Descendants of Cyrus & Sarah Yancey of South Carolina
through his son, Meredith Yancey and his wife Mary Witt


Meredith Yancey (1803-1893)

Goodspeed's History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin and Sebastian Counties, Ark. 1889 Biographical Appendix p 1219

Meredith Yancey was b. 11 July 1803 in Pendleton Co., S. C., where his parents, Silas and Sallie (Smith) Yancey were born and reared.

The father was a farmer, and in 1819 moved to Tenn., where Mrs. Yancey died in 1820. Meredith received a common-school education, and when of age started out in life for himself. In 1833 he married Polly, daughter of Burgess Witt and Elizabeth (Mayo) Witt. Mr Witt was born in 1766, and in 1781 enlisted in the army, serving until the close of the war, under Captain. Carouse. He died in 1842. Mrs. Witt was born in 1776. Mrs. Yancey is a native of Tenn., where she was born in 1810. In 1851 she went to Washington Co., and in 1858 came to Crawford Co. She is the mother of the following children: William Brownlow of Washington Co., Hezekiah of this County, Elizabeth Watson who now lives at home, and Filmore, also of this county. Mr Watson came to Crawford Co. Ark. in 1878, with his mother from Perry Go. Ark. and was here married. He was born 19 Mar 1844 and in 1863 enlisted in the War as a private in Co C. 3rd Ark. Cav. serving first under Capt. Gates and then under Capt. Matthews Col. A.H. Rhyan commander. He received his discharge 22 June 1865. His marriage occurred 8 Sept. 1882.

Mr. Yancey owns 157 acres of land, sixty acres of which he has cleared. He is a successful farmer and fruit grower, having an orchard of 140 apple trees besides other fruits. He was a member of the Methodist church until it was disorganized. In politics he is a Democrat and his first Presidential vote was cast for Andrew Jackson in 1824.

DJY: Note: "Silas Yancey" - should probably correctly be "Cyrus Yancey" - - - Cyrus' parentage is somewhat of a mystery. The birth date of 11 Jul 1803 on many other records is given as 19 Jul 1803.

 


Hezekiah Wilkerson Yancey - (by Carolyn Yancey Kent )

On July 4 1862, Hezekiah W Yancey enlisted in company D, First Bryan's Battalion Cherokee Provisional Rangers, Confederate States of America at Evansville, Arkansas. On February 3, 1863 his company was listed as Company K, Second Regiment Cherokee Mounted Volunteers. Hezekiah was discharged June 1, 1865. Hezekiah was a private and was engaged in the battles at Cane Hill and Prairie Grove in Arkansas and Honey Springs and Fort Gibson in Oklahomia. He was in numersous raids and scouts in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahomia, and Arkansas. Most of his service was as a partison ranger. The troops were frequently engaged in guerrilla activities and their principal duties were to harass the enemy.

After discharge Hezekiah returned to the Boston Mountains and lived in the community Stop, AR, Crawford Co area. Hezekiah Wilkerson Yancey died May 16, 1890. His friends from the Cherokee Mounted Volunteers came to the funeral.

The native american members were in full ceremonial regalia and formed a column of twos on horseback and escorted his body from the church to the Yancey/Liberty Hill cemetery for burial. ( My granfather Millard Alonza Yancey remembered the funeral and related the story to my father William Denver Yancey)

His widow, Missouri Jane Cuzick Yancey drew a pension on Hezekiah's service. His service was listed as Company A, 2nd Cherokee Cav. She applied 1901 Crawford Co AR. ( I have spoken to civil war researchers about the difference in the companies Hezekiah served in and they said that was not unusual as companies were frequently re-organized)

Hezekiah Wilkerson Yancey's family a few years after he died.
Standing: Sallie Dobbs Cuzick, William Denver Yancey
Sitting: Laura Christianson, Missouri Jane, Mary Myrtle & Millard Alonzo Yancey


Millard Alonzo Yancey (1877-1976) with wife Goldie Florence Claphan
Children (left to right): Luella Jane, Washburn Alonzo,
William Denver, Myrtle Eunice and Florence Ruth.

Photos and newspaper articles from Mary Clem Standard, Charleston, Arkansas
(Photos placed here were not in original newspaper article)

"The Quiet Corner"
Unidentified Newspaper Article - 1972

The express spotlights Rev. Alonzo Yancey on the occasion of his 95th birthday. Brother Yancey was born December 22 1877 in Crawford County in a Boston Mountain community 1750 feet above sea level. His parents, H. W. and Missouri Jane Yancey are buried in the Liberty Hill Graveyard on land donated by his grandfather Meredith Yancey, along with many other Yancey relatives. Brother Yancey still returns the their on Decoration Day, the third Sunday in May, to preach.

The areas is filled with many memories for Brother Yancey. His father fought in the Civil War in the battles of Prairie Grove and Pea Ridge. After nearly thirty years of farming he began his preaching in this area with his first sermon on March 19, 1905. The school house where he preached his second sermon was moved several years ago to the battleground in Prairie Grove for preservation. Most importantly he vividly remembers when he met the future Mrs. Yancey. Brother Yancey tells us that he had gone to the school house on an errand when he was ten years old and met six year old Florence Claphan. Fourteen years later, on November 17th 1901, they were married. They had five children, all of whom are still living. Mrs. Yancey passed away ion July 1971 just a few months prior to their 70th wedding anniversary.

In approximately 1907 Brother Yancey tells us he sold everything he could lay his hand s on and moved in two covered wagons to Stillwell, Oklahoma where he had received a call to the first Baptist Church. During his nine years in Stillwell he took time off to attend the Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas for formal training in the ministry. He subsequently moved to Checotah, Oklahoma as pastor of the First Baptist Church but was forced to recuperate from illness. When he regained his health he moved to Still well and then to Branch, Arkansas with a short stay in California. Upon his return from the West Coast, Brother Yancey Scranton, Ola, Plainview, Charleston, and Branch either as pastor or interim pastor. In 1936 he made a second trip to California and remained there for several years. During his tenure in California he was connected with the Baptist State Convention and Pastor at Bell Gardens Baptist Church where he led in a building program for this church. From that beginning the church has had an outgrowth of thirty churches and missions. Brother Yancey still gets the regular monthly bulletin from the church.

Rev. Alonzo Yancey graduating from
Southwestern Theological Seminary

In 1944 he moved to Charleston to retire. He bought his present home from which he still corresponds with the many friends he has made over his lifetime. This lifetime also includes, besides preaching, working as a deputy sheriff in Crawford County back in the late 1800's and at one time was a Justice of the Peace in Crawford County. "I've been a public man about all of my adult life and don't regret it", said Brother Yancey. "I've preached nearly 68 years and would go back and do it again." Brother Yancey has been a Mason for fifty years and at one time was District Deputy Grand Master for three years.

Brother Yancey is quite a fiddler and has just completed a tape for a grandson and granddaughter. His violin is over 100 years old.

When asked how it feels to be 95, Brother Yancey replied: "Its a fine thing to be 95 years old if you don't weaken." He had a wonderful birthday celebration going to Fort Smith for dinner and a visit with relatives. On the trip home he stopped to see the barges go through the lock and dam at Barling, which he really enjoyed.

When interviewing Brother Yancey we found him to be humorous and kindly. We enjoyed our visit with him and hope our readers have been able to share in this visit.


Settlers in the 1800's
South West Times Record - Fort Smith Arkansas, June 1 1986
Article by Myrtle Yancey

Among the early settlers in Crawford County was my great-great grandfather Meredith Yancey, who bought land in 1859 from the federal government under the Graduation Act.

He had a family of eight children. Six of them came to Crawford County with them from Tennessee.

Recorded in the Arkansas State Land Office In Little Rock are records showing that Meredith Yancey bought the land from the Federal Government Act - one in December 13, 1859; the other April 2, 1860. This land was located near Stop, Arkansas, later called Odell.

Meredith Yancey and his wife are buried at Liberty Hill Cemetery near Natural Dam.

Hezekiah Wilkerson Yancey was my grandfather. He married Missouri Jane Cuzick in 1877, also buried at Liberty Hill.

Hezekiah served three years (1862-1865) Company A Second Regiment Cherokee Cavalry of the Confederate Army and was in the battle at Pea Ridge, better known in the South, as the battle of Elk Horn Tavern.

Family Tradition says that he was in battles at Cane Hill and Prairie Grove. He was born Nov 11 1841 and died May 16, 1890. They had two sons and a daughter. Grandmother died in 1916.

My father was Millard Alonzo Yancey, born December 22 1877, in Crawford County. He was better known as Lon Yancey. He married Goldie Florence Claphan in 1901. She was the daughter of George Washington Claphan and Christine A. Davis, also of Crawford County.

Lon was a member of the school board at Liberty Hill, served as Justice of the Peace, and was a Deputy Sheriff under James Hitchcock.

In 1905 he was ordained as a Baptist Minister. His second sermon was delivered at the Old Garrett Schoolhouse which has been restored and moved to Old Battlefield at Prairie Grove.

He attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Fort Worth, Texas and served churches in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and California. He was a Mason and at one time was a district deputy grandmaster in the state of Arkansas.


William Denver & Margaret Yancey

[More Photos]

[From Newspaper Obituary]

William Denver Yancey, 69, 1009 E 134th, Grandview, died Thursday in Fullerton, Calif. He was born in Van Buren, Ark and had lived here 15 years. He was a Navy veteran of World War II and served with the Seabees. He was a retired carpenter and builder. He was a Baptist. He was a member of the Grandview Masonic Lodge No. 618, the Heart of America Radio Club and the M.A.R.S. network. He leaves his wife, Mrs. Margaret Yancey of the home; two daughters, Mrs. Margaret Nichols, 604 S Grant, Olathe, and Mrs. Carolyn Little, Jacksonville, Ark; his father, the Rev. Alonzo Yancey, Charleston, Ark; a brother W. A. Yancey, Wilcox, Ariz.; three sisters, Mrs. Myrtle Clem, Branch, Ark.; Mrs. Ruth McDuffy, Charleston, Ark; and Mrs. Luella Metcalf, Fort Smith, Ark, and six grandchildren. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the George Grandview Chapel; burial in Belton Cemetery. Friends may call from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the chapel.

William Denver Yancey & wife Margaret - Ham Radio Operators


Myrtle Eunice (Yancey) Clem

Myrtle was born in Indian Territory (what is now Stilwell, Oklahoma) on May 15, 1907. She was the second child and oldest daughter of Reverend Alonzo Yancey and Goldie Florence (Claphan) Yancey. Her father was pastor of New Hope Baptist, considered a missionary church. Myrtle learned her caretaking skills early in life. Her mother was often sick and almost died in giving birth to three more children. Her grandmother, Missouri Jane (Cusick) Yancey, lived with the family most of Myrtle's growing up years.

As Rev. Yancey was called to preach, the family moved to different towns in both Oklahoma and Arkansas. It was a difficult life with little money. One Christmas the family received a big box with gifts inside from a church in South Carolina. Myrtle was thrilled to find a real doll - just for her. She cherished the doll and although it got torn up in a childish fight, Myrtle kept the letter from the South Carolina church all her life.

In 1925, Rev. Yancey was called to the Baptist Church in Branch, Arkansas. During their first week in Branch, some young people invited Myrtle to a revival at the Methodist Church. There she spotted a handsome young man singing in the choir. She eagerly asked his name and told her new friend. "That's my man, if I never get him". Myrtle married Lewis Ray Clem on December 19, 1925. Lewis' father owned the hotel, cafe and general store in Branch. The future looked bright

The first three children from Lewis and Myrtle came three years apart - Charles (1927) Mary (1930) and Dena (1933). The Great Depression came along with reversal of fortune, and Lewis and Myrtle became one of the many families traveling to other states for work. In 1930, pregnant with the second child, they went with Lewis' sister Ivy & family and his brother Carl and wife to Louisiana where the men worked and the wife's cut wood and minded the house. They returned to Paris, Arkansas where Lewis' operated a service station before the birth of the child.

In 1939 they took off for California because his brother had him a job on a ranch for 38 cents and hour. On the way there their car broke down in Big Springs, Texas, beyond repair. They sold it for barely enough for train tickets and barrels in which to pack their worldly possessions, and continued on. For many years, they were back and forth, but home was always Branch, Arkansas, and the excursions were for work and money, and maybe a little adventure.

World War II found then in Oakland, California, working on warships in the shipyards. Myrtle (who was plump in her later years) was proud that she could fit through the port holes at this time in life. She also worked at a food counter in a large market place with daughter-in-law Mae, while her son was away at war.

Two more children came--Donald (1942) and Brenda (1947). Returning to Arkansas for Brenda's birth, they spent the rest of their lives in Branch.

Lewis hung around the electricians working on the barracks at Fort Chaffee, and learned the trade, eventually becoming a journeyman electrician, and member of the IBEW.

Myrtle rarely worked on paid jobs except in wartime, but she certainly kept busy caring for those around her. In her young years, she kept a big garden and canned lots of vegetables. Later, her community was her garden. Branch had a population of around 300 people; Myrtle knew them all. As one of the few women her age, she could drive (or was brave enough to), she constantly took people where they needed to go, cooked food for the sick, wrapped the dead in sheets waiting for the ambulance, gather money for flowers. She took care of her community. "I'm a preacher's daughter - that's what I am supposed to do". She was a gentle woman, respected and well loved. But she was also strong, and could hold her own. She and Lewis were married for 55 years; every Sunday she and the kids went to the Baptist Church, Lewis to the Methodist.

Myrtle was almost always easygoing with a sweet smile on her face, but once in a while, the scales tipped, and she was instantly, intensely angry. Lewis called it the Yancey temper, "She gets it from her old man". It passed quickly.

Myrtle died on May 5, 1993, at the age of 86 years from congestive heart failure. She is buried beside Lewis, who died on March 18, 1981. in Hampton Cemetary north of Branch, Arkansas. Her granddaughter (age 7), Twila Jean is also buried there, and three of her children and spouses have plots nearby. Myrtle will rest forever with her family around her.

Written By: Brenda (Clem) Black Submitted By: Mary (Clem) Standard

Lewis & Myrtle (Yancey) Clem family
Back - Left to Right: Dena, Charles, Mary
Front - Left to Right: Donald, Myrtle, Lewis, Brenda


This is a simple memory more than a story - actually my mother's memory of a childhood Christmas.  It is always in my heart at Christmastime:

 My mother was Myrtle Eunice Yancey, born in 1907 in Indian Territory, Oklahoma, shortly before it became a state.  Her father, Rev. Alonzo Yancey, was a preacher in what was considered a mission field at the time.  My mother's mother, Goldie, remained gravely ill after the birth of mother's younger siblings, and many household chores fell to a too-young Myrtle.

Money was almost non-existent.  The preacher was paid with chickens, eggs, vegetables, sometimes cloth or other essentials.  For Christmas that year, probably around 1914-15, Myrtle asked for a doll, but she knew her mother was too ill to make one.  Instead she received a pair of socks, and a loving note from her father.  Then unexpectedly, on Christmas Day, a man brought a wooden crate to their home.  It had traveled for over a month from a church in South Carolina.  There was a letter saying the church had learned of the young family doing Mission work, and wanted to show their support.  The crate was filled with coats and other clothing for the five children and their parents, Bibles, books, tablets, cookware, some small toys, and in the bottom was a box wrapped in Christmas paper and a label that said "Myrtle".

Myrtle was afraid to open it at first, then slowly unwrapped the box, saving the paper.  Inside the box was a doll with curly brown hair like her own.

It was a real doll, store-bought, with a beautiful dress.  Myrtle's heart pounded so fast, she almost fainted.  Could this special doll be hers?

"Yes, a special doll for a special girl," said her father who was crying.

Later she learned that her father had written the Southern Baptist Convention, and asked for something special for his daughter Myrtle, who at such a young age, was caring for her mother and brothers and sisters.

I can still see the joy on my mother's face as she told me the story of her treasured doll every Christmas.  Even in her eighties, when she didn't recognize me any more, she still talked about her doll and how she felt that Christmas Day so long ago.  And as I remember her joy, I also remember the loving soul of my grandfather, Rev. Alonzo Yancey, who made that joy possible for her.  And I am thankful for the wonderful person in a small South Carolina town, who purchased a doll for an unknown child that Christmas.

Brenda Clem Black