Memorial Day 2013 by Tori

Today, I went to the cemetery to visit my great aunt Barbra, my great aunt Maureen, my great uncles Baby Boy and Douglas, second great grandma Brennan, great grandma Davis, and my great grandpa William Arthur Davis, Jr.

It was sad cuz I never met any of them but I did see their graves.

I wish I met them.

I send my hopes to all of the families who lost loved ones.

Happy Memorial Day

Andrew Jackson Nipp and Sarah Hawke

This is my conclusions of this family at the present time. If anyone has information to the contrary, or can help me fill in the blanks, please email

Andrew Jackson Nipp, the son of Henry Nipp and Lucinda Coker, married Sarah Hawke and had the following children:

William J. Nipp, born 1869 AR married Sarah “Sallie” Adeline Looney on 1 Oct 1891 Ripley County, MO
Charles A. Nipp, born 1870 AR married Laura M. Carter, 1896 Lawrence, AR
Eli Nipp b 1875 AR married Lettie Rigsby on 7 Oct 1902, Lawrence, AR
Nancy Ann Nipp b 1877 AR
Thomas Nipp b 1878 AR
James Nipp b 1880 AR married Mittie Love 30 June 1909, Lawrence, AR
Ida Belle Nipp b 1885 AR married William E. Covington

Let’s look at my Family Finder matches from Family Tree DNA to see if I have any genetic matches to the spouses of these children.

There are two matches, listed as 5th to remote cousins, with the name Looney in their list of surnames. Unfortunately, for me, they don’t have the Looney information in their gedcoms. I will email them to see if they have any information. Fingers crossed.

I don’t know much about Laura M. Carter yet, but I have several matches with the Carter surname in their lists. Definitely more work needed on her.

There are no matches for Rigsby at this time.

I have two matches with the surname Love in their lists that I will be contacting.

I also have five matches with the surname Covington in their lists that I am currently working on.

Henry Nipp and Lucinda Coker

I do not have any first hand personal knowledge of this family, but yet, I appear to be genetically connected to them.  Starting with a completely blank slate as to the entire family, this is what I’ve been able to piece together.  If anyone reading this has any information to help fill in the blanks, or to correct any of the assumptions I’ve made, please email me

I apologize for bouncing back and forth because that’s how I tend to work, but hopefully, you can follow me as I learn about this family.

This begins where I started, with Lucinda Coker Nepp/Nipp Boatwright, an ancestor of the YDNA match to my Plunk line. 

In the 1850 US Federal Census, Marion County, AR, living in the household of Charles Coker (her father):

Lucinda Nepp


Henry Nepp


Jackson Nepp


Charles Nepp



The son, Henry, is listed as blind.  I haven’t been able to find any other record of him.

The Turnbo Manuscripts by Silas Claiborne Turnbo (1844 – 1925)


“…Lucinda who married Henry Nipps and after his death she married Tom Boatright…”

In the 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Sugarloaf, Marion, AR:

Thomas Boatright, age 33, born TN

Lucinda, age 34, born AR

Jackson Nipp, age 14, born AR

Charles E. Nipp, age 11, born AR

William Boatright, age 8, born AR

Joseph C. Boatright, age 6, born AR

James J. Boatright, age 3, born AR

Luticia C. Boatright, age 1, born AR

I have not been able to find a marriage record between Lucinda Coker and Henry Nipp nor Thomas Boatright.

In a letter dated March 11, 1864, Lucinda Boatright is requesting transportation, along with six children, from the Rolla Refugee Camp, Rolla, MO, to join her husband, Thomas, in St. Louis, MO.  You can view this letter, along with a lot more information on the Boatwright/Boatright family at

On October 24, 1865, Thomas Boatwright married Rebecca Phillips and had other children.  In the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Township 33, Range 3 East, Iron County, MO, living with Thomas and Rebecca are:

Joseph Boatwright


James Boatwright


Kassia Boatwright


Mary Boatwright


John Boatwright


Wm H Boatwright


Nancy E Boatwright


Notice that Jackson and Charles Nipp are not living with them, but I want to focus, for the moment, on the above James Boatright.  He was born 1857, AR, and on 27 Feb 1875, MO, he married Mahala Anne Johnson.  The following children are attributed to this couple:

Thomas Lee Boatwright (my Plunk descendant matches the YDNA of one of his descendants)

Florence Elizabeth Boatwright

Clorene L. Boatwright

Lawrence J. Boatwright (neither the Plunk YDNA nor Thomas Lee’s descendant matches a descendant of Lawrence.  However, Lawrence’s descendant matches the YDNA of other Boatwright descendants.)

John Morine Boatwright

Walter Cleveland Boatwright

Mahala Ann Boatwright

Carl E. Boatwright

Zella Cornela Boatwright.

The YDNA results of the descendants of the above two Boatwright brothers, compared with the genetree match of my Plunk to Knipp, the FTDNA  match of my Plunk to Thomas Lee Boatwright but not Lawrence J. Boatwright, the grandmother of Thomas Lee Boatwright first being married to a Nipp, and my autosomal match to a person with the Christian Knipp line in his family leads me back looking at the Nipp/Nepp/Knipp families.

Remember, Henry Nipp and Lucinda Coker had three sons.  Their oldest son, Henry, born abt 1845 was blind, according to the census.  I cannot find a record of him after 1850.

Their other two sons were Jackson, born abt 1847 AR and Charles, born abt 1848 AR.

 I believe that Jackson Nipp/Nepp is Andrew Jackson Nipp.  1870 U.S. Federal Census, Little Black, Randolph, AR is the following family:

Andrew J Nips


Sarah Nips


William J Nips


James H Nips




1880 U.S. Federal Census, Warm Springs, Randolph, AR: (my notes in parenthesis)

Andrew Nipps


Sarah E. Nipps (Sarah Hawke)


William J. Nipps


Charles A. Nipps


Eli Nipps


Nancy Ann Nipps


Thomas Nipps


James M. Nipps


Mary Hawkes (mother in law)


(It’s interesting to me that there was a Baptist circuit preacher by the name of Patterson, whose brother married into the Plunk family, who traveled between Randolph County, AR and Ripley County, MO where my great grand-father was raised.)

The 1890 U.S. Federal Census was destroyed by fire, but other researchers say this couple had an additional daughter, Ida Bell Nipps born abt 1885.

I will pick up with the family of Andrew Jackson Nipp and Sarah Hawke in the next installment.


My Theory of the Biological Family of David Brazille Plunk

While stumbling my way through DNA, I’m reminded of the game we used to play as kids – rock, scissors, paper, shoot. Do you remember that game? The “rock” beats “scissors, the “scissors” beats “paper”, and the “paper” beats “rock”. I wonder if DNA is “rock” or “scissors”? Pretty obvious with the “paper”. Can I combine YDNA and Autosomal DNA and overcome the lack of “paper”?

Please remember that this is my thought of who the family is, genetically, of David Brazille Plunk based on my understanding of DNA and that I have absolutely nothing on paper to prove this theory. I’ve been hesitant to put this on the blog for the whole world to see because I’m afraid someone will take the information and start proclaiming it as fact when in truth it’s just my humble theory.

For years, all of his descendants thought he belonged to a Smith family because of family folklore. If you do a quick search of the public family trees at, you will find that several people are putting his name out there as David Brazille Smith Plunk as if it were a fact, but an inspection of their documents reveals there’s no paper proof, nor DNA analysis, to support the surname Smith.

Although DNA is stronger evidence than family folklore, this is still just my amateur attempt to use genetics to determine the biological family of my great grand-father, David Brazille Plunk. To do so, I first had to identify as much of my own biological family as I could. Then, using a combination of YDNA and Autosomal DNA, try to find who his family was.

YDNA is passed from father to son to son to son, etc. Thanks to two of his great grandsons, I have the Y line for the paternal line of David Brazille Plunk. But how do I turn that into a surname for his paternal line?

The YDNA tests for both great grandsons, descended through two different sons of David Brazille Plunk, was first done through The results were slim and other than matching each other exactly, their closest match was to a man whose family also had an assumed name. I then manually entered their markers at genetree, before it closed, and they matched a man, at 85%, claiming the following ascendancy:

Daniel Knipp, son of Varner Knipp, son of Christian Knipp.

I don’t know what marker for marker match an 85% match would be, but I think it’s pretty close to an exact 37/37 marker match. I will explain why I think that in a moment.

I then transferred my cousins YDNA to Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) and upgraded from 35 markers to 37 markers. Out of the hundreds of thousands of men tested, they had one exact match, 37/37 markers. This man was a descendant of Thomas Lee Boatwright. Thomas Lee had a brother, Lawrence Boatwright, and one of his descendants also tested. My Plunk does not match the descendant of Lawrence Boatwright, but he does match the descendant of Thomas Lee Boatwright.

The results from FTDNA include a TiP report which shows the matches percentages of a common ancestor within an amount of generations. The below shows the percentages comparing the descendant of Thomas Lee Boatwright and the descendant of David Brazille Plunk. This chart is also why I think the 85% match at genetree of the descendant of Christian Knipp is pretty close to the same 37/37 marker match:

Generations Percentage
4 83.49%
8 97.28%
12 99.55%
16 99.93%
20 99.99%
24 100.00%

The parents of Thomas Lee Boatwright and Lawrence Boatwright were J.M. Boatwright and Mahala Johnson. The parents of J.M. Boatwright were Thomas Boatwright and Lucinda Coker Nipp Boatwright. There’s that name Nipp/Knipp again!

When I look at the YDNA test results, I see a distinct probable relationship to the family of Nipp/Nepp/Knipp (and any other variation of the spelling of that surname).

At FTDNA, I have 300 matches of genetic cousins as a result of my own autosomal test. One of those matches has the surname Knipp as one of his ancestors. His relationship range to me is given as a 3rd to 5th cousin, and a suggested relationship of 4th cousin. I believe that would put the common ancestor in the 3rd to 4th great grand-parent range. According to the research of this match, his great grand-parents are:

John Alexander Reed m Altamira Britton
Jackson Hartman m Louisa “Jane” Bible
John Bible m Leann Knipp
Absalom Gray m Rebecca Lassley

Do you see it? John Bible married Leanna (Leann) Knipp.

I know all of my great grand-parents and David Brazille Plunk is the only one that I know of, at this time, with an assumed surname. If I only look at the above names, his biological family could be Reed, Britton, Hartman, Bible, Knipp, Gray, or Lassley. But, if I look at the above compared to the genetree and FTDNA probability of Nipp, then it’s my conclusion that the biological family of my nonPlunk is somewhere within the family of Leann Knipp.

However, she is his great grand-mother and I want a 3rd to 4th great grand-parent. According to the research of this match, Leann Knipp descends from:

Daniel Knipp m Regina “Peggy” Bowers (2nd great grand-parents of match)
Varner Knipp m Christina (3rd great grand-parents of match)
Christian Knipp m Mary Wismer (4th great grand-parents of match)

The very same family that the match at genetree said he descended from!

My thought, then, is that my great grand-father, David Brazille Plunk, would be a descendant through either one of the sons of Varner Knipp, or possibly one of the brothers of Varner Knipp.

Again, I remind you, this is my theory of his family. I will post my research into that family as it unfolds. Hopefully, someday, I will have the information pointing to his biological parents and the paper to back it up.

Proving Autry – Part One

Please click here >>>> Proving Autry

Who Were They? – Part Three

I hope I eventually find out who they were.  I’ve been reviewing the steps I’ve already taken and thinking of the family folklore that’s been handed down.

For some reason, I keep thinking about my great grand-father, David Brazille Plunk, saying that he thought his parents were “some kind of show people” because they travelled a lot and he remembered “staying in rooms at night” while his parents went out.

David was born 1879/80 Arkansas, before birth certificates, and without knowing a surname, or a location, I won’t be able to find him in other records.

So, what kind of “show people” were there during this time period?

Vaudeville was around during the early 1880’s.  There was a member of the Plunk family that was a knife thrower at the Lyric Theater in Oklahoma City, OK.

Revival meetings.  Not really considered a “show”, but would be a reason for traveling and being out at night.  There was a Niswonger that was a traveling evangelist who was also a famous chalk artist.

Circus.  There were quite a few small circus groups traveling the country during this time period.

There are ways to research participants of all these genres, if you know who you’re looking for.  But, I have been looking, using the surnames from DNA tests as a base.

There is another group of travelers that I was reading about last night.  Every time I think of this group I hear Cher singing in my head.  There are even some TV reality shows airing now.

Chicanere.  I found an article, Wayfaring Stranger, by Linda Griggs.  She says this group of people are also called Black Dutch or German Gypsies.  Her article has a lot of interesting information.  But what peaked my curiosity is the fact that they are German, they are travelers, and they started immigrating to the States about the same time the other Palentine immigrants came.

I was surprised to learn that Gypsies often have two names.  One for private use within the family and the other for public use as in business and signing legal documents.  From what I understand, the private, family name, is logically their name, but for public use, they used a surname that was common in the area in which they lived.  An example would be a private, family name, of Linda Jones, but in conducting business or signing a legal document, she would be Linda Smith.

That makes me wonder about the family folklore that David’s biological name was Smith, yet, as of today, there has not been a YDNA match to the name Smith.  Could I have stumbled upon another clue?

A lot of possibilities and the search for who they were continues.