Isaac Littleberry Mathews

My adventurous cousin Charlie went and found us the cemetery to our fourth great grandfather, Littleberry Mathews.  I have written about his son on this blog.  You can find it HERE.  I had previously done research on the Mathews line, but I hadn’t really reviewed the information that I had on Littleberry until Charlie’s field trip.  While doing so today, I learned that his given name was “Isaac Littleberry Mathews.” He went by the name Berry or Littleberry.  He was the son of William Mathews and Mary Miller.  He was born on 27 May 1786.  There is some information that indicates he was either born in North Carolina or Georgia.

While researching, I found this descendant chart online that shows the descendants of Gwaethvded Vawr (Lea, 2019).  This is unbelievable that someone has traced their lineage back to the year 1025.  This descendant chart has some citations to lead to one’s credibility.  Today, I just want to focus on my fourth great grandfather.

Berry’s parents had about 8 children.  It appears that Berry was the third child to be born to William and Mary Mathews.  We will look at the parents at a later time.  Berry married Jerusha Hopper on 6 April 1807 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia.  He was 20 yeas old.

In his will, I found online, it appears he had more children than I had previously thought.  I will have to do some more research.  According to his will, he had the following sons: Rolley (Raleigh, my 3rd great-grandfather), Charles, William, Uel, Berry, Pressley, Fleming, Richmond, and Newton.  We also learn that his daughter Patsy (Martha Patsy) married Moses Jones, and his daughter Frankey (Francis) married William Jones.

It is written that Berry and his wife Jerusha were buried on their home place in Glade.  So, the place that cousin Charlie visited was steps away from the homeplace of Berry Mathews family.

Cousin Charlie sent me a few words on his exploration of the cemetery:

At Point Peter, GA a.k.a. the Glade community you take the North Point Peter Road going east between the Baptist Church and the Masonic Lodge.  Two roads go east out of the Glade.  This would be the southernmost road.  Go a little lover 100 yards east and take the first drive to the right.  There is a metal gate but almost never closed.  Go down the lane about 500 feet and you see an old quarry site that has been converted to a gigantic swimming pool.

The Little Berry Mathews cemetery is about 400 yards SE of the quarry in the woods.  There is a clear lane and [the owner] is very receptive to having visitors if you let her know you are coming.  The cemetery is on a little hill and just to the west of the cemetery is another little rise where the old Mathews home-place house was.  Nothing is left now but the chimney ruins.

The three graves are about 12 feet apart. Each is actually a single crude mausoleum made of very heavy solid granite hand quarried slabs.  On two of them the top cover slabs have been moved somewhat leaving an opening and the end stone is out of one of them.  They would remind you of a sarcophagus and I cannot overemphasize the mass of the stones.  There may have been a possibility that the coffins were above ground but I doubt it.  However, the interior of each individual mausoleum is large enough for that to have been possible.  For the times this was done and the early construction based on the crudeness of the engraving on the stones, this would have been the top of the line grave marker (Snelling, 2019).

Here is another description by another grave explorer:

The top, sides and ends are thus enclosed and are in very good repair.  The tombs read as follows: First tomb: L.B. Mathews Born May 27 1786 Decd. Feb 13, 1845; Second tomb: Richmond Mathews Born Feb 24 1825 Decd. July 29 1846; Third Tomb: Jerusha M. Born May 1, 1790 Decd. Oct 5 1848. A fourth tomb was found but it was not as elaborate as the above ones were as it was only a head stone with the initials J M cut on it. Assume it would belong to the young son Jordan (Lea, 2019).

We can try to trace Isaac Littleberry “Berry” Mathews, Sr through the US Census and other records.  The First US Census was mandated by Article 1, Section 2 of the United States Constitution.  It was first taken in 1790.  However, census records posed difficulties due to lack of concrete information.  It would stand to reason that we would look for Berry in his father’s (William Mathews) census records for the year 1790 and 1800.  However, I have not yet found any records that are verifiable.

I was able to find a notation that Littleberry Mathews was allowed to sell spirituous liquor on 5 August 1822 in Oglethorpe County.  Unfortunately, I found this record before I was skilled in my citation skills.

I catch up to Berry in the 1830 Census.  Berry Mathews lived in Captain Pass District, Oglethorpe County, Georgia.  Living in the household were 13 “Free White Persons” and 2 “Slaves.”  A closer look at the census reveals, nine children and 2 female slaves.

In the 1840 Census, Berry is listed to be living in District 237, Oglethorpe County, Georgia.  We can assert that these two locations were likely one in the same, and just the names of the districts changed.  He now has 7 “Free White Persons” and “6 Slaves.”

Isaac Littleberry Mathews dies on 13 February 1845, he is just 58 years old.  His wife dies just 3 years later.  Also buried in the cemetery is Littleberry’s son Richmond.

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

Source:

Lea, Jenny, found online at Descendants of Gwaethvded Vawr, 2019.

Snelling, Charlie, 2019, email correspondence

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Decoration Day

This weekend we celebrate Decoration Day. Well, most Americans call it Memorial Day. Decoration Day is a day used to remember the men and women who died in military service. Memorial Day became a more common name only after World War II. Although it had been honored since the civil war; It did not become codified into law until 1967.

There have been debates for years on where the idea of this event occurred. I will not go into all of the facets of the debate but I will give you a few snippets. The bottom line, whomever started it, the purpose remains the same: to honor our fallen soldiers.

“How many of our States claim the first memorial organization? What matters if there are no records to prove it? New Orleans claims it; Georgia claims it; Portsmouth, Va.; Richmond, Va., claims it. But the little village of Warrenton, Va., claims, and can prove it, the first Confederate Memorial Day. Killed in skirmish at Fairfax Courthouse, June 1, 1861, Captain John Quincy Marr, Warrenton Rifles, 17th Virginia Regiment, buried in the little village graveyard, June 3rd, with military honors; wept over by the old and young; flowers strewn on his grave, and the first Confederate Memorial Day was observed. After the first battle of Manassas, July 21, 1861, the dead and mortally wounded, numbering many, were brought to this same little village, and again Memorial Day was observed by the women and children (Times-Dispatch, 1906).

Similarly, General John A. Logan issued a General Order in 1868:

The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land (New York Times, 2012)

A lot of people confuse Decoration Day and Veteran’s Day. The latter is observed on 11 November of each year. Veteran’s Day honor’s all military veterans who served in United States Armed Forces. Decoration Day is for those we lost in war. Over the years, I have written about the number of military veteran’s in my family. But, I have not written about any that actually died in service. My third Great-Uncle, Matthew D. Sublett was killed during the War Between the States in 1862 at the battle of Manassas. I did write a little bit about him here: https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/william-j-sublett/

Matthew D. Sublett was born about 1835 to William J Sublett and his wife Frances Jennings. I have had a difficult time attributing the correct census records for William. Before the 1850 Census, there were only the head of household listed on the census and a tick mark for the children.

In the 1850 Census, Matthew is living in the Northern District of Dinwiddie County. Matthew (15) lives with his parents and his younger siblings James (12), George (3), and Melinda (1). His father works as an overseer.

In the 1860 Census, taken in Lunenburg County Virginia, Matthew D. Sublett (25) appears to be living with the Hardy family as an overseer. It is still difficult to learn these things about my family. I know it was a time period that we cannot adequately put ourselves in their shoes. As a historian, my main focus is to report the facts. I am not here to judge my ancestors.

Matthew D. Sublett enlists in the Confederate States of America on 1 July 1861 in Nottoway, Virginia. One document indicates that he was substituted for Thomas R. Blandy July 1st by Gov. Letcher. Records also indicate he re-enlisted. Matthew was attached to Company G, 18th Infantry. Company G was known as the Nottoway Grays.

According to his military records, Matthew was sick with Rubeola, more commonly known as Measles, from 3 May 1862 – 18 July 1862. He was initially hospitalized at Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. Four days later he was transferred to Farmville General Hospital. Civil War soldiers faced many dangers in battle. However, the greatest danger waited for them at their camps. Diseases such as dysentery, typhoid, Pneumonia, Measles, Malaria and Tuberculosis were the leading diseases during the war. “In fact it is estimated that nearly 400,000 Civil War soldiers died from disease compared to 200,000 from other causes (Civil War Facts, 2018).”

Matthew was killed in action at Manassas on 30 August 1862. Matthew was killed in the Second Battle of Bull Run. While it was a successful clash for the Confederacy, Matthew lost his life.

I still need to do some more work on Matthew, but I wanted to get this out today. So, remember all of those that died so we could live in the land of the free!

Source:

Times-Dispatch, July 15, 1906, retrived on 5/24/18 at

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A2001.05.0293%3Achapter %3D1.73

New York Times, Many Claim to be Memorial Birth Place retrieved on 5/24/18 at

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/us/many-claim-to-be-memorial-day-birthplace.html

Bull Run Image, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1283126 American Civil War Facts,

http://www.civil-war-facts.com/Interesting-Civil-War-Facts/American-Civil-War-Diseases-Facts.html

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.

 

Side Notes

It has been a really long time since I have written about my ancestors (over two months).  We had a Hurricane and a flood in late August.  So, I lost a bit of time with that.  Our home is fine, we did not have any damage.  We were very blessed.  However, we know several people who did.  It makes you wonder about the weather that our ancestors had to endure.  I am not going to go down that rabbit hole at this junction.  But it does make you reflect.

I have also been listening to the book, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.  I am not very far along, but in one of the chapters, the author talks about the French Huguenots and their link to a particular individual.  I wrote early on this blog about the French Huguenots and the very strong link we have with them.  You can read about it here:  Huguenot Blog Post

My point is this, just by living we are part of history.  For example, Hurricane Harvey will be discussed and remembered for years and years.  Much like we remember where we were when the Twin Towers fell that fateful day or when the Cubs won the world series.  We are a part of history.  So, it makes sense to wonder what our ancestors must have thought when the first Minie Ball was fired in the Civil War.  Grandchildren might wonder why everyone was fighting over a crusty old military statue, or why the United States Flag is so important to so many people. So, take a few minutes to reflect on what side of history do you want to be on when this chapter is written.

I hope to have some real family history reflections soon.

 

Until then, Go Cubs Go! Go Astros!#hustletown

 

 

Happy Bloggiversary to me!

You are saying what…It has been two years already?

Yes, in 2013, I started to document my journey of exploring backwards.  This endeavor has brought me closer to the family I already knew and has brought me in contact with family I didn’t know I had.  I feel fortunate that I have readers like you. Please continue to feel free to post your memories, questions or suggestions.

 

cake

My goals for this next year is to continue documenting my family’s history and to extract as many memories as I can from my family, both immediate and extended! That means YOU!!   I believe that once I do this for a while, I will be able to have enough material for a family history book. So, your help is needed. If you have old pictures or stories about our shared relatives, send them my way. My recent trip to Georgia has filled me a great desire to continue to hunt for these illusive ancestors and the stories they have to tell.

Let’s continue to explore backwards together.

Until later!

 

Visiting our Georgia Roots (Day 1)

I just got back from visiting my Georgia Roots. The adventure was a whirlwind weekend in rural Georgia. My sister Kathy, Cousin Susan both joined me for the weekend voyage. My Aunt Leah met us there and spent the day with us too. Our hostess and tour guides were our second cousin Sara and Charlie. We are forever grateful to Sara, Charlie and Miss Kitty for making themselves available to us.

Day 1:

Kathy, Susan and I set out Friday morning for Carlton. Everyone was a bit apprehensive, because we didn’t know exactly what was in store for the weekend. We were meeting relatives that we had not seen or really spoken to for 35 years. All of this was orchestrated because I wanted to investigate the homeplace and the area in which my ancestors had lived.

My sister had been on a previous genealogy trip with me and knew somewhat what she was getting involved in. But Susan, well, she did not really know the length of time that I had been researching or the depth that I was passionate about it. Both Susan and Kathy served me well. They were my photo journalists for this project. Over the course of the next few blogs you will see some of their handy work.

We arrived in Carlton just before noon. After getting acquainted, we headed off to our only preset appointment, lunch with Miss Kitty. Eleanor “Kitty” Mitchell Stevens, she is the wife of my 1st cousin 2x removed, Joseph Augustus Stevens, Jr.   She lives in the homeplace of Columbus “Gus” Augustus Stevens, my 2nd Great Grandfather. I am not exactly sure when the home was built but it is a grand old home.

Kitty prepared a spread. We visited while we ate. We visited after we ate. We then got up and looked around the place. Kitty had Gus Stevens Bible out for us to see all of the dates recorded. We spent a lot of time in Gus Steven’s old bedroom. I love the old homes that had a hearth in each of the bedrooms. This room had been converted to a children’s play room when Charlie and Sara were growing up. The parents would sit and visit in the front parlor and the children could play nearby.

Gus Stevens Family Bible

Gus Stevens Family Bible

Kitty Stevens, Sara Baldwin, Annette Nordmark, Susan Delker, Krista Whitehead

Kitty Stevens, Sara Baldwin, Annette Nordmark, Susan Delker, Krista Whitehead

After bidding Miss Kitty adieu, we set out for the Homeplace. I have written about the home place here (https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/whitehead-homeplace/)

This was the place where George Wiley and Cena Ann Mathews resided after the Civil War. The place today is still family owned, but it is being leased to a hunting group that has made it a great hunting lodge. From the decorations on the wall it seems that Turkey is their game of choice.

Homeplace-2015

Homeplace-2015

Inside the Homeplace

Inside the Homeplace

While there, Charlie showed me the proper way to handle a Honeysuckle Vine.

Charlie giving Krista a lesson on the Honeysuckle Vine

Charlie giving Krista a lesson on the Honeysuckle Vine

After leaving the Homeplace, we went to the Steven’s Family Cemetery. This is on Steven’s Homeplace property. We then went to see the Mathew’s Family Cemetery where Cena Ann Mathews and George Wiley Whitehead are buried. Lastly we went to see the Whitehead/O’Kelly gravesite. This is now on property owned by another individual, but Charlie had made arrangements to let them know we were coming. This cemetery has a chain-link fence that the Daughters of the Revolution had placed along with a marker indicating that Joel Whitehead’s father-in-law had fought in the American Revolution. The DAR has since changed their opinion on this matter. But that will be another story at another time. I am getting off track!

After everyone was worn out, we returned to the Carlton home to rest for a while. Well, other people rested, I was still in fifth gear, Charlie, Leah and I sat down and we went over some of the items I had brought. I was pleased that I could fill in some gaps for Leah on her family tree.

We then set out for dinner at the Red Minnow in Elberton. Cousin Sara told us that Papa loved Elberton. I am not sure why. I will have to ask. A piece of trivia for everyone, Elberton is known to be the granite capital of the world. [You can read more about granite here: http://www.egaonline.com/]

The Red Minnow is an all you can eat buffet of everything precious to the south. The kitchen must have a hundred deep fryers to cook everything. It was not Swamp Guinea (a much-remembered restaurant from our previous visit in 1980). However, we were hungry and the food was good.

I will share day 2 on another day.

BSO and a story from Martha

BSO-

This is an acronym for Bright Shiny Objects. An infliction that I have always had but festers more when I am researching backwards. I recently received a twenty page document from my cousin, Sara. This document contains many stories that my Grand Aunt, Martha Ann Whitehead Moore wrote before she passed away. It is a treasure trove of family history and the stories that bring these family members to life. It is one of the best BSO’s I have had in a long time.

 

Martha wrote, “family stories that should be handed down from generation to generation.” That has been my goal with my blog. I always encourage family members to contribute their memories.

Here is an example of one of the stories. I have only corrected any grammatical errors that I found and added full names for clarification when necessary.

This happened on October 8, 1908

Faith in Grandpa Restored

I was born in 1904, the daughter of Christian parents, and my grandparents were of very strong Baptist faith. My mother was a victim of rheumatoid arthritis, so I lived with my grandparents.

My grandmother [Martha Witcher Stevens] died when I was 3 years old. My childhood from then on was under the control of my grandfather and two “old maid” aunts (Cynnie and Pellie). They instilled in me the danger of cursing and using foul language.

When I was four years old on two occasions I heard my Grandfather [Columbus Augustus “Gus” Stevens] use words that I considered foul. One was at 6:30 P.M. when we went to “slop the hogs.” He said, “Dog-gone the pigs,” when they splashed his Sunday-go-to-meeting trousers.

Then at 9:00 P.M. that same day he heard some neighbor-hood teen-aged boys in his ribbon-cane patch. They were swiping a few stalks (which he would have gladly given them). He said, “Dog-gone the boys.”

That was it – the straw that broke the camel’s back! My grandfather had cursed. I just knew he was headed downward – straight to the devil. I cried myself to sleep that night.

The next day I told my old maid aunts about the two “Dog-gones” I had heard. They assured me that the language was not strong enough to sentence my grandfather to everlasting punishment. So I ran to the front yard and started walking in his foot-steps again.

I continued to try to follow his examples and have used them to guide me all the way to 91.

The End.

 

I do not have a picture of my Grand Aunt, or I would post it here. I love this story for a variety of reasons. One, it shows her admiration for her grandfather.  Additionally, in less than 300 words, we learn about her childhood and what type of person she became.

Until later, I will continue to explore backwards.