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     This site provides a family history of John Ira Balkcom and Ida Lucinda (Baldwin) Balkcom who settled in Oklahoma Territory in 1906. They were the progenitors of the Balkcom family of western Oklahoma.

     J. I. and Ida were born in Dale County in southeastern Alabama a few years after the Civil War.  They married in 1896 and moved in 1901 by ox-drawn wagon from Alabama to Van Zandt County, Texas.  John was age 28, Ida 25, and daughter Mae 3.  The reason for their move is not known, but Alabama economic conditions remained poor from the Civil War and Texas was becoming known as a place of opportunity.  John probably worked as a tenant farmer just south of the town of Grand Saline, Texas, east of Dallas.  After only a few years in Texas they moved to southwestern Oklahoma where they farmed and made their permanent home.  There they raised children Mae (1897-1989), Thelma (1905-1971), Jake (1909-1961), and my father Euel (1903-1981).

     The ancestors of these Balkcoms and Baldwins are traced in early America to Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, and were descendants of families in England, Ireland, and Scotland.  Many of the ancestor families came to America before 1750, but one family, the Prestons, emigrated from England in 1833.

     In the early 1800s almost all were farmers, or in a few cases "planters", the term used in a few states (notably Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia) for those who were a little more wealthy or aspired to the wealth and status associated with plantation ownership.  Most though were small farmers, probably engaged in a mix of subsistence farming along with sales of farm products locally where possible. Some are likely to have had income from some of the American products that were in demand in Europe - pine tar, tobacco, cotton, and indigo for example.  Most owned land, livestock, and farm implements, and by the mid-1800s some had started to acquire quite a bit of land as they moved to areas that had been opened to white settlers.

     In their personal lives, there are indications that many were religious, shown by church records, obituaries, and wills, but some left few traces of religious activity. They had for the most part large families (seven or more children) and lived near others in the family. When they married it was almost always to someone who lived close by. Some are known to have served in the Revolutionary War, a few in the War of 1812, and many in the Civil War, where one direct ancestor family lost three sons within two years. Evidence is that they were all affected by the difficult economic conditions in the South after the war.

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