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.

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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.

 

Chicago born and raised

Margaret Agnes Kersten was the grandmother that I never met. My Aunts and father both stated she was a religious woman. She is one of my ancestors that I wished I could have met.

Margaret was born to Peter and Anna Stalhaber Kersten in Chicago on March 13, 1906. She was the second child born to Peter and Anna. She was baptized at St. Anthony of Padua on 15 April 1906 (Source: Delayed Birth Certificate). Margaret and her older brother William were first-generation German Americans. Just for a frame of reference, in 1906, Theodore Roosevelt was the President of the United States.

In the 1910 Census, the family is living at 2804 Calumet Avenue. Also living there are three boarders. Her father Peter is a brewer.

Kersten Home-1910 Census

Kersten Home-1910 Census (source: Alookatcook.com)

When she was 8 years old, World War I started. I wonder what it was like for such a young girl when I am sure her parents were worried about loved ones that were still in Germany.

When she was 14 years old, Women got the right to vote with the passing of the 19th amendment. I wonder if she ever voted?

In 1920 Census, the family is living at 2411 South Park Avenue with her parents, her Uncle Johann Kersten, her cousin Harry Stalhaber and three lodgers. She is 13 years old. Margaret and her brother are listed as attending school. I wonder what she thought about having three lodgers in her home. I know at 13 years old, young girls and boys are wanting their privacy. I am sure there was not much of that in the household of 8.

Kersten Home-1930 Census

Kersten Home-1930 Census(source: Alookatcook.com)

 

I have a letter from Fred to his father, Papa dated 7/27/26.  He is living and presumably working at the Palmer House in Chicago.  He writes,

Marge is all enthused with expectancy and I hope not in vain.  I know I will do my utmost to make her as happy as my means and brains will allow.  She is sure one sweet girl and deserves a whole lot more than she is getting but if I can make her happy, I sure will as she wants.

On September 18, 1926, Fred and Margaret were married at Saint Dorothy’s Church in Chicago, Illinois. The witnesses listed were Joseph Donnelly and Helen Diefenbach. I believe Helen was Margaret’s first cousin. The story about how my grandparents met is a little vague. I think it was Aunt Lee that told me she heard that Margaret and her friend were walking down the street when Fred and his friend walked by. Apparently, Fred starts chatting her up. The rest is history…

In the 1930 Census, Fred and Margaret are raising their first-born, Vivian, at 509 79th Street, Chicago. Fred is listed as unemployed and Margaret is listed as working as a stenographer in the Chemical Industry. The rent is $50 per month and they have a radio. It is interesting that Fred is not listed as a veteran. In some records, the census taker makes a notation as to who they spoke to at the residence. This record does not list that. I wonder if Margaret’s mother is caring for the young Vivian, or is Fred taking care of her. Recall, this is 1930 and the depression is in full swing.

Whitehead Home-1930 Census

Whitehead Home-1930 Census (source: google maps)

By the 1940 Census, the last one that has been made public, Fred and Margaret are living at 618 East 77th Street. Fred is indicated as the respondent in this census. He is now working as an Accountant doing tax appraisals. Margaret is listed as not working outside the home. But, how could she, she had Larry, age 3, Annette, age 7, and Vivian, age 12. The question about education level shows that Fred, completed the second year of high school and Margaret, completed the 7th grade. So, why did Margaret stop going to school? Is this accurate?

Whitehead Home-1940 Census

Whitehead Home-1940 Census (source: Google Maps)

I have a 1950 Tax Return. This was the tax return for the year her husband, Fred, died (4/3/50). It listed her occupation as a Stenographer. The family is listed as living at 7939 Champlain Avenue with her parents. It shows that Fred last wages were for James R. Casey on Clark Street. If I recall, I think this was an accounting office. Margaret’s listed occupations in 1950 were at Maywood Park Trotting Association and Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railway Company.

Kersten Home

Kersten Home (Source: Google Maps)

At some point she moves to 8638 South Sangamon Street, as that is the residence listed on her death certificate.  Margaret died 27 August 1967.  She was 61 years old.

Margaret Whitehead's Home

Margaret Whitehead’s Home (Source: Google Maps)

I would like for my Aunts and Father to chip in and send me some more memories of their mother. I have written far more than I had planned.  Hopefully we  all learned about a wonderful woman, Margaret Agnes Kersten Whitehead.

Below are some more pictures that I wanted to include.

Whitehead Family

Whitehead Family

Fred and Margaret

Fred and Margaret

Fred and Margaret

Fred and Margaret

Margaret, Larry, Vivian, Kathy

Margaret, Larry, Vivian, Kathy

 

Happy Easter!  Join me again later as we explore backwards!

 

 

Vignettes and such

I have been busy and not able to do as much research as I would like. But, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year and post a new message.

 

I have shared Martha Whitehead Moore’s stories before. Below is another story.

Grandpa takes us to the circus

This was in 1914 or thereabouts. Luther Harris drove Grandpa (Gus Stevens), Walter (Walter Chandler Stevens) and me to Athens to see the “then” popular circus, Barnum and Bailey.

I was frightened at seeing so many strange animals. The crowd was so thick, tall and big, I couldn’t see over the people. Luther, Bless his heart, picked me up and lifted me to straddle his neck on his shoulders in order to see what was going on. Then I felt safe and could see. Grandpa held Walter’s hand so that he would be OK. It was lots of fun – especially the monkeys.

Luther, the brother of my good friend Agnes, worked for Stevens, Huff & Co. – and boarded at Uncle Chandler’s (Walter’s father.) My father (Walter Whitehead) had worked at Stevens, Huff & Co and lived in one room in the back of the store. This was when he was about 16 or 18 and not married to Mama.

Stevens Martin [& Co.] grew out of the Sandy Cross store and there was a Stevens Whitehead in Comer (Uncle George [Whitehead]).

We were probably the first chain store in existence.

 

The reason why these little vignettes are so important is that they provide an insight into the lives of our ancestors. We all have stories and memories. However, something inside of us thinks that our memories are not worth writing down, not worth sharing. I beg to differ. I am grateful for Martha’s stories.  She shares funny times and frightening times, but each time we learn a little bit more about her and her family.  Here is one of mine.

When I was a young girl, my father used to take the four of us to see the Cleveland Indian’s play baseball at Municipal Stadium. It was also called Lakefront Stadium due to its proximity to Lake Erie. I remember several occasions going to the stadium for Bat Day or Ball Day. If there was a promotional day going on, we were there.

On one occasion, Dad, Kathy, David, Joey and I went to the lakefront prior to the game for a pregame lunch. I cannot recall if my mother packed us a picnic or if Dad bought us hot dogs. But I do remember a local news crew filming at the same location. I think we got o the news, but I am not sure if my memory serves me correctly? I will let my siblings chime in!

Chief Wahoo

Chief Wahoo at Municipal Stadium

Not sure where, but age is about right.

Not sure where, but age is about right.

What are some of your favorite vignettes?

 

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I am going to Georgia on a genealogical journey!  I am going to be ‘exploring backwards’ in the exact same places of some of my oldest ancestors. I am going to meet some extended family along the way.

Why do genealogists like to go on these adventures? Well, unbelievably, not everything is on the internet. You have to get out from behind the monitor sometimes to see what all there is to explore.

I have written on this blog before about some of the places I would like to explore, homesteads, churches, and cemeteries, etc.

Two family homes in Oglethorpe and Madison County come to mind. My recent connection with Sara (my second cousin) has me more curious than ever. Her and her brother, James, own the two family homes that I have been interested in revisiting.

Sara wrote in her last email that the Carlton house was built around 1919-1920. Luna May died on 16 July 1921. “The house was designed by her around her…Papa never finished the upstairs.”

I did know that the house was designed with her (Luna May) in mind due to the debilitating arthritis she had. I also knew that I had stayed at the house when we went to visit in the early 1980’s. But, I didn’t know that the upstairs had not been finished. As a child, we do not look at those things. I remember it being the biggest house I had ever been inside. It was so grand and stately.

Walter and Luna May

Walter and Luna May Whitehead

There seems to be some confusion as to the original Whitehead owner of the Whitehead Homeplace and when exactly it was built. According to the book that I used previously the original owner was Samuel Whitehead (Rogers, 1971). I just assumed since it was directly in my family tree that it made sense that it was Samuel Whitehead (1760-1844). But it could have been Joel’s son Samuel (1821-unknown). However, on my copy of the book, there is a handwritten note by Martha W. Moore that states it was built by George Wiley Whitehead. This makes more sense to me as this was Walter’s father.

Whitehead Homeplace (Rodgers, 1971, p69)

Whitehead Homeplace (Rodgers, 1971, p69)

There are some deed books and marriage books in the local court houses that are calling on me. I would like to figure out once and for all who was the original owner of this homestead.

 

 

 

Source: The Housing of Oglethorpe County, Georgia 1790-1860, Ava D. Rodgers,
Publisher: Florida State University Press, Tallahassee, 1971
St. Petersburg Printing Company, St Petersburg FL
Page 69