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26 January 2010

3 Widowed Sisters Take Me from Macon, Georgia to Eufaula, Alabama

No, it was not some crazy girls' getaway, though I'm sure it would have been fun. Instead, it was a several hours long research trip back in time.

It all started quite innocently. A quick and simple census check to verify my hunch that two women buried next to each other in Rose Hill Cemetery; Macon, Bibb County, Georgia were in fact mother and daughter. Here is the census entry (the two women in question are Emma and Annie B. Phelts):
1900 U.S. Federal Census (June 8th)
Macon, Bibb, Georgia
ED #28, Sheet 12A
House #1070, Dwelling 211, Family 250, lines 32-35
MOULTHROP, Sarah A. (hoh) b. Dec 1840 - wd - 1 child - GAx3 *owns home free and clear
WOODWARD, Isabella V. (sister) b. May 1844 - wd - GAx3 - dress maker
PHELTS, Emma (sister) b. June 1857 - wd - 1 child - GAx3 - dress maker
PHELTS, Annie B. (niece) b. June 1880 - GAx3
I also found Emma and Annie in the same location in 1910. In the 1920 Macon, Bibb, GA federal census they were still living in the same house at 1070 Walnut Street. This time Annie B. Phelts was listed as the head of household. She was a 35 year old public school teacher. Her mother Emma C., aged 54 and widowed, was also listed. Listed last was Sarah A. Moulthrop, Annie's aunt. Sarah was 79 and widowed.

It could have ended there. That was enough for me to say Emma Carter Phelts (10 June 1857 - 7 January 1939) was the mother of Annibel Lamar Phelts (28 June 1880 - 7 May 1924). Enter the information into my Rose Hill Cemetery database and move along. But nope, I couldn't leave well enough alone. I wanted to learn just a little more about the three widowed sisters.

First, I wanted to know what degree of "sister-ness" was involved. Did all three have the same parents, or were one or more of them in-laws? I went to the RoseHillCemetery.org website and did a search on the lot in which Emma and Annibel were interred. The owner of the lot was M. A. Daniel, and the known burials were 4 non-identified; C. C. Daniel; Emma Carter Phelts; and Annibel Lamar Phelts. Maybe, just maybe, Emma's maiden name was Daniel. And! If C. C. was a parent to all three, maybe the other two were part of the "non-identified."

I searched the website again using the surnames of Moulthrop and Woodward. Nothing for Moulthrop, but a burial record for Mrs. I. V. Woodward was there. The location of her burial within the cemetery is unknown. OK! I think I'm on the right track to possibly identifying two additional burials and locations in the cemetery. Woo Hoo!

I performed a search of the 1860 US Federal Census and hit pay dirt:
1860 U.S. Federal Census (18th June)
Sandersville, Washington, Georgia
Pg 49, Dwelling 372, Family 364, Lines 4-10
Chestley C. Daniel - age 42 - Proprietor of Hotel - b. GA
Ann Daniel - age 42 - b. GA
Sarah A. Daniel - age 17 - b. GA
Isabella V. Daniel - age 15 - b. GA
Mary A. Daniel - age 13 - b. GA
Ella C. Daniel - age 8 - b. GA
Emma C. Daniel - age 3 - b. GA
It's official! All three sisters were the daughters of C. C. Daniel. Now I need to find something that indicates Sarah A. was laid to rest in Rose Hill before I move forward with my theory.

I was unable to locate marriages with the records I have access to from home. A search of old newspapers provided me with an obituary for John Robert Woodward, only child of Dr. J. J. and Isabella V. Woodward. He passed away in Houston County, Georgia the 23rd of June 1863, aged two years. I also found a blurb in an 1883 edition of the Macon Weekly Telegraph about S. A. Moulthrop and her son, Robert, Jr.

I went back to the census records to try to get more details. On 9 June 1870, "Jenny" Woodward is listed with her mother Ann Daniel in the Macon, Bibb, GA Federal Census. Twenty days later she is in a household with her sister Sarah:
1870 U.S. Federal Census (29th June)
Eufaula, Barbour, Alabama
Pg 17, Dwelling 133, Family 150
Moulthrop, Robert - age 33 - Brick Manufacturer - b. Connecticut
Moulthrop, Sarah - age 30 - Keeping House - b. GA
Moulthrop, Robert H. - age 5 - b. GA
Woodward, Virginia - age 26 - b. GA
This same family can be found in the same location in 1880, with Robert, Jr. being a brick maker like his father. Though it's not specified, I'm starting to think Isabella Virginia "Jenny" Daniel was married to Dr. J. J. Woodward, had a son named John Robert, lost her son two years later, and also lost her husband all in between the years of 1860 and 1870. Ouch. That had to be a tough, heart-wrenching decade.

Since I'm still trying to locate some death and burial information for Sarah A. Daniel Moulthrop, who seems to have been widowed sometime between 1880 and 1900, I keep searching for records pertaining to her and/or her husband Robert. The next place I find Sarah is in Maloney's Macon Miscellaneous Directory for 1897. Her residence is 1070 Walnut Street, and she is noted as being the widow of Robert. So shave a few years off the time frame of Robert's death.

I then locate Robert Moulthrop on page 33 of the History of Barbour County, Alabama by Mattie Thomas Thompson, © 1939:
"The nearest railroad to Barbour County, until the early fifties, was the Southwestern Railroad, which had a depot eight miles on the Georgia side coming from Macon, Georgia, to that point and a stage coach ran from there to Eufaula...In 1862 Mr. Robert Moulthrop came from North Haven, Connecticut to work on a river bridge the railroad was building across the Chattahoochee river to run their trains into Barbour County. He had only been here a short time when the railroad turned down the contractor, and the bridge was turned over to him. He manufactured the brick for the piers and completed the bridge in late 1865, and Barbour County's first train rolled across into Eufaula."
That was neat entry to find, as it suggests Robert would likely have had reason to come to Macon and possibly met his future wife on one of those trips.

That same book also had some other information that I found quite confusing. In a biography about Robert H. Moulthrop, son of Robert and Sarah, a bit of back information was given about Robert, Sr. It seems he was married a second time -- to Sallie Bullock Dobbins, and they had a son named Albert. What? Huh? I thought Robert died as the husband of Sarah Daniel. If not, did Sarah go around pretending to be a widow, or was it easier to just let people think that? Or is this even true?

Another article found in the 20 September 1883 Macon Weekly Telegraph is a letter to the editor: "In Defense of Young Moulthrop - Editors Telegraph and Messenger: In your issue of the 18th instant, you publish a statement from Mrs. S. A. Moulthrop which is calculated to injure the business interest and reflect on the social worth of Robert H. Moulthrop, (sometimes called Robert, Jr.) of this city..." The letter goes on to describe Robert, Jr. and his business in a glowing manner. The writer signed his letter as "Friend to Young Bob, Eufaula, Ala."

Now it seems there's a bit of tension between Sarah and her son. Hmmm... is this because he chose to stay in Eufaula with his father? In an 1888 Alabama newspaper I found "Robert Moulthrop and his son Robert have just returned from Decatur, Alabama." Further suggesting young Robert stood by his father's side.

I kept poking around and finally found what I was looking for -- a reference to the death and burial location of Sarah A. Moulthrop. In Barbour County, Alabama Tombstone Inscriptions, I find a listing for Fairview Cemetery in Eufaula. In one section of the cemetery I find young Robert, his wife, and his mother (these three are also on FindAGrave):

- Robert Moulthrop (29 Apr 1865 - 6 Feb 1925)
- Kate Moss Moulthrop (2 Feb 1865 - 27 Apr 1939)
- Sarah A. Moulthrop (14 Dec 1838 - 23 June 1923)

Do you think I stopped there? Not a chance! I had to figure out if indeed Robert, Sr. had a second marriage.

In the same book, in a different part of the same cemetery, I found Robert, Sr. and his supposed other family:

- Robert Moulthrop (1837 - 1900)
- Sallie C. Bullock Moulthrop (1855 - 1929)
- Albert Moulthrop (1885 - 1945)
- Mary Foy Pitts Moulthrop (1889 - 1958)

And one final record for your perusal:
1900 U.S. Federal Census (11th June)
Eufaula, Barbour, Alabama
ED #9
VanBuren St.
Moulthrop, R. (hoh) b. Mch 1847 - m. 15 yrs - ConnX3 - Brick Manufacturer
Moulthrop, S. C. (wife) b. Mch 1854 - m. 15 yrs - AL - RI - SC
Moultrhop, Albert C. (son) b. Oct 1885 - AL - Conn - AL
I'll let you decide what happened between Robert Moulthrop and his first wife, Sarah Daniel.

My theory of three widowed sisters being buried in the same lot, two sisters being listed as unidentified, turns out not to be true. I still contend, however, that it is a possibility I have identified one of the unidentified as Isabella V. Woodward. And furthermore, I just took a pretty interesting trip back in time. You never know what secrets might be uncovered when doing a little "digging!"

24 January 2010

Reviving an Old Post about Cemetery Critters (GYRabbit Carnival)

The topic for the next Graveyard Rabbit Carnival is "cemetery critters." I was reluctant to participate because my best critter find actually took place more than a year ago, and I've already blogged about it. Then I decided my wonderfully tolerant readers wouldn't mind seeing it again. And if you missed it the first time around, well, it's new to you! Here is a rerun of a post originally created 20 December 2008:

Wild Turkeys at Beech Springs Cemetery: Once again, the work of a fellow Graveyard Rabbit provides inspiration for a post to this blog. Mr. Morgan at the Central Florida Graveyard Rabbit composed Graveyard Wildlife, an article about an active bald eagle nest in a downtown Orlando cemetery. This reminded me of a visit I made this past summer to Beech Springs Methodist Church Cemetery in Twiggs County, Georgia that had several young wild turkeys running through it. They were hanging around the church sign when I pulled up. I thought they would surely run from me, but they didn't. I took a couple photos before I even stepped out of the car.


I also attempted to capture them on video:


If my memory had served me better a month ago, this would have been a nice Thanksgiving Day post! *Sigh* I thank Mr. Morgan for reminding me of my own graveyard wildlife, nonetheless.

If you are interested in learning more about this Beech Springs Cemetery, seeing more video from the cemetery, and connecting to more burials information, please visit my August 2008 post.

Bloggers Best Friend Award for Me? I'm Tickled Pink!


I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled to receive the "Bloggers Best Friend Award" from Dorene at Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay. Thanks so much, Dorene!

The award was developed by Bandit at The World From Down Here, and here are the rules: "The 'A Blogger's Best Friend Award' shall be given to your most loyal blog readers. Thus, the award should be given to a follower of yours who takes the time to comment regularly on many of your posts. In addition his or her blog should be creative, funny and always entertaining. Upon receiving this award, pass it along to two fellow bloggers who fit this criteria."

I have so many wonderful followers, and picking just two is very difficult. Please know I am thankful for all of my readers!

I will pay this nice tribute forward to the following fellow Graveyard Rabbit bloggers:

- Gale at Digital Cemetery Walk and

- Grace at The Wandering Graveyard Rabbit

Both of these ladies often leave nice comments for me to read, and I thank them!

21 January 2010

Churchyard Literature: A Short Essay on Epitaphs

This quick post serves three purposes:

#1 - to point out an article written about epitaphs, containing a bit of history and a few examples;

#2 - to remind you to follow the "Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal," if you don't already do so -- it contains some great articles and is updated often; and

#3 - to shamelessly plug my article (yes, I wrote the one about epitaphs). :-)

Please visit Churchyard Literature: A Short Essay on Epitaphs.

19 January 2010

Here lies Mary, the wife of John Ford (Today's Epitaph)

(From Wiltshire, England - 1790)

Here lies Mary, the wife of John Ford,
We hope her soul is gone to the Lord;
But if for Hell she has changed this life,
She had better be there than John Ford's wife.


[Source: Grave Matters by E. R. Shushan]

William was the Sunshine of His Home (Tombstone Tuesday)

William B.
Son of J. F. & R. A. Marshall
Born June 25, 1871
Died April 21, 1902
He was a member of M.E. Church

"He was the sunshine of our home.
What hopes have perished with you
our son; To know him was to love him,
To name him was to praise."

This is a nice example of a draped pedestal tombstone with a vaulted roof. It can be found in Waverly Hall Cemetery; Harris County, Georgia.

12 January 2010

Echo of an Infant Voice (Tombstone Tuesday)

I tried to read the death date on this tombstone at Waverly Hall Cemetery in Harris County, Georgia, but was unable to do so. I checked to see if little Nannie's stone was listed in FindAGrave, hoping someone else had better luck. She is there, and the contributor has a guess, but is unsure. Here is my offer: Nannie M. Marshall was born 6 June 1859 and died 27 May 1868.

Nannie's tombstone is obviously eroding, and I wanted to get her information out. You never know to whose family tree she belongs.

I had better luck, however, with Nannie's epitaph engraved on the flip side:

Sweet Mother, do not weep;
The joy of sainted spirits now is mine,
I roam the fields of light, with those who keep
Bright watch where heaven's own golden portals shine.

11 January 2010

To William

"And when I could not keep the tear from gathering in my eye,
Thy little hand press'd gently mine, in token of reply,
To ask one more exchange of love, thy look was upward cast,
And in that long and burning kiss thy happy spirit pass'd.

I never trusted to have lived to bid farewell to thee,
And almost said, in agony, it ought not so to be;
I hoped that thou within the grave my weary head shouldst lay,
And live, beloved, when I was gone, for many a happy day.

With trembling hand I vainly tried thy dying eyes to close,
And almost envied, in that hour, thy calm and deep repose;
For I was left in loneliness, with pain and grief oppress'd,
And thou wast with the sainted, where the weary are at rest.

Yes, I am sad and weary now; but let me not repine,
Because a spirit, loved so well, is earlier bless'd than mine;
My faith may darken as it will, I shall not much deplore,
Since thou are where the ills of life can never reach thee more."

The last four lines of the beautiful poem above, written by J. Peabody, were used as an epitaph on the stone placed for Stephen F. Marshall (25 Jan 1839 - 5 Mar 1862) in Waverly Hall Cemetery at Harris County, Georgia.

This is a good example of why I like learning, if possible, what epitaphs mean or where they come from. After reading the entire poem, I knew beyond a doubt the love Stephen's family had for him and how much he was missed.

09 January 2010

Fair Little Spirit, Rest Thee Now

This ledger marker placed in memory of little 8 year old Edith Owen can be found in the Waverly Hall Cemetery at Harris County, Georgia. Transcription:

In Loving Memory of
Edith Howard
Daughter of J. C. & C. B. Owen
Born Sept 5, 1898
Died Feb 3, 1907

"Calm on the bosom of thy God,
Fair little spirit, rest thee now!
E'en while with us thy footsteps trod,
His seal was on thy brow."


Edith's epitaph is the first verse of a dirge written by Felicia Dorothea Hemans (1793–1835). Here's the second verse:

"Dust, to its narrow house beneath!
Soul, to its place on high!
They that have seen thy look in death
No more may fear to die."

05 January 2010

No Ostentation Marked Her Tranquil Way (Tombstone Tuesday)

Annice Flournoy,
Wife of Rev. Frances Flournoy,
Daughter of John & Martha Ware,
Mother of Sophia, Mary & Samuel Flournoy.
She was born in Chesterfield Co, Va
Aug 10, 1767
Died Mch 17, 1843

"No ostentation marked her tranquil way,
Her duties all discharged without display."

"She fell asleep"

God gave, He took, He will restore, He doeth all things well.


(Ledger marker located at Waverly Hall Cemetery in Harris County, Georgia.)
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