Early Jackson was the first child of Thomas Clayton and Mary Larrimore Calk. Their home at the time was Clarke County, Alabama, which is located in the southwest part of the state with the Tombigbee and Alabama Rivers forming its borders. I am somewhat confused about Early Jackson’s exact birth date. His tombstone inscription gives December 8, 1845 as the date, but three census records record 1848 and one records 1846. I am inclined to think the census records may be more on target since information for tombstones was often given by a person who may have been misinformed.
Like many other pioneers the Calk’s were a farming family living a rugged and harsh existence in Clarke County, Alabama. The 1850 United States Federal census records J.J. Calk, age 30; Mary Calk, age 20; Early Calk, age 2; and William Calk, age 0.
CALK FAMILY HEAD TOWARD TEXAS
By the time of the 1860 census was taken the Calk family had left their long time home of Clarke County, Alabama, and was living in Sevier County, Arkansas. Four more children had been born. The family of eight consisted of Thomas, age 40; Mary, age 31; Early Q., age 12; William M., age 9; Thomas B, age 8; Anna E. age 6; Elijah age 4; and Sarah Q., age 1. The census taker or transcriber misspelled the name as “Cork” as well as recording inaccurate initials for Early Jackson and Sarah Jane. Sometime after this census one more daughter named Molly was born before the family left Arkansas.
It is my feeling the Calk’s were on the way to Texas and may have stayed in Arkansas for only a few years. I have not been able to find either Thomas or Early Jackson on an 1870 United States Federal Census, so I cannot back up my suppositions. Perhaps the name is spelled incorrectly, but for some reason they have fallen through the “genealogical cracks.” This will require more research.
Another Calk family researcher by the name of Wayne Calk shared the family lore that while traveling on a wagon train from Arkansas to Texas, Mary Larrimore Calk died. It is possible she died while giving birth. If true, this story gives us an indication of the difficult circumstances our ancestors faced as they traveled into unknown territories seeking a better life. I am amazed at the strength and determination of these men and women.
Wherever the Calks were living during the 1860’s their lives must have been affected by the United States Civil War. Both Arkansas and Texas seceded from the Union in 1861 to join forces with the Confederacy. It was a tumultuous time no matter where you lived. I imagine it would have been a very difficult time to move and settle into a community, not to mention establishing a means of livelihood. Most citizens were called on to assist in the war effort, especially in supplying the military with needed resources. If the Calks were farming, it is likely they had to do their part.
The next time I found any information about Early or his father, Thomas, they are in McLennan County, Texas. Marriage records for both father and son were furnished by family researcher Wayne Calk. Early Jackson married Louisa S. Champion on June 1, 1867, and his father Thomas married Minerva Randolph Fitzgerald on May 25, 1868. Both marriages were in McLennan County. Calk family lore says Early’s wife Louisa died in 1872.
EARLY JACKSON CALK AND WINCY TITSWORTH WED
Early J. Calk is recorded on the 1880 United States Federal Census in Atascosa County, Texas. The census was taken on June 12. It is interesting to note that same day a marriage license was issued in Medina County, Texas for E.J. Calk and Wincy Titsworth. The wedding ceremony was performed by William C. Newton on June 20 in Castroville.
Evidently Wincy had previously been married and had a 6 year old son named Levi Carlisle (Carlyle). One undocumented internet source gives the first husband’s name as Bell. However, it is also possible her child was born out of wedlock. I found Wincy and Levi Titsworth (not Bell) on the 1880 United States Federal Census in Atascosa County, Texas, living with the John L. McCaleb family. The record states the relationship as “cousins.” Of course, this could mean they are cousins of John McCaleb or his wife, Elizabeth. As mentioned above, the census was taken a very short time before Early and Wincy married. Evidently, Early adopted Levi because he later uses the name “Calk.”
After their marriage Early and Wincy moved to Bonham, Fannin County, Texas, and it was there they had their first child. A daughter, Ethel Cleora, was born September 19, 1881. Over the next years their family continued to grow. From internet information I retrieved the names of several of their children but not much else. Clementine was born about 1882, followed by Maude in 1884, Helen in 1886, Granvill C. in 1889, and Early Jackson III on January 1, 1894. I have verified that Ethel and Early Jackson III were born in Bonham but have no information about the other children.
When the 1900 United States Federal Census was taken the Calks were in Bonham, Texas. They were recorded as follows. Note the misspelled names. Early J. Call, age 53; Nincy Call, age 45; and Early Call, age 4. Early’s occupation is “Farmer.” I do know that Levi, Ethel, and Clementine married before 1900, but since none of the younger children were listed it makes me wonder if perhaps they were no longer living. If that was the case, they faced a lot of sadness in their married life.
I do have information about four of their children. Levi married Martha Dell Davis; Ethel married George Franklin LeBus (my maternal grandparents); Clementine married John Ervin LeBus, George’s brother; and Early “Earl” Jackson III married Zora Maurice Taylor. Listed below are the children and grandchildren of Early and Wincy Calk.
Levi Carlisle and Martha Dell Davis Calk: Cleora Parilee Calk, Elizabeth “Bessie” Louise Calk, Mildred Bernice Calk, Daisy Dell Calk, William Carlisle Calk and James Ralph Calk.
George Franklin and Ethel Cleora Calk LeBus: Frank Leyburn LeBus, Hazel Annabelle LeBus, Archie Carlisle LeBus, Jack Blackburn LeBus, Irene Clementine LeBus, Roy Henderson LeBus,Laura V. LeBus, George Franklin LeBus, Jr., Ethel Marie LeBus and Donavel Calk LeBus.
John Ervin and Clementine “Clemmie” Calk LeBus: John Ervin LeBus, Jr., Margaret LeBus, Annabel LeBus and Johnnie LeBus.
Early “Earl” Jackson III and Zora M. Taylor Calk: Earl Calk, Jr. and Jesse William Calk.
Sometime after 1900 the Calks moved to Nocona, Montague County, Texas, located in far north Texas. It was there that Early Jackson Calk died at age 58, a young man by today’s standards. His tombstone gives his death date as May 15, 1906 and he is buried in the old Greenbriar Cemetery in Montague County.
If this narrative about Early Jackson Calk seems rather sketchy, it is because my primary sources of information were from the United States Federal census records. That made “reading between the lines” quite difficult. Nevertheless, I imagine that as a farmer he had a hard life trying to provide for his family, particularly during the years following the Civil War. If there is truth in family lore, he experienced the death of his first wife and several of his children. On a more positive note – he lived to see several of his children marry and have families. Early and Wincy were able to experience being grandparents and that must have been a source of great satisfaction.
Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.
Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.
Ancestry.com. 1880 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004.
“Arkansas in the Civil War,” http://www.civilwarbuff.org
Calk, Wayne, “Personal family fils of Wayne Calk,” WayneCalk@tds.net
Greenbrier Cemetery, Montague County, Texas, US Cemetery Project,http://www.uscemeteryproj2.com/texas/montague/greenbrier/greenbrier.htm
“Texas in the Civil War,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas-in-the-American-Civil-War
Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft, 2011. Updated July 2014.
Early Jackson Calk Pedigree Chart (click link) early-jackson-calk-pedigree-chart-scan0001