Walking Ancestral Land with Cousins

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Last weekend I had an amazing opportunity to walk on the property of my Higginbotham Ancestors.  The current owner, was kind enough to welcome us to his place and let us look around.

Sanford Higginbotham, my 3rd Great-Grandfather came to Arkansas in 1843 and settled in what was then Stover but is now Bucksnort in the Fordyce, Arkansas community.  He had 1,200 acres, a plantation, and ran a mercantile store all around what was then called the lower road.  This road ran all the way from Pine Bluff to Camden back then.  Today, this road is known as Dallas County 131.

This would have been a prime location for Sanford back then.  Many people traveled this road and it would have been good business for his store.

It also made him an easy target, as would be proven later, years after he passed away and the Union Soldiers burned his plantation down during the civil war, causing his widow and my 3rd Great Grandmother Jane Holley Higginbotham to flee into Texas.

But that’s a story for another time.  Today I want to share with you what I saw, and what I learned during this trip.

First, I was able to meet two wonderful cousins that I have been corresponding with for some time, Henry Broach and Lisa Higginbotham Guidroz.  Henry, a descendant of Sanford and Jane’s through their son John Jefferson Higginbotham.  Lisa, a descendant of Sanford and Jane’s through their son Joseph Green Higginbotham.  I am a descendant of Sanford and Jane’s through their son Rufus Francis Higginbotham, Sr.

We missed our Memphis Higginbotham cousins, Hugh, Joy and Marilee.  They couldn’t make the trip, but they are descendants of Sanford and Jane’s through their son James Oliver Higginbotham.

We also missed our Salt Lake Higginbotham cousins, Ray and Madeline Lynch.  Ray is a descendant of Sanford and Jane’s through their daughter Amanda Caroline Higginbotham Vinson.

Henry Broach, Lisa Higginbotham Guidroz, and Me

In this photo, we are standing on the 1,200 acres that Sanford once owned.   In front of us is the private cemetery where our relatives are buried.  Behind us, way back in the tree line was where Sanford and Jane’s house was prior to the Civil War.

Jenny, Lisa and Marci

This is Lisa with her two friends Jenny Cheramie, and Marci Brown who were kind enough to make the trip with Lisa from Louisiana.  They have been best friends for a very long time and I’m so happy they shared this experience with Lisa.

Justin Cole, Leslie Golden, Me, and Lisa Guidroz

This photo is of my son Justin Cole, my niece Leslie Golden, myself and Lisa Guidroz.  I was very happy to have my son and niece along with me to share the experience.  All the land you can see around us, once belonged to Sanford.

It was truly an amazing experience to walk on that land, knowing this is where it all began in Arkansas for us Higginbotham’s.  Then, to do it with cousins, was something I will always treasure.

The Cemetery

This is a partial view of the Higginbotham Cemetery on the property, you can see it is all grown up and most of the headstones are buried under leaves and such.  We stood there for quite a while and made plans to come back in the fall and do a cleanup.

Henry Broach

I love this picture of Henry.  He is such a sweet man and so knowledgable of the Higginbotham’s and the area.  He has researched the Higginbotham’s for a very long time and he and his wife have traveled to Georgia and Virginia collecting documents on our line of Higginbotham’s.

Henry was kind enough to take us on an ancestral tour of Fordyce.  The one major thing I learned from Henry that I had no idea about was the mercantile store that Sanford owned.  After Sanford died in 1851, Sanford’s son John Jefferson Higginbotham, took the store over, and administered the plantation until he died in 1860 from Typhoid Fever.  John Jefferson Higginbotham is buried there on Sanford’s old plantation.

Sanford’s Mercantile Store formerly located at the corner of what is now Hwy 8, and Dallas Co. 131.  There is nothing but trees standing there now where the store once stood.

Where Sanford’s Mercantile Store used to be

Now I have a big surprise for all you John J. and Sarah (Wyatt) Higginbotham researchers. John J. and Sarah lived in a house behind where the store used to be.

It is still standing.

Barely. But it’s there.

Old Home place of John Jefferson and Sarah Wyatt Higginbotham

Now, for you avid Wyatt researchers, the parents of Sarah Wyatt – John J. and Elizabeth Wyatt lived across the road from John J. and Sarah Higginbotham.  Their place is no longer there.

Hwy 8 and Dallas Co. 131

In this photo you can see where Henry is standing by the car, back behind him, is the old Wyatt place. The house that is there is actually on the next property, and the Wyatt house is gone. The place where the mercantile store was would have been directly in front of Henry, and then to his right, behind these trees is the old home place of John J. and Sarah Higginbotham.  I hope this gives you an idea of where they were located.

Next Henry took us over by the Barnes cemetery.  His mother was Erma Lee Barnes Broach, and this is all of her people.

Henry had a really interesting story about Seth Barnes, his great-grandfather, and the Union soldiers that burned Sanford’s plantation down.

But, again, that’s a story for another time, and one that Henry has already written up and as soon as I get a copy of it, I will post it here.

Barnes Cemetery

Henry shared this really great photo with me of his family.

Henry Broach family

In Henry’s words about the photo:

In the picture, the man on the left is, William Alexander “Alec” Broach, my Grandfather. His wife was Mary Frances Higginbotham c1857, daughter of John Jefferson Higginbotham c1825. Alec was born in Walton County GA in 1847 and the following year at age 1 1/2 he came to Arkansas along with two sisters, his Mother, Martha Green Broach c1817, and his father Jones A. Broach c1815. A very important link in the Broach/Higginbotham line is the marriage of Elizabeth Broach c1811, an older sister of the above, Jones, my GGrandfather. She was the wife of Joseph Higginbotham who accompanied his older brother Sanford from Chambers County, AL to Arkansas in what I feel was 1843. An interesting observation about this Elizabeth Broach, sister of the above Jones Broach, is that Jones and Martha along with Alec and the two sisters came to AR later in the early fall of 1848. The 51 day trek via oxen pulled wagon is a story you will love when I have the time to relate some of the details.

The woman sitting by Alec, is my Mother, Erma Lee Barnes Broach c1900. Next is yours truly, Henry Alexander Broach, Jr. c1934 and to my left is my Father, Henry Ashley Broach c1895. To his left is my maternal Grandmother, Lafonia Belle Stover Barnes c1873.

Henry also shared this picture of James Oliver Higginbotham and his wife Amanda Zinn Higginbotham.

Then we headed over to Bucksnort and heard more of Henry’s great stories.  Henry will be traveling for the summer but this fall when he gets back, I will get with him again and get more of his stories to share with you.

Thank you Henry, for the two wonderful pictures, and the tour of Fordyce. I’m looking forward to getting to know Henry better and hear all the stories that he has been working on for so long!

After this, I was able to visit with Lisa and her friends some more, just getting to know them. What a wonderful bunch of ladies. I’m so proud to have Lisa as a cousin, and to have this opportunity to get to know her. She brought me a wonderful gift basket, (which she didn’t have to do!) but I loved each item in there, and I will treasure them always!

It was a great trip, I look forward to more of them!


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11 comments on “Walking Ancestral Land with Cousins

  1. What a wonderful visit! The picture of James O and Amanda pretty much proves that the picture we thought was James O and Jane Higginbotham along with Edith Burnham Higginbotham is them. The man in the new photo is James O and the features of the other photo are virtually identical! Great Find!

    • I agree Harry! I was amazed at what a great picture this was, and how easy it was to see it was him in the other photo. I’m so glad that Henry thought to share this with us. He also has a picture of John Jefferson Higginbotham’s daughter, Mary Frances Higginbotham Broach which he says he will look for and send me a copy of this fall when he gets back from his summer trip.

  2. Wow, what a great writeup. I was so happy to see the pictures – especially John J and Sarah’s home. Just knowing that my great great grandparents (John H and Elizabeth Wyatt) lived across the road was simply stunning. (by the way, I figured out the relationship between Henry and myself. My great grandfather (paternal) and his great grandmother (maternal) were siblings. Sarah was the oldest in the family, and William, the youngest. Susie, you are doing such good work!

    • Connie – Thank you so much and I’m so glad you commented! I have promised Henry to put you in touch with him when he returns from his summer trip in the fall. He is looking forward to talking to a Wyatt Descendant. I knew you would love that picture! I wish I had taken a better picture of that corner where the Wyatt’s lived, but I will get you one the next time I go through there I promise!

  3. Hello – My dad’s family is Broach from Georgia. We are descendants of Jones Broach, born in King & Queen County, Va @ 1748 and died in Clarke County, Georgia in 1809. He had several children, none named Jones, so I think your Jones may have been a grandchild. This is all very interesting, as I am new to the genealogy trails. I would be very interested in sharing information on the Broach line.

    • Alice, I have sent you an email and also notified Henry, I’m sure he will be getting in touch with you. 🙂

    • FYI, the Jones A Broach c1815 (my Greatgrandfather) mentioned is the oldest son of the second oldest son of Jones Broach 1748, This second oldest son was named Charles Broach c1778. Charles was appointed as exectutor of Jones c1748 estate because the oldest son, George, lived some counties away from Clarke at the time of Jones c1748 passing. Jones c1815 and wife, Martha Green Broach, along with two daughters and an infant son, my Grandfather, William Alexander “Alec” made the 51 day oxen pulled wagon trek from Walton County GA in the early fall of 1848. There planned route was via Memphis and then an overland route to Pine Bluff located on the Arkansas River where there was ferry service and then on another 30 plus miles to Saline Township in Dallas County, AR. That township was taken in the 1870s when Cleveland County, AR was formed. Thus, the large Broach Cemetery where my Jones and Martha are buried are in Cleveland County.
      After departing Memphis after crossing the Mississippi River by a steam powered ferry, they proceeded toward what is today Forrest City, AR, then a route SSW to Clarendon, AR where they were to ferry across the White River. Rains started early as they approached Memphis and continued on toward todays Forrest City which was know in those days as Edmondson. When they reached Black Fish Lake about 25 miles west of Memphis, they met fellow traveliers who were previously heading to Texas returning East back toward Memphis with stories of bridges washed out and flooding in the entire White River and La Anguilla River and Cache River bottoms. History shows that the huge floods of the Mississippi, White and Arkansas which reached a peak in the spring of 1849 started in the early fall of 1848. This huge flooding today we know is caused by the El Nino effect which affects ocean currents and is one of the first recorded and documented with todays science. I saw this same event repeated in the fall of 1972 and spring of 1973 and made some serious money speculating in Cotton and Soybeans. The Jones Broach c1815 family returned to Memphis and loaded their team, wagon and possessions onto a flat boat for a trip drown the Mississipppi to Napolean, AR where the AR River joined the Mississippi at that time (Napolean was later flooded and washed away down the Mississippi). At Napoliean their flat boat and one oher flat boat were towed up the Arkansas River to Pine Bluff by a side wheeler steam boat and from there the Broaches made a difficult, muddy, cold cross country trip of about 35 miles to reach Saline Township.

  4. Hello, I too descended from Jones Broach & Elizabeth Haynie of Clarke County, GA (where I was born, too). I descend through their son George. I would be interested in any information that you may have, also PLEASE. Alice, where are you located? Looks like we are (very) distant cousins, probably.

    • Hello Angie – I live in Hollywood, Fl. My dad was George E. Broach, my grandfather – George A. Broach, ggrandfather – George A. Broach, gggrandfather – George Broach, gggggrandfather – Jones Broach (married to Elizabeth Haynie). I know very little about my dad’s family, so would love to hear from you. Thanks.

    • Check the above comments sent to Alice Carlisle for info on George, oldest son of Jones 1748.

  5. Hello! I came across your website and wanted to thank you for sharing he story of the wagon trek from Walton County, Georgia to Arkansas. I’m a descendant of Charles Broach (1778-1850), son of Jones Broach. Charles is my 5th great-grandfather. Do you know if all of the Walton County Broaches traveled together to Arkansas? Apparently, my 4th great-grandfather (son of Charles Thomas) James Thomas Broach (1819-1852) died in Arkansas and his widow Elizabeth O’Kelley Broach returned to Georgia with their daughter Mary Henrietta Broach Darby. Mary Henrietta’s descendants, my family, still live in Walton County, GA. Thanks for any additional information you can share!

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