived there as well.


Certificate of payment for lots in the Cairo City Cemetery, $16.00, from T.B. Carter as payment in ful for the "east 1/2 of Lot number One in Block 17 in the West Division in the Cairo City Cemetery" as in the recorder's office of Pulaski Co., State of Illinois, 6 September 1886.  Executor of form: Wood Rittenhouse.

Mysteries:  Who was this lot for?  What names are associated with this grave?  

It is located near Villa Ridge and is known to have Millie Hudson James buried there.  Could this be her mother?  T.B. Carter would have been her brother and Millie's uncle.


This is a receipt for a grave plot sold to Thomas Benjamin Carter, June 18, 1874  for $4.

It was "the west half of lot 7 in Block 5" of the "Mechanicsville burying ground"

It is labeled at the top as "Centre Township"

The trustee was a Wm Linxmiller.

The mystery is 1) whose grave? and 2) which Mechanicsville? (Va, Ohio, Iowa, etc.).

Thomas B. Carter was born in Indiana, his sister Emily lived in Illinois, and his mother was married three times (Cain, Carter, and Parker).  


This lovely lady is Millie Hudson James.  She was the daughter of William Hudson and Emily Jane Cain (who also used the name Carter).  Millie married Eugene C. James and lived in Cairo, Alexander Co., Il until her death in the early 1940's at 1111 1/2 Washington Street.  




This is a photo of Melvin Daniel Priest (1931-1999) working in his shop in Barton County, Missouri ca. 1990.   The photo is thought to have been taken by his brother, Lou Priest and was in the possession of their sister, Carol Priest Fortey.   Melvin can easily symbolize the working man of the 20th century.  He went to work when he was about seven years of age to help support his abandoned mother and his younger siblings.  He continued to work all of his life.  He was a high welder who worked on skyscrapers throughout the middle of the country; they were called high welders because they worked on the highest scaffolds and under sometimes dangerous conditions.  He raced motorcycles across the country earning a room full of trophies.   He designed a unique trailer hitch.  He was calm, competent, and capable. He loved country music.  He is one of a cadre of phenomenal Americans who never achieved fame, wealth or acclaim.  He, like so many of these 'Forgotten Americans', made the country work.  



Dennis Terry, son of Roy Terry, son of Wesley S. Terry of Barry Co., MO, son of John King Terry, son of Martin Terry, son of William Terry and Barbara Ennis of Botetourt County, Va



Since 1973, as I was awaiting the birth of my first child, I began to help pull together family history fir the coming generation.  It has been a long, and often frustrating journey through great gaps in knowledge, lost records, and memories long forgotten.   Luckily, a connection was established to another line and recently a first touch of connection to yet another.  Small pieces, a date here, a photo there, a hint or an idea, long shots and wild guesses. Luckily, a scant history has been growing.  In this photo, another person has now been positively identified: Left to right front row: Albert Easley, Victoria Waters Hudson Easley, granddaughter Hill, Elizabeth Hudson Hill, Louis Eugene Hudson, unknown woman, Alonzao Waters (?); back row, Alex Hill, Jess Hudson. It was taken in Poplar Bluff, Mo.



The move had gone smoothly, just finishing just some odds and ends from a garage workshop.  A container was found, long overlooked, and when it was opened a gasp!   There was a folded and very delicate old document disentegrating at the folds, old tape crumbled from some long ago repair attempt. 

It was so lovely though, a marriage certificate from 1912 issued in Wichita, Kansas.

George COCHREN of Plevna, Ks and Annie B. BROWN of Partridge, Ks had united in marriage 16 July 1912 by Probate Judge D.A. McCandless.

Drastic measures were needed to save it from totally loss but it worked and today the document is preserved and hangs on a wall.

Ten Things that Surprised, Humbled, or Enlightened Me About My Ancestors

1. That they existed.  Silly as that sounds but there is a moment in life when you realize you are not the beginning and end of all creation.  You are part of a long chain of being that stretches back into a distant past.  In your being (in your blood, bone, and DNA) you carry the sum total of all those who came before you.  That possibly in the dusty forgotten corners of your brain are even hidden memories passed along to help each generation survive, feel connected, and learn.

2. That they were so like we are today. They were not two dimensional artificial ideas but living, breathing people. They laughed, cried, worked, and dreamed. They loved, grew angry, felt rejection, struggled on, and existed

3. That some of them suffered so I could enjoy the things we take so much for granted. The soldiers, the patriots, and those who fought for causes they believed in with their whole heart and being.  A great grandfather who faced an army in Northern Georgia and felt the minnie ball severe an artery in his leg and spent the next six months in Army hospitals recovering from the trauma and the tender care of the medical world of his day.  A more distant relative who one day answered the call to fight for an idea and for freedom and fought the British in North Carolina.  Farmers who battled the elements to establish productive lands that feed a nation. 

4. That they too had dreams and visions.  The discovery and realization that your ancestors had aspirations for their life - some realized and some never achieved. To learn that stern faced old aunt had wanted to be an opera singer or that cranky old man had wanted to fly a plane.  To learn that an ancestor sold all they had to make a crossing to a new land and fought through a new world, to take on  a new life, and to finally achieve their dream of owning their own land.

5. That faith and honor are important. 

6. That family is crucial.  Extended, created, or adopted - family is an important element in the live of any person and helps them develop as healthy individual.

7. That commitment, hard work, and dedication really do pay off.  

8. That knowing about scoundrel ancestors is better than not having them at all.  I love my scoundrels! I can look at them and say (depending on the mood) "There, but for the grace of God go I" or "My God - never let me turn into them!"  They can serve as a lesson, "Remember Uncle Victor!" They can serve as a motivation and spur -" Never, become a Great Aunt Sybil!"

9. That sharing their stories is important. Winners or losers - they have something teach to those who come after them. Sharing their stories keeps them alive.

10. That I am made a better person for knowing something about who my ancestors were, accepting their warts and their tiaras gives me wisdom and tolerance, and that sharing who they were.

[All names are fictitious to keep me safe!]

Ancestor Approved Award

I was recently awarded the “Ancestors Approved” Award from a fellow blogger who liked my blog. The "Ancestor Approved" Award was created in March 2010 by Leslie Ann Ballou of Ancestors Live Here as a way to show how much she appreciates and enjoys "blogs full of tips and tricks as well as funny and heartwarming stories..." Recipients are to list ten things which surprised, humbled or enlightened them about their ancestors, before passing it on to ten other bloggers.

I am humbled and honored by the comments and supportive feed back I have rec'd on this simple blog.  Thank you!



THOSE WERE THE DAYS: Community Christmas Programs

It was the most exciting thing to happen to any kindergarten child.  Out of all of the kindergartens in my hometown of Wellington, Kansas, I was selected to be Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the community Christmas pageant put on in the High School auditorium (later this building was the Junior High).

I was giddy, I was excited, I was ready: it was the role of a lifetime, after all.  Being a star in the pageant I was able to bring friends along, so I chose my doll to be the babe Jesus.  My costume was crisp white cotton with a sky blue mantle.  I had no lines but I did have to look 'holy' and 'serene' - those were my stage directions.  I was shown pictures of Mary looking everything from sanctimonious to simply bored and had to craft the correct persona and attitude. My public would expect no less. Rehearsals took place with musical numbers by mixed choirs from schools across the community, band numbers from the high school and the tableau with background music of "Silent Night", "We Three Kings", "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear", and the like.

I had to be in place as the curtain rose, and the spotlight beamed down on me by the rough wooden manger, my doll playing his role to perfection, and myself.  There may have been a Joseph, wise men, and shepherds but I was focused on my task of sitting very still, with hands in a prayerful attitude and a serene look on my childish face.

As the curtain pulled back, the spotlight, warm and bright, hid the majority of the audience filling the large auditorium, I felt as if I had come home. This was the natural water for this little fish. Maybe this was why my family always called me a little "ham", a "showoff", and other terms not so memorable. I was a natural and soon I would be grown with a star on my bedroom door. 

I just knew it with the certainty only a kindergartner can know or understand. I knew this was the case, despite being later upstaged in the program by a fat man in a red suit and a fake beard.

Who Was Mary Mooney? DNA UPDATE

When I view this image I see many common facial features, the downward slant of the eyelids, the downward curve of the mouth in repose, and that strong line from the nose to the corner of the mouth which is more visible on one side than the other.   This is an ancestor but a woman of some mystery.  Mary Mooney is believed to be her name. The following has been shared and shared through the Brown researchers for many years as they sought to piece together that large family.     Yet, substantive proof of her identity is still lacking.
Once in America, Isaac joined a group of men who fought against the Indians. During a battle, he was shot and left to die. But a tribe of Indians, thought to be Cherokee, since he was in the Tennessee area, found him and brought him back to good health. While with the Indians, he fell in love with the Chief's daughter. Only name that is known for her is Mary. Some family believe her name to have been Mary Mooney. But during whose times, the white population did not believe in the marriage of white people to Indians, so no record was ever made of their marriage.
Census records prove the family lived in Davison County, Tennessee until 1849. The couples first ten children were born in Tennessee. Issac was a well educated, since he named his children from the Bible and history names. Then in 1849, Issac H. Brown went to Missouri with his wife, Mary, their nine children and one grandson. Isaac's first son, Ptolema had stayed in Tennessee at that time with his family, but in early 1859 Ptolema with his family settled in Missouri with his father. 
Their eleventh child, Marcius Brown was born in Rolla, Phelps County, Missouri. Reason are unknown why the family moved to Missouri, probably to find land like most did during those times.
Isaac and two of his sons, Lycurgus and Ptolema, bought 800 acres of land in Township 33, Range 9 and 10. It was in this area, that the Blooming Rose Post Office was first established. On July 25, 1856, Isaac H. Brown became the first post master for Blooming Rose, Missouri. Blooming Rose was in Texas County on the farm that he owned at the time. There was also a school in that area. 
In the fall of 1859, the Brown family sold the land of Licking. Ptolema went to Arkansas, Lycurgus went to Illinois, and Isaac and his other sons bought land in the north part of Texas County, Missouri. They owned land in both Texas and Phelps County.  The Civil War broke up the Brown family. The story has been told by neighbors that the Bushwhackers were so bad that Isaac buried his money in fruit jars in the apple orchard and left the country. Her later returned and the neighbors could see a lantern light in the orchard at night. They thought he was trying to find his money.  Source: Kerry S.

Those who believe her name to have been Mooney indicate she was born in 1810, TN and died in 1881 in Texas Co., Missouri.  Just who her father was and her back  ground are strangely absent.  With as many children as she had this is very striking that she did not share her family history with some of her descendants.  There are many 'if's associated with this line.  The original tale of her husband as a runaway apprentice who changed his name brings almost all that is known into question.  The chronology of the story could be slightly off and the Isaac of the tale the son of that other man, the runaway. Of the woman, Mary (whatever her name was)  so little is known. Her appearance does not suggest obvious Native American connections, however even at that early date there was evidence of intermarrying between European newcomers and  settled indigenous peoples.

Some have also suggested she was from a Melungeon line of the VA,TN, KY region bearing that name.  The lack of family information make this difficult to prove or disprove.  Until DNA tests are done, it will remain a mystery.  One theory of the Melungeon culture (at least part of the small but also diverse culture group) is that they are descendants of Portuguese sailors known to have been lost in the 1500's off the Virginia coast line.   Incidents off and on during the next 200 years provide some clues of their presence and intermarrying in the hills of VA, NC, KY, TN, etc.  They would tend to keep away from others because of the dominant racism of the time for the next 250 years. As a culture they are often identified less by dark looks than by a lack of family history, records, and a common but unprovable story of an "Indian" ancestor. DNA NOTE: A male child of a female descendant of this Brown family was tested for DNA and the Haplogroup identified for the female descendant was U5a1a1.  This would seem to preclude any Native American connections - as this is a European based group.  More DNA studies, however, using BROWN male descendants must be done to either completely prove or disprove this theory. 

Today, as many professionals are questioning even the use of the concept of race and as DNA is proving we were a lot more intermingled than we had often preferred to claim, the issue is being seriously addressed. DNA work is apparently supporting the genetic origin for self-identified Melungeons as matching a Native, North African/Mediterranean, and Portuguese/Romy background for many,
Her children were:

2. i. PTOLEMA PHILADEPHUS2 BROWN, b. August 30, 1829, Warren County, Tennessee; d. November 02, 1903, Soldier's Home in St. James, Phelps County, Missouri.

3. ii. JUAN FERNANDEZ BROWN, b. 1831, Davidson County, Tennessee; d. March 07, 1854, Texas County, Missouri.

4. iii. ARCHIMEDES BROWN, b. March 22, 1834, Warran County, Tennessee; d. March 14, 1863, the Civil War in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

5. iv. SELTICANA BROWN, b. 1834, Tennessee.

v. LYCURGUS BROWN4, b. 1835, Warran County, Tennessee; d. May 22, 1887, Macoupin County, Illinois; m. MARTHA P. ARMOUR5, Abt. 1860, Missouri; b. 1840, Illinois.


No children can be found from this marriage.

vi. METROBAR JAMES BROWN, b. 1840, Warren County, Tennesse; m. MARY BROWN; b. 1843, Tennessee.

6. vii. MARY A. BROWN, b. December 04, 1843; d. April 17, 1887, Texas County, Missouri.

viii. ELSINORA ODENSIA BROWN, b. February 21, 1845, Tennessee; d. March 1910, Piaza, Illinois; m. (1) KAYLOR; m. (2) THOMAS MCCOY, 1876, Illinois.

Notes for ELSINORA ODENSIA BROWN:  Elsinora brother, Marcellus Brown, is her twin.

More About ELSINORA ODENSIA BROWN:  Burial: March 1910, Medora Cemetery, Medora, Illinois

Marriage Notes for ELSINORA BROWN and THOMAS MCCOY:  After their marriage, Elsinora and Thomas traveled to Macoupin County, Illinois
7. ix. MARCELLUS BROWN, b. February 21, 1845, Tennessee; d. 1933, Macoupin County, Illinois.

x. FASCILINA BROWN, b. April 05, 1847, Warren County, Tennesse; d. April 03, 1885, at home in Vernon County, Missouri; m. REUBEN HIRAM MAIN, March 05, 1866, St. Louis, Missouri; b. Aft. 1840.

Notes for FASCILINA BROWN: Family decedents say that Fascilina Brown was killed when her team and wagon ran away. She was also thought to be pregnant at the time of her death.

8. xi. MARCIUS SABINUS BROWN, b. November 05, 1849, Rolla, Phelps County, Missouri; d. August 17, 1912, Calera, Bryan county, Oklahoma.

9. xii. LEONIDAS H. BROWN, b. 1853, Texas County, Missouri

The above was sent to me.   This research has been shared - in the way of much family history - over and over for nearly twenty years. The first of this information I remember seeing in the early 1990's from Missouri Brown researchers.  In the way of good research, it should be cited but in the way of good research it also needs to be investigatible and able to be duplicated.   Since so many people come together with their pieces of the puzzle the tradition is to share freely.

UPDATE NOTE:  A male child of a female descendant of this Brown family was tested for DNA and the Haplogroup identified for the female descendant was U5a1a1.


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