By: Jonesborough Genealogical Society   

     The following is a letter from Arthur Keith to Mrs. Mary Broyles. Dr. Keith is best known for his books on the Broyles family, which are available at the East Tennessee State University. This is typed “as is,” i.e., complete with typographical and grammatical errors.

                                                                                                                        Vermillion, S.D

                                                                                                                        Nov. 23, 1936

Mrs. Mary Seaton Broyles

Chucky, Tennessee

     My Dear Cousin Mary:

     It is not (my) turn to write but I hope you will forgive me for writing out of my turn. I have just had a letter from Mrs. Peterson of Detroit, Michigan, the woman who called on you a few weeks ago and she started me thinking, and I just learned that you are kin to President Abraham Lincoln and here you were so modest you never told me about it, or did you know it?

Here it is:

John Lincoln married Rebecca Flower about 1740.

Abraham Lincoln born 1744.

Thomas Lincoln married Nancy Hanks

Abraham Lincoln, the President, born 1809

Rebecca Lincoln married John Rimel

Sallie Rimal married Jacob Seaton

Ira Seaton married Sallie Williamson

Mary Seaton (yourself)

     That is your grandmother, Sallie Rimal and Thomas Lincoln were first cousins, President and your father were second cousins and you are President Lincoln second cousin with one remove. Come now why did’ent you tell me about it? I get it from putting together some notes which Mrs. Peterson has just sent me with some notes which I took when I was in Greeneville. I am going to add this to the appendix which I am making for “Broyles History” if I don’t watch out the appendix is going to be larger than the main work.

     Mrs. Peterson quotes me from Waldo Licoln, “History of the Lincoln Family” the following:

     Rebecca Lincoln was born in Rockingham County, Virginia, April 18, 1767, married John Rimel in same County, April 26, 1786. Issac Rimel married Kezia Williamson, September 9, 1819, John Rimel married Sarah Williamson, July 27, 1825, moved to Sevier County, Tennessee.

     Polly Rimel, married John Bird, Jr., March 3, 1807 (I believe Mrs. Peterson is their descendant). Jacob Rimel married Christina Wilhoit, October 17, 1823. Elisa Rimel married Jenny Dunkin July 22, 1825.

     Dorcas Rimel married John Williamson July 27, 1825, (must have been a double wedding with John Rimel and Sarah Williamson given above else some one has made an error in copying.) Sally Rimel married Jacob Seaton April 30, 1816, George Rimel married _________ moved to Sevier County, Tennessee. That is all from “Lincoln History.” Now I have some notes which I got while at Greenville the (Nun Cupative) will of Rebecca Rimel. (the name is spelled as Rimel, Rimal, Rymal, etc., in these records, but I shall use the spelling Rimel) was presented to Court September 18, 1840 which will was given by Elizabeth Broyles and Polly Mauk, the record shows she died in the home of Alexander Broyles where she was visiting when surprised by her illness. On February 20, 1841 Jacob Rimel, Isaac Rimel, John Rimel , George Rimel, John Good, John Fellars and Betsy Fellars, Asa Fellars, Asa Bailey and Delia Bailey and Jacob Good served notice that they would offer this (Nun Cupative) will for serving. A notice was served on Jacob Seaton and wife Sally Seaton formerly Sally Rimel, Betsy Miller formerly Betsy Rimel, Polly Bird formerly Dorcas Rimel. Now these people who served the notice and those on whom it was served should be the heirs of Rebecca Rimel, most of them named in “Lincoln History” but not all maybe some of them were married grandchildren and if their parents were dead their children would have to be named and that might account. John and Jacob Good for Betty Fellars (her father or mother might have been a descendant of Rebecca Rimel) and for Delia Bailey (wife? of Asa Bailey) though Asa and Delia might be brothers and sisters children of some descendant, children of Rebecca Rimel.

     You will see that Polly Bird is ment without husband which maybe an indication that John Bird her husband had died before that time. Betsy Miller also appears alone. The Lincoln History does not mention her but I would take her to be widowed daughter of Rebecca Rimel.

     Now I want you to do all you can to help me straighten them out. The children of Rebecca Rimel were your grandfather and his brothers and sisters. Can you with the help of the above make out an accurate list? Betsy Miller your grandmothers sister? What was her husbands name? And how were Asa and Delia Bailey, John Fellars and Betsy Fellars and John and Jacob connected with you. Granddaughters for therw would not be two children of the same name. Many of the descendants of Rebecca Rimel are also Broyles descendants. Namely those descending from Isaac Rimel and wife Kezia Williamson, John Rimel and wife Sarah Williamson, Dorcas Rimel and husband John Williamson, Jacob Rimel and wife Christena Wilhoit. I have no account of descendants of any of these and I do not suppose you can put me on their trail. It seems that your grandfather Jeremiah Williamson was the only one of his many brothers and sisters who staid there. Is that right? John Rimel who married Rebecca Lincoln in 1786 (your great grand parents was apparently not the only Rimel in your country) for in Washington County, Tennessee in 1816 one Jacob Rimel married Frances Broyles and he was not the same Jacob Rimel who married Christina Wilhoit. I found the descendants of Jacob Rimel and Frances Broyles a few months ago in Missouri, after having given them lost branches. If I do I shall have them put in the appendix. I have already a good deal of matter for the appendix. I shall send a letter to Sevier County to see if I can locate some of the Williamson descendants there.

     I got a typewriter last Saturday and you are almost the first person on whom I have used it. I had one servl years and used it a lot and it is pretty well worn out with all the writing I had to do in my last letter. I suggest that you just sit down and talk freely about your recollections. There are a good many death dates and wedding dates I do not have. If you could recall early funerals and weddings and other incidents which you witnessed, maybe I could clear some of them up. Maybe you can recall, what you have heard older people say of their recollections, I have tried. That and have come down just that way. I remember that my mother told me many years ago how her aunt had told her about her father courting mother and that was in 1800, and many simple facts I have got in the same way. I wish I could spend about one month talking with you and then I know I would get a lot. Remember I am always glad to hear from you. I hope you are well and happy and will have a good turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.