by Charles Claude Chaney
When I began my quest for my paternal ancestors, especially my father's lineage, I could get back to my great-grandfather Kye Chaney. I eventually found that Kye was short for Hezekiah. However, my father and has siblings did not know Kye's father was. They knew about Kye's brother Robert but primarily because his son Marvel Stone Chaney had settled in the same area in central Texas as Kye. eventually I learned of two more brothers, Hosea and Bud. Another descendant of Kye had gathered a lot of information from Chaney communications but had not gotten back before Kye. Jane Berry McAfee eventually permitted me to photocopy all of her records and they became the foundation of my initial research. A descendant of Robert, Jesse Gerald Chaney, became another source that was extremely helpful. This helped to establish that Kye and Robert had two more brothers: Hosea and Bud. I eventually found that Bud was a nickname and that his name was actually Nineveh.
The brothers, Robert, Hosea, Hezekiah, and Nineveh "Bud" Chaney evidently settled in Carroll Co., Arkansas, sometime in the 1840s although little was known about when or where they had lived before. None of the family had been found in the 1850 census. The 1860 census records indicate that Robert and Hosea were born in Indiana. Hezekiah was born in Missouri or Arkansas according to various census records. "Bud" was born in Missouri. It is assumed that the family was in Indiana for the last half of the 1820s when Robert and Hosea were born. Thus they apparently lived in Missouri before settling in Carroll County, Arkansas, sometime in the 1840's. Their mother, Sarah A., was living with one brother or another in later years but there was no sign of their father.
There was a group of Chaneys living in Carroll County, Arkansas, when our group arrived. These Chaneys descended from Frances Chaney of Randolph County, North Carolina, whose sons had settled in Overton County, Tennessee. At least one son, William, came to Carroll County, Arkansas, early in the 1830s. It seems that the four brothers were acknowledged as relatives but whether this was due to fact or only to having the same surname was unclear. During my research I learned of a story that had been passed down by some of the Overton County descendants that told of a group of Chaney’s arriving that were not related to those already in Carroll County. I would later establish that this had to be “my Chaney family.”
Family tradition, passed down in the family of Robert, eldest brother, holds that in the late 1840s, the entire family group moved to Bell County in central Texas where they lived for a couple years. It is unknown if their father was alive and with them. It was thought they lived somewhere near the Fort Griffin area which is near present Little River community. A roadside marker commemorates the location of the Fort that had been known as Smith's Fort, the Block House, Fort Griffin, and Little River Fort. There were several settlements in the general area that considered the fort a source of protection.
According to The Handbook of Texas Online entry on Bell County, these "settlements were deserted during the Runaway Scrape, reoccupied, and then deserted again after the Indian attack on Fort Parker in June 1836. In their retreat from the fort several of the settlers were overtaken by Indians and killed. The area was reoccupied in the winter of 1836-37. In November 1836 George B. Erath established a fort on the Little River about a mile below the Three Forks, which has been variously known as Smith's Fort, the Block House, Fort Griffin, and Little River Fort. Marauding Indians were raiding settlements along the river. The more important engagements of 1837 were the Elm Creek Raid on January 7 and the Post Oak Massacre in June. Little River Fort was abandoned, and by 1838 all settlers had left the Bell County area. On May 26, 1839, the Bird's Creek Indian Fight, a bloody but indecisive skirmish between Texas Rangers and the Comanche, took place about 11⁄2 miles northwest of the site of present Temple.
Settlers began to return to the Bell County area after the peace treaties of 1843-44, and Indian raids into the county became less frequent. By the census of 1850, the population of what would shortly become Bell County was approximately 600 whites and sixty black slaves. Bell County was formed on January 22, 1850, and named for Peter H. Bell. The last serious Indian raid occurred in March 1859."
If the tradition is true, that the family would have been in central Texas earlier than the late 1840's if the family did go to Fort Griffin or at least to its site. It is possible that it was another fort or similar structure in the area that was used as refuge during perilous times. The tradition holds that the women were uncomfortable with the Indian activities in the area. They grew tired of having to retreat to the fort on moonlit nights due to fear of Indian attacks. Because of this, the family moved back to Arkansas in 1850. The families were evidently in route to Arkansas before the Bell County, TX, census enumeration and back in Carroll County, Arkansas, following the census since they have not been found in any census records.
In the 1852 tax list for Carroll Co., Arkansas, there appears "Hosa" Chaney at Osage South in the southwest part of the county. Because Robert and Hosea were each married with at least one child each and the fact that the families remained in very close proximity for several years, it is probable that this was the case in 1852. Evidently, they were considered to make up one household. It was uncertain if this was Hosea Chaney, brother of Robert, Hezekiah and Nineveh.
The first known records of them appear in the 1860 census of Carroll Co., Arkansas. Robert and Hezekiah appeared in the 1870 census as well. The 1852 tax listed Hosa [sic] Chaney at Osage South in the southwestern part of the county near John D. Chaney and James C. Chaney. Robert, although he seems to have worked in Texas from time to time, apparently spent most of his life in Carroll County. Hosea and Bud died during the Civil War.
Hosea was a Confederate soldier who died in 1864 while a prisoner in a Union hospital at Little Rock, Arkansas. Family tradition, according to the late Jesse Gerald “Jerry” Chaney, a grandson of the eldest brother Robert, is that Bud, although he had served in the Confederate Army, had been discharged. Civil War records have revealed that Bud had been seriously injured in battle and lost a leg thus was back home. Bushwhackers, roving bands of men, supporting neither side in the conflict, were in the area. They preyed upon both Union and Confederate supporters, looting the land and often killing anyone who got in their way. Bud was attacked. He hid in a cave but they found him and shot him down. Afterwards, local women claimed his body and buried him in the Rule Cemetery.
By 1890, Kye had moved his family to the southern part of McLennan County, Texas. Robert remained in Carroll County.
The brothers' mother, Sarah A., appeared in the 1860 census with the newly married Hezekiah. She was in the 1870 census with Robert. She was born in North Carolina circa 1795. Their father's name was a mystery. Jerry Chaney wrote that his father had told him that the four brother's father was named Bob or Robert. That was the only source for this information. Jerry had concluded that a Robert Chaney who appeared in Overton County, Tennessee, 1820-1830-1840 census records, was their father. He had not found him in the 1850 census and he evidently assumed that it had to be him who was in Central Texas at that time. Perhaps, he also accepted that there was an Overton County, Tennessee, connection since the other Chaney's in Carroll County seemed to recognize kinship. However, I managed to find this Robert in the 1850 census of Overton County. For some reason, he was missed in some earlier indexing of the census and therefore not listed. I found him by going through that 1850 census page by page. This Robert Chaney was married to Obedience Ray. Two of their sons did settle in Carroll County. I had made contact with a direct descendant of this Robert and we easily established that was no connection with my Chaneys. He could not be the father of the four brothers!
The lineage of the four Chaney brothers remained unknown for some time. The evidence suggested that the family was in Indiana in the last half of the 1820's then lived in Missouri before settling in Carroll Co., Arkansas, in the 1840's. It was thought there might have been a sister named Jane who married a man named Bill Cross and moved to Coryell County, Texas. Marble Stone Chaney told Jerry of visiting his "Aunt Jane" and Bill "Uncle Bud" Cross. This was reportedly in Oklahoma but this "Aunt Jane" was later in Coryell County, Texas.
I was curious about the names used. I had found that Hezekiah was a very common name used for several generations of a particular Chaney line. In 1813, a Hezekiah Chaney died in Wythe County, Virginia. He had a son also named Hezekiah while another was named Hosea. Looking into that family I learned that three of his daughters had married men with the surname of Stone and that one of them had a son named Marvel Stone. This Hosea had gone to North Carolina after his father’s death where, in 1817, he married Sarah A. Golden, sometimes recorded as Golding. Supposedly he had moved to Indiana in the 1820s. I managed to locate him in the 1830 census of Sullivan County, Indiana.
It was interesting that Jerry’s grandfather had named a son Marvel Stone Chaney for his cousin Marvel Stone. He had named his youngest daughter Pearl Golden Chaney, evidently using his mother’s maiden name. Also, Robert used the name Archie for one son, possibly after his brother named Archibald.
It had been established that Sarah J. Clark married William M. Cross, probably in Carroll County, Arkansas. They lived in the same vicinity as the two surviving Chaney brothers in 1870 but were in Coryell County, Texas, by 1880. It was found that Sarah Jane Cross was the daughter of Zuritha Chaney who married Elisha Price Clark in Missouri. They were in Carroll County, Arkansas, and Coryell County, Texas, at the same as the brothers. It was at this time that I was contacted by Steve Clark, a descendant of Elisha Price Clark. His family history told of Zuritha Chaney who married Elisha. I knew that Zuritha and Elisha lived only two or three households from Hosea Chaney in the 1840 census of Newton County, Missouri. Steve knew that Zuritha’s daughter Sarah Jane had married William Cross. The Clarks had moved to Coryell County, Texas. This completed the connection in that it was now known that Aunt Jane Cross that Marvel Stone had told Jerry about was Sarah Jane Clark. Thus she was a 26 years older cousin rather than an aunt. It was common that older relatives be called Aunt or Uncle. My father was named after his 29 years older Uncle Claude who was actually a first cousin of Dad’s father.
Their father had been difficult to identify until my DNA test revealed that my line descended from Richard Cheyney who came from London, England, in the mid 1600s, to settle in Maryland. My DNA matched known descendants of Richard thus establishing the connection needed to help discover the father's identity.
The Hezekiah Chaney of Wythe County, Virginia, was also a descendant of Richard Cheyney. Coupling that knowledge with what I had learned of his family, it became more and more evident that his son Hosea had to be the father of my great grandfather Hezekiah Chaney and his brothers and sister. The various information that I had gathered began to meld together to show that Hosea Chaney from Wythe County, Virginia, was our ancestor.
The tradition of the Robert Chaney descendants that the father was also named Robert was simply incorrect. The brother's father had named his second son Hosea, rather than the first son Robert.
The 1830 and 1840 census records for Hosea's family required examination. Finding Hosea in Sullivan County, Indiana, was hampered due to the way his name had been indexed. By using some of the known spellings that I had found his entry. I had known about the Hosea in Newton County, Missouri, but had not been able to link to him until the identity of Zuritha was established.
In the 1830 census of Sullivan County, Indiana, the Hosea Chaney household consisted of six individuals. At this time, only the head of the household was named. There were a male and female aged 20 through 29. This would be Hosea and Sarah. There are two boys. One would be Robert but who was the other since Hosea, Jr., was reportedly not born until about 1835. The two girls were aged from 5 through 14. One has to be Zuritha but who was the other?
In the 1840 census of Newton County, Missouri, Zuritha had married Elisha Price and was living only a household or so from her father. Hosea's household contained nine people. Hosea and Sarah are easily identified by their ages. There are also four males and three females. Based on their ages, Robert, Hosea and Hezekiah can be linked to three of the boys. Of the three females one should be the daughter who had appeared in the 1830 census but the ages do not match. Zuritha had married and was living with her husband. So who are the other individuals? We find a male and female in the 20 through 29 age bracket, 2 females between 5 and 9. There is clue as to who they may be. Did Hosea and Sarah have more children? Were relatives sharing the household? My suspicion is that they were most likely relatives but not children. No mention has been found of other siblings. Of course, there may have been some that died. But I am in the dark on this. And have possibly been confused about some details.
Updated 14 August 2014
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