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

 

 

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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.

 

The original family historian

Emma Chloe Adams Whitehead

AKA Coco, Chloe

Today, I am going to write some of what I know about Emma Chloe Adams Whitehead.  Writing about this ancestor is easy; she left us a book about her family.  I am truly indebted to her for this.  It is because of this book that I got the idea that I could do the same for my branch.    I know I have met her twice once when I was about two and the other about 8 years later.  According to a letter my mom wrote to Chloe after our visit on 12 August 1971, I referred to Chloe as Co-Co.  Mom wrote, “Krista is still talking about Co-Co and Mae-Mae.”  I believe all her grandchildren did.

According to her book, at some point her Uncle Claud would call her “Amma Chloe”  She wrote, “Why does he bear down on that ‘Am’ instead of calling me Emma Chloe as others did.  This made my first name distasteful to me the rest of my life (p.256).

Chloe was born 1 September 1902 in Newton County, Georgia to Newton Columbus Adams and Mattie Elizabeth Barber.  She was the youngest of their 8 children.  Chloe’s mother, Mattie passed away when she was 3 years old.    Her father remarried a twice widowed lady, Eugenia Jackson on 27 November 1907.

According to her book, the family moved around a lot while her father was buying and selling real estate.  Before Chloe was born the family moved from Newton County to Cobb County and back again.  They lived in Oxford, Winder, Lawrenceville, Kirkwood, Hapeville, Mansfield in the period of 10 years or so.  Her mother was sick after caring for her father’s prolonged illness and the death of her mother in law.  “The doctor prescribed the Texas climate…he appeared to be a man who did whatever was necessary at the time and worried about the consequences later (p. 161).”  So, during 1904, Newt took his wife Mattie and his three youngest girls to Amarillo for 6 months.

According to the 1910 US Census, she was listed as Emma and lived in Dekalb County, Georgia, Kirkwood, District 33 with her father, step-mother, older sister Ella and step-sister Natalie Reed.  The census indicates that Chloe’s father Newton was employed in real estate.

I could not find Chloe in the 1920 Census, so I went back to her book and found out why.  Her father died in July 1917, her step-mother went to live with her mother in Atlanta.  Chloe stated that she “had to shuttle about between my sisters and brothers and her (step-mom) until she was married (Whitehead, 1983, p257.)”  So now, she has lost both parents and she is not even 15 years old.

In the 1930 Census, we find Chloe has married Walter Joe Whitehead, they have two girls, Martha Mae and Mary Elizabeth. Martha was six at the time of the census, and Mary was two-year old.  They lived next door to his father Walter E. Whitehead.  The location of this census is Madison County, Fork District.  The awesome part of this, is I seen both of these houses.  So I know exactly where they are.  According to my cousin Sara, Papa was courting a lady from Athens about that time.  It might have seem burdensome to the woman if she came into a family with his son’s family living with them, along with two grandchildren.

According to the 1940 Census, the last one that is available to the public.  Chloe is living with her husband Walter Joe, her father in law, Walter E. Whitehead and her two daughters are now 14 and 12 respectively.  They are still living in the big house in Carlton.

Papa’s House

Although we do not have any more census records to refer to we have something better.  We have her book, The Adams Family: James Adams Line, published posthumously by her daughters in 1983.

According to Chloe, Papa’s doctors advised him to give up driving the car.  “I drove him once or twice a day to his farms in Oglethorpe County for two years.  While he talked to his farm hands or prospective customers, I occupied my time crocheting baby booties in anticipation of the arrival of grandbabies, Sally; then Charlie (Whitehead, 1983, p.272).

Farming had changed by then, Papa died in 1951.  Joe, his son, was President of the Stevens-Martin Firm.  It was decided in 1962 that the business would close.  “Cotton was no longer ‘king’ and corn, wheat, and other grains could not reign in the south because of the lay of the land (p. 273).”

After this, and with her children grown, Chloe and Joe began to travel more.  It is interesting to read in her book all of the places they went: Cuba, France, Italy, Germany, etc.

 

Chloe was very active in her Church.  In her book she states she joined the Carlton Baptist Church in 1926.  I say convenience was on her side as the church was literally a block away!  She was in the choir, head of the music department.

 

Chloe had many talents in addition to playing music beautifully, she was also an artist.  Below are some paintings that Sara and Charlie shared with me for this post.

 

Chloe was also the family historian, she wrote the book in which I quote and refer to often.  She was the genealogist, the record keeper, the glue. Additionally, she wrote other stories and kept copious albeit disorganized notes and newspaper clippings.  Going through the contents of the Whitehead box, I feel a kinship.  She was the hub of the family.  While her husband carried on in the family business, She kept correspondence with friends and family..

Her husband, my Great-Uncle, died in the spring of 1965 (17 May 1965).  She went to live another 17 years without him.

Chloe Adams Whitehead

There is so much to write about her, but this is a good place to stop.  Her grandchildren Sara and Charlie have been so good to me since I have reached out to them.  Their extensive history of family is evident of their love of family.  I will leave you with this:

 

Charlie shared a snipped for me for this post.  When asked if he could share some memories, he wrote “OMG I only have about 100 volumes.  I never heard her cuss.  I never heard her raiser her voice…drink…smoke…get really angry.  She did love her Cadillac’s from 1960 on (she) got a new one every four years”

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

Patriot Walter E. Whitehead

My great-grandfather, Walter E. Whitehead, was the consummate patriot.  I have written about him several times.  You can read about him here:

https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/the-spectrum-of-emotion/

https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/what-is-a-quartermaster/

During my last visit to his home, my cousin Sara allowed me to bring home this box of Whitehead artifacts.  I call it that because while it pertains to my family, it is also a part of the American Story.  Take for example this letter to the editor, dated 24 December 1934.  Walter wrote this letter to the Athens Banner Herald in response to a news article they had run.  In this letter he exudes Patriotism.  I am going to give you a few lines here, and then let you read the rest in his own handwriting.

 

“The Legion (American Legion) believes that to protect and preserve union parallel the constitutional rights of its citizens is its first duty.  Our wars have not been fought for gain on territorial expansion but for human rights.  The signers of the Declaration of Independence, the writers of our Federal Constitution, our forefathers who won and established this free government, by force of arms have committed to our charge and keeping a great heritage (Walter E. Whitehead personal papers).”

“The Legion is proud of the courage and achievements of American Soldiers.  They have displayed heroic virtues on the field of battle and they are determined to pay them homage.  And it is their further purpose to instill in the minds of the coming generations, patriotic love for their country and its institutions (Walter E. Whitehead personal papers).”

My favorite line is “Our wars have not been fought for gain on territorial expansion but for human rights.”

Walter was a leader of men.  Recall he was a Georgia State Senator on two occasions.  He was also Commander of his American Legion Post, Rotarian President, Quartermaster, Major, Business Leader.  He also found a way to serve his country in three wars.

There are more speeches in this box, I will post some more later.

Page 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side Note:  Please take the time to look at the letterhead.  This letterhead is a story in and of itself.  For example, take the statement of goods: Guano, Wagons, Farm Implements and Cotton Buyers.  All of these items seem pretty normal in terms of a General Merchandise Store, however, guano sticks out.  I have only known guano to be bat poop.  But it turns out it was used extensively in the 19th and 20th century of farming.  See, a whole new post….if you can’t wait to learn more about guano, I found an article here:  https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/when-the-western-world-ran-on-guano

Additionally, please look at the members of the Stevens, Martin & Company.  This is the first time that I have seen my 2nd great-aunts, Cynnie and Pellie Stevens on letterhead.  I have heard that they helped the family immensely and neither of them ever married.

Family if you have stories to add, please feel free to comment here!  This is why I do this.

Until then, I will be exploring backwards.

 

Krista

 

William J. Sublett

William J. Sublett was my 3rd great-grandfather.  He was the third child born to Matthew and Frances (Key) Sublett about 1808 in Campbell County, Virginia.  Notice I do not have an exact date of birth.  This date is extrapolated from US Census records.  I started this post a while ago, then I realized that I had merged different ancestors together.  This is a common error in ancestry especially when the names are similar and born in similar places.

It appears William J. Sublett was married three times.  His first wife was Frances Jennings on 1 June 1834.  We do not know much about her.

William and Frances had a son, Matthew D. Sublett, in 1835.  Maybe Frances dies in childbirth, because William then marries Sarah Hamersley 25 July 1836.  We know these facts because these marriage records have been published.  Sarah and William have two sons and a daughter.  James W. born 1838, George Bland born 1847 and Melinda F. born 1849.

Matthew and George both go to fight in the Civil War.

Matthew was listed as a substitute on the Civil War Muster Rolls  with the 18th Regiment, Virginia Infantry, Company G.  Matthew tragically dies at the Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) on 30 Aug 1862.  This means he went in the place of more wealthy draftees.   I will detail his entire story at a later date.  This is very interesting because on the Whitehead side of my family, I have a relative that was not in the Revolutionary war because he was the wealthy one.

George Bland also served in the Civil War. You can read about him here: https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/george-bland-sublett/

Returning to William J. Sublett, he lived a long life.

The 1850 Census is the first US Census with names.  This makes things much easier for the genealogist!  William and Sarah are living in the Northern District of Dinwiddie County with their children Matthew, James, George and Melinda.  William is listed as an overseer.  I presume this means he worked on a plantation as a supervisor over the slave labor.  This is hard to come to grips even 10 years after starting my genealogy journey.  I understand it was a profession of the era in which he was born.  But, I still get a little uneasy writing about it.  But, I am also a believer that we learn from our mistakes.  My father taught me that.

Dinwiddie County

By the 1860 Census, William and his family moved to Campbell County.  The Census indicates he lived in the Eastern District of Campbell County.  His real estate is listed as $970, and his personal estate is listed as $435.  He is listed as a farmer.  He lived in the Eastern District of Campbell County, Virginia with his wife, Sarah, his son George B, his daughter Melinda F.  Also residing in the home is a black male, age 60.  He is not listed as a slave.  His name is listed as Lewis Cobb.  This is important due to the time in which it occurred.  It looks like William had earned enough money to make it on his own.

Campbell County

 

In the 1870 Census, William is living with his wife Sarah.  Also living with them is George Bland (my second great-grandfather), back from the war with his wife, Timotheus Jane Bailey and their two young daughters, Ida and Emma.  The most interesting notation is a young black boy, aged 10 years old living with the family and listed as a nurse on the census.  What does that even mean?  The family is listed as living in the Eastern Division of Campbell County, Virginia.  The listed real estate value is $350 and the Personal Estate is $200.  The value of his real estate had diminished by $600, over 71%.  I believe this is a result of the ravages the Civil War had on the economy.

His second wife, Sarah, dies 11 July 1878.  Two months later William marries again.

At 69 years old, he marries for the third time to Mary Elizabeth Moore on 15 September 1878.  His wife was 45 years his junior.  According to the 1880 US Census.  William, his wife Elizabeth are living in Falling River, Campbell County.  Elizabeth’s younger brother Thomas, 18 was also living there.  Also living in the home was a cook and the cook’s two young sons.  This census does not ask any financial information.

The 1880 Census is the last place I find William Sublett.  He would have been 72, so it is likely he died before the 1890 Census.  I have not found his grave at this point.  But I will keep looking.  It is interesting the life story you can build just by looking at census records and putting them in the context of history.

I will continue to do work on my ancestors.

Until later I will be exploring backwards!

Friday Photos

I hope your holiday season is going well.  I know it has been a while… One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to get back on track with my blog.

 

Recently my cousin Andy posted several pictures on Facebook that I had never seen before.  I thought I would talk about a few of them since I hadn’t written in a while.  I have actually been working on a post of my 3rd Great-Grandfather William Sublett.  Midway through my post, I realized that I had merged two different William Sublett’s into one person.  This happens from time to time.  I will have to untangle that web, so I will get back to that after Christmas.  For now, let’s focus on some pictures.  They are much easier and so much more fun.

Sublett Sisters

The first picture is of my grandfather’s sisters.  He was the only boy and 4 sisters.  From left to right, Mae, Claudia and Pete.  According to my Aunt Carol, they all called him Brother.

Say Cheese!

 

I love this picture of my siblings and my grandparents.  We all have our cheesy grins.  I am smiling ear to ear with my two front teeth missing and my younger brother Joe is looking at me.  Look at his hair, he was such a toe-head.  From the looks of the picture, it was probably 1973 or so.

This next picture is of my mom’s sister Carol, her husband Jack and my cousins Andy and Leigh Ann.  The odd thing, is when I remember my two cousins, this is the image that come to mind.  Not the exact image, but their likeness in this picture.  This age if you will.  I believe as we got older, the trips to see each other came less often.  I am so glad that I have been able to reconnect with them both over the last couple years.

Johnson Family

This is still one of my favorite pictures of my grandparents.  Look at Lacy squeezing his wife.  He loved her so much.  That tree is fantastic, look at the ornaments and the tinsel hanging.  This could have been their first Christmas as empty-nesters.  My parents had married earlier that spring.

Lacy loving Odelle

Remember, keep taking pictures but take the time to print them so they will not be lost on old technology.  If you have some old photos, please feel free to send them to me.  I scan them all so we will have them in both technologies!

 

May the blessings of the Christmas Season be yours!

 

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

Photo Frenzy

 

Now that we do not print our photos, what is going to happen to the future genealogists?  This dilemma struck me today.  When technology first changed to digital pictures, people were worried that photos would remain stuck suspended in the users camera forever.  Now, most people take photos with their phone.  What will happen to them?  Do you know where your camera is?  When was the last time you printed photos?

During a recent visit to my sister’s home in Kentucky, I took some photos that our mother had taken out of her photo albums and brought them home to scan.  In doing so, I am able to remember vacations we took or relatives that are no longer here.  I wanted to share some of my favorites with you today.

Girl Power

This is a great picture.  Here is a picture with two of my paternal aunts, my mom, three female cousins as well as my sister and I.  I love this picture because it brings back happy memories of spending Easter with them.  I am not sure if it was every year, but in my memory, each of the families would take turns visiting the other at Easter.  Now, this is no easy feat, their family had five children and ours had four.  In addition, there were over 350 miles that separated us.

 

Larry and Marge Whitehead 1939

This next picture is of Margaret Kersten Whitehead, my paternal grandmother and her son, my father in 1939.  I figure my father was between 2 and 3 years old.  I have seen other pictures with them on the beach, but not this one.  I still do not know where this was taken.  Was this in Chicago, on the shores of Lake Michigan? If you look at the picture, neither one of them look like they are dressed for the beach.  Did they happen to stop there on the way to somewhere else?

 

Jack & Carol Johnson

I have never seen this picture before.  This is my maternal Aunt and her husband, Carol and Jack.  This was taken in 1965.  When I was a young girl, I used to think that they were so cool.  In my eyes, they were so charismatic and free-spirited.  My Uncle had a MG Midget that was a convertible.  I vaguely recall a VW Beetle, but that could be the memory playing tricks on me.

Larry & Betty Whitehead

Lastly, this picture makes me laugh, because it was probably taken for my father’s birthday.  I am not sure what my mother’s aversion to making birthday cakes, but she did not do it often.  For my 16th birthday, when I fussed about not having a cake, she put a candle in my oatmeal.  So, I think the same thing might have happened in this picture.  The smiles on them are great.  They are really enjoying the joke and we get to have a peak at them.

I hope you upload some of your phone pictures to your favorite photo-printing site and get some printed, soon.  Otherwise, I am afraid nobody will be able to see them.  Remember Facebook and the other social media sites will likely be around when future generations will come looking.

 

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.  Have a great Thanksgiving.  Remember to count your blessings every day.