On the 22nd day of March . . . in the year 1838 . . . in San Augustine County, Texas . . . 21-year-old Mahala Lee Roberts becomes the bride of John M. Sharp. John and Mahala will become the parents of a son and a daughter whose exact birth dates are still unknown . . . and then, before 1850, John's existence will simply slip away . . . into an oblivion still hidden from this branch of his descendants.
My connection to Mahala and John is as a great-granddaughter of their granddaughter, Berta Mary Henry nee Sharp (1873-1955) . . . who is a daughter of their son, Samuel Houston Sharp . . . which makes John and Mahala my 3rd great-grandparents. Click on the following link to view a . . .
Our family had rather vague tidbits of information about Sam for many years, but Mahala's very existence was completely unknown to us . . . other than being the anonymous (faceless and nameless) mother of our Sam . . . until a little over eleven years ago.
Being a person who has been sort of doing genealogy for most of her life (me), the relatively recent introduction to our Mahala came as a complete surprise. How, you may ask, did we finally connect after so many years of never meeting each other? Well, it went kinda like this. . . .
In January of 1895 in Crockett, Houston County, Texas, the above mentioned Berta Mary (my great-grandma) became the bride of Edgar Henry (1872-1950) of Milam County, Texas. This Edgar is a son of William Paschal Henry (1836-1912) and Josephine Wingfield Davis (1842-1899), my 2nd great-grandparents. . . .
A little over a century later . . . in September of 1998 . . . descendants of Josephine and William were receiving a newsletter containing final details for a Henry Family Reunion to be held in October. Among those descendants was one of their great-grandsons, Stuart Arlington Leaverton (1908-2001) of Oklahoma, who was kind enough to call me upon receipt of the newsletter, expressing his regret in not being able to attend.
FYI . . . Stuart's maternal grandparents were both siblings to my maternal great-grandparents, i.e. . . . his grandma, Emma Sharp nee Henry (1872-1944), was a twin sister to my great-grandpa, Edgar Henry . . . and his grandpa, Samuel Houston Sharp, Jr. (1867-1921), was an older brother of my great-grandma (and Edgar's wife), Berta Mary Henry nee Sharp.
Stuart's mother, Alice Alexandria Leaverton Reynolds Campbell nee Sharp (1889-1966), was a daughter of Emma and Sam, and was actually a double first cousin to my maternal grandpa, Robert E. Henry (1905-1976) . . . which made Stuart my double 2nd cousin once removed. Anyway . . .
In the course of our telephone conversation, Stuart asked me if I knew about a 1962 legal document that actually contained answers to some of the questions I had posed in the newsletter. I did not! We hung up with him agreeing to put a copy in the mail.
The anxiously awaited packet arrived on Thursday, October 8th, 1998 . . . containing, among other items, a copy of a 1962 Deposition of Ida Mae Halyard nee Sharp (1871-1964), an older sister of Berta Mary . . . and thus began my introduction to our Mahala and her extended family.
Not long after receiving that packet of information, I posted the entire deposition on a genealogy message board for Houston County, Texas. More than six months later, I received a response from a lady in Lake Jackson, Texas, letting me know that we were kinfolk. We struck up a correspondence, and in January of 2000 arrangements were made for me to visit her in her home. Besides meeting a perfectly delightful and generous and knowledgeable half 2nd cousin twice removed, I was also introduced to the photo you see here of our Mahala, as well as a mid-19th century journal which frequently mentions our kith 'n kin. And I now know that . . .
Mahala Lee Roberts was born on the 3rd of November 1816 in Washington Parish, Louisiana. Her father was Elisha Roberts, born ca. 1774 at Watauga Settlement in Hawkins County, Tennessee. Her mother, Martha Gill aka Patsy, was born ca. 1781 in Bedford County, Virginia. Elisha and Patsy married in Green County, Kentucky in 1800, and were in Washington Parish, Louisiana before the birth of their son, Noel, in 1813. This family was living in the Redlands of East Texas by 1826 . . .
We now have an amazing amount of detail on the lives of this family unknown to us before the autumn of 1998. A detailed timeline of the decades of Mahala's life is posted > HERE <. Directly below, you will find links to previous blogposts about Mahala, arranged in chronological order.
FYI . . . all links will open in a new window . . .
- 1816 -- November 3rd -- Happy Birthday, Mahala
- 1836 -- July 4th -- Sam Houston in the Republic of Texas
- 1838 -- March 22nd -- Mahala marries John M. Sharp
- 1842 -- August 2nd -- Mahala most likely did not attend the Kentucky wedding of her brother, Felix Grundy Roberts, when he married Elizabeth K. Layton
- 1846 -- February 19th -- Mahala is living in San Augustine when the flag of the Republic of Texas is lowered, and the flag of the United States is raised in Austin.
- 1850 -- Mahala is enumerated in San Augustine . . . click the link to see the house next door to where she is living.
- 1850 -- July 30th -- wonder what our Mahala thought about her older sister, Matilda, giving away 120 acres of prime Texas real estate?
- 1861 -- January 29th -- Mahala is living in Houston County when Texas votes to secede from the Union
- 1861 -- July 11th -- Mahala's son, Samuel Houston Sharp, marries Mary Alexandrien "Nellie" Lemaire
- 1862 -- December 24th -- Mahala enjoys Christmas Eve
- 1863 & 1864 - January 1st -- Mahala enjoys New Year's Day
- 1863 - January 25th -- Mahala is present at the birth of her grandson, James Hall "Major" Sharp
- 1863 -- December 15th -- Mahala is present at the birth of her granddaughter, Josephine Martha Hall
- 1863 & 1864 -- December 25th -- Mahala enjoys Christmas Day
- 1863 -- December 31st -- Mahala enjoys New Year's Eve
- 1866 -- July 16th -- Mahala is not mentioned as being present at the death of her two-year-old granddaughter, Josephine Martha Hall
- 1873 -- November 10th -- Mahala is most likely present at the birth of her granddaughter, Berta Mary Sharp [my great-grandma]
- 1876 -- October 10th -- Mahala is most likely present at the death of her daughter-in-law, Nellie Sharp [my 2nd great-grandma]
- 1885 -- June 27th -- Mahala dies at the Hall Plantation and is buried in the Hall Cemetery
The topic for this edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: A Tribute to Women! March is women's history month and a great time to honor the women on our family trees. This is the 4th annual edition on this topic so we're going to change it up just a bit to keep it fresh. Write a biography about a woman on your family tree starting with a timeline of their life. The timeline can be a separate post that you link to from your biography (which can itself be a series of articles) but please just submit one post to the COG. If you haven't written from a timeline before you may find it a great learning / research experience! Since this topic will likely require more research and writing time you'll have a full month till the deadline. There will be no March 1st edition of the COG. The deadline for submissions will be March 15th. Thirty submissions will be accepted. Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. Please use a descriptive phrase in the title of any articles you plan to submit and / or write a brief description / introduction to your articles in the "comment" box of the blog carnival submission form. This will give readers an idea of what you've written about and hopefully interest them in clicking on your link. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page. Thanks for the posters, fM!
The collage at the top of this post ... created in Picasa ... features a photo of our Mahala ... with a backdrop of a page from a 19th century issue of Godey's Lady's Book ... accented by vintage calendars for the years ... 1816 (when Mahala was born) ... 1838 (when Mahala married John) ... 1851 (when Mahala married Joshua) ... 1885 (when Mahala died).