Matilda Francis Claiborne

Fourth Child of John B. and Perlina Claiborne
10 June 1838 – 10 January 1888

Matilda Francis Claiborne was born on 10 June 1838 in DeKalb County, Tennessee.[Much of the information available concerning Matilida was derived from her descendant Marc E. David in 2010. Such information was corroborated by census data and tombstone sources.] Matilda first married Corporal James David Allen on 9 June 1861.[Arkansas County Marriages, 1838-1957, Arkansas Courts of Common Pleas and County Clerks, accessed through James was born in about 1840 in Tennessee.] James David Allen enlisted in the Confederate Army in March 1862 at Princeton, Dallas County, Arkansas and was mustered in the 37th (Bell’s) Arkansas Infantry Regiment. A little over a year after his enlistment, on 4 July 1863, he was captured at Helena, Arkansas. The capture occurred when Confederate Lieutenant General Theophilus Holmes’s troops attacked Helena in an attempt to relieve pressure on Vicksburg. Although the rebels had more troops and did initially capture some of the fortifications, the Union forces repelled them. Thus, Helena continued as an important Union enclave in the Trans-Mississippi theater and served as a base for the expedition that captured Little Rock. Following his capture, James was sent to prison in Alton, Illinois. He is also listed as being in the Richmond, Virginia hospital on 13 March 1865.

After the war Matilda and James had one daughter, Rosa Lee (listed below), in 1867, but by 1870 Matilda and her daughter were living with Matilda’s parents. Presumably James had either died or the two had divorced.

Matilda married (2nd) Robert H. Ferguson sometime after 1870.[Robert Ferguson was born on 5 May 1832 in Alabama. His first wife, Margaret J. White, died in November 1870. They had two children, Thomas B. Ferguson (1858-1866) and Susan E Ferguson (1860-1863).] Together they had additional children, all listed below. Robert died on 2 January 1888 and Matilda followed in death just eight days later on 10 January 1888, both in White County, Arkansas.


Mary and her first husband James David Allen had one daughter together:

  1. Rosa Lee Christina Allen was born on 16 January 1867 in Beebe, White County, Arkansas, to James and Matilda Allen. On 9 September 1886 she married Robert Thomas Watson (also born in January 1867) and together they had at least five children. The 1900 census lists Robert’s occupation as “farmer.”[1900 United States Census, Beebe, White County, Arkansas, accessed through] Rosa Lee died on 2 July 1902 in White County, Arkansas, and is buried there at Antioch Cemetery. Her husband Robert died many years later on 18 March 1936 in Beebe, White County.
    1. Annie Florence Watson was born on 29 June 1887 in White County, Arkansas. She married Edwin Clem Harrison (1889-1969) on 8 November 1908 in White County. Annie died on 18 June 1951 in White County.
    2. Eva Watson was born on 7 August 1899 in White County, Arkansas. She married Charlie Curtis Edwards (1885-1967) on 30 January 1910 and died on 29 June 1974 in White County.
    3. Edith Watson was born in May 1892 in White County, Arkansas, and married there on 8 November 1908 to William Oren Hefner (1889-1972). Edith died in 1959.
    4. James Kenneth Watson (“Kenneth”) was born on 17 February 1895 and served as a U.S. Army private during World War I from 26 April 1918 to 21 May 1919.[United States World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Arkansas, accessed through] He married on 27 August 1921 to Ina M. Talkington (1900-1998). Kenneth died on 27 February 1976.
    5. Guy Franklin Watson was born on 30 March 1899 in Antioch, White County, Arkansas. On 2 November 1919 he married Kate (“Katie”) Ethel Welch (1898-1986). Guy died on 15 November 1969 in Beebe, White County, Arkansas.

  2. Martha Catherine Ferguson (“Mattie”) was born on 27 June 1872 in White County, Arkansas. She married there on 9 October 1888 to James Marion Edwards (1862-1945). Martha died on 28 July 1945 in White County.
  3. Annie F. Ferguson was born on 28 October 1873. She died on 25 August 1877 in White County, Arkansas, and is buried there in Cheek Cemetery.
  4. Joseph G. Ferguson was born on 14 January 1875. He died on 8 June 1877 in White County, Arkansas, and is buried there in Cheek Cemetery.
  5. C.F. Ferguson (a female) was born in about 1878 in White County, Arkansas.
  6. Claudie B. Ferguson was born on 11 February 1880 in Arkansas. She died on 1 July 1887 in White County, Arkansas, and is buried there in Cheek Cemetery.

References and Notes