Newspapers Yield Results in Searching for Ancestors

While conducting an ancestry search at my local library, I ran across a publication that listed transcriptions of some articles of interest found among the newspapers published in Crockett, Texas between 1853 and 1896.

The complete title is Houston County Collection Volume I, Crockett Newspapers, 1853 - 1896, published by Bebe Beasley Ulrich.

According to Ms. Ulrich, in Volume 1, Number 2, published February 7, 1890 under the section "Local News - Nevel's Prairie" appears this announcement:

Mrs. Rebecca Chapman, of McClellan [sic] County is visiting relatives on the prairie. She lived near Old Randolph for 35 years, moving away from there in 1865. Her old friends will be glad to know that she is still sprightly and bids fair to live a good while yet...

While there are not many words printed, it speaks volumes to this researcher. From three sentences I either learned or confirmed that Rebecca Chapman, my fourth great grandmother:

  • came to Houston County, Texas about 1830
  • moved to McLennan County, Texas between 1865 and 1890
  • was still alive and in good health in 1890.

I already knew that she and her husband, Robert Chapman arrived in Texas shortly after they married in 1836 and settled in Houston County. So the writer was a little off on that one. I have never been able to determine much beyond the 1860 census when Rebecca appeared as a widow with several children in Houston County. I have never found their graves and I have never found Rebecca on a subsequent census report. After reading this article, I did locate a Rebecca Chapman in McLennan County but some details leave doubts as to the whether or not it is her. One daughter, Martha Frances Chapman Smith, did move to that area by 1880 so I am still hopeful that it is her.

Even the earliest newspapers carried snippets of community news items that may prove essential to your ancestry search.