30 January 2009

On This Date, January 30th

James A. Whiteside died on this date 118 years ago in Rutland, Georgia. He was born 28 July 1835 in Columbus, Georgia. James was buried in Sardis Cemetery; Bibb County, Georgia.

William Mize died on this date 54 years ago. His gravestone transcription from Magnolia Park Cemetery, Warner Robins, Georgia:

William Mize
PFC Co M 21 Infantry
World War I
April 14, 1902 - Jan 30, 1955

Southern Graves Home

29 January 2009

"This is My Beloved Husband" - Love Letter in a Cemetery

Have you ever read an inscription on a gravestone that seemed so personal, so raw, you thought it could be a page from someone's diary? That's exactly how I felt when I read the love letter from Faye Wall to her husband Charles.

A "ledger" gravestone is a slab that covers an entire grave. Mrs. Wall used this type of stone for her husband, and on it she had this inscribed in raised letters:

This Is My Beloved Husband

Charles Douglas Wall
March 1, 1926
July 12, 1972

You Were My Purpose And My Way.
Each Night And Day, Each Hour Something
Wonderful And Dear Of You Will Ring
My Heart And Knock Upon My Mind.
For Love Has Your Face And Body, Your
Tender Hands And Your Sweet Mouth -
God Has Made No Other Eyes Like Yours.
You Were All I And All Of Me Was You -
My Senses Rhymed With Your Senses And
Our Bodies Made Music And Gave Light
As All Things Absolute. Now I Walk Alone,
Slowly. No Hurry, Nobody's Waiting.
My Love Who Loved Me Is Gone. ... Faye Wall

Mr. Wall is buried at Magnolia Park Cemetery; Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia.

On This Date, January 29th

Clifford Angus Holleman died on this date 120 years ago, 5 days before his seventh birthday. He was born 3 February 1882. Clifford was buried in Sardis Cemetery; Bibb County, Georgia.

28 January 2009

Missouri Death Certificates Online

Leland Meitzler is back at GenealogyBlog, and today he wrote a nice post about The Missouri Death Certificates Online Index & Digital Death Certificates 1910-1957. Check it out! It's always nice to find another free resource.

I would like to add that you can find many Georgia death certificates online, as well. Georgia's Virtual Vault contains Georgia Death Certificates, 1919-1927. The website copy states, "The collection also includes a number of certificates from 1914-1918, with the bulk dating from 1917 and 1918."

Acronyms on Military Gravestones

Sometimes I have trouble reading military gravestones. They oftentimes contain acronyms (or abbreviations, whichever is the correct term) that I just cannot figure out. Here's one from Magnolia Park Cemetery; Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia I found especially difficult to decipher:

Robert C. Countryman
World War I
Jan 6, 1892 - Aug 30, 1953

The only thing I thought I had was "training center" at the end of line three. I turned to my retired Air Force father for help (thanks, Dad). Here's what he came up with:

"From my Army friends:

Pvt = Private
GP =
MTD = Motor Transport Corps Division
MG = Machine Gun
TNG CEN = Training Center

Don't know about the GP. It doesn't seem to fit but is related to the 6 which is for 6th Army. Could be general purpose."

Anyone else have a go-to resource for better understanding the abbreviations on military gravestones?

On This Date, January 28th

Kennedy Bullard died on this date 157 years ago. This son of Wiley and Parthena Bullard was born 4 August 1819. He was buried in Beech Springs Methodist Church Cemetery; Bullard, Twiggs County, Georgia.

27 January 2009

My Trip to Russellville Baptist Church & Cemetery

I've been planning to take a trip to Russellville Baptist Church Cemetery in Monroe County, Georgia ever since I researched a bit and wrote a post about Grady O'Neal and his wife Josephine Harbuck (Grady O'Neal & the Girl Next Door). According to an online transcription for this cemetery, Grady's mother Martha Baggarley O'Neal is buried in this cemetery. I decided to pay a visit and my respects.

Since this week's "Genealogy Blogging Prompt" is to take a genealogy day trip and write about it, I figured I'd pay a bit more attention to my entire journey from start to finish.

I actually started preparing for my trip the night before. I printed out directions to the cemetery, along with a couple of maps. My might-as-well-be-husband used to install satellite systems for DirecTV, and he told me a bit about the area since he had done some work there. He even told me a place I should stop and eat (I didn't, though).

The next morning, I charged the batteries for my digital camera. The fluids in my car were properly checked by my guy, and I was told to watch my surroundings. I rolled my eyes and said ok, but it is something to keep in mind. I was taking a trip to a place I'd never been, and I was doing it alone. Being mindful of my surroundings is only common sense.

Finally, I was on my way. The weatherman had said it was going to be partly cloudy with a high of 72. When I began my journey, it was 40+ and foggy. I was listening to the radio, alternating between country music and light rock.

When I got away from the main cities in the area, I entered rural Georgia. The drive was pleasant, though foggy. Since the fog limited my vision somewhat, I think I saw more of my immediate surroundings. Sometimes, when I'm looking at the scenery, I tend to look far into the distance. Today, I was looking at what was right off the road.

I saw peach orchards, pecan orchards, cotton fields, and tree farms. Almost all the houses had some sort of satellite dishes in their yards. Either cable doesn't run, or it is not popular out here. Traffic was minimal. I saw more 18-wheelers than regular passenger cars.

I eventually arrived and traveled through the city of Roberta. I've visted there before. I made a mental note to stop at their main cemetery on the way home.

Next, I went through Musella. There is a huge farm there. While it was quiet on this January day, I have been there in warmer climate. That is when they have their fruits and vegetables on display for sample and purchase. It's bustling then.

Once through Musella, I took a quick right toward Russellville. A little ways from Musella, large properties were still common. Now, though, they all have horses.

Eventually I reached the Russellville Baptist Church and cemetery, which was established 26 October 1849. The fog, though a little more patchy, was still present. The church was very pretty and white with beautiful stained glass windows. The cemetery was a mixture of old and new stones. There was a wonderful silence and peaceful stillness about me. The only sounds I heard were made by the birds in the many trees surrounding me.

I found exactly what I was looking for, and more. Martha Baggarley O'Neal was there, but I'm still not sure if her husband is. There was no sign of a grave next to hers, but there was definitely room for one. Martha's gravestone appears to have been added some time after her death.

I also found more Baggarleys, Harbucks, and O'Neals. Of course, I took several photos of many tombstones. They will be part of later blog posts, for sure. The following is one photo I really like.

These three angels were lined up all in a row. In front of each one was a gravestone for a member of the ALDRIDGE family: Avie A. Aldridge (Aug 20, 1909 - Oct 7, 1988), George M. Aldridge, Sr. (Apr 21, 1907 - Aug 15, 1981), and George M. Aldridge, Jr. (May 28, 1935 - July 15, 1999).

Once I was done taking several photos and trying my hand at a short video, I was on my way towards home. On the way out, I stopped and took one last photo of the church in the fog.

I do not know a whole lot about the Russellville community. The following map shows the cross street of Abercrombie and the street just to the north of Treadwell. Both of these names were found in the Baptist church cemetery.

View Larger Map

Before I get to the video, let me give you a quick overview of the rest of my "genealogy trip:" I did as I told myself to do and stopped at the Roberta City Cemetery on my way back through. I spent some time there taking more photos.

Once I got back home, I decided a nice bowl of chili sounded nice. Believe me, it never reached 72 degrees. Afterwards, I fixed myself some chocolate chip muffins for dessert and breakfast tomorrow. Then I began loading my almost 200 cemetery photos onto my computer. Not long after that, the blogging began.

Finally, onto the video. I'm not great at it, yet. I always seem to go too fast or too slow...

26 January 2009

Not Wives, but Sisters

David E. Corder is buried in Magnolia Park Cemetery; Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia. According to his marker, David was born 4 February 1890 and died 27 December 1952. Two graves next to his are Pearl Corder Kirkland (31 Jan 1885 - 13 Nov 1971) and Nancy E. Corder (29 Jan 1872 - 15 Jan 1959).

Giving all the dates on the stones, we might conclude Nancy and Pearl were wives of David. Pearl could've simply married again after his death. However, what appears to be the case is not always the case...

1900 US Federal Census
District 14, Lower Fifth, Militia District #769, Houston County, Georgia
Sheet 12B
14 June 1900
Dwelling 249 (line 51)
Corder, William M. (head) b. Apr 1852 - m. 28 yrs - b. Georgia - parents b. South Carolina, occ. Farmer
Corder, Maryan (wife) b. Aug 1855 - m. 28 yrs - 7 children (5 living) - b. Georgia
Corder, Nannie (dau) b. Feb 1873, Georgia
Corder, Pearl (dau) b. Jan 1885, Georgia
Corder, David (son) b. Feb 1890, Georgia

From that census entry, it seems Nancy and Pearl are David's sisters. Let's keep going.

1910 US Federal Census
District 47, Wellston, M. D. 769, Houston County, Georgia
20 April 1910
Corder, Wm (head) age 68 - m1 39 yrs - b. Georgia - parents b. South Carolina - occ. General Farming
Corder, Ann (wife) age 56 - m1 39 yrs - 7 children (4 living) - b. Georgia
Corder, Nannie (dau) age 35 - b. Georgia
Corder, David (son) age 19 - b. Georgia

And one more to be sure:

1930 US Federal Census
Lower Fifth, M. District 769, Houston County, Georgia
Sheet 10 A
22 April 1930
Dwelling 195 (line 46)
Corder, David (head) age 42 - b. Georgia - occ. General Farming
Corder, Nannie (sister) age 57 - b. Georgia
Kirkland, Pearl (sister) age 43 - widowed - b. Georgia
Kirkland, Arthur (nephew) age 10 - b. Georgia
Kirkland, Laddie (nephew) age 9 - b. Georgia

Yes! Nancy E. and Pearl Kirkland were the sisters of David E. Corder. It always pays to further investigate and confirm relationships. Sometimes gravestones don't tell us everything, but are clues to follow to get you closer to the truth.

David E. Corder can also be found in the 1920 census (Houston Co, GA). Listed with him was his sister Nancy, his mother Mary Ann, and more nieces and nephews. I think Mr. Corder spent his life caring for just about his entire family. It seems he was a very generous man.

25 January 2009

On This Date, January 25th

Lula L. English died on this date 102 years ago. She was born 26 April 1873 and was the wife of H. W. English. Mrs. English was buried in Magnolia Park Cemetery; Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia.

Lounell Kersey Williams died on this date 20 years ago. She was born 31 October 1931. Lounell was also buried in Magnolia Park Cemetery.

Southern Graves Home

24 January 2009

On This Date, January 24th

Johnnie Barker Sasser died on this date 57 years ago. Johnnie, born 15 July 1876, was buried in Bonaire Cemetery; Houston County, Georgia.

23 January 2009

On This Date, January 23rd

Martha Underwood Carney died on this date 82 years ago. She was born 29 June 1834. Martha was buried in Sardis Cemetery; Bibb County, Georgia.

Joseph E. Staples died on this date 56 years ago. His gravestone transcription from Magnolia Park Cemetery; Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia:

Joseph E. Staples
CFR Air Service
World War I
July 28, 1891 - Jan 23, 1953

Alice Hudson Harp died on this date 32 years ago. She was born 7 January 1909. Like Martha Carney, Mrs. Harp was also buried in Sardis Cemetery.

Southern Graves Home

22 January 2009

'Green' Cemetery Discussion Ongoing

Here is more on the ongoing discussion of adding a 'green' cemetery in Bibb County, Georgia. The county commission has blocked it, for now.

"Bibb Cemetery Ordinance Buried - For Now
By Jennifer Burk

An ordinance concerning the dead still is stirring up a lively debate.

More than two months after the Bibb County Commission passed a cemetery ordinance restricting how and where bodies may be buried, opponents and supporters of the law still are arguing the issue." READ MORE

On This Date, January 22nd

Florene Harp died on this date 49 years ago. She was born 12 February 1885. Florene was buried in Sardis Cemetery; Bibb County, Georgia.

21 January 2009

Grady O'Neal & the Girl Next Door

Grady O'Neal
Jan 27, 1890 - Oct 20, 1954
Magnolia Park Cemetery
Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia

Grady O'Neal was born in Crawford County, Georgia. He and his wife Josephine Harbuck (22 December 1894 - 29 October 1961) were both buried at Magnolia Park Cemetery.

Grady, Josephine, and family can be found in the 1930 US Federal Census records. They were living on a farm in Randolph County, Georgia:

Militia District 954
2 April 1930
Dwelling 13
Oneal, Grady (head) - age 40 - 1st m. age 21 - b. Georgia - occ. Brick Layer
Oneal, Josephine L. (wife) - age 35 - 1st m. age 18 - b. Georgia
Oneal, Alfred (son) - age 17 - b. Georgia - occ. Saw Mill Laborer
Oneal, Florence (dau) - age 16 - b. Georgia
Oneal, Laurie (son) - age 14 - b. Georgia - occ. Saw Mill Laborer
Oneal, Roy (son) - age 12 - b. Georgia
Oneal, Evelyn (dau) - age 10 - b. Georgia
Oneal, Joe (son) - age 8 - b. Georgia
Oneal, Margaret (dau) - age 4 ?/12 - b. Georgia
Oneal, Marion (dau) - age 4 ?/12 - b. Georgia
Oneal, Malcolm (son) age 1 - b. Georgia
Oneal, Martha (mother) - age 64 - widowed - 1st m. age 25 - b. Georgia

Going backward to possibly find the parents of Grady O'Neal, I found this 1910 US Federal Census entry:
[Disclaimer: I found this page very difficult to read. While I'm confident I got the correct families, please verify family members' names and such with the original record.]

District 91, Russelville [Russellville], Monroe County, Georgia
Sheet 18B
27 April 1910
Dwelling 12 (line 51)
Oneal, Louie? T. G. (head) - age 55 - m1 31 yrs - b. Georgia - occ. General Farmer
Oneal, Martha (wife) - age 51 - m1 31 yrs - 6? children, 3 living - b. Georgia
Oneal, Grady (son) - age 20 - b. Georgia - occ. Home Farm Laborer

Can you guess who was next door?

Dwelling 13 (line 54)
Harbuck, Hiram (head) - age 46 - b. Georgia - occ. General Farmer
Harbuck, Josie S. (dau) - age 15 - b. Georgia
Harbuck, Nellie G. (dau) - age 12 - b. Georgia
Harbuck, Gennie C. (dau) - age 10 - b. Georgia
Harbuck, Lars W. (?) - age 8 - b. Georgia
Harbuck, Henry T. (son) - age 6 - b. Georgia

That's right! Grady's future wife, Josephine Harbuck!

In the 1900 US Federal Census, I think I got a better idea of the proper name of Grady's father:

Enumeration District 2, Georgia Militia District 497, Crawford County, Georgia
Sheet 18B
19 June 1900
Dwelling 337 (line 61)
O'Neal, Gideon T. D. (head) - b. Dec 1855, Georgia - m. 20 yrs - occ. Overseer
O'Neal, Mattie (wife) - b. Apr 1858, Georgia - m. 20 yrs - 6 children, 3 living
O'Neal, Sallie (dau) - b. Mch 1882, Georgia
O'Neal, Vallie (dau) - b. June 1885, Georgia
O'Neal, Grady (son) - b. Jan 1890, Georgia

A few doors down was another O'NEAL family. Could this be a brother to Grady's father?

ONeal, David A. (head - age 49)
ONeal, Allice (wife - age 38)

While Grady and Josephine were not yet married in 1910, they were by 1917. According to Grady's World War I draft registration card, he was married with 4 children. He was farming for self, and he was described as tall with blue eyes and brown hair.

I still cannot figure out the correct name for Grady's father. A couple of Public Member Trees online at Ancestry give two different names: William Gideon O'neal and David William Teophilus O'Neal.

A World Family Tree entry offers Grady O'Neal's full name as Joe Grady O'Neal with a father named William Gideaon O'Neal.

All agree Grady's mother's full name was Martha Caroline Baggarley (1859 - 1936). And all agree on the birth and death dates for Grady's father, 1855 - 1930.


In my search for a possible tombstone transcription for Grady's father, I found a survey for the Russellville Baptist Church Cemetery in Monroe County, Georgia. There are several HARBUCKs and O'NEALs buried there, including Grady's mother Martha Baggerly O'Neal (b. 1859, d. 1 September 1936). Could Grady's father be there in an unmarked grave? More investigation shall be required. Maybe I'll take a trip to the Russellville Baptist Church cemetery and visit the HARBUCKs and O'NEALs.

Sources Include:
- Gravemarker Transcriptions
- US Federal Census Records
- Georgia Deaths, 1919-98
- World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
- Ancestry Public Member Trees, Talbott Family and This Large Family of Mine
- Ancestry World Tree, The Descendants of Matthew (I) Talbot, Gentleman

Mr. Selby Jester, Drayman from Mississippi

W. Selby Jester
Oct 13, 1886 - April 25, 1961
Magnolia Park Cemetery
Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia

Mr. Selby Jester and his wife Minnie were both buried at Magnolia Park Cemetery. Minnie's gravemarker states she was born 12 April 1888 and died 30 March 1962.

Selby's World War I draft registration card states the first initial of 'W' shown on the gravemarker above stands for William. He was born in Eupora, Mississippi, and his occupation in 1917 was farmer. Selby had a wife and three children at that time, and he was described as slender with brown eyes and dark hair.

The 1900 US Federal Census suggests Selby's parents were Robert P. and Abigal M. Jester:

District 102, Beat 4, Webster County, Mississippi
Sheet 11A
23 June 1900
Dwelling 192 (line 15)
Jester, Robert P. (head) - b. Oct 1846, Mississippi - m. 36 yrs - occ. Farmer
Jester, Abigal M. (wife) - b. Mar 1848, Alabama - m. 36 yrs - 11 children - father b. Kentucky - mother b. South Carolina
Jester, Dora (dau.) - b. June 1875, Mississippi
Jester, Bettie L. (dau.) - b. Feb 1879, Mississippi
Jester, Viola (dau.) - b. June 1881, Mississippi
Jester, William S. (son) - b. Oct 1886, Mississippi - occ. Farm Laborer
Jester, Durby D. (son) - b. Aug 1889, Mississippi

In 1910, William and Minnie were still in Webster County, Mississippi:

US Federal Census
District 112, Beat 4, Mathiston, Webster County, Mississippi
Sheet 4A
19th April 1910
Dwelling 60 (line 36)
Jester, William S. (head) - Age 23 - b. Mississippi - m1. 6 yrs - occ. Drayman, On Street
Jester, Minnie R. (wife) - Age 21 - b. Mississippi - m1. 6yrs - 2 children
Jester, Stella R. (dau.) - Age 4 - b. Mississippi
Jester, Gladia L. (dau.) - Age 2 - b. Mississippi

By the way, Wikipedia describes a drayman as "historically the driver of a dray, a low, flat-bed wagon without sides, pulled generally by horses or mules that were used for transport of all kinds of goods."

By 1930, William and Minnie had made it to Lamar County, Georgia:

US Federal Census
District 7, Barnesville, Lamar County, Georgia
8 April 1930
Atlanta Street
Dwelling 177
Jester, William S. (head) - Age 43 - b. Mississippi - 1st m. at age 18 - father b. Arkansas - mother b. Mississippi - occ. Ice Plant Manager
Jester, Minnie E. (wife) - Age 41 - b. Mississippi - 1st m. at age 16 - father b. Georgia - mother b. Mississippi
Jester, Otis J. (son) - Age 18 - b. Mississippi
Jester, John L. (son) - Age 15 - b. Mississippi

Ancestry's database, Georgia Deaths, 1919-1998, states William S. Jester d. 25 April 1961 at age 74 in Bibb County, Georgia. He was a Houston County resident.

I found several references to Mr. Selby Jester in the online genealogy community. Some researchers suggest he was married a second time. These census records along with the gravemarker for Minnie Jester next to Selby's, and her death date being 11 months after his suggest, IMHO, there was no second wife.

On This Date, January 21st

Emma Rutledge Smith died on this date 69 years ago. This daughter of Arthur M. Rutledge and Elizabeth Underwood was born in Tennessee 29 March 1854. Emma later married Henry A. M. Smith. She was buried in St. Philip's Church Cemetery; Charleston, South Carolina. The final words on her tombstone are quite beautiful:

Where He Leads Me I Can Safely Go,
And In the Blest Hereafter
I Shall Know Why, in His Wisdom,
He Hath Led Me So.

20 January 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Elizabeth Wasilini

Elizabeth Wasilini
1923 - 1969
Magnolia Park Cemetery
Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia

I don't have much to offer about Ms. Elizabeth. For some reason, I like her simple grave marker. I can tell you the rosary beads are not common in my area.

19 January 2009

On This Date, January 19th

Green Fitzgerald died on this date 110 years ago. He was born 10 April 1830. Green was buried in Elko Cemetery; Houston County, Georgia.

Adelaide, wife of William Martin Herritage, Sr., died on this date 95 years ago at age 86. She was buried in Sardis Cemetery; Bibb County, Georgia.

17 January 2009

On This Date, January 17th

Thomas Lowe died on this date 129 years ago. He was born 26 December 1826. Thomas was a member of Company I, 5th Georgia Regiment, Confederate States Army. He was buried along with his wife Cornelia Ann Mims in Beech Springs Methodist Church Cemetery, Bullard, Twiggs County, Georgia.

To learn more about Thomas and Cornelia Mims Lowe, please read a previous post entitled Lowe Plantation Owners in Beech Springs Cemetery.

16 January 2009

Col. John A. Dunning -- Do I Have the Right Man?

John A. Dunning
District of Columbia
Col US Air Force Res
May 28, 1906 - Mar 14, 1974
Magnolia Park Cemetery
Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia

The gravemarker above peaked my interest for a couple of reasons. First, the idea that Mr. Dunning was from the District of Columbia. Being near a United States Air Force base, it is not uncommon to find individuals from all over the country in this cemetery. I always tend to snap a photo when I see them, though. Some researcher out there might be wondering where Col. Dunning ended up.

Second, I wondered what the acronym AFCM meant. A quick search suggested it stood for "Air Force Commendation Medal." I confirmed this with my resident expert, my father. He is a retired Chief Master Sergeant from the US Air Force, and he now works for the Department of Defense in Washington, DC.

So, I was hooked. I wanted to find out more about Col. John A. Dunning.

A search of the 1910 US Federal Census resulted in this entry:

Precint No. 10, Boise, Ada, Idaho
18th April 1910
O'Farrel St.

Dunning, Donald A. - age 35; m1; 7 yrs; b. Kansas; parents b. Missouri; occ. Lawyer
Dunning, Alice H. - age 30; m1; 7 yrs; 3 children; b. District of Columbia; parents b. New York
Dunning, John A. - age 4; b. District of Columbia
Dunning, Sarah - age 0/12; b. Idaho
Dunning, Mary - age 0/12; b. Idaho

A few other finds were pretty interesting: searching with Google, I found a copy of the 6 July 1945 edition of the Chinese Lantern, a newspaper for the U. S. Armed Forces during World War II. A short article with this photo attached was included. Under the photo was the caption, "Dunning." The article:

HQ., 14TH AIR FORCE - The "Flying Hatchet" fighter group and the "Lucky Lady" medium bombardment squadron have awarded Unit Citations for "outstanding performance of duty in action during the period of April 10 to May 15, 1945 when the Japanese attempted capture the airfield at Chinkiang but were defeated."

The Flying Hatchets fighter group is under the command of Col. John A. Dunning, San Antonio, Tex., and the "Lucky Lady" medium bombers are commanded by Col. T. Alan Bennett, Winter Park, Fla.
Using Ancestry, I found a couple of Stars and Stripes newspaper articles (Europe, Mediterranean, and North Africa Editions database) that seemed to also fit "my" Col. Dunning. The first was from 24 May 1952.

"20th Wing Jets Arrive in UK
LONDON, May 23 (AP) -- The first squadron of F84G Thunderjets of the U. S. Air Force 20th Fighter-Bomber Wing has arrived at Weathersfield, Essex.

The wing is part of the 49th Air Div, which also includes a wing of B45 Tornado light jet bombers.

The division is being moved to Britain from Langley AFB at Hampton, Va. The B45 will be the firts multijet bomber-type plane sent to Europe. It attains a speed of about 550 mph with its four jet engines.

Col John D. Stevenson, of Laramie, Wyo., commands the division. Col John A. Dunning, of San Antonio, commands the 20th Fighter-Bomber Wing. Col David M. Jones, of Winters, Tex., commands the 47th Light-Bomber Wing. He was a flight commander on the first Tokyo raid in 1942."

The second article is quite lengthy. It was written by Jon Hagar, Staff Writer, for the 1 January 1955 Stars and Stripes (page 11). The title was Thunderstreaks: New Firepower for NATO - Swept-wing F84Fs can carry 6,000-pound weapons load, exceed 45,000-foot altitude, smash the sonic barrier. Col. John A. Dunning was mentioned when the next units to receive these planes were described:
Among the next units to get the Thunderstreaks will be Col. John A. Dunning's 20th Fighter-Bomber Wing at Wethersfield. It is currently flying the Thunderjet, the plane which fought the bulk of the air war for the United Nations in Korea and was turned out at the rate of 10 a day during the height of that conflict by the same firm that is now tooled up for Thunderstreak production.
I found all of this quite interesting. Of course, the information presented here is not "proof-positive" as to whether or not it applies to "my" Col. John A. Dunning. Do I have the right man? Further investigation would be required to properly answer that. I do think, however, all the timeframes fit rather nicely with the information on the gravemarker at Magnolia Park. Take it as you see fit.

I thank Col. John A. Dunning for his service to our country.

On This Date, January 16th

Charlotte Calhoun Upchurch died on this date 17 years ago. She was born 17 April 1941. Charlotte was buried in Sardis Cemetery; Bibb County, Georgia.

15 January 2009

The First Mayor of Warner Robins, Georgia

Charles "Boss" Watson
1875 - 1958
Magnolia Park Cemetery
Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia

The WATSON family has been a fixture in the town of Warner Robins (formerly known as Wellston), Georgia since its inception. Charles "Boss" Watson was the son of one of the town's first residents. When the town was incorporated as Warner Robins in 1943, C. B. Watson was named the first mayor. And he did so much more --

The following is from "The Faces of Houston County" --
Building Houston County: A Watson Family Tradition, Part 1
by Sherri Martin for the Local Builder, Summer 2007.

As the plans for the town took a dramatic turn, the Watson's family involvement in the growth of the city also grew... Charles Bostick "Boss" Watson was a local farmer and businessman, co-owning a mercantile business. And if that were not enough, he was also a county commissioner and served as a member of the school board. "Boss" donated the land to build the Sacred Heart Church, and donated the land for the C. B. Watson Elementary School. Clearly, Boss Watson's plans for the town were bigger than just a grocery store.

Boss Watson is also considered to be a main reason the Army built the Wellston Air Depot in Houston County in 1941. It is now known as Robins Air Force Base.

For more information and pictures of Charles "Boss" Watson and other Watson family members, please see Sherri Martin's wonderful article.

[Update 4 September 2016: I originally had Ms. Martin's article linked above, but unfortunately the website where I found it no longer exists.]

On This Date, January 15th

Christopher Eric Head died on this date 22 years ago. He was born 28 June 1985. This "Little Angel" was buried in Magnolia Park Cemetery, Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia.

14 January 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Tribute to a Friend

On This Date, January 14th

Lucy Kate Herndon died on this date 100 years ago, at age 2 months and 2 days. Lucy was buried in Sardis Cemetery; Bibb County, Georgia.

Edna Kezar Braswell died on this date 72 years ago. She was born 6 December 1889. Mrs. Braswell was buried in Elko Cemetery; Houston County, Georgia.

13 January 2009

Odd Fellows and Rebekahs

The image above is from the gravestone of Cola S. Martin (1903 - 1984) and Wilma B. Martin (1907 - 1990) found in Magnolia Park Cemetery; Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia. Notice the symbols on either side of the surname. The one on the left is a 3 chain link for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The one on the right is an R with a dove and crescent moon with seven stars for the Rebekah Lodge. I've tried to enlarge the images so they are easier to see below:

Stamped above the chain link symbol on Cola's side of the gravestone is another 3 chain links with F, L, and T inside. This stands for Friendship, Love, and Truth. It is an important principle of Odd Fellowship.

From their website (linked above), an Odd Fellow is "a person that is 16-18 years or older whom believes in a Supreme Being, Creator and Preserver of the Universe, and is faithful to their Country."

Rebekahs are described this way:
Odd Fellows, recognizing the need for a woman's touch and her helpfulness in carrying out the principles of Odd Fellowship, brought into being the Rebekah degree, founded upon the principles of faithfulness, hospitality, purity and dedication to the principles of the Order as portrayed by women characters of the Bible.

The degree was originally written for Brothers to confer on their wives and daughters and was considered an "Honorary Degree".

Later the Sisters were allowed to confer the degree on other Sisters, a ritual was adopted with the Sisters taking the parts. Rebekah Lodges were instituted and have continued to flourish.
Two more symbols I can now recognize and understand!

On This Date, January 13th

Vernon Eugene Watson died on this date 95 years ago. He was born 21 March 1913 to Ted Eugene and Mattie J. Watson. Vernon was buried in Magnolia Park Cemetery; Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia.

Morgan Phillips died on this date 52 years ago. His tombstone transcription from Sardis Cemetery; Bibb County, Georgia:

Morgan Phillips
Cpl 30 Co TRANS Corps
World War I
Dec 18, 1890 - Jan 13, 1957

Southern Graves Home

12 January 2009

On This Date, January 12th

Col. William Rhett "dyed suddenly but not unprepared" on this date 287 years ago. He was born in London 4 September 1722. Col. Rhett was buried in St. Philip's Church Cemetery; Charleston, South Carolina. To read more about him, please visit a previous post: Here Rests the Body of Col. William Rhett.

Tinie B. Watson died on this date 38 years ago. Tinie, born 11 August 1883, was buried in Bonaire Cemetery; Houston County, Georgia.

John Cary Sasser died on this date 36 years ago. He was born 10 May 1919. John was also buried in Bonaire Cemetery; Houston County, Georgia.

11 January 2009

Over 110 Articles Posted

The Graveyard Rabbits have been really busy this past week. 111 articles were published by bloggers passionate about cemeteries. A complete list can be found here. As always, there is a link to more Graveyard Rabbit information in the sidebar.

Southern Graves Home

On This Date, January 11th

Anne Branford Lowndes Walker died on this date 56 years ago. She was born 7 May 1878 and later married Henry Frost Walker. Anne was buried in St. Philip's Church Cemetery; Charleston, South Carolina.

Henry Lee Perdue died on this date 33 years ago. He was born 5 April 1927. Henry was buried in Bonaire Cemetery; Houston County, Georgia.

Lillie Tyner Nowell died on this date 17 years ago. She was born 25 December 1886. Lillie was buried in Sardis Cemetery; Bibb County, Georgia.

10 January 2009

On This Date, January 10th

Frances Hartley, wife of John Barton, died on this date 101 years ago. She was born 9 April 1839. Frances was buried in Sardis Cemetery; Bibb County, Georgia.

Elise Moody Calhoun died on this date 40 years ago. She was born 6 October 1910. Elise was buried in Sardis Cemetery, as well.

Crawford V. Watson died on this date 95 years ago. He was born 20 November 1885. Crawford was buried in Magnolia Park Cemetery, Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia. For more information about Mr. Watson, please read an earlier post - Crawford V. Watson: One of the Best Known.

Emanuel L. Walker died on this date 12 years ago. He was born 28 December 1919 and married Thelma 18 February 1947. Mr. Walker was buried in Bonaire Cemetery; Houston County, Georgia.

09 January 2009

Babyland at Magnolia Park Cemetery

Back in the early 1950's my grandparents lost a set of twin girls shortly after their birth. Plots were purchased, and the twins were buried in Magnolia Park Cemetery; Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia. One day, my grandparents will be laid to rest next to them.

For 50+ years my grandmother has tended the twins' grave, and there have been many times when Grandpa and I were with her. On more than one occasion, Pa would mention that the twins were buried not long before "they started babyland." He would always point in a general direction, but I never noticed any obvious special section for infants.

On a recent visit to Magnolia Park, I stumbled across this "babyland" section. It is located in the central section behind the oldest graves, which are behind the main sign for the cemetery. All the markers are tiny and flat, and there are quite a few. If you are not careful, you will be stepping on one before you know it. I'm sure there are even rows, but I believe some of the markers may already be lost for whatever reason (maybe some graves never had them). This is a very well maintained cemetery, but the markers I saw are in too much of a scattered pattern for me to think what we see today is all there ever were.

Here are a couple of photos of the types of markers found in "babyland."

Now I Lay me Down to Sleep
I Pray The Lord My Soul to Keep
Christopher Elkins
Nov 1, 1962 - Nov 2, 1962

On This Date, January 9th

William Martin Herritage died on this date 71 years ago. He was born 29 April 1855. William was buried at Sardis Cemetery; Bibb County, Georgia.

08 January 2009

Today's Epitaph: Lounell Kersey Williams

Lounell Kersey Williams
Oct 31, 1931
Jan 25, 1989

Wife - Mother - Friend

When Your Love is Gone
And She Lies Beneath the Flowers,
You'll Find that the Nights
All Have Twenty Three Hours.

(Magnolia Park Cemetery; Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia)

On This Date, January 8th

Thomas Jefferson Marshall died on this date 104 years ago. His gravestone transcription from Hillcrest Cemetery, Reynolds, Taylor County, Georgia:

Thomas Jefferson Marshall
Capt Co E 6 GA Vol Inf
Crawford Co Greys
Confederate States Army
Feb 21, 1834 - Jan 8, 1905

Edgar Milton Nowell died on this date 83 years ago. He was born 23 December 1923. Edgar was buried in Sardis Cemetery; Bibb County, Georgia.

07 January 2009

Today's Epitaph: Ada Laverne Williams

Ada Laverne Williams
June 30, 1938
Dec 16, 1986
For God in His Perfect Way Chose
This Rose for His Heavenly Bouquet

(Magnolia Park Cemetery; Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia)

Wordless Wednesday: Tombstones that Drive Researchers Crazy

06 January 2009

More on Confederate Graves

I recently wrote a post about the Southern Cross of Honor bestowed upon Confederate soldiers and how this honor can sometimes be seen on their gravestones to varying degrees. I also mentioned how service to the Confederacy was more commonly represented (or not) on soldiers' gravestones in my area. Most often, the birth and death of the soldier is given more importance on the stones than the Confederate service. In a recent trip to Oak Hill Cemetery in Talbotton, Talbot County, Georgia, I found this is not always the case.

In Oak Hill Cemetery, sometimes referred to as the Talbotton City Cemetery, the Confederate service of a soldier was many times given more importance than birth and death dates. Here are several examples of what I mean:

Hamilton Harvey
Doles Brigade

Edward Proctor
27th Ga Reg

Walter P. Watts
Co D
9 Ga Inf

Samuel B. Baldwin
Co A
4 Ga Inf
C. S. A.

Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori [It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country]
Erected by the Confederate Guards
In memory of their Captain,
Thomas S. Moyer
who fell in the battle
of the plains of

J. G. Blount
Blount's Artillery

Maj. William Forbes
[The Civil War Soldiers & Sailors System suggests this is William H. Forbes of the 31st Ga Infantry Regiment]

Job Ellison
Co C
3rd Ga Cavalry

Southern Graves Home

Tombstone Tuesday - Edward Rutledge, Esq.

It's been almost 209 years since the death of Edward Rutledge, Esq. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of the state of South Carolina. Mr. Rutledge was buried in St. Philip's Church Cemetery; Charleston, South Carolina. Such an important figure in American history surely has an awesome tombstone, right? Not exactly. The gravestone of Mr. Rutledge is not much to look at. A simple slab he shares with his wife. However, the words inscribed on this stone certainly describe the importance of this man, at least to those who made sure those words were put there.

Beneath this Stone
are deposited the remains of
his excellency
Edward Rutledge, Esq.
Late governor of this state
whom it pleased the Almighty
to take from this life Jany 23rd, 1800
at the age of fifty years
and two months.
The virtues of this eminent citizen
require not the aid of an inscription here
to recall them to our recollection,
it is believed that they are engraven
on the hearts, and will long live
in the remembrance of his

I find it interesting his governorship of South Carolina was noted, but his signing of the Declaration of Independence was not (except for a small plaque added later).

On This Date, January 6th

Mary Jane, wife of John Mitchell, died on this date 115 years ago. She was born 6 April 1824. Mrs. Mitchell was buried in Sardis Cemetery; Bibb County, Georgia.

04 January 2009

Two Local Cemeteries Added to Alabama State Historic Register

Two Local Cemeteries Added to State Historic Register
By Scott Mims for Clanton Advertiser

"Two cemeteries in Chilton County, the Atchison Cemetery located near Isabella and the Moore Cemetery in Pletcher, have been added to the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register." READ MORE

Southern Graves Home

On This Date, January 4th

Henry B. Howard died on this date 23 years ago. He was born 25 November 1916. Mr. Howard is at rest in Henderson Spring Road Cemetery; Elko, Houston County, Georgia.

01 January 2009

Gravestones & the Google Translator

The great United States of America is a melting pot of people born in this country, as well as individuals from different countries and cultures. Many of those individuals speak different languages in addition to English. Those different languages can sometimes carry over into the cemeteries which hold their gravestones.

I am fluent in one language - English. I took Spanish in high school, so I can pick out words here and there. Also, I lived in Germany for a few years when I was a child, so I can pick out a few words of that language. That's it. So when I come across gravestones inscribed in a language other than English, I'm pretty much lost.

You might not think that would be a problem when visiting local cemeteries, but you'd be surprised. A huge cemetery in Macon, GA named Rose Hill has several hundred tombstones on which the Hebrew language is dominant. A cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina named Bethany is the final resting place of many German immigrants. Their native tongue is found on their tombstones. And even in little Bonaire, GA I came across the German language inscribed on a stone. That's just a few examples of some Southern Graves not in English.

So are we graveyard rabbits supposed to just say, "Oh, well. I don't know what that says," and move on to the next stone or cemetery? Absolutely not! First, we make sure we take great pictures and transcriptions. Then all we have to do is visit a website all of us have visited many, many times before -- Google. From their homepage, click on Language Tools. You will be taken to a page that lets you input the text and with the click of a button, it is translated for you. You can also go directly to translate.google.com.

Here are some examples of text from gravestones from Bethany Cemetery (mentioned above) I was able to translate from German to English.

Hier Ruhen In Gott [Here Rest in God]
Claus Diedrich
12 Oct 1873
18 May 1886
Anna M. C. A.
2 Nov 1885
19 May 1886
Kinder von [children of] H. F. Bittesohn and Meta Geb Meyers

Below this angel atop the tombstone for Henry & Elizabeth Knee is the phrase "Zur Erinnerung An." This translates to "As a Reminder to."

Darius Gray Ornston, Jr., M.D.
September 13, 1934
November 19, 2003
Die erde hat mich wieder! [The Earth has me again!]

Hier Ruhet In Frieden [Here Rest in Peace]
Meine Geliebte Gattin [My Beloved Wife]
Meta C. Hastedt
17 Oct 1820
Wulsdorf, Hannover
17 Nov 1880
Charleston, SC

Here is transcription of a stone from Bonaire Cemetery:

Franziska S. Kunz
May 11, 1907
Jan 23, 2003
Hier Ruht Unsere Liebe Mutter [Here Rests Our Dear Mother]

Southern Graves Home
Blog Widget by LinkWithin