Speeches and Words…

My great-grandfather, Walter Everett Whitehead gave a lot of speeches during his time in both political and civic arenas.  I have written about him on this blog several times.  When my cousin Sara allowed me to take the “Whitehead Box” from the beautiful family home in Carlton, I promised that I would put the information to further our exploration of our ancestors.  As such, I am the keeper thousands of his written words.  Unfortunately, he often did not date his writings so I am not able to date them precisely.  But for the sake of our family, I wanted you to know some of his words.  I plan to translate his words from his hand to the computer.   I will date when I can.  I will provide context when I can.  Otherwise, let’s just read his words.

 

Written of Hotel Dempsey Stationary from Macon, Georgia:

1st We will serve the Legion through channels of casual conversation

2- We endorse the extension and not the restraint of individualism.

3-We will encourage proposals lending to make home owners and not tenants of the rising generation.

4-To sponsor and support baseball and other helpful athletic activities.

  1. Preventable diseases, poverty and inadequate living conditions, shall have our constant consideration.

6- The cause of education shall have our support and elimination of illiteracy shall be of our principal views and objects

Submitted by committee


Chloe wrote:  Wrote to soldiers he helped draft.

“Hazard of dangers even bereavement is much easier to bear than disgrace walking beneath a banner; following the flag, symbol of freedom, liberty and equality.  I need and want your friendship; your attitude has been generous and friendly.  I am wishing for you in the New Year, health, happiness and success.”


This was written on The State Senate Letterhead, so it was likely written during his time in office.  Maybe he was on the campaign trail.

Fellow Democrats of Dekalb County, Georgia,

*Constitution Preamble

*Doubtful doctrine of working less and having more?

*Not appeal to class hatred but self-exertion.

*Courage to seek and speak the truth with the low of our being-no hostility to new views.

*Desire to serve will fitted by nature

*Willing to work are honor & glory.

*Courage to act. Thirsty & determined

*Hearts devoutly thankful

*Georgia holds worth place in historic annuals


Washington monument July 4, 1848 finished Dec 1884. 126 feet square at base.  555 feet high. Marble blocks 2 feet square 1800 inches in XX

50 flights of steps, 18 each

Cost $1,500,000.


Bushrod Washington Supreme Court Justice for 31 years

Cornwallis surrendered October 19 1781

Vine & Fig tree

Men are not as we would have them.  We must take them as they are.


At death in 1799. Plans of crops were found written out for 1800-1-2 &3.

No practice more dangerous than borrowing money

Childless-often the children of the great are mortifying, seldom edifying.

The peaceful plains of America are either to be drenched in blood on her people slaves

War xx, outposts, skirmishes, observation, retreat & C

The treason of Benedict Arnold often Valley Forge.


Laid corner-stone of Capital Sept 18 1793.

Extension by Fillmore July 4 1851

64 years in building, cost $26,000,000.

Devoutly thankful to almighty God

Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown Oct 19 1781

 

I will continue to explore his writings.  But, I want us to reflect on what a Patriot and progressive he was.  His words still resonate today.  I sure wish I could have sat upon his knee and listen to him talk.

Until later, I will keep exploring backwards!

 

 

 

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Isaac Littleberry Mathews

My adventurous cousin Charlie went and found us the cemetery to our fourth great grandfather, Littleberry Mathews.  I have written about his son on this blog.  You can find it HERE.  I had previously done research on the Mathews line, but I hadn’t really reviewed the information that I had on Littleberry until Charlie’s field trip.  While doing so today, I learned that his given name was “Isaac Littleberry Mathews.” He went by the name Berry or Littleberry.  He was the son of William Mathews and Mary Miller.  He was born on 27 May 1786.  There is some information that indicates he was either born in North Carolina or Georgia.

While researching, I found this descendant chart online that shows the descendants of Gwaethvded Vawr (Lea, 2019).  This is unbelievable that someone has traced their lineage back to the year 1025.  This descendant chart has some citations to lead to one’s credibility.  Today, I just want to focus on my fourth great grandfather.

Berry’s parents had about 8 children.  It appears that Berry was the third child to be born to William and Mary Mathews.  We will look at the parents at a later time.  Berry married Jerusha Hopper on 6 April 1807 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia.  He was 20 yeas old.

In his will, I found online, it appears he had more children than I had previously thought.  I will have to do some more research.  According to his will, he had the following sons: Rolley (Raleigh, my 3rd great-grandfather), Charles, William, Uel, Berry, Pressley, Fleming, Richmond, and Newton.  We also learn that his daughter Patsy (Martha Patsy) married Moses Jones, and his daughter Frankey (Francis) married William Jones.

It is written that Berry and his wife Jerusha were buried on their home place in Glade.  So, the place that cousin Charlie visited was steps away from the homeplace of Berry Mathews family.

Cousin Charlie sent me a few words on his exploration of the cemetery:

At Point Peter, GA a.k.a. the Glade community you take the North Point Peter Road going east between the Baptist Church and the Masonic Lodge.  Two roads go east out of the Glade.  This would be the southernmost road.  Go a little lover 100 yards east and take the first drive to the right.  There is a metal gate but almost never closed.  Go down the lane about 500 feet and you see an old quarry site that has been converted to a gigantic swimming pool.

The Little Berry Mathews cemetery is about 400 yards SE of the quarry in the woods.  There is a clear lane and [the owner] is very receptive to having visitors if you let her know you are coming.  The cemetery is on a little hill and just to the west of the cemetery is another little rise where the old Mathews home-place house was.  Nothing is left now but the chimney ruins.

The three graves are about 12 feet apart. Each is actually a single crude mausoleum made of very heavy solid granite hand quarried slabs.  On two of them the top cover slabs have been moved somewhat leaving an opening and the end stone is out of one of them.  They would remind you of a sarcophagus and I cannot overemphasize the mass of the stones.  There may have been a possibility that the coffins were above ground but I doubt it.  However, the interior of each individual mausoleum is large enough for that to have been possible.  For the times this was done and the early construction based on the crudeness of the engraving on the stones, this would have been the top of the line grave marker (Snelling, 2019).

Here is another description by another grave explorer:

The top, sides and ends are thus enclosed and are in very good repair.  The tombs read as follows: First tomb: L.B. Mathews Born May 27 1786 Decd. Feb 13, 1845; Second tomb: Richmond Mathews Born Feb 24 1825 Decd. July 29 1846; Third Tomb: Jerusha M. Born May 1, 1790 Decd. Oct 5 1848. A fourth tomb was found but it was not as elaborate as the above ones were as it was only a head stone with the initials J M cut on it. Assume it would belong to the young son Jordan (Lea, 2019).

We can try to trace Isaac Littleberry “Berry” Mathews, Sr through the US Census and other records.  The First US Census was mandated by Article 1, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.  It was first taken in 1790.  However, census records posed difficulties due to lack of concrete information.  It would stand to reason that we would look for Berry in his father’s (William Mathews) census records for the year 1790 and 1800.  However, I have not yet found any records that are verifiable.

I was able to find a notation that Littleberry Mathews was allowed to sell spirituous liquor on 5 August 1822 in Oglethorpe County.  Unfortunately, I found this record before I was skilled in my citation skills.

I catch up to Berry in the 1830 Census.  Berry Mathews lived in Captain Pass District, Oglethorpe County, Georgia.  Living in the household were 13 “Free White Persons” and 2 “Slaves.”  A closer look at the census reveals, nine children and 2 female slaves.

In the 1840 Census, Berry is listed to be living in District 237, Oglethorpe County, Georgia.  We can assert that these two locations were likely one in the same, and just the names of the districts changed.  He now has 7 “Free White Persons” and “6 Slaves.”

Isaac Littleberry Mathews dies on 13 February 1845, he is just 58 years old.  His wife dies just 3 years later.  Also buried in the cemetery is Littleberry’s son Richmond.

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

Source:

Lea, Jenny, found online at Descendants of Gwaethvded Vawr, 2019.

Snelling, Charlie, 2019, email correspondence

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.

 

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