Rare Old Photo – Elsie Beams Roebuck

Elsie Beams Roebuck was also known as “Little Blue Hen” from the story passed down through her descendants about her talents for raising geese near the Yazoo River in the old Choctaw Country. She was the daughter of William Beams & Hettie Folsom. About 1815 Elsie Beams married Ezekiel Roebuck  “The Honey King”.  She was widowed on the Trail of Tears, losing her husband to the dreaded cholera during the journey.

To read Elsie’s story told by her great-granddaughter, Josephine Usray Latimer, see my blog, A Journey Almost Beyond Endurance.

Elsie survived and brought her two sons to the Doaksville settlement in the newly established Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. The information posted with the old photo on Facebook said she then married Cornelius Hart sometime later in 1832, but he was thrown from a horse drawn wagon and died in 1839. Elsie Hart then married William Walker around 1840.  In 1863 Elsie died at Doaksville, near the age of 63.

Thus Elsie Beams in her lifetime acquired many names: Little Blue Hen, aka Jensie Beams, aka Jincey Beams, aka Alsey Beams. Her married names were Elsie Roebuck, Elsie Hart and finally Elsie Walker.

Her son William Roebuck became a prominent Choctaw leader, serving as Supreme Court judge for the Choctaw Nation. With his wife Mary Anna Homma, he raised seven children at Roebuck Lake south of present-day Hugo, Oklahoma. He also raised bees on a island in the lake like his father did back in Mississippi. William and Mary Anna’s story is told in my blog, Cupid’s Arrow.

William G Roebuck 1885 ToT


***YAHOKE, ikana! Thank you, friends. Much GRATITUDE for spending time on a Choctaw Journey with me.***
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UPDATE May 2020 – A descendant Robbie Stanford says that the photo is not Elsie but her sister “Jensie Folsom. The Beams and the Folsoms were a tightly woven clan so there is can be much confusion. I am descendant of Lemon Hart, Elsie’s son with Cornelius Hart.”

The old photo of Elsie Beams Roebuck was posted Aug 13, 2012 to the Facebook page called Native North American Indian – Old Photos, administered by Jonathan Holmes. Since the page was created in February 2010, he has posted hundreds of pictures of Native Americans from across the United States. He does not name his source for the photo in this blog, so there is no guarantee that the identification as Elsie Beams Roebuck is correct. Mr. Holmes first identified the photo as simply a Choctaw woman, then on Sep 17, 2016 he changed the identification to Jensie/Elsie Beams Roebuck.

Elsie Beams Roebuck

I do know that Doaksville had a photography business as early as the 1850s. There is a business ad from page 4 of the October 15, 1851 issue of the Choctaw Intelligencer newspaper for a photographer named F. J. Murphy who made Daguerrean images, the only style of photography prior to the 1860s.

Doaksville photography ad Oct 1851

This rare newspaper issue, Microfilm Roll# 7624-38, is available through the Oklahoma Historical Society.

8 thoughts on “Rare Old Photo – Elsie Beams Roebuck

  1. Thank you! You might enjoy one on my older blogs – A Journey Almost Beyond Endurance – that tells a story by her great-granddaughter Josie Latimer of Elsie’s journey to the new Choctaw lands.

  2. The photo of Elsie, is not here but Jensie Folsom. The Beams and the Folsoms were a tightly woven clan so there is can be much confusion. Jensie was a sister in law. They are not the same person. I am decent of Lemon Hart, Elsie’s son with Cornelius Hart.

  3. Sorry, correct the last statement. Jansie was Elsie’s sister. Feel free to review my extensive ancestry tree.

  4. Thank you for adding to Elsie’s great story. You might like my blog from 2017 called “A Journey Almost Beyond Endurance”, which is a re-telling of Josie Latimer’s wonderful story about her great-grandmother, Elsie aka “Little Blue Hen” and The Honey King.

  5. Robbie, I am a descendant of Jensie. I could never find definitive proof that Elsie and Jensie were sisters although I suspected it. How did you come to find this out?

  6. See comment by Robbie Stanford “The photo of Elsie, is not her but her sister Jensie Folsom. The Beams and the Folsoms were a tightly woven clan so there is can be much confusion. ”
    Robbie says he is a descendant of Lemon Hart, Elsie’s son with Cornelius Hart.

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