30 January 2013

Heaven Resounds with Her Hallelujahs of Joy (Wednesday's Child)

[Originally posted at the Rose Hill Cemetery blog. This cemetery in Macon, Georgia is where little Anna Gertrude Powers and her parents rest.]

There is great detail in the stone placed for Anna Gertrude Powers, the ten year old daughter of Virgil and Ann Powers. Anna is represented (a likeness?) and being carried to Heaven by two angels. Notice the finger pointing upward of one of the angels, as well as their tendrils of hair. And notice the cross necklace Anna is wearing. It's a beautiful sculpture. Below the image is a detailed obituary for little Anna, who died of Scarlet Fever.

Anna Gertrude
eldest daughter of Virgil & Ann E. Powers
was born in Washington Co, April 12th, 1848
died in Fort Valley March 11th, 1859

Of Scarlet Fever, in Fort Valley, Ga., on the 11th of March, Anna G., eldest daughter of Virgil and Ann E. Powers, aged ten years and eleven months.

Thus hath God in his infinite wisdom taken from earth one of its fairest and loveliest flowers, to transplant it in the beautiful garden of eternal love and glory.

Possessed of a bright and sparkling intellect -- quick and tender sensibilities -- an affectionate disposition and winning manners, Anna won her way irresistibly to the hearts of all who knew her. -- She was the pride of a fond father's heart, the cherished object of a mother's love -- her teacher's boast, and the dearest companion of her schoolmates. Now God is her Father and Teacher -- angels her companions -- and heaven resounds with her hallelujahs of joy.

Those taper fingers which lightly glided over the keys of her piano, now strike, with bold, angelic hand, harp-strings sweetly echoing the music of heaven. That sweet voice just maturing here, now swells the angelic choir of the Eternal -- yea, she revels in the delights of the paradise of God.

We mourn not for her as those without hope, but bow submissively to the chastening rod, feeling that the Judge of all the earth must do right. "He gave, He took, He will restore. He doeth all things well." [Macon Weekly Telegraph (Georgia), 12 April 1859, pg. 3]


*Above photo © 2008-2013 S. Lincecum

29 January 2013

A Pioneer and Free-Thinker (This Time It's Personal)

[I decided to celebrate Freethinkers Day by bringing up a post I wrote a couple of years ago for the 100th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. It's about a freethinker in my own family, Gideon Lincecum.]

Every family has at least one -- the radical, the revolutionary, the trailblazer, the pioneer, the free-thinker. In my family, the most documented individual these words describe is Gideon Lincecum. Gideon (1793-1874) was my first cousin, seven times removed, and he's the closest thing I have to a directly connected celebrity. [That is, if you don't count Tim Lincecum, famed pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. While I'm sure we are at least cousins, I can't yet prove it.]

Much has been written about the life of Gideon Lincecum. Google him and see for yourself. A Wikipedia article begins this way: "Gideon Lincecum was an American pioneer, historian, physician, philosopher, and naturalist. Lincecum is known for his exploration and settlement of what are now the U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, which was then beyond the western borders of the Thirteen Colonies. Lincecum had good relations with American Indians as he explored the wilderness in the American Deep South...Lincecum was self-educated. He spent his boyhood principally in the company of Muskogees. After successive moves, he and his wife, the former Sarah Bryan, moved in 1818 with his parents and siblings to the Tombigbee River above the site of present Columbus, Mississippi."

The Handbook of Texas Online continues with, "From there in January 1835 Lincecum joined an exploring expedition to Texas. In 1848, after years of practicing medicine with herbal remedies learned from Indians and trading with the Indians on the Tombigbee, he moved to Texas. He purchased 1,828 acres of the fertile prairie land he had seen on his Texas visit thirteen years before. Lincecum, Sarah, and their surviving ten children, a number of grandchildren, and ten slaves arrived in Long Point on his fifty-fifth birthday."

Aside from his much documented and highly respected work as a naturalist, Gideon was a friend to the Native American Indians when few were. He befriended them, learned from them, and chronicled their culture and traditions.

Something else Gideon was that is not always focused on is this: he was a free-thinker. "Freethought" is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or any religious dogma. Gideon was not fond of organized religion, and I am quite sure his opinions were controversial in his day. In fact, many would find them just as much so today. If Gideon were still with us, I believe he would definitely be a blogger -- with some dedicated followers and just as many or more haters.

Here is a sampling of Gideon's "free thoughts:"

Free thought? Oh, yes, holy free thought, I have cherished ye a long lifetime and I promise myself and the world that all my efforts either in word or deed shall be on "that side of the blanket" so long as this old heart throbs. GID

Now if there could be born an honest, liberty-loving leader who would take things in hand, concentrate the Indian forces, capture all the praying white races and their allies, the mixed-blood cut throats, and chop off their damn heads, there would remain the most innocent, law-abiding people on earth -- the pure Indian. GID

I owe no man anything beyond common civility. GID

It is a painful thing to know that the grand hope which I so fondly cherished during the minor ages of my children has ultimated in utter failure. Not one of them will leave a mark that will not be obliterated by the first rude blast that passes after they have left the mundane stage. GID

[The following by Gideon at age 75]

When I was a very young man I read Dr. Franklin's works. He advised early marriage and that advice, agreeing with unchecked and misdirected amativeness, it was an easy matter for me to fall in with the old sage's directions. Accordingly, I sought out a companion and was engineering the matrimonial machinery before I was 21 years of age. The result is ten families of grown-up men and women, with their children, numbering together 61. I do not repine or regret anything about it, but I cannot avoid the recollection of the fact that in rearing this numerous brood, who average only from ordinary to middling, I lost 38 years of a life that could have been better employed. For the world is as full as it can hold of precisely the same sort of folks and there was no use in adding my brood to the already overdone business.

To beget and born children in the name of the Lord has not and cannot improve the intellectual developments of our species -- it must be done scientifically and philosophically before there can be any intellectual and moral advancement.

[The following is on the marriage of 1 of his grandchildren]

G. W. Lincecum is married. Society, if she knew her rights and had the courage to maintain them, would never permit such conjugal unions as that. What part of your society compact will he and that Seed gal ornament? Who will feed them?

Ignorance is such a terrible, stubborn, throat-cutting thing. GID

[Following on how to be an infidel and a respectful neighbor]

Stick to the truth in all things, keep sober and freely perform your share in all necessary public works and there is no danger. I know, for I have tried it through a long life and declare positively to you that I never had a man to make use of a rough angry word to me in my life...I have always expressed myself freely and openly on all and any subject, particularly on the subject of religion, its gods, devils, holy ghosts and the whole of the ghost family...We may speak freely of doctrine and principles, avoiding personalities...and we shall seldom offend a man whose friendship is worth cultivating.

[Following on the clergy]

The poor fellows have no sense -- just propound him a few questions in natural history -- in zoology, geology, botany, astronomy or any branch of science and you will find him a perfect goose -- ninny. Yet he can tell all about the unseen country and you must believe or go to hell!...they know but little about the world they inhabit, they have not positively made themselves acquainted with the rules of common decency and reciprocal politeness which is manifested in their manner of slandering you if you chance to differ with them in any of their views or religious dogmas...they are incapable of hearing the words of righteousness and truth...

It would be no difficult matter to establish the doctrine of the superiority of the white race were it not for the occasional occurrence of distorted deviations of white manhood. GID

How little people see of the things they are daily trampling over. GID

The embecility of old age is a dreadful thing and I have no desire to live that long, though it may be that I have already reached that point and am not aware of it. GID

Gideon Lincecum died at the age of 81. News of his death was published in the New York Times under DEATH OF AN ABLE AND ECCENTRIC MAN. He "was buried by the side of his good companion in the old Mount Zion Cemetery near the Lincecum home in Washington County, Texas. Sharing his grave, at his request, was his precious old black violin.

Here, in a neglected graveyard covered with shinnery, Gideon rested for sixty-two years, forgotten but in peace. In 1936, the year of the Centennial of Texas' Independence from Mexico, there was a wholesale disinterment in commemoration of the event.

Gideon Lincecum was one of the victims.

The remains of his body and his old violin were removed to the lovely little State Cemetery in Austin, Texas, and placed in a grave in Row One of the Austin plot, so called because it is dominated by the grave of the Father of Texas.

Lincecum's grave overlooks those of some of Texas' greatest men. The Texas granite tombstone bears the official Texas Centennial emblem, and an erroneous death date -- November 28, 1873. Lincecum died one year later." [Lois Burkhalter, author of Gideon Lincecum, 1793-1874]

In spite of his controversial beliefs, Gideon Lincecum was regarded as a man of honor dedicated to the betterment of society. Though there are many "questionable" quotes above, I could also show you examples of Gideon's love for his family and community. His lasting legacy lives on to this day.

Written for the 100th edition of the Carnival
of Genealogy. Furthermore, this post is
 dedicated to the memory of Terry Thornton.

28 January 2013

Margaret Walker Sank into the Grave to Rise in Christ (Today's Epitaph)

Sacred to the memory of
Consort of Charles Walker
She was modest, refined, virtuous & good,
the joy of her numerous relatives,
the hope of an affectionate husband,
a mother, tender, kind and true,
a friend whose sympathies were
ever alive to those of her associates,
and whose charity was always
extended to suffering want.
Born on the 23rd November 1808
Died on the 27th October 1845
She had been for three years previous
to her death, a zealous member
of the Methodist Episcopal Church
and beloved by all.
She in her 37th year, the prime of life,
Sank into the grave to rise in Christ.

Walker Cemetery
Bleckley County, Georgia
Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum

26 January 2013

Richard Childers Walker! With Jesus We Leave Him.

Born March 27th, 1832
Died Nov 8th, 1859

Several years before his death he was
baptized into the Jeffersonville Baptist
Church, and lived a consistent Christian
life.  His death was most triumphant as he
exclaimed in ecstasy I see Heaven open
and Jesus standing ready to receive me.
With Jesus we leave him.

"Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep.
From which none ever wakes to weep.
A calm and undisturbed repose,
Unbroken by the last of foes."

Walker Cemetery
Bleckley County, Georgia
Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum

25 January 2013

James Taylor's Likeness in Italian Marble

It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. I read an old obituary and think, "I've been to that cemetery before. Do I have a photo for this burial?" And I DO! In this case, the photos were taken almost five years ago.

Photo © 2008-2013 S. Lincecum
This particular find was especially neat when I discovered from the obituary that Mr. Taylor's likeness was made from Italian marble and placed in the churchyard before his death. Read on for more information:

"James Taylor, one of the oldest and wealthiest citizens of this section, died here [Fort Valley, Georgia] last night from paralysis.

He was nearly 77 years of age and leaves besides his wife three young children, two sons, Charles A. and Lomie T., of this place; a daughter, Mrs. Matt G. Thames, of Bibb county, by a former marriage.

Until a few years ago Mr. Taylor resided on his farm in Crawford county, where he attained a fortune. He belonged to no church, but was inclined to the Primitive Baptist belief. Several years ago he had a sculptor chisel a likeness of himself from Italian marble, which he placed in Union churchyard near his old home, and where his remains were interred this afternoon.

Mr. Taylor was well known to the business men of Macon, and appreciated for his steady honesty." [Macon Telegraph (Georgia), 24 October 1913, pg. 5]

James Taylor
b. Oct 25, 1836
d. Oct 22, 1913

Honesty Was His Virtue
Justice His Motto
Free To His Convictions
Fearless In Expression Of Right
Determined In His Rights

Little Union Primitive Baptist Church
Crawford County, Georgia
Photo © 2008-2013 S. Lincecum

24 January 2013

In the Dim Unknown Standeth God (Today's Epitaph)

James Exum Taylor
May 9, 1837
June 23, 1913

In the dim unknown standeth God, within the
shadow, keeping watch above His own.

Walker Cemetery
Bleckley County, Georgia

Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum

23 January 2013

Martha's Rose (Wordless Wednesday)

Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum

22 January 2013

They Sparkled, Were Exhaled and Went to Heaven (Tombstone Tuesday)

In Memory of
Daughter of
who was born on the 20th of April 179[1?]
and died on the 20th of October 18[22?]

To her right side sleep her infant children
Joseph Duhart and James Blake
and on her left
Betsey and Frances Margaret

Early, bright, transient, chaste as morning dew,
They sparkled, were exhaled and went to Heaven.

Walker Cemetery
Bleckley County, Georgia
Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum

21 January 2013

A Revolutionary Soldier, and an Indulgent Master (Military Monday)

I really like these gravestones placed for George Walker, Jr. at Walker Cemetery in Bleckley County, Georgia. There's the early American military service, the mention of slavery (but not the horrors of it), and an informative epitaph.

a tribute of affection
and a testimony of grief
this stone is erected to
the memory of
by his children.

He was born in Burke County, Georgia
14th Nov 1763
Died in Houston County, Geo
4th Sept 1830
a member of the Baptist Church.

An affectionate husband, a kind father
An indulgent master, a sincere friend
A useful member of the community
He was universally respected.

Here may the treasured dust repose
Till God shall bid the dead arise
And then with kindred Spirits round
Obtain a mansion in the skies.

George Walker, Jr.
GA Troops
Rev War
September 4, 1830

Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum

20 January 2013

Sunday's Soldier: Pvt. George Walker

George Walker
b. Aug 13th, 1793
d. Aug 30th, 1865
"There remaineth therefore
a rest to the people of

Tooke's GA Cav
War of 1812

Walker Cemetery
Bleckley County, Georgia
Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum

19 January 2013

Saturday Symbols: the Weeping Willow and Hebrews 4:9

I can't believe there has never been a post about the Weeping Willow tree as a gravestone symbol on the Southern Graves blog, especially since it was one of the first images that slowly replaced death's heads and soul effigies.1 It's definitely a common symbol.  I found a beautiful example at Walker Cemetery in Bleckley County, Georgia:

Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum

Most assume the weeping willow is a symbol of grief based upon the name and down turned branches, and they are not wrong. But something I think fewer people may know is that the weeping willow is also a symbol of immortality. In Christianity specifically, the gospel teaches the tree "will flourish and remain whole, no matter how many branches are cut off."2

If we want to delve deeper into the above image, take a look at the ivy vines going up the base of the tree. It is another symbol of immortality, as well as loyalty.  Furthermore, the leaves symbolize the Trinity.3

The weeping willow pictured above is part of the tombstone placed for George Walker (1793-1865). Another part of the epitaph is, "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of GOD." This is found in the Bible, book of Hebrews, chapter 4, verse 9. It is one of the promises of God.


1. Douglas Keister, Forever Dixie: A Field Guide to Southern Cemeteries & Their Residents (Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith, 2008), 153.
2. Keister, Forever Dixie, 161.
3. Keister, Forever Dixie, 159.

18 January 2013

Those Dear Departed Pledges of Our Love, Elmyrah & Sarah Walker

Consecrated to the memory of those dear departed pledges of our Love
Elmyrah Amelia
and Sarah Elizabeth Walker.
Children of George and Martha S. Walker.
Elmyrah Amelia,
Born March 16th, 1823
Sarah Elizabeth
Born June 3d, 1827
They both died of the same disease and at the very same instant
Octr 26th, 1831

Elmyrah and Sarah rest at Walker Cemetery in Bleckley County, Georgia. For a far better photo than the one I took above, visit Sarah's FindAGrave memorial.

17 January 2013

Death, Rigid Lord, Hath Claimed the Lifeless Clay (Today's Epitaph)

Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum
Martha, daughter of George and Martha S. Walker, was born 4 November 1828. She died less than twenty-one years later on 25 May 1849. "She was amiable, pious, and beloved in her life, and deeply lamented in her death."

Another portion of Martha's epitaph on her tombstone at Walker Cemetery in Bleckley County, Georgia reads, "Death, rigid Lord, hath claimed the lifeless clay; While joyously the youthful soul hath gone to take its heritage."

I found this same couplet in a book entitled New Cyclopaedia of Poetical Illustrations (pub 1872). The book was divided into categories, and the above lines were part of a writing by M. F. Tupper under "DEATH, Physical." I found it interesting, if a bit graphic:

Martha Walker tombstone, © 2013 S. Lincecum
Death is here in spirit, watcher of a marble corpse,
That eye is fixed, that heart is still, -- how dreadful in its stillness!
Death, new tenant of the house, pervadeth all the fabric;
He waiteth at the head, and he standeth at the feet, and hideth in the caverns of the breast:
Death, subtle leech, hath anatomized soul from body,
Dissecting well in every nerve its spirit from its substance:
Death, rigid lord, hath claimed the heliot clay,
While joyously the youthful soul hath gone to take his heritage:
Death, cold usurer, hath seized his bonded debtor;
Death, savage despot, hath caught his forfeit serf;
Death, blind foe, wreaketh petty vengeance on the flesh:
Death, fell cannibal, gloateth on his victim,
And carrieth it with him to the grave, that dismal banquet-hall,
Where in foul state the Royal Ghoul holdeth secret orgies.

16 January 2013

She Met Her Last Great Enemy with Fearless Composure (Today's Epitaph)

Elizabeth "Betsey" Bryan was the daughter of Blake Bryan and Elizabeth Blackshear. She married Joel Walker about 1814 in Georgia. All are listed in Notable Southern Families, Vol. II. Betsey and Joel rest at Walker Cemetery in Bleckley County.

Sacred To The Memory Of
Betsey Walker
Consort of Joel Walker
Born December 9th, 1797
Died August 21st, 1848

In her death, the community lost a valuable member,
her associates, a friend who was ever ready to
sympathise in their joys and sorrows, her children, a
tender and affectionate mother, and her husband a
devoted wife.  She had been a member of the Methodist
Church 24 years, and having lived with constant
reference to a f[uture?] and eternal state of
existence, she met her last great Enemy with
fearless composure and yielded up her soul in the
full assurance of a part in the first resurrection.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.

Photos © 2013 S. Lincecum

15 January 2013

Did I Stumble Upon the "Lost" Burial Site of Malinda Burton Griffin? (Tombstone Tuesday)

When conducting a cursory look into the life of Etheldred Griffin (how could I resist when presented a name like that), I found several online family trees and an entry on FindAGrave. Every link I clicked, however, said his wife's (consensus states her name as Malinda Burton) burial location was unknown or lost.

Did I stumble upon it?

Frankly, I don't know for sure. The stone I found in Walker Cemetery (Bleckley County, Georgia) is not so easy to read. It appears the last letter of the first name is missing due to, well, who knows for sure. Possibly erosion, but it's very likely the stone visible today is only a partial of the stone originally placed. If the last letter was an A, the first name would look to be Malainda. The next line states this Malaind[?] was a consort of Etheldred Griffin. This could mean wife, but could also simply mean companion.

I am able to locate Etheldred in the 1830 and 1840 U.S. census for Twiggs County, Georgia. Twiggs is next door to Bleckley (which was created in 1912 from Laurens and Pulaski counties), so that's not a far stretch. Too bad I didn't find them in 1850.

I found only a couple of references to Malinda's birth and death dates. A birth year given was 1795, and a death year given was 1833. That doesn't exactly jive with the dates of about 1790 and 1857 given on the stone I found.

I don't know if I did or not, but it would be pretty cool if I stumbled upon the "lost" burial location for Malinda Burton, wife of Etheldred Griffin.  Maybe someone will stumble upon this blog post and let me know if I'm crazy or not.

[Sacred?] to the memory of
Malaind[a?] C. Griffin
Consort of Etheldred Griffin
who departed this life
August 28th, 1857
in the 67th year of her age.

She had been an orderly and honoured member of the
Baptist church for upwards of 30 years.  She possessed
the qualities of both head and heart, that honoured the
cause of her devine master
Photos © 2013 S. Lincecum.

08 January 2013

Edwin and Dollie Nash: They're Not Who We Thought They Were (Tombstone Tuesday)

Well, they're not who I thought they were, at least. At first.

Dollie V. Nash
Nov 5, 1861 - Apr 3, 1924
She Was A Blessing In Our Homes.
(Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum)
Edwin and Dollie Nash are both buried at Sardis Cemetery in Bibb County, Georgia. At first blush, it appears their relationship would have been that of husband and wife. In fact, that is how I initially began researching them. After a bit of digging, however, that relationship didn't make sense. Turns out they are cousins. Both were grandchildren of Reuben A. Nash (according to online family trees). Edwin was the son of E. A. and Emma Nash (per obituary below and census records). Dollie, who never married and died of breast cancer, was the daughter of Rev. A. E. Nash and Roxie Chappell (per her death certificate).

E. D. Nash
Sept 23, 1861 - Dec 31, 1909
(Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum)
"Deaths and Funerals
The funeral services of Mr. Edwin D. Nash were held yesterday from the residence of Mr. T. M. Nash, at Whiteside, Ga. Mr. Nash was formerly from Baxley, Ga., and his large circle of friends learn with deep regret of his death. Besides his wife he is survived by his father, E. A. Nash, of Athens, Ga., four brothers and three sisters. Interment was made in Sardis Church burying ground." [Macon Telegraph (Georgia) 2 January 1910, Pg. 3]

This isn't the first time I've written about possible incorrect relationship assumptions. Almost four years ago, I discussed David E. Corder and the women buried beside him.

05 January 2013

Claude's Heavy Medals

Claude Verner Giles (1949 - 1970)
Photo © 2011 S. Lincecum
Claude Verner Giles was killed in Vietnam. A little over a month before his 21st birthday, this Clayton, Rabun County, Georgia boy was struck down likely by small arms fire. According to the Vietnam War Military Casualties database, Claude was a member of the Church of God, and he left behind a young widow.

Claude's military grave marker at Taylor's Chapel Cemetery on Black Rock Mountain contains quite a few acronyms. With the help of a list created by the Nebraska Veterans Cemetery at Alliance, I was able to decipher them. Claude received (posthumously, I presume) a Bronze Star Medal & Oak Leaf Cluster, an Air Medal & 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, an Army Commendation Medal, and a Purple Heart. Thank-you, Sgt Giles, for your service.

04 January 2013

A Notre Soeur, Gisele Giles

Nestled in the mountains of north Georgia is where Gisele Giles chose as her final resting place. She came to the United States from France about the age of 20 years. She married J. Edward Giles, a sergeant in the US Army Air Forces, and they rest together forever at Taylors Chapel Cemetery on Black Rock Mountain in Rabun County.

J. Edward (1920-2009) and Gisele G. (1927-1993)
Photo © 2011 S. Lincecum

Photo © 2011 S. Lincecum
A nice addition to the gravestone for Gisele was a pretty blue-green marker with the words, A notre Soeur: Dans notre coeur a jamais tu demeures. This translates to, To our Sister: Ever in our hearts you live.
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