Monday, June 2, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - #22 Phoebe O'Steen Weeks

My maternal 4th great grandmother Phoebe O'Steen Weeks has been a bit of a mystery to me--her name and parentage, that is. I've seen her name as I have it here, and I've seen it as Phoebe Weeks O'Steen. I have her parents as John O'Steen and Ada Weeks. Why the confusion on her name? A recently found cousin on told me that speculation has it that Phoebe was born before her parents were married, so she was given her mother's maiden name of Weeks. Then her name was changed to Phoebe Weeks O'Steen after her parents married.

I did a little research a while ago to see if I even have the correct parents listed for Phoebe. I haven't located a marriage record yet for her parents. I have that Phoebe was born in 1785. A few trees on have her parents' marriage date as 1787, but none that I looked at have any attached records to back this up.

In Volume 2 of Folks Huxford's Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, he doesn't list Phoebe as a child of John and Ada. In Volume 4, he has a correction for the names of their children and says, "The old Bible record of these births also include that of Phoebe Weeks, born Feb. 22, 1785, she being a half sister to the above [children]." In Volume 10, a descendant of Phoebe's sister Cassandra notes that they were half sisters.[1] So it sounds like there's a possibility that John O'Steen is not Phoebe's father.

According to Huxford's correction in Volume 4, Phoebe's half siblings were Reubin (b. 1788), Ezekiel (b. 1791), Leonard (b. 1793), Bartholomew (b. 1795), Nancy (b. 1796), Argent (b. 1798), Cassandra (b. 1799), Easter (b. 1801). Huxford notes that Reubin was born in North Carolina. After his birth the family moved to Beaufort District, South Carolina, and then moved to Georgia prior to the birth of Easter.[2]

Phoebe married my maternal 4th great grandfather John Roberts in 1798 in McIntosh County, Georgia. She gave birth to 11 children: John J. (b. 1799), Lewis (b. 1802), William P. (b. 1804, my 3rd great grandfather and husband of Sarah Knight), Reubin (b. 1807), George (b. 1808), Bryant J. (b. 1809), Nathan (b. 1811), Stephen (b. 1814), Phoebe (b. 1815), Enoch (b. 1820), and Mary (b. 1826).

Phoebe and John moved from either Bryan or McIntosh County in 1803 to Wayne County when it was formed. They stayed in Wayne County for over 20 years and then moved to the eastern portion of Lowndes County in 1827. In June of that year, they became members of the Union Primitive Baptist Church (also known as Burnt Church) in the part of Lowndes County that later became part of Lanier County. John was an ordained deacon at the church. He moved his letter in 1841 to form Wayfare Church in what is now Echols County, Georgia, because it was closer to where they lived.

Lowndes County, Georgia, as of 1830 (from

In 1848, Phoebe and John moved to Columbia County, Florida, where they died. Phoebe died in 1851 and John died in 1854. They are buried in the cemetery at Swift Creek Church near Lake Butler, Florida. At the time Huxford wrote Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia Volume 1, John's was marked, but Phoebe's wasn't.[3] A headstone has since been placed at her grave.

Columbia County, Florida, as of 1840 (from


This post is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge by genealogist Amy Crow at No Story Too Small.

[1] Folks Huxford, Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume 2, Patten Publishers, Adel, Georgia, 1961, pp. 228-229; Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume 4, Atkinson County Citizen, Pearson, Georgia, 1968, pp. 368-369; Huxford Genealogical Society, Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume 10, self published, Homerville, Georgia, 1998, pp. 551.

[2] Folks Huxford, Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume 4, Atkinson County Citizen, Pearson, Georgia, 1968, p. 368.

[3] Folks Huxford, Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume 1, Cooper Press, Jacksonville, Florida, 1966, pp. 240-242.


  1. I recently came across a reference to Phoebe and her line while researching my tree. Phoebe's sister Nancy was my 4th great grandmother. Nancy was married to John Moore. The father of these two sisters was named, according to my record, John Alexander Osteen, but according to the reference mentioned above, Phoebe and Nancy's father is John Davis Jr. and is apparently the son of a John Osteen Sr. and Elizabeth Jones and not the John Alexander Osteen that is the son of William R. Osteen and Elizabeth Davis - which is the way I have it in my tree. Can you shed any light on this?

  2. I meant to say "father is John Osteen Jr." not "father is John Davis Jr."

  3. Hi Richard,

    I don't yet have parents listed for John O'Steen in my tree. I looked up page 228-229 in Huxford's Vol 2 again. He says that John's parents are William O'Steen and Elizabeth Davis, like you have it. He says they moved to Effingham County around 1791, then to Liberty County and later to Tattnall County. I don't have all of Huxford's volumes, but I didn't find a write-up on William in the ones I have. I was hoping for additional clues.