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 Rebecca C(ynthia?) “Becca” <I>Jones</I> Anders

Rebecca C(ynthia?) “Becca” Jones Anders

Carroll County, Georgia, USA
Death 12 Aug 1920 (aged 89-90)
Morgan County, Alabama, USA
Burial Massey, Morgan County, Alabama, USA
Memorial ID 37258077 · View Source
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Born: abt 1830-32 – Carroll County, Georgia
Died: 12 Aug 1920 – Morgan County, Alabama

Married, first, abt 1848, GA or Al (unconfirmed):
Elija P Garner (1831-1862)

Married, second, abt 1865, AL:
William Henry Anders (1840-1905)

James Sturgeon Garner 1849-1925
George Washington Garner 1853-bef 1920
Andrew Jackson Garner 1854-1926
John Elija Garner b. 1859-1860 d.1926
William T. "Samuel" Anders 1867-1919

Rebecca C Jones, one of seven known daughters of James Newell and Nancy Jones, was born in most likely Carroll County, Georgia in about 1830. What records there are for her vary on her birth year between 1828 and 1834, the later date appearing unlikely. Her middle name cannot be confirmed, but may have been Cynthia for her grandmother Cynthia “Jane” Holcombe (1778 – 1860), the wife of Lt. Aaron Jones (1774 – 1836) of Laurens County, South Carolina.. Her mother, Nancy, may have had the maiden name “Eddy” per some vague oral family history, but cannot be confirmed to date.

Rebecca and all her known family moved from Georgia to Alabama by about 1848, where James Newel, Nancy, and his younger children are later found in the 1850 US census in Talladega County. The same 1850 census finds three Jones sisters, Jane, Mary, and Rebecca, now married, two with infant children, and all living immediately next door to each other in Talladega as well. All three marriages appear to have been in 1848/1849 in Alabama based on records found and the recorded birth years/birth locations of their firstborn. Rebecca is now married to Elija P Garner, born about 1831 in South Carolina, and they have had their first son, James Sturgeon Garner, born in December of 1849. Interestingly, both Elija and Rebecca are noted in the census that year as having attended school. This may have been the timeframe when Rebecca first learned to read and write; from surviving period family letters, it is known that her skills were somewhat limited in the 1860s and that both her parents were illiterate. If the later 1834 birth year for Rebecca per one much later census is in fact correct, she was only fourteen or fifteen at the time of her marriage and the birth of her first child, seemingly unlikely, even for those times. Her younger (likely) sister, Mary, born about 1833, married Elija’s older brother Gasaway Garner, and had their first child in the same time frame, however, and would not have been older than about sixteen.

By 1860, Elija’s and Rebecca’s family had grown to four sons and they owned their own forty acre farm in Bluff Springs, then in Tallapoosa County, Alabama in the southernmost foothills of the Appalachians. Records, period receipts, and family correspondence provide a glimpse of their lives. They own only one horse, but have four mules, four milk cows, and other livestock, later beef cattle, and grow Indian corn and oats. Elija travels downriver to the then river port of Wetumpka, Alabama, served by steamboat from Mobile, to buy such basics such as nails, molasses, and “bunches of cotton”, one trip’s total in June of 1860 twelve dollars and change, a not insignificant sum at the time although this appears to have included items purchases for other family and neighbors . Per another period letter, Rebecca’s mother Nancy still spins her own wool from the family sheep. The Garner farm is valued at $200 plus $60 worth of farm implements, and $390 in livestock, all totaling $650; a very modest farm.

When the Civil War begins, Elija enlists as a private in Company I, 3rd Regiment, Georgia Calvary at Columbus, Georgia on May 16, 1862, and brings his own horse, later valued at $250. With him, two of Rebecca’s younger brothers, and two of her sister’s husbands also enlisted and all five would serve together in the same unit. Brother Gasaway had already enlisted in another unit as had a third of Rebecca’s brothers-in-law, her sister Jane’s husband. By August his unit is bivouacked at Camp Randolph, Georgia, south of Atlanta, has seen no action, not yet been fully armed, the payroll is late, and the camp conditions are abysmal with inadequate sanitation and an unsanitary water supply. Elija writes to Rebecca complaining of both boredom and conditions in the camp and advising her on running the farm in his absence, cautioning her about counterfeit money and telling her not to sell beef “to strangers”. He is also sending her what money he can; ten dollars noted in one letter. In his letters he typically addresses her as “Becca”, although one brother also addressed her as “Beckey”. By August 17th he has contracted “camp fever”...typhoid. Despite his illness, he makes the march with his company to a new camp in northern Georgia near Chattanooga, Tennessee arriving late in the month, but is almost immediately sent back from the line and admitted to a field hospital outside Tunnel Hill, Georgia by the 31st. Rebecca is advised by letter by one brother-in-law and told “in haste” to write to Elija as soon as she can.

A moving letter was written by Rebecca to Elija with added notes from her father and mother, dictated to her, and dated September 24, 1862. An apparent missing letter appears to have been received telling them he was “better”, and might be returning to Atlanta. Rebecca misses him greatly and is hoping to travel to Atlanta to see him. This letter was never mailed, or mailed and later returned unopened, as Elija had died in the field hospital on September 16th and word had not yet reached them. He had never fired a shot in anger, had served only five months, and was only about thirty-two years old. His horse was then stolen and sold by another soldier. His older brother Gasaway Garner had died in a field hospital in Richmond, Virginia, also of typhoid the previous July, at about thirty-four years of age.

Rebecca applied to the Confederate government in November of 1863 for a widow’s pension, which was denied for some reason, possibly because she still owned the farm and not considered “destitute”. After the war, sometime after his discharge from the army in May of 1865 in North Carolina and his return to Alabama, she married William Henry Anders, an approximate seven year younger widower with one daughter, Laney, and who had been wounded in Mississippi and suffered from partial paralysis. The Anders and Garner families had been neighbors before the war and his first wife, believed named Amanda, appears to have died during the war years, quite possibly while he was away in service.

Rebecca and William are found in Shelby, Alabama by 1870, now with a son of their own, William T Anders, born in 1867, Jefferson, Alabama in 1880, and Lawrence, Alabama in 1899, where William, now about age fifty-nine applies for a pension, noting his war service, wounding and resulting partial paralysis, and a family net worth of only $118 in personal property, them neither owning the house in which they live nor the land he still farms. His stepson, George Washington Garner was the affidavit witness and affirms that William and Rebecca have no other assets nor means of support. His pension was approved, but the amount to be paid not recorded with the application. William would survive only another six years, dying on August 26, 1905 at age sixty-five. It is not known if Rebecca continued to receive benefits after his death and there is no record found of a later application for widow’s benefits.

She is found living with her son George Washington Garner in 1910, and following his death sometime before 1920, she then moves in with her son Andrew Jackson Garner where she is found in the 1920 census, recorded in January of that year. She would pass seven months later, on August 12, 1920, in Morgan County, Alabama, and be buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Massey.

In her near ninety years, she had outlived her parents, two husbands, two of her five sons, six of her siblings certainly, likely actually nine, had seen her own four sons and another known sixteen of her nieces and nephews left fatherless or orphans by the war, many other losses, and was then finally reduced to near poverty by age seventy. Her remaining three Garner sons would not survive her by long, the last dying only six years later in 1926. The ultimate fate of her stepdaughter, Laney, by William Anders remains unknown. Born about 1860, she is last noted in the 1870 census, after which nothing is found.

Rebecca lived a hard, long life through turbulent times, faced much personal loss, but persevered. She did, however, also live to see the birth of many grandchildren and great grandchildren, one my father, who would later become the first of the Garner/Jones lineage to graduate from college in generations, her own parents having been illiterate, and she nearly so. The number of her direct descendants alive today is unknown, but certainly in the hundreds, perhaps over a thousand. This has been written for them so they will know something more personal of a now seemingly distant time and person, and something of from where they have come.

Allan J Garner – July 28, 2016

Note on links: The dates of death and burial location of both her parents remain unknown (only Alabama, likely Clay County, after 1880). The memorial for her father includes a bio, known information on her mother, and a full listing of her identified siblings.

Family Members






  • Maintained by: Allan Garner
  • Originally Created by: Barbara Parks
  • Added: 19 May 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 37258077
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rebecca C(ynthia?) “Becca” Jones Anders (1830–12 Aug 1920), Find A Grave Memorial no. 37258077, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Massey, Morgan County, Alabama, USA ; Maintained by Allan Garner (contributor 49071644) .