Ancestry of Samuel Langston (c. 1830-1879)

by Karen Parker
Austin, Texas


The ancestry of Samuel Langston has been elusive, and while purported lineages have circulated on the internet, we have seen none which appeared correct. DNA testing has been wonderfully productive, however, and reexamination of available evidence in light of the DNA results has offered new insights. After describing the state of our knowledge before DNA testing, we will state our conclusions, and then show our path from the DNA results through our reexamination of the available documentary evidence. For anyone who may be interested, there is an appendix describing in greater detail the progression of DNA results of our DNA project, insofar as they shed light on Samuel Langston's ancestry. Also available is a lineage chart showing the descent of the closest participants and their shared mutations.

The State of the Evidence Prior to DNA Testing

The 1880 Mortality Schedule states that Samuel Langston, a married man, died on Nov. 2, 1879, at the age of 48 in Crawford County, Arkansas, and that his father was born in Arkansas, his mother in Tennessee. Until Y-DNA testing, nothing more was known of his ancestry.

In 1890 Samuel’s widow, Mary A. Bostick Langston, applied for a Civil War widow’s pension based on Samuel’s service. In support of this application, Samuel’s brother Daniel M. Langston submitted an affidavit stating the he was Samuel’s brother and that he, Daniel, was living in Izard County, Arkansas, in December 1853, when Samuel Langston and Mary A. Bostick were married there by the Rev. Eli Barton. Some of Daniel’s adult children also submitted affidavits.

Mary’s affidavit in support of her pension application stated that she could not produce Samuel Langston’s discharge papers because they were destroyed when her home burned in April of 1884. Presumably any Bible, photographs or other family papers were also destroyed at that time.

The Izard County Courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1889, so only territorial, state, and federal records exist for the period before the fire.

In the 1860 census, Samuel is listed in Izard County with his wife Mary and four little children, while his brother Daniel is listed in Crawford County with his wife Sarah and their infant son. By the time of the 1870 census, Samuel and his family had moved to Crawford County as well.

Neither Samuel nor Daniel has been found in the 1850 census.

Daniel is found in the 1880 and 1890 censuses, both of which ask the places of birth of the father and mother of the person being enumerated, but in both years no answer is given to those questions regarding Daniel’s parents.


This gave us very little to go on, but after DNA testing helped focus our research, we found an answer which accords with the DNA evidence and the available records. We will state the conclusions first, followed by a little background, and then the path to the conclusions.


•     Samuel was the grandson of John Langston, who died in Izard County, Arkansas, in about 1839 (John was the son of the Caleb Langston who died in 1800 in South Carolina; grandson of Absalom, who died in South Carolina in 1783; and great grandson of John, who died in South Carolina in 1790);

•     Samuel was the son of Hiram Langston (c.1807-1850) of Izard County, Arkansas, and Hiram’s wife Jane (“Jincey”), who was born in Tennessee c.1810, and died in Izard County between 1860 and 1869;

•     after Hiram Langston died in March of 1850, his widow married O. B. Goodrich that same year;

•     William Hiram Langston (c.1841-1910, called “Hiram” in the records but referred to by his descendants as “William Hiram”) was Samuel’s brother, another son of Hiram and Jincey.


For the sake of convenience, notes (not exact transcriptions) concerning a number of relevant records will be included in the main body of the paper in blue text. Discussion of the DNA results will be cursory in the main body of the paper so as not to interrupt the reasoning behind the conclusions, but a more detailed discussion of the DNA results and will be found in an appendix for anyone who is interested.

Although William Hiram Langston is called “Hiram” in the records, he will be referred to in the following discussion as William Hiram in order to distinguish him from other Hiram Langstons.

The Izard County Five and a Few Wild Cards

Kathryn Langston and T. J. Harper, after a great deal of research on the history of the earliest Langstons to settle in the area that became Izard County, were able to correct earlier misunderstandings of the history of these early Langstons. T. J. Harper’s excellent article, “The Langstons of Izard Co., Ark., through 1840,”  ¹ should be read by anyone interested in the history of the Langstons of Izard County. That early history with its careful documentation is relied on here, but will not be repeated except to the extent necessary to frame the issue at hand. It is sufficient to say that by 1820, the area that later became Izard County was settled by five Langston brothers who were sons of the Caleb Langston who died in Union County, South Carolina, in 1800. Caleb’s will names his six children, five of whom were boys. These boys will be referred to as “The Izard County Five”; or simply “The Five”: John, Absalom, Jesse, Nathan, and Samuel.

It appears that Samuel was the first of The Five to die. Tax lists for the part of the Arkansas Territory that later became Izard County still exist for 1820, 1821, 1824, and 1829. Samuel appears on the tax list for 1824, and his apparent widow, Matilda, is on the 1829 tax list. The other four brothers are in the 1830 census, but Matilda is not named on that census.

Before the 1840 census, two more of The Five have died: John and Jesse. John’s sons Caleb and Hiram have households of their own by then, and their mother Nancy is listed in the 1840 census with only one other person in her household: a male born 1820 – 1825 (her youngest known son, Joseph, presumably).

It is thought that most, if not all, of the Langstons found in Izard County descended from The Five, and most who have appeared in the census records have been attributed to one or another of The Five, but there are a few Langstons besides our Samuel who appear in the census records whose parentage was unknown, notably William Hiram and Elizabeth. Additionally, there is Ephraim Langston, who is not named in any census records, but is listed in the tax records for 1844 through 1847. Ephraim was also mentioned by Judge Sams in his memoir, ² stating that “Absalom’s daughter Nancy married her cousin Ephraim Langston.”

Ephraim is thought to have been a son of the Samuel, one of The Five, who died sometime from 1824 to 1829. Ephraim must have been in someone else’s household in the 1830 and 1840 censuses, and by the time of the 1850 census, he has died, and his widow Nancy has married James Hall. Ephraim’s and Nancy’s son Samuel is listed as age 4 in the 1850 census under his stepfather’s surname; and not listed by the surname Langston until 1880, after his stepfather has passed away. This Samuel named one of his sons William Ephraim.

DNA Testing

Since no records state who was the father of the Samuel Langston who died in Crawford County in 1879, and since there were many Langstons in Izard County, where Samuel lived at the earliest time we were able to place him, it appeared that the next avenue of research was to find and recruit appropriate subjects for Y-DNA testing to determine whether Samuel was related in any genealogically significant degree to the Izard County Five.

Since only males have a Y chromosome, Y-DNA is only passed from father to son down a direct male line, just as surnames usually are. A direct-male-line descendant of Samuel’s son Hiram McDonald Langston kindly agreed to be tested.

Then the extremely generous Kathryn Langston set about trying to find and recruit for Y-DNA testing a direct-male-line descendant of each The Izard County Five, as well as a direct-male-line descendant of Ephraim and a direct-male-line descendant of William Hiram.

The DNA results came in over the course of years, and the supporting data are set out in an appendix. We look for enough similarity to enable us to determine whether individuals are related to others in any genealogically significant degree, and we hope to be lucky enough to find some differences to help discriminate related lineages within the larger family group. We were very fortunate in both respects.

In the discussion of the DNA results, notations of the results will state both the specific location on the DNA chain, and the numerical value at that location. For example, when we say “DYS439=15,” then “DYS439” denotes the specific location, and “15” denotes the value at that location. One person’s results tell us nothing. It is only the comparison of different individuals’ results that can tell us whether people are related and sometimes how they are related.

The results most important to the issue at hand are these, in the order in which they arrived:

•     Samuel’s descendant matched a descendant of Nathan, one of The Izard County Five, both of whom had DYS439=15, which identifies the descendants of Absalom Langston (1732-1783), grandfather of The Izard County Five (this indicated that Samuel was Absalom’s descendant);

•     William Hiram’s descendant’s DYS449=27 was the same as Samuel’s descendant’s result at that location, but different from the other Izard County Langstons who had been tested (this indicated that Samuel and William Hiram were more closely related to each other than to the other Izard County Langstons tested up to that time);

•     and finally, the results for the descendant of John, one of The Izard County Five, who also had DYS449=27, the same as Samuel’s and William Hiram’s descendants, but different from all the other Izard County Langstons (this indicated that Samuel and William Hiram were descended from John, oldest of The Izard County Five).


Once it appeared that Samuel and William Hiram were descended from John, we could narrow our search for their possible father(s).

John Langston and his Sons

The memoir of an early Izard County resident, Judge Jehoida J. Sams, stated that the five Langston brothers came in 1815 to the part of the Arkansas Territory which later became Izard County. It is apparent from his memoir that he was well acquainted with the Langstons, but as T. J. Harper pointed out, one should realize that some of his writing is based upon hearsay rather than his personal recollection, and he was writing in his later years. Judge Sams stated that John Langston came to the territory with three daughters: Mary, Elizabeth, and Linda; and three sons: Caleb, Hiram, and Joseph ³. Since Joseph was born about 1823, he would have been born after his family came to the area. It appears, therefore, that while the memoir is very useful, it is subject to little errors here and there, as most such sources are.

More than six children appeared in John’s household in the 1830 census, but we don’t know who they were. Caleb and Hiram had households of their own by 1830, and surely Joseph was still at home with John and Nancy, but we don’t know whether any of the children besides Joseph were John’s children (perhaps John had children of his deceased brother Samuel in his household). And except for Joseph, we don’t know how long the young people in John’s household in 1830 lived (Samuel Langston and Mary Bostick had 12 children, only 2 of whom lived long enough to marry and have children; John’s family could have had similar very sad losses).

1830 Census, Izard Co., AR John Langston
1 male, 1 female 40-50 [b. 1780-1790] [John & Nancy Ware]
2 males 20-30 [b. 1800-1810]
1 female 15-20 [b. 1810-1815]
1 male, 1 female 10-15 [b. 1815-1820]
2 males, 2 females 5-10 [b. 1820-1825] [Joseph]
1 female under 5 [b. 1825-1830]
Caleb Langston
1 male 20-30 [b. 1800-1810]
1 female 15-20 [b. 1810-1815]
Hiram Langston
1 male, 1 female 20-30 [b. 1810-1815]
1 male under 5 [b. 1825-1830]

By 1840, John has died, his widow Nancy is listed in the census with only Joseph, and the unknown young people in John’s and Nancy’s household in 1830 are unaccounted for.

1840 Census, Izard Co., AR Nancy Langston
1 female 50-60 [b. 1780-1790]
1 male 15-20 [b. 1820-1830] [Joseph]

Is it likely that John and Nancy likely were the parents of Samuel and William Hiram? Since William Hiram was born too late be John’s son, he must have been a grandson of John and Nancy. Nancy would have been about 48 when Samuel was born and about 51 when Samuel’s brother Daniel was born, pretty advanced ages for her to be having children. While not absolutely impossible, it would have been unusual. But if Nancy had been Samuel’s and Daniel’s mother, one would expect to find them with their mother in 1840, since they would have been little boys then, about 9 and 7 years old respectively. But she has only her teenaged son Joseph with her, who was several years older than Samuel and Daniel.

Given the ages of John and Nancy, and the ages of Samuel, his brother Daniel, and William Hiram, and the fact that Samuel and Daniel are not with Nancy in the 1840 census, it seems improbable that Samuel, Daniel, and William are sons of John and Nancy, and appears that we should be looking for the boys’ father(s) among John’s sons.


Considering John’s three known sons, it seems improbable that the father of Samuel and the father of William Hiram would be anyone other than John’s son Hiram.

1.     Caleb

In the 1830 census, Caleb and his wife had their own household and no children. By 1840, they have six children, all under 10 years old. By the time of the 1850 census, the oldest boy present in the 1840 census is absent, but all of the others are still in the family’s household.

1840 Census, Izard Co., AR Caleb Langston
1 male, 1 female 30-40 [b. 1800-1810] Caleb & Martha
3 males, 1 female 5-10 [b. 1830-1835] Miles, Wm Jasper & Hyley
1 male, 1 female under 5 [b. 1835-1840] Peyton & Ann

1850 Census, Izard Co., AR, Union Twp., p. 23
344 Langston, Martha [Ragsdale], 48, KY [Caleb’s widow]
       Miles M., 20, AR
       William J., 19, AR [Wm Jasper]
       Hyley F., 17, AR
       Ann, 12, AR
       Peyton, 10, AR
Ragsdale, Rebecca, 35, KY

•     In 1840, William Hiram was not yet born, but there are not enough boys in Caleb’s household then to include Samuel and Daniel.

•     Samuel, born about 1831, was younger than Caleb’s son Miles, and about the same age as Caleb’s son William Jasper. Daniel was about the age of Caleb’s daughter Hyley. If Samuel and Daniel were Caleb’s children, that meant that Caleb’s wife Martha would have had eight children in 10 years, which might be possible, but it would have been very unlikely. It is not too uncommon to see two children, or even three, born each a year apart, but to see so many born within such a short time would be rare.

•     In the 1850 census, the oldest boy enumerated in 1840, is no longer in the household, but Miles, the next older boy, is still there. Samuel was younger than Miles, about the same age as William Jasper, and Daniel was younger still, about the same age as Hyley. If Samuel and Daniel had been Caleb’s children, since they are younger than Miles, one would expect that at least one of them would be in the household and that Miles would be on his own. William Hiram was just a little boy in 1850 and certainly would have been named with his mother in the 1850 census, if he had been Caleb’s son.

•     There is an additional reason William Hiram could not be a son of Caleb: as discussed below in the interview with William Hiram’s grandson, William Hiram married Caleb’s daughter Ann, listed with her siblings and her widowed mother in the 1850 census, and with only her mother in the 1860 census.4

2.     Joseph

Joseph, 27 years old in 1850, is obviously too young to have been the father of Samuel and Daniel, born about 1831 and 1833 respectively. Joseph appears in the 1850 census with his young wife and his mother, Nancy Ware Langston.

1850 Census, Izard Co., AR, White River Twp., p. 17
263          Langston, Joseph H., 27, AR [b. c.1823]
       Levina, 22, AR
       Nancy, 67, SC [John’s widow]

1860 Census, Izard Co., AR, White River Twp., p. 17
294/294 Langston, J. H., 38, AR [b. c.1822]
       Levina, 33, AR
       Nancy, 5, AR
Wisdom, Granville, 19, IL farm laborer
Strong, Cushing, 29, OH silversmith

William Hiram was a young boy in 1850 and would surely have been listed with Joseph and Levina in 1850 if he had been Joseph’s son.

By the time of the 1860 census, Joseph’s mother is gone, and he and Lavina had a 5-year-old daughter, named Nancy after his mother, but there is still no sign that Joseph ever had a son. Joseph is not found in any census after 1860.

This leaves Hiram as the only known son of John who might fit as the father of Samuel and William Hiram. We know from the DNA testing that their father must be descended from John, and we have seen that neither Caleb nor Joseph appeared to be their father, so let us see how the records can help us understand the DNA implication that John’s son Hiram is the father of these these boys.

3.     Hiram

1850 Mortality Schedule, Izard Co., AR
Hiram Langston, Izard County, age 42, died in March 1850 of winter fever; born KY.

Hiram’s age at the time of death and his place of birth are consistent with records referenced in T. J. Harper’s article showing that Hiram’s father John lived in Kentucky in the period when Hiram was born, just a few years after John and Nancy married there in 1804.

Since Hiram died in March of 1850, too soon to be enumerated in the 1850 census, he is listed only in the 1830 and 1840 censuses.

1830 Census, Izard Co., AR Hiram Langston
1 male, 1 female 20-30 [b. 1800-1810]
1 male under 5 [b. 1825-1830]

1840 Census, Izard Co., AR Hyram Langston
1 male, 1 female 30-40 [b. 1800-1810]
1 male 10-15 [b. 1825-1830]
1 male, 1 female 5-10 [b. 1830-1835]
1 female under 5 [b. 1835-1840]

Hiram was in the proper age range to be the father of Samuel, Daniel, and William Hiram. When he passed away in March of 1850, Samuel and Daniel would have been teenagers, and William Hiram would have been a little boy.

While the ages here don’t fit exactly for Samuel to be Hiram’s son, he’s very close, and well within the range of variability shown in later census records of the people being considered. Review of all of the records relating to Samuel, Daniel, and William Hiram shows that exactitude is rare. And if we test the hypothesis that Samuel, Daniel, and William Hiram are sons of Hiram, we can find much more support than the 1830 and 1840 censuses.


Reconsidering Records in Light of the DNA Evidence

In the 1870 census for Crawford County, Arkansas, Samuel and his brother Daniel were listed on consecutive pages, with William Hiram in between. Long before any DNA testing, this had raised the question whether William Hiram was a brother to Samuel and Daniel. The DNA evidence proves that William Hiram must be a brother to Samuel (and therefore Samuel’s brother Daniel), unless William Hiram was either the son of John or of an unknown son of John, which, if not impossible, has no supporting evidence.

There are a good many inaccuracies in the records relating to these Langstons, but the DNA results have enabled us to focus more carefully on the records which can explain the DNA results. Unless one considers as many records as possible, one could be misled into believing incorrect information that would obscure the the true facts. The DNA results are reliable; information given by often unidentified individuals to census takers, clerks, etc., or remembered by other people, is sometimes not.

Following William Hiram Langston and the Goodrich Family

Kathryn Langston mentioned a newsletter of the Samuel Bennett Langston Family Organization wherein a grandson of William Hiram Langston stated that his family was connected to the Goodriches.5 That led to additional scrutiny of the family listed next door to Samuel and Mary Langston in the 1860 census of Izard County.

1860 Census, Izard Co., AR, Mill Creek Twp., p. 387
402/402 Goodrich, O. B., 56, CT
       Jincey, 48, TN
       Charles, 15, AR
       Nancy, 11, AR
       Mary, 8, AR
       Margarett, 17, AR, idiot
       James, 3, AR
403/403 Langston, Sal N., 26, AR
       Mary A. [Bostick], 23, GA
       William, 6, GA
       Jacob, 5, GA
       Daniel, 2, GA
       Jinsey, 5/12, GA

Once the question is raised, one can’t help noticing that O. B. Goodrich’s wife Jincey has the same name as Samuel and Mary Langston’s baby girl; that the elder Jincey was also in the right age range to be the mother of Samuel and Daniel; that she was born in Tennessee, as Samuel’s mother was; and that she is living right next door to Samuel. Any one of these facts could be mere coincidence, but when the coincidences start stacking up, further investigation is warranted.

Looking for the Goodrich family in the 1850 census, we find the following:

1850 Census, Izard Co., AR, Union Twp., p. 27
392/392 Goodrich, O. B., 47, CT
       Jane, 40, TN
       Jacob, 15, AR [b. c.1835]
       George, 14, AR [b. c.1836]
       William, 12, AR [b. c.1838]
       Hirum, 9, AR [b. c.1841]
       Charles, 5, AR [b. c.1845]
       Elizabeth, 13, AR [b. c.1837]
       Sarah J., 10, AR [b. c.1840]
       Nancy, 3, AR [b. c.1847]

Jincey is a nickname for Jane, and the age is 2 years off, compared to the age for Goodrich’s wife in the 1860 census, so it might be the same person as Samuel’s neighbor in the 1860 census, or it might not.

Additionally, here was a Hiram the approximate age of the Hiram Langston who was Samuel’s and Daniel’s neighbor in Crawford County in 1870. Could Hiram be a stepson of O. B. Goodrich instead of a son?

In the 1870 census, Goodrich has a much younger wife, along with children listed under Goodrich’s surname in the 1870 who are shown in the 1880 census to be his stepchildren instead, the sons of the most recent Mrs. Goodrich by her prior marriage.

1870 Census, Izard Co., AR, Mill Creek Twp., p. 14
92/93  Goodrich, Oliver, 67, CT
       Malinda, 35, TN
       Franklin, 12, TN [b. c.1858]
       Cannon, 8, AR [b. c.1862]
       Marthyann, 1/12, AR, born in May

1880 Census, Izard Co., AR, Newburg Twp., p. 327 D
130/130 Goodrich, Oliver, 76, CT CT CT
       Jane, 44, TN GA VA
       Martha, 10, AR CT TN
Rushing, Thomas, 25, step-son, TN TN TN
       Cannon, 16, step-son, AR TN TN
131/131 Rushing, Franklin, 23, AR TN TN
       Parlee, 21, Wife, AR KY KY

It is entirely possible, therefore, that the Hiram listed in the Goodrich household in 1850 was his stepson rather than his son. It is worth noting, too, that Malinda Jane’s son Thomas, who would have been 15 in the 1870 census, was not with her then. It seems that, at least in those days, it sometimes suited everyone better if teen-aged sons of recently remarried mothers lived somewhere other than the household of a new step-father.

1840 Census, Izard Co., AR O. B. Goodrich
1 male 30-40
1 female 20-30
2 males 20-30 [born 1835 – 1840]

We see that Goodrich had only 2 boys in 1840, born 1835 to 1840, so at least one boy listed in that age range in the Goodrich household in 1850 was not in his household in the 1840 census. Jacob, George, or William was apparently not O. B. Goodrich’s son, raising the inference that the wife he had in the 1840 census had died before 1850, and that by the time of the 1850 census, he had married another woman with a child or children of her own.

Since the Izard County courthouse burned in 1889, there are no helpful records there, but in neighboring Independence County in its Marriage Book covering 1835, J. S. Bowman recorded on p. 33 that he had married Mr. Oliver B. Goodrich and Miss Peline Sisk there on April 24, 1835. (Until we noticed that Sarah J. Goodrich Blankenship’s first daughter was listed in the 1880 census as “Polina,” apparently after Sarah’s mother, it did not occur to us that “Peline” was a variant spelling of Pauline or Paulina.)

There is a gravestone in the Goodrich Cemetery with the name Martha Goodrich and a death date of March 1843.6 But what about Peline Sisk? A look at her parents’ household in the 1850 census in neighboring Independence County implies that their daughter, called Peline in the marriage record, also went by the name Martha, because her parents are keeping a child who appears to be their Goodrich granddaughter, Margaret, 8 years old and labeled “idiotic.”

1850 Census, Independence Co., AR, Greenbrier Twp., p. 358
639/639 Six [Sisk], Jacob, 64, VA
       Margaret, 63, KY
       Mary, 36, KY?
       James W., 17, AR
       Marcus L., 15, AR
       William, 14, AR
       Henrietta A., 9, AR
Goodrich, Margaret, 8, AR, idiotic

That same child appears in the 1860 census with O. B. Goodrich and his second wife, Jane (Jincey).

1860 Census, Izard Co., AR, Mill Creek Twp., p. 387
401/401 Goodrich, O. B., 56, CT
       Jincey, 48, TN
       Charles, 15, AR
       Nancy, 11, AR
       Mary, 8, AR
       Margarett, 17, AR, idiot
       James, 3, AR

Margaret was born about the time Peline/Martha died. Perhaps a difficult birth caused both the mother’s death and the child’s mental impairment.

By now we have good reason to believe that:

     Goodrich’s first wife died in March 1843;

     not all of the children in the Goodrich household in 1850 are his; and

     Jincey brought a child or children of an earlier marriage into the Goodrich household.

Sorting the Children of the Combined Goodrich Household

In the following notes, the census-taker’s listing according to gender has been changed to listing in order of age.

1850 Census, Izard Co., AR, Union Twp., p. 27
392/392 Goodrich, O. B., 47, CT
       Jane, 40, TN
       Jacob, 15, AR [b. c.1835]
       George, 14, AR [b. c.1836]
       Elizabeth, 13, AR [b. c.1837]
       William, 12, AR [b. c.1838]
       Sarah J., 10, AR [b. c.1840]
       Hirum, 9, AR [b. c.1841]
       Charles, 5, AR [b. c.1845]
       Nancy, 3, AR [b. c.1847]

Jacob, George, and William   •   Since Goodrich had only 2 boys under five in the 1840 census, at least one of these three boys should be Jincey’s by her previous marriage.

Elizabeth   •   Elizabeth was old enough to have been included in the 1840 census, but Goodrich had no girls in the 1840 census, so Elizabeth was apparently Jincey’s daughter by her earlier marriage.

Sarah J. and Hiram   •   Sarah J. and Hiram, according to their ages here, were born before March 1843, when the first Mrs. Goodrich died, so it appears that either of them could have been a child of Goodrich by his first wife, or a child of Jincey’s by her first marriage. (Further research proved that both Elizabeth and Hiram were Jincey’s children from her first marriage, but we were not yet aware of that when we were trying to sort out the “Goodrich children” according to the 1840, 1850 and 1860 census records.)

Charles and Nancy   •   Since these two children were born after the first Mrs. Goodrich passed away, they were apparently Jincey’s children by her first husband.

The two of these children important to our present purposes are Elizabeth, for reasons mentioned below; and Hiram, for reasons already stated.

Since we wondered whether the Hiram Langston listed between Samuel and Daniel Langston on the 1870 Crawford County Census was related to them, and whether the Hiram in Goodrich’s household in 1850 was the same Hiram Langston who was listed between Samuel and Daniel in 1870, we searched for evidence contrary to that hypothesis. A search of the 1850 census for a Hiram Langston or a William Hiram Langston or a W. H. Langston, born in Arkansas from 1835 to 1845 and residing anywhere, yielded no results. A search of the 1860 census with the same search criteria also yielded no results. (One index entry met the search criteria, but the source document clearly showed the index entry to be an error). We also looked for evidence that the Hiram listed under Goodrich’s surname in the 1850 census was Goodrich’s son rather than his step-son, but could find none.

By 1870, O. B. Goodrich had a much younger third wife, Malinda, who had just had a baby, suggesting that his second wife Jincey had died some time from 1860 to 1869.

1870 Census, Izard Co., AR, Mill Creek Twp., p. 14
92/93  Goodrich, Oliver, 67, CT
       Malinda, 35, TN
       Franklin, 12, TN [b. c.1858]
       Cannon, 8, AR [b. c.1862]
       Marthyann, 1/12, AR, born in May

1880 Census, Izard Co., AR, Newburg Twp., p. 327 D
130/130 Goodrich, Oliver, 76, CT CT CT
       Jane, 44, TN GA VA
       Martha, 10, AR CT TN
Rushing, Thomas, 25, step-son, TN TN TN
       Cannon, 16, step-son, AR TN TN
131/131 Rushing, Franklin, 23, AR TN TN
       Parlee, 21, Wife, AR KY KY

Malinda in 1870 and Jane in 1880 are shown to be the same person by the fact that she has her children by her marriage to Rushing with her in both census records, and they are still with her in 1900 after Malinda has been widowed, and she and her children have moved to Dallas County, Texas.

Before leaving these 2 census records involving O. B. Goodrich’s third wife, a brief aside is in order. It was circulated on the internet that O. B. Goodrich’s wife was Jincey Glover, and some people thought that meant that the wife of Goodrich shown in the 1850 and 1860 censuses was Jinsey Glover. The effort to track to its source the statement that Jincey Glover was O. B. Goodrich’s wife was fruitless. In the 1850 census, a few doors down from O. B. Goodrich and his 40-year-old wife Jane (“Jinsey,”) there was a Glover family with a daughter Jinsey, but she was only 14, and the Glovers had not been in the area long (the Glover family’s youngest child, age 2, was born in Missouri; their other children born in a number of states, none in Arkansas; and the family had decamped to Missouri by the 1860 census. She could not have been Goodrich’s first or second wife, but she was of an age where she could have been his third wife. Because the issue at hand involves his second wife, there is no need to discuss his third wife any further, except to emphasize that any reference to Goodrich’s wife being Jinsey Glover could not have applied to his second wife.

What Did William Hiram Langston’s Closest Relatives Say About Him?

Kathryn Langston mentioned articles published in The Samuel Bennett Langston Family Organization Newsletters in the 1980’s about various descendants of William Hiram Langston. A 1981 article by Mearl Bennett based on her interview of William Hiram Langston’s grandson, William Walker Langston,7 gave the following information:

“William Walker was born 3 Dec 1893 to William Jasper (Jaff) Langston and Margaret Elenor Hively Langston at Pineville, Ark. William Jasper (Jaff) was the son of William Hiram Langston and Ann Langston. Ann was a sister to Jasper, Miles (Bunk) and Desmore Langston 8 who lived around Wideman, Ark. and the Standing Rock area.”

“Walker’s grandfather was William Hiram Langston b. 16 Dec 1843 ? D 8 Nov 1910. He was married to Ann Langston and their children were:

1. Jim m. Emmie Bunch (no ch.)
2. William Jasper (Jaff) m. Margaret Elenor Hively
3. Nancy Ann m. John Sanders (Gladys Stone, who works at Dryer’s Shoe Store in Mountain Home, Ark., is a granddaughter).
4. Bobbie (girl) never married.
5. Emily

“Walker doesn’t know much about his grandfather and doesn’t know where he came from. He said the Woodcocks and Goodriches were related to him. Walker said, ‘My grandfather had a brother that never married but I don’t know his name. He had a sister, Betsy that first married a Jenkins they had a son, Will Jenkins, who was turning a cow through the woods and the horse ran him into a thorn tree and ran a thorn into his knee, which developed into blood poisoning and killed him. (Heresay) Betsy’s second husband was Dan Sullivan.’ ” 9

Having noted above that Elizabeth in the 1850 Goodrich household appeared not to be Goodrich’s daughter, but Jincey’s daughter by her first marriage, we looked for her in the 1860 census. She is not listed in the Goodrich household in 1860, when Jincey was still alive. No Elizabeth Goodrich is found in anyone else’s household in 1860, but there is one Elizabeth Langston listed as a domestic in someone else’s household in Fulton County (earlier a part of Izard, County, but by the time of that census, on the northern border of Izard County):

1860 Census, Fulton Co., AR, Union Twp., p. 442
258/121 Lacewell, John, 42, KY
       Cinthia, 42
       John, 9
       Eliza ann, 5, AR
       Martha, 1
Langston, Elizabeth, 20

This was the Elizabeth Langston whom researchers had been unable to identify as a descendant of any of The Izard County Five. Was this Elizabeth William Hiram Langston’s sister “Betsy,” mentioned by his grandson?10 Following up on the grandson’s statement that William Hiram Langston’s sister Betsy had married a Jenkins and later married Dan Sullivan,11 we did not find her in the 1870 census, but found what we were looking for in the 1880 census and the 1900 census. Here was our proof that this Elizabeth was William Hiram’s sister.

By 1880, Elizabeth’s first husband has died, and she is living next door to her stepsister, Sarah Goodrich, who by this time had married Elijah Blankenship.

1880 Census Izard Co., AR, Newburg Twp., p. 325-D
88/88 Jenkins, Elizabeth, 40, wd., AR TN TN
       William, 11, AR GA AR
89/89 Blankenship, Elijah, 32, AR NC VA
       Sarah [Goodrich], 39, AR NY AR
       Polina, 11, AR AR AR
       Mary, 8, AR AR AR
       Elijah, 7, AR AR AR
       Jerusha, 5, AR AR AR
       Atha, 1, AR AR AR

In the 1900 census, we find Elizabeth at age 60 married to Daniel Sullivan, with her son by Mr. Jenkins not far away. According to that census, she has born two children, only one of whom is yet living. The fact that she had a child who had died fits with William Hiram’s grandson’s account of Elizabeth’s son dying of blood poisoning as a result of an injury to his leg.12

1900 Census, Izard Co., AR, Union Twp., Sheet 6 B
96/97 Sullivan, Daniel, Oct 1845, 54, Ire Ire Ire
       Elizabeth, Oct 1839, 60, kids 2/1, AR TN TN
p. 282-B Sheet 8 B
Jenkins, George W., Feb 1869, 31, AR GA AR
       Emma, Dec. 1870, 29, kids 4/2, AR TN TN
       Nancy E., Aug 1889, 10, AR AR AR
       Martha, June 1895, 4, AR AR AR

We already knew from the fact that Goodrich had no girls in the 1840 census that Elizabeth was apparently Jincey’s child by her first husband, and it appears that the Elizabeth Langston in the Lacewell household in 1860 is the only possible candidate to be the Elizabeth in the 1850 Goodrich household.

In every census where Elizabeth is listed as an adult, the age given for her is consistent with the specific month and year stated in the 1900 census, i.e. October 1839. That date is consistent with the age of the girl enumerated in Hiram and Jinsey Langston’s household in 1840, and it is understandable that in 1850 her new stepfather Goodrich misstated his new stepdaughter’s age, especially since the census taker listed the children with all of the boys first instead of in order of age. The following section will show that other people made more mistakes than that in giving information about themselves or a spouse, and that this single inaccuracy about the age of a new stepdaughter does not defeat the preponderance of the evidence.

Now that we can identify her as William Hiram Langston’s sister on the basis of the 1880 and the 1900 censuses, where she clearly fits the information given by William Hiram’s grandson about William Hiram’s sister, we can identify the “Hirum” in the 1850 Goodrich household as William Hiram Langston, and their mother Jincey as the widow of Hiram Langston, son of John Langston of The Izard County Five.

Remarriage within a few months of the death of a spouse may not be very common in today’s world, but in the 19th and earlier centuries it was often an economic necessity, and therefore not at all uncommon. It is not surprising that Hiram’s widow, left with a number of children, some of them very young, found it necessary to remarry quickly.

The DNA results tie William Hiram (and therefore his sister Elizabeth) and Samuel (and therefore Samuel’s brother Daniel) together as siblings. And they all come together as part of the family of John’s son and daughter-in-law, Hiram and Jane (Jinsey).

Inaccuracies in the Records

A brief exposition of just a small number of the many, many examples of inconsistencies in records generally, will illustrate the problem with relying upon any one bit of evidence and the necessity of gathering as much evidence as possible.

Sons or daughters sometimes confuse a parent’s birthplace with an intermediate place where they lived for a while between their birthplace and the place where they finally settled. Perhaps that is what happened with O. B. Goodrich’s daughter Sarah Jane. Although her father consistently stated in each census from 1850 through 1880 that he was born in Connecticut, Sarah Jane stated that he was born in New York in each census which asked for her father’s birthplace. It is easy to imagine, if her father had lived in New York and talked about his time there, that she could have mistaken that for his birthplace.

William Hiram and his wife were enumerated in three censuses (1880, 1900, and 1910) which asked the birthplaces, not only of each person being enumerated, but also of the mother and father of each person being enumerated. In those three censuses, William Hiram always stated that he was born in Arkansas, but gave three different states as the birthplace of his father. His wife also always stated she was born in Arkansas, but gave three different states as the birthplace of her father. William Hiram gave two different states as the birthplace of his mother. It is clear that he does not know where his parents were born, which is not surprising since he was very young when he lost his parents. But his older sister Elizabeth consistently stated that their mother was born in Tennessee, just as the 1880 Mortality Schedule stated that Samuel’s mother was.

Samuel’s brother Daniel consistently stated that he was born in Arkansas, but one sees charts giving his place of birth as Mississippi or Kentucky, because the death certificate of one son said Daniel was born in Mississippi, and the death certificate of another son said Daniel was born in Kentucky. Information is less likely to be correct when it is given by persons more distant from the matter being reported.

Usually if one has census records for an individual for 6 different years in 1850 or later, one can establish the birthdate pretty closely. If one of those years is 1900, when not ony the person’s age, but also the month and year of his birth are asked, one can usually be pretty confident of knowing the month and year of birth. William Hiram has an unusual number of discrepancies, however, making it difficult to establish his age as closely as we can with most people concerning whom we have so many census records and even a gravestone.

In 1900, William Hiram was listed as being 58 years old, born in October, 1841. On his gravestone, his date of birth is given as Dec. 16, 1843. One might think these were different individuals if one failed to track his census history and see that the people listed with him are the same people (although even that is not simple, since his wife and children are sometimes listed under their first names and sometimes under their middle names). We know for certain, though, that despite the discrepancies in the records, they pertain to the same person. We have the census histories showing the same wife and children and the newsletter articles based on interviews with William Hiram’s grandson and other family members who tell about their family, along with photographs of William Hiram in front of his home in Madison County, where he lived from 1880 until his death in November of 1910, and pictures of his children and grandchildren.

When the census is taken, people are asked to give their age on census day. Census day for the years 1850 through 1900 was June 1. In 1910, census day was April 15. The following table, for the years when William Hiram was found on the census, shows his correct age as of census day if he was born in October 1841; the correct age as of census day if he was born in December 1843; and the age that was actually stated in the census.

William Hiram Langston
If Dec. 1843 Age Stated If Oct. 1841
1850 6 9 8
1860 16 not found 18
1870 26 28 28
1880 36 40 38
1900 56 58 58
1910 66 67 68

The ages actually stated are much closer to the proper ages for a person born in October 1841, and that is the information given in the 1900 census, while he was still living. In fact, the age stated is three times farther off from the gravestone date than from the October 1841 date. Children, in-laws, or friends may have given the Dec. 16, 1843 birthdate to the undertaker and made an error that shows up on his gravestone. In any event, this is another example of inconsistencies which appear in some people’s records.

After looking at just a small sampling of the numerous obvious inaccuracies in the records relating to our people, one more look at Hiram Langston’s household in the 1840 census is in order.

1840 Census, Izard Co., AR Hyram Langston
1 male, 1 female 30-40 [b. 1800-1810] [Hiram and Jincey]
1 male 10-15 [b. 1825-1830] [Samuel]
1 male, 1 female 5-10 [b. 1830-1835] [Daniel]
1 female under 5 [b. 1835-1840] [Elizabeth]

Mindful of the many inaccuracies in William Hiram’s records, let us recall that Samuel was only named in two censuses (1860 and 1870) and a mortality schedule, all inconsistent, but all within the margin of error that we see in his relatives’ errors to allow us to accept him as a son of Hiram Langston.

Gaps and inaccuracies can be troublesome, but if we track people over their lifetimes, gather as much evidence as possible, distinguish individuals from others of the same name and same approximate age, and search the records for anyone who might be a better fit, then inconsistencies such as these can be trivial and not determinative.

When considering all of the evidence we have, it may be useful to look again at part of the quote set out above from Merle Bennett’s article on her interview with William Walker Langston, the grandson of William Hiram Langston, and then ask ourselves a few questions.

“Walker doesn’t know much about his grandfather and doesn’t know where he came from. He said the Woodcocks and Goodriches were related to him. Walker said, ‘My grandfather had a brother that never married but I don’t know his name. He had a sister, Betsy that first married a Jenkins they had a son, Will Jenkins, who was turning a cow through the woods and the horse ran him into a thorn tree and ran a thorn into his knee, which developed into blood poisoning and killed him. (Heresay) Betsy’s second husband was Dan Sullivan.’ ”
Although Walker didn't know where his grandfather came from, about the only thing William Hiram Langston was consistent about was that he was born in Arkansas, and that accords with the DNA evidence that he was descended from John, and the fact that he was too young to have been a son of John and therefore must have been a grandson.

The next sentence mentions being related to the Woodcocks and the Goodriches, and while it is unclear whether the "he" refers to William Walker or his grandfather William Hiram, it makes no difference, since William Hiram’s wife was a Langston cousin, and the Woodcocks were Langston descendants, so the statement is true as to both William Walker and William Hiram, and their connection to the Woodcocks is known. What is important is that we have found no evidence of any connection to the Goodriches unless it is through Hiram and Jincey Langston.

We are unaware of any thoroughly researched sequence of records which provide any better explanation for the ancestry of Samuel, Daniel, William Hiram, and Elizabeth than the explanation set out in this paper. Given the state of the records, perhaps other evidence will appear which will give us a greater understanding of our family than can be offered here, but any alternative explanation which might be offered for the ancestry of Samuel and William Hiram must be consistent with the DNA evidence; i.e. it must explain how William Hiram Langston and Samuel Langston descended from John, and it must explain how William Hiram is connected to the Goodriches.



It is obvious to anyone who has read this far that I owe a tremendous debt to others who have spent many years trying to piece together the history of the Izard County Langstons.

Kathryn Langston has been my greatest help; without her, I would have gotten nowhere in my search for Samuel’s ancestors. That is no false modesty on my part; I had made no progress in years of searching. After I learned about DNA testing and found a kind descendant of my Samuel who was willing to test, Kathryn found and recruited all of the other descendants of Izard County Langstons who have been tested. This is easy to say, but not at all easy to do. She did all of the research necessary to identify and then locate descendants of the early Izard County Langstons. Then she set about trying to persuade those descendants to test. There were a number of times when she had someone lined up to be tested, that those plans fell through for one reason or another, and she had to begin all over again with the research, the locating, and the persuading. All of this has taken years, and her fortitude and perseverance over such a long time have been truly inspiring.

Even with our tremendous good luck with the DNA results, I would have been unable to piece together the conclusions I have arrived at, had it not been for Kathryn’s sharing with me her knowledge of the Izard County Langstons gleaned from her many years of service to the Langston family association first known as the Samuel Bennett Langston Family Organization, and then known beginning in 1996 as the Langston Family & Kinsmen Association. Once the DNA results had pointed to the close relationship between my Samuel and William Hiram Langston, Kathryn remembered and relayed to me just the the snippets of information from a newsletter published decades earlier that I desperately needed to begin to understand our history. How she could remember such things after so long, when they didn’t even pertain to her branch of the Izard County Langstons, is beyond me. I am so grateful that she did.

It was not until after I had arrived at my conclusions and written the first draft of my paper on the basis of the DNA results, the information Kathryn had relayed about William Hiram Walker’s family, and a fresh look at relevant records, that I read the 129 newsletters published by the Langston Family & Kinsmen Organization from 1978 to 2011. We are indebted to Karen Grossman for scanning and transferring all of those newsletters to CD’s for the benefit of the Organization. Before reading all of those newsletters, I had not sufficiently realized the tremendous work that the members of that organization had put into the research and preservation of the Langston family’s history over the years. I appreciate so much all of the interviews with descendants of the early Izard County Langstons, the listings of their individual lines, the stories about their families, and the practical information about the evolution of the Arkansas Territory and the Arkansas counties. There is so much valuable information in these newsletters.

Many thanks to the gentlemen who were willing to be tested, and particularly to those men who were not at all interested in family history, but were willing to be tested as a favor. Their kindness is so much appreciated.

I am grateful to T. J. Harper for taking the time in 1998, after she had seen a plaintive post of mine on a message board, to dig through her Langston papers and send me information she had from Mary Bostick Langston’s pension application file.

To David Boyett and Barbara Good, thanks for administering the Langston DNA Project, and thanks to David for posting images of documents relating to our colonial American Langston ancestors.

Thanks to my brother William F. Parker, my sister Mary Parker Elliott, and my good friend Kathryn Langston for reviewing my draft of this paper and making very helpful suggestions. Any errors or shortcomings are mine alone.


Lineage Chart with Shared Mutations

Appendix: Samuel Langston (c.1830-1879) and the Langston DNA Project

Contact the author



1 T. J. Harper, “The Langstons of Izard Co., Ark., through 1840,” The Arkansas Family Historian, Arkansas Genealogical Society, Vol. 33, No. 1 (March, 1995).

2 Jehoida J. Sams, A History of the J. J. Sams Family and Incidentally a History of the White River Valley Country in Northern Arkansas from 1816 to 1896, Chap. 29, paragraph 2; transcription by Kathryn Langston of a transcription by Clara Davis (a great granddaughter of Jehoida J. Sams). The original manuscript is located in Box 10, Folder 317, among the Thomas Lee Ballenger Papers donated to The Newberry Library — Modern Manuscripts, 60 West Walton Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60610, telephone 312-255-3511.

3 Ibid., paragraph 3.

4 Mearl Bennett, untitled article recounting her interview with William Walker Langston, The Samuel Bennett Langston Family Organization Newsletter, Vol. 4, July 1981, pp. 1-2.

5 Ibid.

6 Linda Edwards, Message posted Dec. 9, 2000 on the Rootsweb Izard County, Arkansas List: “My daughter and I went to the Goodrich Cemetery, which is just about half a mile from my store, and we did some rubbings on that stone. It reads: Martha Goodrich wife friend March 1843. We had to use a crayon for the letters to show up.”

7 Bennett, op.cit.

8 Perhaps "Desmore" is the oldest son listed in Caleb’s household in the 1840 census, who is gone by 1850, but we have not found a record of him for confirmation.

9 Bennett, op.cit.

10 Ibid., p. 1.

11 Ibid., pp. 1-2.

12 Ibid., p. 2.