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


  1. Terrence, I'm pleased as punch with your new blog; your place here in cyberspace looks absolutely FABULOUS! All right now . . . I see you've officially posted your challenge here and in the coming weeks and months we will be sharing more about out genealogical journeys with everyone. These truly are exciting times for AAGSAR. Again, WELCOME!

    1. Thank you Liv! This challenge has been great and fun to research. I hope all participants discover the answers to the questions they seek.