A Case Study: How are Milton & Sallie related?

Researched by: Terrence A. Garnett


In my research I have taken an interest in the family of Milton and Sarah Bankett; and Henry and Sallie Southern all of Bellville, Austin County, Texas.   Several of my relatives directly descend from these two African-American families. The Bankett’s owned several acres of land after slavery and were well known in the Bellville area.

Through marriage and death records I learned that Henry Southern1 and Sarah Southern-Bankett2 were siblings. Their parents were Adam and Caroline Southern former slaves from Kentucky. I surmised that Henry's wife Sallie Bankett-Southern was related to Milton Bankett.



The purpose of this research is to determine how Milton Bankett and Sallie Bankett-Southern are related to one another.



A) Milton Bankett married Sarah Southern on April 5, 1866 in Austin County, Texas.3

B) Henry Southern married Sallie Bankett on January 16, 1873 in Austin County, Texas.4


1 Texas, Department of State Health Services, Death certificates, 1903-1976, #38866,

  Death certificate of Henry Southern, died December 17, 1927 [Austin County, Texas].

2 Texas, Department of State Health Services, Death certificates, 1903-1976, #4182,

  Death certificate of Sarah Bankett, died January 14, 1937 [Austin County, Texas].

3 Bellville, Texas; Austin County Court house, County Clerk, Early Marriage Records

  1824-1920, Milton Bankett and Sarah Southern; Volume: E, Page: 33.

4 Bellville, Texas; Austin County Court house, County Clerk, Early Marriage Records

  1824-1920, Henry Southern and Sallie Bankett; Volume: E, Page: 408.




Trying to determine a timeframe for their deaths using Census Records


Milton Bankett:

1870 Census- We first find Milton in 1870, living in Bellville, Austin County, Texas.

              He is 35 year old farmer and listed under the surname “Banker”.    His  birthplace is Texas.5

1880 Census- Milton is listed as “Melton Bauket” and he still resides in Austin County,

              Texas. He is a 45 year old farmer and he list his birthplace as Mississippi.6


Unfortunately, Most of the 1890 Census Schedules were destroyed by a fire at the National Archives in 19217 this leaves researchers with a 20 year gap. The next available  record is the 1900 census schedule.   Milton’s wife, Sarah is widowed by this time so this indicates that Milton Bankett died after 1880 and before 1900. Deaths in Texas were not recorded until 1903, because of this Milton would not have a death record.


Sallie Bankett-Southern:

Sallie was not located in 1870 under her maiden name so we have to view the next available census. By 1880 she would have been married to Henry Southern.

1880 Census- Sallie is 25 years old and lists her birthplace as: Texas. The family surname was erroneously transcribed as “Dauchem” on Ancestry.com and  HeritageQuest. [The actual image says Southern].8

1900 Census- Sallie is 48 years old and she has been married to Henry for 27 years.  She was the mother 6 children with 5 still living and her birthplace is Texas.9

1910 Census- By this time Sallie is 56 years old and has been married for 37 years. Her birthplace is Texas.10

Sallie was not listed on the 1920 Census, and her husband Henry is listed as a Widower.

This places her death after 1910 and before 1920. No death record was located for Sallie.


5 1870 U.S. Federal Cenus, Bellville, Austin County, Texas, Roll: M5931_574, Pg: 230

6 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Precinct 1, Austin County, Texas, Roll: T9_1289, Pg: 493

7 1890 Census Information <http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/census/1890/1890.html>

8 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Precinct 1, Austin County, Texas, Roll: T9_1289, Pg: 494

9 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Precinct 1, Austin County, Texas, Roll: T623_1608, Pg: 54

10 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Precinct 1, Austin County, Texas, Roll: T624_1528, Pg: 132


No Death Records

Both Milton and Sallie did not have death records. The next step would be to check cemetery transcriptions either online or in book format. According to the book titled,  “The Cemeteries of Austin County, Texas” by the Austin County Historical Society11 it states that Sallie Southern is buried at Pilgrim Rest Colored Cemetery. I am quite familiar with this cemetery because several of my ancestors are buried there.


Sallie is buried next her husband Henry at the cemetery. Both Henry and Sallie would not have been born in the 1830’s, according to census records they both would have been born between 1852-1856. We now have the date of Sallie’s death which is 1919. There was no mention of Milton Bankett in the book, but because he owned several acres of land he most likely left a large estate. We would need to check Probate records which are housed at the Austin County Courthouse in Bellville, Texas



11 Cemeteries of Austin County Texas (Texas: Austin County Historical Society, 1991/92).



Looking at Probate Records

Probate records are usually a great source of information often times they will name the living heirs of the deceased.

 I took a look at the index for Probate and Successionrecords trying to locate Milton’s name. His succession was filed on September 6, 1888. The document listed the following information:

1) His date of death: May 13, 1887

2) Property he owned such as animals, etc.

3) Heirs entitled to his estate: His widow, Sarah; and his children Adam Bankett, 28;   Becky Bankett Brown, 26; Mary Bankett, 21; Felecia Bankett, 18; Lucretia Bankett, 15;  Paul Bankett, 13; Hattie Bankett, 11; Noah Bankett, 9; Callie Bankett, 7; and William Bankett, 5. The document also mentioned that he had a daughter named Lucy Bankett  who died sometime after he did at the age of three.12


While his estate listed his heirs it did not list Sallie Southern. I decided to see if Sallie had an estate on file and I ran across the name Margaret Southern, whose estate was filed on  May 25, 1910. I remembered that in 1900, Sarah Bankett lived next door to a Wesley and Margaret Southern.13 What caught my attention was Wesley stated he was born in Kentucky. I surmised that he was Henry Southern and Sarah Bankett’s brother.



12 Milton Bankett, deceased, Succession Volume: Z, Pages: 38-42, 118 

13 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Precinct 1, Austin County, Texas, Roll: T623_1608, Pg: 52


A Major Discovery


In the Estate of Ms. Southern, her half-brother Randall Smith stated that she was the wife of Wesley Southern and they have no children living. He further goes on to state that their mother, Lucy Smith has long since been dead and that her only heirs are:

1) Himself (a half-brother to Margaret)

2) Malinda Mays, wife of Henry Mays of Bartlett, Texas (a half-sister to Margaret)

3) To the heirs of George Punchard of Hempstead, Texas (a half-brother to Margaret)    He died on June 2, 1910. He leaves a widow, Sarah Punchard and two daughters:   Amanda, wife of Henry Davis and Miranda (unmarried).

4) To the heirs of Milton Bankett (a half-brother to Margaret) who died about 20 years  ago. Leaving a widow, Sarah Bankett and the following children: Adam, Paul; Felecia,  wife of Henry Jackson; Hattie, wife of Shed Harris; Will, Noah, Callie (unmarried),     Mary who died leaving her surviving husband Albert McClinton and one child      Frank McClinton, who now lives with his grandmother Sarah Bankett.

5) To the heirs of Hannibal Bankett (a half-brother to Margaret Southern) who died    during the early 1860's leaving the following children: Lincoln Bankett, Johnson     Bankett, and Sallie Southern, wife of Henry Southern of Austin County.14



Research has revealed that Sallie Southern is not only Milton’s sister-in-law, but his niece. Additionally, several relatives were revealed who had been previously unknown.

In my next Case Study, I will show you how to utilize probate and other records to determine the Slaveowner of this family.



14 The Estate of Margaret Southern, deceased, Succession Vol: 6, Pages: 409-413, 630-635




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