Update about blog

Come on over to my other blog, Alchemy of Clay and Living in Black Mountain NC, where the scenery and my ceramic arts life are combined. I've moved some personal blog posts, (as well as those that are about my ancestors) back here.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A twin who was a sibling of Eugenia Witty Booth

Yesterday I introduced to you Laura Dove Witty.
She was actually a twin.

William Wiley Witty has the same birthday on most of his records.

But there is discrepancy on some others.  So though his year of birth is always within a year of the same one, the place is given on some records differently.

So about half the Ancestry listings in families have him born in Marshall Texas on the same birthday as Laura, the other half (out of 10) say he was born earlier in the same month, to the same parents, but in either Missouri or Georgia, these mainly coming from his death certificate and the grave site information.

Now I've got a bit of logic on my side, the Marshall Texas and twin story that I'm presenting today.  His mother gave birth in Marshall 2 years earlier to my great great grandmother, Eugenia.  The kids are all on the first census in 1860 in Subdivision, Hill County, Texas...and there's no mention anywhere that Susan Hoke Witty (their mom) could have gone to Missouri or Georgia.  It's just not logical.  Until proven otherwise, I'm sticking with this direct movement of the family from Alabama, to Marshall (eastern Texas) to Hill County (central Texas)

Unfortunately a lot of his, and his children's records in "Find A Grave" use the earlier March 3, 1854 and Missouri information.

So who was William Wiley Witty?

The 1870 Census of Precinct 1 in Hill County, Texas, taken in July of that year, lists him as 16, while Laura is 17, both born in Texas.  So here he is a year younger than she is. But the 1860 Census had also been taken in July, and there he and Laura were both 6 years old.  One of these records gives his birthday a year off, I think.

But skip ahead to the 1900 census for Precinct 2, Hill County, Texas, taken in June, and here is some interesting information that has been added to the data.  He is married and age 46.  That still has the 1854 birth year, including month of March.  He states he's been married 26 years, making his marriage happen in 1874 to Mary Witty.  They have 10 children at that time, and he owns his own farm.  Mary was born in Georgia in Nov 1854, but William was born in Texas, as well as all their children.

The very same 1900 Census also gives his sister, Laura, a clear birthday as March 1854...though they no longer lived in the same area...so a different census taker was recording it.

So I continue, at this time, to think these siblings were twins.

As I mentioned his wife was Mary, and one source gives her as Molly, and another says Mary Jane Paschal.  I haven't looked into her family beyond the fact that they came from Georgia to Texas.

AND they had at least one set of twin children: Stella and Della.
They not only have the same birthday, but were buried under the same headstone, though one died in 1909 and one in 1926.

I was thinking perhaps a pair of their older siblings were also twins, being sometimes listed as born the same year, but I haven't found any more information on one of them...and some information again gives their dates a year apart.  Both are possibilities.

Mrs. William Witty, Molly, after giving birth to 10 children, lived to 79, dying in 1933.
William, the farmer, predeceased her in 1929, dying at 74.

They had married in Hill County Texas, but lived in Star, Mills County, Texas.  Where is that, you may ask?  Star is a small unincorporated area with agriculture, named after nearby Star Mountain.

From The Texas Historical Association:
The first settlers, (Mills County) like the Indians, subsisted primarily on hunting. A number of the early settlers were German immigrants who toiled, as one put it, in a "place that was a heaven for men and dogs-but hell for women and oxen." Life on the frontier was often precarious; Dick Jenkins and several other early pioneers were killed by Indians. In 1858 Mr. and Mrs. Mose Jackson and two of their children were killed by Indians at Jackson Springs, while two other children were carried into captivity. After a force of settlers routed the Indians at Salt Gap, their pursuers and a company of Texas Rangers recovered the captive Jackson children. In 1862 a band of twenty Comanches raiding for horses was pursued by settlers to the mouth of Pecan Bayou and put to flight after three Indians and one white, O. F. Lindsey, were killed. After Indians killed John Morris, a rancher, settlers pursued them and killed or wounded seven of the twenty-seven raiders. Few of the settlers joined the Confederate Army during the Civil War because their own frontier required protection against the depredations of Indians and outlaws.
During the Civil War and for decades thereafter whites caused settlers more trouble than Indians, as cattle rustlers, horse thieves, murderers, army deserters, and other rogues infested the area. Vigilante committees were formed to deal with criminals, but then these groups degenerated into warring mobs committing criminal acts themselves. A reign of terror followed conflicts between vigilante groups, which broke out in Williams Ranch in 1869. Vigilantes drove out some bad characters, but killed other innocent men; lynchings and assassinations became commonplace. The turbulence lasted until 1897, when the Texas Rangers finally broke up a group of vigilantes who frequently gathered at Buzzard Roost. The first post office in what is now Mills County was established in Williams Ranch in 1877, and the place became a center for the area; between 1881 and 1884 250 people lived there. In 1885 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway built tracks into the region, stimulating settlement and demands for organization. In 1887 the Texas state legislature carved Mills County from lands formerly assigned to Brown, Comanche, Hamilton, and Lampasas counties. Goldthwaite became the county seat. In 1890 5,493 people lived in Mills County. By that time, the area's agricultural economy was already fairly well-established. The county had 680 farms and ranches, encompassing 142,299 acres, that year.
Sources:Hartal Langford Blackwell, Mills County-The Way it Was (Goldthwaite, Texas: Eagle Press, 1976). Flora Gatlin Bowles, A No Man's Land Becomes a County (Austin: Steck, 1958).

 There are at least 6 graves of Witty's in this Cemetery, very near Star, Texas.  At the information site about the cemetery, it says:
Hurst Ranch Cemetery is in Hamilton County, Texas but has so many Mills County connections from Star, (originally Hamilton County) Mills County, Texas...

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