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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
(1805-1864)
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
(1784-1845)
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
(1803-1872)
...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.
Needham
Smith
(1796-1854)
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.

Jack
1998-2012

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.
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 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."
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