Fertilizer of all things.

He that maketh two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to

grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before deserves

better of mankind and does more essential service to his country

than the whole race of politicians put together.” Dean Swift

 

Researching your family history leads you down many interesting rabbit holes.  I recently found a few receipts for fertilizer.  I guess there were a couple of reasons why it got my attention.

First, the dates of the receipts are 8 July 1890 and 25 July 1890 how do we still have this little paper.  Second, it is signed by my great-great grandfather, George Wiley Whitehead.  Lastly, the name of the fertilizer was Davy Crockett.  How fun is that!

gww 7-25-1890 fertilzer

gww 8-7-1890 fertilizer

So, I did a little digging.  While I did not find the publication for 1890, I did find a publication for Commercial Fertilizers and Chemicals for Season 1909-1910 for the State of Georgia.  Essentially, there were laws “to regulate the registration, sale, inspection and analysis of commercial fertilizer (Georgia,1910, p3).”

So, as I hopped down the trail, I learned that my great-grandfather purchased his Davy Crockett Fertilizer from Smithonia Oil Mills, Smithsonia, Georgia.   James Smith was one of the largest land owners in Oglethorpe County.  He had over 20,000 acres.  The locals all know about Smithonia.

George Wiley Whitehead bought several acres of land after he returned from the war.  According to the Georgia Property Tax Digest from 1878-1882 George’s acreage varied from as little as 163 to 1254 acres (Georgia, Property Tax, 2011).  Unfortunately the document does not make it easy to determine what year each record is from.


Fast Forward to 1946, when George’s son Walter received the Selective Service Medal, Hubert Tiller, a local farmer, friend and customer added his own byline to the picture that was in the newspaper.  He said, “Mr. Whitehead is asking President Truman, ‘Have you bought your fertilizer for this year, Mr. President?’”

 

Walter Whitehead and Truman

WEW Receives Award quip about fertilizer

See, Fertilizer of all things.

Source:

Ancestry.com. Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.

State of Georgia, Commercial Fertilizers and Chemicals, 1910, p3

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The Spectrum of Emotion

I have been full of emotions since coming back from Georgia.  As I am putting together the life and times of my ancestors, I have found a series of events that are heart wrenching.

One of the many treasures that I have gathered was some of his personal papers from his life.  It seems that there was this large blue plastic tub that was wrapped up that held some records that Sara’s mother or grandmother thought was important.  It has turned into a treasure trove.  It is in this collection that the story emerged.  I have pieced together a time line for you.

As discussed previously, my great-grandfather was a very patriotic man.  He found ways to serve his country even when his age and physical limitations prohibited it.  Here is a snippet that he wrote for the Selective Service Medal Ceremony in 1946 when he was 77 years old.

WEW Biography by WEW

On 21 January 1946, my great-grandfather, Walter Everett Whitehead appeared in the East Room of the White House to receive the Selective Service Medal from President Harry Truman.   What an incredible honor for a Patriot such as Walter, or Papa.  He took his middle son, Walter “Joe” as his guest.  The event commemorated draft board members that served their country in faithful service during the “emergency” (WWII).

WEW_1946_with_President_Truman

WEW news clip about medal

One day later on 22 January 1946, at 12:46 PM a telegram from Bay Pines Veterans Hospital was sent to the Stevens Martin Company in care of Joe (he was the executor of George Steven’s Estate), stating that his condition is considered critical.  Joe and his father Walter were still in Washington DC.   Later that same day, a telegram was sent from the Stevens Martin Company to Joe or Walter in Washington DC stating the same.  George died two days later.

We can only speculate what thoughts were going through Walter and Joe’s minds as they boarded the train back to Georgia with these heavy thoughts.  He had suffered complications due to surgery he had.  You can read more about him here:

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

On 27 January 1946, George Stevens Whitehead, WWI veteran was laid to rest in the family cemetery.  He was only 49 years old.

The very next day, Walter stood in honor at the Atlanta Municipal Auditorium being honored with the Selective Service Medal and Certificate of Merit at the State Ceremony.

WEW 1946-letter

One can only imagine what emotions the family would be feeling.  On one hand, being so proud of the well-deserved recognition for a true Patriot and on the other hand, mourning the loss of a Rhodes Scholar Brilliant man cut short in his life.  What a week that must have been.

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.