Monday, October 28, 2013

REPOST {June 25, 2010}: Roberta's death

A repost [with revisions] from my previous blog:
For a few years now I have been trying to find out what happened to my great-grandmother Roberta Pipkins.  I first learned of her name when reading the obituary of my grandfather who passed away in 2001 and that "Mama Lois" [who I thought was my grandfather's mother] was his step-mother by whom my great-grandfather, Marcellus had four children with.  According to my Aunt Mary [grandfather's half-sister] she knew a few of Roberta's siblings Columbus Stephens [married Lois's sister Minnie Allen], Harmon Brown and Roberta's Aunt Jennie Tony. She mentioned that Roberta's mother, Mandy had died early on in life and her children were raised by various relatives. All of Roberta's siblings had different fathers and took on the surnames of their respective father's. Roberta met and married Marcellus Pipkins, but it would be years before they would finally have children. My grandfather's obituary stated that his mother died when he and his brother were just children and they were later reared by Marcellus & Lois Pipkins.
Marcellus Pipkins married Roberta Perkins on December 4, 1910 in Panola County, Texas.
They had the following children:
1) Tharnar James Pipkins (b. April 6, 1924 - d. April 1, 2001) - My grandfather "Buddy/James"
2) Marcellus Pipkins, Jr (b. May 6, 1925 - d. July 4, 1993) - Uncle Junior 
Roberta was last seen on the 1930 U.S. Federal Census in Caddo Parish, Louisiana. She appears to have passed on sometime after the Census was taken because later that year her husband, Marcellus Pipkins married Lois Allen on October 28, 1930 in Panola County, Texas.
[1930 U.S. Federal Census,  Police Jury Ward 7,  Caddo Parish,  Louisiana; Enumerated: April 3, 1930; Dwelling #42, Family # 43, Roll 788; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 70; Image:  208]. 
The family lived next door to Henderson Wynn [Roberta's first cousinand Mariah Golden [Roberta's Aunt]


From: C. Esther (Cousin) 
Date: March 21, 2007
Communication: Email

You may come upon resistance in getting information about Roberta. It is said by some family members, 
that Roberta was "crazy".  Don't know exactly what that means, but that is the gossip. All of the folks that I've spoken with only give brief information on Roberta."
Person Interviewed: Mary K. (Great Aunt, grandfather's half-sister)
Date: March 2007
Communication: By phone and in person
"Roberta and Marcellus had lost a son in child birth or when he was just a little boy and she was never the same
after that. Daddy said it was if she had lost the will to live, she stopped taking care of herself and eventually she just died."
Aunt Mary said she believes the child was named John Pipkins.
Person Interviewed: Alma Golden Jones (Cousin) 
Date: October 16, 2007
Communication: By phone
Cousin Alma lived in Deberry, Panola County, Texas at the time of our conversation.
She is the granddaughter of Jennie Tony, Roberta's AuntAlma was born on August  04, 1923 in Panola County, Texas and died January 31, 2008 in Dallas, Texas. 
She mentioned that she knew "Cuzin Cellus and Berta". Based on her year of birth Alma would have been around 7 years old when Roberta died.
Person Interviewed: Lillie Mae Stephens Webster (My grandfather's 1st cousin & Roberta's niece)
Date: January 10, 2008
Communication: By phone
Lillie Mae was born on March 10, 1923 in Panola County, Texas and died on March 23, 2009 in Houston, Texas.
She said she didn't know who Roberta's father was, but she said Marcellus and Roberta lived in Oklahoma and then moved back to Texas where she died. I asked her if Roberta went insane or was crazy, she said "oh no honey I ain't never heard of my aunt Berta being crazy".
No death record has ever been found on Roberta Pipkins in Texas, Louisiana, or Oklahoma. Based on the information my Aunt Mary gave [told to her by her father Marcellus Sr] it appears that Roberta suffered from major depression and depending on her actions could have been mistaken or viewed as insanity during that time period.

Terrence A. Garnett
[October 28, 2013]

 Source Citations:
  1. Pipkins, Marcellus & Rhoberta Perkins: Panola County Marriages; Volume I: Page 260, County Clerk’s Office, Carthage, Texas.
  2. Pipkins, Marcellus & Lois Allen: Panola County Marriages; Volume N: Page 134, County Clerk’s Office, Carthage, Texas.
  3. Pipkins Jr, Marcellus C: "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 Oct 2013), Marcellus Pipkin Jr, 7 July 1993; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  4. Pipkins, Tharner James: "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 Oct 2013), Tharner J Pipkins, 1 April 2001; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  5. "United States Census, 1930," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 Oct 2013), Marselles Pipkins, Police Jury Ward 7, Caddo, Louisiana, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 0070, sheet , family 43, NARA microfilm publication.
  6. Webster, Lillie Mae: "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 Oct 2013), Lillie Mae Webster, 23 March 2009; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  7. Jones, Alma: "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 Oct 2013), Alma Jones, 31 January 2008; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Court Case from the Southwestern Reporter [J.Brooks - Appeal]

BROOKS J. Appellant was convicted of assault with Intent to murder Henry Pipkins and his punishment assessed at confinement in the penitentiary for a term of two years hence this appeal.
Appellant and Will Wilson came to the house of Margaret Pipkins on September 25 1898, riding. 
At the time of their arrival the injured party, Henry Pipkins was tussling over the possession of a mule with one Elzle Scroggins. Wilson said to Pipkins "Turn the mule loose," and grabbed Pipkins by the arm, tearing his shirt sleeve.
Appellant then said to Wilson "Take this pistol and make him turn loose, for I know you will use it," whereupon Wilson took the pistol from appellant and shot at Pipkins. Pipkins turned the mule loose,c and ran In the house, which was about 30 or 40 steps away. 
Wilson then went around to the back of the house, his pistol In hand, and came Into the house through the back door. Pipkins ran out and went home. 
Various witnesses for the state testify to these facts, and this theory Is denied by appellant. After a very careful scrutiny of the court's charge, we are constrained to say that It is admirably drawn, and covers every legitimate issue raised by the evidence. 
Martin v State, 35 Tex. App 576, 8 S. W. 682. Appellant, in his motion for new trial, attached thereto the affidavit of his attorney, WR Anderson; setting up what purports to be a statement of how said attorney understood the witnesses to state the facts prior to the trial, and during the course of the trial the witnesses named In said affidavit swore to a converse statement to that which the affiant says they made to him. 
After said witnesses had testified, appellant's attorney was placed upon the stand, and testified to the facts as he understood the same had been detailed to him by said witnesses. 
There is nothing in the record to show that he asked the court to postpone the trial on the ground of surprise in order that he might obtain other witnesses; and while It Is true he says that some witnesses testified in another trial, the companion case to this the contrary of what said witnesses testified in this trial yet he fails to disclose the name of such witnesses or by whom he expected to contradict said witnesses. 
There are none of the elements of surprise, as contemplated by the statute and decisions of this state authorizing a new trial. No error appearing in the record, the judgment Is affirmed.

Henry Pipkins- is the older brother of my great-grandfather, the late Marcellus Pipkins, Sr (1884-1972).
Henry died in 1918, according to my Great Aunts & Uncles their father, Marcellus mentioned Henry frequently when they were growing up. My grandfather and his siblings were close to Henry's son Jim Pipkins.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

2014 Ancestor Challenge

TERRENCE GARNETT: To Locate the slave owner & parents of Ellen & Elsie Stanley.

Challenge: To determine if Ellen & Elise were owned by James I. Neely, Rebecca D. Stanton Neely Reagan, and Thomas Jefferson Reagan. To find out the names of Ellen & Elsie's parents.

Ancestor(s): 3rd Great Grandmother Ellen Stanley
Others: Elsie Stanley Hughlon, James I. Neely, Rebecca D. Stanton Neely Reagan, & Dr. Thomas Jefferson Reagan.

Years: 1840-1865

Tribes: Texas - Panola County
             Louisiana - Caddo Parish
Written: November 6, 2011
By: Terrence A. Garnett

It was the summer of 2006, a month after I graduated from High school when I began this quest to unearth my family history. By the end of the year I was able to locate several ancestors, thanks to the oral history and other information given to me by my elderly relatives. The stories and information enabled me to trace my family lines back to the 5th and 6th generation; one person in particular was Ellen Stanley found in the 1880-1920 Census living in Panola County, Texas near the Texas/Louisiana state line. Based on the various census years, Ellen was born in either Louisiana or Texas sometime between 1851 -1858. According to family members all of Ellen’s children had different father’s one of those children was Mandy (my 2nd great-grandmother) who was said to be the outside child of Ellen & James “Jim” Golden. Mandy's marriage record & the death records of her children confirmed her maiden name was indeed, Golden (DNA has since confirmed this). Unable to locate Ellen living in Louisiana or Texas in 1870 under her surname, I had given up hope of finding anything more about her.

Earlier this week I was reviewing some notes on my fourth (4th) Great-grandparents, Nelson & Agnes Golden of Panola County, Texas. I decided to revisit the 1870 Census to take a look at their neighbors and immediately noticed a sixteen (16) year old Ellen Ragan in the household of Alsey Ragan living next door to the Golden's. I thought to myself could this be my ancestor Ellen Stanley?
I recalled that in 1880, Ellen was living in the household of John Huland in Panola County, Texas. Unfortunately no relationships were stated for anyone living in the household. I surmised there was some type of connection between them based on the birthplaces listed for John, Ellen, and Elsie parents and the similar family names among the Stanley & Huland/Hughlon children and grandchildren.

In an effort to find out more I went to to look at the “Texas Deaths Records, 1890-1976” and “Louisiana Deaths Index, 1894-1954”. My search revealed the death of a Josephine McKinney who died on December 12, 1937 in Caddo Parish, Louisiana.

Name: Josephine McKinney
Death Date: 12 December 1937
Death Place: Lachute, Caddo, Louisiana
Gender: Female
Race: Black
Age: 66
Est. Birth Year: 1871
Birth Place: Deberry, Texas
Marital Status: Married
Spouse’s Name: Si McKinney
Father’s Name: John Hughlan
Mother’s Name: Elsie Standley 
Certificate No.: 15884 (Vol. 37)
Josephine’s death records confirmed the relationship between Ellen & Elsie. I believe that Elsie & her sister Ellen may have been owned by Thomas J. Reagan a Doctor in Panola County, Texas. T.J. Reagan married Rebecca D. Stanton Neely, widow of James I. Neely.


1. Who were Ellen & Elsie's parents? 
2. Did they have any other relatives in the area?
3. In 1870, the sister's are listed under the surname Ragan, could they have been previously owned by Dr. Thomas Jefferson Reagan?

 References Needed for Review & Analysis:
  • Review Probate minutes for James I. Neely
  • Panola County Final Estate (Probate) Records of James I. Neely (I apparently never got around to ordering this on microfilm according to my 2011 notes).
  • Property Records (Deeds) for James Neely, Rebecca Neely Reagan, and Thomas J. Reagan.
  • Texas (Panola County) Tax Records for James Neely & Thomas J. Reagan.
The 2014 Ancestor Challenge officially began on October 1, 2013 and ends on April 1, 2014.
Click the link to view my current progress: TG_SAC2014
Heirs of Ellen Stanley & Elsie Hughlon: Stanley Descendants

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Slaves of James Neely

The Will of James I. Neely
Microfilm #: 1004551
Final Estate #: 229
Volume: C (1855-1862), Pages 490-500
County and State: Panola County, Texas
Will Filed: March 8, 1856

The State of Texas || I James I. Neely being of sound mind and memory
County of Panola    || hereby make and publish this my last will and testament.
First} after my decease it is my request and desire that my remains should be conveyed to the town of Vienna, County of Dooley in the state of Georgia where my mother and sister reside for interment.

Second} I  give and bequeath to my beloved wife, Rebecca D. Neely the use, improvements and income of the land on which I reside with the opportunity thereof the land to be divided and one half sold for the payment of my just debts. My wife to have and to hold the remainder of said property for and during the term of her natural life.

Third} I also give and bequeath to my wife , Rebecca D. Neely the following described negro property to wit:

  • Tom, Negro of Yellow Complexion, age 43 years.
  • Unity, Negress of Yellow Complexion, age 45 years.
  • Augustus, Negro of Yellow Complexion,  age 18 years.
  • Blackshire, Negro of Yellow Complexion, age 14 years.
  • Hector, Negro of Dark Complexion, age 30 years.
  • Sam, Negro of Dark Complexion, age 21 years.
  • Reubin, Negro of Dark Complexion, age 19 years.
  • Mary, Negress of Dark Complexion, age 17 years and her child age 11 or 15 months.
  • Jane (Jenny), Negress of Dark Complexion, age 29 years also Louisa her child of Yellow Complexion, age 8 years.
  • Jack, Negro of Dark Complexion, age 54 years
  • Also my interest in the Negress Milly (Emeline) and her child Laura with her increase.

 My said wife to have and to hold said negro property for her use and benefit during the term of her natural life.

Fourth} It is my will and desire that the following negro property to wit:
  • Jim, Negro of Dark Complexion, age 45 years.
  • Betsey, Negress of Dark Complexion, age 37 years
  • Judy (Judah), Negress of Dark Complexion, age 18 years with her two (2) children: Georgia, Negress, age 2 years and her infant Charles
After my decease be sold and the proceeds applied to the payment of my just debts. The balance that may remain to be appropriated for the use and benefit of my said wife Rebecca D. Neely.


Many of James Neely's slaves took on the Neely/Neily/Nealy surname after emancipation according to Census and marriage records. Hector, Sam, Reubin, Milly, Laura, Judy, and Georgia.

Terrence A. Garnett

My Grandfather's family...

Lately, my Panola County, Texas ancestors have been the focus of my research efforts. Although I've been researching my family history since June of 2006, I've come to realize that there is so much more to uncover about my Panola County roots.

My Maternal Grandfather, the late Tharner James Pipkins (1924-2001) was born and raised in the community of Bethany near DeBerry, Texas (located on the Texas & Louisiana state lines). My main focus is to share what I have found over the course of my research concerning his Paternal & Maternal ancestors some of whom have been in Panola county since it's formation in 1846. I also plan to document other African-American families from the area.

The family of Marcellus Pipkins Sr. 
   (photo from the collection of Linda Golden)