Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rev. Jacob M. Stewart

Reverend Jacob Mattison Stewart of Putnam County, Tennessee

Rev. Jacob M. Stewart was a younger brother to our ancestor, Henry Riley Stewart. Like his brother Henry, Jacob joined the Union Army in the Civil War. He served in Company I 157 Tennessee Mounted Infantry. In addition to being a Baptist Minister, later in his life Jacob was also the postmaster for the Boma, Tennesee Post Office.

Reverend Jacob Mattison Stewart
Postmaster of Boma, Tennessee Post Office

Below is a short biography written about Rev. Jacob M. Stewart in 1902.
History of Middle Tennessee Baptists: With Special Reference to Salem, New Salem, Enon and Wiseman Associations; By John Harvey Grime; Published by Baptist and Reflector, 1902; Original from the University of Michigan; Digitized (Google Books) Oct 10, 2006; 565 pages.
Page 510, 511

ELDER J. M. .STEWART, Boma, Putnam County, Tennessee.He is of Dutch-Irish descent. He is tall, medium size, with dark complexion. He is the son of Harrison and Sarah (Brown) Stewart. He was born five miles west of Cookeville, Putnam County, Tennessee, November 11, 1847. He was brought up on the farm. He made profession at his home in Putnam County, Tennessee, April 12, 1865, and was baptized into the fellowship of Mine Lick Baptist Church, April 5, 1866, by Elder Jesse Brown. He was ordained by the order of Mine Lick Church, August 7, 1870, by Elders Jesse Brown and Elijah Hickey, and was at the same time called to the care of said church.
He has served as pastor the following churches: Mine Lick, 1870-74; Mud Spring,
1870-71 ; Bear Creek, Overton County, 1871-72; Caney Fork, DeKalb County, 1871-73; Wolf Creek, 1872-74; again 1876-81 ; Indian Creek, Putnam County, 1872- 77; Beech Grove, 1876-82, again 1897-98; Hopewell, 1874-83; Mt. Zion, 1880-91, again 1894-1900; Dry Creek, 1884-90 (two years of this time was before the church was organized) ; Hickman's Creek, 1883- 85; Salem, 1883-87; New Hope, 1883-85; Bethel, 1887-89; Lancaster, 1888-90; Indian Creek, DeKalb County, 1888-90, again 1896-98. In 1891 he moved to Texas, remaining two years ; while there, he organized two churches and was pastor of six churches in that State. He returned in October, 1893 ; Dowell- town, 1894-97; Wharton's Spring, 1896-98; Boma, 1898-1902; Wolf Creek, 1901-02.
He was educated in common schools and at home. He has done a considerable amount of missionary work. He has worked up and organized six churches, and assisted in four others, making ten in all. He has baptized several hundred converts and married between one and two hundred couples.
He was married to Miss Mary E. Lee, September 10, 1868, by whom he has four children, one son and three daughters.
Rev. JM Stewart & wife, Mary Lee Stewart Rev. JM Stewart & daughter

Elder J. M. Stewart died on 25 Jan 1920 at Boma, Putnam County, Tennessee.  He was 72 years, 2 months, and 14 days old when he died.  His death certificate states that he was a Minister of the Gospel and his occupation was preaching.  Elder Stewart was buried in Boma on Jan 26th 1920 in the New Home Baptist Church Cemetery next to the New Home Baptist Church.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bettie Medlin -- Little Orphan Girl

Probably the saddest stories I come across in my family history research is when a mother dies leaving behind young children. Our ancestor, Bettie Medlin was one such child.

Bettie Medlin Stewart

Bettie Medlin was the youngest child born to Samuel and Rebecca (Morgan) Medlin. Rebecca died while Bettie was still a small infant and she was raised by another family. Bettie was probably born about 1854, although no record of her birth exists. Bettie stated in a letter included in Henry's Civil War Pension Records that she did NOT know her birth date or how old she actually was and she usually did not give a birth year or age to the census taker. BUT, in about 1932, Bettie told her great-granddaughter, Ethel Baldwin, that her BIRTHDAY was on Valentine's Day, Febuary 14. I feel that she personally picked that day for her birthday since she did not know her real birthday, so that is the birthdate I have given her.
She said she was born "close to Nashville, TN" in one letter and in "Putnam County" Tennessee in another letter. Her family, the Samuel Medlin family, was in Wilson County in the 1850 Census. Brother, Riley Medlin, stated he was born in Wilson Co., TN in his Civil War Pension Application. Wilson County is just above Nashville (Davidson County), so it is "close to Nashville."

As stated earlier, Rebecca died shortly after Bettie was born. Bettie stated in a letter dated 25 Jan 1917 (included in the widow's pension application of her husband, Henry Stewart's Civil War Pension Records #1244,834) that her mother died when she was an infant and that "the people with whom I was raised their name was Barnett Richardson near Boulding Green, Ky."

There is a Barnett Richardson in the 1860 Putnam Co., TN census. Included in his family is a 7 year old Elizabeth which is most likely our Bettie.

Further research into Barnett Richardson, shows he has a brother Caleb Richardson who was married to Martha (Patsy) Medlin. Also in the 1860 Putnam County census is a Riley Medlin family with a 11 yr old, Isaac P. Medlin in household, who is most likey Bettie's brother, Isaac Pinkney. Conclusion: Barnett Richardson's sister-in-law is Patsy Medlin Richardson. Patsy may be related to Bettie's father, Samuel Medlin and to Riley Medlin. These relationships need to be researched, but they could very well be siblings.

Most of Bettie's siblings were old enough to be married, or else they went to live with other family members after the death of their mother. In 1860, sister Amanda can be found living with married sister, Emily Medlin Rogers. Bettie's father may have remarried to a Peggy Jaco but there is no indication any of the children remained living with him after the death of his first wife, Rebecca.
Bettie also stated that in 1870 she was living with "William Brown his wife Emma Brown and their children names were Clerry Jane Brown, Permela Brown and Smith Brown in Putnam Co., Tenn." Emma (Richardson) Brown is the daughter of Caleb and Patsy (Medlin) Richardson and niece of Barnett Richardson.

In 1870, William and Emma Brown lived next to Harrison Stewart (Henry's father) and Caleb Richardson. Bettie probably lived with the Brown Family and met Henry Stewart. Perhaps she helped to care for Henry's children after his first wife died?  Bettie married Henry Riley Stewart at the home of William and Emma Brown (as recorded in the Stewart Family Bible pages in possession of Lorene Stewart Family of New Mexico):
"H.R. Stewart of Tenn. & Bettie Medlin of Tenn. married Aug 17, 1872 by Rev. Jacob Stewart at Brown’s house. Witnesses: Browns and Stewarts." The Rev. Jacob Stewart was Henry's brother.

Bettie and Henry had eight children: Mary Jane Stewart Baldwin, David Hargon Stewart, Jospeh R. Stewart, George Thomas Stewart, Henry P. Stewart, Evert Walter Stewart, Charles Vester Stewart mand Mattie May Stewart.

In the 1880's, Bettie and Henry moved to Texas.  They were living in Young County, Texas when their oldest daughter, Mary Jane Stewart, married Allen Baldwin. The Stewarts then moved to Oklahoma in the early 1900's. They built a large stone house in Kiowa County.

Bettie's husband, Henry, died in September of 1912. After the death of her husband, Henry, Bettie lived with children and grandchildren. In the early 1930's in Kiowa County, Oklahoma, Bettie lived with her grandson Jess Baldwin and his young family. Great-granddaughter, Ethel would sleep in the same big feather bed with Bettie. Ethel would slip into bed with her socks on.  Bettie would reach down and feel her sock garters holding up the socks and promptly tell Ethel to get her socks off.  Ethel said that Grandma Bettie was a tiny lady, about 5 feet tall and 90 pounds. She was very feisty lady. Bettie had long black hair (no grey hair even in her 70's) that she would braid and roll in a bun. Every night Grandma Bettie would go through the same routine -- she would put on her flannel nightgown, take down her braids, unbraid them and brush out her hair, then she would rub "Golden Peacock" cream on her face, and then drink the glass of milk she had set on her night stand. She used the "Golden Peacock" cream to bleach out her age spots. The milk she set by her bed every night had 3 or 4 drops of a medicine used for colic (paregoric) because it helped her sleep.
Golden Peacock Bleach Cream
Great-granddaughter Esther remembers that Bettie would sit very strait, wore dresses with high-necked collars, and was very particular about how she took care of herself.  Another great-granddaughter remembered Grandma Bettie allowing her to see the contents of her trunk with all of her mementos and treasures in it.  That is probably where she kept the Family Bible.  Wouldn't you love to go through that trunk today?:)

Bettie made up some rather fantastic stories to tell the grandchildren as to why she was an orphan -- Indians attacking their wagon train and killing her parents, being kidnapped by the Indians, etc. One such story had to do with her mother being an Indian and the Indian tribe being upset with her because she had married a white man.  The Indians killed her father and left her mother for dead.

Some descendants of Amanda Medlin Reed, Bettie's sister, also recall stories about an "Indian Grandma."  In the early part of 2002, I had a telephone conversation with Henry Reed Jr. of Madison, TN.   He said that his great-grandmother was Cherokee Indian.  Supposedly, Rebecca was born before the Indian removal. When the Cherokee's were driven out of Tennessee on the "Trail of Tears", Rebecca hid out in the mountains. The mountains were in the southern part of Tennessee -- One was called Lookout Mountain. Henry said he saw a picture of this grandmother when he was a boy and she looked Indian. He said Rebecca was not her real name, it was a name given to her when she was christened. Her real Indian name is lost to anyone's memory.  Are these stories based on facts and was this great-grandma, Rebecca Morgan, a Cherokee Indian??
If anyone has any information concerning Rebecca Morgan, please leave a comment.

Back to Bettie.  Some of the great grandchildren had fond memories of their great-grandma Bettie.  But, some of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren thought Bettie was a "mean old grandma." One great-granddaughter remembers Bettie throwing the dirty dishwater on her. (This was in the days before indoor plumbing.) She said Grandma Bettie would wait until there were children playing outside to throw out the dishwater, and that it would usually land on some of the grandchildren. Another grandchild remembered Bettie swatting them with a fly-swat if they bothered her too much. 

Another picture of Bettie can also be seen in the previous posting of the Stewart Stone House .

Jesse Stewart -- Baptist Preacher

Our direct ancestor, Jesse Stewart, of Tennessee was a Baptist Preacher.  He was the grandfather of our Henry Stewart and great-grandfather of Mary Jane Stewart Baldwin.

Click here to see another post on Jesse Stewart that includes copies of the Jesse Stewart Bible Pages.

The following short biography on Elder Jesse Stewart is from the above pictured book, History of Middle Tennessee Baptists: With Special Reference to Salem, New Salem, Enon and Wiseman Associations by John Harvey Grime (1902). (Published by Baptist and Reflector, 1902); Pages 275-277.


This father in Israel is a grandfather of Elder J. M. Stewart, of Boma, Tenn. But little can be gathered concerning him. The first authentic information we have concerning him, he was a member of Roaring River Church, in Overton County, Tennessee. This is one of the oldest churches in Middle Tennessee and was in the constitution of Stockton's Valley Association in 1805. Elder Stewart was probably ordained by this church. At least he was an ordained minister in this Association when the mission controversy arose. He took the side of missions, and the majority of his church took the other side. The war waged, and finally the church excluded him for his mission views. His exclusion was publicly announced in the Association, A. D. 1843.

The controversy in this (Stockton's Valley) Association on the mission question assumed a serious aspect as early as 1836, and this meeting in 1843 was the culmination of the long-strained condition of the body. And those parts of the churches which had been dropped from the Association, including those who had been excluded for their principles, with other sympathizers, met at Beech Grove, Monroe County, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in November 1843, and constituted Freedom Association. This Association had six churches, aggregating 216 members. (See History of Kentucky Baptists, by J. H. Spencer, Vol. 2, p. 217).

Elder Stewart most probably remained a member of Freedom Association until some time in the fifties. Then he became identified with the great mission movement of Salem Association which swept over the mountain counties, taking Putnam County as a center. Later, he became identified with Johnson Association.

When this author (Rev. J.M. Stewart) was a small child, Elder Stewart was wont to visit his father's home, in the southern part of Putnam County, Tenn. This was in the fifties (1850's) and I remember him as a feeble old man and very badly palsied. He is perhaps the first minister I remember to have seen, though I have no recollection of hearing him preach. It seems that I can now feel his trembling hand on my head and hear his faltering voice as he pronounces his blessings upon a whitehaired haired boy. It is said he was a good, old-fashioned preacher. I am told that he moved to the State of Kentucky and went from there to glory. This occurred about the time of the Civil War. Where he sleeps is unknown to this author, but God will keep watch over his dust and bring it forth in that DAY.

(Note: This short biography on Jesse Stewart was written and submitted to be included in the above mentioned book by his grandson, Rev Jacob Stewart.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Henry Stewart -- Civil War Veteran

Our grandpa, Henry Riley Stewart, was a veteran of the Civil War. Henry was born and raised in the South, but when it came time to take a stand, he joined the Union to fight against slavery. On 31 December 1863 at Carthage, Tennessee, Henry enlisted in the Union Army as a private in D Company 1st Tennessee Volunteers, Mounted Infantry. His pension is File # 1244,834.  At the end of the war, Henry was discharged honorably from the army on 25 April 1865 at Nashville, Tennessee.

To see additional information from Henry's Civil War Pension file, go to:
Henry R Stewart Civil War Pension I
Henry R Stewart Civil War Pension II

Henry was born 10 Dec 1843, the third child of Harrison and Sarah (Brown) Stewart. In his pension application, Henry states that he was born in Double Springs, Jackson County, Tennessee. Putnam county was created from Jackson county and it is in Putnam County that the records for the Stewart family will be found.

Sixteen year old Henry can be found living with his parents in the 1860 Census for Putnam county. His father, Harrison's occupation is listed as a mechanic. In other records, Harrison's occupation is listed as shop work or blacksmith. Blacksmithing is the profession that Henry followed during his lifetime. Below is the letterhead Henry used for his blacksmith shop in Mountain View, Oklahoma.

After the Civil War, Henry married Elizabeth Brown. Henry and Elizabeth are enumerated in the 1870 census for Putnam County, Tennessee.  In the census below, Henry, Elizabeth, and son, John M, are on the bottom of page 207, and son, Elijah is listed on the top of the next page 208.
1870 Census, Putnam County, Tennessee, pg 207B
Elizabeth died in 1871, just a few days after giving birth to her third son. It is not known who helped Henry with his sons after Elizabeth died.  Only records for John M. Stewart have been found.  It is not known what happened to Elijah and William after the death of their mother.

A year later in 1872, Henry married Bettie Medlin. Bettie's mother, Rebecca, had died when she was just an infant and Bettie was raised by the Barnett Richardson family. In 1870, Bettie was living in Putnam county with the William Brown family. It was through these relationships that Bettie met the young widower, Henry Stewart. Henry and Bettie were married at the Brown's home by Rev. Jacob Stewart (Henry's brother.) Below is a copy from the Stewart Family Bible giving the marriage information for Henry & Bettie.
Stewart Family Bible
Religion played a large roll in Henry's life. His grandfather, Jesse Stewart, was a well known Tennessee Baptist pastor, as was his brother, Jacob M. Stewart.  Henry's father, Harrison, was a clerk for the Mine Lick Church -- named after a creek by that name on the head waters of which the church was located. This church was situated some eight miles west of Cookeville in Putnam County on the table lands of Cumberland Mountain. In his later life, Henry was considered as lay minister and would often preach at revivals in Texas and Oklahoma. His grandchildren can remember hearing him preach sermons at church gatherings.

In 1880, Henry was a 34 year old a millwright living in Cheatham County, Tennessee with wife, Bettie, and their two children, Mary J. and Joseph.  Mary Jane Stewart is our direct ancestor. She married Allen Baldwin and was the mother of Grandpa Jess Baldwin.

Henry and Bettie had eight children: Mary Jane Stewart Baldwin, David Hargon Stewart, Jospeh R. Stewart, George Thomas Stewart, Henry P. Stewart, Evert Walter Stewart, Charles Vester Stewart and Mattie May Stewart.  Descendants of these children can be found throughout the western states of Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and California.

Henry's brother, John Calvin Stewart, moved to Texas around 1882. A year later, Henry also moved his family to Texas. In his pension record, Henry states that "I came to Texas Aug 1883." He was living in Young County, Texas in 1890, when he showed up on the 1890 Veteran's Schedule. Ten years later in 1900, the Henry Stewart family seems to be unsettled. In March, when Henry started applying for his Civil War Pension, he gave Round Tree, Baylor County, Texas as his residence. But several months later in June, when the 1900 Federal Census was taken, Henry was in Throckmorton County, Texas.

The family made another move in 1901. This time to Cloverton, Kiowa, Oklahoma Territory. In 1902 and 1907, Henry still gives Kiowa County, Oklahoma as his place of residence. The pictures of the Stewart Stone House were taken around 1907 or 1908.

Henry (in overalls & black hat) is standing to the far right looking away from the camera.

For some reason, the family was back in Texas for the 1910 Census, in Wise county. Maybe they were just visiting, because they are next found back in Oklahoma in the early part of 1912. Henry's health seems to be deteriorating. In a letter written to his brother, Jacob, in May of 1912, Henry talks about being sick for about 3 months and going to Hot Springs. According to Jacob M. Stewart, this is the last letter he received from his brother, Henry.

Henry Stewart letter to brother, Jacob. 1912, pages 1-2

Henry Stewart letter to brother, Jacob. 1912, pages 3-4

As Henry indicated in the letter above, he ended up going to the Army Hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  He died in the Army Hospital on 19 September 1912. Henry R. Stewart is buried in the Little Rock National Cemetery in Little Rock, Arkansas.  His grave is in Section 8 site 6139.

You can search the National Gravesite Locator on the US Department of Veteran Affairs website for your US Veteran:  National Gravesite Locator

Other posts about Henry Stewart:
North and South
Our Family Blacksmiths
Stewarts of Putnam County, Tennessee
Old Stone House