The Search for Sarah E. Stafford Collier’s Ancestry, A CHF Success Story

The CHF website sometimes generates private comments and inquiries that aren’t always immediately made public.  Once such inquiry lead to re-attaching two ends of a long-broken thread of lineage.  It is one of the success stories of the genealogical effort by CHF.

Sarah E. Stafford was the widow of Robert Thomas Collier (son of Robert Marshall Collier and Amanda Fletcher Green), who died as a soldier of the Confederacy in Savannah (see March 18, 2016 post, “Robert T. Collier . . . . But Not This One”).   The two were married on May 6, 1856 in Upson County.  They had two children, Martha Aldora, born about 1859 and Robert Thomas (II) born in July 1862.   On  May 7, 1862, Robert Thomas (I) enlisted in the 32nd Infantry Regiment Georgia Volunteers Company I.  He left home before the birth of his son and died without ever seeing him, on or about June 29, 1862.  You can imagine the difficulties faced by this young, widowed mother during the war when almost complete devastation was inflicted on much of Georgia.  In 1869, Sarah married James Robert Jordan.

I was contacted by Tom Brigman, whose wife was the great, great granddaughter of Sarah.  Her great grandfather was Robert Thomas II, whose father died before he was born.  Tom and his wife had no knowledge of Sarah’s line before her marriage to Robert Thomas Collier.  Their primary question had to do with the actual date of death of Robert Thomas in Savannah.  CHF was able to provide Tom and his wife limited evidence of the date of death and also photo copies of a page from the Bible of Robert Marshall Collier.  The page from the Bible documents the birth of Robert Thomas.  These were exciting discoveries for Tom and his wife.

But Sarah’s background was a mystery.  The Staffords were known as a prominent family in Upson and Pike counties in Georgia in the 1800s and early 1900s.  Old records showed several Stafford businesses in the Barnesville area, some of which were linked to the enterprises of J. C. Collier. Still there was nothing known about Sarah and nothing to tie her to any of the known Staffords.

Then CHF found this in a a 90-year old letter written in 1925 by J. C. Collier to kin in Texas.

1925_03_13_portion Ltr JCC to Mrs A M Harryman 2

Since Sarah was a Stafford when she married Robert Thomas Collier, then she was the daughter of one of Alvis’ brothers and not a sister.  The ends of the threads were coming closer!!   The information was relayed to Tom, who was able to tie it all together.

Here is Tom Brigman’s resulting article on Sarah Stafford and the Stafford-Collier connection.



Tom transcribed the following from the Thomas Virden Family Bible.  According to Tom, “The Bible lists and links Robert Thomas Collier (II), Robert T. and Sarah Stafford Collier’s son, by marriage to Mattie Camilla Virden.  It also gives the names and important date for their children:  Aldora, Dovil, Ollie, Robert, and William.  Ollie Collier married Lyra Sallas and their only child, Mary Evelyn Collier, was my wife’s mother.”



Finally, here is the obituary for Sarah E. Jordan (formerly Stafford and then Collier).  The newspaper clipping was found in the Thomas Virden Bible.  The date and source are unknown.



Our many thanks to Tom Brigman for allowing CHF to post this information.



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