Aralza and Nancy Ellen Grimes Hall
Nancy Ellen was the 7th child of Frederick M. and
Elmira Susan Farley Grimes born Feb 29, 1852 born near Ft. Gates, Coryell
When she was born, she had older sisters, Mary
13; Martha Jane, 10; brothers, Tom 9; Sam 7; Henry 4; Fred 2. The family
had just moved from Austin County to Coryell County at this time -- family
tradition was that she was the first Anglo child born in Coryell County.
Certainly it was a time when few settlers were there, and they originally
stayed near Ft. Gates for protection from the Indians.
Nancy Ellen then had younger sister: Sallie born
when she was 2; Bettie when she was 5; Mina when she was 8; Annie when she
Family events which certainly affected her life
were when she was 7 years old :
First Martha Jane married William J. Jahn on June
1, 1859, and they moved to where his family lived in Hempstead, Austin
A month later, Mary Ann, her eldest sister, went
against her parents wishes and eloped to marry Daniel Jones July 15, 1859.
Dan Jones was a charter member of the Eagle Springs Baptist church just like
Mary Ann and her parents. He was a blacksmith, and 43 years old (Mary Ann
was 20). For whatever reason, the parents went to the Courthouse the next
month, and made a will eliminating Mary Ann from any inheritance and they
never spoke again. This certainly must have had a chilling effect on the
family as a whole. There is much evidence through letters that remain that
the siblings remained close in spite of the parents.
When Ellen was 10 years old, he Civil War had
begun, and in 1862 Tom, aged 19, joined 1st Texas Heavy Artillery, going to
The next year, September 3, 1863, Sam joined the
same unit. Both brothers were away until 1865 and Ellen was 12.
Samuel married on June 2, 1866 Sarah Evaline
Hardin and later that month, the family received word of the death following
childbirth of Martha Jane (June 23, 1866) living in Hempstead. She and Will
Jahn had a son, "Willie". Will Jahn had also served in the
Around the same time, Nancy Ellen, only 14 years
old, married Brice B. Marshall Aug 16, 1866, and they go to live near
Conroe. Very shortly Brice is killed by a horse, and Ellen returns to her
family home in Coryell County.
They owned some land where the oil field is now.
After his death, Aunt Ellen sold the land (there
were no heirs) . Many years later when oil was discovered, the Shell Co.
bought the land from another owner and they found there was no will and only
Aunt Ellen had sold the land without a deed. This blocked the title.
It took the Shell Oil Co. over a year to find
Aunt Ellen. Rupert Ricker, her grandson, cleared the title. All he asked
was that the Shell Oil Co. treat Aunt Ellen fair. The Shell Oil Co. paid
her, I think $2,500.00 and gave her $100.00 per month for as long as she
lived. She lived several years and drew the $100.00 monthly.
As a widow, living with her parents, she probably
met Aralza Hall, home from serving 4 years in the War, at the Eagle Springs
Baptist Church where the families attended. Wyatt and Naomi Hall had moved
to Texas from Mississippi and were neighbors to the Grimes family.
They were married in Coryell County on March 27,
Their first child was born Sept 7, 1872, Elmira
Vanilla, known as "Nellie".
A son, Aralza Wyatt, Jr., followed on June 18,
1875. We're not sure where they lived, but on Jan 8, 1880, Aralza Jr. died
of typhoid fever, and is buried in 1st Street Cemetery, Waco (McLennan Co).
In the 1880 Census (June 10), Ellen and daughter,
Elmira, "Nell" are living in Coryell County with her parents. Elmira is
attending school. Perhaps she was just visiting her parents, or perhaps
Aralza was off somewhere on another job.
They were living in Corsicana (Navarro Co) Feb
16, 1888, when a daughter, Ruth Helena, was born.
Nell married William Augustus Ricker in Corsicana
on Oct 14, 1888. She was 16, and he was 34. Their first child, Rupert Paul
Ricker was born Dec 19, 1889. In 1895, Mabel "Donna" was born.
The Ricker (Nell, Rupert and Mabel) family would
come out each summer to help on the ranch of their Uncle Fred Grimes in
Blooming Grove. Nell, would "take charge" of the cooking. They used a
woodstove. Nell's husband, Billie Ricker, made Pullman railroad cars in
Ruth married Charles Franklin Barnes Nov 25, 1904
in Corsicana. (They were still living there in 1920 with her widowed
In Jan 1910, the Ricker family moved westward to
Big Spring, Howard County, Texas. He died Dec 20, 1932 or Dec 9, 1933. She
died Dec 2, 1950. Both are buried in Mt. Olive Cemetery along with their
son, Rupert Paul (Dec 19, 1889 - March 26, 1965) and grandson, Prince Rupert
Ricker (- Dec 23, 1976)
Aralza was Navarro County Treasurer for several
years. When he died in office Dec 6, 1914, his wife, Ellen, filled his
office and then served a term of her own.
She would come by train to visit with her
brother, Fred's family, in Blooming Grove/Frost. They remember that she
would have her bags packed and ready to board the train hours before it was
scheduled. Fred's children were amused by this.
Sometime after Aralza's death and before 1920,
she married ? Church. Perhaps he only lived a few years because in the 1920
census she is listed by the last name Church, but as a widow.
Ellen remained in Corsicana living with her
daughter Ruth and her husband, Charles Barnes until after 1930. She was
using Nancy E. Hall at that time.
She died there Dec 28, 1941 at age 89, but per
her request her body was returned to Corsicana and she is buried beside
Aralza in Oakwood Cemetery.
After her husband died, Oct 3, 1930, Ruth Barnes
and children also moved to Big Spring. Her mother lived with her until her
Ruth died Oct 18, 1974 and is buried in Trinity
Memorial Park Cemetery.