Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mystery Photo Identified?

About 10 years ago, I was given two photocopies of old photographs. (They were not high quality/resolution copies.) One was of our great-grandpa, William B. Wilson. The other was identified as the sister & brother-in-law of William Wilson. The photocopies came from the Alma Wilson Barnes family.

This first photo is of William B. Wilson. He married Mary Polly Huff 7 Dec 1858 in Collin County, Texas. She died about 1899 in Oklahoma. William died in 1920 in Oklahoma.

The second photocopy (below) given to me had the following notation:

"Coss & Bess -- Sister & Brother-in-law to William Wilson"

I have never been able to figure out just who Coss & Bess were.
I thought maybe "Coss & Bess" meant who the picture was to not who the picture was of.
The research into William Wilson's family showed he had two siblings -- both sisters. One was named Mary and she married Jacob Helms. Another older sister listed in the Collin County, Texas 1850 census, was only known as E. G. (or J.). It was not known what happened to her. William's wife, Mary Huff Wilson, had a brother by the name of Cosley. I thought perhaps this could be him -- but his wife's name was Tempie.
So the "Coss & Bess" written on the picture remained a mystery to me because it did not fit any of the family.
Last month, I found the following picture on Find A Grave.  As you can see, it is the same picture as the one above, only in a little better condition. It was attached to the memorial page for W. J. Roberts who was buried in the Hess Cemetery in Jackson County, Oklahoma.

William J. Roberts was born 12 Dec 1829 in Tennessee. He lived in Collin County, Texas from 1850 to the 1890's. William married Sarah E. J. Wilson on 22 Jun 1856 in Collin County, Texas. According to their family, Sarah Elizabeth Jane Wilson was the sister to our William Wilson and the daughter of James and Martha Wilson.

This helps to solve another genealogical mystery. Years ago, my uncle Wilber told a story about his Grandpa (Charles B Wilson) visiting "Roberts" relatives in Portales, NM in the early 1900's. I could never figure out how the Roberts in his story were related to our Wilsons. He also talked about a gunfight that took place in Texas involving the Wilson and Roberts family. After the gunfight, the Roberts family moved away. The Roberts moved to Oklahoma and some of their children moved to Portales, NM and lived there in the 1910 census.

So the wife of William J. Roberts, Elizabeth Jane Roberts, appears to be the daughter listed in the 1850 Census for the James Wilson family. That would make her the sister to William Wilson. "Bess" is sometimes used as a nickname for Elizabeth.

Any additions or corrections to this information concerning the William & Elizabeth (Wilson) Roberts family would be appreciated.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amazing to find the two photographs to figure out who was in the picture. What are the odds? Good work.