52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #32 – Rachel Buckner née Lindsey

What I know about my 3rd great-grandmother, Rachel Lindsey Buckner, is based on three documents plus what I can extrapolate from research on the areas in which she lived as well as documentation on her husband and children.

An 1850 Blount County, Alabama census [1] listed her within the household of John Buckner. Because relationships were not identified in census records until 1880, individuals living in the same household need more supportive documentation to verify what, if any, relationship they may have had to one another, although placement within the household sometimes is a possible identifier of relationships since the enumerators usually recorded them based on relationship and age.1850The order of names and the ages does suggest a family unit of a husband and wife, ages 54 and 53, and children listed in descending order by age. This record would indicate Rachel was born in North Carolina about 1797. The record lists the names of eight probable children of John and Rachel with the first listed child being a daughter name Rachel who was born in Tennessee about 1826 with four more children born in Tennessee through about 1834. Then, in about 1836, a female child whose name is not very clearly written [through other records, the name was discovered to be Angelina] was born in Alabama, as were the next two children. One other item about Rachel – the tic mark on the right indicates she did not read or write.

In the Heritage of Blount County 1989 [2], there was a brief mention of John Buckner and his family that stated, in reference to the Allgood Community of Blount County, Alabama, “Johnnie Buckner was one of the original settlers. All the Buckners in this part of the state are descendants.” Marriage records and census records for that area, cross-referenced with the gender/age tic marks from an 1830 and 1840 census [an 1820 census has not been located] allowed me to add additional children to the list above: Emmalisa [1818], Elizabeth [1819], Nancy [1821] and William [1824], all born in Tennessee. An obituary for Emmalissa Ellis confirmed her relationship to John and Rachel as well as providing county of residence for the family at the time of her birth in 1818: “Emmalissa Ellis w/o Rev. Jeremiah Ellis, local preacher, MECG, and d/o John and Rachel Buckner, born Sevier Co., Tenn. 1818; died near Fayette Court House, Ala. May 29, 1872; joined MEC at age 15.” [3]

1860 census records for Fayette County, Alabama [4] showed the majority of the Buckner family had made a move. It is also the last record I have found for Rachel.  In this record, the enumerator recorded Rachel’s birth location as Tennessee, which raises questions about the validity of the North Carolina location listed in the 1850 census, although I tend toward the North Carolina location since adding a different state likely took specific information whereas ditto marks seem more prone to error, in my mind. The birth ages for both John and Rachel are slightly different than what was given for the 1850 census: 1796/1797 versus 1800/1802; the names of the last three children from the 1850 census are the same as the last three children for the 1860 census as well as the Tennessee/Alabama birth locations [except for Rachel’s].1860

By the 1870 census, John had a different wife, supportable by an 1862 marriage record; Rachel’s death is presumed, sometime between June 1, 1860 and October 1862. The marriage record was in Blount County so the death location could have been in Fayette County or Blount County, or perhaps anywhere along the route. I have not found a death record or burial record of any kind.

John’s obituary provided evidence for Rachel’s maiden name of Lindsy/Lindsey: “JOHN BUCKNER born east Tenn., Oct. 12, 1798; married Rachel Lindsy, 1818; about 1836 moved to Blount Co., Ala.; died Dec. 16, 1876. He left a large family.” [5]

None of my searches thus far have provided any clue or insight into who Rachel’s parents might have been or a county or state in which to search. John and Rachel had twelve known children, including my great-great-grandfather, John Buckner.



1. U.S. Federal Population Census, 1850; Census Place: Subdivision 18, Blount, Alabama; Roll: M432_2; Page: 93A; Image: 190

2. Reunion Edition of Heritage of Blount County 1989, Blount County Historical Society, 1989, p. 31.

3. Genealogical Abstracts from Reported Deaths, The Nashville Christian Advocate; 9 Nov 1872, online transcription. [The Nashville Christian Advocate was a publication of the Methodist Episcopal Church.]

4. U.S. Federal Population Census, 1860; Census Place: Middle Division, Fayette, Alabama; Roll: M653_9; Page: 447; Image: 453; Family History Library Film: 803009

5. Genealogical Abstracts from Reported Deaths, The Nashville Christian Advocate; 16 Jun 1877, online transcription.


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #30 – John Buckner, Sr.

What I know about my 3rd great-grandfather, John Buckner, Sr., is limited, as is the case for most of my ancestors born in the 1700s. I found an obituary for John in the June 16, 1877 edition of the Nashville Christian Advocate. It was brief but gave some much wanted details:

“JOHN BUCKNER born east Tenn., Oct. 12, 1798, married Rachel Lindsy, 1818; about 1836 moved to Blount Co., Ala; died Dec. 16, 1876. He left a large family.”

Although that information provides the beginning and ending and even 3 brief pieces of information about everything between 1798 and 1876 [he married, he moved, he bore children], it’s still pretty limited. So, what else have I been able to discover about him?

The earliest Buckner record I found for a John Buckner in east Tennessee is for 1830 and there are two Buckners listed: John and what is likely a brother, Thomas, since they are neighbors and similar in age. There are no other Buckners in any of the surrounding pages and no Lindseys or any other surnames that have been proposed as possible parents for either John or Rachel Lindsey. An 1872 obituary for the oldest daughter, EmmaLisa, stated she was born in Sevier County, Tennessee [which is in east Tennessee] in 1818 and so finding John Buckner in the 1830 Sevier County census was reasonably expected. The ages of the household members for John generally fit the known children in the family [males on the left and females on the right]: William (1824), John (1798), EmmaLisa (1818), Elizabeth (1819), Nancy (1821), Rachel (1826). Martha (1828) and Rachel (1797). 1830 CensusSupporting the information from the obituary, an 1840 census for Blount County, Alabama has the John Buckner family enumerated in that county. The ages of the children, again, are generally appropriate for the known children in the family – males [right to left] William (1824), John (1832), Thomas (1833) and Jessie (1839) and females [right to left] Elizabeth (1819), Nancy (1821), Rachel (1826), Martha (1828), Mary Ann ‘Polly’ (1830), and Angelina (1836). 1840 censusThe 1850 census for Blount County finally gave names and ages of the household members; of course, several of the older children were already married and living in their own households. Two more children were added in the decade: Jesse Wilson (1841) and Levi (1842). New pieces of information include the North Carolina birth location for Rachel Lindsey Buckner and the birth location for Angelina supporting the move to Alabama in 1836. 1850 censusAn 1855 state census and an 1857 land patent indicate John and his family were still in Blount County up to that point, while the 1860 census showed showed a move to Fayette County, Alabama. The three youngest children were still living in the household but several of their children had also moved with their families, including my 2nd great-grandparents, their son, John Buckner, Jr. The tick marks to the far right indicate neither John nor Rachel could read or write. 1860 census Although no details have emerged, John’s wife, Rachel, must have died in Fayette County some time after this census was taken. John, Thomas, Jesse and Levi all joined the Confederate Army; Jesse got sick and died in June 1862 and John after marching to Tennessee got sick and died in September 1862. John, Sr. moved back to Blount County where he married Mrs. Mary Savage nee Golden on October 26, 1862.

John and Mary had five children together: C.J. Ransada (1863), James (1865), Sarah Ann (1868), Barnett (1871) and Alfred [or Abel] Pierce (1875). As stated in his obituary, John died December 16, 1876. I have not yet found where he was buried.


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.





52 Ancestors #10 – John Buckner

John Buckner was my second great-grandfather – my father’s paternal grandmother’s father. My daddy would have known three out of four of his grandparents, but his paternal grandmother died about twenty years before he was born and her father had died when she was about 6. What that means is we don’t have any knowledge of him other than the brief paper trail he left.

That brief paper trail to date only includes a marriage record, an 1850 and 1860 census record and a few Civil War muster cards. Not a lot to go on, including no middle name or initial. Although he was apparently John Buckner, Jr., no record for either father or son lists a middle name or initial. I don’t know if that means there was none or just that no surviving paper trail lists it.

The 1850 census page for John Buckner in what is presumably the household of his parents and siblings in Blount County, Alabama; it only lists his name and an approximate time and place of his birth. 1850 censusJohn is in the center of the family unit. His age of 18 would approximate his birth year as 1832 and, according to the ditto marks from above, in Tennessee. Although relationships are not noted, it is assumed there is a relationship and that his father’s name was also John who was born in Tennessee and his mother was Rachel who was born in North Carolina. It would also appear his family had moved from Tennessee between 1834 when his brother Thomas was born and 1836 when his sister Angeline was born. His mother and three older siblings could not read or write. Since the census instructions only asked for that information about those who were 20 or older, no determination about John’s ability to read or write can be made.

We found a bound index of marriages at the Blount County, Alabama courthouse when we visited there in 2010. Here is a photo clip of the page in the index book that shows the marriage of John Buckner, Jr. to Nancy M. Foster on February 1, 1855: MarriageIt is unclear whether the bond was signed by John Buckner, Jr. or John Buckner, Sr. Pliney Wilemon who also signed the bond was the husband of Nancy Buckner Wilemon, one of his older sisters.

The 1860 census for Fayette County, Alabama lists John and Nancy Buckner and three children:  1860 census

The family make up is consistent with an 1855 marriage – the first child was born in 1856 and would have been my great-grandmother, Mary Jane Buckner Willis. Again John was listed as born in Tennessee, although this record would place his birth around 1834 rather than 1832. Their real property was valued at $600 and their personal property value was $400. Both John and Nancy could read and write. In their five years of marriage they had three children: Mary, William and Sarah.

I looked for records of Civil War service and a possible death of John during that time frame because I didn’t find John in an 1870 census and because I found Mrs. Nancy Buckner as a head of household in the 1866 Alabama State Census, a marriage record for Nancy Buckner to Joshua Watson in 1868, followed by an 1870 census for Joshua and Nancy Buckner Watson with four Buckner children [M.J., Rufus, Sarah and Nedora – later and combined research for the children would show their names to be Mary Jane, William Rufus, Sarah/Sallie and Medora].

I found a few records at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Further search found some muster cards that indicated he  had enlisted at the age of 30 in the Alabama 41st Infantry, Company I, under Capt. Thomas I. Abernathy on May 3, 1862. Reading about the 41st Alabama indicated a number of soldiers in that regiment died while they were still in their first few days in Tuscaloosa – apparently illnesses such as dysentery and measles took a heavy toll.  One of those early deaths was his brother, Jesse Wilson Buckner [evidenced by a claim filed by his father John Buckner].

By September 18, 1862, the muster cards state John had died of disease in Charleston, Tennessee. I have used the record below because is is the clearest of the records (the others are quite faint) even though this date states September 12 for his death; two other records state the date was the 18th of September. We have not found other records in order to provide a definitive source.John Buckner CSA clipBecause there were other John Buckners, I wanted further substantiation of his death in addition to his absence from the 1866 and 1870 censuses; I found a card at the Alabama Department of Archives and History showing his widow, Nancy M. Buckner [residing in Fayette County], filed a widow’s claim. John buckner CSA widow filingAlthough the claim was apparently rejected, her documentation and support for the claim should have contained some valuable pieces of information about their marriage, children’s birth dates, affidavits from others who knew him and of his service. Unfortunately, the copy was mailed to the Fayette County Courthouse, which was burned during the Civil War. If Nancy had a copy of it, I have not yet located a descendant who might have it.

Although the two census records we have for him indicate he was born in Tennessee, we do not know what county or town. A brief obituary for his oldest sister, EmmaLisa, stated she was born in Sevier County, Tennessee. She was born about 1818, or 14 years before John, but that provides a clue for additional searches for information. We have also found no record of his burial, which means we do not know if he was buried in Charleston, Tennessee or if his remains were returned to Fayette County.

We occasionally hear or read about our lives being what happens between the dashes [1832 -1862]. In summary, for my great-great-grandfather, John Buckner, all we know of his “between the dashes” is:

Between the Dashes

This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.

52 Ancestors #9 – Mary A. King Foster

My great-great-great-grandmother, Mary A. King Foster, and I share a birthday; according to her headstone, she was born June 22, 1813, 127 years before me. I know very little about about her.  Mostly what I have learned came from two census records (1860 and 1870) and her headstone. Anthony Edward & Mary King Foster headstoneOn a trip to Alabama in 2010, we found the ordination record for her husband Anthony Foster showing he was ordained in the Methodist Episcopal Church in January 1853 while they resided in Blount County, Alabama. I also found a land map that showed the location of their farm acreage in Blount County. Of course, neither of those records listed her name but her status as wife allowed to me assume her residence in that location as well as to infer a religious background. The headstone is placed at Mount Vernon Methodist Church Cemetery in Fayette County, Alabama, which would also support the inference of her religious affiliation.

Although her marriage date is given on her headstone, I have not found a marriage record to support that information. It would appear to be a reasonable date since their oldest child was born in 1835.

Very little information is provided in either the 1860 or 1870 census records, particularly for a non head of household. Although there are names of children listed in the household, no relationships are noted so one can only assume they may be children of the two adults enumerated together. The Blount County, Alabama 1860 census lists Mary Foster (44) born in Alabama while the Fayette County, Alabama 1870 census lists M.M. Foster (55) born in South Carolina.

Mary’s headstone lists her death date as December 8, 1872. That had been totally confusing because there was a marriage record for Anthony E. Foster and Mrs. Louisa Edwards for November 28, 1872, ten days before she died. I finally found an obituary for Mary that solved the problem. Her obituary appeared in the February 17, 1872 issue [ten months before Anthony remarried] of the Nashville Christian Advocate, a periodical for the Methodist church. Although quite short, it did provide some information I did not have, including a death date; it said, “MARY FOSTER d/o James and Rachel King; w/o Rev. Anthony Foster, born Spartanburg Dist., S.C. 1815; died near Fayette Court House, Ala. Dec. 8, 1871; mother of twelve children.”

Although the birth year is given as 1815, in handwriting, many times a ‘5’ and a ‘3’ can be difficult to determine; consequently, the date on her headstone may or may not be correct. With census records almost always showing great diversity in ages from decade to decade, the 1860 and 1870 ages of 44 and 55, might indicate the 1815 date as more supportable.

I have as yet been unable to locate information on her parents although, thanks to the obituary, I now have their names. From the two census records and reports of Bible records of births, I also have the names of all twelve of her children.

Combining information from the records I have thus far, I now assume Mary was born in the Spartanburg District of South Carolina on June 22, 1815 and died in Fayette County, Alabama on December 8, 1871 having lived only 56 years but as the mother of 12 children and grandmother to many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s  No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.