19 November 2010

Irwinville Cemetery Photos Now Online

I have posted more than 30 photos from Irwinville Cemetery to my Picasa web albums. This is a small town cemetery located in Irwin County, Georgia.

Irwinville Cemetery

Surnames include Bishop, Clements, Holden, Underwood, Vinson, Walker, and Watson.

Photos may be viewed individually or as a slideshow. Some personal commentary is included, and the ability for you to add comments is enabled.

18 November 2010

You Can't Always Trust the Dates on a Tombstone: The Case of Uriah Holden

In the world of genealogy, a primary source is one recorded at or very soon after an event by someone with intimate knowledge of the event. Even though you might think the death date on a tombstone would be a primary source, this is not always the case. An obvious example of the contrary would be an ancestor who died in 1796 has a shiny new granite grave marker -- definitely added many, many years after the death and likely not by someone with intimate knowledge of the death.

I came across a curious case of weird dates on a tombstone while visiting the Irwinville Cemetery in Irwin County, Georgia. The stone in question is here:

Uriah Holden (1838-1920) & wife Elizabeth (1852-1935).
Photo © 2010 S. Lincecum.

Focusing on the side for Uriah Holden, the tombstone looks like a "period piece" and figures to be trustworthy. Only after I got home and started poking around to find a bit more about Uriah did I find some inconsistencies.

In the 1910 Cassville, Bartow, Georgia US Federal census, "Urier" and "Lizziebath" are found on page 19B of ED #7. Uriah's age is listed as 66 years (b. abt. 1844). In the 1880 North Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia census, Uriah is found along with his wife and children. His age is listed as 36 (b. abt. 1844). Next I find Uriah in the 1870 Ellijay, Gilmer, Georgia census, aged 24 (b. abt. 1846). In 1860, he's 17 (b. abt. 1843), and in 1850 Uriah is 6 years of age (b. abt. 1844).

Census records are notorious for their inaccuracies, but these birth years are fairly consistent. Uriah was born between the years of 1843 and 1846. Right? Well, his tombstone gives the birth year of 1838.

I also found a Confederate pension application for Uriah Holden, submitted in 1912 from Bartow County, Georgia. In a section containing "Questions for Applicants to Answer," Uriah claims he was residing in Cassville, Georgia. A question posed was "How long and since when have you been a continuous resident citizen of this state?" The response, supposedly given by Uriah himself, was "I have lived in Ga since birth age 65." That would put his birth year at about 1847.

So there are problems with the birth date on the tombstone, but the death date should be accurate right? Hold up a second, I found issues there as well.

Uriah Holden and wife Elizabeth are found in the Irwin County, Georgia US Federal census taken 14 January 1920. Uriah's tombstone states he died a couple of weeks prior to the census taker's visit.

Furthermore, contained in Uriah Holden's Confederate pension file is an application by Elizabeth for the widow's pension. Information she provided and signed for states Uriah died 1 January 1921.

Why is Uriah's tombstone information off from what the truth seems to be? I cannot say for sure, but my theory is the tombstone was not placed until the death of Elizabeth. And a person with "intimate knowledge" regarding the birth and death of Uriah was not the one to provide information to the stone carver. Also, records suggest Elizabeth was Uriah's second wife. Maybe the stone was placed by Elizabeth with her knowledge of Uriah's birth being inaccurate, and the carver making a simple mistake on the death year.

I was hoping to find Uriah's death certificate among the ones available for Georgia online, but I have yet to find it. I think it, if filled out completely, might be an interesting read.

[Note: Census and marriage records viewed online via Ancestry. Confederate pension file viewed online via Georgia's Virtual Vault.]


16 November 2010

What Happened to the Bishop Children? (Tombstone Tuesday)

At Irwinville Cemetery in Irwin County, Georgia -

Elizabeth & Her Daughters

Elizabeth & All 5 Children

Three BISHOP daughters, Annie Rena, Jesse Elizabeth, and Mamie, all died 14 February 1897. Sister Maggie Lee died little more than a month later. Brother Benney and mother Elizabeth both died in the year 1899, about three months apart.

While mother Elizabeth and son Benney likely both died as a result of complications from his birth, the four sisters might have died from an accident or illness. I've been searching through newspapers to try and find a story about this family tragedy, but have come up empty thus far. Does anyone know what happened to the Bishop children?

15 November 2010

David Clements Family in Irwinville Cemetery

Abraham P. Clements
David Clements was a member of another pioneer family of Irwin County, Georgia. He was a son of Abraham P. and Nancy Branch Clements. David was born in January 1845 and married Susan Whiddon 5 November 1865. They had ten children, nine surviving to adulthood.

A fact about the David Clements family I found interesting is this: out of the nine children surviving to adulthood, five of them did NOT get married. And four of those five were women. I must admit, when I was photographing the tombstones for members of this family in Irwinville Cemetery, I assumed many of the stones were for married women. Only after consulting census records did I realize the truth. This information was validated further by an entry in the History of Irwin County (page 517) by J. B. Clements:
David Clements married Susan Whiddon. Children: A. E. Clements, who did not marry; W. A. Clements, who married Sara Smith; J[ames] P. Clements, who married Mary V. Smith; J[acob] Y. [E?] Clements, who married Mattie Cobb; Nancy Clements, who did not marry; Rachael, who did not marry; Julia [Judia], who did not marry; Susie, who did not marry; and Lola, who married J. D. Boatwright.
In Irwinville Cemetery, David's tombstone is the largest of his family's markers. Next is Nancy's. After that, mother Susan and the rest of the children have relatively small plaque markers. I think Nancy's stone is larger simply because she died before her mother (and less than seven months after her father). At least eight of David's ten children are buried in Irwinville Cemetery. I photographed five of them.

09 November 2010

Mrs. Una Clements, a South Georgia Pioneer (Tombstone Tuesday)

Mrs. Una Clements, Sycamore

Sycamore, Ga., August 24 -- (Special) -- Mrs. Una Clements, one of south Georgia's pioneers, died at her home in Irwinville Sunday at 2 o'clock, and was buried in Ashburn Wednesday at 3 o'clock. Mrs. Clements was a Whiddon before her marriage, which is one of the oldest families in south Georgia. Hers was a long life of usefulness, she being nearly 90 years of age at the time of her death." (Atlanta Constitution, Georgia, 25 August 1917 via Ancestry.com)

Una was the daughter of Lott Whiddon, one of the first settlers of Irwin County, Georgia. She married R. W. Clements 19 December 1865.

R. W. Clements (died 1898) and his wife Una were both laid to rest in Irwinville Cemetery at Irwinville, Irwin County, Georgia.

Photo © 2010 S. Lincecum.

02 November 2010

What is Life Without R. W. Clements (Tombstone Tuesday)

R. W. Clements
Born Sept 25, 1835
Died Mar 1, 1898

What to us is life without thee,
Darkness and despair alone.
When with sighs we seek to find thee,
This tomb proclaims thou art gone.

Irwinville Cemetery
Irwin County, Georgia

Photo © 2010 S. Lincecum
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