Or, Subtitled: When Tombstone Information May Lead Us Astray
My postings have now followed John Wesley Lindsey, oldest child of Dennis Lindsey (1794-1836) and Jane Brooks, from his birth in Wayne County, Kentucky, in 1814, to his move with his parents in 1817 to what would soon be Lawrence County, Alabama, where he grew up and married Margaret S. Gibson in 1836, and, finally, to his life in Itawamba and Lee Counties, Mississippi, from 1839 to around 1870, when he and his second wife Mary Louisa, widow of Robert O. Maupin, moved to northwest Mississippi for a few years. As I stated at the end of my last posting, I don’t have abundant information about John’s life after he married a third wife, the widow Mary Ann Wester on 15 December 1878 in Red River Parish, Louisiana.
The last record I have for John in northwest Mississippi is a 14 April 1873 mortgage to him and his business partner Matthew Anderson Douglass in Tunica County. Mary Louisa was still alive in Tunica County on 9 March 1874. I am assuming — but do not have proof of this — that she died between that date and John’s marriage to Mary Ann Wester in Louisiana on 15 December 1878. I find no trace of Mary Louisa after the 1874 date. Matthew Anderson Douglass died in 1877, aged 47.
Marriage to Mary Ann (Nobles) Wester, Red River Parish, Louisiana, 1878
The first record I’ve found of John W. Lindsey in Louisiana is his marriage to Mary Ann Wester in Red River Parish on 15 December 1878. The marriage record apparently identifies Mary Ann as Miss M.A. Wester, but she was the widow of Daniel Campbell Wester at the time John married her. Her surname is thought to have been Nobles.
How do I know that this J.W. Lindsay is John Wesley, the son of Dennis Lindsey and Jane Brooks? Several things tell us this. As we’ll see in a moment, the 1900 federal census shows him and wife Mary Ann living at Marthaville in Natchitoches Parish, and it states that John W. Lindsey was born in April 1814 in Kentucky, with a father born in South Carolina and a mother in Virginia. All this information matches what we know of Dennis and Jane’s son John Wesley Lindsey. As we’ve seen, every federal census from 1850 to 1900, with the exception of the 1880 census, which clearly has misinformation about John and wife Mary Ann, has John born in 1814 in Kentucky.
We can also show that John W. Lindsey is the man who married Mary Ann Wester in 1878 because the couple is found two years later on the federal census in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, living not far from John’s son William Oscar Lindsey, and with Mary Ann’s daughters by Daniel Campbell Wester, Eunice Virginia, Dora, and Sarah E. Wester, living in their household. This census connects John and Mary Ann both to his son William O. Lindsey, and also to several of Mary Ann’s Wester children.
Finally, there’s the fact that three of John’s siblings were living in Red River Parish by 1878. His brother Mark Jefferson Lindsey and wife Mary Ann Harrison moved from Lawrence County, Alabama, to Louisiana in 1847 with three of Mary Ann’s brothers. After living in Bossier Parish for several years, they moved to Natchitoches Parish after 1860, where their part of that parish fell into Red River Parish in 1870. Mark J. Lindsey died in Red River Parish sometime in 1878.
Mark and John’s sister Rebecca Frances Lindsey and her husband Samuel Hiram Kellogg had moved to Louisiana in the 1850s from Itawamba County, Mississippi, and after Samuel died in 1863, Rebecca moved her family from Claiborne Parish, where they initially settled, to Red River Parish to join her brother Mark and sister Margaret. Margaret Tranquilla Lindsey and husband J. William Hunter moved from Lawrence County, Alabama, to Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, in the 1850s, and by 1865 were living at Coushatta Chute in Natchitoches Parish. When Red River was formed from Natchitoches in 1870, Coushatta became the parish seat for the new parish. Mark, Rebecca, and Margaret all lived with their families at or near Coushatta, which is some 23 miles west of Marthaville in Natchitoches Parish where their brother John lived with wife Mary Ann (Nobles) Wester, and died in 1903.
I do not have absolute proof of Mary Ann’s maiden name, but researchers of the Wester family have long thought she was very likely the daughter of William and Catherine (Harrison) Nobles of Decatur County, Georgia, and Jackson County, Florida. I have not done a great deal of research on the Wester family, but see no real reason to doubt this conclusion. The 1830 federal census shows both William Nobles and his family, and the family of Elias Wester, father of Mary Ann’s husband Daniel Campbell Wester, living in Decatur County, Georgia not far from each other. A son of William Nobles, Martin A. Nobles, is known to have married a daughter of Elias Wester, Mary Ann Wester. This marriage is documented in Decatur County, Georgia, marriage records (see Decatur County Marriage Bk. A, p. 83, recording this marriage on 11 November 1845).
The Nobles and Wester Families, Decatur County, Georgia, Gadsden and Jackson Counties, Florida, and Louisiana
The Nobles and Wester families can be found in the records of Decatur County, Georgia, and, just across the state line, Gadsden and Jackson County, Florida, from the 1820s forward, and both William Nobles and Elias Wester are thought to have died in Jackson County, Florida (William in 1837 and Elias in 1872). Federal censuses from 1850 to 1910 show Mary Ann Nobles (Wester) (Lindsey) born anywhere from 1825 to 1831, with the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses stating that she was born in Georgia, and the 1900 and 1910 censuses saying she was born in Florida. I suspect the information on the 1900 census, giving her a birthdate of May 1827 in Florida, is likely the most accurate.
Following the Coushatta massacre in August 1874, in which members of the White League who sought to terrorize Reconstruction leaders in northwest Louisiana and to drive them and those sympathizing with them from the state assassinated a number of Reconstruction leaders and African-American freedmen, Zachary Taylor Wester, a son of Daniel Campbell Wester and Mary Ann Nobles, gave testimony in September 1874 before a federal committee investigating the violence. In his testimony, he states that he had been born in Florida and his family came to Louisiana when he was two years old (i.e., in 1848). They had settled in Bossier Parish up to the Civil War, when he enlisted in the Confederate Army.
When the war ended, he became a Republican and was teaching in a school for black children at Sparta in Bienville Parish while living in Red River Parish, where he had been elected tax collector and assessor. He states that the White League threatened to murder him and arrested him, and his life was spared only when some of his former comrades in the CSA intervened and saved his life. On 6 September 1876, the Shreveport Times reported that Z.T. Wester had been waylaid and shot as he rode his horse from his plantation to that of his brother-in-law in Red River Parish the preceding Sunday (3 September). Before 1880, Zachary and his brother William, who was also targeted by the White League, disappear from Red River Parish records, and I have no documentation of their deaths. I’ve told this story in detail on my Bilgrimage blog.
Federal land records show Daniel Campbell Wester acquiring pieces of land in Louisiana from the latter half of the 1850s up to 1860. As the testimony of his son Zachary T. states, the family lived in Bossier Parish initially after they arrived in Louisiana. The 1860 federal census shows the Wester family at Orchard Grove post office in Bossier Parish, where Mark J. and Mary Ann Harrison Lindsey were also living with their family in 1860. On 14 November 1875, Mark and Mary Ann Lindsey’s daughter Emma married a nephew of Daniel Campbell Wester, who had the same name that his uncle had, in Red River Parish. Their family lived at Provencal in Natchitoches Parish, some 17 miles east of Marthaville.
The CSA service papers of Daniel Campbell Wester (husband of Mary Ann Nobles), show him enlisting as a private in Company D of the 9th Louisiana Infantry at Bellevue in Bossier Parish on 3 March 1862. He was shot in the arm near Fredericksburg, Virginia, on 4 May 1863 and hospitalized two days later in Richmond. By February 1864, his service papers indicate that he had deserted. He had returned to Louisiana by 1870, since the federal census of that year shows him farming with his family in Bienville Parish. He appears to have died prior to September 1874, when his son Zachary testified before the federal committee investigating White League terrorism, since Zachary states in that testimony that his mother and three sisters were living on a farm about 10 miles from Coushatta at the time.
There’s one more Lindsey-Wester connection to note here. The brother-in-law to whose plantation Zachary Taylor Wester was riding when he was shot in Red River Parish in September 1876 was Ezekiel Samuel Green, who married Wester’s sister, another Mary Ann, on 13 January 1876 in Red River Parish. Ezekiel’s daughter Mary Ann Green (yet another Mary Ann!) married Mark and Mary Ann Harrison Lindsey’s son Alexander Cobb Lindsey in Red River Parish on 2 November 1876. Mary Ann was a daughter by Ezekiel’s first wife Camilla Birdwell. Alec and Mary Ann Green Lindsey are my great-grandparents.
John’s Final Years, St. Landry Parish and Marthaville, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana
I have no information about what motivated John W. Lindsey and his wife Mary Ann to move to St. Landry Parish soon after their 1878 marriage in Red River Parish, except that, as I’ve noted, John’s son William Oscar Lindsey was living there by 1880. After his divorce from Mary Elizabeth Tatum in Mississippi on 6 January 1875 (I discussed this in my previous posting), William O. Lindsey married M.J. Masham, a widow, on 20 August 1876 in Freestone County.
By 1880, William was living in St. Landry Parish — without M.J. Masham — and is enumerated on the federal census there in the household of George W. Neal, with William’s occupation given as a saddler. By 1900, William had moved to Indian Territory, and had a wife Elissa, who is buried next to him in the Hichita-Lackey cemetery at Hichita in McIntosh County, Oklahoma.
The 1880 census listing for J.W. Lindsey in St. Landry Parish shows him as a farmer in the parish’s 6th ward, where son William was also living. The census gives his age as 66 and his place of birth as Arkansas; it says that his wife Mary was 54 and also born in Arkansas. The information about John and Mary Ann’s place of birth here is obviously incorrect. Also living in this household in 1880 were three of Mary Ann’s daughters by Daniel Campbell Wester — Virginia, 22, Dora, 11, and Sallie, 9. Virginia married Asbury Davison Snider in St. Landry Parish on 31 August 1881, and by 1910, her mother Mary Ann was living in the Snider household in Newton County, Texas, following the death of John W. Lindsey at Marthaville, Natchitoches Parish, in 1903.
John W. Lindsey and wife Mary Ann appear on the 1900 federal census in Marthaville. The census gives John’s occupation as book agent, and states that he was born in April 1814 in Kentucky, with a father born in South Carolina and a mother in Virginia. Mary Ann’s birthdate is given as May 1827 and her place of birth as Florida, as previously noted. The census indicates that the couple married in 1880 (though their marriage record shows them marrying in 1878) and states that Mary Ann had had nine children, with three living in 1880. Those three living children were her daughter Mary Ann (married Ezekiel Samuel Green), Eunice Virginia (married Asbury Davison Snider), and Sarah E.
The community of Marthaville was established in the early 1850s, and had a post office by 1855, with a daily mail service by 1857. A station of the Alexandria and Shreveport stage line was established there in 1855. In 1881, the Texas and Pacific Railroad came through the community, establishing a depot there, and I suspect that the occupation noted for John W. Lindsey on the 1900 census — book agent — meant that he was booking people traveling on the rail line through the Marthaville station. By the 1880s, the town had a robust saw-milling industry with strong connections to markets in Texas.
The only death information I have found for John Wesley Lindsey is a notice in the 1903 Proceedings of the M.W. Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana that J.W. Lindsey, a member of the Marthaville Masonic Lodge, had died during that year (see the top of the posting for a snapshot of this notice). As I noted at the start of my set of postings about John, he’s buried in the Marthaville cemetery in Natchitoches Parish, but his tombstone, which appears to have been erected some years after his death, erroneously gives his year of birth as 1800 and his year of death as 1898. We can be certain that he was alive in 1900, since he is enumerated in Marthaville — the only John W. Lindsey in the community — in that year on the federal census, and he’s clearly the J.W. Lindsey of the Marthaville Masonic Lodge who died in 1903.
So ends the long, venturesome life of John Wesley Lindsey, a life that spanned most of the 19th century, from Kentucky to Mississippi to Louisiana, a life of fortunes rising and fortunes falling. It would be interesting to have John’s own account of his life.
As noted above, by 1910 John’s widow Mary Ann was living in Newton County, Texas, with her daughter Virginia and Virginia’s husband Asbury Davison Snider, a doctor who was the postmaster of Belgrade in Newton County in 1910. I have not found a death date or place of death and burial for Mary Ann. Asbury and Virginia Wester Snider are buried at the Spikes cemetery at Bancroft in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana.
A brief summary of information about John W. Lindsey’s children, most of which I’ve provided in my three postings about him — by wife Margaret S. Gibson, John had the following children (he had none by his two subsequent wives):
- Mary Jane Lindsey was born in 1839 in Lawrence County, Alabama; married 1 December 1857 in Itawamba County, Mississippi, to Rice Bronaugh Tate, son of William Rice Tate and Lucy Ann Bronaugh. Both Rice and Mary Jane appear to have died between 1870 and 1880, probably in Itawamba County, Mississippi. I don’t find them after the 1870 federal census, in which Rice appears as head of their household in Tupelo, Lee County, Mississippi, listed as a merchant. By 1880, their son Walter Bronaugh Tate is living as a boarder at Senatobia in Tate County, Mississippi, in the household of J.W. Youngblood, listed as a printer. Rice B. Tate and Mary Jane Lindsey had the following children: Walter Bronaugh Tate (1857-1944) and Mattie B. Tate (1859-1860/1870).
Walter Bronaugh Tate married 1) Lilla, daughter of John H. and Mary T. Newton, and 2) Martha Ann, daughter of Robert Harkness Cowsert and Tabitha Juff McCormick. Walter died in Memphis and is buried in Forest Hill Cemetery there.
- William Oscar Lindsey was born in 1843 in Itawamba County, Mississippi, and died 9 April 1905 in McIntosh County, Oklahoma, where he’s buried in Hitchita-Lackey cemetery at Hitchita. He married 1) Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Abner Currin Tatum and Martha Jane Orr, on 30 May 1861 in Itawamba County, Mississippi; 2) Mrs. M.J. Masham, on 20 August 1876 in Freestone County, Texas; 3) Mrs. Elissa O. Moody, widow of William H. Moody, 16 August 1882 in Scott County, Arkansas.
- Corilla I. Lindsey was born 9 March 1851 in Itawamba County, Mississippi, and died 6 April 1921 at Tupelo, Lee County, Mississippi. On 10 February 1872 in Tunica County, Mississippi, she married Theodore A., son of Calvin A. Marshall and Louisa C. Birmingham. Corilla and Theodore Marshall are buried in Glenwood cemetery, Tupelo.
- Diantha D. Lindsey was born in 1853 in Itawamba County, Mississippi. I find no record of her after the 1860 federal census.
 I have not seen the original marriage document, and don’t have the specific citation in Red River Parish marriage books. The marriage is indexed in the Louisiana Secretary of State Office, Louisiana Marriage Index, available at Ancestry as Louisiana Compiled Marriage Index, 1718-1925, 1946-1961.
 1830 federal census, Decatur County, Georgia, pp. 11 (Elias Wester) and 12 (William Nobles).
 See 1825 court minutes of Gadsden County, Florida, transcribed by Pamela Vojnovski, Barbara Boynton, and Donna Warlick at the Florida Genweb site for Gadsden County; and the 25 July 1831 recommendation of Major Romeo for U.S. Marshall by citizens of Gadsden County, Florida Territory, in The Territorial Papers of the United States: 1828-1834, vol. 24, ed. Clarence Edwin Carter (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Gov’t. Printing Office, 1959), p. 543, online at Google Books.
 See 1850 federal census, Bossier Parish, Louisiana, township 19, ward 4, p. 304B (dwelling and family 1094, 21 November), household of Daniel Wester, showing her as 25 and b or in Georgia; 1860 federal census, Bossier Parish, Louisiana, Orchard Grove post office, p. 767 (dwelling and family 585, 11-12 September), household of D.K. Wester, where she’s 29 and born in Georgia; 1870 federal census, Bienville Parish, Louisiana p. 75A (dwelling and family 123, 6 July), household of Daniel Wister, giving her age as 40 and birthplace as Georgia; 1880 federal census, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, 6th ward, p. 379C (dwelling 167, family 171, 16 June), household of John W. Lindsey, where she’s 54 and born in Arkansas; 1900 federal census, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, Marthaville (dwelling 687, family 693, 30 June), household of John W. Lindsey, which shows her born May 1827 in Florida; and 1910 federal census, Newton County, Texas, justice precinct 4, p. 17A (dwelling 218, family 232, 27 April), household of A.D. and Virginia E. Snyder, which shows mother-in-law Mary Ann Lindsey as 84, a widow, born in Florida.
 See “Report of the Select Committee on that Portion of the President’s Message Relating to the Condition of the South” in Report of the Select Committee on That Portion of the President’s Message Relating to the Condition of the South (Washington, DC: Govt. Printing Office, 1875), pp. 320-1, 777-8; and Executive Documents for the 2nd Session of the 44th Congress (Washington, D.C.: Govt. Printing Office, 1877), p. 252.
 See supra, n. 5, for information about the Wester family’s 1860 federal census listing. The Mark J. Lindsey family are found on the 1860 federal census at Orchard Grove post office, ward 6, in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, p. 729, (dwelling and family 291, 13 August).
 See National Archives and Records Administration, Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Louisiana, Ninth Infantry, NARA M320, RG 109, online at Fold3.
 Freestone County, Texas, Marriage Bk. 2, p. 165.
 1880 federal census, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, ward 6, p. 376.
 See 1900 federal census, Indian Territory, Non-Indian Schedule, Cherokee Nation, township 10, district 48, range 18 east, sheet 28St; and William O. Lindsey’s Find a Grave memorial page, Hichita-Lackey cemetery, McIntosh County, Oklahoma, which has a photo of his tombstone uploaded by Cathie Bailey.
 For this 1880 census listing see supra, n.
 See supra, n. 5.
 Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northwest Louisiana (Nashville and Chicago: Southern Publ. Co., 1890), p. 317.
 Proceedings of the M.W. Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana, Free and Accepted Masons, Ninety-First Grand Communication (New Orleans: A.W. Hyatt, 1903), p. 150.
 See supra, n. 5.