Steeley Hager and Mary Ann “Polly” Whitley
Steeley Hager and Mary Ann “Polly” Whitley were married on September 7, 1819 in Davidson County, Tennessee. Although census records indicate Steeley was from North Carolina (the Hagers are in Lincoln County there), there is insufficient data to connect him to a parent at this time. I do think his parents died and he is in charge of his siblings in 1820, I don’t however find enough data to connect him to a Hager from 1810.
In 1820 we find Steeley and Mary in Davidson County, TN with a male 16-18, a male 16-26, two females under 10 and a female 16-26 on page 414 of Lebanon, Wilson, Tennessee. It is my belief that the 16-18 year old is his brother Sterling A. Hager, and the females are actually siblings of either Steeley or his wife.
In 1830 we find Sterling and Steeley both in Lincoln County, Tennessee, only five households apart on page 155. Steeley has in his household one male 5-10, one under 5, and a male 20-30. He has females one under 5, one 5-10, one 10-15, one 15-20 and one 20-30. Given the fact that there are now two females over 10 and under 20, I suspect that these are either a sister of Steely or his wife, and that they actually only have two daughters, one born 1820-1825 and the other 1825-1830.
In 1840 Sterling has moved to Alabama, but Steeley is now found in Weakley County, Tennessee with the following family on page 31, two males under 5, one male 5-10, one male 10-15, one male 15-20, and a male 30-39. The only female is his wife, 40-50.
I find no other records in Weakley at this time, but evidently the family may have moved to Lauderdale County, Tennessee as we see the marriages of the boys there in 1850. We do not however find the majority of the family in the census. Mary is found in the 1860 census in Johnson County, Arkansas, and then again in 1880 with her son William Daniel Hager. It is assumed she died in Little River County, Arkansas sometime after 1880, but no records of her burial or a probate have been found.
Based on the census data and marriages in Lauderdale County, Tennessee, and civil war records we can place the family of Steely and Mary Whitley to include the following, the information matches with the census. Any female children apparently died.
1. Sterling Alexander Hager born 1825-1826 and died after 1880, his last residence was in Cook County, Texas
2. John A. Hager born in 1828 and died after 1880, his last residence was in Little River County Arkansas in 1880.
3. Samuel Thomas Hager born in 1834 and died 1897 in Stephens County, Texas
4. Benjamin F. Hager, born in 1838 and was killed in the Civil War.
5. William Daniel “Dan” Hager born in 1840 and died after 1880, his last residence was in Little River County Arkansas in 1880.
Sterling, Samuel Thomas and Benjamin F. Hager all enlisted in the same place and at the same time in the Civil war. There is no record for either John or Dan ever serving.
According to the testimony in the Mississippi Choctaw file of Thomas Richard Hager, he testified Polly was the daughter of John Jones. I have been unable to find a marriage of a Polly Jones to a Whitley prior to the marriage, but it is certainly possible that Mary (the nickname for Mary can be Polly) had been married prior to her marriage. The rest of Thomas’ testimony is full of holes and errors. Ironically enough, John Jones is the second husband of another of my maternal ancestor’s, and from court of claims testimonies we know he never had a daughter named Mary or Polly. Thomas stated the family lived in Alabama and Mississippi, but they are always found in Tennessee and Arkansas. He also stated his grandmother had died several decades before her death. Of course, his father had moved away from the area, so he may not have kept in touch. He does however testify that he had an Uncle Dan Hager. This certainly proves that William Daniel “Dan” Hager is a son of Steely and Mary Hager, and that he is the brother of Sterling A. Hager.
The family does have oral history of Indian roots in many of the branches, but the location the family lived in is more indicative of Cherokee or remotely Chickasaw roots than Choctaw, as the family never lived in the Choctaw nation proper.
Sterling Alexander Hager
Sterling Alexander Hager and his wife Mary Jane Huckaby were married January 14, 1847 in Lauderdale County, Tennessee. They had five sons and one daughter. The daughter died by the age of 20 and had no children. The sons, John Alexander, (A.Z.), Thomas Richard, Charles Littleton, James Franklin and Henry Eugene all lived in Texas or Oklahoma. Sterling is found in the 1850 census in Johnson County, Arkansas, in 1860 in Franklin County Arkansas, on a tax list for Little River in 1868, in Dallas County, Texas in 1870 and then in Cooke County in 1880. Sterling bought 120 acres in July 1859 in township 18N range 10W.
His son A. Z. died and is buried in Sulphur Springs, Hopkins County, Texas. A. Z. was married to Letia Enos Summers and had the following children, Sarah, Lucille Marie, Simpkins Sterling, Travis and Mett Hager.
Thomas Richard is the son who claimed to have been Choctaw. His children give his name as Richard Eugene and Richard Nathaniel also, and he is found as Robert in the 1900 census. He also claimed to be the eldest child, though census records indicate otherwise. The testimonies he used from others in his case are not in the Dawes file.
Thomas’ children all name their mother as Mary (Mollie) Fowler no matter how they name their father. Although we have more children in the 1900 census, not all of them are named in the Mississippi Choctaw file, and Robert L. is never named in a census, but is named as a child by death record. It is possible he is under a different name in the census. According to census records his children were John Sterling, Pomp L., Eugene Richard, Pearlie, Ada, Mary, Noah, Elizabeth and Elbert Shelby.
Charles Littleton Hager the third son was married to Sarah Ann Elizabeth Howard. They had the following children, Marion Franklin, Henry, Ben Alexander, Hattie and Maude Hager.
James Franklin the fourth son of Sterling was married to Sarah Louisa Hamilton. They had four children, James Belton, William Sterling, Ollie O. and Henry Hamilton Hager.
Henry Eugene the youngest son of Sterling was married to Ollie H., Aurelia and Elizabeth. He had the following children, Charles F., Rachel L. and Sterling Alexander Hager.
John A. Hager
John A. Hager married January 29, 1848 Emeline Clay. They are found in the 1850 and 1860 census with no children in Lauderdale County. It is noted some Whitley’s are also nearby. In 1880 we find John and his wife with two grandsons, Franklin and William Williams, in Little Lick, Little River County, Arkansas. At this time I cannot find the grandsons before or after that census.
Samuel Thomas Hager
Although I never find him with the family, S. T. Hager enlisted and served in the same unit as his brother in the Civil War. He married Rachel Caroline Bush in Johnson County, Arkansas on October 10, 1853. Samuel bought 40 acres in township 7n range 30w in March of 1860. Now Samuel didn’t seem to like the census, as we only find him in one in 1880. He is found in Travis County, Texas in 1880 with his children and wife. His death information comes from his family, and occurred in 1897. Although his wife died long after he did, I find no evidence of a Civil War pension for her. Because his children died in Texas, we do have death certificates on many of them. Samuel Thomas Hager and Rachel had 6 daughters and 5 sons, there names were, Mary Ann, Rachel Everella, John Crossin, William Monroe, Martha, Thomas F., Pleman Sterling, Lillie Howard, Bell Zora, Dallas Arthur and Ada Lee. I do not have information at this time on the two eldest girls Mary Ann and Rachel. Lily, Bell Zora, Thomas, Pleman Sterling and Martha died as children.
John Crossin was married to Eliza Isabel Reid and had four daughters and three sons. William Monroe married Mary Moore and had 6 sons and three daughters. Dallas married a woman named Samantha and had six sons and two daughters. Although I have a date of death, I haven’t researched Ada at this time.
Benjamin F. Hager
Benjamin F. Hager was married twice. First he married Elizabeth Booth Jan 1, 1855 in Lauderdale County, Tennessee. He then married Nancy Underwood in Jefferson County, Arkansas Jan 1, 1857. I find his widow I 1870 in Sebastian County with no children. His civil war record indicates he was killed by a black man outside of Vicksburg in 1863.
William Daniel Hager
Eda Martha Barnett
Martha E. Hill
William Daniel Hager is generally found as Dan Hager. He is found living with his mother, his brother Benjamin and Ben’s wife in White River, Franklin County in 1860. He married Eda Martha Barnett in Sevier County on February 1, 1865. He bought land 320 acres in township 17N, Range 8W October 1857. A mortgage was found in the deed books p 32 and 33 of Little River County for 1867 for a cotton and corn crop on the Jack Freeman place. In 1870 we find William and his wife Eda with children Margaret Rena and John S Hager in Shoal Creek, Johnson County Arkansas. We know that Eda died sometime after the birth of her last child Mary Magdeline Hager, and that William Daniel remarried in Johnson County, Texas Martha E. Hill October 3, 1875. They lived there for a few years because the 1880 census shows their daughter May born in Texas in 1877. Johnson County is also the place in which Dan’s nephew Thomas Richard married his wife in 1877. The 1880 census in Little River, Little River County Arkansas lists Dan, his wife Martha, his daughters Margaret, Mollie, May and Lillie one month old, and son John S. Hager. Living with them is William’s mother Mary. Although marriage records state he gave his consent, William did not sign the marriage record for his daughter in 1882. A guardianship for his daughter Lillie in 1885 in Saline County Arkansas shows that both Dan and Martha had died by then. I saw a request to adopt Lillie, age 8 in 1888, but have not found her at a later date at this time. As no mention of May is found, it is supposed she has also died by 1885.
Margaret Rena Hager and George W. Brazil
Margaret Rena Hager was born April 6, 1865 and died February 2, 1939. She married George Washington Brazil on February 10, 1882 in Little River County, Arkansas. After her marriage she and George settled in the Kentucky area of Saline County, Arkansas where they had a large family. Margaret, George and many of their children are buried at the Kentucky Cemetery. Their children were Allen Daniel, Mary Jane, Jemima, Eady Rena, George Washington, Rachel Elizabeth, Martha Matilda, John Henry, Nora Lee, Cecelia, Ollie May, Lonnie Clarence, Lillburn Houston and Georgia Brazil.
John S. Hager
Martha Jane Collins
John S. Hager was born in 1868. His middle name is either Steely or Sterling. He married Martha Jane Collins November 24, 1887 in Benton, Saline County, Arkansas. The couple had two sons, Claude Cye Hager and George Washington Hager. In October of 1891, John deserted the family. In May of 1893, Martha Jane divorced John in Saline County, Arkansas. Testifying on her behalf were her brother Bill Collins and an A. D. Jones. Their testimony was that John was a drunk and had deserted the family. The also stated Martha had lived in Saline County for 15 years and had not given John cause to desert her. As a result Martha was awarded custody of her sons Claude 4 and George 2. She was also given the right to her maiden name. The only other record found for John is a marriage certificate, that was never performed, dated February 13, 1904 to Mary Dolbow of Texarkana. No other records have been found. It is assumed because his children were granted guardianship to their grandmother May 1, 1905 that both John and Martha had died by that time.
After her divorce, Martha Jane Collins married William M. Daniels Dec 23, 1896 in Delta County, Texas. Oral history is that the boys were hidden from their father, so in the 1900 census, in Hopkins County, Texas we do indeed find Martha as Mattie with her husband and his children by his first marriage. In the household are Claude Williams and John W. Daniels, neither of which are children of William Daniels. Also there are the two daughters Martha had with William Daniels, Bessie born November 1897, and Lona who was born April 27, 1900. William Daniels died in October of 1904. It is unknown when Martha died, but we know by May of 1905 her boys were given to her mother. It is unclear why her daughters remained with their half sister in Hopkins County, Texas.
Bessie Daniels married Clarence Thompson in 1914. She died in childbirth within the year, and her infant died shortly thereafter. Lona Daniels was raised by her half sister Nellie and her husband John Foust. Life for the Daniels children was hard. Lona was often beaten if she didn’t work hard enough. She lived with her elder half brother for a while before she married her husband Bland Pate. The couple had only one child, Wanda Vanette Pate. Wanda herself had only one child a daughter who predeceased her in death.
Claude Cye Hager and George Washington Hager both lived with their grandmother in Benton, Arkansas. George Washington Hager moved to Texas. Claude's story is told on his page.
George Washington Hager
Fannie Louise Willis
Ruth Gertrude Williams
George was born May 4, 1891 according to his World War 1 draft registration, and May 5, 1892 according to his tombstone. George W. Hager like his brother, lived with his maternal grandmother after the death of his parents. In 1910, we find George living in Hopkins County, Texas. In 1911, he moves back to Benton, Arkansas, and marries Fannie Louise Willis. The Willis’ had several marriages with George’s cousins, the Collins’ and the Mangum’s. It is likely he was acquainted with Fannie through the community or the church. The couple lived in Benton until about 1928 when they moved to Dallas, Texas. It is unclear why they moved to Dallas, most likely for work.
George and Fannie had two boys and five girls.
Herman Hager born in 1912 and died in 1972 was married to Georgia Ashworth. Herman worked with his father in a lumber company at one time. Herman died in Dallas, Texas.
Jewell Janice Hager was born 1914 and died in 2006. She was married to John D. Ellis.
Lona Hager was born in 1916 and died in 1983. She was married three times. First, Seth Ward McDowell by whom she had two children who died as infants. Her other husbands were Lawrence Hutton and John Rafferty.
Martha Mildred Hager was born in 1919 and died in 1987 in Los Angeles. She was married to Daniel McDowell and a man with the last name of Carter.
Doris Camille Hager was born in 1923 and died in 2002. She was married to James Edward Bratcher who was killed during World War 2, she then married Grady Bolls.
Calvin Coolidge Hager was born in 1924 and died in 1996. He married Eunice Daniels, a daughter of Luther Daniels, and a granddaughter of William M. Daniels.
Frieda Earline Hager was born in1927 and died in 1994. She was married to Jack Degalia with whom she had a daughter, and then to Leroy Bolls.
In 1941, George had a daughter with Ruth Gertrude Williams. In 1944 his divorce from Fannie was finalized and he married Ruth. Not long afterwards he had an accident and moved near Batesville, Arkansas where he farmed. He died in Locust Grove Arkansas in September 1959. Fannie died in May of 1950 in Dallas, Texas. She was then married to Virgil “Bud” Chase.
Mary Magdeline Hager
William H. Tong
Mary Magdeline Hager was the youngest child of Eda Barnett. She was born February 5, 1870 in Little River County and died June 10, 1924 in Prairie, Arkansas. She is buried in Kentucky Cemetery. In 1882 at the age of 12 she married H. M Mills. On August 23, 1883 she married William H. Tong. Oral history states the second wife of Dan didn’t get along well with his children. This may help explain her young age at marriage. In 1900 the family lives in Burke, Little River County, Arkansas. In 1910 they are in Carter County, Oklahoma, and then in 1920 they are again found in Little River, this time in Jackson.
William H. Tong and Mary Magdeline are both buried in the Kentucky Cemetery. They had the following children, William H, Honnor, Deverter D, Jasper E, Oden Frank, Ewell Sterling, Floyd, Idell, Otis Leon, Bruce Elsworth, Pauline and David Tong.
The Collins’ and the Mangum’s
Martha L. P. Mangum married Martin Daniel J. Collins in Bedford Co, Tennessee August 31, 1863. We find Martha with her mother Harriet in Bedford in 1860 with siblings, William J, H. W. and Rosana. Two pages over is Martin, with his parents Daniel Collins, and his wife Talitha Adams. The 1850 census in Bedford shows Daniel Collins again with his family, but the Mangum’s are absent. We do find a Samuel Mangum with Harriet, Elizabeth J., Martha L, William J, and James H. in Muhlenberg County Kentucky. The 1840 Census lists Samuel Mangum in Bedford Co., TN. The 1830 census shows two households, Samuel and Jesse Mangum, both of whom have a son the same age as Samuel in Bedford. Daniel Collins was born in 1819 in Tennessee. He is in Bedford from 1850-1900. His wife, Talitha Adams was born in 1817 also in Tennessee. Talitha died between the 1880 and 1900 census. Martin Collins’ many siblings have not yet been traced by the author.
By 1870, Martin Collins and Martha have moved to Pope County, Illinois. James Harvey Mangum is found in Saline County, Arkansas, but his brother and mother are not found. William J. Mangum married Mary Jane Adams in Bedford County, Tennessee in 1871, and in 1880 we find Harriet Mangum, William J. Mangum, James Harvey Mangum and Martha Collins all in Saline County, Arkansas with their families. Oral tradition has the widow Martha traveling by boat to Saline to join her brothers with her four children. According to the divorce proceedings of Martha Jane, the family arrived in 1878.
William, James and Martha are found in succession in the Saline Township of the Saline County census of 1880. Harriet is listed as a border in nearby Salem. At this time, nothing has been found indicating when Harriet died or where she is buried. Nor has a marriage record indicating her maiden name been found. Like the Hager family, oral traditions have members of the Collins family as being of Cherokee descent. Once again, their presence in Tennessee makes this feasible, but as of yet, there is no substantive proof of this claim.
In 1880, William, James and Martha all gave an acre of land, along with Mary Catherine Brooks to the community to be used for a church or other purpose. On that land in 1889, the Sharon Missionary Baptist Church and Sharon Cemetery were formed. James Harvey Mangum is a charter member of the Church. Many of the descendants of these three siblings still live in the area and attend services at the church. Family burials are found primarily in the Sharon Cemetery and in the nearby cemetery, McPherson. The Sharon community included the Willis and Peeler families, both of whom share several marriages into both the Mangum and Collins families.
Martha L. P. Collins was born in November 1841 and died in 1909. She is buried in the Mcpherson Cemetery. Her children were Adolphus A.Collins, Harriet Talitha E. Collins, Martha Jane Collins and William Collins.
Adolphus Collins married Francis Ward. Adolphus was born in 1864 and died in 1935. Their children were Will Martin Daniel (Edith Peeler), Martha Ann (James Herbert Moore), Jennie B (John Wylie Willis), Fred Dolphus (Ethel Peeler), Hattie Jane, Fannie (Charles Edward Ballard), Susie (John Ernest Willis), and Bud (Alpha Cordelia Morse) Collins.
Adolphus and Frances are buried at the Sharon Cemetery.
Harriet Talitha Collins married W. Granville McPherson. She was born in 1857 and died in 1931. Her children were Luella (William Peeler), Katie Zona (John Richard Davenport), Samuel B. (Ora Lee Evans), and James Wesley (Martha Belle Lavelle) McPherson. Harriet is buried at Mcpherson cemetery.
Martha Jane is covered under John S. Hager.
William Collins was married to Fannie Raper. He was born 1872 and died 1942. His children were Roy Emmett, Mattie Jane (Bill E. Ballard), William (Dovie Willis), James (Jewell Hester), Lexie Belle (Howard Hiblong), Ludie (James Garland Pelton), and Louie E. Collins. William is buried at McPherson Cemetery.
Martha Mangum’s brother, William Mangum was born in 1846 and died in 1907. He is buried at Sharon.. He and his wife Mary Jane Adams had the following children James Emmett (Sarah Ivy), Saloma (Collins) and Ella Louella (John R. Davenport and H E Wright) Mangum.
James Harvey Mangum was born in 1848 and died in 1908. His wife was Nancy Catherine Woods. Ironically, Isaiah Woods, presumed to be her father, was the guardian of Lillian Hager in 1885. There is no known connection. James and his wife are buried at Sharon Cemetery. Their children were Martha, William Samuel, Lawrence (Nora Glidewell), Charles Albert (Devada Willis and Minnie Bunch), Minnie Myrtle (John Kellens), Mary Louisa (Charles Leech and Frederick Dodson), Ed James (Nettie Bryant), and Rhoda Catherine (William E. Wright) Mangum.
Joseph B. Barnett and his wife Elizabeth were both born in South Carolina. We find them with their children in 1860 in Forsyth County, Georgia. The various censuses place the eldest children born in either South Carolina or North Carolina. From the 1870 census, we know that the youngest child was born in Georgia in 1864, and that in 1865 Eda Martha Barnett married William Daniel Hager in Sevier County, Arkansas. Thus they arrived sometime in 1864. There are other Barnetts in the area that may be relatives. The portion of Sevier County that became Howard is where the family lived. Most records indicate they lived in Center Point, Howard County, Arkansas. The parents, Joseph and Elizabeth are absent in the 1880 census, and burials have not been found for either of them at this time.
Joseph and Elizabeth had the following children
Mary C. Barnett born 1845 married Henry Harrison
Eda Martha Barnett born 1846 married William Daniel Hager
John T. Barnett born Martha Bedwell and Laura Luckadoo
Essie Jane Barnett born 1853 married Levi Enoch Eudy
Permelia Diana (Ann) Barnett born 1857
Enoch Elijah Barnett born 1860 married Zillie Gilbert
Theodocia Barnett born 1864 married Reed R. Doby