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Epilogue: After finding the missing genealogy document to extend a Polson family line

This post is part 3 of a three part post telling the story of a quest to extend a family line past a dead end. The search for the parents of William G. Polson that lasted over 3 decades.

Part 3, The Epilogue, tells of related discoveries since finding the rosetta stone that unleashed an avalanche of new information on the ancestors and siblings of William G. Polson. The Epilogue lists some new questions going forward, thanks the countless people that helped along the way, and recognizes a new journey is beginning.

Polson pedigree chart more complete

Polson pedigree chart now more complete

What do we know now (September 2016)?

Beyond the information provided in the second installment of this series, we know:

  1. Although I have not yet proven it, Isaac Poulton and Ann Green, both of Virginia are frequently listed as the parents of William Polson / Poulton, making them the likely paternal grandparents of my William G. Polson.
  2. Lucy Davis (William G. Polson’s recently discovered mother) was the daughter of William Davis, a revolutionary war soldier. He was once mentioned by a Tennessee governor as a prominent leader of the Chickamauga Indians. His gravestone in Cedar Hill Cemetery, Jackson County Alabama is twice listed on Findagrave. One of those listings includes many of Lucy Davis’s siblings.
  3. William Davis (father of Lucy Davis the mother of William G. Polson) married Mary Ann Black / Blackfox, daughter of Enola Black Fox, a well known Cherokee whose ancestry goes back further.
  4. William Davis is likely the source of William G. Polson’s son’s name, William Davis Polson
  5. John D. Polson, brother of my William G. Polson, settled in Choctaw County Mississippi with his wife, DeMaries M. Polson (maiden name unknown). It appears they had at least five children (Margaret, Lucy, Mourning, John W., Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin).
  6. As mentioned above, John D. Polson, brother of William G. Polson, had a daughter named Lucy Polson, named after their mother. I was able to find that Lucy’s will. She asked her youngest brother (Benjamin Franklin Polson) to be her executor. She asked that after her possessions were sold, the funds be used to place gravestones on the graves of her mother, her father, two brothers and one sister that predeceased her, and on her own grave. Several of those stones can now be seen on Findagrave. That was a very nice request she made. Just like the name “Flora” became commonly used female name in the family after Flora (Ridge) Polson, the name Lucy became a popular name for children after Lucy Polson, mother of John D. Polson and Lucy Polson, daughter of John D. Polson.
  7. The husbands and families of several of William G. Polson’s sisters are well documented in Lucy Polson’s probate documents, especially when combined with William Polson’s probate documents.
  8. Eliza (Polson) Berry, sister of William G. Polson married Henry / Henderson Berry per the probate documents of William and Lucy Polson. He was more fully known as Blackburn Henderson Berry and as one of the founders of Berryville Arkansas. His first wife, Eliza (Polson) Berry died of typhoid fever in 1854. Findagrave has a nice story, photo of her, and photo of her grave. Blackburn Henderson Berry remarried and moved to California. Eliza’s oldest son was elected to Congress from California. Blackburn Henderson Berry’s nephew became governor of Arkansas in the 1880s.
  9. The Proctor family submitted their ties to William Davis (revolutionary war solidier) to Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in the late 1950s. Among the items submitted was an account of 500 people, mostly descendants of William Davis, for the laying of a monument at his grave site by DAR.

New Questions

While most of my questions from long ago were answered in this recent flood of information released by the page found in Lucy Polson’s probate documents, some new questions have been raised:

  1. William Polson / Poulton (father of William G. Polson) is frequently listed with a death date of 1842, well before the Civil War. Why was his estate not probated before the Civil War? Did they wait til Lucy died?
  2. William Polson / Poulton, Lucy (Davis) Polson, and William Davis were people of some stature and property. William G. Polson seems to have made it to Washington County Arkansas with minimal resources. Why was that? Some of his ancestors, siblings, and children owned slaves. Yet he appears to have been less financially successful. Was there some reason for this other than supporting a large family?
  3. I still wonder why so many of these families traveled from Lincoln County Tennessee to settle together in Washington County Arkansas (WCA).

Thank You

A big THANK YOU to the hundreds of people who helped me along the way. I described a few of them I left unnamed earlier in this three part series. I would especially like to add my wife to this list. She has allowed me to work on this project for thousands of hours over a long period of time. She has put up with most of the very few vacations we have ever taken being gencations (chasing genealogy information, visiting cemeteries, libraries, and other places most wives would generally not want to spend their vacation time).

Thanks to those who helped me put together the genealogy of several other large Polson families that have not yet been proven to be kin to mine. That project helped me sort out leads by family and inspired me to keep searching for leads to mine. Among those individuals, many of who will be recognized by other Polson researchers and sadly many of which are no longer with us include: Evelyne Ivers, John McKenzie, Rose Phillips Green, Mary Ann Lukens, Roland Polson, Hazel Porter, Mrs. Gunter England, Dee Smith, Randall Prouse, Darrell Lee Wideman, LaVerne Suggs, Kenneth P. Darling, Jodie Sites, Mrs. Douglas Dodel, Martin C. Polson, Wiley Poleson, Sherry (Van Eaton) McKee, Margaret Pitman Guinney, Barbara Joe Ellis Seutter, P.C. Little, and Walter Anderson.

Like all researchers of midwest U.S. genealogies, I am indebted to Goodspeed Histories, and would also like to thank the Works Progress Administration (WPA) for their efforts in collecting the Indian Pioneer Papers (transcribed oral histories) here in Oklahoma and for transcribing the Ridge/Watie/Boudinot letters.

Plus I thank the early rural census takers, and court clerks, along with FamilySearch and Ancestry and all who have labored to digitize tens of millions of records and make them available online.

Two representatives of the hundreds that helped me along the way were an elderly couple I encountered in the Fayetteville Arkansas Public Library back in the 1980s. She said she had lived in the area as a youth and was personally acquainted with many of my Polson ancestors. She had long since moved to California and had decided to come back one more time. I do not recall her name, but she had a sweet spot in her heart for my ancestors and it was great to talk to her.

One more representative of all those folks that helped by along the way. Back in the 1980’s my family and I visited an elderly lady in Vinita Oklahoma who was overjoyed to visit with her Polson kinfolk. She had married into my Polson line from a fork a few generations back (a different son of William G. Polson). Just this morning, (17 September 2016), my mother called after receiving a call from the grandson of the lady we visited so long ago. It sounds like he has become the caretaker of the records left by the lady we visited with and is very interested in genealogy. I look forward to visiting with him.

And thanks to all those who have historically covered the Watie/Ridge/Boudinot families because their coverage sometimes includes references to my family or events relevant to my family.

Not to be minimized, all those who care for rural cemeteries in which my relatives are buried.

And not to be forgotten, my ancestors themselves without whom I would not be here.

And thanks for the spiritual guidance I and others received along the way.

A new door has opened

It took me over thirty years to find and verify the parents of William G. Polson. Now I have unraveled a host of new individuals and families. It will likely take the rest of my live and beyond to gain a similar understanding of all these new families made known by these recent discoveries.

One journey is over, now another begins….

Links to the other 2 posts


  1. Hello,

    I am pleasently surprised to find your Extensive Reseach on Wm G Polston’s ancestry!

    The Polston family is my wife’s line. Her late mother’s grandmother was a dau of Elmira Polston (1831 -1860s Carroll co TN) & husb Daniel McClain (1828-1860s),
    (Daniel “McClain” is another brickwall – In 1851 Carroll co marriage to Elmira A Polston, it’s “McLean” & it’s “McCain” in 1860 census – his only 2 known records.)

    I’ve researched the Polston/Polson line occasionally since abt 1990 with little success.
    Elmira was oldest child of William (G?) Polston (ca1810, ?Scott? co TN – 1860s Carroll co TN)
    & wife Duranna Hampton (ca1805 Orange co NC – ca1852 Carroll co TN)

    I had until recently Unhesitatingly Assumed that Wm Polston (b. c1810/13 & d. 1860s) was son of Wm Polston Sr & that his was the 2nd Wm Polston hshld (young couple) that appears in 1830 Lincoln co TN census.

    Recently, I’d seen famtrees on indicating that Wm G Polston settled in Washgton co AR & now I read your articles here & from Lucy Davis Polston’s probate it clearly seems Wm Jr in 1830 Lincoln TN census settled in AR not Carroll co TN!

    Do you know ANYTHING about the Wm Polston who lived in Carroll co TN in 1830s-1860s???
    – or his ancestry/siblings/descendants???

    The surname Davis seems to me to be associated w Polstons of Scott co TN & also I recall a Davis neighbor in Carroll co 1850 & /or 1860.

    There is a Hampton hshld (either that of Preston or Thomas Hampton, as I recall) in 1830 Lincoln co TN census on the next page before the 2 Polston hshlds.
    In 1830 Duranna Hampton Polston’s father, Nolen Hampton, is found in Carroll co TN census but as I recall it Preston & Thomas Hampton who live in Lincoln co are Nolen’s brothers; thus her uncles.

    I need to dig out the records from my 1990s Lincoln co Polston research & visits (I live in NW AL abt 2 hours away) & also my postal xchgs w a lady descended from Jackson co AL Polstons. She theorized hers linked to Lincoln co TN Polstons.

    I am hoping that, given your extensive Polston research, you have some knowledge of the Carroll co Polston/Polson family & that you can share with me at least some thoughts as to possible ancestry & relatives of my wife’s William Polston/Polson, b. ca1808-1813.

    Thank You for Any info, assistance or suggestions you can provide!


    Jerry Miley Florence, AL

    • Glad you found our documents on my William G. Polston and his ancestors.
      Sorry, but I too have been looking closely at the other Williams in Tennessee back in that era for a few decades trying to decide if they somehow fit into my line or not. I was never successful, except for the two mentioned in my findings.

      Mine are the Lincoln County TN Polston’s /Polson’s. They show on the census in 1820 (The Sr.) and in 1830 (both of them living next door to each other).

      Its possible that your Elmira A. Polston is a descendant of or otherwise kin to my William Polston Sr. He had a number of children including a Willis. I have noticed some other Willis’ occasionally being recorded as being a William. But I have not evidence of this Willis being tied to your family.

      I am aware there are a very large number of Polson/Polston’s in Barren Country, Kentucky back in that era. One of them might be your line. I kept looking at them thinking maybe I came from there, but I did not. Its really tough to be patient that long with no real leads.

      In your instance you could search some of the non-census records on Ancestry and elsewhere trying to flesh out the 3 names you have (E.A. Polston, McCain/McLean/McLain, William Polston). You might be able to tie one of them to a church, to a Native American tribe, to being a veteran of some war, being granted land or a pension, probate records, etc and then be able to pickup another person or two in their family from which you could begin to extend your search. We use FamilySearch a lot but find some of the non-census records on Ancestry helpful at times.

      You can try the personal trees on Ancestry for tips, but should never believe anything you pickup there till you document it and are sure it is correct. But when you have not leads, we reach over there looking and sometimes find a good lead.

      As to my family back in Lincoln Co. TN I studied the names living in the area and began to notice several of those families also moved to the same region of Arkansas near the time of my family, and found some started a church together. That helped me get a toehold, plus some married into the Cherokees. My toehold helped me go sideways a bit, and kept me hanging on til I found the probate records.

      I suggest you look very closed at families living near yours at that time and see if you can track those families forward and backwards in time. They might lead you to you own folks you are having trouble finding.

      Good luck, sorry I did not have the instant answer to your question. Hopefully your journey will be shorter than mine, but just as rewarding.


  2. I’m related to a Asel Polson, who appears to be a free person of color/white on various censuses and written as half native Indian on the 1850 census, by a census taker. I often thought that MO Polsons and Tennessee Polsons were descendants of his. He was supposedly 115 in 1850 (I know a shocker) I can’t find anything on him other than his kids/grandkids lived in places like Benton MO. Obviously there is no tribal affiliation to go on, because his parents are unknown.

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