Notes from the past…

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Surname Saturday: Appling

Appling English: patronymic from Abel, which was a popular Middle English personal name. Compare Aplin.

“Appling.” Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2006. 02 Aug. 2009.

While the Applings are one of my more minor surnames (married into my major Stanley line), one Appling has been pretty interesting to me:

Dr Francis B Appling lived in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama during the Civil War and was loyal to the United States. Quite a dangerous position to take in Alabama at the time, I would think. I have several physician-ancestors from that time period, and all have served either as military surgeons or as civilian doctors contracted to treat sick or wounded soldiers. All except one: Francis B Appling. I have been able to find no evidence whatsoever of his involvement in the Civil War as a physician.

What is so interesting about Dr Appling is his legal fight with the Southern Claims Commission. His initial claim for the use of his mule by the United States Army, was for $150 and was disallowed in 1873. Dr Appling was apparently not impressed and in 1889 filed suit against the United States of America:

FraBAppling vsUSA4aFraBAppling vsUSA4b

29 years after his original claim was filed (and almost 2 years after he died!), on 27 May 1902, Under the General Claims Appropriation Act (the Bowman and Tucker Acts), authorized by the Court of Claims, Francis B Appling was allowed $130.

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That Appling pie is done!

Since the Applings are not blood, but married into my Stanley tree, I really need to finish up with them and move on. Francis B Appling was certainly an interesting guy and through him I learned a lot about the Soutnern Claims Commission and post-Civil War life in Alabama. I think I could continue to research that surname for months to come! So I gotta give myself a nudge (shove!) in another direction…

My maternal great-grandmother Dovie C (Ruby Dovie) McBurnett Hall Stanley Epperson Priddy Copeland was also an interesting lady:

  • My Dad’s grandmother
  • Chickasaw Indian (yet to be fully proven)
  • Outlived 5 husbands (maybe more- a timeline would really be useful here!)
  • Apparently incorporated her dead sister Ruby’s name into her own
  • Her younger brother Wesley Paul McBurnett was killed in action in France during WWI- my only ancester (so far) to die in World War I

She was one of the main reasons that I got interested in genealogy. My Dad loves to tell fascinating stories about his “Indian Grandmother”!

I have done some preliminary research, enough to document at least those 5 husbands and 2 sets of children. I even met a “cousin” online, a lady related to my Dad’s uncle Gene Hall (by Dovie’s 1st husband, my great-grandfather William Earl Hall). I found Dovie’s McBurnett family in several census enumerations and even a reference to Dovie and William Earl Hall in a Chickasaw Nation Marriages 1895-1907 database. So either Dovie or William or both were most likely Chickasaw.

Nothing dull about this lady!