Sunday, August 18, 2019

Guest Post: Life and Times of Rodham Lunsford of Fauquier County

Editor’s note: This post comes to us courtesy of James D. Ball of Uniontown, Ohio. Jim has done extensive work on the Ball family and is particularly interested in our Baldwin through his first wife Anna Ball (d. ~1796). Here he describes his research on Rodham Lunsford and how he relates to Baldwin and our clan as well as other Lunsford family units in the 1700s. Please visit his web site, "The Ball Family of Carter's Run" ( ).

There has been questionable research on Rodham Lunsford of Fauquier County Virginia. He was not the son of Rodham Lunsford and Lettice Linton of Lancaster County as proposed by many researchers. That Rodham Lunsford (d. 1791) did have a son Rodham by his first wife. But that Rodham (Jr) married Sally Cox in 1794 in Lancaster Co.  VA. The Rodham of this analysis lived in Fauquier at this time and his wife Clement was alive and well in 1807 as she was included in a Ball to Ball land transfer and several chancery causes. Additionally, other linked names, namely Amos and Baldwin, do not seem to connect directly to the Lunsford families of Lancaster and Northumberland. It is unfortunate that some of this erroneous information has been commonly accepted, even by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

The birthplace of Rodham Lunsford has been reported as either Northumberland or Lancaster County. These possibilities were presented in many early genealogies apparently based upon the surname being prevalent in these locations. Without doubt he connects to these families, but the Lunsford name is found throughout Virginia's Northern Neck in the time frame Rodham would have been born, including Prince William and King George counties. His actual place of birth remains a mystery. Likewise, his year of birth is somewhat nebulous. It is generally accepted as 1762 which is based upon his stated age when he filed for his Revolutionary War pension. The census record is very inconsistent in this matter. The year of 1762 falls before the tabular range given in the 1810 census while in the 1840 data it falls later. Suffice it to say this Rodham could not write his name. In all known documents he signed with a mark.

Rodham enlisted in the Virginia Line in Fauquier in March 1779 for a three-year term, enrolling in Capt. Butler's Company. His Lieutenant was Phillip Mallory, his Ensign was Ray Heath, and his General was Charles S. Scott. His unit was stationed in Petersburg, Virginia during the Fall of 1779. They then marched to South Carolina where he was taken prisoner at the siege of Charleston in May of 1780. He was detained as a prisoner even following the surrender of Cornwallis. His time of service amounted to 3 years and 9 months. During his captivity he "suffered every sort of privation".  In his application of 22 Oct 1832, he states he was 70 years of age. He was granted Pension Number S13803 (Historical Records of Old Crab Orchard Lincoln County, Stanford, KY).

Without question Rodham Lunsford had family in Fauquier Co. prior to the Revolution. But defining this family unit has proven difficult. Upon his return from the war, Rodham became the administrator for the estate of Amos Lunsford in 1784 and was ordered to perform an inventory. This he undertook and it is known that a deed was granted to Baldwin Lunsford by Rodham to clear the estate of Amos. Most interesting is that the administration bond was signed by "George (X) Lunsford" and that this George was unquestionably Rodham as noted in the court records. (March 1784 Court; Minute Book 6, page 255).

Rodham married Clement Ball in 1786. In 1792 Baldwin Lunsford married Ann Ball, Clement's sister. This alone leads one to believe Rodham and Baldwin are brothers, but their relationship to Amos (d. 1784) or George (d. 1781) is not clear.

Rodham’s children were all born in Fauquier Co. He moved his family to Lincoln Co. KY ~1807, following the signing of a Ball to Ball Deed in which Benjamin Ball acquired his sister Clement's share of their father's estate (see will below where he accounts for his children). Many early genealogies have referred to Clement Ball as "Clementine". But nowhere in the historical record is she referred to as Clementine. While she was generally referred to as Clement and even Clements, her proper name is "Clemence", having been named after her aunt. The given name itself originates with the Owen family of Middlesex County and likely was derived from the surname of the Clemence family.

Rodham is first listed in the Lincoln Co. KY tax list on 10 Jan 1808 as "Rhodam Lunsford". On the 24 May 1809 list he is listed as "Rwrodum Lunsford" and on the 1811 list as "Rhodunt Lanceford". In each case he is the only white male over age 21 in the household.

Complicating matters, there were three Lunsford family groups residing in Fauquier in the late 1700s. First were the families of NW Fauquier west of Carters Run also known as The Free State. This included Rodham and Baldwin. The second family was in the southern section or Hamilton Parish. They were headed by Jemima (sic) Lunsford (widowed by 1778). The third family resided in the NE District and included George (d. 1781), Amos (d. 1784), Absalom, and James. George Lunsford appears to have lived near Cedar Run.

The initial years for which these early Lunsfords paid taxes in Fauquier were:

Absalom        1792, no further information. Resided NE District.
Amos            1781, Resided NE District. Died intestate 1784, Admin. by
                      Rodham Lunsford. Note: Letter of Administration
                    indicates Rodham also may have been known as "George".
Bailey          1789 paid by Jemima and in 1790 by Hazel (Haisle). Resided
                      South District.
Baldwin        1787 paid by Benjamin Ball. Resided NW District.
George                No tax recorded. Died intestate 1781. Admin. by George
                      Carter. Appears to have resided in NE District.
Haisle          1787, paid by Jemima through 1789.Resided So. District.
James          1796 paid by Richard M. Scott. Resided NE District.
Jemima          1778 (last record 1789). Resided So. District.
Lewis                No year listed but he signed the 1776 religious petition.
Moses          1787 paid by Jemima. Resided So. District.
Nicholas             Bound out to Benjamin Pettit in 1782.
Rodham          1784 initial tax year (following the war). Resided NW District.

Lewis Lunsford listed above was an adult in 1776, over age 21, and thus born before 1755. It is unclear if he connects to the Leeds Parish family. Rodham did however have a son named Lewis. Also, there was a George Lunsford who left an estate in Fauquier in 1781. It was administered by George Carter who, along with George Cordell, posted a bond of £40,000. There is evidence this George Lunsford was of Fauquier Co. as he was a jurist in 1780. Tying the two Lunsford families of Leeds (northern Fauquier) together is Amos whose estate was administered by Rodham who was senior to Baldwin. Rodham may have been the eldest Lunsford available to administer the estate. It is unknown if there was a connection between the family of Jemima Lunsford of Hamilton Parish and those families in Leeds Parish. It is interesting to note that Moses Bailey was one of the appraisers to the estate of George Lunsford. Jemima had sons Bailey and Moses.

I suspect these early Fauquier families are associated in some way with the James Lunsford family of King George. This man was close to the Jeffries, Owens, and Rowley families and those associations carry through later in Fauquier. His will is not extant, and we don't know the members of his immediate family. There was however a James and a John Lunsford in King George in the years prior to the formation of Fauquier Co.

Several genealogies list Merryman Lunsford as a son of Rodham and Clement. He is in fact a DAR approved descendent which is inconsistent with the data. Census records show this man was born in 1782-1784, before Rodham and Clement married. Merryman married in Bedford Co. VA in 1822 and is found residing in Botetourt Co. VA. In 1850 he is listed as a Baptist minister and in 1860 as a farmer. He died prior to 1870. There is no evidence Merryman or "Marrimon" connects to the Rodham Lunsford family.

Another individual some attribute as a daughter of Rodham and Clement is Elizabeth Lunsford who married Isham Gentry 22 Sep 1803 in Lincoln Co. KY. This is several years before Rodham and Clement left Fauquier Co. They removed to Platte Co. MO. This Elizabeth Lunsford may connect to Nelly Lunsford/Langford who was in Lincoln Co. KY prior to the arrival of Rodham. Census data indicates Nelly was born 1771-1780 and widowed between 1795 and 1810, based upon the age of her son in the census record. There is no indication as to the identity of Nelly's husband. Nelly appeared initially on the Lincoln Co. KY tax list in 1792 as "Milly" Langford. As Nelly and Rodham both lived in Crab Orchard there is a strong possibility of a connection.

Cynthia Lunsford is thought by some researchers to be a daughter of Rodham. She married Thomas Yates 11 Jul 1809 in Lincoln Co. KY. No further information has been located, but she is not recognized as a daughter of Rodham in his will. She too may connect to Nelly Lunsford.
Also, of interest is a George Lunsford who married Mary "Polly" Petter 20 Mar 1821 in Lincoln Co. KY and removed to Jasper Co. MO. He was born about 1795 in Kentucky and died before 1860. He is not associated with Rodham and was born following Nelly becoming a widow. This leads to the possibility of at least three Lunsford families residing in early Lincoln County KY.

Research Notes
•Common surname variations found in the historical record: Lunsford, Lunceford, Lunce.
•Common given name variations found in the historical record: Rodham, Rhodam, Rody, Clement,     Clements, Clemmy.
•McGhee, Lucy Kate; "Historical Records of Old Crab Orchard: Lincoln County, Stanford, Kentucky"; Pub. unk; Washington, DC (195?).
•National Archives Film Series M805, Roll 542, File S13803.
•Fauquier Probate/Fiduciary Record 1784-003, Estate of Amos Lunsford. [Rodham Lunsford signs Administration Bond as "George (X) Lunsford"].
•Sutherland, James F. (comp.); "Early Kentucky Households 1787-1811"; Genelaogical Publishing Co.; Baltimore (1986).
•1787 Fauquier Co. VA Tax List 'B'; pg. 30 [Rhodam Lunsford (sic)].
•1799 Fauquier Co. VA Tax List 'B'; pg. 30 [Rhoda Lumford (sic)].
•1810 Lincoln Co. KY; pg. 128 [Roadham Lunceford (sic), Clement, one son and four daughters present].
•1820 Lincoln Co. KY; pg. 67-68 [Rodam Lonceford (sic), Clement, one son and two daughters present].
•1830 Lincoln Co. KY; pg. 367 [Rhasam Lanceford (sic), and Clement, no children, one apparent granddaughter].
•1840 Lincoln Co. KY; pg. 084 [Rodham Lunsford, Clement deceased].
•Letter of 11 Jan 1991 from Mrs. Mabel Singleton of Norris City IL to
Rodham Lunsford Will of 9 Mar 1841
Entered for probate 3 May 1841; (Lincoln Co. KY Will Book 'N'; pg. 216). Punctuation and spelling as supplied courtesy of the DAR. Here Rodham accounted for all his children.

"In the name of God Amen I Rodham Lunceford of the County of Lincoln and State of Kentucky being of Sound and disposing mind and memory do make and ordain this to be my last will and testament hereby revoking all others. And as I have through the blessing of God lived to a good old age, and calling to mind that it is appointed by devine providence for man to die and after that the judgement, It has pleased God in the world to bless me with some property, and having been blessed with a family of children I deem it my duty to make a distribution of the same Item 1st It is my will and desire after my death that my body be buried in a plain Christian like manner.
Item 2nd It is my will and desire that my executors herein after named pay all my just debts if there should be any remaining unpaid at my death,  3rd I give and bequeath to my daughter, Betsy who is intermarried with Daniel Ball the following Negroes, to wit, One Negro woman Jenny which negro she now has in possession, and all the children she now has in possession or any she may hereafter have one negro woman by the name of Keziah and her son Milton and all Said Keziah's children younger than Milton, to her the said Betsy Ball and her heirs forever. 4th I give and bequeath to my daughter Nancy Parks, wife of Reuben Parks the eight hundred and twenty dollars in cash and the negro girl which I heretofore give her which I consider to be one full equal portion of my estate, and it is here fairly understood that she is to have no more of my estate.  Item 5th I give and bequeath to my daughter Hannah, wife of William Parks the one thousand and twenty dollars in cash all of which she has heretofore received which I consider to be her full portion of my estate, and it is here fairly understood she is not to have any more of my estate. 6th I give and bequeath to my daughter Sarah who intermarried with Joel Sartain the four hundred and fifty dollars in cash and the two negro girls all of which she has heretofore received which I consider to be her full portion of my estate and it is here fairly understood that she is not to have any more of my estate. 6th It is my will and desire that executors pay over to my four grand children who is children to my deceased daughter Lucinda who intermarried with Charles Adams two hundred dollars each out of my estate as they may arrive at the age of twenty one years, and it is further to be understood, that Said Executor is not to be chargable with interest until they make application for the money after they become of age. 7th It is further my will and desire and i do hereby give and bequeath to my son Lewis Lunceford the plantation on which I now live containing about three hundred and twenty five acres by deed but he is to have all more or less, Also I give to my said son Lewis all the balance of my negroes and other estate both real and personal of every description after the special legacies are paid of herein named. Lastly I hereby constitute and appoint my said Son Lewis Lunceford Executor of this my last will and testament. In testimony of which I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 9th day of March eighteen hundred and forty one."

John Stone                                   His
                                       Rodham X Luncefore
David Shanks                                 Mark

James D. Ball
Uniontown, Ohio

Friday, August 9, 2019

Friday Flashbacks

A few photos from the not too distant past for a Friday Flashback!

This is a shot from June 8, 2013 of my dad and I at the Mosby Ranger Descendant Reunion held in Middleburg, VA. This was particularly special as 2013 marked the 150th anniversary of the formation of Mosby's Battalion; 43rd VA Cav, CSA. I'm holding a picture of my great-great-grandfather Elijah Chilton Lunceford who was a member of Company-E. So between dad, me and that photo of Elijah surrounded by his daughter-in-law and grand kids, there were five generations of descendants there that day, if in spirit only. (As always please click on an image for a larger view).

And the only remaining artifact I have from my great-grandfather's household, an old serving plate that at one time belonged to Edgar Marshal Lunsford. It was passed to me by my grandmother at the time of their auction sale of the Bob-Dell Farm in Nokesville, VA.

I had this examined by an antique dealer some years back and the consensus was that it most likely dates to the 1920s-1930s. So we really can't tell if it is old enough to have been used while Elijah was living his final days at Edgar's house in Marshall, VA. Regardless, it is a neat thing to have around and we pull it out ever few years to serve a holiday ham. I can only imagine all of the Sunday dinners this thing dished out over the years by several generations of Lunsfords.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Guest Post: What's In A Name?

Recent attempts to satisfy my urge to research family history have led me to continue investigating the family name “Lunsford,” and its derivatives. So, I settled on re-researching a curious item I had stumbled upon previously…The 1850 census record shows that Baldwin was illiterate, which caused me to wonder if he spoke fluent English. Many times, census records are vague or inaccurate when it comes to listing birthplaces, so I wondered if the name might be German or French. This led me to look for the existence of a European town, or other geographic feature that might be named, or provide the name, for our family.

While cruising around on Google Earth one day, I tried putting the name Lunsford in the search bar. The location that came closest to matching was, “Lünsfeld,” (roughly pronounced, “loonz’-felt.”) When I zoomed in on the location it showed a small farming area that had mostly been absorbed by the city of, Freren, Germany. Curiosity about the name of the area led me to look up the definition of the German word, “lüns,” which was an old/ancient word meaning, “the pointed tip of a tool, or lance.” The definition of “feld” is simply, “field.” I looked at the original Lünsfeld area on the satellite image and saw there is a field there with a triangular shape, like a lance point. Similarly, the Dutch word, “luns,” and the German word “lünse” both translate to, “Linchpin,” a wedge-shaped piece of iron often used on wagons to hold a wheel on an axle.

 Searching for the name, “Lünsfeld” also brought up a Dutch genealogy for the name, “Lünsveld,” the word, “veld,” translates to, “field, or land,” in Dutch. In the same genealogy, the name was also spelled, “Lijnsveld.” “Lijns,” means, “line’” in Dutch. So, its rough meaning could be, “Line field; maybe property line or border, or strip of land.” Any connection to any of these names is pure conjecture on my part, but it has always interested me how similar “Lunsford” is to the place-name, “Lünsfeld.” Given the geographic connections to Western-Europe that show up in Lunsford family DNA results, it seems our name is quite universal, phonetically speaking.

 A cross-search provided the German place name, “Lüneburg,” on Wikipedia, it shows, ‘An older reference to the place in the Frankish Imperial annals dated 795 states:…ad fluvium Albim pervenit ad locum, qui dicitur Hliuni... i.e. …on the river Elbe, at the location, which is called “Hliuni”) and refers to one of the three core settlements of Lüneburg; probably the castle on the Kalkburg which was the seat of the Billunger nobles from 951. The Elbe-Germanic name, Hliuni corresponds to the Lombard word for “refuge site.”’** Lüneburg** Ignoring any rules for proper etymology, and just sticking the words together, the name given here from the Low German (old Saxony) for a refuge site, “Hliuni” added to the Low German word for a water crossing, “Ford, or Vörde” would give a very rough version of the name, “Luneford,” possibly meaning, “safe or sheltered, water crossing,” or a, “passage by a ford."

More searching within the area near Freren, we find the area called, “Lünne.” The etymology given within the history found on the German Wikipedia page for Lünne, states that “Lunne (Old North Hlunne=Role) referred to Old Saxon, a place on the river (here over the strong flowing Aa), at which, by means of underlain timber, loads over the river could be brought.” [Badly translated to English by the site.] Further in the article, Lünne is more clearly identified and in the 13th century, the location was divided between Altenlünne, and Plantlünne. The word “alte” means old. The word “plant” is not entirely clear, but could mean new foundations. An additional link within the article leads to the town called, “Haselünne.” It states, “Around 500 AD, a Saxon main courtyard was located in the area of today’s farm. In the nearby river a ford was built by inserting roundwoods (poles or piles, maybe?). These round woods were called “lunni” and they gave the place the name “Lunni,” “Lunne,” and with the river name, “Hassa” = dark water, later = hare [as in hassenpfeffer], finally the name Haselünne.” Further searching brought me to an additional definition of lunne as a name for passage, or a crossing.

Early versions of the name can be taken from some 17th century English pedigrees. The name “de Londresford” had appeared in earlier research on the family of Sir Thomas as possibly Saxon, in origin. The name is mentioned within some of the Coppage family information. The Coppage family claim descent from Sir Thomas Lunsford through, “his son,” William Lunsford, Esq. William, Esq. appears in the list of 65 passengers brought to Virginia by Sir Thomas in about 1649-50. There is no confirmation that this William was Sir Tom’s son, nor whether this William survived after their arrival. More specifically, the name “de Londresford” appears within the Sussex Archaeological Collections, Vol 24; pp. 18-20. The French word “Londres” translates to London, and Londinium, the Roman name given to the city. It was also used by most ancient European countries with the same meaning.

The early family was situated at Londresford (later Lunsford) in Etchingham parish, Sussex before the Norman Conquest in 1066. The place that was called, “Londresford” is now called, “Lundsford Farm” and is located at Etchingham, Sussex. By the turn of the 12th century, they were also established at Whilegh, in East Hoathly, Sussex. Old Wilegh is now a Bed and Breakfast. In 1989, my wife and I visited a place called, “Lunsford Farm,” which is located near Pett, East Sussex. The house there was said to have been built by the grandfather of Sir Thomas, Sir John in the 1500’s. This working farm is now owned by the Dunlop family where they also feature a “glamping” experience on the property. Lunsford’s Cross is located near Bexhill, it’s almost halfway between Lunsford Farm and East Hoathly where Whiley is located. It may have been the site of an early Lunsford manor house. Maybe a stopping point when traveling between the two estates? The term Cross was often used when a village had permission by the ruling Lord to open a market.

We know that the name has evolved quite a bit over the centuries; de Londresford, Lunsford, Luxford, Luncford, Lunceford, etc. And all these derivations can be traced back to the pages of English history without question. But, where was the seat of the Old Saxon de Londresford ancestors before they were in Sussex? It’s entirely possible that the formerly Saxon places called Lünsfeld, or Lünne, might be trying to remind us of our roots.

Tim Lunceford
Independence, MO

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Pretending To Be A Tourist; A Rare History Day in June

In our clan, Saturdays, especially those on picture-perfect late spring days in June are rarely spent following along with a docent for two hours in a cemetery. But this is precisely what we did today. Our Sons of Confederate Veterans camp (Battle of Sharpsburg Camp #1582) arranged for a tour of the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick Maryland. This sacred soil is home to such luminaries as Governor Thomas Johnson Jr. (1732-1819) and Francis Scott Key (1779-1843). But of particular interest to us, over 400 Confederate dead, many unknown, from all points south. Confederate Row is especially moving, as is the monument to the Confederate dead from battles as diverse as South Mountain, Sharpsburg, Gettysburg and Monocacy. During this conflict, our part of western Maryland served as one big field hospital. So naturally many Southern Sons found this to be their final resting place.

It is comforting to see that our historical iconography remains intact here, and we are especially indebted to Chris Haugh, our guide for the day. Please check out his blog; Stories in Stone.

While we are on the topic of historical blogs, Richard Williams has updated his web presence. Besides coining the best term I've seen to date that describes the revisionist nitwits that so infect our historical souls, what he refers to as "the perpetually puckered moral reformer class", his Relics and Bones blog and web site by the same name are first rate.

R. Dwayne Lunsford, PhD

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Time Had Come To Unite The Clan

Today was a first (at least since the middle of the last century) where multiple lineages of Luncefords/Lunsfords all descending from Baldwin Lunsford gathered together for a family reunion in Marshall, Virginia. And what a day it was, spectacular weather and the chance to enjoy good food and to meet distant cousins, many for the first time.

A future post will highlight group photos of the various sub-clans once I can get them in and processed. But for now, I'm including this shot of me, my second cousin Edgar Allen Lunsford and forth cousin Stephen Dennis Lunsford. All three of us share the same Y-chromosome (haplogroup I1-S2077*) confirming the genealogy paper trail and proving paternal descent back to our earliest genetic ancestor, Benjamin Lunceford (abt 1793-3 Apr 1869).

On the way in we stopped at the Marshall cemetery to pay our respects to our ancestors buried there and to place fresh flags on the grave of my great-great grandfather Elijah Chilton Lunceford (1829-1921). The First National (CSA) and 1861 Virginia State flags were provided courtesy of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Family Mementoes and Warrior Ancestors

Here is an interesting memento given to me many years ago by my paternal grandfather, Ernest Chilton Lunsford, Sr. We're not exactly sure what it was used for but it might have been some kind of trivet or hot pad. The picture is covered by a clear plastic-like material sealed to a thin metal frame with closed metal backing. The surface also has a slight burn mark.

After scanning, enhancement and removal of the burn mark, we now have this more modern version. First appearing on my earlier family history web site from 2001, it since has been harvested by others (without permission) and a cropped version of the old man's face now appears on other genealogy web sites like

That old man is my great-great-grandfather, Elijah C. Lunceford. He is surrounded by his daughter-in-law and grandchildren. The daughter-in-law is my great grandmother, Ethel Maria (Wine) Lunsford. She is holding Lillian Harriet Lunsford, born on 9 Feb 1918. Assuming Lillian is around a year old in this picture, and that Elijah died on 13 Aug 1921, this picture was probably taken around 1920, give-or-take.

The child on Elijah's left is my grandfather, E. C. Lunsford Sr. On his right is Wilson Fairfax Lunsford. To Ethel's left is Crilly Marshall Lunsford. And the other girl is Maggie Florence Lunsford.

As a widower at that time, Elijah was living with his son (Edgar Marshall Lunsford). Cause of death was "infirmity of age" and "complications due to a fall and broke thigh at neck". Edgar was the informant. The attending physician first examined him on July 11, so I suspect that was about the time of his fall. This also confirms earlier census records showing his father being Benjamin Lunsford.

Living to the ripe old age of 92, his occupation was listed as "farmer". We also know from family lore that Elijah was a "waller" or stone mason who could build dry-lay stone walls around farm fields. Tim Lunceford recently uncovered further proof of this in an unrelated chancery suit where Elijah testified as having done a field wall stone job on a local farm.

Elijah was a member of Company-E, 43rd VA Cavalry (Mosby's Men). Company-E was formed rather late in the war at Upperville, VA on July 28, 1864. Right after formation the battalion left for a raid into Maryland, entering Adamstown the next day where Company-E was left behind to scout around further while the rest of the command returned to Virginia (1). We have no way of knowing whether Elijah participated in this Maryland raid.

Following the war, Elijah applied for and obtained a Virginia-state veterans pension based on his service with the Confederate Army (CSA). His primary complaint was "rheumatism" brought on by his war service. He is buried in the Marshall cemetery.

In 1940, Crilly Lunsford applied to the US government for Elijah's Confederate headstone. What is interesting here is that he definitely used the "s" spelling in the application whereas the War Department, after confirming with the Virginia State Library, changed the surname to the "ce" spelling to reflect the CSA records. Family lore suggested that Crilly preferred the "ce" spelling but that clearly was not the case here. Also of interest is the enlistment date of 1862. Either that is incorrect, or perhaps Elijah served in Mosby's command unattached to a specific company until the formation of Company-E in 1864.

Another interesting artifact is Elijah's razor. This is owned by Edgar Allen Lunsford and was passed down to him by Crilly.

(1) Mosby's Rangers by J. D. Wert, p. 185. Simon and Schuster, 1990.

R. Dwayne Lunsford, PhD

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Fauquier Lunceford/Lunsford Genetic Genealogy Project

Steady progress is being made in our quest to use genetic genealogy as a means of confirming paper records back to our earliest known ancestor and brick wall, one Baldwin Lunsford (abt 1764). Since little is known about Baldwin's ancestry (hence the brick wall moniker), it is hoped that by determining his Y-chromosome haplogroup together with a diagnostic SNP for our clan we may someday be able to connect with other Lun(ce)sford clans in the US and abroad.

Just this week we received new STR profiles for two matching fourth cousins. To date our collective results suggest strongly that there has been unbroken paternal surname inheritance in our lineage back to Baldwin's son Benjamin Lunceford (abt 1793).

If you are a Lun(ce)sford male with previous Y-chromosome test results, or are interested in family genealogy and would like to learn more about genetic genealogy, please send an email to the project administrator at: . Minimum requirements for STR testing are the Family Tree DNA Y37 test or the alpha and beta panels from YSEQ labs. Or, if you've had any full sequencing of the Y-chromosome or more detailed SNP panels conducted we would be especially interested in talking with you.

Currently our clan is placed in the I1 haplogroup with a public terminal SNP S2077.


UPDATE: Little Old Cabin in Halfway

Earlier this year my Aunt Jane volunteered to go to the Fauquier Court House and see what she could find out about That Little Old Cabin in Halfway. She came away with this deed (from Deed Book-63, Pg 140), which reads:

Lunceford EC [extants]
{} Deed
Griffith Abner

This deed made on 22nd day Dec 1870 between Elija C Lunceford & Harret E Lunceford his wife, of the first part, and Abner Griffith of the second part all of the county of Fauquier State of Virginia. Witnesseth that the said parties of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of three hundred dollars, to these in hand paid by the said party of the second part the rec’t of which is hereby acknowledged do sell & convey unto the said Griffith of the second part all their title + interest in the real estate of their father John Griffith dec. said estate lying & being in the county of Fauquier near Longbranch Meeting house + the same on which said Jno Griffith lived & died – the said gran – tors do convey unto the said grantee all interest they now have or ever may have in the said estate & do generally warrant & defend the same against the claims of any and all others.
Witness the following signatures & seals
                                                                                    E. C. Lunceford {SEAL}
                                                                                    Harret E. Lunceford {SEAL}
                                                                                    Abner Griffith {SEAL}
Fauquier Cty to wit {
                        Personally appeared before me Edward C. Turner a Justice of said county Elija C Lunceford whose name is signed to the annexed deed and acknowledged the same in my county


Wow, what a find! Unfortunately, there was no plat or survey associated with this deed. Aside from the "...near Longbranch Meeting house....." reference, it could be for property almost anywhere in the Halfway area. However, it did confirm that Elijah and Harriett were at one time in possession of their part of John Griffith's property (part of her inheritance) and that their interest in the estate later was conveyed to Abner Griffith in 1870 for the sum of $300.

While at the court house, Aunt Jane was fortunate enough to run into the county preservation planner, Ms Wendy Wheatcraft. I followed up with Wendy for a later meeting where she was kind enough to take me to the deed room and walk me through a title search of the land the cabin sits on. We began with the current owners and searched back in time through fifteen separate transactions, finally arriving at 1894 and a dead end involving a Howdershell Chancery suit. From various sources the Howdershell family were known as large land owners and speculators with some of their grants originating from Lord Fairfax. What I really found amazing was that none of the deeds cited a plat or survey, only making reference to the "100 acres, give-or-take" of the Pickett survey. And there were no references to any Lun(ce)sford owners or tenants. However, there was a W. H. Smith transaction in 1902 (DB 93, Pg 390) which might provide a connection to the George H. Smith cemetery (see more below).

Wendy also put me in touch with the current property owner, the Braswell's of "Ballantrae". They were most gracious and invited me over for a ride around their property. Much of the land is bounded by dry lay stone walls especially that portion on the Long Branch side in the vicinity of the cabin. After taking another quick look inside the cabin, Harry Braswell showed me another feature in the attic that I had missed on our earlier visit; numbered notching in the ridge poles of the roof. We're not sure what these were for. Perhaps the poles were matched on the ground and this numbering system helped the carpenter line things up once they were hoisted up for placement. 

This visit helped answer two other questions: 1) Why was the cabin not listed on the Long Branch Lane section of the Little River Rural Historic District (LRRHD) application? And 2), why was the Smith cemetery listed separately on the Long Branch Lane inventory? Since the cabin is technically within the Ballantrae estate, it was listed as a secondary dwelling for its Rock Hill Mill Road address (LRRHD inventory #030-5579-0203). And according to Wendy, cemeteries in Virginia are recognized as separate land features not connected directly to real estate. So even though the Smith Cemetery is within the property line of Ballantrae, it is considered its own parcel. The LRRHD surveyors simply included it as part of the Long Branch Lane inventory (030-5579-0157).

So for now we can make no direct connection between our family and this little old cabin in Halfway. Unfortunate, yes, but this certainly has been one hell of a research story; from Bev Aiken's family oral tradition and visit in 1962, to our rediscovery in 2014, to disappointment in the Fauquier County Deed Room. But Halfway and the surrounding area most certainly is ground zero for our early family's land holdings. Additional parcels around Long Branch Meeting house include the Griffith House, Hugh Griffith's Shop, and cousin Tim Lunceford has been investigating family properties in the Hopewell area just south-east of Halfway. Only genealogical sweat equity spent shifting through wills, deeds, census records and other materials will bring some finality to our quest.

R. Dwayne Lunsford, PhD


Saturday, March 9, 2019

Guest Post: Which John?

      While this winter’s frigid hand continues to squeeze every ounce of tolerance from all of us here in Missouri, I have been correcting and updating my long-neglected family tree files. My files were backed up onto disk several years ago when working full time didn’t accommodate genealogy research. Now, I’m semi-retired and only really work in the summer months interpreting 19th Century Tinsmithing at a local living-history museum. I’ve chosen to use Legacy’s program to great satisfaction and, since I used my usual, “free-suits-me” approach to my selection, I’m very satisfied with this product.

One issue I’ve had for quite some time, as most others struggle with in the endeavor to restore family history, is the use of the same name(s) across several branches of family and through multiple generations that quite frequently overlap birth years, as well as spousal surnames. It challenges us to the point of feeling as if our head could explode. And, just as exasperating, is the practice of only using middle initials in documents and on headstones. We do the same thing today and I guarantee some poor genealogist generations into our future will have the same issue with us.

The challenge I had spent several years avoiding was the struggle to sort out John H. from John H. from John H. and John M. and John W., and figure out their inter-connection to each John H. and John M. and James W. Then another James W. and a James D. popped up, so there’s also the question whether some of them might be Senior’s or Junior’s, Third’s or Fourth’s. And, I know your head is already spinning, just like mine always did. Then, throw into the mix that several of these John’s and James’ fought in the Civil War at the same time. So, which was in which unit? Which lived, which died? So, I’m going to sort out some of this mess for the sake of sanity.

Baldwin’s sons, Benjamin and Harrison are where we begin. The family of each will be designated “A” for Benjamin, and “B” for Harrison, then numbered/lettered by each successive generation. Remember that Benjamin (1796) was by Baldwin's first wife, Anna Ball. While Harrison C. (1803) was by his second wife, Judith Creel. I’ll show each of their families one at a time only using those son’s who used names beginning with “J,” and remember everyone’s surname is Lunceford/Lunsford.

Family Designation “A”

AB-1) Baldwin

A-1)  Benjamin  (1796 – 1869)

            A-2-a)  James William, Sr.  (After 1818 – 1863)

                        A-3-a-1)  John Henry  (1846 – 1934)
                                    A-4-a-1)  Thomas James  (1866 – 1950)

                        A-3-a-2)  James William, Jr.  (1848 – 1935)
            A-2-b)  John M.  (1823 – 1900)

                        A-3-b-1)  John Samuel  (1865 – 1926)
                        A-3-b-2)  James Benjamin  (1869 – unknown)

             A-2-c)  Arthur Baldwin  (1825 – 1891)

                        A-3-c-1  Joseph R.  (1856 – unknown)

            A-2-d)  Elijah Chilton  (1829 – 1921)

                        A-3-d-1)  James R.  (1862/3 – 1865)
                        A-3-d-2)  Samuel Shelton  (1861 – 1939)

                                    A-4-d-2-1)  James Shelby, Sr.  (1903 – 1964)
                                    A-5-d-2-1-1)  James Shelby, Jr.  (Living)

                        A-3-d-3)  John Henry  (1865 – 1933)

            A-2-e)  Benjamin Richard  (1837/1840 – 1900)

                        A-3-e-1)  John Richard  (1872 – 1945)
                                    A-4-e-1-1)  John Ellwood  (1914 – 1942)

                        A-3-e-2)  Benjamin Harrison  (1881 – 1931)
                                    A-4-e-2-1)  James Marshall  (1921 – 1943)

                        A-3-e-3)  James M.  (1883 – 1945)

Some notable facts:

            A-2-b) John M. was appointed as executor to A-1) Benjamin’s will, resulting in a Chancery suit (061-1873) to equally divide the land between the eligible 11 inheritors.

            A-2-a) James W. was deceased before A-1) Benjamin’s will was executed in 1869, likely a casualty of the War. The Chancery suit (061-1873), lists his 5 younger children as orphans, less than 21 years, resulting in a counter-suit within the Chancery suit (061-1873) by his wife Harriet (Bruin) to collect debts owed by A/B-1) Benjamin.

            A-3-a-1) John Henry was a Scout for Col. John S. Mosby, erroneously described in the book, Mosby’s Rangers, by James J. Williamson,1896, as a deserter. He was also found to be a foreman for Lawrence Washington’s estate called “Waveland.” He was captured at Big Cobbler Mt on 12 Oct 1864, sent to Ft. Warren, Boston Harbor, and POW until the War’s end. He is found of age in Chancery suit (061-1873). He signed an oath of allegiance at Ft Warren, Mass. on 15 Jun 1865.

            A-3-a-2) James William, Jr. served in Co. E, Mosby’s Rangers alongside A-2-d) Elijah Chilton. James W., Jr. is not listed in J.J. Williamson’s book.

Confederate Prisoners (from Wikimedia )

 Family Designation “B”
AB-1)  Baldwin

 B-1)  Harrison C.  (1803 – 1894)

                        B-2-a)  James D.  (Unknown – 1864)
                        B-2-b)  John Harrison  (1845 – 1847
                        B-2-c)  Joshua Thomas  (1829 – 1924)

Some notable facts:

            B-1) Harrison is listed in, Maps and Notes Pertaining to the Upper Section of Fauquier County, Virginia, by Curtis Chappelear, Esq., 1954, as pertains to Upperville is as follows: “Lots on the North Side of Columbia Street No 23 – Site of Joseph Carr’s Store House, and later the home of Harrison Lunsford, shoemaker.” Columbia Street is now Highway 50.

              B-2-a) James D. is listed in, Nothing But Glory, Pickett’s Division At Gettysburg, by Kathy Georg, 1993. Harrison and John W. Busey. He served as a Private in Co. F “Blue Mountain Boys,” 8th VA Infantry. He supposedly killed more men than any other during the assault at Gettysburg. He was captured and sent to Ft. Delaware Prison located on Peapatch Island in the Delaware River. Conditions were very dirty, damp and cold. Disease ran rampant and James D. died of an inflammation of the lungs on 11 or 12 Mar 1864. He was buried in a trench/mass grave at Finn’s Point National Cemetery, Confederate section, located at Pennsville, NJ.
Fort Delaware (from Wikimedia )
Well, there you go. That isn’t too hard to understand, is it? In fact, you might wonder where all the confusion came from to start with. If you consider sitting with a list of names without dates, as I placed them in the beginning paragraph, you know. The dates sort them all out, obviously. I encourage everyone reading this to make certain you record the little, seemingly unimportant differences about you. Record your voice, take plenty of photos, and leave trinkets to people around you. Eventually, someone like yourself may be able to “bring you back to life.” Or, at the very least, be able to understand what makes you memorable. One of the best things I did was to record the voices of two older Lunceford’s sharing some memories, both of whom passed shortly afterward.

Tim Lunceford
Independence, MO

Saturday, March 2, 2019

The Cyclone of 1929

Click for larger image
As a young child I spent many a weekend at my maternal grandparent's house in Nokesville, VA. The Ridgley's (Violet and Ira; aka Paw-paw and Maw-maw) lived in the house on the corner of VA-28 (Nokesville Rd.) and Fitzwater Dr., just across from a little section of old Rt. 28 aka Minute Ln. It still stands, but sadly is not maintained as it was back in their day.

We would spend hours on that front porch watching traffic and just plain old rocking and talking. If only I could go back in time for a weekend and do that over again. Life was so simple. No cell phones or WiFi, just the long-and-shorts of a party phone line and three channels of B&W TV. You were treated to the sounds of hymns playing from the Brethren Church steeple speakers, passing trains and the firehouse siren. And what little traffic there was back then almost everyone honked and waived and easily identified either as a local or someone just passing through. There was no strip center or 7-11 back then, just Baker's and Whetzel's stores. Otherwise you had to go to Manassas.

These folks survived the Great Depression and lived through the deprivations of the home front during WWII. Their experiences always seemed to make it into the discussions at some point. But the one story that always got my attention as a child was The Great Cyclone of 1929, especially since The Wizard of Oz was a yearly event on TV. Tornadoes were one of those things we saw going on out in the mid-west on the evening news, not in Virginia and surely not in our little town.

From the article by Eugene Scheel
Several years ago my sister found an article on this particular swarm of twisters by the great northern Virginia historical map maker Eugene Scheel. Found on this link, it is a fascinating account because it gives the exact starting point for this swarm as beginning at the foot of the Shenandoah near the present town of Woodville way over in Rappahannock County. I always thought these things began further south in the flat plains of Orange and Culpepper Counties. Was I ever wrong.

From Scheel:

"Four of the six tornados, spawned by one storm system, hit this area within five hours. Of the many people who recall the disasters, most said they remembered that the cyclones touched ground after hours of driving rains and ever-increasing winds. Each tornado cut a runway of devastation about two miles long and 600 to 900 feet wide. 'It just went up and down, hopping from place to place,' Arabelle Laws Arrington told me recently, as she described the tornado that killed her father and demolished her family's house and dairy farm in Weaversville in lower Fauquier County. It 'cut through the woods like they had put in a power line'............."

"........Woodville, the third-largest town in Rappahannock County, was hit first. The hands of a wall clock found in the debris of the community's four-room frame school were stopped at 3:10 p.m. Marshall Hawkins, 14, who had stayed in the building to talk to his teachers, was killed by the collapsing building. Fifteen houses, two or three stores and three churches were destroyed, but not Shiloh Baptist, the town's black church. By telephone and telegraph, news of the Woodville twister soon reached Catlett, a large village on the Southern Railway, 30 miles east of Woodville and 11/2 miles north of Weaversville. There were no area radio stations in 1929. 'It had rained all the day long, and when the weather was bad, my father came and got us' at the Catlett school, Arrington recalled. 'We usually walked the 11/2 miles to school. There was no school bus'."

Maw-maw was an Allen, and their family originated from the Mt. Jackson area of the Shenandoah Valley. Her father, Luther Allen ran a store in Weaversville, a small town in Fauquier, the next county over from Nokesville in Prince William. We always heard how her dad's store was destroyed in the storm. But I didn't know the details or that her brother Elwood helped out with the rescue effort.

More from Scheel:

"...........Colvin, [Benjamin Franklin Colvin] telling of the tornado in a May 8, 1929, letter to the Fauquier Democrat, cited Catlett men Wilson, Donald Gray, Fisher Crittenden, Hoyt Orndorff, Leslie Colvin and James Day as the main rescue crew, along with Elwood Allen and Thomas Whiting Cowne, Blanche Laws's father, who lived in Weaversville. The tornado, possibly the same one that had hit Woodville, destroyed four of Weaversville's seven houses, and Luther Allen's store, across Elk Run Road from the Laws's farm. 'I invested a lot of money in that store,' Arrington recalled, 'Every time I got a few pennies, I'd go over there and buy candy.' Surveying the damage the next day, Colvin noted the destruction of the homes of Allen and his brother Charles Allen. Arrington remembered another destroyed home, whose occupant, Thomas Jackson, was found unconscious in a nearby field the next day. The homes of Lamar Colvin, Belle Coates and Thomas Whiting Cowne were badly damaged, but were rebuilt and stand today.........."

Although the Allens were living near Catlett at the time, I'm not sure where Maw-maw was during this maelstrom. I seem to remember her saying she was working "down the road", perhaps Manassas or beyond.

For a description of the Nokesville devastation we can turn to Robert Beahm's book, Nokesville, The Way It Was (2001). The 1929 twister leads off his "Stories and Sidelights" chapter on page-77:

"Before the tornado descended on the Nokesville area it had, unknown to the local populace, killed four people and demolished completely several houses and barns in Weaversville, a settlement about two miles east of Catlett, VA. The first property in its path as it approached the Nokesville area was the home of Oceola Marsteller where it caused relatively light damage. Next was the Edmund Hooker farm house with its numerous outbuildings and tenant house. Most were severely damaged or destroyed. At the storm's outset, Olive Hooker dashed upstairs where her son, one year old Ernest was sleeping, and removed him from his cradle which was partially filled with brick and other debris. The child was unharmed but the house damage was extensive. No one else was injured. Edmund Hooker, husband and father, was in Manassas on business at the time."

From Beahm's book; click for larger image

Compared to Woodville and Weaversville, Nokesville looks to have been lucky with no loss of life. Barns and houses were damaged but soon repaired by the locals most of whom were farmers or tradesmen. With no 911 or FEMA to the rescue, only the rugged men and women of that era were available to clean up the mess and move on.

R. Dwayne Lunsford, PhD

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Guest Post: The "Little Dixie" Lunceford's

It was about 1884 when Oliver Hawes and his wife, Alcinda (Lunceford) Hawes, struck out from Loudoun County, Virginia with their five children to settle in Jackson County, Missouri. It is likely that many Loudoun and Fauquier County families were still struggling to recover twenty years after the Civil War. Oliver Hawes’ family history is not well researched due to the lack of records for the family. It may be they connect to the Pennsylvania Hawes family that came from England. Baldwin Lunceford’s daughter Martha ‘Patsy’ married Thomas Hawse in 1835, but the Hawes/Haws/Hawse name more clearly entered into the Lunceford family with the marriages of three of Benjamin’s daughters; Marion to Ephraim Hawes, Elizabeth to Harrison Hawse, and Alcinda to Oliver Hawes.

The reason this part of the family migrated to Missouri can only be assumed, as there are no family stories to provide any absolute information. However, there were many families from Loudoun and Fauquier County who had migrated to Missouri previous to, and following the Civil War; the Withers family of Warrenton, the Fishback and Luttrell families, and the Noland and Smallwood families of Loudoun County. The Noland and Smallwood families are much intermarried in both State’s, and the areas around Hillsboro and Purcelville has been home to a great many of them. It is likely these families would send reports of life in Missouri to their families remaining in Virginia, and these reports were shared with others in the nearby communities. After all, in the time before electronic entertainment, there were not many better stories than those coming from the edge of the Wild West. It could be that Oliver heard enough reports and stories of success that he decided to take the risk and remove to Missouri.

In about 1882, Oliver and Alcinda’s daughter married the eldest son of Elijah Chilton Lunceford; Alcinda was Chilton’s younger sister. William ‘Willie’ Rhodes Lunceford married Elouise ‘Ella’ Hawes, they were first cousins. The marriage between first cousins was a common practice in that era when the possible results of such close familial relationships was not understood. I have not found an actual record of their marriage, but it likely took place in Loudoun County.

In about 1886, Willie and Ella Lunceford left Loudoun County, Virginia for Jackson County, Missouri to settle near Ella’s parents, Oliver and Alcinda. Traveling along with them was Willie’s younger brother, Samuel Shelton ‘Shelt’ Lunceford. The area where they settled is within Fort Osage Township which is in the north-eastern corner of Jackson County. A small village in the area, which was called Mecklin, served as the initial hometown of the families. They also occupied land near Lake City, which is now government-owned and contains an ammunition manufacturing facility. This area is best known for the operation of Jesse and Frank James and their gang. It is believed the families in this area provided much support for them during the Civil War when they rode with William Quantrill, and afterward when they were bandits in the area.

Samuel Shelton ‘Shelt’ Lunceford married Frances Hannah Brammer, the daughter of a Virginia Confederate veteran, James Naaman Brammer. He and his brother, Greene C. Brammer, came to Jackson County, Missouri following the war. These two Brammer’s are buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Higginsville, Missouri. Frances and Shelt had 12 children, one daughter, Mary died very young. Many of their children were born in a house that still stands across from the land my parents purchased near Levasy, Missouri. It happens that this property is very near the Walnut Grove Stock Farm mentioned later in this document. Later, Shelt moved his family to Lake City, Missouri. He was a farmer early on, but was listed in the census as a plumber.

John Henry Lunceford, a younger brother of Willie and Shelt, married Madie Ann Smith, daughter of George Smith of Halfway, Virginia. They lived near Orlean and Hume, Virginia. They lost two children, Ernest and Ethel, early in their marriage. John and Madie left for Missouri sometime in the early 1890’s, we believe. Family lore claims John killed an officer of the law in Virginia and fled to Missouri to avoid prosecution. He eventually had to return to Virginia to stand trial and be cleared of the charge of murder in order to qualify for a government job in Missouri. He apparently got off with a declaration of self-defense, but none of this story has ever been verified. He did, however serve as a “road-overseer,” or foreman, in the Fairmount district of Independence, by appointment of Judge Harry S. Truman. An additional incident of family lore claims that John became so enraged over the harassment on himself by another gentleman that he threatened if the fellow didn’t stop what he was doing, they “would find his dead carcass stretched over his own woodpile, sometime.” As gruesome as this threat is, story has it that someone did, in fact, find the fellow’s violently beaten, dead body laid on top of the woodpile near his own house. This story has also never been verified. Any credibility can only be added by more family lore that suggests the Civil War veteran, and older uncle by the same name, John Henry, would take the younger John to the taverns in Fauquier and start a fight. Then, he would step out, leaving the younger John to defend himself alone and, should the younger John be tossed out of the melee, the older John would throw him back in until all the fight had gone out of one party or other. Again, unverified lore, but it lends a possible motive to the previous mentioned episodes of violence.

Ella’s brother, Granville Hawes married Sarah Rachel Campbell, the daughter of John Beazer Campbell, a prominent area farmer from Loudoun County, Virginia, and a pioneer of the Fort Osage Township. Granville was not well regarded by Sarah’s father as is evidenced by a portion of his will which roughly states that, “…should Sarah marry Granville Hawes, she will not receive her inheritance until she reaches the age of 39 years, because I (Campbell) feel he is not fit to provide for her well-being…” This is a very harsh description of Granville, but not an unfamiliar feeling for many fathers. And, yes, Campbell did actually name Granville Hawes in his will. This gives strong evidence that, early on, the family was not more than simply, poor dirt-farmers, a condition that endured for two generations, at least.

Despite the feelings of John Campbell, Granville Hawes was the great provider in the family. He married Sarah after her inheritance was secured. Joining with his in-laws, George Grubb Campbell and Mary Elizabeth Virginia (Campbell) Worley, they created the Cedar Grove and Walnut Grove Stock Farms just north of Mecklin. The large property left to Campbell’s three children provided many mules for the local farmers, as well as for the First World War. Sarah and Granville’s land was still held by a grandson until around 1995, when it was sold, the greater portion sold to a development company. The smaller portion still contains the house built by Granville and is still in great condition. Headstones placed on several family gravesites were purchased by Granville. He helped many neighbors weather through the Great Depression by purchasing their land and selling it back later, without interest, if they could afford to repay him. Several housing additions in Oak Grove, Missouri bear the Hawes name.

Two other Hawes brothers, Turner and Walter, migrated to Arizona, likely late in the 1890’s, and began farming and ranching in the Tempe-Mesa area. The two became quite respected and prominent, assisting in the development of the irrigation system there. They returned to Missouri in 1905 to purchase milking cows to take to Arizona in order to provide dairy products to their ranch-hand’s families. A reunion was featured by their younger brother, Ted Hawes while they were in Missouri, and a photograph taken then shows the three generations of the Hawes family, including the family of Willie and Ella Lunceford. Jeter Hawes, the last of the Hawes children, also went to Tempe-Mesa to improve his health and raised chickens on a small farm there.

Granville’s father, Oliver never “amounted to much.” According to family stories shared through one of Granville’s daughters, Oliver and, at some point Willie Lunceford, were apparently seldom in good health and were unable to create much wealth from their efforts. Oliver Hawes was close to what is considered elderly, even when he married Alcinda he was middle-aged. When he came to Missouri, he was probably old enough to be feeble and easily fatigued. We don’t have an accurate account of his condition, but the risks and effects of heat-stroke are common in this part of the country; it’s possible this is why he couldn’t provide a living. Or, they may have just been lazy, as Granville’s daughter believed.

As was stated above, regarding bad health and inability to work, the same was said of Willie Lunceford, after a point. The same daughter of Granville, who mentioned Oliver’s poor condition, didn’t carry much regard for Willie either, when it came to his inability to work. It was said that neither Oliver, nor Willie spent enough time in the fields, and in most opinions within the family, they were lazy. She was quite young at the last years of Willie’s life, and it is doubtful she actually knew Oliver. This information is just family lore, as I see it. However, I have a post card hand-written by Ella, my great-great grandmother, to her niece May Lunceford, daughter of Shelt, which says; “…Uncle is feeling better…,” leading one to speculate that he had some chronic disease. When they left Virginia, Willie and Ella had two sons, Walter Fulton and Fredrick Turner, Freddie died when they arrived in Missouri. They had five more sons in Missouri; Lewis, Richard Henry, William ‘Bud’, Curtis, and Irving.  Ella didn’t have a daughter, but being so fond of May, she would invite her to visit quite often.

Following the death of Willie in 1909, Ella and her younger sons eventually left the farms and moved into Independence, living in the Fairmount District where John worked for the County. Shelt and Frances watched their many children disperse throughout the whole country. After John died, Madie was cared for by other family members and finally by their daughter, Alice. The other of their daughters ended up in California working for the Salvation Army. Most of these early Missouri settlers are buried in the small Oakland Methodist Cemetery located just south of the Lake City area, mentioned previously. Oliver and Alcinda are buried in the Mecklin Methodist Cemetery. Mecklin no longer exists as a town, but at the time the family arrived, it was a very busy, bustling town. The Hawes’ who migrated to Arizona only returned for rare visits, and eventually stopped returning to Missouri altogether. Having sold the last of the family land holdings, the youngest descendant of Granville, who was adopted, resides in California.

The remaining of Willie Lunceford’s family are scattered around Missouri, all of them descending from just three of the seven sons of Willie and Ella. Walter, their oldest, died in 1917 from an accidental, self-inflicted shotgun blast to the abdomen which severed his femoral artery. Henry died in 1925 from heart disease. Bud, their fourth son, along with the widow of Henry, was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver on US-50 highway in 1953. Curtis died from a ‘self-inflicted gunshot,’ ruled a suicide in 1938. However, some suspected he was murdered by thugs resisting the unionization of the Ford Assembly plant in Kansas City. Irving, the youngest son, died in 1960 from a stroke.

The last living son of Willie and Ella was my great grandfather, Lewis Normen. I knew Grandpa Lewis because he lived with us in the year prior to his death. He was suffering with dementia, and had a bad habit of pinching my brothers and me when we came too close. My sister, on the other hand, could sit in his lap all day, and he never pinched her. He had a deep voice with a strong Missouri drawl. He chewed black, plug tobacco and the juice stained the whiskers near the corners of his mouth. He stood nearly 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed about 190 lbs., his favorite pastime was catfishing, and he was awfully fond of cherry pie. He once recalled an episode on his boyhood farm near Lake City, which my father attempted to record on a portable reel-to-reel tape recorder. My parents, my siblings and I sat and listened as he struggled through tears of laughter to tell about a time that a cat wanted milk from a cow he was milking, so it decided to climb the cow’s leg to get some. I don’t remember the details of the story; I only remember the thunderous laughter of that hard, old man whose mind was giving way to age.

Grandpa Lewis died in 1970 at the age of 81 years. After his death, I was given a charm that I assume he had received from his daughter, Lucille, who was a missionary in Thailand most of her life. It is hollow, being made from two pieces of pressed tin fused together, displaying three elephant’s heads; research shows it is a Hindi-Buddhist symbol known as Erawan. I still have it and have included a photo. In about 1996, while researching our family, I received an email from a researcher named John Lunceford who lives in Terra Haute, Indiana. He was attempting to relocate Grandpa Lewis’ family, and he found me through a genealogy site. He had a hand-written letter he received from Grandpa Lewis that gave his account of our family’s story as best he knew. I now have a copy of the letter which was written the year after I was born. It’s strange how things come back around sometimes.

Finally, as a kind of footnote to all of this information, we found that we have no biological connection to the Lunceford family, after my sister submitted her DNA to AncestryDNA. It appears that our biological grandmother was a bit careless 6 years into her marriage and, since her husband was unable to father children due to a childhood injury involving the kick of a mule, my father was grossly mistreated by his ‘dad.’ His ‘dad’ knew he could not be the father, but it was never discussed until my dad was raising his own family. It was only after an inquiry by a ‘match’ individual following the DNA testing, that we’ve suspect who our biological grandfather might have been. My mother was adopted in Hutchinson, Kansas when only two days old. She knew she was adopted and was able to eventually locate and connect with her biological siblings. So, our family history has completely reversed from what we have known most of our lives. Mom didn’t have a family and now she does, dad had a family and now he doesn’t. We’ve only ever been Lunceford’s, no matter how good or bad we’ve been at it, and we still are. I can’t shake off the ghosts of the long-dead family members that I’ve brought back to life through my research. They still claim me, and I still claim them. After all, they weren’t perfect, either.

Tim Lunceford
Independence, Missouri