“Same Name Confusion:” Edward Buxton Lindsey(s)

This article is about two men named Edward Lindsey. They’ve been conflated with each other because they purportedly share the unusual middle name Buxton. Talk about understandable confusion!

If you’ve landed on this website via a search on a “Lindsey” name, you may have already seen the post on Edward Buxton Lindsey (“EBL”), my great-great grandfather (link provided below). I did a lousy job in that article of proving that EBL was who I said he was. Specifically, I failed to prove that EBL of Nash County, NC lived in Barbour Co., AL after he left Nash, and then moved further west.

Fortunately, a nice lady who read the EBL article posted a comment which made me aware I had goofed. Here is her comment, edited a bit:

Hi, Robin.

I am a direct descendant of Edward Buxton Lindsey myself, or so I thought. Have you found any information to back this lineage up?

According to my tree, and to many others on ancestry.com, my lineage is as follows: William Lindsey of Nash Co., NC (d. 1817) m. Mary (“Polly”) LNU. They were the parents of Edward Buxton Lindsey (1797-1872) who married as his first wife Rachel Murphy (1803-1830).

End of comment. Bad on me, and thanks to Jessica Richmond for her question. When someone asks, have you found any information to back this lineage up,” you’ve obviously done a lousy job of proving your case. To make amends, I’m writing now to address this question:

Where did Edward Buxton Lindsey of Nash Co., NC, son of William Lindsey, go after his father died in 1817?

First, let’s talk about Jessica’s ancestor Edward Lindsey (1797-1872), who married as his first wife Rachel Murphy. He arrived in Benton Co., TN by at least 1836, and apparently lived there until he died. Since Benton was created in December 1835 from Henry and Humphrys counties, it is possible that Edward appears in the records of one of those counties before 1836. I haven’t looked in either county’s records, although the Edward Lindsey enumerated in Henry Co. in the 1830 federal census is probably the same man. Here are some Benton Co., TN records for Edward, all available at Ancestry.com and/or FamilySearch.org:

  • 1836 Benton Co. , TN tax list, Edward Lindsey. John, William and James Lindsey were also shown on that tax list.
  • 1837 Benton Co. tax list, Edward Lindsey, ditto.
  • 1838 tax list, ditto.
  • 1840 federal census, Benton Co., Edward Lyndsey, age 40-49.
  • 1850 federal census, Benton Co., Edward Lindsey, 52, b. NC (with second wife Levisa, whose name has various spellings).
  • 1860 federal census, Benton Co., Edward Linsy, 63, b. NC (wife Lavicy).
  • 1870 federal census, Benton Co., E. Lindsey, 73, b. NC (wife Lavinia).
  • Tombstone in the Edward Lindsey cemetery in Big Sandy, Benton Co., TN: “Edward Lindsey, b. 31 Jan 1797 d. 5 Mar 1872.” Here is the findagrave website with a photo of Edward’s tombstone. The findagrave site (but not the tombstone) shows Edward Lindsey with the middle initial “B.” And a monument erected by descendants also uses the middle initial “B.”

Benton County Edward was kind enough to stay in the same place for more than three decades. It’s a good bet that there is some record there containing a middle name or middle initial, if he ever used one. I haven’t found any. A descendant of his with whom I exchanged emails a number of years ago also found no record of him ever using a middle name or initial. That doesn’t prove Benton County Edward’s middle name wasn’t Buxton. It does cast some shade on the possibility.

OK, let’s shift our focus from Benton County Edward and go back to the  Nash County, NC will of William Lindsey. Here is a link to a post containing a complete transcription of the 1817 will.

William left his widow Polly (a common nickname for Mary) a life estate in his home “plantation.” It was located in Nash County on Sapony/Sappony Creek. After Polly’s life estate expired (i.e., after she died), the land went to William’s son Edward Buxton Lindsey. The will used Edward’s full name.

EBL appeared in Nash County for several years after his father died. His older brother Asbury Lindsey became guardian of EBL and his siblings William Ray and Polly Mintz Lindsey in February 1819.[1] The court recited Edward’s middle name in the guardian appointment. Subsequently, EBL’s brother John Wesley Lindsey became Edward’s guardian, posting the requisite annual guardian’s bond on Feb. 16, 1825. John Wesley also filed his annual accounting of EBL’s estate that month. The originals of both the bond and the accounting are available in the “Search Room”[2] at the State Archives of North Carolina in Raleigh. The Search Room makes hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions?) of records available to the public in the form of both original records and microfilm.[3]

Back to the point: in order to need a guardian, the ward must have been less than age 21 (or non compos mentis, which isn’t an issue here). Since EBL had a guardian in February 1825, he must have been born sometime after February 1804.

And there is the first problem with the theory that Benton County Edward was the same man as EBL of Nash County. Benton County Edward’s tombstone says that he was born in January 1797. He would have been 28 in 1825 and in no need of a guardian.

Meanwhile, my ancestor Edward B. Lindsey appeared in four consecutive federal censuses (1850 through 1880) as having been born in North Carolina about 1811 – 1812.[4] He would have still been underage through at least 1831.

That’s not enough to prove that the Edward B. Lindsey in those census records was the same man as EBL, son of William Lindsey of Nash County. For proof of that, we need to look at additional Nash County records – and some records in Pike and Barbour County, AL.

EBL’s last appearance in Nash County in person was in March 1827 at the estate sale of his brother, William Ray Lindsey.[5] Edward purchased a bedstead and linens, a pocket knife, a man’s saddle, a razor, an arithmetic book, a “cypering book,” and an ink stand. The last three items suggest that his brother and guardian John Wesley was seeing to Edward’s education, as William Lindsey’s 1817 will instructed. The purchases also prompt an image of a young man teetering on the brink of adulthood, in need of his own razor … but still engaged in schoolwork.

The 1830 census for Nash County does not have a listing for EBL, although his brothers Asbury and John Wesley both appear as heads of households.[6] EBL was still around Nash, though, because the county court tried to find John Wesley in early 1832 in connection with his annual guardian’s bond and accounting.[7] EBL’s guardian’s file contains the original of a summons dated February 2, 1832, ordering the sheriff to summon John W. Lindsey to appear at the May court to “show cause why he has not renewed his bond and returned his accounts as guardian to Edward B. Lindsey.” The order was dated Feb. 2 and issued April 10, 1832. On the reverse side of the summons it says this: “The Court vs. John W. Lindsey, gdn Edward B. Lindsey, May Term 1832. Not to be found in the County of Nash … the Deft [sic, defendant, i.e., John Wesley] has moved himself to the Mississippi.”

And that is the last record I have found in Nash County for John Wesley Lindsey. He and EBL clearly left Nash by early 1832, possibly together.

I found only one more Nash County record concerning EBL, a deed dated Nov. 21, 1836:

Charles Livingston of Barbor Co., Alabama (sic, Barbour) to Jeptha Lindsey of Nash, NC, 200 acres in Nash on the south side of Sappony Cr., “it being the lands left to Edward B. Lindsey by his father William Lindsey.”[8]

Moving on to Alabama … there is a marriage record in Pike Co., AL for Edward B. Lindsey and Elizabeth J. Odom dated June 30, 1832.[9] Barbour Co. was created in Dec. 1832 from the Creek Cession of 1812 and part of Pike County. There are a number of records for Edward B. Lindsey in Barbour County, including the state census of 1833. Here is the most important, because it proves that his full name was Edward Buxton Lindsey:

Deed dated Sept. 29, 1838 between Isaac Wilkins of Barbour Co. and E. Buxton Lindsey, also of Barbour Co., signed Edward B. Lindsey.[10]

There is no listing for Edward in the 1840 census, although he and Elizabeth Jane were clearly still in Barbour County. In 1842, EBL and his wife of Barbour Co. sold four tracts in Barbour County to Hubbard S. Odom.[11]

In short, a man named Edward Buxton Lindsey lived in Barbour County during at least 1833 through 1842. In 1836, a man who also lived in Barbour County sold Edward B. Lindsey’s tract on Sappony Creek in Nash County, NC, which Edward inherited from his father William.

I have not yet found a deed in which EBL conveyed his interest in his father’s Sappony Creek tract to Charles Livingston, but that would just be icing on the cake. If the other two deeds don’t convince you that EBL of Nash was the same man as EBL of Barbour Co., AL in 1838, then you’re a tough nut to crack. It’s good enough for me.

Also in 1838, Benton County Edward Lindsey appeared on the Benton County tax list, and he was still there in 1870. He was not the same man as Edward Buxton Lindsey of Nash and Barbour counties, who inherited his father’s tract on Sappony Creek.

EBL, son of William Lindsey of Nash, moved west from Barbour County. In 1845, his daughter Amanda Adieanna Lindsey was born in Mississippi. I don’t know where in Mississippi she was born, but I’m betting it was somewhere en route between Barbour Co. and Drew Co., AR. That is where EBL and his wife Elizabeth Jane Odom Lindsey were listed in the 1850 census, see footnote 4. Elizabeth Jane died in Drew County in October 1854 at age 42. Her obituary identifies her as the daughter of Jacob and Nancy Odom, “who emigrated to south Alabama.”[12]

There is no reasonable doubt that Edward Buxton Lindsey and his wife Elizabeth Jane Odom Lindsey of Drew Co., AR were the same people as the couple by those names who previously lived in Barbour Co., AL.

Edward wasn’t lucky in marriage. Elizabeth Jane Odom, the first of four wives, died leaving 9 or 10 children.[13] His second marriage to Ruth Crook in Drew County ended in divorce. In Claiborne Parish, LA (where his daughter Amanda Lindsey Rankin and his son William Lindsey both lived), he married wife number three, Elizabeth J. Marshall. She died in Tyler Co., TX, leaving Edward with an infant son. Marriage number four to Permelia Dean in Tyler County also ended in divorce. Edward returned to Claiborne Parish, where he last appeared in the 1880 census with his 10-year old son, Edward Lindsey Jr.

Edward’s story of four marriages, and his daughter Amanda Rankin’s story of love at first sight, are my two favorite oral family legends. You can find Edward’s legend and Amanda’s legend in articles on this website.

One last comment, stated as gently and kindly as I possibly can. Family trees posted at Ancestry.com don’t prove anything, even if there are dozens of them saying the same thing. Mostly, they prove how easy it is to import other peoples’ trees. Family trees posted at wikitree, FamilySearch.org, findagrave websites, surname DNA projects, and other websites have the same failing. If you find a tree with an unproved possible ancestor on it, contact the author and ask nicely for relevant evidence. I’ve met a bunch of nice people (and good researchers) that way!

See you on down the road … I’m heading (figuratively speaking) for Virginia and Pennsylvania on the trail of some Rankins.

* * * * * * * * * * *

[1] Timothy W. Rackley, Nash County North Carolina Court Minutes Volume IX 1818 – 1821 (Kernersville, NC: 1996), abstract of p. 235, entry of 8 Feb 1819 appointing Asberry (sic) Lindsey guardian of William Ray Lindsey, Polly Mintz Lindsey, and Edward Buxton Lindsey, orphans of William Lindsey, dec’d.

[2] The first banner at the Archives’ website has a picture of the search room showing its red upholstered chairs and a woman searching through one of the fibreboard boxes containing original records. https://archives.ncdcr.gov

[3] State Archives of North Carolina, fibreboard box designated C.R.069.510.7, “Nash County Guardians Records Horn, Henry – McDade, Drucilla 1784 – 1874,” file folder labeled “Lindsey, Edward B. 1832.”

[4] 1850 federal census, Drew Co., AR, E. B. Lindsey, 39 (born about 1811), b. NC, with Elizabeth J. Lindsey (wife #1), 28, and 8 children; 1860 federal census, Drew Co., AR, E. B. Lindsey, 48 (born about 1812), b. NC with Ruth Lindsey (wife #2) and 4 children (the Lindsey children are missing in that census); 1870 federal census, Tyler Co., TX, Edw. Lindsey, 59 (born about 1811), b. NC, with wife Eliz. Lindsey (wife #3) and 1 child; 1880 federal census, Claiborne Parish, LA, Edward B. Lindsey, 69 (born about 1811), b. NC, with a son, Edward B. Lindsey, 11, born in Texas.

[5] State Archives of North Carolina, fibreboard box designated CR.069.508.47, Nash Estate Records, file folder labeled “Wm. Ray Lindsey 1827.”

[6] 1830 federal census, Nash Co., NC, p. 186, household of Asberry Lindsey; p. 188, household of John W. Lindsey.

[7] State Archives of North Carolina, fibreboard box designated C.R.069.510.7, “Nash County Guardians Records Horn, Henry – McDade, Drucilla 1784 – 1874,” file folder labeled “Lindsey, Edward B. 1832.”

[8] State Archives of North Carolina, Film Box No. C.069.40006, microfilm of Nash Co. Deed Book 16: 206.

[9] 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.

[10] Alabama Department of Archives and History, microfilm of Barbour County Deed Book F: 54; see also FamilySearch.org Film No. 7,897,788, digitized images of Barbour Co., AL Deed Book Volumes E-G 1842-1846, at Deed Book F: 54.

[11] Alabama Department of Archives and History, microfilm of Barbour County Deed Book E: 114. Hubbard Stubbs Odom was Elizabeth Jane Odom Lindsey’s brother. For some reason that is beyond me, EBL bought those same four tracts back from Hubbard in 1843. Microfilm of Barbour County Deed Book F: 45.

[12] 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 New Orleans Christian Advocate issue of 25 Nov. 1854, No. 3, Page 3, Col. 1.

[13] Jennie Belle Lyle, Marriage Record Book B, Drew Co., Arkansas (Little Rock: Democrat Printing & Lithography Co., 1966)marriage record for E. B. Lindsey and Ruth B. Crook, 16 Sep 1856; Willie Huffman Farley, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana Marriage Records, 1849-1940 (Shreveport: J & W Enterprises, 1984), 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.


1817 Will of William Lindsey, Nash Co., NC

I just sent another Lindsey researcher my transcription of William Lindsey’s Nash County will, dated 16 Feb 1817 and proved in May 1817. After hitting “send,” it occurred to me that other Lindsey researchers might like to see that will, so I’m including it in this post.

I made the transcription from the original will, which is available to the public at the NC Archives in Raleigh. The original will is contained in a file box numbered CR.069.801.6 and labeled “Nash Co. Wills 1778 – 1922, Keith – Owen.” The box contains a manila folder labeled “William Lindsey 1817” in which the will is filed. My transcription is verbatim from the original, including spelling errors.

It is a charming will, not least because of the spelling errors – although they are undoubtedly the fault of whomever actually put William’s wishes on paper. The will clearly reveals a man who cared deeply for his children, concerned that the young ones “mind thare stepmother” and be kept out of all “dissepated cumpany.” He also wanted them to receive enough education to at least allow them to read the Bible for themselves. His signature is a big quavery – he was apparently sick – but it features a large “W” and “L,” suggesting to me a man who was comfortable in his own shoes.

To take out the mystery, the will names William’s wife “Polley” (there is no evidence of her maiden name) and seven children, including three daughters and four sons. Polley was his second wife. The evidence, although not conclusive, suggests that William’s first wife and the mother of all or most of his children may have been a Miss Longbottom or Long Bottom, given name unknown. There are many myths on the web (including some misnamed “vital records” available at Ancestry.com) about William Lindsey’s family of origin, but I will save that issue for another day.

Here are the names of William’s children and a little bit about them. The names leave no doubt whatsoever that William Lindsey was a serious Methodist. In fact, he had been ordained by John Wesley himself. Also, he owned no slaves, which wasn’t uncommon among Methodists. Good for him.

  1. John Wesley Lindsey, b. abt. 1794, Nash Co., NC, d. between 1850-1860, Leake Co., MS. Wife Zany Rogers, daughter of Robert and Ann Rogers. John Wesley and Zany left Nash after November 1830, when he last appeared in the Nash records, acknowledging a deed for the sale of his land. He had appeared in Leake County by 1835.
  2. Asbury Lindsey, b. abt. 1796, Nash Co., NC, d. 1854, Nash Co., wife’s name unknown. Lived in Nash his entire life.
  3. Jerusha Lindsey, b. abt. 1798, Nash Co., NC, no further record.
  4. Elizabeth “Betsy” Mary Fletcher Lindsey, b. between 1798-1800, Nash Co., NC. No further record.
  5. Wiliam Ray Lindsey, b. between 1802-1804, Nash Co., d. abt. 1827, Nash Co. He never married and had no children, although some Lindsey researchers have confused William Ray with another William Lindsey in Nash who married Nancy Pridgen and had children named Bennett Lindsey and Nancy W. Lindsey. The latter William died in 1825 and was the son of Jeptha Lindsey. The estate records for Jeptha conclusively prove that Bennett and Nancy were not the children of William Ray Lindsey. Rather, they were Jeptha’s grandchildren and were the children of Jeptha’s son William. The confusion about the children’s father is understandable: at one time, the NC Archives estate records for William Ray, son of William, were mixed with those for William, son of Jeptha — and the guardian records for Bennett and Nancy W. were mixed in with both of them. I think the archivists have now sorted out those files.
  6. Mary “Polly” Mintz Lindsey, b. 24 Aug 1805, Nash Co., NC, d. 30 Jul 1880. Married Hudson Finch. Lived her entire life in Nash County.
  7. Edward Buxton Lindsey, b. 1811, Nash Co., d. Jan 1883 in Claiborne Parish, LA. Edward was my ancestor. He left Nash County about 1830 for Pike/Barbour County, Alabama (Barbour was created from Pike), where he married my ancestor Elizabeth Jane Odom, daughter of Jacob and Nancy Stubbs Odom. Edward and Elizabeth Jane moved to Drew Co., AR, where she died in 1854, after having 9 and probably 10 children. Edward soon married Ruth Belle Crook, wife #2. They divorced. Edward then moved to Claiborne Parish, LA, where he married wife #3, Elizabeth J. Marshall. Edward and Elizabeth moved to Tyler Co., TX, where Elizabeth died after having one child. Edward next married wife #4, Permelia Dean. They divorced, and Edward moved back to Claiborne Parish about 1870 with a small son in tow. There is a longish article about him titled “Edward Buxton Lindsey: one of my family legends” on this website.

With that preamble, here is William Lindsey’s will:

“In the name of God amen I William Lindsey of the county of Nash and State of North Carolina cawlling to mind the near aproch of death but of disposing mind and memory blessed be God do make and ordain this my Last will and Testament In manner and form following to wit I render my Sole to God that gave it and body to be buried in usual manner –

First my will an desier is that all my Just debts be paid out of my bonds open accoumpts and personal Estate.

Item I give and bequeth to my loving wife Polley Lindsey hole of the property that she pursest before our marriage which part in money was severnty dollars, I also give to her all the bacon and lard and all the corn and small gran for the seport of her and the family that continue with her – and my desier is that my Eldest Son John Wesley Lindsey see that thay mind thare Stepmother and thare larning bisness and are kept out of all dissepated cumpaney and also to have sum chance of schoolling at least to know how to read the word of God,

I also lend to my wife Polley the house and plantation on which I live beginning at a lightwood stump in the midle run? thence a west corse to the middle branch to a popler, then down the meanders of sd branch to the run of? Saponey Creek to a Large corner cypres on the bank of sd creek then up the sd creek to Pridgen Manning’s line then south along sd Manning line to Nathan Joiners line a corner lightwood stump thence East sd Joiners line to a corner pine, thence south a long said Joiners line to Christipher Taylors line a corner pine in John Bisets line thence an east corse along sd Bissets line to Jacobs Swamp to a corner maple Joran Shurods line, then up sd swamp Sherods line to a corner pine thence a north corse along a line of markt trees to the road then up the road west to a hickrey thence along the path as the fence goes to the mouth of the long lane then down sd lane to the first station containing Two hundred acres more or less, during her natrel life or widow hood.

I also give to my beloved Wife Polley one gray horse Dimant and her riding saddle and one cow and calf or yearling Two yoes and lambs choice Two sows and piggs – my will and desier is that my son William Ray Lindsey shold continue with my wife five years and to go Equal in the proffits of the orchard and land on which thay live and his own land that I shall here after give to him, It is also my will that my wife Polley Lindsey and Edward Buxton Lindsey as soon as connvenent thay are to pay one hundred and fifty dollars for the purpose of paying of my land contracts. Now the land that I have above lent to my wife Polley after her death or marrige, I give to my Beloved son Edward Buxton Lindsey to him and his heirs for ever.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved son John Wesley Lindsey the tract of land that I Bought of of Nathan Lindsey and part of a tract that I bought of Amos Hatcher Beginning at Jephtha Lindsey’s corner a cypres on the Sapony Creek thence up the various corses of sd creek to a corner cypres then up the midle branch to a corner poplar thence along the middle lane to a corner lightwood stump thence a long the long lane to the mouth then along the path and fence to the road a corner hickrey then down the road East to a pine then south along a line of markt trees to a corner pine Jurdan Sherods line then east to a corner pine sd Sherrods line then North to a corner pine Jepthah Lindseys corner then along sd Lindseys line to the first station containing one hundred and eighty acres more or less to him and his heirs for ever and also one bay mare Pol? bridle and saddle one cow and calf and two yoes and lambs and one bed and furnture to him and his heirs for Ever on conditions he pays three hundred dollars towards the lands that I am in debt for.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved son Asbury Lindsey the tract of land I bought of Edward Ballard all lying on the North side of the road and one horse named doctor one cow and calf two yoes and lambs and one bed and furniture, to him and his heirs forever, upon condition he pays one hundred and fifty dollars twoards the land I am now in debt for.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved son William Ray Lindsey all the ballance of my lands that I have not heartofore given away two hundred acres more or less and one gray mare called Spinnet and one saddle and bridle one cow and calf two yoes and lambs one sow and piggs and one bed and furniture to him and his heirs for ever – upon condition he pays one hundred dollars towards the lands that I am now in debt for.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved daughter Jerusha Lindsey one bed without any furniture only a sted one cow and yoe and lamb and she furnished with cotton and wool soficent cloth her bed to her and her heirs for ever.

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved daughter Polley Mintz Lindsey one bed and furniture and fifteen dollars in money to her and her heirs forever

Item I give and bequeth to my beloved daughter Betsey Mary Fletcher Lindsey one bed and furniture and fifteen dollars in money to her and her heirs for ever.

Now my will and desier is that if either of my four sons to whom I have given my land shold dy with out a lawfull heir that the land to them given shold be equally divided between those that survive.

Now all the ballance of my Estate undevsd I leave to be sold for the purpose of paying my debts, now if thare shold not be as much money needed as I have left above for my sons to pay they are to pay in purportion to those sums above named.

And I do hereby nominate and appoint my beloved son John Westley Lindsey and Richard Holland executer to this my last will and testament signed and seled in present of us this 16th of February 1817.

William Lindsey

Barn Tucker [and] Nelson Bone [witnesses]

Edward Buxton Lindsey: one of my family legends

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.[1] Norene’s mother, neé Anna Belle Rankin, was Amanda’s daughter.[2] Amanda lived until 1920, when Norene was twenty-eight.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

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.[9] Moreover, there are surviving marriage records for each wife in four different states, something I would have deemed wildly against the odds.[10] 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.[11] After producing at least nine and possibly ten children, Elizabeth Jane died in 1854 in Drew County, Arkansas.[12] 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.”[13]

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.[14]

Less than two years later, Reverend Carr officiated at Edward’s marriage to Ruth B. Crook, a wealthy woman with several children.[15] 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.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18] A month earlier, Ruth had filed with the Drew County court a list of her fairly substantial separate property.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21] 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.[22] 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.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25] 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.[26] 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.[27] 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.[28] 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.[29] 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.[30] It yielded $380.78 after debts were paid – plenty of money for a tombstone, but I can’t find one.[31]

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).[32] The tutor was one J. M. Kight, no known relationship to the Lindsey family.[33] 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.[34] 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.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

© 2016 by Robin Rankin Willis

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

[4] 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.

[5] Notes 3 and 4.

[6] 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.

[7] 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.

[8] 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.

[9] 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.

[10] 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.

[11] Family Adventures, Early Alabama Marriages.

[12] 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.

[13] 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.

[14] Lyle, Marriage Record Book B, Drew Co., Arkansas, identifying J. M. Carr as an M. E. minister.

[15] 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.

[16] 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.

[17] 1870 federal census, Drew Co., AR, Monticello P.O., p. 629, dwelling #465, listing for Ruth Crook, 63.

[18] 1860 federal census, Drew Co., AR, p. 103, listing for E. B. Lindsey. Census taken on July 13th, 1860.

[19] 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.

[20] Edward had no scruples preventing him from marrying Ruth Crook, who owned seven slaves. See id.

[21] 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.

[22] 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.

[23] Farley, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana Marriage Records, 15 Nov 1865 marriage bond, E. B. Lendsey and E. J. Marshall, Marriage Book 1, Folio 336.

[24] 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.

[25] 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.

[26] 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.

[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.

[28] Id.; notes 13, 17 and 26.

[29] FHL Film #265,999, Claiborne Parish, LA Probate Record Book E: 392.

[30] Id., 31 Mar 1883 report of administrator Joseph W. Day on the sale of Edward B. Lindsey’s land.

[31] Id., Claiborne Parish Probate Record Book E: 398, 31 Aug 1883 report by administrator.

[32] Id.

[33] See id.

[34] 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.