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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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.

Photo Friday

Hi everyone!

Today I am going to share a handful of my favorite pictures.  Some you may have seen, and some probably not.  Photographs are terrific because they are a moment in time.  In the early days of photography, it was expensive and only really used for special occasions.  Fast-forward to today, where we each carry a camera in our pocket.  Nevertheless, I always enjoy looking at photographs.  There is always so much to learn from a picture.  Maybe that is why they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!

This is probably one of my top 5  pictures that I have found on my genealogical adventures.  I mean how darling is this?  What proud parents Walter and May would have been to dress them up and get this picture taken.  The year has to be about 1905 or so as Martha was the last born and is little girl in the foreground.  If we assume it was 1905, then the boys George Stevens, Walter Joe and Fred Augustus would have been 9, 7, 4 respectfully.

whitehead family portrait

This next picture is of Lacy Luke Sublett and his wife Virginia Odelle Moss Sublett,, my grandparents.  I love this picture because it shows a funny side of them.  My grandfather died when I was only 11 years old, but I remember him being a fun silly guy.  He could wiggle his ears.  I tried often to do the same, but failed.  I think this picture they are going out for a Halloween party or something else.  It makes me smile.

1-Lacy and Odelle 001

Lacy and Odelle

 

You can see the blonde hair in this black and white picture.  These sisters were born 2 years apart, on the very same day, it must have been hard not having a birthday all to yourself, but this picture is precious as it shows them as sisters and as friends.  My mom and her sister Carol are still close.  I do love the bond between sisters.  I cannot be certain what the year is; but if I was to guess I would say it was 1944.  What do you think Mom? Carol?

Carol and Betty

Carol and Betty

 

Last but not least.  This is my all time favorite.  This is my Aunt Viv and her best friend Lucy fishing.  If you look closely, they are fishing with cane poles and there are two good-looking fish on the line.  What makes this picture awesome is that they are still friends and in touch 60 years later.  Oh, and you probably noticed the religious habit they are both wearing.  I think the white color means they are a Novice in The Order.  Viv, can you let us know?  Regardless, I love this picture because it shows us the beginning of their bond, although they were not born sisters, they became sisters through their faith.

Lucy and Viv

Lucy and Viv

Thanks for reading.  I will keep exploring backwards.  Until next time.