In the 1800s, Stone County, Arkansas was home to our Eoffs, Eliotts, McIntires and Todds. Last week, two fourth cousins gave me a grand tour of Stone County. My gracious hosts were Alfred Via and Pauline Mitchell Pierce Via, recently married and 3rd cousins themselves. Alfred was raised in Bickle’s Cove and while Pauline is a proud Texan, she has done enough genealogy research in the area to feel like a native.
For those of you that recognize Pauline’s name, she is the author of The McIntires and the Elliotts of Bickle’s Cove, Stone County, Arkansas and descendents of John McIntire of Maury County, Tennessee. She still has a few copies left, a great hardback book with over 500 pages of research and source documents. Let me know if you want to purchase the book and I’ll put you in touch with Pauline. The book is $65. I was able to use the documentation in the book for my successful DAR application with Jacob Eoff as the patriot ancestor.
Here is the photo tour, which included the McIntire cabin on private property. We had permission to visit the site. In the winter, with no leaves on the trees, I’m told the cabin is visible from the road. Even with bug spray, we got chiggers and ticks. Didn’t see any snakes, though!
John and Mary Jane McIntire lived in this cabin, where my great-grandfather Hendrix McIntire was raised. Stories indicate John McIntire was a stone mason. The old stone fireplace is still straight and strong, as is the foundation to the cabin, though the cabin may not last much longer.
Bickles Cove Cemetery
Mountain View, Stone County, Arkansas is in the scenic Ozarks, well worth the trip for the scenery alone, but when you add the family connections, the area is even more special. In a later blog, we’ll visit the court house.
Collecting records before statehood in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma has challenged me, as I try to gather documentation of my great-grandparents as they moved west with the frontier.
Arkansas does have some early records online at familysearch.org. I was really happy to find the marriage records for my great grandparents Green Berry Holder and Mary Minerva Tyler from Searcy County, Arkansas.
Then I was able to scan the marriage records with my brand new Flip-Pal scanner and import into this document. Life is good today and, on my genealogy field trips to collect the rest of those records, I’ll be able to scan documents and pictures on site with the Flip-Pal.
Notice, I’m working on creating better citations – studying Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence! Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing: 1997. and Thomas W. Jones’ Mastering Genealogical Proof. Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogical Society: 2013.
Today’s blog post is an interview conducted by Louise Todd Hunt with Jeff Todd and his sister Zula Todd McIntire. Also presented is information from Abner Newton Todd’s notebook with details of the wagon trip from Arkansas to Garland, Texas. The wonderful picture above, taken in 1904, was recently posted on Ancestry.com by a cousin. I added the children’s names – if any are incorrect, let me know. This summer, I plan to retrace the Todd/Bickle route as best I can using current roads.
All the information below is from “The McIntires and the Elliotts of Bickle’s Cove, Stone County, Arkansas and the descendents of John McIntire of Maury County, Tennessee” by Pauline Mitchell Pierce, published January 1997 and used with her permission. Pauline’s work is in italics below.
On August 1, 1900, Arch Bickle and Abner Todd with their families left Stone County, Arkansas and arrived 18 days later in Garland, Dallas County, Texas to make their home. These men were first cousins.
Mr. Arch Bickle, his wife Roxie (Gaylor) Bickle, Allie, age 2, and Joe Bickle, the baby, had one covered wagon. His mother was Aunt Nan Bickle, sister of Frances Elmira Hay[n]es Todd.
Mr. Abner Newton Todd, born 1854 (the 1910 Stone County, AR census gives his birth date as Mar 1859, as does the Stone County Marriage record, but family charts from his family give the Oct 1859 date. PMP) in Cannon County, TN had migrated to Arkansas and married Almeda Elliott. They were bringing to Texas nine children in two covered wagons loaded with their possessions. One wagon was bought new for the trip and one he had made in his shop. The home-made wagon was made from green oak timber from the homestead. As the lumber had not been seasoned, it began to get loose and at night water was carried and poured on the wheels hoping they would swell and tighten up. It seemed as though they might fall apart.
Riding with the wagons was Barney Haynes, a 19 year old cousin, son of Noah Haynes. He was the hunter for the trip. Another rider was Craig Futrell who stayed in Garland for a few years, engaged in the photography business.
On leaving Mountain View, Arkansas they crossed Sylamore Creek (part of the White River) on a ferry near Calico Rock. The first day, they covered 30 miles and were as far as Clinton, then 14 miles to Scotland, 20 miles to Appleton and 21 miles to Russellville where they crossed the Arkansas River on a bridge and only made 3 miles that day, stopping at Dardanelle.
One day, Arch Bickle lost his dog who had been trotting alongside the wagons, Mr. Bickle rode back 10 miles and found the dog at the campsite of the night before.
The homemade wagon gave trouble. Abner Todd was uneasy about it. After the 59 miles to Magazine, he came the next day to Booneville and bought a new wagon. He left his homemade one to be sold. The spokes for the wheels had been shaped with a draw knife. A straight bar of steel bought and heated in the forge and shaped into an iron bank, one for each of the 4 wheels and welded together. He never received any money for his wagon he had left at Booneville.
Mr. Bickle lead the way with his wagon. The mules had never seen a train. As they came into Booneville and saw parked box cars on the tracks, Mr. Bickle started across the tracks. When the mules reached the tracks, a switch engine was coming and the frightened mules reared up in the air and bawled like a cow. They ran backwards and backed the wagon away from the tracks. If they had gone forward the wagon would have been hit. It was carrying Arch, Roxie, Allie and baby Joe.
Abner Todd had a 160 acre farm, a house, barn, a well and a blacksmith shop. It was a homestead, it was yours after you lived on the land 5 years. There was no sale made on the land. He sold the crop, his 20 head of cattle, 20-30 head of sheep and 50 head of hogs before leaving. Later he did sell the farm, sight unseen, for $500 to a Mr. Panther who lived on Mud Lane. He paid this $500 by gathering a cotton crop and giving Abner Todd his team of mules. They went to a Lawyer in Garland to prepare for the transfer of the 160 acres from Abner Todd to Mr. Panther. Later on, one of the Gaylors bought the place.
On the 8th day, they moved from Booneville to Mansfield, 21 miles; 9th day 12 miles to Hartford with was the last Arkansas town. The 10th day, they crossed into Indian Territory and came to Read Oak for 22 miles that day. This area was noted as a hideout for outlaws and a watch was set for each night that they were in Indian Territory.
The 11th day, they came to Wister Junction; the 12th day 22 miles to Wilberton. One night along the way they spend with a family named Lynn. The women spent all the next day visiting and washing clothes.
After crossing the Red River, probably at Bells, they were in Texas and did not set their guard at night. The first jack rabbits they had ever seen were around the southern part of Indian Territory. The rabbits were in droves; they ran in all directions. Barney shot some with his Uncle Abner’s gun.
A stop was made at Writewright, Texas for a visit with the John Todd family. He was a first cousin, also from Tennessee. At the John Todd farm they saw a steam thrasher at work in the wheat field. A big boiler was belching steam in the hot August sun.
It was a hot dusty trip of 18 days. They slept outside at night to be as cool as possible. They brought a milk cow along on the trip, brought food they had raised in Arkansas and purchased some supplies along the way.
Mr. and Mrs. Conner lived at Garland and the group came to their place and camped in the yard. The Todd family lived in a tent the first winter here. It snowed while they lived in the tent. Jeff Todd was 5 years old when they came. He had his 7th birthday, while they lived in the tent.
Abner Newton Todd, the son of Walker Everett Todd (see Civil War stories) and Frances Elmira (Elvira) Haynes, died on October 13, 1904, from a gunshot wound. There is speculation on the cause of the gunshot, but most believe it was suicide. (from family stories – amp)
Almeda (sometimes written as Alameda) went on to raise their twelve children and became a very successful farmer and business woman, leaving all the children a nice inheritance when she died on May 14, 1935. She never remarried.
While browsing on Ancestry.com, I found this wonderful story by Maxine Elliott Gilliam. jdhardin originally posed this story on the Hardin family tree. (1) It’s always a happy moment when we find the work of other family researchers. To this post with the story from Mrs. Gilliam, I’ve added pictures of our shared Elliott ancestors. The captions with the pictures are mine, as are any errors in the posting.
With a Google search, the only Maxine Gilliam located had recently passed away. However, another cousin gave me the correct email address for our Maxine Elliott Gilliam, who is still working on genealogy. This story is used with her permission.
James Monroe Elliott and Margaret Eoff met and married in Tennessee, then moved to Izard County, Arkansas. He was 45 years old, when he enlisted with the Confederate Army, leaving Margaret at home with 11-12 children. They went on to have 15 children. James had at least one child with another woman before he married Margaret. See my earlier blog for details on his war service.
Home Front Solider. Margaret didn’t have a military uniform. She wore a faded print dress covered by a stained, faded apron as she performed her duties. She may or may not have had shoes on her feet and if she had them they were not stylish. She served at home in the remote, rocky mountains of north central Arkansas while Monroe was away fighting the Civil War. She was home alone with eleven or twelve children to care for.
Cooking and Washing. She cooked on a wood stove, did laundry with a rub board and a black wash pot, and ironed with sad irons. Her fate was no different than thousands of other women of her day. Their water was carried in buckets from a creek or spring. She was no doubt several miles from the nearest store which probably was not a major inconvenience since there were little goods to be bought even if she happened to have the cash. Their food was what they raised and ate fresh and canned, dried and salted down what they could.
Food. Salt was a very scarce item and that was the only way they had to preserve fish, wild game, pork and beef. I can imagine her sending the two oldest boys, the twins William and James, into the woods to kill turkeys, rabbits, deer, quail and other wild game for their food supply. She must have waited anxiously for their return since they were only 14 years old and there was “fightin’ in them thar hills”. The girls had to walk through woods to get to the creek for water. There were many outlaws and bandits raiding homes and taking what they wanted, besides the Union soldiers. When game or domestic animals were killed, they had to be butchered and preserved which is no small chore.
Clothing. Their clothing was made at home either with or without a very primitive sewing machine. They raised the flax and cotton, spun the yarn and wove the fabrics that became their clothing.
Home and Homelife. The winters were very cold and wet. Their house, of course, was not insulated and probably had large cracks in the walls. Their heat was from wood. The summers were miserably hot and storms occurred very frequently. Can you imagine her fear and that of the children when they saw strangers approaching? If they ever went anyplace it was to church or to visit a neighbor and both probably happened infrequently.
Health Care: There were no doctors available so when she or one of the children were sick or injured Margaret had the responsibility of taking care of them. Modern medicines of course were not available so she had to depend on old home remedies that had been passed down from generation to generation. In her day every mother had her “good” needle and a spool of white silk thread so she could sew up the cuts that required stitches. I wonder how many sleepless nights she had with sick children and then assumed her regular duties with the rising of the sun.
Travel: All travel was done by horseback or horse and wagon on rough rocky narrow roads winding through the mountains. During the winter there was snow and ice on those roads on many occasions.
Isolation: Can you imagine how dark the nights were with no streetlights and so many trees around to cast shadows even when there was moonlight? How quiet the nights were with no auto traffic, trains, etc. to break the silence. The sounds of wild animals (some of them frightening) were the only night sounds. There were bears, mountain lions and wolves to break the dead silence of night.
Communication: Communication with the outside world was not a common occurrence. The mail was very slow and infrequent. Of course, there were no newspapers thrown in the front yard every morning, no radios, no TVs, no telephones and no e-mail. News, even where it was heard, had to be evaluated since there are always lots of rumors in war time to frighten people or to help carry out military plans.
Children: The children had a rough childhood compared to children of our day. They had a lot to overcome in growing up. This is bound to have affected their personalities for the rest of their lifetime.
Heroine: Margaret will not be written up in any history book as a heroine, but she and thousands of other women of her day deserve our respect, admiration and understanding. Let us give her honor!
And let’s give honor to Maxine Elliott Gilliam for her genealogy work, much appreciated by the current and future generations of researchers.
Source: http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/3552949/story/e7e26028-a91c-45f7-a5a2-36f9c24e4b0c, accessed May 4, 2013. Those with an Ancestry.com account, follow this link to see the original posting.
Eveline was murdered in her hen-house. She was murdered by someone in the family. She might have been murdered by someone who knew about the mine or she might have been murdered over how she was spending her money.
After her husband was convicted of treason and died during the Civil War (see earlier post for Peter Adams Tyler), Eveline and her children stayed in the area, with the youngest Peter Allen only five years old.
The legends of lost silver mines are Arkansas folk-lore. Family stories describe the Indian silver mine, where some of Eveline’s sons might have helped with the mining, though they were taken blindfolded to the mine. Family stories also describe a pouch of gold nuggets from the mine, carried by Eveline’s daughter, Elizabeth Tyler Craig. Several stories from northwest Arkansas describe counterfeit silver dollars with higher silver content than the federal coins.
In one story, unidentified men came to the Tyler house and inquired of the mine. When the men became dissatisfied with the answer, they strangled Eveline.
More likely, Eveline was murdered by a close relative because she had initiated selling her land to educate grandsons. Eveline had raised Edmund Wallace Wood Jr., after the separation of his parents, Eliza Ann Tyler and Edmund Wallace Wood. She was helping Edmund pay for his medical education.
The murderer was probably afraid she was going to do the same thing for Daniel Tyler (another of her grandsons), reducing the size of the estate she would be leaving to other heirs.
Whatever the motive, Eveline Minerva Price Tyler was strangled in her own hen-house. Her oldest son William Baker Tyler found her body. She was buried in an unmarked grave, on her farm. No suspects were ever apprehended.
James Thomas Craig Bible
“Roots & Tales” a biography by Hoyt Young, Roach, MO.
Arkansas Census Records
Historical accounts in Marshall, AR. library.
NOTE: Eveline and Peter Adams’ son was named Peter Adams Tyler, Jr., but at some point he started using Allen as his middle name.
Peter Adams Tyler was the eldest son of Baker Tyler, one of the earliest settlers in Northwest Arkansas. He was born on December 22, 1823. He prospered as a farmer and citizen until his death in the Civil War. He was a Mason and served as sheriff of Searcy County, AR, from 1854 to 1858. He probably spent his entire married life farming the area in what is now known as Tyler Bend. In 1847, records show him with “one horse and one other cattle”. By 1857, he had purchased all of the 120 acres that made up his final farm holdings. By 1860 his tax base is listed as $2700.00, a tidy holding in those days. He would be considered a successful farmer for his time.
Possible Cherokee Connection
Family tradition states that he met his wife to be, Eveline Minerva Price, at a trading post on the Mississippi River. Also, Minerva was reportedly 1/2 or more Cherokee. Practicality would suggest that he met Minerva at a store or post in Northwest Arkansas. Eveline, born in North Carolina, followed the Cherokee routes to Arkansas, and Price is a prominent name among the Cherokee Nation. As yet, proof of her Cherokee heritage has not been found. Peter and Eveline married on July 4, 1845. They had nine children, including James Buchanan Tyler, Carl Lee Holder’s grandfather.
The Searcy County Men
Searcy County had a large contingent of men who had little support for the Confederacy or the war in general. See information on the Arkansas Peace Society in another posting. In fact, both the Union and Confederate army drew troops from Searcy County. In November, 1861, Colonel Sam Leslie, commander of the 45th Arkansas Militia, called up several companies to apprehend suspects. Governor Henry Rector ordered Leslie to arrest all Searcy County men involved with the Arkansas Peace Society and ship them to Little Rock to be tried as traitors. On December 9, 1861, the prisoners were shackled together, marched to Little Rock, and offered the choice of enlisting in the Confederate army or standing trial for treason. Apparently, all joined the Army. The group was called “The Searcy County Men”. Charles W. Price, brother to Eveline was in the group.
Peter A. Tyler Sr. was very involved in recruiting for the peace society. He feared for his life and hid out. He was not apprehended until December 16, 1861. He testified and was convicted of treason.
No one knows for sure where and when he died or is buried, but the evidence supports his death, due to measles or other disease, either in a prisoner of war camp or in a work camp near Bowling Green, Kentucky. In January, 1862, he wrote a letter from Bowling Green to his wife indicating epidemic illnesses – see below for a transcript of the letter.
He was never heard from again. A letter by Daniel P. Tyler in 1936 states “Grandpa Tyler was buried at Bowling Green, Kent.” and the family bible of M. Catherine Tyler gives his death date as February, 1862.
The material below (in italics) was photocopied from a copy at the Arkansas History Commission and transcribed by Rebecca Lambert on 10 April 1999, who tried to follow Peter’s punctuation and spelling as closely as possible.
Bolling Green Kentucky
January the 17th 1862
Dear Wife & Children I once more take my pen in hand to write to you to let you know how we are and what we are doing–all of us is knocking about as yet but not all well Thomas Thompson has the meeseals broke out on him This morning And I am very unwell my self so much so that if I was at home I would be in my bed Though I hope nothing searious it is my Brest and side That gives me the undlly [?] uneasness at and pain at Present although we have verry disheartning news This morning they say hear that the Unio is a gradeel Stronger then us and that we are surrounded in all sides by them we learn heare allso that the North has taken Gallveston in Texas Though I beleave That the People in This place is not verry uneasy for They appeare to be verry busey bilding houses in Town Besides This there is great namy cars and waggons going heare This morning and no wander they have one Hundred & thirty thousdand Troops to dard them besides all This They have strong fortifications all around Town so I have give you enough of this at present more then … They are looking for a heavy batte soon if it comes on at all.
I will say to you that I want to see you all verry bad but I know that it is impossiable at present but I trust that I may see you again in life and that we may be injoying good Health for Their is nothing on Earth ould be so consoling to me then to meet you all again in Peace on Earth allthough you need not to greive nor let your mind be troubled about me for I feel like I am purficley Resigned when the Sumons comes let it come when and where it may And I would be pleased to heare and allso to know that you and the Rest of my friends could meet that Calmar Doom when asigned to you & them.
I will say to you that when I first set down To write to you I would have a good deel to write But it is not the Case about the finis of my letter. When Lindsey Price wrote in Memphis we had not heard about Charles Price & Samuel Thompson and others being their but we found out where They was and went to see them.
So I will write but a little more at present. Though I hope that thease lines may come safe to hand and find you all well and Dooing well now we are not stationed at this place we have to leave heare This Eavening for T. C. Hindmans Leagion about 24 miles distant from this place and it may be so that I can write to you so that you can write to me and their you may now wheare to direct your letters be careful about yourself & Children so no more at presant ondley show this to all inquireing friends
So Farewell my Dear Wife Children & Friends at present
This from P.A. Tyler } To Eveline M. Tyler & Children
Peter A. Tyler – Family Records of James J. Johnston, Suzanne D. Rogers, and military records.
Edward Gerdes’ Civil War Page for more information on Arkansas Civil War activities and the Peacekeepers Society at this URL: Edward Gerdes’ Civil War Page or www.counchgenweb.com
Searcy County, Arkansas Census, p268, 1850.
“Searcy County My Dear, A History of Searcy County “, by McInturff, pages 37, 38,39,40,41.