Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Letters of John Wesley Hardin and me

John Wesley Hardin's correspondence was compiled and published by Roy and Jo Ann Stamps by Eakin Press in 2001. The book is titled The Letters of John Wesley Hardin. A relative had shared two of the letters, and because I was interested to see if there were more letters with family mentioned, I bought the book. Why did I want the correspondence of John Wesley Hardin? Well, his wife Jane. For years researchers have thought that Nancy her grandmother was a McCurdy. I had thought maybe not after I did DNA testing on CP because she matched none of the McCurdy's, and then her third cousin matched. He doesn't have another connection in common with the matches either. So here we go again.

John Wesley Hardin in 1877 became the business partner of my father's great great grandfather. Shep was in one of the first letters he wrote.

June 6, 1877 JWH to Jane mentions Liza and her pa Bob and Jim McCroney (McCraney). Mentions Shep (Hardy) Liza and Sallie, children Alis Ada and Lila (Lela). Mentions Wash Campbell. Mentions Uncle N. (Neill Campbell), Josh, Caroline, Neal and Mary (Campbell, children of Neill Campbell).

Bob would be Robert Hardy, brother of Shep who had married and was living in Baldwin County, where the Styx River logging camp where they were working. Jim McCraney was the husband of Shep's sister Harriet. Sallie is Shep's wife, Alis Ada and Lela his two youngest daughters. Wash Campbell is not only Jane's first cousin, he is the son in law of Shep (William Shepard Hardy Sr.).
What I have no idea is is who in the heck Liza is.

Uncle Neil Campbell is the husband of Jane's Aunt, Sarah Bowen. Josh, Caroline, Neal and Mary are his children.

Before I go into the other letters, I would like to give some background on Jane Bowen Hardin. Her father was Neil Bowen. Her mother was Mary Western. Her paternal grandparents were Joshua Bowen and Nancy (McCurdy, presumed). After her mother died, her father Neil married Purity Jane Sunday. Purity's mother, Anna McCurdy was a first cousin to Neil Bowen. Her mother Martha "Mattie" Bowen was a sister of Joshua Bowen, Neil's father. Anna's father is Elijah McCurdy who is we believe the brother, or possibly Uncle of Nancy.

Jane Bowen had full siblings, Joshua Robert (Brown), Nancy (wife of William Phillips), Mary Elizabeth "Lizzie" (wife of Duncan McGee), Martha "Mattie" (wife of Oliver Odom), and Julia Ann (wife of Benjamin Jernigan). She also had several half siblings.

Jane's father Neil Bowen had a brother named Joshua (he is always Josh or Joshua and her brother is always Brown), and sister Sarah who was married to Neil Campbell, and Margaret who was married to Benjamin Cobb.

 Below are letters referencing family members of Jane's. The letters to Jane in 1877 were in Florida. From the context it seems as if she's staying with the family of her Uncle Neil. After 1877 the letters are to her in Texas. She stayed with various family members until her death.

Sept 5, 1877 Mattie (Bowen, not Hardin) to Jane Mentions Ann and Frank, Nancy and William, dtr of Nancy named Jennie, Dunk and Lizzie, Ma (Purity) and her two latest children Beulah and Beasly, Aunt Margaret (Cobb) Cousin Charlie Cammel (Campbell), Uncle Joshes place, Nannie Cobb married Tommy Tennille.

Frank and Nannie are children of Margaret Cobb. 
I do not know who Ann and William are.
Oct 26, 1877 William and Mattie Bowen to Jane, mention Lizzie, Nancy and Nancy’s daughter Purity Jane.

Dec 6, 1877 JWH to Jane. Mentions to give love to the Campbells (abbreviated Uncle N, C, M N and J) mentions Jim, Jane and F (Family?), Talks about Brown Bowen.

Dec 20 1877 Mattie Bowen to Jane Mentions William, Duncan McGee, Pa. Sends Love to Uncle Neill and Family.
I have no idea who William is.
March 9, 1878 Mary Campbell to Jane  Mentions Caroline

April 19, 1878 Mattie Bowen to Jane, mentions seeing Browns body when they returned home.

Aug 8, 1878 JWH to Jane, wants her to make up with his mother. Says that she knows Purity her husband (who was Jane’s father) said he would kick her out of his yard, and that a friend of his told him and Joe Sunday they better stop talking about her and not mistreat her or they would slit their throat from ear to ear and feed them their words. 

Joe Sunday is Purity's brother. It isn't clear what he means by Purity's husband and why he is not speaking about her father by name.
June 15, 1879 Mattie Odom (Bowen) to Jane. Mentions Uncle Ben and Aunt Margaret, cousins Caroline and Mary Cammall (Campbell)

July 2, 1879 M. J. Cobb to Jane, mentions Daisy and Mollie, Jane’s father, Uncle Josh has moved to Florida, Edward and Benny living with her. (sons of brother Joshua).

July 15, 1880 Joshua Bowen to Edward B Bowen (his son) Mentions respects to Uncle Ben Passmore and family.

It is not clear if Benjamin A. Passmore (b 1822 Stewart county, GA) is actually an Uncle to Edward or to Joshua. We don't know the maiden  name of Joshua's wife Elizabeth.  
March 5, 1881 Mattie Odom (Bowen) to Jane. Mentions her son Franky, mentions not knowing where Lizzie and Pa are.

May 1, 1881 P A Bowen (Purity Sunday) to Jane Mentions Uncle Willis Jones, Lizzie Jones, Stevie Jones, cousin Mary McMillan, Mary Cobb, Pa (Jane’s) and Uncle Josh, Mentions Frank and Lizzie.

Willis Jones was the husband of a half sister to both Martha and Joshua Bowen (Cleopatra Palestine Brewster). Lizzie and Steve Jones were his children. Mary Cobb is a neighbor. I am not sure who Lizzie is, but Frank is a son of Margaret Cobb. Mary McMillan, maiden name McCaskill, is a cousin of both Purity and Jane. But it is not known yet which side of the family, the Bowen or the McCurdy side. She is a daughter of Allen McCaskill who was born 1814 in South Carolina. 


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