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Death Has Taken Thee, Garrett Smith (Today's Epitaph)

Garrett Smith
Born July 23, 1821
Died March 23, 1884

Death has taken thee, and thee far country to which we journey seems nearer to us, and the way less dark for thou art gone BEFORE.

Smith Cemetery
Bonaire, Houston County, Georgia

Garrett Smith was a brother-in-law to Needham Smith.

Photos © 2012 S. Lincecum

Needham Smith's Will, Part III (Amanuensis Monday Wednesday)

Needham Smith's Will [continued]
...Im Seventh And should my Wife Ardilla marry before the youngest child arrives at the age of twenty one I desire and will that she receive out of my Estate the same as one of my three daughters, mentioned in the fifth item and when my daughter Martha arrives at the age of twenty one years or marries, my Wife Ardilla if single shall receive the same as she would have receive had she married.
Im Eighth I desire that the residue of my estate then be divided equally between my Wife Ardilla Smith, and the children of my Deceased daughter Harriet Walker, Deborah Ann Roquemoses, Mary Ann Burney, Drupina Smith, Elizabeth Smith, Martha Smith and William Thomas Speight.
Im Ninth I constitute and appoint my Son in law Milton L. Burney, Garratte Smith and Alexander Smith executors to this my last Will and testament this 7th day of July 1854.
interlined before assigned          Needham Smith     {L.S.}
     Signed sealed declared and published by Needham Smith …

Needham Smith's Will, Part II (Amanuensis Monday Tuesday)

Needham Smith's Will. [continued]
...Fourth I desire that the residue of my Estate be kept together and that my Wife Ardilla, my daughters Drupina Smith, Elizabeth Smith and Martha Smith and my Grand Children William Thos Speight, Franklin Bryant Walker George Henry Walker and Betsy Joel Walker, be supported out of the income or product of the Estate until my youngest daughter Martha shall arrive at the age of twenty One or marries provided they all remain single until that time, the support to cease of each one at their marriage and the education of those not completed to be completed and the expences of the same be paid out of the products of my estate, the remainder of the income to be laid out by my executor as they may Judge most conducive to the interest of said Estate.
Im Fifth I desire and will that each of my daughters Drupina, Elizabeth and Martha whenever they shall arrive at the age of twenty One years or marries, shall shall receive out of my estate to be set off to the…

Needham Smith's Will, Part I (Amanuensis Monday)

Needham Smith's Will.
In the name of God Amen, I Needham Smith of the County of Houston and State of Georgia being of sound and disposing mind and memory, and being desirous to settle my worldly affairs while I have strength to do so, make and publish this my last will and testament hereby revoking all wills by me at any time heretofore made, And first I commit my soul to the God who gave it and my body I desire to be buried in a Christian like manner, And my worldly estate I dispose of as follows.
First I desire and direct that all my just debts be paid without delay by my Executor hereinafter named.
Second I desire and will that my Daughter Deborah Ann Roquemore Wife of James A. Roquemore receive Five hundred Dollars in addition to what I have already given her (and will make her equal with what I gave her sister Harriet Walker) to be free from the disposition of her present or any future husband, but to be to her and children by her present or any future husband forever, and I app…

A Somber Saturday (This Time It's Personal)

We lost our 14 year old baby boy Thanksgiving morning. Words cannot express the joy, comfort, and companionship he brought to my life.


The Dead are Not Dead

I mentioned yesterday about a number of points I took away from Dr. Henderson's class at the 2012 Georgia Family History Expo. Another item she spoke of was a poem that resonated with me, but I certainly couldn't get it all down in class. Doing a Google search, I think I found it. I'm sharing it here since I think it might resonate with you, too.
Spirits
(aka The Dead are Not Dead) by Birago Diop

Listen to Things
More often than Beings,
Hear the voice of fire,
Hear the voice of water.
Listen in the wind,
To the sighs of the bush;
This is the ancestors breathing.

Those who are dead are not ever gone;
They are in the darkness that grows lighter
And in the darkness that grows darker.
The dead are not down in the earth;
They are in the trembling of the trees
In the groaning of the woods,
In the water that runs,
In the water that sleeps,
They are in the hut, they are in the crowd:
The dead are not dead.

Listen to things
More often than beings,
Hear the voice of fire,
Hear the…

Georgia Family History Expo Day 2 Recap

The Georgia Family History Expo, 2012 edition, came to an end yesterday evening. I had a wonderful time throughout it all. More classes were attended and enjoyed, including courses dealing with colonial Georgia records, African-American cemeteries, and possible Cherokee ancestry.

Some of the further reading suggested by Robert S. Davis in the colonial Georgia records class include Georgia Journeys: Being an Account of the Lives of Georgia's Original Settlers and Many Other Early Settlers and Colonial Soldiers of the South, 1732-1774. I was also reminded of the Colonial Wills on Georgia's Virtual Vault.

Dr. D. L. Henderson did not disappoint with her Tale of Two Cemeteries talk. She gave a great overview of the African American burial grounds at Oakland Cemetery as well as those at South View Cemetery. A book she suggested is now on my to-read list: The Afro-American Tradition in Decorative Arts.

Though she made several points to remember, one of the best ones was "ce…

Georgia Family History Expo Day 1 Recap

Half of the 2-day Georgia Family History Expo has come and gone. For those of you who couldn't make it this time around, here's a recap of my day 1. Even though the opening session was not set to begin until early afternoon, I was out and about before 9 am. Every year thus far, I have stayed in a different city in order to be closer to different cemeteries. This time around, Alpharetta was the chosen locale. I had already planned to visit Resthaven off of Main Street in downtown, but I received a pleasant surprise which added an addition to my schedule. Turns out, my hotel is right across the street from a small family cemetery.


So I was able to visit two cemeteries before the expo even officially began. More than 160 photos later, it was time to head to Duluth for the opening session given by Robert S. Davis. If you've read my blogs before today, you might know of my affinity for this man. He did not disappoint today. Even with lighting and microphone difficul…

Dr. D. L. Henderson Featured at This Weekend's Expo

I cannot wait to hear Dr. D. L. Henderson speak at the Georgia Family History Expo this Friday and Saturday in Duluth. According to her speaker bio, Dr. Henderson "is the historian for South-View Cemetery and serves on the advisory boards of the Historic South-View Preservation Foundation and the Historic Oakland Foundation. In June 2012, she received the Atlanta Urban Design Commission’s Jenny D. Thurston Memorial Award to an Outstanding Preservation Professional."

I've posted about some of the stones in Oakland Cemetery previously on this blog. Most recently with Shadrach Inman Made Two Fortunes. And believe you me, there will be more. I simply adore this cemetery.

At 1 PM this Saturday, I will be in Dr. Henderson's class entitled A Tale of Two Cemeteries: What Lies Beneath the Landscape of African American Burial Grounds. This "presentation focuses on the cultural landscapes of two Atlanta cemeteries and emphasizes socio-racial influences — established i…

Happy He Lived and Brave Did He Die

While continuing to revisit some photos taken at Bethany Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina, I came across the stone for John H. Gotjen, Jr. (1904-1926). I had not posted about him before because I could not fully read his entire epitaph. I only recently had decided to go ahead and post what I knew, but before I could do so a bit of serendipity happened.

I posted John Gotjen's information on FindAGrave back in 2008, and I recently received additional information from fellow contributor (and Naval aviator researcher) Mike Weeks. He was able to fill in where I had only blanks, and he added a death notice to boot!

The death notice Mr. Weeks submitted was from The Bee of Danville, Virginia -- Wednesday, 31 October 1928, pg. 6:

"Killed by Propeller

Washington. Oct. 31 - (INS) - Ensign John Herman (sic) Gotjen, Jr. of Charleston, S.C. was killed yesterday at the Pensacola Naval Air Station when he accidently walked into a whirling propeller, the navy department was advised t…

Georgia Family History Expo Early Bird Special - 5 Days Left

I'm registered for the 3rd annual Georgia Family History Expo. Are you? I certainly hope so, since I'm positive a great time will be had by all who attend. If you haven't registered yet, you might want to take advantage of the early bird special before it ends on October 9th. You can save more than $40 on this two--day event.

A couple of highlights of this year's expo are Robert S. Davis and Paul A. Adjei. All you need to know about Mr. Davis is he exudes Georgia History. You could probably get smarter on the subject just by standing next to him. He will be giving the opening keynote address -- "The Secrets to Research in Georgia" -- as well as teaching classes on Georgia and Alabama. One I am particularly interested in is Research in the War of 1812 in the Deep South. Truth be told, I am an R. S. Davis groupie, so I might be found in more than one of his classes. I attended every single one at the last Georgia Family History Expo.

Another highlight,…

Wilhelm Burmester Walked According to God's Wise Counsel (Today's Epitaph)

Claus Meyer and the Transportation of His Corpse

The scenario: You know where an ancestor died, yet are unable to find their burial place even after searching every cemetery in that locale. If indeed their body was shipped to another city, there should be a record -- Transportation of Corpse -- as in the case of Mr. Claus H. Meyer. He died 5 February 1912 in Summerville, Dorchester County, South Carolina. His body was transported about twenty miles (maybe a little more) to Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina for burial in Bethany Cemetery. These records may be found at the local county level or at the funeral home that handled the burial.



My Letter to Gov. Deal about the Closing of the Georgia Archives

I'm interrupting this blog, normally dominated by tombstones, to highlight history in general. For those of you that don't know, budget proposals in the state of Georgia have forced Secretary of State Brian Kemp to close the archives to the public, effective November 1st. Appointments will be allowed, but based only on available staff. In other words, at no time can you simply walk into the archives and access public records. And since the staffing will be curtailed to nothing, good luck on getting that appointment.

Oh! And, by the way, Georgia's Virtual Vault has been acting up a lot lately. Coincidence? Maybe not. So this might even hurt online Georgia research.

Here is the letter I submitted to Governor Nathan Deal. If you are interested in sending your thoughts, information on how to do that follows.
Re: Closing of the State Archives

I think effectively closing the Georgia Archives to the public is a grave mistake. The ability for the public to physically see h…

Claus and Anna Bittesohn, Wednesday's Child(ren)

I recently received an email requesting information about cemeteries to visit in Charleston, South Carolina. I have only been there once, but that was enough to make me fall in love with the city. It also did not take long to discover that Charleston is a treasure trove of graveyards and cemeteries.

I thought I'd go back over some of the photos I took from that trip more than four years ago. It didn't take long for me to find more blogging fodder. Incidentally, I also wonder why I didn't post some of this stuff then. Maybe I'm growing -- a better researcher, a better creative thinker? I hope so!

Looking at this image again reminded me of something everyone might not know...


Putting "geb" and "gest" in the Google translator tool might not give you the results you expect. However, putting in "born" and "died" and translating them to German helps. Geb is short for Geboren (born), and Gest is short for Gestorben (died).

Velma Williams Peavy (This Time It's Personal)

Velma F. Williams was born 28 January 1900 in Ellaville, Georgia to Henry J. and Mamie Williams. She attended Georgia Normal and Industrial College, "A State Institution for Georgia Girls," located in Milledgeville. She was a senior in 1919. In 1920, she was still listed with her parents in the Ellaville Federal census with an occupation of public school teacher.

In October 1922, Velma married William Wallace Peavy, Jr. Their engagement was noted in the 24 September 1922 edition of the Atlanta Constitution:
Engagements
WILLIAMS -- PEAVY

Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Williams announce the engagement of their daughter, Velma, to Wallace Peavy, Jr., the wedding to be solemnized in October at the Methodist church, Ellaville.After her marriage, Velma made her new husband's home town her own -- the little railroad stop of Byron, Georgia. The Peavys were prominent there.

In 1930, Velma and her husband were living next door to his parents. The William Wallace Peavy, Sr. home still stand…

Am I Wrong to Think This is at Least a Little Creepy?

Make no mistake, I'm all for living with Jesus. I plan to spend eternity at His side. However, I can't help but feel this epitaph is a wee bit, um, creepy.


It's the "Come See Me" part that gives me the willies.

The Graveyard Queen Series for Read a Book Day

I posted briefly about the first of this series about four months ago. Since then, I have finished the entire 3.5 book saga. My conclusion? They're great reads. I've heard tell that there are possibly more on the way, and I for one hope that rumor is true. Here's what I posted about book 1 of the Graveyard Queen series back in May:

First in the "Graveyard Queen" series is entitled The Restorer by Amanda Stevens. This read is a work of fiction about a cemetery restorer, Amelia, that finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation in the well-known southern city of Charleston, South Carolina. There actually are mentions and descriptions of cemetery art and symbolism. The main character also has the fortune / misfortune of seeing ghosts. A good combination of criminal minds, local history (some fictional), and paranormal activity, all set in a southern cemetery, with a little bit of romantic tension thrown in for good measure. What more can you ask for…

Chapel and Graveyard in the Mountains of Georgia (Wordless Wednesday)

A Heavyhearted Epitaph for Joseph Gray (Tombstone Tuesday)

While the sentiment intended could be quite benign, I couldn't help but feel sad when I read the tombstone placed for Mr. Joseph F. Gray at Taylors Chapel Cemetery:


I found Mr. Gray's obituary, but was unable to glean anything specific to warrant the words on his stone.

Augusta Chronicle (Georgia)
16 June 1942, Section A, Page 10
(Viewed online at GenealogyBank.)
Joseph F. Gray
Dies at Clayton


Funeral services for Joseph F. Gray, brother of the late Thomas S. Gray of Augusta, will be conducted at his home in Clayton, Ga., today, and interment will follow in the Clayton cemetery.

Mr. Gray died at 6:30 yesterday morning, following an extended illness.

A native of Atlanta, he was reared in Augusta, where he found his first employment on the Augusta Chronicle, then under the editorship of Patrick Walsh.

For many years Mr. Gray was freight claim agent for the Central of Georgia railroad, and later he was elected to the Georgia Public Service commission.

He is survived by one daughter…

Variation on a Classic (Today's Epitaph)

John Edward Whitty and Son in Florida Memory Photographic Collection

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit with family in north Florida. While there, since just about everyone knows my love for cemeteries, I was directed to a small family graveyard in Lee, Madison County. According to FindAGrave, it is known as Hays (Hayes) Cemetery.

Upon entering the gate, the first few graves I came across were part of the WHITTY family. John Edward Whitty (1864-1938) married Gertrude Horton (1871-1928) and had several children. One, a son, was John Butler Whitty (1895-1976).


John Edward Whitty was a prominent citizen of Lee, Florida. In the early 1900s, he owned a drugstore with his sons. And, in 1923, he was a member of the Florida House of Representatives for Madison County.

While googling around, I came across several photos of members of the J. E. Whitty family housed online at the Florida Memory Photographic Collection. Here are a couple of goodies:

Shadrach Inman Made Two Fortunes

Shadrach Inman's obituary was carried in newspapers all up the east coast, from Georgia to North Carolina to New York. He was a man of the South who made fortunes in two eras -- the "old" south prior to the Civil War, and the "new" south after it. His story was related in an article by Tammy H. Galloway for the New Georgia Encyclopedia: "The Inman family is representative of those members of the planter class who lost much of their wealth during the Civil War (1861-65) but recouped their fortunes in a postwar urban environment."

Shadrach Inman came to Atlanta from Tennessee about 1865 and established a dry goods store with his youngest son, Hugh. Hugh T. Inman was the father of Louise and Hugh, previously profiled on this blog.

Ms. Galloway continues, explaining how the Inman family, including Shadrach, his brothers, and his sons, expanded their wealth after the Civil War: "The dry-goods stores of the time served as places to barter goods, p…

A Cherub Rises Above His Earthly Coffin

Little Hugh Inman, son of H. T. and J. V. D. Inman, was born 22 October 1879. He died just eleven days shy of his second birthday. His tombstone in Oakland Cemetery at Atlanta, Georgia is full of symbolism. Hugh is depicted as an infant angel hovering above a rock piling. He lifts a cloak to reveal a coffin underneath. The rocks represent a firm foundation for life, and the rising above a revealed coffin represents victory over death. As was with his sister, Hugh's likeness was sculpted into the cherub form.



All photos © 2012 S. Lincecum

I Remember, I Believe : The Avondale Burial Place

I followed this story for some time -- the relocation of remains from an African American burial ground in Bibb County, Georgia. Throughout the process, I always felt proud of how the project was being handled. I remain so to this day. A kind Facebook friend shared this documentary with me. It is 30 minutes long, but time so very well spent. If you have an interest in archaeology, cemeteries, history, or African American history specifically, please watch.

In addition, I wrote a post four years ago about a man who might just have a connection to this burial place -- Daniel Ryder, U.S. Colored Infantry.

For more information about this project, including contact information if you might be related, please visit www.avondaleburialplace.org.

Louise Inman's Death Mask

Louise Inman was a daughter of H. T. and J. V. D. Inman. She was born 5 December 1883, and died 2 May 1888. The tree stump sculpted for her tombstone in Atlanta, Georgia's Oakland Cemetery indicates a life cut short, and she is depicted writing on a tablet -- possibly the particulars of her time on earth. According to the Historic Oakland Cemetery Self-Guided Tour & Map, Louise's face is a death mask.
"In Western cultures, a death mask is a wax or plaster cast made of a person’s face following death. Death masks may be mementos of the dead, or be used for creation of portraits. It is sometimes possible to identify portraits that have been painted from death masks, because of the characteristic slight distortions of the features caused by the weight of the plaster during the making of the mold. In other cultures a death mask may be a clay or another artifact placed on the face of the deceased before burial rites." [Wikipedia]

The Pedigree of Edward Greenway Hitt, Jr.

Not to be outdone by his wife Margaret Peavy, Edward Greenway Hitt, Jr. (b. 1920 Illinois, d. 2001 Georgia) was a pretty cool cat. His obituary in the 9 September 2001 edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says as much. Copyright prevents me from printing it in its entirety here, so let me just itemize some tidbits about the son of Edward Greenway Hitt and Lamar Jackson Slaton:

- Edward was a retired insurance executive and underwriting member of Lloyd's of London.
- He co-founded The Southern General Insurance Company about 1951.
- He founded the Southeast Commandery of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus in 1980.
- He attended Emory University, and memberships included The Society of Colonial Wars, The National Society -- Americans of Royal Descent, The Military Order of the World Wars, The Georgia Trust for Historical Preservation, Historic Oakland Cemetery, and the Georgia Historical Society.
- He "was the great great great grandson of one of Georg…

Old South Bend Cemetery of Atlanta, Georgia

View Larger Map

South Bend Cemetery is located next to the Atlanta Youth Academy, near the intersection of Constitution and Forest Park Roads in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Doug Yancey and a group of volunteers have been working for five years to transform this sacred spot from an overgrown mire to a clean and visitable cemetery.

Why? To honor his father's request to be buried next to his parents. The 100+ graves date back to the 1800s and contain the names of Clark, Duncan, Ford, Grogan, Harper, Hubbard, Hughes, Johnston, Jordan, Lawrence, Schell, Shepherd, and Yancey.

The story of Mr. Yancey and the reclaimed South Bend Cemetery was written about in an article by Bo Emerson for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- Family Transforms 1800s Cemetery From a Jungle Into a Garden.

If you are looking for more information, you may get in touch with Mr. Yancey. His contact information is at the bottom of the news article linked above.

Margaret Peavy Hitt, Newspaper Woman (Still Personal)

Margaret Peavy Hitt passed away almost nine years ago. That's it. Pretty short time in the grand scheme of my personal genealogy. When I discovered Margaret was a third cousin of mine, this notion made me a little sad. Like Margaret, I have lived a large portion of my life in the state of Georgia. In fact, from about 1997 - 2000, I lived less than an hour's drive from her! I sure wish we could have met.

Margaret Peavy Hitt was one cool chic. She was a woman with a newspaper career. Even though women have had a foot in the door of that field for centuries, it was just that -- a foot in the door. The National Women's History Museum has a great online exhibit I highly recommend, Women with a Deadline. I just finished reading it and learned oh so much. Did you know:

· The Women's National Press Association was founded in 1882, but women were not allowed into the male dominated National Press Club until 1971.
· Nellie Bly pioneered investigative journalism in the …

Proving Margaret Peavy Hitt, Pt 2 (It's Still Personal)

So, a couple of days ago I told you how I happened upon the grave of a third cousin of mine some time ago in Atlanta, Georgia's Oakland Cemetery.

As mentioned in the previous post, my source of information for how Margaret fit into my family tree is/was from a Peach County, Georgia history and lineage book published by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1972. Margaret Peavy was the daughter of Jack Peavy and Katherine McGaw. Jack was a son of Charles Drury Peavy and Belle O'Brien Bowles. Charles was a son of William Henry Peavy and Elizabeth Jackson. William was a son of Littleton Dickson Peavy and Ann Mims. Littleton and Ann were my third great-grandparents.

Now that we got that out of the way... Have you ever began learning about an individual that might be a relative and discovered they were such an interesting character that you really wanted to be able to claim them? Yep, I'll bet most of us have been there. That's what it was like for me after I r…

Margaret Peavy Hitt & Genealogy Serendipity (A Personal Tombstone Tuesday)

While on a recent visit to Atlanta, Georgia's Oakland Cemetery, I happened across a tombstone with a fairly common surname from my mother's side of the family. I always snap a photo of these finds, just because, well, you never know.


This is the only angle I shot. No close ups, no studying of surrounding stones. Nope, not any of that smart stuff. Still, I'm glad I took this photo because Margaret Peavy Hitt is my third cousin. Genealogy serendipity strikes again!

Of course, I did not know this until I returned home and took a peek at my genealogy database. And, truth be told, I still don't have proof of this relationship. My source for the data is a Peach County, Georgia history and lineage book by the Daughters of the American Revolution published in 1972.

Margaret's obituary did wonders for bolstering my theory. The names included in the item published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution all fall into the proper places within my family tree. It also gave…


blog.SouthernGraves.net

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"

So I answered, "O Lord God, You know."

Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!' Thus says the Lord God to these bones: 'Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live...'" (Ezekiel 37:1-5, NKJV)