Finding Your Folks: The Byram, Parker, Stewart family

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

James A. Parker was the second son (and fourth child) of John and Martha Byram Parker, and the grandson of Beverly Byram and Sarah Williamson who had moved from Mecklenburg County, N.C. to Pike County, Ga. in the 1820s. James was 11 years old when his grandfather died in 1849 and, as close as the family lived, I think we can assume he was well acquainted with his grandparents, aunts and uncles.

James was born in April of 1838 in Pike County and grew up there in the Hollonville area not far from the Flint River. In the 1840s, James' father, John Parker, apparently began to suffer from some kind of debilitating disease and was considered insane in both the 1850 and 1860 censuses. One can only imagine the hardships of living in such a household but I think we can assume that many of the tasks of a father were taken over by James and his brothers.

In December of 1859, James married Martha Henrietta Stewart, the daughter of John Stewart and Mary Hollon. Martha was born 24 June 1840 in Pike County.

Martha's mother, Mary Hollon Stewart, (also seen as Holland) was the daughter of John Hollon and Hannah Bond, and was from the family who founded and originally settled Hollonville in western Pike County. Hollonville, although unincorporated, is still there today and is a charming little town with several churches, a few businesses, the "Hollonville Opry," the huge Gregg peach orchards, and a general store. The well-kept Hollonville Cemetery, where the remains of many early settlers rest, lies just a few hundred yards off the main highway (Ga. 362) which continues on eastward to Griffin in Spalding County and Westward to Alvaton in Meriwether County.

James and Martha lived in Pike County many years before moving on to greener pastures, as stated by Martha years later when she filed a widow's Confederate pension application in Cullman County, Ala. In between, Martha said she and James lived in Spalding, Douglas and Carroll counties in Georgia, and Cleburne and Cullman counties in Alabama. I tracked them through 1900 when they lived in Haralson County just north of Carroll, but I could not for the life of me find them anywhere in Alabama after that.

In 1861, James and Martha had their first child, a daughter they named Mary, who was living with her grandmother, Mary Hollon Stewart, and her uncles, Noah and Aaron Stewart, in Pike County in 1870. Why she was not with her family is unknown. Nothing more is known about Mary. I checked the marks in the census to see if she may have been retarded, or a deaf mute, but there were no marks to indicate those conditions. The common vernacular of the day was "idiot." So cruel and cold.

James and Martha Parker's second child was James Henry Parker, born 16 May 1862 in Pike County. In 1880, James Henry was living with Alfred and Lizzie Coggin in Pike County, working as a farm hand. James married Henrietta Swann about 1881 and they moved to Cullman County. Henrietta was born 12 Dec. 1864 in Ga. and died 19 Dec. 1950 in Cullman. James died 9 Feb. 1944, also in Cullman. They are both buried in Missionary Grove Baptist Church cemetery in Cullman County.

The year James Henry was born is the same year (and month) James A. Parker enlisted in the Confederate Army at Zebulon in Pike County. According to his pension application, he was a private in Co. H of the 53rd Ga. Infantry and went from Zebulon to Richmond, Va. He was with Generals Lee and Longstreet until the surrender at Appomattox in 1865.

The next child of record for James A. and Martha Stewart Parker was a daughter, Martha J. Parker, born about 1866. (Also seen as Martha F. Parker.) I have no further information on Martha, who is called Mattie J., age 14, in the 1880 Pike County census.

The next child of record was another son, John T. Parker, born in December 1869 in Pike County. John was 30 years old, still single, and still living with his parents in 1900 in Haralson County. I have no further information on him.

The next child of record for James and Martha Stewart Parker was William L. Parker, born about 1874 in Pike County. William appears in the 1880 census in Pike County but is not in the 1900 census in Haralson County. He more than likely married before that time.

The next child for which there is a record is Ida Estell Parker, born 14 Jan 1876 in Pike County, Ga. Ida married Isaac Henry Smith 10 Nov. 1895 in Haralson County, Ga. and they had nine children. Isaac was the son of Richard Smith and Hannah Thompson and was born 12 Aug. 1870 in Carroll County, Ga. Ida and Isaac made their way to Tennessee and both are buried at Union Hill Cemetery in Lawrence County, Tenn. Isaac died 6 Dec. 1918 in Lawrence County and Ida died 12 Sept. 1966 in Walker County, Ala. Ida is the ancestor of Chris Wren who submitted most of the information on this family.

According to the 1900 census, James A. and Martha Stewart Parker had eight children but we only have a record of six. Seven children were still living in 1900. Somewhere, between censuses, a child was born and died, or Martha made a mistake in her math. James died 15 Oct. 1918 in Cullman, just a few months after their arrival there in the spring. Martha died 5 Feb. 1935. She and James are both buried at Missionary Grove Baptist Church cemetery in Cullman.

Next week: Henry Parker and Sarah Cannon.

Family histories about your ancestors who lived on Atlanta's south side are always welcome. Send them to or Mail to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214. All letters and e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

login to post comments | Judy Fowler Kilgore's blog