Last updated: July 19, 2017

Rebecca and William Dial were my third great-grandparents. William lived his early years in Lauderdale County, Alabama and Lawrence County, Tennessee, but made his home with Rebecca in Green Hill, Lauderdale County, Alabama right over the Tennessee state line. No one knows his wife’s real last name or her parents. She’s not on census records before 1880. (You can read my previous blog post about Rebecca here.) I wanted to create a timeline for William and Rebecca to reference in my research. If I can piece together how they met, I might be able to find her family.

** It’s also important to note that my mother, my cousin and I have all took DNA tests through AncestryDNA. I have identified a strong group of other descendants from William and Rebecca that we are connected to. The matches also strongly connect to William’s mother’s family. His mother was Elizabeth Gilbert, daughter of Thomas Gilbert and Margaret Green. So far, I have not found any “shared matches” with Dial family members that can’t be traced back to the Green or Gilbert family. So either A) Rebecca was also related to these families or B) Rebecca’s family doesn’t show up in our test results.

Timeline for Rebecca and William Dial

February 4, 1851 – William Dial is born to Elizabeth (Gilbert) and James Dial. On the 1850 census, his parents were living in Lawrence County, Tennessee.

1860 – On the Census, William, his parents, and siblings are living in District 2, Lauderdale County Alabama, post office was Florence. His father’s profession looks like “ope (big space) mac”. It was a profession listed for many, although I’m not sure what it really says/means.

James Dial           37
Elizabeth G Dial 35
Margaret Borene             20 (Unknown person)
Martha Dial         16 (Unknown person)
Margarett Dial   10
William S Dial      8
Susan E Dial        6
Elizabeth J Dial   4
Sarah C Dial         1

1870 – On the Census, William, his siblings, and his father are living in District 8, Lawrence County, Tennessee, post office was Lawrenceburg. His mother must have died. Younger sister, Sarah, is also probably passed away. James, Margaret and William are all listed as working at a cotton mill.

James M Dial      47
Margaret T Dial 19
William T Dial      17
Susan C Dial        15
Elizabeth Dial     14
Manuel J Dial     6 (James Manuel Dial)

July 29, 1873 – William Dial marries Rebecca at Irvine Brandon & Co. Cotton Mill on Little Cyprus Creek. The cotton mill was open from 1872 – 1884 in the old Duckett Cotton Mill building. The marriage license first lists Rebecca’s last name was Hendrick, in heavy handwriting. In the next two references and in the index book, Rebecca’s last name is Hardwick.

The marriage was performed by J.P. Bourland. He lived three doors down from the marriage bondsman, Akins Archelus Fowler. The only connection I’ve found between the bondsman and the couple is that Archelus was the brother of William’s first cousin’s husband. (William’s mom was Elizabeth Gilbert. Her sister was Martha Gilbert Barnett. Martha’s daughter was Martha Ann Hannah Barnett who married Lorenzo Orlanda Fowler, brother of Archelus.)

If I had to guess, I think Rebecca might have also worked at this mill with William and this is how they met.

December 5, 1873 – Four months after they were married, their daughter, Edith Elizabeth Dial, was born. Rebecca was already pregnant when she married William.

March 19, 1875 – The couple’s second child and first son was born: John Wesley Dial, my great-great-grandfather. Could his name be a clue?

1880 – On the Census, the Dial family is living in Lauderdale, Alabama, “Beat 5”. William is now a laborer on a farm. In looking at neighbors, the Dial family is living in the middle of a large group of related families and in-laws, but no clear relation to the Dials.

William Dial         27
Ann Dial               24
Eddie Dial            7
John Dial              5
Annie Dial            3
Pink Dial               1 (William Pink Dial)

It’s worth noting that Rebecca is listed as Ann here. Her age is 24, making her birth year about 1856.

1900 – On the Census, the Dial family is living in Green Hill, Lauderdale County, Alabama. William is a farmer. Rebecca’s birth year has jumped up to 1851 to match her husband’s age. This is probably wrong. Our best guess is 1856 on the 1880 census.

William T Dile     49
Rebecca A Dile  49
Pink W Dile         21
Birdie M Dile      20
Vernon Dile        15
Lema Dile            12 (Lena)
Nannie Dile         9
Reve Dile             6 (Reba)

October 31, 1900 – William Dial dies and is buried in the Milner’s Chapel/Emmaline Stutts Cemetery in Lauderdale County, Alabama.

January 9, 1906 – Rebecca dies. She’s also buried in the Milner’s Chapel/Emmaline Stutts Cemetery. A death notice expresses a discrepancy in her date of death, but only by a week or two.

Death Notice in the Florence Herald, Friday, Jan. 26, 1906, p. 6.

We are sorry to report the death of Mrs. Becky Ann Dial, who died at her home last week. She left a host of near relatives and friends to mourn her departure. A good woman has gone to her reward. Peace to her ashes. She is waiting for you, dear children, at the golden gate.

Makes me wonder: who are the “near relatives”? She had a lot of children, but what about any siblings?

Rebecca’s children listed various last names for her on their death certificates:

John Wesley Dial: lists mother as Beck A Hardin (Social Security Applications & Claims Index)

William Pink Dial: lists mother as Bickie Harden (Alabama Deaths & Burials Index)

Birdie Dial Liles: lists mother as Rebecca Carter (Alabama Deaths & Burials Index) *Note: father incorrectly listed as “John Dial”

Vernon Dial Gist: lists mother as Rebecca Ann Cockran (Alabama Deaths & Burials Index)

Nannie Willie Dial Hamm: lists mother as Becky Ann Cocbran (likely Cochran) (Alabama Deaths & Burials Index)

Here’s the list of Rebecca’s last names:

Hendrick
Hardwick
Hardin/Harden
Carter
Cochran/Cockran

  • I have searched Alabama and Tennessee for all Anns and Rebeccas around this time period. No luck.
  • I also examined neighbors of Archelus Fowler and JP Bourland, who were listed on the Dials’ marriage license. Two Hendrix families lived between the Fowlers and Bourlands and one Hardwick family lived a few houses down in 1870. None of these families have missing Anns or daughters.
  • No families with the above last names from this area show up in the DNA tests I’ve performed.

Our best clue is the cotton mill.

My next goal is to get my grandmother’s cousin DNA tested. Rebecca would be her great-grandmother. You share 12.50% DNA with your great-grandparents, so this might be what I need to help solve this mystery.


Contact me at downhomegenealogy@gmail.com if you are related to this family or can help solve this mystery!

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