Christopher Columbus “Lum” Steakley (1829-1887)

18 April 2013

Christopher Columbus “Lum” Steakley, the youngest child of Christian Stickley/Christopher Steakley and Mary Isabell Creeley was born in 1829 in White County, Tennessee.  He appears in the 1850 (in his father’s household), 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses for Van Buren County, Tennessee.  Sometime in the mid 1850’s, he married Phoebe Rainey (b. abt. 1837) in Van Buren County.


William T. Steakley (1821-after 1900)

18 April 2013

William T. Steakley, the seventh child of Christian Stickley/Christopher Steakley and Mary Isabell Creeley, was born in October 1821 in White County, Tennessee.  On October 5, 1843, William married Delphia Adeline Johnson (b. August 1828) in Van Buren County, Tennessee.  William appears in the 1850 census for Van Buren County and the 1860, 1880 and 1900 censuses for Jackson County, Tennessee.  As of the date of this post, he has not yet been located in the 1870 census.

William and Delphia had the following children:

As of the date of this post, I have not found any record of William or Delphia after the 1900 census.

1850 Census (Van Buren County)

Wiley Lonus Steakley (1803-1857)

18 April 2013

Wiley Lonus Steakley, eldest child of Christian Stickley/Christopher Steakley and Mary Isabel Creeley, was born December 3, 1803 in Tennessee (most likely in Knox County).  While still a child, Wiley moved west with his family to White County in central Tennessee.  On his 26th birthday (Dec. 3, 1829) he married Priscilla Lewis (b. August 26, 1809), daughter of William Lewis II and Priscilla Doyle, in White County.  Wiley appears in the 1830 and 1840 censuses of White County, Tennessee and the 1850 census for Van Buren County, Tennessee.


Christian Stickley/Christopher Steakley (1777-circa 1858)

24 March 2013

For many Steakley family researchers (including myself for a period of time), the initial brick wall in the research trail is/was Christopher Steakley (b. 1777).  The reason for the brick wall was that sometime in the early 1800′s, this man appears in all public records as “Christopher Steakley,” but prior to the 1820′s, there is no record of Christopher Steakley.  Multiple researchers of this family concur that Christopher Steakley is the same “Christian Stickley” that appears in various records in Virginia and east Tennessee in the late 1700′s and early 1800′s.

Christian Stickley/Christopher Steakley was the son of Daniel Stickley (Sep. 10, 1743 – Sep. 1797) and Sybilla Dellinger (1753-1815).  He was born in Shenandoah County, Virginia on March 1, 1777.  On April 7, 1787, Christian/Christopher was baptized in the Lutheran faith at the “Old Pine” Lutheran Church, along with all of his siblings.

According to family lore, Daniel and Sybilla Stickley moved their family from the Shenandoah Valley to the New River Valley in Southwest Virginia in the late 1780′s before settling in Knox County, Tennessee in 1792.  During the October 1797 term of the Knox County court, the last will and testament of Daniel Stickley was probated and Christian/Christopher was appointed co-executor of his father’s estate, along with Henry Lonas, as the other co-executor.


Online Arkansas Death Records

3 December 2012
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The Arkansas Department of Health now offers online searching of Arkansas death certificates that were issued between 1935 and 1961.  While the death certificate will still need to be ordered ($10.00) to obtain all of the decedent’s information, the online results will show the date of death, county of death and the name of the decedent’s mother.  The search form is available here:



Geneva Steakley McDaniel (1919 – 2012)

26 October 2012

Geneva McDaniel 


June 5, 1919 - October 25, 2012

Geneva Steakley McDaniel, a resident of West Memphis for more than 60 years, passed away on Thursday, October 25, 2012, in Little Rock. She had resided in Little Rock for the past two and a half years.

Mrs. McDaniel worked in retail sales for many years, primarily at McAuley’s and Hallum’s ladies’ clothing stores.  She was an active member of First Assembly of God Church since 1952, having served in many volunteer capacities.  She leaves her daughter, Julianne M. Stalls, Baton Rouge, LA; sons Charles D. McDaniel, Little Rock, AR, and Dr. J. Stephen McDaniel, Atlanta, GA; grandchildren Amy S. Linton, Darrow, LA, Holly M. Wheeler, Fayetteville, AR, and David McDaniel, Kyle McDaniel and Allison McDaniel, Little Rock, AR; and great-grandchildren, Kathryn Linton, Eleanor McDaniel and Ross Wheeler. She is also survived by two sisters, Junette S. Gist, Creve Coeur, MO; and Jeraldean S. Bragg, Nesbit, MS, and six nieces and nephews. She also leaves her daughter-in-law and sons-in-law, Diane L. McDaniel, James E. Stalls, Jr. and David Purcell.  Mrs. McDaniel was preceded in death by her husband of 38 years, Charles Woodrow McDaniel; her parents Frank and Mamie Steakley; sisters Jewell Steakley, Jessie Steakley and Joda S. Strickland; brother Ralph Steakley and infant brother Randolph Steakley.  Visitation will be held Friday, October 26, 2012 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at Roller-Citizens Funeral Home. Funeral is scheduled for Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 11:00AM at the funeral home, followed by burial at Crittenden Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First Assembly of God Church.


Siege of Fort Henry

30 July 2010


The 29th Illinois Infantry left Paducah, Kentucky on February 3, 1862 as part of the invasion force that would capture Fort Henry, a Confederate fort sitting on the eastern bank of the Tennessee River, just south of the Kentucky border.  The 29th, along with the 8th Illinois Infantry; 18th Illinois Infantry; 29th Illinois Infantry; 30th Illinois Infantry; 31st Illinois Infantry; Stewart’s, Dollins’s, O’Harnett’s, and Carmichael’s cavalry companies; and Schwartz’s and Dresser’s batteries, composed the First Brigade (commanded by Col. Richard J. Oglesby) of the First Division (commanded by Brig. Gen. John A. McClernand) of the army which would eventually be known as the Army of the Tennessee.  The soldiers of the First Division were aboard transport ships headed up (southbound) the Tennessee River and were accompanied by the Essex and St. Louis ironclad gunboats.

Union Invasion Routes

Fort Henry was constructed in 1861 on the eastern bank of the Tennessee River.  It was a five-sided structure that comprised ten acres of real estate.  The site for the fort was scouted by Brig. Gen. Daniel S. Donelson and was named in honor of Tennessee Senator (C.S.A.) Gustavus Adolphus Henry, Sr.  The location of the fort provided for a two mile field of fire downriver.  This was, however, the only benefit to the location.  The fort was situated on low-lying swampy ground that was prone to flooding and was overshadowed by high-reaching bluffs across the river on the west bank.  To secure the bluffs overlooking Fort Henry, the rebels constructed an earthen fort on the west bank, named Fort Heiman.  Prior to the siege of Fort Henry, rebel soldiers numbering 1,885 and 1,100 manned the fortifications at Fort Henry and Fort Heiman, respectively, with Col. Heiman in command of all troops.  The defenses of Fort Henry consisted of 20 foot masonry walls, 20 feet thick at their base and tapering up to 10 feet thick at their crest.  Seventeen guns defended the fort:  one (1) 10-inch Columbiad, one (1) 24-pounder rifled cannon, and fifteen (15) 32-pounder smoothbore cannons.  Eleven of these were gazed upon the river, while the remaining six were facing inland to protect against an overland assault. In addition to the large guns, the rebels had sunk torpedoes (mines) in the river channel to protect against the invading gunboats.   The garrison of Forts Henry and Heiman were armed with old flintlock rifles that had been in action since the War of 1812.


William Robert Lancaster

11 July 2010

William Robert Lancaster was born March 15, 1840 in West Springs, Union County, South Carolina, the oldest child of William and Cassandra West Lancaster.  His great-grandfather, Benjamin West, was a revolutionary war soldier and a victim of the brutality of Patrick Ferguson’s Loyalist Raiders.  In 1854, William Lancaster Sr. moved his family from South Carolina to Pickens County, Alabama.  On August 1, 1862, William Robert Lancaster married Catherine Sanders, daughter of James and Sarah Stewart Sanders in Pickens County, Alabama.

On April 16, 1862, the C.S.A. government passed the Conscription Act, pursuant to which able-bodied men in the southern states were subject to conscription into the confederate army.  William Robert Lancaster was drafted into the Confederate army and traveled to Mobile, where he was enrolled in Company G, 40th Alabama Infantry on October 1, 1862.  He remained in Mobile until December 1862, training and receiving drill instruction.  In December, the 40th Alabama moved to Vicksburg to assist in the defense of that city.  Upon arrival in Vicksburg, the 40th Alabama was brigaded with the 37th Alabama, 42nd Alabama, and 2nd Texas, under the command of Brigadier General John Creed Moore.  William Robert was detached from his company and served as a wagoner for the battalion.  Company G of the 40th Alabama served in the garrison of Vicksburg during the siege of that city.  When Lt. General John C. Pemberton surrendered Vicksburg to the army of U.S. Grant on Independence Day 1863, the men of the 40th Alabama, including Lancaster were captured.  Lancaster was paroled on July 9, 1863 after signing an oath stating that he would not take up arms against the United States.  Confederate service records list his status as absent without leave following his parole.  It is possible that he honored his oath and returned home to Pickens County to rejoin his wife.

W.R. Lancaster Service Records

Records on the Alabama Civil War Service Database, however, indicate that Lancaster rejoined his regiment, serving thereafter  in Company B (known as the “Pickens Planters”), after his parole and fought until the conclusion of the war.  Also serving in the Pickens Planters company were a Joseph Lancaster and Eli J. Lancaster, likely relatives of William Robert Lancaster, and John William Sanders, William Robert Lancaster’s brother-in-law.  If Lancaster served in Company B following his parole, he likely saw action at Mission Ridge, Lookout Mountain, the Atlanta campaign, Mobile and in North Carolina.  The authority for this information comes from a personal statement from Lancaster in a 1907 tax assessment and from the 1921 census of Alabama confederate veterans.  In the 1921 census, Lancaster states that he was wounded during the war.  Notwithstanding the lack of service records backing up his claim, it is highly likely that Lancaster was telling the truth and served for the duration of the war.  Circumstantial evidence supporting this claim is that Catherine Sanders did not have any children during the period beginning when her husband left for war and ending upon termination of the war.  Robert Lee Lancaster, his eldest son, was born in April 1866.  This supports the notion that Lancaster was away for the duration of the war.

At any rate, William Robert Lancaster survived the war and returned home to Pickens County, Alabama, where he lived until his late 80′s.  He died on October 14, 1928.  He and Catherine had nine children:  Mary Francis, Robert Lee, James Lonnie, William Thomas, John Henry, Sallie C., James Ambus, Lona R. and E.P.

W.R. Lancaster Family Group Sheet

Charlus Letzig (1925 – 2010)

21 April 2010
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Charlus H. Letzig, 85, of Little Rock, passed away Friday, April 16, 2010. She was born in Memphis, Tennessee on April 3, 1925 to Charles Edward Henderson and Emma Ackerman Henderson. She grew up in El Dorado, AR, where she attended Holy Redeemer School and graduated from Mount St Mary’s in Little Rock. Following graduation, she trained as a surgery nurse at St. Edward’s Hospital in Fort Smith. She moved back to Little Rock and was employed as a registered nurse. Charlus went to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis and trained in surgery, after completing her training she then returned to Little Rock where she was a registered nurse. She loved to play bridge, have lunch with friends and she loved to smock while working at the Stitchin Post She was a member of the Cathedral of St. Andrews Catholic Church. She was a Lady of the Grand Cross in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

She is survived by her husband, Frank Letzig; daughters, Susan Roehrenbeck (Bill), Diane McDaniel (Chuck), son, Charles Letzig (Lynda) of Little Rock, AR; grandchildren, Billy Roehrenbeck (Anna Kaye) of Little Rock, Brad Roehrenbeck (Allison) of Winston-Salem, SC, Ryan Roehrenbeck (Kecia) of Little Rock, Scott Roehrenbeck (Katie) of Little Rock, Keith Roehrenbeck of Little Rock, Holly McDaniel of Fayetteville, David McDaniel (Vanessa) of Kansas City, MO, Kyle McDaniel of Little Rock, Allison McDaniel of Little Rock, Jessica Letzig of Little Rock, Cara Wilkerson (Eric) of Little Rock and Will Letzig of Little Rock; great-grandson , William Daniel Roehrenbeck of Winston-Salem, NC.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:30 a.m. at The Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock by Rev. Matthew Garrison, followed by burial in Roselawn Memorial Park. The Rosary will be held Monday evening at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Little Rock Funeral Home, preceded by visitation beginning at 6:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Cathedral of St. Andrews Building Fund, 617 S. Louisiana St, Little Rock, AR 72201 or the Monsignor Hebert Endowment Fund at Christ the King School, 4002 N. Rodney Parham Rd, Little Rock, AR 72212. Special thanks to the Staff at Arkansas Hospice for the wonderful care given to Charlus.

Arrangements by Little Rock Funeral Home, 8801 Knoedl Ct., Little Rock, (501)224-2200. Mrs. Letzig’s online guestbook may be signed at

Jimmie McDaniel

30 March 2010
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I learned yesterday that my paternal grandfather’s first cousin, Jimmie McDaniel, passed away on Monday March 29th. Jimmie was a veteran of World War II. Serving as a paratrooper, he was present at Bastogne and other notable battles on the European continent. After the war he settled in San Angelo, Texas were he enjoyed a career as a fireman. A copy of his obituary is provided below.

SAN ANGELO Jimmie McDaniel, 84 years old, of San Angelo, died peacefully in his sleep on Monday, March 29, 2010. Memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 31, 2010, in Johnson’s Funeral Home chapel. The Rev. Charles Greenwell will be officiating. Inurnment will be in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas, at a later time. Arrangements are by Johnson’s Funeral Home. Jimmie is survived by his only daughter, Marcel Beck of Troy, Mich.; grandchildren Aaron Beck and his wife, Carrie of San Angelo and Tana Beck of West Hollywood, Calif. Great-grandchildren are Emily and Mason Beck. His surviving brothers are Charles McDaniel of San Angelo and Bobby McDaniel of Bay, Ark. His one sister-in-law is Billie (Mrs. Charles) McDaniel. Nephews are Rusty McDaniel, Ricky Gray, Gaylon, Jim and Michael McDaniel. Nieces are Debbie and Penny. Most importantly, Jimmie is survived by his loving wife, Karen, who faithfully and steadfastly cared for him and unselfishly sat by his side through good and bad times. They were true helpmates for each other throughout their 14-year marriage. Karen’s children (and Jimmie’s stepchildren) are Melissa, Glenna and Philip. Grandchildren of his wife Karen are Reed, Holden and Camille. Jimmie proudly served his country in the elite 101st Airborne Unit, (The Screaming Eagles) of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment as a paratrooper in World War II. This is where he prestigiously earned his Purple Heart. He later became the fire chief in Okinawa, Japan, where he and his wife, Marie McDaniel, resided for three years. In most recent years, Jimmie was president of the local National Association of Retired Federal Employees and vice-president of the national chapter. He was active in many community organizations, one favorite being the Area Agency on Aging. He was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and even taught line dancing at San Angelo’s Senior Community Center. Jimmie was preceded in death by his parents, William F. and Minnie Jane Chambers McDaniel; his twin sister, Genevieve Gray; and two brothers, Thomas McDaniel and Lonnie McDaniel. Honorary pallbearers for the service will be his grandson, Aaron Beck, and great-grandson Mason Beck; his brother, Charles McDaniel; and his nephew, Rusty McDaniel. In place of flowers, Jimmie’s wish is for contributions to be made to the Lighthouse for the Blind. His loved ones are proud of his service to our country and are proud to be an important part of his life.

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