Saturday, July 19, 2014

Some Dooleys in St. Louis: Party and Recovery

Some e-mail I sent to family a few years back:

Hi, everyone.

It's a common goal in genealogy to trace your family history back just far enough to find a connection with the family tree of Charlemagne. I think that just about everyone with European ancestry is somehow tied to him, so if you can find the connection you can claim that you're related to royalty.

Well, here's the best I've come up with so far ...

Our Dooley ancestors came from Callan, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland to Dubuque, Iowa in the late 1830's. One branch of the family, the only that I know of with the name of Dooley, settled in Saint Louis around 1860. ... [Our parents] had Dooley 2nd cousins in St. Louis ... One of these Dooley cousins, Joseph, married Edmer Anheuser, a granddaughter to Eberhardt Anheuser, the original owner of what later became Anheuser Busch brewery. (By 1829, Joseph remarried, and I don't know what became of Edmer Anheuser.) So there's our link to American "royalty".

[Follow on e-mail:]

Hi, again.

This is so ironic, you may not believe it's true.

So, the other day I sent a message about how we're connected to Budweiser through Joseph Dooley, a cousin in St. Louis. Joseph had a twin brother, William, who married Cornelia Howe. Cornelia's father was the inventor of TUMS (the famous antacid)! William was the Secretary of Dr. Howe's company, the Lewis-Howe Company. So apparently the Dooleys were well prepared for both the party and the recovery.

Another interesting coincidence: The William & Cornelia Dooley house is now part of the Webster University campus (I think it houses the English Dept.). The Dooleys must have been living there when [private] went to school there (previously Webster College) in the early '40s. It was "The Dooley House" when the University bought it in about 1984, and has now been renamed Pearson house. The Howe house, next door, is now also owned by the University. These houses, and Webster U., are located in Webster Groves, near St. Louis.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Covington Family in Rhea co., Tenn. & Crawford co., Ark. 1800s

Rhea and Meigs Counties, 1840

I believe that our Covington family is descended from Richard Covington, born in about 1775. It's likely he himself was born further east, probably Virginia or one of the Carolinas, but census records indicate that all of his children were born in Tennessee, beginning before 1810.  The earliest record I have found so far is the 1840 US census, showing Richard, his wife, and twelve children living in Rhea County, Tennessee, in the southeast corner of the state.  Rhea County is located in the Tennessee River Valley, in the Appalachian Mountains. Two of their sons were married and lived nearby: John, also in Rhea County and William, across the Tennessee River in the newly formed Meigs County.


Cherokee Connection?

Indian Removal (graphic from Wikipedia)

The Covingtons were in this location probably as part of a natural westward expansion into fertile farmland along the Tennessee River. But perhaps there is a Cherokee connection.  In the late 1830s, the US government forced the Cherokee Nation to move from their territory to the Oklahoma Territory, their very difficult journey known as the Trail of Tears. (This was part of a broader displacement of the largest eastern tribes during the 1830s.) The Covington properties were just outside of the Cherokee territory in 1840. The Cherokee followed two routes, both beginning at the Tennessee River between Meigs and Rhea Counties. (Click on the graphic caption for a larger image.) By 1850, most of the family had moved to the Fort Smith, Arkansas area, which was near the other end of the Cherokee route and just across the border from the new Cherokee territory. Family history claims there was "Native American blood" in the Covington family.  I have not found any records showing Native Americans in the family, but records are sparse. I wonder if the Covingtons were just a family in a westward expansion, or whether they had family in the Indian Territories.

Crawford County region, from 1850

I'm guessing that Richard and his wife passed away in the early 1840s.  In 1841, three of the kids were married in Rhea co.: Sarah and Anna married Silas and Thomas Conley (brothers?) on August 17th, and Jackson married Rebecca Smith in December. By 1850, William, John, James "Mat", Lorenzo, Rebecca, Gregsby and Richard, i.e., half of Richard's kids, were all in Richland township, in Crawford county, Arkansas. Crawford county was on the western edge of Arkansas, bordering the (Oklahoma) Indian Territory. Jackson and Anna (Conley) were back in Rhea co. I haven't found the other five.  By 1860, Jackson, Rufus and Louis join Mat in Crawford county, in Mountain township, bringing to 10 of 14 kids that came through Crawford co..  The remaining four are Sarah and Anna Conley and Richard's oldest son and daughter, that I have not been able to identify.  As the 12 known families continued to spread out, I lost track of most of them.  From census and marriage records I assembled the following Covington family tree:

(If you're in the OurFamilyForest family but don't know how you'r related to these folks, click on the genealogy link to our family tree on the right side of this blog, type in the name of your nearest deceased family member [father, grandfather, etc.] [last name, first name], click on the "list" button, click on your relative, then select the pedigree tab.  One of the branches of your tree should be a Covington.  If this doesn't work for you, contact me.)

Accuracy of the Covington Family Tree

Census records contain all sorts of errors, including ages, places of birth, and name spellings, the 1840 enumeration does not include names of those counted, and relationships are not shown prior to 1880.  There are very few vital records (at least available through to support (or refute) the guesses I've made.  So there is plenty of opportunity for errors in the above family tree.  However, given the proximity of these Covingtons to each other in the towns where they were located in 1840, 1850 and 1860, assuming only making reasonable assumptions based on their ages, and matching ages with the 1840 data, the Richard Covington family tree I've assembled is a very reasonable estimate. As more evidence becomes available, I will modify the tree as appropriate.  (If you have any data that either supports or refutes some part of the family tree, please contact me or leave a comment.)

Family Names

It was common in the South to name children after prominent people.  The Covingtons include an Andrew Jackson, Lorenzo Dow, James Madison, and Martin Van Buren.  Presumably, these namesakes represented values important to the Covington family.  At the time of Andrew Jackson Covington's birth in about 1820, Andrew Jackson was a war hero for his victories against the Creek Indians and the British in the War of 1812 and victories over the Seminole and Creek Indians in The First Seminole War in 1818, subsequently was responsible for taking Florida from the Spanish, was a very successful planter and merchant, had been Tennessee's first US Representative in 1796, and owned about 40 slaves. He was a Tennessee hero long before his election to two terms as US President in 1828 and 1832. (Note that Jackson's battles with the Creek and Seminole Indians does not mean he was "anti-Indian".  In other battles he was allied with Creek, Choctaw and Cherokee Indians, and two of his three adopted children were Native Americans.) Lorenzo Dow Covington was born in about 1827, near the end of a 30 year tenure of the very popular traveling preacher after whom he was named, Lorenzo Dow.  Dow was eccentric but eloquent, often shouting, insulting, and telling jokes. Very unconventional in the conservative religious services of the time.  He travelled throughout the United States, on foot, "did not practice personal hygiene", carried only the clothes on his back and a box of Bibles to give away.  He was a fierce abolitionist, often making him unpopular in the South. There are several Lorenzo Dow Covingtons, probably indicating their profound admiration, and may indicate the Covingtons were anti-slavery.  James Madison served two terms as President, from 1809-1817. He, too, was a slave owner.  Not being an historian, it is not clear to me why Madison would be a popular choice for naming children, other than that he was President at the time.  He tried to use the US Army to protect Indian lands against encroachment by settlers.  If the Covingtons had ties to the Cherokee near whom they lived in the 1830s, this may have endeared Madison to them. Martin Van Buren Covington was one of Richard Covington's grandchildren, and was born near Van Buren, Arkansas in 1839, right in the middle of Martin Van Buren's single term as President of the United States, so his name probably has more to do with circumstance than admiration.  Van Buren was anti-slavery, though opposing abolition. I believe it was common in the South for people to be anti-slavery as immoral, but against Federal abolition of slavery as an encroachment on States' rights, so Van Buren's position may have resonated with many in the South.

1860 Murder in Van Buren

On Saturday, October 13 1860, the town of Van Buren had been "called out to muster".  I'm not sure whether this was a regular town militia training, or whether is was a recruitment day for the US Army.  For a little historical context, Abraham Lincoln was elected with only 40% of the popular vote the following month, and in December southern states began seceding from the United States, including Arkansas in May of the following year.  There was heated debate over the issues of slavery and States' rights and many European-Americans in Arkansas were probably upset that there was apparently so much open land just across the river in the Oklahoma Indian Territories, but that they could not settle on it. In the early evening of October 13, 1860, two local troublemakers, brothers Ben and Silas Edwards, shot and stabbed to death Andrew Jackson Covington, then his 17 year old son, Richard, who tried to intervene, and then his brother, Rufus.  The reason was allegedly some combination of troublemakers and a family feud.  The Edwards brothers were caught and jailed, and one of them was shot by an angry group of Covington family and friends who tried to intercept the arresting officers. From an Edwards genealogy, I know that neither of the Edwards brothers died that day, but I do not yet know what happened following the murder. (If you have access to the compilation of newspaper article published in Van Buren Press: 1859-62 Volume 1, I"m very interested in learning the rest of this story.)  The families of Jackson and Rufus may have been split up following their deaths.  I can't find Jackson's family in 1870; I found two of Rufus' kids living with another family.

Fort Smith

Fort Smith, just a few miles from Van Buren, was on the Arkansas-Indian Territories border, was/is the second largest town in the state, and had a reputation for a very tough, "wild west" town.  Often death certificates of Covingtons who had moved away will show Fort Smith as a birthplace, because when asked while living they undoubtedly said they were from near Fort Smith, an easily recognizable place.

My Covingtons: On to Texas and Indian Territories

My own Covington family descended from James "Mat" Covington, and his oldest son, John.  He married Mary McLaughlin in Crawford co. in 1873, where Sarah, their oldest daughter was born the following year, then moved to join his father's family in Denton co., Texas in about 1875.  Both families were there in 1880.  John died in 1900 and was buried in Lehigh in the Pushmataha District of the Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory, later Lehigh, Coal co., Oklahoma.  (A booming town in the early 1900s and later as a coal mining town, but since the Depression has become nearly a ghost town.) I don't know what became of James and Winnie Covington's family.  They scattered in the 20 years between the 1880 and 1900 censuses.  I have picked up the trail of John and Mary's family (which is what led me back to the Covington's in Arkansas and Tennessee in the first place).

Unanswered questions

1) What is the Kuykendall-Covington connection?  I know of two marriages(John C. to Sarah K. in Franklin co., Arkansas in 1872, and Lorenzo Dow C. to Parthena K. in 1881 in Crawford co., Arkansas) but there are multiple instances well prior to that of Covington kids living with Kuykendalls and of Covington and Kuykendall neighbors in various places.
2) The Van Buren murders:  What happened to the Edwards brothers? What was the feud about? What became of Jackson and Rufus' families? Where are Jackson and Rufus buried?
3) Where were Richard & family before 1840 (children's births indicate Tennessee since at least 1810, but can't find in census)?  Where did they go after 1860?
4) Strays that might link to previous marriages: Who was 9 year old Jasper Brown, living with Lorenzo and Eliza Covington in 1850 and 1860 in Richland? Who was John Hardin, living with this same family in 1860? Who was 5 year old Richard Loyd, living with William and Mary in Richland in 1850?
5) James "Mat" Covington was married to Martha in 1850 and 1860, but Winnie in 1870 and 1880.  Were they the same person, or did James remarry?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Covington Murders, October 1860, Van Buren, Arkansas

VAN BUREN PRESS, Oct __, 1860


     Mr. Duxmaw (?)--- Sir: I deem it a duty --- being an eye-witness --- to give you an outline of the dreadful affair that occurred last Saturday, the 13th of October, the terror of which will long remain in the minds of those who witnessed it, and one that will stain the reputation of our long peaceable city. And the blood of the murdered men will stain the streets and pavements of her terra firma for many days and weeks; it has been already four or five days since the horrible crime was committed, and the blood is still to be seen spread over the streets and pavements --- "The blood of murdered men shall rise." What horrid spectacle to see three mudered men lying in a pile --- two brothers and a son --- murdered by the villainous hands of two brothers who have always been a pest and terror to the whole country ever since they arrived at the age of 15 years, and who have already cost our county twelve or fifteen thousand, and who been running at large sometime without notice. But on Saturday I suppose they thought they would bring themselves into notice by killing three good citezens by the name of COVINGTON, it being a public day, and everybody was called out to muster, as it was the regular day appointed for that occassion. There was quite a large number of people in attendance, and the day passed off with peace and quiet up to the hour of the killing, which was about five O'clock in the evening, when the fight was commenced by one BENJAMIN EDWARDS, who draw a gun and shot JACKSON COVINGTON, and then ran upon him and knocked him in the head with his gun; but while he was accomplishing this horrible deed, his brother SILAS stabbed COVINGTON's son, who ran up to protect and save his father, but alas, he was too late. He was stabbed and killed by that notorious villain, SILAS EDWARDS, and then, after accomplishing that wilful deed, he ran up to where the young man's father lay, and thrust his large bowie knife into him three or four times, as though he was killing a wild beast of the forest. He then ran across and came into contact with RUFUS COVINGTON, who met him with hands only, and would, had there been no intereference from any other source, saved his life, but he was knocked in the head with rocks, by some two persons, but I do not know who, and then the said villain rose and stabbed him two or three times, killing him almost instantly. The two EDWARDS then made for their escape, but were pursued by our energetic officers and brought back and lodged in jail, where they will remain until the next term of Circut Court, when it is to be hoped they will be dealt with according to law.
     This, Sir, is about as an impartial view of the affair as I can give. Although an eye-witness, there were many things done that I could not correctly memorize, I therefore give this statement as near as I can without doing injustice to either party.            An Eye-witness

{Same paper as above - right under above story}
Van Buren, Oct. 15, 1860
     After the arrest of the muderers, an attempt was made by the excited populace to take from the officers and hang them without trial. But by the determined will and strenuous efforts of the officers having them in charge, they were got to jail. On Tuesday, the two EDWARDS were brought before JUSTICE HATTAWAY for examination under guard of twenty-five men to protect them. By advice of council, they waved an examination, and were ordered back to jail. On their way back, when within about forty yards of the jail, two brothers of the murdered men armed guns brought them all to a stand; the guards, seeing their determination to fire, gave way when one fired and brought them to the ground, and the other firing directly after. The younger EDWARDS was shot in the body and arm, the other through the thigh and arm; neither of them were mortally wounded, and up to our going to press are recovering slowly.
     Our advice to all parties interested is to let the law take its course. See if there not a remedy there; if not, it will then be time enough for the people to take the law into their own hands. We think there is a remedy, and we trust that no good citezen will give countance to any act that will bring disgrace upon our city, and place a stain upon our fair name, that time will never efface; but give to the officers of the county a cordial and ready support in the maintenance of law and order.

Oct 26, 1860
Benjamin Edwards that was committed to jail for shooting and killing in connection with his brother, the three Covingtons, and who was shot by other brothers of the murdered men, on the day of examination died from his wounds on Sunday night last.  He leaves a wife and infant child.  Silas Edwards is considered in no danger at all, his wounds being but slight.

Nov 30, 1860
Silas Edwards, charged with killing the Covingtons, has had an examination before R C Hattaway, ESQ. and committed fully for murder.

New Albany Daily Tribune
Tuesday, October 16, 1860, New Albany, Indiana
 A dispatch from Van Buren, Ark; dated the 13th says:—
After a regimental muster which was held here to-day, three men, named Ruftis and Jackson Covington, brothers, and Richard, a son ot the latter, were killed by two brothers named Silas and Ben Edwards. Several others were badly cut and otherwise injured on both sides. An old feud existed between the parties, but the Edwards', who have long been the terror of this part of the State, are the aggressors. While trying to make their escape they were overtaken a short distance from town by the constable and his posse and lodged in the jail.
   A large crowd nearly succeeded in taking the prisoners from the constable and hanging them upon the streets, and afterwards surrounded the jail for that purpose but were finally pacified.  The people are much excited and it is feared that the prisoners will yet be lynched. It is the most atrocious affair that ever was known here.

Found on Google Books:
History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas: From the Earliest Time to the Present, Including a Department Devoted to the Preservation of Sundry Personal, Business, Professional and Private Records ; Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Etc., Etc (Livre numérique Google)
Higginson Book Company, 1889 - 1382 pages
On October 13, 1860, a muster day, Benjamin and Silas Edwards were the murderers of Jackson Covington and his son, and Rufus Covington, at Van Buren. It was some feudal trouble; Benjamin stabbed Jackson Covington, and Silas stabbed his son, and then made for Rufus and stabbed him, leaving the three dead bodies in a pile. The Edwards were imprisoned, and when brought out for trial, and witnesses not being ready, they were being taken out of the court-yard gate, the infuriated mob shot at them and killed one and wounded the other. He was imprisoned, but later on burned his way out of jail with a candle and escaped.

Questions: What was the feud? What happened to the families of Rufus and Jackson?  Where are the Covington brothers buried?