Category Archives: Texas

Unexpected ~ 52 Ancestors 52 weeks #25

It was hard to decide which unexpected genealogy find I wanted to write about. After over 20 years of research, I have found too many to list. So, I decided to not travel way back in time but to write about a discovery closer to home.

Aunt Mary 2My mother had 5 siblings. three brothers and two sisters. Two of her siblings died before the age of two. I was fortunate to be able to meet the other three, however briefly it was. My mothers’ sister, Mary Elizabeth Smith was born on November 4, 1905, in Clay, Lafayette County, Missouri. She was 14 years older than my mother so she had left home and Missouri when mother was 5 years old. Mary moved to Dallas Texas and got a job at Macy’s Department Store. She met and married Otto Glen Claxton who was 7 years older than her and they had one daughter 1937. This is all the information I had on her.

I remember Aunt Mary would send my sister and me very expensive gifts for birthdays and Christmas. One year we each got leather handbags and another year we got Hummel figurines. I only remember meeting her once when she and Uncle Otto came to Arizona to visit. She was a strikingly beautiful woman at least in her older years. It was in the Spring when they came and she wore mink stoles everywhere she went. Spring temperatures in Arizona run 78-90 degrees so I thought this was odd. Uncle Otto was bald and smoked cigars. It is funny the things kids seem to remember.

A few years ago I was talking with my last remaining first cousin on my mothers’ side and he was filling me in on Aunt Mary’s life. Knowing that verifying information is critical to genealogy I began researching the data. Here is what I found.

* In 1935 Mary was a champion skeet shooter. She won numerous awards over the years for her marksmanship.

* Although she had met Otto soon after moving to Dallas it was many years before they got married. She had married and divorced two other men before this. He also had been married and divorced twice.

* Mary and Otto had an affair in 1936 which resulted in my cousin. In those days out of wedlock births were scandalous!

*I found one newspaper article featuring her as the manager of a new dress shop in Dallas.Aunt Mary dress shop



* And last but certainly not least Mary and Otto had been married 7 times and divorced 8 times!


I guess you can say Mary was a woman way ahead of her time as today this would or could be considered normal. She died on December 1, 1980, in Ventura, California, at the age of 75.Aunt Mary obit



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.


Filed under #52ancestors, 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks, Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Memories, Missouri, Smith, Texas, Uncategorized

Here’s Your Sign #2 ~ Mount Gilead Cemetery

For many years I have been collecting photos of and information about the various signs that have been placed in honor of some of my ancestors. These signs are a glimpse into some event and/or place where they lived. Some of the signs are small like a placard with a few poignant words, some are large and they go into great detail, and then there are those that are somewhere in between. Each one gives added life to those ancestors.

Permalia Allen sign

This sign states that my 4x Great Grandmother, Permelia “Milly” (Loving) Allen (1774-1866) a widow, had led a large group of her family from Missouri to the “Peter’s Colony” in Tarrant County, Texas. The ground that the Cemetery is on was the original settlement that she established. This is where she is buried. She was 92 years old. She led an amazing life if you would like to learn more about her you can find it here:

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Cemetery, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Here's Your Sign, Markers, Permelia Loving Allen, Peter's Colony, Strong Woman, Texas, Uncategorized

Hometown Tuesday ~ Keller, Tarrant County, Texas

hometown tuesdayKeller is in the western fringe of the Eastern Cross Timbers in northeast Tarrant County, Texas, part of the frontier of the Peters Colony settlers of the 1840s. To the west, there was open prairie as far as the eye could see. In the mid-1840s, the area was first settled by a group of families from Missouri that homesteaded near the head-waters of Big Bear Creek. Led by a widow named Permelia (Loving) Allen aged 73, they homesteaded near the headwaters of Big Bear Creek. Other families that settled the area included Daniel Bancroft, Ireneous Nease, Richard Allen, J.J. Roberts, and Aurelius Delphus Bourland. The area became known as ‘Double Springs’ due to the two large springspeters-colony-sign in the rolling wooded countryside. The springs site is approximately ½ mile north of the first church started in Tarrant County in 1850, known as the Lonesome Dove Baptist Church. The church building was burned down by Indians and the church was rebuilt by Daniel Barcroft and Permelia Allen at the site and renamed Mt. Gilead Baptist Church. There were eight charter members listed: John A. Freeman, Daniel Barcroft, Ireneus Neace and wife, Lucinda Allen Neace, Permelia Allen, Abby Dunham, and two slaves, Ambrose and Caroline Collard.

peters colony cabinPermelia’s son wrote in a letter the following description “The area had a soil as rich as the craving that any man could wish for, and timber, water, and grass in an abundance, and sufficient evidence of the sunshine and the showers, besides the woodlands were lined with wild deer and turkey, and fine herds of antelope on the prairies the year-round, the buffalo was there during the winter season. The only serious question was where our bread would come from until virgin soil could be prepared and made to supply our wants. Here was the most wonderful and beautiful sight our eyes had ever beheld. Here we could view the beauties and grandeur of nature before they were being spoiled by the woodman’s ax or the surface of the earth was furrowed by the plow or by the surging of waters.”

The Texas settlers maintained their homes, grew gardens, and raised fruits such as Permelia Loving Allen abstract of Texas land grantpeaches and pears. Hog raising was especially good in the area because of the plentiful supply of acorns from the oak trees. Grapevines grew profusely and provided another source of fruit. Most homes, many of the two-pen variety, were built of lumber brought in by wagon from Grapevine or other locations. Lumber in the Cross Timbers area was not suitable for building, although the woods were thick with a variety of trees, including mesquite, cedar, and dense underbrush. Some settlers maintained farms and ranches out on the prairie but kept their homes in the timber. The area had a cotton gin, a grist mill, a blacksmith shop, a post office, and several stores.

Keller_TX_Mt_Gilead_Baptist_Church_Historical_MarkerPermelia is my 4x Great Grandmother. She was an amazing woman. In a time when women had little or no rights, she led 25 families on a 600-mile trek from Moniteau County, Missouri to Tarrant County, Texas. She died in February 1866 at the age of 92 and she was buried in an unmarked grave in the Mount Gilead cemetery that she had donated the land for. Cemetery records reveal that many settlers in the area were of Scots-Irish-English descent.



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.




Filed under Ancestry, Cemetery, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Holidays, Hometown Tuesday, Keller, Tarrant Co, Texas, Permelia Loving Allen, Peter's Colony, Texas, Uncategorized

Hometown Tuesday ~ Rio Grande,  Zacatecas, Mexico ~ Manuela Moreno Campos

hometown tuesdayI get so caught up in researching my family’s history that I sometimes forget about my husband’s. To be honest he isn’t as interested in it as I am but he does enjoy learning about his family when I am able to find something new. It is difficult tracing Hispanic Ancestry for me for two reasons: #1 Neither I nor my husband speak the language. I have to use a translating app when I do find something and most of the time the translation does not make sense. #2 the way most Hispanic names are arranged. For instance, most people have their mother’s maiden name as their middle name. Even if they are given another middle name. An example is Jose Sanchez Torres, but his given middle name is Roberto. Also, there are instances when someone is given a Grandmothers’s maiden name instead. It’s no wonder I get confused.

Rio Grande ZAC MEX

I decided I would just start researching the places his family was born and I would begin with his paternal Grandmother Manuela Moreno Campos. She was born in the town of Rio Grande, Zacatecas, Mexico on February 3, 1909, to Santiago Campos and Evalin Moreno.  The town is situated in the central part of Mexico. Before the mid-1800s this region was occupied by the Spanish. When they arrived in Mexico in the 1700’s they found an abundance of silver which they began to mine. In 1812 the Mexican people won Independence from Spain.

By the time Manuela was born the town of Rio Grande was bustling with activity. There were 12 mines that were spread out around the outskirts of town and people came from all over to work. They were a medium-sized family, especially for the times. Manuela had 4 brothers and one sister.

Beginning in 1910 the Northern and Central part of Mexico was in the midst of a war between Pancho Villa and the Mexican government. In 1914 the battles came to Rio Grande. I really don’t know how this affected the Campos family but in 1919 we find the family arriving in Bexar County Texas where Santiago’s brother lived. Manuela was 10 years old at the time and for whatever reason, she was left in the care of her Uncle and his wife and her family returned to Mexico.

Manuela Campos picIn 1923, at the age of 14, she first saw Francisco Martinez. He fell in love with her immediately. He didn’t care that he was 7 years older than her. I heard the following story from my father-in-law. “Francisco had never spoken a word to Manuela but he knew he loved her.  After months of watching her from afar, he decided to ask her Uncle if he could marry her. He climbed up in a large tree by their home and waiting for the Uncle to leave so he could speak to him. Francisco spent 3 days in the tree. Finally, her Uncle emerged and Francisco jumped out of the tree and asked for Manuela’s hand. Within a week they were married”.

Manuela Campos HS

One year later they had their first child.  They went on to have 7 children, 3 who died in infancy.  Francisco worked for the railroad and by 1930 they were relocated to Southern Arizona. Over the next 37 years, the family had lived in 21 towns in Arizona. Manuela passed way in May 1967 in Eloy, Arizona. She never returned to her home town, instead, she made every place she and Francisco had lived her new hometown.



cropped-blog-pic1.jpgI am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.



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Filed under Ancestry, Arizona, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Hometown Tuesday, Mexican Ancestry, Mexico, Texas, Uncategorized

Are You Kidding Me?

confused-smileyI have been doing Genealogy for over 20 years. I am the first to confess that I am far from knowing everything about it and the processes to make those great discoveries. I have no problem when someone wants to share their knowledge with me, I do however mind if their “knowledge” has no basis and the person who shares it hasn’t even verified what they are passing along.

The Allens 1840Case in point. I am very proud of my maternal 4th Great Grandmother, Permelia “Milly” Loving Allen. She was a very strong woman who, at the age of 67 moved her large family from Cole County Missouri to Navarro, Tarrant County, Texas after the death of her husband in 1843. In my family tree on Ancestry, I have 3 photos of Permelia, one of her, one of her and a daughter and one of her and her husband Thomas Allen taken in 1840.

I received a message from a descendent of Thomas & Permelia informing me that the photo could not be of my 4x Great Grandparents because photography had not been invented at that time! She proceeded to call me names and said it made her feel good to expose fakes like me!!! I was flabbergasted. I looked at her profile on Ancestry, she was about my age. Surely, she had seen photos taken during the Civil War and even before that.

CameraSo, I decided I would thank her for her comments and then educate her, in a nice way, about the invention of photography.

1814 – Joseph Niepce achieves first photographic image using an early device for projecting real-life imagery called a camera obscura.

1837 – Louis Daguerre’s first daguerreotype, an image that was fixed and did not fade and needed under thirty minutes of light exposure.

1840 – First American patent issued in photography to Alexander Wolcott for his camera.

1841 – William Henry Talbot patents the Calotype process, the first negative-positive process making possible the first multiple copies.

1843 – The first advertisement with a photograph is published in Philadelphia.

1851 – Frederick Scott Archer invented the Collodion process so that images required only two or three seconds of light exposure.

So, there were the means for people to have their photos taken or to take their own. I even discovered that the Chinese and Greek philosophers described the basic principles of optics and the camera in the 5th & 4th Centuries B.C.

So, my point is, if you run into something you are not 100% sure of, do a little research or ask questions first before confronting someone. Or, if you encounter someone like I did you can take the opportunity to share some much-needed knowledge with them.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.


Filed under Ancestry, Corrections, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, How-to, Missouri, Permelia Loving Allen, Personal Stories, Photography, Research, Texas, Uncategorized

Please Define Famous

FamousIn our search for our Ancestors we always experience that excited anticipation of possibly discovering that one famous person in our lineage. Finding someone who accomplished some great feat or invented something used by millions or who became President or who was an outlaw can bring color and excitement to our trees. When you gather together with other Genealogists you would now have something interesting to tell. Talking with family about these persons may peak their interest in their own history and of those who came before them.  I just wonder, How do we define “Famous”?

Webster’s dictionary defines it this way “known or recognized by very many people: having fame”.

In today’s society the term fame or being famous is applied to anyone who can get themselves in front of a TV camera, or across the internet regardless of the reason. Most are just famous for being famous, really not earning the “title” by doing anything worthwhile.  So I just wonder by what standard we measure those we deem famous in our own families.

Colby Rucker sign

To me, my 4th Great Grandfather Colby Rucker who fought in the Revolutionary war should be called famous. He volunteered to fight at the age of 17, defying his father in doing so and even after he was captured and imprisoned by the British, upon his escape he returned to fight till the end of the war. I JamestownFortconsider my 9th Great Grandfather  William Powell famous because he came to America, Jamestown Virginia to be exact, in 1609. He survived the massacre of 1622 but was killed in 1623. Regardless of how some may feel about what happened once immigrants came and forcibly took over this country, he was still brave to come to this strange land, far from all he knew. I believe my 4th Great Grandmother, Permelia Loving Permelia Loving Allen 2Allen was famous. At the age of 66 she became a widow, after 47 years of marriage.  4 years later after her husband’s estate was settled at the age of 70 she personally lead a group of settlers from Cole County Missouri to Tarrant County Texas. Included in this group were 8 of her 10 children and their families. She was one of the first women to own land in this county and she donated land for the Mount Gilead Baptist Church to be built. This remarkable woman witnessed the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War and she died in her 92nd year.

These ordinary people who did extraordinary things are more “famous” in my eyes than some of the other “famous” people in my trees.  These are the stories I want to tell, the ones I am most proud of. Maybe we should rethink our definition of “Famous”. My new definition would be: “Those ordinary individuals, who through their own convictions succeeded to accomplish remarkable things that very few others are aware of”.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available at Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.


Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Famous, Genealogy, Jamestown Colony, Revolutionary War, Texas

My Outlaw Cousin – John Wesley Hardin -This Apple Fell Far From The Tree!

John Wesley Hardin

John Wesley Hardin

A few months ago one of my cousins and I were having a conversation about the Hughes/Hayes family history. We were discussing how we had diverse characters that made up that history. Not only do we have Revolutionary War heroes, pioneers, and indentured servants but we have whiskey makers, bigamists, and outlaws. Last year I had discovered that the Outlaw part was more than just an inside joke about one of our cousins.

John Wesley Hardin was one of the West’s most vicious and notorious gunfighters and outlaw. He was also my 2nd cousin 3x removed. He was the son of James Gibson “Gip” Hardin who was a Methodist Preacher. He was named after the founder of the Methodist Denomination, John Wesley.

John Wesley Hardin was born May 26, 1853 in Bonham Texas. In his autobiography John states that he was 15 years old the first time he killed a man. Over the course of his life he killed approximately 42 men, one just for snoring! He was killed August 19, 1895 while in a Saloon in El Paso, TX.

Picture taken after his death.

Picture taken after his death.

If I were to write about all the things John Wesley had done it would fill a book. As a matter of fact it has filled several books. If you would like to read more about him, just Google his name and there will be plenty of information about him.

It makes one wonder how this young man of whom people have said “had no soul and showed no remorse for what he had done” could descend from men of true character and virtue. As stated above his father was a Methodist Preacher. His Grandfather, Benjamin P. Hardin, was the Justice of the Peace and 1st Sheriff of Wayne County, TN. He was also a General Assemblyman for the State of Tennessee and a founder of Wayne County, TN.

Colonel Joseph Hardin

Colonel Joseph Hardin

I think the one of the most interesting facts about him is that he was the Great Grandson of Revolutionary War hero Colonel Joseph Hardin, who was a legislator from North Carolina, the “lost” State of Franklin, and the Southwest Territory before its statehood as Tennessee. He was a signer of the Tryon Resolves, an Assemblyman for the North Carolina Colony, a pioneer, a Patriot and a Patriarch.

I guess John Wesley Hardin is living proof that sometimes the apple does fall far from the tree!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.


Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, John Wesley Hardin, Outlaw, Texas