Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sarah Ann Hartley Denyer Foster (1836-?)

This is the second of a series of posts that I am putting together to hopefully get seen by those doing searches on their surnames.

Sarah Ann Hartley, was my second great grandmother, and I carry her mitochondrial DNA. According to most census forms, she was born approximately 1836 in either Mississippi or Arkansas, or Texas.

In 1850 there is an Eliza Hartley in Houston County, Texas, with two sons Samuel and William. In a different household in Houston there is a Sarah Hartley of appropriate age who might have been acting as a servant of some sort. There are no other Hartleys in the 1850 Texas census, but they might not have been in Texas yet.

In 1854 Sarah married Ebenezer Opham Denyer in Gonzales County. (G-d bless Gonzales County archivists who managed to keep a marriage certificate for over 150 years.).

In 1860 a Samuel Hartley is residing with Sarah and Ebenezer in Hays, Texas.

Sarah Hartley and Ebenzer Denyer had four children – two sons and two daughters. Mary Susan Denyer and Ezekiel Denyer both died as infants. Samuel William Denyer married Alice Gollihar, and Margaret McAlpin Monteroy Denyer married Melvin Elijah Van Every. Margaret Denyer and Melvin Van Every were my great-grandparents.

Ebenezer Denyer died in 1872. Sarah Hartley Denyer married George Foster in January of 1874. Sarah and George had three children: Eliza, George, and Sarah. (It could be a coincidence of given names, but their daughter Eliza, and Ebenezer’s son Samuel William, make me think that the 1850 Hartleys in Houston County, Texas may be the right ones.)

According to a Rootsweb Community post Eliza Caroline Foster was born in 1875, and she married a William T. Reeves in 1892. George William Foster was born in 1877, and died in 1957 according to his death certificate. The informant on his death certificate was Sarah Ann McCarty. According to her death certificate, she lived from 1887 to 1961. Her parents were George Foster and Sallie Unknown.

It's possible George Foster had a new wife, but I don't think so. I think the informant got the first name of the mother wrong. [See comments. Sally is a nickname for Sarah.] It would mean that Sarah Hartley, who according to the 1860-1880 censuses was born about 1836, would have been 51 years old when her last child was born. However, while unusual, that's not impossible. My Aunt Minnie wrote about her grandmother Sarah as someone she remembered, and Minnie was born in 1884. Sarah had to have lived at least until the early 1890s for Minnie to have her recollections.

I am in contact with some cousins who are also descended from Margaret McAlpin Denyer. Thanks to Texas birth and marriage records online, I've been able to trace the generations of Margaret's brother, Samuel, and I've written blind letters to a couple descendants, but with no response. Not everyone is interested in extended cousins.

I don't enjoy writing blind letters, but I'm going to write to some descendants of Eliza Foster as well, since several generations of her family remained in Texas. Sarah Ann Hartley claimed to be 1/8 Native American, but I have no details on her ancestry, and it's possible the children of her second marriage were better at passing down the information.

I'd also love to find descendants of any siblings of Sarah. Some possibilities in the censuses appear below.

Census Records

1850 Houston County, Texas

Household #1
Hardey Ware – age 71 - Unknown
Sarah Ware – age 56 - Georgia
Sarah Hartley – age 14 – Mississippi

Househould #2
Eliza Hartley – age 32 - Tennessee
Samuel Hartley – age 18 - Mississippi
William Hartley – age 6 – Texas
6 Wheelers – ages 0-36


Household #1
Hays, Texas
4 Lawlins – ages 1-33
E. Danner – age 32 - Louisiana
Sarah Danner – age 22 - Texas
Sam Hartley – age 26 - Texas

[I am relatively certain this is Sarah (Hartley) Denyer and Ebenezer Denyer. Ebenzer was born in Pennsylvania, but he traveled through Louisiana to get to Texas, and the Lawlins probably provided the information. I suspect Sam is a brother of Sarah.]

Household #2
Leon, Texas
William Hartley – 31 – Mississippi
Elizabeth Hartley – 26 – Mississippi
Jno Hartley – 4 - Texas
Albert Hartley – 1 - Texas
11 others age 3-46


Household #1
Hays, Texas
Samuel Hartley – age 30 – Arkansas
Margaret Hartley – age 22 – Louisiana
Children: Caroline, Virginia, Amelia
3 Rawls (age 11-42)
[I have found a Rawls genealogy online and it is the family of Samuel’s wife Margaret.]

Household #2
Hays, Texas
Sarah Denyer – age 30 – Arkansas
Ebenezer Denyer – age 43 – Pennsylvania
(Samuel) William Denyer – age 4 – Texas
(Margaret) McAlpin Denyer – age 2 – Texas
4 other Denyers age 10-18 (Children of Ebenezer’s deceased brother)


Hays, TX
Sarah Foster – age 44 – Arkansas
George Foster – age 40 – England
Samuel (William) Denyer – age 14 – Texas
Margaret (McAlpin) Denyer – age 13 - Texas
Eliza Foster – age 6


Terry Walters said...

I realize this is an old post, but I just recently got back into the search after 20+ years away. First, concerning Sarah McCarty's comment about her mother: Sally is a nickname for Sarah. Sarah McCarty was my wife's great-grandmother, and Sarah Hartley Denyer Foster is definitely her mother.
Sarah (Hartley)'s brother Samuel Tilman Hartley applied for recognition as members of the Mississippi Choctaw tribe in 1900. In it there is the transcript of an interview with him in which he gives a short overview of the family history from Mississippi to Texas. There is also a pedigree chart drawn by him, and one drawn by his sister, Sarah (Hartley) Foster. They name their father as George Hartley, and their mother as Eliza (Beasley) Hartley.
Eliza was dead by 1900, according to Samuel's testimony, and Sarah was, according to my late mother in law (her great grand-daughter).
If you take a second look at the 1850 census with Sarah, Eliza, et al, you'll see that it's not Houston, but Houston County, Texas -- nowhere near the same place. Houston County is in east Texas. According to someone who worked on Ebenezer Denyer's life (I'll have to look to find my source), when the War of Northern Aggression started, he took his wife, Sarah, "to her mother's eastern Texas home" for the duration.
It all adds up.
After Sarah Hartley/Denyer/Foster's death around 1898, her husband George moved to Mills County, Texas, where he lived the rest of his life. He is buried in Zephyr Cemetery,in neighboring Brown County, Texas.
I'm currently looking for George Hartley, Eliza Beasley Hartley, and Sarah Hartley Denyer Foster's dates of death and (hopefully) their graves.
Happy Hunting!

John said...


Thanks for the information! I have updated the entry to indicate that it is Houston County.

I think the book you mention referencing Sarah's mother's Eastern Texas home is Reverend AJ Fretz's genealogy. An excerpt is transcribed here:

Do the Dawes transcripts specifically state that the pedigree charts were drawn by Samuel and Sarah Hartley? I saw the charts, but don't recall the identification of the sources. Do you know who the Ann Fisher is that is mentioned as a possible wife of George Hartley?