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Major Thomas Eli Ayres and Family

Thomas Eli Ayres (he went by Eli) was born on November 21, 1803 in Lexington, Kentucky. His parents were Moses Ayres, Jr. and Rachel McFadden Ayres. He married Caroline Wilson on October 15, 1829 in Bolivar, Hardin County, Tennessee. Eli and Caroline moved to Arkansas Territory where 4 of his children; Amelia Evaline, Emma, Bert O. & Bertha (twins) were born. The family then moved to Poplar Springs, Pontotoc County, Mississippi and established a Plantation on land purchased from the Chickasaw Indians. Six more children; George Wilson, John Thomas, Zelone, Zadora, William Eli and Mary Alosa, were born while the family lived in Mississippi.

In July of 1845, Eli and Caroline Ayres donated a small tract of land for the Baptist Church at Poplar Springs. The transaction was recorded in Deed Book 9, pages 624-624 on the 21st day of March 1854.

In the 1850’s the U.S. Government took issue with the sale of the Chickasaw land to Eli (and possibly others) stating that the President needed to sign off on any Chickasaw land sales. Apparently this had not been done so Eli lost part of his land. The fight for reparations on this land went to the Supreme Court and a Bill was introduced in Congress in regards to Eli’s Claim. The suit continued for over 20 years and when it was finally concluded did not benefit Eli or his family.

In approximately 1856, due to the Indian Land issues, the family moved to Texas, going first to Seguin in Guadalupe County and then to Smith County. Eli and Caroline's youngest Child, Charles Carroll was born in Texas. Caroline Ayres died in September 1859 in Smith County, Texas. The 1860 Smith County Census (Canton Beat) lists Eli and his 4 youngest children living together. Several of his older children had moved to Texas also and are listed on the 1860 Smith County Census including his daughter, Evaline Ayres Johnson and her 5 children. His son, Bert O. & wife; and son, John Thomas. Eli, Evaline, Bert & J.T. appear on the 1860 Smith County Slave Schedule. In 1860 or 61 Eli and Family moved to Kaufman County and settled on land purchased in the Black Jack area.

In 1861, Eli married Cornelia Hampton Walker in Bradley County, Arkansas and a daughter; Nellie May was born there. Eli and Cornelia moved back to Kaufman County where another daughter, Olivia (Ollie) Benson was born. The family appears on the 1870 Kaufman County Census, page 4, dated July 6, 1870. Eli & Cornelia & family also appear on the 1880 Kaufman County Census.

Eli died on September 3, 1890 and is buried in the Black Jack Cemetery, Kaufman County, Texas along with Cornelia who died in 1893, and other members of the Ayres family. Caroline Wilson Ayres grave location is unknown at this time.

Children of Thomas Eli and Caroline Wilson Ayres are:
1. Amelia Evaline Ayres b. 1832 in Arkansas, m. James Johnson in Mississippi on October 25, 1849, d. November 22, 1922
2. Emma Ayres b. 1833, d. 1834 Arkansas
3. Bert Olinthus Ayres (twin) b. December 12, 1834 Arkansas, d. 1917 Texas
4. Bertha Ayres (twin) b. December 12, 1834 Arkansas
5. George Wilson Ayres, b. 1837 Mississippi, d. 1858
6. John Thomas Ayres, b. June 20, 1839 Mississippi, d. 1910 Texas
7. Zelone Ayres, b. 1842 Mississippi, d. abt, 1863
8. Zadora Ayres b. 1846 Mississippi, d.
9. William Eli Ayres, b. March 27, 1847 Mississippi, d. February 25, 1930 Texas
10. Mary Alosa Ayres, b. abt. 1852 Mississippi, d. 1925 Texas
11. Charles Carroll Ayres, b. February 8, 1856 Texas, d. May 1, 1933 Texas

Children of Eli and Cornelia Ayres:
1. Nellie May Ayres, b. May 15, 1862 Arkansas, d. September 21, 1950
2. Olivia Benson Ayres, b. 1865 Texas, m. W. E. Jackson December 9, 1884, d. 1955 Texas

Pontotoc County Census Information for Eli Ayres:
1837 Mississippi Territorial & State Census Pontotoc County, MS: Ayres, Eli
158 13 Ayres Eli
PAGE NO: 104B/105
37 685 685 AYRES ELI 45 M FARMER 29,800 KY
38 685 685 AYRES CAROLINE 38 F KY
39 685 685 AYRES BERT*O 15 M AR *Bert was a Twin and his sister Bertha should have been listed on the census too.
40 685 685 AYRES GEORGE 13 M MS
1 685 685 AYRES THONAPSON* * 11 M MS **Thonapson should be Thompson
2 685 685 AYRES ZELONE 9 F MS
3 685 685 AYRES ZEDORA 5 F MS
4 685 685 AYRES WILLIAM 2 M MS
5 685 685 AYRES MARY 1 F MS
6 685 685 CAMPBELL THOMAS 22 M OVERSEER SC Amelia Evaline Ayres married James Johnson on October 25, 1849 and they appear on the 1850 Pontotoc Census living with his parents and sister, Eliza.

PAGE NO: 108
30 726 726 JOHNSON JAMES 50 M FARMER 2,640 KY
31 726 726 JOHNSON MATILDA 45 F KY
32 726 726 JOHNSON ELIZA 25 F TN

4 726 726 JOHNSON EVELINE * 17 F MS *Evaline Ayres Johnson, daughter of Eli and Caroline Ayres.

Children of Evaline. and James Johnson were:
William, b. 1850 in Mississippi
Frank, b. 1853 in Mississippi
Helen Caroline, b. 1854 in Mississippi, d. 1923 in Kaufman County, Texas
Emma, b. 1858 in Mississippi
George Andrew Johnson, b. 1860 in Texas, d. 1913 in Stephens Co., Texas

Submitted by Charmian Giles.

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