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Spicer (AR & LA) / RICHARD (IL) / Eaton (MO & AR) / Samples (TN) / Dillard (TN) / Stooksbury (TN)

Hi There!

My name is Jason Church and I am doing research mainly for my wife's side of our family tree.

At this point, we've gone through all of the basic information that is easily found online through sources like Ancestry, Newspapers.com, Fold3...most of the usual suspects. There is still a LOT of information that is yet to be found, but the down side is the fact that we don't really have much 1st or 2nd-person resources, as most of her immediate family has since passed away.

The story, in short, is that my wife's mother passed in 2004. At that point, that was my wife's last surviving relative, as far as she had known at the time. Since embarking on this journey through Genealogy, we've since found a few of her mom's cousins and some of their children (1st cousins, once removed and 2nd cousins to my wife) and we've even found my wife's father's adopted AND biological sisters! (Her father was adopted as well and we had to go through all kinds of obstacles to find her dad's adoption records!)

Anyhow, if you've read this far, thank you...and now, I know you're as serious as I am about this research.

I am looking for help in finding information about the following family surnames:

SPICER / RICHARD - This family record starts in Louisiana on our records and then they moved to and pretty much settled in Blytheville, Arkansas in the early 1900's. (The record of the patriarch goes back further; however, the matriarch's record stops on her side, as we haven't found record of who her parents are.) My wife's Great-Grandparents were William Charles (1884 - 1926) and Laura Elizabeth Richard (1892 - 1968). William had passed at a young age of an appendicitis and that left Laura to raise eight children (Agnes Marie, Vera, James Allen, William Charles, Hallie Katherine, Bessie Helen, Dorris Leslie and Carroll) right in the middle of the Great Depression. Eventually, all of the children were "farmed out" throughout the state of Arkansas. The siblings that were old enough got jobs working farms, or as servants / "inmates" at various estates. The youngest, Carroll, was handed over to an orphanage. Eventually, all of the siblings would be reunited through the efforts of the eldest sibling, Agnes Marie and the matriarch of the family, Laura. All, with the exception of the youngest, Carroll, who was adopted out of the orphanage, unbeknownst to the rest of the family. Carroll would never be seen again by the Spicer clan; however, through our research, we have since found that he was adopted to an Allen Gary and Leona Harvey. Carroll's name was changed to Robert Gary Harvey. Some of the Spicer siblings decided to stay in Arkansas, settling in and around Northeastern Arkansas. But most of the siblings decided to move North into Missouri and ended up spreading out from Herculaneum, up to the St. Louis area. As it turns out, only one of the Spicer women ever had children...and that was my wife's Grandmother, Hallie Katherine. Agnes Marie, Vera and Bessie Helen never had children. All of the Spicer brothers went on to get married and all had children.

EATON - We don't know a lot about the Eaton side of the family, as we've only recently found that the Eatons were actually a part of this family. See, Elvis James Paul Eaton (1911 - 1948) was the husband of the eldest Spicer sibling, Agnes Marie. But there was always a family rumor that was kept "hush-hush." The rumor was that Hallie Katherine Spicer's (my wife's Grandmother's) husband, Jerry Butler, was not actually the father of my wife's Mother, Awanda (1938 - 2004). The rumor said that Agnes Marie's husband, Elvis Eaton, actually had an affair with his younger sister-in-law, Hallie Katherine, and that affair produced my wife's Mother, Awanda. Well, after finding Elvis' nieces and conversing with them, one of them decided to take a DNA test. If the rumor wasn't true, there would be no DNA match between my wife and Elvis' niece. If there was a match, that would indicate that the rumor was true. When we received the test results, we were amazed to find out that there was a match! So Elvis James Paul Eaton was actually my wife's Grandfather.

SAMPLES / DILLARD / STOOKSBURY - As mentioned above, we were recently able to open my wife's Father, John Edward Rhea's (1946 - 1989) adoption paperwork. This, after a period of almost ten years, when the records could not be located. There was a massive flood at the Vital Records offices in Tennessee and it was feared that his papers, along with many other boxes and boxes of information was lost in the flood. But after years of searching, our case worker called back to let us know that she inadvertently came across John's papers in someone else's box. THE ONLY REASON THAT WE KNOW HIS TRUE HISTORY TODAY IS BECAUSE SOMEONE REVIEWED JOHN'S PAPERS AT SOME POINT BEFORE THE FLOOD AND PUT THE PAPERS BACK IN THE WRONG BOX...AND THEN OUR CASE WORKER, YEARS LATER, WAS LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ON A DIFFERENT FAMILY AND HAPPENED TO SEE JOHN'S NAME AND REMEMBERED THAT WE WERE LOOKING FOR IT. Crazy, I know. Anyhow, we were able to quickly find information on John's biological mother, Carrie Lou Samples (1925 - 1960), but there is a question as to who his father is. John's biological father may be Robert Lester Dillard (1912 - 1979), or he may be Herbert Stooksbury (1906 - 1973). Since speaking with John's biological sister and some of the Dillard side of the family, we've compared DNA with the Dillards and haven't yet found a match. It may be a false negative, or it may be that Robert Lester Dillard isn't really John's father.

Thank you SO MUCH for reading all of this. If you happen to have knowledge of, or know where we can find information on any of these family names, please let me know and I would be very grateful.

-Jason


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