Richard Jamar, A Vintage Vignette

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Richard Jamar
A Vintage Vignette by John P. Rankin
September 19, 2008

Marriages connect the Jamar family to local pioneers of the Owen, Adams, Bransford, Couch, Mahone, and Grantland families, as well as others such as the Hattons. The family lines are difficult to track, but helpful information has been provided by descendants Patsy Kinney and Phyllis Owens plus others who have posted family data on Ancestry.com. About 50 feet north of Martin Road, and a quarter mile west of Redstone Arsenal’s Gate 7, is a cemetery monument for Richard Jamar and his wife Sarah Hatton. The spire is about 15 feet tall. There are a number of other graves, but few markers. This is one of at least three pioneer homesites of the Jamar families that owned considerable land in the area. Two other locations are in what was known as Mullens Flats (along Dodd Road at today’s Martin Road) and on a hill along the river in the extreme southern portion of the arsenal.

Richard Jamar was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1785. He died here in 1872, having attained great wealth, but he left no will for probate. He married three times. His first wife was Elizabeth Adams, said to be a cousin of John Quincy Adams. Richard and Elizabeth had four children: Larkin (1812), Richard A. (1814), Mary C. (1815), Thomas F. (1816). Elizabeth died in 1832.

Larkin Jamar married Francis Ann Bransford. Larkin and Francis had eleven children, including a Richard A. Jamar born in 1836, who was a nephew of Larkin’s brother Richard Jamar born in 1814. However, he was a “half” nephew of another Richard Jamar, who was also born in 1836 to Richard Sr.’s second wife Lucy. No surname has been identified for Lucy, nor has their marriage record been found. Lucy died in January of 1838, but she gave birth to Richard Sr.’s second son named Richard. Lucy’s Richard was born 22 years after the Richard born to Elizabeth, Richard Sr.’s first wife. The younger Richard “Jr.” had a middle initial of “J”, whereas the first son named Richard had initial “A”.

Larkin’s brother Richard (born in 1814) married Mary Catherine Mahone. She was born in 1816, but her tombstone in Limestone County’s Peete Cemetery says 1826. She died in 1845 after giving birth to George Thomas Jamar (1845-1920). This name also was used twice in the family, since Richard Sr. and his third wife Sarah Hatton had a son of that name who was also born in 1845. Richard Sr. married Sarah in 1838. She was a daughter of Frank and Fanny Hatton.

The third child of Richard and Elizabeth Jamar was another Mary C. Jamar, born 1815 and died 1841 or 1849, depending on source accepted. She married Thomas J. Owen Sr., son of Harrison Owen. Thomas Owen was born in 1810 and died in 1878. More is written about the Owen family in another Vintage Vignette.

The last child of Richard and Elizabeth Jamar was Thomas F. Jamar, born in 1816, died in 1892. The little cemetery along Martin Road has a small marker for Lucy, Richard Sr.’s second wife, but there is also a fragment of another headstone that contains only the letter “F.” on it. That may be part of a marker for Thomas F. Jamar. The newspaper notice of his passing stated that he died in “Green Grove” and was buried at his home in Mullens Flat. “Green Grove” fits for the Owen and Jamar homesites along the river in the southern part of the arsenal. “Green Grove” is known to have been the name of a 1900s community in that area. Yet, in the mid-1800s, that name was used for a small community in the northwestern portion of the arsenal. There are records that apparently refer to the Jamar lands at Martin and Zierdt Roads as the Green Grove Plantation. One source stated that Richard A. Jamar (son of Richard Sr. and Elizabeth and the husband of Mary Catherine Mahone) was buried in the Green Grove Plantation Cemetery. Yet, the Maple Hill Cemetery records show that both this Richard and his brother Thomas F. Jamar died in January of 1892 and are both buried at Maple Hill. There are some indications that some of the graves were moved to Maple Hill many years ago. Multiple usages of the same given names within different Jamar families living in close proximity during the same time period is still causing confusion today, but the prominence of the family history is worthy of study to unscramble it.

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