Contributed by Debra Hosey. 2018

Joel Franklin Lightfoot was born on 16 October 1815 in Amherst County, Virginia. He was the second child born to John Wesley Lightfoot and Ann Margaret Hensley Franklin. Joel had one older sister, Susan Maria Martha Lightfoot, one younger brother, John Lightfoot, and two younger sisters, Mary Margaret Caroline Lightfoot, and Caroline Elizabeth Barrow Lightfoot.

Joel married Catherine Convell Gallagher on 15 February 1846 in Shelby County, Tennessee. Catherine was born on 13 July 1825 in Alabama. It is thought her parents were John Gallagher and Neaty Caroline Martin. It is unclear if Catherine had any siblings.

Soon after the marriage, the newlyweds took up residence in Franklin County, Alabama. The 1850 U. S. Federal Census show the young couple with three children, Caroline Irene, age 3 years, Bettie Taylor, age 2 years, and John Wesley, age 6 months. The census also shows Joel’s maternal grandmother, Susannah Lewis Franklin, age 80 years, and mother, Ann Margaret Hensley Franklin Lightfoot, age 54 years, also living with them.

We know from the 1855 Alabama Census that this family still resided in Franklin County, Alabama. The census shows that there were two males under the age of 21 (John Wesley and James Gallagher}; one male over the age of 21 (Joel); four females under the age of 21 (Caroline Irene, Bettie Taylor, Annie Marie, and an unknown child); and three females over the age of 21 (Catherine, Joel’s mother, and Joel’s maternal grandmother).

Research indicates Joel was appointed an Indian Commissioner by President Andrew Jackson. He was given a land grant in Phillips County, Arkansas because of that service. In 1857 he built his home there. The house was a two story log structure built of squared yellow poplar logs native to the area. Of interest, the house was disassembled in 1979 and rebuilt in Little Rock, Arkansas where, at the time of this writing, was still standing.

The 1860 U. S. Federal Census shows the family, residing in what was then, Monroe County, Arkansas. In addition to the six living Lightfoot children (Caroline Irene, age 14 years, Bettie Taylor, age 11 years, John Wesley, age 10 years, James Gallagher, age 8 years, Annie Maria, age 6 years, and Neaty Matine, age 2 years) the census shows Joel’s mother, and sister, Mary Margaret Caroline Lightfoot living with them. Three children of Joel’s youngest sister, Caroline Elizabeth Barrow Lightfoot Royston were also living with them. The three Royston children are Mary Lightfoot, age 15 years, Emma Ethyl, age 14, and Margaret Hensley, age 10 years.

Since we know the family resided in Franklin Co, Alabama in 1855 and the 1860 census shows Neaty Matine, age 2 years, was born in Arkansas about 1858, we can narrow down the migration to Monroe County, Arkansas to have occurred between 1855 and 1858, but most likely 1857 when the house was built.

In the 1870 U. S. Federal Census we find Joel, Catharine, Caroline Irene, Bettie Taylor, John Wesley, James Gallagher, Annie Maria, and Neaty Matine still living together as a family in Monroe County, Arkansas. The two oldest daughters, Caroline Irene and Bettie Taylor are shown to be teachers.

Records indicate that Joel died 25 December 1872 in Phillips County, Arkansas.

We find Catharine in the 1880 U. S. Federal Census as the head of household with both Annie Maria and Neaty Matine living with her in what is now Phillips County, Arkansas. The family did not relocate. The county boundaries changed in 1873.

Catharine died on 6 November 1881 in Phillips County, Arkansas.

Family lore and the 1855 Alabama Census suggest there were three more children of Joel and Catharine. The 1855 Alabama Census showed us that there was another female under the age of 21. We have not found any records determining who this person was and the relationship to this family. Family lore indicates there was a son, Walker Park, who was born 5 December 1855 and died about 1857 and a daughter, Catherine Ruth, who was born 11 October 1860 and died 30 October 1860. No records have been uncovered to substantiate either child.

We don’t know what happened to Caroline Irene following the 1870 U. S. Federal Census. Bettie Taylor married Isaac C Wellborn on 26 February 1879 in Phillips County, Arkansas but by the 1880 U. S. Federal Census she was widowed. Bettie Taylor remained in Phillips County, Arkansas until her death in 1912. John Wesley married Frances B Abington on 2 December 1875 in Phillips County, Arkansas where they became the parents of eight children. John and Frances remained in Phillips County, Arkansas until their deaths. There is no record of James Gallagher ever getting married. He remained in (then) Monroe County, Arkansas until his death on 2 February 1872. It appears that Annie Marie never married but remained in Phillips County, Arkansas. We were unable to locate any records for Annie beyond the 1920 U. S. Federal Census. Neaty Matine married Thomas Miller Kornegay on 26 November 1891 in Phillips County, Arkansas. We were unable to locate any records for Neaty Matine beyond the 1920 U. S. Federal Census.

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