Memorandum of my family
Dates were given to me many years ago, by my father.
Other items were dug up by research. . .
Written by Antoinette M. Goodnight March 17, 1959
(You may click on the photo's to see them enlarged, loads very slow)
My father, Elisha Jefferson Melton, was born Nov. 16, 1830, in Tennessee, and died Sept. 29, 1920, of old age and some prostrate gland trouble. He lacked only 45 days of being 90 years of age when he died. His mind was young and active up to his last day. Both of my parents were buried in Marionville (Lawrence County) Missouri cemetery.
My father's second wife was Winifred Butler. She died of tuberculosis nine or ten years before Father's death. She also is buried in the family plot with Father and Mother at Marionville. Father's people of Early English came over from England and settled in one of the "Colonies" . . . North Carolina. Later the family moved to Sugar Tree Knob, Woodbury, Tennessee, where my father was born in 1830. His father's name was Austin Melton and his mother's name was Ailcy Haley Melton. His grandfather's name was Jonathan Melton, who fought in the Revolutionary War, and died in the service at "Valley Forge".
When Father was five years of age, the family moved to Polk County, Mo., and lived there only one year. They then moved to Barry County, Mo. in 1836. This county became Stone County afterwards when organized in 1851. My grandfather (Austin Melton) was the first Treasurer of Stone County. My father told me that his father kept all of the tax money in a hollow-gourd, setting upon a shelf in their living room, in plain view of everybody, but not a penny was ever taken from it. Once per year my grandfather would mount his mule and ride to Jefferson City, Mo., taking the tax money to the Capitol. It was a long, hard trip and over unsettled country. He lived to be 88 years of age, and died of senile debility.
Grandmother Ailcy died in their home near Galena, Mo., and I believe was buried in the old Railey Creek Cemetery in Missouri. She was born May 15, 1807 and died at the age of 51 of dyspepsia. My grandfather (Austin) married the second time to a lady named "Polly" (I do not know her last name), but I believe they were married near Lebanon, Mo., where my grandfather had bought a farm. She had a son by a first marriage who lived with them and worked Grandfather's farm to make their living.
After Grandfather died, my father and his brothers deeded the farm to Polly, so she would have a living from it. I remember of Father's attending Grandfather's funeral and taking care of all expenses, etc. He was buried near Lebanon, Mo. This was the farm Grandfather had bought near Lebanon, where he moved to, after leaving Stone County, near Galena. l visited there one time when I was a small child. Father, Mother and we three youngest girls drove up and stayed a day and a night. It was the only time I ever saw my grandfather, and I remember my father gave him a lot of money which he put in his pockets and seemed very proud of the gift. Polly had yards and yards of beautiful knitted crocheted (I don't know which) lace a foot wide and yards of it was festooned from post to post on her high-post bedstead, and it also was draped on the wall.
Later we stopped at Springfield to say Hello to Aunt Emmalyn. She was asking all about Grandfather, and I told her of the lovely lace that I noticed, and she said most emphatically: "That is my Mother's lace . . . she made it! I had always heard that Grandmother Ailcy was a very progressive and efficient person, and a very hard worker. I heard by father once say she was a little body, but controlled her house full of boys with a very firm hand . . . and when she told them to do anything, they always did it.
In England, the Meltons made pottery (or china) and were also good weavers of cloth. I feel sure that is where the "Melton cloth" and "Melton china" got there names. Both are still made in England and no doubt are our ancestors from away back. Nellie Henson Bright used to have a pretty china dinner plate, which was stamped on back: "Melton" china. She showed it to me once, but I never asked her where she found it. It could have come out of Grandfather's home. Perhaps Rufe Scott has it now, or it perhaps was given to Lillian. I hope it is not lost, for it is a rare antique and valuable to our family. Grandfather Austin immigrated from Tennessee to the territory of Missouri and homesteaded 100 acres of government land, where he raised his family. It was located one mile south of Galena (Stone County) Missouri, and was afterwards known as "the old Seaman place." It is owned now by Rufe Scott of Galena. He was Fauni Henson's (my niece) husband. My father always had a warm spot in his heart for Stone County (where he was raised). He loaned or gave, (I do not know which) money to the County to build their first Court House. It was a large square stone building, and stood for many years. I cannot say whether he gave or loaned the money to Stone County, but the chances are he gave it to them, as he was a generous man, and he accumulated quite a nice fortune in his time.
He built the first big brick building in Marionville. He rented it to the bank, reserving the second floor for offices, and where he had his own office. All of Father's family had a good education. They always attended when schools were available, setting on home-made benches and using the old blueback spellers, but they picked up education from experience and observation, and my father loved to read and read about everything he could get to read. My father carved his name and date in the old Gentry Cave, near Galena, Mo., when a boy, and his grandson (John Henson) found the carving many years afterwards. Father remembered the day very clearly. His father had sent him out to find a certain kind of stone to use to build a new chimney, and boy-like, he took an exploring trip into the cave. The cave may now be known by another name, as that was so long ago. That was still the name of it when I was growing up, and I visited this cave once with Allie and Pearl McDowell and Fauni Henson.
All of my father's and mother's family were born at Flat Creek, Mo. Father owned a farm there, shops and other buildings. I can remember the apple orchard, although I left there when five years of age. I also remember of crossing Flat Creek on a log and fell in and my brother John (my big brother) pulled me out.
When Father was young, he ran for Sheriff on the Democratic ticket, against his own father-in-law (Wm. Overstreet) on the Republican ticket, and my father was defeated by only ONE vote!!
My Father and Mother
Elisha Jefferson Melton and Susan Overstreet were married July 17, 1856. Father was 26 years old and Mother 19 years of age. She chose a beautiful shade tree close to her home, under which to be married, (No wonder I love nature). It was a bit unusual for that day and time. Mother was born Oct. 12, 1839. She was born in Illinois and her parents moved to Missouri when she was a small child. She died March 4, 1893, at the age of 54. 1 saw her die and I feel sure it was a stroke. (Since I have had three, I know a little about a stroke) but her doctor (Dr. Means) could not tell whether it was a stroke or a heart attack that caused her death.
Her father's name was William Henry Harrison Overstreet and her mother's name was Mary Anne Carney. Mary Ann had three or four brothers, (Calvin, John and Absolum - I do not know any more names. They were farmers and cattlemen and they owned slaves in slavery time. I think they fought on the Southern or Confederate side during the Civil War. Grandfather Overstreet had five daughters and three sons. The sons' names were Will, Silas and Churchill. The daughters' names were Lucretia Henson, Susan Melton, Martha Lester, Priscilla Lester, Mary McNeil and Lyda Fisk. Martha and Priscilla married brothers (Joe and Samuel). I knew most of my aunts and uncles very well. Churchill and family spent a lot of time in our home between moves from place to place, and Aunt Martha, Priscilla and Lyda visited us often. Aunt Martha was so small and a good sweet soul, and being so small she was nicknamed "Teany". So we all called her "Aunt Teant." Priscilla had five children-(Alice, John, Lucretia, Westley and Lloyd). Lloyd was the baby and died from burns he received when he fell into their fireplace, when a big fire was going. He was only four or five years old. When she was a girl. Priscilla was engaged to marry Samuel Lester, but her father objected to the marriage. She was all dressed and ready to be married and Samuel rode up on his horse for her. She climbed up on the horse behind him, and away they galloped, and Grandfather never knew about the elopement until after the wedding.
After my father moved to Marionville from Flat Creek, he bought 40 acres of improved land just out of the town of Marionville, and within walking distance of town, schools and churches. The place was set .out in all kinds of fruits and flowers and some land was left for meadow. He opened his office in town, and was a Notary Public, Claim Attorney, Pension Agent and War Witness, with his own State Seal in many valuable documents . . . . but he made most of his money bidding on mail contracts to the Government and sub-letting the contracts. This was from all over the United States. After a contract was let to the bidder, he was always interested in each route, and he saw that a reliable person carried the mail legitimately. It did require close watching and many letters to be written about it.
Our house was built of brick, and the former owner had his slaves burn the brick for the house, while they were still in slavery. Father improved the house in many ways. He built on a kitchen, dining room, halls and a bedroom in the rear for an old Negro servant (Carrie Carter) who did not know how old she was, but remembered that she was a little girl slave. She stayed in the family until after we three youngest girls were married. In my memory, it was indeed a real "Home, Sweet Home" and with an abundance of everything.
My father's brothers and sisters were as follows:
Joe D. Melton.- Born ? ? ?
Elizabeth: Born June 1, 1824.
Mary Catherine: Born October 7, 1826.
John Edward: Born Sept. 11, 1828.
Elisha Jefferson: Born Nov. 16, 1830.
George: Born Feb. 25, 1833.
James Ansel: Born May 15, 1838.
Martha J.: Born 1840.
William Thomas: Born June 12, 1848.
Wm. Thomas died in infancy. I never knew all of my Father's brothers and sisters, but did know Uncle James and Uncle Joe; also Aunt Catherine and Aunt Emmaline. So will write what I remember about them. Aunt Catherine married John Dennis and I believe they had two girls (Alice and Nancy). Aunt Emmaline married Colonel John Moore. He got his rank of Colonel in the Civil War. He fought on the Union side. They had four children (Will, Eldon, Kate and Homer). Eldon worked for a railroad out of Springfield and was killed in a wreck. Eldon left a wife and one daughter. Will married and he had two or three little ones when I last saw them years ago. Kate was a teacher, married, but did not have a family. Homer was a doctor in Springfield the last I heard. He married and had one son. His wife was named Ruby. Aunt Emmaline was a very dressy old lady. She sewed well before she had a stroke.
I never saw her when she was not fully dressed, most times in black taffeta, with trim and fluted ruffles, and usually a lace collar, or perhaps a piece of lace on her head. She dipped snuff, but was very neat and particular about it. She said she took it up when a young lady, as it was a fad then, just like it is now for girls to smoke cigarettes. She had a stroke once which handicapped her some, but she lived a long while after that and finally died of pneumonia. She took a young orphan girl named "May" to raise and made her as one of the family. She never married, but stayed with my aunt as long as she lived, then I believe she made her home with Dr. Holmes.
Ansel Melton's father (Jonathan) fought in the American Revolution against England. He enlisted in the First Regiment in North Carolina April 16, 1776, and he became sick at "Valley Forge", where he died. As he never returned to his family, word did reach them indirectly that he died of smallpox, which in those days was always fatal. His rank is not shown, but he was in Capt. Griffin McReece Co., First North Carolina Regiment, commanded by Col. Thomas Clark. He died Aug. 25, 1778. This information came to me in answer to my letter of inquiry from Edward Wetzel, Adjutant General of Washington, D. C., from old army records in the office of National Archives, and his death, enlistment, etc. coincided with what my father told me. I knew he was the ancestor I was hunting for. I sent a photostatic copy of his record to C. L. Henson quite some time ago, and he said before he had read it clear through he felt this was the man whom we had all wanted to know about.
I began this research about 10 years ago, then had a stroke (my first one) and that was in July, 1950. So my papers were put away until I was able to take them up again. I hired a research worker of Salisbury, North Carolina to try to find dates for me and names of Jonathan's children. It was hard for him as so many old records (state and county) were destroyed by fires years ago. The agent here told me I'd have a hard time getting information, as so many old records were burned, and most all women that try to get information cannot do so any more. However, he has found a lot of Melton names in Moon County, North Carolina.
The census and records were destroyed, but she just happened to try "Old Court Records" that were being reprinted. They had served on jury duty and one had sold 100 acres of land and had it recorded. There were two "Ansells", Sr. and Jr. Mary married a Mr. Glascock and they had a son named John Melton Glascock, and my research worker found definitely that Mr. Glascock was related to George Washington. Mary definitely must be Jonathan's daughter. I put in my application here for membership in the D.A.R., for I want that heritage to leave to Antoinette. I was accepted here in the local Chapter, but when the general assembly met in Washington and voted in new members they said I did not have enough dates and should get the names of Jonathan's children. I feel sure one was John, one was Mary and one Ansel. So I will assemble all that I can and try again this spring. The two members here who signed my petition say that I have a lot more data than they ever did have on their application, but now the general associates have gotten so much more particular.
Ansell Melton lived to be almost 100 years of age. His wife lived to be 104.
My father, E. J. Melton, enlisted in Company B, of the 6th Missouri Volunteers Cavalry, where he served three years, fighting on the northern (or Union) side. His children are as follows:
Ailcy Anne McDowell, born April 26,1857.
James Byron, born Oc. 18, 1858; died in infancy.
Sarah Frances Henson, born Oct. 30, 1860.
Mary Emmaline, born April 15,1863.
Clara Taylor, born March 22, 1865.
Julia Marie Kerr, born Dec. 31, 1866.
Martha Catherine, born Nov. 29, 1867; died in infancy
Cora Ella Chastain, born Oct. 1, 1870.
John Elisha, born Nov. 24, 1872.
George Henry, born Dec. 31, 1874.
Olive Priscilla, born Nov. 16. 1876.
Susan Antoinette, born Aug. 22, 1879.
Faye, born June 23, 1881; died in infancy.
Myrtle Bell Martin, born Oct. 12, 1882.
Corrections by Grandaughter: Antoinette Melton (Morris) Pedersen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This story was written by my Grandmother, Susan Antoinette (Melton) (Morris) Goodnight back in March of 1959. My grandmother was the daughter of Elisha Jefferson Melton and Susan Overstreet Melton. She married my grandfather, John Bradford Morris*, and they moved to Springfield, Missouri. After the birth of my father, Robert Wayne Morris, the family moved to Denver, Colorado, where my grandparents divorced a few years later. To support herself and her son, my grandmother took a job teaching on the Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico. She married my step-grandfather, Christopher Marion Goodnight, and they moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where they lived out their lives.
* My grandfather, John Bradford Morris, was the fourth child of William Morris and Mary Bradford, Webster County, Missouri. His mother died at his birth and he was raised by his maternal grandmother, Nancy Bird (Bradford)( Lambeth) Morris, a widow, who married her daughter's father in law, James Morris, and also became her grandson's step paternal grandmother! His uncle, William Bradford, was a long time resident of Marionville, Missouri.
There are several mistakes that my grandmother made due to lack of information available to genealogists back in the fifties as well as her zeal to prove her DAR membership.
On page one, second paragraph, she indicates that her grandfather, Austin Melton, was the "grandson of Jonathan Melton, who fought in the Revolutionary War and died in the service at "Valley Forge". Austin Melton, the son of Ansel Melton and Mary Huffman, was probably the grandson of Ansel Melton ( or possibly Archelous Melton), sons of Robert Melton. My grandmother had been told that Austin's father had fought in the Revolutionary War. There are no records of Ansel Melton being a soldier. As we know, this does not mean that he did not serve his country as the family stories indicate, but that there simply were no records that remained in existance to confirm his service. When my grandmother received the data that a "Jonathan Melton" had served, she made a quantum leap of faith that Jonathan Melton was the father of Ansel and this would prove her membership in the DAR. This is simply not the case . All records indicate that Ansel was the son of Ansel son of Robert. (Orange County, North Carolina) Shirley Anne Bumpus provides an interesting arguement for Archelous Melton being the father of Ansel in her book, Cannon County Cousins. On the last page, my grandmother indicates that our Meltons may come from "Moon County, North Carolina". Our ancestors came from Orange County, North Carolina.
Additionally, my grandmother said that Elisha Melton served in Company B, of the 6th Missouri Volunteers. I have copies of his service records and those show he served in "D" and "K" Companies. I don't know if this is an error on my Grandmother's part, or if all of these companies were one and the same units. Hope you enjoy this delightful family story.
© 1996, 1997 Jo Dunne