Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lizzie Smith Timeline

The following is the timeline I will be using to find local resources (newspapers, court records, etc.) for researching my #1 brick wall, Susan Elizabeth "Lizzie" Smith Bonner Brinlee. I hope to obtain additional information so that I can "tweak" it a bit, but these are the basic outlines:

4 April 1868: Birth of Susan Elizabeth “Lizzie” Smith in Tennessee (state from US Federal Censuses 1910, 1920, 1930 and Susan E. Brinlee’s Widow’s Application for Confederate Pension, day and month by hearsay from family Bible, now believed to have been burned, and year based on age reported on marriage license of H. C. Brinlee and Mrs. S. L. Bonner).

1885/1886: According to the 1930 census, Lizzie first married at the age of 17; I would guess this happened in Tennessee. [According to Tennessee marriage records, a W. T. Banner married a Lizzie Smith in October 1886 in McMinn County, Tennessee.]

3 December 1891: Lizzie marries Hiram Carroll Brinlee, Jr., in White Bead Hill, Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma.

29 January 1893: Son Lawrence Carroll Brinlee born in String Town, Atoka, Oklahoma (Paul’s Valley is given as his place of birth on his WWI Draft Registration Card).

8 June 1895: Daughter Cordelia Lee “Cordie” Brinlee born in Oklahoma.

25 June 1900: Hiram appears on the 1900 US Federal Census for Britton Township, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma Territory; Lizzie and the children may be living with him.

1902: The year Hiram and Lizzie may have moved from Oklahoma to Texas, as reported by Lizzie on her Confederate Widow’s Pension Application.

6 April 1904: Son Austin Franklin Brinlee born in Farmersville, Collin County, Texas.

23 September 1908: Son Cecil Odell Brinlee born in Collin County, Texas.

4 May 1910: Hiram and Lizzie appear on the US Federal Census for Justice Precinct 2, Hunt County, Texas.

22 August 1913: Hiram Brinlee files Confederate Soldier’s Application for a Pension in Grayson County, Texas.

30 January 1920: Hiram and Lizzie appear on the US Federal Census for Farris, Atoka Co., Oklahoma. Hiram had died on 20 January, but the census-taker must have been following the instructions, which indicated that “individuals alive on 1 January but deceased when the enumerator arrived were to be counted.”

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).

21 April 1930: Lizzie appears on the US Federal Census living with her son Austin in Fannin County, Texas.

29 July 1958: Lizzie dies in Plano, Collin County, Texas. She apparently had lived for some years with her youngest son, Cecil Odell, who signed the application for her mortuary warrant and her death certificate. Her death certificate indicates her stay in Plano as “several years.”


  1. Did you ever find her in the 1900 census? If you could find her, that would at least give you a month and year of birth. I found Hiram in 1900 and it's odd that she's not listed in the household with her husband even though he lists himself as married.

  2. Thanks for taking an interest in my brick wall. I have not been able to find her and the two children born by then (Lawrence and Cordie), and I'm almost positive that they were living with Hiram but not counted. Here's the scenario I see: Hiram, son Louis, and the hired hand are outside working. Census worker comes. They give him their own information, but figure he doesn't need to know about the rest of the family and simply blow him off. That would be such a Brinlee thing to do.

  3. That is a very likely scenario. Is it possible she was visiting with family/friends within a few county radius at the time the census was taken?

    I have a set of ancestors who in 1900 were obviously living apart. She is listed as a widow and I've never found him in 1900. In 1910 she's listed again as a widow and he as married and they are clearly in separate households 4 counties apart. I'm assuming from the stigma of separation or abandonment, she listed herself as widowed. I thought that might have been the case here but your couple went on to have more children and are together in the 1910 census.

    Have you found an obit for her?

  4. Tracy,

    Once again, thank you so much for taking an interest in "my Lizzie." I have done quite a bit of searching on the 1900 census (using various spellings of names, combinations of states of birth with ages, etc.), but have not yet done a complete review of all the neighboring families. I do have an obituary (as well as death certificate) for Lizzie, but it lists what I believe is an incorrect year for her birth - 1860. Her year of birth seems to have moved back as she got older, sort of the opposite of what we usually see.

    That divorce thing can appear in really strange ways on the census. You never know when a widow might actually be a divorcee. I was only able to find one great-great aunt after another researcher informed me that this aunt had taken back her maiden name for herself and for her children after divorcing her husband; no wonder I hadn't been able to find them! Then there were a couple who had divorced, each taking one child, but she listed herself as a widow, so at first I thought the other child had died, but the ex-husband and other child were still living in the same county. Don't you just love "family dynamics"?

  5. Hello Greta:

    How are you? I have some good news for you. I called Edna Brinlee a few minutes ago. We were talking about the Brinlee,as usual. I asked if they have any pictures of your grandfather Lawrence Carrol Brinlee? Edna and George said they do. They also have a picture of Cordelia Lee Brinlee-Clinton. George will send them to me by email in a few days. I said that you had been looking for sometime.

    When I receive them, I will email them to you. I do not know at what age or year they were made.