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Gail (#37537426)
 member for 16 years, 7 months, 28 days
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Bio Photo I have been doing genealogy for forty years. I find cemeteries a valuable resource tool to help extend the family tree. It's an odd feeling to stand at their gravesites. Once you have traced them and know so much about their lives, it's an odd feeling to stand at their final resting place. I also feel that it is important for our younger generations to have visual documentation to see so they can identify with who these generations were that went before them. Too many know so little about where they came from and the struggles the earlier generations had to make them possible today.
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Randall Steelman
RE: Lydia Wilkins Memorial

It is an interesting story about where Grandma was born, not straight forward as you might think.

The town is now Mangum, Oklahoma, however at the time of her birth, it was in Texas. I am including the history of Greer County, Oklahoma


History of Greer County

On February 8, 1860, Governor Sam Houston approved an act of the Texas legislature creating the County of Greer from the area of Young County, Texas and named for John Alexander Greer, a veteran of the Texas war for independence from Mexico. Civil War intervened for a while. Under Texas jurisdiction the county was attached successively to different organized counties until Greer was organized with a full slate of officers July 10, 1886.
Greer County was part of a long-standing boundary dispute between the United States and the State of Texas. Greer County passed from Texas to Oklahoma authorities in 1896 at the decision of the United States Supreme Court. Greer County celebrated the Centennial of this decision March 16, 1996.

Legal history of the land, the area that would become Greer County, began in the year 1803, Napoleon was preparing to go to war with England. France owned all the land west of the Mississippi River, and owned Louisiana which controlled both sides at the mouth of the river.

Thomas Jefferson sensed the fact that Napoleon needed more money than he did this land. At that time this Government only extended west to the Mississippi River. The river was the great channel of commerce for all territory west of the Allegany mountains. It is still a vital artery of commerce clear up the Ohio to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and the Cumberland river to Nashville, Tennessee. Jefferson was not pleased with the fact that two governments had control of the river, and that France had exclusive control at the mouth at New Orleans.

Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Purchase for a few cents per acre. All of Greer County within that purchase.

In 1819 the United States bought from Spain what is now Florida. At that time the Kingdom of Spain owned what is now Texas. It afterward became the Republic of Mexico, and the Republic of Texas.

But tacked on to the purchase of Florida the United States and Kingdom of Spain entered into a treated defining the boundaries of the two nations. It commenced at the mouth of the Sabine river; thence North so far to the Red River; thence up Red River to the 100th Meridian; thence across Red River, following the 100th Meridian to the Arkansas River.

Shortly after the Civil War and along in the seventies a railway was built out to Abilene and Dodge City, Kansas. Many cattlemen of North and Central Texas in the spring of the year would start to drive their cattle to market. They could only make three or four miles a day, for the reason the cattle had to eat along the way. Cowboys would ride ahead and undertake to find a creek, river or some watering place for the cattle. If the drive was especially hard one day the cattlemen would let their cattle rest a day or so and not drive very far. Their object was: To have the cattle good and fat when they reached a railway shipping point in the fall of the year.

Along in the late seventies, a few cowboys were especially impressed with the good, tall grass in what is now Mangum, Oklahoma. They would let the poor and sick cattle remain. They were not physically able to make the long trek to Kansas. At times some of the cowboys would stay with the cattle. They would dig a hole in the ground, commonly called dugout and remain here. Soon great ranches were established in what is now Greer County, Oklahoma.

The brand of one large cattle company was "J" and then a buckle. This outfit became known as the JayBuckle. They selected a young man by the name of Samuel Houston Tittle as their foreman, and he kept the cattle near a spring four miles north of the present town of Reed. This spring is known today as J Buckle spring. S. H. Tittle, later of Granite, Oklahoma, was sheriff of Greer County a number of years, and the father of Louis Tittle, a Mangum businessman.

The town of Mangum was named after Captain Aaron S. Mangum, from Atlanta, Georgia, a veteran of the Texas 'War of Independence', who received a land grant, 320 acres, from Texas. Capt. Mangum entered into a contract with Henry W. Sweet to locate his 320 acres in Greer County near the Western Cattle Trail and along the military road leading from Ft. Belknap to Ft. Elliot. Mr. Sweet was to receive a portion of the lots in the town site. He located the land in 1883, surveyed in 1884, returned with family and friends to settle town site.
At that time all who lived in what is now Greer County, Oklahoma went to Wheeler County, Texas for court. Greer was formed and named by Texas legislature in 1860, unorganized up to 1886, attached to Wheeler County for judicial business since 1881. Greer County served as an election precinct for Wheeler County in 1884, voting place was the McNulty & Pope ranch, known as the Y Cross. From the Red River, running south of Altus and near Quanah, Texas, to the North Fork of the Red, running near the present towns of Granite and Sayre, Oklahoma, some 100 families were located with their cattle. They found it very inconvenient to go to Mobeetie, Texas, the county seat of Wheeler county for business matters. In fact when Miss Lucy Sweet, soon to be Mrs. A. R. Wilson, married, she and her groom had to get in a hack and go to Mobeetie, Texas for a marriage license. Just think of having to travel about 100 miles in a two horse hack for a marriage license.

Under provision of an 1858 act of Texas legislature Henry Clay Sweet and one hundred sixty two citizens petitioned Wheeler County with desire to organize Greer County. Found in Wheeler County Commissioner Court minutes of June 19, 1886. Court ordered an election be held on Saturday, July 10, 1886, at four voting precincts, for the selection of county seat and election of one county Judge, one County & District Clerk, one Surveyor, one Assessor, one Treasurer, and for each of the four precincts one Commissioner, one Justice of Peace, one Constable. The temporary county seat would be Mangum. *note

Precinct No. 1 at Mangum, John R. Crouch, presiding officer, bounded on the North by Elm or true Salt Fork, East by Red River, South by a line from the trail crossing due West on the East line of Precinct No. 2 and North to Salt Fork or Elm.

Precinct No. 2 at H-Y headquarters, N. G. Lane, presiding officer, bounded on the North by Red River, East by East line of Day Land & Cattle Company pasture fence, South and West by county line.

Precinct No. 3 at Ikard Springs, H. G. Daniels, presiding officer, bounded on West by Day Land & Cattle Company East fence line, North and East by Red River, South by Elm or true Salt Fork.

Precinct No. 4 at Frazier, John McClarin, presiding officer, bounded on West by Precinct No. 2, South by Prairie Dog River, East by Red River, North by Precinct No. 1.

On July 14, 1886 a special meeting was held by the commissioner's court of Wheeler county for the purpose of canvassing the returns of the election and declaring the results. Minutes of the meeting show that no election was held in Precinct No. 2, the Northwest portion of the county, where the election was to be held at the H-Y ranch headquarters, with N. G. Lane as presiding officer.

Frank H. Sweet told the story why no election was held. "My father gave me a bunch of tickets with road instructions to find the H-Y headquarters, on the ninth of July 1886. The H-Y ranch was the place in Precinct No. 2 to hold the election the next day, July 10.

"Another young man joined me on the trip. We got a late start and failed to locate the big ranch dugout before it got dark. We hobbled our horses and slept on our saddle blankets that night and renewed our search as soon as we could see in the morning.

"We soon found the object of our search, but there was no one at the big dugout except the ranch cook.

"We waited at the ranch all day, and no one came. The ranch boss, being opposed to organization and settlement of Greer County, had seen to it that his boys had business elsewhere to attend to.

"Many of the cow-hands were favorable to our plans for settlement and had signed our petition for organization, which required 50 signatures in the county. I returned from the H-Y ranch with the tickets not voted."

The ballots were printed on slips of cheap paper three and one-half inches wide and twelve inches long. The election was held under the laws of Texas, and certain privileges were granted voters then that are not accorded them under the modern election systems. There were no squares in which to stamp the familiar "X". Instead, the voters used a pencil and struck out the names of the candidates for whom they did not wish to vote. Voters could also write in the names of persons for whom they wanted to vote although their names did not appear on the ballots. In fact, names of some of those elected at the first election on July 10, 1886, did not appear at all on the printed ballots.

Returns by precincts for the various candidates for county officers were shown as follows:

County Judge. F. B. Duke received 24 votes in Precinct 1 and 5 votes in Precinct 3, a total of 29 votes. He was elected by a majority of 12 votes.

County Clerk. J. R. Crouch received 13 votes in Precinct 1, one vote in Precinct 3, and one vote in Precinct 4, a total of 15. W. P. Johnson received 5 votes in Precinct 1 and 3 in Precinct 4, a total of 8. Lewis Smith received 12 votes in Precinct 1 and 8 votes in Precinct 4, a total of 20 votes. Smith was elected by a majority of 5 votes over J. R. Crouch.

County Attorney. C. E. Meredith received 5 votes in Precinct 1, a total of 5 votes, and was elected by a majority of 2 votes. H. A. Houghes received 2 votes in Precinct 1, a total of 2 votes. E. G. Patton received 3 votes in Precinct 1, a total of 3.

Sheriff. W. T. Williamson received 12 votes in Precinct 1 and 2 in Precinct 4, a total of 14. L. T. Kitzmiller received 7 votes in Precinct 3, a total of 7. D. E. Youkom received 12 votes in Precinct 1, one in Precinct 3, and 4 in Precinct 4, a total of 17. He was elected by a majority of 3. N. J. Powers received 2 votes in Precinct 4, a total of 2.

Surveyor. H. C. Sweet received 12 votes in Precinct 1, 5 in Precinct 3, and 2 in Precinct 4, a total of 19. J. W. Anderson received 19 votes in Precinct 1 and 7 in Precinct 4, a total of 26. He was elected by a majority of 7.

Assessor. D. M. Paulk received 2 votes in Precinct 1, 2 in Precinct 3, and 4 in Precinct 4, a total of 8. W. B. Hart received 16 votes in Precinct 1, 3 in Precinct 3, and 5 in Precinct 4, a total of 24. He was elected by a majority of 16, although the returns placed his majority at 17. H. Matthewson received 7 votes in Precinct 1, a total of 7.

Treasurer. J. M. Berryman received 23 votes in Precinct 1, 5 in Precinct 3, and 2 in Precinct 4, leading the ticket with a total of 30 votes, and a majority of 17 over his closest opponent. Joe White received 13 votes in Precinct 1, a total of 13. W. F. Yeckley received 7 votes in Precinct 4, a total of 7.

Commissioner Precinct No. 1. Z. R. Spencer received 9 votes, J. W. Rose 12, and C. M. Williamson 5, Rose being elected by a margin of 3 votes.

Commissioner Precinct No. 3. E. G. Daniel was unanimously elected with a total of 5 votes.

Constable Precinct No. 1. G. W. McDougle was unanimously elected with a total of 2 votes.

Constable Precinct No. 3. Samuel Carter was elected with 1 vote.

In the election of a County Seat, Mangum and Frazer were the opposing candidates. Mangum received 26 votes in Precinct No. 1, a total of 26 votes, and won by a majority of 11. Frazer received 6 votes in Precinct 1 and 9 in Precinct 4, a total of 15 votes.

The government of Greer County did not begin functioning until July 21, 1886. A meeting of the Commissioner's Court of Wheeler County was held on that day. The minutes of the session show F. B. Duke, County Judge of Greer County, Texas, appeared with bond and Clerk administered the oath of office.

The first session of the Commissioner's Court of Greer County was held on Tuesday, July 29, 1886. Minutes of that session report:

"Be it remembered that on the 29th day of July 1886, there was begun and holden at the town of Mangum, a special term of the Commissioner's Court of said County. Present and presiding Hon. F. B. Duke, County Judge; J. W. Rose qualified as Commissioner of Precinct One; H. G. Daniel qualified as Commissioner of Precinct No. Three; J. McClearen qualified as Commissioner of Precinct No. 4; L. A. Smith, Clerk. Whereupon the following proceedings were had, to wit.

"J. H. Kiser appointed as Commissioner of Precinct No. 2. J. W. Rose of Precinct No. 1, H. G. Daniel of Precinct No. 3, J. McClearen of Precinct No. 4 was duly elected by July 10 1886 but failed to get certificates to the office of Justice of their respective precincts, are duly appointed by the Commisioners Court. It is now ordered by the Judge that the Court adjourn until tomorrow term. Read and approved."

*The jurisdiction changed. According to obituary of James W. Smith, elected county attorney of Wilbarger County for the term of 1890 and 1891, he was the second person elected to serve the county in that capacity. At that time, old Greer County, which included what is known as Greer, Jackson and Harmon Counties and a part of Beckham County, was attached to Wilbarger for judicial purposes.

During the ten years beginning with organization of the county, July 6, 1886, extending through a six year-suit before the United States Supreme Court, and ending with it's decision, March 16, 1896, which declared Greer County not to be in Texas, Greer maintained county government without levying real estate tax, all money necessary for support of county government being raised by personal tax alone. Cattle formed the bulk of the wealth, aside from land, and cattle tax furnished nearly all the money raised in support of county government. Some land owners sought to pay real estate tax to strengthen land titles, but the county refused to accept the money.

Despite the lack of title, residents of Greer County bought and sold land in the county, and the county clerk recorded numerous warranty deeds and other conveyances of land. This conditioned existed for many years, during which time many settlers came into the county. The county government continued to function, and the State of Texas recognized Greer County as one of it's regularly organized counties.

District court terms were held at Mangum on the First Mondays of March and September, and continued in session for four weeks.

After the March 16, 1896 decision by U. S. Supreme court, there was an interval of about two months in which no state law was in force in Greer County, due to the fact that William C. Renfrow, Governor of Oklahoma Territory, did not immediately appoint officials for Greer County. Greer County citizens were law-abiding and not a crime was committed in the county during the interval when the county was without government. The jail record at Mangum shows that during eight years, ending May 12, 1896, the county jail, which stood nearly a block east of the present courthouse and jail, contained only fourteen prisoners.

Following the Supreme Court decision, a Congressional act of May 4, 1896, declared that portion of the Territory of Oklahoma formerly known as Greer County, Texas, to be established as Greer County, Oklahoma, with Mangum as the County seat. The county officials then serving were to hold office as county officials in the Territory of Oklahoma until the next territorial election, or the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, 1896. These officials were to enforce the laws applicable to counties in Oklahoma.

The judicial proceedings of the several courts and officers of Greer County, Texas, were to have the same binding force as if such courts and officers had been legally authorized courts and officers of the United States or of the Territory of Oklahoma. All suits pending on March 16, 1896, were to be entered upon the dockets of Oklahoma courts having jurisdiction in like cases, and the procedure employed was to be the same as if the cases had been brought in Oklahoma courts. All judgments rendered by the courts of Greer County Texas, civil or criminal, prior to March 16, 1896, were to have the same binding force as if Greer County had legally formed a part of the territory of the State of Texas up to that date, and then been lawfully ceded by Texas to the United States with a reservation and ratification of all existing rights and liabilities.

On March 16, 1896, President Cleveland by proclamation withdrew the lands of Greer County from disposition under the public land laws of the United States. He declared these lands to be in a state of reservation until the order of withdrawal could be revoked, and warned all persons against entering them with a view to occupying them under the public land laws during the existence of such an order.

The President's order was meant to protect those who had settled upon such lands prior to December 30, 1887, and against outsiders until Congress should consider their claims for relief. No doubt these settlers had acted in good faith, believing that the land belonged to Texas and was subject to its jurisdiction. President Cleveland also desired to hold these lands intact until their status should be determined. He desired this in view of the fact that the Choctaw nation had not been extinguished by treaty with the United States in their cession of 1866.

The anxiety of the occupants of these lands was in a measure relieved by the Congressional act of January 18, 1897. This act protected all occupants of lands in Greer County on March 16, 1896, who were qualified under the homestead laws of the United States. It entitled each person to continue occupation of land and to make improvements not to exceed 180 acres, in recognition of homestead right. Six months from January 18, 1897, was the time given in which to initiate claim. The title could be perfected under the provisions of the homestead law, upon the payment of land office fees, at the expiration of five years from the date of entry, with credit recognized for all time during which the claimant had continuously been a resident, prior to March 16, 1896.

Additional reliefs were extended, school lands set aside, lands that were being used for churches, cemeteries and schools, not to exceed two acres in each case, were to be patented to the authorities in charge. To protect and promote the landed interests of settlers during the period of political fusion of Greer County with Territory of Oklahoma, a federal land office was established at Mangum. Laws authorizing the commutations of homesteads in Oklahoma were extended to Greer County. On March 1, 1899, Congress extended the preference rights clause of the Act of 1897 concerning preemption of quarter-section and purchased quarter to include all persons who had purchased lands in Greer County from the Sate of Texas. This was to be applied provided no adverse rights had become attached, even though previous to this time such settlers had received the benefit of the homestead laws of the United States.

compiled by Susan Bradford, Duke, Oklahoma

Added by Randall Steelman on Jul 22, 2017 8:10 AM
Randall Steelman
Lydia Wilkins Memorial

Got into a discussion over the Steelman Reunion this week and found out that Grandma's death date was incorrect on the tombstone. Since you originally put this memorial in, I thought I would drop a line and mention that I corrected the info. Social Security does have her dying on her birthday.

Added by Randall Steelman on Jul 21, 2017 3:26 PM
Pat Joubert
RE: E. L. Bridges Find A Grave Memorial #34192368
You are so right. His writings give me goose bumps. Make the reader think they are right there where he is at the time.
Added by Pat Joubert on Mar 14, 2017 1:38 PM
Pat Joubert
RE: E. L. Bridges Find A Grave Memorial #34192368
Hello Gail: The information that I cited on the memorial for my great-grandfather was from a newspaper article that was kept in his personal bible. A letter was written by her own father (Alvin Benjamin Chambers) to a Brother Fisher. This letter was then placed in the local newspaper.

I sent this information to Dee Winter for her memorial. It should appear on Minnie Elizabeth Chambers-Bridges memorial soon.

Are you related to the Chambers family? or to the Bridges family?

Pat Joubert
San Antonio
Added by Pat Joubert on Mar 03, 2017 10:25 AM
Willa Vance Ireland
Edit information I sent was taken from Indiana Death Certificate.
Added by Tom on Feb 28, 2017 9:14 AM
John VanCamp
RE: Newt VanCamp death certificate
Okay that Samuel matches the photos I sent in the email I sent you. I would be interested in documentation on Rachel's maiden name. I could mail you a paper copy of what I have if you are interested.
Added by John VanCamp on Nov 25, 2016 2:59 PM
John VanCamp
RE: Newt VanCamp death certificate
I looked at he memorial for Emily VanCamp 49698676 wife of Stephen VanCamp. Do you know Stephen's father and mother?

Added by John VanCamp on Nov 24, 2016 2:26 PM
John VanCamp
Newt VanCamp death certificate
Use this web address handy and free for WV records.
Alfred Newton VanCamp is my great great grandfather.
Added by John VanCamp on Nov 16, 2016 8:24 PM
C.H. Jackson / K. J. Jackson
Pittman brothers
In regards to using the Pittman brothers photos. My only rule is if you're absolutely sure you're kin. Please be respectful and honor those brave great men. They fought and gave there life to the cause of the C.S.A. and for that, they should and deserve to be honor and respected fully. If you can agree to those terms, yes, by almeans use the photos.
Yours truly,
Clayton Jackson
Added by C.H. Jackson / K. J. Ja... on Oct 30, 2016 1:49 PM
Janice Dyer Doran
RE: Alfred Newton VanCamp
Gail, I can't recall where I got the death certificate. I wouldn't have ordered it so it must have been on line somewhere. Sorry I can't be of more help to you.
Janice Dyer Doran
Added by Janice Dyer Doran on Oct 27, 2016 9:00 PM
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