My great-great-grandmother’s name was Frances Cox, and her maiden name was Huggins. She married my great-great-grandfather Robert Franklin Cox some time around 1866, probably near Darlington, South Carolina. I knew very little about her until recently when I decided to look more into the Huggins family. Finding information on her before 1880 was difficult, but after a long search I was able to find an 1850 federal census record that looked interesting. Look closely at row 30:
What you see is correct: “Frances C. A. O. S. R. J. J. V. Q. of S. C.” What is that? Is that really a full name? What was the census taker smoking that day? It had me stumped for awhile. Luckily, a researcher on Ancestry.com had posted a related story which I only recently came across. The story references the mother of Frances, Zilphia Hamm. I’ve quoted it in its entirety:
Zilphia Hamm Huggins, by Ruth (Dorrill) Thomas
Zilphia Hamm Huggins rode her horse sidesaddle to church, even though she was pregnant. While returning home, her horse became frightened, threw her off, and broke her hip. Competent medical help was unavailable and without proper treatment, her hip did not heal correctly. Frances Huggins was born while her mother was still bedridden.
The ladies of the church came to see her with gifts and names for the new baby girl. Her mother was the tactful pastor’s wife and promised to use all the names. She wrote them down so that the preacher could read them all in the baptismal service. She counted them and found only eleven names, the last of which “Victoria,” who was the Queen of Englans. Zylphia wanted to choose a name of her own. Since South Carolina had no queen, she would name her “Queen of South Carolina”. Frances Huggins was baptized as follows: Frances Cornelia Emerintha Olevia Sarah Rebecca Julia Josephine Eugenia Sophronia Victoria Queen of South Carolina.
Is that the longest name you’ve ever seen? Would love to hear from you.
Pictured from left to right is my grandaunt Anna Bichrest, my maternal grandfather John Joseph Bichrest, Jr., and my grandaunt Mary Bichrest. Obviously, I have extensive information on my grandfather. I have a pretty good handle on my grandaunt Mary Bichrest. I have virtually no information at all on Anna Bichrest. She only appears in the 1930 Census as living with my great-grandparents, and from that I can date her birth to about 1917 in New Jersey.
She is listed in her mothers obituary in 1931 as a surviving daughter. After that, nothing. The real sad part is, she is not listed in her fathers obituary in 1979. I found out from family stories that she became estranged from the family and moved west, possibly to California. Many attempts to contact her were made, but it was clear she never wanted anything to do with the rest of the Bichrests/Bickerests. Did she die prior to 1979? Or had she been disowned and long forgotten? I may never know.
I hope I can one day find some trace of her.
All roads lead to Johnsonville, South Carolina. At least for this humble genealogist. The areas surrounding Johnsonville are “ground zero” for my Cox family line, going back as early as the mid 1700s. So naturally, it was the destination of my first “official” genealogy trip.
If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that genealogists are giving. I was given a guided tour of Johnsonville by a local Cox cousin, Carl B. Skinner. Carl and I share Archibald James Cox (b: 1773) as a common ancestor. Carl has done extensive research on the Coxes of the Johnsonville area. The earliest known Cox of the area is a William Cox, b:1710. According to land records researched by Carl, he can be located to the area off Sand Pit Road, near Lynch’s River.
During my trip, I snapped a photo off of Sandpit road. It’s not much to look at, but it’s where it all started. It was most likely farmland at one point, but is overgrown with trees now. With this photo comes some sadness. Cox relatives of the area say that a Cox family cemetery plot once existed, but has been lost to farming and digging in the area. What mysteries were explained there? Unfortunately we’ll probably never know. Interestingly, a Johnson family plot is not far from the ancestral Cox lands, and still stands.
During my visit, I saw many cemeteries full of my kin, and met a few more living cousins of mine. In fact, the Cox family is so strongly entrenched into the area, that many of the people still living there are distant kin to me. In a passing conversation with a gentleman at my hotel, I explained my business in the area. “Wow,” he said, “you can always go home!” Indeed.