Photo Friday

New Year and new resolve to write more often.  My Aunt Carol recently sent me a package with several family pictures and some genealogy information that she had.  Thank you!!!  Some of the pictures I had seen before but many I have not.  We are going to talk about some of my favorites from this package.

The first one is a photograph at Christmas with mom (upper right) and Carol’s (upper left) cousins on their dad’s side.  Nashella (lower right) and Larry are the children of Lacy’s sister Mae.  Patricia (lower left).  One of the two girls had to show off her dolly.

mom_carol_cousins_christmas.jpg

The second photo I wanted to share is one of my favorites.  It depicts three Sublett siblings and their spouses.  From left to right: Odelle and Lacy Sublett, Mae and Carrington Burruss and Claudia and Harry Foster.  Annie is not pictured.  She moved away while the three other Sublett Siblings stayed in the Lynchburg area.  I do not know where the picture was taken.  It was definitely taken in the country, not Lynchburg.  Maybe Mom and Carol can tell.  I like this picture because it looks like they all have on their Sunday best.

sublett siblings and spouses

Sublett Siblings

This next picture is the earliest picture I think I have seen with my grandmother, Odelle and her mother Carrie Lou Hicks Moss.  My grandmother was born in October of 1916 in Petersburg, Virginia.  This was Carrie’s third pregnancy.  She had two children earlier, both whom died.  So, when I look at this picture of this mother holding onto her child like she is, I see a woman holding on and not wanting to let go.  It has to be the worse thing in the world to lose a child.  I recently had a close friend that had to go through this.  But this picture is one of hope also.  Carrie went on to have three more children after my grandmother was born.

carrie hicks moss and little odelle 1918

Carrie Lou and Virginia Odelle

 

To conclude my Photo Friday, I am including two pictures of unknown children.  This is a reminder to all of us that we must label the back of our pictures with an archival pen, so future generations will know who they are!   Look at how cute they are.  I wish I knew who they were.

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

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Lawlessness Condemned

That headline grabbed the attention of my cousin Charlie while he was doing some research on our family in the Oglethorpe Echo.  The Oglethorpe Echo was the local paper in Oglethorpe County.  Now since our family is from the Deep South this could mean anything.  We have made peace with the different times that our ancestors lived in.  We have learned that our family was not immune to some of the atrocities of the era.  To judge them through the lens of modern times is to do a grave injustice to how the path of America and our ancestors have evolved into the America we know and love today.

Before I reveal the members of my family that listed in this newspaper article, I wanted to give a short history of White Caps.  In the simplest of terms, White Caps were the predecessor of the Ku Klux Klan.

White Caps were citizens of their community that were disgruntled by the immoral behaviors and actions of both whites and blacks in their community and instead of working with the justice system; they took matter into their own hands and ruled with terror and violence.  They would write a notice demanding the so-called violators to leave the community, and post the sign in the cover of night.  They would sign the notice “White Caps” and they would leave a bundle of hickory switches as a warning.  Some of the earliest White Caps were women.

 

                                The wives of the community, angry that their menfolk’s attention

had turned away from the hearth, formed a mob to protect their

families and homes. Urged on by several men, the women went to

the dwelling of each prostitute one night and laid bundles of hickory

switches at the front doors with a note telling the occupants to leave

the neighborhood or suffer a beating during a later visit. The messages

were signed “White Caps.”

(Source: Cummings, William)

In the summer of 1890, the small community of Sandy Cross experienced violence from the White Caps.  This group threatened white and black folks in the area with their terrorism.  Some of the community leaders of Sandy Cross met at Burt’s Chapel. Together they decided among themselves to condemn these actions formally.  The images below are from the paper.  Most of these men had actually fought in the civil war, yet here they were stating formally they believe the rights granted in Constitution were to be applied to whites and blacks alike.  I can’t help but think about the impact these community leaders had on openly condemning this behavior by having it published for all to see.  The whole community would know definitively how they felt about the violence and terrorism these groups imposed and how they would not tolerate that in their community.

 

I am very much aware that things were not all rosy during this time period; but it is nice to see that my ancestors took a stand in regards to the rights of those around them.

Let me introduce you to the key players.

C.A. Stevens, Columbus Augustus Stevens, my second great-grandfather, he was definitely the patriarch of the Stevens Family.

F.M. Mathews, Francis Marion Mathews, my third great uncle, he married Henrietta Tiller.

J.C.G. Stevens, John Cylanus Gibson Stevens, 1st cousin 4 times removed.

Calvin Mathews, this may be my third great uncle, Francis brother, James Calvin Mathews, I am not able to prove that link.

W.M. Tiller, William M. Tiller was the brother of Henrietta.

W.E.Faust, I know he was related by marriage somehow because C.A. Stevens daughter Obie married a Faust.

 

I know it has been awhile since I have explored backwards, but I had to get a new laptop and some new software.  My resolution this year is to get back at it.  I want to thank my cousin Charlie for the progress he has made and sharing the fruits of his labors.

 

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

 

Sources:

https://timeline.com/whitecappers-racist-vigilantes-battled-d39324c024f6

Volume 12 UGA Archives, Oglethorpe Echo, Russell Special Collections Library, P. 285.

Cummings, William Joseph, “Community, Violence, and the Nature of Change: Whitecapping in Sevier County, Tennessee, During the 1890’s. ” Master’s Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1988.

https://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_gradthes/8

 

Willie Scott Hicks

I have had a hard time deciding what to write about lately.  It seems like I have written about most of my closer relatives.  So, that leaves the more distant ones in which I know less.  Nevertheless, we will keep exploring backwards.

Today I picked on a random relative.  It seemed a good of a plan as any.

 

I clicked on Willie Scott Hicks.  She is my second great-aunt.  She was born in Amherst County, Virginia on 25 April 1898 to my second great-grandparents, Lemuel Dabney Hicks and Emma Frances Heath.  She was the tenth of twelve children born to their union.  However, she had several of her siblings die early in life.  Rosa B Hicks (1882-1904), Willie was 5 years old.  Susie Pearl Hicks (1902-1904), Willie was 6 years old.  Bessie M Hicks (1884-1907), Willie was 8 years old.  Saint Louis Hicks (1886-1907) died when Willie was 9 years old.  Her sister Minnie D. died in 1908; Willie Scott was 10 years old.  That is a lot of trauma and grief for a family.  I tried looking for death records for the above children but was not able to find any.

 

When she was 20 years old, she married Clyde Lile Driskill on 29 June 1918 in Lynchburg Virginia.  They had six children.  Clyde had been in the US Navy enlisting in 1918.

According to the Directory for Lynchburg, we can learn a few things about our ancestors.  We can learn about occupation and home addresses to name a few.  Later, phone numbers were added.

Lynchburg, Virginia has shared several years of directories with the genealogy community.  I want to give you a few examples.

1915- Willie Scott Hicks lives with her parents at 2113 Elm Avenue.  She worked as a Clerk for FW Woolworth Company.

1916- Willie Scott Hicks lives with her parents at 2113 Elm Avenue.  No occupation is listed.

1919- Clyde and Willie live in a home at 2014 Tulip.  He is listed as a substitute Mail Carrier for the US Post Office.

According to the 1920 US Census, Willie and Clyde live on Tulip Street in Lynchburg.  They are renting their home and Clyde is listed as a Postal Clerk.  This house location is next door to Clyde’s father

1923- Clyde and Willie live and own a home at 601 Franklin.  Clyde is a mail carrier.

According to the 1930 US Census, Willie and Clyde lived on Tulip Lane with their four children.  The Census does not show the wages for Clyde but it does tell us that he owns his own home.  The value of the home is listed as $3000.  Additionally, it says they own a radio and that Clyde is a World War Veteran

1936- Clyde and Willie still live and own the home at 2014 Tulip.  Clyde is a mail carrier.

1939-Clyde and Willie still live at the same home.  Clyde is still with the postal service.

 

According to the 1940 US Census, Willie and Clyde lived on Tulip Lane with their six children.  They own their home now.  Willie’s mother, Emma Frances Hicks also lived with them.  Clyde seemed to make good money at the US Post Office.  According to the records, he earned $2,100 per year.

1948- Clyde and Willie live and own a home at 411 Westover Blvd.  Clyde is a mail carrier.

1958- Clyde and Willie live and own a home at 4628 Oakdale Drive.  Clyde is a mail carrier.

1960- Clyde and Willie live and own a home at 4628 Oakdale Drive.  There is not an occupation listed for Clyde.  Therefore, it could be that he retired, or that he was deceased by the time the directory was published.

Her husband died in December 1960.  Willie died on 18 February 1965 in Lynchburg, Virginia.  She was 66 years old.  According to her death certificate, she died of heart disease.

Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of them.  However, I did find a few of their homes on Google Maps.

2014 Tulip-Willie Scott Hicks Driskill

2014 Tulip Lane (First Known Home for Mr. & Mrs. Clyde Driskill

willie scott hicks driskel oakdale home

4628 Oakdale Drive (Last known Residence)

Family members, if you have pictures or stories please add on!

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

Sweet Summer Memories

When you think of summer, it is inevitable that you imagine a beach or a swimming pool.  There is a memory that I recall often because it involves my mother’s ingenuity.  It is also a memory that gives people a good laugh.

 

So today, I thought for a change I would write my story.  My three siblings and I grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio in the 1970’s.  It was a typical upbringing; we played sports, we played outside until dark, we knew our neighbors.

According to the US Census, the population of Middleburg Heights was 12,367 in 1970.  This was a 120% increase from just ten years previously (US Census).

My parents raised four children primarily on one salary; so my mother had to find inexpensive and creative ways to keep her children entertained in the summer time.  The concept of neighborhood swimming pools hadn’t been implemented.

My mother recounts that one day she was driving down Pearl road where she noticed a pool outside of a small motel.  On an impulse, she stopped and went inside.  She asked the manager about using the pool during the summer.  She said, I “guess he was in a state of shock that someone would ask to do that.  [We] went almost every day during the week.”  Mom recalled that there were several families that went.  She and a friend even made our beach towels.  The cost for this fabulous entertainment was $35.00 for the summer.

I remember having tons of fun at the pool.  We did not have any concept that it was peculiar.  I can still see the women smoking cigarettes, and the children running….no, I mean, “fast walking,” remember you are not supposed to run around the pool!

One day, my mom left the pool area to either get more ice or snacks or maybe to freshen her martini (just kidding).  It was at this time that I decided to jump off the diving board.  I was young enough not to be a good swimmer so I had a Styrofoam safety ring around my waist.  I jumped into the deep end and the ring split into two.  I do not have a memory of being frantic.  I do have a memory of my sister jumping in and getting me.

life-preserver

Glamorous Lifestyles

I wanted to find an image to remind us what motels looked like in the 1970’s so go along with this story.  This one is pretty close to my memory.  What are your childhood memories of summer time?

 

Source: “Ohio: Population and Housing Unit Counts” (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 21, 2018. 

 

Decoration Day

This weekend we celebrate Decoration Day. Well, most Americans call it Memorial Day. Decoration Day is a day used to remember the men and women who died in military service. Memorial Day became a more common name only after World War II. Although it had been honored since the civil war; It did not become codified into law until 1967.

There have been debates for years on where the idea of this event occurred. I will not go into all of the facets of the debate but I will give you a few snippets. The bottom line, whomever started it, the purpose remains the same: to honor our fallen soldiers.

“How many of our States claim the first memorial organization? What matters if there are no records to prove it? New Orleans claims it; Georgia claims it; Portsmouth, Va.; Richmond, Va., claims it. But the little village of Warrenton, Va., claims, and can prove it, the first Confederate Memorial Day. Killed in skirmish at Fairfax Courthouse, June 1, 1861, Captain John Quincy Marr, Warrenton Rifles, 17th Virginia Regiment, buried in the little village graveyard, June 3rd, with military honors; wept over by the old and young; flowers strewn on his grave, and the first Confederate Memorial Day was observed. After the first battle of Manassas, July 21, 1861, the dead and mortally wounded, numbering many, were brought to this same little village, and again Memorial Day was observed by the women and children (Times-Dispatch, 1906).

Similarly, General John A. Logan issued a General Order in 1868:

The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land (New York Times, 2012)

A lot of people confuse Decoration Day and Veteran’s Day. The latter is observed on 11 November of each year. Veteran’s Day honor’s all military veterans who served in United States Armed Forces. Decoration Day is for those we lost in war. Over the years, I have written about the number of military veteran’s in my family. But, I have not written about any that actually died in service. My third Great-Uncle, Matthew D. Sublett was killed during the War Between the States in 1862 at the battle of Manassas. I did write a little bit about him here: https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/william-j-sublett/

Matthew D. Sublett was born about 1835 to William J Sublett and his wife Frances Jennings. I have had a difficult time attributing the correct census records for William. Before the 1850 Census, there were only the head of household listed on the census and a tick mark for the children.

In the 1850 Census, Matthew is living in the Northern District of Dinwiddie County. Matthew (15) lives with his parents and his younger siblings James (12), George (3), and Melinda (1). His father works as an overseer.

In the 1860 Census, taken in Lunenburg County Virginia, Matthew D. Sublett (25) appears to be living with the Hardy family as an overseer. It is still difficult to learn these things about my family. I know it was a time period that we cannot adequately put ourselves in their shoes. As a historian, my main focus is to report the facts. I am not here to judge my ancestors.

Matthew D. Sublett enlists in the Confederate States of America on 1 July 1861 in Nottoway, Virginia. One document indicates that he was substituted for Thomas R. Blandy July 1st by Gov. Letcher. Records also indicate he re-enlisted. Matthew was attached to Company G, 18th Infantry. Company G was known as the Nottoway Grays.

According to his military records, Matthew was sick with Rubeola, more commonly known as Measles, from 3 May 1862 – 18 July 1862. He was initially hospitalized at Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. Four days later he was transferred to Farmville General Hospital. Civil War soldiers faced many dangers in battle. However, the greatest danger waited for them at their camps. Diseases such as dysentery, typhoid, Pneumonia, Measles, Malaria and Tuberculosis were the leading diseases during the war. “In fact it is estimated that nearly 400,000 Civil War soldiers died from disease compared to 200,000 from other causes (Civil War Facts, 2018).”

Matthew was killed in action at Manassas on 30 August 1862. Matthew was killed in the Second Battle of Bull Run. While it was a successful clash for the Confederacy, Matthew lost his life.

I still need to do some more work on Matthew, but I wanted to get this out today. So, remember all of those that died so we could live in the land of the free!

Source:

Times-Dispatch, July 15, 1906, retrived on 5/24/18 at

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A2001.05.0293%3Achapter %3D1.73

New York Times, Many Claim to be Memorial Birth Place retrieved on 5/24/18 at

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/us/many-claim-to-be-memorial-day-birthplace.html

Bull Run Image, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1283126 American Civil War Facts,

http://www.civil-war-facts.com/Interesting-Civil-War-Facts/American-Civil-War-Diseases-Facts.html

Claudia and the Foster Farm

keyacre farm logo

During my 2012 trip to Virginia, one of the remarkable things I got to do was to visit one of my families working farm.  You must understand that I was born north of the Mason-Dixon Line.  I have been to my Great-Grandfather’s homeplace.  However, they are raising timber now and not animals.  Joan Foster, she was the wife of my first cousin, once removed, still was operating Keyacre Farm.  The farm had been in the Foster family for at least a century.  Joan and her husband, Charles T. Foster changed the crops and livestock to be more progressive.  The original farmhouse remained upright, albeit not habitable.  It was this farmhouse that gave me the inspiration for this post.  My great-aunt Claudia Sublett married into the Foster family and the farm.

foster farm2

When I start to look at an ancestor to write about, I typically start with the US Census records.  It is here that you find a lot of semi-factual information.  I say semi-factual, because Census records typically are full of errors.  Sometimes the error was from the census taker.  He or she tended to spell names phonetically.  Sometimes the error was from the person giving the information.  Regardless, you have to take this information with the grain of salt.  It is more exciting to write about an ancestor that is not as far removed and you have first-hand accounts.  That is the case for Claudia Sublett.  My mother and Aunt have been able to help flush out the stories within the facts.

Foster home unknown yearold foster house with ivy

Claudia Sublett was the first child born to John Thomas Sublett and Georgia Kate Sublett.  Claudia was born on 5 October 1902 in Campbell County Virginia.  Her father was a farmer.  Her mother Georgia kept house.

In the 1910 Census, the family is living in Falling River, Campbell County.  Claudia lives with her parents, her sister Annie and her brother Lacy.

In the 1920 Census, the family is still in Falling River, Campbell County.  Claudia lives with her parents, her siblings Annie, Lacy and Mae.  Also living in the home was her grandfather George Bland Sublett, he was 74 years old.  Claudia’s youngest sibling Clarice “Pete” was born when she was 17 years old.

At some point, Claudia marries Harry Fran Foster.  It seems likely that Claudia and Harry got married around 1922 or 1923.  I haven’t been able to find a marriage certificate.

If you look at the 1930 US Census, one of the questions asked was “age at marriage,” It was listed as 20 years old, Claudia would have been 20 in October of 1922. When Claudia married, she moved into the big farm house located at 1838 Hat Creek, Road, Brookneal.  Harry had taken over the store and the farm.

Claudia and her husband Harry are living together when the 1930 Census is taken.  They are living in Falling River, Campbell County. Also living with them is her mother-in-law and father-in- law, her sister-in-law, Myrtie Baker, and 9 year old niece, Eleanor Baker.  Her husband’s occupation is listed as a merchant.  We do know from family history that this was the big farm house located in Brookneal.  My mother tells me that they ran a grocery store.  They are also listed as having a farm; however the Farm Schedules have for the most part been lost.

By the 1940 Census, Claudia is living with her husband Harry, their two sons (Charles and Anthony) in Falling River, Campbell County.  Also listed in the home is her mother-in-law, Eula Foster, her sister-in-law, Myrtie Baker, and 18 year old niece, Eleanor Baker.   Her husband’s occupation is listed as a merchant, retail grocery.  They also have a farm in this census.

When I asked my mother about her Aunt Claudia, this is what she said “She was the oldest sister.  Did lots of housework and did canning and had lots of African violets.  She and Harry were the richest of the family.  She drove a pink Thunderbird car.  They owned a grocery store and farmed with their two sons, Tony and Charles.  We use to play a lot of croquet when we went to see them.  Stayed at their house some summers and got so bored and homesick.”

During our genealogical trip to Virginia in 2012, we went to see the farm where Claudia raised her sons.  Claudia passed away in 2000.  The property, known as Keyacre Farm, was transferred to Charles Foster and his wife Joan.  Charles was an airplane pilot and farmer, however he passed away before my visit.  Together Joan and Charles kept the farm going.  According to Joan Shrader Foster’s obituary, they raised registered Angus Cattle.

 

 

While preparing for this piece, I conducted a general google search of Keyacre Farm.  The Foster’s farm was put on the market following Joan’s death in 2015. Here is an excerpt from the advertisement:

Beautiful working farm (157 acres) has been in the same family for well over 100 years.  3,100±SF, 2-story home place (needs renovation), large metal shop with office, shop & bath with attached shed, large metal feed barn with feed/hay storage area, cattle working area, and shop, 3 silos, metal hay storage building, milking barn, windmill.  Farm has long state road frontage, rolling terrain, good mix of pasture/crop land.  Feed tanks, cattle working gates, corrals and concrete feed bunkers (Farm Auction Guide, 2018).

keyacre farm action flier

The Keyacre Farm is also listed on the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services list of Century Farms (VDACS, 2018).

Until later, I will keep exploring backwards.

 

 

Sources:

Farm Auction Guide, retrieved 5/24/18 at https://www.farmauctionguide.com/index.php/virginia-auctions/absolute-1547-acre-keyacre-farm-s-300640.html

Henderson Funeral, retrieved 5/24/18 at http://hendersonfuneral.net/obituaries/joan-s-foster/92/

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, retrieved 5/24/18 http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/conservation-century-farms-campbell.shtml

 

 

Humanitarian, Soldier, Scholar

George Stevens Whitehead is my Grand Uncle.  As you may recall from previous posts, he was a Rhodes Scholar. Prior to attending Oxford, he had the highest Grade Point Average while attending the University of Georgia for over 40 years. George was 20 years old in 1916 when he embarked from New York to England to attend school at the Balliol College at Oxford University. He was only able to get a years’ worth of study in before he the United States entered the war.

 

George returned to the United States in 1917 to serve in World War I.  In one of his letters to his father, he writes from Camp Dix stating he got his orders and that he had qualified as a Division Instructor in Machine Gunnery.  He served in both the 335 and 313 Machine Gun Battalion.  We have sailing records of him returning to the United States in his official role as Second Lieutenant on 13, July 1919.

After the War was over George went back to Oxford to resume his Rhodes scholarship. In a letter to his father, dated April 28, 1919, George writes, that he had asked to remain in the army while he continued his studies.  George graduated in 1920 with both an A.B. and a M.A degree from Oxford University.  We know he stayed overseas for a little while.

 

While we mark 11 November 2018 as the end of the WWI, that does not mean things go back to normal so quickly.  In fact, I have just learned that my grand-uncle, George Stevens Whitehead was working in the peace capacity for the YMCA in the period after the war.  He was listed as a Secretary for the YMCA.  According to one of the documents, I found George received a pass to take care packages to Russian prisoners in Germany.  It is likely he spent the next year working for the YMCA.

While reading one of Chloe’s writings, I found out that George was able to stay abroad after completing his studies because the Governor (assumed Georgia Governor) financed a year or two.  “During the summer he got a job taking prisoners of war back to Russia (Whitehead, personal papers).  Below is a travel pass issued by the German Government on behalf of George Stevens Whitehead.

 

George Stevens with fellow soldiers

George in front of Tent

My father’s friend Wolfgang provided us a rough translation.

19 July 1920

Passport or Official Document

This document needs to be returned after it has been used.

 

The person in the attached picture is the American citizen

George S. Whitehead

Secretary of the international committee of the (German) YMCA.

He is supposed and allowed to enter POW camps with Russian prisoners in Germany to distribute groceries and other love articles. He is also allowed to travel by train or by sea from Stettin to Russia and return the same way with German POW‘s to distribute food (groceries) and love articles to the prisoners.

He should not charged with travel expenses.

He travels under the protection of the German Government.

All Government agencies should allow him to travel and act as he desires and should offer him help if he needs it.

 

Signed by

Sea transport division, Chief of the Admiral Dept.

Berlin

 

Mission of the international Red Cross at the Russian POW camps in Germany

Berlin, Tiergarten Straße

 


German Pass for George Whitehead to aid POW’s following WWI

 

I did a little research on this.  It turns out that the YMCA assisted prisoners of war with food and facilities (Hanna, 2015).  To know that my grand-uncle was a part of this great humanitarian effort gives me joy.

 

Until later, I will keep exploring backwards.

____

If you are new to my blog, you can see the other times that I have written about this ancestor:

 https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/george-stevens-whitehead/

https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/george-stevens-whitehead-part-2/

 


Sources:

Time.com retrieved from http://time.com/4718767/american-troops-wwi-excerpt/ on 3/29/18.

Whitehead, Emma Chloe Adams, personal items

Hanna, Emma: Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), in 1914-1918-online.  International Encyclopedia of the First World War, 2015-01-29.  Retrieved on 4/7/2018.