JOHN FOWLER (1864-1960)

As the War Between the States was nearing its end, in a cabin in the Carolina winter woods, a woman gave birth to a boy child. It was a blustery, cold winter day — the third of December, 1864 — when the boy child came into the world.

He was given the name John.

John was raised in the household of Mary Fowler.

Mary Fowler — a daughter of Reuben Fowler (b.1797) — was born circa 1837 in Union County, South Carolina.

My great grandfather, Thomas Gillman “Gil” Fowler, born in 1858 was also raised in the home of Mary Fowler. There was a daughter, Alice Fowler, born in 1860. And later, two boys —Robert Fowler (b. 1868) and Jefferson Fowler (b. 1874).

1870 Union County SC Census

There was never a father in the census records to indicate parentage of any of these children. I have assumed that each child was given the family surname of Mary Fowler

Of the five children in the household of Mary FowlerGil, Alice, John, Robert, and Jefferson — I only knew the fate of two — my great grandfather Gil and the girl Alice.

Alice Fowler married Davidson Mitchell (1859-1935), a great grandson of the Reverend Elias Mitchell (1759-1834).

Alice and Dave Mitchell lived in Jonesville, South Carolina, had a large family, and left many descendants.

My great grandfather Gil Fowler married Lura Mabry (a Mabry in name only as her father was William Thomas Littlejohn). Lura gave birth to seventeen children, one of whom was my grandfather Ross Fowler.

Through yDNA testing, I discovered that my great grandfather Gil Fowler was genetically a Cook. I know the Cook family from Ireland from which he descends, although I do not know which Cook son was his father. I have my suspicions but more genetic testing is needed to confirm.

Anyway, this story is not about Gil. It is, rather, about the boy John raised in the household of Mary Fowler..

John Fowler. I searched for several years, and I thanked my lucky stars when I finally ran across an obituary that seemed like a good fit for this John, raised with my great grandfather Thomas Gillman Fowler.

From the Lamar County News; Friday, March 4, 1960.

John F. Fowler Passes, Service Held Yesterday.

Death came to John F. Fowler at 6:45 a.m. Wednesday, March 2, at his home in North Purvis. He had been failing in health for about a year. He was ninety-five years old and was born in Union County, South Carolina December 3, 1864.

Funeral services were conducted in the First Baptist Church of Purvis Thursday at 2 p.m. by Rev. Troy Sumrall assisted by Rev. Harold O’Chester, pastor of the church. Interment was in Purvis Cemetery with Quigleys Funeral Home in charge. Active pallbearers were W. J. Johnston, Joel Johnston, Larkin Johnston, Hubert Foshee, J. K. Luter and E. W. Harris.Honorary pallbearers were S. E. Watts, M. C. Elliott, R. L. Anderson, C. E. Wilson, R. I. Martin, Sr., C. A. Roseberry, W. B. Jackson, J. H. O’Kelley, Dr. J. N. Mason, Z. A. Foshee, Sr. and Dr. E. G. Duck.

Mr. Fowler was known affectionately as “Uncle John” by his many friends. He was a farmer and followed his chosen profession until age forced retirement. He loved the soil and things growing. He was a friend to all and was revered by all who knew him. A Baptist in religious faith, he was a deacon since a young man though inactive in later years.

He was married to Erin Josephine Ellison December 24, 1899 in North Alabama where they lived for a number of years. With their family of six children they moved to Purvis in 1921, cleared a farm, continued farming and became valued and beloved citizens of the community. Mrs. Fowler died in April of 1959.

Survivors are three sons, Ezelle, Glen and Euel, one daughter, Mrs. Omer Elliott, a daughter-in-law, Mrs. Josie Fowler, ten grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

From the Lamar County News; Friday, March 11, 1960.

Rural Purvis News by Mrs. J. H. O’Kelley.

Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Fowler of Baton Rouge, Mr. and Mrs. Claude Ladner of Yazoo City and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Strickland of Hattiesburg were here last Thursday for the funeral of their grandfather, John Fowler.

When I read that this man was born in Union County, South Carolina in 1864, I immediately began my search for the descendants of this John Fowler of Purvis, Mississippi.

His name, his place and date of birth were a perfect fit for the man I had been searching for all of those years. I just knew that I had finally found my great grandfather’s long, lost brother.

I reached out to several relatives of this John Fowler whom I had found through extensive research. And I waited to hear back from any one of them. And I waited.

I still remember the day that I finally I received a phone call from an elderly grandson of this John Fowler of Purvis, Mississippi. It was the kind of day that makes all of the long hours, months, years of research worthwhile. It is winning the genealogy lottery. I was so overwhelmed by my emotion that I had to sit and savor the moment.

This grandson and I talked for a very long time. He told me that his grandfather John Fowler had been born in 1864 in Union County and that John had a brother named Gil Fowler.

This grandson told me that he had lived in South Carolina when he had attended college many years before, but had never tried to find his grandfather John Fowler’s family. A young man in school with his whole life ahead of him had more to think about, and looking up long lost relatives was not high on the list of things to do.

When this grandson finally decided to search for his grandfather John Fowler’s family, he looked up phone numbers of possible Fowler relatives in Union County. He called and talked to a Fowler man who lived in Jonesville. Although he learned that this Fowler man was a grandson of Gil Fowler, for some reason the two grandsons –one of John Fowler and the other of Gil Fowler — were unable to make the connection.

Imagine my shock when I realized that the Fowler man whom he had called was my own father! When I questioned my father about this phone call that had occurred many years previously, he remembered the call, remembered a man was looking for Fowler relatives, but nothing came of the effort.

John Fowler, born in 1864, knew that he had been born in Union County, South Carolina and he knew his older brother Gil Fowler and sister Alice Fowler. The siblings were raised by their mother Mary Fowler.

His grandson began telling me a story that was nothing less than incredible — the story that grandfather John Fowler had told his grandson.

John Fowler thought that his father had been killed in the Civil War.

After the Civil War, the Union Army marched through the area and took most of their food. Mary Fowler was unable to feed her children, and told son John that he would have to leave home.

This part of the story cannot be entirely correct. John Fowler would have been less than a year old when the war ended.

John Fowler was recorded in the 1880 census as a young man of fifteen, so I know that he did not leave home until at least after June 4, 1880 — the day the census taker stopped by the Fowler home.

1880 Union County SC Census

The rest of the story is likely, sadly, very true. John said that his mother Mary gave him a five-dollar gold piece, a trunk, and a six-shooter gun, and told him that she could no longer afford to feed him and he would have to leave home.

The story goes that John Fowler left the family home and went west, although how far west is unknown. It is known that he eventually made his way to the Francis T. Ellison farm in Walnut Grove, Etowah County, Alabama, where he worked as a farmhand.

At some point in his life, John Fowler added the middle initial “F” to his own name.

Was it a coincidence that John Fowler found his way to a South Carolina family relocated to Alabama, or had he been directed to the Ellison family by way of relatives and their connections?

Francis T. Ellison (b. 1850) was the son of John Reeder Ellison (b. 1816) and Temperence Poole (b. 1818). The Ellison family had been in Laurens County, South Carolina in 1850, and were firmly settled in Blount County, Alabama by 1860.

Francis T. Ellison married Winnie Bagwell on November 29, 1869 in Blount County. Among their many children to be born over the next two decades was a beauty — daughter, Erin Josephine Ellison, born on August 12, 1874 and known as Josie.

It was Josie Ellison with whom John Fowler met, fell in love, and married.

Two days after getting a marriage license, John and Josie were married in Etowah County by the Reverend James A. May (1857-1938) on the twenty-fourth day of December, 1899.

1900 Blount County Alabama Census

From The Gadsden Times-News. 22 Dec 1899

The John Fowler family remained in Alabama for twenty-one years.

1910 Blount County Alabama Census
1920 Marshall County Alabama Census

While in Alabama, Josie gave birth to five sons, and finally a daughter:

  • Elbert Frank Fowler (1900–1950)
  • Ezell William Fowler (1903–1984)
  • Graydon Eugene Fowler (1906–1930)
  • Glenn Harlen Fowler (1908–1983)
  • Euell Ellison Fowler (1910–1991)
  • Veda Mae Fowler (1914–1999)

Josie Fowler is holding baby Euell Ellison Fowler who was born in 1910. This will date the photograph 1910/1911.

John Fowler was a handsome man, tall with a gentle ruggedness about his features. He had strength in his being, kindness in his eyes.

Elbert Frank Fowler 1900–1950 Ezell William Fowler 1903–1984. Graydon Eugene Fowler 1906–1930 Glenn Harlen Fowler. 1908–1983 Euell Ellison Fowler. 1910–1991

In 1921, John Fowler moved his family to Purvis, Lamar County, Mississippi. He was a farmer, and well respected in his community. He and Josie raised a fine family there and there John and Josie remained until their deaths.

1930 Lamar County Mississippi Census
1940 Lamar County Mississippi Census
1950 Lamar County Mississippi Census

At some point in time, John Fowler contacted his family back in South Carolina. Gil Fowler and his sister Alice Fowler Mitchell (1860-1938) visited John at least once, traveling by train. There was one photograph of the three siblings taken together later in their lives.

John Fowler, on the left, had become gray-haired, as had sister Alice Fowler Mitchell, and Thomas Gillman Fowler.

My great grandfather Thomas Gillman Fowler died in 1944. This photograph was not dated but all three look as if they are in their golden years. My best guess. is late 1930s, early 1940s…….

I have a copy of a letter that Alice Fowler Mitchell wrote to her sister-in-law, Josie Ellison Fowler. I feel gratitude that this letter has survived almost one hundred years.

There is another letter whereas one of the sons of John and Josie had gotten himself in a little trouble and the idea of sending him to his uncle Gil Fowler in South Carolina was suggested.

Before a trip could be arranged, a work-related accident occurred and the young man lost his life.

I was also told that there had been hard feelings when Mary Fowler had become ill and John was not told in time to make the trip to say good-bye to his mother.

I DNA tested direct descendants of John Fowler. As it often happens, some questions were answered and more questions needed to be asked.

John Fowler and Thomas Gillman Fowler were not brothers. They did not have the same mother. They did not have the same father. The two men raised as brothers were not related genetically in any way.

I have also DNA tested two descendants of Alice Fowler. It appears that John Fowler and Alice Fowler were full siblings, and my great grandfather Thomas Gillman Fowler did not belong in the family!!

Did they know that they were not blood related?

The yDNA results of a direct male descendant of John Fowler has proven — finally– that the father of John Fowler was a Whitlock.

The odds are great that one of the sons of William Whitlock was the father of John Fowler and Alice.

William Whitlock was born in 1789 and died July 8, 1867 in Union County, SC. His wife Delila Fowler (1793-bef 1832) was a daughter of John Fowler the Hatter. John Fowler the Hatter penned his Last Will and Testament in December 1832, and daughter Delila was deceased at the time the will was written.

It is likely that the first four Whitlock children below were born to Delila:

  • Jane A Whitlock 1823–1875
  • Francis Marion Whitlock 1824–1870
  • Felix Gaines Whitlock 1825–1895
  • Caroline Whitlock 1828–1918

The Whitlock children listed below were born after the death of Delila Fowler:

  • Mary Whitlock 1833–1917
  • John “Jack” Whitlock 1835–1909
  • Charles Whitlock 1838–1895
  • Altissima Whitlock 1838–1918
  • William A Whitlock 1839–1895
  • Sarah F. “Sallie” Whitlock 1841–
  • Amanda Whitlock 1842–1895

Circumstantial evidence places John “Jack” Whitlock, Charles Whitlock, and William A. Whitlock in “the right place at the right time” to have fathered John Fowler and Alice.

John “Jack” Whitlock is the most likely of the three. Was John Fowler named after his father John Whitlock?

William Whitlock, and many of his children and their descendants were buried at Gilead in Jonesville.

I have always believed that my great grandfather Gil and his sister Alice were true siblings, and that John was an informally adopted war orphan.

The DNA testing has turned my research upside down, now knowing that John and Alice were the true, full siblings, and my Gil was the outsider.

I must consider that Mary Fowler could have been the mother of Gil, and not the mother of John and Alice.….

…..or Mary Fowler could have been the mother of John and Alice and not the mother of Gil.

Mary Fowler could have been the mother of none of the three…….

…….but there is no way that Mary Fowler could have been the mother of all three since the descendants of John and Alice share a good amount of DNA with each other and the descendants of Gil share none –zip– zero with them.

Mary Fowler and her father Rueben Fowler (b. 1797) have always been a tall, brick wall in my research. Who was Reuben Fowler’s wife? Mother?? Father???

I have always suspected that Reuben Fowler may have been one of the unnamed sons in the Last Will and Testament of John Fowler the Elder (d. 1818). I have been circling the wagons around this theory for many years but I have no proof.

If all of this DNA testing has put my great grandfather Thomas Gillman Fowler back into genetic uncertainty, then perhaps it has at least given me a clue as to Reuben Fowler’s genetic origins.

The descendants of John Fowler and Alice Fowler (probable grandchildren of Reuben Fowler and likely great grandchildren of John Fowler the Elder) have shared DNA with several of the documented descendants of John Fowler the Elder!

Obviously, more research is needed, always.

I am beyond grateful for the two grandsons of John Fowler who shared their stories and family photographs with me. I will be forever indebted to the grandson and great grandson who agreed to genetic testing.

Without the generous help of these men, I would not have been able to tell the story of John Fowler. It is my hope that knowing his story will help keep his memory alive for future generations of his descendants.

MARY HAMES (1835-1908) Daughter of Lydia Fowler

Mary Hames was born in Union County, South Carolina circa 1835.

Her mother, Lydia Fowler (1785-after 1850), was the oldest daughter of Ephraim Fowler (1765-1822), and Ephraim Fowler was the oldest son of Henry Ellis Fowler (1746-1808).

The father of Mary Hames was Charles E. Hames (1782-1847), the out-of-wedlock son of William Hames (1759-1823) and an unknown mother.

William Hames was the son of Charles Hames (1732–1807) and Catherine Krugg (1735–1835).

Mary Hames lived in the 1850 household with her mother Lydia Fowler Hames, her maternal grandmother Nancy Moseley Fowler (d. after 1850), widow of Ephraim, and her brother Francis Hames (1828-1903).

Mary Hames had another brother, Coleman Hames, (1814-1887) who lived nearby with his family.

The names of the neighbors — Lemuel Fowler and wife Milly, Mary White (another daughter of Ephraim Fowler, the Gaults, the Gallmans, the Kelly family — allow me to pinpoint with certainty the 1850 location of these people. They lived in the Pea Ridge/ Kelly section of Union County.

Mother Nancy Moseley Fowler and daughter Lydia Fowler Hames died in the decade between 1850 to 1860.

Coleman Hames moved himself and his family to Cherokee County, Georgia.

Francis Hames married, started his family, and stayed put in Union County.

Cross Keys is an important crossroad community in the history of Union County. The Cross Keys House built by Barrum Bobo is there, famous for the Davis family who lived there in 1865, and who unknowingly hosted and served lunch to the President of the Confederacy — Jefferson Davis — and his Cabinet as they fled from the Union Army at the end of the Civil War.

The Elijah Dunaway family settled near Cross Keys at Keenan’s Bridge which crossed Fairforest Creek. The location is solidly proven by his presence next to Nimrod Sharp in the 1860 census and the document printed in the paper in 1877.

By car today, the drive from Cross Keys to Pea Ridge is thirty minutes, being a distance of twenty miles.

In the 1850s, a meeting and then a courtship between a young Mary Hames and Abraham Dunaway would not have been a small undertaking.

Still, Mary Hames did meet and marry Abraham Dunaway (1830–1864), a son of Elijah Dunaway and wife Elizabeth. This marriage likely took place in 1859.

In 1860, Abraham “Abrom” Dunaway and his new bride Mary Hames lived next to her brother — Francis Hames and his family..

The location of the Abraham Dunaway family appears to have been closer to the town of Union. I say this because the occupations of the neighbors surrounding the family were those of city dwellers: doctors, and merchants, and clerks, and preachers, students, and carpenters… with a few farmers thrown in for good measure.

1860 Union County SC Census

Abraham and Mary Dunaway were in the 1860 census record childless, but that would soon change. A son was born in 1860, and a daughter in 1862. No more children would follow. The reason? The Civil War.

In the winter of 1861-1862, Abraham Dunaway left his family behind to join other young men of the South Carolina 18th Infantry Regiment; marching off to war, marching away from their loved ones as the faint notes of Dixie drifted in the wind.

Did Abraham Dunaway ever make it back home… just one more time… to see his family? I do not know.

Abraham Dunaway died on the 25th of June in the year 1864 in Petersburg, Virginia.

Mary Hames Dunaway was left a widow with two small children. She and her children were found in the 1870 household of her father-in-law, Elijah Dunaway.and his wife Elizabeth.

1870 Union County SC Census

Elijah Dunaway was head of household in the 1880 census. His daughter-in-law Mary Hames Dunaway was there still, as was her son Robert Dunaway. Two members of the home were absent: Elijah’s wife Elizabeth Dunaway had died, and Mary’s daughter Jane Dunaway had married.

1880 Union County SC Census

Robert Liggon Dunaway was the only son born to Mary Hames and Abraham Dunaway. His 1860 birth, the soon-after enlistment of his father in the Civil War, and the 1864 death of his father in faraway Virginia determined that he would never know his father.

Young Robert was raised — along with his sister Jane — by his widowed mother Mary in the home of his paternal grandparents, Elijah and Elizabeth Dunaway. He lived the majority of his life in the Cross Keys community.

He married Martha J. “Mattie” Lawson (1868-1890) daughter of William Lawson (1815–) and Parthenia Edwards (1825–).

From the May 17, 1889 issue of the Weekly Union Times: Robert L. Dunaway of Cross Anchor and Mattie J. Lawson of Cross Keys were married May 14th, by Rev. C. Smith at the Yarbourgh Chapel Parsonage.

A daughter, Mary Alma Dunaway, was born on March 18, 1890.

Martha perhaps died in childbirth, or shortly afterwards, for Robert Liggon Dunaway was next married to Louisa B, Kelley by 1894.

Three sons and two daughters were born to Robert Dunaway and Louisa.

The Robert Dunaway family moved from Cross Anchor to Woodruff, South Carolina in the decade between 1910 to 1920.

Robert Liggon Dunaway died on July 13, 1927 in Beech Springs, Spartanburg County (now known as the town of Wellford). He was buried at Yarbourgh’s Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery near Cross Anchor.

He shares a headstone with his wife Louisa. The headstone of their son Irving Christopher Dunaway (1885-1954) is adjacent to theirs.

I drive by there often, and more often than not, stop by to see the final resting place of Robert Liggon Dunaway. Someone put flowers on his grave a few years back. The flowers have somewhat survived, battered by the wind and the rain, the heat of summer and the cold of winter. But they are there, a reminder that someone once thought of this man.

Below are photographs of the church, the graveyard, and the graves of Robert Liggon Dunaway, Louisa Kelley Dunaway, and son Irving Christopher Dunaway.

Mary Hames and Abraham Dunaway had one daughter, Jane Dunaway, born in 1862. If Jane had ever laid eyes upon her father, she would have retained no memory of the man. These were the realities of war and the price war demanded of the women and children left behind.

Jane Dunaway married William Franklin O’Shields (1857–1935) before 1880. Using the “years married” column on the 1900 and 1910 census records, they wed in 1877 or 1878.

As per census records in 1900, Jane had given birth to ten children, and had six children living. In 1910, she had given birth to 16 children, and had seven living. I have found evidence of six sons and one daughter who survived until adulthood.

Jane Dunaway O’Shields died in 1911.

I have traced her descendants to present day, although the entirety of my research is not reflected below.

I do want to make mention of the additional connection to the Fowler family through Jane’s son Robert Newton O’Shield’s marriage to Hessie Fowler (1879- 1901). Hessie Fowler was descended from William Goode Fowler (1825-1899) on her paternal side, and John Fowler the Hatter (d. 1833) on her maternal side.

From the April 24, 1901 issue of The Progress: Mrs. Hessie O’Shields, daughter of George Fowler and wife of Robert O’Shields died Sunday 21 April 1901. She leaves a little babe one week old, a husband, father, mother, sisters, and brothers. (West End news)

Wild speculation: was Willie O’Shields born ca. 1901 the daughter of Robert O’Shields and Hessie Fowler and raised by her grandmother Jane Dunaway O’Shields, or was she the last child born to Jane Dunaway O’Shields? Did the one week old babe survive or follow her mother to the grave?

Robert O’Shields married Mattie Sims (1886-1932) after the death of his first wife Hessie Fowler.

  • Henry Ellis Fowler
    • Ephraim Fowler (1765-1822)
      • Lydia Fowler (1785-1852) m. Charles E. Hames
        • MARY HAMES (1835-1908) m. Abraham Dunaway (1830-1864)
          • Robert Liggon Dunaway (1860-1927) m. Martha Lawson (1868-1890); m. Louisa B Kelley (1870–1953)
            • Mary Alma Dunaway (1890–1961) m. James Edward Crook (1885–1939)
              • Mattie Belle Crook (1906–1970)
              • Catharine Crook (1908–1958)
              • Hallie Mae Crook (1910–1981)
              • Cole Blease Crook (1912–1959)
              • Edith Crook (1914–1988)
              • Ben C Crook (1917–)
              • James Crook( 1920–)
              • Virginia Crook (1922–)
              • Edna F Crook1925–)
            • Irving Christopher Dunaway (1895–1954) m. Irma Pearson (1898-1954)
            • Robert Lewis Dunaway (1896–1932) m. Ethel Elizabeth Patton (18957-1988)
              • James Liggon Dunaway Sr. (1919-1974)
              • Velma Wygenia Dunaway (1921-1938)
              • Nellie Doris Dunaway (1923- -)
              • Flora Jean Dunaway (1929-2013)
            • Arthur Dunaway (1898– before 1910)
            • Orrie Leannah Dunaway (1900– 1941) m. Claude Lomax Cooper (b. 1895)
              • Pansy Cooper (1917-)
              • Sarah Cooper (1921-)
              • Carolinda Cooper (1924-)
            • Cora Elizabeth Dunaway (1902–1989) m. Samuel Earl Cooper (1898-1962)
              • Margaret Cooper (1922-2014
              • Dorothy Louisa Cooper (1924-2005)
              • Robert Gerald Cooper 1932-2015
          • Jane Dunaway (1862-1911) m. William Franklin O’Shields (1857-1935)
            • Robert Newton O’Shields (1881-1950) m. Hessie Fowler (1879-1901) ; m. Mattie E. Sims (1886-1932)
              • Infant O’Shields (1901-1901)
              • Roy Wilson O’Shields (1907-1952)
              • Clifford Johnnie O’Shields (1911-1974)
              • Autry Wade O’Shields (1918-1983)
            • William Berry O’Shields (1883-1937)
            • Ernest Malcolm O’Shields (1886-1938)
            • P. Abraham O”Shields (1887-1918)
            • Luther Franklin O’Shields (1890-1952)
            • Benjamin Earle O’Shields (1891-1961)
            • Willie O’Shields (1901-after 1930)

WILLIAM FOWLER (1795-before 1860) Married to Rhoda: Answers and More Questions

It has taken years of research to find one answer to the question of “Who was William Fowler married to Rhoda?”

It took years of searching to find a descendant willing to take a DNA test. The few weeks waiting for results almost seemed longer than the years of looking for my guy.

And when the results of the yDNA test finally came back, I was absolutely, totally floored.

I was convinced that this Fowler line was my Henrico Clan: Haplogroup I – Lineage IV. The Henry Ellis Fowler line. The John Fowler married to Fannie line.

I was convinced that the William Fowler married to Rhoda was the son of John Fowler married to Fannie.

Once I got through the initial shock of the “If-you-don’t-want-to-know-the-truth-then-don’t-test-because-DNA-doesn’t-lie” results, I went through the five stages of grief –denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

The yDNA results for this Fowler paternal line did not match any Fowlers. None. Instead, it matches the Cobb (and Story/Storey) paternal line.

It must be said that the Story/Storey family appears to have branched off from the Cobb family through an NPE (Non Paternal Event, also known as an out of wedlock birth).

There were Cobb and Story/Storey families in Union County, South Carolina during the 1800s, so I knew anything was possible.

There was a remarkable coincidence that seemed, at first, to explain these wayward DNA results.

Margaret “Peggy” Selby (1763–1827) was born in Maryland in 1763, likely lived in Union County SC with her father, and died in Abbeville 1827. She was the daughter of Samuel Selby (1734–1830) born in Maryland and died in Union County, SC.

According to my research, Margaret “Peggy” Selby was married twice — to Samuel Fowler (d. 1813) and to Edmund Cobb (1771–1849). She had children by both husbands.

It certainly seemed possible that she could have conceived a son with the Cobb husband and that son somehow ended up with the Fowler surname.

If that happened, then William Fowler married to Rhoda was genetically William COBB.

The only problem with this theory is that I could not find a son in her household that was a good fit for a son born in 1795, or thereabouts. If she had this son, did she send him to someone else to raise? This was not an uncommon practice when children from a previous marriage were involved.

I have spent the past few months running this theory through my mind, over and over. It seems like something that may have happened, yet I cannot convince myself that this is what really happened. There was just not enough evidence to support the theory.

After all of that, I still believe that William Fowler married to Rhoda was the son of John Fowler and Fannie. And I will find another man to yDNA test in the very near future.

So, what about the DNA test results that I am now holding in my hands? Read on for my speculation backed by circumstantial evidence……..

William Fowler and Rhoda had a son named James Fowler who was born in 1830. James Fowler married Caroline Hodge (b. 1830) (a granddaughter of Womack Fowler).

James Fowler and Caroline Fowler had a son named James Monroe Fowler (1858–1931). So far, so good. I believe that the yDNA was solidly Fowler at this point.

James Monroe Fowler married Julia Cook (1852-1945). This, I believe, is where things went awry.

Julia Cook was the daughter of William Cook Jr. (1806–1860) and Lucinda Golden (1812–1861). This Cook family was from Ireland and intermarried often with the Fowler family.

Julia Cook was always listed in census records as being older than her husband James Monroe Fowler. Was it possible that she had a son with a Cobb man before her marriage?

Julia Cook is found in the 1860 census. She is the youngest of the Cook children, listed as eight years old, making her year of birth 1852.

1860 Union County Census

James Monroe Fowler is also found in the 1860 census, the youngest child of James Fowler and Caroline Hodge Fowler. His age was recorded as two years, making his year of birth 1858.

1860 Union County SC Census

In 1870, seventeen year old Julia Cook lived in the household with her older sisters Mary Cook, and Cordelia Cook Worthy — married to James F. Worthy (1842–1921), son of Winnifred Fowler, daughter of Ellis Fowler (b. 1770), son of Henry Ellis Fowler (1746-1808). (James F. Worthy was not listed in this census record. Why not?)

Julia Cook, her sisters Mary and Cordelia along with Cordelia’s two Worthy daughters Mary and Martha shared a home with the Wheeler Fowler family. Wheeler’s father Daniel Fowler and his wife Canzada lived next door.

I need to make a few points:

Cordelia Cook Worthy is the only one of the above mentioned family members who is showing a dollar amount for real estate owned. This no doubt was real estate actually owned by her husband James F. Worthy. (I have to wonder if he was in prison during this time for KKK activities like so many other Union County men.)

Daniel Fowler and his son Wheeler Fowler are not of the same paternal Fowler line as the Henry Ellis Fowler men. Daniel and Wheeler Fowler are descendants of the Israel Fowler family line. Different Fowler family, different yDNA Haplogroup.

So, why were the Cook women living next to Daniel Fowler and in the same household with Wheeler Fowler? What was the connection??

Canzada, wife of Daniel and mother of Wheeler, was born Canzada COOK.

She may have been the sister of William Cook, Jr., father of Julia, Mary, and Cordelia. This would make the Cook women and Wheeler Fowler first cousins.

If Canzada was not the sister of William Cook, Jr., then she was most definitely closely related in some way. The Cook family descended from John Cook (1707–1767) and Sarah Fulton (1720–1783) of County Antrim, Ireland.

1870 Union County SC Census

Twelve year old James Monroe Fowler and his older brother William Edward Fowler were counted twice in 1870. In July, they lived with a Hodge relative and worked on the farm. Their father James Fowler had died and perhaps their mother Caroline Hodge had sent them to stay with their uncle in order to have a strong male influence over their young lives.

In September 1870, the two boys were back in the household with their mother Caroline Hodge Fowler and their sisters.

July 1870 Union County SC Census
Sept 1870 Union County SC Census

It should be noted that Julia Cook, in 1870, lived in the section of Union County SC known as Gowdeysville. This township was north of the Pacolet River.

Another family lived in Goudeysville in 1870: shoemaker George Scott Cobb (1848-1927) and his young wife Rachel.

1870 Union County SC Ce

George S. Cobb was the son of William Cobb (b. 1805) of Cleveland County, North Carolina. George S. Cobb had at least three brothers — John H. Cobb (b. 1837), William W. Cobb (b. 1842), and Richard J. Cobb (b. 1844).

It is known by me that George S. Cobb was born in North Carolina, lived and died in South Carolina. I do not know nor have I researched where his brothers lived in their lifetimes. I know that it is almost certain that James Monroe Fowler was the son of one of these Cobb men. It is probable that George S. Cobb who lived near Julia Cook in 1870 was the father. It is possible that one of the Cobb brothers met Julia Cook while visiting their brother. I also know for certain that a yDNA test of a Cobb descendant would clear this matter up.

You will see later on in this article that Julia Cook was previously married before her marriage to James Monroe Fowler. It is my theory that she was married to — or at least had a son with — a Cobb man.

James Monroe Fowler, son of Julia Cook, was born in 1876. Records indicate that Julia Cook (b. 1852) did not marry James Monroe Fowler (b. 1858) until 1880 or 1881. The second child born in 1881 to Julia Cook was a daughter, Minnie Fowler.

The 1880 census would have answered many questions. Unfortunately, Julia Cook was not counted in 1880; neither was James Monroe Fowler. The five year gap between the birth of Julia Cook’s son James Monroe Fowler born in 1876 and her daughter Minnie Fowler born in 1881 makes one wonder what happened during the decade 1870 to 1880.

Interestingly, there is a census entry in the Goudeysville township in 1880 for Joseph Wright and his NEPHEW J. Munroe Wright age 4 (born i n 1876). What makes this most interesting is that Julia Cook’s sister Eliza Jane Cook (1849-1927) had married Joseph Wright (b. 1833)

To make things a little more interesting, Joseph Wright and his nephew “J. Munroe Wright” lived adjacent to the Thomas Fowler household. I strongly believe that this Thomas Fowler was the son of John Fowler and wife Fannie.

JAMES MONROE FOWLER, son of Julia Cook, would have been the nephew of Joseph Wright and Eliza Jane Cook Wright.

Speculation: Did Julia Cook live in the household of her second husband James Monroe Fowler (b. 1858) in 1880, and had she placed her Cobb son in the household of her relatives to raise?

By 1900, the James Fowler and Julia Cook family had moved to Jonesville, south of the Pacolet River. The recorded census information of that year tells us that they had been married twenty years, and that Julia had given birth six times and four children still lived in 1900. Three children were in the home along with Caroline Hodge Fowler. Julia’s son James Monroe Fowler (Cobb) (b. 1876 was not in the household).

The 1910 census for Jonesville, Union County SC for the James and Julia Cook Fowler family reveals even more to us. The number of years married is 29 (marriage date of 1881). The number of children born to Julia Cook Fowler was six in the previous census; now the number has been reduced to four. The number of living children — four — is the same.

More importantly for this research, the number of marriages is recorded. James M. Fowler was recorded as having been married one time. The entry for Julia Cook indicates that she was in her second marriage.

The Death Certificate for James Monroe Fowler states that he was born June 27, 1876, and died January 19, 1961. His mother was Julia Cook, and the record has J.M. Fowler in the section reserved for his father’s name.

The Death Certificate for James Monroe Fowler states that he was born June 27, 1876, and died January 19, 1961. His mother was Julia Cook, and the record has J.M. Fowler in the section reserved for his father’s name.

I had hoped that this yDNA test would wrap the “William Fowler married to Rhoda” line up in a nice, tidy package. Instead of giving me a definitive answer, I have been given many more questions with no clear answers.

What do I believe? Until proven, I will always think that William Fowler married to Rhoda was the son of the elder John Fowler (d. 1833) and his wife Fannie. It may take more years of research, but eventually I will prove this one way or the other.

I do believe that Julia Cook had a son with a Cobb man in 1876, and that son was James Monroe Fowler. As it often happened then, I believe that her Cobb son took the name of her Fowler husband. I do not know what was common knowledge then or now about these events. All I know is that DNA testing has uncovered something that happened in the past, somewhere, somehow.

I am including the link to my first article about William Fowler married to Rhoda. There will be a third installment in the future after more truths are revealed.

The Four Known Children of Julia Cook

James Monroe Fowler (1876–1961)

Minnie Fowler (1881–1962)

Forest Eldred Fowler (1884–1926)

Marvin McAddam Fowler (1889–1927)

Richard Jefferson Fowler (1842–1917) South Carolina to Ohio

I have spent many hours, many months, many years researching Richard Jefferson Fowler. I was convinced — really hoping — that he was the son of my Andrew Fowler (b. 1804) of Union County, SC.

He seemed like a fairly good fit. Richard Fowler was born to Andrew Fowler and wife Mary Scisson in or about 1845. Richard Fowler was in the 1850 and 1860 census records with his family. Then a Richard Fowler born in South Carolina ca. 1842 was in Ohio by 1863, and his appearance in the 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1910 Ohio census records seemed to be a continuous documentation of this son of Andrew.

Richard Fowler of Ohio married and had ten children. Surely I could find at least one descendant to DNA test and confirm a connection to my Union County Fowlers. But the sons and daughters of Richard Fowler were not inclined to marry and have children. Out of the ten offspring, only one married and had no children; the other nine remained single and childless.

Last night, I discovered a book published in 1918, and digitized for the Internet Archives in 2016. There was a brief mention of the Richard Fowler who was born in South Carolina, lived and died in Ohio, and to my great disappointment, he was not the son of my Andrew Fowler and Mary Scisson.

Writing this article may be an exercise in futility.

If you are researching Richard Fowler, son of Andrew of Union County, you will find no new information. The entire Andrew Fowler family seems to have vanished into thin air after 1870.

If you are researching Richard Fowler of Chester County, and later of Ohio, you have come to the right place. But as there were no children of his children, the likelihood of anyone researching this man is slim to none.

Taking into consideration that I have spent more than a few years chasing this rabbit down the proverbial rabbit hole, I shall put my research out into the universe in hopes that someone, somewhere will read it and somehow connect to the family.

Richard Jefferson Fowler was born to Edward and Martha Lackuv Fowler on the fourteenth of March in the year 1842 in Chester, South Carolina. He left his southern beginnings behind when he relocated, in 1863, to the small township of Cedarville, Ohio.

It must be mentioned that Richard Fowler was usually listed as a Mulatto in census records. At various times, he and his family would be recorded as white, mulatto, and black. One must realize that opportunities in Ohio during the Civil War would be greater for a man of color. One must wonder if his parents were free blacks, and how their son escaped the institution of slavery.

Richard Fowler, his wife, and ten children thrived in their professions and were highly esteemed members of their community. They excelled in their fields of education, religion, and farming, and railroads. This would have been an uphill, almost impossible accomplishment in Chester County, South Carolina.

Richard Fowler married Martha Ellen Silva, daughter of William Silva (1812–1880) and Elizabeth Jeffreys (1828–1887). Martha Ellen had been born in Ohio in the early 1850’s.

The Richard Fowler family –husband, wife, and daughter Mary — were counted in the Greene County, Ohio census in 1870.

1870 Greene County Ohio Census

More children had been born to Richard Fowler and wife Martha by 1880. Elihu Hamilton, a Chester, South Carolina born nephew of Richard Fowler lived with the family.

1880 Greene County Ohio Census

The year 1900 found that the Richard Fowler family had stayed in Greene County, Ohio, and more children had been born.

1900 Green County Ohio Census

The Richard Fowler family of 1910 remained the same with two exceptions: son William Leonard Fowler had died in 1902, and son Richard McMillan Fowler had married and left the household.

On March 10, 1917, Richard Fowler rode on his wagon in his fields, while his son Clarence walked nearby. Both men were working on the farm when Richard fell from the wagon dead. Obviously in haste to include news of the death in the current edition, the newspaper mistakenly printed his name as Robert J. Fowler.

The obituary of Richard Jefferson Fowler left no doubt of the high esteem in which he was held by his many friends and business associates.

Greene County Ohio Census Records 1920-1950


Mary Elizabeth Fowler (1870–1948)

Although her obituary states that she was born in 1860, the 1870 census indicates that Mary Elizabeth Fowler was born in July 1870. Given that her father was not in Ohio until 1863, and did not marry until 1870, I shall assume that the 1860 date in the obituary was a typographical error.

Mary Fowler did not marry. She became a teacher and devoted more than thirty years of her life teaching young black children in Selma, Alabama. The Knox Academy was run by the Selma Reformed Presbyterian Church. These mission schools were set up by the church so that young black children could be educated in school studies and religion.

It is to Mary Fowler’s credit as well as the other teachers that the reputation of Knox Academy was better than many of the nearby white schools. Her life would have been easier if she had stayed in Ohio, and her choice of teaching in the poor, rural south was more than admirable. Selma, Alabama in the early 1900’s was still a long, long way from equal rights for blacks.

Below are Mary Elizabeth Fowler’s obituary and a photograph of the Selma Reformed Presbyterian Church.

Robert McMillan Fowler (1871–1926)

Robert Fowler, eldest son of Richard J. Fowler, was the only one of the siblings to marry. Robert was in Buffalo, New York by 1900 working as a Railroad Porter. He married Regenia Spencer (1872–1928) in 1901. The couple lived in Buffalo New York through 1920, or longer. They had no children.

Robert Fowler died in Detroit, Michigan in 1926. He was buried at Westwood Cemetery in the town of Oberlin, Lorain County, Ohio. His wife Regenia died two years later and was buried alongside him.

Laura Ellen Fowler (1872–1962)

Laura Ellen Fowler may have stayed at home taking care of her mother, and later, her siblings and brother Clarence. There is no indication that she ever worked outside the family home where she spent her almost ninety years. There is evidence that she was very close to her sister Helen. The two sisters lived together and share a headstone in Massies Creek Cemetery.

Anna M Fowler (1875–1956)

Never married and having spent a great part of her life in the family home, Anna Fowler devoted her life to nursing. She may have lived and worked as a nurse in St. Louis for a time, but she was always counted in the Ohio household of her mother, and later, her siblings.

Like her siblings, Anna Fowler was a member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and she was laid to rest at Massies Creek Cemetery.

Jane (Jennie) Ethel Fowler (1877–1952)

Jane Ethel Fowler (also known as Jennie Ethel Fowler in some documentation) was a school teacher. She lived and taught school in St. Charles, Missouri. Her youngest sister Edna Irene Fowler may have lived with her previous to her 1918 death.

Ethel Fowler died on June 13, 1952 in Columbia, Missouri, a hundred miles away from St. Charles. She was buried in the Columbia Cemetery, far away from her family.

William Leonard Fowler (1881–1902)

William Fowler did not live a long time. He died a few weeks after his twentieth birthday. He was the first of his family to be laid to rest in the Massies Creek Cemetery in Cedarville.

Clarence Edward Fowler(1882–1951)

Clarence Fowler, like his eldest brother, worked for the Railroad. Unlike his brother, Clarence spent his entire life in Greene County, Ohio and never married.

He helped his father with the family farm until his father’s death in 1917, then he took over the day-to-day operations of the farm, living with his maiden sisters, until his own death in 1951.

Helen Carrie Fowler (1885–1971)

Helen Fowler outlived her parents, and all of her brothers and sisters. Having never married, having no children or nieces or nephews, and no family to care for her, Helen spent the final days of her life in a long care facility.

Helen died at the age of eight-five on March 30, 1971. She was laid to rest beside her dear sister Laura Ellen Fowler in the Massie Creek Cemetery,

Howard Sproul Fowler (1889–1915)

Howard Fowler was the youngest son of Richard J. Fowler. Four and a half years before his death in 1915, he became ill with tuberculosis. Upon the advice of his doctor, he moved to the dryer climates of the American Southwest. Howard Fowler spent the last years of his life in southern California, southern Arizona, and then finally, Silver City, New Mexico where he lost the battle with the disease that affected so many of the times.

His remains were sent back to Ohio and after a funeral attended by his family and many friends, Howard Fowler was laid to rest in the Massies Creek Cemetery where his brother had been buried in 1902.

Edna Irene Fowler (1894–1918)

Edna Fowler was the last born child in the Richard Jefferson Fowler family. She was an aspiring pianist, and lived with her sister Jane Ethel Fowler in St Charles Missouri when she contracted tuberculosis. Edna Fowler died on April 30, 1918 less than a month after her twenty-fourth birthday, and her remains were sent back home to Cederville, Ohio.

After years researching the Richard J. Fowler family, I was never certain if I was actually on the trail of my Richard Fowler, son of Andrew Fowler of Union County, South Carolina.

Only due to the information recently found, I now have closure for the Richard J. Fowler of South Carolina and Ohio. My search for Richard Fowler, son of Andrew Fowler, continues.

I am thankful for the following excerpt from the book HISTORY OF GREENE COUNTY OHIO: ITS PEOPLE, INDUSTRIES AND INSTITUTIONS (HON. M. A. BROADSTONE. Editor-in-Chief; VOLUME II. ILLUSTRATED. 1918. ;B. F. BOWEN & COMPANY, Inc. Indianapolis, Indiana)


The late Richard J. Fowler, who died at his home, the old Turnbull place, in Cedarville township, March 10, 1917, was a native of South Carolina, born at Chester, that state, but had been a resident of this county since the days of his young manhood. He was born on March 14, 1842, son of Edward and Martha (Lackev) Fowler, both of whom also were born in South Carolina, where they spent all their lives. Deprived of his parents by death in the days of his boyhood, Richard J. Fowler was “bound out” to learn the trade of millwright and remained in his native state until he was twenty-one years of age, when, in 1863 he came to Ohio and became a resident of Cedarville township, this county. Upon coming here he joined the local company of the Ohio state militia and was thus serving at the time of the scare produced by the raid of Morgan’s cavalry up from Kentucky. He went with that company to Camp Chase to report for duty but after ten days of service there the company was ordered to return home, the “scare” having subsided by that time.

Until 1867 Mr. Fowler was engaged working at various occupations in and about Cedarville and then in that year he rented a small farm in Cedarville township and began farming on his own account. There he bought five acres on the Federal pike. After his marriage in 1870 he established his home on that place and there continued to live until 1874, when he bought seventy-eight acres of the old Turnbull place, including the stone house built there by W. T. Turnbull in 1821, and there spent the remainder of his life. He remodeled the old stone house and it is still doing service as the family residence, having been used as a
dwelling place for nearly one hundred years. Mr. Fowler also bought the old John B. Squires farm of seventy-six acres on the Columbus pike, but this latter place he sold in 1913 and bought land adjoining the home place, thus bringing the acreage of the latter up to one hundred and forty-eight acres, which is now being operated bv Clarence Fowler, who is managing the same for his widowed mother. Richard J. Fowler was a Republican and by religious persuasion was a member of the Reformed Presbyterian churchat Cedarville. of which he long served as chairman of the board of trustees and in which he did not miss a communion service for fifty-five years.

Mr. Fowler’s widow is still living on the old home place. She was born in this county, Martha Ellen Silva, daughter of William and Elizabeth (Jeffreys) Silva, both long since deceased, the former of whom was a blacksmith and farmer in Cedarville township. To Richard J. and Martha Ellen (Silva) Fowler were born ten children, namely: Mary Elizabeth, who is
now teaching in a mission school at Selma, Alabama ; Robert McMillan Fowler, who married Regina Spencer and now lives in Buffalo, New York, where he is engaged in the railroad service ; Laura Ellen, who is at home ; Annie M., a graduate nurse, who is now located at St. Louis; Jennie Ethel, a teacher, now engaged in the graded schools at St. Charles, Missouri ;
William Leonard Fowler, who died in 1902; Clarence Fowler, who is now managing the old home farm ; Carrie Helen, also at home ; Howard Sproul Fowler, who died on August 19, 1915, and Edna Irene, a pianist, who is contemplating completing her musical education with a view to becoming a. teacher of piano music. Clarence Fowler, who since his father’s death has been managing the home farm, was born on the farm on which he is still living, December 14, 1882. Upon leaving school he took up the study of telegraphy and was for some time thereafter employed as a telegraph operator, in the service of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, but since the death of his father has been giving his whole attention to the direction of the home farm.

FOWLER Graves at Foster’s Chapel United Methodist Church

The first things I noticed the first time I visited Foster’s Chapel United Methodist Church were the old stone foundation and the old brickwork. Unlike many of the churches nearby whose original structures built of wood burned and were replaced over the years, this church looked old and true.

I later discovered that Foster’s Chapel was built on six acres of land donated to the church in 1878 by William McNease (1838-1898). The old bricks were made there, and the field stones in the foundation likely came from the farmlands and woodlands that surrounded the building site of the future house of worship.

Much of the money used to build the the brick church was donated by Josiah Singleton Foster (1806- 1891). He was also a major force behind the idea of uniting the congregations of Flat Rock Methodist Church (formerly the old Flat Rock Meeting House) and Bethlehem Methodist Church; thus, the church was named after him.

Josiah Foster’s grave is marked by a prominent headstone in the cemetery. His wife Sibbie Spears (1807-1881) lies nearby. The final resting places of the Fosters are enclosed within a beautiful wrought iron fence.

Josiah Foster (1806-1891)

Early members of Foster’s Chapel Church included my Fowler family, and many of the families of which they married into — Farr, Gallman, Gault, Hart, Holcombe, Kelly, Lawson, Sprouse, Willard, and Wood.

One of the Henry Ellis Fowler descendants who was a member of Foster’s Chapel — James T. Fowler — became a Methodist minister.

The Fowler family lines of whom rest in eternity in Foster’s Chapel cemetery, their names in red —-

Henry Richard Fowler was born in Union County, SC in 1825. He was the son of Ellis Fowler and Sarah Mabry. Ellis Fowler was the son of Ephraim Fowler (1765-1822), and Ephraim was the son of Henry Ellis Fowler (1746-1808).

Henry Richard Fowler married Nancy Ann Farr (1840-1923) and was the father of ten children, many of whom are buried in the Fowler Family Plot at Foster’s Chapel.

The headstone of Henry Richard Fowler, his Confederate States of America marker, his photograph, and the cabin in which he lived at least part of his early life are shown below:

Nancy Ann Elizabeth Farr (1840-1923) was the wife of Henry Richard Fowler and the mother of his children.

Henry Richard Fowler and Nancy Ann Elizabeth Farr had three daughters who remained unmarried, lived their lives together, and were laid to rest side by side.

Louise, Nannie Mahala, and Mary Ellen “Darling” Fowler were beautiful young women, devoted to family and to each other.

David Nicholas Fowler (1866-1950) was a son of Henry Richard Fowler and Nancy Ann Elizabeth Farr. He married Annie Bentley (1877-1951).

Henry Richard Fowler was the father of beautiful Sarah Catherine Fowler (1869-1950) who married Henry Adams Dunbar (1868-1930). Both husband and wife are buried at Foster’s Chapel cemetery.

Richard Franklin Fowler was a son of Henry Richard Fowler. He married Mamie Aycock, and they raised a large family together on Pea Ridge.

The sons of Richard Franklin Fowler: top row left to right — Rowland Franklin Fowler, States Richard Fowler, and Julian Campbell Fowler;

Bottom row, left to right — son Harold C. Fowler, his wife Carolyn Eugenia “Gene” Brown, and their son Julian Harold Fowler.

Dr. Wade Fowler (1820-1881) was the son of James Fowler, and the grandson of Godfrey Fowler. He married Elizabeth A. Carothers.

Sarah Ross “Sallie” Fowler was born in 1861, a daughter of Dr. Wade Fowler and his wife Elizabeth. Sallie was mentioned in her father’s Last Will and Testament penned in 1878.

John C. Fowler (1851-1884) lies between the graves of his father, Dr. Wade Fowler, and his sister, Sallie R. Fowler. His headstone is identical and was made by the same stone mason.

Womack Fowler had a son — James Hervey Fowler. James was the father of Harrison David Fowler.

Harrison David Fowler was the father of James David Fowler (1893-1971) who married Amanda Jones (1895–1981).

James David Fowler and his wife Amanda Jones share a headstone with their son, James William “Dick” Fowler (1916 -1972).

Another of Womack Fowler’s descendants was laid to rest at Foster’s Chapel cemetery. Womack’s daughter Martha Patsey Fowler married John Jackson Hodge. Their oldest daughter Jane Hodge married Ellis Fowler, son of Mark Fowler, son of Henry Ellis Fowler.

Jane Hodge and Ellis Fowler had a son named Ellis Jackson Fowler. It is Robert Smith Fowler, son of Ellis Jackson Fowler who was buried at Foster’s Chapel.

Robert Smith Fowler’s wife Ida Garner and their daughter Mahala Fowler Bevis (1905-1940) are also buried there.

I found no headstones for Robert Smith Fowler and wife Ida. I am aware that there is a headstone for their daughter but I neglected to photograph it. Next trip.

John Fowler the Hatter (d. 1833) has a descendant buried at Foster’s Chapel as well. His great, great, great great grandson Otis Keith Fowler was buried there in. Otis Fowler’s wife Jeannette Horne Fowler, and their two children Michael Meldon Fowler and Doris Lynn Fowler Canupp are also buried there.

I could find no grave marker for Otis, but those of his wife, son, and daughter are below:

The graves of John Clark Fowler and his wife Mary Henley Fowler are only a stone’s throw from the graves of Dr. Wade Fowler, Sallie Fowler, and John C. Fowler. The headstones of the latter are tall and stately, but yet unlike those of the former.

The naming pattern of the children of John Clark Fowler and his wife Mary Henley are NOT indicative of descent from the Henry Ellis Fowler/Godfrey Fowler family line:

  • Edith Victoria
  • Blanche Ophelia
  • Keller Lake
  • Lewis
  • Marie
  • John Herbert
  • Vera

Lewis, son of John Clark Fowler was born and died in October 1890. Daughter Marie was born in 1891 and died in 1894. The headstones of the two children are near the graves of their father and mother.

John T. Fowler (1911-1994) was the son of Jonas S. Fowler (1884-1972). Jonas Fowler was the son of John Tipton Fowler (1842-1922).

John Tipton Fowler may have been the son of William Tip (Washington??)
, son of John Fowler, son of Ephraim Fowler, but there is no documented proof of this. Paper research seems to support this line of descent, but the very limited yDNA evidence has been questionable. More directly descended men from this line are needed for testing in order to prove this Fowler line.

John T. Fowler, son of Jonas and grandson of John Tipton Fowler, lies at Foster’s Chapel.

William Goode Fowler (1825-1899) and his son George W. Fowler (1847-1913) are buried at Foster’s Chapel Cemetery. There are no engraved headstones for father or son, and there is little evidence of where they were laid to rest other than their obituaries in the local paper at the time of their deaths.

Was the Martha Fowler — wife of W.G. FowlerMartha Selena Bevis Fowler? Maybe. Probably. Maybe.

Martha Fowler

The Israel Fowler line is a totally different family line from the Henry Ellis Fowler line. The two Fowler lines did live in Union County SC at the same time, lived near each other, married into each other’s families, witnessed legal documents for each other, so it is no great surprise that they worshiped together and were laid to rest in the same graveyards.

Daniel Wallace Fowler (18 – 19) was the son of William G. Fowler, son of Israel Fowler II, son of Israel Fowler I. The earliest known ancestors of this Fowler line were found in Isle of Wight, Virginia.


“I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.” “The answer was staring me in the face.” “He was hiding in plain sight.”

There was his headstone — in the graveyard at Bethlehem Methodist Church. The stone marking the grave of E. Jack Fowler stands tall. It almost feels as if it is guarding the final resting places of other members of his family buried only steps away.

E J “Jack” Fowler was born March 15, 1854, and died July 29, 1893.

E.J. Fowler (1854-1893)

The graveyard at Bethlehem is familiar to me. I have been there many times, walking among the dead.

Mark Fowler (1785-1862) is there, the son of John Fowler the Elder.

Zillah Hames, daughter of Sarah Fowler, daughter of Ephraim Fowler lies beside her husband William Bevis. There are Bevis children, and the mother of William Bevis.

The names of the long ago departed at Bethlehem are as familiar to me as my own. Many are my family. But this E. Jack Fowler amongst my Fowlers — who was he?

And then, there was the obituary. Printed in the Union Times on August 4, 1893, it gave few clues about E. Jack Fowler. He had been ill with consumption and he lived and died on T.F Gault’s place. (John T.F Gault 1829-1906?)

Unfortunate — but not unusual for the times– the names of his father and mother were not mentioned.

“A wife and several children” are all we get — no names but we at least know he had a family.

In past years, I had been contacted by some of E Jack Fowler’s descendants asking if I knew anything about their ancestor: Who was his father? Who was his mother? Who was E. Jack Fowler?

There is one thing I could tell them:

Do not copy and paste the Family Tree of E. Jack Fowler that shows his parents as Andrew Jackson Fowler Sr (1818–1904) and Holly Helms (1821–1893)!!

These were NOT the parents of E. Jack Fowler.

Andrew Fowler and his wife Holly Helms lived in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina. They had many children, including a son born in 1851, named Andrew Jackson Fowler after his father.

Jackson Fowler of Monroe, NC was recorded in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina census records in 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920.

Jackson Fowler of Monroe, NC married a woman named Emeline and they had many children. Jackson Fowler died in 1926 and was buried in Monroe, NC.

I shall say this again:

Andrew and Holly Fowler were the parents of Andrew Jackson Fowler who was born in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina, lived his entire life in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina, and died in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina.

Andrew Jackson Fowler of Monroe, Union County, North Carolina was NOT the E. Jack Fowler who lived in Union County, South Carolina.

For many years, I searched for E. Jack Fowler The questions of this man’s origins occupied my thoughts. Of course I had theories. I always do. But I had no proof.

There were direct male descendants who could DNA test to answer questions but I had no takers.

And then, while searching for another, I found a name in a newspaper from 1879 that rang a bell in my head … or actually, the name clanged a brass gong that shook me head to toe –to my very core.


I immediately recognized this brief mention in the Union Times as a reference to the estate settlement of Womack Fowler and his wife Susannah Moseley.

Every single one of the names from the newspaper is known to me. I have examined the lives of each one, as they were one and all descendants of Womack and Susannah Moseley Fowler.

In the legal documents of the Womack Fowler estate settlement, of which I have copies and transcripts, there was a son of Jane Hodge named in legal-speak as…

  • Elias J. Fowler,
  • Ellis J. Fowler
  • E.J. Fowler

… all in the same document!

I spent years looking for this man. I knew that he was alive in 1879 since he was named in the document as an heir in the estate of his great grandfather Womack Fowler.

Jane’s mother was Martha Patsey Fowler, eldest daughter of Womack Fowler and Susannah Moseley.

Womack Fowler was a son of Union County, South Carolina Fowler Patriarch, Henry Ellis Fowler.

Martha Patsey Fowler, mother of Jane, married John Jackson Hodge, a man if not born in Ireland, then certainly of Irish descent.

Jane was the firstborn child of this union, with six brothers and three sisters to follow in the ensuing years. Jane’s birth in or about 1826 and marriage prior to 1850 to her cousin Ellis Fowler (son of Mark and Elizabeth Moseley Fowler) prevented her name from ever being listed in a census record with her parents. Subsequently, the origins of her birth and surname lay undiscovered by many researchers.

Jane Hodge had married her cousin Ellis Fowler before 1850, and they had two children, Martha Fowler born in 1846, and Mark Fowler born in 1849.

Daughter Martha may have been named after Jane’s mother, Martha Patsey Fowler Hodge, and perhaps son Mark named after Mark Fowler, father of Ellis.

In 1850, Ellis Fowler, wife Jane, daughter Martha and son Mark lived next to Mark Fowler and Elizabeth Moseley Fowler.

Jane Hodge Fowler gave birth to a daughter, Susan, in 1854, and a son, John, in 1856. These two children were likely fathered by Ellis Fowler.

Susan Fowler was named after Jane’s grandmother Susannah Moseley Fowler,

John Fowler was Ellis Jackson Fowler — “Ellis” after his father and “Jackson” after Jane’s father, John Jackson Hodge.

It is known that Ellis Fowler was out of the household before 1860, whether by desertion or death as Jane Hodge Fowler was married to Simeon Fowler (son of William Fowler and Rhoda Mosely).

In 1860, Jane and her second husband Simeon Fowler and children Martha, Mark, Susan, John, and Samuel lived in the household next to Simeon’s widowed mother, Rhoda Moseley Fowler. .

Jane and Simeon Fowler had at least three children: Samuel born in 1860; Franklin born in 1861; and Elma (or Elvira) born in 1866.

Jane and Simeon’s 1870 household included children Martha, Susan, Samuel, Franklin, and Elma.

Sons Mark and John Fowler were conspicuously missing from the home. I shall concern myself with John for the time being.

Where was John Fowler in 1870? He worked as a clerk in Unionville, SC and he lived with merchant Alfred Foster, a wealthy man of military renown and whose descendants would have future Fowler ties. Alfred Foster is another story for another day.

Note the Napoleon Eison at the top of the census in the image below.

Napoleon Bonaparte “N.B.” Eison (1839-1908) and his family lived adjacent to Susannah Moseley Fowler in 1850. This fact lends support that N. B. Eison and John Fowler, great grandson of Susannah Moseley Fowler would have been acquainted with each other, perhaps friends, thus making it possible that they entered into business together.

1870 Union County SC Census

There are many quotes made by wise men that business and friendship don’t mix. It was again in the Union Times that I found an article mentioning a lawsuit brought against E.J. Fowler by the N.B. Eison & Company. Property owned by E.J. Fowler was being sold at the home of Thaddeus Lemuel Hames in order to settle a lien held by N.B Eison.

E. Jack Fowler married Ellen Woolbright (1859–1935). The marriage took place around 1878/79, the same time that E. Jack Fowler ceased working in the Unionville mercantile business and instead became a Pinckney farmer

Ellen Woolbright (1859-1935)

Ellen was the daughter of Seaborn Woolbright (1835–1862) and Louisa Eliza Comer (1839–1900). The story of the 1862 brutal murder of Mastin Comer by his son-in-law Seaborn Woolbright deserves to be told and will be done so in my next post.

The 1880 Union County SC Census confirmed that E. Jackson Fowler lived in Pinckney with his young wife Ellen and one-year old son Arthur. More children would follow.

1880 Union County SC Census

The 1880 census was the last one in which we find E. Jack Fowler. He became ill with consumption, known today as pulmonary tuberculosis, and he died on July 29, 1893.

Ellen Woolbright Fowler would outlive her husband, and even marry again.

Now, I shall examine arguments for and against my very strong theory that E. Jack Fowler was one and the same as Ellis Jackson Fowler.

  • E. Jack Fowler was born in 1854 as per his headstone. Ellis Jackson Fowler was born between 1851 to 1856 if one goes by his age in census records.
  • Ellis Jackson Fowler was often known as John Fowler. His name was a combination of his father Ellis Fowler and his grandfather John Jackson Hodge.
  • The names “Jack” and “John” were often used interchangeably in the 1800s, even well into the 1900s (i.e. John F. Kennedy known as Jack Kennedy)
  • John Fowler or E. Jack Fowler — but not bothare found in one census record each decade, 1860 1870, and 1880.
  • The naming pattern for most of the children of E. Jack Fowler does not fit the typical names used for descendants of the Henry Ellis Fowler line.

It is my opinion that the son named Ellis Jackson Fowler born ca. 1854 to Jane Hodge and Ellis Fowler is the man lying in Bethlehem Cemetery, asleep under the headstone engraved with the name E.J. Fowler.

Am I right? Only yDNA testing will answer this question. Testing will also confirm which husband of Jane Hodge was the genetic father of Ellis Jackson Fowler

Ellis Fowler, son of Mark (probable)


Simeon Fowler, son of William (possible but not likely).

Ellis Jackson Fowler (1854-1893) m. Ellen Woolbright Bullock (1859–1935)

  • Arthur Fowler (1879–1895)
  • Robert Smith Fowler (1881–1938) m. Ida Inez Garner (1884–1938)
    • Mahala “Haley” Fowler (1905–1940) m. Paul Bevis (1901–1987)
      • Robert Jackson Bevis (1920–2005)
      • James E. Bevis (1925–1980)
      • Paul William Bevis (1934-2004)
    • Arthur J. Fowler (1908–1931)
    • Annie Belle Fowler (1909–1972)
    • Pauline Fowler (1914–1951)
    • Pearl Lee Fowler (1915–1964)
    • Lonnie Woodrow Fuzz Fowler (1920–1988)
  • Walter Alonzo Fowler (1883–1920) m. Beulah Adelaid Bagwell (1880–1931)
    • Sidney Hiram Fowler (1903–1972)
    • Ruth M Fowler (1904–)
    • Arthur Edgar Fowler (1904–1936)
    • Richard Roy Fowler (1905–1908)
    • Claude Lee Fowler (1908–1991)
    • Culpernia Jane “Pennie” Fowler (1908–1992)
    • Mamie Ellen Fowler (1913–2002)
    • John Fowler (1917–)
  • Eliza Fowler (1885–1964) m. Esley Edwards (1881–1932); m. Julius Modd Ducker (1878-1949)
    • Louise Virginia Edwards (1908–1966)
    • Frank Wilton Edwards (1913–2000)
    • Lonnie Esly Edwards (1921–1991)
  • Letha Fowler (1888–)
  • Anna Amberzine Fowler (1890–1968) m. George Edward Rogers (1880–1936)
    • Helen Louise Rogers (1904–1973)
    • Grace Auteen Rogers (1908–1991)
    • Jessie Lee Rogers (1912–2010)
    • Nettie Bell Rogers (1916–1994)
    • Willie Mae Rogers (1920–1985)
    • George Edward Rogers Jr. (1928–1981)
  • Beulah Fowler (1892–1970) m. Charles Jackson Gibson (1889–1969)
    • Lillie Mae Gibson (1909–1988)
    • Margaret Elizabeth Gibson(1916-2007)
    • James Gilbert “Pete” Gibson (1919–1983)
  • Beatrice Fowler (1895-1900)

JOSEPH FOWLER (1800-1852) Son of Godfrey

“My father’s name was Joseph. He moved to Texas in 1852 and died the same year, and was buried at Rusk Court House, Cherokee County. I was then about twelve years old. My mother moved back to South Carolina the same year.” ~~ Godfrey Butler Fowler

Joseph Fowler was born in Union County, SC in 1800, the third son born to Godfrey Fowler (1773-1850) and Nannie Kelly (1775-1857). Godfrey Fowler was the son of Henry Ellis Fowler (1746-1808).

Joseph Fowler married Delilah McWhirter (b. 1802) in the early 1820s. Delilah was the daughter of James Robert McWhirter (1760–1842) and Winifred Hames (1762–1828).

The McWhirter and Hames families are well documented and well respected family lines, and there were several marriages between them and the Fowler family descendants.

Delilah gave birth to Joesph Fowler’s son Hampton O. Fowler on August 22, 1823. There was also a daughter born between 1821 to 1825. Delilah died before 1830.

Joseph Fowler married Clarissa Foster (born c. 1814) after the death of his Delilah. Census records indicate that this second marriage took place before 1830.

Clarissa Foster was the daughter of Nathaniel Foster (1793– before 1860). (These Fosters married into both the Hames family and the Fowler family).

Delilah would have been age 28 in 1820; Clarissa would have been 16. The adult female (wife) in the 1830 census was between the ages of 15 to 19, leading me to believe that Clarissa was the female in the home.

In 1830, Joseph Fowler lived in the household beside his father Godfrey Fowler. In addition to Joseph and his 15 to 19 year old wife, there were two children in the household: a son aged 5 to 9 (Hampton) and a daughter aged 5 to 9 (name unknown as of this writing).

1830 Union County SC Census

In 1831, James R. McWhirter, father of Delilah McWhirter Fowler, penned his Last Will and Testament. He left his son-in-law Joseph Fowler one bed and bedclothing, and one cow and calf. The two children of Delilah and Joseph were mentioned in the will, not by their names but as “my two grandchildren by Joseph Fowler”. Delilah was not mentioned at all, lending more proof that she had died by this time.

“I have given to my son-in-law Joseph Fowler, one bed and bed clothing at $10, one cow and calf at $10, making the whole amount against Fowler $20. Else it is my will that my two grandchildren by Joseph Fowler should receive their part and to remain in the guardians possession until they come of age or marry and then their guardians to pay them equal.”  ~~ The Last Will and Testament of James McWhirter ~~ 7th May 1831

More children had been born in the decade 1830 to 1840. The two older children were the son and daughter of Delilah; the younger four were the children of Clarissa.

  • Joseph Fowler (40 to 49)
  • Clarissa McWhirter Fowler (20 to 29)
  • Hampton O. Fowler (20 to 29)
  • daughter (15 to 19)
  • Adolphus J. Fowler (15 to 19)
  • Joseph Fowler (5 to 9)
  • Cansady Fowler (5 to 9)
  • Godfrey Butler Fowler (< 5)
1840 Union County SC Census

Son John Hudson Fowler was the last child to be born to Joseph and Clarissa Foster Fowler. He was born in 1846. The large gap (nine years) in-between Godfrey Butler Fowler and John Hudson Fowler sends my mind racing. There are several reasons that could explain this, but I shall refrain from going into wild speculation.

The 1850 census reflects 50 year old Joseph, 36 year old Clarissa, 26 year old Hampton, 15 year old Cansady, 12 year old Godfrey, and 3 year old John.

Sons Adolphus and Joseph were not in the household, and I have had zero luck in finding them in subsequent years. The daughter for whom I have no name was also out of the Joseph Fowler household. She was old enough to have been married by this time. I am hoping that I will “find” all three of these children in future research.

1850 Union County SC Census

Glenn Dora Fowler Arthur published her book The Annals of the Fowler Family in 1901. She was descended from John Fowler the First who immigrated from England to Virginia in the 1600s. This is the family from which the Union County South Carolina Henry Ellis Fowler family descends.

In writing her book, Mrs. Arthur contacted Fowler descendants from all over the south, midwest, and southwest for family information. Godfrey Butler Fowler, son of Joseph and Clarissa, wrote a letter to Mrs. Arthur in 1900

The Godfrey B. Fowler letter is a treasure. From what he wrote, we learn that the Joseph Fowler family headed west to Texas in 1852. It is certain that Joseph, Clarissa, and son Godfrey traveled to Texas, as they were mentioned in the letter. It is almost certain that young John would have gone on the trip, and likely that seventeen year old Cansady as well.

I have to wonder what motivated this family to leave their South Carolina home and move to Texas? Did other families travel with them? It was no easy task to move a family — hearth and home — 900 miles across unknown lands. Whatever their reasons, they undertook the long, hard journey.

Godfrey B. Fowler stated in his letter that his father Joseph died the same year, 1852. Clarissa Fowler buried her husband and began the long, hard journey back to South Carolina. A great sadness and an unwelcoming despair must have hung over the family every step of the way home.

I noted that Joseph Fowler was buried at “the Rusk Courthouse, Cherokee County” and I searched for his grave.

I did not find a grave for him, and there is some uncertainty as to the exact location.

Cherokee County Texas was founded in 1846. There is a “court house” in the town of Rusk, Cherokee County, Texas, but the nearest graveyard is 0.7 miles away. There is no record of Joseph Fowler in this graveyard, the Cedar Hill Cemetery, but it is possible that he was buried with no engraved headstone.

The Rusk Court House in Cherokee County fits the “name” description, no doubt. It is also possible that there was another graveyard near the court house that is not longer marked.

maps from

Now for the confusing part. RUSK County is adjacent to Cherokee County. Rusk County was founded in 1843. Henderson is the county seat. There is a real court house there. In fact, there have been four court houses built on the same spot beginning with the log court house built in 1843, another in 1850, a third in 1878/79, and the one still standing today in 1928.

And…….. there is a graveyard. Right. Beside. The. Court. House.

It is the Old City Cemetery. There is no marker for Joseph Fowler there either, but perhaps there was no money for an engraved headstone.

maps from

There is a Fowler buried there. The Reverend Littleton Fowler (1841-1917). Son of THE Reverend Littleton Fowler(1802-1846) who brought religion to Texas and who accomplished so much in a life cut too short. Close relative of Glenn Dora Fowler Arthur. Distant relative of Joseph Fowler.

So where was Joseph Fowler buried?

Court House, town of Rusk, Cherokee County, Texas with a graveyard almost a mile away?

~~ OR~~

Rusk Court House, town of Henderson, Rusk County, Texas with a graveyard only a stone’s throw away?

What follows are the descendants of Joseph Fowler and wives Delilah McWhirter and Clarissa Foster —

Joseph Fowler (1800-1852) m. Delilah McWhirter (1802-bef 1830); m. Clarissa Foster (1814- aft 1870)

  • Hampton O. Fowler m. Amanda Permelia Bailey 1835–1902
    • Octavia Fowler 1856–1932 m. William P Willis 1840– ; m. James Pinkney Holland 1852–1895
      • Laura Holland 1878–1950
      • Frances Holland 1880–
      • Charles Adolphus Holland 1887–1985
    • Gasena Fowler 1859–1910 m. Charles Jamison Fowler 1856–1915
      • Whiteford Hoyle Fowler 1878–1961
      • Hattie Fowler 1879–1941
      • Myrtle Nannie Fowler 1892–1977
    • Hagar Hortense Fowler 1861–1942 m. Andrew Walker Thompson McBride 1855–1929
      • Ida McBride 1867–
      • Kimuel Franklin McBride 1874–1934
      • Clara Eugenia McBride 1879–1976
      • Luna Venora McBride 1888–1973
      • Boyd Hampton McBride 1890–1952
      • Nannie Amanda McBride 1891–1962
      • Bertie Louise McBride 1893–1984
      • Thomas Clifford McBride 1895–1962
      • Joseph Bernard McBride 1897–1962
      • Bessie McBride 1899–1977
      • Evie Irene McBride 1901–1951
    • Joseph James Fowler 1863–1958 m. Julie Jane Reaves 1864–1916
      • Daniel Fowler 1886–
      • Doris Edison Fowler 1888–1967
      • Brady Hampton Fowler 1893–1969
      • General Harley Fowler 1896–1969
      • Cyrus Barham Fowler 1899–1972
      • Joseph Bryan Fowler 1903–1980
      • Jane Marie Fowler 1907–1999
    • Agnes “Aggie” Fowler 1868–1949 m. George Washington Warren 1852–1903; m. C. Jasper Harris 1854-1919; m. Alexander Jerome Harrison 1952-1925
      • Amanda ‘Mandy’ Warren 1893–1972
      • Dane Warren 1894–1986
      • James Dewey Warren 1899–1923
      • Ella Ruth Warren 1904–
    • Nancy “Nannie” Kelly Fowler 1869–1917
    • Facima Fowler 1873–
    • Hillard Sewial Fowler 1875–1960 m. Bessie Warren 1879–1954
      • George Hampton Fowler Sr 1899–1981
      • Ella Fowler 1907–1982
      • Mary Ruth Fowler 1909–1999
      • Martin McLane Fowler 1889–
  • Daughter Fowler (b. 1821/1825)
  • Adolphus J. Fowler 1833–
  • Joseph Fowler 1835–
  • Godfrey Butler Fowler 1837–1906 m. Louisa Jane Mitchell 1844–1921
    • Nathan Steadman Fowler 1867–1924
    • Cansady Fowler 1838-1904 m. William G. Holmes 1829–1899
      • Margaret Ann Holmes 1867–1910
      • Joseph Zephaniah Holmes 1870–1934
      • Mary Adeline “Addie” Holmes 1871–1953
      • Luther Davenport Holmes 1875–1944
      • Adolphus Gaston Holmes 1876–1944
      • Benjamin Franklin Holmes 1877–1944
    • John Hudson Fowler 1845-1892 m. Martha B Scott 1856–
      • William Arthur Fowler 1875–1933
      • Mary “Minnie” Clarissa Fowler 1878–1946
      • Imogene Fowler 1881–1946

WRIGHT FOWLER (1856-before 1900) & MARTHA JANE JOHNSON (1856-1934)

Martha Jane Johnson. Born December 12, 1856. Died January 8, 1934.

Martha Jane Johnson is the center of the mystery which surrounds her three children born before her 1883 marriage to Wright Fowler.

Who was Martha Jane Johnson?

She was the daughter of William Johnson and Mary Carothers.(or Weathers). She was the wife of Wright Fowler. She was the mother of Fernando, Elijah Lionel, and Lilly. She was the mother of Magnolia, Corrie Melissa, Charles Manuel, and William Wright Fowler.

Every family tree that I find for Martha Jane Johnson has her mother as Mary (or May) Heathers. I feel that this is a misinterpretation of her mother’s name as written on the death certificate of Martha Jane Johnson. For many reason which I will go into below, I believe the name of her mother to be MARY CAROTHERS.

Please note that an excellent researcher has weighed in with the opinion that surname of Mary could have also been Weathers. There were Weathers in Union County SC and I am going to look at this in-depth in the very near future.

The name of her father is clearly William Johnson.  The name of the informant is also clear: E.L. Fowler (her son Elijah Lionel Fowler)

The name of her mother is not as easy to read.  Some think the first name is May; some think Mary.  All think the surname is Heathers.  

What follows are the reasons I believe the surname to be Carothers.

William Johnson is found in the 1850 household of McClure.  All five men in the home — including William Johnson — were merchants or clerks.  The names of the families surrounding the McClure household (my great great grandparents Thomas Foster and wife Mahala were adjacent) indicate that the location was at Grindal Shoals near the Pacolet River in Union County. 

Grindal Shoals was a thriving community in the 1850s before floods destroyed almost everything.  When one sees the land now, abandoned and ravaged by time, it is hard to envision that there were stores, mills, attorney offices, and other businesses abound.

There were two Johnson families living very near to the McClure household in which William Johnson lived —  a father, David Johnson and his son, David Johnson, and their families. 

I do not think that William Johnson was descended from this David Johnson family.  It would take DNA testing to be sure, and I will admit that it is possible that all of these Johnsons were related, but, for many reasons, it does not seem to be a good family fit for William Johnson..

I do believe that William Johnson was descended from William Hermann Johnson  (1760-1835) and his wife LoisWilliam Hermann Johnson was born in Lunenburg, Virginia and settled in Union County, South Carolina.  The Johnson offspring married into the Fowler family often..

William Hermann Johnson had owned land on the north side of the Pacolet River near Grindal Shoals.  Although I do not have the documentation on hand, I believe that John Carothers was involved in the estate settlement of William Hermann Johnson

John Carothers was married to Rachel Burrows.  Their daughter Elizabeth Carothers married Dr. Wade Fowler (1828-1886).  Wade Fowler was the son of James Fowler (1793-1858), son of Godfrey Fowler (1773-1850), son of Henry Ellis Fowler (1746-1808).

Dr. Wade Fowler and his wife Elizabeth Carothers (b. 1828) lived 12 households away from the McClure household containing William Johnson in 1850.  It is likely that William Johnson knew the John Carothers family.  It is more than possible that he married Mary Carothers.

When John Carothers died, his estate was settled  by Israel FowlerMartha Jane Johnson (daughter of William Johnson and Mary Carothers) married Wright Fowler — a descendant from the Israel Fowler line.

To summarize the above: 

  • William Johnson was likely descended from William Hermann Johnson
  • William Hermann Johnson’s estate was settle by John Carothers
  • John Carother’s estate was settled by Israel Fowler
  • William Johnson lived near Dr. Wade Fowler and Elizabeth Carothers in 1850
  • William Johnson likely married Mary Carothers after 1850
  • William Johnson had a daughter named Martha Jane Johnson in 1856
  • Martha Jane Johnson married Wright Fowler, a descendant of Israel Fowler

I have not written about the Israel Fowler line very much, although I have researched it throughly.   It is not my Fowler line, and I have so very much to write regarding my own Henry Ellis Fowler relatives.  But now, it is necessary to jump into the Israel Fowler family.

The Israel Fowler line has been traced back to a John Fowler (b. 1720) who lived in Isle of Wight, Virginia.  There are many excellent researchers working on this line but research hits a brick wall with John Fowler and there it ends.

Israel Fowler and his descendants were in Union County, SC the same time as the Henry Ellis Fowler descendants — 1700s until present day.  Thanks to extensive yDNA testing, we know that they are two totally different Fowler lines. 

These Fowlers from both lines lived next to each other, witnessed legal documents for each other, and married each other.  Consequently, there are more than a few people walking around today who descend from both the Israel Fowler line and the Henry Ellis Fowler line.

Israel Fowler II had a son named William G. Fowler, who in turn had a son named William E. Fowler.

Information on William E. Fowler:

Born circa 1827. Recorded in 1850 York SC census with parents William G. Fowler and Nancy; siblings Israel, Hillard, Leonard, Daniel, Everline, and Elizabeth.

William E. Fowler married Susan Wright, (b. 1833), the daughter of Joseph WrightSusan had a sister named Lucinda Wright b. 1821 who married Henry Fowler, son of Stephen Fowler and his first wife Sarah. Stephen was the son of Ephraim Fowler.

Susan Wright also had a brother named John W. Wright (1824-1905). John Wright was the father of Minnie Wright (1873-1951) who married Landy J. Bevis, son of Caroline Bevis and an unknown father.

Caroline Bevis was the daughter of William Bevis and his second wife Zillah Hames — the daughter of John Hames and Sarah Fowler who was the daughter of Ephraim Fowler.

William E. Fowler and Susan Wright  had two sons — William Wright Fowler born in 1856, and Adolphus Fowler born in 1858.

William Wright Fowler was known as Wright Fowler in most documents, and I shall refer to him as Wright Fowler.  A rare exception is below in the 1860 Union County SC Census.   Son William Wright Fowler was listed as William, and son Adolphus was listed as Dolphus.  

Sarah Wright, and Thomas and Nancy Jefferson also lived in the household.

1860 Union County SC Census

Susan Wright Fowler was a widow in 1870, and she lived in the household with her sons, fourteen year old Wright and 12 year old Adolphus. (The Lucinda Fowler in the home is a story for another day. She and her daughter Clementine deserve their own forthcoming article)

1870 Union County SC Census

In 1880, Martha Jane Johnson lived in the White Plains Section of Spartanburg County. As the crow flies, White Plains is not too terribly far from Grindal Shoals.

Martha Jane Johnson had three children in her household:

  • Fernando Johnson aged 11
  • Elijah Lionel Johnson aged 7
  • Lilly Johnson aged 3

Adolphus Fowler also lived in the household. His brother Wright Fowler would soon marry Martha Jane Johnson.

Where was Wright Fowler in 1880? I do not know. There was a William Fowler who lived alone in Jonesville SC in 1880, but there is not enough evidence to say if this was William Wright Fowler or one of the other many William Fowlers.

Before I jump into the marriage of Wright Fowler and Martha Jane Johnson and the children resulting from the marriage, I need to interject a fact:

The two sons of Martha Jane Johnson, Fernando and Elijah Lionel, were not fathered by William Wright Fowler. Genetic testing of multiple descendants of the two boys has proven beyond all doubt that the two sons had the same father, and that father was most likely a Brown.

This is no doubt why they were recorded as Johnson children in the 1880 census. They were given the surname of their unmarried mother.

When I began my research, I was told that family stories handed down through the generations suggested that the first three children born to Martha Jane Johnson were not the children of William Wright Fowler.

I did not want to believe these stories — not for any moral reasons, but just the fact that my research would be more tidy and done if all of the children born to Martha Jane Johnson had the same father.

My research has led me to believe that Fernando and Elijah Lionel Johnson/Fowler were the sons of John V. Horn (born John Burgess) (1855-1934).

As the line of descent is often not a perfectly straight line, it appears that John V. Horn was the son of a man named John Brown (b. 1828) and Mary Amanda Burgess.

Mary Amanda Burgess had two sons, John V. Burgess and Fernando D. Burgess (b. 1852).

She later married Asberry Benson Horn (1839-1902). Mary Amanda Burgess Horn had one more child — a son named Thomas Horn (1861-1925).

After the circa 1860 marriage of Mary Amanda Burgess and Asberry Benson Horn, her two older sons Fernando Burgess and John V. Burgess became Fernando Horn and John V. Horn. This informal name change was a common practice for children born out of wedlock or children from a previous marriage in the circumstance of a widow marrying again.

The paternal line of descent — John BROWN to John V. Burgess/Horn to Fernando Johnson/Fowler and Elijah Lionel Johnson/Fowler is totally supported by the yDNA results of descendants of both Fernando and Elijah Lionel: they are genetic Browns!

It should be noted that Asberry Benson Horn was the brother of Elias Horne (1840-1930). Elias Horne is of interest to me because he married first, Amanda Fowler (1857-1885), daughter of William Fowler (aka Washington Fowler) (b. 1818); and later, Alice Foster (1856-1931), daughter of Thomas Foster (1818-1902) and Mahala (1828-after 1870)

Both Asberry Benson Horn and his brother Elias Horne are buried at Gilead Cemetery in Jonesvile, SC.

I do not know whom the father of daughter Lilly Johnson was as I have not DNA tested any of her descendants. Speculation on my part says that she was also the child of John V. Horn.

Fernando Johnson was born on February 16, 1870, most definitely named after his uncle Fernando Burgess/Horn. Not much is known about the first ten years of his life. He would have a stepfather when his mother married Wright Fowler in 1883. Afterwards, Fernando Johnson would forever be known as Fernando Fowler.

Fernando Fowler married Missouri Zue Sizemore (b.1872) and a son was born in 1888, Charlie Lee Fowler.

Missouri Zue Sizemore Fowler, daughter of William Sizemore and Mary Thompson must have died young, as her sister Laura Sizemore Shavers took her nephew Charlie into her home.

Charlie Lee Fowler married Bonnie Vehorn (1888–1976) and they had daughter Hazel Christine Fowler (1924–2012).

Hazel Fowler married Jack Walker. They were the parents of Jack Donald Walker (1944-2009) and two daughters.

Fernando Fowler married Lola Fowler in the late 1890s. Lola Fowler (1882-1966) was the daughter of Marion Fowler (1847–1900) and Frances Horn (1845–1928).

Marion Fowler was the son of Stephen Fowler, son of Ephraim Fowler, son of Henry Ellis Fowler. Marion Fowler served time in a prison in New York state for his KKK activities in the 1870s.

Fernando and Lola Fowler became parents together in 1898 when son Jesse Peter Fowler was born.

Jesse Peter “Pete” Fowler

Jesse Peter “Pete” Fowler was born in Spartanburg, SC on October 30, 1898. As did many young men who worked in the cotton mills down south, Pete Fowler played baseball in the textile leagues. He played for the Converse, Clifton, and Chester mill teams before making the upward move to the Major League. He began his pro career as a left-handed pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1924.

Pete Fowler married Estelle Johnson (1901–1955). Their son Walter Lee “Pete” Fowler was born in 1919.

Jesse Peter Fowler died on September 23, 1973 in Columbia, SC. HIs son Walter Lee Fowler died in 1988.

Fernando and Lola Fowler had ten children together. Jesse Peter “Pete” Fowler was the oldest, and John Arthur “Art” Fowler was the youngest.

John Arthur Fowler was born July 3, 1922.

These brothers hold the record for the largest age difference for brothers in Major League baseball — Pete was almost 24 years older.

John Arthur Fowler was born on July 3, 1922 in Converse, South Carolina. I do not know much about baseball, so I will list only the most basic sports information. Art Fowler was a right-hander pitcher for the New York Giants, the Cincinnati Reds, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, and worked as a pitching coach with New York Yankee’s manager Billy Martin.

Art Fowler married Virginia Ruth Burch (1923–2012). They had two sons. Art Fowler died on January 29, 2007.

There were other men from this family who played baseball, if not on the same scale as brothers Pete and Art Fowler.

I will revise this article to include more detail about the lives of these descendants of Martha Jane Johnson. This research is a work in progress and new discoveries are being made weekly.

Martha Jane Johnson (1855-1934) m. William Wright Fowler (b. 1856)

  • Fernando Johnson/Fowler (1870-) m. Missouri Zue Sizemore
    • Charlie Lee Fowler
      • Walter Lee Fowler
        • Hazel Christine Fowler
          • Jack Donald Walker
    • Jesse Peter “Pete” Fowler m. Estelle Johnson (1901-1955)
      • Walter Lee “Pete” Fowler (1919-)
    • Lillie Mae Fowler (1904-) m. James Walter Brown (1898-1986)
      • Beulah Mae Brown (1920–1996)
      • Dorothy Elizabeth Brown (1927–1992)
      • Charles Walter Brown (1935–2002)
    • Clarence Fowler (1909 – 1963) m. Daisy Belle Cannon (1906–1983)
      • Helen Marie Fowler (1927–2006)
      • Lola Belle Fowler (1930–1931)
      • Ted Fowler (1930–2000)
      • Clyde Julian Fowler (1932–2002)
      • Bobby Dean Fowler (1940–1994)
    • Franklin Fowler (1910–1966) m. Ida May Johnson (b. 1911)
      • Margaret Louise Fowler (1928–1991)
      • William Fowler ( b. 1934)
    • Ruby Fowler (1913–1984) m. Manciel Collins Adair (1894–1966)
      • Manciel Collins Adair Jr (1930–2013)
      • Bennie L Adair (1933–2010)
    • Jack Fowler (b. 1915)
    • George Fowler (1916–1997)
    • Nellie Fowler (1918–2001)
    • Ruth Fowler (1920–2015)
    • John Arthur Fowler (1922–2007)
  • Elijah Lionel Johnson/Fowler (1872–1957) m. Carrie Chapman (1878–1945)
    • Pearl Fowler Russell (1896–1971)
    • Gertrude Fowler Burgess (1899–1949)
    • Vivian Glenell Fowler (1904–1985)
    • James William Fowler Sr. (1906–1984)
    • John Henry Fowler (1906–1982)
    • Paul Fowler (1909–)
    • Charles Dupree/Dewey Fowler (1909–1935)
    • Mary Louise Fowler (1913–1977)
    • George Washington Fowler (1917–1958)
  • Lilly Johnson/Fowler (1879–1956) m. Charles Bridges; m. Belton O’Neil Prince (1875–1956)
    • Charles Joseph Carl Bridges (1900-1962)
    • Carl P Prince (1909–2006)
    • Mildred L. Prince Littell (1911–1992)
    • Grover Tillman Prince (1913–1987)
    • Mary Prince (1916–1993)
    • Roy Prince (1920–2004)
  • Magnolia Maggie Fowler (1884–1974) m. Elias Govan McDade (1883–1967)
    • Ila R McDade (1905–)
    • Sarles R McDade (1907–1976)
    • Margaret A McDade (1912–)
    • Luke McDade (1913–)
    • Ewell G. McDade (1915–1989)
    • Beulah McDade (1917–)
    • Olin Van McDade (1925–)
    • Otis Ray McDade (1925–1968)
    • Roy Dale McDade (1930–2010)
  • Corrie Melissa Fowler (1887–1972) m. Franklin Elbert Moore (1886–1912); m. James Pinkney Gosnell (1874-1938)
    • Maggie Lee Moore (1906–1995)
  • Charles Manuel Fowler (1887–1973) m. Rosa Clarentine Nabors (1902–1972)
  • William Wright Fowler (1889–1930) m. Veta Alice Burnett (1894–1984)
    • Opal Fowler (1910–1911)
    • Leslie Fowler (1912–1913)
    • Clifford E Fowler (1914–1956)
    • Paul Sterling Fowler (1915–1978)
    • James Albert Fowler (1917–1968)
    • Edna Jannette Fowler (1919–2003)
    • Leonard Fowler (1920–1920)
    • Fred Fowler (1921–1922)
    • Floyd Fowler (1923–1924)
    • Bonnie Louise Fowler (1925–)
    • Ralph Fowler (1926–1926)
    • Bobby Lee Fowler (1929–1965)

Mahala Rebecca Worthy (1845-1925)

Henry Ellis Fowler (d. 1808) was the great grandfather of Mahala Rebecca Worthy.

Henry Ellis Fowler was the grandfather of her husband, Walter Gaines Fowler.

Husband and wife were first cousins once removed. This was only one of many marriages between “kissing cousins” in Union County, South Carolina in the 1800s. It was an accepted practice, being both convenient and practical.

Mahala Rebecca Worthy was born in Union County on November 22, 1845 to parents William Worthy and Fanny Fowler. She was mostly known as Rebecca in census records and legal documents, and sometimes as Mahala, but her family called her Becky. I shall do the same.

William Worthy (1813– after 1870) was the son of James Worthy (1760- before 1850) and wife Jane (b. 1773). James and Jane Worthy likely had many children, but I have only researched William and his brother James (1809- before 1850).

James Worthy (the son) married Winnifred Fowler (b. 1822), daughter of Ellis Fowler (1770-after 1850) and wife Mary. If you are a frequent reader of my work, you know that this Ellis Fowler was a son of Henry Ellis Fowler.

William Worthy (the other son) married Fanny Fowler (1825-1852), daughter of Ellis Fowler and Mary.

Two Worthy brothers married two Fowler sisters.

James Worthy and his Fowler wife Winnifred had four children:

  • Mary Worthy (b. 1838)
  • William Columbus Worthy (1841–1914)
  • Julia Worthy (b. 1842)
  • James F. Worthy (1842–1921)

William Worthy and his Fowler wife Fanny had four children:

  • William Columbus Worthy (b. 1843)
  • Mahala Rebecca “Becky” Worthy (1845–1925)
  • Mary “Polly” Worthy (b. 1847)
  • Nancy Elizabeth Worthy (1850–1895)

For the purposes of this article, I am going to examine the life of Becky Worthy.

From what I know about the families of 1800s Union County, SC — and I know a lot — the William Worthy family lived in the Kelly area of the county around the time Becky was born. She was the second child and the first daughter of William and Fanny. Her mother would not live much longer after the 1850 census was taken. Perhaps she died in childbirth; perhaps some other illness took her from her family.

1850 Union County SC Census

William Worthy married again after the 1852 death of Fanny. A man with four small children could not remain a widower for long. His second wife was Sarah Floyd (b. 1833). She was stepmother to Fanny’s children and had given birth to three daughters of her own before 1860. More children would follow in the coming decade.

Becky was fifteen years old when the census was taken and probably helped with household chores and the younger children, which included twin girls.

1860 Union County SC Census

Becky Worthy married her cousin Walter Gaines Fowler and had given birth to three children before 1870: Alpha Ethel Fowler, Bettie Fowler, and Walter Fowler.

Walter Gaines Fowler was the son of Big Mark Fowler (1780-1853) and Elizabeth Moseley (1782-1883). Mark Fowler was the son of Henry Ellis Fowler, and Elizabeth “Betty” Moseley was the daughter of James “High-Key” Moseley.

The Walter Gaines Fowler family is “hidden” in the 1870 census. The name Walter looks like Wallace, or Walter only if you squint. The twenty-eight year old Sarah in the household is Becky Worthy Fowler.

Four year old Susan is Alpha Ethel Fowler, two year old Caty is Bettie Fowler, and one year old Hamlet is son Walter Fowler. These are the three children of Walter Gaines Fowler and Becky Worthy.

Martha, age forty-two and deaf and dumb, is Selina Fowler–the older sister of Walter Gaines Fowler.

The only one whose name was recorded correctly was ninety-five year old Elizabeth (Moseley) Fowler, mother of Walter Gaines Fowler and Selina Fowler.

I do not know why this family used pseudonyms in the 1870 census rather than their given names. It took a while for me to figure this out.

Becky Worthy Fowler would lose both of her Walters. Her babe-in-arms would not survive infancy, and her husband would soon be in his grave. There would be no more children. Becky Worthy Fowler never remarried.

1870 Union County SC Census

In 1880, Becky Worthy Fowler lived with her two daughters Alpha and Bettie, her mother-in-law Elizabeth Moseley Fowler, and her sister-in-law Salina Fowler.

1880 Union County SC Census

I am going to take a small detour in order to add a personal note about Becky, and one of her daughter Alpha. So much of genealogy is the compilation of documented facts and not enough of the little stories that fade to dark as each generation passes on.

Minnie Lee Leonard (1884-1987) was the daughter of Robert Norris Leonard (1847–1904) and Nancy Elizabeth Worthy (1850–1895).

Robert Norris Leonard was the son of (Michael) Alex Leonard and Hulda Fowler (1813-1852). Hulda was the daughter of Big Mark Fowler and Elizabeth Moseley. Hulda was the older sister of Walter Gaines Fowler.

Nancy Elizabeth Worthy was the daughter of William Worthy and Fanny FowlerNancy was the sister of Becky Worthy Fowler.

Much of my research time is spent figuring out the complex family relationships in my Fowler family!

Minnie Lee Leonard was a family historian who wrote much about her family. She was born in 1884 and knew many of these people of whom I write about now. Minnie Lee Leonard is a treasure, and I only wish my path had crossed hers.

A letter that she wrote in 1965 contained two “snapshots” in time that related to Becky Worthy Fowler and her daughter Alpha:

Becky Worthy Fowler’s daughter Alpha had attended the 1888 unveiling of the monument dedicated to the memory of Sergeant William Jasper in Madison Square in Savannah, Georgia.

Elizabeth Moseley Fowler was related to William Jasper through her mother, Nancy Anna Jasper (1756–1832). This fact is mentioned often in research papers and was obviously a source of great pride in the family.

William Jasper is often said to be of Irish origins, but some claim that he was a German immigrant who made his way south from Philadelphia.

Regardless, William Jasper was a hero in the American Revolutionary War. His claim to valor and fame in 1776 was the act of attaching his regiment’s flag, which had fallen, to a sponge staff and raising it back into the air while under enemy fire. He was highly honored for his actions on that day in battle.

William Jasper lived to tell the tale, but he was later killed in action in 1779; ironically, he was again rescuing the flag when he was mortally wounded.

Alpha Fowler was in fine company the on the second of February, 1888 when she attended the unveiling in Savannah. President Grover Cleveland and his wife Frances were in attendance, as were the Georgia Governor John Brown Gordon, the mayor and other prominent politicians.

The statue is of William Jasper in battle holding the flag that he rescued. It is worth a drive to Savannah to see this memorial to a brave soldier. The dedication reads as follows:

To the memory of Sergeant William Jasper, who, though mortally wounded, rescued the colors of his regiment, in the assault on the British lines about the city, October 9, 1779. A century has not dimmed the glory of the Irish-American soldier whose last tribute to civil liberty was his life. 1779–1879.

The second “snapshot” is a simple one. Minnie Lee Leonard writes of her memory of hearing her mother Nancy Elizabeth Worthy Leonard and her aunt Becky Worthy Fowler singing a ballad about Sergeant William Jasper.

I have been unable to find any source for music or lyrics for a song honoring William Jasper. I can almost hear the sweet voices of the Worthy girls singing, softly and clearly, a tune reminiscing the heroic actions of their famous relative from the war of which our great country was born.

Thank you, Minnie Lee Leonard for sharing your memories of yesteryear with us of today.

The years between 1880 and 1900 brought many changes to the life of Becky Worthy Fowler.

Her mother-in-law Elizabeth Moseley Fowler died in 1883,

Her daughter Alpha Ethel Fowler married Thomas Samuel Garner (b. 1864) and gave birth to ten children over the years, many of whom did not survive.

Her younger daughter Bettie Fowler married a Mr. Jackson and had a son named Jesse in October of1893. Bettie died six months later, and her son would be raised by his grandmother Becky Worthy Fowler.

Thomas Samuel Garner, his wife Alpha Ethel Fowler Garner, their four young sons, Becky Worthy Fowler, and Bettie’s son Jesse Jackson lived in a household in Fulton County, Georgia.

1900 Fulton County GA Census

In 1910, Thomas Samuel Garner was out of the household, and the family was headed by Alpha Fowler Garner. They lived in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Becky Worthy Fowler was sixty-four years old. There were three Garner sons in the home and five others listed as boarders and a servant.

It should be noted that Alpha’s husband had moved to Mississippi and married another woman, Lillian S. Cubley (1872–1963).

1910 Fulton County GA Census

Alpha Fowler Garner married John Joab Crawford (1868–1954) between the years 1910 to 1920 for they were counted in a 1920 household together with a Garner son and seventy-four year old Becky Worthy Fowler.

1920 DeKalb County GA Census

Becky Worthy Fowler died on March 9, 1925 in Scottdale, Georgia.

In 1925, Scottdale would have been a little drive out of the town of Atlanta. A hundred years of an expanding city, Scottdale is now a suburb slightly northeast of Atlanta, well within the perimeter interstate that surrounds the largest city in the south.

Becky Worthy Fowler was seventy-nine years old when she departed this world. Her death was reported by Mrs. J.J. Crawford — Alpha Ethel Fowler Garner Crawford.

Becky Worthy Fowler made one more trip. Her remains were returned to her home state of South Carolina, and she was laid to rest at Gilead Baptist Church Cemetery in Jonesville. She is among her family, for many of the Fowlers and Worthys lie there — most final resting places marked with engraved stones, but some lost to us with only a field stone, or no stone at all.

Rebecca M. Fowler

And I think of her sometimes, and I listen for her sweet voice, singing of times long past and ancestors who won battles, and sometimes I think I hear the notes floating in the breeze…….

The Confederate Greyback

I have had this Confederate money in my possession since 1968. I did not know the historical significance of the bills when they fell into my hands. I took them to my seventh grade history class in 1971 and the teacher passed them around to all of my classmates.

I did not go out of my way to protect the bills, and it is truly a miracle that they survived 54 years in my care — not only surviving, but still in excellent shape — and that through all of my moves across the country, I still had them packed away in a box of treasures.

A brief history of this money……

The Confederacy began issuing paper money in March 1861. The Confederate dollar was known as the “greyback” named so after the color of the grey uniforms that the Southern soldiers wore on the battlefield.

With few exceptions, Confederate money was not backed by gold or anything of value. The greybacks were actually promissory notes that pledged to give the holder of the currency silver or gold after the Confederates won the war.

Confederate money greatly depreciated as inflation soared, counterfeit bills were printed, and the South’s inevitable victory over the Northern army became less likely as the war dragged on and on.

In 1864, the year before the war ended, a Confederate dollar was worth only 3 cents, and by the war’s end in 1865, it was worthless.

As a historian and genealogist, I spend a lot of my time thinking about the people and the places and events of the past.

These sepia-colored, slightly aged-textured pieces of paper with faded words and images — which once held great monetary value, and then no value — intrigue me.

Who were the people in the 1860’s who held this money in weathered hands?

For what did they exchange this ancient currency to make their lives better? Did they buy seed to plant, or a wagon to take them into town, or did their women buy sacks of flour, and then use the sacks to make new dresses for their daughters?

Who kept this money for years after it was deemed worthless ? How many hands did it go through in the more than one hundred years before it came into my hands?

When I hold these greybacks, I do not think of the reasons for the war, or who won the war, or any of the politics of the 1800s.

When I gently shuffle through the money, I think only of the suffering of the enslaved, the hardships of the poor white farmers, the arrogance of the white slaveowners.

I think of the people — all of them.

They know not that I think of them, those who have held this money in their own hands. Perhaps their fingerprints are still faintly on the surface.

I treasure this link to the past.