25 January 2017

It's All About the Tree, Part 3 (a Mossy Wordless Wednesday)



24 January 2017

White Bronze Obelisk for John Mason Giles (Tombstone Tuesday)

From Evergreen Cemetery at Perry, Houston County, Georgia -

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John Mason Giles
Son of Andrew & Sarah Cowan Giles
Born in Abbeville Dist, S.C. Feb 22, 1818
Graduated at the University of Georgia, 1838
Admitted to the Bar 1839
Member of the Georgia State Constitutional Conventions, 1861-1865
Died in Perry, Ga May 25, 1866

He steadfastly declined mere political offices,
But a virtuous and intelligent people honored his life with many important trusts,
And mourned his death as a public calamity.

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23 January 2017

Frances Dennard: Death Comes Not to Those Whose Lives are Such as Hers (Today's Epitaph)

The remains of Frances Dennard rest at Evergreen Cemetery in Perry, Houston County, Georgia.

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F. S. A. Dennard
Born July 31, 1815
Died July 6, 1886
Death comes not to those whose lives are such as hers,
it is but an entrance into our Father's home.

Obituary from Houston Home Journal (Perry, Georgia)
8 July 1886 – pg. 3

Death of Mrs. Dennard.

Mrs. Mary F. Dennard, widow of the late Capt. Hugh L. Dennard, died last Tuesday evening at the residence of her son-in-law, Hon. D. M. Hughes in Twiggs county.  Mrs. Dennard left Perry about two months ago to visit her daughter in Twiggs, and was taken sick a few days after her arrival there.  The immediate cause of her death was typhoid dysentery.  The burial will take place this morning at Evergreen Cemetery at Perry.  Funeral exercises will be held at the Baptist church, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Mrs. Dennard was about 71 years old, and her life had been such as to win to her the love and esteem of all who knew her.  For many years she had been a consistent member of the Baptist Church…

22 January 2017

Death and Obituary of Mr. Lorenzo Dow Norwood (1806-1888)

100_0045Obituary from Houston Home Journal (Perry, Georgia)
Thursday, 29 November 1888 – pg. 3

Death of Mr. L. D. Norwood.

At about ten o'clock last Saturday night Mr. Lorenzo Dow Norwood died at his residence about 3 miles west of Perry.  The immediate cause of death was heart failure, the result of the gradually increasing infirmities of old age.

The burial took place at Evergreen cemetery, Perry, Monday morning.

In many respects Mr. Norwood was a remarkable man.  He was born in Darlington District, South Carolina, on the 11th of December, 1806, consequently he would have been 82 years old on the 11th of next December.  He was married twice before he was 23 years old, having married Miss Cathrine A. McLaughlin, in March 1829.

He was the father of 14 children, and his other descendants are 44 grand children and 7 great grand children.  Of his children, 8 were girls and 6 boys, seven of the girls and two boys being now living.

Immediately after his last marriage, about 60 years ago, he and his wife became members of the Methodist church, and since that time neither of them has faltered in their devotions to the religion of Jesus Christ, which they held close in faith and practiced constantly.

Fifty-five years ago Mr. Norwood sold his landed property in South Carolina, and with his stock and personal effects moved to Georgia, making the journey in wagons and a lighter vehicle for himself and family.  He first settled in the 9th district of Houston county.  Six years later he purchased and moved onto the plantation of his last dwellin[g] place, having lived on the same lot of land during the last 50 years of his life, and 40 years in the house in which he died.

Mr. Norwood was a loving husband, a kind father, a true friend and an upright christian gentleman.  His life throughout was in strict accordance with his professions as a follower of Christ, and he always endeavered [sic] to do unto others as he would that they should do unto him.  His word was his bond, and no person ever resorted to the law to enforce the collection of a debt he owed.  He was never sued in a court of law, and never sued a claim.

During the last ten years of his life his infirmities were such as to prohibit personal attention to business, yet he was ever patient in his intercourse with all with whom he came in contact, and constant in his allegience [sic] to the Heavanly [sic] Father.

Four score years and two he lived here, and then the truly good man was called to that better home, eternal in the Heavens.  None who knew him can doubt this, and the sorrowing widow, sharer for 60 years of the joys [and] sorrows of the life upon earth, can draw comfort from the certainty of the anticipated reunion.

Mr. Norwood "is not dead but sleepeth," in accordance with the will of his Maker.

A host of friends heartily sympathise with the bereaved ones in their sorrow.

21 January 2017

Informative Obituary for Mrs. Harriett Jenkins Giles (1825-1911)

100_0038Obituary from Houston Home Journal (Perry, Georgia)
31 August 1911 – pg. 3 [Viewable online at Georgia Historic Newspapers]

Mrs. Harriett Giles Dead.

A short while after midnight of last Thursday, August 24th, Mrs. Harriett Jenkins Giles departed this life at the home of her daughter, Mrs. C. F. Hemingway, in Perry.

The burial was in Evergreen cemetary [sic] Friday afternoon, attended by loving relatives and a large number of friends.  She was buried beside the grave of her husband, who died 45 years ago.

The years of her life were 86, she having been born in Roberson county, North Carolina, July 8th, 1825.

She was the daughter of Rev. Sam Jenkins and Mrs. Ann Drake Jenkins, the 5th of the family of 11 children.

With her parents she came to Houston county in 1830.  On October 2nd, 1839, she was married to Mr. John Mason Giles, and of that union there were 11 offspring.  There have been 29 grand-children and 6 great grand-children.

In 1907 she wrote concerning her ancestors.  Of her grandfather Jenkins, she said, "he served through the revolutionary war under General Francis Marion."

In girlhood she became a member of the Methodist church, and her life was in accord with her profession of faith.

The greater portion of her long and well used life was spent in Perry and through her most admirable character she was the friend of all who knew her.  For several years prior to her death she was confined to her home by the infirmities of age.  Yet she was not rebellious, but with great fortitude she bore the confinement with faith that was apparent in word and deed.

Surely her life on earth was and is a benediction to all christian people, a rich inheritance of faith and hope to her loved ones.

Surviving her are one sister, Mrs. Ann Judson Fordam: three daughters, Mrs. Mary G. Dasher of Macon, Mrs. Elizabeth A. Hemingway of of [sic] Georgetown, Miss., and Mrs. Sara Louise Hemingway of Perry, Ga.,; [sic] 22 grand children and six great-grand children.  One daughter and several grand-children were unable to reach Perry in time for the funeral.

Though there is sorrowing among the loved ones of this noble "mother in Iseral [sic]," their sorrow is full of hope and faith that there will be a joyful re-union in the "sweet by and by."

The bereaved ones have the sincere sympathy of their many friends.

20 January 2017

Dr. Minor W. Havis Accidentally Shot and Killed

Minor Havis was born 23 April 1829 in South Carolina.  He became a resident of Georgia as a young boy.  Prior to the Civil War, Minor married a fellow South Carolina native named Amanda.

mwhavis-csafileFrom his Confederate service record at Fold3:

"The records show that Minor W. Havis, 2d sergeant, Co. C, 1st (Ramsey's) Georgia Infantry, C.S.A., enlisted March 18, 1861.  He was mustered in as senior 1st lieutenant of Co. A, 14th Battalion Georgia Light Artillery* (Southern Rights Battery), C.S.A., April 26, 1862, and was paroled at Greensboro, N.C., on or about April 27, 1865."

*This Battalion subsequently became Capt. Havis' Battery, Georgia Light Artillery.

After the Civil War, M. W. Havis occupied himself as a physician and farmer in Perry, Houston County, Georgia.  Some time after 1875, he and his wife adopted a nephew, Minor W. Hall, as their son.  Toward the end of November in 1889, Dr. Havis was accidentally shot by a local merchant.  Though it was initially believed he would survive, Dr. Minor W. Havis died a few days after the incident, 27 November 1889.

100_0009Particulars of death and obituary from Houston Home Journal (Perry, Georgia)
28 November 1889, pg. 3

Death of Dr. Havis.

At about twelve o'clock Tuesday night, November 26th, Dr. M. W. Havis died at his residence in Perry, from the effects of a wound accidentally received last Friday morning.

The interment took place at Evergreen Cemetery yesterday afternoon.  Dr. Havis having been an honorary member of the Perry Rifles, and that command being honorary members of the 1st Ga. Reg. Veterans' Association, of which he was an active and esteemed member, he was buried with military honors.

Six ex-members of the Southern Rights Battery, of which company Dr. Havis was Captain, acted by request as pall-bearers.

At about 11 o'clock last Friday morning, Dr. M. W. Havis was accidentally shot while standing in the front door of Mr. Hugh Lawson's store, on Carroll street, in Perry.  A few moments previous to the accident, Dr. Havis examined a new 38 calibre, hammerless Smith & Wesson pistol belonging to Mr. Lawson.

There were no cartridges in the pistol chambers when it was being examined, but Mr. Lawson replaced them when the pistol was returned to him.  Dr. Havis turned toward the street, still standing in the door, and began talking to Postmaster McD. Felder.  Mr. Lawson stood about five feet from Dr. Havis, and began rubbing off the weapon, then suddenly an accidental revolving of the chambers discharged the pistol, and the bullet entered the person of Dr. Havis, about an inch to the left of the spine, passing through the bone near the hip bone.  Dr. Havis then started to walk home, but stopped at the post office.  There in a short while Drs. J. B. Smith, C. R. Mann, H. M. Holtzclaw, L. A. Felder, of Perry and Dr. Joseph Palmer, of Oak Lawn attended him.  The bullet was probed for, but not extracted, though ascertained to be in the abdomenal [sic] cavit[y].  Afterward, about an hour after the wound was received, he walked about 300 yards to his residence, accompanied by the physicians and several other friends.

At first the wound was recognized as a serious one, though a fatal result was not anticipated.  Dr. Havis contended that the bullet was in his bowels, but he was convinced to the contrary.

At home he was constantly attended by the physicians, with the utmost care and skill, and several of his closest friends were with him during each day.  At night two doctors were with him.

With the deepest solicitude the people asked often about his condition, and at no time, except possibly early Monday night, was death apprehended.  He slept well the latter part of that night, and at noon Tuesday it was believed, and Dr. Havis so expressed himself, that the crisis had passed and that he would recover.  Drs. Smith and Felder were with him Tuesday night, when at 11 o'clock a change occurred, at at 12 he was a corpse.

Dr. Havis was 60 years old last April, had been a resident of Perry about 50 years, and began the practice of medicine about 38 years ago.

He was a man of thorough education, exceptionally able in the knowledge and practice of his profession, and of very strong convictions.  Possessed of indomitable will, he was remarkably well preserved for a man of his age.  He was a man of strict integrity, with an exceeding high regard for justice.  Thoroughly honest in word and deed, he was charitable always, though sometimes apparently harsh.  No man we ever knew possessed the confidence and esteem of his friends in a higher degree, and all who knew him were his friends.

He was consistent member of the Presbyterian Church, a true Christian, a good man in the highest sense.  He leaves of his immediate family a heart-broken widow and a nephew, who is an adopted son.  His other relatives are five sisters and their families.

The profoundest sorrow prevails, for the community loses one of its best citizens, and our people a strong and steadfast friend.  The be reaved [sic] ones have the profoundest sympathy of all our people.

A good man has been called to his reward.

19 January 2017

Young Master Frank Hook Paul Dead

100_0052Obituary from Houston Home Journal (Perry, Georgia)
2 March 1905 – pg. 6

Master Frank Hook Paul Dead.

At 4 o'clock Thursday morning, February 23d, Master Frank Hook Paul died at the home of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. L. M. Paul, on Washington Avenue in Perry.

Just before the bright dawn of a new day, the soul of the precious boy was transported to the Eternal Home, where for him a glorious new and everlasting day began.

The funeral was at the home Friday morning, and the burial in Evergreen cemetery.  A very large crowd attended in sympathy with the bereaved family, and the floral tributes were especially beautiful.

Little Frank Hook lacked just a month and five days of being seven years of age, a remarkably bright and stalwart boy.  He was the second son and youngest child, the idol of his parents, elder brother and grand-mother.

Just a week before his death he went after the physician for his brother, and on Saturday he was himself attended by the same physician.  From the first attack his illness was serious.  All that medical skill and the love of parents and neighbors could do was without avail, the Heavenly Father having commanded, "Suffer the little child to come unto Me, and forbid him not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."

With the sorely bereaved parents, brother, grand-mother and other near relatives, their many friends tenderly sympathise.

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18 January 2017

Mahala Dennard, Born a Slave and Died as "Mammy"

My first visit (for the purpose of taking photographs and transcriptions of tombstones) to Evergreen Cemetery in Perry, Houston County, Georgia was approximately fifteen years ago.  I would say it's a typical southern cemetery with lots of defined family plots and trees full of moss.

Evergreen Cemetery March 2008 004

(Image from March 2008)

Another characteristic of an "old" southern cemetery is a separation between white burials and African American burials.  At Evergreen, many African Americans are buried at the back of the cemetery.  I was standing in this "back" area beside the tombstone and grave of Mahala Dennard when approached by a woman.  She informed me Mahala was a slave (and later, presumably, a paid servant) of a local family.  Upon her death, one of the children Mahala helped to raise had this tombstone placed for her.

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To Mammy
Mahala Dennard
Died Sept. 1886, Aged 60 Years.

Sheltered and safe from sorrow.

Please remember, this was unsolicited information from an unknown (to me) individual.  However, the story is not an unlikely one.  While more information is required, I would not simply dismiss it as hearsay.  And you might add the following to the information pile:

U.S. Federal Census, 3 June 1880
Lower Town (619th G.M.) Dist / Houston County, Georgia
E. D. No. 30, Page No. 12

Dwelling 119 / Family 126

Dennard, Hugh L. (hoh) white male – age 79 – occ: Planter – b. Ga – father b. SC – mother b. Ireland
Dennard, Francis (wife) white female – age 64 – occ: Keeping House – b. Ga – father b. NC – mother b. Va
Dennard, Erwin L. (son) white male – age 22 – occ: Grocer – b. Ga – father b. Ga – mother b. Ga
Dennard, Fannie H. (dau-in-law) white female – age 19 – b. Ga – father b. Ga – mother b. Ga

Dwelling 120 / Family 127

Dennard, Mahaley (hoh) black female – age 54 – widow – Seamstress – b. Ga – f b. Ga – m b. Ga
Tharp, Isaac (friend) black male – age 40 – single – House Carpenter – b. Ga – f b. Ga – m b. Ga
O'Pry, Angeline (friend) black female – age 40 – single – Cook – b. Ga – f b. Ga – m b. Ga
O'Pry, Viola (friend) black female – age 3 – b. Ga – f b. Ga – m b. Ga
Hughes, Bob (friend) black male – age 12 – single – Nurse – b. Ga – f b. Ga – m b. Ga

Something else I don't want to omit: the term Mammy, though derived from a word meaning "mother," is not without negative connotation.  Wikipedia, citing a Merriam-Webster Dictionary, states mammy "is a Southern United States archetype for a black woman who worked as a nanny and/or general housekeeper that, often in a white family, nursed the family's children."

Author PCone at the Urban Dictionary delves a bit deeper.  There, mammy is described as -

a black woman, depicted as rotund, homely and matronly.

The mammy is an archetype, portraying a domestic servant of African descent who is generally good-natured, often overweight, and loud. The stereotypical mammy is portrayed as obsequiously servile or acting in, or protective of, the interests of whites[.]

Although the word "mammy" is a variant of "mother" and was common in North America, it is now rarely used and typically considered an ethnic slur… 




17 January 2017

Death of Dr. John Baptiste Smith, Oldest White Man in Houston County (Tombstone Tuesday)

DrJBSmithHouston Home Journal (Perry, Georgia)
Thursday, 9 June 1904 - pg 6 [via South Georgia Historic Newspapers]

Death of Dr. J. B. Smith

At his home on Swift street in Perry Dr. John Baptiste Smith died early last Saturday morning.

At the home Sunday morning the funeral services were conducted by Rev. T. E. Davenport, pastor of the Perry Methodist church.

The Houston Lodge No. 35, F. & A. M. with visiting Masons, took charge of the body, and at Evergreen cemetery the rites of burial were performed with Masonic honors.

Six Knights Templar of Fort Valley acted as an escort of honors.

The pall bearers were Messrs. C. F. Cooper, M. L. Cooper, C. E. Gilbert, J. P. Duncan, J. H. Hodges, L. M. Paul.

Dr. Smith was 91 years of age nine days prior to his death.  He was the oldest white man in Houston county, and no man in the county was ever held in higher esteem.

He is survived by the devoted wife and three daughters, Mrs. J. H. Powers of Perry, Mrs. S. H. Morgan of Atlanta and Mrs. B. C. Holtzclaw of Perry.  There are also seven grand-children and four great-grand-children.

Attending the funeral and burial there were Masons and other friends of the family from Hawkinsville, Elko, Fort Valley and other sections of the county.

The floral offerings were magnificently beautiful, completely covering the top of the casket and in accord with the desire of the family, these beautiful emblems were buried with him to whose honor they were silent tributes.

Dr. John Baptiste Smith was born May 26th, 1813, at Budeshire, Germany, graduated at Marsburg, Germany, came to the United States in 1848, was married to Mrs. Matilda Blackman in Charleston, Tenn., and from that place came to Perry, Ga., in 1863.

He was a Royal Arch Mason and Knight Templar.  In 1863 he served as surgeon in Gen. J. C. Vaughn's Tennessee Brigade, and in 1864 he was assistant surgeon in the McFarrin hospital at Forsyth, Ga.

Though he retired from the practice of medicine several years prior to his death, he took the same interest in the profession as he had demonstrated during the many yeare [sic] of his successful practice, and read his medical journals regularly until his eyesight failed.

Though confined to his room more than a year, and to his bed several months, it was not disease, but the weight of more than four score well-spent years that prevented his daily intercourse with business people whose utmost confidence he had earned by many years of upright living in their midst.

Of this perfect gentleman and friend of many years, we can but repeat that which we wrote last week in calling attention to his 91st birthday.

Never of robust physique, he was strong because he had learned to subdue his passions and control himself.

For forty years our people have known him, and in all that time no word of reproach has been uttered against him.  Morally his life was a model.  For fully forty years this writer has known him, and in his intercourse with our people, professionally and socially, we know not that he has ever uttered a word in anger, or given expression to a vulgar or impure thought.

Having attained by reason of moral strength a score and one more than the allotted years of man, he deservedly held the implicit confidence of all those who knew him.

Of far greater value than much gold is his good name, and to his children and grandchildren his example will ever be a priceless heritage.

I do have a connection to the good doctor.  John Baptiste Smith was the father-in-law of an uncle (Benjamin Clark Holtzclaw, 1854-1930) of the husband (Robert Clifford Holtzclaw, 1883-1932) of my 2nd cousin (Claribel Peavy, b. abt 1886).

16 January 2017

Death and Obituary of Mrs. Clifford Gilbert Holtzclaw

Clifford was the first wife of Henry Macon Holtzclaw, Jr., and the daughter of Dr. Julius C. Gilbert. Her remains rest at Evergreen Cemetery in Perry, Houston County, Georgia.

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Clifford Gilbert
Wife of H. M. Holtzclaw, Jr.
Born Sep 17, 1863
Died Dec 27, 1890

"Blessed are the pure in heart."

Houston Home Journal (Perry, Georgia)
1 January 1891 – pg. 3 [via South Georgia Historic Newspapers]

Death of Mrs. Holtzclaw

At about eight o'clock last Saturday night, Mrs. Clifford M. Holtzclaw, wife of Dr. H. V. Holtzclaw, died in Perry, at the residence of Judge H. M. Holtzclaw.

She was about 27 years old, lacking about two weeks of having been a wife twelve months.  She was a consistent christian lady, a member of the Presbyterian church.

She was the second youngest daughter of Dr. and Mrs. J. C. Gilbert, of near Houston Factory.  Possessing in an eminent degree the noblest characteristics of true womanhood, she was loved by all who knew her.

Her death was one of the saddest ever known here, especially as only a few hours before her death it was thought she would get well.

To the devoted husband, father and mother, brothers and sisters, the bereavement is indeed crushing.  Their many friends feel for them the deepest sympathy, knowing full well that consolation can only come from the Divine source.

Surely Heaven has gained another inmate.

The funeral service was held at the residence of Judge Holtclaw [sic] at 2 o'clock Sunday afternoon, and immediately thereafter the solemn cortege proceeded to Evergreen cemetery, where the body of the loved one was placed in the grave, beside the infant that never knew the mother who gave it birth.

The floral offerings at the grave were decideely [sic] beautiful -- white flowers formed into wreaths and circlets, emblematic of the pure life of the deceased, and the love entertained for her.

Six years after the death of Clifford, H. M. Holtzclaw, Jr. married her sister Kate.  This second wife died in 1917.  After five years more, Mr. Holtzclaw committed suicide.


A Land So Dedicated: Houston County, Georgia

15 January 2017

Nancy Finds Her God, and Sits and Sings

Nancy A., wife of Thomas M. Hughes, rests in Old Blairsville Cemetery at Union County, Georgia.

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Nancy A. Hughes
Born Dec 11, 1810
Died March 9, 1881
In the 71st year of her age.

Borne by angels on their wings;
Far from earth the spirit flies;
Finds her God, and sits and sings;
Triumphing in paradise.

According to Our Hymns and Their Authors (Tillett, 1892), the last several lines of Nancy's epitaph are from "A Funeral Hymn." The words, originally written in the masculine, were by Charles Wesley about 1742.

Using census records only, it appears Nancy and Thomas had about 13 children, one of which is buried along side them at Old Blairsville Cemetery.

  • 100_7777Marthyann (b. abt 1829)
  • William C. (b. abt 1830)
  • Francis (b. abt 1832)
  • Louisa (b. abt 1834)
  • Elender (b. abt 1837)
  • Jane (b. abt 1840)
  • Rosetta / Rozetta (b. abt 1842)
  • Thomas C. (b. abt 1844-5)
  • Sarah / Sally (b. abt 1846-8)
  • John W. (b. abt Nov 1849)
  • Andrew P. (b. abt 1852-3)
  • Calley / Cally (b. abt 1852-3)
  • Samuel (b. abt 1860?)



03 January 2017

Darling Little J. E. Hartley (Tombstone Tuesday)

This image is from waaay back in 2003. This little Hartley was buried in Walker Cemetery at Byron, Peach County, Georgia. The county was Houston at the time of his death.


Our Darling
Little J. E.
Son Of
V. R. & F. P. Hartley
Apr 14, 1916
May 15, 1919
"We had a little treasure once.
He was our joy and pride,
we loved him and perhaps too well.
For soon he slept and died."

Also buried at Walker Cemetery is J. E.'s sister, Berta Lee (1899-1903). The rhyme on her tombstone is just as sweet:

"There was an angel band in Heaven,
that was not quite complete.
So God took our darling Berta Lee
to fill the vacant seat."


Happy New Year!


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