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!



Happy Birthday! B93 Birthday Bash… a long time ago!

Johnson FamilyHappy hunting,


Johnson Christmas 1979The annual meeting of Grandma Ethel’s family empire was this weekend reminded me of this Christmas memory.

My Grandpa loved Christmas! This is him, William Eugene “Gene” Johnson, myself and the back of my brother’s head. This is from the Christmas of 1979, the year before he died.

I hope you’ve had a fabulous holiday season!

Happy hunting,


Grandpa Harold Bailey, 1982

Just a quick remembrance…

Grandpa Bailey (my Step Great-Grandfather, Harold Bailey) would have turned 107 this week.

The photo is from my father’s collection taken at one of the Bailey/Johnson Christmas gatherings—probably in 1982.

Happy Hunting!


Post Deer Hunt

I am a total city kid and hunting is a foreign concept to me, but we’ve definitely had (and have) hunters in the family. So in a slight nod to deer season—but more because of the looks on the kids’ faces—here’s a home from deer camp style picture. I believe this shot includes my 1st cousins once removed (of the Johnson and Bailey persuasions)—Brinda, Tom, Robin and… Craig? Please feel free to correct me, but age-wise that makes the most sense. It was taken at my Great Uncle’s home in Rockford in the 1960s and the photo came from the collection of my grandmother.

Happy hunting,


A housekeeping note: I don’t manage to get in a post for everyone’s birthday and not everyone wants me too. But I do try… life just happens to interfere… often. That said… 

Johnson BrothersOne of these two is celebrating a birthday this month. This is not a good picture, but it makes me laugh—Grandpa in his sombrero on the phone and Uncle paying no attention. This was taken at Uncle’s house—decades before my Gran redecorated it—in Rockford, Michigan.

Happy hunting,



My parents are celebrating their 38th wedding anniversary this month! Happy Anniversary! And totally unlike the modern spectacle marriages (so many couples have) they invited four people to their wedding. My grandparents.

These shots were taken afterwards at my parents East Lansing apartment.

Happy hunting,