Hi WikiTreers,

Welcome to  another installment of “Meet our Members”! It’s time to get to know another awesome Leader who is part of our outstanding community. Meet Becky:

Name: Rebecca Syphers

Surnames you are researching: Nally, Bartlett, Syphers, Storrs, Magill. Several Mayflower Names: Fuller, Alden, Bradford.

Locations you are researching: New England and Nova Scotia (English only).

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?

Grandpa retired when I was 12. He and Grandma moved in across the street from us. Grandma gave me her grandmother’s wedding dress and told me stories about the family including some genealogy beyond her grandmothers. I questioned her relentlessly. Grandpa was a minister. His attitude was that it’s better you study “the genealogy of Jesus Christ than the Nally family’s”.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

Polly Wright – she is the oldest of the personal ancestors. She came down in the oral tradition. Some of her papers survive to this day, so she seems more real. I also like being descended from Gov. Bradford. Again, his writings survive. He left behind a history of the Pilgrims.

Tell us about the brick wall you most want to tear down.

Mary Jeffray (Jeffers, Jeffery, and other spellings). She is the last in the straight mother’s line. The family had forgotten about her. She died in childbirth and the name of the stepmother came down in the tradition. We found her grave in the cemetery and her maiden name in the town records. I want her ancestry, particularly her mother and her mother . . .

If you could pick one person in history to be related to, who would it be and why?

After the Roosevelts were on TV recently, I wanted to be related to them, but only for about a day. I ran the utility for relationships and got 6th cousin twice removed for FDR.

What are some of your interests outside of genealogy?

My retirement job is “sitting” my grandchildren. I also like to read junk novels. I usually enjoy cooking meals for groups, working with the “girls”. And stuffing envelopes at church.

How long have you been on WikiTree and how active are you?

Since April, 2009. I try to get a monthly badge – a goal is 500 points a month, and at least keep level with my email from WikiTree.

What are some of the features/aspects of WikiTree that you love/don’t love as much?

Pet peeve is bad merges and copyright violations. I get satisfaction out of cleaning and writing biographies.

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Try to network. Without help from others you won’t accomplish much.

If you could leave one message for your descendants, what would it be?

Stay friends with each other and let the little annoyances go.

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  One Response to “Meet our Members: Becky Syphers”

  1. I have been studying the Skaggs/Skeggs family for years. Here is what I have on my Henry H Skaggs (and William Oates. If you have any information or ideas that might help me, please email me at gbohachick@netzero.net

    First Generation

    1. Henry H Skaggs was born about 1824 in ,,Alabama. He died on 25 Oct 1844 in Washington,Hempstead Co,Arkansas. He was buried in Washington,Hempstead Co,Arkansas.

    Henry H Skaggs was from Alabama according to census and newspaper reports. It has been suggested
    that we look at Skaggs living in Simms Settlement which was on the TN/AL line. There were 2 Skaggs
    old enough to be Henry’s father’s lving in this area.

    In the Holly Springs Gazette, Holly Springs
    MS, Thomas A Falconer publisher:
    Issue: December 23, 1842
    Married on the 15th, by F. P. Redman, esq., Mr. H. H. Skeggs to Miss Emily Fitzpatrick
    (Holly Springs is located in Marshall Co MS, where a John Fitzpatrick – probably ours – is living with his
    familyy on the 1840 census. According to a local historian, Holly Springs was a popular place for people
    to go to get married – especially if it is a quick marriage.)

    Marriage license is in file. It states married in Dec 1843. Since the marriage was already published in
    the December 1842 newspaper, I think the court clerk misprinted the years date. Plus, Henrietta
    Annamary Skaggs was born in Arkansas in Oct 1843. Henry knew of this daughter. He also had a
    daughter born 1845 in AR named Martha, born after he was hung. He may not have known about her.
    Henrietta and Martha could have been named after Emily’s younger sisters, Henrietta and Martha
    Fitzpatrick.

    from Printer’s Devil by Sam Williams (Pg 168)
    “Washington’s First Hanging”
    The only execution that ever took place in Hempstead county prior to the civil war was that of Henry
    H. Scaggs for the murder of William P. Oaks. Scaggs and Oaks were both from Alabama, both were
    blacksmiths. They were both young
    men and both had but recently arrived in the country. Scaggs was married. Oaks was not, but wanted to
    be. He had even selected the maiden with whom he would mate, and, like Barkis, she was willing; but
    serious obstacles interposed
    in the shape of the girl’s parents and brothers. It was the plotting of a scheme to overcome these
    obstacles that led to the tragedy. Scaggs had promised to aid his friend in “stealing the girl” but before a
    favorable opportunity offered itself, Oaks came to the conclusion that Scaggs was playing him false, and
    a deep enmity was conceived for him.
    A brother-in-law of Scaggs named Fitzpatrick espoused the cause of Oaks. The two men met at
    Fitzpatrick’s house. Both were armed with guns. Scaggs was the quickest to use his, and he put a bullet
    through his enemy. Oaks dropped his gun when he was shot. Fitzpatrick next seized the weapon and
    attempted to kill Scaggs, but the latter sprang forward and grabbed it by the muzzle before he could use
    it. Then ensued a long and desperate struggle for the possession of the gun. While this was going on
    Oaks lay on a bed, within a few feet of them, writhing in the agonies of death. Fitpatrick’s wife, who was
    the only witness to the fierce struggle called out to the two men to cease their contention and go to the
    dying man’s assistance. This they mutually agreed to do. They turned him over in bed, but the man
    almost immediately expired. On the trial, Fitzpatrick and his wife both swore pretty strongly against

    Scaggs. The latter maintained in his dying confession that they swore falsely, and a good many people
    were of the same impression. The parties lived and the tragedy was enacted in the vicinity of Clawson’s
    Mill, in the eastern part of the county. Scaggs was tried at Washington – Judge George Conway presiding
    – was convicted, and executed on the 25th day of October, 1844. An old field, some three or four
    hundred yards south of Gen. Royston’s old family mansion, was the scene of the hanging.

    Circuit Court Records of trial (in brief):
    papers in file, hand printed in small lettering, hard to read
    they read as follow:
    Aug 27, 1844
    Henry H Scaggs in jail for the murder of William Oaks
    Sept 4, Monday, 1844
    Henry indicted for murder, setting of court dates for the special session
    Sept 23, Monday, 1844
    Jurors summoned to attend were Danied T Witten (jury foreman), Samuel Young, henry Young, Ulysses
    Young, Daniel A Winn, Wesley Norris, James C Williams, Issac Anderson, Henry Kimble, John Arnett, Wm
    ____________, Daniel E Williams, Micheal Mallen, ……. all gentle and lawful men to attend as grand
    jurors.
    Charges were brought as such that Henry H Skaggs now confined in jail of Hempstead Co….jury indicts
    him and confines him in jail (a true bill).
    September Special Term ad 1844
    Issac C Tappin, practising attorney and grand jury having brought an indictment (a true bill) and the said
    Henry H Skaggs brought to the bar of the court in the custody of Wm Arnett, Sherrif of the County.
    Defendent, Henry H Skaggs pleads plainly and disticly that he is not guilty in mannor and form as
    charged in this case against him & of this is positive. Henry H Skaggs was committed to remain in jail.
    List of Witnesses include:
    Witnesses for the plaintiff: Steven Crabb, B.C. Crabb, Stephen _______, Nathanial Nations, Wm A
    Nations, I. R. White, John Rich, James M Herron, Stephen B Carter, GRANVILLE FITZPATRICK finally
    acknowledge themselves to the state of AR and submitt the special sum of $110 in goods and chattel,
    cash, land each for himself that each can appear in court to testify and to speak in the case of Henry H
    Scaggs, indicted.
    Witnesses for the defense: _______________ White, James White, James Montgomery, James
    Cummings, Ellen Calm, Pleasant Stalling, James a Whit____, Robert _______, Steven Crabb, B. Yates,
    Isaac Weaver, Wm Cummings, Nathanial Nations, John S. Kinnard and previously acknowledge themself &
    be indebted $110 each in goods and chattel, cash, land each for himself that each can appear in court to
    testify and to speak in the case of Henry H Scaggs, indicted.
    Sept 24, 1844
    Isaac C Tappan, Prosecuting attorney
    Mason, defense attorney
    trial begins
    Sept 25, 1844
    defense calls witnesses
    Sept 26, 1844
    defense calls more witnesses
    Verdict reached:
    We the jury find the defendant, Henry H Skaggs, guilty of murder in the first degree in manner and form
    as allowed within the indictment.
    Sept 27, 1844

    Henry H Skaggs brought before the bar. Files a motion for retrial because verdict in contrary to law,
    contrary to evidence, etc. Since Henry H Scaggs had no new evidence to present on his behalf, the
    retrial was denied and he was sentenced to be hung by the neck until dead.
    October 25, 1844
    Henry H Skaggs was hung.

    From Biographical & Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas, by Goodspeed Pub Co, pub 1890.
    “In the punishment of criminals there has been only one execution of a white man in Hempstead Co AR,
    and that one was Henry H Skaggs, who was hanged at Washington, October 25, 1844, for the murder of
    William B Oaks. Judge Conway presided at his trial. A few other murders have been commited by white
    men who have paid the penalty by serving in the penitentiary. …..Criminals here generally receive justice,
    and in respect to the amount of crime committed,
    Hempstead County has escaped fully as well as her sister counties.”

    according to the regions library’s librarian and historian – Henry would have been buried in the town
    graveyard – hung or not – because it was
    1. within a few feet of the hanging sight
    2. the only graveyard in the area
    we walked the graveyard and found no marked stone. There were several unmarked graves and areas
    where headstones were in pieces or almost wore away. pictures of cemetery in file

    Since about 2000, the Old Washington Historical State Park in Hempstead Co, AR has been using Henry’s
    trial to teach students about the court/trial process. I have an abbreviated copy of the script in my file.
    At the reenactment, a group of students and or members of the audience are selected to serve on a jury.
    The trial is presented as accurately as possible. The director of the reenactment reports that 99 percent
    of the time, Henry is determined to be not guilty. The reenactment is still being conducted. (April 2004).

    Henry married Emily Fitzpatrick daughter of John L FitzPatrick Jr. and Mary Bellah on 15 Dec 1842 in Holly Springs,Marshall Co,Mississippi. Emily was born about 1825 in ,,Tennessee.

    Apparently soon after Henry H Skaggs and Emily Fitzpatrick were married in 1842 (Marshall Co MS –
    where her parents lived) they traveled to Arkansas, Hempstead County. There Nov of 1843 their
    daughter Henrietta Annamarie was born. In Oct 1844 Emily was widowed when her husband, Henry was
    hung for killing William B Oaks. She must have been pregnant at his death as she had another daughter
    Martha J also born in AR.
    Sometime before 1846 she returned to Itawamba Co MS – where Emily’s parents show up on the 1850
    census. In September of 1846 she married a Jesse H Kyle. That is why the announcement of Henrietta’s
    marriage to a William Gerdine Frost stated he had married a Miss Ann Kyle, apparently Henrietta, or Anna,
    had taken on her step father’s name. This was also a second marriage for Jess H Kyle.

    Susan Buck c/o 5611 Lynwood Place, Boise ID 83706 (208) 376-3888 is out of Emily and Jessie’s
    daughter Diana. She will send me her info as soon as she gets moved. This is her mothers address.
    She referred me to her cousin
    Don & Susie Wright, 1949 New Jersey St, Fairfield CA 94533 (707) 425-2711 *P #wsgn83a who has
    done more research on this line. I am sending him what I have at this time and he is sending me further
    info on Emily. Don is the editor of Footprints and another family newsletter.

    NOTE: on the 1870 Prentiss Co MS census, Emaly (Fitzpatrick) Skaggs is married
    to Jessie H Kyle. on the next page is Scaggs, Elizabeth 54 f TN
    Thompson, Mariah A 17 f MS

    John W 11 m MS
    Early, Joseph C 12 m MS
    Sarah E 10 f MS

    Thank you,
    Ginger Bohachick

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