Cherokee County, Texas
I was born on a cold day in August 1940 in the small community of Elkhart, Anderson County, Texas the sixth and last offspring of William Amburs and Margureitte Lavada Ursprung Vaughn. My siblings included: Charles William "Billy", Homer Ray, Henry Doyle, Harry Dorris, and Bonita Lavern "Bonnie". There is an eight year span between Bonnie and I and since she was the only little girl until I came along, you can imagine her resentment of my intrusion. In fact, from an early age she tried to convince me that I was adopted and being the nosy kid I was, I spent much of my time prowling through Daddy's files trying to see if she was fibbing. Dad was a veteran of WWI and among those papers was a paper from the government with my name on it and it referred to an act adopted way back there. To me that proved Bonnie was telling the truth ... about fifteen years ago she finally admitted that we had the same bloodline.
My first brush with my family tree came when I was about six years of age and my grandmother Massey Rachel Ursprung was living with us there in Elkhart and she would sit on the front porch and tell me," My mother's name was Martha Jane Nelson, my daddy's name was George Washington Hall, I was born in Bayminette, Alabama and I married in Mobile Alabama and you are a descendant of Pocahantas. I've found one discrepancy. Grandma's marriage license says M.M. Hall. The census rolls mention a Mercy daughter that would fit her age at the time, and finally when I received a copy of the Hall family Bible records.. she is Massey Mercy. She gave herself the name Rachel. How I wish I could turn back time and ask her so many of the questions that I've not been able to learn through my research.
My next touch with family research came the summer of my Freshman year at Elkhart High School. We had summer activities and my home economics teacher, Mrs. Flora Mae Miller gave the class a project of a research paper on our family trees. At that time I only knew to interview the older members of my family so Daddy took me over to Rusk on the blue Cherokee Bus to my Uncle Austin's house so I could interview Granny, Nancy Ann Dean Vaughn. Uncle Austin had already been dabbling in genealogy and he was a boon to my research. He gave me lots of information which through the years and with our modern day technology I have been able to prove him correct on much of it but just recently a cousin out in Utah proved what I had suspected. There is another generation between James Vaughn the immigrant and Samuel Vaughn my great grandfather. I know that Nancy Ann Dean Vaughn was 1/8 Cherokee Indian. I'd like to prove that.
I never knew either of my grandfathers. Grandad Karl "Charly" Ursprung was a stowaway on a ship from Germany back in the 1850s He died in a vehicle accident down at Grapeland, TX and Grandad Austin McClelahan Vaughn died in Rusk, TX both were deceased long before I was born.
My next touch with genealogy came in 1965 when my son, Lance Vaughn Taylor was a patient at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. Because I was having to spend so much time there, my husband, Jerry, would go down to the Clayton Library and search and bring it to me to organize. Through this and a cousin who I learned was into genealogy, I was able to make some headway. Wendell graciously shared her data with me.
In 1975 I was contacted by Mary Marsh here in Jacksonville. She invited me to attend a meeting at the Jacksonville Building and Loan where a group was hoping to establish a genealogical society. I went to the meeting and this became my first solid step into the world of family research. Not only did I find people who could help me, but I made many friends. I have served at different times as editor of what was a monthly newsletter, which I named, "Tree Talk" and in this position I designed our C.C.G.S logo. As our membership began to grow we needed a way to acquire a copy machine and Helen Crawford, Theo Rasco and I hit upon the idea of transcribing the Cherokee County Federal Census into printed form for sale. Theo chose the 1860, Helen took the 1870, and I picked the 1880 and later the 1850. Theo was lucky, a Mildred Smith from Dallas donated a rough, handwritten copy of the 1860 and Helen and I read it and made corrections from our prospective of what we read from the census roll. I must say that Ogretta Huttash's marriage record books helped quite a lot when we couldn't decipher a name clearly. Later, Bobbie Dowling and I made a trip down to Sardis and borrowed the old Sardis Church Ledger which I took it upon myself to transcribe. It was very faded so I made a copy of it and hand traced each word by referring to the original to make it legible for reprint. I will confess though that the cover page is only half as was on the ledger. The original only mentioned Edgefield District, South Carolina. I added the Cherokee County, Texas info on the front cover..if you look closely you will see the difference.
With the coming of personal computers I have made contact with friends and my extended family all over the United States. I continue my research via e-mail and the many genealogy sites on the Internet. I enjoy helping others with their research and am notorious for furnishing family sheets and ancestor charts to get others involved in this hobby.
I have enjoyed 27 years of membership in CCGS and look forward to many more.
By Sandra Sue Vaughn Taylor