Or, Subtitled: “Mark Was a Methodist, but Loved a Dram” — Saga Continued from Alabama to Mississippi and Texas
When I wrote about Mark Lindsey (1774-1848) in a previous series of postings, I posted a number of biographical accounts from people who knew Mark. One of these appears in James Edmond Saunders’s (1806-1896) book Early Settlers of Alabama. I also offered you another eyewitness account written by Methodist minister A.G. (Anderson Guinn) Copeland (1826-1880) and published in an October 1889 article in the Alabama Enquirer newspaper of Hartselle, Alabama.
As my discussion of Saunders’s biographical notice of Mark notes, he also speaks briefly of Mark’s oldest son Dennis (1794-1836), stating that Dennis “was a second edition of his father, in person and character.” This is the only tidbit of information I’ve found by people who knew Dennis personally, other than references to her parents that Dennis’s daughter Sarah Lindsey Speake makes in a letter she sent in May 1877 to her sister Margaret Lindsey Hunter in Coushatta, Louisiana — a letter I’ll discuss in a subsequent posting.
For Mark’s three other younger sons — William Burke, Fielding Wesley, and David Dinsmore Lindsey — more extensive eyewitness accounts have survived. Because I think these eyewitness statements have intrinsic interest and because it’s unusual to find such rich eyewitness material about people in our ancestral lines, I’m going to feature them at the beginning of the postings I offer on these three sons of Mark and Mary Jane Dinsmore Lindsey, with, of course, the proviso that one must always weigh historical accounts against other evidence to try to ascertain their accuracy.
William Burke Lindsey was the third child of Mark and Mary Jane Lindsey, following Dennis and Nancy Lindsey (Morris). The 1850 and 1860 federal censuses both indicate that Burke was born in 1812 in Kentucky. We know from quite a few pieces of evidence that Mark and his family were living in Wayne County, Kentucky, in 1812, so it’s clear that Burke would almost certainly have been born in that county.
Here’s the eyewitness account of William Burke Lindsey that I want to share at the outset of this posting. This is a passage from a diary kept by Reverend Samuel Andrew Agnew, an Associate Reformed Presbyterian minister of northeastern Mississippi from the 1850s into the 1880s. The diary is now held by the Southern Historical Collection at University of North Carolina’s Wilson Library (Chapel Hill), and has been digitized and made available in that format at the Collection’s website.
On 3-4 August 1854, Agnew recounts that he and a traveling companion Mr. Robinson were traveling from Tuscumbia, Alabama, into Mississippi and lost their way (on the 3rd). They asked some men they met on the road to recommend lodging, and were directed to the house of Burke Lindsey and his wife Carolina (née Puckett) in Tishomingo County. Agnew states that the Lindseys received these visitors kindly, fed them, gave them lodging for the night, and refused payment for the hospitality.
But after he returned home, he heard nasty gossip about Burke and his wife, indicating that Burke had previously been the business partner of Alexander Mackey Brooks, to whom Carolina was first married, and that, as some people believed, Alexander left Carolina because she and Burke had taken up with each other. This is a story made more complicated by the fact that Alexander’s sisters Jane and Sarah married Burke’s brothers Dennis and Dinsmore Lindsey.
Despite the kindness and generosity Burke and Carolina Lindsey had shown to him and Mr. Robinson, Agnew apparently believed the gossip and wrote it in his diary. Here’s what Agnew’s diary entry of 3-4 August 1854 states:
We drove on and on looking out for Marietta until dusk. When we began to dispair [sic] of reaching it when we met some men with ox wagons, when it turned out that we left Marietta to the left. Though we were informed that we were on the direct Carrollville road.
They informed us of a house a few miles on a head where we could lodge for the night and said it was the best place to stop in the country. We drove on and on inquiry learned that we could lodge for the night. The name of our host was Burke Lindsay. He seems to have indulged in strong drink, and we could smell it very perceptibly. Several men and young chaps[,] one I remember nearly grown barefooted with his pants rolled up to his knees.
After a wash[,] supper was ready and we sat at the table and our hostess asked a blessing and we eat. After Supper the old man pulled out a box of fine cigars and asked us to take a whiff. — Of course we acceded to his request, and puffed away. — After we finished our smoke talk a while then go to bed. In our bedroom see a copy of the celebrated work of Mrs Harriet Beecher Stowe viz “Uncle Toms Cabin.” It was the first copy I ever saw. We soon went to bed.
— Next morning Aug 4 we arose and having eat breakfast hitched up and prepared to go. Our host would charge us nothing for our lodging. Mr Robinson thought the lady to be the salt of that house. But from what I have heard since I came home, my opinion of the family has diminished considerably. Mr Mayfield[,] one of our neighbours[,] says that lady is not Lindsays wife. But that she is the wife of a man by the name of Brooks.
Brooks and Lindsay were merchandising at Oakville Ala. Brooks discovered that his wife was too thick with Lindsay[,] left secretly, taking a good deal of the property and went to Texas. He left Lindsay to clear up the debts of the firm, which brought him to the ground. Mayfield said that that boy there is the son of Brooks, and that he will steal in a minute. Lindsay and the lady have some awfull quarrells and fights some times. Be they what they may[,] treated us very kindly.
Since this diary entry captures a remembrance of Burke and Carolina Lindsey in the 1850s, I’ll return to it below, after I discuss Burke’s life up to that point.
Lawrence (and Morgan) County, Alabama, Records
We know, by the way, that Burke Lindsey was a son of Mark Lindsey and Mary Jane Dinsmore, because he is named as such in the chancery court case his sister Nancy filed with her husband William Morris in April 1850 in Lawrence County, Alabama, to contest her brother Fielding Wesley Lindsey’s administration of their father’s estate. The list of Mark’s heirs provided in that court document places Burke after Dennis and Nancy in the list of Mark’s children.
Before I share with you the fairly modest amount of material I have gathered to document Burke Lindsey’s life in Lawrence County, Alabama, I need to tell you that my research about Burke in that county’s records is still incomplete. I have more work to do in combing Lawrence County records for information about Burke and his brothers Wesley and Dinsmore.
I know this because the Lawrence County Archives have helpfully provided a searchable index to the county’s deed, court, marriage, probate, and loose-papers holdings, and when I search that index for information about these three sons of Mark and Mary Jane Lindsey, I spot many citations that I have not researched — and cannot research until I visit a genealogical library that has microfilmed copies of Lawrence County records. The FamilySearch site does not make digitized copies of some Lawrence County available online.
For anyone researching Lawrence County, Alabama, families, the website of the Lawrence County Archives is a very valuable resource. I highly recommend it, and applaud the county archives for maintaining such a first-rate website.
I have a note in my file for Burke Lindsey about an April 1833 transaction of some sort involving Robert and James Montgomery, who were interacting with Martin Doss. My notes tell me that this document is in Lawrence County Deed Book E. It is perhaps the first of the listings below of entries for William B. Lindsey in Lawrence County deed books; this is from the index of county records available via the county archives’ website linked in the preceding paragraph.
Entries for William B. Lindsey in Lawrence County, Alabama, deed books, from website of Lawrence County Archives
On 21 October 1835, Burke Lindsey gave security with Thomas R. Brooks for Thomas’s administration of the estate of his father James Brooks in Lawrence County. James Brooks was the uncle of Burke’s business partner Alexander Mackey Brooks — and of Burke’s sister-in-law Jane, who married Dennis Lindsey, and his soon-to-be sister-in-law Sarah, who would marry Burke and Dennis’s brother Dinsmore in 1838.
I have not located a record indicating when Burke Lindsey and Alexander M. Brooks began their mercantile firm, whose name appears in records in 1838 as A.M. Brooks & Co. After the town of Oakville was incorporated by an act of the Alabama legislature on 9 December 1833, with Burke’s brother Dennis one of the three commissioners appointed to lay out the town, mercantile firms and other businesses quickly sprang up in the new town, which was in a boom area of the growing edge of the cotton kingdom. As I noted in a previous posting, the leading merchant of the new town was Major Richard Puckett, who represented Lawrence County in the state legislature in 1836-7, and who was ruined along with other merchants of the community when the economic bubble of the 1830s burst in the latter half of the decade, bankrupting many planters and merchants, especially in the new, rich agricultural areas of north Alabama and Mississippi.
On 2 July 1835, Alexander M. Brooks married Richard Puckett’s niece Carolina, a daughter of Jared Puckett and Anne Collins, in Lawrence County. It seems likely that Burke Lindsey and Alexander Brooks may have begun their shared business around the time of this marriage. By 1837, it’s also clear that Brooks was involved in joint business ventures involving his nephew John Wesley Lindsey, son of Dennis Lindsey and Jane Brooks, and Alexander’s wife Carolina’s uncle Richard Puckett. John Wesley Lindsey was virtually the same age as his uncle, having been born in April 1814 in Wayne County, Kentucky. By the latter half of the 1830s, John begins appearing in Lawrence County records as the business partner of his brother-in-law Sylvanus Gibson, whose sister Margaret S. Gibson John married 18 March 1836.
We can infer the business connections of Alexander M. Brooks to John Wesley Lindsey and Richard Puckett from a Lawrence County Loose-papers circuit court case file. The file has papers from an 1837-8 case involving a note to David Johnson which Johnson’s administrators Robert M. Johnson, Edward Wise, and Drury Stovall were seeking to have paid. The note had been jointly signed by Alexander M. Brooks, Richard Puckett, and John W. Lindsey with A.M. Stewart as surety. The note was dated 30 January 1837. A separate case file has further material from the same case, showing that John W. Lindsey’s grandfather Mark became involved in it, perhaps in an attempt to cover his grandson’s portion of the debt.
By 25 February 1837, Burke Lindsey and Alexander M. Brooks were definitely in business together, since another loose-papers circuit court case file in Lawrence County shows the two as partners in the firm of A.M. Brooks & Co., filing suit against A.O. Williams for a debt he had incurred with the firm on 25 February 1837. The case file has a bond William B. Lindsey made on 18 January 1838 to Williams for $250 in damages, with James Hogan and D.D. Lindsey, Burke’s brother Dinsmore, as securities. Also in the set of court documents is a promissory note dated 7 February 1838 by Thomas Simpson and R.L. Watkins to A.M. Brooks & Co. for $250, to be paid as 4500 pounds of good seed cotton from Simpson’s gin, levied on as property of A.O. Williams in an attachment for debt. Judgment went to Brooks and Lindsey on 17 April 1839.
Alexander Mackey Brooks and William Burke Lindsey were contemporaries, by the way. As Burke was, Alexander was born in Wayne County, Kentucky. He was born 8 November 1808, the son of Reverend Thomas Brooks and Sarah Whitlock. He died 8 February 1899 at Warren in Tyler County, Texas.
It’s clear from a 6 August 1838 a deed recorded in Morgan County that the firm of A.M. Brooks & Co. was in serious financial distress by that date. The deed shows property owned by A.M. Brooks and Burke Lindsey in Morgan County being sold to satisfy a judgment in several suits of debt against them as business partners. It indicates that at September court in Morgan County, Robert Patterson, William C. Patterson and John E. Negres had sued Brooks & Co. and obtained judgment for a debt of $328.80, and at the same court session Charles Harkness had obtained judgment against the company for $120.63. A tract of land, 80 acres in township 8, section 7, range 5 west owned jointly by Brooks and Lindsey, was sold by the sheriff to satisfy these judgments. The land was sold to John Orr for $305. The deed was recorded 17 August 1838.
William B. Lindsey appears as a trustee in a 31 September 1838 mortgage William Hogan made in Lawrence County as debtor to Richard Hogan. Lindsey was to hold William Hogan’s property until the debt was satisfied.
On 1 November 1895, Alexander M. Brooks provided an affidavit in Houston for a lawsuit in Brazos County, Texas, in which Mary J. Harriman et al. were suing D.C. Giddings, et al. A valuable manuscript compiled by George W. Glass and held today by the Clayton Memorial Library in Houston contains notes about this case. Glass was a grandson of Mary Jane Harriman, the principal plaintiff in the case.
Mary Jane Harriman was a daughter of Paul Garner Moffatt and Mary Hope; she married (inter alia) George Sherman Harriman. After Alexander left his wife Carolina and went to Texas, he married Mary Hope’s mother Aletha Sorrells in Houston on 1 January 1849. Aletha had by that time outlived four previous husbands — James Hope, James Freel, Edward Patterson, and Joel Pierce. The marriages are documented in Glass’s manuscript.
In the affidavit he provided in the suit of Harriman v. Giddings (which Glass transcribes), Alexander M. Brooks says that he came to Texas in the fall of 1838. This appears to be the period alluded to in Samuel Agnew’s diary as he says that Brooks left Alabama and his wife Carolina behind, leaving his former business partner to satisfy his debts in Alabama.
On 13 February 1843, the Alabama legislature granted Carolina a divorce on the ground that Alexander M. Brooks had deserted her. By this point, William B. Lindsey and Caroline Brooks had married on 13 December 1840 in Limestone County, Alabama. I have not seen the original marriage document, and therefore I don’t have information about any explanation it might provide about why or how Carolina could marry Burke Lindsey prior to her divorce from Alexander Brooks.
Both the Alabama legislative divorce document in 1843 and the 1840 Limestone County marriage record prove Samuel Agnew wrong when he claimed in August 1854 that Burke and Carolina were not married. My guess about the 1840 marriage is that it was assumed that Carolina was a widow after her husband abandoned her and disappeared — though the reason for the abandonment could well be more complicated than the debts he and Burke Lindsey shared.
At some point after Alexander M. Brooks left Alabama for Texas, it appears that Burke Lindsey filed for bankruptcy. In her multivolume set entitled Alabama Records, Pauline Jones Gandrud abstracts a list of applications for bankruptcy from various Alabama counties including Lawrence. The list is undated and Gandrud does not provide a source for it, though the volume of Alabama Records in which it appears seems to be abstracting records from the newspaper Huntsville Democrat. The list Gandrud transcribes includes, in its Lawrence County section, the name William B. Lindsey.
Mississippi and Texas Records
I have been able to locate few records for William Burke Lindsey and his wife Carolina in Mississippi. A Tishomingo County deed shows Burke buying 160 acres in that county from Hiram and Elizabeth Richardson of Itawamba County on 14 November 1845. The land was in township 6, section 20, range 8 east.
As noted above, William and Carolina appear on the 1850 federal census in Tishomingo County, with their names given as Wm. B. Linsey and Caroline S. Linsey. He is listed as 38 years old, a farmer born in Kentucky; Carolina is listed as 32, born in Tennessee. In the household is Carolina’s son by Alexander M. Brooks, Thomas J. Brooks, who is 15 and born in Alabama. No surname is listed for him on this census.
By 1860, Burke and Carolina Lindsey had moved to Bastrop County, Texas, where they appear on the 1860 federal census in the town of Bastrop. Burke is enumerated as W.B. Lindsy, 48, a farmer born in Kentucky. Wife Caroline is 42, born in Tennessee. Two houses away is the household of Carolina’s son Thomas Jefferson Brooks (1835-1862), who is listed as a miller. He had married Martha Elizabeth, daughter of Middleton Milledge Mead Hill and Julia Foster Walker, in Bastrop county on 9 December 1857. By 1860, the couple had had children Robert Alexander Hill Brooks and Eula Lee Brooks. They appear in this household on the 1860 census.
In his November 1895 affidavit in the case of Harriman v. Giddings, Alexander M. Brooks states that after having left Alabama for Texas in the fall of 1838, he settled in Houston for three years and then in 1846, he moved to Bastrop. By 1842, he had commissioned the construction of a house in Bastrop now known as the Wilbarger house. The house, a two-story wood-frame house in the federal revival style with a central hallway, Doric columns, and an upper and lower porch, is built of hand-hewn cedar and pine. It still stands today at 1403 Main Street in Bastrop and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1850, Alexander M. Brooks sold this house to James H. Wilbarger, son of the well-known Texas pioneer Josiah Wilbarger. It is known today as the Wilbarger house. A picture of the house is found in Drury Blakeley Alexander’s Texas Homes of the Nineteenth Century (Austin: Univ. of TX Press, 1966), photo 95.
At some point in the tail end of the 1840s, Alexander moved back to Houston where he married Aletha Sorrells (Hope, Freel, Patterson, Pierce) in January 1849 at Jane Elizabeth Hogan’s “Round Top” boarding house. The marriage was solemnized by Reverend Rufus Burleson, who later became president of Baylor University. Rufus Burleson’s uncle James Burleson had a daughter Elizabeth who married Charles Wesley Brooks, a first cousin of Alexander M. Brooks. Charles was a son of Alexander’s uncle James Brooks and wife Nancy Isbell. James Burleson lived for a period of time in Lawrence County, Alabama, before settling in Bastrop County, Texas, in 1831.
Following his marriage to Aletha in 1849, Alexander and his wife then moved to Bastrop and lived there up to 1860, returning to Houston in 1860. All of this makes it interesting that Burke and Carolina Lindsey moved to Bastrop sometime between 1850 and 1860.
Their listing on the 1860 federal census is the last record I find of Burke and Carolina Puckett Lindsey. It seems likely that they died between 1860 and 1870, probably in Bastrop. On 28 January 1876, a Caroline Lindsay and Charles Young had license to marry in Austin County, Texas. This marriage document unfortunately provides no information about the ages or marital status of the two spouses, so I cannot say with certainty whether this Caroline Lindsay could be Burke’s widow. I do not find Charles and Caroline Young on the 1870 census.
In his Personnel of the Texas State Government with Sketches of Distinguished Texans, L.E. Daniel states that the town of San Marcos was laid off in the fall of 1846 by General Edward Burleson and Colonel W.B. Lindsey. But as Kyle Schlafer’s article at Encyclopedia of Texas Online about the William Lindsey who helped lay off San Marcos makes plain, this was William F. Lindsey and not William B. Lindsey. It appears that Daniel got the middle initial wrong, and this man is clearly not William Burke Lindsey.
I’m fairly certain that William Burke Lindsey was named for William Burke of Green County, Kentucky, who was the first Methodist preacher to visit Wayne County, Kentucky. From the years in which the Lindsey family lived in Wayne County (about 1800 to about 1818/9), the family seems to have developed very strong Methodist ties, which continued in many branches of this family for a number of generations.
Some Puckett Notes
There were a number of marriages between Lindseys, Brooks, and Pucketts in Lawrence and Morgan Counties, Alabama. According to John Knox in his A History of Morgan County, Alabama, “the time-honored Puckett family” has a long association with the Johnson Chapel Methodist cemetery in southwestern Morgan County. According to family tradition in some branches of the Brooks family descending from Reverend Thomas Brooks and wife Sarah Whitlock, that couple are buried in this cemetery. Three sons of Thomas and Sarah Whitlock Brooks married Pucketts: Alexander M. Brooks’s brother Samuel K. Brooks married Carolina Puckett’s sister Mary Ann, and their brother James R. Brooks married a Jane Puckett whose parents I have not determined.
 James Edmond Saunders, Early Settlers of Alabama (New Orleans, 1899), pp. 122-3.
 A.G. Copeland, “Reminiscences of Morgan County, No. 3,” Alabama Enquirer (Hartselle) (17 October 1889), p. 3, col. 4.
 1850 federal census, Tishomingo County, Mississippi, southern division (p.99, dwelling and family 184, 20 September); 1860 federal census, Bastrop County, Texas, precinct 8, Bastrop post office (p. 271, dwelling 527, family 486, 13 August).
 This diary entry was first brought to my attention on 26 July 2006 by David Hindman, who sent me a transcript of the passage above, based on his reading of the original manuscript. The transcription above is my own. I’ve replicated spelling and punctuation from the original, but have added paragraph breaks not found in the original.
 Lawrence County, Alabama, Orphans Court Minute Bk. E, p. 288.
 On Puckett’s ruin, see Early Settlers of Alabama, p. 123.
 Lawrence County, Alabama, Orphans Court Minute Bk. B, p. 158.
 Ibid., p. 180.
 Lawrence County, Alabama, Loose-Papers Circuit Court Files, #2470, box 125, folder 54. A.M. Stewart was Abraham M. Stewart, son of John Stewart and Elizabeth Cornelius. Alexander M. Brooks’s brother Charles M. Brooks married Elizabeth’s sister Deniah Cornelius. On John Stewart, who petitioned in 1827 with Dennis Lindsey for a school to be opened at what became Oakville, see this previous posting (and also here).
 Ibid., #2926, box 94, folder 25.
 Ibid., #2464, box 42, folder 82-83; see also #2941, box 173, folder 61 and Lawrence County, Alabama, Circuit Court Minute Bk. T, p. 492.
 Morgan County, Alabama, Deed Bk D, pp. 82-3.
 Lawrence County, Alabama, Deed Bk. H, pp. 173-5.
 Brazos County, Texas, District Court File #2809, Harriman v. Giddings
 George W. Glass, Hope Family Notes and Miscellaneous Notes on the James Hope Family. This file has also been microfilmed by the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, as US/Canada film 1318150.
 See Marilee Beatty Hageness, Alabama Divorces 1818-1868: State Legislature (priv. publ., 1995), p. 4. I have looked for the divorce case file on the Family History Library (Salt Lake) US/Canada microfilm 1940655, which contains divorce cases from Alabama Chancery Court, 1st District, Southern Division, 1816-1847, but these are all from Mobile County. I do not find a loose papers court file in Lawrence County regarding this divorce.
 My source for information about this marriage is Ancestry’s “Alabama, Select Marriage Indexes, 1816-1942,” pointing to the Family History Library’s (Salt Lake) US/Canada microfilm 1035010, “Limestone County, Alabama, Marriage Licenses, License Records and Bonds, 1832-1952.”
 Pauline Jones Gandrud, Alabama Records, vol. 15: Huntsville Democrat, p. 39. I do not find publication information or dates of publications for Gandrud’s Alabama Records. FamilySearch has a digitized copy of this record.
 Tishomingo County, Mississippi, Deed Bk. H, pp. 200-1.
 See supra, n. 3.
 Drury Blakeley Alexander, Texas Homes of the Nineteenth Century (Austin: Univ. of Texas Press, 1966), photo 95.
 When/if I can do a series of postings on the Brooks family, I will provide documentation for what I say in this paragraph.
 See Glass, Hope Family Notes, cited supra, n. 16. A section of the manuscript entitled “The Subsequent Marriages of Aletha Sorrells” has information about the move from Houston to Bastrop and then back to Houston.
 L.E. Daniel, Personnel of the Texas State Government with Sketches of Distinguished Texans (Austin: Smith, Hicks & Jones, 1889), p. 235.
 See FamilySearch, “Marriage Records, 1824-1965; Index to Marriage Records, 1824-1974,” which has a digitized copy of the original marriage license in Austin County.
 Bess D. Stokes and Elizabeth F. Duncan, Methodism in Wayne Co., KY 1802-1974 (Somerset, Kentucky: Commonwealth Journal, 1974), p. 1.
 John Knox, A History of Morgan County, Alabama (Decatur: Decatur Printing Co., 1966), pp. 123-4
 See Irene D. Gallaway, Puckett Points, Some Facts Concerning the Family of Richard Puckett of Lunenburg County, Virginia (1931), indicating that Carolina and Mary Ann Puckett were daughters of Jared and Anne Collins Puckett, Jared being the son of Richard Puckett of Lunenburg County, Virginia, and Williamson County, Tennessee. Gallaway notes that Carolina married Burke Lindsey after she and Alexander Brooks divorced (p. 12). Similar information is in Christine South Gee, The Roots and Some of the Branches of the Puckett Family Tree (Columbia, South Carolina: Commercial Printing Co., 1958), p. 10.