Ruth E. Ashcraft Isom
Daughter of Joel and Martha “Patsey” Ferguson
Ruth was born August 23, 1830* in York County, South Carolina. In 1850, she was still living at home with her parents. Sometime around 1860, she became the second wife of William B. Isom. William, who was born May 27, 1808 in Lancaster County, South Carolina, was twenty-two years older than Ruth. He had four children by his first wife. They were Margaret, Sarah Dorcus, Mary and William, all born in the 1830s. Sarah later married Ruth’s brother, Jonathan, in 1853 in Cleveland County, Arkansas. All four of these children are believed to have gone there during the 1850s and 1860s.
In 1860, Ruth was living with William Isom in York County and enumerated on the census that year as ‘Ruthy E. Ashcraft’ along with five-year-old Joel B. Ashcraft. The surname of the other children was given as ‘Icim’. Born to Ruth and William between 1856 and 1868 at their home near Rock Hill, were John A., Rufus G., Martha, Nancy E., Joseph Beauregard, Rebecca J., Osmond O. and David A.
William died sometime in the early 1870s. Ruth then took her children and joined the rest of the family in Arkansas. Joel is believed to have been born November of 1854 and used the name ‘Isom’ after moving to Cleveland County. He remained there settling near Rison.
In February of 1874, in Cleveland County, Nancy Isom married her first cousin James L. Ashcraft, son of James Leonard and Catherine (Crook) Ashcraft. About 1878, Ruth moved to Petit Jean Township in Conway County making her home near her brother, Jonathan, on Rose Creek.
Two of Ruth’s children married in Yell County. In 1883, Anna married John Thomas Hamilton; Osmond married his first wife, Mary Lizabeth Hamilton the following year. In Perry County in 1892 and 1896 respectively, Sophronia Tucker became Osmond’s second wife and Mary Isabelle Tucker wed Joseph Beauregard Isom. These native South Carolina Hamilton and Tucker families lived in Cleveland County before settling in the Rose Creek area of Perry and Conway Counties.
Ruth was not quite fifty-one years old when she died. There are two native stones located in Hamilton Cemetery in Perry County near the graves of Ruth’s brother, Jonathan Ashcraft, and his family. They are inscribed "R.E. Isom August 23, 1830 - July 9, 1881” and "R.J. Isom September 28, 1862 - June 11, 1896". These stones likely mark the graves of Ruth Ashcraft Isom and her daughter, Rebecca, who never married.
*Granddaughter Avis Isom Womble gives her date of birth as April 30, 1830.
- Sharon Spielman Ashcraft
(Reference: Federal Census Records, Marriage Records of Cleveland, Yell and Perry Co. AR; Daughter of Joseph Beauregard Isom, Avis Isom Womble, letter of 1983.)