Rev. James Thomas Tyler’s (1837-1910) family came to Clay County in the 1880’s when their son, George (born 1879), was a young boy. James was married to Louisa Elizabeth Jane Fain (1848-1911), daughter of Charles and Hannah Fain, in Sept., 1866 in Illinois. James and Elizabeth were natives of Massac Co., Ill. James had been married before, wife’s name unknown; and his wife and baby died while he was off in the Civil War.
James served in the Union Army, 120th Reg., Illinois Infantry from Aug., 1862 to Oct., 1865 and was discharged at Memphis, Tenn. as a corporal. He drew a pension. He was shot in the thigh during the war and lay for three days before being rescued or found. He could only take a few drops of water at a time because he had been without water for so long.
Rev. James, a Baptist minister and farmer, and Elizabeth had these children: (1)Williamson Aldrich T. (1868-1939) who married Ella Merideth in 1898 in Clay County and died in Jonesboro, Ark. (2) Hannah Elizabeth Tyler (1876-1948) was born in Massac Co., Ill. and married John Huston Johnson and James P. Smart. She died in Piggott. (3) John Rufus Tyler (1878-1934) married Lenia J. Thomas and Janie Benson. John was a blacksmith. (4) Rev. George Robert Tyler (1879-1936) married Laura Belle Gauldin, daughter of Daniel T. and Rebecca Elizabeth Seagraves Gauldin, who are buried in Mounds Cemetery, west of Rector. George and Laura are buried in Woodland Heights Cemetery in Rector.
Rev. James Tyler was ordained in Illinois and first came to Missouri, near Kennett, and pastored in Missouri and Arkansas until bothered by ill health. He pastored at Blue Cane and Bethel Church near Rector that we found a record of.
Rev. George Robert Tyler, son of James, was called to preach and was ordained in April, 1906 at Hopewell Baptist Church where he was a member, and he preached for 30 years before his death. He was District Missionary of Gainesville Association in Arkansas, year not known. He preached at Sikeston, Kennett, and New Madrid, Mo., New Hope at Pollard in 1909, 1911, and 1912, Greenway, Rector, and in western Lone Wolf, Oklahoma. Bethlehem Church was his first pastorate and his first sermon was at New Hope. He helped organize St. Francis Church. The Baptist had been meeting in a school at Grave Hill. When the town of St. Francis was started, it was decided to organize a Baptist church there. Rev. Tyler was the first pastor. He preached part time there and part time at New Hope. Every other Sunday at each church was the pattern then. Rev. George was pastoring in Rector and had owned a home there 2 ½ years before he went to St. Francis.
His daughter, Anna, was 11 years old when the church was organized. Anna said a Parrent family gave the land where the church now stands. The lot was large enough for a parsonage also. The Parrents had a daughter, Maggie. Anna took piano lessons starting at age eight, and at age 14 she started going with her father to his meetings to play for him. When he was pastoring at New Hope, they lived at Rector and went by wagon. They later moved to St. Francis. Her memory of New Hope was getting the chills and having to stay with the Will Johnson family three days before she was able to go home. She spent a lot of time traveling with her father to revival meetings and he spent a lot of time doing that. Will Johnson (Singing Bill) was choir director at New Hope when Rev. George was there.
Rev. George and Laura had nine children - one boy and nine girls: Nettie Rebecca Tyler (896-1897) died age one; Anna Belle Tyler (1898-1998) married Sidney Alfa Dortch; James Daniel Tyler (ca 1900) died as an infant; Infant (b ca 1902); Infant (b ca 1904); Infant (b ca 1908); Infant (b ca 1910); and Beulah Francis Tyler (1911-1915). The babies are buried in Mounds Cemetery and Beulah Francis is the only one with a stone.
Anna Tyler was teaching Sunday School by age 16. She went to two terms of school in St. Francis when they lived there, but started out by being taught at home. She did not go to school until age nine eat Rector. She had chills all the time and had to take a lot of medicine. She had taken malaria chills from her mother at childbirth and took a long time to overcome this. She was born in a one-room log cabin five miles west of Rector in the Mounds Cemetery area. On her first birthday there, her father gave her a little red rocking chair. The family sold this house when she was five and bought her grandparents place closer to Rector.
She married Sidney Dortch in 1941 and there were no children to this union but he had children from an earlier marriage. Sidney died at the Piggott Nursing Home in 1979 after a three weak illness. Anna had been staying with him at the nursing home during his illness. She kept the room reserved while she went home to see if she could stay by herself. She broke her hip the first night she stayed alone and had to come back to the nursing home where she lived until her death.
(Note; I interviewed Anna in the Nursing Home before her death and she let me copy items from her family papers which she kept in a trunk in her room with other keepsakes. She was a remarkable woman with a great memory.)