Monday, March 30, 2009

James Stalls Sr.

James Stalls was born ca. 1787. It is believed that he may have been born in Martin county, North Carolina. He married Annie (Polly) Page whom was also of North Carolina. There is some indications that she may have been the daughter of Vinson Page Sr. Vinson had a daughter named Polly Page of about the same age as our Annie or "Polly" would be.

Military records for Martin County, North Carolina indicate that James Stalls was enlisted in the 3rd Regiment, 5th Company of Martin county in the War of 1812.

It is believed that The Stalls family moved to Stewart county sometime around 1820. The Vinson Page family moved there about the same time, which may be an indicator of the family ties with Annie.

Research of Stewart county church records, found that in the Saline Baptist church at Bumpus Mills minutes, there was a James and Polly Stalls who were members on the 3rd Sunday of July 1823.

Court Records show that the first Stalls to appear on the county tax records was a Jesse Stalls. Then on 5 February, 1827 James Stalls, Elisha Williams and William Pugh had an administrators bond for Jesse Stalls. It is possible that Jesse was Jame's father. Records for 7 May, 1829 have James appointed as a circuit court juror for the next term.

The Stewart county census of 1830 have a James Stalls age 50-60 years and a Josiah Stalls age 50-60 years living at Standing Rock. Josiah was more than likely a brother due to the closeness in age.

James died in 1841, cause unknown. He was still living at Standing Rock. I have not researched enough to find out what happened to Annie (Polly). The only two children of James and Annie that are known are:

James Stalls Jr. (my grgrgr grandpa) born ca 1807, who married Nancy Sexton (more on these two later)

Elijah Stalls born 29 May 1811 and married Edna Barrow.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lillian Lorena Smith, Part 2

When Onie (mom) would take us; which was often, we loved to go to the river (Cumberland River) and play in it. We done lots of fishing. We always had a boat that we would run trot lines in. Our mother taught us how to paddle a boat like she did. She would just paddle on one side of the boat the way the Indians did. Other people (men) in our area would paddle a few minutes on one side of the boat and the the other. They always looked as if they were fighting something. When my mother paddled a boat, you couldn't even hear the paddle go into the water and comeback out.

I loved playing house when I was little, but I could hardly get the boys to play with me. They would however walk down to the ditch that was in front of our house, down to the river and back up a ways to find bottles, broken plates and cans. These are what I used as play dishes. I loved making mud pies and sometimes I would use poke berries to color things red. One of our favorite games was to pretend our dogs had hydrophobia and we would call them and when they came we would jump up on the bed and scream like they were going to get us. I would always get so scared. I was scared of the dark when I was little. My sister and I would fight over who was going to sleep on the outside of the bed. I was so scared that I would let her beat me to pieces to keep from having to sleep on the inside.

We had to walk everywhere we went. If it was night when we came home, I would be so scared that I thought I was going to die. If the river was up, we had to go by the graveyard to get to town. Most of the time we had a boat tied up in the ditch if we knew the water was rising. Our mother would paddle us across the ditch and we would go to town or school. When we came home, we would holler and she would come pick us up.

Stay tuned..... there's more to come......

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lillian Lorena Smith, Part 1

This biography of my mom; Lillian, was written by her on November 12th 1997.

I, Lillian Lorena Smith was born on the 8th day of August, 1944 at 8:00 a.m. and weighed 10lbs 11ozs. There were seven years between my sister and me with no other births or pregnancies between. I was delivered by Dr. Crow. He brought all of us kids into the world along with many others.
My first real memory was when my brother Raymond was born. My sister and cousin Toot (William O. Hicks Jr.)took me and my brother Gene (Son)up on the hill; probably 1/8 of a mile from the house, and played with us till Raymond (Beetle) was born.
I have been told that my sister couldn't go anywhere without me tagging along. One day my mother tied me to her so I had to be with her all day. It didn't stop me though. I learned alot from my sister. She was the one that taught me how to walk.
Before I started school, I would sit and watch my mother and sister read. I wanted to be able to read so bad. I would hold a book and pretend that I was reading. I would make up stories and read them aloud. I just couldn't wait to read. About this time I was five or six years old. I had a make believe friend that I called Arlar. He was so real to me that I thought that I could really see him. The whole family knew about Arlar.
I remember that my brothers and I liked to go up on to the woods behind our house and play cowboys and Indians. We would take old dead tree limbs and make us hideouts. We loved to swing on the grapevines until our mother would find them and cut them down. She came looking for us often and if she found us on a grapevine she would be real mad. I remember that we would eat the opossum grapes off of the vines.
We had a big cedar tree up the hill behind our house and we would climb it. I loved climbing trees, but was always scared to climb back down. My mother put a rope that had a board in the bottom of it up in the tree. One day I was swinging to high and fell out. It knocked the breath out of me. I never swung that high again.

Stay tuned........... There"s more to come.......

Songs My Mother Sung

When my mother was growing up they did not have the same forms of entertainment that our children do today or even what I had growing up for that matter. My grandma Onie taught her kids to play the guitar by ear and taught them all the old bluegrass and civil war era songs that she and her family sung as they were growing up.
Even though my brother, sister and I never learned to play the guitar from my mom, she introduced us to these wonderful songs that her family and other people around the Stewart county area sung to entertain themselves.
I want to introduce some of these songs to you. Some of you Stewart countians may remember some of these songs, but maybe have forgotten the lyrics. I want to add "Songs my Mother Sung" as a way to jog those sweet childhood memories of the folks of Stewart county or introduce them to the new generations that might visit here that have never heard them before. Enjoy!

Beautiful, Beautiful Brown Eyes

Beautiful beautiful brown eyes
Beautiful beautiful brown eyes
Beautiful beautiful brown eyes
I'll never love blue eyes again

Last night I staggered in the bar room
Fell right down on the floor
These were the words I uttered
I'll never get drunk anymore


Oh Willie oh Willie I love you
Love you with all of my heart
Tomorrow we were to be married
But liquor has kept us apart


For seven long years I've been married
Wish I was single again
A girl doesn't know half her troubles
Until she has married a man

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Josiah Sills

Josiah was the son of Isham and Anna Sills. He was born circa, 1794 in Halifax county North Carolina. First records of him being in Stewart county is on the 13th of September 1826 when he received a land grant of 50 acres on Neville Creek. Josiah then purchased an additional 125 acres from Nathaniel Parker on the 3rd day of January, 1827 for 125 dollars.
At some point Josiah married Winny Fox. There is no record of this, but my mother said that that was her name. I have found a record were Josiah Sills was noted as a buyer at an estate sale for a Samuel Fox in May of 1832. This lends credit to my mothers assertion that Winny was Josiah's wife. I believe that Samuel was Winny's father. It is noted in the record that she was one of the buyers along with Orville Champion, William Sills, Joshua Spiceland, Hardy B. Sills, Henry Bell, John W. Hicks, Briant Outland and Irey Belile.
Note: John W. Hicks was present at this sale. We have been told that John. W. (Wesley) Hicks was James Madison Hick's father. Could this be him?
Josiah continued to make land transactions in Stewart county until 1847 when Josiah died. Josiah had no will, so his property went to probate on March 1, 1847. Although there were several children tallied in the census for his household in 1840, only the name of one child is known and that is my gr gr grandmother Parthena Sills, the women whom married James Madison Hicks. If only Josiah could have lived through till the 1850 census; when names of household members began being listed, then we would know so much more about this family.
I have heard a few stories from my mother about Parthena that my mother said her mother told her. I will share them with you when I write about Parthena.
I have traced the Sills family back many generations, but the questions at hand are: Who were Josiah Sills other children? What happened to Winny Sills? Was Samuel Fox, Winny's father?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Joe Dill

Several years ago when I first began this research, my mother Lillian (Smith) Prough told me about a man that had always owned a store in the Dover area and knew everyone in town. His name was Joe Dill. I called information and got his phone number and gave him a call. He was in his eighties at the time (I spoke with him sometime in 1996 or 97) he was incredibly bright and remembered all my family and had lots of stories to tell. He said that he still worked every day. They sure don't make them like that any more! He also told me that he had lots of pictures that he had accumulated over the years of Stewart county and of many of the people who resided there.
Joe has since passed but if anyone knows his family they may still be in possession of this treasure trove of pictures. Joe also had a care taker; I don't recall her name, but she also may be able to tell us who to contact to look at Joe's prized pictures.

Leona Mae Hicks

Leona Mae Hicks was born on the 29th day of November, 1913. She was born in the town of Model which is no longer in existence. She was the last child born to Milton and Orie Hicks. Leona was called Onie by all that knew her. Her favorite flower was the Peonie, which probably led to the nickname.

When Leona was a child she loved to go to court with her father and watch him reside over the current cases. This was; however, before he became the Judge of Stewart county.

Leona also attended several of the churches in Stewart county. She was first a member of Crockett's Creek church. The land that this church was located on, was donated by Leona's gr-gr grandfather Isham Sills. Leona also was a member later on of the Model Baptist Church. She also liked to attend services at the Penecostal Holiness church.

Leona married Elmer Eugene Smith, son of Andrew Jackson Smith and Cora (Baggett) Smith on the 25th day of May, 1936. Leona and Elmer had 4 children they are: Orie Jerelene born May 7th 1937, Lillian Lorena born August 8th, 1944, Hillman Eugene born November 1945 and Raymond Earl born September 15th 1947.

Onie's child, Lillian Lorena Smith was my mother. She wrote her biography for me several years before she passed. I will do a part series of that bio here on the blog. It mentions a few people from Stewart county and also talks of how life was there: her life, her family, her side of the story. It is a story that will pull at your heart strings.

My grandma Onie never left Stewart county. She lived there her whole life through. When she and my grandfather Eugene Smith married, they planted a willow tree in their yard. That tree is still there, but is now part of the park there by the river. I will post a picture of the tree that was taken both in the past and in the present. That tree holds a special meaning to our family. Leona died of a heart attack on April 1st, 1981. She is buried at Scott's Chapel; also know as PZ Ridge, located in the Cumberland City area. She is there along side her husband Eugene who died of Parkisons in 1967 and son Raymond who died of cancer in 1986.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What in the World happened to Alfred P Hicks

My great grandfather Milton Hicks had a brother named Alfred P Hicks. Alfred was born in February of 1873. He is the only child of James and Parthena Hicks that was born in Kentucky (according to census records). I believe that he married Florence Sizemore also of Kentucky. This marriage record I found in Trigg County. I also found one Trigg county census for the year of 1910 that shows he and Florence and the following children were living in the same household: Bertha Hicks born 1904 in Tn, Lena Hicks born 1906 in Tn, Annie M. born 1908 in Tn and a Farney Hicks born 1910 in Ky. I can find no other records of any of them. I desperately would like to find some mention of this family somewhere, because I believe that I may be able to have some of my brick walls hurdled. So..... What in the World happened to Alfred P. Hicks?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Milton Otis Hicks

Milton Otis Hicks

Milton Hicks was born in Stewart County Tennessee on the 18th of November 1863. He was the son of James Madison Hicks and Parthena (Sills) Hicks. He married Orie Lee Stalls on the 9th of August 1885. Orie was the daughter of William Franklin Bonaparte Clinton Stalls and Mary Jane (Manning) Stalls.

Milton worked in many of the small towns in Stewart county as the postmaster until these offices closed or he was moved to another post office to work. He was self educated with no formal schooling. He studied law in the office of J. W. Stout and passed the Tennessee bar in 1896. He became an attorney and then Milton became the judge of Stewart county from 1926 to 1934.

Milton and Orie had 8 children born of them. Winford E. Hicks 6/3/1886-2/17/1963, Etta Quincy Hicks 9/9/1888-2/1933, Kenneth Hicks 4/1892-?, Inez Hicks 7/21/1895-10/26/1975, William O. Hicks 9/15/1899-9/18/1938, Daisy Hicks 1903-1913, Walter Hillman Hicks 7/7/1906-5/13/1987 and Leona Mae Hicks (my grandmother) 11/29/1913-4/1/1981.

My brick wall with this side of the family is Milton's father. I have been trying to find out who the parents of James Madison Hicks are. If anyone has any information, please contact me.

General Information

Hi all, I want to introduce myself and explain what this blog is all about. My name is Marty and I am the daughter of Jerry Don McConnell and Lillian Lorena Smith. My mom Lillian was born in Dover on 8 August 1944. I lost her to a heart attack in 2006. She loved Dover and all the little surrounding towns, she just loved Stewart County in general. We visited her mother Leona whom lived in Dover quite a bit when we were kids, but it was not till I was an adult that I came to appreciate Stewart county and the legacy my people and others contributed to the area. The loss of these people's land to the government has always caused pain and anguish in my heart. I have dedicated about 20 years so far into researching my mother's family. I will continue to do so through all means and with the addition of this blog maybe I will be able to hurdle some of the brick walls I have encountered.
I know some people will not want to join the blog network in order to contact me, so I will allow people to email me at in order to share information. If you do however want to join the blog scene to make contact with me and others, simply get a google account (which is free) and then join this blog spot (which is also free). You can keep your same email address ect... It's very simple and only takes a few moment.
I will post pictures and family information here as often as I can. I will also make this page a little more pleasant to look at in due time.
So welcome to my Stewart County Meetin Place. Come on in and sit a spell and lets talk about the good ol' times in this great county and people we love.