Historical Volumes Presented to Rector Library

Thursday, June 4, 2015
Teresa Rimer (left) speaks with Pam Schultz about the content of the presentation volumes.

Teresa Webb Rimer tells of her introduction to genealogy at age four when she and her sisters accompanied their father, Kenneth Webb, to the library with a promise that the girls could read picture and story books while he conducted research. Fast forward to her at age 25 and another fatherly request: search out a census record at the Chattanooga, Tenn., library.

"When I loaded that old microfilm machine and saw a flickering image of an old census record with our ancestors' names, I was hooked," she said. So hooked, in fact, that Teresa now serves as Regent of the Chief John Ross Chapter, Tennessee State Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

That role brought Teresa Rimer to Rector on the weekend of May 16-18 -- that and a good visit with Kenneth and Alma Webb. While in town, she spent some time with Mrs. Cleta Simmons and also made a special presentation to the Genealogy and History Room of the Rector Public Library.

The culmination of a Tennessee DAR project resulted in a two-volume set of biographical sketches, researched and documented by DAR members, recognizing the contributions of some 300 Tennessee women who lived before 1850. Contained in the two beautifully bound, substantial volumes is at least one sketch of local significance, researched, written and documented by Teresa Rimer. Perhaps more families will explore the volumes considering how many Clay County families migrated out of Tennessee.

Teresa had interviewed Richard Simmons and had spoken briefly with his mother, Cleta, who will celebrate 102 years on Aug. 17 of this year. Mrs. Simmons was an avid genealogist during her active years. The connecting link between Mrs. Simmons and a Tennessee ancestor is Mrs. Mary Adeline McRee Paysinger, her great-grandmother. Mrs. Simmons and her son, Richard, willingly share their story.

Bersheba Elizabeth Paysinger married Daniel Thomas Hardin and is Cleta Marie Whitaker Simmons' grandmother. The Simmons family is fortunate to possess a portrait of Adeline Paysinger, Mrs. Simmons' great-grandmother, and also her well-preserved spinning wheel, both of which were photographed and submitted to augment proof of authenticity but not published in the book. The published photograph is of her grave marker, a "monument whose height and size suggest the esteem in which she was held by family and friends," says Mrs. Rimer.

Research shows this Hardin family moved from Lincoln County, Tenn., to Clay County, Arkansas, specifically to Rector's original settlement, Scatterville. Many middle-Tennessee families moved west for more fertile land when the Indian population was removed from the region. Bersheba Elizabeth Paysinger married Daniel Thomas Hardin and they became grandparents to Cleta Simmons and Allene Crews, whose mothers were this couple's daughters. The Hardin sons were Ben, Bud and Bill Hardin.

The Hardins are important to the region with multiple descendants from the many children. Those in Rector interested in genealogy will find the donated DAR volumes of interest. They were accepted for librarian Deana Mills by Pam Schultz, library employee. Mrs. Rimer and the Webbs shared information with Mrs. Schultz and found other photos of the Paysinger family in the Genealogy and History Room.

In further discussion with Kenneth Webb, a genealogist for over 45 years, Teresa shared additional facts about Arkansas and Tennessee history and the DAR. She encourages those interested in pursuing DAR membership to explore the now public DAR database at www.dar.org. Multiple ways of establishing one's ancestor as a "patriot" exist.

Once the designation of "patriot" was awarded only to men and a connection was required directly to him. Now services such as being a nurse, as a provider of provisions for troops which can be documented, are accepted. The connections must be proven by birth or death certificates, marriage licenses, land records, wills, court documents or census records.

For more information on membership in the DAR, on the volumes presented to the Rector Library, or with interest in the Mary Adeline McRee Paysinger story, readers may contact Teresa Webb Rimer at ttrimer@gmail.com

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