Well my ancestor this week, is to me an interesting lady, one who probably led a very tumultuous life to say the least. Coming from my Mom’s side of the family, she is my third great-grandmother, Mary Ann Jones, who was born February 28, 1834 in the Flynn’s Lick area of Jackson County, Tennessee. She was mainly known by the nickname of Polly and was the daughter of Elias Jones and Parthena Ellis who were both born in North Carolina. Polly was number six of the twelve children born to Elias and Parthena, who had two girls and ten boys.
Polly’s siblings were, three brothers names unknown at this time, who may have died young and were the oldest of the twelve children born approximately 1824 to 1830, James William Jones 1828-1902, Thomas Reece Jones 1833-1920, William E. Jones ca. 1835-????, Rebecca Isabel Jones ca. 1837-after 1901, Elijah Jones ca. 1841-before 1880, George Washington Jones 1843-1928, John Anderson Jones 1845-after 1910 and Alexander A. Jones 1847-1923. All of these children were also born in the Flynn’s Lick area of Jackson County, Tennessee.
Polly was married to at least three different men, but I have yet to find a marriage record for her to any of them. Polly’s first husband was my third great-grandfather, Labon Lafayette Loftis, who she married when she was about 15 years old. I know they are together on the 1850 census in Jackson County, Tennessee and the census record says they had been married in the census year. The census is dated November 19, 1850 so that means they should have been married sometime between November 1849 and November 1850, but like I said I cannot find a marriage record for them yet. I know a lot of early marriages in Jackson County were destroyed in some way, so that may be why I have not found an actual date yet. Labon or ‘Fete’ which seems to have been his nickname, was almost ten years older then Polly and the 1850 census is the only time I ever find him on any official records.
I have yet to find Polly, Fete or any of their children on the 1860 census, and I have looked at every page of the 1860 Jackson County, Tennessee census as well as all the surrounding counties, but so far no luck. I know Polly and Fete had at least five children together, namely: James Madison Loftis 1851-1937, Susan Almira Loftis 1856-1922, Mary Jane Loftis 1858-1930, Thomas Jefferson Loftis ca. 1862-????, and John Bartley Loftis 1863-1935 who was my direct line and my 2nd great-grandfather. The following is the only picture I have of John Bartley Loftis and he is with his wife Mary Tom Yates in this picture, which was probably taken around the 1910’s to 1920’s in Crittenden County, Kentucky. My Mamaw, Daisy Loftis Fraley told me that their house burnt down when she was a kid so any pictures they may have had burnt went the house burnt.
This next picture is John Bartley Loftis’ old house in Crittenden County, Kentucky and the gentleman standing in front of it is my Mamaw’s first cousin, Carlton Loftis who lives in Michigan. This picture was probably taken in about the 1950’s or so.
I have often wondered if Polly’s husband, Fete, may have joined up with the Confederate Army or possibly even the Union Army, during the Civil War and may have been killed or died of some kind of a disease during the war, but again I can find no record to prove this theory either. What I do know is that by 1865, she is now married to Nathan H. ‘Tosh’ Huff and again I can find no marriage record, but I do have some courts records where Polly and Nathan are filing for divorce from each other. Mainly, Polly is filing for cruel punishment and Nathan is not wanting to pay for any of the court costs. Nathan doesn't say he isn't cruel, he just won’t pay for the court costs. The first filing dates for this divorce are in June of 1867, but they are still together on the 1870 census.
Other court records I have found have Nathan Huff being charged with the murder of Thomas J. Meadows which occurred on January 31, 1872 in Jackson County, Tennessee. Thomas J. Meadows’ father, James W. Meadows would not appear in court and so the charge of murder against Nathan Huff was dropped. Now I know that different people I have talked to and stories I have found on the internet say that Nathan Huff’s own family, called him the meanest man in Tennessee. Maybe James W. Meadows was too scared of Nathan to come to court and confront Nathan about the murder and I can sure see why Polly would want to get away from him as well. It seems from court records that I have seen so far, that Nathan Huff, must have intimidated a lot of people because he would be hauled to court and charged with different offenses, but then no one would ever testify against him.
I do know for a fact that Polly and Nathan had at least four children together before she was finally able to get away from him. These four children were: Sidney Stanton Huff 1866-1946, Nathan H. Huff, Jr. 1867-1951, Samuel H. Huff 1869-1950 (I wrote about him on week #3), and Elvira Elizabeth Huff 1871-1957. All four of these children were also born in the Flynn’s Lick area of Jackson County, Tennessee. Nathan Huff had at least eight children with his first wife Eliza Wolfe and at least one child with his third wife Louisa Newman. I do know that after February of 1871 and before February of 1873, Polly has finally left Nathan Huff and gone to Crittenden County, Kentucky taking her two Loftis daughters, Susan and Mary, and the one Huff daughter, Elvira, with her. The boys Loftis and Huff all stayed in Tennessee, until after 1880 then some of them also came up to Crittenden County, Kentucky including my direct line, John Bartley Loftis. The following picture of Polly was probably taken in the late 1870’s or early 1880’s.
On the 1880 census, Polly Huff is living in Crittenden County, Kentucky and she says she is widowed and is working as hired help in the house of John Fritts. Polly’s two Loftis daughters are both married now and her Huff daughter, Elvira, is living with her half-sister, Susan Loftis Haney. I wish there was an 1890 census so I could see what Polly was up to, but I do not find her again until the 1900 census where she is going by the last name of Keens and living with her daughter, Susan Loftis Haney in Lyon County, Kentucky. So far I have not found who this Mr. Keens was, his first name or where this marriage may have occurred at. The 1900 census also says that Polly was the mother of twelve children, but that only ten were still living. I have names for nine children, five Loftis and four Huff, and I know that Thomas Jefferson Loftis disappears after 1870, so I have always assumed he passed away young. Maybe Thomas ran off, possibly getting away from an abusive step-father??? If I could find the 1860 census maybe that tenth child would be listed there and then I would know who he or she was, if indeed the 1900 census record is correct in the amount of children born and living, that Polly had.
I do not know for sure when, but probably after 1901, Polly leaves Kentucky and goes back to Tennessee and Flynn’s Lick. Different records I have found say that Nathan Huff died in either 1897 or 1901, but I haven’t found him on a 1900 census, so I am thinking the 1897 death date is probably the correct one. Again I am assuming that Polly did not go back to Tennessee, until she was absolutely sure that Nathan Huff was dead, and I can’t say I would blame her if that was the case. I believe she may have left shortly after the following picture was taken. The people in the picture are Robert Marion Pogue 1864-1946, his wife Elvira Elizabeth Huff 1871-1957 and their three children, William Vernon Pogue 1894-1921, Lela May Pogue 1899-1986 and Henrie Melma Pogue 1901-1969 and the older woman is my grandma, Mary Ann ‘Polly’ Jones Loftis Huff Keens. The baby, Henrie Melma Pogue was born August 6, 1901 and she looks pretty small in this picture, so I am thinking probably the fall of 1901 for the time frame of this photo, which was taken in Crittenden County, Kentucky.
I believe that when Polly goes back to Flynn’s Lick, she probably lives with her son, James Madison Loftis and his family, because Polly is buried next to James’ wife, Filena Allen Loftis, and some of her grandchildren at the New Salem Cemetery. The following is a picture of James Madison Loftis and his wife Filena and six of their twelve children, and this picture was taken in 1903.
The death records from Tennessee state the following: Pollie Huff, age 75 years, white, female, married, died December 28, 1909 in Flynn’s Lick of old age. Now why she is listed as married I don’t know, she says she is widowed on the 1880 and 1900 census, but the weird thing is she is listed as a Huff. If it had been me I would have gone back to the surname of Loftis or kept the surname Keens that she had on the 1900 census, I sure wouldn't have used the surname of Huff. If she was living with her son and his family one of them would have probably been the informant, but the records for 1909 do not have the informants name listed most of the time. I do know that on her tombstone she is listed as a Loftis though. The following pictures are of her tombstone and of the sign going into the cemetery, pictures I took when I went there on Sunday, October 17, 1999. It was so cool to be able to stand there and see that she had a marker and was not forgotten by her family.
Seventy-five years, none of them easy, but what I can tell you is that Polly did leave some wonderful descendants. My Mamaw, Polly’s great-granddaughter, Daisy Elnora Loftis Fraley, was one of the finest people that ever walked on this earth, loved and missed by all who knew her.