Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Parentage of James Adda Anders

For the descendants of Robert Lee and James "Jimmie" Adda Anders, the most crucial piece of family research is the parentage of Jimmie Adda. Her parentage is not easily established, but it has great importance. Through her ancestry we are linked to Daniel Gilleland, Sr. and Thomas Boatwright, Sr. both of whom were members of Austin's Old Three Hundred - the first 300 Anglo families to be settled by Stephen F. Austin in Mexican Texas. So, we set out today to firmly lay out where this research stands.

If you have any additional information on this topic, please do leave a comment!

Jimmie Adda was born into a confluence of events in 1874 that has made proving her parentage quite difficult. The ordering of these events is not certain, but their proximity in time is. Without trying to prejudice the following arguments, a general explanation for this difficulty is in order.

In late 1873 or very early 1874, Jimmie's parents were married, probably in Milam County, Texas, and her mother became pregnant around March (based on Jimmie's birth date). Some time in 1874, her father purportedly died, in all likelihood before Jimmie was even born. In addition, the Milam County courthouse burned in 1874 destroying official county records of the marriage of Jimmie's parents, possibly the death of her father, and even her mother's remarriage to Thomas Slater. So, we are left with no known primary evidence of Jimmie's parentage or the marriage of her parents. We must therefore turn to secondary evidence. The following partial descendant chart of James Andrews, Sr. illustrates the relationships that will be described.

James Andrews, Sr. (m. Martha Formby)
 |- John Demostinie Anders (m. Nancy Gilleland, d/o Daniel Gilleland)
 ¦   |- James W. Anders (m. Mittie or Annie Boatwright)
 ¦   ¦   - James "Jimmie" Adda Anders (m. R. L. Anders; half-sister to Rowland E. Slater)
 ¦   ¦      - Roy Jacob Anders, Sr.
 ¦   ¦         |- Adda Wanda Anders
 ¦   ¦         ¦   - Margaret Ann Baldwin
 ¦   ¦         ¦      - Kevin Paul Thompson
 ¦   ¦          - Roy Jacob Anders, Jr.
 ¦   |- Susan Catherine Anders (m. William Henry Anders)
 ¦   ¦   - James Short Anders
 ¦   ¦      - Norma Carolyn Anders
 ¦  ...
 ¦   |- Jacob Bolivar Anders
 ¦   ¦   |- Martha "Mattie" Vera Anders (m. Luther Keithly)
 ¦   ¦    - Clara Frances Anders (m. Burrel Prather Holmes)
 ¦   ¦       - Margaret Elouise Holmes (m. Charles Johnson)
 ¦  ...
  - James A. Anders, Jr. (m. Sarah A. Rankin)
     - William Henry Anders (m. Susan Catherine Anders)
     - Robert Lee Anders (m. James "Jimmie" Adda Anders)

The Mother of James Adda Anders
We will begin with the easier and seemingly less crucial task of proving Jimmie Adda's mother. In 1950, a man named Rowland Edwin Slater died in Bay City, Texas [1]. In his obituary from an unknown Texas newspaper [2], "Jimmie Andres [sic] of Huntsville" is cited as his sister. Given that Rowland and Jimmie have different last names, this can only mean that they are actually half-siblings sharing a common mother. Rowland's death certificate indicates his father is Thomas Slater and his mother is Mittie Boatwright [1]. In the 1880 census in Lee County [3], we see a Thomas Slater with an implied wife named Annie and an implied son named Eddie (they are living in Thomas' father's house, S. T. Slater). The 1 year old "Eddie" is a perfect match for Rowland Edwin Slater who was born on 11 Aug 1878 (he is seen going by "Ed" in some later census records, so "Eddie" is an acceptable name to find him under). On the line below Rowland in the census record is a 6 year old female named Jas. A. Andrews. And so we have found Jimmie. She seems to be living with her mother, step-father, and half-brother in her step-father's father's house, the only discrepancy being the mother's name (Annie in the census, Mittie in Rowland's death certificate). This implies her father is dead or divorced. Evidence given in the section below on Jimmie Adda's father indicates he died in 1874.

A marriage license has not been found for Thomas and Mittie (Annie) Slater. Such a record would likely reveal her name from her first marriage as Anders. This would do little to prove who Jimmie's father is, but it would settle any remaining questions about Jimmie's mother and where Jimmie is living in 1880.

After 1880, Jimmie's mother seems to disappear. Family accounts have them removing from the state possibly to California leaving Jimmie behind in Texas where she was purportedly raised by her Aunt Mary Elizabeth Anders Carlile. No evidence of any of this has been found to date aside from Mattie Keithly's statements to Margaret Holmes Johnson. Curiously, a marriage occurred in Robertson County, Texas in 1883 between a Lee Slater and an Annie Slater. Thomas Slater has a younger brother named Lee. Is it possible that Mittie or Annie's second husband also died and she then married his younger brother?

The Father of James Adda Anders
Proving Jimmie Adda's father is by far the more challenging task. No primary evidence has been found for his marriage or death. We will begin with testimony from family members closely related to him.

On 29 Jan 1980, a woman named Margaret Johnson wrote a letter to my granduncle Roy Jacob Anders, Jr. (son of Roy Jacob Anders, Sr., grandson of Jimmie Adda) [4]. Margaret Johnson states her parents to be Burrel Holmes and Clara Frances Anders. She also states that Roy's grandmother, Jimmie Anders, is a first cousin to her mother. In other documents included with the letter, Margaret states that in Sep 1966 she received much information from her elderly and sick Aunt Mattie Keithly just before Mattie's death in November [18] (Mattie Keithly died 05 Nov 1966 [5] and was born 01 Sep 1888 [6]). Included in this information was the fact that Jimmie Adda married a cousin named Lee, that Jimmie's father was James (son of John Demostinie Anders), and that James died in 1874 and was buried in Hamilton Chapel Cemetery, Milam County, Texas [19]. Since Mattie is Margaret's aunt, Mattie is a sister to Clara and therefore also a first cousin to Jimmie Adda. So, this is first hand knowledge being communicated by Margaret Johnson from Mattie Keithly about her first cousin Jimmie Adda.

Looking at the 1900 United States census [7], we find a Jacob B. Anders (age 48 [sic], born Aug 1859 in Texas) living in Edna, Texas with children Mattie (born Sep 1888 in Texas) and Clara (born Feb 1899 in Texas). These children are Margaret's mother and aunt. Since they are first cousins to Jimmie Adda with the same surname, Jimmie Adda's father must be a brother of Jacob B. Anders.

In the 1880 United States census [8], we see Jacob B. Anders (age 20, born in Texas) living with his father John Anders (age 57, born in Alabama). So, John Anders is the man whom we need to find a son of that could logically be the father of Jimmie Adda.

The 1880 census also shows John Anders with two other sons (Henry M. and Virgil) neither of which would have been old enough in 1874 to have been married and had a child. Working the census records backwards in time, in the 1870 United States census [9], we see John Andrews with the three sons listed above and two other implied sons, James W. and Charles, each of which were old enough to be married and have a child in 1874. However, Charles can be ruled out as he died on 28 Nov 1872 and was buried in Hamilton Chapel Cemetery in Milam County, Texas [10]. In the 1860 United States census [11], one additional son is implied for John Anders: Cullin (John Cullen). John Cullen purportedly died on 29 Sep 1865, but I have yet to locate primary documentation of this fact. The 1850 United States census implies no other sons save James W. mentioned above [12].

So, we are left with only one son of John Anders that could be the father of an Anders/Andrews child born in 1874: James W. Anders. James was born about 1846 [12] in Montgomery County, Texas (where his parents were living before moving to Milam County [13, 14]) making him 28 years old in 1874. This verifies the fact given by Mattie Anders Keithly [4] that of the sons of John Anders, only James W. Anders could be the father of James Adda Anders.

To further build the case that John Demostinie Anders is the grandfather of Jimmie Adda, on 04 May 1880, a man named John Anders/Andrews) applied in Milam County for guardianship of a 6 year old girl named Jimmie Anders/Andrews, and he was granted such on 27 May [15, 16]. This is surely our Jimmie, but unfortunately no relationship between Jimmie and John is specified in the court papers. In light of the family evidence given above, the grandfather John is gaining guardianship of granddaughter Jimmie.

Another indication of parentage is given simply by Jimmie's name. Jimmie's actual given name is indeed James. This is strongly indicated by the 1880 Lee County census record [3] and also by a court affidavit for the birth of her son Roy Jacob Anders, Sr. in which her name is given as James Adda Anders [17]. Now, James is a very uncommon name for a woman. Given the apparent circumstances around her birth, it seems that her name was given to her in memory of her recently deceased father. This is a nice piece of internal evidence.

In Jul 2007 I received correspondence from a woman named Carolyn Fenton [20] whose maiden name is Norma Carolyn Anders. She is the daughter of James Short Anders and granddaughter of William Henry Anders and Susan Catherine Anders. Susan is a sister of James W. and Jacob Bolivar Anders; William is a brother of Robert Lee Anders (so Susan and William are first cousins). From her letter it is obvious that Carolyn's family was close to my family and that she has firsthand knowledge of Jimmie Adda and her ancestry. She explicitly confirms that Jimmie Adda's father was James W. Anders and James W. and Susan were siblings. This evidence from Carolyn provides verification of the purported facts from another part of the Anders family.

Finally, my granduncle Roy Jacob Anders, Jr., grandson of Jimmie Adda, has confirmed that Jimmie's father's name was James [21, 22].

I feel certain we have determined that James W. Anders is the father of James Adda Anders. While there is no direct proof, the level of secondary and circumstantial evidence seems sufficient to comfortably draw this conclusion. In addition to the circumstantial evidence, no less than three disparate parts of the Anders family have provided testimony that draws this single conclusion.

(The evidence supporting the parentage of James Adda Anders to her father James W. Anders has been reviewed and approved by both the Sons of the Republic of Texas and The Descendants of Austin's Old 300 via applications for membership based on lineage to Daniel Gilleland, Sr.)

[1] Death Records of Matagorda County, Texas. Death certificate for Rowland Edwin Slater.
[2] Unknown Newspaper. Obituary for Rowland E. Slater, 1950.
[3] 1880 United States Census. Lee County, Texas, Page 71 A.
[4] Personal correspondence. Letter from Margaret Elouise Holmes to Roy Jacob Anders, Jr., 29 Jan 1980. Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5.
[5] Social Security Death Index. Entry for Martha Vera Anders (Mattie Keithly).
[6] Death Records of Travis County, Texas. Death certificate for Martha Vera Anders.
[7] 1900 United States Census. Jackson County, Texas, Page 128 A.
[8] 1880 United States Census. Milam County, Texas, Page 258 A.
[9] 1870 United States Census. Milam County, Texas, Page 308 A.
[10] Holman, Norinne Holder, 170 Years of Cemetery Records in Milam County, Texas, Volume 1 A-M, Armstrong Printing, Inc., Austin, TX, 2001. Page 346, Hamilton Chapel Cemetery.
[11] 1860 United States Census. Milam County, Texas, Page 62 B.
[12] 1850 United States Census. Milam County, Texas, Page 18 A.
[13] Tax Records of Montgomery County, Texas. Tax roll for 1846, Page 222.
[14] Mullins, Marion Day, Republic of Texas: Poll Lists for 1846, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1982. Page 3.
[15] Probate Court Records of Milam County, Texas. Case 171 B. Outside App Notice Outside Notice
[16] Minutes of the Probate Court of Milam County, Texas. Volume A, Page 556 and 557.
[17] Birth Records of Walker County, Texas. Birth certificate for Roy Jacob Anders, Sr. Page 1 Page 2
[18] Final research report of Margaret Holmes Johnson, 20 Nov 1990, page 20.
[19] Family group sheet for John Demostinie Anders prepared by Margaret Holmes Johnson.
[20] Personal correspondence. Letter from Norma Carolyn Anders to Kevin Paul Thompson, 10 Jul 2007. Page 1 Page 2
[21] Personal correspondence. E-mail from Roy Jacob Anders, Jr. to Kevin Paul Thompson, 28 Dec 2005.
[22] Personal correspondence. E-mail from Roy Jacob Anders, Jr. to Kevin Paul Thompson, 29 Dec 2005.

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