30 November 2012

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

28 November 2012

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.
Alexander Smith
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 as his last will and testament in the presence of us the Subscribing Witnesses who subscribed our names hereto in the presence of said testator and each other, July 7th 1854.
· Robert B. Lester
· Barnett Holliman
· George M. Feagin
· Joseph his X mark Blout
· John T. Cushing

Needham Smith and family are buried at their family cemetery in what is now Bonaire, Houston County, Georgia. Of the names found in this third part of Needham's will, that includes his brothers-in-law Garrett (1821-1884) and Alexander (pictured above).

Nancy Smith
According to information found on FindAGrave, Needham's wife Ardella was the daughter of William Smith, Jr. and his wife Nancy. This couple originally settled the homeplace and set aside the land for the cemetery. William (1773-1851) and Nancy (pictured) are also buried there.

Source for will -
"George Probate Records, 1742-1975." Images. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org : accessed 23 November 2012.

27 November 2012

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

Needham Smith's Will. [continued]
Ardella Smith
...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 them by commissioners appointed for that purpose one average Negro man, woman and child not over two years of age, and an average Negro Girl about Seven years of age, one good farm horse or Mule a good Bed Bedstead and furniture two Cows and Calves and Six hundred Dollars in money.
Im Sixth I desire and will that my Grandson William Thos Speight when twenty one years of age receive of my estate the same as one of my three daughters named in the fifth item. And should he depart this life leaving neither Wife or child or children, the property willed to him in this Item of my Will together what he may receive at the final division of my estate to revert back and become part and parcel of my estate and be divided among my heirs.

Needham Smith and family are buried at their family cemetery in what is now Bonaire, Houston County, Georgia. Of the names found in this second part of Needham's will, that includes his wife Ardella (pictured above), daughter Elizabeth Smith Fordham (1839-1912), and grandchildren Franklin Bryant Walker (1842-1852) and Bessie Walker Owen (1852-1943).

Link to Part I

Source for will -
"George Probate Records, 1742-1975." Images. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org : accessed 23 November 2012.

26 November 2012

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 appoint my friend [___blank space___] trustee for the money herein bequeathed to my daughter Deborah Ann and her children together with what she may receive at the final division of my estate.
Third I desire and direct that my daughter Mary Ann Burney wife of Milton L. Burney receive Five hundred Dollars in addition to what I have already given her and make her equal with what I have given her elder Sisters.

Needham Smith and family are buried at their family cemetery in what is now Bonaire, Houston County, Georgia. Of the names found in this first part of Needham's will, that includes his daughters Harriet Walker (1821-1854) and Mary Ann Burney (1831-1857).

Source for will -
"George Probate Records, 1742-1975." Images. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org : accessed 23 November 2012.

24 November 2012

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.


12 November 2012

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.
(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 voice of water.
Listen in the wind,
To the bush that is sighing:
This is the breathing of ancestors,
Who have not gone away
Who are not under earth
Who are not really dead.

Those who are dead are not ever gone;
They are in a woman’s breast,
In the wailing of a child,
And the burning of a log,
In the moaning rock,
In the weeping grasses,
In the forest and the home.
The dead are not dead.

Listen more often
To Things than to Beings,
Hear the voice of fire,
Hear the voice of water.
Listen in the wind to
The bush that is sobbing:
This is the ancestors breathing.

Each day they renew ancient bonds,
Ancient bonds that hold fast
Binding our lot to their law,
To the will of the spirits stronger than we
To the spell of our dead who are not really dead,
Whose covenant binds us to life,
Whose authority binds to their will,
The will of the spirits that stir
In the bed of the river, on the banks of the river,
The breathing of spirits
Who moan in the rocks and weep in the grasses.

Spirits inhabit
The darkness that lightens, the darkness that darkens,
The quivering tree, the murmuring wood,
The water that runs and the water that sleeps:
Spirits much stronger than we,
The breathing of the dead who are not really dead,
Of the dead who are not really gone,
Of the dead now no more in the earth.

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

11 November 2012

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 "cemeteries are cultural repositories." In fact, they are often the earliest physical representation of a particular culture... Definitely something to remember. Dr. Henderson will be part of the panel when a presentation on Oakland Cemetery is given at the National Archives at Atlanta on December 15th. I hope I am able to attend.

I might have been bitten by the family tree DNA bug! The last course I took was given by Billy Edgington regarding the Miller Roll Application, a source for Cherokee and Southern history. There's been a tradition of Native American ancestry in one of my lines, but I have not found any evidence of this. I, to be honest, have not really looked very hard. I think I'd like to take a DNA test to confirm my racial composition and see if this ancestry is a possibility.

I think the things I learned have re-ignited and further fueled my passions of cemetery research, Georgia history, and personal genealogy. What more can you ask from a Family History Expo? If one comes your way, don't you dare miss it!

09 November 2012

Georgia Family History Expo Day 1 Recap

Old Morris Cemetery
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.

View of my Hampton Inn & Suites from entrance to Old Morris 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 difficulties, he educated and entertained. Did you know no other state suffered more in the American Revolution than Georgia? Did you know Georgia has more than 100 records repositories? Did you know Georgia allowed divorces dating back to the late 1700s? ...See what I mean? If you have Georgia ancestors, do yourself a favor and get Mr. Davis' latest edition of Georgia Research. It's available through the Georgia Genealogical Society.

After the opening session, I stopped by and met fellow bloggers Valerie Craft, Linda McCauley, and Tonia Kendrick. It was so nice to finally see and speak with these nice ladies in "real life!"

Then it was on to more classes. I learned about the holdings of the National Archives at Atlanta -- they have over 180,000 cubic feet of records! -- from Cathy Miller. I learned about mobile devices and genealogy from Monica Hopkins. I learned about "non-genealogy" genealogy tools from Tonia Kendrick (she promised a blog post about spreadsheets so stay tuned), and I learned more about federal sources for birth information before 1850 from (the man) Robert S. Davis.

What a great day. And there's more tomorrow! Stay tuned for more Georgia history with Mr. Davis (we're going back to the colonial days) and my most anticipated class with Dr. D. L. Henderson -- A Tale of Two Cemeteries.

05 November 2012

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 in tradition and law — that helped to shape these burial grounds. Examples of folklore and traditions associated with African American burials are used to illustrate a perspective of death and dying that has been influenced historically by social constructions of race and class."

Sounds incredibly interesting, doesn't it? I hope to see you there!

02 November 2012

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!

In Loving Memory of
Ensign John H. Gotjen Jr. U.S.N.
Feb 9, 1904 - Oct 30, 1928
Mortally Wounded On Old Corry Field
Pensacola, Florida

Under The Wide And Starry Sky
Happy He Lived And Brave Did He Die
Home Is The Sailor Home From The Sea
Home Where He Ever Loved To Be
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 today."

04 October 2012

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, Mr. Paul A. Adjei, is (I believe) going to inspire you. He will be speaking and teaching on the subject of oral histories and how to preserve them. We all should want to know how to keep those important stories that are passed down from generation to generation. He lives in Kumasi-Ghana and is currently working to preserve the history of the Akan, one of the most powerful tribes in West Africa.

The Georgia Family History Expo is held in Duluth, not too far from the Georgia State Archives and the National Archives' Southeast location. While the Georgia Archives is currently embattled over budget cuts and may not be open to the public, NARA is. So another course that might be of interest to you is "I never knew this was here!": An Introduction to the National Archives by Cathy Miller.

Just the above alone shows how much knowledge one could gain by attending, doesn't it? Well, there's a whole lot more -- well over 50 additional classes are available. Like these, for example:

- Discovering African American Lives
- Preservation Techniques for Documents, Newspapers, and Photos
- The DAR Library for All: Near or Far, Member or Not
- German Church and Civil Records
- The Thirteenth Colony: Exploring the Colonial Georgia Records
- A Tale of Two Cemeteries: What Lies Beneath the Landscape of African American Burial Grounds

You know I'll be at that last one! But that still is not all, as I haven't even mentioned all the exhibitors and sponsors that will be there to answer questions and show the hows and whys of their products. Historical and genealogical societies will have a strong presence, as well.

And last, but not least, some familiar faces will be in attendance. Some will be blogging, some will be teaching, some will be doing both, and I'm sure all will be learning. Check out this year's official bloggers (yours truly is thrilled to be one), and stop by and say "Hi!"

01 October 2012

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

Wilhelm Burmester
Geb 27 Juli 1826
Gest 29 Januar 1881

Nach Gottes Weisem Rathe
Gingst Du Voran;
Wir Folgen Dir Auf Deiner Bahn

Translation:  "According to God's wise counsel thou walked ahead,
and we will follow you on your path."

Bethany Cemetery
Charleston, South Carolina

Photo © 2008-2012 S. Lincecum

Translation via Google Translate.

24 September 2012

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.

(Click to enlarge.)
Ancestry.com. South Carolina, Death Records, 1821-
 [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com
Operations Inc, 2008.  Citing South Carolina Death
 from South Carolina Department of Archives
and History.

Claus H. Meyer
Born Jan 21, 1837
In Wehdel, Ger.
Died Feb 5, 1912
In Summerville, S.C.

He Giveth His Beloved Sleep

Bethany Cemetery
Charleston, South Carolina

Photo © 2008-2012 S. Lincecum

18 September 2012

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 how exactly their government is functioning is a basic right in a democracy. A right that you are trying to take away.

The archives are used by other governments as well to, for a simple example, settle disputes. Disputes between counties, disputes between states, and the like. That is a direct function of the government that you are attempting to make very difficult. How can that possibly enhance how our state is being run? How our state appears to the rest of the country?

From a more personal standpoint -- I want to have access to the history. I want to be able to peruse public records of the past, for educational purposes as well as genealogical research.

Your lineage and familial connection to this state has been well documented, especially here in the mid-state. I imagine your roots are very important to you. How would you feel if those tangible ties to the past were unknown, or inaccessible to you? That is what you are trying to hinder for other people -- something I dare say you have no right to do.

Finally, how can you feel taking money away from the communities surrounding the archives is a good thing? That is exactly what you are proposing by cutting the budget of the Archives to such a degree that it can no longer be easily accessible to the public.

I have plans to visit the archives at the end of this month. Hotel reservations have been made, gas will be bought along the way, and dining out will occur. Other places of business will be visited, and general tourism will happen. All of this will bring more revenue to all locations and businesses involved. By me. One person.

These trips to the archives are already stifled due to it only being open a couple of days a week. For me personally, this is due to how that coincides with my work schedule, and I'm sure others are likely feeling that same pain. Imagine how much revenue could be generated if they were open to the public on an even larger scale.

Thank-you for hearing me. I know I'm not alone in this opinion, so thank you for hearing US.

Stephanie Lincecum
So! What does this have to do with cemeteries? Well, if archives can be closed to the public, why not "public" cemeteries? How would we know if our loved ones' final resting places were truly being taken care of? By appointment? It might sound silly, but I assure you it's not. And while even I don't think that is going to happen en masse anytime soon, this is a slippery slope I do not want to start down.

Would you like to see the Georgia Archives stay open? Please sign this petition.

On facebook? Check out the Georgians Against Closing State Archives.

If you would like to send your thoughts to Gov. Deal, you may use his online contact form.

12 September 2012

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...

Hier Ruhen In Gott [Here Rest In God]
Claus Diedrich
Geb 12 Octob 1873
Gest 18 May 1886

Anna M. C. A.
Geb 2 Nov 1885
Gest 19 May 1886
Kinder von [Children of] H. F. Bittesohn
und Meta Geb [née] Meyers

Bethany Cemetery
Charleston, South Carolina

Photo © 2008 - 2012 S. Lincecum

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).

08 September 2012

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:

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.

W. W. Peavy Home, 2010
In 1930, Velma and her husband were living next door to his parents. The William Wallace Peavy, Sr. home still stands today on the corner of Heritage (formerly Railroad) and Acadmey streets. Wallace, Jr. was farming on his father's land. Here is  a snippet of an image of the 1930 census records showing the families of Sr. and Jr.  Following that is another photo of the home, taken in 2004.

Velma died 24 December 1989 in Union Point, Greene County, Georgia. I presume she was visiting or staying with her daughter at the time. Her residence was still listed as Academy Street in Byron, Peach County.

Her obituary was listed in the 26 December 1989 edition of the Augusta Chronicle:

Mrs. Wallace Peavy

Retired schoolteacher.
BYRON, Ga -- Mrs. Wallace Peavy, 89, of Academy Street, died Sunday, Dec. 24, 1989, in Union Point.

Byron United Methodist Church
The funeral will be at 2 p.m. today at Byron United Methodist Church. Burial will be in Byron City Cemetery.

Mrs. Peavy, a native of Ellaville, had retired as a schoolteacher from the Peach County school system after 32 years of service. She was a member of the Georgia Retired Teachers Association and Byron United Methodist Church. She was a graduate of Mercer University, Macon.

Survivors include a daughter, four granddaughters and two great-granddaughters."

Velma was my second cousin, twice removed in law.

07 September 2012

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.

Lola Sue Giles
June 28, 1935
Aug 7, 1937

I Left Here To Live With Jesus
How Happy I Am -- Come See Me

Taylors Chapel Cemetery
Black Rock Mountain
Rabun County, Georgia

Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum

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

06 September 2012

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? The Abandoned is a short prequal to the series.

The second book, The Kingdom, also finds the Graveyard Queen restoring an old cemetery. This time, there's a mystery of a marked, but still unknown grave. A bit more paranormal activity is involved, and an entire family and town has issues. Big ones. Also, you begin to get even more of a sense of Amelia's past.

Book three is The Prophet. This one hits closer to home for the Graveyard Queen, back in Charleston. Her romantic relationship is more center stage, and the practice of voodoo and other cultural rituals are weaved into the mix.

All are available for Kindle.

Want to escape the mundane while exercising your brain? Read a book!

The links above (with the exception of the first one) are of the affiliate variety. To learn more about these types of links associated with this blog, please visit the About Me page.

05 September 2012

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

Taylors Chapel
Black Rock Mountain
Rabun County, Georgia

Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum

04 September 2012

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:

Joseph F. Gray
Nov 23, 1870
June 15, 1942

A Man That Gave So Much
And Received So Little

Taylors Chapel Cemetery
Black Rock Mountain
Rabun County, Georgia

Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum

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, Mrs. Mildred Gray Walls, Washington, D.C.; two nieces, Mrs. Eugene Gilbert and Miss Anna Gray, of Augusta, and one nephew, Thomas S. Gray Jr., of Washington, D.C.

02 September 2012

Variation on a Classic (Today's Epitaph)

Edward Giles II
Oct 8, 1945
Dec 19, 1947

As You Pass By Look At Me
The Way I Am You Soon Will Be

Taylors Chapel Cemetery
Black Rock Mountain
Rabun County, Georgia

Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum

01 September 2012

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.

J. E. & Gertrude Horton Whitty
© 2012 S. Lincecum
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).

Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum

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:

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,
"Portrait of John Edward Whitty and sons - Madison County"
L-R: Shellie E. Whitty, Moye E. Whitty, John E. Whitty (father),
Woodfin G. Whitty, and John B. Whitty, 1915 or 1916.
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,
"World War I soldiers from Madison County
in army vehicle"
Identified are John Butler Whitty [right?]
and Frank Blanton, between 1914
and 1918.

30 August 2012

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, particularly for farmers growing cotton, but were later discontinued in favor of direct dealings in cotton. The Inmans worked as factors, purchasing cotton from farmers and reselling it when the market turned more favorable. From their interest in cotton they expanded into such related areas as fertilizers, cotton presses, steel hoops to hold compressed cotton, and railroads for the shipping of cotton."

Inman Family Plot
© 2012 S. Lincecum
Shadrach's obituary from the New York Herald (New York), 4 February 1896, Pg. 6 (available online via GenealogyBank):
He Was the Father of John H. Inman, a Well Known Broker, of This City.

ATLANTA, Ga., Feb. 3, 1896. -- Shadrach Inman, father of John H. Inman, of New York, and Samuel and Hugh Inman, of Atlanta, died here to-night.

Mr. Inman was a native of Tennessee. He made two fortunes, his first having been destroyed by the war. His sons are all successful business men.

John H. Inman came here last week to attend his father in his last hours.
Shadrach died at the age of 84, and was buried in Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery. In a slight twist of irony, Shadrach's son John died just 9 months later at the much younger age of 52. He was laid to rest in Bronx, New York's Woodlawn Cemetery.

10 August 2012

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

09 August 2012

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.

05 August 2012

Louise Inman's Death Mask

Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum
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]
Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum

01 August 2012

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 Georgia's earliest governors, General James Jackson, of Revolutionary War fame. General Jackson accepted the surrender of Savannah from the British and served the state of Georgia as a Representative and U.S. Senator. History books also record General Jackson's exposure of the Yazoo Land Fraud."
- He "was also the great nephew of the late John M. Slaton, former governor of Georgia from 1912 - 1915."
- His "maternal great grandfather, James Jackson,...was a Chief Justice of The Supreme Court of Georgia. He was a colonel and Judge Advocate General for Robert E. Lee in the Army of Northern Virginia during The War Between the States."
- "His paternal great grandfather, William Franklin Slaton, a major in the Confederate Army, was founder of the Atlanta Public School system and its first superintendent."
- His "grandfather, William Martin Slaton, former principal of the Old Boys High School, was also superintendent of Atlanta's public schools for many years."
- "Mr. Hitt was a collateral descendant of President George Washington."

Edward, his wife, and his parents all rest in Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery.

Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum

29 July 2012

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.

23 July 2012

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 late 1880's in many ways. The most staggering example was by pretending to be insane and admitting herself to an insane asylum to expose abuse of the mentally ill.
· Anna Northend Benjamin was one the first female war correspondents during the Spanish-American War. She claimed, "you think it ridiculous my being here, you are laughing at me wanting to go, that's the worst of being a woman." Not only did she go, but she endured nicely and even scooped her competitors.
· The Muckraker movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries was helped along by a woman, Ida M. Tarbell.
· According the 1900 U.S. federal census, there were more than 30,000 journalists in the United States. Less than 8% of them were women.

Given these tidbits of information, I would classify any woman involved with newspapers and journalism well into the 20th century a pioneer for women in that field. That includes Margaret Peavy Hitt.

According to Margaret's obituary, she was actually following in her mother's footsteps. Katherine McGaw Peavy Poole was one of the first women reporters for the Hearst owned Georgian newspaper. When it's publication ceased, she went on to write for The Atlanta Journal.

Furthermore, newspaper reporting is also found in Margaret's paternal side. Her uncle, Arthur Peavy, was a reporter for the Miami Herald.

It was stated, "Mrs. Hitt was a former City Room general assignment reporter, columnist and feature writer for The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Consitution. During her junior and senior high school days, she worked every summer (without pay) as a copy girl for The Georgian newspaper."

During World War II, Margaret wrote a daily column about military accomplishments of Georgians in the armed forces. She even interviewed Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt when her husband's funeral train stopped in Atlanta. After the war, Margaret wrote the "Peachtree Parade" society column for The Atlanta Journal.

Margaret Peavy, 1941
Louisiana State University
Image via Ancestry's
U.S. School Yearbooks
Margaret was a 1939 graduate of Washington Seminary in Atlanta and attended Louisiana State University. She was secretary of the 1941-42 Atlanta Debutante Club and wrote the daily column, "Debs Daily Doings By One of Them" anonymously for The Atlanta Journal. At her debut party, Margaret carried a bouquet of orchids given to her by Margaret Mitchell. Yes, that Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind.

Margaret was a member of various organizations, including The National Society of Colonial Dames of America, Historic Oakland Cemetery, The High Museum of Art, and The Georgia Historical Society.

Upon her death, it was asked that contributions be made to the Historic Oakland Foundation, the cemetery in which she was laid to rest. Yes, we must be kin!

Rest in peace, cousin. Even though we never met, please know your legacy and influence live on.

Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum

[Note: due to copyright, I did not include Margaret's obituary here in its entirety. It was printed in the 31 July 2003 Atlanta Journal-Consitution (Georgia), and is available online via GenealogyBank.]

19 July 2012

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

Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum
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 read Margaret's obituary in the 31 July 2003 edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As far as fitting her into my family tree, the first tidbits I gleaned from the obituary to help with that were about her mother and uncle.

Margaret's mother was mentioned as "Mrs. G. M. (Kitty) Poole." Well, that was news as I did not know that Margaret's mother married again after Jack Peavy. Next, Margaret's uncle was listed as "Macon, Georgia native Arthur Peavy." Good news there, as one of Jack's siblings was indeed Arthur. And the family resided in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.

I went off to search for Margaret in the census records. I was fortunate that Georgia's 1940 census had very recently been indexed, as that made it much easier to find her. Look at the jackpot I uncovered:

Fulton County, Georgia 1940 Federal Census
Enumeration District 60-52, sheet 10-A, lines 6 - 11
George Mercer Poole household (via Ancestry.com)
Not only did I find Margaret listed with her mother Katherine (Kitty!) and step-father George Mercer (G. M.!) Poole, but Katherine's mother is also listed -- Eva F. McGaw. Yahoo!

I was also able to find Margaret in 1930. She was with those same parents in Fulton County, Georgia. This time they were listed as Mercer G. and Catherine Poole.

This is great information, indeed, but I've been having a difficult time finding Margaret with Katherine and Jack. Jack was listed with his father, along with brother Arthur and four other siblings in the 1920 Macon, Bibb County, Georgia federal census.

I turned to city directories and found Katherine and her mother Eva residing in Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia in 1916 and 1919. Then I searched for Jack, and look what I found in 1924 Macon:

Macon, Georgia 1924 City Directory
Jack with Catherine, & Marg't Peavy (via Ancestry.com)
Jack Peavy, along with a Catherine and a young Marg't, all reside at 416 Forest avenue.

Would this evidence suffice as proof according to The Genealogical Proof Standard? Um, no. However, I am going to claim Margaret Peavy Hitt as my third cousin while I continue searching! :-)

Stay tuned, and I will share with you the coolness of Margaret Peavy Hitt.

17 July 2012

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.

Margaret Peavy Hitt with husband Edward Greenway Hitt, Jr.
Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum

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 me a few leads to try and prove said theory of cousinship. If you'll permit a delve into my personal genealogy here on this blog, I'll share with you my research journey.

...to be continued...here.
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