Thursday, August 10, 2017


For the longest time Chesterfield was a man of mystery to me.  I had trouble finding anything on him.  Then I was able to make connections with a few Carney relatives, mainly Dana and Reba and they helped fill in some gaps for me that let me flesh out the Carney lineage abundantly. I am certain I still have gaps and some incorrect information, so if you can help correct these errors please let me know either in the comments section below or via email

I  also need more true documentation on some of the information I have, but here is what I have so far.  Perhaps others that are researching him can help me get my records correct and fleshed out even more.

Chesterfield M. (probably for Monroe) Carney was born in March of 1849 in Port Royal, Montgomery County, TN.  The seventh child of Harry D. Carney (1812-1865) and Sarah Murphy (1817 to about 1855). 

Chesterfield died on December 29, 1829 in Ft. Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas.  He is buried in Elwood Cemetery there.  The cemetery is small and near a bank drive thru.  I would have never have found the small flat marker if it had not been for the kindness of either Dana or Reba, I am sorry ladies I didn’t make note as to which of you sent me this instruction on finding his humble grave many, many years ago:

CEMETERY LOCATION: As you enter Ft. Smith from the Oklahoma side of the border take truck route 255 South as if traveling toward Barling.  When you reach the Y intersection of 255 N, 255 S and 71B (to Texarkana).there will be a large gray building that is the City National Bank Building (1998).   Next to the bank is an open field that leads to a drainage culvert.  That field is the Elmwood (formerly Poplar) Cemetery, there is NO SIGN. The cemetery is often overgrown, and the tombstones are in a sad state of disrepair.  Chesterfield's grave is near the street and the first light pole near the drive into the bank.  A few feet north or east and he would have been either in the street or in the drive! His grave is marked with a small metal marker "C. Carney Dec 29, 1928"

By following these very clear instructions I easily found Chesterfield’s grave .

At this point in my research I basically had when he was born, when my grandmother was born, when he died and where he was buried.  Nothing else.

I started quizzing my aunts and uncles, this was circa 1988.  One aunt, Lula May Poyner Maxey Maynard (1916-2006) sent me the following letter to which I added a notation later.

From a letter from Lula May Poyner Maxey Maynard : "  Mommas Dad and all My Dads people were born and burried in Arkansas. Dats all I know about the cituation."

From the same letter : "Well then Mom's (Lena Carney Poyner)Dad married Grandma and they had my Moma Galena.  Then he married a woman named Donaldson. They had 2 boys John and Elmer Carney That way my Mom's maiden name, so far as I know only one survivor of both sides (1984) and that is John Carney lives in Arkansas"

JP Note:  Research has shown Aunt Lula to be wrong in her assumption that Chesterfield Carney and his family was born in Arkansas.  He was actually from Tennessee.  He had left his family there without leaving a trace of himself.  Mrs. Donaldson was actually Emma Turner Donily.

This information combined with the funeral home records I acquired from Fentress Funeral home that indicated he had at least at some time lived in Swain, AR.

From the Fentress Funeral Home records:
Name of Deceased C. M. Carney
age 77, sex M, color white
Occupation Laborer
Place of Death St. E.
Date of Death Dec 29, 1928
Physician Dr. Jim Johnson
Length of sickness, Nov 5-Dec 29
Oscar A. Fentress Funeral Director

On the back of that page it has Swain, AR (supposedly that is where Chesterfield lived prior to his death)
Religion: Holiness
Son: Elmer Carney of Swain, AR

This let me find the following on

AR Death Record Index from Cm Carney 29 Dec 1928 Sebastian co, Ar Roll #19241933

I have been told various stories about his death.  Aunt Lula swore he was hitch hiking to see my Grandmother Galeenah Carney Poyner Barnes when he became ill and died.

Another story I was told was that he and Emma were estranged and that he was traveling when he took ill on the train.  He was removed from the train and died under a doctor’s care.  The story went on to say some unkind things about Emma, so I shall not repeat them here.  I never met the woman, she was deceased before I was born.

 I began to search Arkansas history books at the LDS genealogy research library in Tulsa, OK. By sheer luck I stumbled upon this entry in “The History of Newton County, Arkansas.”


   During the years between 1900 and 1911, hastily constructed homes in T 16, Range 22, shot up like mushrooms.  The sound of the ax and the tap of the mallet could be heard in all directions.  We hill people did not understand that our land was fast passing into the hands of outsiders. Many of our local men of homestead age had never taken advantage of the homestead act.  Being isolated as we were, we enjoyed their company.  But they were queer ducks, we thought.  We thought of our new neighbors as city dudes; they thought of us as ignorant hillbillies.  With these two thoughts in mind, a drama began to appear.  The city dudes putting on one act and the hill people the other, each group enjoying the show.  As the show moved on, the actors became better acquainted.  We now realized that our new neighbors were just human, made of flesh and blood.  They soon learned to speak and understand our language and that education did not always come from the study of books. They soon began to like and love these big rough, blue-eyed monkeys, as they sometimes called us.  And we began to understand the people from the large heir mode of life and courtesy.  Day by day, we came closer together.  They told us of life in the cities.  We gave them instruction in nature and taught them how to recognize the different birds, insects, wild flowers, and trees.  They in return lent us books to read and tried to explain the working and organization of a large city.
    Life among the homesteaders proved very satisfactory with a few exceptions.  The life and customs of the hill people and that of city people could not be, adjusted to all concerned.  That is, the city woman's ways of life did not always meet with the approval of her hill sister.  The hill woman had always been taught to keep in the background.  The life of the city woman was bold and free.  This retention caused much jealousy among the hill women.  The city woman thought nothing of asking the husband of her hill neighbor to take her out into the forest on a nature study expedition.  With these acts of courtesy and demonstrations by the city women, the big, strong, rough hill men, who had been (sorter skittish) began to get tame. But it was not long until the difference in life and the mode of living was adjusted and we lived together in peace and harmony.  They soon became a part of us and we a part of them.  They enjoyed our square dances and log rolling; the women learned to knit and mend, the men became enthusiastic hunters and fishermen.  On an all-night hunting or fishing trip, they were the last to say, "Let's go home."
    For many years life moved on.  Many of the new comers had wealth or considerable savings when they came there.  They were good spenders and this was much help to the local people who were hard pressed for cash. But the drain on their saving soon had its effect. One by one, they started returning to the city with nothing left but memories.  Fortune seekers started chasing the other end of the rainbow.  Then came the awakening of the hill people.  They now began to realize what had happened to the land that should have been theirs.  It was now in the hands of large timber land speculators from the. east.  Many young men with families did not own the land where they lived.  Surveys made by the new timber land owners proved this.  Thus, the offer by the government to give 160 acres of free land was not always accepted.  It was not easy for the hill men to realize the meaning of the homestead law.  They were born and had lived continuously on the same land.  In some cases they defied the new owner to put them off the land. The possessing of that land in our
community caused some grief, hatred, and some killings.  Jack Lamar shot and killed John Self because he homesteaded the land he wanted.  Many other similar occurrences happened.
    The following local men made homestead entries in T 16, and 15, Range 22 West: John C. Rush, 1903; CHESTER M. CORNEY, 1908; Thomas McGuire, 1904: John H. Roney, 1906; John A. Harper, 1907; Sam A. Eoff, 1883; Susan Reynolds, 1895; Reuben Kilgore, 1883; Isaac Wishon, 1883; Ancel C. Clifton, 1897; Jackson Knight, 1874; Milas M. Wishon, 1903; Elzy Rossberry, 1887; John Arrington, 1869; Joe Hammons, 1869; Lepold E. Baum,.1868; Craft McFarlin, 1891; William Roark, 1891; Hezekiah Villines, 1873; John H. Brown, 1902; Sarah L. Lackey, 1897; Amos B. Lackey, 1882; Luther J. Hull, 1889; John Eaton Waters, 1894; James McAfee, 1897; and Anderson Carlton,1869.
    "Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizen.  They are the most
vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and
welded to its interest, by the most lasting bounds." Thomas Jefferson.

There he was! On a small bit of microfilm I had found my first real clue.  No wonder I had been having trouble finding him.  He was wasn’t listed as Chesterfield M. Carney, but Chester M. CORNEY.  This was not the last time I would find his name largely misrepresented as my research would go on.

I verified his homesteading and that it was truly him by ordering the homestead papers.  It was definitely him.

Department of the Interior, United States Land Office, Harrison, Arkansas Abstract No. 614 Case No. 11 Confirmed by the Board Nov. 30, 1921 N. N. C. Clerk, Serial No. 012385 Receipt No. 2 567 124 Pur. Mon $98.03, Testy 1. 85 PCM
     It is hereby certified that, in pursuance of law, section 2301, Revised Statues of the United States, Chesterfield M. Carney residing at Ryker in Newton County, State of Arkansas on this day purchased of the Register of this Office the North half of the North West fractional 1/4 Section 30 Township 14 North, Range 23 West, 5th Principal Meridian, Arkansas, containing 78.42 acres at the rate of one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, amounting to ninety-eight dollars and three cents, for which the said Chesterfield M. Carney made payment in full as required by law.
     Now, therefore, be it known that, on presentation of this Certificate to the Commissioner of the General Land Office, the said Chesterfield M. Carney shall be entitled to receive a Patent for the land described above if all then be found regular. Signed Jno. L. Cluidenin (?) Register
     Posted March 31, 1921 Vol. 3` p. `10 WJR, Approved July 27, 1921 by E. R. Bailey Division C.
     Stamped Pat. No. 840591 Dec. 30, 1921 No reservation

There is a copy of an envelope for a registered letter sent to him at Low Gap, Arkansas date Nov 18, 1919 showed as returned to sender, moved away.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR United States Land Office, Harrison, Arkansas, September 22, 1919
Chesterfield M. Carney, Low Gap, Arkansas five year notice.

     You are hereby notified that the Homestead Laws requires final proof of settlement and cultivation to be made with two years after the expiration of three years from date of entry, and that in the case of your entry, Serial No. 012385 for N 1/2 NW 1/4 Section 30 Township 14 N., Range 23 W., 5th Principal Meridian, dated July 15, 1914, the time fixed by the statute has expired with the requisite proof being filed by you.
     You will, therefore, within thirty days from date of service of this notice, show cause before us why your claim shall not be declared forfeited, and your entry canceled, for noncompliance with the requirements of the law, so that the case may be reported to the Commissioner of the General Land Office for proper action.  Signed Jus L. Clendeuim (?) Register. W. L. Suapp (?), receiver.

There are copies of return receipts signed by C. M. Carney for registered mail dated 1/13/1920  and by E. J. Carney for Chesterfield M. Carney dated 12/5/1919

His Homestead Entry lists the same property as the default notice and states that he is a native born US  Citizen, married, head of a a family and over 21 years of age living in Low Gap,
Ark dated July 15, 1914

NOTICE OF INTENTION TO MAKE PROOF, Department of the Interior, U. S. Land Office at Harrison, Arkansas January 12, 1920.
     I, Chesterfield M. Carney, of Ryker, Arkansas, who, on July 15th 1914, made homestead entry, No. 012385, for the N 1/2 NW 1/4, Section 30 Township 14 N. Range 23 W., 5th Prin. Meridian, hereby give notice of my intention to make three year proof, to establish my claim to the land above described, before Clerk ofthe Circuit Court, Newton County, at Jasper Arkansas, on the 19th day of February 1920, by two of the following witnesses: S. L. Eastep of Fallsville, Arkansas, B. F. Hibbard, of Ryker, Arkansas, John Knucks and L. J. Donley, of Red Star, Arkansas. Stamped received Jan 16, 1920 Chief Field Division also stamped "No information now in this office warranting field investigation Feb 13, 192- John V. Baile Ct Chief Field Div.

FINAL PROOF: Testimony of Witness:
Q 1. What is your full name, age, and post-office address? A- L. J. Donley, age 26 years, Post Office, Red Star, Ark.
Q 2. Was your name correctly give in the published notice? A-yes
Q 3. How long have you know the claimant in this case and the N 1/2 NW Section 30, Township 14 N., Range 23 W, 5th Prin. Meridian, the land embraced in Homestead Entry, No. 012385, made at the Harrison Land Office? A- have known claimant and land 18 years.
Q4. Is entryman married? A-yes
Q 5. Is said tract within the limits of an incorporated town, or used in anyway for trade or business? A-no
Q 6. When did entryman settle upon the homestead? July 15, 1914
Q 7. At what date did entryman establish actual residence thereon? A-At the same time.
Q 8. Have entryman and family resided continuously on the homestead since thus establishing residence thereon? A- Entryman has been absent some each year at work, but he has never (blank)
Q 10. If there have been any such absences, give the dates covered by such absences, stating who was absent and for what reason. A- Entryman has been absent a few months each year at work, but his family has continually resided on and cultivated the land.
Q 11. Describe the land embraced in above entry by legal subdivisions, showing the character of same, and kind and amount of timber, if any. A- n 1/2 NW Sec 30-14-23 Kind of timber principally oak, 30 acres cultivable, 70 acres timbered feet timber 20,000
Q 12. State the number of acres cultivated and kind of crop planted, each year. A- 1915, Cultivated about 4 acres in corn and vegetables, 1916, 6 acres same, 1917, 7 acres same, 1918 9 acres same, 1919 10 acres same 1920 10 acres same.
Q 13, Describe fully and in detail the amount and kind of improvements and number of acres under cultivation on each subdivision.  State total value of improvements on the claim.  A. n 1/2 NW sec 30-14-23 One three room log house, Barn, chicken house, small orchard and 10 acres under cultivation, Value of improvements $500.
Q 14, Are there any indications of Coal, salines, or minerals of any kind on the land?  If so, descrive what they are. A-None that I know of
Q15. Have you any knowledge or information that the claimant has sold or contracted to sell, optioned, mortgaged, or agreed to option or mortgage this land?  If so, give full details as to whom, for what purpose and in what amount. A-no
Q 16. Have you personal knowledge, from your own observation, that claimant and his family (if any) actually resided upon and cultivated this land each year in accordance with your above testimony.  A-yes
Q 17. How many times each year have you seen this land, and the claimant and his family residing thereon; and what other knowledge have you upon which your answers are based? A-See claimant or family on land as much as once each week.
Q. 18 Are you interested in this claim, or related to the claimant?  If so, how? A- Not interested, claimant is my stepfather.
Signed L. J. Donley, attest R. L. Swain. (certification by Swain follows the above on the original document).

The same questions with the basic same answers were also asked of S. L. Eastep age 50 years of Fallsville, Ark, with the exception he said he was not related.

Chesterfield's Testimony of Claimant stated he was Chesterfield M. Carney, age 69 living in Ryker Arkansas, born in TN. His family on January 21 consisted of he, his wife (this would be Emma) and 3 children.  All other testimony was identical to that of Lonnie.  It mentioned, however that he entered and patented 80 acres several years prior. This was followed by a question that asked if he had since August 30, 1890, made any entry or filing (not mineral) other than homestead? He replied not, except as above stated.

A page later on talks of the prior homestead as follows

State of Arkansas, }
County of Newton. } SS.
     Chesterfield M. Carney, who made homestead entry No. 012385, made July 15, 1914 for the n 1/2 NW 1/4 Section 30 township 14 north, of range 23 west, containing 78.42 acres, being first duly sworn according to law deposes and says that he is the identical person who made final proof before R. L. Swain, Clerk of Newton County, Arkansas, on the 6th inst, and the reason he did not make proof within five years on the above described entry, was he had been advised by the clerk he made homestead that we would be allowed seven years in which to make his final proof from the date of his entry and relying upon the advice of said clerk he failed to make said proof.
     And affiant further state that his former homestead entry embraces the following described lands:
     The SE 1/4 SE 1/4 Section 29 and the NE 1/4 Ne !/4 section 32 township 16 north, of range 22 west containg 80 acres.  -signed Chesterfield  M. Carney.
     Subscribed and sworn to before me this 31st day of January, 1921 R. L. Swain, clerk.

Bingo!  It was definitely him and now I had he was born in TN by his own testimony.  I also now knew to look for any corruption I could think of for his name, both first and surname at that.
I then checked online trees for children roughly his age and soon realized his ancestry back through Harry D. and Sarah Murphy Carney.  Census records verified this.
1850 Port Royal, Montgomery County, TN Census
211 211 Carney, H. D  TN
                Sally 33 TN
                Melvina 11 TN
                Barbara 9 TN
                John 7 TN
                James 5 TN
                Lawson 3 TN
                MONROE 1 TN (was this the one listed as F Monroe in other records or is it Chesterfield M?)
1860 North and east of Cumberland River, Montgomery, Tn.  PO Clarksville pg 50
Morgan, W 44
                Fredonia 34
Carney H. D. 48 b. TN
                E.M. 21 TN
                JW 18 TN
                JH 15 TN
                FM  12 TN
                LR  13 TN
                Chesterfied 11 TN
                Infant 6 TN

Chesterfield Carry, 1870 Tennessee, Montgomery  District 1. b. 1852 TN he's a farm hand living in the household of Sylvester A. Murphy,(his aunt Sylvester A. Carney Murphy) and Chesters  brother Thomas is with him.

For a long time after that I could not find him in any census records, he simply disappeared until he showed up married to my maternal great grandmother Columbia Porter Branham on June 12, 1892 in Crawford County, AR.   I have a copy of the marriage license and will add it at a later date to the documentation and photos blog.

After much digging I found him in the 1900 and other census records as well.  The corruption of his name continued:

1900 AR Soundex C650:
Carny, Chester F. Vol 13 ED 201 Sheet 3 line 46
male white b. April 1852 age 48 b. TN
Franklin County, White Rock Twp enumerated with Alexander, Mary E. as a boarder
In the same household Carny Galina white b 7/1894 age 5 IT

On the ancestry census data base he is listed as Cluster F. Corney. Talk about mutilating a name.

The actual census record on T 623-59 of Franklin County White Rock Twnsp enumerated 6/6 1900 by J. B. Stuart (there he is again--see marriage license)
Dwell 43 Family 43
Alexander, Mary head white female b. sep 1848 age 67 widow b. Ny fb NY mb NY occupation: farmer can
     read, write, and speak English
Carney, Chester F. boarder white male b. 4/1842 age 48 married 2 years b. TN, fb. TN, mb TN occupation:
     day Laborer can read, write and speak English
     Ida boarder white female b. 2/1880 age 20 married 2 years b. AR fb. TX mb. MO can only speak
          English, but not read or write it.
     Galina, boarder white female b. 7/1894 age 6 single b. IT, fb. TN, mb. MO
Monaham, Walter 16 male (the ancestry site lists him as Waller)
Keys, Wallace 16 male
1910 May 2, ED 2 ED 97 pg 1617A Low Gap, Newton, AR
233 237
Carney, Chester 58  married 8 years TN TN TN Farmer
                Emma 36                8  births 6 three living KY, KY, KY
                Elmer   3 son                                          OK, TN, KY
                John   2 son                                            AR, TN, KY
Donley, Lonnie 16 stepson                                    AR , MO, KY

Morgan, Joe M. 1874
                Kaveba 1884 wife AR
                Emmie 1904 and others.
1920 Kentucky, Newton Co., AR
Carney,Chesterfield 67 TN
                Emma 47
                Elmer 13
                John 10
Next door
Donley, Alonzo 24
                Amanda 23
                Leonard 3.5
                Monroe 5/12  (JP note the fact his stepson named his son Monroe makes me more certain that the initial M in Chesterfield's name stands for Monroe)

I still have a gap in my lineage of where he was from the 1870 census to where he was in the 1900 census. 

When touring Pea Ridge Civil War site in AR I skimmed the index of a book that had a roster of some of those who fought there.  There was a Carney or Kearney (another way I have found it spelled over the years) listed, but I have not verified if it was Chesterfield, or a family member, or even a distant relative. 

One family story I was once told said he had gotten in trouble during the war for eating the corn that was meant for the horses of the military.  Fact or fiction I have not been able to verify.

Besides the corruption of his name there are the issues about his marriages.  Basically how often he was married.

Census and marriage records I have been able to locate so far indicate three wives.

The first was Columbia Porter Branham, I think.  The reason I say I think is by the time he married her he was 43 years old, she was 28 (she had previously been married to Jefferson Harris).  Most unusual for that time in history.  So far I have not found any wives prior to Porter, as she was called, but that does not mean they don’t exist.  None are shown in any of the census records until Ida Jones in 1900. 

The third was Emma Adeline Eurella Turner.

Another family story I was told was he had a fourth wife, a woman of Native American descent, that they were married just a short time and he came home to find her with another man.  So he left.  This of course has lead to all sorts of speculation during the years as to whether it was a fourth wife or one of the three we already know about.  We shall probably never know for certain.

So far my research has shown up only the three wives and the following children and step children for him.

ColumbiaPorter Branham (1864-1924), married June 12 1892 in Crawford County, AR.  They had one child,Delaney” Galeenah “Lena” Carney (1893-1983)Porter had been previously married to Jefferson Harris (abt 1865-?) and had 5 children by that union:

Charles Porter Harris (1882-1944)
Albert Green Harris (1885-1959)
Alfred Harris (1885-before 1930)
Lula Harris (1889-before 1920)
William H. Harris (1892-?)

She also married a third time to George Washington Archer (1865-bef 1910).  She had one child with Mr. Archer, Homer Augustus Archer (1902-1979)

Chesterfield’s second known wife was Ida Jones (1880-?).  They wed November 1, 1898 in Sebastian County, AR.  So far I have found no children of this union.

His third wife was Emma Adeline Eurella Turner (1871-1946).  They wed in 1905 in Oklahoma.  They had four children, by my records:

Larry Carney (?-?)
Ivory Elmer Delbert Vernon Carney (1906-1970)
John Henry Lawson Carney (1908-1996)
And a fourth child that I do not have dates on and who MAY possibly still be living.  To protect their privacy I will not list their name here until I receive verified information that this person is deceased.

Emma was also previously married to Unknown Donley and they had one child Alonzo “Lonnie” Donley (1895-?).

As you can see just from this one union we have a lot of cousins, known and unknown, out there.  Hopefully by posting this and other narratives of our Poyner and Carney lineage we will answers to our questions and more cousins.  If you have any information that can help in this genealogy research please contact me either in the comment section below or through c.j.dreammaker 

I am particularly interested in photos of any of the people I have listed in this post and other genealogy related posts.   Once I receive them and add them to my genealogy file I would like your permission to post them for the rest of the family to see on the photos and documentation file.  Thank you.


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