Visit to the genealogy library of Hopkins County TX. Notes on Elias Tidwell Myers (1821 – 1902)

The big genealogist in my family, prior to my uncle Thomas, was Wilbur Thomas Myers. A cousin of mine mentioned he left his genealogy notes to the Hopkins County Genealogical Society of Sulphur Springs TX, and so I visited there just recently. I was hoping I could find some things that would add to my understanding of the Texas Myers, and I did. It also enhanced what I knew about what Wilbur knew, and it allows me to make more sense of this man’s notes.

The first two things to share are excerpts from a book dated 1909.

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I suspect that the Captain’s title is honorary, but all that said, the text adds a lot to my understanding of Elias. It gives times, shows that he arrives in Texas a lot wealthier than say, William Myers Jr. He arrives after Texas is a state, and later gets a land grant from the state of Texas on the order of 640 acres.

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The final photo I wish to show gives what Wilbur thought was the path through the US of Charles Myers, and later Elias. Note he completely skips Greene County TN. In this telling he goes from PA to Giles County. Later I’m sure he becomes aware of Greene County, but far too late to change this essential story. Wilbur Thomas Myers passed away in 1998, two years before the opening of the T Elmer Cox library in Greene County.

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The correspondence of Thomas Myers and Wilbur Thomas Myers

My cousin Marsha sent me seven letters from Wilbur Thomas Myers to Thomas Myers, my uncle, these letters covering a period between 1992 or so through 1997.  In the initial letter, Wilbur mentions he had been doing this since 1936, and had, by his accounting,

I have traveled tens of thousands of miles and spent in excess of $200,000.00 in trying to tie the end together.

Initially they knew there were a pair of Charles, and over time, it became clear to them both that “our” Charles was the one who had married Rebecca Williams. The other Charles had married Holly Hill. They were confused by the various correspondences, but noted that Elias Tidwell Myers had a son named William Henry Myers, and that Charles Jr had a son named William Myers. That said, they got the middle name wrong. Charles Jr’s son was William Hill Myers.

They then seemed to miss that this suggested that Charles Sr was an uncle of Charles Jr. All that said, the juxtaposition meant that they came awfully close to what is a very plausible theory.

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In this period of time, the T Elmer Cox library didn’t exist, so they couldn’t use the Greene County resource the way later researchers, such as Wayne Myers, could. That they never were able to get at William Myers Sr seems a pity to me. They were very very very close.

Greeneville TN visit number two. Some conclusions.

I decided to make a quick dash to Greeneville on a Saturday, to make sure I could clear up some loose ends. The agenda list was as follows:

  1. Photo of Charles Myers Sr being made administrator.
  2. Nancy Carter Will. Did she sign it?
  3. William Myers Nancy Carter marriage deed.
  4. 1805 tax rolls. George Moyers in same district as the Williams?
  5. 1798-1800 Charles Myers Sr apprenticeship.
  6. Conrad Girdner obit. A photo
  7. John Myers land sales 1802-1806.

Some things were missed. The 1805 data, the T Elmer Cox librarian told me, was not provided by them, but by a third party online who claimed to be them. They didn’t have the originals. We could not find evidence of apprenticeship in the 1798-1800 time frame. We did not find the Nancy Carter will in the time we looked. I did take a photo of the Conrad Girdner obit but lost the data when I tried to rotate the image while still on the camera. It was a mistake I’ll not make again.

I found that deeds are on microfilm/fiche and thus have to be printed from the microfilm, using a combination printer/photocopier. That’s the form I have a 1805 deed by John Myers in.

The photo of the original assignment of administrator to the William Myers Jr estate does not mention Charles Jr or Sr, just Charles Myers.

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The document confirms that William Myers Jr died without a will. Photos I have of the estate sale have it signed by Charles Myers Jr

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These things are important details as the tax rolls do not distinguish between Charles Myers, the owner of 19 acres of land in 1815, and Charles Myers, administrator of the William Myers Jr estate. Yet they distinguish between William Myers Jr and Sr.

Some things do not go away. While Charles Myers Jr buys a lot of items from William Myers Jr, Charles Myers Sr buys just a few items. Four I recall are a drawing knife, an oven with lid, a crock full of fat and a spelling book. The spelling book sticks out because by this time, Charles Myers Sr’s first daughter would be around three years old. Also around this time, Charles Myers Sr is made the guardian of Elizabeth Myers, so we have solid evidence that he’s in Greene County in 1815, and close to the Cove Creek Myers. The other three guardians were Solomon Wilhoite, John Cook Sr, and Charles Myers Jr.

We looked at signatures of William Myers Sr, and the conclusion we drew is that people must be signing for him, as his signature is different every time we look at it. The y umlaut of the Barnabas Gable marriage deed is not duplicated anywhere else.

The John Myers sale is interesting. The 235 acres of land he sells are adjacent to the Girdners on one end and to the Parmans on another. Conrad Girdner mentions a widow Parman in his obit.

I’m trying to figure out why Wayne Myers assigned the administrator to Charles Sr. My only guess would be the absence of any identifier after the name. If you look further down the image, A Fredrick Myers passes and his wife is made administrator, and the document explicitly names her as his wife. Perhaps Wayne reasoned that if Charles Myers Jr was made administrator, that his status as first born son of William would have been mentioned.

Charles Myers Sr, Charles Myers Jr, and the 1830 US Census

In 1830, doing a US Census search on Ancestry, you can’t find Charles Myers Sr, but you can find Charles Marwer. Looking at the actual census page, it’s easy to see that Charles Marwer is actually Charles Myers Sr. Further down the page, you can also see Charles Myers Jr, though his name has been butchered in ways I can’t entirely figure out.

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On the image above, Charles Myers Jr is the lowest of the rows, while Charles Sr is about third from the top. There are three women with Jr, and while we know the name of the son, (William Hill Myers, buried in Cass County along with Jr and Sr), I do not know the name of Charles’s three daughters.

Of the two men with Charles Sr, the younger is Elias, and the older is undoubtedly an apprentice.

Y111 results. The meaning of laborer in the 1772 tax rolls.

Both Rayedene Graves, who manages Artie Myers DNA samples, and I extended our YDNA STR markers to 111 markers, and the results are that we match each other to 107/111 markers. We both match to Ross in 107/111 markers. The ftDNA TIP calculator can get us some indication of how close we are. To make things simple, I’ll note that the odds for being William Myers Sr’s son or grandson is somewhere between 44 and 52% and the odds of being his first cousin once removed, or closer, is between 74 and 79%. This is closer than the 50% per first 4 possible matches we were assuming before. If I recall right, the odds that John Myers b 1742 is Charles Sr’s father is about 30%, that being his father’s brother or closer is 60%, and that being the father’s first cousin or thereabouts is also in the 70s. This is a fairly closely knit group.

At this point, I suspect that both John Myers b 1742 and William Sr come from Germany, perhaps on the same boat and as part of the same group. Again, they could have come separately, but both would have been minors during the peak of German immigration and likely bound (indentured) after arrival, to pay for the trip.

The book “Beyond Philadelphia” has a section on the Lehigh Valley, which discusses the 1772 tax rolls in Northampton. They note that the occupation lab’r is most likely a farm hand. This now leads to the question of who in Tennessee (or perhaps Philadelphia, if Charles was the son of a cousin that stayed behind) trained Charles in smithing. I notice a number of apprenticeships were starting at the ages of 9 and 11 in those days, so looking in the Greene County minutes during the time span 1798-1800 would not hurt.

Charles Myers 1789-1857. The “Out of Northampton” hypothesis.

This is the idea that Charles Myers (1789-1857) is born in Northampton County Pa to someone related to Captain William Myers (1735-1823), and that he comes down to Greene County TN along with the rapid migration of Myers into the region. It does not require that William Sr fathers Charles, though in some ways that makes the idea the easiest to assume.  One of the reasons this blog has been pursuing narrowing the gap between PA and TN is that it makes it easier to understand where Charles may be, and at what time.

Tax roll data from the Easton PA genealogical library places the time that William Sr leaves to between 1792 and 1794. Oral testimony by John Myers’s widow places their time of departure to 1790. The internet story ‘Conrad Girdner obit‘, places the time of departure of a Myers married to a Girdner to 1792. Barnabas Myers is born in TN in 1795. Elizabeth Kocher, William’s grand daughter, marries in 1795 in Greene Co TN.

This hypothesis makes some things easier. The appearance of Charles Myers in TN is no longer an unexplained mystery. His family takes him into TN. Other elements of the story become harder to research.  Oral testimony by George Myers makes it clear that the Myers didn’t have church weddings performed.  Now church studies by the Easton library are ongoing but nothing has been returned yet. People don’t even know the name of Cap William Myers’s spouse before his marriage to Nancy Carter in 1800.  And children, for the most part, don’t exist in records so long as they are cared for. Only if they inherit property do they end up in court records, as courts assign guardians to them.

Let me point out that this whole idea is not new, that Wayne Myers was talking about this at least 15 years ago.  The new element is DNA evidence that Charles Myers Sr is related to George Myers and William Sr.

So, where to look? I would suggest looking at Greene Co court records in the 1803-1805 time frame, to see if Charles Myers formally requests apprenticeship. I think the end of Charles’s stay in Green Co needs to be documented. The first time I can locate Charles Sr in Giles County is the 1820 federal census. The second part of his journey needs to be better elucidated.