DO YOU LOVE A MYSTERY??
I am currently researching the VESEY family. During my research, I ran across the following letter, and it is about to drive me up the wall…….but first, please read the letter…..AND Lazarus Jones of Jones Co GA is involved in this, AND a Fitzhugh.
This is a contribution from Jan Dunham email@example.com
Here's one of the stories from the Henry Evan Spiva family (son of Francis Spiva & his wife Mary Jane Hall) ... this was a photocopy of a letter that was passed on to us. Jan E. Dunham
A letter from Sally Vesey Spiva ca 1941---Sarah Elizabeth “Sally/Eva” Vesey was married to Henry Evan Spiva (b. abt 1872).
Friant, California. Box 11 June 17, 1941 Mrs. O.B. Linnevold and family: Dear darlin loved ones. I am going to try and answer your sweet letter. Bless your heart I can't answer the questions to do any good, as I never heard what was my grandfathers' given name was on my mother's side. (Charles Perry Polk). My father never served in the war. Only one of my uncles did. His name was Bronson Jones. My grandfather on my father's side served in the old war when the Whigs and Tories carried the day. I don't know anyone that could tell you my grandfather Polk's name. No, Grandfather Spiva never fought in the Civil War. His parents were Jonah Spivey. They came from Mississippi to Missouri, then to Arkansas in early days. All my people are dead that I could ask about. First, what kind of wedding dress? It was white organdy, made long. I guess it was a home wedding. We were married at home at 11 o'clock, and went to church afterwards returned home. Dinner was served at 4 pm. with about 40 present. The rest of the evening was spent in games and songs. Your grandfather was dressed in a black Prince Albert suit. The second day we rode 45 miles to his home were we were met by 20 friends and served our infair dinner (much on the same style as the one served at my home. (Traveled by horseback). I and this man lived together 16 months, and he died. Two years later I married the man your mother knew as father. This was a private wedding. I was dressed in brown satin. Four months later I started on my honeymoon to West Texas, where we had to go 175 miles to get our mail and grub, and nothing to protect us from storm and cold but the North Star. Our first stay was Andrews County; the second was Midland Co. Here I got my mail for about 15 years. Our ranches consisted of 4000 and 5000 acres, stocked with cattle, horses, sheep and goats. It was free range. We leased, but did not fence for a long time. We were of not particular religion. I was raised a Baptist. You asked of the dress of the men - cowboys - they wore big hats, loud shirts, high heeled boots, Levi pants and chaps, and OK spurs. They had a magney or lariat and had a quirt. These were the only weapons the cowman needed. Next the round-up wagon started in the spring and continued until everything froze up. There was no fencing in those days. Which ever way your face was it was open to you all. Water that was fit for service had to be pumped from wells by windmills into tanks for use. The prevailing song was "Go home, little dogies" and "Bury me not on the lone prairie". Next, my folks were from Florida. I was born at Tampa in 1868 (May 24). My father went as a Baptist minister to Louisiana. There my mother died, and my grandparents took, me to raise. So all my folks came to Louisiana and stayed one year. Then crawled into their Prairie Schooner and hit the road for Texas. We settled in east Texas where I was raised. My post office was Hemphill, Sabine County, Texas. My name was Sarah Elizabeth, but was always called Sally. You ask of my relations to President James K. Polk. He was my ... uncle. My mother's name was Lizey Ann, or I think Eliza Ann Polk. Your grandmother Spiva's name was Mary Jane Hall. She was a niece to President McKinley*. She lived and died in Arkansas. Some lullaby songs were "Froggy went courting my cat went Fiddleofee" and some folks say "John the Baptist was nothing but a Jew." Grandma
*we had visits - picnics, eta. with some McKinleys when I was small before mother died.
(The above would have been the letter that Sarah Elizabeth Vesey (the Grandma) wrote. Below was someone explaining or further processing the information. I have been unable to locate new email address for the Jan Dunham, who sent in the letter. This letter was obtained from web site http://www.cydrawls.com/Spivltr.html)
Sarah and Matilda left old south to go to Texas with their paternal Grandmother and husband (Jones), after they'd sold their Florida plantation (after freeing of slaves). En route to Texas a colored maid absconded with a pick-up Negro man and the plantation cash. The family continued to Texas (eastern part/Sabine County) where the family settled and children grew up. Their post office was Hemphill. Grandmother aided by work as a midwife (rode a mule), Grandfather did cabinet work, and probably owned a farm. Girls grew up well, knew how to work, clean (scrubbed chairs & floors with sand for cleanser & polish), knit, sew, cook, chores. Sarah hadn't kissed Albert until married, "You'd got tell and I'd get the name of being common." Sarah was 5+ years when Ann Eliza, their mother, died from dropsey (Bright's disease). She was Ann Eliza Polk Vesey, daughter of Charles Perry Polk, granddaughter of Ezekiel Polk,(father of Charles Perry and Samuel Polk, Samuel Polk was the father of James Knox Polk...President of US). Sarah remembered her mother well, the facts and >>>>> of their move. She remembered parents well and visited her father Vesey in Texas about 1912 (?). (Willa Mae Spiva was a nursing baby with her). Father, M. L. Vesey introduced Sarah & Matilda to friends as his daughters. I think the father Vesey was a captain, living in Brownsville, Texas. But that detail I cannot swear to. My Grandmother refereed to her father as Vesey when she talked of their visit. The girls had little formal education but pursued education and learning on their own. The girls were Baptist in church membership, but Sarah married A. Seastruck, a Methodist and affiliated with that church. Sarah, Grandmother, and Albert Seastruck had 1 child, Miriam A. (Ann?) Seastruck. Albert died, age 22, of pneumonia. They were farming. He knew he was dying, "now Tenderfliat (his name for her) watch me died like a man." Sarah worked at a hotel kitchen to support herself and baby. Baby Miriam was quite ill with diarrhea and Sarah (about 90 lbs for years) held baby on lap in suna to try to help heal her. After 2 years Sarah married William Ramsey, a rancher. They moved to his ranch place in Andrews county, 175 miles from Post Office at first. Later they moved to Odessa, Texas in Midland County. Two sons were born, LeGrande, who died from diabetes in his teens - and Parker B. Ramsey (died 1971). Sarah and William had 5000 - 5000 acres (leased) for cattle, horses, sheep, goats. This land was unfenced. Some land may have been their land. Parker married Jessie Duncan. He was never friendly wit Spivas, but would come to mother if she was in ill health and for her funeral. There probably was hostility after Sarah married Henry Evan Spiva, late 1890's. The Ramsey estate went. There may have been personality clashes. Ramsey provided well for his family. He died mid 1890's by reason of saddle girth slipping while fording a swollen river. He drowned. The accompanying two cowmen came to tell Sarah - she knew the message when she saw them coming. Sarah married Henry Evan Spiva in late 1890's thinking that he could help manage the Ramsey estate. He had no talents in that line. They had 5 children - Thelma, Horace, Homer, Opal, Willa Mae. Hoarace died Oct 75 and Opal died from diptheria as a child, about 1909. There were said to be some relatives in Phoenix, Arizona (perhaps Crandell/Crawford?) names & connection unknown to me. *****************************************************************
Now….in the letter Sarah Elizabeth Vesey states that her mother was Ann Eliza Polk, niece of President James Knox Polk. Eliza Ann Polk was born June 8, 1837 in Bolivar, Hardeman Co, Tennessee, and died 27 May 1873. Records I found show that she died in Jackson, Madison Co, Tennessee. Sarah Elizabeth states in the letter that her mother died in Louisiana, and that her father was a Baptist minister.
Records show that Ann Eliza Polk married Marcellus Lauderdale Vesey on 31 Oct 1866 in Tishomingo Co MS. In the letter commentary, it states that Sarah Elizabeth visited her father, M. L. Vesey, in Brownsville, TX about 1912. I find no record of Marcellus Vesey ever living in Brownsville. He was a very active member of the Confederate Veterans Association after the Civil War, and could have been attending a reunion there in Brownsville at that time, but that is merely speculation. Another contradiction in the letter, stated that her father never served in the war. Actually, Marcellus served for the length of the war.
Records show that Ann Eliza Polk was the daughter of Charles Perry Polk and Ellen Matilda Fitzhugh (b. 1820 TN), daughter of Edmund Burdette Fitzhugh (b. 1794 VA) and Ann Eliza Roberts. (However, one marriage record on Ancestry.com shows him marrying Ellen Matilda Burdette) The commentary of the letter stated that Sarah Elizabeth & Matilda (her sister), “left old south to go to Texas with the paternal grandmother (Ellen Matilda Polk) and husband (Jones)” from Florida. This would mean that Ellen Matilda Polk had divorced or left Charles Perry Polk (he died in 1893 in Alcorn Co, MS), and somehow married a Jones (which turned out to be Lazarus Jones of Jones Co, GA). However, I have never found a marriage of Lazarus to a Ellen Fitzhugh or Polk, even though the census’ of Lazarus shows his wife as being a Ellen. (1850 Jones Co GA census; 1860 Lafayette Co FL, and 1880 Sabine Co TX lists a Ellen as his wife.) In the 1880 census in Sabine Co TX with Lazarus, it lists our Sarah E.age 12 and Ellen M. (Matilda??) as age 9, but it shows their maiden name as JONES. It shows their relationship with Lazarus and Ellen as “other than children of”. In Sarah Elizabeth’s letter, it states that she was born in Tampa, FL. I have not been able to find Marcellus and Ann Eliza in a 1870 census, but I don’t really believe they ever lived in Florida.
AND THE PLOT THICKENS……Sarah Elizabeth states her birth as 24 May 1868, and Ellen M. census date show her born in about 1871, both born in Florida. HOWEVER, Marcellus & Ann Eliza had another child, Ellen Elizabeth Vesey, born 17 Nov 1869 in Mississippi. Ellen Elizabeth would have been born in between Sarah Elizabeth and Ellen M.
I could go on and on, but my question to you…..Do you have any information as to Ellen Matilda Fitzhugh marrying Lazarus Jones? Two references I have seen on Rootsweb show that his wife’s name was Ellen Bailey or Ellen Sanders.
Sarah Elizabeth Vesey must have known who her parents were, but all indications make it hard to tie them with her. In the 1880 Jackson, Madison Co, TN census shows her father Charles Perry Polk with wife, Sarah J. I have not been able to find him in 1870, so don’t know who would be listed with him them. I have researched Sarah Elizabeth Vesey/Jones on through her three marriages, with her dying in California in 1947.
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