Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Brick Wall ~ William Hadley LIGON

William Hadley LIGON, my brick wall! Hadley as he came to be known, appears to have been born in many places at various times and yet there is very little that is basically known about this man, my fraternal great grandfather.

The first mention of Hadley was not contained in a census document but an application for citizenship in the Chickasaw Nation by his wife Bettie. The application was originated in 1896 prior to the "Twin Territories" of Oklahoma and Indian becoming the state of Oklahoma in 1907.

This application made in 1896 discussed many aspects of Hadley's wife and her desire to be transferred to the Chickasaw by blood roll, and it was in this document Hadley was mentioned as the father of Bettie's children. Mable, Nathaniel, Clarence, Mitchell, and Gladys who were the only children born prior to the 1900 census.

The next opportunity for me to gather information about my great grandfather was through the 1900 census. Here again, circumstances have a way of requiring a great deal of critical thinking in order to locate ancestors who stubbornly hide in places without leaving an obviously paper trail, but that's just me talking.

As you can see from this excerpt of the 1900 census, the spelling of our surname is juuuuust a little bit different, not too mention the spelling of Hadley. I file this under the category of what my friend Lisa Lee ( would call, "speling dosnt kount."

The information contained in this document does have some information that sheds some light on Hadley that I've attempted to follow in hopes of locating other members of his/our family. The census tells me that Hadley was born in Missouri, his father was born in Virginian and his mother in Alabama.

Right off the top this is misleading information because the woman at the bottom of the page Margaret Ann Wilson was not Hadley's mother but the mother of Hadley's wife Bettie. I guess one could speculate who offered this information and my thinking is it wasn't Hadley.

The plot thickens....

In my efforts as a family historian I had to pursue this search for the parents and any siblings of Hadley so naturally I consulted the 1910 Census for further information. Unfortunately, "my life ain't no crystal stair."

There does appear to be some consistency on where Hadley was born with the notation of Missouri as his birth place. However since Margaret Ann Wilson no longer resided in the home, the information regarding his parents has changed..........not necessarily for the better.

Now I learn Hadley's father was born in the United States. On the surface this doesn't say a lot but as I consider it further, it may be more indicative of the way Hadley or the person who offered this information had an understanding that the state of Oklahoma being only three years old at the time of this census was not a part of the United States  and Hadley's father was clearly not born in Indian Territory.

As a result of this information I have tried to locate someone that meets the description of Hadley in the early Missouri records but I have not had any success. It is extremely difficult to locate his parents and siblings without a name of an individual that I can tie to him.

The fact that indications tell me Hadley was born in Missouri as was his mother, there is some hope but from all indications he was born before the Civil War and it is not known where he was prior to 1884 when he is known to have been in Indian Territory and fathered of one child by Bettie; named Mable.

There are a few things that stand out for me regarding the age of Hadley that make it problematic to narrow my search for the right family prior to his arrival in Indian Territory circa 1884. In the 1900 census he has a birthday in September of 1852. In the 1910 census his birth date is in September of 1860, the headstone at the top of the page has his birth year as 1856 all within a ten year range that is not unusual but clearly not consistent.

The next document that adds more confusion concerning Hadley's origins and birthplace is his certificate of death. The witness on his certificate is one of his daughters Lucille Gladys LIGON-ANDERSON.

There is one other aspect of this document that adds to my frustration on locating this line of my family, after seeing census after census indicate that Hadley was born in Missouri it now is revealed on his Certificate of Death that he was born in Texas in 1850!!!

Again; at least the range of years on his birth are within a ten year span, but having him born in Texas becomes another brick in the wall that stymies my research. Despite the information about Hadley being born in Missouri, I have a feeling he may have actually been born in Texas.

The research continues...


  1. I guess challenges like this makes genealogical research most rewarding and fascinating.

    Since this post is dated by a few years, it would be great to read an update.

    And being the fact that a Hatley Ligon and Bettie Love were married December 20, 1881 in Cooke County, Texas, I wouldn't be surprised if Texas was possibly Hadley Ligon's place of birth (if it's the same person), but I'm sure you have resolved this question by now.

    From researcher to another, good luck...

    1. Greetings Jerome,

      What you have proven is that in some situations another pair of eyes can shed light on a subject. I had been frustrated for years trying to locate ANY info on Hadley without much luck. However, you may have come up with the strongest possibility to date!!!

      I say that because Cooke County is just south of Love County, OK which is where Bettie was born (Burneyville) according to her certificate of death.

      With them presumably being married in the same county (circumventing Chickasaw Nation laws) this could be enough coincidence to look for other corroborating information on Hadley.

      I'm still stuck without much information on the names of his parents or names of any siblings so at this point I can't confirm much but this is without a doubt the best match I've seen so far.

      THANX for the research, post and information...

  2. Let me add this tidbit of info also.

    There is an Hadley Logan (mulatto) living in Cooke County, Texas in 1880, born in Missouri in 1855. This is a year before Hatley Ligon and Bettie Love marry in Cooke County, Texas...h_mmmmm? He seems to be a laborer working for a white couple named, John and Mary Cohie.

    - Jerome

    1. The fact the record has him born in MO, corroborates the 1900 and 1910 census information. The dates of his birth year continue to change but as with the spelling of the surname, there is just enough information that appears correct for me to at the very least follow up on this lead.

      I may have to get one of my OK cousins to make a run over the border and secure that marriage license info. With any luck there could be some names of his parents or a sibling that witnessed the marriage?

      One never knows, do one? ;-D

  3. I really hope the information I offered turns out to be very fruitful. I do think the probability is very high that this is your ancestor, especially when you put both the names, Hatley Ligon and Bettie Love together marrying in a county just across the border and a “stone-throw-away.” And overwhelming historical data reveals Chickasaw presence and interaction were very common in Cooke County, Texas even into the 20th century relative to the Indian territory being just north.

    If this info pans out, I would investigate the lead of Dr. Samuel Seth Ligon, a wealthy slave-owner who arrived in Cooke County, Texas from Missouri in 1861 with family and 18 enslaved African-Americans in tow. He was originally a citizen of Clay Co., Missouri; it seems that a significant number of Missourians were moving to Texas and other places at the onset of the Civil War.

    According to the 1870 Federal Census, Samuel S. Seth lived in close-proximity to John Cohie. There is a lot of info detailing this Dr. Samuel S. Ligon and his family online.

    Happy hunting, gathering, plowing, and harvesting,
    - Jerome