It has finally happened! I’ve been actively doing genealogy since 1987 when I was pregnant with my oldest. Pretty much since day one, there has been a brick wall that has refused to be broken down. The wall is just beyond my great-great-grandma on my mom’s mom’s side. Sarah Elizabeth Jasmine Carter MEREDITH (SMITH) was as far as I could go.
My grandma told me starting in 1987 that Sarah Elizabeth’s parents were likely James Henry Meredith (who died at least by the time Sarah Elizabeth was 16 years old) and Sarah (who’s mom’s last name was probably something like Hendricks… but we didn’t know if HENDRICKS was her maiden or married name). Sarah Elizabeth was also supposed to have two brothers who were lawyers.
Well, DNA has come to the rescue! I now can chip away at part of that wall. Mostly, part of her father’s side.
DNA links me as being highly likely a descendant from John Thomas MEREDITH as my 4th great-grandfather with 40 DNA Matches who know that they are also descended from him. This could possibly mean that he could be my uncle and I am just directly descended from his father William MEREDITH (1778-1830)…. BUT, I am also directly descended from John Thomas MEREDITH’s wife’s parents: Adam WHISENHUNT and Barbara BELL. So, unless there is a double cousin type of thing going on, I should be directly related to John Thomas MEREDITH. The picture over to the left is Barbara BELL (WHISENHUNT). I’m not sure if she “looks” 100 percent Cherokee, though. What do you think?
Anyway, John Thomas MEREDITH just happens to be the father of Henry MEREDITH (1836-1865) who married Nancy Jane HENDRIX (1842-1873). This looks like it should be my direct line. The problem is that Nancy Jane died long before Sarah Elizabeth was supposed to have gone to the school for the blind at around the age of 16 with “her mother”. BTW Henry and Nancy Jane happen to have two sons along with a Sarah Elizabeth (as well as their Sarah Elizabeth having the same birth and death dates). It really looks like if Henry and Nancy Jane are not my 3rd great-grandparents, then I am descended from a brother of Henry.
I also have found Sarah J. MEREDITH at the age of 16 in the 1880 census in St. Louis, Missouri. She is listed as living only with her mother, Seraphim MEREDITH, and Sarah J. (my 2nd great-grandma) was listed as “Sick: Opthalmist”. This has to be my great-great-grandma, but who is Seraphim? If her biological mom was Nancy Jane HENDRIX, who continued raising Sarah Elizabeth (since both of her parents appear to have died by the time she was 10 years old)? Did someone named Seraphim/Sarah MEREDITH continue raising her? Who knows?
So what do I know?
My 5th great-grandparents are:
William MEREDITH (1778-1830) who was the son of Junor MEREDITH (Abt. 1752 – Abt. 1831… and Junor was really spelled that way in this instance) and Mary “Polly” (Abt. 1755 – 1834). — and his wife: Rosanna “Rosey” HEARD (1782-1809) who was the daughter of William HEARD (1754 – March 7, 1810) and Jane HICKEY (1765 – August 15, 1852).
…and on the other side… Adam WHISENHUNT (1769 – October 14, 1849) who was the son of George Michael WHISENHUNT (February 10, 1734 – 1815) and Elizabeth CARMON (1750-1770). — and his wife: Barbara “Barbery” BELL (1771- December 31, 1870). She was supposed to be 100 percent Cherokee Indian. This would count for the fact that we were told that my 2nd great-grandma was supposed to be either half or full Cherokee…. just inflated a bit.
I have just a few drops of Native American in one of my DNA tests. The other one totally misses it. If it was my 5th great-grandma who was full, that could have easily washed out/disappeared from my DNA. She had one of those longhouse type of homes (much smaller though) built over her gravesite (which was a Native American tradition). This longhouse was there well into modern time until the landowner at the time bulldozed the whole cemetery (headstones and all), so there would not be a reason for family to visit anymore. Yes, you read that correctly.
Something else worthy of noting is that Nancy Jane HENDRIX (wife of Henry MEREDITH and potentially Sarah Elizabeth’s mom) lived in “District 26, Cherokee, Alabama” in 1850. I don’t know what all that means or implies, though. Was Sarah Elizabeth part Cherokee on both sides?
The 1880 census (referenced above) lists Sarah Elizabeth as white, but the 1910 census lists her as “Indian” (which also BTW lists her father’s birthplace as Georgia… where Henry was born). It lists her mother’s birthplace as Arkansas (which is one of the two options listed for Nancy Jane).
Sarah Elizabeth Jasmine Carter MEREDITH (SMITH) was born May 9, 1863, in Arkansas and died March 10, 1940, in Kansas City, Missouri.
She was the mother of Mary Irene “Renie” Saphronia Jasmine SMITH (TARTER ROBNETT TARTER PORTER) who was born July 4, 1890, in Claremore, Rogers, Oklahoma and died June 25, 1947, in Stockton, Cedar, Missouri.
She was the mother of Ruby Irene PORTER (WILLIAMS) who was born March 24, 1928, in Maysville, Benton, Arkansas and died May 13, 2010, in Belton, Cass, Missouri. Ruby Irene was my maternal grandma.