I will begin with a picture which some generous genealogy nut like myself posted on his/her ancestry.com public member family tree and graciously has shared it with me. (Genealogists are really great like that--generous and helpful.)
|Mary Jane Deal Earp Ewing|
Mary Jane Deal was born 19 Sep, 1835 in Georgia. The 1850 Federal Census shows Mary Jane living with her parents, Robert and Mary Deal, and siblings Alexander, Hugh and William in Dist. 26, Cherokee Co., Alabama. Living nearby was Matthew and Selina Earp and their large family. In 1853 Mary Jane married Caswell Earp, b. 1827, third son of Matthew and Selina, in nearby Cedar Bluff, Cherokee Co., Alabama.
Two children were born to Mary Jane and Caswell... Mary Elizabeth, b. 1854 d. 1864, and William Asbury Earp, our great grandfather, pioneer and homesteader, b. 3 April 1856 in Cherokee County, AL. On 1 July of 1859 Caswell died at the young age of 31 of complications from measles.
In Jun 1861 Mary Jane married Caswell's brother John William Earp, b. 1839. The 1860 Federal Census shows Mary Jane and her two young children, Mary and William, living next door to Daniel Earp, one of Caswell's older brothers. Therefore, she and William were probably married in Cherokee Co., AL. although other historians say they were married in Chatanooga, TN. I haven't been able to prove either place.
The first battle of the Civil War was fought in April 1861. We don't know when exactly J. William Earp went off to war, but we do know that not long after the war began, he joined up with the Confederate Alabama 19th Infantry, Company I. Now this is where the story gets interesting. I will quote from the research and writings of my uncle, Ernest F. Earp, B.A.M.T. These are his notes on how things probably transpired next.
"William Earp went to the war and was killed. (Having not heard from him for quite some time) she (Mary Jane) went to find some record of him. Times were very hard for her and two small children. She met George W. Ewing who was a Corporel in the Union Army. (Corp. Ewing) helped her to look for her husband. Since he was reported killed and no trace could be found, (Mary Jane) then hired out as a cook for Ewing's company...Co. I, 19th Inf Ohio. It was common for army companies to hire cooks at that time (from the local women).
"It is believed that she (Mary Jane) found Co. I, 19th Ohio by mistake, thinking it was Co. I, 19th Alabama. George Ewing and Mary Jane Earp were married at Chattanooga, TN and moved to Arkansas until 1870, moving from there to (Ohio and then) Iowa. The date of the marriage was June 19, 1864.
"The Ewings had children as follows: Ori D. born 1865, Robert Vernon born 1867, Blanche born 1869, died young, Wathie (Hiawatha) born 1871, and Hattie born Feb. 1875. The young sister of William A. Earp, Mary Elizabeth, died in 1862 of (complications of) influenza brought on by hardships caused by war.
"The Earps, (in Cherokee Co., AL) including Mary Jane, were burned out by Union soldiers and forced to live in a cave. After the war the Earps moved to Texas. Losing all their possessions, they walked to Mississippi, got help from David Earp there, and moved on to Texas. This is family tradition. It is believed according to Civil War records found later...that the soldier William Earp did not die but was captured by the enemy and put in a prison camp until the end of the war, where he was released (and) joined his family in Texas. Communications were poor, the country torn up, he probably never knew where Mary Jane had went to. This too is not proof but records do indicate it."
I have in my files a copy of the prison record of the same John William Earp. He was captured near Nashville, TN and held prisoner for a short time and later released in Dec. of 1864. So that part of the story is indeed true.
The 1870 census shows Mary Jane living with her husband George Ewing, their children Ori D., Robert V, Blanche and William Irp (Earp) in Jefferson Twp., Wayne Co., Iowa. On Jan. 1, 1884 William A. Earp married Mary Francis Wright in Clio, Wayne Co., Iowa. The 1885 census for the state of Nebraska shows George, Mary Jane and their children living in Cedar Valley Precinct in Greeley County. Living nearby is William A. Earp and his wife Mary Francis and their baby daughter Coy Jane age 6 months.
So, to answer the questions, "What was the Ewing Connection?" and "How were the Ewings connected to the Earp family?".... Mary Jane Deal Earp Ewing was the mother of our great grandfather William A. Earp and George W. Ewing was his step father. The Ewing children were half siblings of Will. The Ewings came to Oklahoma Territory from Nebraska some time in 1892 and settled in Keokuk Twp., Lincoln County near Will and Mary Earp.
|George and Hattie Ewing Cummings, Emma Cox and Wathie Ewing, Ori and Lizzie Wright Ewing, Summer of 1935, |
Earp Family Reunion, Tilghman Park, Chandler, OK