The Reoccurring Theme of Teachers and the Wives of A.F. Justis

Louisa Wilks Justis died at the age of 31 (1894) in Clinton, Ky (or Dublin) and her baby Annie Ruth Justis died a short time later. Andrew Fuller Justis, her husband, packed up their three children and moved to Paragould, Arkansas – 140 miles away.

Louisa’s parents: William F and Mary Ann Hooper Wilks lived in Dublin, Ky. Andrew Fuller Justis parents, William W and Caroline/Kate Justis were living in Dyersburg, Tn – 75 miles away.

(Side note: I live in Texas where everything is far away and it takes all day to get to the border to venture into another state. My g-grandparents and their parents all managed to live in Western Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri and none of the places were very far away! It was confusing until I brought up the map.)

Having 3 children to take care of he did a very smart thing. In 1895, Andrew Fuller Justis married Marie (Wilson) Price who was a school teacher from Mississippi but was teaching in Tennessee for a while and then in Arkansas. They married in Monroe Arkansas and they resided in Paragould, Ark.

A.F. (48) and Marie Justice (45)  are found in the 1900 Paragould census (dated June 25) – living as husband and wife along with the 3 children: Samuel is 16, Mary is 12 and Shirley is 10. Oddly enough, around the corner in the same 1900 Paragould census, Marie Justice is also recorded as married (age 46) and living with her widowed mother: Martha H Wilson. (June 7, 1900) The census taker is the same person: George O. Light.

By the 1910 census, A.F. Justice is living with 2 of his children and a daughter-in-law: Samuel W. Justis and wife Laura have been married for 2 years. Shirley is 20 and is a teacher in a private school. Andrew F. Justice is noted as divorced. Marie Justice is living around the corner – and is also now divorced. She continues to be a teacher of a private school.

Interestingly, I’ve discovered more information about Marie Justice whose school was named: Marie Justice Academy. Her home was the school and she taught kindergarteners but as the years went on, she expanded the grades and taught more grades. Shirley Justis occupation is noted as a teacher in a private school in 1910 census. I suspect she was working with her step-mother – (now ex-step-mother) around the corner from her own home.

By 1911, A.F. Justis has married again – this time to Mrs. Sallie Jacobs (nee Till, daughter of John Till and Erie Sanders) – she was the widow of William Jacobs of Portageville, Missourri – the tiny tail of Missouri edging down between Tennessee and Arkansas. She died, according to a newspaper announcement, after a long illness. Her two daughters were there with her: Miss Mae Jacobs and Mrs Amelia Jacobs Troster (sp?) of Missouri. She is buried in Linwood Cemetery with a pre-need marker for A.F. Justis, too. (He is not buried there)

In 1919, daughter Shirley married Bryce Moreland in Paragould and they are found living in Marianna Arkansas in 1920 census.

By 1920, A.F. Justis is moving to Chickasha Ok to run a 2nd restaurant owned by his son Sam W Justis. Sam’s first restaurant was a success so he opened another. By 1920, Marie Justice continued teaching her school. She died in 1926 and is buried in Linwood cemetery in Paragould. Her will gave the bulk of her estate to the local school district in the form of funds and books to create a library. The rest of her property was left to her brother Sydney Wilson.

Andrew F Justis is documented as living in Chickasha near Sam W Justis and one daughter: Mary Kate Justis Self Allen. He lived briefly in Ft. Worth. He died in the confederate soldiers home in Ardmore, Oklahoma in 1936, one year after the death of his daughter Shirley. Finding his grave marker and his obituary was a thrill for me – as it was one of the first bits of evidence as I started my mother’s tree journey over 5 years ago.


The reoccuring theme of teachers: When Shirley died leaving 2 small children with Bryce, he married a spinster school teacher who loved his children and made a wonderful grandmother for me and my siblings.

My mother was a school teacher. I became a teacher. My sister was a teacher. My brother married a teacher.






Death Records for Louisa Wilks Justis Siblings

My great grandmother Louisa Wilks Justis died at the age of 31 – and I still don’t know how she died. Did she have cancer? Is she the source of our family BRCA1 gene? I’ve found a few of her siblings death records and/or obituaries – and here’s how it stacks up so far:

Samuel Wilks Obit: Mr Samuel Wilks, son of W.F. Wilks of this county died at Arlington on the 13th inst. of typhoid fever at the age of 22 years. Previous to his death he was clerking for Mr. J. W. Gaddie a merchant in Arlington and he lived only a few days after he was attacked by the disease.

Lillian Wilks Covington Obit: Mrs Allie Covington, the wife of James D Covington died at their home 2 miles west of Wingo Tuesday afternoon after a long illness of consumption. She was 25 years of age and the daughter of the late W. F. Wilks. She was a member of Wingo Baptist Church where the funeral took place this afternoon. Mrs Covington was a young woman who was loved by everyone who knew her. The community has sustained a great loss from her death. From Wed. 17 Feb 1904 Mayfield Messenger, Kentucky.

Henry Etta Obit: Miss Henrietta Wilks, 72 years of age, former resident of Wingo, died in the home of her brother, Frank Wilks in Pryorsburg at 1:30 this morning. Death resulted from apoplexy and pneumonia. She suffered a stroke 10 days ago.

Annie Wilks Wyman Death Certificate: Tuberculosis age 53.

Still looking for death records or obits for:

Louisa Wilks Justis (died Clinton? died Dublin? Buried in Dublin Baptist Church cemetery)

William Frank Wilks (died age 89)

Roy Wilks (died age 90)


NOTE: Edited 2 years later to add: Louisa Wilks Justis had a baby born just shortly before her own death. I suspect now she died in childbirth related circumstances. Her baby died about 8 months later and is buried near her in the Dublin Baptist church cemetery.