Holmes County, Florida

Family Photos
Howell and Rigel

Submitted by Faye Holt
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My paternal great grandmother, Sirena Elizabeth Davis Rigel.   She married Sion Samuel Rigel, whom we have not found a picture of either.

left - my maternal Grandmother Eula Mae Howell Radford Capps
right - Gertrude Rigel Newton, my paternal grandmother.   Gertrude Rigel Newton married William Leonard Newton (my paternal grandfather).

Gertrude's sister, Sarah Vahula Rigel, married Manny Childs.

Mattie Matilda Rigel Steverson 1877-1962
Andrew Jackson Steverson 1879-1961

Another sister, Matilda Rigel Steverson (husband...Andrew Jackson Steverson).  Matilda had a son named Johnny Steverson who lived between Bonifay and Graceville, FL.  He was married to a Lucille ?  Lucille said that Sirena Rigel had jet black hair and that Matilda did also, as well as her son Johnny Steverson, indicating that they had Indian blood heritage.

James Hartwell Howell

My Grandmother Eula Capps, mentioned below....I've attached photo of her grandfather, THE James Hartwell Howell from Ireland (as they were told....but records show born in Ireland and Georgia?  Photos show him as young man and elderly man (b. 08/23/1802 d. 08/31/1893. However, I've not yet found picture of Emily "Emma" Dancey or Dancy b. 02/11/1811 d. 05/05/1891, born in GA?

I have a lady who from Hawkinsville, Pulaski, GA where James Howell, his Widow Howell (mother), step-father, George Turner, & Emily Dancey who represent OUR branch of the Howell Family, lived.  Everything seems to have started with them, but we can't find actual name of Widow Howell, nor her maiden name, nor James Howell's father's name, nor Emily Dancey's family.

I have found an Anita Crutchfield, who is in our Howell Family book, who has given me info of two women who are sisters of Emily Dancey.  Their names were Hannah and Nancy.  The first wife of GM Eula Capps' father, James Randolph Howell, was a Nancy Tindel, who is listed on the Pulaski County, GA GenWeb.  He then married a Dora Van Della Warren Howell and she was GM Capps' mother.

I find it interesting that James Hartwell Howell & Emily Dancey moved back and forth from Georgia to Alabama and finally stayed in Alabama and are buried there in the Wesley UNM Cemetery.  AND GA now is officially landmarked as part of the infamous Trail of Tears.   SO I'm wondering if this is the reason for their moving around.  Emily and her brother, according to James & Emily Dancey Howell's children, were found by James H. Howell wandering around in the streets of Graceville, FL, having lost their parents in war at this location.   James H. Howell takes them to his mother who raises them and he then marries Emily.   The back and forth issue has me baffled, especially during that day and time in our history. I DO hope to finally get to the bottom of this with the help of the lady in Pulaski County, GA.

I have been told by my mother and her other siblings that their great grandmother, Emily "Emma" Dancey or Dancy was a full blood Cherokee Indian.  She was born in 1811 and died in 1891.  She married James Hartwell Howell (from Ireland) born in 1802 and died in 1893.  SO the two of them were my mother's mother's grandparents on her father's side.  Grandmother was Eula Mae Howell Radford Capps who lived in Holmes County, FL on Hwy 2 (I believe it was) quite a long time.  Her first husband, Charlie Sanford Radford, was my mother's father, but he and mother's 6 year old brother drowned at Cerro Gordo in November of 1922 when the car they were riding in plunged into the swift currents of the Choctawhatchee River.  We do not have any proof that Emily Dancey is a Cherokee Indian, but, since my grandmother's father, Rev. James Randolph Howell, was James & Emily's son, I would think he would know.

In my conversations with Chief Red Eagle of the Choctawhatchee Creek Indians, who lives in Grand Ridge, FL, in the past few years, he said there was a possibility that Emily was a Cherokee Indian, but most Indians in those parts were Creek Indians.   He looked on the Indian Rolls that he had in his possession, but did not find her and further explained that most Indians would not allow themselves to be placed on a Census and reveal their Indianness because they would be shipped off to Oklahoma, so many Indians were there, but just were not identified by the government.  Chief Red Eagle was in his 80's when I talked with him and later became more fragile as far as his health.  I'm not sure if he is still living, but his wife, who is Patricia A. Mordes, would know about this for sure.  She was his secretary for a long time he said before they married.

SO....The bottom line is I am wondering if any of the folks who read this info have ever heard of Emily Dancey Howell.  My aunt, mother's sister, told me yesteday that there were some Howell families near Westville, etc. and I know my uncle, mother's brother, married a lady from that area whose mother was full blooded Native American and her father was a half breed.....which tribe I'm not sure.



This page was last updated on: 17 May 2011