The Children of Dennis Lindsey (1793 – 1855/1860): Robert D. Lindsey (1829 – 1892)

Lindsey, Robert D. Tombstone, Hovater Cem., Franklin Co., Alabama
Tombstone of Robert D. Lindsey, Hovater cemetery, Franklin County, Alabama; photo is by Find a Grave user Old Bwana at the Find a Grave memorial page for Robert D. Lindsey, created by Mollie Ann Lindsey Studenroth

Or, Subtitled: “Farewell My Wife and Children All, From You a Father Christ Doth Call”

Robert D. Lindsey, son of Dennis Lindsey (1793-1855/1860) and Anna Woodruff, was born 3 June 1829, according to his tombstone in Hovater cemetery, Franklin County, Alabama.[1] The tombstone also states that Robert died 6 September 1892. All federal censuses from 1850 through 1880 state that Robert was born in Alabama.[2] Since we know that Robert’s father Dennis Lindsey sold land that appears to have been his homeplace in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, in February 1827, and then disappeared from Spartanburg County records, showing up in a record indicating that he patented land with William Moore in Franklin County, Alabama, in May 1828, it seems likely that Robert was born in Franklin County, Alabama.

Records of Robert and His Family Prior to the Civil War

As a previous posting has indicated, Robert and his wife Martha (whose name is given here as Mary) appear on the 1850 federal census next to the household of Robert’s father in Franklin County, Alabama.[3] The census gives Robert’s age as 20 and states that he was born in Alabama, and shows wife Mary as 16, born in Mississippi. The household has no other family members. The 1860 and 1870 federal censuses (discussed below) show Robert’s first child, a son named Francis Marion Lindsey, born in 1852 (1860 census) or 1854 (1870 census).

Lindsey, Robert D. Township Plats of Selected States
Robert D. Lindsey, plats of land patents, Franklin County, Alabama, township 6, range 12 west, in “Township Plats of Selected States,” NARA RG49, Series T1234
Map of township 6, range 13 west, Franklin County, Alabama, from communities and maps page of Alabama Genweb page for Franklin County
Map of township 6, range 13 west, Franklin County, Alabama,from communities and maps page of Alabama Genweb page for Franklin County
Lindsey, Robert D., 1 May 1850 Pat., Franklin Co., AL
Robert D. Lindsey, federal land grant, 1 May 1850, U.S. federal land grant, Huntsville land office, vol. 366, p. 266, #14436

It seems likely that Robert had married Martha Susan Hester by 1 May 1850, or that he was planning to marry by this date, since he obtained a grant of 40.04 acres in Franklin County on that date.[4] The land was in township 6, range 13 west, section 13. As the map of this township and range shows (above), this land was slightly southwest of Frankfort — and a little way west of the land Robert’s father Dennis patented in township 6, range 12 west, in 1828, the same township and range in which Robert’s brother Miles had land.  All of Robert’s subsequent land patents were in township 6, range 12 west. Compare the map above showing Robert’s landholdings in township 6, range 12 west, with the one given in this posting for Miles’s landholdings, and you’ll see that Robert’s land was just east of Miles’s, and, like Miles’s, near the Colbert County line east of Frankfort.

Robert and his family are enumerated on the 1855 Alabama state census in Franklin County near Robert’s brother Miles, who is next to William Hendricks. Robert is listed beside Isaac Woodruff, who was born in South Carolina in 1813, according to the 1850 federal census in Franklin County, and who is clearly a cousin of Robert D. Lindsey, though I’m not sure how. Robert’s household shows a white male under 21 (son Francis Marion) and a white male and female over 21 (Robert and wife Martha Susan).[5]

Lindsey, Robert D., 1 March 1858 Land Pat., Franklin Co., AL
Robert D. Lindsey, federal land grant, 1 March 1858, U.S. federal land grant, Huntsville land office, vol. 381, p. 222, #24301
Lindsey, Robert D., 1 Sept. 1860 Land Pat., Franklin Co., AL
Robert D. Lindsey, federal land grant, 1 September 1860, U.S. federal land grant, Huntsville land office, vol. 396, p. 10, #31716

On 1 March 1858, Robert received a federal land grant for 160.29 acres in Franklin County, in township 6, range 12 west, section 4.[6] As noted previously, Robert’s brother Miles received a federal land grant on the same date and in the same township and range. Two years later on 1 September 1860, Robert had a federal land grant for an additional 120.4 acres in the same township and range.[7]

The 1860 federal census shows Robert and his family at Spruce Pine post office in Franklin County.[8] The census lists Robert as a farmer, aged 30, born in Alabama, with $600 real worth and $200 personal worth. Wife Martha S. is 24 and was born in Mississippi.  Their children are Francis M., 8, Modenia A., 4, and James H., 9 months, all born in Alabama. Robert’s family is enumerated near members of the Malone and Goins family, both of which appear as well-known Unionst families of the area during the Civil War, in testimony given in files of the Southern Claims Commission. The Malones are, in fact, part of the family tree of Robert’s wife Martha Susan Hester: as noted previously, the Hesters of Franklin County descend from William Henry Hester and Amy Malone.

Robert also appears on the 1860 federal agricultural census in Franklin County owning 60 acres of improved land and 260 acres of unimproved land, all valued at $600. His farm has 1 horse, 3 milk cows, 8 other cattle, and 15 hogs. He had raised 6 bushels wheat and 140 of corn, along with 10 pounds of tobacco and 1 bale cotton.[9]

The Civil War Years

As we’ve seen in our examination of documents pertaining to Robert’s brother Miles R. Lindsey, Miles filed a claim with the Southern Claims Commission on 24 October 1872 at Russellville, Alabama, stating the he had been a Unionist during the Civil War. On the day of his filing, Miles provided an affidavit in which he stated the following about his brother Robert:

I have one brother viz Robert D. Lindsey, now living in Franklin County, Alabama who was conscripted into the rebel army — and also two nephews viz: Aaron Hester and Pinckney Hester both now living in the same County and State, who went into Said army to avoid conscription — I did not furnish them or either of them with any military equipments or Clothing or money nor aid or Support them in any way while in Said Rebel Service, but did get the Said Robert D. Lindsey to leave Said Service and go north out of the Confederacy — He went to Illinois and remained there until the war was over.

Miles also testified:

After my Brother Robert D. Lindsey was Conscripted into the Confederate Service in Captain Jeremiah Daily’s Company of General Roddy’s Cavalry, he was taken to Chapel Hill in Tennessee — He was there taken Sick, and I went after him hoping to get him out of Said Service I was accompanied by his wife, I got him away from the army & placed him at a farmers house — Before return I obtained a pass to come home. It was issued by order of General Roddy, I think. It was issued by one Annanias Venable — I did not Sign or Swear to any promise or obligation to get it, or Swear or promise to bear tru faith and yield obedience to the Confederate States, I only used the pass to return home my with Sister in law.

The Jeremiah Daily who raised a Confederate Army unit in Franklin County under General Phillip Roddey was Jeremiah David Daily (1817-1898), a neighbor of the Lindsey family.[10]

Note that Miles’s testimony indicates that men in his neighborhood in Franklin County were conscripted into Roddey’s Cavalry, and, in some cases (as with his nephews Aaron and Pinkney Hester), they joined this CSA military unit to avoid conscription — though their sympathies lay with the Union. Other Franklin County Unionists testifying on behalf of claims filed with the Southern Claims Commission in Franklin County gave similar testimony.

As we’ve seen, on 24 August 1877, a neighbor of Miles and Robert, Joseph Dhority, testified on Miles’s behalf, stating that Robert Lindsay (sic) had been a well-known Unionist of Franklin County. Dhority stated that, like Robert Lindsey, he had gone to Illinois after having been conscripted into the Confederate Army. He notes that he would not have been allowed to remain in Illinois, which was Union territory, if he had not been a loyal Union man. As we saw in a previous posting, many Unionist men in Franklin County joined the 64th Illinois Infantry unit (Union Army), and some of them, including members of the family of Robert D. Lindsey’s wife Martha Susan Hester, moved to Illinois during the war to get their families out of the Confederacy.

The Southern Claims Commission file of William Rikard, the patriarch of the Unionist Rikard family in Franklin County, contains further information about the pressures being applied by Roddey’s CSA unit in Franklin County to force men to join the Confederate Army when they did not want to do so.[11] The affidavit William Rikard gave when he filed his claim says that his sons Henry and William Pinkney Rikard both enlisted in the Union Army, but his son John was conscripted into the Confederate Army. William then helped John to desert. He also states that during the war, members of Roddey’s cavalry unit came to his house and threatened to hang him, also threatening his family and taking goods from his farm.

One of the witnesses testifying on behalf of William Rikard was Robert B. Hester, who stated that he was a Unionist and knew well that William Rikard was also a Unionist, since they discussed this frequently during the war. He states that William Rikard’s house was a place of refuge for Franklin County Unionists during the war and for men seeking to avoid conscription into the Confederate Army. Rikard had fed many of these men and helped them get behind federal lines to escape conscription. He had also used his wagon to bring men to Corinth and Iuka, Mississippi, from Franklin County, to enable them to go into Union territory or to join the Union Army. Robert B. Hester was a brother of William Henry Hester, who married Robert and Miles Lindsey’s sister Melissa.

It seems beyond doubt that, as his brother’s affidavit before the Southern Claims Commission states, Robert D. Lindsey did leave his Confederate unit during the war and go to Illinois, since a number of pieces of evidence indicate that Robert’s son Robert Paul Lindsey, who was born 27 October 1864, was born in Illinois. Illinois is the birthplace that Robert Paul or his family reported to federal census takers in 1870, 1900, 1910, and 1920, while the 1880 and 1930 federal censuses state that Robert Paul was born in Alabama.[12] Alabama is also given as his place of birth on his death certificate, which erroneously gives his father’s name as John Lindsey.[13]

Robert D. Lindsey’s grave in Hovater cemetery (see supra) has, in addition to its original marker giving his dates of birth and death, a very recent one stating that he served during the Civil War in Company E of Roddey’s 4th Alabama Cavalry. The marker makes no mention of the fact that Robert’s brother Miles testified in 1872 to the Southern Claims Commission that Robert had deserted from this unit in Tennessee during the war and had gone across Union lines into Illinois at Miles’s urging and that of Robert’s wife Martha Susan Hester.

After the  Civil War

Robert and his family were enumerated on the 1866 Alabama state census in Franklin County.[14] The census shows R.D. Lindsey’s household with 2 males under 10, 1 male 10-20, and 1 male 30-40. The household also lists 4 females under 10, 1 female 10-20, and 1 female 30-40. Some of the younger males and females enumerated on this census appear to be members of the Hester family who were, it seems, living with Robert and his wife at this time and are found in their household on the 1870 federal census.

On 9 July 1867, Robert registered to vote in Colbert County, Alabama.[15] The July 1867 date is evidently both the date of his registration and the date on which he took an oath of loyalty to the federal government, a precondition for being registered to vote in the states of the former Confederacy.

On the 1870 federal census, Robert and his family are enumerated in Franklin County at Frankfort post office.[16] Robert is 41, a farmer born in Alabama, with $300 real worth and $225 personal worth. Wife Martha is 36, born in Mississippi. Their children are Marion, 14, Modena, 12, and James, 10, all born in Alabama. Also in the household are the following Hester children: Edmund, 10, Robert, 8 Presley, 6 and Charles, 3, all born in Alabama. These are children of Hudson G. Hester, son of William Henry (1780-1847) and Amy Malone Hester, who died 14 February 1866, according to his tombstone in Hester-James cemetery Franklin County. William Henry Hester Jr. (1818-1853) married Robert’s sister Melissa Lindsey. On the 1870 federal census, William Henry and Melissa Lindsey Hester’s son Aaron is enumerated on the same census page on which Robert Lindsey appears; that household has Robert and Melissa’s sister Amanda living in it, listed as a domestic servant. Living next to Robert Lindsey on this census is a Joseph Dhority who was born in 1848 in Alabama.

Three of Robert D. and Martha Susan Hester Lindsey’s children are not enumerated in their parents’ household on the 1870 federal census: Robert, 4, Josephine, 2, and William, 4 months, are found in the in the household of William and Nancy Hendrix at Frankfort post office.[17] The census indicates that Robert was born in Illinois and his siblings in Alabama. This William was born in South Carolina in 1812 and married Nancy A. Sowell. I think it’s very likely that he’s closely related to the William Hendrix who married Sarah Woodruff — an aunt and uncle of Robert D. Lindsey. William and Nancy are buried at Hovater cemetery along with Robert and his wife Martha Susan Hester. Their daughter Mary Lucy married Francis Marion Hester, son of William Henry Hester and Melissa Lindsey.

Living next to the Hendrix family in 1870 is the family of Riley Sparks, son of Robert’s aunt and uncle William Sparks and Eunice Woodruff. As we saw in a previous posting, Riley Sparks was another leading Unionist of Franklin County who testified on behalf of Miles Lindsey when Miles filed his claim with the Southern Claims Commission.

Lindsey, Robert D., North Alabamian (Tuscumbia, Alabama), 4 March 1875, p. 3, col. 6
Robert D. Lindsey, North Alabamian (Tuscumbia, Alabama), 4 March 1875, p. 3, col. 6

On 4 March 1875, the North Alabamian newspaper of Tuscumbia has a tax-sale listing of people in Colbert County who had defaulted on taxes in 1874 and were having their land sold by the sheriff.[18] These included Robert D. Lindsey in Wheeler’s Beat. On the same page of this newspaper is a notice by a Tuscumbia merchant R. L. Ross stating that money was so scarce at that time that he was instituting a cash-only policy for his customers — no credit.

The scarcity of ready money was a fact of life in this period all across the states of the former Confederacy, whose economy had been shattered by the Civil War. People were losing land right and left for inability to pay taxes. It’s likely that the land held by Robert that was being sold for his inability to pay taxes was not his homeplace, since most other records seem to have him living in Franklin County at this time. Colbert had been cut from Franklin County in 1870, so this would have been land that had been in Franklin up to that year.

The 1880 federal census shows Robert and his family in Franklin County.[19] Robert D. Lindsey is 51, a farmer born in Alabama, parents born in South Carolina. Wife Martha S. is 46, born in Mississippi, parents born in Tennessee. The household lists children James H., 18, Robert P., 14, Josephine, 12, and Wm. D., 10, all born in Alabama. A boarder in the household, James Dickerson, is attending school. The families of Robert’s nephews Marion and Aaron Hester are found on the same page.

On 15 August 1882, Robert had a federal land grant for 120.7 acres in Franklin County in township 6, range 12 west, section 5.[20] Two years later on 29 October 1885, R.D. Lindsey was commissioned a justice of the peace for precinct 3 in Belgreen in Franklin County.[21]

The last record I find for Robert other than the date of his death as recorded on his tombstone is another record showing him again commissioned as a justice of the peace in Franklin County on 29 August 1888. This record shows him in the county’s third precinct.[22]

Lindsey, James Henry
James Henry Lindsey, son of Robert D. Lindsey and Martha Susan Hester, uploaded by Bevan Lindsey to his Ancestry tree, “Dennis Lindsey 1793” from the collection of Betty Jo Burcham
Lindsey, Robert Paul (2)
Robert Paul Lindsey, son of Robert D. Lindsey and Martha Susan Hester, with wife Mary E. Tubbs, uploaded by Neil Lindsey to Ancestry 15 September 2013 and then to Bevan Lindsey’s tree “Dennis Lindsey 1793”
Lindsey, William Dennis and Family
William Dennis Lindsey, son of Robert D. Lindsey and Martha Susan Hester, with his wife, children, and mother-in-law abt. 1908; uploaded by Mollie Durbin to Ancestry 17 February 2008, and by Bevan Lindsey to his “Dennis Lindsey 1793” tree
Lindsey, Josephine
Josephine Lindsey, daughter of Robert D. Lindsey and Martha Susan Hester, uploaded by Bevan Lindsey to Ancestry 15 March 2019

Robert D. Lindsey and Martha Susan Hester were parents of the following children: Francis Marion, Modena Ann, Robert Paul, James Henry, William Dennis, and Josephine:

  1. Francis Marion Lindsey was born about 1853 in Franklin County, Alabama, and died about 1874. On 9 January 1873 in Colbert County, Alabama, he married Mary E., daughter of William M. Tubbs and Mary Ann Godbey.
  2. Modena Ann Lindsey was born 29 October 1857 in Franklin County, Alabama, and died 22 February 1935 in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee. She married about 1877, probably in Franklin County, to James H., son of Green Berry Williams and Elizabeth Rollins. She is buried in Memorial Park cemetery in Memphis.
  3. James Henry Lindsey was born 15 February 1859 in Franklin County, Alabama, and died 30 November 1920 at Frankfort, Franklin County, Alabama. He married 1) about 1888 to Mary E., daughter of Wilburn F. Walker and Lucinda C. Taylor; and 2) on 31 December 1895 in Franklin County to Josie Lillian, daughter of Joseph Lindsey Dotson and Laura Ann Fuller. He is buried in Hovater cemetery in Franklin County.
  4. Robert Paul Lindsey was born 7 October 1864 in Illinois, and died 25 June 1954 in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee. About 1885, probably in Franklin County, he married Mary E., daughter of Lucien B. Tubbs and Mary Ann Hall. Following her death 8 April 1917, Robert married about 1920 to Minerva, daughter of William M. Fountain and Candy Ross Holland. Robert is buried in Crooked Oak cemetery in Colbert County, Alabama, along with his first wife Molly Tubbs, who was a niece of Robert’s brother Francis Marion Lindsey and wife Mary E. Tubbs.
  5. William Dennis Lindsey was born 19 January 1867 in Franklin County, Alabama, and died 3 October 1920 in Colbert County, Alabama. On 23 February 1890 in Colbert County, he married Peachy Emeline, daughter of James L. Powell and Peachy Elizabeth Shirley. William and wife Peachy are buried in Crooked Oak cemetery in Colbert County.
  6. Josephine Lindsey was born in December 1868 in Franklin County, and died after 1910. She married 1) about 1885, probably in Colbert County, John Edward, son of Daniel and Elizabeth Thompson; and 2) in 1906 in Tishomingo County, Mississippi, Thomas F. Armstrong. A final note about Robert D. Lindsey’s middle name: his middle initial is consistently given in many documents as D. I have found no document that provides the actual middle name. Descendants of Robert have suggested that his middle name was David, a name not found in previous generations in either the Lindsey or Woodruff families of Robert’s parents. I think it’s much more likely that Robert had, for his middle name, the name of his father Dennis Lindsey, a name Robert passed on to one of his sons, William Dennis Lindsey.

[1] A photo of the tombstone by Find a Grave user Old Bwana is at the Find a Grave memorial page for Robert D. Lindsey, which was created by Mollie Ann Lindsey Studenroth. The marker appears to date from soon after Robert’s death in September 1892. Robert’s wife Martha Susan Hester Lindsey survived him by a number of years and is buried in the same cemetery. The tombstone gives Robert’s name as Robert D. Linzy.

[2] On the 1850-1880 federal censuses, see infra.

[3] 1850 federal census, p. 223, dist. 6, dwelling and family 775, 1 Jan. 1851. Robert also appears on the 1850 Alabama state census in Franklin County as R.D. Lindsey, with a white male aged over 21 and a white female aged under 21. Unpaginated, original held by Alabama State Archives.

[4] U.S. federal land grant, Huntsville land office, vol. 366, p. 266, #14436. Again, note that Franklin County records burned in a courthouse fire in 1890, so marriage records prior to that year have not survived.

[5] 1855 Alabama state census, Franklin County unpaginated, original held by Alabama State Archives.

[6] U.S. federal land grant, Huntsville land office, vol. 381, p. 222, #24301.

[7] Ibid., vol. 396, p. 10, #31716.

[8] 1860 federal census, Franklin County, Eastern subdivision, Spruce Pine post office, p. 633 (dwelling 691, family 690), Eastern subdivision. The census was taken 5, 8, and 9 October.

[9] 1860 federal agricultural census, Franklin County, Alabama, Eastern subdivision, p. 23.

[10] See the Daily Networks website, which has biographical information about Jeremiah Daily. The site provides no information provided about the website owner or who provided the information about Jeremiah Daily.

[11] Southern Claims Commission file #15637, “Approved Claims,” NARA RG 207. On the valuable information contained about this Rikard family in Margaret M. Storey, Loyalty and Loss: Alabama’s Unionists in the Civil War and Reconstruction (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 2004), see this previous posting.

[12] 1880 federal census, Franklin County, Alabama, p. 561 (twp. 6, range 12, ED 89, dwelling and family 86); 1900 federal census, Colbert County, Alabama Tuscumbia, p. 225A (dwelling and family 54); 1910 federal census, Colbert County, Alabama, Wheeler precinct, p. 8A (ED 11, dwelling 168, family 161); 1920 federal census, Colbert County, Alabama, Wheeler precinct, p. 2B (ED 12, dwelling 28, family 35); 1930 federal census, Shelby County, Tennessee, district 1, p. 24B (ED 158, dwelling 467, family 510). On the 1870 census, see supra, n. 17.

[13] Tennessee certificate of death #54-13463. Informant was Robert Paul Lindsey’s Clarinda “Clandy” Barnard.

[14] 1866 Alabama state census, Franklin County, unpaginated, original held by Alabama State Archives.

[15] Alabama 1867 Voter Registration, Colbert County, vol. 1, unpaginated; original held by Alabama State Archives.

[16] 1870 federal census, Franklin County, Alabama, Frankfort post office (twp. 6, range 12, dwelling and household 14), p. 475.

[17] Ibid., p. 477A.

[18] North Alabamian (Tuscumbia, Alabama), 4 March 1875, p. 3, col. 6.

[19] 1880 federal census, Franklin County, Alabama (twp. 6, range 12, ED 89, dwelling and family 86), p. 561.

[20] U.S. federal land grant, Huntsville land office, vol. 402, p. 454, #487.

[21] Alabama Civil Register of County Officials, vol. 10, p. 67.

[22] Ibid., vol. 11, p. 87.

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