As I’ve mentioned in passing before, Levi Hampton is not (to my knowledge) a direct line ancestor but he has been at the center of my research on the Trotter and Johnson families.

Levi Hampton was born into slavery around 1835 in Alabama according to most Census records. His direct descendants pass down a story that he was used as a “Stud” by slave owners and possibly belonged to a plantation owner named Graham but I haven’t been able to verify that. By the time of the 1870 Census he was married to a woman named Sally and had 5 children in their household: Homer, Edward, John, Willie, and Lottie. According to the paperwork associated with his Homestead Application he settles a plot of land in or around January of 1873 and formally applied for the land in September 1884 under the Homestead Act of 1862.

Sally died sometime between the birth of daughter Anna (born in 1876 according to the 1880 Census) and his second marriage to the woman I believe to be my 2nd Great Aunt (and sister to Josephine), Jane Johnson, on 05 Nov 1877. The 1880 Census also enumerated a widowed daughter Mary Hampton. But my guess is that she is actually a daughter-in-law by way of Levi’s son Homer.

Levi Hampton PatentIn September of 1890 Levi testified in the process to prove his claim to the Palestine homestead and the land patent was signed in July of 1891. His testimony also stated that he regularly voted, and a 1905 Poll Tax list for Palestine Township show him as paid in full and qualified to vote.

I have been unable to find Levi’s family in the 1900 and 1920 Census, but the 1910 Census, shows a daughter probably with Jane, Lou Hampton, as well as his nephew (and my Great Grandfather) Harrison Trotter.

I also have a transcription of Levi’s will written in 1916 which names five living children: Ed, John, Willie, Lottie Sims and Orrie Nelson (I’m pretty sure this is Annie Hampton who married John Nelson). He also willed to Harrison Trotter “the small old field southwest of my house on the west 80 acres”—the site of the Trotter Homestead I featured last post.

I know there’s more to know about the Hampton/Johnson/Trotter ties but for now I feel I’ve hit a brick wall—at least until I can get out on the road and locate more Arkansas records.

Happy hunting!

Jess

Harrison and Rhoda (Rodgers) Trotter

Saturday also marked the 120th Anniversary of my Great Grandmother Rhoda (Rogers) Trotter’s birth.

I think this is a shot of the porch of the Trotter Homestead. Rhoda and her husband Harrison are the couple in the center of the picture which was taken some time before Harrison’s death in 1975.

Happy hunting,

Jess

UPDATE: I’ve been informed that this is actually my 2nd Great Aunt Cora (Trotter) Steppes. Full Correction will post on Sunday Feb 16th.

Jess

Trotter Babcock

Thinking of Gran this week… My paternal Grandmother and my youngest maternal cousin (and the back of my head) hanging out in my parents backyard in Lansing, Michigan in the summer of 1982.

Happy hunting,

Jess

I’ve decided to jump in late to Amy Crow Johnson’s 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge. So, hopefully, I’ll be featuring 52 ancestors—blogging research problems, stories, photos, or whatever else I can think of for 52 ancestors. And ideally, I will do this in addition to my “Not Quite Wordless Wednesday” posts… Wish me luck! The real goal is to seriously look at my research and write this year.

I’ve mentioned my Second Great Grandfather Sam Trotter here a number of times but it’s always been just mentions because he’s one of those elusive characters in my family tree. What I know is sketchy. His son, Harrison, claimed Sam and Josephine Johnson were his parents in his Social Security Application. And I was able to find a marriage record for Sam and Josephine, not in Bradley County, Arkansas where I expected to find them, but in neighboring Ashley County on 30 Dec 1880. Family stories, obituaries, and later census records make it look like my Harrison was the last of 6 children born to the couple in 1890—all conveniently between censuses. I have also found Sam listed as a witness in notices regarding Levi Hampton’s Homestead Application in 1890 and 1891

Then things get interesting. I haven’t found anything related to Josephine’s death but Sam is credited with two more children with Maggie Goudlock, Sarah in 1896 and Richard in 1898. And Sam married Etta Stanfield Thompson in September of 1898 and according to family stories they had one child, Cora, in Oct 1901. However, Etta, is listed as a widow in the 1900 Census with four Trotter stepchildren (Henry, Susan, Pearl, and Belle) and two children with the last name Thompson including a Cora born in 1899. I have no idea what happened to Sam but Etta married Ezekiel Hemphill in 1902, making me think that Sam probably did die prior to 1900.

Going backwards Sam is probably the son of Eliza Jane who later married James Newton. Their 1880 household included a 16 year old Sam listed as James’ stepson along with a brother Matt. But he is not listed in 1870–only Matt and his older siblings Rial, Jane are enumerated

Trotter CoggleAll of this is a roundabout (and long-winded) way of saying Sam is the first of my 52 Ancestors because he’s at the top of my research list this year.  I want to know more about the Trotter line and I’m going to follow up every lead I can think of to track down more information on them.

So far the top two items on my to do list are 1. Wheedling my dad into a Y-DNA test… (Check! Now awaiting results.) and 2. Trying to figure out of if there are other records I’m missing. For the latter, I’ve been brainstorming possibilities through a technique suggested by Thomas MacEntee using Coggle.it and it has helped me get an idea visually of what I have checked and what I haven’t. Next up tracking down records.

I’ll update you all as I find out more. Thinking positive!

Happy hunting,

Jess

Trotter SistersI have two aunts who are fabulous and have been great in helping me in my genealogy research. This is a photo of both of them from their childhood in Detroit. And one of them (the young lady on the left) celebrated a birthday this week!

Happy Birthday, Dear Aunt! I still fully intend on coming to talk to you about pictures sometime soon!

Jess

Trotters, 1971

‘Tis the season! This week I was going through Christmas specific pictures and came across this lovely shot of my Aunt and my Grandmother from around 1971. It’s a little fuzzy but I love the lace. I have to say my dad’s family has consistently had style! Remember Dad’s Nehru jacket? And, oh, if Uncle would only let me show you some of his looks in the 1960’s and 1970s—the hats alone are fabulous!

Happy holidays and happy hunting,

Jess

Thanksgiving 2002I think that I’ve mentioned before that my childhood memories of Thanksgiving focus largely on my father’s family. That was our tradition the holiday itself was reserved for trips to the Detroit area, huge meals and a hose full of people. These were often followed by a trip to Grand Rapids sometime on the weekend to catch up with mom’s family as well. But that holiday itself is one I associate with Grandma Trotter and I’m thinking of her on this Thanksgiving Eve.

The photos my brother, my grandmother and I at my aunts’ home in Greater Detroit back in 2002.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Enjoy your families, share, and listen!

Jess

P. S. Friday is a National Day of Listening and tomorrow is National Family Health History Day… Celebrate!

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