The 1850 Census of Russell County, Alabama shows two families living in the John Parker Smyrl household. The second group of children are part of the family of Bill Platz. Some of his notes appear below.
I believe I can fill in some gaps as to the other children of Thomas Smyrl Jr. It was Mary Smyrl who married James "Jimmie" Horn (or Horne) of Lake City, Florida in the late 1850's. James Thomas Smyrl born April 1, 1833, is I believe the same person as Thomas Smyrl III. This was my great great grandfather and his story is recorded in a notebook written by my grandmother in 1930 during the family's migration to California from Alabama. In her narrative she states that "Grandpa Smyrl" was born in Camden South Carolina and moved with the family in 1845. His parents died on the journey and are buried in or near Jamestown GA near Columbus. His mother's maiden name was Peach. Grandpa Smyrl married Martha A. Horne in 1859 in Crawford Alabama. His sister Mary married Martha's brother James Horne and they appear in the 1860 Census in Lake City FL. (Smyrl appears as "Smart" on the roll) My great grandmother Mary Elizabeth Smyrl was born May 6, 1860, there were 2 other children Nancy "Sis" Smyrl July 2, 1861 and Thomas Smyrl January 26, 1862 (sic). There is a wealth of further information on their descendants and many a good yarn about Kidnappings, damn Yankees, Marital disputes, bigamy, the War of Northern Aggression etc. Too much for 1 E-Mail.
About Smyrls in Texas here is a quote from my grandmother's notebook that you might find of interest. The original document is a 3"X5" bound Memorandum Book written in No.2 lead pencil and rather disjointed. It begins with a description of her trip from Birmingham to Los Angeles in an open touring car with bits and pieces of family history inserted almost randomly among phone numbers, friends addresses and an occassional reciepe.
Uncle Tommy ( Thomas Smyrl b.Jun 26,1862 not Jan 26) ran away from home when a young boy (1870's?) and went to Texas to cousin Solon Cobb. He (Tommy) married Leila Cooper near Tyler Texas. They had 3 children born to them while in Texas - Mary, Annie and Charlie. After coming to Macon, Ga.they had one child born Martha (aka "Mattie"). They then moved to Decatur, Alabama, where 3 other children were born to them - Lizzie, Ruth and Tommy. Uncle Tommy died in 1903 (March 9th) Aunt Leila died in 1918 of the flu."
I also have a copy of Tom Smyrl's (aka J. Thomas Smyrl, and James T. Smyrl) application for a Confederate Veterans Pension of 1907, as well as his widow's pension application filed in 1922. This was his second wife Caroline A. Smyrl. (Martha left him during the war but that is too long a story to go into now) their children were listed as John W. Smyrl, Fannie (Smyrl) Laney, Annie (Smyrl) last name illegible beginning with E, and Mannie (Smyrl) Laney. If you would like copies of these documents I would be happy to send them to you.
Caroline married J. Thomas in January 1866 at Opelika, Alabama, and
gave her birth date as May 12, 1840, in Jefferson County Florida.
Thanks for your reply. My information on the Smyrls comes primarily from a notebook belonging to my grandmother Mary I. Sullivan (b.7-10-1879) who was the daughter of Mary Elizabeth Smyrl and Robert E. Sullivan. The notebook was written in 1930 while the family was migrating to Los Angeles from Birmingham AL. Mary Elizabeth was the oldest child of James Thomas Smyrl and Martha A. Horn(e) and was born in Crawford Alabama May 6, 1860. She died June 30, 1933 in Los Angeles and is buried in the Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetary not too far from Rudolf Valentino.
James Thomas Smyrl went by the name Tom or Thomas. This is established by his Pension Application to the State of Alabama in 1907 which shows him as "Tom Smyrl",
"J.Thomas Smyrl" and "James T. Smyrl" in various documents in the file. (I have a copy of the entire file) He was illiterate and signed the documents with an X.
He also appears in the 1860 Census as "Thomas Smart" in Columbia County, Florida, with wife Martha A.and daughter "Elizabeth C B" age 1. The family traveled frequently between Crawford Al. and Lake City Fl. where Martha's parents lived.
Martha's brother James Horne married Mary Smyrl, Tom's sister.
There were 2 other children born to Tom and Martha - Nancy Smyrl, known in the family as "Aunt Sis" b. July 2,1861 in Lake City Fl, and Thomas Smyrl b. June 26, 1862 in Crawford AL.
In 1862 Tom joined Company B, 45th Alabama Infantry at Opelika AL with his brother John Smyrl. They were captured at Franklin TN December 17, 1864.
Martha did not appreciate being left at home with 3 small children and moved out effectively ending the marriage. At the end of the was Martha was living in West Point GA. On his release Tom took his 2 daughters with him to live withhis sister Rebecca Smyrl Freeman near Crawford.
According to pension documents Caroline married Tom in January 1866 at Opelika Al in Lee County. (I doubt it was a formal arrangement - what bride forgets the day she was married on) They had 4 children together Mannie, Annie, Fannie and John W. Smyrl.
In about 1871 Martha who had married a Dr. Damour in Macon Georgia came and took their 2 daughters Elizabeth and Nancy with her back to Macon GA, where she put the two girls in a Catholic Convent school. They did not see their father again for 20 years.
The family reconciled in later years and Martha was known as Grandma Damour while Caroline was Grandma Smyrl.
According to the notebook Jamestown Ga. was near Columbus and may now be part of that city. Thomas was about 12 at the time (I based the date of 1845 on that remembered age) but no other information was mentioned.
I have photos of Mary Elizabeth (Smyrl) Sullivan and her 3 children and a snapshot of James Thomas Smyrl taken shortly before his death in 1922. I hope to get them copied and will be happy E-Mail them to you then.
As I said most of this is from Grandma' old notebook but confirmed by the Pension, Military, and Census records. I am still not sure of the connection between James Thomas Smyrl and the original Thomas Smyrl. Would appreciate any help you could provide on this.
Sorry this is such a long one, but I hope it fills some blanks.
Shannon, I've included you on this since I've been able to add more details than in my earlier message to you. I'm working on the Pension Record copies they are an odd size.
James B. Horn was born in Georgia in 1830, son of Mikel Horn. He married Mary Smyrl born in 1834 in Georgia in 1850. in 1860 the lived in Turkey Creek, Wilkinson County, Georgia on a plantation owned by Winford Chapman. James was the overseer. They had 4 children: James b.1851, Agustus b.1853, Elijah b. 1855, and John b.1857.
James was killed in the war. Old family story about the details is a bit graphic.
So here is an update.
I now believe that James Thomas Smyrl was the son of William Richard Smyrl and not Thomas Smyrl III. This is based on a published tree by B.G. Piper appearing on Ancestry.com site: (http://awt.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=DESC&db=bgozbooks&id=I135)
This means that William married a Miss Peach and we still don't have a first name for her.
As Penance for my errors, here is another of grandma Sullivan's family legends:
THE GREAT KIDNAP CAPER
When Grandpa (J. Thomas Smyrl) came home from the war Grandma ( Martha A. (Horn) Smyrl) was in West Point, Georgia. They didn't live together anymore. Grandpa took mama
(Elizabeth Smyrl ) and Aunt Sis (Nancy Smyrl ) and left Uncle Tommy (Thomas J. Smyrl ) with Grandma. He took the two little girls over to his sister's (Aunt Rebecca Freeman) near Crawford.
Grandma went to Macon with Uncle Tommy where she worked in Mrs Lynche's Dressmaking Establishment where she met Dr. Damour and married him two or three years later (circa 1870).
Grandpa Smyrl married Mrs. Carrie Granberry (in 1866) who had three children when he married her - Alice, Docia and Willy (William Grandberry). Docia and Willy are still living (in 1930) Grandpa had 5 children by her.
Grandpa Smyrl kept mama and Sissie out in the country near Opelika, at a little town called Youngsborough, until mama was about 11 years old. (c.1871) While he was gone to Salem one day Grandma Damour (Martha) and Aunt Sis Horne (probably Martha's sister Caroline Horn) came on the train to Salem and walked 3 miles and found them (Elizabeth and Nancy)
Aunt Sis (Nancy Smyrl) said she saw a lovely lady all dressed up with a little boy dressed in a little straw hat with white long pants, black alpaca coat and nice shoes and stockings (Uncle Tommy). She told Aunt Sis and mama that she was their mother. They didn't want to go with her very much, but they took them anyway. They walked all the way to Youngsborough about a mile and a half and got on the train. They saw theirfather at Salem, but he didn't see them. They never saw him again for over 20 years.
Grandma Damour took them to Macon and put them in the convent for three years.
NOTE: After this period Elizabeth Smyrl appears as "Mary Elizabeth" and the family is Roman Catholic.
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