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.

 

 

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

Patriot Walter E. Whitehead

My great-grandfather, Walter E. Whitehead, was the consummate patriot.  I have written about him several times.  You can read about him here:

https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/the-spectrum-of-emotion/

https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/what-is-a-quartermaster/

During my last visit to his home, my cousin Sara allowed me to bring home this box of Whitehead artifacts.  I call it that because while it pertains to my family, it is also a part of the American Story.  Take for example this letter to the editor, dated 24 December 1934.  Walter wrote this letter to the Athens Banner Herald in response to a news article they had run.  In this letter he exudes Patriotism.  I am going to give you a few lines here, and then let you read the rest in his own handwriting.

 

“The Legion (American Legion) believes that to protect and preserve union parallel the constitutional rights of its citizens is its first duty.  Our wars have not been fought for gain on territorial expansion but for human rights.  The signers of the Declaration of Independence, the writers of our Federal Constitution, our forefathers who won and established this free government, by force of arms have committed to our charge and keeping a great heritage (Walter E. Whitehead personal papers).”

“The Legion is proud of the courage and achievements of American Soldiers.  They have displayed heroic virtues on the field of battle and they are determined to pay them homage.  And it is their further purpose to instill in the minds of the coming generations, patriotic love for their country and its institutions (Walter E. Whitehead personal papers).”

My favorite line is “Our wars have not been fought for gain on territorial expansion but for human rights.”

Walter was a leader of men.  Recall he was a Georgia State Senator on two occasions.  He was also Commander of his American Legion Post, Rotarian President, Quartermaster, Major, Business Leader.  He also found a way to serve his country in three wars.

There are more speeches in this box, I will post some more later.

Page 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side Note:  Please take the time to look at the letterhead.  This letterhead is a story in and of itself.  For example, take the statement of goods: Guano, Wagons, Farm Implements and Cotton Buyers.  All of these items seem pretty normal in terms of a General Merchandise Store, however, guano sticks out.  I have only known guano to be bat poop.  But it turns out it was used extensively in the 19th and 20th century of farming.  See, a whole new post….if you can’t wait to learn more about guano, I found an article here:  https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/when-the-western-world-ran-on-guano

Additionally, please look at the members of the Stevens, Martin & Company.  This is the first time that I have seen my 2nd great-aunts, Cynnie and Pellie Stevens on letterhead.  I have heard that they helped the family immensely and neither of them ever married.

Family if you have stories to add, please feel free to comment here!  This is why I do this.

Until then, I will be exploring backwards.

 

Krista

 

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.

Family Heirlooms

 

While exploring backwards, I have become the repository for some of our family’s heirlooms.  I could not be more proud.  However, in order to be a good custodian, you want to know the story behind the object or objects.

I have my great-grandfather Peter Kersten’s revolver.  It is a top-break Iver Johnson.  It is a very old gun.  I suspect he purchased it so after he arrived in the United States.   Peter immigrated in 1893.  The model that I have is probably from 1895.

Peter and his gun

Peter and his gun

As discussed previously, I am the custodian for the Whitehead Family Bible.  You can read about it here:  https://exploringbackwards.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/the-bible/

I also have two books that my grandfather, Fred Whitehead had in school.  One that I received from my cousin Sara, and just recently, my sister, Kathy passed on the Fryes Higher Geography book.  Inside the book, it has my grandfather’s signature and a date of September 16, 1913.  That is over 100 years old that he was holding this book.  He used this textbook in high school.

Fred's textbook

Fred’s textbook


September 1913

September 1913

Most recently, my sister let me take home a portion of a tea set of two mugs and a sugar bowl.  It is unknown if there were more pieces at one time.  The history of the set as we know is that it came from my German Grandparents, Peter and Anna Kersten.  After inquiring with my paternal Aunts, neither of them knew anything about it.   I am stuck without a story.  You see, the set has images of the Cherbourg Swing Bridge that was created in 1885 in Cherbourg-Octeville, France.  This is on the English Channel.  Therefore, it is unknown how my great-grandparents come to have this piece.  I am left to wonder.  Maybe it was a house-warming gift from a family member.  Maybe they took a trip at one point after they were married; a honeymoon even.  Maybe Anna found it at a flea market or estate sale.  Who knows?

Anna Kersten's tea set

Anna Kersten’s tea set

I think I will try to my second cousin, 2x removed, Father Ron.  Maybe he can shed some insight.

Heirlooms.  You do not need to fill your house with everything they owned, but to share these priceless family artifacts with each other is what genealogy is all about.  Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

 

 

 

Martha’s Place

Martha Ann Whitehead Moore

During our Genealogical Visit to Georgia in May 2015, Cousin Sara and Charlie took us to go see Martha’s Place.  It is no longer owned by the family, but it was such a stately old home.  We enjoyed our visit there, imagining it in its peak.  I imagined the beautiful wrap around porch with a few rocking chairs, a hanging swing.  I could definitely drink some ice tea out there.

Martha was the fourth and last child born to Walter Everett Whitehead and Luna May Stevens.  Born on September 14, 1904 in Madison County.  According to the family history book compiled by Chloe Whitehead, May was bedridden after Martha’s birth.  May had terrible rheumatoid arthritis.  As a result, she went to live with her maiden aunts, Pellie and Cynnie Stevens and her grandfather, Gus (Whitehead: 1983).

I wonder how hard that must have been to have your mother alive, but you have to stay with your Aunts and Grandfather.  Also, how hard it is to be parents and to know that you cannot physically meet the demands of your child.  Nevertheless, it built a very strong bond in the Whitehead and Stevens families that existed for many years to come.  According to her daughter Anne, “She loved growing up with the two aunts and had many happy memories.”

Martha was educated at Shorter College, Rome Georgia.  In 1924, she became a teacher.  She taught in Oglethorpe County for almost two decades.   She also was chosen the Star Teacher of Oglethorpe County for 10 of 11 successive years (Stevens, 1973).  Her daughter, Anne, recently told me.

“Mama graduated from Shorter College in Rome Georgia in 1924.  She was 20.   She taught in Jefferson, GA, Marion, VA, Elberton, GA and Oglethorpe County GA (that last one was 1954-1969; I was there!)  During WW2 she was in Miami working for the government.”

She married William Austin Moore on 26 December 1946 and her first and only daughter Anne the next year.  Her husband was a Major League Baseball player having pitched for the Brooklyn Dodgers and a couple of other organizations.

I think it is her genes that finally started allowing our Whitehead’s to grow older.  She outlived all her siblings.  She passed away September 21, 2001 at the age of 97.

 

Martha was also a story-teller.  I am so glad to be in possession of an electronic version of “Family Stories.”  Martha wrote down stories that had been told to her.  She saved them so that her grandchildren, Julie and Karen could understand the family history.  I will continue to share those, and they are a treasure in and of themselves.

Below are some pictures we took during our tour.

Martha Whitehead Moore Home

Martha Whitehead Moore Home

long side of porch

long side of porch

side of home

side of home

Charlie giving us the history of the home

Charlie giving us the history of the home

Source:

Whitehead, Emma Chloe Adams, The Adams Family, James Adams Line (1785-1982), 1983.

Stevens, Claude, The Stevens Family, John Stevens Line, 1973.

Vaught, Anne, Email correspondance, May 1, 2016.

 

 

Georgia Kate

Sentimental Sunday

Apparently I have the matriarchs on my mind right now.  I know historically the men have been the bread winners.  For the most part, family the women kept the home and the family together.  It was no different for Georgia.  I do love her name, Georgia Kate.

Back in 2014, I wrote about my great-grandmother Georgia Kate Holt Sublette.  We discussed her obituary that I had found.  Since then, I have found her death certificate.

Death records can be very enlightening as they tell us the cause of death as determined by a physician or a judge.  It also gives information on additional family members that we might have not any prior.

Death Certificate

Death Certificate

Georgia died on June 3, 1950, of a heart condition, myocardosis.  The death certificate indicates it was sudden.  The informant for the family information is listed as Mrs. Harry Foster, we know her better as Claudia Sublette, Georgia’s eldest child.  Georgia was 63 years old.  The death certificate also states Circulatory failure and myocardial degeneration as antecedent causes.

Georgia Sublette

Georgia Sublette

In the 1910 census, we see Georgia is living with her husband and three children, Claudia, Annie, and Lacy.  It also shows that her husband, John Thomas was a farmer.

2-Susan Holt, Georgia Sublett, Lacy and Clarice-Pete- 001

In the 1920 Census, we see that Georgia and her husband are living with their four children (Mary E, age 2; we know her as Mae) and John Thomas’s father resided with them.

In the 1930 Census, it shows the John Thomas and Georgia own the property in which they lived.  Mae and Clarice are still in the home.  Georgia’s mother, Sue Etta Wood Holt, has come to live with them.  Additionally, a boarder is also residing there, Ralph Dudley.  He is probably there to help work the land.

By following the census, 1940, in addition to Georgia’s mother, there is a nephew living in the home.   Fred Sublett, 34 years old, he is the nephew of John Thomas.  He is living in the home as a Farm Laborer.  We can presume that Fred was working the land as John Thomas was a Maintenance Patrolman for the State Highway system.  We also learn that the value of the home is $1500.  I wonder why Lacy  didn’t stay home to work the land.

Georgia Kate circa 1940's

Georgia Kate circa 1940’s

Georgia was born to Gilbert Walker Holt and Sue Etta Wood on 26 March 1883 in Naruna, Virginia.  She was the oldest of nine children.  In the 1910 census, Georgia and John Thomas Sublette are listed as married.  It seems like the approximation of their wedding date is 1901.

JT and Georgia in front of Homestead

JT and Georgia in front of Homestead

4-JT Sublett and Georgia 001

I do not have much more information than this.  So until later, I will be exploring backwards.