I am Lonnie C. O’Shields and I just received the following information from Dr. Norma L. Tompkins and she said quote “I enclose a copy of a document I have written defending my research. Do with it as you wish.” Since the information was posted about the research done by Dr. Tompkins on the Genealogy web sites, I am posting the following as received from Dr. Tompkins. The book that is being referenced can be viewed at the following web site: www.lib.byu.edu/fhc. When you get to the site, which is in Provo, Utah, just type in Tompkins in the Author area and it will show you that it is about 300 years of the Hewitt's.
Having been challenged on the accuracy of the research for the book Hewitt 1992 accompanied by a request to change said book to agree with the challenger, it is necessary to respond. It was stated “she did not have access to material later discovered (letters) now in the possession of a third party and too fragile to copy she was in error”.
A thorough review of a huge amount of legal documents provided by the challenger, justifies the conclusion that the challenger is the one in error. Without exception, the legal documents reported “James Hewitt and wife, Elizabeth.” No mention is ever made or referred to as Elizabeth O’Sheals-except the numerous additions written in the margin and not a part of the original document. This is not acceptable for a claim of proof.
The challenge is to identify the Elizabeth O’Sheals, daughter of Jethro and wife, Sarah, O’Sheals claimed to be the wife of James Hewitt (5 (John 4, James 3…)
The minutes of the Friendship Baptist Church obtained through inter library loan from the Baptist Historical Collection, Furman University Library, Greenville, South Carolina was used for this research. It was stated in the minutes that “Elizabeth O’Sheals joined the church October 1803”. The minutes further stated “Elizabeth Hewitt joined the church in 1832 as did her two step daughters, Sealy and Massey. Ergo the two Elizabeths were not the same.
The Baptist Church believes “once saved-always saved” and would not have let anyone join the Church twice. Case in point, the church refused to allow James Hewitt to rejoin when he had his revelation.
Therefore, who was the James Hewitt said to have married Elizabeth O’Sheals? Perhaps he was James (4, James 3…) brother to John 4 and uncle to our James 5. This James 4 was not researched for the book. (Page 64)
James (5 John 4…) had a first and a second wife. With both wives he followed the accepted practice among the early settlers of naming their children after family members of both sides. This practice is well known among genealogists. It was presented in lectures at Southern Methodist University by a Board Certified Genealogist.
With his first wife, the first two boys were named Cowan Landy and William. With the second wife, the two boys were named James Allen and Caleb, both Allen family names.
The first wife was Miss Cowan and the second wife was Elizabeth Allen, identified in her father’s will of 1822. James sired four children with his first wife from 1810 to 1819, a child every two years. From 1819 to 1825, there were no children born. James sired four more children from 1825 to 1832, again a child every two years. Why were there no children born during the six years 1819 to 1825? The only logical explanation “he had no wife during those years.”
Another point – The challenger claimed that Lettie, wife of William Cowan, was Sealy the daughter of James 5. However, Lettie, wife of Cowan, was born 1820/21 and according to her death certificate in Pope County, Arkansas, gave her date of birth as May 1820. This was during the period when James had no wife and no children born. Sealy was born 1815 and joined the church as Sealy in 1832. Ergo, she was not Letty Cowan.
The challenger is free to write his own book as he wishes. He should not try to disavow another researcher’s work and demand a change. However, it may be all of the above is moot. It has been reported by yet another researcher that Elizabeth O’Sheals, daughter of Jethro and Sarah O’Sheals married Tyre Harrison. She was born 1792 and died December 16, 1868.
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