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Empress Anna Komnene Angelina Nicaea

June 20, 2014 , , ,

My 25th great-grandmother as born in Constantinople and died in Bursa, Turkey.  Her first husband met with an unfortunate demise, but she remarried.  Her father was the Byzantine emperor. Her second husband was emperor of Nicaea.

Empress Anna Komnene Angelina Nicaea (1176 – 1212)
is my 25th great grandmother
MARIA Laskarina (1206 – 1270)
daughter of Empress Anna Komnene Angelina Nicaea
King of Hungary Stephen V (1240 – 1277)
son of MARIA Laskarina
Marie DeHungary (1257 – 1323)
daughter of King of Hungary Stephen V
Marguerite Sicily Naples (1273 – 1299)
daughter of Marie DeHungary
Jeanne DeVALOIS (1294 – 1342)
daughter of Marguerite Sicily Naples
Philippa deHainault (1311 – 1369)
daughter of Jeanne DeVALOIS
John of Gaunt – Duke of Lancaster – Plantagenet (1340 – 1399)
son of Philippa deHainault
Philippa Plantagenet (1370 – 1415)
daughter of John of Gaunt – Duke of Lancaster – Plantagenet
Beatrix DePinto (1403 – 1447)
daughter of Philippa Plantagenet
John Fettiplace (1427 – 1464)
son of Beatrix DePinto
Richard Fettiplace (1460 – 1511)
son of John Fettiplace
Anne Fettiplace (1496 – 1567)
daughter of Richard Fettiplace
Mary Purefoy (1533 – 1579)
daughter of Anne Fettiplace
Susanna Thorne (1559 – 1586)
daughter of Mary Purefoy
Gov Thomas Dudley (1576 – 1653)
son of Susanna Thorne
Anne Dudley (1612 – 1672)
daughter of Gov Thomas Dudley
John Bradstreet (1652 – 1718)
son of Anne Dudley
Mercy Bradstreet (1689 – 1725)
daughter of John Bradstreet
Caleb Hazen (1720 – 1777)
son of Mercy Bradstreet
Mercy Hazen (1747 – 1819)
daughter of Caleb Hazen
Martha Mead (1784 – 1860)
daughter of Mercy Hazen
Abner Morse (1808 – 1838)
son of Martha Mead
Daniel Rowland Morse (1838 – 1910)
son of Abner Morse
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Daniel Rowland Morse
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

Anna Komnene Angelina or Comnena Angelina (c. 1176 – 1212) was a daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Alexios III Angelos and of Euphrosyne Doukaina Kamatera.

Her first marriage was to the sebastokratōr Isaac Komnenos, a great-nephew of the emperor Manuel I Komnenos. They had one daughter, Theodora Angelina. Soon after Anna’s father became emperor, in 1195, Isaac Komnenos was dispatched to combat the Vlach-Bulgarian Rebellion. He was captured, became a pawn between rival Bulgarian and Vlach factions, and died in chains.

Her second marriage to Theodore Laskaris, eventually emperor of Nicaea, was celebrated in a double wedding in early 1200 (the other couple was Anna’s sister Irene and Alexios Palaiologos). Anna and Theodore had three daughters and two sons:

Nicholas Laskaris (died c. 1212)
John Laskaris (died c. 1212)
Irene Doukaina Komnene Laskarina, who married first the general Andronikos Palaiologos and then John III Doukas Vatatzes
Maria Laskarina, who married King Béla IV of Hungary
Eudokia Laskarina, engaged to Robert de Courtenay, married bef. 1230 Anseau de Cayeux, Latin Governor of Asia Minor

K. Varzos, I genealogia ton Komninon (Thessalonica, 1984).
O city of Byzantium: annals of Niketas Choniates tr. Harry J. Magoulias (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1984) especially pages 255–258, 280.

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Your genealogy just gets better and better all the time. I love reading it.


Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

June 22, 2014

I have Empress Anna & Philippa de Hainault but you already know that.

I am always revising my writings on family. Here is the latest revision on The White Elephant:

“I once had a copy of a newspaper “story” telling about how Sheriff Jim Courtwright arrested my great grandfather, Burwell Christmas Evans (1844-1889), one night at Evans Hall in Fort Worth in the midst of a performance there for not paying the ad valorem taxes on Evans Hall. Mr. Evans may have been tipped off because he responded by holding up a receipt but Sheriff Courtwright took him off to jail anyway. The older members of my family seemed to think that it was essentially a “shake-down”.
I have looked for the story at the library, and on line, and everywhere, but I have not been able to find it. I was told by the Fort Worth Library that there are issues missing from the early newspaper collections, and the one I want is probably in one of those.
Evans Hall (1876-1883) was a performing arts center. Among the shows there was a love-triangle play called East Lynne featuring then Broadway starlet Fay Templeton. Local Gentry were incensed when the Tagliapietra Grand Opera Company used bad weather to substitute the shorter Martha for La Favorita.
Timothy Isaiah Courtright, also known as “Longhair Jim” or “Big Jim” Courtright (1848 – February 8, 1887), was an American lawman, outlaw and gunfighter. He was born in Sangamon County, Illinois, which includes the capital city of Springfield, in the spring of 1848, the son of Daniel Courtright. Not much is known about his early life except that he had four older sisters and one younger brother. He was also said to have practiced shooting frequently. He enlisted in the Union Army during the American Civil War, but he had to lie about his age in order to join. He served under General John A. Logan, for whom he once took a bullet and therefore earned Logan’s admiration. He was rootless, and traveled around often until he finally settled in Fort Worth in north Texas.
In 1876, he became the first elected marshal of Fort Worth and had to keep peace in the notorious Hells Half Acre section, the town’s wild red-light district. At that time, Fort Worth was a very dangerous place, with altercations between unruly drunks and lawmen being commonplace. On August 25, 1877, Deputy Marshal Columbus Fitzgerald was shot and killed while attempting to break up a street fight. Marshal Courtright shot and killed the suspect in that shooting that same night. On August 2, 1879, Deputy Marshal George White was gunned down by the family of a man arrested for horse theft, and his assailants were sentenced to prison, although the conviction was later overturned on allegations that White was not a sworn law officer. On October 2, 1884, Deputy Marshal W.T. Wise was killed in Oxford, Mississippi, while he attempted to arrest suspects who had committed a murder in Fort Worth. One suspect in Deputy Marshal Wise’s murder was executed by hanging, and the other two received prison sentences.
That was the Fort Worth that Courtright inherited and which he was tasked with controlling. Although the Hells Half Acre district was known for being the most dangerous area of the city, Courtright seemed to have been in his element, as few crossed him, and most who did were killed by him. During his time there, it is believed that he killed at least five men during altercations and shootouts, including Deputy Marshal Fitzgerald’s killer.
While in Fort Worth, Courtright was at various times a jailer, city marshal, deputy sheriff, deputy U.S. Marshal, hired killer, private detective, and racketeer. During his travels, Courtright had developed a reputation as being fast with a gun.
He became known for his long hair, and his reputation of using his badge as a matter of convenience. He was believed, during this time, to have taken part in several assassinations as a part of a protection service he was running. Basically, in the city’s most dangerous area, he would offer his protection to business owners, for a price. Most would pay that price, as business owners understood that to decline his services meant that you would make him an enemy. Few who declined survived, and those who did eventually caved in to making payment.
Anyway, one day a man named Luke Short showed up in Fort Worth. Some stories say he was at the gunfight at the OK Corral but that is apparently not true. He was, however, probably involved in the conflagration that followed the actual shootout. He was a good friend of Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, and a well known “shootist”.
In 1883, Short settled in Dodge City, where he purchased a half interest in the now famous Long Branch Saloon. This put him at odds with the mayor of Dodge City and his allies, who made attempts to run Short out of business and then out of town as an “undesirable.” In what later became known as the Dodge City War, Short appealed to Bat Masterson who contacted Wyatt Earp. Earp soon showed up with Johnny Millsap, Shotgun John Collins, Texas Jack Vermillion, and Johnny Green. They marched up Front Street into Short’s Long Branch Saloon where they were sworn in as deputies by constable “Prairie Dog” Dave Marrow. The town council offered a compromise to allow Short to return for ten days to get his affairs in order, but Earp refused to compromise. When Short returned from Kansas City, where he had been discussing the matter with Governor George Washington Glick, there was no force ready to turn him away. The Long Branch Saloon reopened, and the Dodge City War ended without a shot being fired. Later that year Short sold his interest in the Long Branch and moved south to Fort Worth, Texas.
In 1883, in Fort Worth, Luke Short opened the original White Elephant Saloon, and a poker game there. Marshal Courtright was running a protection racket at the time, and needed to make an example of Short, who also had a sizable reputation as a gunfighter, mostly due to an 1881 gunfight with a gunslinger named Charlie Storms, at the Oriental Saloon in Tombstone, Arizona. Most historians tend to support the claims that Courtright had previously offered his protection to the White Elephant, and that Short informed him that he did not need his protection. Whatever the case, the two men did not get along.
On February 8, 1887, at about 8:00 p.m., Courtright called Luke Short out of the White Elephant. When Short walked outside, both men walked up the street one block, until they were in front of bar and brothel owner Ella Blackwell’s Shooting Gallery. According to reports, few words had been spoken, and the two men moved apart facing one another. Words were passed, and evidently Courtright, who had been drinking considerably, had made some indication about Short having a gun. Short assured Courtright he was not armed, although he was, of course.
Short moved slowly toward Courtright, saying that he could have a look himself, at which point he pulled open his vest. Probably mostly for the sake of bystanders and justification, Courtright said loudly “Don’t you pull a gun on me.”
With that statement, Courtright drew his pistol, but according to reports it hung for just a second on his watch-chain, and in that second Short produced his pistol and fired one shot, which took off Courtright’s thumb on his shooting hand. As Courtright attempted to shift his pistol to his other hand, Short fired four more shots in quick succession. Courtright fell backward and died shortly thereafter.
Short was placed on trial for the shooting, but it was ruled justified self defense, and that was the end of it. The gunfight became the story of a famous showdown because of the notoriety of both men as gunmen. Unfortunately for Courtright, that fame was posthumous.
Short continued his life as a gambler and invested in other saloon interests, traveling to several other cattle towns over the next five years. Short died peacefully in bed in Geuda Springs in southern Kansas, on September 8, 1893. The cause of his death was listed as dropsy, the 19th century term for congestive heart failure with severe body edema.
In about 1883 Walter Huffman headed up a “syndicate” (an old fashion term for partnership) that opened the Fort Worth Opera House. Huffman married the sister of Octavia Hendricks Bennett, my great grandmother. Its opening featured Lillie Langtry, for whom Judge Roy Bean would later name a Texas town. Perhaps the syndicate form of business organization made extortion less likely and more difficult.
B.C. Evans lived rich but it was probably mostly done with other people’s money, probably extended family. On July 7, 1889 B.C. Evans was gunned down himself in a strange confrontation with a discharged employee leaving more questions than answers. The case was appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court which seems strange because the employee had little money and few friends. Also, the murder was done in the presence of many witnesses. My grandmother told me once “you never know what goes on behind closed doors”.
Just the other day I found the lost newspaper story, by blind luck.”


frederick (rick) rehfeldt

June 27, 2014

This total account is precious. I am particularly into the prairie dog Dave..what a great name!! The wild wild west was wilder than the portrayals would have us believe..hard to trust anyone (especially BC)



June 28, 2014

While I am at it here is my latest revision on Burwell Christmas Evans. More and more I am exploring the mystery of his death. Any thoughts?

“I am finally ready to try to tell the story of my great-grandfather, Burwell Christmas Evans. I will try to do this from memory without looking back too much at my files.
Burwell Christmas Evans (aka B.C. Evans) was born in Chesterfield County, South Carolina on Christmas Day, 1844 or 1845, to Benjamin Albert Evans and Sarah Ann Lucy. Interestingly, the wife of B.C. Evans, Ella Dryden, died on Christmas Day. It was a large family 10 or 15 kids. They were farmers or planters, if you will, living just south of the North Carolina border. The Lucy’s were also a family of planters.
If you take the “Evans” line back in time the first noticeable stop is Charles Evans (b. 1745), the Revolutionary War ancestor of B.C. Evans. Charles Evans was called and well known as “The Patriot.” If you have seen the movie “The Patriot” with Mel Gibson, perhaps like me you are struck with a haunting familiarity between the Legendary Francis Marion and Mel Gibson who played “The Patriot” in that movie. I believe the movie “The Patriot” even has a character named “Burwell”. I have read that the identity of Francis Marion is not really known. Coincidence? Who knows?
My Alma Mater, The Citadel, was, as I recall, originally located on one corner of “Francis Marion Square” in Charleston. B.C. Evans attended the Citadel like many of his brothers.
Going back up the “Lucy” line, there is Samuel Lucy (1680-1735), who married Martha Burwell (1685-1710), whose father, Lewis Burwell, started or founded or built Fairfield Plantation in Virginia circa 1690.
The Burwell’s were English, and they go back to the English Plantagenet dynasty (perhaps more correctly called the “Angevin” dynasty) as does, Samuel Lucy. Too much to cover here.
While B.C. Evans was at the Citadel, the Civil War broke out. B.C. Evans then left the Citadel and due to his youthful age was allowed, as a private, to accompany his older brother, John Evans, throughout the Civil War. John Evans was regarded as a “battle hardened” soldier.
After the War, B.C. Evans tried farming, ran a retail operation, and finally ran for the South Carolina legislature, and even won election only to be removed from office by the “Carpetbaggers”.
B.C. Evans left South Carolina not long after that traveling in the company of his older brother, John Evans, to Fort Worth. Martial Law was being declared in South Carolina, and people were being taken into custody and never heard from again.
John Evans lived quietly in Fort Worth until his death. B.C. Evans, on the other hand, became wealthy and famous.
B.C. Evans arrived in Fort Worth in about 1872. The railroad headed towards Fort Worth had halted its progress just a little west of Dallas due to a financial “panic”, and the land values in Fort Worth, which had been pumped up in expectation of the railroad coming, had plummeted. Things were so quiet that someone said they saw a panther sleeping in the streets of Fort Worth. In fact, that is how Fort Worth later came to be known as “Panther City”.
B.C. Evans used the opportunity to buy large amounts of urban land and ranch property. An “old timer” told me once that when he was young B.C. Evans was rumored to own all of the land from Fort Worth to the Red River in Oklahoma. Samuel Burk Burnett was a very close friend.
I have looked at the Deed Records for Tarrant County for that period and noted B.C. Evans as the only Grantee for page after page.
He also opened a retail store in Fort Worth that was very successful; some say at one time the largest operation of its kind West of the Mississippi River.
My personal feeling is that this was not done with his money but the money of others, probably extended family. I do know that his father was considered wealthy by the standards of that day. Other people say B.C. Evans was just very successful at retail and investments, and made the money himself which I doubt.
B.C. Evans met his wife, Ella Dryden, not long after his arrival. She was a graduate of The Julliard School of Music, and had come to Fort Worth to teach music. Ella probably inspired B. C. Evans to put an opera house on the 2nd Floor of his Retail Store at First and Houston. It was well known and very successful during its time, attracting fine performers.
Their home at 6th and Lamar and featured a large Barn where the family would often conduct their own plays. They usually had family from South Carolina and Kentucky staying with them for long periods of time so they had a good supply of actors.
On July 7, 1889, an employee of the retail operation shot and killed B.C. Evans. The shooting was done in front of many witnesses. The employees name was J.W. Davis. He was found guilty but the case was appealed to as far as the United States Supreme Court. While the appeals lagged on Davis finally died in jail 2 years after the shooting. Some say he was smuggled poison. His death ended the appeals.

The death of B.C. Evans left us with more questions than answers. I have often wondered if B.C. Evans really died. Could this have been a creative divorce? Or creative separation? Could his phenomenal success and notoriety have placed him in an unacceptably vulnerable situation forcing him to move on? If so, would Ella have agreed to leave? Fort Worth was still a very rough place in 1889. Were Ella and B.C. acting out their own story? The shooter J.W. Davis was said to have been as poor as the proverbial church mouse. So who helped him with the years of appeals? What was their motive? I remember once thinking that my grandmother was trying to tell me that her father did not die but left Fort Worth for a big job in New York? But, when I tried to pin her down she seemed to clam up? My imagination? Wishful thinking? Who knows? If ever, not now. All I really know is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

My grandmother, Ethel Evans, was about 2 years old when her father, B.C. Evans, was shot and killed.
Ella Dryden, the widow of B.C. Evans, against the advice of nearly everyone, later left for Europe where she learned she could live less expensively than in Fort Worth, taking my grandmother with her. They returned to Fort Worth just before my grandmother was 18 years old.
My father, Frederick Cooper Rehfeldt, MD used to say Ella took my grandmother, Ethel Evans, over there to marry her into the European nobility. I think he was kidding.
Someone told me they once met and got to know members of the Russian nobility in Europe, and they invited them to Moscow for the winter party season but Ella refused to go.
The fame and prosperity of B. C. Evans seemed to disappear as quickly as it came.”

I am flesh and blood, and often slip, but when He was on The Cross I was on His mind, and He is still here passing out gifts to those who will receive them…


frederick (rick) rehfeldt

June 27, 2014

Wow–BC is a epic of his own making. This story is fabulous, CR, thanks for sending it. How lucky for your grandmother to get to live in Europe after all.



June 28, 2014

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