Smithen: The End Of The Line

If tracing the SMITHEN line from present-day backwards, Ed Smithen may be the END OF THE LINE!

When I began researching the SMITHEN line back in the late 1970s, many of Edd’s children were still living and I was able to interview most of them. Other than anecdotal stories about Ed, NOT ONE of his offspring could tell me anything about his parents or siblings nor were they aware that any even existed.

Family legend has it that Ed Smithen was an orphan in Maury County Tennessee and was raised by the FITZGERALD family until he was old enough to make it on his own. In the 1880 census for Maury Co. TN there is a 12 year old Ed Smithson listed as a servant living with a family of FITZGERALDs that includes two unmarried sisters, Lizzie (age 40) and Louiza (age 35).

In my research investigation I kept hearing hints that Edd Smithen had had a mysterious benefactor named Louiza Fitzgerald who would occasionally visit him in Corsicana and bring gifts to the family. Several brave souls even shared with me the rumor that he might be the illegitimate son of Louiza’s. Then the rumor even got racier when I was told that his father was probably a Native American Indian. (This actually makes a little sense when one studies the bone structure of the Smithen males … i.e. the high pronounced cheek bones and the barrel chest … and the few photos show Ed to have dark skin.)

One lady researcher (who was the spouse of a distant cousin) very curtly told me that proper people did not discuss such matters (as illegitimate parentage) and I was never to phone her again … she passed away several years later. Several other SMITHEN researchers at the time told me that a lady named Florence Hogg, living in Claude, TX knew all the facts about the Ed Smithen family story. I wrote Ms. Hogg several times in 1979 and finally received a response postmarked 4 Dec 1979. Here is what she wrote,

“One of my cousins worked on the family history & I have it wrote down here so will send it to you. I knew Uncle Ed but I never knew any of his family. It seems that he was an orphan and was raised by a family. We came here in 1903 so I was kinda small & cant remember. If its convenient for you to come visit us in the spring when the weather gets better we could talk a lot. One of the Breedlove boys lives here in Claude. I just have a daughter that lives here. I have a few pictures but supposed that the folks had them too. I have been so busy I didn’t write much and my hand is kinda crippled.”

Unfortunately, with it being about a 6-hour drive halfway across Texas, I never made that visit to Claude. I did try to telephone Ms. Hogg several times only to find that phone conversation was almost impossible because she was almost deaf and she basically refused to let her daughter be the go-between communicator on the sensitive topic of Ed’s parentage when I tried to breach the subject.

According to the Social Security Death Index, Ms. Hogg died in 1986 in Claude, TX, so that possibly first-hand information source is gone. I will try to trace and contact her daughter (whose name I don’t know) and possibly someone from the Breedlove family. But, at this point in time, it is pretty unlikely that I will find anyone who has the closely guarded, missing information piece to a puzzle that is more than 140 years old!

Pritchett’s In The Civil War

Muster roll for Company F. 60th. Regiment, Gordons Army of Northern Virginia C. S. A. Gilmer and Whitfield Counties, Georgia, Gilmer volunteers:

James M. Pritchett Pvt. Sept. 19 1861, captured and paroled at Fredricksburg, Virgina Dec. 13 1862, Captured at Spotsylvania Virginia, May 20 1864, Paroled at Point Lookout, Md. and transferred for exchange March 15, 1865. He was son of Lewis Pritchett and father of John Robert Pritchett. He married Delilah Spears. .
J. N. Prichett, Pvt. April 25, 1862, Captured at Gettysburg, Pa. July 3 1863. Exchanged at Point Lookout, Md. Feb. 18, 1865. He is Jasper Newton Pritchett son of Lewis Pritchett.

M. R. Pritchett, Pvt. Sept. 19, 1861. Surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, April 9, 1865. He is the son of Jasper and Barbary Pritchett Sr. born in Gilmer County, 1838.

James M. Spears, Pvt. Feb. 25 1862. Sent to hospital in 1863. Died in Burton’s Hospital at Lynchburg, Virginia Feb. 1 1863. Buried there in the Confederate Cemetery, No. 10, 4th, line lot 189. He is the son of Friend Spears, who married Mary Caroline Pritchett Gilmer County, May 2, 1860. Mary Caroline is the daughter of John Wylie Pritchett, the brother of Lewis. Some researchers have this Mary Caroline as the daughter of Lewis this is in error\\

D. F. Spears, Pvt. Sept. 19 1861, surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, April 9, 1865. This is David son of Friend Spears.

W. B. Spears Pvt. March 4, 1862, wounded at Cold Harbor, Virginia June 27, 1862, surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia April 9 1865. This is William son of Friend Spears. He married Louisa somebody cannot make out the last name in Gilmer County, Aug. 21, 1851.

Muster Roll of Company D. 11th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia, C. S. A. Gilmer County, Georgia, known as the “Gilmer Boys”.

Francis Marion Pritchett, Pvt. March 3, 1862, died of Disease at Richmond, Virginia Jan. 20, 1862. He is the son of William Pritchett.

Major L. Pritchett, Pvt. July 3 1861. Wounded at Gettysburg, Pa. July 2 1863. Surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia April 9, 1865. He is the son of William Pritchett.

William Messer Pritchett, Pvt. July 3, 1861 wounded at Malvern Hill, Virginia July 1, 1862 Killed at Gettysburg, Pa. July 2, 1863. Also Williams son.

Muster Roll of Company A. 65th, Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry Army of Tennessee, C S. A. Gilmer and Pickens Counties, Georgia. “Gilmer Light Guards”.

Henry Pritchett, Enlisted in the Inf. Battn. Smith’s Legion, Georgia Vols, May 15, 1862. Appointed 2nd, Corporal. Transferred to Co. A. 65th Reg. Georgia, Inf. March 1863. Wounded in battle of Chickamauga and reported missing. Sent to hospital Feb. 22, 1864. Paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865 with rank of 4th Corporal. He was also Williams son.

Major Pritchett and William Messer Pritchett Joined same day, July 3, 1861.

James M. Pritchett, M. R. Pritchett and D. F. Spears all joined Sept 19th, 1861.

William Messer Pritchett killed at Gettysburg July 2 , 1863.

Major Pritchett wounded at Gettysburg July 2, 1863.

J. N. Pritchett was captured at Gettysburg July 3, 1863.

Miles W. Lewis family researcher Gloria Davis has a lengthy report on this man in the Davis family tree] Was wounded in the groin at Gettysburg July 2, 1863 and died in the hospital at Gettysburg July 22, 1863 from his wounds.\

M. R. Pritchett, Major Pritchett, D. F. Spears and W. B. Spears all surrendered at Appomattox April 9, 1865.

There is a Major Pritchett that was wounded July 2, 1863 in Gettysburg and surrendered at Appomattox. He and his wife Aleva show up on the Gilmer County Census for 1860, 1870 and 1880. Both are buried in Turnip Town Baptist Church Cemetery in Gilmer County. Also on the same census is Henry W. Pritchett and his wife Sarah also buried in Turnip Town.
This is a good place to state how this family was involved in the Civil war and suffered from it. Three brothers and a brother-in-law were in the same company for the South. There were other brothers-in-laws that died while in other companies. Jasper Jr., and his brother-in-law Thomas J. Wells, James Marion and Jasper Jr… Jasper Jr. his uncle James and Jasper Newton all were part of Company “F” of the 60th Confederate Army were captured and sent to Federal prison and released, different times.

SOURCE OF THIS STORY:

The Steve A. Pritchett — Skinner Web Site/Page — Genealogy
The Descendants of Jasper Pritchett
http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/p/r/i/Steve-A-Pritchett/BOOK-0001/0 002-0005.html#IND1429REF47

Ed Smithen Cemetery Error

To add to the confusion & mystery which seems to surround Ed Smithen, I have now found a major piece of misinformation that will throw researchers off if they don’t catch it. Almost every cemetery index I have been able to find for Laflin Creek Cemetery in Grady County Oklahoma lists Ed Smithen’s year of death as 1971. The correct year of his death is 1936 which is clearly stated on his death certificate and engraved on his headstone.

I now manage the FindAGrave.com memorial page for Ed Smithen; it is #22480735. Hopefully, since many folks use FindAGrave.com informationto feed their online indexes, this correct information will show up in the future … unfortunately, most existing online cemetery indexes are rarely corrected and/or updated so the incorrect year of death will be there to confuse unwary researchers for a long, long time……

Samuel Parker Confusion

No doubt I will ruffle some feathers by writing this story but I don’t know what else to do to slow down the tide of incorrect information that keeps multiplying on many trees. Folks seem to be in such a frenzied hurry to enlarge their trees that they copy and/or transfer information from others’ trees without verifying it or even reading it! That’s why we see tree after tree that lists children being born before their mother or when she was way too young to give birth … or we see an unproven death date and then the dead individual showing up in the next census and also … and, one of my favorites, we see the same child listed numerous times on the family group sheet all with the same name and the same year of birth!

Yes, I have errors on my tree and since it is fairly large, I probably have many errors. To keep my errors from becoming others’ errors, I try to label data that I have doubts about as “UNPROVED”, “NOT VERIFIED” … or, “BEWARE, UNPROVED”. I’ve even merged data from some one else’s tree and inadvertently recorded the same child several times …. BUT, I eventually come back and find these duplicates and correct them accordingly. Unfortunately, the longer I, or you, leave obvious errors on a tree then it becomes that much more likely that it will turn up, again in error, on someone else’s tree.

Now comes the underlying reason for this story … The name Samuel Parker was fairly common in the 1800’s and there were hundreds (maybe thousands) of men with that name. Three individuals in particular seemed to be constantly confused and the purpose of this story is to resolve, or at least lessen, that confusion. So, let’s focus on three men named Samuel Parker and their families and hopefully everyone, after reading this, will go away knowing who’s who and who’s not!!!

#1 is my GGGGrandfather, Samuel Parker b. 1795 NC, d. 1865 Montgomery Co., AR His migration trail was NC to St. Clair Co. & Fayette Co., AL to McNairy Co., TN to Choctaw Co., MS and finally to Pike Co. & Montgomery Co., AR. The name of his first spouse is currently unknown; from censuses we deduct that she died after 1840 and before 1850. With spouse #1, Samuel had nine children, all sons. We know that seven lived to adulthood and two (unknown names) probably died young prior to 1850. The seven sons are as follows:
1. James Calvin b. 1822 in St. Clair, AL, d. 1878 in Pike, AR
2. Andrew Calvin b. 1824 in Fayette, AL, d. 1896 in Pike, AR
3. Thomas Cicero b. 1827 in AL, d. 1870 in AR
4. Rufus b. 1831 in AL, d. 1882 prob. in AR
5. Samuel Jr. b. 1832 in McNairy, TN, d. 1878 in OK
6. John b. 1838 in Choctaw, MS (possibly a twin; poss. d. young)
7. William b. 1838 in Choctaw, MS (poss. a twin), d. 1864 Prairie, AR

It is known that at least five of Samuel’s sons fought in the 4th Ark Cavalry, Union Army.

Between 1850 and 1853 Samuel married a second time to a woman named Nancy who was born abt. 1813 in GA. They had two daughters:
1. Clementine b. 1853 in MS, marr. Samuel Babbitt, d. aft. 1900 prob. in AR or OK
2. Leander b. 1855 in AR, lived in Pike, AR in 1860 & 1870

#2 is Samuel Parker b. 1792 NC, d. 1878 in Jackson, KY. In addition to NC, he lived in TN and then finally in KY. This Samuel Parker was married to a Sarah Sally Beckerdite. They appear in several census records including 1850 Hancock Co. TN, 1860 & 1870 Jackson Co. KY. They had ten children:
1. Faith b. 1819
2. James Hanson b. 1820 NC
3. Doctor Raford b. 1821 NC
4. Cynthia Ann b. 1823 NC
5. William Henry b. 1825 NC
6. Ezra b. 1826 NC
7. John b. 1832 NC
8. Anna b. 1833 NC
9. Nancy b. 1834 NC
10. Patterson b. 1838 NC
(Please take note…because this family IS NOT in my tree, I have not verified this information so consider it UNPROVED!)

#3 is Samuel Washington Parker b. 1810 TN In addition to TN, the family lived in MS, and finally Arkansas Co., AR. This Samuel Parker marr. Nancy Mariah Pipkin, 14 Apr 1839 in Marshall, MS. Nancy Pipkin was b. 1818 in Wayne, NC. They had ten children as follows:
1. Sarah J., b. 1832 TN
2. Marion, b. 1835 TN
3. Jesse, b. 1839 MS, lived in Prairie, Arkansas, AR in 1860
4. Isabella, b. 1842 MS, lived in Prairie, Arkansas, AR in 1860
5. Hereley H., b. 1845 MS, lived in Prairie, Arkansas, AR in 1860
6. Asa G., b. 1846 MS, d. 1898 Cass, TX, marr Sally Dees
7. Benjamin F., b. 1848 MS, lived in Prairie, Arkansas, AR in 1860
8. Susan E., b. 1852 MS, lived in Prairie, Arkansas, AR in 1860
9. Mary E., b. 1855 MS, lived in Prairie, Arkansas, AR in 1860
10. Babert B., b. 1857 TN, lived in Prairie, Arkansas, AR in 1860
(Please take note…because this family IS NOT in my tree, I have not verified this information so consider it UNPROVED!)

It is easy to see where much of the confusion comes ….. first, all three have overlapping geographical and migration similarities, and second, all three share very similar family timelines. Regardless of all the similarities and all the erroneous information in all the many incorrect, although well-intended trees, the fact remains that these are three different Samuel Parkers with three different families.

Samuel Parker’s 1st Wife

In 2008 another PARKER FAMILY researcher wrote a report entitled, HISTORY OF THE FAMILY: PARKER OF PIKE COUNTY ARKANSAS.

He puts forth the idea that the spouse of Samuel Parker (1795-1865) was one ELEANOR PARKER b. abt 1802 in SC who appears on the 1850 Mortality Census for Choctaw County MS as having died of dropsy in December 1849.

Let’s look at the regular census for 1850 Choctaw County Mississippi and determine how many men born between 1775 and 1815 DID NOT have spouses when the census was taken. There are only three possibilities ….

1) Samuel Parker living in Western Division b. abt 1793 in NC

2) R J Parker living in Subdivision 23 b. abt 1797 in NC

3) Samuel Parker living in Subdivision 23 b. abt 1800 in NC

Now let’s closer examine each of these individuals…..

#1 is well documented in Wayne Parker’s online tree at

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=parker_2008&id=I00060

This Samuel Parker had only one spouse, Frances Miller, so he can be eliminated as a possible husband of Eleanor.

#2 is also documented in Wayne Parker’s online tree at

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.c gi?op=GET&db=parker_2008&id=I00984

He is Robert J. Parker and had only one known spouse, Nancy, so he can be eliminated as a possible husband of Eleanor.

#3 is my ggggrandfather, Samuel Parker. He is well documented in my Ancestry.com online tree as well as Wayne Parker’s tree at

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.c gi?op=GET&db=parker_2008&id=I00373

Up until now, we knew that Samuel had two wives. The first, name unknown, bore him nine known children between 1822 and 1838. Samuel’s second wife was named Nancy and she bore him two daughters, one in 1853 and one in 1855.

If the process of eliminating possible Parker husbands for Eleanor Parker is valid, then Eleanor (1802-1849) must have been Samuel Parker’s (1795-1865) first wife! Since Eleanor died in 1849 then it is reasonable to assume that Samuel married Nancy within the next year or so and they then had their first child, Clementine, in 1853.

News Abt Samuel Parker 1795-1865

Samuel Parker was born abt 1795 in North Carolina. He and his family were probably living in Alabama for awhile since he had sons born in St. Clair county in 1822 and Lamar county in 1824 and then two other sons were born in Alabama in 1827 and 1831. In 1832 a son was born in McNairy county Tennessee. By 1837 he had moved to Choctaw County Mississippi because he is listed there in the State Census Index. He is in Choctaw county for the 1840 and 1850 federal census of the state. By 1855 Samuel and his family had moved to Pike County Arkansas as he is found there on the 1860 federal census having a daughter born in AR in 1855. A Goodspeed biography states that Samuel died and was buried in Montgomery County Arkansas in 1865.

About Spouses:

Samuel had at least two wives … the first, name unknown, bore him at least six known sons and probably a seventh between 1822 through 1838. Other trees say this spouse was named Nancy Beckerdite but that is incorrect because enough factual data is available online to eliminate her even though she was married to a man named Samuel Parker.

We have only a first name for his last spouse … Nancy. She was born abt 1813 in Georgia and may have married Samuel shortly prior to 1853 when their first daughter was born in Mississippi. Most trees claim that this Nancy was Nancy Pipkin but this is incorrect because enough factual data is available online to eliminate her even though she was married to a man named Samuel Washington Parker.

About Children:

Samuel had at least six known sons and probably a seventh all between 1822 through 1838 as follows:
James Calvin Parker b. 4 Jun 1822 in St. Clair, AL, d. 8 Apr 1878 in Pike, AR
Andrew Calvin Parker (UNPROVED) b.27 Apr 1824 in Lamar, AL, d.10 Sep 1896, Pike, AR
Thomas Cicero Parker b. 1 Nov 1827 in AL, d. 3 May 1870 in AR
Rufus Parker b. 21 Dec 1831 in AL, d. 1882
Samuel Parker b. 25 Mar 1832 in McNairy, TN, d. abt 1878 in OK
John Parker (twin) b. 1838 MS
William Parker (twin) b. 1838 MS, d. 3 Nov 1864 in Prairie, AR

With his wife Nancy, he had two daughters:
Clementine Parker b. Sep 1853 MS, marr. Samuel Babbitt
Leanner (?) Parker b. 1855 in AR

This is basically everything I know about Samuel Parker 1795-1865. If anyone has any information about him and/or his family, I would be most grateful to hear from you. I can be contacted either through my RootsWeb site or my Ancestry.com tree.

UPDATE NOTE!! Since writing this post in Oct 2012 I have developed a lot more information about Samuel and his family. This latest data appears in both of my online trees and some is contained in new posts. jt 12/08/2013

A Great Resource

FindAGrave.com is a fantastic genealogy research tool.  Thanks to the multiple parameters of their search engine, you have a good chance of finding the burial location and possibly a photo of their headstone IF your ancestor’s grave is included in the ever growing database of approximately 87 million listings.  Occasionally, you’ll find that someone has posted a photo, obituary, death certificate, and other valuable genealogy information about the deceased.  Always remember though … data included on headstones, obits, and death certificates is typically provided by well-meaning relatives or neighbors of the deceased and should be verified from another source.