Thursday, December 5, 2013

Through the Mountains

Over Thanksgiving, I went down to visit my father in Suches, Union County, Georgia.  This is the area where his maternal family has lived since about 1860.  Suches is a hanging valley, so the only access to the area is over a mountain pass.  These aren't hard to traverse today with good roads and a car, but they must have been terribly difficult on foot or with a wagon.  A heavy snowstorm, which used to be very common, leaves the area completely cut off.   Woody Gap is at 3160 feet and the Appalachian trail passes there.   Wolf Pen Gap is 3260 feet and the road over the mountain there is even today known as the curviest road in Georgia.   Suches itself is at about 2800 feet and describes itself as "the Valley in the Clouds".   Some of the early settlers (after the Cherokee were kicked out) came there for free land, always a powerful incentive, but that was not what brought my family.   The Gooches had lived in the mountains for more than a generation, but over in the gentler terrain in Rabun county, then in Lumpkin County.  In the early 1860s, James Gooch crossed over Woody Gap, purchasing land in Gaddistown, near Suches, and moving his family there.  With land available in the West, one has to wonder what attracted him to the very difficult and inaccessible land around Suches.  Did he like the isolation of the mountains - or even the beauty?   The fact that deeds were often not recorded, or recorded in Dahlonega (Lumpkin County) rather than Blairsville (Union County), tends to verify that transport over the mountains was not easy.  From Gaddistown, the transit over Woody Gap to Dahlonega was an easier and shorter route than going over Wolf Pen Gap to Blairsville, but in this case "easy" is definitely a relative term.  This probably also accounts for the fact that some of the marriages are registered in Lumpkin County, even when the bride, groom and officiant were in Union.

There's no way to know why the family secluded themselves in the mountains or how it affected what they eventually became, but it's easy to believe that much of their strength and self-reliance stem from learning to survive there.



View from Woody Gap

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ahnentafel #8 Green Lee Garner and #9 Harriet Gheesling

Green Lee Garner was born on 4 June 1850 in Washington County, Georgia, the son of William and Sarah Johnson Garner.  He lived in Washington County until about 1930 when he moved to Decatur County.   He had a twin brother Lee Roy Garner.   Green and Lee Roy were just young enough to miss the Civil War, turning 15 just as it ended.  They had several brothers who served but none who were killed, unlike many of their neighboring families.  They were the 7th and 8th children of twelve who survived to adulthood.  All the children grew up working on the farm and most became farmers themselves as adults.

On 21 January 1879, Green married Amanda Lou (Lou) Walker, 19, the daughter of Freeman Flournoy Walker and his wife Amanda Lou Hooks.  Rev Asa Duggan performed the ceremony.  Both attended - and were later buried at - Union Baptist Church near the Hancock/Washington county line.  The families were also connected in that two of Lou's brothers married Garner cousins.  They settled in Hancock County, where Green farmed and Lou ran the household.   Green and Lou had two daughters, Minnie (14 September 1880) and Lou Wixie (30 May 1883).  Lou died a month after her second daughter was born, presumably of complications from childbirth, and Lou Wixie herself died the following year, just before her first birthday. 

Green married for a second time on 18 Jan 1884, to Harriet (Hattie) Gheesling. They were married by Thomas West, a minister, in Warren County.   Hattie was born on 30 June 1852 in Warren County to Samuel Gheesling and Elizabeth Duggan.  I used to wonder how they met, until I realized that Hattie's grandfather lived next to Green's father.  Again the families were or became intermingled, in that Hattie's niece Frances Emily married Green's brother James Thomas Garner.  Hattie lived in Warren County until her marriage and the rest of her life in Hancock County.  Nothing is known about her education, but in the 1860 and 1870 censuses she is listed as attending school and in the later ones she is apparently able to read and write. 

Hattie and Green had 4 sons, all of whom appear with them in the 1900 Hancock County census.  They were Thomas Lawton (Nov 1884), William Samuel (16 Aug 1886), Henry Grady (Sep 1889) and Charles Gordon (1 Jan 1893).   All of the boys went by their middle name.  Hattie was apparently a good stepmother, since Green's daughter Minnie named her only daughter Hattie Lou, after her stepmother and mother.

The 1884-1887 Georgia tax digest shows Green owning 261 acres of land in Hancock County, worth $783, worked by 10 hands.  This is a high number of hands compared to other farms of similar size.  The value of his other property (stock, tools, furniture, etc) brought his total taxable value up to $1683.  In 1900, Green and Hattie are on the farm with the boys and Minnie.  Green was a farmer, while the children were all in school.  Hattie claimed to have had 4 children, all of whom were living. Green owned his farm.  By 1910, all of the children except Gordon had married and left home.  Minnie was in Atlanta, Lawton in California, Sam in Hancock County, and Grady in Kentucky.  They had sold the farm (or given it to Samuel) and were renting a house elsewhere in the county, while Green and Gordon worked as carpenters.

In 1912, they lost their son Lawton to disease, while he was still working out in California, leaving a wife Edna and a young daughter Marcellite.  Lawton's widow married his cousin Ivey William Garner, who raised Marcellite after Edna died a few years later.   Marcellite went on to work for the early Disney company as an illustrator and as the original voice of Minnie Mouse.

The 1920 census has the same household, with son Gordon still at home.  He has now finished college and is working as a farm demonstration agent, while Green is a farm superviser.   Green and Hattie still rent the house.

Hattie died in 1925, but I have been unable to find her death certificate, even though one should have been issued.  She was buried at Union Baptist Church, near Warthen.  Green died on14 March 1930 in Faceville, Decatur County, Georgia.  I have not found him in the 1930 census, so it is unclear whether he lived there or was just visiting his son.  Like his wives, he was buried back at Union Baptist Church in Washington County.

Green Lee and Amanda Lou had two children:

    i.  Minnie Lou Garner, 14 Sep 1880 to 15 Oct 1969.  She married Robert E. L. Carroll and taught school in DeKalb county, where they resided.
   ii.  Lou Wixie Garner, May 1883 - May 1884

Green Lee and Harriet A. had the following children:

   iii. Thomas Lawton Garner, Nov 1884 - 30 Jan 1912.  Married Edna May Michaels on 10 Oct 1908. They resided in California.
   iv.  William Samuel Garner, 16 Aug 1886 - 11 Jul 1966.  Married Mary Lou Boyer about 1906.  They lived first in Hancock County, then in Decatur County and finally in Dekalb.
   v.  Henry Grady Garner, 25 Sep 1889 - 12 Feb 1937.  According to family lore, he married several times and had no children.  He lived in Kentucky most of his adult life.
   vi.  Charles Gordon Garner, 1 Jan 1893 - 27 Nov 1955.  Married Mattie Hendricks on 10 December 1921. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Who was Abner Butler and do I care?

Abner Butler came into my life via a deed in Greenville, SC.  On 14 June 1797, two deeds for lands purchased by Samuel Kelley were registered at the Greenville courthouse.  The two purchases had been made in 1796.  One of them was registered by the oath of Abner Butler (attested by A. Butler and Valentine Butler) and the other was by the oath of James Gooch (attested by James Gooch and A. Butler).  James Gooch is known to be Samuel Kelley's son-in-law, but so far Abner has not been identified.

Witnesses to a deed do not have to have any familial relationship with the people involve, but Abner intrigues me because of James Gooch also being involved, and James was definitely a son-in-law  The first possibility of course is that Abner too is married to a Kelley daughter, but it seems unlikely.  In Samuel's 1819 will, he leaves something to his daughter Elizabeth Gooch, her son Tilman Gooch (but not any of her other children) and Samuel's grandson Samuel Forrester, with no mention of Forrester's parentage.  I would think that if his Forrester daughter was alive, he would have at least had to mention her, so it is unlikely that she was widow Forrester married to Butler.  No other children were listed.

It is also possible that Abner is a neighbor, but that does not appear to be the case in the 1800 census, where Abner was household 736 and Samuel (indexed as Melley) is household 1402.  Valentine does not appear in the 1800 census, but he did purchase land in Greenville County in 1797, from John Peek, land originally granted to John Micherson.  The description of Valentine's land and that of Samuel makes it sound like the two plots were very near each other.   One of Samuel's plots was purchased from John Peek, the other bordered John Peek's land and was land originally granted to Micherson.   Valentine sold his land in 1799 to Thomas Butler, who appears in the 1800 census as household 1318, so at least much closer to Samuel.  In 1804, Thomas in turn sold the land to Archibald Lester.  James and Simon Lister were two of the witnesses on Samuel Kelley's will. 

Lots of room for research here.  Is Sam just using neighbors to witness his transactions - very possible - or is there some closer connection.  Especially since Abner does not seem to in fact be a neighbor.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ahnentafel #7 Viola Elizabeth Wade


 Back from vacation and time to get back on track with this.  Today's entry is short, as I'm afraid many of those for the women will be. 

My grandmother Viola Elizabeth (Vicky) Wade was born on 9 December 1907, the fourth child (third surviving) of  Ed Wade and Carrie Horne, in Crawford County, Georgia.  She lived her entire life in Crawford County except for the last 3 or 4 in a nursing home in LaGrange.

Vic was pulled out of school early, mostly claiming that she only went through third grade, because of the need to help around the house.  The 1940 census, however, claims that she finished 7th grade, which was fairly normal for the area she lived in.  It is possible, of course, that she did not want to admit at that time to less education and she was the one answering the questions.

Viola Wade married Frank Becham on 10 July 1932.  He was a widower with 5 children.  Two of his children were severely (Frances) or mildly (Sarah) mentally handicapped and, according to Frank's daughter Louise, it was Vic who insisted that they be put in a home.  So while they frequently visited, only 3 of the older children actually lived with them.  She and Frank then had 3 children of their own.  Betty, born in May 1933, was the first child in the family ever to be born in a hospital.   The next child, Gladys, was premature and was born at home.  Viola's sister Clyde, a nurse, was visiting at the time and reportedly nursed her through.  The youngest child, Paul, was again born in the hospital.

Vic and Frank lived in Crawford county their entire married life.  For a period they were in Musella, where in addition to Frank's carpentry work, they ran a motel and a small store.  A new highway was put in which made the motel unprofitable, at which time they built a new home just outside Roberta.  Vic lived there even after Frank's death, until she was too old to cope with the house on her own.  At that point, she moved to a nursing home near her son Paul, in LaGrange, where she died  on 30 January 2000, at the age of 92. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ahnentafel - #6 Frank Jones Becham

Frank Jones Becham was born on 5 Mar 1897 in Crawford County, Georgia, the eldest son of Franklin Lafayette Becham and Sarah Lodelia Mathews.  Despite much research - and asking large portions of the family - I have not been able to determine why the "Jones" in his name.

Frank's father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all potters as well as farmers.  He himself came of age just as prohibition (which was imposed in Georgia before the national law) made pottery making unprofitable, since many of the jars they made were intended for whiskey.  He and several of his brothers instead directed their crafting skills into construction.

Frank lived almost his entire life in Crawford County.  He appears there with his parents and siblings in the 1900, 1910 and 1920 censuses.  He was just a toddler in 1900, with his parents and brother W.P.  By 1910, he is a 13-year old listed as a farm laborer on the family farm, and was attending school.  W.P., then 10, was also a farm laborer, but the younger children were just in school. The 1940 census indicates that Frank finished 7th grade.   In 1920, Frank was between Navy tours, listed as a house carpenter, as were his father and his brothers W.P. and Henry.

Frank enlisted in the Navy reserves in June 1918 and was called to active duty in August of that year.  At the time of his enrollment, he was described as being 5 ft, 11 inches, 151 pounds, blue eyes, light brown hair, ruddy complexion, with a number of scars on his hands and legs. After finishing basic training, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Cypress in Charleston, SC.  While technically a WWI veteran he did not see combat. He was a machinist throughout his service.   In May of 1919, he was released from duty and apparently returned to Crawford County.  However, he was recalled to active duty in November 1920.   He served on the USS Baltimore and the USS Ludlow, finally ending up at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  There he requested that he be discharged so that he could return to the U.S.  Apparently Pearl had a problem with sailors asking to get out, getting a transfer back to the U.S. and then re-enlisting there so they could have a Stateside assignment.  He did have to sign a paper stating that this was not what he was doing.  He was honorably discharged at Mare Island, California in December 1921.  During his service he got top marks for sobriety, obedience, and proficiency in his skill area. He also started out making $35.90 per month, from which $6.50 was subtracted for life insurance.  By the time he got out in 1921, this had risen to $54 per month.


In November 1921, Frank married his first wife Ola Pauline Bryant in Crawford County, Georgia, the daughter of James Bryant and Moselle Sandifer.  They largely lived in Crawford county although they did spend a short time back in Charleston around 1928.   However, they were back in Georgia by July 1929, when Ola died from complications of pregnancy following the birth of her 5th child.   In the 1930 census, Frank and his four oldest children Frances, Louise, Franklin and Caroline are living with his parents.  Baby Sarah is living with his sister Lucile Becham Hortman.  He is again working as a carpenter, as he would do for the remainder of his life.

On 10 July 1932, Frank married his second wife, Viola Elizabeth (Vicky) Wade.  This was her first marriage.  In the next few years they had three more children - Betty, Gladys and Paul.  According to Vic's sister Clyde, Gladys was born premature, at home.  Clyde, a nurse, was there at the time and managed to successfully nurse her through the first few days.   In 1940, the family is living in Sandy Point, Crawford County, Georgia.  All the children were still at home although Sarah is not listed with them in the census (or anywhere else that can be found).  Frank is a carpenter and farmer, who owns his home, worth $800.  Frank had worked 52 weeks of the previous year, for which he had earned $425.  None of the children worked.

Frank and Viola remained in Crawford county for the rest of their life.  He ran construction crews for many years, but after becoming too old for that, they ran a motel in Musella.  They eventually retired from there, building themselves a new house just outside Roberta.  At some point, probably as a young man, Frank abandoned his Methodist upbringing and switched to the Primitive Baptist church, where he was a faithful member and an avid adherent.   Towards the end of his life, he was at the VA home in Dublin, Georgia, where he died on 18 April 1985.  He is buried with his two wives at the Roberta City Cemetery in Roberta, Georgia. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Reading and Writing

Looking at recent college records got me wondering about the other side of the educational equation, i.e. how many of my ancestors could in fact read and write.  Even when schools were present in the rural South, many children did not attend or only attended a few years. Looking at this had me thinking about some of my ancestors.

It is interesting when only one child of a family cannot read or write.  I am assuming that Washington Becham could not since he also could not sign his name.  He signs all records with his mark, not a signature and its hard to believe he could write other things.   Yet his confederate contract proves that at least two of his brothers could write at least their names.   The 1900 census indicates that Washington could read and write but 1910 says he couldn't.  The difference - Ann had died between the two censuses.  She could at least sign her name, leading to speculation that he, she or they didn't want to admit that he couldn't.  It didn't matter once she had died.  

One ancestor, Nancy Whitaker Horne, is of interest because she could in fact write.  She could certainly sign her name, and in a way that did not indicate hesitancy.  If in fact she also wrote out the property inventory that she signed, then she could actually write well.  In addition, one of the items that she purchased from her husband's estate was his writing desk.  Nancy would have been unusual for her time, place and social status, which leads to more curiosity about her background.

None of this changes any of the research on the family but looking at these small things enables me to complete the picture and learn a tiny bit more about people who were not prominent and lived a life where little paperwork was created.   One has to be careful to not read too much into sparse records, but this has lead me to look more closely at things like signatures.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ahnentafel - #5 Mattie Irene Hendrix

My grandmother Mattie Irene Hendrix was born on 13 June 1897 to Warren David Hendricks and Lucinda Jane Gooch in Gaddistown, Union County, Georgia, near modern-day Suches.  Mattie was the next-to-youngest of 9 surviving children and in fact, her oldest sister married the same year she was born. She and her sister Maude always claimed that they were not given middle names at birth, with the expectation that when they married they would use Hendrix as their middle name.  Both of them chose to adopt a middle name anyway. The spelling of the family name was definitely in flux at this time, which is really obvious when you look at their college yearbooks, and see it spelled differently on the same page. 

Very little is known about her early years.  Her father ran a farm and took pride in being a somewhat stern taskmaster.  There was no high school in the area, but there was apparently a small country school that the children used to get the basics. Certainly Mattie and her siblings could all read and write, which was not a given for the area.   As they got older, several of the children, including Allen Luther, Vianna, Mattie and Maude, went to North Georgia Agricultural College (later North Georgia College, then North Georgia College State University, now University of North Georgia).   The college had a preparatory program specifically designed for local students who did not have other access to secondary education.  Mattie did the full preparatory program, then went on to get her domestic science certificate, which qualified her as a graduating senior in 1914.   All three of the girls played basketball while at the school.  According to the yearbook, Mattie "plays for all it's worth at guard's position.  Her speed is a feature in every game, and she plays the ball splendidly.." Mattie later used to tell her grandchildren that she was one of the first women in Georgia to play basketball in shorts (bloomers) rather than a skirt, something she was proud of.

Shortly after graduating, Mattie began working as a teacher in Emanuel County, Georgia, possibly as a home demonstration agent.  In newspaper reports, she is just noted as a teacher, while the census
has her as a U.S. vocational teacher.  Her photo of her first car, shown here, was labeled as "home demonstration agent".  She was the 1921 Attendance officer for education in Emanuel County and  heavily involved in literacy programs for the county, as well as demonstrating at the county fair and joining the Camp Fire girls on a camping trip.   She was also active with the county Georgia University alumnae association, attending their meetings.

Mattie married Charles Gordon Garner on 10 December 1921 in Swainsboro.  Apparently at the time this meant that she could not continue in her job, so this was the end of her professional career.  She and Gordon lived first in Lyons, Toombs County, where their first two sons Charles Gordon,Jr and Warren Hendrix were born.  About 1931 they moved to
Athens, where James Arthur and Robert Edward joined the family.   After her father died in 1940, Mattie and Gordon purchased his property in Gaddistown, Georgia. In the late 40s, she moved back there with Jim and Bobby.  Gordon joined them after his retirement.

Left a widow in 1955, Mattie continued to run the farm for many years, until finally selling the property in the late 60s.  She lived for some time after that with her sons in Kansas, Georgia and Oklahoma.  She died in 1975 in Oklahoma City, having been living at the time with her son Warren in Cordell, Oklahoma. She and Gordon are both buried at Mt Pleasant Church #2 (the Hill Church) cemetery in Suches, GA.

Friday, September 20, 2013

John Perry gift to Ann Perry Becham

In 1861, his wife having died a few years before, John Perry gave a portion of his land to his daughter Ann, then moved to Jefferson County to live with his widowed sister, Ann Daniel. 



Georgia, Crawford County

Know all men by these presents that I John Perry for the good will love and affection which I have and bear to my daughter Ann Caroline Beckham wife of Washington Beckham and her present and any future children she my said daughter Ann Caroline may have, I this day give remise release and forever quit claim unto her my said daughter & her children, free from the debts contracts or liabilities of her present or any future husband she my said daughter may have, all my right title interests and claims in and to lot of land number nineteen (no 19) containing two hundred two and a half acres more or less lying & being in the third district of originally Houston now Crawford County To have and to hold the said described land to the said Ann Caroline and her children as above conditioned in fee simple forever.
  In testimony whereof the said John Perry hath hereto set his hand and affixed his seal, this 9th day of December AD 1861.

Signed Sealed and delivered                         John Perry {seal}
in the presence of
 Alford Long
 James I Ray
 Clerk of the Inferior Court

The words nineteen and figures 19 interlined & changed before us to twenty nine (29)
Recorded December 17th, 1861
James I Ray Clk
 SupCourt

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ahnentafel series - Charles Gordon Garner

I have decided to do at least a weekly post just working up through my Ahnentafel.  Since the point of this blog, among other things, was to let me see the gaps in what I know or have documented, at least some systematic approach, once in a while, is a good idea.

I'm skipping my parents (nrs 2 and 3 in my report), so the first one I come to is #4, my Grandfather Charles Gordon Garner.  Gordon, or C.G., Garner as he was known was born on 1 January 1893 near Sparta, Georgia, to parents Green Lee Garner and Hattie Gheesling.  He was the youngest of 4 boys born to them, but he also had an older half-sister Minnie, from his father's first marriage.  They were a farming family, which is probably significant considering Gordon's later choice of career.   Green Garner owned the family farm where Gordon grew up, but with 4 boys apparently did not need to hire outside help, at least according to the 1900 census.

By 1910, Green and Hattie had moved off the farm and were renting a house, still in Hancock County, Georgia.  Gordon was the only son still at home.  His father was working as a carpenter and Gordon was listed as a "carpentering laborer."   This was probably in the Granite Hill area, just outside Sparta, since that is where Gordon claimed to be from in college.

 In 1914, Gordon enrolled the University of Georgia.  There was no obvious reason for his enrolling at a fairly advanced age (21).  He was not in the military.  Considering that he was already known as "Co-op Garner" by his sophomore year, my speculation is that he was working in agriculture, became interested in the nascent co-op system and realized that he needed a university degree to work in that field.

 From the various yearbooks, it is apparent that he was active in student life.  He was noted as a photographer, as a member of the YMCA, as a Bible study member, as a member of the track team, and as an officer in the honorary agriculture fraternity, Alpha Zeta.  He was already known as "Co-op" Garner, and would be nicknamed that for the rest of his life.  In 1917, he received a bachelor's degree in Agriculture at the University of Georgia and was apparently hired almost immediately as a County extension agent, since he was working in Stephens County by June of that same year.

In the 1920 census, he is shown again with his parents, but listed as an agricultural demonstration agent.   He was still active in the State's efforts in agriculture, being listed as one of the delegates at a March 1920 conference which established the Georgia Association, a union of the chambers of commerce, farm bureaus and other industrial entities.  In newspapers from the era, it is obvious that he quickly established himself as an expert in agricultural marketing.  He was first interested in beef marketing with UGA.  Then after becoming a county extension agent in Lyons, he traveled throughout the state, appearing as a marketing expert in various meetings and agricultural gatherings.  About 1931 he started working directly for the  University, moving his family to Athens.  In 1940 he got his Masters from the University and spent the early 40s advising farmers on efficient ways to get their goods to market, taking into account shortages and rationing caused by the war.

In December 1920, Gordon married Mattie Irene Hendrix, who was working as a demonstration agent in Emanuel County.  They settled in Toombs, Lyons County, while he was the extension agent there and then moved to Athens, Clark County, where they raised 4 sons and where he lived until his retirement in 1955.   At that point, he joined Mattie in the Gaddistown, Union County area, where she had grown up and where she had moved with the boys some years earlier.  Sadly, he died less than a year later of a heart attack.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Van Evera connections

Archie, or A.K., Van Evera isn't actually an ancestor of mine but he is certainly well connected to the family, with him and two of his daughters marrying into the Wade family.

Some of these connections are very easy.  In 1915 (Bibb county marriage records), he married Annie Wade Fryer, a second marriage for both of them.  He already had 3 daughters from his first marriage to Daisy Owens, who had died on 19 January 1914 (obituary).  He remained married to Annie until his own death in 1927.

The other easy one is his oldest daughter Marion Gladys  who married Annie's brother John Henderson Wade on 27 September 1915.  John adopted Marion's daughter and he and Marion remained married until his death in 1956. 

The slightly more complicated connection is the youngest daughter, Julia Blanch.  A 1919 Macon Telegraph article talks about the marriage of Julia Van Evera and Walter Wade.  Since Annie and John had a nephew Walter, this was logically him, but Walter Wade is not a unique name and the article stated that they would be settling in Macon.  My Walter is found in the 1920 census living with his parents in Thomas County, GA.  There is a Julia in the family, the right age to be Julia Van Evera, but she is listed as a granddaughter.  Everyone in the family is listed as black, but the names and ages of the parents and childrens indicate it is definitely the right family.  Walter's grandmother was mulatto and it was possible that the census taker made an independent judgment that the family was black.  On the other hand, this could just be a mistake in recording the information.  

In December 1928, Walter married Minnie Alice Harper.  In the 1930 census, he and Minnie are still in Bibb, shown with 3 daughters, two of whom were born in 1920 and 1923 respectively.  The third one was a baby. This fits in well with him having been previously married.  Minnie's "age at first marriage" is consistent with the 1928 date but there is no such age for Walter.  He is, in fact, the only married person on that page or the ones on either side without an age at first marriage, indicating either that the person giving the information knew he'd been married before but didn't know how old he was or that he didn't want to admit to the previous marriage. 

With all these bits together, I have to conclude that Walter Wade (son of William and Camilla) was in fact the Walter married to Julia Blanch Van Evera, even though they are never clearly together as husband and wife, in the census or later records.  

I had long assumed that Julia had died between 1923 and 1928, even though no death record had been found.  However, recently I found her in California records, so they must have divorced.  She applied for social security under the name Julia Blanch Stokes, but by the time she died in 1980, her surname was Sorg.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Tiger Laws and the Wade Family

One of the things I have learned doing genealogy is the concept of "Blind Tiger" Laws, which were state or local laws governing the production and sale of alcohol.  "Blind Tigers" or "Blind Pigs" were terms for illegal alcohol (moonshine) or the places where they were sold.   As a result of these, prohibition in Georgia ran from 1908 to 1935.

Two family members managed to get caught up in these cases.  John Henderson Wade (1876-1956) got hit twice in October 1914.  He was first charged with selling alcohol in Crawford County.  Since he was living at the time in Bibb county, the warrant was sent there.  The police went to his grocery store, at 557 Telfair street, to serve the warrant, but discovered whiskey in the back of the store.  As a result, he was charged under Macon City laws as well.  There was no report on the final result of the case, but it was noted that the Macon case would have to be resolved before he could be sent back to Crawford county for the case there.

John's sister Anne Elizabeth Wade Fryer (Van Evera) (Cowherd) apparently turned to selling whiskey for a short while as well.  In December 1913, the police reported that they had found 45 bottles of "all different sizes and brands" of alcohol hidden in her attic.  This was actually on the second search of her house; nothing was found the first time.  She was not arrested since she was a "widow" with 6 children, mostly girls, at home.  Later press was closer to the truth, stating that she was divorced.  In fact, she was separated from her husband - they divorced in 1915 - but she was supporting 6 children.

In October 1914, Annie was arrested in Macon under both the city and state tiger laws.   The detectives asserted that 3 bottles of whiskey had been found in her home and that they had evidence of a sale.  After she was arrested, one of her neighbors informed the police that she had threatened to kill herself if arrested.  The police searched her and found a bottle of carbolic acid, whereupon she admitted that she would rather kill herself than be separated from her 6 young children.   After a night in jail, she was fined $50 for the city charge, which was dismissed when she was able to prove that she could not pay it.  She still had to respond to the State charge however and was kept in jail when she could not pay the bond.  The following Tuesday, four days later, one of her relatives paid her bond to get her out.

Both cases were "nol prossed" in March 1915, indicating that the prosecutor chose to not proceed with them.  No reason was given in the paper.  Annie had received her first verdict on her divorce petition in February, claiming desertion and non-support.  She got her final decree in late April, whereupon she remarried and apparently stayed out of trouble. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More Connections and a New Mystery

Earlier I posted about Dock Braswell and his father's petition to get him out of jail.  I had just posted this petition because it was in one of the Crawford County folders at the Georgia Archives.  While I knew that J.G. Braswell's daughter Virginia had married a family connection (Emanuel Horne), I hadn't paid much attention to Dock. 

Today I learned that Fannie Hause (or House) and Dock Braswell married in 1898, in Houston County.  They are tenuously connected in that Fannie is the granddaughter of John and Margaret Moore of Houston County and Emanuel Horne's sister Carrie married one of the Moores' grandsons, although of a different line.   In the 1900 census, Fannie and her daughter Bessie, age 2, are living with Fannie's parents Charles and Sarah Hause in Houston County.  Fannie is listed as married.

The mystery, however, is Dock himself.  Because of Virginia, I had already done some research on J.G. (Jacob Green) Braswell.  According to the census, he had two sons - Jacob Green and Isaac Luther.  However, his obituary only lists one surviving son "J.J. Braswell".   Both his sons appear to have gone by their middle names.  J.G. Braswell himself is seen as J.G., as Green, and as Pope.  His obituary confirms the nickname Pope.  As such, it is easy to imagine him nicknaming a son Dock as opposed to actually giving him that name.   Isaac Luther is documented as having married in 1894 and is living with that wife in the 1900 census, eliminating him as the possible "Dock" unless he was a bigamist, unlikely in a small community like that.   Green is living with his father in 1900 and is listed as single.   If J.G. was truthful in naming Dock as his son in his affidavit, then it would seem likely that Green is that son. 

I have not been able to find any Dock Braswell (with various spellings) in the census who would fit as either J.G.'s son or Fannie's husband.   I also have not found a Green Braswell of an appropriate age in the census after 1900.   It does seem unusual that a nickname would have been used on both the court record and the marriage record but never on the census.  Because of this anomaly, I think more work will need to be done on Dock, but for now I am tentatively hypothesizing that he is J.G.'s son Green.  

Pope Braswell's obituary does have one small fact that might provide some evidence - he is listed as having a daughter Fannie, but there is no other evidence of such a daughter in the household.  I wonder if this was actually a reference to a daughter-in-law?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Crawford County Records at the Georgia Archives

I have been surprised at how few researchers know that the Georgia State Archives hold 14 boxes of unfilmed original Crawford County records.  These are an absolute goldmine.  The record group  is mis-leadingly named as "Probate Court - Miscellaneous Records of the Inferior Court".  The miscellaneous part is right and there are in fact many probate records, but there is much more besides.  The vast majority of the records are 19th century although there are a very few that are early 20th century. 

There is in fact a basic finding aid for the records (click on the link that says "view inventory").  It only gives the name of the primary person in the file, but it is a whole lot better than nothing.  If you do go there, I strongly encourage you to look at any folder with a family name, since many other people appear in these records who are not indexed. 

So what all is in here?  Well, there are wills that do not appear in the will books in the Knoxville Courthouse.  There are requests for administration (often naming the heirs) as well as inventories and returns.  Typical probate records in fact.  There are also many bonds, both for guardianship and for jobs, particularly for constable.  There are records involving committing people to the State insane asylum.  These not only list the reasons but they were also required to notify the three closest adult relatives - and they are named.   There are judgments against people for various offensives, normally minor "disturbance of the peace" type records.   There are various cases brought for other reasons.  For instance, one of the files was a man bringing a suit against his brother-in-law, accusing him of bigamy. 

To see these records, you have to fill out a request at the desk.  You will be taken back to the manuscript room, which operates under some very tight but sensible rules.  You can take notes on the records or photograph them.   Not all manuscripts can be photographed, but these have been determined to be old enough to not contain current privacy-related information.

I strongly, strongly encourage anyone doing Crawford County research to look into these records.  I have found some real gold there, including proof of parentage for several of my ancestors.  Don't assume that you can find the same information on line or at the courthouse in Knoxville; this stuff is unique. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Valerie's father

Valerie Henson was born on 20 November 1918, probably in Grayson County, TX.  Her biggest mystery is her father.  Was it John Henson (the man who raised her) or Vernon Waits (the man married to her mother when she was born)?

Unusually, the Texas birth certificate data base does not have a record for Valerie, even though they do have one for her sister (or half-sister) Willie Waits and her half-sister (or step-sister) Lollie Henson, both born in Grayson County the year before.   The first public record for her is in the 1920 census, in the household of her grandfather Robert Murphy in Grayson County, Tx.  Her mother Carrie (listed as widowed) and sister Willie also appear in that census, all of them with the surname Waits.  Carrie may have actually been divorced rather than widowed, since there is evidence that Vernon Waits was still alive in 1930, although he is not confirmed as the same man. 

John Henson appears in that same census, also in Grayson County,  and he is legitimately widowed, with his wife Eva Manley Henson having died of pneumonia in October 1918.  He had 5 children at home, ages 12 to 2 1/2.  He also had a housekeeper living with him.

John and Carrie married about 1921, meaning that he became the father-figure in Valerie's life from the time that she was 2 or 3 years old.  However, I have not been able to find Valerie or Willie in the 1930 census.   John and Carrie are living in Bryan County, OK.  Four  of John's children from his first marriage, as well as two children they had had together, are living with them, but not the two Waits girls.  Neither have I managed to find them elsewhere in the census, either as Waits or Henson.

Valerie married Alfred Carender and they had a son Walter Edgar born about 1937.  They are living with John and Carrie Henson in 1940.  Valerie is listed as married, but she was apparently in the process of getting divorced, since she remarried later that year.   Her sister Willie married Alfred's brother Leslie.

Valerie's tombstone gives her name as Valerie Henson Rust and her obituary lists her parents as John Henson and Carrie Murphy Henson.  It is fairly apparent that she considered John Henson her father.  Since her children were born in Oklahoma, it is not possible to see what name was used on their birth certificates.  Her sister Willie lived in Texas and has her maiden name as Henson on one child's birth record, but as Waits on the other two. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Alia Rose

My nephew recently became a father to a little girl who represents the newest branch of our extended family tree and who is my father's first great-grandchild.   Talking to her parents, we got into a discussion of ethnicity and it occurred to us that this child is quintessentially American, a mixture of heritages that is pretty well unique to this continent, even if not to this country. 

Her paternal grandfather was an immigrant from Venezuela, although he did not stay in the U.S.  That makes her father a first generation American on that side.  On the other hand, her mother's family and her father's maternal family can claim lineages back to the 17th century colonies.  One line even extends back to Jamestown.  That makes her both a descendent of a very new arrival and of some of the very first Europeans in this nation.  As far as we know, she is not descended from those later arrivals, the Pilgrims, but she did have ancestors in early New England (1632).

Her ancestry is largely European, with a huge chunk of British (English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh) and Spanish/Portuguese, and lesser amounts of other European nations, including France, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.  She probably has some American Indian (Cherokee) but that is not proven yet and it is likely that she has some South American Indian too, through her father.   She has a tiny percentage of Jewish blood.  Among her ancestors were also African slaves as well as free persons of color, thriving in the old south despite the difficulties facing them.

Her ancestors or their siblings fought in every major war the U.S. has been in, from the Revolution forward.  They also fought against the U.S. in several Confederate states.  These predecessors weren't for the most part famous or prominent people, just farmers, workers and craftsmen, with a few teachers or professors thrown into the mix.  They came over - not legally per se since there were no legal requirements at the time - to get land and to find opportunity.  They worked hard and sometimes they prospered.  Occasionally the bigger financial crises brought them down again, often leading them to abandon where they were and to move on.  They were an integral part of that restless movement first south and then west that stole the land from those who had traditionally occupied it but also turned it into what it is today.

  In modern America, she will be considered white and may choose to call herself hispanic.   But the reality is that she is a vast mixture of the many peoples that make up this country.  She's a little American mutt and we're very proud of it. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Nancy Whitaker Horne

I notice that my posts are very male heavy, so today will redress the balance a little bit.  Nancy Whitaker (spelled many creative ways) was born about 1806 in South Carolina.  Nothing is known so far about her parentage or her early life before her marriage to Nathan Horn on 21 July 1821, in Wilkinson County, GA.    Having married so young, she was still fairly young when left a widow in 1840, with 7 or 8 children.  Of those children, Nancy (possibly a stepdaughter) and Sarah were already married.   The 1840 census gives the possibility of two sons older than Columbus, but if so they have disappeared from the records by the 1850 census.   There were 5 children still at home at that time.  Nancy's level of education is unknown, but she was able to at least sign her name on documents, rather than leave her mark. 

On Nathan's death, Nancy was made temporary administrator of the estate, and provided an inventory of the property on 16 December 1840.  Shortly thereafter, William D. Melton was appointed as the permanent administrator and he returned a valuation of the goods in January 1841, giving a total value of $509.75.  This did not include any of the property but did include promissory notes for money owed Nathan from Martin Hill, Gilford Grant, John Jermony, Sherod Horne, and George F. Mathews.  Most of the notes had been due in 1838-1839, possibly a further indicator of the troubled financial times.   An estate sale was held in 1841, netting $105.18.  At this sale, Nancy purchased a walnut writing desk, a shovel and tongs, a pot rack and coffee mill, a lot of jars, jugs and bottles, 2 barrels and 1 bell (pail?), a saddle and bridle, 3 raw hides, 15 head of hogs and 2 yearlings.  The other purchasers were William D. Melton, Uriah Melton, B. Stovall, S. Rutherford, G. Grant, E. Mathews and I (or J) Davis.

There is one curious circumstance of Nancy's life after Nathan died.   He died shortly after the panic of 1837 and the subsequent bank collapse and consequently, had significant debts. Tax records from 1840 show him defaulting on the taxes for 488 acres in district 7, and newspaper reports indicate that 202 acres were seized to cover taxes.    Court records as the estate was probated indicate that his land was to be sold to pay his debts, with the specific plots given.  In fact, probate records show payment for someone to go and sell the land in Cherokee county.

Nancy is not mentioned in the 1840's tax records, either paying or defaulting.  In 1851, she is shown paying taxes on 100 Acres in Crawford County, Section 73, district 2.   In 1856, however, she is paying taxes on 304 acres in Crawford County, as well as land in Union, Cobb, Coweta, Cherokee and Walker counties.  Comparison of the plot designators indicate that all of these (except for the land in Crawford and Coweta Counties) are plots allegedly owned by Nathan and sold after his death.  This is not all the land he had, but all this land originally belonged to him.   In 1857, she has apparently gotten rid of some of the land but she is still paying taxes on land in Union and Cherokee. She is also now paying tax on the property they originally had in Pulaski county as well.

The increase in property in Crawford County is not necessarily surprising.  If Nancy was successfully running the farm (and she had several boys to help with that) and times improved, she might well have managed to purchase land.  But how did she get the land back that had been "sold"?  And if it wasn't sold, why didn't she pay taxes (or get penalized for defaulting on taxes) between 1840 and 1856?  Next step is to check out the non-burned courthouses for the land records, to see if they show any clues for what was going on here.

Nancy disappears from the records after the 1860 census.  It is possible that she married, but considering her age, probably slightly more probable that she died. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Washington William Buchanan Horne

According to his wife's confederate pension application, Washington W. B. Horne was born in September 1835 in Crawford County, GA.  His parents were Nathan Horne and Nancy Whitaker.  He lost his father quite young, having just turned 5 when Nathan died.  The family apparently went through some tough financial times for a period, with debts showing up in various records.  However, by 1857, his mother had restored their finances sufficiently that she was paying taxes on their Crawford County land as well as land in several other counties.   Wash and his sister Mary may have been twins, since they show as the same age in the 1850 and 1860 censuses.  However, since these censuses were done on the same date, it is also possible that one of them is 10-11 months older than the other, with a birthday shortly after the census.  Mary disappears after the 1860 census.  There are indications, including Mary Ann's pension application, that he was originally just known as William Buchanan Horne and that the Washington was a later addition.  He also appears in one census as "Buck". 

Washington enlisted in Savannah on 3 May 1862, in the 57th GA infantry regisment, along with his future wife Mary Ann's brother James.  He received a $50 bounty for doing so.   James died in Tennessee in December 1862.  Washington continued with the army to Vicksburg, Mississippi, where they remained until surrenduring on 4 July 1863.  Washington was among those paroled and sent home until they could be exchanged.

Shortly afterwards, on 8 September 1863, Washington and Mary Ann Morris were married.  The date is from Mary Ann's pension application, but it is unclear where they married since they do not appear in the Crawford County marriage books.  The 57th GA was apparently exchanged by October 1863, when they were reassigned first to Savannah, then in February 1864 to guard duty at Andersonville.  In May of that year they were sent to join the confederate forces defending against the Union advance into Georgia.  Washington was wounded and lost an arm at some point in July, possibly at the battle of Peachtree Creek, where the 57th suffered heavy casualties.  He returned to Crawford county at that time and stayed there.

Both before and after the war, Washington served as a constable for Crawford County and worked as a farmer.  He and Mary Ann apparently had 7 children, 4 of whom were still alive in 1900.   The known children were:

  -- James Washington Horne, 1867-1933.  Married Ada Julia Barfield and remained in Crawford County.
  -- John Horne, b abt 1870.  Probably died before 1880.
  -- Emanuel E. Horne, b 1874, died after 1940.  He married Virginia Braswell.  E.E. had a troubled life.  He was arrested at least once for robbing Moses Wade and was not with his wife in the 1920 census.  In 1910 and 1940 he was in the state asylum in Milledgeville.  He was released at least once when the court decided that he was not in fact insane, but apparently was later sent back.  He was living with his family in Macon in 1930.
   -- Jerry Horne, 1877-1957.
   -- Carrie Frances Horne,  1880-1960.  She married James Edward Wade and remained in Crawford County.

In 1880, Washington was confined to the State Insane Asylum, where he died 4 years later.  He is buried in Crawford County.  Mary Ann remained in Crawford county and is buried next to her husband. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sports Center Saturday - Soapbox Derby

Two sets of cousins are in this picture, getting ready for the Soapbox derby.  Warren Hendrix Garner is driving the car.  Cheering him on are (l-r) Charlie Garner, Bill Floyd, Ed Floyd, Bobby Garner and Jim Garner.  The photo will have been taken about July 1938.  Warren won the regional competition in Athens, GA and competed in the State-level races at the end of that month. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Washington Horne




The tombstone in the top photo and the grave in the picture below are about all that is left in the Horne family cemetery.  The tombstone is reportedly not the original one but was put up during an effort to commemorate Confederate veterans.  Unfortunately, a road now goes right through that area and these are practically in the ditch.  There is the sign, the one tombstone, and one grave slab.  I was only able to find it because an elderly relative showed me where it was.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

A New Beginning

As of this month, the University of Georgia system is taking over the Georgia Archives.  This has seemed like a good decision since it was announced, but today they verified it.  As of 31 July, the Archives will be open 4 days per week rather than 2. 

I checked out their new website today as well.  They apologized for broken links but in my brief look at it, I didn't find any.  So far it is pretty well just capturing all the previous links, but hopefully the university system will bring some innovation to it as they get settled in.  I'm optimistic about a bright future for Georgia research. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Confusion of Family Connections

Almost every line of my mother's family have been in Crawford County, GA since the 1830s.  This of course means that over the years, different members of the family have interacted with each other in good and bad ways.  One of the challenges for me is to remember that these exchanges are not always anything more than neighbors interacting with each other, and that it is purely coincidental that their great-grandchildren married.  On the other hand, sometimes it really does indicate a connection between the families. It's hard when the names are so familiar to you to sometimes recognize the difference.

For example:  In November 1843 - Thomas S. Estis brought a case against John Perry, Abel Daniel & Thomas Stripling.  The verdict was listed as "debt & confession for plaintiff for $94.46".  The defendant (John Perry) being dissatisfied with the confession, paid all costs and demanded a stay of execution & brought Nimrod Lewis & tendered him as security.   John Perry's great grandson Frank Becham married Lewis's great-great-granddaughter Viola Wade.  Since I spend so much time on both men, I had to remind myself that this 1843 connection was that of neighbors, not family. 

On the other hand, In January 1900, M. T. (Moses Thomas) Wade accused Emanuel Horne of stealing $140 from him.  Horne was arrested and offered to return the money if charges were not pressed.  Wade agreed, but the court did not and ordered that the case proceed anyway.  The newspaper did not give the final verdict.   I had at first put this one down to coincidence, but then remembered that Wade's son Ed Wade was married to Horne's sister Carrie.  While this probably didn't affect the original robbery, it may well have been a factor in Wade's willingness to drop the charges.