Sarah Kathrine Claiborne

Eleventh Child of Arthur Smith Claiborne and Martha Jane Claiborne
15 February 1890 – 26 September 1975

Sarah Kathrine Claiborne was born on 15 February 1890 as the eleventh child of Arthur Smith Claiborne and Martha Jane Claiborne.[Social Security Death Index, Arkansas, accessed through] She changed the spelling of her name to Kathryn after granddaughter Kathryn Cook was born, but generally went by “Kate”. She married Lewis Marion Gammill on 13 February 1910 and lived in McRae, Arkansas.[Lewis Gammill was born on 7 September 1887 (see Social Security Death Index). His mother was Mary C. Gammill but his father is unknown. He had at least three siblings: Joseph W. Gammill (born in 1883), Maggie V. Gammill (1887-1964), and Ida V. Gammill (born in 1895).] According to family history passed down through the ages, Arthur (Smith Claiborne, the 2nd) and Kate Claiborne Gammill were the only two children of (Arthur) Smith Claiborne (the 1st) who wanted to stay on the family farm. Kate married before Arthur (the 2nd), so Kate and her husband Louis farmed the entire Claiborne farm for Smith on a share basis. When Arthur (the 2nd) married, Smith (Arthur and Kate’s father) deeded 60 acres of woods to him. Arthur cleared it by hand with an axe and saw and built a house. Smith then also deeded 120 acres to Kate and Louis Gammill and then sold the remaining acreage, except 40 acres where the original home site was. When Smith died, Lewis and Kate bought that 40 acres from all of Smith’s remaining children.

Harry E. Claiborne told descendants of this branch that the family was a close knit and loving group. “Lots of hugs for everyone.” Lewis died on 30 October 1964 and Kate followed some years later on 26 September 1975.[Social Security Death Index, Arkansas.]


  1. Verdis Gammill, the only son of Kate and Louis, was born on 13 October 1910 in White County, Arkansas. He married Eunice Henderson (1915-2004) on 17 December 1934 in White County. Verdis died on 24 October 1981 in McRae, Arkansas.

    1. Dale Elvin Gammill was born on 8 March 1938 in White County, Arkansas. He served in the U.S. Marines from July 1956 to May 1957. Dale Gammill married Donette Dailey of McRae, Arkansas and they had four children. Dale then married (2nd) Kathy, but they had no children. Dale died 16 March 2003 in McRae, White County, Arkansas.

      1. Kim Gammill attended Newport Senior High School, and then higher education at both Arkansas State University and Harding University. From 1995 to 2006 she worked as Director of Surgical Services at Washington Regional Medical System. Kim married a man with the last name of Bradley and had two children, one boy and one girl.
      2. Wendy Gammill married Scott Mann and lived in Mississippi. Allegedly she possessed her grandmother Kate’s Bible, which may have been the family Bible. Wendy had two daughters, one named Caroline.

      3. Tracy Gammill married, but had no children.
      4. Monty Dale Gammill married a woman named Becky, and together the two lived in Lebanon Community, near McRae, Arkansas. They had a daughter named Hannah born in August of 2002.
  2. Ora Bernice Gammill (a girl) was born on 26 November 1912. She married on 4 November 1933 to Elzy Doyle Cook (born 13 November 1913) of McRae and Lebanon Community. Ora died on 26 June 1995 and her husband Elzy died several years later on 5 February 2002. They had two children:

    1. Charles Wayne Cook was born on 29 July 1939.[Unless otherwise noted, information on Charles Wayne Cook and his descendants comes from personal correspondence between Joshua A. Claybourn and Carrie Hankins, the second daughter of Charles, in 2009.] He married Julia Ann “Judy” Pruitt (born 14 October 1940) of Beebe, Arkansas on 8 June 1962.[Julia Ann Pruitt’s mother, Reba Nell Kirkland (1922-2001), was the step-daughter of Mable Nettie Claiborne (1905-1961), who married Reba’s father Elvis Winford Kirkland (1902-1968) on 10 January 1925 in White County, Arkansas. So, her great-great-grandfather by marriage was Arthur Smith Claiborne. Charles’ great-grandfather was also Arthur Smith Claiborne.] Charles died on 26 October 1975 of Hodgkin’s Disease. Judy went on to marry Tommy Welch of Beebe, Arkansas, and died on 18 September 2018. Charles and Judy had three children:

      1. Christy Leigh Cook was born on 2 November 1963. She married (1st) to Byron Keith Childers [Byron Childers was born on 31 October 1959.] of Searcy, Arkansas on 4 August 1984. They had one son, Clinton Wayne Childers (named after his grandfather Charles Wayne Cook), born on 23 February 1993. Christy married (2nd) Kerry Todd Campbell [Kerry Campbell was born on 26 December 1959.] of Searcy, Arkansas, on 1 August 1998. They had one daughter, Carly Luanne Campbell, born on 23 July 2001.
      2. Carrie Lanell Cook was born on 3 November 1971. She married Jeffery Kent Hankins (born 19 September 1965) of Pine Bluff and Little Rock, Arkansas on 26 September 1998. Together they had two children:

        1. Luke Hankins was born on 18 May 2001.
        2. Sarah Kathryn Hankins was delivered by scheduled C-section on 29 July 2003 so she would share her late grandfather’s (Charles) birthday. She was named after her great-great-grandmother Sarah Kathryn “Kate” Claiborne Gammill.
      3. Cathy Suzanne Cook was born on 7 March 1975. She married Robert Matthew McClure (born 1 December 1972) of Beebe, Arkansas on 10 August 1996. Together Cathy and Matt had two children:

        1. Eli McClure was born on 14 June 2002.
        2. Ava McClure was born on 20 September 2004.
    2. Kathryn Ann Cook was born on 23 May 1945. She married Lowell Michael Sims of Searcy/McRae (born 23 July 1941) on 13 June 1963. The couple had one daughter:

      1. Melanie Ann Sims was born 23 February 1967 in Arkansas.[Unless otherwise noted, information on Melanie and her family comes from personal correspondence between Joshua A. Claybourn and Melanie in 2008 and 2009.] She married Mitchell Alan Kiihnl (born 1 October 1964) of Searcy, Arkansas on 15 August 1987. Melanie obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harding University and currently works as a recruiting manager at the MBA program of the same school. Melanie and Mitchell had one daughter, Caroline Elizabeth “Ellie” Kiihnl, born 18 May 2003.
  3. Ivah A. Gammill was born on 9 September 1920 in White County, Arkansas. She was very sick most of her life and had what was called “sick headaches,” ultimately dying in her early to mid 20s. The family could never discern what was wrong with her, but some descendants suspected that she had cancer. Ivah lived with her sister Ora and helped look after Ora’s children. Indeed, Ora’s son Wayne’s first word was “Ivah”. Ivah was known for keeping a scrapbook because she was so often ill and needed something to do, so she would paste gum and gum wrappers and cigar and cigarette butts, flowers and newspaper clippings. When she was well and not ill, Ivah was active. She loved to sing, write poetry, read, go to the movies, dance and hang out with her friends. She was apparently loved by all, and was particularly well liked by her cousin Harry Claiborne.

    In spite of her ongoing illness, Ivah’s father made her go to college. She attended Arkansas State University – Beebe after high school and became a teacher. Her first job was in the Honey Hill community just outside of Searcy, and later she taught at Garner, Arkansas. During World War II Iva worked at a war plant in Jacksonville, Arkansas. Although Ivah never married, her mother told some relatives that Ivah was in love with a young man (last name Griffin or Griffith) who cheated on her, fathering a child out of the liaison and marrying the girl. The young man came to see Ivah but her mother would not allow him to see her, and apparently Ivah didn’t want to see him either. Ivah died on 29 May 1944. Her mother was known to have said that Ivah died with a broken heart.

References and Notes