Thursday, July 22, 2010

What's In a Name?

T J Benson (1856 – 1921)

My third great-grandfather, T J Benson, was born in 1856 in either Alabama or Mississippi. He married Lulu Bullington, July 5, 1878 in Washington County, Mississippi (see License). His real name and his parents’ names are unproven at the time this essay was written, however some speculation has been made and will be addressed in this essay.

What’s in a Name?
Nancy Walsh, the great-granddaughter of T J Benson and his wife Lulu Benson, stated in an email to me that T J’s real name was “Terry James(1).” Nancy currently has in her possession the bible records of her mother, Margaret Segner Benson, which noted “T. J. Benson [stands for] Terry James Benson [and] he may have been born in Alabama.”
T J Benson also went by “Tyney” or “Tiny” according to the 1880 Arkansas census report (2) and other miscellaneous records (Washington Co., MS marriage records, “Tinie Benson to Lulu Bullington, 05 July 1878″ and headstone, “T. J. Tiny Benson, 1856-1921 and Lulu G Benson, 1856-1911,” Redhill Cemetery, Lamar Co., TX)(3)
According to census reports, “Tyney” (2), “Terry J” (4), and “T J” (5-6) Benson was born in AL (2) or MS (4-6) between 1854 (4) and 1860 (6). T J’s headstone denotes that he was born in 1856 (7). Also according to the census reports, his parents were born in SC (father) and NC (mother) (2), Unk (4), or AL (5-6).
Lastly, the obituary of T J Benson’s youngest child, Jay Stanley Benson, and the delayed birth certificate of Jay's sibling Cullen Benson list their father’s name as “Thomas Jefferson” Benson! (8) Who doesn't want to be named after a major President?
  1. Personal correspondence with Nancy Walsh, 23 June 2006
  2. 1880 Montgomery Co., Mountain, AR census report, FHL film no. 1254052, T9-0052, p. 425B.
  3. Washington County, MS Marriage Records, USGenWeb site, Grooms – “B”, online. [See actual marriage License here.]
  4. 1900 Lamar Co., Justice Precinct 5, TX census report, 13 June 1900, Line 38, T623_1652, p. 10A.
  5. 1910 Lamar Co., Justice Precinct 8, TX census report, 15 Apr 1910, Line 87, T624_1572, p. 258B.
  6. 1920 Lamar Co., Justice Precinct 8, TX census report, 24 Jan 1920.
  7. T J Tiny Benson, grave marker, Redhill Cemetery, Lamar Co., TX.
  8. Jay Stanley Benson, obituary, 31 May 2007, Athens Daily Review, (Athens, TX), United States Obituary Collection, & Windfield Cullen Benson, delayed birth certificate, 5 August 1944, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Texas Department of Health.

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