Genealogy

The Universal Citizen

Welcome to the Tyson Family Roots Blog

One photo says it all - 4 international generations; myself as a boy with my parents, Danish grandfather Niels and my Lebanese great grandmother's sister Rettebeh Hashim - about 1967 Los Angeles

One photo says it all – 4 international generations; myself as a boy with my parents Ruby & Sandra Tyson, Danish grandfather Niels and my Lebanese great grand aunt Rettebeh Hashim – about 1967 Los Angeles click to view larger image

“Genealogy for Mutts” – I would buy this book, or maybe I need to write it. When you come from a international family like I do, you need all the research tips you can get.

My father Ruby Tyson, is an African American from Caddo Parish, Louisiana. His family has long deep roots in America. My mother Sandra Lee Jensen, is mixed with Danish and Lebanese. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Her father was an immigrant from Denmark and her Lebanese history starts around 1890 when her grandfather came to the US from Lebanon.

We lived in a duplex while I was growing up in the 1960’s. My mother’s parents lived in the other side so I grew up with these grandparents. I am blessed to have grown up eating all this different food. Everything from southern fried catfish & buffalo, to Lebanese favorites kebbeh (national dish of Lebanon), dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), fatayer (spinach pies), and saf suf (tabbouleh), to Danish pastries. In our home you heard every kind of music I think there was. My friends all loved to eat at our house. Some information on Lebanese food here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_cuisine.

Some classic Lebanese food

Some classic Lebanese food

The husband of my cousin Tundra; John Paul Jackson doing what he loved to do...frying up some catfish. Mira 2008

The husband of my cousin Tundra Brown; John Paul Jackson doing what he loved to do…frying up some fish. Family reunion Mira-2008

My father’s parents were Dave Tyson and Willie Lee Hayes from Mira, Louisiana. My grandfather Dave Tyson was born in 1890 in a small village in Caddo Parish, Louisiana called Frog Level (later named Rodessa). My grandmother Willie Lee Hayes was born in 1902 in Prescott, Arkansas, she grew up in Caddo Parish. My mother’s parents were Niels Peter Jensen and Edna Helen Shoucair. Grandpa Niels was born in 1897 in Hjorring, Denmark and he came to the US around 1920 and settled in Los Angeles. Grandma Edna was born in Seattle in 1906, her parents were recent immigrants from Choueifat, Lebanon.

For African American genealogy, if your family was here during slavery times you will usually hit that 1870 brick wall where records get hard to find. Before the Civil War blacks/slaves were not enumerated in the census unless they were free and if you lived to 100 years old. So we all hit this era where research becomes a challenge. Some are blessed to find valuable information in slave owner estate records that name their ancestors and some can find a trail back to the slave ship that brought their ancestor here. Depending on where your family was from you will sometimes have different family history with slavery. My family is from Louisiana which is well known for its history during and after slavery times.

For Danish genealogy there are a few websites that have parish records translated into English. One site being familysearch.org which has birth/marriage/death records available for many areas in Denmark. Another site to search Danish Parish census records going back to 1787 is;

http://www.ddd.dda.dk/kiplink_en.htm

The Danish census gave occupations and status in the community. They were listed as farm tenants, peasant farmers, land owners, etc. I had the help of a Danish genealogist Lissa Pederson via the Danish Genealogy Forum. She was able to help me confirm records that I had and go further in my line. I have my grandfather’s birth certificate so I knew who his parents were and exactly where he was born. From that information Lissa was able to give me the next generation in the family tree. Lissa also translated a few letters we had. One letter was from my great grandfather Lar’s that showed he was still alive in the 1940’s. Only one of my grandfather’s six siblings came to America, a brother William that died in Elgin, Oregon. We never met William and he had no known children. I have yet to make contact with any of this side of the family, neither from my website or ancestry.com. So this whole side of the family is unknown.

Lebanese genealogy is very difficult. There are no known databases from Lebanon at all for family records. The main records available to us from afar are records they left once they emigrated to their new homes. So you have ship manifests found at Ellis Island or similar sites, immigration records, and naturalization records that are many times the first records filed. They would file a “Declaration of Intent” which many times listed what ship they came on and some family information. Military and World War I Draft Registration cards also sometimes listed birth place and family back home. Death certificates have been very helpful and sometimes their marriage certificates will list their hometown and parents. Church records and obituaries listing family history have also been very helpful. We have a lot of old family photos and only a few had information written on them so I’m still trying to figure out who all these people were.

Hashim family in Lebanon late 1890's; Jamila standing far right, sister Rettebeh standing far left, parents Salim & Frieda Hashim sitting, and unnamed siblings

Hashim family in Lebanon late 1890’s; 2g-grandmother Jamila standing far right, her sister Rettebeh standing far left, assumed parents Salim & Frieda Hashim sitting, and unnamed siblings

The last official Lebanese census was taken in 1932, I’ve never seen it available online. Any previous census were done under the Ottoman Empire (1831-1872) and are only available in Turkey, all in Turkish. The Syrian National Archives also have some information, if you can get access to it, and can read Arabic. Due to wars and strife in Lebanon, marriage, death, and birth records are hard to come by. Through my website I’ve connected with many Lebanese cousins that no one in the family had ever met. We are all putting our pieces together in this puzzle. As I said Lebanese Genealogy is very difficult.

To keep myself from getting dizzy with these family trees I try to focus on one line at a time, I try to. There are days when I go back and forth when something pops in my head. I’ll be looking at slave records in Louisiana then all of a sudden something on grandma Edna pops up and I’m off in the Lebanese side.

On my father’s line I have yet to crack that slavery nut with these ancestors. My grandparents already passed down their history and to this day I still couldn’t tell them anything they didn’t already know about their roots. Since I descend from a few slave owners (Noah S. Tyson & John F. Herndon) I have found information going back many generations for my Tyson and Herndon lines. There is another Mr. Haynes from Arkansas who is the father of my 2g-grandmother Morning Haynes, he’s said to be Irish but I’ve found no information on him.

I have traced my Tyson lineage to my 8g-grandparents, the immigrant John Tyson (Jan Mathiason) who was recorded in Virginia in the mid 1600’s and his wife Susannika. DNA testing puts the Tyson family origin in the British Isles. My Y-Chromosome haplogroup R1b matches other known Tyson descendants of John and Susannika Tyson in the Tyson DNA Project. This project is administered by my  3rd cousin Forest Tyson, our great grandfathers were brothers. The book – Tyson Family History: Descendants of John Tyson & Susannika by Jerry Tyson Barton, documents my Tyson line from the immigrant John Tyson to my 2g-grandfather Noah Samuel Tyson. This documentation is solid up to my 2g-grandfather Noah Tyson and we have documentation from Noah’s generation all the way to mine. The book used family Wills, estate and probate records, and local records all referenced in the book.

My Herndon line in America goes back to my 7g-grandparents, the immigrant William Herndon who is the first Herndon on record in America and his wife Catherine (Diggs). William Herndon came to Virginia from Kent, England around 1673. The Herndon family tree goes further back to my 11g-grandparents in Kent, England; Albert John Herndon 1535-1590 and his wife Martha Ann Broderick 1538-1595. One ancestor from this era Mary McGregor 1602-1657 (my 9g-grandmother) was born in Scotland and my 10g-grandmother Colita Kinsington 1555-1630 was born in Wales.

There’s many books written on this Herndon family and some historians claim that 2 of my ancestors, Mary Waller (6g-grandmother) and Catherine Diggs (7g-grandmother) are descendants of British Royalty. The royal lineage of the Diggs and Waller family in England is not disputed, but the marriages are. These marriages took place in Virginia in the late 1600’s and early 1700’s and there are no known records to confirm the last names of these wives. There’s very good circumstantial evidence to show, such as; a granddaughter was named Catherine Diggs Herndon – a naming pattern that strongly hints to a Diggs family connection. This happened with the Waller family although there was another confirmed marriage of a  Herndon and a Waller. These two marriages in my direct line are unconfirmed.

One book that I have “The Metts Ancestors in America – The Direct Line” by Albert Metts goes into these marriages extensively. The book compiled many sources that all support these two marriages. This book is available from the familysearch.org library. The main book that best documents my Herndon line from Fredericksburg, VA is; The Herndon’s of the American Revolution, (Part Two): Edward Herndon of Spotsylvania Co., VA. And His Descendants, by John Goodwin Herndon, PHD. This book documents up to the parents of my 2g-grandfather John Frederick Herndon.

This Herndon line is difficult to confirm due to burned records in Fredericksburg. The book does list the assumed parents of John Frederick Herndon as John Herndon and Mary Fleetwood. John Frederick is not mentioned in the book but his brother Fleetwood and other siblings are, this was my confirmation. We are convinced that John Frederick and Fleetwood Herndon are brother’s from John Frederick’s Will where he gives $500 to his niece Louisa Connervey in Lewisville, Arkansas. Louisa was Fleetwood Herndon’s daughter, which is confirmed in marriage and local records.

My grandfather Dave “Pawpaw” Tyson was a farmer and also a musician. Pawpaw played the guitar, piano, mandolin, harp, combs, anything you put in his hands. My grandmother “Mother Willie” had about everything they needed to eat growing in her garden. They lived in Caddo Parish in a small village called Mira which is 32 miles north of Shreveport just past Hosston. Dave’s parents were Richard Tyson and Fannie Herndon, Richard was born a slave and Fannie was a free person of color. Mother Willie’s parents were Willie White Hayes and Isabel Young.

Grandparents Dave & Willie Tyson sitting on their porch in Mira, 1969

Grandparents Dave & Willie Tyson sitting on their porch in Mira, 1969

In the 1940’s the migration began from Louisiana to California. My dad’s oldest sister Myrtle was the first to come with her husband Reggie Morris in 1941. My father came to Los Angeles at 15 yrs. old in 1944 with his sister Earnestine and her husband Sesser Durden. About half the family came to Los Angeles, the rest remained in Louisiana.

The trail goes cold on my slave ancestors at my 2g-grandparents,  Louisa Dunn b1830, Lou Patsy Charles b1817, Jane Hill b1845, John White b1842, Young Cage b1850; and a 3g-grandmother Netta Willis b1828. I have two previous posts on this blog on Louisa Dunn and John White. The family website for my father’s side is – http://caddotrees.com.

The Tyson family is very large, my father had 13 siblings, and there is 36 grandchildren of Dave & Willie Tyson - Family Reunion 1977 in Mira, Louisiana

The Tyson family is very large, my father had 13 siblings, and there was 36 grandchildren of Dave & Willie Tyson – Family Reunion 1977 in Mira, Louisiana

My grandfather Niels Peter Jensen apparently stowed on a ship coming to the US around 1920. I’m unsure where he entered the US. My mom told me that he worked his way across the country doing add jobs and made his way to Los Angeles where he joined the US Marines at Mare Island, California in 1922. Something in the Viking stock, grandpa loved the Marines. He was stationed on the USS California “The Flagship of the Pacific” until 1925.

Niels married Edna Helen Shoucair in 1933 in Los Angeles. Niels parents were Lars Peter Jensen and Nielsane Johanne Peterson from Hjorring, Denmark. Lars was a blacksmith by trade. Grandpa grew up learning the trade and also painting and carpentry while working with his father Lars at a local castle. He was a perfectionist and would not finish a job until it was just right. Grandma Edna worked for her father Salim as a clerk while she was younger and later as a librarian at the Los Angeles Central Library.

my grandparents Niels & Edna Jensen with my grandmothers brothers Carl & George Shoucair, children l/r my mother Sandra, Donna, Niels Jr. Venice, CA abt. 1941

My grandparents Niels & Edna Jensen with my grandmothers brothers Carl & George Shoucair, children l/r my mother Sandra, Donna, Niels Jr. Venice, CA abt. 1941

I have my Danish side confidently documented up to all my 2g-grandparents. I have gone much further on his lines, back into the 1600’s but am unsure how accurate the records are. All ancestors beyond 2g-grandparents in his tree are not confirmed. Danish naming patterns will throw you for a real loop. Prior to the mid 1800’s they didn’t use surnames. If you saw a name “Lars Pederson” it means he’s the son of Peder (Peter). My family name of Jensen means son of Jens. A female would be Jensdatter or Pedersdatter. So you have to trace families and village history and not surnames in Denmark. When a woman marries she keeps her maiden name so you can confirm people in their census; a wife of Lars Jensen would be listed as Maren Larsdatter and not Maren Jensen. Most had middle names also, without these middle names it would be really hard to match people in their records. I’m saving this for a trip to Denmark……

Lebanese people are notorious for being merchants, going back to their ancient Phoenician roots where they were the top traders of the sea. Lebanese immigration to America dates back to the mid 1850’s and communities were set up in New York and Boston. The classic dry goods store was a normal thing for many modern Lebanese immigrants. They would peddle door to door and finally set up a store front.

Photo from around 1921, Salim Shoucair is the elder Man standing in the back, his sister Zelpha the elder woman sitting, my grandmother sitting with her brothers Carl & George. Along with Dracobly, Bardawil, Saba, and Haddad relatives

Photo from around 1921 in Raymond WA. Salim Shoucair is the elder man standing in the back, his sister Zelpha the elder woman sitting, my grandmother sitting with her brothers Carl & George. Along with Dracobly, Bardawil, Saba, and Haddad relatives

Traditional naming patterns in Lebanon give you some family history usually for three generations. For example; my great grandfather’s three names – Salim Khalil Shoucair – tell me his father’s name and his grandfather’s name. The middle name (Khalil) is his father’s first name, the last name (Shoucair) is his grandfather’s first name. Salim, son of Khalil, son of Shoucair. So I know that Salim’s father was Khalil Shoucair ? – I don’t know that 3rd name. I know Salim’s grandfather’s first name was Shoucair ??….but don’t know his middle or last name to continue with the tree. Women had the same naming patterns of carrying their father and grandfather’s names. So when you get a death certificate for an ancestor you really want to see three names. This is an example for a Christian name, the Muslim and Druze use the Arabic naming patterns. This also gives family history, an example would be; abu Da’ud (the father of David), umm Salim (the mother of Salim) or ibn ‘Umar (the son of Omar), bint ‘Abbas (the daughter of ‘Abbas).

My great grandfather Salim came to America at 17 years old in 1890 and started peddling in Seattle, Washington. In 1903 he married Jamila Hashim who had come to America in 1900. In these times many Lebanese marriages were pre-arranged and I’m unsure if their families were connected in Lebanon. Salim and Jamila were Lebanese Orthodox Christians. Many Christians in Lebanon at this time were fleeing Lebanon due to the Syrian and Ottoman Empire’s control of the area. Lebanon didn’t become an independent country until 1943. The old immigration records list them as Syrian or Turkish nationality.

The only pic of my great grandparents together; Salim & Jamila standing in the back, Jamila'a brother  Hashim Salim Hashim in the middle - abt. 1911 Washington

The only pic of my great grandparents together; Salim & Jamila standing in the back, Jamila’s brother Hashim Salim Hashim in the middle – abt. 1911 Washington

Salim’s parents were Khalil and Nedah Shoucair, Jamila’s parents were Salim Yussif Hashim and Frieda Yussif Zaka. So I learn that my 3g-grandparents are Yussif  (Yosef/Joseph) Hashim and Yussif Zaka. It’s great that my great grand aunt Rettebeh Hashim had the mind to file her birth and christening record once she settled in Portland, Oregon AND that she listed all three names for each parent. Death certificates also confirmed these names. Many Arabic names carry meanings, the name Salim means safe/secure, the name Khalil means friend. Jamila means beautiful, Hashim means “breaker of bread” and also has the meaning “destroyer of evil”. This Hashim name goes back to the great grandfather of the Prophet Mohammed, Hashim ibn ‘Abd Manaf, who was known to be generous and would provide bread to the poor. His clan were known as “Banu Hashim” which became known as the Hashemites.  Great clues for my eventual trip to Lebanon…..

My mother’s family website: http://caddotrees.com/jensenhome

So this is what my genealogy life is like, from the US to England to Lebanon to Denmark. DNA testing has been done by myself, my mother, and various cousins. This has given me a global DNA map, from Africa to Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Near & Middle East. One of the tests done by a 1st cousin gave me the mtDNA (mitochondrial/maternal) of my paternal grandmother Willie Lee Hayes-Tyson, which is haplogroup L1b. The matches for her L1b are mostly in Lower Guinea/Nigeria, Igbo.

My mother’s mtDNA is haplogroup X which is an interesting group found only in certain locations. Some believe it is the mtDNA from Atlantis. I get a kick out of reading the blogs on the X haplogroup. This X haplogroup is also found in some Native American tribes and ancient burial grounds. This is causing a questioning of the whole theory that all Native Americans crossed the Bering Straight to get to America. The X haplogroup is not present in those populations as are the other established haplogroups assigned to Native Americans (A, B, C, and D). This is a main element in the Atlantis theories.

My mother did an autosomal test which gave us a map ranging from Mesopotamia/Levant, Iberian Peninsula, Italy/Greece, Scandinavian, Western Europe, European Jewish, and Caucasus regions. I uploaded her raw data to gedmatch.com and her map included more regions going into East and North Africa. She has many DNA matches but I’ve yet to connect the dots for any of them. Another autosomal DNA test was taken by my father’s brother Tyrone. His test showed Sub Saharan African (West Africa) and Western European DNA only, no Native American.

Don’t we all wish we had the funds to jump on a plane and go to Denmark then Lebanon, then off to Nigeria. With a team of genealogists waiting for you, oh would that be so nice. Until then I just keep digging away, waiting to hit the lottery. The search continues….

The inside cover from my CD “Universal Citizen” – 2003

5 generations of my family tree, inside for my CD "Universal Citizen"

5 generations of my family tree

That’s all from the Universal Citizen

thanks for readings

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Caddo Parish Genealogy, Louisiana Genealogy

The Mother of Rodessa: Louisa “Mama Louie” (Dunn)

Broken headstone of Louisa Gipson (Gibson)

Broken headstone for Louisa Gipson/Gibson

Welcome to The Tyson Family Roots Blog

Transcription from Louisa’s headstone: Born in the year 1831 – Died November 8, 1901 – In memory of our dear mother who has gone to rest

I remember while growing up, I would hear that my Tyson name was a slave name and that the slave’s name was Dunn, known as “Mama Louie”. This is the story of my 2g-grandmother Louisa “Mama Louie” (Dunn) – I’ve heard her called “The Mother of Rodessa”

Louisa “Mama Louie” (Dunn) was a slave that was born around 1830 in North Carolina. I don’t know what area of North Carolina she was from. It’s possibly in the Pitt County area where the Tyson family came from. Louisa is the grandmother of my grandfather Dave “Pawpaw” Tyson.

Family lore says that Louisa was part Cherokee and she is described by my grandfather as; short, brown skinned, and with long hair. Pawpaw also said that Louisa spoke with an unusual accent that he wasn’t familiar with. I’ve also heard that her mother was pure African. Family lore says that Louisa’s last name was Dunn. I’ve yet to verify that name but it is consistent with every descendant I’ve spoken with. There is also lore that she may be part Irish. Dunn is an Irish name so maybe she was a descendant of a Dunn slave owner.

One hint I have for a Dunn family origin is a Joshua Dunn listed in the Pitt, North Carolina 1820 census in Capt. Noah Tison’s District (both spellings were used). There was a few Noah Tyson’s in Pitt County at this point, this Noah Tison is a cousin of Louisa’s owner Noah Samuel Tyson, my 2g-grandfather. I know there was a large plantation in Wake County, North Carolina called The Purefoy-Dunn Plantation. Many Tyson’s lived in Wake County also but I still haven’t found any connections of this plantation and the Tyson family, it is a hint.

At some unknown point Louisa relocated to Alabama where she was sold sometime around 1845 to Noah Samuel Tyson Sr. There was three Tyson brothers in Lowndes County, Alabama at this time; Noah and his two brothers Archibald and John Adams Tyson. Archibald was the older brother and John was the younger brother. I’ve been told by a few relatives that Noah was a overseer for his brother Archibald, I don’t know if this is true.

According to the family history book “The Tyson and May Genealogy of Pitt County” by Roger Kammerer, Tyson family lore says that these Tyson brothers moved from Pitt County, North Carolina to Alabama in the early 1830’s. The story says that they journeyed for 5 weeks with 12 negroes and 10 mules to get to Alabama. So if this story is true, I think it’s possible that Louisa and some of her family was among these 12 negroes, whom I assume were slaves.

I have no information on any parents or siblings of Louisa. I have her succession records and they state that at the time of her death in 1901 she had no known relatives other than her children and grandchildren. This succession was filed in 1936 by her only living child, Robert “Sambo” Tyson and included all the Tyson heirs of Louisa. The case name was:

Succession of Louis Tyson Gibson & Richard Gibson – Filed Jan. 7, 1936, D.D. Pyburn: DY. Clerk, REC: OLJ

Excerpts from Succession of Louisa Tyson (Appeal) – Jan 4, 1937-Shreveport, LA

“The record discloses that Noah Tyson purchased, in Alabama, the slave Louisa, who was about sixteen years old, and her infant son, Richard, and brought them first to Mississippi and subsequently to his plantation in the northern part of Louisiana. Prior to the Civil War, Louisa gave birth to four more children, Mollie, Jeff, Catherine, and Robert. According to the custom of the time, she assumed the surname of her master (Tyson) and gave the same name to her children, including the first born, Richard….

The evidence is barren of any private writings in which Noah Tyson Sr., acknowledged any of Louisa’s first five children, or called them his children, or that he ever, in public or in private, acknowledged them as his children or called them his children in conversation or that he helped to educate them as his own children. The trial judge excluded all evidence to establish by reputation that Noah Tyson, Sr., was the father of the first five children, but allowed, over plaintiffs’ objection, first, parol evidence of statements made by Louisa Gibson that the father of these children was Noah Tyson, Sr., and, second, statements and declarations made by the children themselves as declaration against interest made at unsuspicious times…

Sometime during the year 1860, Richard Gibson, a slave owned by Aaron Gibson, who lived in the southern part of Arkansas, began to visit Louisa in her slave quarters on the Tyson place and continued to do so at comparatively regular intervals on week-ends, and by him she gave birth to five more children, viz., Chesley, Gus, Hannah, Narcisse, and Loudella. It appears that Richard continued to live on the Gibson plantation immediately following the Civil War until about the fall of 1866, when he moved to the lower portion of the Tyson place and there built a cabin, taking Louisa Tyson and her children, including the first five, to live with them. On August 7, 1870, Louisa Tyson and Richard Gibson were formally married, in order that they might join the church, and Richard became a preacher in the church. During the existence of the community, Louisa and Richard acquired 211 1/2 acres, situated in the parish of Caddo in what is now known as the “Rodessa Oil Field.” Richard died about the year 1897, and Louisa died on November 9, 1901. Prior to Louisa’s death, three of her children predeceased her, viz., Loudella Gibson, Narcisse Gibson, and Mollie Tyson.”

You can see from this succession record that Noah purchased Louisa in Alabama when Richard (my great grandfather) was a baby and she was about 16 yrs old. Richard was born in September of 1844, so I put the event at around 1845. The record also shows that Louisa and her children claimed that Noah Samuel Tyson Sr. was the father. This case was concerning Gibson land in Rodessa and NOT to prove if Noah Tyson was the father of these five Tyson children of Louisa; Richard “Dick”, Mollie, Jefferson, Catherine, and Robert “Sambo” Tyson.

This case was to establish that the five Tyson children were heirs of Louisa and Richard Gibson’s 211 acres in Rodessa. When Richard Gibson died in 1897 (intestate-no Will) the land went into Louisa’s possession as they were legally married in 1870. Then when Louisa died intestate in 1901 all ten of her children were heirs to the land in Rodessa. Since ALL of Louisa’s children were born out of wedlock they were all heirs to this land.

This is why the succession was finally filed in 1936. Many years had gone by with her land never being legally dealt with. Prior to the Rodessa oil boom that land was used by the Gibson family for farming and timber and some land was leased/sold to some Spearman cousins. The succession was in conjunction with a lawsuit my Tyson family filed against their Gibson and Spearman cousins along with United Gas Company. United Gas had leased the land and was making millions of dollars from the oil wells. I have these case files and this case was pretty nasty. The case is “Tyson v. Spearman” 190 La. 871. The Tyson heirs were labeled as:

“illegitimate white bastards”… “adulterous bastards, the issue of an illicit union with her master, Noah Tyson, Sr., a white married man, and were therefore incapable of being acknowledged by or of inheriting from their mother.” From Succession Of Louisa Tyson

To this day the term “white bastard” is still used in a joking way with the Tyson & Gibson cousins. I’ve heard it myself a few times. We know that our grandparents fought it out in court over this land and luckily we still get along and can joke about it. We had nothing to do with it. I’m sure Louisa never thought her children and grandchildren would fight in court over her land.

The Tyson family won this lawsuit in 1938, it settled for 2 million dollars which was one of the largest cases recorded in the area to that date. The case was handled by the law firm Cook & Cook which today is one of Northern Louisiana’s top law firms. This is a very large Tyson family so there was many heirs to divide up what was left after the attorney fees. My family still owns a few acres of this land in Rodessa that was recovered through this law suit. There was actually numerous law suits concerning different family land in different locations. This will be a future post on inherited land. My mother is an attorney so I love studying these cases, it’s in the blood.

I have yet to find the document where Noah bought Louisa in Alabama but I have a possible record. A Bill of Sale from 1845 in Alabama shows that Archibald Tyson gifted for $1 a 16 year old female slave named Lonie to Amanda Tyson. There was also a 20 yr. old male slave Abram included in this transaction (no future info for Abram). Noah S. Tyson’s wife was Amanda (Brinkley) and I believe these gifted slaves were to Noah’s wife because I haven’t found another Amanda Tyson in the family tree at that time. This Bill of Sale is recorded in the Caddo Parish deed and conveyance records which seems to me to verify that it was a record of Noah and Amanda Tyson. The brothers Archibald and John stayed in Alabama and it makes sense that Noah and Amanda’s slaves would be on record in Caddo Parish. Noah Tyson settled in Caddo Parish around 1847 and became one of the founders of the town Frog Level which was renamed Rodessa in 1898.

Louisa was known as Mama Louie and I think it’s possible that this Bill of Sale which is found in a book of transcribed slave records “No Land Only Slaves Vol. 3-Caddo Parish” could be a mis-spelling of Louie. So I think it’s possible that this Bill of Sale could be for Louisa, but can’t say for certain. On my next trip to Shreveport I will be finding out if I can get a copy of the original document. The 1850 Caddo Parish Slave Schedules for Noah Tyson show a female that matches Louisa and one 6 yr. old male that matches Richard who was born in 1844. Another 2 yr. old female is listed that matches the age for Louisa’s second child Mollie, born in 1848. Noah Tyson was never a large slave owner like his brother Archibald, who at the end of the Civil War is said to have had 300 slaves. This 1850 Caddo slave schedule shows Noah with 6 slaves.

The 1860 Caddo Parish slave schedules show Noah Tyson owning 13 slaves and 3 slave houses. There are three females listed as 30 yrs. old, so one of them could be Louisa. None of her five Tyson children seem to be listed, so this supports the family lore that Noah didn’t treat her children as slaves.

A theory I have is that Louisa was owned by Archibald and that Noah was Archibald’s overseer. The 1840 Lowndes census shows Archibald owning 41 slaves and Noah didn’t own any slaves on record. I think it’s possible that Noah got Louisa pregnant while he was her overseer and that Archibald gifted her to Noah’s wife Amanda. Just a theory……

The 1870 Caddo Parish ward 7 census shows Louisa living with her husband Richard Gibson, who was listed as a farmer. I’m not sure what crop Richard was growing but Caddo was cotton country so I would assume he was growing cotton. Living with them are most of the Tyson children and her Gibson children. Living next door was Richard Tyson and his first wife Josephine. The census listed her as, black, 40 yrs old so born around 1830. By the 1880 census Louisa and Richard Gibson were now on their own land in Rodessa. Louisa is listed in the census as 45 yrs old so born in 1835. The 1900 census shows Louisa widowed, living alone. Her neighbors were mostly her Tyson and Gibson children and their families. This census listed her as 75 yrs. old and born in 1825. The 1880 & 1900 census listed both of Louisa’s parents as born in North Carolina.

Louisa’s succession said that all of her children other than Richard were born on Noah Tyson’s plantation. All but the last few Gibson children were born before emancipation. I have the marriage certificate for Richard & Louisa which shows that they were married in Caddo Parish by Rev. Anthony Beasley. Too bad these marriage certificates from Caddo at this time didn’t list the parents. The witnesses listed were; John Aaron, William Stewart, and Charles Dillard. John Aaron and William Stewart were whites from the area, both listed in the Caddo 1870 census. I’m unsure who Charles Dillard was or any connection of either witnesses to Louisa.

Marriage certificate for Richard Gibson & Louisa Tyson

Marriage certificate for Richard Gibson &  Louisa Tyson

Louisa’s son Robert “Sambo” Tyson lived to 92 years old and my uncle David talked family history with him often. Sambo said that they lived in Noah’s slave quarters and that Noah treated them kindly. Noah would feed them out of a big trough; Louisa would fill the trough up with cornbread and pour buttermilk over it. They also made their own spoons and forks from hickory and cypress wood. Sambo said that Noah’s slave children played and ate with Noah’s white children also.

Our family lore of Louisa being part Cherokee has never been verified. I gave an autosomal DNA test to my uncle Tyrone Tyson a few years ago. The main reason I purchased this test for him was to see if any Native American DNA would show. Louisa is one of four ancestors in my tree that are said to be mixed with Native American and I still can’t find any proof of that lore. His test showed zero Native American or Asian DNA, just Sub-Saharan African & European. I know that autosomal DNA tests will vary between siblings so it is possible that we carry Native American DNA but from that one test I still can’t verify. My father has 13 siblings (most still alive) and I’ve wondered what another sibling’s test would show. I’ve learned that the DNA from all of our ancestors gets passed down through a series of re-combinations and some DNA gets lost. If our Native American ancestors go back 6 or 7 generations or more it may not show up in a test taken now. Tyrone’s test was done by Africandna.com.

I’ve looked into the owner of Louisa’s husband, Richard Gibson. Aaron Gibson from Miller County Arkansas was born in 1829 in North Carolina; in 1853 there is an Aaron Gibson who married Jane Freeman in Richmond, North Carolina. The 1850 Richmond census shows an Aaron Gibson with his mother Mary and siblings. In the 1860 census Aaron Gibson is found in Sulphur Fork, Lafayette, Arkansas, married to Jane with their oldest child born in 1855, so it is a possible match.

This area of Sulphur Fork borders Miller County. Aaron Gibson bought land in Miller, Arkansas in 1860 which places him right where Richard Gibson was living when he started his relationship with Louisa. If this is the same Aaron Gibson, then Richard Gibson may come from the Richmond, North Carolina area. Richard Gibson’s parents are unknown and the succession for Louisa says that when Richard Gibson died he had no known relatives other than his five children with Louisa. The area that Aaron Gibson lived in was very close to the Arkansas-Louisiana border and Rodessa is only a few miles from that border. So it wouldn’t have been that hard for Richard Gibson to get to Rodessa to visit Louisa. It’s possible that Noah Tyson and Aaron Gibson knew each other to let Richard travel back and forth over the years.

Louisa’s headstone says she was born in 1831, which if is true means that her first child Richard was born when she was only 13 yrs. old. Richard has his birth date listed on his headstone of Sept 7, 1844. The 1900 census asked your birth month and Louisa has listed that she was born in May, the record also says that she was the mother of 11 children with 10 living. Since no other child is known of it is possible an unknown child died as an infant.

Louisa died on November 8, 1901 in Rodessa. No death certificates were issued in Caddo Parish before 1911 so she has no known record of her death. She was the mother of 10 known children – 5 Tyson and 5 Gibson, and 95 known grandchildren – 61 Tyson and 34 Gipson/Gibson, which is the most grandchildren for any woman I’ve documented so far. Louisa is buried in our Tyson family cemetery known as Sugar Hill in Rodessa. A plan that my uncle David and I have talked about is to restore her headstone with all the Tyson & Gibson children listed. View the Gipson/Gibson and Tyson pedigree charts here: http://caddotrees.com/Gipson_lineage.html

Well that’s all I know about Mama Louie for now……..

“The Mother of Rodessa”

Thanks for reading

Love & Blessings

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