30 April 2011

In Memory of Robert Sidney Adair

From History of Gwinnett County, Georgia by James C. Flanigan:

"Mr. Adair was born in South Carolina in the year 1783; just at the close of the American Revolution. He descended from one of the old families of the Adairs of Scotland where all the Adairs in Europe and America originally sprang from, according to tradition handed down from generation to generation.

His great grandfather, Robin Adair, was the boon companion of Robert Burns, the Scottish bard. It was said of him: "He was a decided character, a good peacemaker, of jovial good humor, witty and wise. At all public places he would have a crowd around him listening to his witticisms and songs." Some of his descendants emigrated to Ireland, some to England. His son, Robert, went to England, and his son, Robert married Sir John Sidney's daughter, emigrated to America and settled in Virginia. Before leaving England he named one of his sons after both grandfathers, Robert Sidney. This son married a widow, Elizabeth Huffman, nee Posey, who had two children, Adam and Sally. This marriage took place in 1774, and these were the parents of the subject of this sketch.

At the beginning of the war with the mother country, he enlisted in the war for independence and served four years in Virginia, his adopted state. In common with the Whigs of that day, he suffered from the depredations of the Tories. During one of their forays in his absence they captured all his negroes, eighteen in number, his wagons and horses, sacked his house, destroyed his beds and bedding and all the family's subsistence, leaving them destitute of even the necessities of life. On being informed of his family's destitute conditions, he obtained a furlough and a transfer to the army of South Carolina. Upon his return home he found that the worst had not been told. All his property was gone and his family penniless. He at once refugeed to South Carolina, where some of his wife's relatives, the Posey's, the Stringers and other old Virginia neighbors, lived. As soon as he could procure a temporary home for his family he reported for duty to General Marion's command. The same troubles awaited them there. The Tories were more numerous and lawless there than in Virginia and to these he gave special attention and many a heartless devil bit the dust.

News of the surrender of Cornwallis reached them and he and others started for their homes. Upon nearing his home, he was fired upon by a squad of Tories and killed. This was three weeks before the birth of our present subject who was well called Robert Sidney in honor of his father.

Mr. Adair's wife, Patsy Lefevre, was related to the distinguished Lefevre family, originally from France, late of South Carolina. Her mother was a widow named Milliner Letcher, whose maiden name was Key. Her father was of the large connection of the Key family, of Virginia, some of whom moved from there to South Carolina and some to Georgia.

In November, 1818, Mr. Adair moved to this county (Gwinnett) and settled on a farm on Yellow River about four miles north of Lawrenceville. Samuel Maloney, who had married his sister, Nancy, in South Carolina, moved here with him and settled on the other side of the river on what has since been known as the McDill place. They arrived on the first of December and built them a tent as a temporary residence.

This was just before the fifth land district of this county was surveyed. Here he lived four years and then bought a tract of land one and a half miles north of Lawrenceville and moved to it in the fall of 1822. In a few years he had opened a good farm, built a good house and here he lived in peace, quiet and contented, for many years, and here he died.

He was an indulgent parent, but firm in his family government, teaching his children obedience and good morals.

In politics he was an old line Whig, always voting for his political friends. He held the office of Justice of the Peace in the town district for a term and the position of Justice for the Inferior Court for four years. When the lands of the Cherokees were to be drawn for, he was appointed to take the names of those in this county entitled to a chance in the lottery.

In 1834 he connected himself with the Baptist Church at New Hope, not far from his residence. His wife was also a member of the same church. He was appointed a delegate from his church to represent it at an association to be held in Walton County. Here he made the acquaintance of the distinguished Jesse Mercer, who was the leading Baptist minister of Georgia in this day. He was much pleased with Mr. Mercer and his preaching. From him Mr. Adair purchased a hymn book, the old Mercer's Cluster, now out of print except an old copy occasionally found in Baptist families and treasured as an heirloom, a relic of a bygone age. At this meeting of the association he subscribed for The Christian Index, then edited by Mr. Mercer, and the organ of the Baptist denomination in Georgia. The Index then, as now, was an exponent of foreign missions, and from time to time published missionary information from Burma, Calcutta and other places, and especially Mr. Judson's letters. Elijah Moore was the pastor at New Hope and would often call on Judge Adair, then the church clerk. On his visits, the preacher would criticise The Index, find fault with it's missionary articles, and ridicule Mr. Adair, his friend and brother, for being so weak-minded as to take such a paper, or to indorse it's teachings, and for doing so ought to be dealt with by the church. At the next conference, Mr. Adair, the clerk, stated that he had discovered that there was a difference of opinion among the members and that the pastor, Brother Moore, differed radically from them as to the question of missions, as well as on other questions of church policy, and before the storm came, Mr. Adair said: "I move that you authorize your clerk to make out a letter of dismission to each member so that they may be free to connect themselves with any church they please." The motion was put and carried and New Hope from that day ceased to live and has never been reorganized.

The immediate family of Judge Adair consisted of two daughters and four sons. Elizabeth married Moses A. Brandon in 1837 and died of consumption in Cass County in 1847. Patsy married Joseph A. Young in 1843 and died in Cass County in 1846. Madison Lefevre, the oldest son, lives in Lawrenceville, and was for two or more terms the efficient clerk of the Superior Court of this county, and married the daughter of Berryman Camp of Jackson County. Robert Sidney Adair now lives in Thomasville, Georgia, and married, first, a daughter of James Hood, and then a Miss Price. Terry Jackson Adair died in 1868, and William M. Adair was killed at Gettysburg in the army of Northern Virigina on July 4, 1863.

Up to 1853 the health of Judge Adair was remarkably good for one of his age. His health then began to decline and on September 1, 1854, he died of dropsy and was buried at Fairview Presbyterian Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

His widow survived until July 23, 1869, and died at the old homestead.

Many other incidents of this family have been furnished me running back to their far off ancestry, which would be interesting to the reader, but for want of space they must be left out of this article. From a long personal aquaintance with Robert S. Adair, I bear testimony of his moral worth, his uprightness as a Christian, his integrity as a citizen, and to his honesty as a man. In all these commendable traits, he had his equals perhaps, but in these he was not excelled."

28 April 2011

The Night of Death is Near (Today's Epitaph)

Beneath this Marble repose the remains of
who departed this life on the 1st day of February 18?3
In the 60th year of his age.

The day is past and gone
The evening shade appear
O! may you all remember well
The night of Death is near.

His Wife
Born April 25, 1785
Died April 13, 1879

Fairview Presbyterian Church Cemetery
Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, Georgia

Photo © 2010/1 S. Lincecum
The verse etched in the top of John and Mary Stuart's box tomb is from a hymn written by John Leland in 1792. It is akin to one of the most common of epitaphs: Stranger, stop and cast an eye, / As you are now, so once was I. / As I am now, so you will be, / Prepare for death and follow me.

The second verse of John Leland's hymn continues: We lay our garments by, / Upon our beds to rest; / Soon death shall soon disrobe us all, / Of what is here possessed.

About a hundred years after the death of Mr. Stuart, this hymn was a favorite for gospel singers.

22 April 2011

Earth Day at Rose Hill Cemetery, Revisited

I originally wrote this post two years ago for Earth Day 2008. Since I still feel the same way, and hope to continue to give others food for thought on the subject, here it is again.

As is pretty well documented, I am very passionate about cemetery appreciation and preservation.  This goes hand in hand with Earth Day and a passion to appreciate and preserve our planet.  Let’s think about the connection for a moment.

There is the obvious correlation of mortal remains being buried in the earth, or having one’s ashes spread all over it.  The tombstones we strive to conserve for the information they contain, as well as their artwork, also come from the earth:

- marble:  a metamorphic rock formed from limestone or dolomite

- granite:  a common, coarse-grained hard igneous rock consisting chiefly of quartz, orthoclase or microcline, and mica

- limestone:  a common sedimentary rock consisting mostly of calcium carbonate

- slate:  a fine-grained metamorphic rock that splits into thin smooth-surfaced layers

- rock:  relatively hard, naturally formed mineral or petrified matter; stone

- tombstone:  stone used to mark a grave; gravestone

See the connection? When tombstones are desecrated, not only are the vandals disrespecting the individual the stone memorializes, they are disrespecting our Earth that graciously gave us that stone.

We actually can go even further.  The designs carved onto and into tombstones are often of the earth.  Flowers are a large part of cemetery symbolism…  the chrysanthemum symbolizes longevity and immortality; the daisy often indicates the grave of a child, or innocence; and the fern symbolizes humility, frankness, and sincerity.  Just to name a few.  I could go on and on about fruits, grains, vines, trees, and bushes.

The earth is the cemetery; the cemetery is the Earth.

Here are some photos from the couple of Earth Day hours I spent at my favorite local cemetery, Rose Hill.  See how it is all intertwined?

Happy Earth Day!

19 April 2011

James Gresham Died with the Fever (Tombstone Tuesday)

Sacred to the Memory of
James T. Gresham
was born Decr 9th, 1817
and died August 27th, 1836
with the fever after 8 days illness.

Blessed are the dead
that die in the Lord.

Fairview Presbyterian Church Cemetery
Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, Georgia

Photo © 2010/1 S. Lincecum

07 April 2011

A. W. & H. M. Wilson Cut Down in the Bloom of Youth (Today's Epitaph)

A. W. Wilson
Son of J. F. & S. A. Wilson
Born Aug 27, 1869
Died Mar 8, 1890

He, like the flowers of the morning,
was cut down in the bloom of youth.

Census records and online family trees suggest this tombstone memorializes A. Walter Wilson, first son of James Fletcher Wilson and Shady Ann Byrd. A short article reporting news from Lawrenceville in the 14 March 1890 Macon Telegraph (Georgia) states the "young man of about 29 died of consumption."

A. W., his parents, brother Henry, and sister Evie Lou are all resting in Fairview Presbyterian Church Cemetery at Lawrenceville, Gwinnett County, Georgia.

H. M. Wilson
Second and Last Son of J. F. & S. A. Wilson
Photos © 2010/1 S. Lincecum.

06 April 2011

This Time the Rain Helped (Wordless Wednesday)

05 April 2011

The Death of a Child! (Tombstone Tuesday)

DIED, in Dougherty county, on the 15th day of May, REBECCA HEARTWELL, infant daughter of Mr. Paul E. Tarver and Mrs. Cinderilla Tarver, aged 9 months and 13 days.

The death of a child! How little does the world mark such an incident! Society feels no shock. It is scarcely felt in the narrow circle of relatives and friends. The arrow flies swiftly through the air to its victim, its trace is lost and all is tranquil. Yet how often does such an event crush the hopes and destroy the happiness of families.

Our heart bleeds in tender sympathy with the parents of the bright little being whose death we chronicle. She was indeed a precious bud, whose leaves had not yet opened to the day.

"A vision of beauty! fair as brief!"

If the tender affection of parents, or the innocence and beauty of childhood, could have been a defence from the grave, we could not be making this sad memorial of little Rebecca.

"Yet thou art fled ere guilt had power
To stain thy cherub soul and form.
Closed is the soft ephemeral flower,
That never felt a storm!"

Above from the Macon Weekly Telegraph (Georgia) - 8 June 1858.

Rebecca was the daughter of Paul E. Tarver and Cinderella Crocker Solomon. All are resting in Rose Hill Cemetery at Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.

Photo © 2011 S. Lincecum

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