29 January 2011

Saturday Soldier: Andrew Jackson Harrell (1917-1967)

Andrew Jackson Harrell
Sgt Co D
371 Infantry
World War II
November 3, 1917
November 8, 1967

Goodwin Cemetery
Hwy 124
Duluth, Gwinnett County, Georgia
Photo © 2010-2011 S. Lincecum
Sgt. Andrew Jackson Harrell was a son of Roy and Rosetta White Harrell. He was born in Georgia, and that is from where he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942, entering World War II.

According to his enlistment record at Ancestry, Andrew had a grammar school education, and his civil occupation was in the category of "semiskilled chauffeurs and drivers, bus, taxi, truck, and tractor."

Sgt. Andrew Jackson Harrell died in Los Angeles, California.


27 January 2011

New Project, New Blog

I know I've been neglecting this blog for a couple of weeks, and I'm sorry. In my defense, I have been working on a new project. Of course, it's cemetery related. :-)

I decided to begin a location-based genealogy research project, and my principal subjects are the individuals interred in the Byron City Cemetery of Peach County, Georgia. Along with that comes a new blog - Byron City Cemetery.

Here is the post I wrote to open and introduce the new blog.
Ever since I attended Bernie Gracy's Breaking Down Brick Walls with Location Based Genealogy class at the 2010 Atlanta Family History Expo, I've been itching to put it into practice in a big way. It's no secret I have a love of cemeteries, so I of course will be starting there. And since I'm related to the PEAVYs of Byron, Georgia, what better cemetery to start with than the Byron City Cemetery.

I've always had a fondness for this cemetery, and I'm not sure why. It's not huge, but not small either. There are hundreds buried there. There is one pretty tall obelisk, but the rest are fairly modest, contemporary stones. Nonetheless, I am connected to some of the individuals interred and the history they made with the relationships they share.

I really liked one of the things Mr. Gracy had to say in his class -- a cemetery is a large public database. And it certainly is! Oftentimes genealogists go to a cemetery and focus on one tombstone, or maybe a family plot. Chances are, however, there are other interments related to your family history. That is, even if the individuals themselves are not a relative of yours. "Spacial orientation is important and telling." Clues to your family history can likely be found in the lives of the people who lived around your ancestors.

I hope you'll follow along with me as I work on this location based genealogy research project. There is actually more than one website that lists the burials for Byron City Cemetery, as well as pages that describe the family history of some of the individuals buried there. My goal is to systematically research and connect as many as possible.
Now! Back to our regularly scheduled programming...

12 January 2011

The Last Member of the Dowis Family of Gwinnett County

As I mentioned before, Hannah Dowis began giving birth to her family in 1891 at about the age of 16 years. She kept at that job for 27 years, ending with the birth and death of an infant son 27 October 1918. The first child to pass away was Susie Dowis, who was just days old, in 1894. More than 100 years later, the last child of Hannah's to reach adulthood would breathe her last breath.

Photo by Jack Johnson
via FindAGrave
Lola Dowis Teague was born 1 January 1916, and she died 27 September 2001. Her final resting place is next to her husband in Memory Hill Cemetery at Milledgeville, Baldwin County, Georgia.

Lola's obituary was carried in the Macon Telegraph as well as the Atlanta Journal Constitution. She died in Macon at the age of 85. She was a native of Gwinnett County, but had lived in Milledgeville for many years. Her husband was the late James D. Teague, Jr. Lola was a retired Health & Physical Education teacher with Baldwin County High School. She also coached girls basketball. Mrs. Teague was also a Girl Scout troop leader for many years. She was heavily involved with Hospice, the American Red Cross, and the American Cancer Society. She followed the Methodist faith.

Lola Dowis Teague left behind a son, 3 daughters, 14 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. Her legacy lives on.

11 January 2011

John Victau Dowis: A Tale of Murder & Revenge (Tombstone Tuesday)

One of the nineteen children of William and Hannah Dowis buried in the family plot at Duluth Church Cemetery in Gwinnett County, Georgia is their son John Victau. He was more commonly known as Victor or Vic Dowis, and he attended the Duluth Baptist Church as a young man. Victor died at the prime of life age of 30 years. In fact, his death came just over a month before his 31st birthday. He left behind a wife and children, including a daughter born just days before his death.

I first found there was an interesting story surrounding the death of Victor with a simple search at Ancestry. Several user-submitted family trees mentioned a tale of murder and revenge. Most were telling the story from the "other" side, the side of the Simpson brothers. Both were victims of a traffic stop gone bad, at the hands of Victor Dowis.

In 1922 Duluth, Georgia, Victor Dowis was a deputy sheriff. An article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution (viewed online at Fold3) dated 21 February tells of the events of the previous afternoon:

Deputy Sheriff Claims Joe and Orin Simpson Attacked Him and He Shot in Defense.

Duluth, Ga, February 20 -- (Special) Joe Simpson and Orin Simpson, brothers, prominent farmers of this county, were shot and killed this afternoon by Deputy Sheriff Victor Dowis, when they refused to allow the officer to search their automobile for whisky. Dowis surrendered to the sheriff in Lawrenceville tonight.

After the shooting, the automobile was searched and no liquor was found. Orin Simpson was killed instantly, while his brother died two hours later. Just before he died, he is said to have made a statement denying that any whisky was in the car and accusing Dowis of murder.

Dowis received information this afternoon, it was stated, that someone was loading whisky into a automobile just outside the corporate limits of Duluth, and was requested to make a search. Proceeding to the place, he found the automobile of the Simpson brothers and attempted to search it.

Object to Search.
The two brothers are said to have refused permission to make the search unless a proper warrant was produced, witnesses stated, and Dowis sent to Duluth for a warrant. When he presented his warrant, the Simpson brothers asserted that it was not the proper paper authorizing a search of the automobile.

Dowis then attempted to proceed with his search, eye-witnesses stated, and the two farmers objected, forcing the officer from the automobile. Dowis drew his pistol and started shooting, it was asserted, killing Orin Simpson instantly and fatally wounding Joe Simpson.

Meets Sheriff
There was no one in Duluth to arrest the deputy sheriff and the sheriff was summoned from Lawrenceville. In the meanwhile, Dowis left Duluth and met the sheriff en route to the town, and surrendered.

The two dead men were prominently connected throughout this immediate section of the state and were considered wealthy. They were related to Dr. O. O. Simpson, of Norcross, who has represented Gwinnett county in the state legislature several terms...

Relatives of the men tonight declared that they would charge Dowis with murder and prosecute the case to the finish.

Lawrenceville, GA, February 20 -- (Special) -- After a conference with Deputy Sheriff Victor Dowis, who is held in jail here following the killing of Joe Simpson and Orin Simpson near Duluth yesterday, Senator O. A. Nix, attorney for the officer, issued a statement tonight to the effect that Dowis had shot in self defense, and that both of his alleged assailants were partially intoxicated at the time of shooting.

"Mr. Dowis, who is marshal at Duluth, as well as deputy sheriff, was requested to search the Simpson automobile by a citizen of the county," said Senator Nix. "When he approached the car, he was denied permission. He then sent back to town for a warrant, and when it arrived started to make the search for the liquor.

"Both of the men had been drinking -- one was half drunk -- and attacked Mr. Dowis, according to his statement and those of eye witnesses with whom I have talked. One of the Simpson brothers struck him over the head with an automobile wrench and he then pulled his pistol and shot in self-protection...

The deputy sheriff is a brother of Rev. Solomon Dowis, pastor of the Baptist church at Duluth; F. F. Dowis, cashier of the Bank of Suwanee; and W. H. Dowis, a member of the G. M. C. faculty. He is married and has three children.
Later that year, on 11 September 1922, Deputy Sheriff Victor Dowis went on trial for murder "in connection with the shooting by him of Joseph and Orin Simpson, brothers." Victor Dowis was acquitted of the charge.

Family lore states Dr. O. O. Simpson stood on the courthouse steps after the disappointing verdict and offered $10,000 to anyone who would kill Vic Dowis.

The following January (1923) there was an attempt made on Victor's life. Again, from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Duluth, Ga, January 27 -- (Special) -- Victor Dowis, former deputy sheriff of this county, narrowly escaped death before daylight this morning when he was fired on as he was driving to Atlanta in his automobile.

He is employed in Atlanta, but his family still reside near here. He was returning to Atlanta from an overnight visit home when the attack took place.

About a mile from here at Carolina crossing two shots shattered the windshield, the flying glass inflicting slight scratches. No clue as to the identity of the ambushers has been found.
Apparently, someone made good on another attempt when Victor was shot and killed less than six months later. His death certificate states the cause of death as "Murdered by gun shot by unknown person."

Simpson family history suggests Joseph and Orin's older brother Alexander Hamilton Simpson committed the act of murderous revenge on Victor Dowis. And it is asserted that yes, he collected the $10,000.

Mamie Lantham Dowis, Victor's wife, gave birth to a daughter just four days before Victor was killed. Little Jonnie V. died a year later. She, too, is buried in the Dowis family plot at Duluth Church Cemetery.

Search Military Records - Fold3

08 January 2011

The Dowis Children -- All Nineteen of Them

William Calvin Dowis (1861-1933) married Hannah Jane Burdett (1875-1927) and began their farming family in Atlanta, Georgia in the late 1800s. By the early 1900s, they had moved a short distance north to Duluth in Gwinnett County, Georgia. There they continued to farm and attended the Baptist Church in town. Upon their deaths, William and Hannah were laid to rest under the trees in the Duluth Baptist Church cemetery.

In the far corner of their southern-styled, gravel covered family plot is a large marble memorial standing taller than the rest. On it is a listing of all nineteen of the Dowis children. It seems Hannah started giving birth around the age of 16 and didn't stop until she was 43. Along with the children's names, their birth and death dates, as well as their burial locations are also recorded. It's a genealogist's dream discovery.

The Children of
William Calvin Dowis and Hannah Jane Burdett

Solomon Dowis: b. 5/19/1891, d. 11/4/1967, bur. Westview, Atlanta, GA
Victor Dowis: b. 8/8/1892, d. 5/5/1923, bur. Duluth, GA
Ferd Dowis: b. 8/22/1893, d. 3/19/1958, bur. Lawrenceville, GA
Susie Dowis: b. 10/21/1894, d. 11/8/1894, bur. Mt. Paran, Atlanta, GA
Herbert Dowis: b. 12/30/1895, d. 3/22/1966, bur. Westview, Atlanta, GA
Carrie Bell Dowis Hunt: b. 4/13/1897, d. 6/27/1984, bur. Duluth, GA
Seaborn Dowis: b. 5/23/1898, d. 9/2/1898, bur. Mt. Paran, Atlanta, GA
Ezra B. Dowis: b. 1/18/1900, d. 6/9/1900, bur. Mt. Paran, Atlanta, GA
Vivian Dowis Huff: b. 10/15/1901, d. 1/11/1967, bur. Bonaventure, Savannah, GA
Olice Dowis: b. 1/16/1903, d. 8/14/1968, bur. Park Hill, Columbus, GA
Ruth Dowis Bell: b. 2/8/1905, d. 4/5/1953, bur. Cairo, GA
Jetta Dowis: b. 9/2/1906, d. 1/20/1995, bur. Duluth, GA
Curtis Dowis: b. 12/7/1908, d. 1/17/1978, bur. Duluth, GA
Bertha Dowis: b. 8/31/1910, d. 11/17/1910, bur. Duluth, GA
Burdett Dowis: b. 8/31/1910, d. 11/17/1910, bur. Duluth, GA
Mary Dowis Pass: b. 9/23/1912, d. 1/24/1991, bur. Gwinnett Memorial Gardens, Lawrenceville, GA
Calvin Dowis: b. 9/13/1914, d. 12/21/1914, bur. Duluth, GA
Lola Dowis Teague: b. 1/1/1916, d. 9/27/2001, bur. Memory Hill, Milledgeville, GA
Infant Son: b. 10/27/1918, d. 10/27/1918, bur. Duluth, GA

William and Hannah raised Baptist preachers, military men, policemen, and teachers, just to name a few. I found it interesting that though some did move away from the family home, none seem to have left the state of Georgia (not without returning, at least).

This family intrigues me; I might just have to learn more about them. Don't worry, I'll share.

07 January 2011

3 Lambs of the Dowis Family

Infants of W. C. & H. J. Dowis

All three passed away just before the age of 3 months. The first two were twins. All were laid to rest at Duluth Church Cemetery in Gwinnett County, Georgia. As a reminder, the lamb symbolizes purity, innocence, and gentleness. It is one of the most common images found on infant gravestones.

Infant son of W. C. & H. J. Dowis
Aug 31, 1910
Nov 17, 1910

Infant daughter of W. C. & H. J. Dowis
Aug 31, 1910
Nov 17, 1910

Calvin Jr.
Son of W. C. & H. J. Dowis
Sept 25, 1914
Dec 21, 1914
Suffer little children to come unto me.

Stay tuned to learn more about the rest of the DOWIS children -- there are 16 more!

Photo © 2010-2011 S. Lincecum.

06 January 2011

Julia's Song

Julia Catherine Street is buried next to her Confederate war veteran husband J. C. New in Duluth Church Cemetery at Gwinnett County, Georgia. She has quite an epitaph etched in the arched stone she shares with her husband. It begins in a typical enough fashion:

Julia Catherine Street
Wife of J. C. New
Born Sept 12, 1824
Married Aug 5, 1844
Died July 17, 1898

Oh there is a better day coming.

Now here is where the beautiful words really flow. Even without music you can hear the rhythmic cadence in the hymn written by Charles Wesley about 1740:

Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to thy bosom fly,
While the raging billows roll,
While the tempest still is high,
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
O, receive my soul at last.

05 January 2011

Sunlit Angel (Wordless Wednesday)

04 January 2011

In Case You Missed It -- December, & Best of 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I'm a bit behind in "getting back into the swing of things" around here after all the holiday happenings, so this post is a couple of days late. I want to thank all of you for continuing to follow the Southern Graves blog, and I promise to do my best to hold your interest in 2011. If you are a new follower, WELCOME! Here are some posts that might be new to you:

ICYMI -- December 2010 (most viewed posts over the last 30 days)

- Undertakers, Coffins, & Furniture

- In Hoc Signo Vinces: the Knights Templar

- Sentimental Sunday's Baby Knox

- Little Fingers, Little Toes

- Eugene & Virginia are Watching and Waiting (Tombstone Tuesday)

- Symbolism of the Oak Leaf

- A Pair of Infant Shoes, Times Two!

- Maud (Henry?) Hambrick & the Railroad

- Darling Anna (Today's Epitaph)

- The Howells of Duluth

- Southern Cross of Honor

And here are the most viewed posts of 2010 (according to Google Analytics):

- Southern Cross of Honor

- Undertakers, Coffins, & Furniture

- In Hoc Signo Vinces: the Knights Templar

- H T W S S T K S -- Huh? (Tombstone Tuesday)

- Women's Relief Corps, Order of the Eastern Star, & Mother Enterprise

- White Oak Flats Cemetery; Gatlinburg, Tennessee

- William Weekley Drowned in the San Diego Bay (& My 1st Experience as a FamilySearch Indexer)

- Here Rests the Body of Col. William Rhett

- Louis Behrens, Famous Fireman

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