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Sarah E Hughes, Daughter of the Confederacy

February 24, 2015 3 Comments

Shiloh Baptist Church

Shiloh Baptist Church

My second great grandmother was born in Alabama.  Her parents came from Mississippi and they owned slaves.  In the 1840 census, when Sarah was 11 years of age, her mother was already dead.  Her household contained 4 white persons and 44 slaves. 27 of them were involved with agriculture.  I guess they grew cotton.

In 1845 Sarah’s father died and she married Thomas Armer, my 2nd great-grandfather.  She had 13 children, 8 of whom were still alive in 1900.  My great-grandmother was her oldest daughter. In 1850, when her daughter was 3, she and her husband lived in Lowdnes County, Alabama.  Her husband’s occupation was listed as overseer.  Everyone on the census page is either a planter or an overseer by trade.  This is extremely creepy because they must be growing cotton and Thomas Armer was a slaver overseer.  This was the time in which they lived, but it seems like such an outrage to think about it.

1860 census

1860 census

The Black Panther Party was born as the Lowdnes Country Freedom Organization.  In 1965 the county was 80% black, but not a single black citizen was registered to vote.  Between 1850 and 1965 not that much had really changed.

lowdnes county

lowdnes county

 

By 1860 the family had moved to Old Town Dallas, and  Thomas was listed as a farmer.  No planters are listed on the page with them.  Engineers, physicians, and other farmers are their neighbors.  No slaves are listed in the household.  I think they have moved away from plantation life and started to farm for themselves. When the war broke out Thomas was conscripted to work in the Shelby Iron Works steel mill from 1861-1865.

Shelby Iron Works

Shelby Iron Works

After the war in 1870 the Armers moved to Waller County in east Texas, traveling in ox carts with their extended family.  In 1871 they founded the Shiloh Baptist Church with other veterans of the war in the membership. Thomas died in August of 1900 at the age of 75, leaving Sarah a widow.  She applied for a Confederate pension based on his service:

Confederate pension application

Confederate pension application

 

Sarah E Hughes (1829 – 1911)
is my 2nd great grandmother
Lucinda Jane Armer (1847 – 1939)
daughter of Sarah E Hughes
George Harvey Taylor (1884 – 1941)
son of Lucinda Jane Armer
Ruby Lee Taylor (1922 – 2008)
daughter of George Harvey Taylor
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor

Sarah is buried with her husband and some of her children at the Shiloh Baptist Church, in Prairie View, Waller County, Texas.

Selma in My Family History

February 7, 2015 5 Comments

I have the Confederate army records of my 2nd great-grandfather, William Ellison Taylor. Both he and his father in law applied and received Confederate pensions in Texas late in life.  They came from the vicinity of what is now Selma, Alabama.  The new movie about Selma has intrigued me although I have not seen it. I was alive to witness those events, and my mother’s family had a long history in Selma about which I recently learned.  In fact, my 3rd great-grandmother owned a large tract of land in Old Town, Dallas, also known as Cahawba.  She moved there from Georgia with her husband when it was the county seat, and maybe when it was still the capital of Alabama.  It was a happening river port with a large warehouse.  The area is now an archeological park with ongoing restoration projects.  Elizabeth lived through the Civil War in Alabama, then moved to Texas with her son and extended family.

 

Old Town

Old Town

 

Cahawba

Cahawba

Elizabeth Langley (1790 – 1885)
is my 3rd great grandmother
Thomas Armer (1825 – 1900)
son of Elizabeth Langley
Lucinda Jane Armer (1847 – 1939)
daughter of Thomas Armer
George Harvey Taylor (1884 – 1941)
son of Lucinda Jane Armer
Ruby Lee Taylor (1922 – 2008)
daughter of George Harvey Taylor
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor

Elizabeth was born in South Carolina and died in Texas.  Her husband died before the Civil War.  She obtained a land patent from the BLM.  She sheltered her family there during the war.

When the Armer family arrived in Waller, Texas they bought land with gold, then donated some of it to found the Shiloh Baptist Church, where Elizabeth is buried.  I always wonder why they had gold since the men in the family were working in the service of the Confederacy, for Confederate money.  When it became worthless the family must have had some tricks up the sleeves, or been able to sell the Alabama land for gold.  They executed the move in oxcarts.  They went to an area known for cotton farming, but I don’t think they grew cotton.  In fact, the records do not reflect that the Armers owned slaves before the war.  They were part of Confederate society, but either too poor or too religious to own slaves.  In Texas they were preachers and subsistence farmers.

Elizabeth Langley, Texas

Elizabeth Langley, Texas

The parallel between what happened during Elizabeth’s life and the Civil Rights march in 1965 is striking.  This story comes from the informative Facebook page of Cahawba:

In Gen’l James Wilson’s autobiography, he wrote that after meeting with Gen’l Forrest at Cahawba (after the Battle of Selma), they parted ways, and he returned to Selma then crossed the Alabama River and headed his Federal troops toward Montgomery. Here’s what he had to say about the enslaved African Americans that started to follow him: ” a great number of fugitives from the surrounding country flocked into the town and our march to the eastward had hardly begun when it became apparent that new crowds were following us, which made vigorous measures necessary for getting rid of them. The rear guard could keep them behind, but could not prevent them from taking the “ROAD TO FREEDOM.” Wow! The goosebumps started forming when I realized that this ROAD TO FREEDOM was exactly the same route that marchers for voting rights took exactly 100 years later! I can’t think of a better example of Selma’s tourism tag line, “Civil War to Civil Rights.”
FYI. Gen’l Wilson eventually organized, armed and equipped the able-bodied men and found them valuable additions to his force.

This is an amazing story and not a coincidence.  I had not planned to go to Alabama again in my life, but now that they have put so much effort into uncovering the history of my 3rd great-grandmother’s lifetime in this place, I might need to visit.  They specialize in birding, which is pretty cool.  Visitors can participate in guided bird outings.  Civil War to Civil Rights is a very interesting subject, still in progress.

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