22 March 2017

Sad Death of Charlie Bowen

Charlie, a son of James Bowen, died just a few months before his nineteenth birthday.  His remains rest at Lilly Cemetery in Dooly County, Georgia.


Twas but a flower too good for earth, Transplanted into heaven.

Vienna News (Georgia)
9 September 1910, pg. 1

Sad Death of Young Man.

Sunday evening Sept. 4th at his home in the Pleasant Valley community, Mr. Charlie Bowen died after a short illness.

His death was an untimely one as he was just coming into young manhood.  He was eighteen years of age and had spent most of his life in the community where he died.

He was highly esteemed by all who knew him best.

He leaves a father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Bowen, two brothers, Walter and Runie Bowen, and five sisters, Mrs. Idus Hughes, Mrs. J. W. Woodruff, Misses Lilla, Gussie, and Mary Bowen, besides a number of friends to mourn his loss.

He will be greatly missed by his parents because of his love, obedience, and thoughtful kindness, by his brothers and sisters on account of his tender care and affection, by his friends and companions for his cheerful kindness.

His peculiar love and thoughtful care for his parents was very noticeable, and is a worthy example for every young boy and man.

Though his death came ere he had time to get out into the world to gain a prominent place, yet he leaves a priceless gift to his parents, that of a good name and unspotted character which is the best thing any man can leave as a heritage.

In his life were several things worthy of example.  That he honored his father and mother, avoided evil companions and leaves a clean record.

His remains were laid to rest in the family section of the Lilly cemetery.  Funeral services were conducted by Rev. L. F. Herring, former teacher of the Pleasant Valley school.

To the bereaved family we extend deep sympathy and commend them to Jesus Christ who alone can comfort in time of great sorrow.

Written by a friend.

07 March 2017

Bigby Parrott Passed to Silence and Pathetic Dust (Tombstone Tuesday)

A family burial lot that can't be missed (even if you tried) while wandering through Oak Hill Cemetery at Newnan, Georgia is that of the Parrott – Bigby family.  The sacred ground is adorned with grand columns, several-feet-tall tombstones, and life-size angels.


Bigby Parrott was a son of Charles C. and Callie D. Bigby Parrott.  He died January 1917 due to pneumonia.  Following is from the 19 January 1917 edition of the Newnan Herald (Georgia):

A Tribute.
Bigby Parrott – a friend, a beloved husband, a cherished brother, a generous character and a good business man – passed to silence and pathetic dust as the golden sun kissed the morning dew at 6:15 o'clock Tuesday morning, Jan. 16, at his home in Atlanta.  He had just passed the milestone that marks the middle station on Life's highway, being 37 years of age.  He had not been well for several weeks, and on Friday before he fell into that "dreamless sleep that knows no waking," his physician called over the 'phone and asked as to how he was.  Bigby replied, "I am better to-day; don't think you need to come." Until the last, in his home, what he added to the sum of human joy was characteristic.

A loved and loving husband, father and brother, was Bigby Parrott.  He leaves a wife, a little 2-year-old daughter, and one sister, Mrs. Mary Parrott Orr.  He was the son of Chas. C. and Callie D. Parrott.  He entered Peekskill College, New York, when he was 18 years of age.  Finishing there, he entered business at Greeley, Col., going later to Oklahoma, where he remained a year or so before returning to his native State.

Our heart goes out in deepest sympathy to his loved ones, and feel sure he would have us say:  "Not as I will, but as Thou wilt."  A Friend.

100_5621Preceding the death of Bigby by less than four years, was that of his father Charles.  His remains rest behind Bigby's at Oak Hill.  Following from the 10 April 1913 edition of the Carrollton Free Press (Georgia):

C. C. Parrott Killed By Train at Newnan

Mr. Charles C. Parrott, president of the First National Bank of Newnan, was run over by an Atlanta & West Point train near the city limits of Newnan at 6:45 o'clock Monday morning and instantly killed.

Mr. Parrott, who was on his way out to his farm, was evidently looking for another train, and so did not see the one which killed him until it was upon him.

He was one of the most prominent men in that section and is widely mourned.  A wife and two children survive him.


The image below shows that Charles's wife Callie D. (Bigby) has a tombstone nearly identical to that of her husband.  At the time of my visit to Oak Hill, her angel had fallen over.  It is my understanding that since then a massive repair and cleanup process was undertaken, and Callie's angel is back in its rightful place.


Callie D. Bigby
Wife of Charles C. Parrott
Born Aug 31, 1858
Died July 12, 1909

Our chain on earth is broken.
Its brightest link's in heaven.

Another flower, its love cup filled,
Folds all its sweetness in.
Another soul is home in Heaven,
Without a spot of sin.
Once more the crystal gates of light,
Have shut an angel in.

28 February 2017

William Mattox: the Meanest Man in Georgia? (Tombstone Tuesday)

100_1115William Mattox, born 1836 in Elbert County, Georgia to Henry Page and Sophia N. Mattox, was a lot of things.  He was a son, a brother, a husband, and a father.  He was also a large landowner, a shrewd businessman, a soldier, and a statesman.

But was William Mattox the meanest man in Georgia? Those who labored for him might argue he was.

A great-great grandson of Col. Mattox, Mr. Ray Chandler, penned an article about his notable ancestor.  It was published in the Summer 2011 edition of Georgia Backroads magazine.  In detailing the life of Mattox, Mr. Chandler described the acquisition of land which began after his great-great grandfather's 1856 graduation from college.  By 1860, W. H. Mattox owned more than 1,000 acres in Elbert County, much of it along the Savannah River.  To go with that property was 79 slaves.

Mattox believed in bringing industry to the South, but had to wait until after the Civil War to put his plan into practice.  After a couple of years of service, Mattox returned to the business of amassing property and wealth.  According to Mr. Chandler -

By the mid 1880s, Mattox's land holdings totaled 3,414 acres, mostly rich bottomland along the Georgia side of the upper Savannah River, including two islands…

Mattox also had two mills at this time, yet he only employed 40 people to run all the farming and milling operations.  He got away with that by also leasing convicts from the state – a cheap source of labor akin to slavery.  Returning to Mr. Chandler's article,

By the 1880s, Mattox had a convict-labor stockade on his upper Savannah River property near Carter's Island.  He seemed to favor leasing black female convicts, presumably because they were less likely to attempt escape than males.  In time, he would acquire a reputation for cruelty in his treatment of these leased convicts.

Citing a gentleman that worked as a guard at Mattox's stockade, Mr. Chandler told of a convict that failed to show up for work due to illness.  When Mattox was done with her, "she was a bloody mess." It was also known among the guards that when a convict gave birth, the job was to take the newborn to the river and throw it in.

The awful reputation of William Mattox was known far and wide.  Part of a local folksong – referenced in Mr. Chandler's article, as well as the book titled Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South – described "Bill's" ability with a whip:

Bill Mattox is yo master
Bill Mattox is yo frin
Bill Mattox totes de long cowhide
He ain't afraid to bend!

But karma was about to take a bite out of Col. Mattox.  Just a few months after he expanded into textiles with the Heardmont Cotton Mill, a fire caused by a lightning strike destroyed his new venture.  No insurance plus the panic of 1893 equaled bankruptcy by 1898.

One of the investors in that cotton mill was Col. Mattox's son-in-law, Jeptha Jones, Jr.  Bad blood between the two men might have contributed to the gunfight two years later that killed William H. Mattox, though witnesses said the battle between the two was over a horse.

Columbus Daily Enquirer (Georgia)
18 November 1900 – pg. 4 [via GenealogyBank]


He Was Shot By His Son-in-Law Yesterday at Heardmont.

Elberton, Ga., Nov. 17. – At Heardmont, twelve miles below Elberton, this afternoon Hon. W. F. Mattox was shot and killed by his son-in-law, J. B. Jones, Jr.  It is said that at the time they were shooting at each other.  Colonel Mattox was about 67 years of age, and has long been one of the most prominent men in the state.

The remains of William H. Mattox were laid to rest at Elmhurst Cemetery in Elberton.  William's parents, brother, wife, and daughter are there as well.



Rebecca Allen married William Mattox in 1858.  Rebecca was a grand-niece of Beverly Allen, who shot and killed U.S. Marshall Robert Forsyth in Augusta.


21 February 2017

Just as the Sun was Sinking, Lizzie Barker Departed this Life (Tombstone Tuesday)

Bonaire Cemetery 033Houston Home Journal (Georgia)
18 September 1913 – pg. 7

Death of Mrs. J. N. Barker

Last Tuesday afternoon, the 9th inst, just as the sun was sinking in the west and the shades of night had began to fall, Mrs. Lizzie Pollock Barker, wife of Mr. James N. Barker, departed this life at her home in Bonaire.  She had been sick for several weeks, but paralysis was the immediate cause for her death.

Mrs. Barker was the daughter of the late Mrs. Annie M. Baskin of this county and was born Dec. 5th, 1854.  She was married to Mr. J. N. Barker Sept. 16, 1869, having been companions for 44 years.  Of this union there were born eleven children, five of which preceded her to the grave.

The children, who were with her during her last days are, Mr. B. B. Barker of Unadilla, Mrs. R. S. Woodard and Mrs. W. A. King, of Macon, Mrs. S. H. Sasser, Mrs. J. H. Watson and Mrs. J. R. Hunt of Bonaire.

She was an excellent and benevolent woman, a noble wife, a devoted mother to her now sorrowing children and a kind friend to all whom she met.

Her bright, glorious earthly [record] is now closed and is transferred from this troublesome world to the better promised world to come and is entered on the pages of the Eternal Book of Life, we are assured.

Mrs. Barker was not a member of the church, but she was a Primative [sic] Baptist in spirit, faith and practice; she was one of the noble women of this life, who established for herself a place in the hearts of all who knew her, and by her many kind acts won the close friendship of all.

We would say to the dear bereaved husband and children:  Weep no more for her, but for yourselves; your loss is her eternal gain.  May her example of devotion and loving service to you and her holy and heavenly aspirations inspire you with energy and deep-seated desire to emulate her noble life.

May the blessed Lord comfort, as He only can, the grieving husband and mourning children, and enable them to look upward and bless the the [sic] Lord for His mercy and faithfulness, and know He doth all things well[.] What a glorious, happy and eternal life when those who meet shall part no more, and those long parted shall meet again.

On the day following her death the remains were interred in the cemetery at Bonaire; the funeral services were conducted from the Methodist church by Rev. W. J. Gseene [sic], of Jones county.  The service was very impressive and largely attended…

Buried near Mary Elizabeth "LIzzie" Pollock Barker is her husband, and one of the daughters to precede her in death – Mamie (d. 1898).

Bonaire Cemetery 032

Bonaire Cemetery 035

25 January 2017

It's All About the Tree, Part 3 (a Mossy Wordless Wednesday)

24 January 2017

White Bronze Obelisk for John Mason Giles (Tombstone Tuesday)

From Evergreen Cemetery at Perry, Houston County, Georgia -



John Mason Giles
Son of Andrew & Sarah Cowan Giles
Born in Abbeville Dist, S.C. Feb 22, 1818
Graduated at the University of Georgia, 1838
Admitted to the Bar 1839
Member of the Georgia State Constitutional Conventions, 1861-1865
Died in Perry, Ga May 25, 1866

He steadfastly declined mere political offices,
But a virtuous and intelligent people honored his life with many important trusts,
And mourned his death as a public calamity.



23 January 2017

Frances Dennard: Death Comes Not to Those Whose Lives are Such as Hers (Today's Epitaph)

The remains of Frances Dennard rest at Evergreen Cemetery in Perry, Houston County, Georgia.


F. S. A. Dennard
Born July 31, 1815
Died July 6, 1886
Death comes not to those whose lives are such as hers,
it is but an entrance into our Father's home.

Obituary from Houston Home Journal (Perry, Georgia)
8 July 1886 – pg. 3

Death of Mrs. Dennard.

Mrs. Mary F. Dennard, widow of the late Capt. Hugh L. Dennard, died last Tuesday evening at the residence of her son-in-law, Hon. D. M. Hughes in Twiggs county.  Mrs. Dennard left Perry about two months ago to visit her daughter in Twiggs, and was taken sick a few days after her arrival there.  The immediate cause of her death was typhoid dysentery.  The burial will take place this morning at Evergreen Cemetery at Perry.  Funeral exercises will be held at the Baptist church, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Mrs. Dennard was about 71 years old, and her life had been such as to win to her the love and esteem of all who knew her.  For many years she had been a consistent member of the Baptist Church…

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