28 May 2014

Alfred Cranford Murdered. Sam Hose Lynched.

**Caution: this post may not be for the faint of heart; possible controversial topic ahead.**

Alfred Cranford (1871-1899)
Photo by Sharon Kadlick via FindAGrave
The funeral of Alfred Cranford was held today. His wife stood by his grave, but showed no sign of emotion. It is feared that her mind has become unbalanced as a result of the terrible ordeal she has just passed through,... ["Palmetto Citizens In Arms", Augusta Chronicle (Georgia), 15 April 1899, pg. 1]

Alfred was buried at the Cranford Family Cemetery in Newnan, Coweta County, Georgia. His cause of death was murder by axe, and the act was perpetrated in front of his wife and children. Witnesses placed blame on Sam Hose, and the infamous manhunt resulting in a horrific lynching commenced.

Alfred Cranford, Murdered By Negro Brute and Wife Assaulted.


Both Crimes Committed in Presence of Four Small Children -- Brute Ran From House and Made His Escape -- Bloodhounds on His Trail -- Citizens of Newman
[sic] Join in Chase.

Palmetto, Ga., April 12 -- Alfred Cranford, a highly esteemed citizen of this county, residing three miles from Palmetto, was murdered and his wife assaulted by Sam Hose, a notorious negro of the community, at 7 o'clock last night.

The latter slipped up behind Cranford while the latter and family were seated at the table eating supper, and before the presence of the negro was known Cranford was felled to the floor by a terrible blow on the head with an axe. The powerful negro wielded the weapon with terrific force, the keen edge crushing through the skull and brain of the defenseless man and almost killing him instantly...

...If the negro is captured there will be a lynching on the spot, as the negro was clearly identified by Mrs. Cranford, and his guilt is fixed beyond a doubt. It is believed that he cannot evade the posse long, as the bloodhounds have traced him many miles through the woods and swamps,...

There has been great excitement in the community today, and a report of a lynching is minutely expected.

The negro is of a yellow color, five and one-half feet high, one or two front teeth out, and he carries his head a little to one side. He is 21 or 22 years old, and had on a brown spotted hat... [Augusta Chronicle (Georgia), 14 April 1899, pg. 1. Preceding are snippets. Entire article may be viewed online at GenealogyBank.]
Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
15 April 1899
Another headline from the Macon Telegraph: THE NEGRO MUST DIE: Three Hundred Armed Men After Him.

Sam Hose evaded capture for ten days. Then, once the mob finally caught up with him, he was burned alive and his body mutilated.



His Ears Were Cut Off Before He Was Executed and After the Burning There Was a Scramble For the Charred Bones of the Victim, Which Were Carried Away as Souvenirs.

Sam Holt, the negro murderer of Alfred Cranford and the assailant of Cranford's wife, was burned at the stake one mile and a quarter from Newnan, Ga., Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock...

...Such suffering has seldom been witnessed, and through it all the negro uttered hardly a cry...

The spot selected was an ideal one for such an affair and the stake was in full view of those who stood about and with unfeigning satisfaction saw the negro meet his death and saw him tortured before the flames killed him.

For sickening sights, harrowing details and bloodcurdling incidents, the burning of Holt is unsurpassed by any occurrence of a like kind ever heard of in the history of Georgia. [Emphasis mine.]

...Self-confessed and almost defiant, without a plea for mercy and no expectation of it, Holt went to the stake with as much courage as any one could possibly have possessed on such an occasion, and the only murmur that issued from his lips was when angry knives plunged into his flesh and his life's blood sizzled in the fire before his eyes.

Then he cried, "Oh, my God! Oh, Jesus!" [Savannah Tribune (Georgia), 29 April 1899, pg. 1. Preceding are snippets. Entire (graphic) article may be viewed online at GenealogyBank.]
Most of us will never understand evil, though we can likely recognize it. I do believe evil was present among the hundreds (thousands?) involved, from the murder of Alfred Cranford to the lynching of Samuel Hose.

22 May 2014

Ada Died of T.B.

Even after researching my family history for many, many years, I'm still saddened when I find out a relative, no matter the distance, died young. In this instance, the young age is 49. Ada Rhodes was born about September 1875 in Washington County, Georgia to T. P. and Fanny (Martin) Rhodes. Death came 23 May 1925 in Wheeler County, Georgia. The cause of death was simply indicated on her death certificate as T. B. Ada suffered with the disease of tuberculosis for at least five years.

From Georgia's Virtual Vault
(Permanent link)

Upon her death, Ada was buried in Erick Cemetery. Her husband, Lucien E. Avant, joined her some 32 years later.

FindAGrave Memorial #67116817
Photo by Craig & Tonya Banks

20 May 2014

Parted Only By Death (Tombstone Tuesday)

Reynolds City (aka Hillcrest) Cemetery
Taylor County, Georgia
Emanuel Aultman
b. Jan 27, 1830
d. May 29, 1915
Asleep in Jesus
Mary Aultman
Wife of E. Aultman
b. Nov 11, 1830
d. Jan 16, 1914
Asleep in Jesus

"Deaths and Funerals: MRS. EMANUEL AULTMAN
REYNOLDS, Jan. 17 -- Mrs. Emanuel Aultman, 83 years old, died at her home here this morning. When she was 18 years of age she was married to Captain Emanuel Aultman, who survives her. They have therefore lived together 65 years. Mrs. Aultman is the mother of Dr. Rhett Aultman, of Meigs, Ga., Judge Hollis Aultman, of Reynolds, and of Mrs. Mims, Mrs. Mathews, Mrs. Long and Miss Dovie Aultman, all of whom reside here."
[Macon Telegraph (Georgia), 18 January 1914, pg. 10. Via GenealogyBank.]

18 May 2014

Sad Story of Sophia's Burial at Sea

The old photo at right is of an obelisk standing to memorialize the life of Charles Hyatt Richardson. He was born in 1830 at Sumter, South Carolina, and died at Byron, Georgia in 1886. Dr. Richardson was buried at Byron City Cemetery. Since I have a (very) distant connection to him, I poked around a bit in Charles's life and discovered a sad story regarding the death of his mother.

Sophia Hyatt was born 27 March 1804, the daughter of Charles Hyatt. She married John Smythe Richardson 9 April 1827 in Providence, Rhode Island, and they moved down to South Carolina. Elizabeth Buford Richardson wrote about Sophia in her book A Genealogical Record of the Richardson and Buford Families (published 1906; digitized here):
She was delicate, but the change from the northern clime to this southern home agreed well with her; she took on flesh which made her even more beautiful. She was intelligent, cultured, and well read, and she kept up with the leading topics of her day. Although it was more than twenty-five years before the war between the sections culminated, yet at that remote period she was quick to discern the unfairness dealt by northern politicians to her adopted southland, whose cause she heartily endorsed. Could she then have looked through the vista of time she would have seen her own four noble boys, grown to warrior men, in battle array against the northern foe. But she was brave as well as true and just, and had she been with us in the hour of offended rights, her kiss of good-bye to her soldier boys would have been accompanied by the buckling on of their armor.

When twelve sunny years in her southern home had passed, and she had been the mother of eight children (five were living), a bronchial cough developed. Cuba was highly recommended as a health resort for such troubles. She was taken there in the winter of 1839-40. For awhile she seemed to improve, but suddenly grew worse and died on March 14, 1840. An effort was made to bring her remains home, but it became necessary to bury them at sea. She had been reared in the Episcopal Church, so the Episcopal service for the “Burial of the dead at sea” was used, and thus she was buried in the silent hour of night. Why in the night? Her first born was on that vessel. His young heart must not be further lacerated. The casket was taken from the box in which it was enclosed, the box again closed and left in place. Hearts were touched when at times on the following day, as hitherto, and so on to the close of the voyage, that dear boy, sad and lonely, was seen sitting by that empty box.
My heart breaks a bit every time I read that story.

A small notice appeared in the 25 July 1840 edition of South Carolina's Camden Journal (via GenealogyBank):
Departed this life, on the 11th of March last, at Matanzas, Cuba, Mrs. SOPHIA HYATT RICHARDSON, wife of John S. Richardson, Jr. Esq. of [Sumter] District, after a protracted illness of eight months.
Sophia's eldest son, another John Smythe Richardson, was 15 years old at the time of his mother's death and that heart-wrenching voyage. Charles Hyatt Richardson, the original subject of research, was just 10.

17 May 2014

Willard Ervin Abernathy's Standard Certificate of Death (This Time It's Personal)

No tombstone photo today. I would like to share with you a "this time it's personal" death certificate, instead.

I must tell you the information found on this document was of no surprise to me. However, I can only imagine what a researcher would think if they came across Willard's death certificate with no prior knowledge of the circumstances surrounding his untimely end.

Willard Ervin Abernathy was a son of Harry J. Abernathy and Gladys Marie Campbell. He was born 31 July 1935, and he died about 7 on the morning of 5 June 1948 in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. What was the cause of this twelve year old's death?
Shock & Hemorrhage, Due to being shot by a 12 gauge double barrel shot gun. The charge going into the right frontal bone.
Process that for a moment.

The document further states the death was considered an accident, and the "injury" occurred on "Roy Grindstaff farm."

Willard was buried the next day at Plainview Cemetery in Bollinger County, Missouri.

I knew the family story regarding Willard's death, and it was substantiated by an article I found in a local newspaper:

Sikeston Herald (Missouri)
Thursday, 10 June 1948
Cape County Youth Killed While Hunting
Last Saturday Willard Abernathy, 12-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Abernathy, who live near Whitewater in Cape Girardeau county, was fatally shot by his grandfather, George M. Campbell of Morley, who was visiting in the Abernathy home.

It is reported that the grandfather went squirrel hunting near the Abernathy home early Saturday morning and that a little later, without his knowledge, the lad also went hunting. In the dim light of the morning Campbell saw something moving in a clump of bushes and fired his gun at it. The object was his grandson.
What a tragedy.

Willard was my 1st cousin, 2x removed. You may view an image of the original death certificate here at Missouri Digital Heritage.

16 May 2014

Only Confederate Soldier Buried at Andersonville National Cemetery

Camp Sumter, more commonly known simply as Andersonville, was one of the largest Confederate military prisons of the Civil War. More than 45,000 Union soldiers were held there, of which about 13,000 perished. Those 13,000 graves were eventually provided headstones, largely due to the efforts of Clara Barton, and a national cemetery was established. Today, upwards of 20,000 veterans and family members rest at Andersonville.

S. B. Kitchens' military tombstone bears the Southern Cross of Honor
and a pointed top.
Yet one individual stands out as being the only Confederate veteran buried at the national historic site: Sampson Boze Kitchens.

He was a private in Company C of the 10th Georgia Regiment, enlisting in 1862 at the age of 17. Despite the (obvious) constant dangers of soldiering during a war (including at least two stints in the hospital), Boze survived and was present for the surrender of Confederate troops at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. [Information gleaned from Confederate service records at Fold3 and Confederate pension applications at Ancestry.]

Sampson Boze Kitchens lived til the ripe age of 90 years, leaving behind 9 children, 25 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren (according to a transcript of his obituary).

I don't know why it didn't occur to me before, as I've wondered why Pvt. Kitchens was buried at Andersonville. I found out recently his remains were actually moved there. He was originally buried at Kelly-Kitchens Cemetery near Oglethorpe, Georgia, where his grave remained unmarked for at least five months. Soon after, a headstone at that location was provided by the US military via Mrs. Chas. A. Greer, president of the Oglethorpe Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Ancestry.com. U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans,
[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com
Operations, Inc., 2012.  National Archives and Records
Administration cited.

According to this Macon County, Georgia message board post, Sampson B. Kitchens was "moved and re-buried with honor" at Andersonville National Cemetery 24 March 1995.

08 May 2014

Mary Alma Avant: A Discrepancy in Dates

Old photo of mine (2008).

Mary Alma Avant was buried at Liberty United Methodist Church Cemetery, known simply as Liberty church, at the time of her death. The "family burying ground" is a plot located behind, or maybe more beside, the church as it stands today.

What is a little confusing is the date of death on her tombstone is 10 April 1915. However, an obituary states her death took place on 1 April 1914 [Macon Daily Telegraph (Georgia), 2 April 1914, pg. 7. Via GenealogyBank.] --


Miss Alma Avant, 33 years of age, died yesterday morning at an early hour at the home of her father, J. R. Avant, near Walden. Besides her father she is survived by three sisters, Mrs. E. W. Lipford, Mrs. J. F. Hammock and Miss Jessie Avant; also one brother, George Avant.

Miss Avant had many friends in the Walden neighborhood and in Macon who are grieved over her death. The funeral will be held today at noon from Liberty church, Rev. M. W. Carmichael officiating. Interment will follow in the family burying ground...

This stone was clearly added some time after death.  Seems a mistake happened somewhere along the journey to provide Miss Alma with a marker for her grave.  I, for one, am glad she has one!

04 May 2014

And Kittie Makes Three

First Marcus, then Ella, and now Kittie. Benjamin Franklin and Jane Elizabeth (Cherry) Vinson lost another child in 1896. Kittie was just thirteen years old at her death.


She Was a Popular Young Lady of Walden.

Miss Katie [sic] Vinson, a beautiful and highly respected young lady just budding into womanhood died at her home at Walden yesterday.

Miss Vinson was the daughter of Mr. B. F. Vinson, a prominent citizen of Walden.

She will be buried at Liberty church this morning at 10 o'clock. A number of loving friends from Macon will attend the funeral. [Macon Telegraph (Georgia), 15 July 1896, pg. 4. Via Georgia Historic Newspapers.]
And, alas, there was yet another. The first child B. F. and J. E. Vinson lost was actually a son named Joseph B. He was only fifteen months old, and died around Christmas of 1885.

Of the seven children I have listed for this couple, four died young. Burials at Liberty Church Cemetery (Bibb County, Georgia) occurred in 1885, 1889, 1892, and 1896.

03 May 2014

We are Lonely, Ella, Without You

Ella Gertrude Vinson was born 1 October 1875 to Benjamin Franklin and Jane Elizabeth (Cherry) Vinson. A few days after her seventeenth birthday, 4 October 1892, Ella died. So just a few years after burying their son Marcus, the family returns to Liberty United Methodist Church (known then simply as Liberty Chapel) in Bibb County, Georgia to lay Ella to rest.

The epitaph etched in Ella's tombstone tells of the sorrow felt by her family: While you are asleep with Jesus, We are lonely, darling, without you.

Ella's death and funeral were chronicled in the Macon Telegraph, a local newspaper.
Death of Miss Ella G. Vinson
Walden, Oct 4 -- (Special.) -- Miss Ella G. Vinson, the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. B. F. Vinson, died today at 2 p.m., at the residence of her father, near this place. She will be buried tomorrow at Liberty chapel burial ground at 2 o'clock...

Miss Ella was a young lady of fine qualities and her untimely death is regretted by all... [Macon Telegraph (Georgia), 5 October 1892, pg. 1. Via GenealogyBank.]

Funeral of Miss Ella Vinson
Walden, Oct 5 -- The funeral of Miss Ella Vinson at Liberty chapel today was attended by a large number of friends. Rev. J. W. Burke delivered a very touching sermon, dwelling at length upon the lovable character of the deceased. Miss Lucy Scott presided at the organ and sang...

The casket, laden with beautiful floral designs, was borne to the grave by some of the schoolmates of her whose remains it contained. She herself was a recent graduate of Walden High School. A long line of sorrowful schoolmates followed her to her last resting place...

...The sympathy of an entire community went out in full to the bereaved family, and if sympathy can alleviate the keen anguish of those bereaved there will be no more mourning because of the vacant chair at that family fireside. [Macon Telegraph (Georgia), 7 October 1892, pg. 4. Via GenealogyBank.]

02 May 2014

Marcus Vinson Died on Life's Threshold

© 2008-14 S. Lincecum
A single weeping willow adorns the top of Marcus Franklin Vinson's tombstone at Liberty United Methodist Church Cemetery in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. He was the son of Benjamin Franklin and Jane Elizabeth (Cherry) Vinson. Marcus was born 2 June 1874, and died less than two weeks before his fifteenth birthday on 20 May 1889.

Of such is the kingdom of Heaven.

I found a death notice for Marcus on page 3 of the 21 May 1889 Macon Telegraph, but it gave me pause since the parents listed for him were "Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Vinson":

Via GenealogyBank.

Marcus was enumerated for a US Federal census once, in 1880. He was listed as a 6-year-old son in the household of B. F. and Elizabeth Vinson (image available at Ancestry). They were residing in Bibb County, Georgia. Walden, where the death notice points to, was a community in that county (and is still noted as such today).

So I'm chalking this up to a typographical error. If I'm wrong, please let me know.

What adds a bit of interest to the story is there is in fact a W. G. Vinson related to Marcus. William Green was the grandfather of Frances Isabella Vinson, who married William Emmette Vinson, a brother of Marcus.

My connection to Marcus Franklin Vinson: "Brother-in-law of sister-in-law of 2nd cousin 2x removed." It's a bit tenuous, but I'm still labeling this a This Time It's Personal post. :-)

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