Thursday, September 25, 2014

Morris and Sessions connection

On a recent trip to the Wilcox County Courthouse, I found this deed which definitely seems to link the Sessions and Morris families. 

(page) 161

The State of Alabama, Wilcox County} This indenture witnesseth that I Daniel J. Morris of the state and county aforesaid for the love and affection I have and bear for John Sidney Sessions and for the better support livelihood & maintenance of the said John Sidney Sessions do give grant and confirm and by these presents do give grant and confirm the following Cattle viz two cows and calves one barron cow, one two year old heifer and one two year old steer marked with a poplar leaf in the right Ear Crop and split in the left ear and I Daniel J. Morris for the love and affection I have for William James Henry Sessions and for the better support livelihood and maintenance of the said William James Henry do give grant and confirm and by these presents do give grant and confirm to the said William James Henry Sessions the following Cattle viz one cow and calf, one cow and yearling, one three years old heifer, two three years old steers and one year old heifer Marked with a poplar leaf in the right Ear Crop and split in the left ear the said John Sidney Sessions and William James Henry Sessions to have and to hold the above mentioned cattle and their increase forever and I the said Daniel J. Morris do warrant and forever defend said cattle to the said John Sidney Sessions and William James Henry Sessions theirs heirs executors administrators and assigns or against any person or persons who may or shall [one word] claim the same

Given from under my hand and seal this April 19th AD 1834 and of the Independence of the United States the fifty eighth year.

                                                    Daniel J. Morris //Seal//

Sealed signed and delivered in the presence of
  William G W Sessions
   Stephen Morris

The State of Alabama, Wilcox County} Personally appeared before me Duncan C. Smith Clerk of the County Court of said County Stephen Morris one of the subscribing witnesses to the within deed who being duly sworn upon Oath saith that he saw Daniel J. Morris sign seal and deliver the within deed on the day and year therein mentioned and for the purposes and considerations therein named to John Sidney Sessions and William James Henry Sessions, that he signed his name as a witness and that he saw William G. W. Sessions his name as a witness to the same
sworn & subscribed the 21st April 1834             //Signed// Stephen Morris
  //signed// DC Smith Clerk

Recorded the 22nd April 1834

Monday, September 22, 2014

Martha Patman Peterman letter

This letter was originally found on the Georgia Virtual Vault website, in their FileII documents, recently added on line.  Martha Jane Patman (1823-1873) was born in Oglethorpe County and died in Taylor County.  She was the first wife of Columbus James Peterman.  This letter was written to her sister and brother-in-law,  Elizabeth Catherine Patman Bowdoin and Josephus Bowdoin .  I have added punctuation where I think it would go, but all spelling is retained as she wrote it.  Other people named are:  Isham Patman (Martha and Elizabeth's brother), Lorena (Carter Patman), Isham's wife.  Hypatia - Elizabeth and Josephus' daughter, about 18 months old at this time.  Davy is uncertain but probably their oldest brother David Patman.    James Peterman is probably Columbus' brother James Robert.  I find no evidence that he had a daughter but he had married in 1851.  I have not been able to identify Martha Nate (possibly Nite?).  Elias Patman is another brother, married to Columbus Peterman's sister Lucinda. And of note- she can't spell "hear" (puts it as "here" each time) but gets acquaintance right.


Georgia Oglethorpe Co March the 31st 1853

Dear brother and sister i take my pen in hand to drop you a few lines which leaves us all well and i hope when these lines comes to hand they may find you all enjoying the same blesing [.]  the conexion is well as ?fore? are now a year and nothing of importance to write [.]  we have heard of the death of our brother Isham [.]  he had apoplexy [stroke] fits [.] he had one on saturday and died on thursday afterwards with the third one [.] he never spoke after he was struck with the last one[.]  Lorena is a going to live with her mar [ma?] she wrote to Davy[.]  Isham was here one saturday and had the first fit the next[.]  i would be glad to see you all and if i cant se you i would be glad to here from you[.]  You surely have forgot me and dont care for me[,] i want to here from you once and a while if i cant see you[.] you must write me son [soon] and all the nuse [news.]  if i could see you i could tell you so many things of the things there is in oglethorpe and all of your acquaintance[.] it would do you good to here who is maried and who hasnt[.]  there is some that hasnt married yet that wants to and when i come i will tell you them all[.]  it is two [too] tedious to write[.]  you must write how large Hypatia is and how much she can talk and all about her and kiss her for me[.]  i want to see her very bad[.]  James Peterman wife has a daughter and Martha Nate has a son[.] they was both born the same day[.]  Martha has the fever[.] she has had the fever ever since her baby was three days old[.] he is six weeks old[.]  she cant set up yet[.] the dr says she is mending[.] i cant see it if she is[.] Oh turn over [turn the page over]

[back page]
god [good] night Cate[.] how do you do this night[?] i wonder how you are a geting on a raising of chicanes [chickens][.]  i have 40 and has a very god garden for the time of year[.]  my pease [peas] is in blom and my plants is most large enouf to set out[.] the potatoes was nipt right smart monday morning[.] they is as hy as my hand[.] well i must write some a bout the corn crop[.] Columbus is a planting of corn[.] he will get done planting it in a few days[.] there is some dun there corn[.] there is some that is a going to commence planting coton monday[.] we expect to come this summer if we can[.] Elias and Lucinda says they will come with us when we come[.] you must write soon and all the nuse[.] give my love to all enquiring friends if there is any and except [accept] a portion yourselves[.] no more only remains your sister until death Martha J. Peterman.

[To] Elizabeth C. Bowdon and Joseph D. Bowdon

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Thank you Georgia Archives!

I happened to visit the Georgia Archives webpage yesterday and saw that new information had been added to the Virtual vault, indexed original documents.  I put in some family surnames and quickly found a letter from my 2Great - Grandfather asking for financial relief after the war and, even more marvelous, an 1853 letter from my 3Great Grandmother to her sister, just chatting about the family!  That one will get transcribed on here sooner or later, but just getting to read it was such a treasure!  My family was poor,  largely illiterate, and whatever the opposite of being hoarders is, so very little has come down to us.   This was a small window on the past that I never would have expected.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

David Murphy Griswold - 1,2, or 3? Or someone else?

In 1911, Fulton Jasper Hendrix married a widow (maybe) Emma Pearl Holliday Griswold and took into his household her children Thomas Murphy Griswold (known as Murphy), Gilbert G. Griswold, and Jackson F. (Jack) Griswold.   All of them are living together in Oconee county, Georgia in 1920.  Emma had apparently died by 1924, when Fulton married Nancy Ollen Roberts (known as Ollen) in Mississippi.  Fulton and Ollen settled in Louisiana where they lived the remainder of their lives.  I'm presuming Emma died because I can't find her in the census and because Fulton is listed as Murphy's stepfather in Murphy's obituary.  Mom's ex-husband would have been less likely to be remembered as such.

Thomas Murphy Griswold was born in Rebecca, Turner County, GA and died in Baton Rouge, LA.  His obituary lists his survivors as his wife Margaret, two stepsons, his stepfather and stepmother Mr and Mrs. F.J. Hendrix, 4 unnamed stepbrothers and 4 unnamed stepsisters.   This links Thomas M. Griswold to the Murphy Griswold in the 1910 household.  His SS-5 lists his parents as David Murphy Griswold and Emma Pearl Holliday.

Gilbert M. Griswold was also born in Rebecca and died in Galveston, TX.   He was survived by his widow Mrs. "Joseph" Griswold (from other records, probably Josephine),  and his two brothers.  His death certificate also gives David Murphy Griswold and Emma Pearl Holliday as his parents.

Jackson Franklin Griswold was born in Shubuta, Clarke County, Mississippi in September 1908.  He died in Galveston, TX in 1986, survived by his two sisters-in-law, and cousins Lelia Grobman of Texas and John Smith of New Orleans.  Lelia's obituary indicated that she was a Smit (not Smith) by birth and the census confirmed a brother John.  Further investigation indicated that their mother was Maggie Holliday, Emma Pearl's older sister.   Of interest was that the Smit children were all born in Mississippi, possibly an indication of why Emma went there. 

Murphy's social security application and Gilbert's death certificate both list their parents as David Murphy Griswold and Emma Pearl Holliday.   Emma has been relatively easy to trace (other than her death) but David has become one of those mysteries that bug me.  It's not important, none of the boys seems to have had children, it's just a mystery.

In 1910, Emma is listed as widowed and the 3 boys all show their father as born in Connecticut, their mother in Georgia.   This info presumably came from Emma. She is running a boarding house in Rebecca, GA, with Fulton Hendrix as one of her boarders.  In 1920, their father is from "Georgia", but since the boys names are badly mangled and they are all listed as Hendrix in this census, I think most of this information can be ignored.  By 1930, Murphy is living near his stepfather in New Orleans, while Gilbert and Jack (and Gilbert's wife) are in Alabama.  For Gilbert and Jack, the father's birthplace is Michigan, but Thomas still has Georgia.  There's no way of knowing who provided the information in either case.

Online records and family trees show three David Murphy Griswolds of an appropriate age to be these children's father.

  One:  born to Stephen and Sarah Purdom Griswold in 1848 in Tennessee.  He had a twin brother George Gilbert.   However, he married Missouri and they appear in every census through 1900, with him reportedly dying in 1908 in either Russell County, AL or Colquitt County, GA in 1908.   They lived most of their married life in Russell County, on the Georgia border.

   Father:  Pro - His name and his son Gilbert's name and his date of death, which matches well with a son born in 1908 but wife widowed in 1910.   He was a salesman and may have died in Colquitt county which gets him at least closer to Turner county, where at least the two oldest children were born.  Emma's family was in Lee County in 1900 and her father Thomas was a merchant.  His death in February 1908, when Emma was newly pregnant with Jack might have spurred her to go to her sister's in Mississippi.

   Con - He was married to someone else and there are no specific records connecting him with Emma or Turner county.  While a salesman might have covered a large area, it could also just mean someone who works behind the counter at a store.  He would have been about 53 when beginning a relationship with Emma.   He would not have been able to marry Emma and she does use the Griswold name and call herself widowed in 1910.

Two:  The son of George Gilbert and Martha Bennett Griswold, born in 1884 in Grundy County, TN.  The nephew of option 1.   He married Anna Bell Dykes in Grundy County in 1904, where they were still living in 1910,  They then moved to Arkansas where they remained.

Father: Pro - only the name and the connection to the name "Gilbert".

 Con - There is nothing that connects him to Georgia.  If he had not married in 1904, his age would have made him a good candidate, but a marriage to one woman in 1901 (and a continuing relationship) as well as a second marriage three years later and two states away, would have been a bit hard to pursue at the time.  Had he severed ties with Emma after the marriage to Bell, then it would have been more likely.

Three:  Born about 1872 in Tennessee to Anderson and Martha Warren Griswold,  died in Alabama in 1951.  Anderson was another brother to David Griswold one.  This David married Mary Brawley in 1894 in Grundy  County, TN.  They moved to Alabama about 1901, to the Birmingham area, where they lived until at least 1940.  He died in Tuscaloosa, AL.

Pro:  Same as option 2, his name and the family association with the name Gilbert, although somewhat more distant for him.   He's closer to Georgia than option 2, but still somewhat distant to be raising two families.

Con:  Like with option 2, this would require someone who is actively raising two separate families in two rather distant locations.

So, is one of these my David Murphy Griswold?  Of these three I like option one the best, especially since his death coincides so neatly with the given timeline.  On the other hand, with this family's apparent propensity for using the same names, it is possible another son from that family had the name.  I'm a little more skeptical about a completely unrelated candidate, just because of the combination of the two names, Gilbert and David Murphy.  Both names (Murphy and Gilbert) were in relatively common use, but not so common that they would normally be found repeatedly together. The combination David Murphy is even rarer.  There is also the problem of where the boys' father was born, since none of the options given includes Tennessee and in fact, all the reasonable options (not counting the Georgia) would have him from some place up north.  This could have been a lie told to Emma, or one told by Emma, or just a confusion in the family.