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.
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