Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I miss you.
Until we meet again!
- author unknown
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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Houk and Taylor families

The following is a timeline for the Houk and Taylor families. The location of this story is mainly Jackson County, Alabama which is located at the north east tip of the state, bordering Tennessee and Georgia.

(see Calhoun Pedigree Chart #7)

Simeon Perry Houk (7.12) was born on May 15, 1818 in Jones Cove, Sevier County, Tennessee to Michael Preston Houk and Lydia Layman, both from Tennessee.

Tobitha Murray (7.13) was born, at my best estimate, in the early 1820’s. She was a native to Jackson County, Alabama, where she spent her entire life.

Simeon and Tobitha married, probably around 1835 and likely in Jackson County, Alabama. In 1838 they had their first child, a son whom they named George Washington. The 1850 United States Census shows the family had an additional five children, Lydia Ann (1842), James Marion (1843/4) (7.6), William Midas (1845), Bradford Perry (1848), Martha Caldonia (1849). At this time, the family lived in District 21 of Jackson County, Alabama. Simeon owned property amounting to $650. The Census records show Simeon was in the profession of farming, however other sources list him as one of the well and favorably know Baptist preachers in the Mud Creek Association.

1850 United States Census (Dec 12) - Jackson County, Alabama

Over the next ten years, Simeon and Tobitha added four more children to their family: Sarah Elizabeth (1851), Melvina Margaret (1854), John Michael (1855) and Mildred Melissa (1857).


Miles Taylor (7.14) was born in 1814 in South Carolina to parents who were both from Virginia. On August 19, 1838 he married a gal named Margaret Nugent in Franklin County, Tennessee. Margaret was born November 3, 1816 in Roark's Cove, Franklin, Tennessee to John and Elizabeth Neighbors Nugent. The 1840 United States Census shows Miles living in Franklin County, Tennessee with a female between the ages of 20 and 30 (his wife, Margaret) and a female under the age of 5 (his daughter, Rebecca A, born in that year). Their second child, William A was born in 1843 at Roark's Cove, Franklin, Tennessee.

Around 1844 the Taylor foursome moved to District 21, Jackson County, Alabama. They added two sons Benjamin (1845) and James E C (1858) and two daughters Sarah Elizabeth (1846) (7.7) and Manerva Jane (1849) to the family. Miles supported his family as a farmer.

1850 United States Census (Nov 23) - Jackson County, Alabama

According to the 1860 United States Census dated June 8, the eight family members, including the last born son, James E C (1859), lived in District 3, Jackson, Alabama.


The image of Gone with the Wind came to mind when I noticed on the 1860 census that the Murray, Taylor and Houk families all lived within a short distance from each other. At the time, Taylor, Michael Houk (father to Simeon) and Murray (probably a relative to Tobitha) were in the profession of farming and held real estate valued at $100, $400, and $700 respectively. My research indicates that Simeon was a reverend and I was surprised that the value of his real estate was $2,000 and he also had personal property valued at $1,800. These property values require me to think a little less glamorous than plantation living.

1860 United States Census (June 8) - Jackson County, Alabama

1860 United States Census (June 9) - Jackson County, Alabama

She may not have been the belle of the picnic at Twelve Oaks known as Scarlett O’Hara, but I still like to romanticize the story of Sarah E Taylor (7.7) and James Marion Houk (7.6). These two were old enough to be affected by the inevitable pride and unfortunate tragedy of the Civil War. I imagine young Sarah and James experienced the sorrow of losing family or friends, the devastation of poverty and destruction and the insecurity from invasion and occupation. Completed by 1854, the railway from Jackson County to Chattanooga, Tennessee is said to have made Jackson County an obvious pass through for the Northern invaders during the Civil War and for some time after. "No part of the South suffered more than the people in Jackson County."

"It was in this county that first one army and then the other passed, from the beginning of 1862 until the close of the war. If one army failed to get what you had the other one took it. And besides General Sherman's army wintered in this county, and it was his policy to cripple the enemy by taking his property to support the war."

An observation that strikes me as ironic is that almost 30 years earlier, "Congress passed a law in 1834, providing for the removal of the Cherokees in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia, to the Indian Territory." The same settlers who participated in this invasion and forced removal of the Cherokee Indians were now experiencing the same unfair fate forced upon them by the Northerners.

1865 not only marked the end of the Civil War, but introduced a happier time as Sarah E Taylor (my great-great-great grandmother) married James Marion Houk (my great-great-great grandfather) on August 12 in the city of Woodville, Jackson County, Alabama. As James’ father was a reverend it could be a likely assumption that he performed their wedding ceremony. The twenty-something couple began to build their family in 1866 when they introduced their first child, a daughter they named Margaret Ann Houk (7.3). They continued to build their brood with an additional seven children in this order: Francis J (1869), Benjamin B (1871), Miles Simeon (1872), Elizabeth Ernie (1874), Eliha (1876), James Paul (1877) and John A (1879), all of whom were born in the city of Limrock in Jackson County, Alabama.

At age 61, Simeon Houk died in Jackson County, Alabama on January 4, 1879, 33 years before his wife Tobitha who passed away on July 12, 1912. Both are buried at Peter's Cove Cemetery.

The last census I could find Miles Taylor was in 1880 where he was 66 years old. His wife was not on this census, so I assume she passed away between 1870 and 1880.

James Marion Houk died in 1899. My assumption is that both he and wife, Sarah E died in Jackson County, Alabama.

Margaret Ann Houk (7.3) was my great-great grandmother and has been a challenge to trace. She first married a gentleman named John Lewis Jones on August 19, 1883 in Jackson County and went by the name Maggie Jones according to the Census records. With John, she had three children, Nellie, Ethel (1885) and Alex. Not sure if they divorced or if he died, but Maggie remarried on January 20, 1892 to Robert Edward Austin in Jackson County, Alabama. Great-great grandpa Austin is the one I am really interested in tracing back, as it is told he somewhere connects to Stephen Fuller Austin, the famous Texan, but I’m having a really hard time getting a solid start on his history.

Almost a year to the date after they were married, Erna Virginia Austin was born on January 19 in Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama. Erna, later known as “Nanny Tom,” was my great grandmother. I’ll continue with her story in another blog. Margaret “Maggie” Ann Houk Jones Austin died on June 20, 1901.

Quotes were from this souce:

Note: the Houk name is also spelled Houck, Hawk and Howk, and I am not 100% certain of the correct spelling, but I found Houk the most often, so that’s what I’m going with.

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