Skip to main content

C is for Crossed Feathers & Jesse Wootten (A to Z, Tombstone Tuesday)

100_5610This pair of crossed feathers was carved to decorate the tombstone placed for Jesse Calaway Wootten in Newnan, Georgia's Oak Hill Cemetery.  Unless in the form of wings, feathers are not something I often see.  Douglas Keister writes in Stories in Stone:

Because of their lightness and their association with wings, feathers can be a symbol of the ascent to the heavens.  A feather can also represent the authority to administer justice because, even though the feather is very light, it is enough to tip the scales.

Ok.  But that just didn't seem to fit in this case.  So I kept digging to find out more about Jesse Calaway Wootten.

Jesse was born 6 October 1836, possibly in Wilkes County, Georgia.  He was married and occupied as a lawyer by 1860, residing with wife Frances "Fannie" J. (Dent) in Carrollton.

Pvt. Wootten enlisted in Company A of the 12th Battalion, Georgia Light Artillery in May of 1862 at Newnan.  In mid-January of the very next year, he was "discharged by reason substitute furnished." I don't know who paid for the substitute.  [For more information about substitute soldiers in the Civil War, go here.]

By the time the U.S. Federal census was taken for 1870, Jesse and Fannie had four children:  Eva, Harry, Dent, and Jesse.

It was only in reading death notices / tributes from local newspapers that I uncovered why, in my opinion, the pair of crossed feathers were carved on Jesse's tombstone.  Mr. Wootten was a writer and journalist, serving as editor of the Newnan Herald.  A couple of excerpts (published in the Herald 6 February 1874):

…Thus has passed away in the prime of his manhood and in the midst of his usefulness, a brother journalist, who was an honor to his profession and a useful and active member of society in the section in which in which [sic] he lived…  As a writer Major Wooten [sic] was conservative and dignified.  Dispensing with the useless flowers of rhetoric, when discussing important political measures, he was always clear, pointed and forcible in argument.  The Herald under his management enjoyed a fine reputation among the country weeklies of the State. – Carrollton Times.

…For many years Major Wootten has wielded an able pen as editor of the Herald, and has been a "power within himself," in battling for Georgia and Georgia's rights.  Indeed, a valuable member of the Georgia Press has fallen, and left vacant a place that will be hard to fill with such another man as was Major Wootten. – West Point News.

Mystery solved!

100_5611Interested in knowing more about Jesse Calaway Wootten? Other notices state cause of death as "a short illness of three days, after a violent attack of [Pneumonia]." Here is a full tribute published in the Newnan Herald (same edition as above).

In Memoriam.

Died on the 22nd ult. at his residence in Newnan, Jesse C. Wooteen, who was born in Wilkes County, Georgia, Oct. 6th 1836, aged thirty seven years, three months, and sixteen days.  Truly hath it been said, that in the midst of life, we are in death.  Only a few days before his death, Major Wootten was in his usual health, his spirits buoyant with a prospect of a long life of prosperity and usefulness.  But death came, like an untimely frost, and cut him down in the prime of life.  In his various walks of life, the deceased has always been noted for his genial disposition and kindness of heart; strictly conscientious in all dealings with his fellow men, his life was a model of purity and virtue.  With him, duty was a supreme law, to which he always yielded ready obedience.  As a citizen, he was public spirited; being ever ready to aid by counsel and otherwise in any enterprise that would tend to increase the public weal.  As an editor his pen was active in advocating such measures as he believed to be of local or general advantage.  Scrupulously avoiding all personalities and unjust criticisms, he endeavored to make his paper a model of high toned and dignified journalism.

But it was in the domestic circle that he shone most brightly.  There surrounded by an interesting family and all necessary comforts, his home seemed to him a terrestrial Paradise.  To stranger and friend alike, he always extended a generous hospitality.  He was a dutiful son, and affectionate husband and a devoted father.  But never did he allow his paternal affection, to blind him to the duties he owed to his children; for he early instilled in them both by counsel and example, the importance of fillial [sic] love and obedience.  Adopting a rule of life sanctioned by his judgement and conscience, he endeavored to live by it.  It is no wonder that such a man was not afraid to die.  "Death has long since lost its terrors for me" were among his dying utterances.  What to many is regarded as the king of terrors, was to him a messenger of peace.  Truly a good and useful man has gone; and as his loss is sorely felt by us all, we can only unite our sorrows with those of his distressed family…FRIEND.



Are you wondering what's up with all the "letter" posts? I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (links to official page). This challenge lasts through the month of April, with Sundays off.  Each day follows a different letter prompt, in order, from A to Z.  Click here to see all my letter posts on one page (in reverse order). This blog as a whole is one of my themes – telling the tales of tombstones, primarily from those found in the Southern United States and usually the State of Georgia.  You may follow along with me by email and other social media platforms listed at the top of the sidebar.  I and other bloggers in the challenge on Twitter will also be using #atozchallenge.

Though this is my second year in the challenge, it's my first with two blogs.  I am also participating with Lincecum Lineage.  Though it is a one name study blog, my theme there is "kinfolk direct." These genealogy and family history posts all involve a direct relative.

Are you participating in the challenge, too? Please leave a link to your blog in the comments, I'd love to pay you a visit.  Good luck to all involved!

Comments

Lori said…
Very cool website. I have family members on both sides who do genealogy work and they are frequently flying around the country to poke around in cemeteries. This adds to the database for everyone doing research.

Miss Pelican (AKA Lori) https://misspelicansperch.wordpress.com/
Sharon Cathcart said…
There are always such interesting things to see, and so much history to learn, when you visit cemeteries.

Sharon E. Cathcart
Award-Winning Author of Fiction Featuring Atypical Characters
#atozchallenge
Pamela Wright said…
What an incredible obituary - he was obviously very well respected. My favourite line was the one about his home being a terrestrial paradise. Love the feathers and agree they must be to do with him being a writer. Really interesting post as always.

Pamela @ Highlands Days of Fun
Janet Miles said…
I thought about the feathers being quills when I saw the nibs at the bottom. Very interesting story of this man. Keep up the good work!

Janet
C is for Cher
Thanks for all the nice comments, ladies!

You know I love old obituaries, Pamela. And you have a better eye than I, Janet. I truly didn't notice them!
J Lenni Dorner said…
Well written and well researched. Excellent post. That's certainly an eye-catching tombstone (which isn't something one says everyday).

J -- Co-host the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference and Speculative Fiction Writer
http://jlennidornerblog.what-are-they.com

Popular posts from this blog

Rocks, Rocks, and More Rocks

Why do people put rocks on grave stones? Some time ago, I learned that the rocks signified a visitor. That is true enough, but I decided to learn a little more about the custom and share my findings with you.

Putting rocks on tombstones is most often described as a Jewish custom. There are many "Ask a Rabbi" columns out there, but I did not find one that knew for sure where the custom originated. They all agreed, however, that a rock symbolized a visitor and when put on a tombstone said, "I remember you." I also read that some people pick up a rock wherever they are when they think of a person that has passed. Then, the next time they visit the grave, they place the rock to say, "I wish you were here."

Rabbi Shraga Simmons offers a deeper meaning: "We are taught that it is an act of ultimate kindness and respect to bury someone and place a marker at the site. After a person is buried, of course, we can no longer participate in burying them. Howe…

Southern Cross of Honor

I'm late to this discussion, but it's one I'd like to join. :-) Terry Thornton at The Graveyard Rabbit of the Hill Country started with Grave Marker Symbols: The Southern Cross of Honor and UCV (link no longer available). Judith Shubert at The Graveyard Rabbit of the Covered Bridges continued with Hood County Texas: C.S.A. Veterans & Southern Cross of Honor Symbol. [UPDATE, 1 June 2009: Judith has moved this post to the blog, Cemeteries with Texas Ties. The link has been corrected to reflect this move. You may also link to her article via her nice comment on this post.]

Wikipedia states:
The Southern Cross of Honor was a military decoration meant to honor the officers, noncommissioned officers, and privates for their valor in the armed forces of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. It was formally approved by the Congress of the Confederate States on October 13, 1862, and was originally intended to be on par with the Union Army's Me…

Thursday Link Love: EyeWitness To History

Yesterday, a link was added to the Genealogy Research Resources Group at Diigo. The link was to the website titled EyeWitness to History.com: History through the eyes of those who lived it. It's a great site, and I encourage all to visit it.

Here are several items I found while snooping around.

- Inside a Nazi Death Camp, 1944: "Hitler established the first concentration camp soon after he came to power in 1933. The system grew to include about 100 camps divided into two types: concentration camps for slave labor in nearby factories and death camps for the systematic extermination of "undesirables" including Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, the mentally retarded and others."

- Crash of the Hindenburg, 1937: "Radio reporter Herbert Morrison, sent to cover the airship's arrival, watched in horror. His eye witness description of the disaster was the first coast-to-coast radio broadcast and has become a classic piece of audio history." [You can really …


blog.SouthernGraves.net

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"

So I answered, "O Lord God, You know."

Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!' Thus says the Lord God to these bones: 'Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live...'" (Ezekiel 37:1-5, NKJV)