My maternal great grandparents and their children. William Chase Whitmarsh and his wife, Jemima Haseltine Stiles had four children together and each had one child from their first marriage. My grandmother, Hazel Alabama is on the left by her father.


My maternal great great grandparents and their children and grandchildren. William Leonard Webster, a confederate veteran of the Civil War and his wife, Nancy Ann Pearson settled in Paris, Arkansas and built houses for each one of their children when they married. Nancy Ann was known for nursing ill children back to health. She favored feeding them sweet potatoes. The Websters adopted a native American boy. My grandfather, Guy Smith Webster is standing on the right with his arms folded. His father, Albert Webster is standing behind him.


My great grandfather, William Chase Whitmarsh’s first wife, Lucy Taylor Whitmarsh. Lucy and William had one son. Lucy was the niece of President Zachary Taylor and inherited the silver tea service that was in the Taylor White House. The son, Toors Whitmarsh and his wife were childless and gave the silver tea service to my great Aunt Ivy.


My maternal great great grandmother, Elizabeth Ann Wright Whitmarsh, the mother of William Chase Whitmarsh. Elizabeth was from New England, born in Milford,New Hampshire in 1823. Amazing that we have a photo of her.

Why have I posted all these photos of my ancestors?

Because I can.


My mother has always let me go through my grandmother’s trunk. It’s full of photos, letters, memorabilia, and family history. This time, however, she let me take the contents home with me. I’ve been scanning photos, reading letters and learning about my ancestors, how they lived, what they thought of then current events and what they valued. My heritage is very much all American. I have ancestors from New England who were here in 1630 on both my father and mother’s side and I also have ancestors who were colonists in Virginia. We are Dutch, Irish, English, French Huguenots and Scottish.


But we also have a native American heritage.

This is a photo of my great great grandmother, Mary (Polly) Miranda Mabry Stiles. She was born in Alabama September 6th, 1836 and died in Fort Smith, Arkansas at the age of 93, July 25, 1930. According to the obituary in the newspaper she was one of the oldest residents in Fort Smith at the time. Polly married Joseph Lafayette Stiles in Alabama. Her father, Parham Poole Mabry was from a family of Virginia colonists. He was born in Fairfield County, South Carolina September 25,1795.

Polly’s mother, Nancy Caroline Payne was the daughter of Mathew Payne and Amelia (Millie) Cooper. Mathew Payne was born in Pennsylvania, fought in the Revolution, was wounded in the shoulder and lost an eye from a British saber thrust in the Battle of Brandywine. He was at Yorktown when the British surrendered. He married Amelia Cooper in Tenn. and then settled in Ala. in Madison Co., when it was just beginning to be settled by the frontier people in the late 1700’s or early 1800’s.

He fought in the Creek war of 1814, and interestingly, he was in the spy company led by a man named Coffee. (Again, I think of the Indian link. Who spied on the Indians? Other Indians.) In this battle he was shot in the hip and left for dead. He recovered, however, and lived to be around 90.

By 1811 Matthew Payne and family were residents of Madison County, Missisippi Territory (now Alabama), where court records indicate he was active in land speculation, traffic in furs, hides, and frontier commodities, often in partnership with his son, John B. Payne.

According to an affidavit on file in the National Archives, executed by him November 7, 1850, at Lawrence County, Alabama, he volunteered in the War with the Creek Nation of Indians in 1813 in the regiment commanded by Colonel John Coffee. He was in Captain Russell’s Company, one of General Andrew Jackson’s spy companies, and was mustered into service at Fort Williams on the Coosa River a short time before the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

He stated that he had “followed the Army from home with his son John B. Payne (now dead) and upon catching up with it, at Fort Williams, he found Gen. Jackson there in command, who was his neighbor and friend at home and that gallant and distinguished soldier, knowing affiant’s qualities as an experienced woodsman, frontierman, and Indian fighter, pressed him to enlist in Captain Russell’s Company of Volunteers, who acted as Spies, and affiant did so, and continued in actual service in the War with the Creek Nation of Indians until the Battle of the Horse Shoe (Horseshoe Bend) on the Tallapoosa River, on the 27th March 1813 (March 27, 1814) in which battle affiant was left among the wounded at Fort Williams where he remained unable to be moved for about forty days, afterwards he was carried to Fort Strother, and thence home, an invalid for life……

Affiant was left at Fort Williams by General Jackson’s order with his son, John B. Payne to attend on him, where it was expected he would have died in consequence of his wound….”

I went on the search for information about the War of 1812. What I found was this:
Mathew PAYNE
Initial Rank: 2 LIEUTENANT
Final Rank: 2 LIEUTENANT