Family tradition

John and Elizabeth Dollarhide were killed in a wagon accident when their daughter Betty was 4 years old and Betty was taken in by the Reverend Boles family.  Though they never adopted her, she used Boles as her surname.  Support for that is noted in legal documents such as her 1899 marriage license when she indicated she was Miss Bettie Boles and later, on a 1964 delayed birth certificate for Ervin, her son, he indicated his mother was Betty May Boles.  Other later records indicate her name was Mary Elizabeth Boles.

The Situation

In trying to break through the genealogy brick wall all I seem to be doing is creating more questions and going in research circles.  Sometimes it works best to break the problems into sections and identify what you know and what you want to know in hopes of having a more clear idea of what steps to take.  So, below is my attempt at doing just that.


  • August 16, 1881 in Hope, Hempstead, Arkansas Betty was born (as reported by Betty’s descendants)
  • ca 1885 when Betty was 4 her parents died in a wagon accident
  • September 5, 1899 in Polk County, Arkansas Betty married Lonnie Little.  W. A. Martin provided the surety for the bond.
  • June 1900 Betty and Lonnie were enumerated on the Cove, Polk, Arkansas census and Sam Bookout a 19 year old laborer was living with them.
  • 1961 Betty died in Polk County, Arkansas in the county she had lived in from as early as 1899. Read more about her: Betty Little


  • Did Betty and her parents live in Hempstead County, Arkansas at the time she was born?
  • Where were they living at the time they died and was it near where they died?
  • Where are they buried?
  • Was Betty the only surviving family member? Any grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings?
  • Is her birthdate and place accurate?  How would she have known? (birth records are not available prior to 1914 for Hempstead County)
  • Did the Reverend Boles know the Dollarhide family?  Did he live or work near them? Were they related in some way?
  • Where did the Boles family live and what became of them?
  • When did Betty move from Hempstead County to Polk County?  Did she move alone?  If not, who moved with her?
  • Through the years Betty indicated on the censuses that both her parents were born in Arkansas.  Was she referring to her biological parents or those who raised her?
  • What connection did W. A. Martin, the person who provided the surety for Lonnie and Betty’s marriage, have to them?
  • What connection did Sam Bookout, the 19 year laborer living with Lonnie and Betty in 1900 have to them?

The Hunt

There are several people researching this line, unfortunately their documentation is unclear and too often the connections make no sense.  As an example, in the 1880 census there is a John and Elizabeth Dollarhide in Clear Creek Township, Sevier County, Arkansas.  Here’s the information from that census:

  1. Dwelling 180, 1880, Dollarhide, John, 40, head, born in Arkansas, farmer
  2. Dwelling 180, 1880, Dollarhide, Elizabeth, 38, wife, born in Arkansas, keeping house
  3. Dwelling 180, 1880, Dollarhide, Silvester, 15, son, born in Arkansas, laboring on farm
  4. Dwelling 180, 1880, Dollarhide, Uless, 10, son, born in Arkansas
  5. Dwelling 180, 1880, Dollarhide, Charlie, 6, son, born in Arkansas
  6. Dwelling 180, 1880, Dollarhide, Elizabeth J, 2, daughter, born in Arkansas

Some researches have linked this John and Elizabeth as Betty Boles’ parents but I don’t understand why.  The names John and Elizabeth Dollarhide match perfectly with the family tradition and it might be that the 2 year old Elizabeth is my Betty although born in ca 1878 not 1881.  However, the same researchers show that the 2 year Elizabeth and her mother both died in 1880 and then John remarried in 1886.  If the information indicating that the 2 year old Elizabeth died is wrong or if the mother didn’t die and had another daughter named Elizabeth, this John and Elizabeth Dollarhide might be a useful lead.  It might be that the family tradition of both parents dying is wrong, it might be that after the wife died that the husband didn’t want to raise the youngest child.  Certainly that happened in one of my other family lines.  I will not dismiss this couple as a match just yet, however; there are clearly pieces of information here that suggest it is a poor match.

I have hunted for a Boles family (and variations of the name) in the same area as the Dollarhides but, as of right now, I have not found any leads that seem productive.

Next Steps

While I have more data relevant to this search, I decided to spare you of the circular and fruitless details.  My next steps are to continue the hunt in the hopes of one day having a breakthrough.  If you have any suggestions or information I’d be delighted to hear from you.

John and Elizabeth Dollarhide are my biological great, great grandparents on my father’s side.

No Story Too Small offered a challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor. 
Each of my posts for this challenge will include in the title “52 Ancestors Challenge” and will have the tag of 52Ancestors.