Friday, December 27, 2013

The Life of Marcellus Pipkins, Sr. {1884-1972}

Marcellus Pipkins was born on February 17, 1884, to the late William and Ella (Parker) Pipkins in Panola County, Texas. Aunt Mary Lee, daughter of Marcellus, relayed that her father mentioned that his mother Ella was part Choctaw Indian, and she died when he was a child. Through research, I found that Ella was born in Missouri around 1857 and brought to Caddo Parish, Louisiana in the early 1860s along with her mother and stepfather, Jane and Thomas Wells

Marcellus told his children that his father William was the son or grandson of the slave owner. Records indicate that William was born around 1857 in Keatchie, DeSoto Parish, Louisiana to slaves John (Dark complexion) and Mary (Mulatto complexion) on the farm of Matilda Collins, widow of Moses Collins, who died on October 4, 1855. It was common for children to have different fathers during slavery if the husband was sold or through other circumstances. John, Mary, and most of their children remained intact as a family unit throughout slavery, which is why I believe that John, not a slave owner, is the father of William . Y-DNA testing of a direct male descendant (my mom's half-brother) revealed that his haplogroup is E-M2, shorthand for E1B1A, which is African. It seems that William's mother, Mary, descends from the White Collins family, who held her and her family during slavery, as her maiden name on several documents is listed as Collins. She is listed as "Mulatto" and sometimes "Griff" in the slave transactions. 

UPDATE (5/2/2016): Autosomal DNA reveals that Mary is most likely the daughter of Moses Collins as I have several DNA matches to his descendants.

1900 U.S. Census
Locality Justice Precinct 4, Panola County, Texas
ED, Sheet, Line Enumeration District 69, Sheet 11A, Line 09
Enum Date 14 June 1900
House Family Name Birth Date Relationship Occupation Birth Place
Self Fath Moth
176 179 William Pipkins Apr 1853 Head Farmer LA MS MS
Ellen Pipkins Mar 1855 Wife LA TN TN
Arthur Pipkins Nov 1883 Son Farm Laborer TX LA MO
Marcelus Pipkins Feb 1886 Son Farm Laborer TX LA MO
Easter Pipkins Oct 1896 Daughter TX LA LA
Mattie Johnson Feb 1892 Step Daughter LA LA LA
Alonzo Johnson Aug 1894 Step Son LA LA LA

According to Aunt Mary, Marcellus did not have any formal schooling, but he learned to read and write by studying the Bible. She remembers her father as "a Holy Ghost-filled man who knew the word." At the time of his death, Marcellus had been a deacon at Antioch Baptist Church for 45 years, which is accurate according to the church history. He was ordained as a deacon in 1927 under the leadership of Reverend A.R. Richardson.   

Photo of Marcellus Pipkins, Sr. that
I received in 2007 from Pastor Roger

Jackson of Antioch Baptist Church 
in De Berry, TX

On December 4, 1910, he united in holy matrimony to Roberta Perkins, daughter of Jim Perkins and Mandy Golden. Oral history states that Marcellus and Roberta briefly lived in Wagoner, Oklahoma, and  one family member told me the story about the time Marcellus went to rescue his nephew, Jim, and his niece, Lillie, from someone in the area.

After several years of marriage, Marcellus and Roberta had three children together: Tharner James PipkinsMarcellus Pipkins, Jr, and John Pipkins, who died as an infant or a young boy. The death of the child drove Roberta into a deep depression, and some relatives have claimed that she was "crazy." According to Marcellus, she had lost her will to live and just gave up. She passed away in 1930, and her husband went on to marry Lois Allen on October 28, 1930. Lois was the daughter of Frone and Mattie (Scott) Allen and granddaughter of Bettie (Cook) Scott, who was stated to have been a full-blooded Cherokee Indian. My DNA reveals a possible family connection between Roberta Pipkins and Lois Pipkins, which I have yet to determine at this time.

Marcellus and Lois had four children together: Maggie Lee PipkinsDavid PipkinsHosea Pipkins, and Mary Lee Pipkins. Together, they reared six children in Bethany, Louisiana—a small community on the Louisiana and Texas state line. Research indicates that Marcellus was a farmer who worked for G.N. Brummel in Bethany, Louisiana. He also owned property located near Antioch Baptist Church.

Marcellus died on March 3, 1972, at the age of 88, and he is buried at the Antioch Baptist Church Cemetery in DeBerry, Texas. He was loved by many, many people; there are several people living today who either knew him personally or heard of him from various friends and family. He was affectionately known as "Paw-Paw" by his grandchildren and "Cousin Cellus" by other relatives.

Marcellus and Lois Pipkins

Death Certificate of Marcellus Pipkins, Sr.

Terrence A. Garnett
[December 27, 2013]

 Source Citations:

  1. Succession of Moses Collins; DeSoto Parish Clerk of Court; Volume E, p. 474-499
  2. Succession of Matilda Collins; DeSoto Parish Clerk of Court; Volume F, p. 242-249
  3. "United States Census, 1900," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 Dec 2013), Willaim Pipkins Household, Justice Precinct 4, Panola, Texas, United States; citing sheet , family 179, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1241663.
  4. Oral History Interviews [2006, 2007, 2009, 2010] with Aunt Mary, Uncle David, and Uncle Hosea [deceased].
  5. Pipkins, Marcellus: "Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 Dec 2013), Marcellus Pipkins, 03 Mar 1972; citing certificate number 22556, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2223766.
  6. Pipkins, Wm & Ellen Parker [February 2, 1877]: Caddo Parish Marriages; Clerk of Court, Shreveport, Louisiana.
  7. Pipkin, Bill & Ellin Johnson [ September 21, 1899]: Panola County Marriages; Volume F: Page 559, County Clerk’s Office, Carthage, Texas.
  8. [History of Antioch Baptist Church in De Berry, Texas]


  1. You know I dig a well documented genealogy Terrence! It's a time-stamp that will exist FOREVER! Curious, are Thomas and Jane WELLS your Caddo Parish family connection to Mark TYSON's people?

    1. Thanks Luckie! I'm not quite sure yet but it looks like that could be where the connection is. A goal for 2014.

  2. What a well researched post. I love the fact that you corrected the record in regards to the info on Ancestry.

  3. Your post was well researched and very interesting. I really liked how you were able to use DNA to clear up your family's origin.

    1. Thank you Bernita! DNA has been a wonderful tool to use in researching my family's history. I plan to post more about how the use of DNA had helped me over the past few years.

  4. Very good post, detailed, inspiring, in-depth research. I love the documentation! Like Bernita, I enjoyed how you used DNA to prove your family's origin.

  5. Terrence, this is indeed EXCELLENT research work! But then that is to be expected by AAGSAR's Texas Tribe members (I'm just sayin' . . .) - LOL!

    Listen I learn something new from you all the time. So here are my questions:
    1. You write that Mary Collins was listed as "Mulatto" and sometimes "Griff" in the slave transactions. I am familiar with the term "Mulatto" but not "Griff." I haven't even come upon that word in my research yet. So what exactly is "Griff?"

    2. You piqued my curiosity when you wrote that Marcellus went to rescue his nephew Jim and niece from someone in the Oklahoma area. Now there's a story there - what was going on that he had to go "rescue" them? That word - rescue - alone insinuates that they were in serious trouble. Is that the case? How did he rescue them? My inquiring mind wants to know - LOL!

    3. How exactly are you using DNA test results to pinpoint related family members? I am wanting someone to give some step-by-step instructions regarding their process. Can you and will you be willing to do that via your blog?

    Again, EXCELLENT research indeed!

    1. Hi Liv thanks you for commenting. To answer your questions:

      1. Griff was frequently used in Louisiana to describe a person who had Black, White, and Native American ancestry or the offspring of a "black" and "mulatto" person. I've seen it once or twice while researching in Bellville, Texas but it wasn't that common here.

      2. No one really knew much of the Aunt Mary's son spent a great deal of time with Grandpa Marcellus. According to this cousin the children became servants of a white man in OK (who possibly kidnapped them). They were the children of Henry Pipkins and his 1st wife Florence (who might have divorced or she passed on early) as he did remarry Donia Trial with whom he had another child. Henry died in 1918, but no one is certain how or why his older kids ended up in Oklahoma.
      I may need to travel to Wagoner, OK to do some research and see what I can find out.

      3. I will definitly have future blog post in great detail about how I made my connections and confirmed different branches of my grandfathers family.

  6. TA I want to start Citating like that. That was patience and preserverance getting it all down. Some how my Pipkins in Midway Alabama are related to my Haynes. That name stood out. Love your Work! We have a family church named Antioch as well.

    1. Wow I didnt know you had Pipkins too! My ancestors Simon (b.VA) and wife Gilly (b.NC) appear to have had all their children born somewhere in Alabama before being brought MS and later Louisiana near the Texas border.

  7. Very well written! I really enjoyed the post.

  8. I love the way you present and document your family history.

  9. Very well written and documented!