Hang on, we are about to take a road trip. We are heading north where you will find the Upshaw family in places like Spearsville, Camp Creek, Lockhart, Truxno and Tiger Bend. This is also where the Canaan part of our name comes from, Canaan Baptist Church.
After dealing with all those Webbs, Butlers and Coplens in my Mama’s family I thought Daddy’s family would be easy. And it was for a few generations. Then I ran into Richard Upshaw. Even then I was thinking it wouldn’t be a problem. How hard could it be? It is a straight line to Leroy Upshaw according to the Daughters of the American Revolution. Well, as it turns out, the Daughters are not always as thorough as you would think.
I was talking to Dr. Tim Hudson, who is a distant relative and has researched Union Parish and the Upshaw family for many years. He misunderstood what I had said about being in the DAR and asked how I had proven the line. He explained that he wasn’t aware it had been proven who William Elisha’s father was. Now, that set me back. I am in the DAR through the Tabor line and thought I was ready to add the Upshaw line. I had all my documents and pictures ready to go. All I had to do was prove my great-grandfather, Ira Franklin Upshaw, was a brother to Edmund and James Milton and send in my $75. Tim busted that bubble in two short sentences. I tend to listen to people who can put a Dr. in front of their name and there was that pesky little thing of all that research. If he was questioning the line I had to pay attention.
The DAR and 99% of the people on Ancestry.com have the following line:
Richard Upshaw, Sr.
William Elisha Upshaw
Ira Franklin Upshaw
Richard Upshaw, Sr. was married to Mary Parham in about 1803. Records state that William Elisha was the son of Rebecca Elder. This is where it gets complicated. Richard, Sr. had a son named Richard. One of the two married Rebecca Elder supposedly on 27 Feb 1820. Mary gave birth to a daughter in 1820. It is thought she died in child-birth and he married Rebecca. Richard Sr. would have been 40 at the time. However, it is believed Mary died in 1840. This leads one to believe Rebecca was married to Richard, Jr.
I have not found any proof of Richard, Jr.’s date of birth. Everything I see has him born in 1804 which would be reasonable if Richard, Sr. and Mary did indeed marry in 1803. That would make him about the same age as Rebecca and the right age to be the father of her children. However, using these dates he would have been 16 when they married. That is not unusual for a woman but it is for a man. It is not impossible but unusual. And too, I have they did not start having children until around 1824. That would also be unusual. Then again, I may not have all the children.
This is what I have:
Richard Upshaw, Sr. and Mary Parham
Richard, Jr. 1804
Richard Upshaw, Jr. and Rebecca Elder
Sarah Ann 1824
Alexander Wilson 1825
William Elisha, Sr. 28 Feb 1833
Jonathan W. 1840
I could send in my documentation linking Ira Franklin to his brothers and be done with it. But would I really be done with it? I would always know something was wrong. Other people will look at that line trusting the DAR and go with it. The information would not be correct. And I would always feel guilty. At the same time you have to realistic. Somewhere down the line someone will see that the dates just don’t work and blow the whistle. I prefer to listen to whistles from afar.
I am disappointed for another reason. I had my heart set on having a line from my Mama and my Daddy both. The Upshaw line was also important for a couple of other reasons, my brother and nephew. I so wanted them to go into the SAR under the Upshaw name. They would have been the 8th and 9th generation with the Upshaw name. None of this means I have given up. Somewhere out there, I will find a document or a person who will prove it one way or another. Isn’t that what it is all about, looking for the answers and the excitement when you find them?
As always, this is up for discussion. Additions and corrections with backup are welcome.