Thursday, June 4, 2009

Brickwall Workshops by the Fairfax Genealogical Society

The Fairfax Genealogical Society will be doing a series of brickwall panels, starting with the September 2009 genealogy education class. Each Society member who wishes to take advantage of this opportunity is asked to submit a Brickwall Submission Form in which the brickwall problem is state as a simple question; this is followed by the basic details known and an outline of previous research done. Here is a copy of the form I have written up (using two previous blog posts on this subject):

Brickwall question: Who are the parents of Susan Elizabeth “Lizzie” Smith, wife of Hiram C. Brinlee, Jr.?

Name: Susan Elizabeth “Lizzie” Smith (maiden name from two of her four children’s death certificates).

Date of birth: 4 April, estimated year 1868 based on claimed age (23) on her 1 December 1891 marriage license with second husband Hiram Carroll Brinlee, Jr. and on 1910 census (41) and 1920 census (50). A family Bible is said to give 4 April 1856, but her last child was born in 1908. Older ages are also given on her death certificate (date of birth given as 4 April 1860 by her son Cecil Odell Brinlee), July 1958 obituary (98), and 1930 census (73). On her Confederate Widow’s Pension Application, dated 27 July 1925, she gives her age as 68, and this is consistent with the 73 on the 1930 census. However, there is a note written by Lizzie that is appended to the application (the date is September 10th, and the year as written could be 1929 or 1924) in which she writes: “i have lost my correct age i am somewhere in 60 i am not 75.”

Place of birth of Lizzie and her parents: All three censuses on which Lizzie is known to appear indicate that she was born in Tennessee; that state also appears on her death certificate and obituary, as well as on the death certificate of her son Lawrence. Knoxville County has been cited as the county in which she was born, but I do not know what the source for this is. The 1910 and 1920 censuses give North Carolina as the state of her parents’ birth; 1930 gives Tennessee.

Early life: A daughter-in-law said that Lizzie “was from Tennessee and had lived with a family that had taken her in to help work, where she washed dishes by standing on a bucket. Therefore, she had to have been fairly young.” This might indicate that she had been orphaned.

First marriage: Lizzie was said to have been married to a man named Bonner before she married Hiram Brinlee. The 1910 census indicates that she has been married more than once, and the 1930 census indicates that she was 17 at the time of her first marriage. Her name does appear to be “Bonner” on the marriage license (her name is given as Mrs. S. L. Bonner), although it looks as though “Brinlee” was entered first and “Bonner” was then written over it. If Lizzie was born in 1868 and got married at age 17, her marriage to Mr. Bonner would have taken place in around 1885-1886, possibly in Tennessee. Since Lizzie was in Oklahoma when she met Hiram Brinlee, she and Mr. Bonner may have come to Oklahoma for the land rush in 1889 and he may have died there.

Second marriage: Hiram Brinlee and Lizzie were married at White Bead Hill, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory; Lizzie’s residence is also listed as White Bead Hill on 3 December 1891.

US Federal Census information: Lizzie does not appear with Hiram on the 1900 census (Britton Twp., Oklahoma Co., Oklahoma Territory). Hiram is shown only with his son from his previous marriage, Louis, and a hired hand. Perhaps Lizzie and the children were living elsewhere, but so far I have not been able to find them. 1910 (4 May) – Justice Precinct 2, Hunt Co., Texas. 1920 (30 Jan) – Farris Twp., Atoka Co., Oklahoma. 1930 – Justice Precinct 3, Fannin Co., Texas (living with son Austin). Another possible address is provided on an envelope addressed to Hiram Brinlee at Davis, I. T. (current Garvin and Murray Counties) from William Nelson, Clerk of the Court of the Indian Territory, Ardmore, Indian Territory (the date is not legible, but this information may help date it).

Children: According to the 1910 census, Lizzie had given birth to 7 children, of whom 4 were still living. Those four were all Hiram’s children, but it is not clear if any or all of the remaining three were Hiram’s or Mr. Bonner’s children. The dates and places of birth for the four surviving children are: Lawrence Carroll – 29 Jan 1893 (String Town, Atoka, Oklahoma or, as reported on his WWI Draft Registration Card, Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma), Cordelia Lee – 8 Jan 1895 (Oklahoma), Austin Franklin – 6 Apr 1904 (Farmersville, Collin Co., Texas), and Cecil Odell – 23 Sep 1908 (Collin Co., Texas).

Other items giving clues to location: 27 July 1925: Lizzie files her Confederate Widow’s Pension application from Collin County, Texas. 10 Sep 1929: Lizzie writes a letter requesting assistance with her Pension application; the location is given as Leonard, Texas (Leonard is in Fannin County). The year of Hiram and Lizzie’s move to Texas from Oklahoma may have been 1902, as reported by Lizzie on her Confederate Widow’s Pension Application.

Death: Lizzie Brinlee died on 29 July 1958 in Plano, Collin County, Texas (she was living with her youngest son Cecil Odell Brinlee at that time). Her death certificate indicates her stay in Plano as “several years.” She is buried in Restland Memorial Park, Dallas, Texas.

Sources checked:

Certificates of Death of Lizzie and children Lawrence, Austin, and Cordelia
Obituary of Mrs. H. C. Brinlee from the Plano Star-Courier
1900-1930 US Federal Censuses
Marriage license with second husband, Hiram C. Brinlee
Certificate of marriage with second husband, Hiram C. Brinlee
Confederate Widow’s Pension Application
Still need to check: Social Security applications of sons Austin and Cecil Brinlee and death certificate of Cecil Brinlee

I am excited at the prospect of getting some pointers on working on this brickwall with some of the experts in the Fairfax Genealogical Society. I'll post what I learn here.

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