My last Friday's Favorite Family Foto offering was a picture of my Great, Great-Grandfather, David James Atkinson. The above photo is of his family, or at least of his surviving family. I would like to focus this week on my Great, Great-Grandmother.
Elizabeth Rachel Smith was born March 29, 1849 in Tippah Co., MS, the daughter of David James Smith of North Carolina and Caroline Unknown-Smith of Tennessee. She was the second of five known children of the couple.
In January of 1868, Elizabeth Rachel wed David James Atkinson in Mississippi, most likely Tippah Co., MS. I have not been able to prove the county of marriage by courthouse records, but know the marriage was indeed in Mississippi from notes in the Family Bible kept by my Great, Great-Grandfather. Since both families were living within Tippah Co. during that time, I think it is safe to assume the marriage was in Tippah Co. as well.
The 1870 Census of Tippah Co., MS shows Dave and his wife, E. J. By 1900, they have migrated into Hardeman Co., TN and she is now listed as R. J. In 1910, the Hardeman Co., TN census lists her as simply Jane, which is the name she was commonly known by.
Jane gave birth to eight children, although the first four died prior to 1900 and the occasion of this family photo. The four surviving children listed above are Uncle Tid, Aunt Susie, Aunt Ollie and my Great-Grandmother, Nellie Jane.
It is believed by some family researchers that Elizabeth Rachel (Jane) Smith was actually born to a Davis couple who were killed shortly after her birth in a wagon train accident while in transit to Missouri. The Smith family were among the people traveling in the wagon train and took Jane in and raised her as one of their own children. The Smith's subsequently returned to Mississippi.
This would explain why my Grandmother had always told me her Grandma Atkinson was a Davis but her younger brother, Ralph, had told a cousin that Jane's maiden name was Smith. Since I have been unable to locate the marriage records, I cannot confirm her maiden name to my own satisfaction. I tend to believe that it was in fact Davis. I base this upon the fact that my Grandmother named several Davis families in Hardeman County that we were related to as a consequence of her Grandma Atkinson's lineage.
Jane spent a lot of time alone with her children on their small Tennessee farm as a consequence of her husband's ministry travels. My Grandmother always told stories of how hard she worked and how everyone always thought she was such a quiet and humble woman.
Jane went to meet the Lord on December 29, 1912. She died peacefully at the family home near Pocahontas in Hardeman Co., TN. Because she died less than two years after my Grandmother's birth, I never got to know as much about her as my Great, Great-Grandfather.
I hope you have enjoyed my submission for this week.