Recently I came across an unexplained 2nd Cousin DNA Match in my Ancestry account. Eventually, I was able to resolve the questions, explain the unexplainable, and add the Cousin to my tree. But that created even more questions. Questions about the Higginbothams. If they weren’t relatives, why did they keep showing up in my research?
There are several Higginbothams in my family but not necessarily ancestors. My great-aunt Mary Anne Martin, my grandmother’s sister, married Harold Higginbotham. My great-grandaunt Blanche McGrew, my great-grandfather’s sister, married Jesse Burl Higginbotham. Last but not least, my 5th-great Grandfather, Thomas McGraw, had a daughter – Susannah (listed as Lucinda J on her marriage record) who married Moses Higginbotham back in the 1840s. Were all these Higginbotham’s related?
I dug in and did the work. They most certainly are all related.
Jesse Burl Higginbotham and “Uncle Hick” (Harold Higginbotham) were 4th cousins. Uncle Hick’s grandparents were Susannah McGraw and Moses Higginbotham. The gist is that both men descended from Moses Higginbotham and his wife, Mary Black, a widow with two children by her first marriage. Moses and Mary had a son Joseph (m. Mary Reed 7 Dec 1784 Greenbrier County, West Virginia) who had a son Jonathan (m. Mary Tucker, likely in Monroe or Greenbrier County, WV).
Jonathan Higginbotham and Mary Tucker had several children. Our subjects above descended from two brothers, both sons of Jonathan: Jesse Burl descended from Ellery Higginbotham; Uncle Harold “Hick” descended from Ellery’s brother Moses. Moses of course married Susannah McGraw.
In my attempt to document all of Moses Higginbotham and Mary Black’s children, I came across daughter Mary Higginbotham. She married a man by the name of Reuben Harrison in Botetourt (probably Greenbrier since the latter was newly formed in 1778 from Botetourt). I added the name and then hesitated: Why did I recognize that name?
Because he was already listed in my tree!
Months ago, I had worked the paternal tree of my cousin, William L. “Bill” Harrison III, all the way back to Reuben Harrison who died in Jackson County, West Virginia about 1846. After tracking Reuben Harrison through the Greenbrier and Monroe County tax lists up into Kanawha County, I could see when the family migrated from the Greenbrier River region up into the northwestern part of West Virginia. First, the area to which they migrated was part of Kanawha County then was divided to form Mason County and eventually Jackson County. Putnam County was formed in 1848 and the Higginbotham and Harrison families found themselves in one of those counties.
Reuben Harrison and Mary Higginbotham’s son, Alexander Harrison, is the subject of an excerpt entitled “A Terrible Calamity” which is part of the article “THE SLAUGHTER OF THE PFOST-GREENE FAMILY: A History of the Tragedy With a Notice of the Early Settlers of Jackson County” by O. J. Morrison. At the risk of spoiling the story, Alexander Harrison did not survive “the terrible calamity.”
Coincidently, Bill Harrison III is distantly related to Uncle Hick by blood, not marriage alone since their common ancestor was Moses Higginbotham. Harold Robert Higginbotham married Mary Annis “Mary Anne” Martin of Kanawha County, West Virginia – the greatest lovers I could hope to ever meet. Mary Anne Martin was the sister of my grandmother Violet Martin McGrew; and of Bill’s grandmother Dimple Kathleen “Katherine” Martin Harrison. In her last days, she suffered – I believe – from Alzheimer’s disease. Although there was little she could remember, the one person she could remember was Uncle Hick. He sat at her bedside each evening feeding her dinner.
Hick and Mary Anne had no children of their own but they helped to raise Mary Anne’s nephews and nieces. I was told that when Mary Anne accompanied my grandparents when they visited the McGrew family “up on the crick” she always toted a framed picture of Hick under her arm. This is while he was in the Navy and before they were married.
Harold Robert Higginbotham, born 1911 at Buffalo, Putnam County, West Virginia, served in WWII in the U.S. Navy. He died 30 Nov 2001 and is buried at the Grandview Memorial Park at Dunbar, WV next to his beloved Mary Anne. On the day we buried my father at the same cemetery, Bill Harrison brought Uncle Hick to pay his last respects. It was the last time I ever saw him. The featured photo is the same that Mary Anne carried with her everywhere she went while he was away serving his country.