by Robin Rankin Willis
I like my Lindsey ancestors for a number of reasons.
First, our second son Ryan Willis and first grandchild Alexandra Willis have the middle name Lindsey. That name and the entire family line have therefore acquired a certain cachet, a je ne sais quoi, merely by association with those two fabulous people.
Second, there is a family legend associated with my most recent male Lindsey ancestor, who lived from 1811 to 1883. The legend assured me there would be absolutely no doubt when I found him that I had bagged the right Lindsey.
Third, my North Carolina Lindsey ancestors were Methodists. Serious Methodists, with names like John Wesley Lindsey and Asbury Lindsey. I have found very few slave owners in my extended Lindsey family. Some of them had the financial wherewithal to own slaves, which suggests they might have had some principled opposition to slavery.
Fourth, I have become friends via email with some really nice Lindseys. Several of them are my cousins, and all of them are good Lindsey researchers who are happy to share their research.
Finally, I am quite fond of my ancestor Edward Buxton Lindsey, father of my great-grandmother Amanda Addieanna Lindsey Rankin, notwithstanding that he was a family embarrassment as far as Amanda and her family were concerned.
Amanda A. Lindsey Rankin’s father: the Lindsey legend
My father Jim Leigh Rankin kick-started our family history research. He was “bitten by the genealogy bug,” as he liked to put it, about the time he retired in 1968. He and his big sister Louise Rankin Jordan trekked all over north Louisiana picking the brains of every known relative in the area. That is what every “how to do genealogy” book tells beginners to do right off the bat. Not only does it provide hard facts – names and dates and locations – it also produces colorful family legends, which are sometimes even better than facts. Daddy’s detective work unearthed two family legends, both of which concerned Lindsey ancestors.
Daddy unquestionably learned from those interviews that his grandfather John Allen Rankin married Amanda Addieanna Lindsey. However, I don’t think Daddy was ever quite sure that he had identified Amanda’s father. What he knew for certain about his great-grandfather Lindsey he learned from his cousin Norene Robinson, neé Sale. Norene was well-acquainted with their grandmother Amanda Lindsey Rankin, who lived with the Sale family at one time. Norene’s mother, neé Anna Belle Rankin, was Amanda’s daughter. Amanda lived until 1920, when Norene was twenty-eight. In short, Cousin Norene was a highly credible witness concerning Amanda’s family.
Norene told Daddy that Amanda Lindsey Rankin’s father had been married four times. Four times. So far as I had known, no one in my father’s family had ever been divorced until his generation came along, and then there was just his cousin Elizabeth, who kept marrying men who turned out to be bad choices. On the other hand, my generation of Rankin first cousins has more divorces than long-term marriages. Go figure. Divorces were not all that common in the Reconstruction south, however. Amanda was apparently somewhat chagrined by her father’s remarkable number of marriages, which included two divorces and two marriages to women who were considerably younger than he was.
Four marriages constitute a legend you can get your hands around, research-wise. Unfortunately, Cousin Norene could not recall the given name of Amanda’s father, or at least his name did not make it into Daddy’s ancestor charts. His notes do include a census listing for the right man: Edward B. Lindsey of Drew County, Arkansas. In the 1850 census for that county, Amanda A. Lindsey, age five, was listed in the household of Edward B., his wife Elizabeth, and a host of other children. The census listing says that Amanda was born in Mississippi in 1845, which is consistent with the birth date on her Claiborne Parish tombstone and her state of birth from later census records. At first glance, the Amanda in Edward B. Lindsey’s household looks like exactly the right Amanda A. Lindsey.
Some time between late 1863 and mid-1865, Edward B. Lindsey, his eldest son William A. Lindsey, and Amanda A. Lindsey moved from Drew County to Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. On July 20, 1865, J. A. Rankins [sic] married Amanda A. Lindsey. The Lindseys and Rankins immediately began leaving evidence in the records that they were closely related. First, William A. Lindsey and his wife Frances appeared as grantors in a deed witnessed by both E. B. Lindsey and John A. Rankin. In another deed, John Rankin and his wife – expressly identified as Amanda A. Lindsey, one of those peculiar quirks of Louisiana law – sold some land, and E. B. Lindsey witnessed the deed.
Considering those deeds, plus Amanda’s appearance in Edward’s household in 1850, there is no reason to doubt that Edward was Amanda’s close relation. Any residual doubt that Edward was her father (rather than, say, her uncle or cousin) could be banished by proving that Edward had four wives. As it turned out, three of them appeared with him in a census. Moreover, there are surviving marriage records for each wife in four different states, something I would have deemed wildly against the odds. In short, Edward Buxton Lindsey is conclusively proved as my great-great grandfather.
Edward Buxton Lindsey’s four wives
Edward’s first wife was Elizabeth Jane Odom, who was Amanda’s mother and therefore my ancestor. She and Edward married in Pike County, Alabama in 1832. After producing at least nine and possibly ten children, Elizabeth Jane died in 1854 in Drew County, Arkansas. Here is her obituary:
“Mrs. Elizabeth Jane Lindsey departed this life in Drew Co., Ark 11 Oct 1854 in the 42nd year of her age. She was the daughter of Jacob and Nancy Odom who emigrated to south Alabama. Soon after her marriage, she joined the Methodist E. Church. She called her husband and children around her bed. She embraced her infant. Signed, 4 Nov. 1854 by J. M. Carr. The Memphis and Arkansas Advocate will please copy.”
There is a most peculiar thing about that obituary: it named Elizabeth Jane’s parents, even providing detail about where they had lived, but failed to identify her husband. What is that all about? Who wrote the obit? Presumably, J. M. Carr, who was a Methodist Episcopal minister in Drew County.
Less than two years later, Reverend Carr officiated at Edward’s marriage to Ruth B. Crook, a wealthy woman with several children. Perhaps here is my father’s problem with deciding whether Edward was Amanda’s father: the 1860 census for Edward Lindsey’s Drew County household lists Ruth and her minor Crook children, but no Lindsey children. In fact, I couldn’t find the Lindsey children anywhere in 1860, in Drew County or elsewhere. They were probably right there in their father’s household, and Ruth (or whomever responded to the census enumerator) just didn’t bother to name them. If that is right, it reinforces the old saw that one of the biggest mistakes one can make in family history research is to believe that the census records are 100% correct.
Ruth and Edward’s marriage didn’t last: she was wife number two only briefly. I have not found an Arkansas divorce record, although that doesn’t mean much. Suggesting that a legal divorce did in fact take place, Ruth appeared as a head of household in the 1870 census under her former surname, Crook. Restoring her former name seems to say that Ruth was very serious about not wanting to retain any Lindsey aura whatsoever.
The Drew County deed records indicate that the Lindsey-Crook marriage may already have been coming apart by the time the census enumerator visited the Lindsey-Crook household in July of 1860. A month earlier, Ruth had filed with the Drew County court a list of her fairly substantial separate property. The legal effect was to protect her assets from her husband’s control and debts. The filing strongly suggests that Ruth was contemplating (or had already initiated) a divorce, or that Edward had turned out to be financially irresponsible. Or both. Perhaps Ruth had already kicked Edward and his children out of the house when the census enumerator came around in July, but the enumerator, who was naturally a stickler for the patriarchal rules, insisted that her husband must be identified as the head of household so long as she was still married.
That obviously qualifies as one of my flights of fancy, although I frankly find it impossible to imagine Edward and Ruth continuing to cohabit after her separate property filing. However, the census rules required listing the names of everyone living in the household, so either Edward was living there or Ruth wasn’t willing to admit she had kicked him out. Perhaps Edward was in the dark about the separate property filing.
Moving on, Edward survived the Civil War without a hitch. Unlike my Arkansas Rankin family, with two soldiers fighting on each side, Edward did not participate in active service. That probably had nothing to do with Methodist principles. Edward was just too old to be conscript fodder. Further, he wasn’t sufficiently wealthy or politically connected to be an officer.
Instead, in October 1863, Edward enlisted in the Monticello Home Guard. With civil authority collapsing in many parts of Arkansas and Confederate troops being sent away, local jurisdictions were encouraged to form companies of “home guards” to protect persons and property, enforce the conscript law, and support Confederate troops when requested. As one would expect, the home guards were largely composed of men who were too old for regular military service. The Monticello Home Guard, for example, consisted of forty-seven men between the ages of thirty-eight and sixty-two – with an average age of fifty years. Consequently, it was popularly known as the “Old Man’s Company.” Edward was fifty-two when he enlisted. He was a private. I can visualize him marching with a bunch of other old play soldiers on a parade field, albeit in considerably better shape than the others, since he had two very young wives in his future. I would dearly love to have a picture of Edward.
By late 1862, Edward had apparently sold his Drew County land. By July 1865, when his daughter Amanda married John Allen Rankin, Edward had moved to Claiborne Parish. Amanda, who was only twenty when she married, almost certainly did not migrate on her own. Four months after Amanda married John Allen, Edward married wife number three, Elizabeth J. Marshall, in Claiborne Parish.
For reasons unknown – perhaps Amanda’s patent disapproval of a stepmother who was a quarter-century younger than Edward – the Lindsey newlyweds subsequently moved to Texas. In the 1870 census, Edward, now fifty-nine, and wife Elizabeth, age thirty-four, were listed in Woodville, Tyler County, Texas along with their one-year-old son, Edward Lindsey Jr. Two years later, still in Tyler County, Edward married wife number four: Pamelia Dean, a widow or divorceé who was more than twenty years his junior. I don’t have any proof regarding what happened to Elizabeth J. Marshall Lindsey. However, it is almost certain that she died, because Edward B. Lindsey Sr. wound up with custody of young Edward Jr. Even a century later, that would have been highly unlikely if Edward Jr.’s mother had been alive. If it is correct that Elizabeth died, then she was the second woman named Elizabeth J. who up and died on Edward.
Edward’s marriage to Pamelia Dean, like his marriage to Ruth Crook, ended in divorce. An ex-wife in the neighborhood must have been enough to take the shine off Texas for Edward Sr. He was back in Claiborne Parish by 1880, age sixty-nine, with his eleven-year-old son Edward Jr. in tow and no further marriages in store. My heart goes out to both of them. There is a reason that young people have children.
The 1880 census, his last, identified Edward Sr. as a dry goods merchant, although he had called himself a farmer in all prior censuses. Perhaps he was too worn out to farm, or maybe he finally just gave up trying to make a living off the land.
The probate records for Claiborne Parish establish that Edward Sr. died there in January of 1883. He must have been buried somewhere in Claiborne Parish. Joseph Day, a doctor who had no Lindsey family connection that I can find other than having been one of Edward’s creditors, administered Edward’s estate. It yielded $380.78 after debts were paid – plenty of money for a tombstone, but I can’t find one.
The Claiborne Parish probate records say that Edward had six heirs, including his son E. B. Lindsey. The other heirs were William A. Lindsey, Mrs. J. A. Rankin, James Burton, Mrs. N. J. Morley (Nancy Jane Lindsey Morley, wife of George Morley), and John H. Lindsey.
Edward Lindsey was underage and therefore represented by a guardian (called a “tutor” in Louisiana law). The tutor was one J. M. Kight, no known relationship to the Lindsey family. All I know is that Mr. Kight resided in Webster Parish, immediately west of Claiborne Parish. In fact, the Kight family lived just a few houses down from Amanda Lindsey Rankin, Edward Jr.’s half-sister. I have not found any further record of Edward B. Lindsey Jr., orphaned at a tender age. As it turned out, Edward Sr. lost both his parents by 1817, when he was only six. I will save that story for another day.
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© 2016 by Robin Rankin Willis
 1900 federal census, Haynesville, Claiborne Parish, LA, p. 55, household of A. C. sale with mother-in-law Amanda Rankin, wife Annie Sale, daughter Norine [sic] Sale, and other children.
 1880 federal census, Webster Parish, LA, dwelling #285, p. 219, household of J. A. Rankin, born MS, with wife Amanda A. Rankin, born MS, daughter Anna Belle Rankin, and other children.
 1900 federal census, Haynesville, Claiborne Parish, LA, p. 55, Norine Sale was born 1892; John Purnell Frazier and Wanda Volentine Head, Cemetery Inscriptions of Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, Volume I (Shreveport: J & W Enterprises, 1985), Haynesville Cemetery tombstone for Amanda A. Rankin, born 19 Apr 1845, died 7 Oct 1920.
 1850 federal census, Drew Co., AR, Spring Hill Twp., p. 94, dwelling #270, listing for E. B. Lindsey, 39, farmer, born NC, Elizabeth J. Lindsey, 38, born GA, and nine children, including Amanda A. Lindsey, age 5, born MS.
 Notes 3 and 4.
 Willie Huffman Farley, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana Marriage Records, 1849-1940 (Shreveport: J & W Enterprises, 1984), abstract of marriage record for 20 Jul 1865, J. A. Rankins and Amanda A. Lindsey, Book 1, Folio 320.
 FHL Film #265,980, Claiborne Parish Deed Book J: 65, deed dated 24 Jan 1866 from William A. Lindsey and wife Francis Jane Marary (sic, Merony) of Claiborne Parish to Lucy C. Lindsey, 240 acres, witnessed by E. B. Lindsey and John A. Rankin, et al.; Jennie Belle Lyle, Marriage Record Book B, Drew Co., Arkansas (Little Rock: Democrat Printing & Lithography Co., 1966), marriage of William A. Lindsey and Francis Merony, 20 Oct 1852.
 FHL Film #265,980, Claiborne Parish Deed Book J: 226, deed dated 15 Aug 1870 from John A. Rankin and wife Amanda A. Lindsey to Lucy Lindsey, all of Claiborne, 9 acres, witnesses E. B. Lindsey and S. M. Newsom.
 1850 federal census, Drew Co., AR, p. 94, household of E. B. and Elizabeth J. Lindsey; 1860 federal census, Drew Co., AR, p. 103, Edward and Ruth Lindsey; 1870 federal census, Tyler Co., TX, p. 392, Edward and Elizabeth J. Lindsey.
 Family Adventures, Early Alabama Marriages 1813 – 1850, (San Antonio: 1991), marriage record for Edward B. Lindsey and Elizabeth J. Odom, 30 Jun 1832, Pike Co., AL; Lyle, Marriage Record Book B, Drew Co., Arkansas, marriage record for E. B. Lindsey and Ruth B. Crook, 16 Sep 1856; Farley, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana Marriage Records, marriage of E. B. Lendsey and E. J. Marshall, 15 Nov 1865; and Frances T. Ingmire, Marriage Records of Tyler County, Texas 1847 – 1888 (St. Louis: 1981), marriage of Ed. B. Lindsey and Permelia Dean, 20 Nov 1872.
 Family Adventures, Early Alabama Marriages.
 1850 federal census, Drew County, Ark., Spring Hill Twp., p. 94, dwelling #270, listing for E. B. Lindsey, 39, farmer, born NC, Elizabeth J. Lindsey, 38, born GA, William A. Lindsey, 17, AL, James R. Lindsey, 16, AL, Nancy J. Lindsey, 12, AL, John H. Lindsey, 11, AL, Charity A. Lindsey, 9, AL, Elizabeth W. Lindsey, 7, AL, Amanda A. Lindsey, 5, MS, Edward C. Lindsey, 2, AR, and Thomas E. Lindsey, 9 months, AR.
 E. M. Tipton, Marriages and Obituaries from the New Orleans Christian Advocate 1851-1860, Vol. 1 (Bossier City, LA: Tipton Printing & Publishing,1980). Elizabeth Jane Odom Lindsey’s obit appeared in the Advocate issue of 25 Nov. 1854, No. 3, p. 3, col. 1.
 Lyle, Marriage Record Book B, Drew Co., Arkansas, identifying J. M. Carr as an M. E. minister.
 Id., Marriage Book B:140, 16 Sep 1856, marriage of E. B. Lindsey, 45, and Ruth B. Crook, 48, J. M. Carr officiating; see notes 17 and 20.
 1860 federal census, Drew Co., AR, Marion Twp., p. 103, dwelling #167, household of E. B. Lindsey, farmer, 48, with Ruth Lindsey, 55, Susan Crook, 17, James Crook, 15, and Ruth Crook, 13.
 1870 federal census, Drew Co., AR, Monticello P.O., p. 629, dwelling #465, listing for Ruth Crook, 63.
 1860 federal census, Drew Co., AR, p. 103, listing for E. B. Lindsey. Census taken on July 13th, 1860.
 FHL Film #981,521, Drew Co. Deed Book F: 268, 18 Jun 1860 filing in the real property records of Drew County containing a schedule of the separate property of Ruth B. Lindsey, wife of E. B. Lindsey. The list included inter alia seven slaves, a horse, two yoke oxen, eleven head of cattle, twenty-seven sheep, fifteen hogs, a wagon, buggy, two bureaus, bookcase, clock, six bedsteads, two dozen chairs, a safe, and 200 acres.
 Edward had no scruples preventing him from marrying Ruth Crook, who owned seven slaves. See id.
 I cannot find my source for that tidbit and am not inclined to bother relocating it, considering that the chances are virtually nil that anyone will ever give a fig. For the record, however, the sentence beginning “with civil authority collapsing” and much of the remainder of the paragraph are roughly verbatim quotes from the source, whatever it was.
 FHL Film #981,522, deeds dated 4 Nov 1862 and 30 Dec 1862 recorded in Drew Co., AR Deed Book G: 452 and 476, respectively, conveying Edward Lindsey’s tracts in Section 24, Twp 12 South, Range 7 West.
 Farley, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana Marriage Records, 15 Nov 1865 marriage bond, E. B. Lendsey and E. J. Marshall, Marriage Book 1, Folio 336.
 1870 federal census, Tyler Co., TX, Woodville Beat, p. 392, dwelling #321, listing for Edw. Lindsey, 59, farmer, born NC, with Eliz. Lindsey, 34, born ALA, and Edward Lindsey, 1, born TX.
 Ingmire, Marriage Records of Tyler County, Texas 1847 – 1888, Pamelia Dean married Edward B. Lindsey 20 Nov 1872. See notes 26 and 27 for Pamelia’s and Edward’s ages in 1880.
 1880 federal census, Tyler Co., TX, p. 397, dwelling #16, listing for Permelia J. Lindsey, age 47, divorced or widowed. She must have been divorced, since Edward was still alive in 1880, see note 27.
 1880 federal census, Claiborne Parish, LA, p. 285, listing for Edward B. Lindsey, dry goods merchant, 69, born NC, parents born NC, listed with Edward B. Lindsey, son, 11, at school, born TX, father born NC, mother born MS.
 Id.; notes 13, 17 and 26.
 FHL Film #265,999, Claiborne Parish, LA Probate Record Book E: 392.
 Id., 31 Mar 1883 report of administrator Joseph W. Day on the sale of Edward B. Lindsey’s land.
 Id., Claiborne Parish Probate Record Book E: 398, 31 Aug 1883 report by administrator.
 See id.
 1880 federal census, Webster Parish, LA, p. 219, dwelling #297, listing for J. M. Kight, 38, farmer, and his family; also on p. 219, dwelling #285, listing for J. A. Rankin, wife Amanda and family.