Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I am going to Georgia on a genealogical journey!  I am going to be ‘exploring backwards’ in the exact same places of some of my oldest ancestors. I am going to meet some extended family along the way.

Why do genealogists like to go on these adventures? Well, unbelievably, not everything is on the internet. You have to get out from behind the monitor sometimes to see what all there is to explore.

I have written on this blog before about some of the places I would like to explore, homesteads, churches, and cemeteries, etc.

Two family homes in Oglethorpe and Madison County come to mind. My recent connection with Sara (my second cousin) has me more curious than ever. Her and her brother, James, own the two family homes that I have been interested in revisiting.

Sara wrote in her last email that the Carlton house was built around 1919-1920. Luna May died on 16 July 1921. “The house was designed by her around her…Papa never finished the upstairs.”

I did know that the house was designed with her (Luna May) in mind due to the debilitating arthritis she had. I also knew that I had stayed at the house when we went to visit in the early 1980’s. But, I didn’t know that the upstairs had not been finished. As a child, we do not look at those things. I remember it being the biggest house I had ever been inside. It was so grand and stately.

Walter and Luna May

Walter and Luna May Whitehead

There seems to be some confusion as to the original Whitehead owner of the Whitehead Homeplace and when exactly it was built. According to the book that I used previously the original owner was Samuel Whitehead (Rogers, 1971). I just assumed since it was directly in my family tree that it made sense that it was Samuel Whitehead (1760-1844). But it could have been Joel’s son Samuel (1821-unknown). However, on my copy of the book, there is a handwritten note by Martha W. Moore that states it was built by George Wiley Whitehead. This makes more sense to me as this was Walter’s father.

Whitehead Homeplace (Rodgers, 1971, p69)

Whitehead Homeplace (Rodgers, 1971, p69)

There are some deed books and marriage books in the local court houses that are calling on me. I would like to figure out once and for all who was the original owner of this homestead.




Source: The Housing of Oglethorpe County, Georgia 1790-1860, Ava D. Rodgers,
Publisher: Florida State University Press, Tallahassee, 1971
St. Petersburg Printing Company, St Petersburg FL
Page 69




BSO and a story from Martha


This is an acronym for Bright Shiny Objects. An infliction that I have always had but festers more when I am researching backwards. I recently received a twenty page document from my cousin, Sara. This document contains many stories that my Grand Aunt, Martha Ann Whitehead Moore wrote before she passed away. It is a treasure trove of family history and the stories that bring these family members to life. It is one of the best BSO’s I have had in a long time.


Martha wrote, “family stories that should be handed down from generation to generation.” That has been my goal with my blog. I always encourage family members to contribute their memories.

Here is an example of one of the stories. I have only corrected any grammatical errors that I found and added full names for clarification when necessary.

This happened on October 8, 1908

Faith in Grandpa Restored

I was born in 1904, the daughter of Christian parents, and my grandparents were of very strong Baptist faith. My mother was a victim of rheumatoid arthritis, so I lived with my grandparents.

My grandmother [Martha Witcher Stevens] died when I was 3 years old. My childhood from then on was under the control of my grandfather and two “old maid” aunts (Cynnie and Pellie). They instilled in me the danger of cursing and using foul language.

When I was four years old on two occasions I heard my Grandfather [Columbus Augustus “Gus” Stevens] use words that I considered foul. One was at 6:30 P.M. when we went to “slop the hogs.” He said, “Dog-gone the pigs,” when they splashed his Sunday-go-to-meeting trousers.

Then at 9:00 P.M. that same day he heard some neighbor-hood teen-aged boys in his ribbon-cane patch. They were swiping a few stalks (which he would have gladly given them). He said, “Dog-gone the boys.”

That was it – the straw that broke the camel’s back! My grandfather had cursed. I just knew he was headed downward – straight to the devil. I cried myself to sleep that night.

The next day I told my old maid aunts about the two “Dog-gones” I had heard. They assured me that the language was not strong enough to sentence my grandfather to everlasting punishment. So I ran to the front yard and started walking in his foot-steps again.

I continued to try to follow his examples and have used them to guide me all the way to 91.

The End.


I do not have a picture of my Grand Aunt, or I would post it here. I love this story for a variety of reasons. One, it shows her admiration for her grandfather.  Additionally, in less than 300 words, we learn about her childhood and what type of person she became.

Until later, I will continue to explore backwards.


Whitehead Homeplace*

One of the interesting things about genealogy is the property and homes of our ancestors.

Samuel Whitehead, my fourth great-grandfather, built a home in Oglethorpe County before his death in 1844.  I visited it when I was around 10 years old.  My Dad and his sister’s arranged a trip for all of us to go there.  It was a fun trip.  However, I was too young to appreciate exactly what I was seeing.  It is my understanding that home is still there today. I am planning on visiting it this year if possible.  If you look closely at the picture, you can see my toe headed younger brother, Joey.

Tour of the Homeplace

Tour of the Homeplace

I have this photocopy of an article or a book without a citation that actually describes the house that he built. I am in desperate pursuit of the origin of this book with the complete citation (if you know where this came from, please let me know). But in the meantime, listed below is the description:

Whitehead House: Grove Creek District

The original owner of this house, Samuel Whitehead, probably had it built before 1844. The house is more than a 100 years old, according to local tradition, and is one of the three known to have been built under the direction of Henry Paul.

The plan of this house was unusual in Oglethorpe County. It suggests an elaboration of a “possum trot” or “dog run” plan of North Carolina. The second floor is divided into two sections, one side for the girls in the family , the other side for the boys (Source: Unknown)

Whitehead House: Grove Creek District

Whitehead House: Grove Creek District

The description goes on and on. However, this is when things get a bit confusing.

I have article that was published in North Georgia Life by the wife of my Grand Uncle, Emma Chloe Adams Whitehead. In this article, she writes that “Cena and George Whitehead (my 2nd great-grandfather designed a box-like staircase on each side of the entrance hall. One strictly for the girls — the other strictly for the boys. (Source: North Georgia Life, February 17, 1965).”

Whitehead Homeplace

Whitehead Homeplace

I am not sure which is accurate. Regardless, it is the Whitehead Homeplace. In fact, later in the article, Chloe writes that Walter (my great-grandfather) bought the place after his parents passed away. She writes, “He felt the need of ‘This Old House’, and resolved that it would live much longer. He took ‘time to fix the shingles’, he took ‘time to fix the floor.’ Towards the end of the article, Chloe wrote, “Walter passed away in 1951, leaving the homeplace to his son, Walter Joe of Carlton, whose intention is to honor his father’s oft-repeated and last request, ‘Son, don’t ever sell the homeplace.‘”

The homeplace now belongs to my second cousin after the passing of her mother late last year.

Is there a place that you long to visit of an ancestor?  Why?   What makes it special?

Until next time, I will be exploring backwards.

*I purposely used the word Homeplace because this was the way my great grandfather spoke of it.  Some people would separate the words, or call it homestead.  I chose to use his word. 

The coin purse

Sentimental Sunday

I previously have written about my great-grandmother Carrie Lou Hicks Moss. She was born in 1888 in Amherst County, Virginia. Her birth record states it was April 4, 1888. However, her granddaughter Carol seems to recall that she celebrated her birthday on the first day of spring (March 21). Her death certificate says that her date of birth was 21 March 1889.

My mom moved away after getting married, so we do not have many of the traditional mementos from the family. The same is true on my father’s side. So as a result, I believe my quest for information grew.

When I made my genealogical visit to Virginia in 2012, my Aunt Carol gave me some family keepsakes. Carol gave me the change purse that was in her grandmother’s possession when she died, 6 May 1956.

There is a note that my grandmother, Virginia Odelle, had written. It has sixty-cents in it. She had a 1949 half-dollar, and 10 pennies. (An aside, it was a Ben Franklin, silver dollar and since it was 90% silver, has value in both its history and it’s melt value, but it is not going anywhere.)

Note Odelle wrote

Note Odelle wrote

Carrie Lou's coin purse

Carrie Lou’s coin purse

It is not a historical heirloom by any nature, but it is a piece of both Carrie Lou and her daughter Odelle and even my Aunt. It is a simple sheepskin change purse. That is it. Nevertheless, when I think about the women that carried it, and the women that kept it safe, I cannot help but feel nostalgic. You can envision what type of women they were…sentimental.

Carrie, Odelle and Betty

Carrie, Odelle and Betty

So today, as I got out the coin purse and re-examined the contents, I feel a connection to my family’s history. What do you have that you treasure from your ancestors? Please share.


Until later, I will be exploring backwards!




Genealogy Do Over

Happy New Year!

This year one of the Genealogists that I follow and learn from Thomas MacEntee is leading the charge for genealogists and family historians to take a step back from their research and do a “Do Over.” I am still pretty new at this. Or at least I keep saying this because some of the researchers out there have been doing it for decades. I usually do not write “how to” posts on my blog, because I am not in a position to teach. However, I wanted my readers to know that things might look a little different or I might revisit some ancestors during the next several weeks, or I might not post much at all. It is too soon to tell.

This week we are supposed to do a self interview. I will not post the results as it could lead to identity theft. Suffice it to say, I am missing data in my own nuclear family. So, I might be reaching out to some of you to provide some dates that I kind of know, but are not concrete. Please do not be offended, as I just want to get it right.

I am also supposed to be conducting family interviews. Well, with my work schedule and all, I will likely not be able to keep up on each weekly goal, mine might be a few weeks each.

But, regardless if you see me online or not, know that I am still exploring backwards.

The drinking fountains were so much fun!

The drinking fountains were so much fun!

Some questions I am going to reflect on include, How did I become interested in genealogy? When? What else would you like to ask me?


Across the Pond

Happy New Year!  I wanted to begin the new year with a post that I have been thinking about for a while.

When I began my genealogy journey my initial goal was to find my immigrant ancestors. I wanted to find out who braved the ocean to come and settle in a new country. There are so many stories of immigrants coming into Ellis Island with five dollars in hand. I wanted to know if any of those stories were mine.

I have been exploring backwards for 7 years or so, and have made the “pond leap” on a few occasions. However, I have not made the connection on my own surname. I get back to about 1700’s and well, get lost. I am hoping by writing down what I have so far, I will be able to crack this brick wall. Maybe one of you will be able to provide the link.

My father was raised in Chicago. My father’s father was raised in Georgia. Fred Augustus (1901-1950) was the son of Walter Everett (1868-1951) who was the son of George Wiley Whitehead (1829-1891) who was the son of Joel Whitehead (1790-1859) who was the son of Samuel (1760-1844) who was the son of Samuel (1732-1795). That is all I know. But let’s explore this last Samuel and see if we can find some other clues. Samuel is my fifth great-grandfather.

Samuel was born around 1732, some ancestry sites put his birth in North Carolina, but I have not found any proof to substantiate this claim.

Samuel Whitehead is listed in the Granville County, NC Early Census Index in 1769 (Source: Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1790-1890 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 1999.)

I also have a document that shows that Samuel Whitehead took Oath of Allegiance in 1778 to the State of North Carolina (and NOT the Crown). There is also a William Whitehead on this document. I am not sure who he is. (Source: State Records of North Carolina, Vol 22, Miscellaneous, Walter Clark, Richard Thornton Library, Oxford, NC, and reprinted in Granville Connections Journal of the Granville County Genealogical Society 1746, Inc. Vol 6, No 2. Spring 2000)

In 1784, two young orphan girls were bound to Samuel Whitehead: Agnes, 12 years old and Mary 6 years old, daughters of Thomas Wright. (Source: http://www.ncgenweb.us/ncgranville/other/orph-bnd.htm)

I have a North Carolina State Census document that indicates that in the year 1786, Samuel Whitehead lived in Granville County. It indicates that there were one (White Male 21-60 years), three (White males under 21 and above 60), six (White Females, all ages), one (Black 12-50), one (Black under 12 & above 50). (Source: Ancestry.com. North Carolina, State Census, 1784-1787 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2006).

In 1790, Samuel Whitehead bought land in Caswell County. He is listed in the 1790 Census (Source: Year: 1790; Census Place: Caswell, North Carolina; Series: M637; Roll: 7; Page: 83; Family History Library Film: 0568147)

In 1793 however, Samuel is listed in Person County on a Tax List (Source: Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1790-1890 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 1999.)

Below is a map of Granville County in 1746, you can see the various counties that Samuel lived and or owned property. Historically, this is when counties were being formed. For example, Caswell County was formed in 1777. Granville County was formed in 1746. So, it is possible these lands were closer.


Granville County Map 1746

Granville County Map 1746

In 1794, Samuel’s will was recorded in Person county. You can see it here: http://www.ncgenweb.us/person/wills/wills-est_4.htm#whitehead

In 1808, Samuel Whitehead’s will was handled in Person County. See information below:

Person County, NC, February Court 1808: Inventory of the estate of Samuel Whitehead.

Person County Record Book, February Court 1809. Legatees of Samuel Whitehead, deceased: Benjamin Stovall, Robert Melone, Samuel Whitehead, Robert Burlington, Elizabeth Whitehead, Ursley Newton. Power of attorney to Moses Bradsher, Major Henry Sargent, and James D. Hanley to settle accounts of Carter Lea, adm. 10 December 1808.

Sale of the Whitehead land where Samuel Sr. had lived adjacent to Carter Lea. Benjamin Stovaul & Samuel Whitehead of Oglethorpe County, Georgia; Robert Malone of Sumner County, Tennessee; Robert Bullington of Union County, South Carolina; & Ursula Newton of Davidson County, Tennessee– to Ebenezer Whitehead of Person County, for 160 lbs. 11/3, 103 A on Richland Creek adjacent Carter Lea, Charles Winstead, Vanhook on wagon road. 14 December 1808. Witnesses: Ira Lea, Carter Lea. (Source: Ancestry.com-notes by a user. I have not personally seen the original document but I am working on it).

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find out Samuel’s father at this point in my exploration. Maybe one of my readers will be able to assist. Please let me know if you have additional information.


Until later, I will be exploring backwards.


Christmas Time 2014

It is that time of year again. Christmas time! I wrote about it last year. If you are new to the blog, check out some of my older posts. Here it is: https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/december-christmas-time/

Between Cheryl and me, we have 10 nieces and nephews. Eighty per cent of them are boys. So, each year we set out to find out what they want. Because we are no longer spring chickens ourselves, trying to keep up with current trends for a group of teenagers (ages 13-22) is filled with some challenges. Cheryl asked her nephews what they wanted via text messages. While one responded with an itemized list, the others were vaguer. So, Cheryl threatened that if you do not give me at least some ideas, you will get just socks and underwear. Needless to say, she got some feedback. But the feedback she didn’t expect was from Grant who stated, “Actually, socks and underwear is a good idea.” Ha. You realize that they are growing up when that is their response.

Regardless, we enjoy shopping for them. Trying to find the right gift to get that heart-felt hug, you know the one that they really mean. Not the forced one that I impose. Ha-ha…it is one of the joys of being an Aunt.

So, I guess this post should have some genealogy in it to make it official.

I thought it would be a good time to pick an ancestor that had a birthday in December. While I was looking, I stumbled onto Timotheus Jane Bailey. She is my 2nd Great Grandmother. In other words, she was my great-grandfather John Thomas Sublett’s mother. Her name appears most often as Timotheus. But on her tombstone it is written Timothia.

Timotheus was born 7 December 1845. This is actually one day before my birthday. She was born to Yancey Bailey and Mary Marshall Cobbs. The family had 14-15 children. President James Polk, the 11th President of the United States had just started his presidential term. Texas becomes the 28th State.

In the 1850 Federal Census, she was living with her parents and siblings on a Farm in Campbell County, Virginia.

In the 1860 Census (Eastern District), Timotheus was 16 years old. The Bailey family was living on a farm in Campbell County. The value of real estate was listed as $2013 dollars and the Value of her father’s Personal Estate was $5580.

As you recall, the Civil War was fought from 1861-1865. Her husband to be, George Bland, was listed on the Civil War Prisoner of War Records. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Five Forks. I have discussed him in a previous blog. See https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/george-bland-sublett/

So, I am unsure how or when they met. However, according to an undocumented source, I have George and Timotheus marrying on 18 Jan 1867. I will have to find the source.

By the 1870 Census (Eastern District), Timotheus was 23 years old. She is married to George Bland Sublett living on a farm with his parents William J Sublett and Sarah, Timotheus also has 2 children, Ida (born 1868) and Emma (born 1869).

In the 1880 US Federal Census, Timotheus was keeping home raising her children. At this point she had 7 children. They are living on a farm in Falling River East (Enumeration District 41), Campbell County.

In the 1900 US Federal Census (ED 22), Timotheus and George are living with her daughter Ida and her family. My great-grandfather John Thomas is also listed as living there. This document contains vital information because it asks the persons whether they were married or not and how many years married. Timotheus and George indicate that they had been married 36 years. So, it puts their marriage date in 1864 or 1865.

Timotheus died on 9 December 1918, two days after her 73rd birthday. She is buried in Gladys, Virginia.


Timothia Jane Bailey Sublett

Timothia Jane Bailey Sublett