Keep in mind when doing research that some persons born before Tennessee became a state may report their birthplace as North Carolina rather than Tennessee.
Before Tennessee statehood in 1796, parts of Tennessee were located in present day North Carolina. For example, in 1775, Washington District, North Carolina was formed from land around the Watauga, Holston, and Nolachucky Rivers. This later became part of Washington County, Tennessee. Davidson County, North Carolina was formed in 1783 from the Cumberland District and later became part of Davidson County, Tennessee.
Keep in mind when doing research that some persons born before Tennessee became a state may report their birthplace as North Carolina rather than Tennessee.
Maps from mapofus.org
This world-class facility will blend the necessity of historic preservation with the ever-increasing demand for digital access. - Secretary Tre Hargett,
The Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA), located in Nashville, will soon be opened in its new 165,000 square foot facility on Bicentennial Mall at the intersection of Sixth Avenue N and Jefferson Street. Scheduled to be opened Fall 2019, the new building will ensure Tennessee's history will be preserved for generations.
"This world-class facility will blend the necessity of historic preservation with the ever-increasing demand for digital access. I applaud Gov. Haslam and the entire General Assembly for making this a reality so we can better serve Tennesseans,” Tennessee State Secretary of State Tre Hargett said during the facility's ground breaking ceremony.
TSLA will be referenced frequently in this month’s blog posts. They have a wealth of information available to the genealogy researcher. Some of the information is online at https://sos.tn.gov/tsla, and some of it is just a phone call, email, chat or visit away. One resource that is still growing is the Genealogy Index Search. This index searches across many of the databases at the archives and identifies available records.
In addition, TSLA has partnered with Ancestry to provide Tennessee residents free access to a number of Tennessee specific databases. These databases can be accessed through the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL).
October is Family History Month, and to celebrate, we will post a Tennessee genealogy research tip each day this month. The series will culminate on October 26th with a presentation at TNGS by Nancy Walczyk, Director of Research, on Tennessee Research (a part of our State Research Series.) This month's blogs reflect the experience of our volunteer researchers.
TNGS does research for individuals on a Tennessee ancestor as a fundraising project for the Society. More information about that project can be found on our website at https://tngs.org/Research-Requests.
Family History builds bridges between the generations of our families
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As our nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, the Tennessee State Library & Archives has launched Patriot Paths, a new project that uses Revolutionary War pension records to map the paths that these soldiers took before and after their service. The project, which is still in progress, was unveiled by State Librarian and Archivist Chuck Sherrill at the National Genealogical Society’s recent annual convention.
Thousands of veterans flooded into Tennessee at the conclusion of the war, and about 2,000 pension files exist for those who came here. Since most of the soldiers were not eligible for a pension until they were in their 80s, the number who received a pension was relatively small compared to the number who served.
Staff and interns at the Library & Archives pored over those pension files to find the dates and places where the soldiers were born, married, enlisted and died. Soldiers who had been born throughout the colonies and even Europe ultimately made their way to Tennessee. After the war, many crossed the mountains from Virginia and North Carolina, but some came from as far away as New York and Massachusetts.
That information was added to a database and then coordinated with GIS mapping software. The result is Patriot Paths, where historians and genealogists can search for veterans and study the patterns of migration.
“Patriot Paths uses modern mapping tools to tell the stories of those who fought to secure independence at the time of our nation’s founding,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “I’m proud of the continued efforts of the Library & Archives to find innovative ways to make records like these more accessible.”
For example, Patriot Paths allows researchers to see that three pensioners who ended up in Sumner County – William Proctor, Albert Hendricks and Thomas Milbourn – all lived in Rockbridge County, Virginia, during the Revolutionary War. Moreover, all were originally from Maryland.
Sherrill asked, “What does this connection between these soldiers mean? Are they related? I don’t know, but if one of them was my ancestor, I’d start learning about the other two to see what else they have in common.” Genealogists commonly use wills, deeds and other records at the Library & Archives to find more information about their ancestors.
Historians can also use Patriot Paths to learn more about this period in American history. “We learned that an unusually high number of Tennessee pensioners came from Orange County, North Carolina,” said Sherrill. “We don’t yet know why, but Patriot Paths provides the data to help us ask new questions about who came to Tennessee and what motivated them to launch into the wilderness.”
The public is invited to visit the site and conduct searches, but Sherrill asks that they remember it is a work in progress. Data has been entered on only 1,200 of the pensioners so far.
Patriot Paths can be accessed on the Library & Archives website at sos.tn.gov/tsla or by clicking here
If you've never searched in the Nashville Metro Archives, you're missing out on some amazing history... history that may lead to familial discoveries! The Metropolitan Government Archives, a division of the Nashville Public Library, collects and preserves the historically valuable records of Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County, as well as other records of historical or documentary significance reflecting the history of Nashville and has over 5 million records dating from the 1780s to the present.
One of the Archives' newest addition to their collection is the Hadley Journal Collection. In 2015, Betty Ann Hadley of Nashville, Tenn., donated a number of family items to Metro Archives. The donation included 11 handwritten journals by her mother, Elizabeth Lois Meguiar Hadley, born in 1894. Many historical events occured in the time period covered by the Hadley records, including the Civil War, World War I and World War II. The donation also includes several yearbooks from Isaac Litton High School and Goodlettsville High School, and several color slides of historic houses in the Inglewood/East Nashville area.
Betty Hadley was a respected and beloved teacher at both Litton and Goodlettsville high schools, retiring from Litton in 1983. Her only sibling, Albert Hadley, Jr, became a renowned interior designer in New York City. The journals of their mother, Elizabeth Lois Meguiar Hadley, paint a rich description of life in the Nashville and Springfield area from her childhood through the World War II years. Her access to family letters and documents allowed her to record how, for example, the Civil War affected the prewar and postwar lives of regular citizens. A number of her ancestors fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War and the descriptions of Union soldiers in Tennessee are decidedly Southern; she states how these perceptions of “Yankees” are passed along through generations, noting that “prejudice is like a poison, and it is so easily instilled into the hearts of children.” The letters of her paternal grandfather, William “Buck” Meguiar, are particularly affecting. Kept by her father in his trunk, the letters depict some of the aftermath of the Civil War but primarily demonstrate the perennial hopes of parents for their children, the offered advice, and, in one letter, instructions on how to trade mules. The descriptions of daily life in her maternal grandparents’ home Maple Bluff, located about seven miles southeast of Springfield in Robertson County, mention “servants,” including the “Negro Mammy, Susan.” It is fair to assume, given the era, that the more accurate word is slaves, especially since she also notes that after the Civil War, “some of the Negroes remained loyal to their masters” and Susan was one of them. There are other references to African-Americans in the journal that are often stereotypical and derogatory in their description and are likely to be offensive to contemporary readers. Of special note, particularly in regards to Nashville history, is the description of Vaucluse, the mansion built by Dr. John Livingston Hadley in the early 1800s in the area that became known as “Hadley’s Bend.” Albert Livingston Hadley, husband of Elizabeth Lois Meguiar, and father to Betty Ann and Albert Hadley, Jr, was a descendent of the original Hadley family. The latter half of the journals is primarily dedicated to letters from Albert Hadley during his service in World War II. The letters describe his training in the states, his ocean journey to England, his service role abroad, and his on-leave trips into London. Although he contracts pneumonia in England, he is eventually returned to convalesce in hospitals in Memphis and in Kentucky, where his family is finally able to see him again. The journals have, for the most part, been faithfully transcribed as written. In some instances, minor editing has been performed to clarify spelling or meaning, but only where it has been absolutely necessary. In short, the journals reveal the lives of an extended family deeply rooted in middle Tennessee and how the enormous cultural, political, and historic shifts of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries affected their lives and dreams.
The Hadley Journal Collection can be found here on the Metro Archives website.
Ten Reasons to Join a Local Genealogy Society
by Kathleen W. Hinckley, CGRS
"But my ancestors are not from this area, so why should I join the local genealogical society?"
Are you guilty of this "why should I join" attitude? I know I was several years ago when I moved to Colorado. My ancestors were from Minnesota, Ohio, New York, Denmark, and Sweden. None of my ancestors were gold miners or pioneers who may have trekked across the Rocky Mountains. So I, too, wondered why I should join the Colorado Genealogical Society.
Eventually, someone convinced me to attend a meeting of the local society. Little did I know that my life as a genealogist would never be the same. I found a group of passionate family historians who were eager to share their experiences and knowledge. It did not matter that our ancestors were from different parts of the world. In fact, most members did not have Colorado roots.
So why, you ask, did a simple genealogical society membership impact my life as a genealogist? Here are ten reasons:
How to Find a Genealogical Society
There are hundreds of genealogical societies throughout the United States. The Federation of Genealogical Societies is a wonderful resource to learn about the benefits of joining a society. Visit the Federation Genealogical Societies' Find a Society page to find one that means your needs. The Federation of Genealogical Societies also has a Guide for the Organization and Management of Genealogical Societies. It has advice on how to start a society and keep it running.
Cyndi's List has over 3,000 links to societies and groups. The list is indexed alphabetically by the name of the society, rather than geographically.
The sixth edition (2009) of The Genealogist's Address Book by Elizabeth Petty Bentley gives contact information on over 25,000 libraries and repositories, including genealogical societies.
Beyond the local society, the personal benefits of joining a local society are quite different than reasons to join out-of-state or other types of genealogical organizations. When you cannot attend local meetings, the obvious benefit is receiving the society's publications. One of the primary goals of local societies is to index, abstract, or transcribe local records and publish the results in their journals and/or online.
Locally, the Tennessee Genealogical Society, located at 7779 Poplar Pike, Germantown, TN 38138, is a wonderful resource for researching Tennessee ancestors, to attend a lecture or class to learn about genealogical basics or advance techniques and to network with other genealogy enthusiasts. The Germantown Regional History and Genealogy Center (GRHGC) is the special collections division of the Germantown Community Library, located alongside the Society, serves as a repository and research center for genealogical and historic materials, Southern culture and the Germantown History Collection.
Germantown Regional History & Genealogy Center Library Resources
About the Author
Kathleen W. Hinckley, CGRS, is a professional genealogist and private investigator who specializes in locating living persons by using the Internet, public records, and genealogical sources. She is the Executive Secretary for the Association of Professional Genealogists and lectures at state, regional, and national conferences. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her web site Family Detective.
By Bobby L. Lovett
Black Bottom was notable as a Negro neighborhood in downtown Nashville until the 1950s. The area was nicknamed “Black Bottom” because of periodic river floods that left muddy residue on the streets.
This area existed since 1832 as the Sixth Ward. On Nashville maps, the Sixth Ward had Broad Street as the north boundary and stretched from Summer Street (Fifth Avenue North) east to the Cumberland River. Proximity to the river suited workers engaging the river trade, Irishmen working on bridges, and Negroes working boats. Black Bottom attracted many houses of prostitution, gambling joints, and saloons.
Through the 1850s, Black Bottom served as a settlement of cheap houses for poor white immigrants who native Nashvillians held under suspicion and ethnic prejudice. Abutting the Sixth Ward was the Fifth Ward, where slaves of wealthy families resided and worked as artisans, cooks, servants, valets, and laborers. There, Black Bottom residents also could find menial employment. Many of the Irish, Germans, Jews, Scots, and other European immigrants often had to take jobs similar to slave occupations and compete for semi-skilled or skilled jobs held by the city’s free Negroes (22 percent of the black population). European immigrants, however, quickly claimed their white status and abhorred competition from the “blacks.” Such Negrophobia helped cause the Nashville race riot of December 1856.
After the Union army occupied the city in 1862, there was a great influx of fugitive slaves, causing the Negro population to triple, soon totaling nearly 30 percent of the city’s people. The army employed thousands of Negroes to build Fort Negley on St. Cloud Hill, overlooking the south edge of the city (Black Bottom); and in 1864, near the fort, the army settled contraband camp residents brought from the south-middle Tennessee camps. Northern missionaries helped the army to maintain contraband camps in East Nashville (Edgefield), North Nashville on Church Street, and Edgehill (South Nashville).
One of Nashville’s five Negro city councilmen, Randal Brown, represented the Sixth Ward. Upon leaving office, Brown said, “My heart bleeds for my people” because of their poor conditions (Nashville Republican Banner [September 11, 1869]). The death rate for Negroes per one thousand persons from diseases was nearly twice that for white Nashvillians. Black Bottom homes were heated by coal stoves and fireplaces that left a thick haze of black soot covering everything. There was inadequate ventilation, dusty streets, and a proliferation of outdoor toilet facilities. Many residents were illiterate, and a quarter of their children often did not regularly attend the city’s public schools. Residents held menial jobs, and unemployment was twice as high for blacks. By 1870, the Sixth Ward had 1,844 whites and 1,649 Negroes all crowded into 741 dwellings. Some residents probably joined the Black Exodus (1869-81) to Kansas, which Councilman Brown, Benjamin “Pap” Singleton, and other black Nashville leaders supported.
Black Bottom was transformed in the 1880s, particularly at the advent of the Age of Jim Crow (de jure segregation). The black population reached the tipping point, threatening to exceed the white population. Many whites fled Black Bottom not only because of Negrophobia, but because Americans classified as “white” had access to better wages, wealth, and housing. Also, the development of electric streetcar lines after 1888 allowed wealthy downtown families to move to the “streetcar suburbs.” Landlords populated Black Bottom with cheap but profitable tenement houses. Wilbur F. Cash, in The Mind of the South (1941), agrees that a “Black Bottom,” with muddy streets, substandard housing, no indoor toilets, crowded Negroes, and unsightly poverty was not atypical in New South cities.
Not until the 1880-90s did the plantation system begin to disintegrate, sending a flood of Negroes into town. By 1880, Nashville had 43,350 people, nearly 40 percent black. By 1890, 73.4 percent of Davidson County’s Negroes resided in Nashville. Crowded, racially oppressed, and impoverished southern conditions forced millions of Negroes and whites to take part in the Great Migration (1890-1960) to the industrial North. By 1910, Nashville had 36,523 (36 percent) blacks. By 1930, 43,200 Negroes made up 28.5 percent of Nashville’s people, and this percentage nearly held steady for the next seventy years.
Black Bottom included working- and middle-class families. The African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, Saint Paul (1874-), was built at the northwest corner of Franklin and Fourth Avenue North, where the building yet stands. In 1883, the city built Pearl School (first through eighth grades) on Fifth Avenue North, although some elite-class blacks complained the school was too small and located in “Black Bottom and on the border of Hell’s Half Acre.” Don Doyle, in Nashville in the New South 1880-1930 (1985) said, “By the 1880s a sprawling area filled with shacks and lean-tos spread up the western and northern slopes of Capitol Hill known as ‘Hell’s Half Acre;’ it rivaled Black Bottom for its vice, epidemics, and desperate poverty.” In 1887, the city authorized high-school classes (ninth through eleventh grades) offered in the Meigs Colored School in East Nashville and transferred them to Pearl School in 1897. In 1909, Negro progressives lobbied the city to clean up Black Bottom. The city built a new Pearl High School near Fisk in 1915. Over four hundred students graduated from Pearl High School when it was located in Black Bottom.
Black Bottom and surrounding Negro areas were lively and culturally rich. There was a bottling company, clothing store, ice cream factory, nearby city market on Second Avenue, an iron foundry on the river, black-owned businesses, doctors’ offices, and funeral homes. Two blocks to the south of Black Bottom were professional black enterprises: Meharry Medical College on First Avenue South, Mercy Hospital, Millie Hale Hospital, and Hubbard Hospital built in 1912. The famous Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston likely frequented the streets of Black Bottom after moving to Nashville around 1912 to live with her brother John Hurston, who was a student and 1915 graduate at Meharry Medical College. Hurston likely got some of her ideas of black urban life emerging in soulful and colorful ways through her weekend strolls through Black Bottom. The popular Greenwood Park (1905-53) was just a nickel streetcar ride east of Black Bottom at Spence Lane and Lebanon Road.
Black Bottom began to fade during the Great Depression (1929-39). Half of Negro workers were unemployed. Some family stoves burned acid-filled batteries salvaged in nearby junkyards. The New Deal (1933-39) programs placed no investment in Black Bottom but did finance relief projects in North Nashville: Pearl High School building, Andrew Jackson Housing Project, recreational facilities at Tennessee A.&I. State College. Black Bottom residents were among the million Negroes who served in American military forces during World War II (1942-45). After the war, however, federal low-income housing projects were not built in Black Bottom, but sprung up south, east, and north of the area. Massive urban renewal projects (1948-72) forced historic black businesses and churches out of downtown Nashville. Soon, Black Bottom and Hell’s Half Acre succumbed to wrecking balls, bulldozers, new highways, broader avenues, redevelopment projects, and commercial zoning policies.
Suggested Reading: J. F. Blumstein and B. Walter, eds., Growing Metropolis: Aspects of Development in Nashville (1975); Anita S. Goodstein, Nashville 1780-1860: From Frontier to City (1989); B. L. Lovett, The African American History of Nashville, Tennessee, 1780-1930: Elites and Dilemmas (1999); Nashville Colored Directory (1925); Nashville City Directory (1855-1955); J. Summerville, “The City and the Slums: Black Bottom in the Development of South Nashville,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly 40 (1981)
The following information is provided for citations.
Tennessee's beginnings started long before she was admitted into statehood in 1796. A desire to have a voice and a hand in where their futures may lie, led the first Tennesseans to fight for their new home and to forge a new land into a place they could leave to their descendants.
If your roots started in Tennessee before it became a state, there are a couple of certificate programs available, which would make a wonderful way to recognize and honor your pioneer ancestors.
First Families of Tennessee (FFT) was established by the East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS) in 1993 as a Tennessee Bicentennial project. Membership is open to anyone who can prove direct descent from a person or persons living in any part of what is now Tennessee before or by statehood in 1796.
First Families of Tennessee Research Collection
To help you in your search, the First Families of Tennessee Research Collection, representing more than 15,000 members from every state and eight foreign countries, comprise the largest collection of information on the state's early settlers and their families. The FFT Collection is housed in the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection at the East Tennessee History Center, where they provide a wealth of research materials for present and future historians and genealogists.
First Families of Tennessee Certificate
Descendants who can prove their pioneer connection to Tennessee through acceptable records, a handsomely designed certificate is issued by ETHS to applicants who qualify and are admitted to membership in FFT. The certificate features the state seal, along with the applicant's name and the name of the applicant's pioneer ancestor. There is a one-time membership fee of $25 for membership in First Families.
To qualify for a First Families of Tennessee certificate, the applicant must directly descend from an ancestor who settled in Tennessee prior to December 31, 1796. The applicant must be able to prove descent from the ancestor (male or female) by an official record or records for each generation, including proof for the applicant. Current Tennessee residence is not necessary.
For more information, visit the First Families of Tennessee website at http://www.easttnhistory.org/FFT
Tennessee Ancestry Certificate Program
Another pioneer recognition program is the Tennessee Ancestry Certificate Program, offered by the Tennessee Genealogical Society (TNGS), which recognizes the contributions of your Tennessee settler ancestors who settled in Tennessee during one of five settlement periods:
Tennessee Settlers and Their Descendants
TNGS will provide an attractive certificate, suitable for framing, with the prime ancestor's name, date and place of settlement, to each person whose application meets program qualifications. The cost of a certificate is $30 and three books, Tennessee Settlers and Their Descendants, have been published from applications submitted for these certificates. Tennessee Settlers and Their Descendants – Vol. 1 includes applications received before Dec. 31, 1993; Vol. 2 includes applications submitted between Jan. 1, 1994 to Dec. 31, 2004 and includes 266 early Tennessee families with over 1,400 surnames. Vol. 3 was published November 2015 and includes applications from Jan. 1, 2005 to Oct. 31, 2015 All volumes are fully indexed and may be ordered from the TNGS Bookstore.
For more information on TNGS’s Tennessee Ancestry Certificate Program visit http://www.tngs.org/certificates.
By Sherri Onorati
This blog entry is coming to you from Salt Lake City where I am spending the upcoming week in genealogical heaven... the Family History Library.
It's been about three years since my last visit and in that time, they have done some amazing remodeling!
The first floor, which used to have row upon row of computers and books, has been redesigned into the most amazing interactive stations which tell the story of your family history discoveries, and is aptly called the Family History Discovery Center. There's even a special section for the littlest patrons to play while parents search and discover their family history.
Eight stations invite patrons to login and bring their family history to life. Using a provided iPad and high-def touchscreen monitors, guests are able to connect to each station and explore various scenarios which all reveal their family history in a whole new way.
All About Me shows what's special about your name and birth year – highlighting the top stories from the year of your birth and how many people in the United States share your name. And if you want to know what was happening in the U.S. when your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were born, it's got you covered.
Where I Come From brings your ancestors to life on the big screen. My Heritage shows you where your ancestors are from on an interactive map. There are also vintage photos for the locations of your ancestors which reveal what life was like when your ancestors were living there. The U.S. Immigration tab provides what the economical and political environment was like in your ancestors home country and gives reasons why they might have moved to America.
My Time Machine provides a timeline and shows what life would have been like living in another country. Select an ancestor and see what was going on in their country and in the world.
My Famous Relatives is absolutely amazing! Using the data you have plugged into your Family Search family tree, this interactive station finds who you are related to and what the relationship is. You might find yourself related to famous entertainers, authors, inventors, pioneers, U.S. presidents and first ladies, Mayflower passengers or even Latter Day Saints (LDS) leadership.
Picture My Heritage and Picture Our Heritage puts you on camera and allows you to "wear" the clothes of your ancestors and to step into their lives through the use of computer generated imagery (CGI).
And last, but certainly not least, Record My Story and Record Our Story, puts you in the studio so you can tell your story the way you want. Using prompts or freestyle, FHL patrons are invited to record their story alone, or with family and friends. Afterwards, the recording is sent to your email for you to add to your tree or to share with the world.
After you've completed your exploration of each station, an email is sent to you with the pictures, recording or details about your experience at the Family History Discovery Center. There is something for all but to get the full experience of the Discovery Center, you do need to have a free FamilySearch account and a family tree started. Like everything else at the Family History Library, there is no charge to use the Discovery Center and you're invited to come back as much as you will like, to see how your story changes as you continue to build and discover your history. Trust me... it's definitely something you'll want to try again!
To learn more about the Family History Library, visit www.familysearch.org/locations/saltlakecity-library
By Sherri Onorati
This is a blog entry that I wrote a few years ago on my site, Family Heirlooms, using prompts given by Thomas MacEntee through his Geneabloggers site. Writing about the families we are researching gives us a wonderful way to "flesh" out the people we learn about. It helps them to become more than just a name or statistic we find on a piece of paper, but rather it brings them to life and helps to remind us that they too once lived and deserve to be remember.
To learn more about Blogging your family history, join me on Saturday, July 21 at 10 am at the Tennessee Genealogical Society as we talk about Genealogy Blogs and Blogging in general and how to get started! Sign up here.
TOMBSTONE TUESDAY: Family means you’re never alone
Whenever I’m stressed, I like to walk in cemeteries to help calm myself. Today was a beautiful day for it, and I soon found myself walking through Salem Associate Reformed Presbyterian Cemetery located in Atoka, Tenn. I decided to walk to the furthest corner to see who was there, but on the way I stumbled upon a little headstone, lying on the ground and all alone. The stone will certainly be lost to the effects of nature within a few years, if not returned to a standing position.
The stone I discovered marks the final resting place of little Hugh Murry Cockrell who’s life was just beginning when he died on March 28, 1904. It saddened me to see him all alone, with no parents or other relatives buried next to him and it made me want to know more about Hugh and his family. Where were his parents and why weren’t they buried next to him? Did they move away from the area after he died?
Hugh Murry Cockrell was the first born of Bryant Thomas Cockrell and Margaret E. Morrison and was born on Oct. 16, 1898 in Tipton County, Tenn. His father moved to Tipton County with his family when he was just a boy, and it is where he met his mother.
Bryant Thomas Cockrell was born Aug. 1, 1873 in Kentucky, the son of Thomas E.S. Cockrell and Sallie Tipton. His father was born in Kentucky about 1838 and his mother, in Kentucky on Dec. 8, 1848.
The 1880 federal census finds the Cockrell family living in Brighton, Tipton County, TN. Thomas, 42, was a general mechanic and Sallie, 28, was a house wife, busily taking care of seven-year-old Bryant and his older sister Mary C. who was 10 at the time.
Hugh’s mother, Margaret E. Morrison was the daughter of Hugh and Ellen L. Morrison. She was born in Tipton County, Tennessee in December 1872. Hugh Morrison was the son of Irish immigrants, Chestnut and Margaret Morrison, and was born in South Carolina in May 1848 and died Oct. 4, 1914. Her mother, Ellen, was born in Mississippi on Oct 29, 1844 and died on Feb. 12, 1875, when Margaret or Maggie, as she was better known as, was just two years old. She died four days after giving birth to her sister who later died in September of that year.
The 1880 federal census for Monroe, Mississippi, Arkansas lists Hugh Morrison, 32 and his young daughter Maggie, 8, living with the Guyne family as borders where her father worked as a farmer.
The Morrison family eventually found their way back to Tipton County where Maggie met and married B.T. Cockrell on Dec. 29, 1897. The young couple was blessed with the birth of their son Hugh Murry, a short ten months later.
The young family, along with little Hugh, is located on the 1900 federal census, living with Maggie’s father at Carson Lake in Troy Township, Mississippi, Arkansas. Bryant, 27, is a farm laborer, working along side with his father-in-law.
A daughter soon joins the family and she is named Flossie Ellen. She shares her name with her father’s youngest sister and her maternal grandmother, and she was born on March 5, 1901 in Tipton County, Tenn. But, like her mother suffered before her, she too loses her mama before the age of two. Maggie dies the following year at the age of 29 on Aug. 7, 1902. Bryant is just 29 when he becomes a widower with a young daughter and son, just a couple of years older than his father-in-law was when he became a widower.
Approximately 18 months later, tragedy strikes the family again when young Hugh Murry passes away at the age of 5 on March 28, 1904. The pain must have been unbearable for the young father to bear for it seems he vanishes for a time being. The 1910 federal census shows an eight-year-old Flossie living with her paternal grandmother Sallie and her new husband, Robert R. Mitchell, in Justice Precinct 3, Cherokee, Texas without her father.
But by the age of 18, Flossie has been reunited with her father and is now living with him and her grandmother, who is once again widowed, in Tipton County, Tenn. In 1920, Bryant is 47 and doesn’t appear to have ever remarried. He is employed as an automobile machinist, which seems he has followed in his father’s footsteps. His mother, Sallie is 71 and keeps house. Sometime, after 1920, Flossie marries Leonard Thomas Abraham and has a son, whom they name Leonard Thomas, Jr.
Hugh’s father, Bryant Thomas Cockrell died on Nov. 15, 1953 in Shelby County, Tenn., and was buried in Salem alongside his mother. His sister Flossie Ellen Cockrell Abraham died on Dec. 24, 1963 and is also buried in Salem, along with her husband and son. His grandfather whom he was named after, Hugh Morrison, died on Oct. 4, 1914 and is also resting in Salem, as well as his grandmother Ellen and his great-grandparents, Chestnut and Margaret Morrison, who died in 1902 and 1904, respectively.
When I stumbled upon little Hugh’s headstone I was sad to think he was spending eternity all alone. There are no family stones next to him, but after learning whom his family is, I find he is not alone and has never been. For in Salem ARP Cemetery, he has his parents, sister, and his maternal and paternal grandparents, great-grandparents, not to mention uncles, aunties and cousins all at rest within the same hollowed grounds. Although his time on earth was cut too short and he was unable to leave his mark, I have to believe his family has done that for him, for with family, alone is something little Hugh will never be.
Tennessee Genealogical Society
Germantown Regional History
and Genealogy Center
7779 Poplar Pike
Germantown, TN 38138