Or, Subtitled: Censuses, Aunts, Mothers-in-Laws, and Tombstones and the Tales They Tell
As I’ve noted previously, in addition to the two sons I’ve discussed in postings here — Miles R. and Robert D. Lindsey — Dennis Lindsey and Anna Woodruff also had daughters Melissa (abt. 1823-1882) and Amanda (1839-1911). My postings about Miles are here, here, and here, and the one about Robert is here.
Melissa Lindsey Hester (abt. 1823-1882)
As I’ve also indicated in previous postings, Dennis’s daughter Melissa married William Henry Hester (1818-1853), son of William Henry (“Buck”) Hester Sr. (1780-1847) and Amy Malone, who married in Person County, North Carolina, 18 October 1805. Melissa’s brother Robert married Martha Susan Hester, who is clearly closely related to William Henry Hester, but her parents have yet to be determined, as far as I am aware. The Hester family came to Franklin County, Alabama, in 1818 from Person County, North Carolina, and were pioneer settlers of Franklin County.
William Henry Hester Jr. and Melissa Lindsey married 20 September 1840, according to the register of his parents’ bible, which gives William Henry’s dates of birth and death as 3 March 1818 and 2 May 1853.Their family appears on the 1850 federal census in Franklin County with a household consisting of William H., 31, Melissa, 26, Aaron, 10, Pinkney, 7, Emily, 5, Miles, 3, and an unnamed son 5 months old. The census states that all were born in Alabama. Melissa’s name is given as Malissa. Also in the household is Melissa’s sister Amand(a), 12. The unnamed son is Franis Marion, who was born 29 August 1850, according to his tombstone in Crooked Oak cemetery, Colbert County, Alabama.
The family is found again on the 1870 federal census in Franklin County (I can’t find them on the 1860 census) with Melissa (Malessa is the spelling used on the census) as widowed and head of her household. Melissa is aged 47, and this census gives her birthplace as South Carolina. She is farming with $400 real worth and the same amount of personal worth. In the household are children Miles, 21, Emily (the census spelling is Emely), 22, and Marion, 19. All were born in Alabama.
Melissa last appears on the federal census in 1880, in the household of her daughter Emily and Emily’s husband Zachariah Hovater in Franklin County. She is listed as Zachariah’s mother-in-law, aged 67, born in South Carolina. A longstanding tradition among her descendants states that she died in 1882 and that both she and William Henry Hester are buried in Hovater cemetery in Franklin County, with graves whose tombstones have deteriorated and are no longer to be found.
William Henry Hester and Melissa Lindsey had the following children:
- Aaron P. Hester was born 14 September 1841 in Franklin County, and died 26 September 1884, also in Franklin County. About 1866, he married his first cousin Malinda A., daughter of John E. Hester and Sarah Malinda Bowen. Aaron and wife Malinda are buried in Hovater cemetery in Franklin County. As noted previously, Aaron and his brother Pinkney both served in Roddey’s 4th Alabama Cavalry unit of the Confederate Army in the Civil War, a unit into which their uncle Robert D. Lindsey was also conscripted, but from which he deserted, according to the Southern Claims Commission affidavit of his brother Miles R. Lindsey. The same affidavit says that Aaron and Pinkney joined this military unit to avoid conscription.
- William Pinkney Hester was born 30 June 1843 in Franklin County, and died 20 November 1922 at Russellville in Franklin County. He married 1) Judith Emeline, daughter of Simeon Waites and Judith Hester, about 1866 in Franklin County; and 2) Theodocia M., daughter of John Long and Sarah Gibson, 31 October 1899, Colbert County, Alabama. Pinkney Hester and both of his wives are buried at Crooked Oak cemetery in Colbert County.
- Emily Ann (Emaline) Hester was born 30 January 1846 in Franklin County and died 4 January 1922 at Russellville in Franklin County. In 1870, she married Zachariah Taylor, son of Luther Hovater and Elizabeth Scott. Emily and husband Zachariah are buried at Hovater cemetery in Franklin County.
- Miles Hester was born 28 May 1848 in Franklin County and died 13 March 1919, also in Franklin County. He married 1) Rhoda Catherine, daughter of Robert Wiley Richardson and Rilda Catherine Jones, about 1870; and 2) Margaret Willie Anna, daughter of George Washington and Martha Srygley, in 1890. Miles and wife Margaret are buried in Crooked Oak cemetery in Colbert County. Wife Rhoda is buried in Greenhill-Ezell cemetery in Franklin County.
- Francis Marion Hester was born 29 August 1850 in Franklin County, and died 17 August 1904, also in Franklin County. About 1872, he married Mary Lucy, daughter of William Hendrix and Nancy A. Sowell. Francis Marion and Mary Lucy Hester are both buried in Crooked Oak cemetery in Colbert County.
Amanda Lindsey (1839-1911)
Dennis Lindsey and Anna Woodruff’s daughter Anna was born 29 March 1839 in Franklin County, and died 18 May 1911 at Russellville in Franklin County. These dates are found on her tombstone in Crooked Oak cemetery in Colbert County. In addition, her obituary in Franklin County Times (Russellville), 1 June 1911, states that she died 18 May 1911, and was aged 73 years, 2 months, and 11 days. (See the head of this posting for a digital copy of this obituary.)
As noted above, on the 1850 federal census, Amanda is enumerated in the household of her sister Melissa and husband William Henry Hester, aged 12. In 1870, Amanda is found on the federal census in Franklin County in the household of her nephew Aaron Hester and wife Melinda, listed as a domestic servant, 31, born in Alabama, with a daughter Mary Lindsey, 7 months old.
Other documents give the name of Amanda’s daughter Mary as Annie Lou Lindsey. On 1900 September 1900, she married in Franklin County Charles Calvin Gargus, son of James Columbus Gargus and Sarah Adeline Crosswhite, with the marriage certificate giving her name as L.A. Lindsey. Her name appears as Annie L. Gargis on her death certificate when she died 27 December 1951 in Franklin County. This document states that her parents were Amanda Lindsey and John Johnson.
The 1880 federal census shows Amanda (Mandy) Lindsey as head of her household in Franklin County, aged 34, with daughter Mary L., aged 10, both born in Alabama. In 1900, Amanda is listed in the household of her niece Emily and husband Zachary Hovater in Russellville, Franklin County, with daughter Amanda’s daughter Louisa Lindsey also in the household. The census reports that Amanda is Zachary and Emily’s aunt, born in March 1840, and Louisa is their cousin, born in April 1872. As is evident, these dates do not correspond to dates of birth given for Amanda and Annie Lou on other census. Amanda is listed as single.
The final federal census on which Amanda appears is the 1910 census, where she is listed in the household of her daughter Annie and husband Charles C. Gargus at Wheeler in Colbert County. Here, Mandy Lindsey (the name given on the census) is listed as a widow aged 72, born in Alabama with parents born in South Carolina. The census states that she is Charles Gargus’s mother-in-law and has had one child, who is living.
As noted above, an obituary for Amanda Lindsey appears in the Russellville paper Franklin County Times on 1 June 1911. It’s entitled “A Good Mother Gone,” and refers to her as “Aunt” Mandy Lindsey, noting that she was living with her son-in-law C.C. Gargus about 9 miles north of Russellville, and had been buried at Crooked Oak cemetery after a funeral held at the Crooked Oak church.
 See Bernice Hester, Hester Descendants: Family of Roling Hester and Lucendy Richardson Hester (priv. publ, 1992); Betty Jean Hester, “Hester Family,” in Historical Source of Colbert and Franklin Counties in Alabama, vol. 1 (Russellville: Franklin Printing), 1997, pp. 146-153; Robert L. Williams, “William ‘Buck’ Hester Family,” at the Franklin County, Alabama, Genweb site; Albert Burton Moore, History of Alabama and Her People, vol. 2 (Chicago: American Hist. Soc., 1927), pp. 233-4; and George Washington Smith, A History of Southern Illinois, vol. 2 (Chicago and NY: Lewis, 1912), pp. 648-9. On the colonial roots of the Hester family in Virginia, see Floride Partlow Hester LeRoy, Hester-McElvey and Other Related Families (priv. publ., 1998), pp. 18-31. I am grateful to John Blythe, whose work is cited in this book, for sharing information about it with me.
 The bible register was transcribed by A. Badle Hester and Mary Elle Armstrong, and is published in Robert L. Williams’s “William ‘Buck’ Hester Family” webpage cited supra, n. 1. When Robert Williams published the transcript, the bible was owned by Beatrice Hendrix of Russellville, Alabama. The transcript does not have information about the date or publisher of the bible.
 1850 federal census, Franklin County, Alabama, dist. 6, p. 219A, 25 December 1850 (dwelling and family 672). The family are living next to William Henry Hester’s older brother John Hester.
 1870 federal census, Franklin County, Alabama, twp. 6, range 13, Frankfort post office, p. 488A, 1 July 1870 (dwel. 54, family 55).
 Franklin County Times (Russellville, Alabama), 1 June 1911, p. 2, col. 2.
 See supra, n. 3.
 1870 federal census, Franklin County, Alabama, twp. 6, range 12, Frankfort post office, 10-11 June 1870 (dwelling and family 9).
 See FamilySearch’s database Alabama, Marriages, 1816-1957, which abstracts the original record (US/Canada film 1031242).
 See FamilySearch’s database Alabama Deaths and Burials, 1881–1952, which abstracts the original record.
 1880 federal census, Franklin County, Alabama, twp. 6, range 12, 10 June 1880, p. 557D ED 89 (dwelling and family 33).
 1900 federal census, Franklin County, Alabama, Russellville pct. 2, 14 June 1900, p. 8, ED 19 (dwelling 151, family 157).
 1910 federal census, Colbert County, Alabama, Wheeler, precinct 9, 21 April 1900, p. 2B, ED 11 (dwelling and family 38).
 See supra, n. 5.