Monthly Archives: March 2011

A Grave Matter

Today, I made my first online memorial at Find A Grave.  It was for my first cousin Robert Daniel Graham, or Danny as we all knew him.  He was Uncle Leroy’s only son, and died in 1988. 

Danny was buried at Beverly Cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois, which is only about four miles from where I live.  My family and I went out to Beverly Cemetery a couple of weeks ago to try to find his grave, but we left defeated.  The cemetery is huge, I had no idea where he was buried, and the cemetery office was closed (we’d gone out on a Saturday afternoon).  When I got back home, I sent an e-mail to the cemetery asking for information.  Today, I finally received a response with the exact location of Danny’s grave.  I intend to go back out to Beverly Cemetery soon to snap a picture of his grave marker.

Here’s a link to Danny’s new memorial at Find A Grave.

Obituary: Ermadean (Watts) Kelley

I found this 2007 obituary for my grand aunt Ermadean posted at Find A Grave.  I do not know in which newspapers this appeared.

Ermadean KelleyMarshall , AR – Ermadean Watts Kelley, age 81 of Marshall, Arkansas went home to be with the Lord, Sunday, November 11, 2007 at her home.

She was born July 12, 1926 in Watts, Arkansas, the daughter of Marley and Delia Kimbrell Watts.

She was preceded in death by her parents: her husband of 52 years, Millard Loy Kelley, whom she married June 13. 1947; her brother, Charles Watts; her sister, Blanche Graham; and two infant sisters, Mary and Vertie Watts.

Ermadean was a Christian woman and a child of God. She belonged to South Mountain Freewill Baptist Church but was attending the Searcy County Baptist Church in Marshall.

Ermadean was a hard worker and started her working career at age 16, stacking staves at the mill in Leslie. She hoed corn and was a waitress, during which time she took care of her mother and dad. She also worked at the Daisy Queen, Owens Market, Flintrock Shirt Factory, Director of the Nutrition Program and later a cook. She then enjoyed working at the Music Barn while taking care of Millard for 15 years. She then retired from the Searcy County Library. Since 1942, she had 63 years of work under her belt.

She is survived by two daughters, Peggy S. Ragland of Marshall and Diane Manes and husband Ronnie of Snowball; three granddaughters, Misty Barnett and husband Richie of Hector, Andria Farris and husband Terry of Pangburn and Kelli Lindgren and husband Jeremy of Jackson, Missouri, eight great-grandchildren, Autumn, Courtney, Faith and Elijah Barnett, Garrett Skaggs, Jordan Hicks, and Dalton and Dylan Ragland.

Visitation will be 6—8 pm, Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at Roller-Coffman Funeral Home in Marshall. Funeral Services will be 2:00 pm, Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at Roller-Coffman Chapel with Brother Rick Montgomery officiating. Burial will be in the Sulphur Springs Cemetery.

Pallbearers will be Ronnie Manes, Ralph Skaggs, Terry Farris, Billy Ray Kelley, Garrett Skaggs and Dalton Ragland.


Find A Grave:  Memorial for Ermadean Kelley.

Roller-Coffman Funeral Home:  Obituary for Ermadean Kelley.

The Birth of Disinformation

Something recently happened at that bothers me.

Ancestry has this feature called Member Connect that lets researchers connect their family trees and any supporting documents to other members’ family trees.  Once connected, Ancestry notifies members when any other members link to their trees or documents.  That’s actually a very handy feature.

Here’s the part that bothers me.  I received notification through Member Connect that another researcher had linked to the entry for William Thomas Graham in the Arkansas Death Index. At first I got excited because I thought, “Oh boy, another distant cousin that I can press for information!”  Then I looked at this other member’s tree and saw immediately that she had attached the document to the wrong William Thomas Graham!

I’ve done a lot of research on our William Thomas Graham, as chronicled here, here and here.  I’ve been in touch with our William’s grandson and great grandson.  I’m extremely certain that I’ve got it right, and that the entry in the Arkansas Death Index refers to our William.

Nobody wants erroneous information to be spread around.  I sent a message to the other member, but she has yet to make a correction.  What if she refuses to accept that she made an error?  What if she thinks that I’m in error?

In the original version of my article on Nona Elizabeth Graham, I reported that Find A Grave listed her middle name as Irene, which completely contradicts every other source I have on Nona.  I’ve recently been in touch with Nona’s son DJ and he informed me that after Nona’s passing, Franklin Lathum married a woman named Irene Jordan.  Whomever made the Find A Grave entry clearly confused the two women.

And the wrong information gets spread around the Internet.

Eliza Revisited

Today, I published a major revision of my article from October 2010 on Eliza Ann Graham.  The following changes have been made:

  • Added detailed information from the 1880 census.
  • Added more details from the marriage document of Eliza and Siler Watts, and included a scan of that document.
  • Tweaked 1900 census paragraph.
  • Added an image from 1920 census.
  • Added both Eliza’s and Siler’s ages at death.
  • Added to variations of Eliza’s name.
  • Added a paragraph on variations of Siler’s name.
  • Made adjustments to the article’s formatting to match the appearance of other articles.

Read the revised article here!

Searcy County Townships

Time for a short geography lesson.

So far I’ve mentioned several townships here at Graham Ancestry. Townships in Arkansas were formerly used as electoral districts for Justices of the Peace.  The United States Federal Census was also enumerated by township.

Here is a map of Searcy County townships as they existed circa 1930.

Searcy County Townships 1930

Most of the Graham and Watts families were settled in Red River Township, which was located in the middle southern area of Searcy County.  The unincorporated populated places of Watts and Kay were located in Red River Township, as is Rambo Cemetery, where many of our Graham and Watts ancestors are buried.

The county seat is Marshall, Arkansas, which was located in Bear Creek Township.  Marriages in Searcy County were recorded at the courthouse in Marshall, but I wonder if the brides and grooms actually travelled into town or the Justices of the Peace rode out to the family farms for the ceremonies.


Searcy County ARGenWeb

Histopolis:  Searcy County, Arkansas, United States

WikiPedia:  List of Arkansas Townships

Emma Dorothy Graham

The seventh child and fourth daughter of John and Tildy Graham was born on 16 February 1902 in Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas, and her name was Emma Dorothy Graham.

Emma was eight years old when the 1910 census was enumerated in Red River.  She was living on the family farm with her parents and seven siblings. The census recorded that she had not attended school.  The fields on the census form to note whether she could read or write were left blank, but for her older siblings it was noted that they could do neither, so therefore it’s reasonable to assume the same of Emma at that time.

On the 1920 census, Emma was age 18 and single, still living with the family on the farm in Red River with her parents, sisters Stella and Nona, and brother Daniel.  By this time she had attended school and was able to read, write and speak English.

Elsewhere and elsewhen in Arkansas, William Earl Mainord had been born on 28 February 1903.  In 1920, Earl was 17 years old and residing in Bear Creek Township on the farm of Walter McClung and his wife Bessie, who employed Earl as a hired hand.

EmmaEarlMarriageDetailOn 1 October 1925, Earl, then age 22, paid a $100 bond for a license to marry Emma, also 22.  W. M. Watts (possibly William Marley Watts) signed as security on the bond.  Watts, an unincorporated populated place in Searcy County, was given as the residence for both Earl and Emma.  On 4 October 1925, Justice of the Peace James C. Treat conducted the marriage ceremony.

Circa 1928, Earl and Emma celebrated the birth of their first son Wilber John Mainord.

On 20 February 1930, their second son Troy Clyde Mainord was born in Searcy County.

On the 1930 census, Earl was recorded as “William E Mainord” and was renting a farm in Red River Township.  Living on the farm with him was Emma and their two sons, Wilber John and Troy Clyde Mainord.

At some point after 1930 the family moved to Oklahoma.  Earl’s Social Security number was issued in Oklahoma circa 1951.  Emma’s Social Security number was issued circa 1953 in Oklahoma.

Some time after 1930, Earl and Emma had two more children:  another son named Carrell Mainord and a daughter named Earlene Mainord.

On 15 August 1975, Emma’s oldest brother Jessie Cornelius Graham died.  Emma was mentioned in Jessie’s obituary as “Mrs. Emma Mainord of Oklahoma”.

Emma Dorothy (Graham) Mainord died at the age of 84 in January 1987 in the city of Purcell, McClain County, Oklahoma, USA.

William Earl Mainord died at the age of 87 in February 1991 in Oklahoma.

Their son Troy Clyde Mainord died at the age of 69 on 6 April 1999 in Purcell, Oklahoma.  He is interred at Hillside Cemetery in Purcell.

Name Variations

Emma had the following name variations:  “Emma D” on the 1920 census;  “Emma Graham” on her marriage documents;  “Emma Dorothy” in the Grimes Family Tree.

Earl had the following name variations:  “Earl Mainard” on the marriage documents;  “Mainord, Earl” on the 1920 census;  “Mainard, William E” on the 1930 census;  “Earl E Mainord” in the Social Security Death Index; “William Eli ‘Earl’ Mainord” in both the Holland Family Tree and the Maynard Family Tree.  I’ve seen no source for “Eli” as Earl’s middle name other than those trees.  I’ve recorded him as William Earl Mainord in my family tree.

Wilber had the following variations:  “Willer J” at’s 1930 census transcription; “Willer G” at FamilySearch’s 1930 census transcription.


Where are Emma and Earl interred?  It’s possible that Emma and Earl are interred at Hillside Cemetery with their son Troy, but at this time I have no confirmation of that.

What are the exact dates of birth for Wilbur, Carrell and Earlene?

Sources  United States Federal Census of 1910, 1920, and 1930;  Social Security Death IndexGrimes Family TreeHolland Family Tree; Maynard Family Tree.

Arkansas Gazette:  Obituary for Jessie Cornelius Graham.  Arkansas County Marriages, 1837 – 1957.

Find A Grave:  Memorial for Troy Clyde Mainord.  Social Security Death Index.

OKGenWeb Project:  Hillside Cemetery Burials.

Personal correspondence with D J Lathum, Earl and Emma’s nephew, March 2011.

Find the Cemetery, Snap Photographs

In April 2010 I was attending a military course at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in North Little Rock, Arkansas.  The course was two weeks long, but classes were not conducted on the weekend.  I took the opportunity of the free weekend to drive up to Marshall, Arkansas to see if I could find Rambo Cemetery, where my grandparents (and other relatives) are buried.  I hadn’t been to Marshall since the early 1990s, and I had never driven there myself.  I left Camp Robinson early that Saturday morning with only directions to the city and the vaguest plan of “find the cemetery, snap photographs.”  I had my camera, but no film and dead batteries.

During the drive my thoughts drifted to my grandpa, Daniel Graham.  He had died in a hospital in Little Rock and his final journey was likely the same route back to Marshall that I drove that day.

Arrived in Marshall and drove slowly around town, taking in how much things had changed since I had been there last.  I didn’t remember Marshall looking so run down.  Seemed almost a ghost town.  The stores that I remembered from the town square were mostly gone, replaced by various offices. It didn’t feel like the county seat to me, but then I come from the Big City so perhaps my expectations were skewed.

Drove past the house where my grandparents were living when grandpa died.  Tried to find the houses where Uncle Leroy lived or his daughter Connie, who still lives in town, but couldn’t quite remember where they were located. It’s not like Marshall is that big, but my memory was that fuzzy.

Stopped at the Dollar General and the Harp’s grocer to get two rolls of film, batteries and snacks.  Ate lunch at the Sonic Drive-In, then headed back out of town and up the mountain on County Road 9 (South Mountain Road) in search of Rambo Cemetery.

I thought I had a pretty good idea how to get to the cemetery.  My grand uncle Charles had lived on the mountain, and I remembered that getting to the cemetery involved going past his place, taking a right turn somewhere, and crossing a creek on a low bridge.  So that’s what I did, taking the right turn on County Road 8 (Hilltop Road) which crossed over the Red River on a low bridge.  As it turned out, that’s what I shouldn’t have done.  Had I gone straight I would have immediately arrived at Rambo Cemetery, laying just around the next bend.  So I took a driving tour of the Ozarks instead, and eventually approached Rambo from the opposite direction about thirty minutes later.  However, that delay would prove fortuitous.

I parked by the south gate and went in with my camera, giving a wave to the man on the riding lawn mower.  He slowed and said, “If I get in yer way just let me know.”  I smiled and said, “And if I get in your way, let me know!”

I remembered exactly where my grandparents are buried and went there first.  I spent a long moment “visiting” them since I had a little bit of guilt I wanted to discard.  In February ‘93 an ice storm had passed through the Midwest, and I refused to take the drive from Illinois to Arkansas to attend grandma’s funeral.  I feared that the roads would be in terrible shape.  The funeral was delayed two or three days because the ground at Rambo was too hard for the grave to be dug.  So I apologized to grandma, wiped my eyes, and set about taking pictures.

As I made my way through the tombstones, I noticed that two women had arrived and were making their own way from marker to marker, the younger of the two making notes on paper.  I figured that they were here doing the same thing that I was, documenting grave markers. I tried to stay out of their way and we circled around the cemetery at opposite ends for a while.  Eventually, I ran out of film – two rolls wasn’t enough – and I resorted to writing down dates on a sheet of paper I had in my jacket pocket.  As I was leaning to transcribe a marker, I overheard one of the ladies say, “I bet he’s related to us” in regards to me, since I had been looking at a marker they were also coming to see.

The ladies were Gail Feese and her mother, who were doing exactly what I was doing, documenting family history by transcribing the dates on the grave markers.  I gave Gail my genealogical pedigree (“My grandma was Blanche Watts…”), she said “I think I know who you are” and flipped to the back of the pages in her hand, and there I was, listed in her own family research. So we were distant cousins.  (I was also a distant cousin of the guy on the lawn mower, for Gail’s mom turned to him and yelled, “He’s related to us, too!”)

I spent the next hour or so walking through the cemetery with Gail and her mother, listening as her mom told me stories about the folks buried there that I didn’t even know were related to me.  She pointed northeast across the field above the cemetery and said, “That’s where the Watts post office was at, in a log cabin over yonder.”  Gail and I exchanged e-mail addresses, and she promised to send me copies of her research (which she did, and I am very grateful to have received).  As we parted, Gail’s mother gave me directions to East Lawn Cemetery where my Uncle Leroy was buried.

Had I not made that wrong turn and ended up driving around for thirty minutes, I would’ve missed meeting Gail and her mom.

Rambo Cemetery.
Click to view photo album!

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