52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #33 – Basheba Farquhar née McGuire

My 3rd great-grandmother was Basheba McGuire Farquhar. Details on her life are limited and not yet adequately sourced. I found her name almost by accident; I wrote about that serendipitous occurrence in a blog I called Meet the Farquhars.

Because individual names are not listed on census records for the years prior to 1850, it is often difficult to trace female ancestors’ families because they are listed only as age-categorized tic marks. Although internet searches have given clues that her parents were likely Amos McGuire and Sarah [Sally] Langston, I have not yet found documentation to support that conclusion. However, we are beginning to see evidence via autosomal DNA samples from several of Basheba’s descendants that we are genetically related to Amos and Sally. Much more work remains to be done on this family connection.

A search of Ancestry.com provided a marriage index that listed her marriage to James Farquhar in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama on August 22, 1833. The 1860 census lists the following children:  Sarah [about 1833], Polly [about 1835], Andrew J. [ about 1837], Martha [about 1839] and James [about 1841], Elizabeth [about 1843] and Sis [about 1848].  The pattern of a birth every two years, except for Sis, would suggest these are their children; the break in the pattern possibly indicates the death of a child. This census record states Basheba was born in Tennessee about 1813. This evidence would place both James and Basheba’s ages at about 20 years of age at the time of their marriage.1850 censusThe 1870 census adjusts the probable birth years for James and Basheba to about 1814 and 1815 and adds the names of more children; it was also the piece of evidence that connected Basheba to my great-great-grandmother Sarah Farquhar Welch. The names of the children took more than just this one record to decipher them but here are the eventual names of their children: Lavina “Vina” [about 1851], John [about 1853], Amanda [about 1856] and Cornelia Helen [about 1861]. The name “Merrica” stands for America who had been listed as Sis in the 1860 census. James is the son of America. Below James and Basheba’s family  is the listing for the family of daughter, Sarah Jackson, who remarried following the 1862 death of her husband. The reason I had been unable to find any of the children was two fold: the enumerator listed them by the surname of their stepfather. Additionally, Bashuba had been listed by her middle name of Jane and Mary E had been listed as Isabella. Fortunately, I had found their father’s administration files that gave the full names and ages of his children as Bashuba Jane [1852], James Alexander [1854], Mary Isabella [1856] and William Thomas [1860].1870 census

By the time of the 188o census, James and Basheba were enumerated with only themselves and their grandson, James Hall Farquhar.

Basheba, who was listed on the 1880 census and her headstone as Bashey, was likely called by that name. She died about 1882 in Fayette County, Alabama and is buried at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery on land family tradition indicates was given by James and Basheba to the church for the purpose of providing burial plots. The date on her headstone for her birth is not accurate based on the evidence of census records over time and the logic of her marriage age in 1833: the headstone birth date of 1823 would have her ten years old at the time of her marriage and the birth of her first daughter [the same logic would have been true for James]. Based on cumulative evidence, her birth should have been between about 1813 and 1816 and the death date is likely reasonably accurate, although James did not remarry until January 1886.FARQUHAR James and Basha McGUIRE FAG HS


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 #17 – James Farquhar

My great-great-great-grandfather was James Farquhar (1813/14-1892). I have not yet seen any specific date records of either his birth or death. His parents married in February 1813 in Person County, North Carolina and census records indicate his birth sometime between 1813 and 1814 in North Carolina, although his tombstone lists his birth as 1820.

A marriage index provides evidence of a marriage between James and Barsheba McGuire on August 22, 1833 in Tuscaloosa County [the 1833 marriage date does not go well with an 1820 birth date for James – he would have only been 13 at that time; however, it does fit with subsequent census records]. There is an 1840 census for James Farquhar in Tuscaloosa County that showed them still in Tuscaloosa County. The tic-mark census was for a male and female between the ages of 20-29 (James and Basheba), one son under 5 (Andrew), one daughter under 5 (Mary “Polly”) and one daughter between 5 and 9 (Sarah – my great-great-grandmother).

By the 1850 census James and Basheba and their growing family had moved to Fayette County. In addition to James and Basheba and Sarah, Polly and Andrew, they also had Martha, James, Elizabeth and “Sis” or America.1850From September 1839 through June 1858, James Farquhar and/or his father purchased land in Tuscaloosa and Fayette Counties; James the son had married in Tuscaloosa County in 1833 so it is feasible he was ready to purchase land by 1839; however, his father of the same name was still living until 1859. A spreadsheet pulled from the Bureau of Land Records shows those purchases: spreadsheetThe Tuscaloosa land is some distance away (between Tuscaloosa and the Fayette County line) but the remaining land is all contiguous. Someone has a website with plat maps of some of the Sections in Fayette County and the one showing James Farquhar’s land, as well as his son-in-law (and my great-great-grandfather) Robert Welch’s, is available [Robert’s land is top left and James’ land is center/left]. Land Map with Welch, Farquhar and Maddox landsBetween 1850 and 1860, three more children were added to the family: Lavina in 1851; John Thomas in 1853; and Amanda in 1855. One more child, Cornelia Helen, was born in 1860 but not enumerated until the 1870 census. The 1860 census listed James as a farmer with property valued at $1,200 and personal property also valued at $1,200.

The Civil War began in 1861 and James’ family was deeply wounded by the war. He had three sons and two of them were old enough to fight for the Confederacy and both of them died. Additionally, his daughter Martha had married William David Caraway who also enlisted and died. His son-in-law, Robert Welch, had died in 1861 prior to the War. The War had taken such a huge toll on the male population of the south and Alabama did a state-wide census in 1866 that was clearly needed because the Federal census taken in 1860 would not have been at all accurate.

The 1870 census gives a small indication of the economic impact on the area – where James’ property values were $1,200 land and $1,200 personal in 1860, in 1870 his property values were $700 land and $500 personal.

James’ wife, Basheba, died in 1882. He married again in 1886 to the widow Nancy Tierce Falls. He died six years later in 1892 and was buried at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery, on land he had apparently donated to the church for the purpose of providing a burial grounds. He was buried near his wife, Basheba, his parents and a number of his children and grandchildren.


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