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.

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