Tag Archives: Eliza Ann Graham

Tidying Up

Thanks to a brief e-mail conversation with Larry Watts, I was able to find Eliza Ann Graham in the 1940 census, which led me to do a major overhaul of my 2010 article about her. The following changes were published today:

Eliza Ann Graham

  • Added section headers by decade
  • Added county clerk’s name to marriage paragraph
  • Added marriage data for all of Eliza’s children
  • Added full name and day of birth for Ola Elizabeth Watts
  • Added 1940 census for the Wilkey family
  • Added images for the 1880, 1900, 1910, 1930 and 1940 census
  • Added land patents for Siler and Eliza
  • Added all sorts of little things that are tedious to list but exciting to read
  • Expanded the list of the cited sources, and moved it to a second page.


Obituary: Mildred Watts

From AppealDemocrat.com:

Mildred Isabel Watts

Mildred Isabel WattsApril 22, 1929 – November 20, 2012

Mildred Watts of Pioneer, CA died November 20, 2012 in Sacramento, California.

Born April 22, 1929 in Imo, Arkansas to Jewel and Archie Gates. She loved to garden, can, and was known for her homemade biscuits, gravy, and pear pie. Mildred was a wealth of information. She was independent and took pride in taking care of all. Her heart was always in Amador County no matter where she lived.

Mildred was preceded by her husband of 60 years Vernon Watts[1], and survived by her sister Mary Shockley. She was a loving mother to her children Lillian Dollman, Judy Kennedy, Jan Watts and her husband Mick Mocettini, and Don and his wife Teri Watts. She was an adoring grandmother to her 8 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

A viewing will be held on Thursday, November 29, 2012 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Ullrey Memorial Chapel, 817 Almond Street, Yuba City, CA. A memorial service will be at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 29, 2012 at Sutter Cemetery in the gazebo at 7200 Butte Avenue, Sutter, CA.


[1] Vernon Lee Watts was the son of James Madison Watts and Sylvannia R. Bohannon, and the grandson of Siler Watts and Eliza Ann Graham. Mildred and Vernon were married on 21 December 1945 in Searcy County, Arkansas. Vernon died on 21 March 2005 in California.


AppealDemocrat.com. “Mildred Isabel Watts,” Appeal-Democrat [Marysville-Yuba City, CA], Tuesday, 27 November 2012. Retrieved on 10 December 2012.

Obituary: John Henry Graham

I came across the following obituary and “card of thanks” in the genealogy section of the Searcy County Library.  It was originally published in the Marshall Republican, 3 May 1946:

John Henry Graham

John Henry Graham, age 75, died at his home near Rambo, Searcy County, Wednesday, April 24.  He was a well known farmer of Watts community.  In his early days he joined the Free Will Baptist Church, and lived a Christian life.

He was married to Mary M. Bohannon on August 8, 1889.  She departed this life September 21, 1944.  To this union 10 children were born, seven of whom survive.  They are:  Jesse Graham, Dan Graham, and Mrs. Nona Lathum, all of Watts;  Mrs. Enissy Collins of Greenbriar, Ark.,  Jasper Graham of Morley, Mo.,  Mrs. Emma Mainord of Purcell, Okla.,  and Mrs. Stella Martin of Mt. Judea, Ark.  Surviving also are two sisters, Elisan Watts and Minnie Melton, addresses unknown;  28 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were held in the home of Watts, Thursday, April 25, at 10 a.m. conducted by Rev. W. L. Leach, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Marshall, and burial was in the Shady Grove Cemetery with the Coffman Funeral Home of Marshall in charge.

Card of Thanks

We, the Graham family, all wish to thank each and every one for their kindness and care through the short illness and death of our father and grandfather, John Henry Graham.  Also for the nice floral offerings – THE GRAHAMS.


The date of John’s marriage to Tildy is incorrectly listed as 8 August 1889.  According to the scan of the original marriage document available at FamilySearch.org, they were married on 3 October 1889.

JHG Marriage License

Who is Buried in William’s Grave?

I recently returned from a sojourn to Marshall, Arkansas where I attended the North Arkansas Ancestor Fair and the Graham Family reunion for the descendants of Jesse and Sarah Graham.  I met a lot of friendly folks and gathered a lot of material for this journal, but at the same time I know there’s more to be had, so I want to go back next year!

The Question

The ancestors about which I fielded the most questions was William Graham, both of them.  One of them is buried at Shady Grove Cemetery in Arkansas.  The questions I got were all the same:  Which one is buried there?

The First William

The first William Graham was the son of Jesse and Sarah Graham, and was born sometime around 1865 somewhere in Alabama.  In 1880, he was living in Bear Creek Township with his parents, sisters Eliza and Mary, and brother John.

William Graham 1880 Census

And that’s really all that I know about him.  I haven’t found him on any other census, nor do I know what happened to him after 1880.

The Second William

The second William was William Thomas Graham, the second son of John Henry Graham and thus the nephew of the first William.  As I previously chronicled, this William served during the First World War and was honorably discharged.

The Grave

Here is a photograph of the grave maker at Shady Grove Cemetery, as taken by my wife:

WTGraham Grave Marker

As you can see, this William Graham was a Private in the 348th Infantry, 87th Division, and died on 12 September 1920.

The Answer

The 348th Infantry was a World War I unit that was constituted 5 August 1917 and then organized in September of that year at Camp Pike, Arkansas.  It was demobilized in March 1919 at Camp Dix, New Jersey.

We already know that the second William served in the Army during World War I, but did the first?

The Selective Service Act of 1917 authorized the federal government to raise a National Army through draft to fight the war in Europe.  There were three draft registrations for World War I:

  • The first, 5 June 1917, was for all men between the ages of 21 and 31.  This is the draft for which William Thomas Graham and his two brothers Jessie Cornelius Graham and John Jasper Graham registered.
  • The second, 5 June 1918, registered those who attained age 21 after 5 June 1917.
  • The third registration was held on 12 September 1918 for men age 18 through 45.

The first William would’ve been 52 in 1917, making him ineligible to register for military service in World War I.  Furthermore, the 1900 census sheet for William’s mother Sarah suggests that William had died some time before 1900 (see Jesse & Sarah Graham).  Thus, the man buried in Shady Grove Cemetery must be William Thomas Graham, the second son of John Henry Graham.


Ancestry.com:  United States Federal Census for 1880 and 1900;  World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917 – 1918.

US Army Center of Military History:  348th Regiment Lineage and Honors

Find A Grave: Memorial for William Graham.

Wikipedia:  Selective Service Act of 1917.

Photograph of the grave marker of William Graham, taken at Shady Grove Cemetery, Searcy County, Arkansas on Saturday, 4 June 2011, by Ashli Graham.

Oh, A King and His Ladies, Part 2: Mary Frances Graham

Mary Frances “Mollie” Graham was born circa June 1879 in Bear Creek Township, Searcy County, Arkansas to parents Jesse and Sarah Graham.

The 1880 census recorded Mary, age 1, living on a farm in Bear Creek with her parents and siblings William Graham, Eliza Ann Graham, and John Henry Graham.

No data is available for the 1890 census.

By 1896, Mary was involved with the young widower Otha Allen King, whose wife Mary Leming had died some time between 1894 and 1896.

King Mollie Graham Marriage DetailOn 28 August 1896, nineteen years old Otha paid for a bond of marriage, which Jack Henley signed as surety, to marry seventeen years old “Mollie” Graham, as her name was recorded by county clerk John R. Aday.  Both Otha and Mary’s residences were given as Watts, Arkansas.  Two days later, on 30 August 1896, Justice of the Peace J. W. Martin presided over the marriage.

In May 1897, Otha and Mary welcomed into the world their son Jessie King, who was apparently named after Mary’s father.

By 1899, the King family had moved to the Choctaw Nation in the Indian Territory.  Their second son, Edgar King, was born there in November 1899.

The 1900 census recorded the Kings living in Township 8, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory.  “Oather” King was 23, Mary was 21, Jessie was 3, and little Edgar was only six months old.

Otha King 1900 Census Detail

The evidence I have found suggests that shortly after the 1900 census a terrible tragedy befell the King family.  All three male members would die.  According to a source on RootsWeb, Otha and little Edgar were buried together in an unmarked grave, with Jessie buried in an unmarked grave beside them.  Could Indians have attacked?  Had there been an outbreak of some disease?

By 1903, the heartbroken Mary had returned alone to Arkansas.

On 16 November 1907, the Oklahoma Territory and the Indian Territory were combined to form the State of Oklahoma, the 46th state to enter the Union. Otha Allen King and his two sons are buried in what is now Palestine Cemetery in unincorporated Russellville, Pittsburg County, Oklahoma.  At some point a grave marker was erected, but it shows only Otha’s name.


How exactly did Otha and the boys die? In 1900, where was Otha’s daughter Paralee from his first marriage?

Bad Lemons

Due to the similarity in the names of Otha’s two wives, Mary Leming and Mary Graham are often confused in family trees I’ve seen on the Internet, sometimes even conflated into the same person under the name “Mary Lemons”, as that’s how Mary Leming was recorded on her marriage record. This series on Otha’s two wives proves that these were two separate women with similar names.


Ancestry.com:  United States Federal Census of 1880 and 1900.

Find A Grave:  Memorial for Otha A King

RootsWeb:  Leming by WMunroe Munroe;  James G. and Jesse King of NC & TN and Allied Families by Susan E. Young.

WikiPedia:  Oklahoma

The Many Wives of Patrick, Part 1: Rixey Ann Watson

On 8 June 1861, voters in Tennessee approved a referendum to secede from the United States of America to join the Confederacy, the last state to do so.

Upon the end of the Civil War, Tennessee was the first of the seceding states to have its elected members re-admitted to the United States Congress, on 24 July 1866.

In the Reconstruction Era that followed, John and Sarah Watson moved their family from Georgia to Polk County, Tennessee.

The 1870 census recorded that John and Sarah lived on a farm in the Fifth Civil District of Polk County.  They had seven children on the farm with them, as follows:

  • Arbizensy Watson, female, born circa 1854 in Georgia
  • Lucious Watson, male, born circa 1857 in Georgia
  • William H Watson, male, born circa 1859 in Georgia
  • Laura J Watson, female, born circa 1861 in Georgia
  • Elizabeth Watson, female, born circa 1863 in Georgia
  • Minerva (“Manurvy” on the census) Watson, female, born circa 1866 in Georgia
  • Rixey Ann Watson, female, born 7 March 1869 in Tennessee.

Lucious and William worked the farm with their father. Arbizensy had her occupation listed as “at home”, while the rest of the girls had none recorded. Arbizensy, Lucious and William had all attended school within the previous year, but none of the children could read or write.

By 1872, the family had moved to Arkansas, where son John Watson was born that year.

Another daughter, Florance Watson, was born circa 1877 in Arkansas.

The 1880 census recorded the family living on a farm in Archey Valley Township, Van Buren County, Arkansas.  Arbizensy had moved out, but John and Sarah still had the rest of the children with them.  It was recorded that Sarah and the children could neither read nor write, but that Laura and Rixey had attended school within the census year.

Patrick Bohannan First Marriage DetailBy 1886, sixteen years old Rixey Watson was involved with a nineteen years old man named Patrick Lyons Bohannon of Bear Creek Township in Searcy County, which bordered Van Buren to the north.  On 12 “Febry” 1886, Patrick paid a one hundred dollar bond for a marriage license, with C. B. Cotton signing as security.  Since C. B. Cotton was also a Justice of the Peace, he performed the marriage ceremony for Patrick and Rixey on 18 February 1886.  The marriage record was filed by M. Dampf, county clerk.

Circa 1887, Patrick and Rixey had their first child, a daughter named Sarah M Bohannon.

Unfortunately, there is no data from the 1890 census as it was destroyed in a fire in 1921.

On 31 December 1893, their daughter Sylvannia Bohannon was born.

Circa 1895, their son John Alexander Bohannon was born.

Rixey Ann Bohannon, née Watson, died on 17 October 1895 at the age of 26.  She was interred at Bear Creek Cemetery in Searcy County, Arkansas.

Patrick would eventually remarry.

Name Variations

Rixey’s name variations include:  “Rixey Watson” on the 1870 census;  “Rixy A Watson” on the 1880 census; “Rixey A Watson” on the marriage documents;  “Roxann Rixey Watson Bohannon” at Find A Grave.  Member trees on Ancestry have her listed variously as “Rixey Ann Watson”, “Roxanne Watson”, and “Roxy Watson”.  Since her middle initial was given as “A” on at least two sources, I suspect that the “Roxann” on her grave marker may be a conflation of “Rixey Ann”, so I have recorded her as Rixey Ann Watson in my own family tree.

Patrick was listed as “P.L. Bohannan” on the marriage documents. I took the middle name “Lyons” from various member trees on Ancestry, but I admit that I do not have a hard source for it.


I thought this was Graham Ancestry! What has this got to do with the Grahams?

Well, there is an indirect connection here.  Patrick and Rixey’s daughter Sylvannia Bohannon would marry James Madison Watts in 1912.  James was the son of James Newton Siler Watts and Eliza Ann Graham.

But there is a direct connection you’ll have to wait to see.


Ancestry.com:  United States Federal Census of 1870, 1880, and 1910;  California Death Index, 1940 – 1997 (for Sylvannia);  Social Security Death Index (for Sylvannia).

FamilySearch.org:  Arkansas County Marriages, 1837 – 1957.

Find A Grave:  Memorial for Roxann Rixey (Watson) Bohannon.

Wikipedia: Tennessee.

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!

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