Research Notes

Monday, January 17, 2000

Newman Researchers,

The following are some recent letters Jeffery Smith who is researching the Hezekiah Newman family of Mississippi. I took added some other documents to this, which you may find helpful.

There are some new facts identified by Irene Wright in her correspondence with Jeffery that you might find helpful.

The name of Susan Nolen’s 2nd husband is especially helpful among other things.


Marvin Schubert


Sunday, January 16, 2000 11:29 PM

Hey Marvin,

Sorry that I haven't communicated with you in a while. I received the following letter from Irene Wright this week. I think that it contains some good leads. I am attaching both the original letter I mailed her to and her response. By the way, her mailing address is:

3424 Dalton Lane
Boise, Idaho #83704


July 28, 1999

4066 Phoenix Street

Concord, CA 94521


Dear Irene,

Thank you very much for responding to my recent letter inquiring about John Thomas Ray and Sarah Jane Newman. I really appreciate it. It was very insightful.

Your letter also raises some questions that you may know the answers to.

You indicated the following:

Elias Newman married again by 1850. He was still in Mississippi in 1860. Then either after or during the war he moved to Louisiana. Sarah Jane married John Thomas Ray there in 1865. Elias died there I presume because his second wife Susan Nolan married again (a Brister). They moved to Texas where she married again.

Do you know whether Elias Newman fought in the Civil War? I have heard that he may have. Do you know when exactly he died or from what and where? Also you indicated that his second wife Susan Nolan/Nolen remarried (a Brister) and that she married again. Who was her third husband? I have heard that it may have been a Mexican gentleman by the name of Juan Gonzalez.

You also indicated:

Sarah Jane’s sister Mary Adeline married in the South, joined the LDS Church there, then moved to Utah. John Thomas had T.B. so Sarah Jane came out to Utah to her sister’s to find a better climate. He either died while she was out there or died on the way back to Utah when she came for him.

Do you know where John Thomas is buried? Did Sarah Jane ever join the LDS Church as her sister Mary Adeline did? Is T.B. tuberculosis? Do you know if he contracted that as part of his Civil War service or had other Civil War wounds that ultimately contributed to his declining health? Speaking of which, some history on the Rays was contributed by a Bill Moore from Virginia. Bill indicated that John Thomas Ray and his family were all born in South Carolina. This is shown on Ancestral File, which you can see at your local LDS Family History Center. If you like, I can send you a copy. Anyway, so perhaps JT Ray entered the Civil War from South Carolina. Also, do you know anything about where JT Ray fought or how he met Sarah Jane Newman?

You also indicated:

I have the family group sheets for Elias and Hezekiah. Will send them to you. The Newmans came from England to Virginia, the Harknesses from Ireland. Elias’ mother was a Dupree – I haven’t found any connections are there at all. Elias had several brothers but I haven’t been able to identify any of them except one, Benjamin.

Yes, I would like copies of the family group sheets for Elias and Hezekiah Newman. What else do you know about the Newmans coming from England to Virginia? Do you have any records of Hezekiah’s ancestry? What all do you have about the Harknesses coming from Ireland? From my research, I have learned that Elias had one brother Benjamin from his father’s first marriage and several half brothers from his father’s subsequent marriage to Nancy Cockerham. Please see the enclosed family group sheets.

Also, Sarah Jane Newman was the daughter of Elias and Nancy Harkness and was born in 1847 (by the way do you know how Nancy Harkness died? Perhaps from childbirth?). Other family group sheets that my grandmother (Marjorie Helen Gordon Swickard) gave to me on Elias’ second marriage to Susan Nolen indicate that they had a daughter named Sarah in 1851. Do you know if Elias really had two daughters named Sarah from different marriages? Could they be the same individual? It seems rather unusual that a father would name two of his offspring by essentially the same name.

I have also been in contact with a man named Marvin Schubert, who lives down in the Houston, Texas area. He is doing extensive work and has constructed a rather informative Internet web page about the Newmans, which I am sure that you would find interesting. I suggest that you try it out if you have Internet access. Or you could go to your local library and access it there. The website address is:


Additionally Marvin’s email addresses are and

Well, I imagine that I have probably asked you more questions than you know the answers for. In any event, I would appreciate your response to them. I look forward to hearing from you again!!!


Jeff Smith


Irene Wright’s response

Sunday, September 5, 1999

Boise, Idaho


Dear Jeff,

Thank you for your letter. I hope I can answer some of your questions – if not – maybe we can figure them out together.

I don’t know whether Elias Newman was in the war (Civil War) or not. I corresponded with a Maxine Dudley of Texas. She is a descendant of Elias and Susan Nolen. Elias, Susan, Elisabeth Newman and Hippotio Acosta, Peter Paul Acosta, and San Juan Balderman, Moe Acosta and Adela?, Maxine Acosta and Terry Dudley .

Maxine said she heard he (Elias) was in the war. Anyway, Susan and Elias last child Susan B. was born in Louisiana in 1864. I found Susan’s marriage to Zedekiah Brister in 1867 in Louisiana. Their first child David was born in Louisiana then Emily was born in Texas. She was found in the 1870 census in Texas married to Juan Gonzalez. So, Elias must have been alive up until 1864.

Maxine said the story was told that Susan thought that Elias was dead in the war. So she married Brister. But that don’t sound too true to me. The dates say otherwise.

My mother told me that John Thomas (Ray) was dead when Sarah Jane (Newman) went back to get him. There was also another story that he died on his way to Utah. So, I have no idea where he died. I have talked to Mary Adeline’s children and grandchildren. If they knew, they didn’t say.

I followed up on the J.T. Ray who was in the war from South Carolina. He was killed in Richmond. I am sure he (John Thomas Ray) and Sarah Jane (Newman) must have met in Louisiana.

IN the 1880 census of North Ogden, Weber County, Utah, where grandmother lived with A. Berrett, it says her children Joe and Martha’s father (which would be J. Thomas Ray) was born in Alabama. Also, Joe was born in Louisiana. And Martha was born in Texas in 1872. Perhaps Texas was where they lived when he died. Maybe they moved there when Susan Nolen (her stepmother) moved with Brister.

Yes, I think that he (Elias Newman) had the second daughter named Sarah. I found the marriage of a Sarah Newman to T.T. Smith on the 10 –(illegible) 1870 in Bunville (?illegible ) Parish Record of Louisiana. She would be 19 at the time. However, I haven’t followed up on it to see if I can find them in a later census. Sorry I am so slow in sending this letter to you.

When the Newmans came to Mississippi, it was the territory of Georgia. They took up land grants from the Spanish and were listed in the old census of Natchez. I read in one of the histories, (sorry, I don’t know which one), that Benjamin, Isaac, and Ezekiel came from Virginia. Benjamin had five children. I have looked at his will. Hezekiah was not his son. Ezekiel did not have any children at that time, so I am inclined to believe that Isaac was Hezekiah’s father. No proof yet.

I found the Harkness boys in later census. Their father was listed as coming from Ireland. I have the will of a Richard Harkness. Henry was his executor. Might be his father. Or could be a brother or uncle. He left everything to Henry. Didn’t mention anyone else.

Have been working on the Dupree line. Trying to get Duprees in the area with the Newmans so they could marry. I am searching a line that came from North Carolina to Louisiana to Mississippi. It is likely, but haven’t any proof yet.

Thanks for the address for the Newman searcher. Have just had a new computer installed. Haven’t done much lately. Hope I answered your questions. How is your grandmother?

As ever,

Irene Wright


Additional letter written to Jeffery from Irene 7/99

Re: John Thomas Ray & Sarah Jane Newman

Dear Jeff,

Received your letter. Sorry I am so slow in answering. I hope I have some information you can use.

I am Sarah Jane Newman’s granddaughter through her daughter Maud Berrett Storey.

Sarah Jane’s mother (Nancy Harkness) died when Sarah was a baby in 1847. She had a sister Mary Adeline, two brothers who died while young.

Elias Newman married again by 1850. He was still in Mississippi in 1860. Then either after or during the war he moved to Louisiana. Sarah Jane married John Thomas Ray there in 1865. Elias died there I presume because his second wife Susan Nolan married again (a Brister). They moved to Texas where she married again.

In the 1880 Census of North Ogden, Utah, where the Alfred Berretts and Sarah Jane lived, it says your great great grandfather Joseph Ray was born in Louisiana in 1870, his sister Martha in 1872 in Texas. It also states that John Thomas Ray was born in Alabama.

I sent for the Civil War records. There was a John Thomas Ray that entered the war from Alabama that was a prisoner of war. Have no way of knowing if it was he. Maybe he entered from some other state.

I have started searching the census of Alabama of 1850 thinking I might find him as a child. Takes a long time to search every County that have people named Ray.

Sarah Jane’s sister Mary Adeline married in the South, joined the LDS Church there, then moved to Utah. John Thomas had T.B. so Sarah Jane came out to Utah to her sister’s to find a better climate. He either died while she was out there or died on the way back to Utah when she came for him.

I have searched all the Southern States 1870 Census to find them but haven’t so far. I wonder some times if she and John Thomas went to Texas with her stepmother Susan.

I have the family group sheets for Elias and Hezekiah. Will send them to you. The Newmans came from England to Virginia, the Harknesses from Ireland. Elias’ mother was a Dupree – I haven’t found any connections are there at all. Elias had several brothers but I haven’t been able to identify any of them except one, Benjamin.

I am glad you are interested in your family history. We have been working at it for a lot of years. I hope to find much more before I give up -- if there are records to find.

Maybe you can go to work on the 1850 Census of Alabama and find John Thomas’ family. How about it.


Irene S. Wright.

P.S. Is your grandmother still at the same address? I have missed hearing from her. Should get it started again. Note my new address.

Supplemental: Addition letter Jeffery had shared

Recollections by Marjorie Helen Gordon Swickard

Recorded in January, 1999


My Great Grandfather (John Thomas Ray)

Anyway, in the genealogy I have checked, my Great Grandfather Ray (John Thomas Ray), I have a copy of his marriage license. He was married to Sarah Jane Newman from Mississippi. But they were married in Louisiana. I am not sure why he went there. But I have a copy of the 1900 census, which says he was born in South Carolina. But the 1910 census says he was born in Louisiana (possibly vice versa with the census stuff). I haven’t figured out just yet where exactly he was from. But I have also found out there were lots of Rays in South and North Carolina and in Louisiana.

But John Thomas Ray was more or less forced to fight. He fought for the South but he didn’t want to. He was forced to. I have a letter in my possession from a cousin who knew my Grandfather Ray. It talks about how after one battle he had to walk across a river of blood. The war was so terrible that the river had lots of blood in it. I don’t know which battle it was. I think it would be interesting to see if that line came from North Carolina or South Carolina. I have an old buddy of mine who lives in Fresno. He says that he has done some research on the Rays and found out that they had been very wealthy people. But they were from North Carolina. But I can’t prove that. It might be a relative, but perhaps not a direct descendant. I don’t know for sure.

My Great Grandmother (Sarah Jane Newman)

Sarah Jane Newman, was a Mississippi gal, and she was living in Mississippi during the Civil War. I guess, I am not quite clear on this, but I do know that this happened to either her or her sister. She was in love with a fellow from the North. And he broke the lines to see her. And the Southerners found him, and hung him to a tree. And she looked out her bedroom window, from this big two-story house, and there was her sweetheart hanging from a tree. He had been killed by the Southerners because he had broke the lines and had come into the Southern side. Like I said, I am not sure if this was Sarah Jane or her sister. Now her sister went out to Idaho too. Like I said earlier, Sarah Jane married John Thomas Ray.

My Grandfather Ray (Joseph H. Ray) was born in 1870. Two years later he had a little sister born. Shortly after that his father (John Thomas Ray) died. So, his mother (Sarah Jane Newman) brought my grandfather and his sister out west to be with a sister (Mary Adeline Newman Cutler) she had in Utah. I think she (Sarah Jane Newman) was baptized in Mississippi. She married a man in Utah by the name of Berrett around 1878 or 1879. She had five daughters by him. They later divorced. I don’t know, evidently there was a lot of trouble. She died in 1911, and she is buried in Ucon, Idaho, next to her only son (Joseph Ray). I am not sure where John Thomas Ray was buried. I have a list of cemeteries there. It will require some research to see where he was buried.


Additional letter

John Thomas Ray & Sarah Jane Newman Ray Berrett

Per discussion with Marjorie Helen Gordon Swickard

Oroville, California

December 22, 1998

Recorded by Jeffrey N. Smith

Updated on January 24, 1999 (edited by Marjorie Swickard)


Sarah Jane Newman

Sarah married John Thomas Ray on July 24, 1865 in Rapides Parrish, Louisiana. She came from Mississippi Family oral tradition says that her parents had a large and beautiful home in Mississippi.

Per family oral tradition, at the time of their marriage, Louisiana was no longer a state in the Union, having seceded about 1862. They had two children, Joseph H, born in Louisiana, and Martha, born in Texas. Some stories say Sarah Jane went to Utah to visit her sister Mary Adeline and to find a new place to live and when she came back her husband was dead. Other stories say he died en route to Utah. Yet others say he died in Louisiana or Mississippi and then Sarah and the kids left. Other stories say that Sarah Jane went to Utah after her husband’s death. Family oral tradition says he died of tuberculosis and/or injuries he suffered while fighting in the Civil War for the South. Evidently he died sometime around 1872 to 1877. It seems like (to Jeffrey N. Smith) that he most likely died in Mississippi and then his wife and children moved out west to Utah.

After John Thomas Ray died, Sarah Jane came west to be with her sister, Mary Adeline. In 1877 she married Alfred Berrett on 20 July 1877 in North Ogden, Utah. They had five daughters. Later Sarah Jane divorced Alfred (he was 24 years older). She is buried next to Joseph (son) in the Ucon, Idaho Cemetery.

Alfred Berretts and Sarah Jane’s daughters and granddaughters did some research on their mother but none on John Thomas Ray. Sarah Jane and her second husband have been sealed. Sarah Jane and JT Ray have not yet.

Glenona Farnsworth of Provo, Utah is related to Sarah Jane’s sister Mary Adeline (perhaps a great granddaughter). During the summer of 1994 Jeffrey N. Smith talked to her on the telephone while he resided in Provo. At that time she was an older lady and did not have any additional information on the John Thomas Ray portion of the family.

John Thomas Ray

Per family oral tradition, he fought in the Civil War for the South. Evidently he did not want to fight in the War and hid in the woods during at least one battle. Family oral tradition says that his wife brought food to him while he hid in the woods. As he married Sarah Jane Newman on July 29, 1865 in Louisiana and the Civil War ended in April 1865. perhaps Sarah brought food to him while they were courting. Family oral tradition also says that he walked in a river of blood either during or sometime soon after a battle.

Evidently, the Rays were most likely from Scotland. A large group of people from Scotland had settled in North Carolina. The Rays may have been part of this. Evidently John was born in 1840, per the 1850 census in Union County, South Carolina (assuming this is the same John T Ray).

(Obviously we need more information on John Thomas Ray. Marjorie Swickard feels that some of this information on him is in error.)

Some of my research notes on the Dupree Family

Here were some research notes I, Marvin, had done on the Dupree family

I was trying to tie a Dupree family to Mississippi as a possible link to Deborah. Currently nothing is proven


Descendants of James Dupree


Generation No. 1


Child of JAMES DUPREE is:

2. i. STERLING DUPREE2 SR., b. 1740, Brunswick County, VA.


Generation No. 2

2. STERLING DUPREE2 SR. (JAMES1 DUPREE) was born 1740 in Brunswick County, VA. He married SUSANNA HINES.

Children of STERLING SR. and SUSANNA HINES are:

3. i. STERLING DUPREE3 JR., b. 1771.





Generation No. 3



Just speculation at this point as to the possibility of Sterling being Deborah father

Children of STERLING DUPREE JR. are:




Generation No. 4



Hi Jack is it???

The only info i have on Sterling Dupree is that he had a son Frederick that

married Susan or Suzanne Seymour.

Frederick and Susan had 10 children

1. Mary Ann

2. Elizabeth

3. William Jacob

4. Jeff

5. James

6. Johnny

7. Lawrence

8. Alice

9. Mandre

10. Victoria

all born in Jackson Co., Mississippi

I also believe that Sterling had a brother named Howell but that has not been

proven yet.

I will do some digging and see what I can find, I was in touch with a man

(Bart Garlotte) who is also a descendant of Sterling and he may know more. I

have lost touch and will search for his e-mail address and pass it along to


Will write back with more details.



i. MARY ANN5 DUPREE, b. Jackson Co., Mississippi.

ii. ELIZABETH DUPREE, b. Jackson Co., Mississippi.

iii. WILLIAM JACOB DUPREE, b. Jackson Co., Mississippi.









More notes I had on the Dupree family

From: Marvin Schubert <

Subject: Fw: Dupree

Date: Saturday, October 09, 1999 8:32 AM


----- Original Message -----

From: <

To: <

Sent: Wednesday, October 06, 1999 1:11 PM

Subject: Dupree


Thought you would be interested in this message

I noted your GenForum posting:

I am searching for ancestors of Sterling Dupree born ??? died after 1839 in

Mississippi. He married Abigail Parker in 1829 in Mississippi. I have a

suspicion that he is the son of Sterling Dupree, Sr. who's father is James.

Although, I have info that Sterling Dupree, Jr. married Susanna Moye. Could

this be his first wife and Abigail be his second wife?????? All the possible

dates of his birth match up with MS census records ( in 1830 he was between

40-50 years of age) The Sterling Dupree, Jr. I found in LDS files was born

1771 in Davidson, TN son of Sterling Dupree, Sr. COINCIDENCE?????? I don't

know!!!! I NEED HELP. Also, another coincidence, Howel his brother, is also

listed in the 1803-1804 Mississippi Tax Lists with MY Sterling and in the

1820-1830 Census records!!!!!! HMMMMMM........ Records of MY Sterling is

quite elusive and rightly so, considering he was a pirate on the Pascagoula

River in Mississippi in the early 1800's.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Lori Spradley

Here is my understanding of the Sterling Duprees:

The Sterling Dupree who married Abigal Parker in 1829 was Sterling III, son of Sterling Jr. born in 1771 in either Brunswick County, VA or Pitt County,

NC and Susanna Moya. Sterling Jr. was the son of Sterling Sr., who was born

in Brunswick County, VA in about 1740 and Susanna Hines. Sterling Sr. and

his father, James, moved from Brunswick County, VA to Pitt County, NC in

1771. In 1796 Sterling Sr. bought 160 acres in Davidson County, Tennessee,

near Nashville. Whether or not Sterling Sr. moved to Tennessee, his four sons

Sterling Jr., James, Howell, and David did. James stayed in what became

Williamson County, Tennessee (near Nashville), but the other three sons moved

on to Mississippi. Sterling Jr. lived in Jackson County on the Pascagoula

River and achieved notoriety in the West Florida Controversy.

I hope this is helpful (and accurate)

Tom Dupree

Additionally Marvin’s email addresses are