A Life Well Lived

Columbus Augustus Stevens

I have written about my second great-grandfather on my paternal side, Columbus Augustus “Gus” Stevens, before.  However, I do not think I went through his biography, until today.  I came across his death certificate and thought you should know about the life he lived for 84 years.

Gus was born on 26 June 1844 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia.  His parents were Obadiah Stevens and Martha Patsy Watkins.  Gus was born and raised in Oglethorpe County.  His father was a Farmer in Oglethorpe.  When you are trying to research a person in our distant past, we lean on records to help build the frame of the person.  Oftentimes, researches only have the basic census data.  I am lucky enough to have had my ancestors that were our family historians.  These records can help sketch in the details of the character of that person.  I have been fortunate that some records came from the family homes directly.

Here is the story about Gus: Plantar, Veteran, Believer, and Citizen.

Upbringing

Columbus Augustus Stevens was born in rural Georgia (Oglethorpe County) with his three brothers and his parents.  Gus first appears on the 1850 Census.  Gus was 6 years old; he lived with his parents, and his three brothers.  His father was a farmer and had listed $3000 of real estate.  His family was like others in rural Georgia.  The family owned slaves.  According to the 1850 Census, Obadiah had about 15 slaves.

By the 1860 Census, Gus was sixteen.  He lived with his parents and his grandmother, Martha Stevens.  His father, Obadiah, had $5000 in real estate and $20,500 in Personal Estate Value.

South Carolina seceded from the Union on 20 December 1860. The following year, several other states joined, including Gus’s State of Georgia.  On 12 April 1861, the first shots at Fort Sumter indicated the beginning of the War Between the States.  Gus was just 16 years old at the beginning of the War Between the States.

Civil War

Records indicate that Gus enlisted March 1862 at Lexington, Georgia into Echols Artillery.  He was not quite eighteen years old.  He remained a soldier until the surrender in April 1865.  He went to war with his brother William and his cousin, John Cylvanus Gibson Stevens (JCG).  In fact, if you look at this regiments roster, you would see many familial names including Whitehead, Mathews, Faust, etc.

Martha Whitehead (Gus’s granddaughter) wrote short episodes of certain things she remembered or had heard.  We are fortunate enough that she shared them with her family.  She went to live with her Grandfather, Gus, when her mother became bedridden due to a serious case of rheumatoid arthritis.  [Below is an excerpt from her stories.  While this is a true story, it also reflects the time-period and is not politically correct by today standards.]

An Afro-American looks after a confederate soldier by Martha Whitehead Moore:

“As I said, Grandpa was just 18 when he enlisted. Obadiah thought he and Cousin John Stevens (JCG) needed someone to go along with them to look after them. So one of Cuz John’s freed Afros went with the two whites to SC. He was Ab (short for Abner) Stevens and was an excellent cook. He also did the laundry for Grandpa and Cuz. John. Most important of all, he was a “good chicken thief”. He made food available, even for the Yanks who were “prisoners of war.”

History tells us that the life of a Confederate Soldier was challenging at best.  Aside from the war itself, many Confederate soldiers were constantly hungry and sick.  Troops went months without pay.  Therefore, the fact that he came from a wealthy family meant he was able to get food and supplies.

Gus’s brother William Walter, died during the Civil War.  It is unclear if he was a casualty of a weapon or a disease.  Assigned to the Tiller’s Company, Georgia Light Artillery (Echols Light Artillery) like his brother and cousins.

According to the war records, Gus was paroled (surrender) at Greensboro, North Carolina on 28 April 1865.  According to North Carolina History, the troops assembled at Greensboro to disarm themselves and return home (Kickler, 2005).

statement of service

Statement of Service

I can only imagine the experiences that Gus had to endure during the War Between the States.  However, to have your older brother killed in battle and then to surrender to the Union must have unnerved a young man.

 

After the War

After the War, Gus returned home to Oglethorpe County. On 4 July 1867, Gus signed the Qualified Voters and Reconstruction Oath Book.  This indicates that he is living in Election District 236 of Oglethorpe County and has signed his allegiance back to the United States of America.  I can only imagine what these men thought about signing this document after losing this War along with the bloodshed of their brethren.

 

According to the Ancestry website:

“The Reconstruction Acts of 1867 required Southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment, draft new state constitutions, and register voters, both black and white. In order to vote, men had to swear an oath of allegiance to the United States, and some were disqualified for their participation in Confederate government posts. This database contains books recording those oaths of allegiance and returns listing qualified voters registered in Georgia in 1867. It includes both black and white citizens (Ancestry).

 

CA stevens oath of allegiance

Oath of Allegiance

Gus married Martha Jane Witcher four years after the war on 29 April 1869.  They set up house in Oglethorpe County within his parents’ home.  He was 24 years old.  Gus would work with his father on the land as a plantar and farmer.

The following year, 1870, the United States held its Decennial Census.  The census indicated that Gus and his wife had a baby and the family of three are living with his parents.  Their first-born child Ambrose Pope was a listed as one month old.

In the 1880 Census, Gus and his growing family are still living with his parents.  According to the census, their children Ambrose, Luna, Asa, Cynnie and Pellie, are all under ten years old.

The infamous 1890 US Census was burned, so we do not have that information.  Nevertheless, we know that Gus’s father died in 1891.

According to the 1900 Census, Gus is Head of Household.  Gus lives with his wife, Martha, and their son Asa, and his wife Lester.  Asa is now helping to run the farm.  Gus’s daughters Cynnie, Pellie, Fannie and Martha Obie reside in the home.  His youngest son, Joe Augustus, 11 years old is living at home as well.

On 19 May 1909, Gus’s wife Martha Jane dies.  They had been married for more than forty years.

In the 1910 Census, Gus was Head of House, his daughters Cynnie and Pellie still live with him.  Martha Ann Whitehead is listed as a “Stevens” on this census.  However, we know the true family history of how little Martha went to live there because her mother was bedridden.  Martha’s mom, Luna May, had her two maiden sisters help care for little Martha.

Grandpa Gus and Martha v3

Martha Ann Whitehead with her grandfather Gus Stevens

By the 1920 Census, Gus is living with his two maiden daughters, Cynnie and Pellie, his grandson Joseph A Stevens (31 years old) and his granddaughter Martha Ann Whitehead (15 years old).

Marge Walter E Mae Pellie Gus or George W Cynnie Fred

L-R: Margaret Whitehead, Walter Whitehead, Mae (in arms) Cynnie or Pellie Stevens (in hat), Gus Stevens, Cynnie or Pellie, Fred Whitehead

Civic Life

After establishing himself as a plantar and merchant, Gus set his sights on public service.  According to the Oglethorpe Echo, Gus served one term as a Representative in the House of Representatives (1892-93).  He additionally served one term in the Georgia Senate (1902-1904) for the 30th District.  He was a member of the Masonic Order.  He was also on the County Board of Education for a few years (Oglethorpe Echo, 1929).

Merchant

Gus, his brother, John Reese and his first cousin, JCG Stevens along with Robert Huff, started a general store in 1885 in the Village of Sandy Cross, Stevens Huff and Company.  Additional stores and properties were added later.  In fact, at one point they had two stores and 5 cotton gins covering Madison and Oglethorpe County.  The company survived two World Wars and a Great Depression but ultimately dissolved voluntarily in 1963 (Stevens, 1973).  [I did a general post about it here: Mercantile Business]

stevensmartinstore

Circa 1903

Believer

Gus loved God and Country as we have seen.  Most community activities centered on the church in these days.  According to the obituary written in the Oglethorpe Echo, Gus joined Clouds Creek Baptist Church around the same time he married Martha, 1869.  He became an ordained deacon on 5 October 1877.  On 9 September 1906, a new Church was chartered in Oglethorpe County.  The church, Sandy Cross Baptist Church was established from members of both Clouds Creek and Bethany Baptist Church.  My second great grandfather was one of the founding members.  He was one of the Deacons.  I found an article written about the church and it lists several of my ancestors.  In death, he bequeathed a house and property (4 acres) to Sandy Cross Baptist Church.

ca stevens article in newspaper

Article about Sandy Cross Baptist Church written by family friend and Minister Faust

 

His Death Certificate indicates that he died of hypostatic pneumonia.  However, he had incurred a hip fracture just 5 days earlier when he fell.  The local newspaper, the Oglethorpe Echo, published a snippet this nice tribute following his death.

 

In May 2015, I took my sister and cousin Susan to Georgia for a genealogy trip.  Aunt Leah met us there and we were fortunate enough to visit Miss Kitty.  She still resides in the Steven’s family home.

While preparing for this piece, I wrote to my cousins for their input.  Cousin Lynn, daughter of Miss Kitty, shared this story:

The Stevenses killed a “hawg” on the first frozen day of the year, everyone who participated got a share of the meat.  There was a GIANT cement pit, like we would see now in an oil-change shop, where they did some part of the process.  And there were GIANT cast-iron pots, as large as a bathtub but semi-spherical, where (I think) they boiled water to help scrape the wiry hairs off the skin.

She also shared this about the main house:  I believe the Oglethorpe County Tax Assessor shows that the house was built in 1901.  But there are tales about the kitchen being a separate building during the Civil War, and it was eventually jacked onto logs and ROLLED up to the main house.  This certainly ties into the differing floor levels between the dining room, the butler’s pantry, and the kitchen itself!

Inside Stevens Homeplace7

There is so much more to say about Gus, but it will have to wait for another day.  If you have memories, please share them here!

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

Source:

Ancestry.com. Georgia, Returns of Qualified Voters and Reconstruction Oath Books, 1867-1869 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.  Original data:  Georgia, Office of the Governor. Returns of qualified voters under the Reconstruction Act, 1867. Georgia State Archives, Morrow, Georgia.

Compiled Service Records of Conferate Soldiers who served in Organizations from the State of Georga., NARA, Publication Number M266.

NorthCarolinahistory.org: An Online Encyclopedia, “Lunsford Lane” (by Troy Kickler), http://northcarolina.org (accessed 5/31/2019).

Oglethorpe Echo, March 8, 1929. Article about CA Stevens Death

Stevens, Claude G., 1973.  The Stevens Family, John Stevens Line, Commercial Printing Company, Inc. Toccoa, Georgia.

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

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!

Using Census and City Directories

Mom says I have been focusing too much time on my paternal side.  She is right of course!  I guess part of the reason is because of the new Whitehead Archives that I discovered through my friendship with my cousins.  There are plenty of stories and challenges on the maternal side to conquer.  So here it goes.

When first researching an ancestor, you usually start with the US Census records. The US Census is a decennial census written into our Constitution.  This is done to align the seats of the House of Representatives.  If you recall in your history class, each state gets two state senators.  The House of Representatives however is done by census numbers.

 

In terms of genealogy, the census provides the best snapshot of your ancestor over time.  Each Census is different in that different questions are asked.  The United States Census is gearing up already for the 2020 census.  You have to wonder what type of questions they will ask.  Or at least that is what a genealogist wonders.  Long gone are the days of door to door enumerators.  The census is given by US Postal Service.  There are still census takers that go door to door in order to provide for undercounting due to illiteracy, homelessness, etc.

 

A city directory is another gold mine for a genealogist.  Because unlike the census which is done every 10 years, a directory is usually done yearly.  Lynchburg, Virginia has their directories indexed and online.  I am very lucky because a huge chunk of my ancestors lived there.  It is through these records that I can trace my ancestors’ movement over time.  One of the reasons I blog about my ancestors, it helps to see the holes in my research.  Believe me there are plenty of holes in this one.  One of the reasons for the delay is that I have been researching Emma.  There are still holes, but I believe you can begin to see her in context with the life she lived.

Emma Frances Heath is my 2nd great grandmother on my maternal side.  Emma was born 15 June 1862 to William Heath and Rhoda Elizabeth Hyman Heath.  I know little about her parents and will have to research them more in-depth.  However, I want to show you how to track your ancestors through the Census and City Directories.

 

The 1870 Census shows Emma is living with G.B Fergerson and his wife Sally Fergerson.  She is listed as a niece and 10 years old.  Also living in the home is the Fergerson’s 3-year-old son, Stephen and a Farm Hand.  If you noticed the discrepancy in the date of births you are not alone.  Her tombstone has 1862 on it.  It is likely that the census take rounded up or down.  The location is Brookville, Campbell County Virginia.  Her uncle is listed as a farmer.  Because I have not researched this side for very long, I am not sure what happened to her parents.  Her mother seems to have passed away in 1871, Emma would have been 9 years old.  So it seems obvious that Sally was likely Rhoda’s sister.  However, what is not clear is why Rhoda would have died in Dayton, Ohio.  I will have to look into that.  So much genealogy to do, so little time….

In the 1880 Census, Emma is 19 years old, wife to her 28-year-old husband who is working as a farmer.  She has 2 daughters, Annie and Rosa.  They are living next to other family (Hicks) who are also farming.  (Census: Amherst County, 15th District)

By the 1900 Census, Emma is listed as 36 years old, Lemuel is 49.  This census is great because it asks how many children born and how many still living.  She had 10 children.  They ranged in ages on this census from 2 years old to 19.  Her sister-in-law, Mary,  is also listed there.  There are no known families living beside them on this census.  (Census Amherst, 12th District, Pedler).

In the 1910 Census, Emma and Lemuel are now living in the city.  Lemuel is listed as working as a Watchman at the Foundry.  The census asks the same question about children.  This time, Emma is listed as having had 12 children but only 7 are still living.  Three of the older daughters are listed as still living at home and working at the shoe factory.  There are no known families living beside them on this census.  (Census Lynchburg, Independent City, District 87, Lynchburg Ward 3)

In the 1920 Census, Emma and Lemuel are still in the city.  Lemuel is listed as a gardener for the city.  He is listed as 68 years old.  Emma is listed as 57 years old.  Her daughter Iola and her husband Charles Worley are listed as living there.  Charles is working as a shoe maker at the factor and Iola is not working.  There are also two boarders listed (it appears they are married).   (Census Lynchburg, Independent City, District 12, Ward 3)

 

On 29 May, 1923, Emma’s husband, Lemuel dies, he was 74 years old.

 

For the 1930 Census, Emma is listed as living with her daughter Carrie (my great-grandmother) and her family in a rented home at 1715 Main Street.  Thomas, Carrie’s husband is listed as a carpenter for the housing industry.  Emma’s three granddaughters and grandson are also living there, including my grandmother!  James Hicks, her son, is living next door with his wife, Helen.  (1930 Census, Lynchburg, Independent City, Enumeration District 110-21, Ward 3)

In the 1940 Census, Emma is listed as 77 years old.  She is now living with her other daughter Willie and her family at 2014 Tulip Street.  Willie and Clyde Driskill are listed as owning the home.  Clyde works at the US Post Office as a mail carrier.  Also living in the home are their six children, Clyde Junior, Frances, Doris, Daniel, Robert and Ruth.  Also living on the street is Lessie Driskill, Clyde’s sister.  She has their parents Daniel and Emma Driskill living with her.  She is also listed as owning her own house.  She works at the shoe factory.  (1940 Census: Lynchburg City, Lynchburg, Enumeration District 111-25, Ward 3)

Emma Frances Heath Hicks dies on 4 September 1945, she was 83 years old.

 

Below is a timeline that I was able to create from the Lynchburg City Directories.  The abbreviations used did vary within the directories.  The husband’s occupation was usually mentioned.  However, after Lemuel died, Emma was listed as widow.

 

Year Location Other
1907 2113 Elm Av Lbg Fdy Co
1908 2113 Elm Av Lbg Fdy Co
1909 2113 Elm Av Watchman
1910 2113 Elm Av Lbg Fdy Co
1913 2113 Elm Av farmer
1914 2113 Elm Av watchman
1915 2113 Elm Av watchman
1916 2113 Elm Av farmer
1917 2113 Elm Av No occupation listed
1920 2113 Elm Av watchman
1921 2106 Main farmer
1923 2106 Main No occupations any
1924 2106 Main widow
1925 Not found No Data
1926 1721 Liberty widow
1927 1715 Main widow
1928 1715 Main widow
1929 1715 Main widow
1930 1715 Main widow
1931 406 Walnut widow
1932 2014 Walnut widow
1933 2014 Tulip widow
1934 2014 Tulip widow
1935 2014 Tulip widow
1936 2014 Tulip widow
1937 2014 Tulip widow
1938 2014 Tulip widow
1939 2014 Tulip widow
1940 2014 Tulip widow
1941-1944 Missing    
1945 411 Westover Blvd widow

So, if you wandered onto this page for a genealogy hint, it would be to use your US Census and City Directory data to start your ancestor development.

 

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

A biography of Leroy Hicks

Leroy Hicks was born to Blansford and Mary Polly Peters Hicks in 1806 in Amherst County, Virginia.  He is my 3rd great-grandfather.  Leroy was the oldest of 11 children born to Blansford and Mary.  Through research it looks like he stayed his entire life in Amherst.  Thomas Jefferson was the President of the United States in 1806.

Amherst County Virginia, was formed in 1761 from parts of Albemarle County.  The major crop raised in Amherst was tobacco.  The James River forms the eastern boundary.  The Appalachian mountains help form the western boundary.

On 4 February 1834, Leroy married Permelia Ware in Amherst County.  The couple went on to have 10 children.  Andrew Jackson was the President from 1829-1837.

Child Year of Birth
William 1834
Robert D 1836
James 1838
John Nicholas 1843
Margaret V 1844
Sarah Ann 1846
Robert L 1847
Charles W 1848
Lemuel Dabney 1849
Mary Ann Elizabeth 1854

 

The first thing that seems odd is that two children were named Robert.  This may not actually be the case, the Census takers didn’t always hear or write things correctly.  And, if you have that many children you might forget one or two.

According to the 1840 US Census, Leroy was living with his wife in Amherst County.  There were 6 total people.  The 1840 Census only broke individuals out by race, age and sex.  So we know that there were two boys under the age of 5 (Robert D and James), 1 boy between 5-10 (William), 1 male between 30-40 (Leroy), 1 female between 20-30 (Permelia), 1 free male person of color between 10-24.  I did look at the US Slave Schedules for 1850 and 1860, I did not find anything to indicate that he owned slaves.

In the 1850 census, we learn that Leroy’s family lives in the Eastern District of Amherst County.  The names are confirmed.  We also see that the value of Leroy’s real estate is $150 dollars.  His family also lives near his brothers Preston and Bluford.  During this time period the slavery debate was raging across the United States.

In the 1860 Census, Leroy’s family is still living in Amherst and Abraham Lincoln was elected President.    The value of his person estate is listed at $390 dollars, his eldest son is still living at the residence has a personal estate of $275 dollars.  We have the children’s name and ages.  I will have to look to see which of his sons if any went to fight in the Civil War.

Child Age
William 26
Robert D 24
James 20
John Nicholas 18
Margaret V 16
Sarah Ann 12
George S 10
Charles W 16
Lemuel Dabney 8
Mary Ann 6

 

In 1866, his wife of 32 years dies.  Leroy was 60 years old.

In the 1870 Census, Leroy and his family are living still living in Amherst County.  The value of his personal estate is listed as $100.  I wonder if the value is diminished because of the state of the Union or if he saw father time coming and gave his land and assets to his children.  Another interesting item on this census is that the census asks about the ability to read and write.  The census indicates that the three boys and the oldest girl living in the home cannot read or write.  The youngest daughter, Mary, age 14 is listed as attending school.

Leroy dies on 20 March 1871 in Amherst Virginia.  It is unknown where he is buried.  In June 2012, I went on a genealogical visit with my mom, aunt and sister to Amherst, Virginia.  We visited three Hicks cemeteries, but some stones were in rough shape.  I did not find his.

I usually like to add pictures to my stories but I didn’t have anything that fit.  So, instead I am going to put some pictures from the genealogical visit in 2012.  I was so blessed to have this time to learn from my Mom and Aunt.  Their stories give shape to the facts and figures of genealogy.

In from of Hicks Country Store

In from of Hicks Country Store

Formerly Hicks Property

Formerly Hicks Property

Mom and Carol

Mom and Carol

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

Raleigh Hopper Mathews

When Raleigh Hopper Mathews was born on October 30, 1809, in Oglethorpe, Georgia, his father, Littleberry, was 23 and his mother, Jerusha, was 19. Raleigh grew up in Oglethorpe County and lived there his entire life. To give some context to this time period, James Madison was president of the United States. At that time there were 17 states. When Raleigh died, Lincoln was president and the country was at war with each other and there were 34 states in the Union.

 

Confederate States of America flag, circa 1861

Confederate States of America flag, circa 1861

Raleigh or Rolly as it was written on many documents was the oldest son of 14 children. Raleigh married Mary Ann Dowdy on 26 October 1835, in Oglethorpe County (Palmer, 1994). According to records that I could find, they had 11 children. Mary Ann Dowdy (1818-1889) was the daughter of Richard and Nancy E. Jones Dowdy.

Raleigh’s four eldest sons all served in the Confederate States of America. Fleming Jordan Mathews (1836-19908; Surgeon), Francis Marion Mathews (1838-1925), Richmond Butler (1842-1932) and Berriam McPheron Mathews (1843-1864? presumed to have died during the war). The youngest son, James Calvin Mathews (1855-1937) was too young to fight. Raleigh himself died during the first few months of the Civil War, he was only 51 years old.

I keep thinking about Raleigh’s wife, Mary, she would have had to bury her husband, and wake up every day knowing that four of her sons were off at war. The strength she must have had to carry on to attend to her other seven children (Cena Ann (my 2nd great-grandmother), Sarah Jane, Emma Jerusha, Mary Susan, James Calvin, Nancy Ella and Martha E.  Then in 1864, she loses another son Berriam to the war (I am still researching this event).

Additionally, what a financial toll this would have. In the 1860 Census, the value of property for Raleigh was $2000 and the value of his estate was $5000. In the 1870 Census, Mary’s property value was listed as $1000, and the value of her estate was only $500.

Sources:

Genealogy of the Mathews Family of Ancient Wales, England and America by Jerry Mathews Palmer, February 3, 1994.

US Census

 

 

Another Tract of Land

One of the important things about genealogy is placement of our ancestors in the time and space in which they lived. I have learned more about history than I ever thought I would.

Recently, I found another piece of property for sale that has a family Tract name. The name Holt was my great-grandmother’s maiden name. Georgia Kate Holt was born 26 Mar 1883 in Naruna, Campbell County. I wrote about her father, Guilford “Walker” Holt last July on this blog.

Holt Aerial

Google Image of the Holt Tract

Google Image of the Holt Tract

The interesting thing about find this property is to ponder all of the life’s events that occurred here. Georgia Kate was the eldest child of Sue and Walker Holt nine children. Raising nine children is rough anytime but this was after the Civil War, and the Wild West was in full swing. Jesse James and Billy the Kid are both shot and killed. The Brooklyn Bridge and the Washington Monument are both completed before the turn of the century.

Georgia and her siblings were born and raised in Campbell County. The census records indicate that they lived in the Falling River District, which is located near and around the town of Naruna. Tobacco was the major crop for Campbell County. “Brookneal served as a major tobacco market for many years” due to its proximity to the Staunton River (Campbell County Website). This was probably the crop of my ancestors.

 Georgia Holt Sublett 001

I cannot seem to find the marriage date for Georgia Kate and John Thomas, however, according to the 1910 Census, we find them living in Campbell County, and luckily, one of the census questions was how long in present marriage. They indicated 9 years. Therefore, it is safe to assume that sometime after the 1900 census, they married. There is no way to know how far away the lived from her parents. We do know that they remained in the same Enumeration District (Falling River) during the 1910 and 1920 census. Georgia’s father dies in the spring of 1929. On the 1930 Census, Georgia’s mother Sue Etta Wood Holt is now living in the home with Georgia and her husband John Thomas.

Georgia and John Thomas go on to have children of their own: Claudia, Anne, Lacy, Mae and Clarice. We have already discussed my grandfather Lacy Luke Sublett, but we will soon discuss the others.

JT Sublett and Georgia 001

Until later, help me explore backwards.  If you have anything to add, please let me know.