29 March 2018

3 Sons of Bobbie Lincecum Starks (and Cattle Dipping)

3SonsofBobbieLincecumGeorge Breckenridge Starks (1860-1914) and Bobbie Lincecum (1860-1949) had eight or nine children.  In this post, I'll highlight three of the sons:  Willie Clay, George Washington, and John Oliver.

- Willie Clay Starks was George and Bobbie's first son.  He was born about 1882 in Louisiana.  While at home, he of course worked as a laborer on the family farm.  Once he struck out on his own, Willie got involved in lumber.  Occupations included, "wood man for log shop," lumber mill laborer, and paper mill laborer.  There was one exception, however.  Willie's World War I draft registration card revealed his occupation as "Inspector of Cattle Dipping" for the Louisiana Conservation Commission.

I suppose the title speaks for itself, but I really didn't know what cattle dipping was.  In case you don't either, here's what I found in a report published in 2012 by Robert G. Pasquill, Jr., Forest Archeologist:

Texas fever, also known as splenetic fever, red-water fever, and the bloody murrain, has been known in cattle for many years…As early as 1795 it was recognized in the United States that as cattle were moved from one area to another, they could spread sickness…It would be nearly another 100 years before it was understood that ticks on Southern cattle were the cause of the sickness…By 1906, the Federal government had established a quarantine line between North and South. Stockmen began treating their cattle with solutions to kill the ticks. Eventually, the most effective method to kill ticks was to dip the cattle in an arsenical bath. Cattle dipping vats were built across the Southern States. Initially, the vats were constructed by individual stock owners. Later, counties held elections to vote on tick eradication. Finally, states passed state-wide compulsory dipping laws…The program was not without opposition. Some of the opposition took the form of anti-dipping associations. Some of the opposition was violent, with officials being shot and vats being dynamited.

About 1906 or 1907, Willie married Leona Wheat (1892-1969).  The couple had at least nine children, each one bearing a name that begins with the letter O.

  • record-image_33S7-9R4P-4SXOla May Starks Bourg (1907-1974)
  • Olla/Olie Belle Starks Smith
  • Opal Starks Kees/Keys
  • Ora Starks Colvin (1915-2000)
  • Oleater Willie Starks (1917-1919)
  • Orval Clay Starks (d. 1944)
  • Ona Vee Starks Rogers (1925-2016)
  • Oklynn O. Starks Robertson (1928-1987)
  • Orlan Eugene Starks (1931-1999)

Willie Clay Starks died 22 February 1934 at Shreveport, Caddo Parish, LA.  His body was buried in Jonesboro Cemetery at Jackson Parish.

- George Washington Starks, possibly 3rd son and 4th child, was born 26 August 1889 in Lincecum, Grant Parish, Louisiana.  During his late 20s and early 30s, George was occupied as a farmer.  During the Great Depression, however, George hooked up with the Forestry Division of the Conservation Commission.  In 1940, he was a laborer with the "Reforestry Project," and per his 1942 World War II draft registration card, George was working on a QMC W.P.A. Project at Camp Beauregard in Rapides Parish.

"Quartermaster Insignia from the US Army Quartermaster Museum Fort Lee, VA" by Ehrentitle via WikipediaThough I don't know the specifics of the Work Projects Administration (formerly known as Works Progress Administration) job, the QMC part makes sense based on George's military service during World War I.  He was inducted 25 June 1918 at Colfax, Grant Parish, and honorably discharged on demobilization 9 October 1919.  George's entire time in the service was spent with the Quartermaster Corps.  It's currently defined at Wikipedia this way:

The United States Army Quartermaster Corps, formerly the Quartermaster Department, is a Sustainment, formerly combat service support (CSS), branch of the United States Army. It is also one of three U.S. Army logistics branches, the others being the Transportation Corps and the Ordnance Corps.

The U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps mission is to support the development, production, acquisition, and sustainment of general supply, Mortuary Affairs, subsistences, petroleum and water, material and distribution management during peace and war to provide combat power to the U.S. Army...

George married Leflore Adele Atwell about 1917, and the couple had at least four children.  Two were daughters who did not live long after birth:  Jettie Maye (b. & d. 1924) and Dixie Geraldine (b. & d. 1932).

George Washington Starks died 31 March 1969 and was buried in Lincecum Cemetery at Grant Parish, LA.  A transcription of his government issued military tombstone:

George W. Starks
Army Svc Corps
World War I
August 26, 1889
March 31, 1969

- John Oliver Starks, possibly 4th son and 6th child, was born 23 August 1894 at Selma, Grant Parish, Louisiana.  John tried his hand at farming and lumber, but seemed to settle (at least for a time) in the mechanic business.  The April 1930 Grant Parish, LA Federal census stated he was a garage proprietor, and ten years later (same document type, same location) he was noted as an auto mechanic.  John, too, was a beneficiary of the W.P.A. per his World War II draft registration card.

jostarkswwidraftcardJohn married Annie Wilson about May of 1917.  This month and year comes from a rare, handwritten note on the back of John's June 1917 World War I draft registration card.  It read:

Married three wks ago
Lives on farm with mother - farm is
rather on very small scale

John and Annie had at least nine children.  Two daughters were Georgia L. Starks Atwell (1920-2008) and Bobbie S. Starks Smith (1932-2009).  I wonder if the latter was named for her grandmother Lincecum.

John Oliver Starks died 27 July 1977 and was buried in Lincecum Cemetery at Grant Parish, LA.  Wife Annie and daughter Georgia are there, as well.

Take all mistakes as good wishes.


28 March 2018

News Articles on the Life and Assassination of George Starks

newsreport-gbstarksAs was already reported here recently, George Breckenridge Starks was born about April 1860 in Louisiana to Christian Starks and Rebecca Nugent.  He married Bobbie Lincecum in 1881, and later died in 1914.

A few years after the Lincecum – Starks marriage, when George was about age 24, he got into a bit of trouble by murdering his cousin.  The crime was committed the first part of March 1884, and word of the deed slowly made its way across Louisiana with published accounts in local newspapers.

One such blurb was found in the 29 March 1884 Donaldsville Chief under the headline Items of Interest Gleaned from the Louisiana Press

John Starks was shot and killed in Grant parish by his cousin, Breckenridge Starks.  Both were white men and neither bore a very high reputation.

OK.  In-Law or not, that's not something you enjoy reading about a family member.  Even 134 years after the fact.

A month after the killing, Breckenridge was still at large.  Another article describes the community's desire to have him caught, as well as the tactic of trying to run the pioneer Lincecum and Starks families out of town – "to protect them from indignity or harm" and "for a few days."

Times-Picayune1884-04-11Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Friday, 11 April 1884 - pg. 1 [via GenealogyBank]

The Homicide in Grant.

The Colfax Chronicle, of April 5, says:  On Sunday, the 2d day of March, there was an affray in ward five of this parish, between two cousins, in which Breckenridge Starks killed John Starks.  We gave a limited account of the affair three weeks ago.  Since that time Breckenridge Starks has been hiding out and a large number of the citizens of Grant, assisted by a dozen or more of the citizens of Winn and Catahoula parishes, have been searching for him.

The desire was universal among all the good people that the perpetrator of the deed should be apprehended and held to answer the demands of law.  A posse was formed and search begun, fully 75 or 80 men joining in the hunt.  To prevent their giving aid or counsel to Breckenridge, it was considered advisable for a guard to be placed over his father and mother, Christian and Rebecca Starks.  For the same reason a watch was put over the family of Mr. J. P. Lincecum, whose daughter was the wife of Breckenridge Starks.  No harm was intended to the parties put under surveillance.  On the contrary, it was thought by the older and cool-headed citizens to be the best way to protect them from indignity or harm which might be offered by some rash or inconsiderate persons while the excitement was at its height.  After keeping watch over them for three days, until a thorough search could be made, they were set free, and Mr. Starks was advised to leave the country for a few days, until the excitement was over.  No threat was made, none intended.  That Mr. and Mrs. Starks should desire to shield their son was considered nothing but natural, and the only object was to prevent them aiding in his escape.

Since returning home from a trip through the hills we find the following communication from Mr. Christian Starks:

Editor Colfax Chronicle -- A few days since a band of lawless men from Catahoula, Winn and Grant, without a warrant or any excuse, save the pretense that it would help them capture Breckenridge Starks, arrested my wife and myself and kept us confined for three days.  In order to justify their action they have intimated that there were some charges against me, and invited me to leave the country.  Now, sir, this is a country of law and order, or ought to be.  The courts are open, and I take this method of informing those men that I not only do not fear but invite investigation of any charges against my honor or honesty, and dare them to the test.  One other thing I would like them to know:  I have the right to live where I please, and while they may murder me at night, or in the day time, or take the cowardly advantage of numbers against one old man, yet they cannot scare me or run me out of this country.  Now, let us see who is doubtful about letting the broad sunlight of day shine upon their actions.  If they will not go into the courts of their own free will, I will try to force them there as parties defendant.  I don't intend to leave my home and property, and these men had better now understand that the day is passed when a few men can club together and force citizens to leave this country.  --  CHRISTIAN STARKS.

The above letter was received several days ago.  Since then warrants have been served upon some eighteen or twenty of the men who engaged in the hunt for Breckenridge Starks, charging them with "conspiring to murder and falsely imprisoning Christian and Rebecca Starks." In addition to those served with warrants, some thirty more came forward and surrendered, and last Wednesday fully sixty men came into Colfax to be present at the preliminary trial held by Judge Blackman, District Attorney E. G. Hunter representing the State.  The accused were represented by Attorneys S. M. Brian and W. A. Little, of Winnfield, and through their counsel waived preliminary examination and asked to be placed under bond for appearance at District Court.  Judge Blackman ordered that they be held to bail in the sum of $250 each, which was readily given and the accused set at liberty.

Two weeks later, with Breckenridge still in hiding, a reward was offered for his capture.  This news item was a cool find, since it included a description of cousin Bobbie Lincecum's husband.

colfaxchronicle26apr1884Colfax Chronicle (Louisiana)
26 April 1884 [via Chronicling America, Library of Congress]

Proclamation by the Governor.

$500 REWARD.
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, State of Louisiana.  }

Whereas, I have been officially informed that on Sunday, the second day of March, 1884, in the parish of Grant, BRECKENRIDGE SRARKS [sic] did, in cold blood murder John Starks, and afterwards made his escape; and whereas, for the good of society and in vindication of the law, it is necessary that the perpetrators of such deeds should be brought to justice and dealt with as the law directs.

Now, therefore, I, SAMUEL DOUGLAS MCENERY, Governor of the State of Louisiana, have thought proper to issue this, my proclamation, offering a reward of FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS for the arrest and conviction of said BRECKENRIDGE STARKS.

This proclamation to be in force for the term of sixty days.

About twenty-two years old, no beard, dark skin, weighs 125 or 130 pounds, dark eyes and dark swarthy complexion, brown hair, thick lips, long front teeth, five feet seven inches high, quick spoken and speaks loudly, and uses a great deal of profanity, wears almost continually a smile.

Given under my signature and the seal of the State of Louisiana, at the city of Baton Rouge, this 14th day of April, A.D. 1884.  S. D. McENERY.

And there's were the information flow stops.  I do know George B. Starks had his homestead claim "established and duly consummated" for 156 acres in Grant Parish, Louisiana on 7 January 1897.  He was also counted in the 1900 Grant Parish Federal census.  Lastly, also in 1900, he was mentioned again in the Colfax Chronicle as visiting from another ward of the parish – like it was any old day.  Not like he was a wanted fugitive or anything.

So, what's up with that? Did Breckenridge wait until the excitement dissipated and return to town like nothing happened? Was he captured and punished some time in those interim 15 years? Was he some how exonerated of the crime?

George Breckenridge Starks spent the rest of his days farming in Grant Parish, and those days ended in an assassination.  One can't help but wonder, was his death was a revenge killing?

Colfax Chronicle (Louisiana)
Saturday, 21 March 1914 - pg. 1

Ambushed and Assassinated

Breckinrige [sic] Starks Waylaid and Shot to Death from a Carefully Prepared Blind that Concealed the Murderer at the Side of the Road

Bloodhounds Take Trail to Two Houses

On Saturday, March 14, about 1 p.m., Breckinrige [sic] Starks, a well known farmer who lived near Selma in the northeastern portion of Grant parish, was waylaid and shot to death on the model road at a point about two miles southwest of Selma.  At a spot 300 or 400 yards east of the Iron Mountain railroad, in the edge of Bear Creek swamp, the assassin or assassins had prepared a carefully concealed blind in the bushes near the road, where the indications are that he or they must have waited and watched for the victim a day or two before he came along.  This is supposed to be the case from the well worn indications at the place of ambush.

The shooting occurred within a minute or two of 1 o'clock in the afternoon, and was heard by two or three parties.  Four shots were fired from a Winchester rifle, only one of which took effect in the top of the skull, scattering his brains and killing the victim instantly.  Starks was riding his horse and carrying a sack of eggs to market, and appeared to have been pitched from the frightened animal about forty feet from the point where he was shot.  The bloody horse ran up to the house of Mr. Atwell near by, causing an immediate investigation and the finding of Starks' dead body.

Sheriff Perkins and Coroner Blackwood were notified of the tragedy at once, and Dr. Blackwood and Deputy L. O. Clinton left for the scene of the killing in the Doctor's automobile, arriving there about 4 o'clock.  A coroner's jury was impanelled, which returned a verdict that Starks met his death at the hands of an unknown party.

The spot where the assassin stood was guarded, and sheriff Amet Guilliott, of Avoyelles, was telephoned to and requested to bring on his bloodhounds.  He arrived Sunday morning at 8 o'clock with his dogs in charge of Chief Deputy F. A. Ardoin, and the dogs were at once given the scent at the blind.  They took up the trail, going first to the house of J. F. Evans, and from there after circling around a bit successively to the homes of R. G. Lincecum and G. G. Lincecum.

It appears that no grave suspicion was entertained against Evans, who is an old man, but he became angry and violent toward Ransom Rambo, one of the deputies, knocking him down; and for this he was arrested and brought to the Colfax jail, charged with assault.  He has since been released, having given bond to answer for the assault.  He furnished a satisfactory alibi as to his whereabouts at the time of the killing.

R. G. Lincecum also proved an alibi for himself at the hour of the shooting, and was not arrested, but G. G. Lincecum not having given a satisfactory account of himself at that time, was taken into custody on suspicion, and has been confined in the Colfax jail pending an investigation.

R. G. and G. G. Lincecum are likely Reece Green and Gideon G., brothers of Bobbie Lincecum, Breckenridge's wife.  Oh how I would love to know the full story!

So the research continues.

26 March 2018

Family Group Report for Bobbie Lincecum & George B. Starks

Family Group Report - BLStarksBobbie Lincecum was born 24 February 1860 in Louisiana.  She was the first-born child of John P. Lincecum (1820-1907) and Nancy Victoria Hawthorne (b. 1840).

As you might imagine, Bobbie was sometimes assumed to be short for Robert.  This happened on at least one occasion that I have found.  She was noted as Robert Lyncicum in the 1860 Rapides Parish, Louisiana Federal census.  Other names/spellings I've come across include Barbry Lincecum and Bobby Lenccrem.  For the 1920 Grant Parish, Louisiana Federal census, the taker left off "Mrs." and noted her as G. B. Stark.

According to a Louisiana Compiled Marriage Index at Ancestry, Bobbie Lincecum married George Starks 18 November 1881 in Grant Parish. This may or may not be accurate, however, since the couple's first-born child is noted on occasion of having the birthdate of 5 October 1881.

George Breckenridge Starks was born about April 1860 in Louisiana.  He was the third child and second son of Christian Starks (1825-1902) and Rebecca Nugent (1839-1928).  Oftentimes, George is noted to have the birthdate of 8 September 1861 – it's even on his tombstone.  However, I go with "about April 1860" because George can be found in that year's census taken in August with an age of 4/12.

George was usually occupied as a farmer, and he and Bobbie spent most of their lives in Grant Parish, Louisiana.

George Breckenridge Starks was "ambushed and assassinated" on 14 March 1914 in Grant Parish (more on that is in another post).  Bobbie did not marry again, and died 13 July 1949 in Rapides Parish.  Both were buried in Lincecum Cemetery at Grant Parish.

According to the 1910 Grant Parish, Louisiana Federal census, Bobbie had nine children (seven living).  I can only account for eight children, and I don't have firm death dates for the two who supposedly died before April 1910.

Children of Bobbie Lincecum and George Breckenridge Starks:

  • Willie Clay Starks, b. abt 1882 in Louisiana, m. Leona Wheat, d. 22 February 1934 in Louisiana
  • Daniel D. Starks, b. abt February 1883 in Louisiana
  • Nancy V. Starks, b. abt September 1886 in Louisiana
  • George Washington Starks, b. 26 August 1889 in Louisiana, m. Laflore Adele Atwell abt 1917, d. 31 March 1969
  • Neatie R. Starks, b. March 1892 in Louisiana
  • John Oliver Starks, b. 23 August 1894 in Louisiana, m. Annie Wilson, d. 27 July 1977
  • Bessie M. Starks, b. 1896-1897 in Louisiana
  • Beulah Belle Starks, b. 1902 in Louisiana, m. (1) Arther Capps, (2) Harold Herbert Hines, (3) Jewell Wesley Proctor 1968 in Texas, d. 25 May 1999 in Texas

Sources available upon request.  Take all mistakes as good wishes.

Note: George and Bobbie were young teenagers at the time of the Colfax Riot, an event that took place not far from their homes.

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