Sunday’s in the Country

My mom and my Aunt Carol were southern city slickers.  They grew up in the city limits of Lynchburg in the 1950’s.  Their parents however were not raised in the same way.  In fact, my grandfather, Lacy Sublett, grew up on a farm in rural Campbell County.  Naruna was and still is just a dot on a map.  A place to get gas on a country road.  A country drive to sing songs and read billboards, like Burma Shave.

burmashave1

Their grandfather John Thomas Sublett was a tobacco farmer.  I have written about him specifically here.  https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/john-thomas-sublett/

My mother recently gave me some old photos.  Several of the images were from the Sunday’s they would spend in the country at their grandparent’s home.  Their cousins would be there also.  I ask my mother and aunt for their memories of going to the country here is some of what they said.

 

Carol:

On most Sundays, we went to the country, granny and grandpa Sublett house in Naurna. It had a chicken coop, smoke house for curing hams, not cigarettes, a big wheel to sharpen knives, out house, a water hand pump on the back porch, which we all drank from, same ladle. We read Burma Shave signs on the way down.  We also held our arms out the window, letting the wind blow, and sing. Cars didn’t have any air conditioning.

They also had a clay tennis court, big deal during those days. We would play with these little rubber dolls, about 3-inches tall. We would play under a big tree that had moss under it. Would play for hours. My aunts, uncles, and cousins would be there. The adults would hand churn ice cream. It was delicious.

 

My mom wrote back: well, I just remember singing ‘Naruna, Naruna, we’re going to Naruna!’  So, that means that we were happy to go. Played with cars under a big tree that had lots of green moss underneath so guess we made roads, etc.  Slopped the hogs.  All the adults sat around in a circle and talked.  They had a cherry tree, I can remember eating so many, and grandpa said they would give me a stomachache but I never had one.  I loved climbing the mimosa tree because the branches were easy to climb and it wasn’t too high from the ground.  Loved stopping by Jack’s Place in Rustburg either going on coming home.  Loved their hot dogs with chili.

 

My Aunt Carol then wrote that my mother had tried to killer in the cherry tree.  “Betty Lou almost kind me in the cherry tree. My brown sweater got caught on a branch and I was choking and Betty calmly went in and told the adults who came and rescued me.” My mother corrected her stating it was a mimosa tree but Carol still thinks it was the Cherry tree. By the way, my mom never discounted the tale of the attempted murder!  Sisters!

If you find yourself with pictures that you do not want, just send them to me.  I will put them to good use.

 

Here are some pictures from that time-period.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Until later, I will be exploring backwards!

lacy_sublett_john_thomas_on ground with girls

I love how the men are down on the blankets with the children

adults in chairs on farm

Visiting on a Sunday afternoon

adults in front of jtsublett

Notice how the men and women are in different circles and they used every type of chair imaginable.

mom_carol_larry_narshella

Cousins

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A Wedding Article

I have been fortunate to be left a lot of genealogy bread crumbs on the paternal side of my family.  I have written before about two books that have been written by my ancestors to which I can lean on for information.  I hope to add to the collection one day.

Sometimes I hit pay dirt by just doing the general sleuthing on my own.  That is what happened one day when I stumbled onto this nugget about the wedding day of my first cousin once removed Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Whitehead and James Blaine “Jim” Sweeny Jr.

I have copied it directly here because I love the descriptions and do not wish to alter this article.  My cousin Sara has provided me with the pictures to accompany this post.

 

Danielsville Monitor, 2 January 1948

MISS WHITEHEAD, MR. SWEENY WED AT CANDLELIGHT CEREMONY

The Baptist Church of Carlton formed a beautiful setting, Saturday afternoon, December 27th, for the marriage of Miss Mary Elizabeth Whitehead, lovely daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Joe Whitehead, to James Blaine Sweeny, Jr., of Baltimore and Annapolis, Md., son of Mr. and Mrs. James Blaine Sweeny, Sr. of Baltimore.

Dr. E. L. Hill performed the ceremony and music was presented by organist, Miss Mary Kelly, and Mrs. Emmett Compton, soloist.  The Church was decorated with candles which were placed on candelabra and forming an arch at the altar.  Quantities of palms, smilax, and urns filled with white gladioli against a white background graced the altar.  Placed in the center was a large silver wedding bell.

Usher-groomsmen were James Blaine Sweeny, Sr., and Emmett Compton of Annapolis.    Miss Mae Whitehead, sister of the bride was maid of honor.  She wore a fitted emerald green taffeta gown with sweet-heart neckline and carried a muff showered with yellow carnations florets, arranged on ribbons with matching hair motif.    Bridesmaids were Miss Mary Arnold Reid of Elberton, and Mrs. Sara Bolin of Buford.  They wore gowns and carried muffs similar to those of the maid of honor.   Junior bridesmaids were Miss Patricia Scarborough of Elberton and Miss Obie Gillen of Lexington, cousins of the bride.  Their gowns and muffs were identical to those of the bridesmaids.

Frank P. Sweeny of New York, brother of the groom, acted as best man.    The lovely brunette bride entered with her father who gave her in marriage.  She was radiant in her gown of ivory satin, fashioned with heart neckline and a bouffant skirt ending with a train.  The bride wore the wedding gown which was worn by Mrs. William N. Zeigler, formerly Miss Janette Adams, at her marriage.  A tier veil of white illusion net was attached to a coronet of orange blossoms.  This veil was formerly worn by Mrs. William A. Kelly.  She carried a bouquet of white orchids, carnations, and lilies of the valley.     Mrs. Whitehead chose a black crepe gown with pink yoke neckline, embroidered with sequins.  Her flowers were pink orchids.  Mrs. Sweeny, mother of the groom, wore a royal blue crepe gown and her flowers were white orchids.

Following the wedding the parents of the bride entertained at a reception in their home.  The home was decorated with foliage and white flowers.  The table in the dining room was centered with the bride’s cake iced on a mound of white flowers and ferns.  White candles and crystal candelabra completed the decorations.  Miss Madge Yawn of Thomaston kept the bride’s book.   The bride chose for traveling a wool suit worn with matching accessories and white orchids.    Following their wedding trip, Lt. Cmdr.  and Mrs. Sweeny will reside at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis.

I can visualize this ceremony, can’t you?  Now look at these pictures.

I can not help but include a snippet from Betty’s mom, Emma Chloe Adams Whitehead, the author of The Adams Family, James Adams Line (1796-1982).  It adds to this piece…

 “Joe’s father insisted that we invite everybody in Carlton, as well as our Elberton and Madison County friends.  There were probably two hundred guests for the wedding and in our home for the reception.  He sat at the front door to greet each one as they entered.”

I can see Walter “Papa” being so proud and telling the world that his granddaughter was getting married and inviting the world.

I close by stating, that although my blog has come to a trickle; I am still exploring backwards.  By this time in my journey, I have picked all of the low hanging fruit.  The things that take longer and harder are in my path now.  So, if you find any old pictures, Bibles, stories, etc.  Send them my way!

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

Source:

Daniellsville Monitor, 2 January 1948, retrieved at http://files.usgwarchives.net/ga/madison/vitals/marriages/whitehea1535gmr.txt

Whitehead, Emma Chloe Adams, The Adams Family, James Adams Line (1796-1982).  1983.

 

 

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.

 

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

 

 

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.

 

 

The Barn

 

Imagine for a minute you are going down an old country road with its twists and turns and in the distance you see an old barn.  What goes through your mind?  I will tell you what goes through mine.  I wonder what type of barn it is.  Is it a tobacco barn, used to store and dry tobacco?  Is it a livestock barn, used to shelter and house livestock?  Is it used to store tractors and other implements?  Barns were built to solve problems for the farmer and to serve a multitude of functions.

There is a show on television called Barnyard Builders we have been watching.  The premise is the restoration and re-purposing of old barns in America.  They look at the way the barn was built, what kind of lumber, what type of notches.  Every time I watch it, I can’t help but think of the barn at the Whitehead Homeplace.

When I did the genealogical trip in May 2015, we did go see the barn.  But since I hadn’t seen the show, I hadn’t really appreciated it as an artifact that it is.  If I had, I would have taken more pictures.  Maybe my cousin Sara will take some for me.  The inside has been reconfigured by the hunters that lease the property.  However, you can still see the original beams inside.  I am not sure when it was built, but I would have to imagine it was after the Civil War when he married Cena Ann and moved to the Home Place.

Stone and Wood Barn

Stone and Wood Barn

5-barn at the homeplace2

The barn at the home place is made from large hand cut stone and wood.   I believe it has a metal roof.  Cousin Sara told me earlier they were going to put a new roof on it this year.

The barn stored the horse and mules.  It is a short walk from the homeplace.  I just found George Wiley Whitehead’s Will online, and I now know the names of his live stock.  In his last will and testament he directed that Viz and Beck his mules to be sold, as well as Sallie, a Sorrel mare and Belle a Bay mare.

The Home Place

The Home Place

I think that our ancestors would be proud to know that this barn is still being cared for by the family some 150 years later.  Thanks Sara!

 

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.