This sketch concerns the Gibbs family whose members came to Faulkner County, Arkansas after 1870.


The first known of our line of Gibbs were two brothers, John and Brazealle who were in Jackson Co., Arkansas in 1850. Both had families but according to the census taker, John did not know where he was born. The census taker listed Brazealle's birthplace as Tennessee but later census did not list a place of birth for him nor for John. We can only imagine that the brother's parents died when the children were young and they did not know their origins.

John and Brazealle married sisters. John married Mary Ann Heffington and Brazealle married Nancy Heffington in Independence Co., Ark. in Feb. of 1934. Mary Ann Heffington was born in Alabama about 1815. Another Heffington sister, Agness, married Elisha Garrett and they were the parents of Amanda A. Garrett. Amanda married Joseph R. Lavender Jr. of Faulkner Co., Ark. as his second wife.

The Heffington sisters were children of David Heffington and his wife Dorothy Lowe. That family apparently consisted of 8 sons and 8 daughters. Dorothy was the daughter of William Lowe and Margaret Fair/Fehr. Margaret Fair/Fehr was daughter of Johann Fehr and Dorothea Megatsch.

John Gibbs died between the census of 1850 and 1860. In 1860 his widow, Mary A. Gibbs was listed in the Jackson County census with 5 of her children. In 1870 she was living with her son-in-law Elijah E. Heffington.

John and Mary had at least 9 children. Parts of the family must have moved to Faulkner County, Arkansas after 1870. The 1880 census of that county shows the family of James M. Gibbs (John & Mary Ann's son) there. Mary herself was living with the family of Martha Prior. Mary is called Martha Prior's mother-in-law. Mary's middle initial is given as "E" here instead of "A" (as it also is in the 1870 census of Jackson Co.) but we still believe this was her. Another son, John N. Gibbs was also in Faulkner County in 1880.


John N. Gibbs, son of John Gibbs and Mary Ann Heffington, married Mary Ann Loyd who was a daughter Nancy J. Hester and John Loyd. In later life Molly became know as "Grandma Rains". See section below for "Grandma Rains". John N. Gibbs and his wife Mary A. had 4 or 5 children that we know about. One of those children was Nancy Ellen Gibbs, known as Nannie, who married Martin Luther Grisham.

John N. Gibbs must have died between 1887 and 1891. On that latter date, John's widow remarried to Thomas G. Rains.



Nannie was born to John N. and Mary A. Gibbs on 16 Sept. 1876. She married first to Martin Luther Grisham on 26 Jan. 1893 and bore him eleven children. Unfortunately, Luther was a sickly man, developing repeated bouts of pneumonia. He died on 4 March 1912 at the age of 40. Nannie then remarried to the Rev. A. G. Duran, a man who cared for the flock at Oakland Methodist Church for many years. Nannie gave him one son, Dennis D. Duran, but Nannie died less than a year later at the age of 42. Nannie and Martin Luther Grisham were the parents of Ava (Grisham) Parham, the present writer's grandmother.


Mary Ann or Mollie, wife of John N. Gibbs, was the daugher of Nancy J. Hester and John Loyd. Nancy J. was known in later life as "Grandma Tucker". See "Grandma Tucker" below.

The family originally recalled that Ava (Grisham) Parham had an uncle name John Loyd. Actually, John Loyd was Ava's great uncle, brother of Nancy J. (Mollie) Loyd. The 1900 census shows a John C. Loyd living with Martin Luther Grisham's family. He is called uncle but he is uncle of Nancy Ellen Gibbs, not Luther. The census indicates that Mollie's father was born in Tennessee and her mother was born in Kentucky. John C. Loyd's parents had the same birthplaces which is a good indication that John and Molly were brother and sister. Mollie was born in Lonoke Co., Arkansas in November of 1854.

Mary Ann "Molly" Loyd married John N. Gibbs sometime before 1876 because her oldest child, Nancy Ellen Gibbs, was born 16 Sept. of 1876. The next child was Ellis E. Gibbs, born 7 Sept. 1880. Molly was widowed sometime after 1887. In 1891 she married Thomas G. Rains and bore him at least three children. The first was born in 1891 and died in 1892 and buried in the Oakland Cemetery. The other two were Lonie Myrtle born 15 Feb. 1893 and and Nona A. born in 1894. Thomas was born in Sept. 1860 in Tennessee. Thomas died about 1901 and is buried in an unmarked grave in the Oakland Cemetery. The 1910 census shows Mary A. Rains as head of household with her daughter Nona, age 14. The 1900 and 1910 census shows that Mary A. (Mollie) had a total of 10 children but only 7 were still living. On 21 April, 1915 Molly married Dr. H. P. Genoway. He was 64, she 60. After his death she married Joe May on 2 Jan. 1920. He was 66, she 65. She later divorced him and remarried him on 1 March 1921. It may be that she divorced him again because the death notice of Joe May did not include Molly as one of the survivors.

It is told that Joe May had a little money and after Molly divorced him it was pointed out to her that he had a house and land and that she should have received part of it. Whether that 'rumor' is true or not, we do not really know. She, of course, did marry him again and according to the family did end up with the homeplace.

Molly died 19 April 1939 and is buried beside her daughter Nona (Rains) Padgett in the Oakland Cemetery, Holland, Arkansas. She was living with her daughter Lanie Myrtle Duran in Conway, Arkansas at the time of her death.

She was always known as 'Grandma Rains' to the family. She was the mother of Nancy Ellen Gibbs (above) and hence grandmother to Ava (Grisham) Parham.



Nancy Jane Hester was born 7 December 1836 in Kentucky. According to her death certificate her father was Robert Hester and he was also born in Kentucky. His wife was Sarah Hardin.

Family tradition is that she was a full blooded Cherokee Indian although research has failed to uncover any evidence for this. She was a very small woman, probably no taller than 5 feet 3 inches. She had very long hair and her granddaughter Audrey Gibbs always liked to brush it.

Nancy probably was married to John Loyd about 1853 or 1854, when she was 17 or 18 years old. One child [Mary Ann (Mollie) Loyd above], possibly her first, was born 7 Nov. 1854 when she was age 19. The next child we have a record of is her son John Calvin Loyd who was born in October, 1862 when she was 25 or 26. We think another child was born during those 8 years between the births of Mary Ann & John since Nancy's death certificate indicates she had three children. That child probably died young.

The story is told of an incident involving John Loyd, husband of Nancy, during the Civil War. The story as originally told was about John the son but the younger John was only about 3 years old when the war ended. It was said that Union Army soldiers tried to make John tell where his money was hidden. Unfortunately, he had no money. They put his feet in boiling water to try to make him tell.

Nancy was married several times but probably not the 7 times that is often quoted. Lowell Grisham reports that he has only found four. One, of course, is John Loyd above. The 1870 census for Woodruff County, Arkansaa, Augusta Township, shows an Edwin Hubbert, farm laborer age 29 from Louisiana with wife Nancy J. Hubert 29 from Kentucky, a daughter Mary A. Loyd age 15 from Arkansas and a son John C. Loyd age 7 born in Arkansas. The children's ages are correct but Nancy J. should have been 33, not 29. The 1880 census shows Nancy J. Hubert as a widow, age 44 with son John C. Loyd age 17 living in Holland, Harve Township, Faulkner County, Arkansas.

Marriage records for Faulkner County show that N. J. Hubert, age 44 married William Luelling (Lewelling), age 51 on 4 Sept. 1881. William died in 1898 and was buried at Oakland Cemeter, Holland, Ark. He was the father of Luther P. Lewelling who was married to Flora Hollis Grisham, daughter of Green Washington Grisham.

Marriage records for Faulkner Co., Ark also show that Mrs. Nancy Jane Luellen, age 62, married Marion F. Tucker, age 62 on 14 March 1899. The Pope County, Arkansas census shows Nancy J. Tucker, a widow, living with a grandson, Jack Loyd.

There is an indication that a fifth husband may have been a Jones. The death certificate of Nancy's daughter, Grandma Rains, says that her mother's maiden name was Jones. This information was given to the doctor by a daughter, Lanie Rains Duran. We know that Nancy's maiden name was a Loyd but this might mean that another of Nancy's husbands was a Jones.

Nancy, in later life was known simply as 'Grandma Tucker'. She was the mother of "Grandma Rains". It was about 1909 that Nancy "died" at her daughter's house and Dr. Tom Mabry pronounced her dead. As was the custom in those days, the women of the community came and washed the body and laid her out on a "cooling board". It was simply a stiff padded board or door with a quilt over it, used to prepare the body for burial. Funeral homes were not commonly used and a local carpenter would usually make a coffin.

Pennies were probably placed on 'Grandma Tucker's' eyes to keep them closed. A camphor cloth was placed over her face. Little Audrey Gibbs, Grandma Tucker's ten year old great granddaughter, ran into the room where the family was mourning and told her mother Bertha Gibbs that Grannie Tucker was swallowing the cloth The family rushed in and found her struggling to breathe. Grandma Tucker recovered from her coma and her illness and lived until 1916, about 7 more years. It was told, however, that she often had seizures. Grandma Tucker died for the final time on 9 Jan. 1916 and was buried the next day. Records of the Pence Funeral Home of Conway show that a Nancy Tucker was buried in Oakland Cemetery. No dates were given. We believe she lies in one of the many unmarked graves there.

The Log Cabin Democrat, 17 Jan. 1916 has her obituary.

Grandma Tucker, age 79, died at the home of her grand daughter, Mrs. Nannie Grisham, Sunday January 9, 1916. She was laid to rest on January 10, 1916 in Oakland Cemetery. She leaves a host of children, grand children, great grand children and great-great grand children here.

We know she was age 76 in 1912/13 so she was about 79 years old at her death.

We have a photograph made in late 1912 or early 1913 which shows Ava Grisham, age 19, Nannie (Gibbs) Grisham, age 46, Grandma Rains, age 58 and Grandma Tucker, age 76. The sign in the photograph says '4 generations'. Actually, it was five because Ava was pregnant at the time with her son, Kenon Parham.





  1. Oakland - USA, by Kenon & Mildred Parham, Dewell & Lotis Grisham
  2. The History and Records of Oakland United Methodist Church, Holland, Faulkner County, Arkansas, by Charles David Parsons, 1993
  3. Research by Lowell C. Grisham, 469 Hwy. 287, Vilonia, AR 72173


Gibbs Photo Album