Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Follow That Trail of Crumbs

Atlanta Constitution, 19 Jun 1899
source: fold3.com

It all started the other day when I treated myself to a year's subscription to fold3.com.  I immediately was searching for information about the Perkinson family when I discovered there were also a number of nonmilitary documents available through fold3.com.  Expecting to find only service records, I found this announcement of the upcoming wedding of my aunt, Leila Perkinson, the sister of my grandfather, Oscar Dean Perkinson, Sr.

I had to print the article and read every word because it was full of family information.  For starters, Leila's wedding took place just a month before Leila and Oscar's widowed mother married Willis A McAfee.  There she was, planning her daughter's wedding and probably thinking of her own upcoming nuptials at the same time.  It was interesting to also see the connections mentioned to noted Baptist ministers, specifically my 2GGrandfather, William Hiram Dean.  It also mentioned the Rev. Sam Dean, a name I continue to run across but have not yet found the definite connection to other Deans in my family tree.  Now clarifying that connection with Sam Dean has been added to my To-Do-List

The announcement of wedding plans also provided some background information on the young couple.   Leila had graduated from Shorter Female College, today known as Shorter University, my alma mater.  Although her husband had died before I was born, I had always heard that he worked on the railroad.  Now I know that Uncle Ed Stephens was with the Atlanta, Knoxville and Northern Railroad.

The names of the wedding party were also included in the article, several of whom were familiar names.  I recognized an uncle, Howard Perkinson, as well as my grandfather Oscar Perkinson.  The maid of honor, however was someone new to me, Miss Emma Nichols of Edgewood, a cousin.  She would also have been a cousin of my grandfather and a relative of mine, so I wanted to know who she was.

My first step was looking at my family tree in Family Tree Maker.  Cousin Emma would have to have been a sister either of Leila's mother (Luella Dean) or Leila's father (William Howard Perkinson), a sister who had married a Mr. Nichols.  I have been focusing on the Perkinson family long enough to initially eliminate the possibility that Emma came from that side of the family.  Looking closer at the Dean side, I saw that Luella Dean's mother was Emma Lee Benson, possibly the source of Emma's name.  When I scrolled through information on Emma Lee Benson's family, I saw that she had two sisters, Sarah Anne Benson, and Abby Jane Benson. Perhaps Sarah or Abby could be the mother of "Miss Emma Nichols of Edgewood".

But where was Edgewood?  Placesnamed.com showed an Edgewood, Georgia, just east of Atlanta.  Other Edgewoods were further away from Woodstock, Georgia and might not be Emma's home.

Since Leila's wedding took place in 1899, I looked at the 1900 census for Edgewood, De Kalb, Georgia, in hopes that Emma might be single and still living at home with her parents.  Some days, things actually fall into place.  I searched for any Nichols living in Edgewood, De Kalb, Georgia, with a child named Emma and quickly found a census record for Emma and her family, first try.(1)  Emma's mother was listed as Sallie Nickols and her father as David Nickols.  I have come across enough Sarah / Sally / Sallie names for the same individual that I felt this might be the family of Cousin Emma.  A check of the 1880 census for this same family listed them as David and Sarah A Nichols along with the names of daughters Emma and Minnie and son William.(2)

My next stop was the Georgia Virtual Vault to look for marriage and death records pertaining to this family.  My general search for records on David Nichols lead to a death certificate for a Minnie Nichols and another piece of the puzzle.  There was Minnie of an age corresponding to ages found in the 1880 and 1900 census records (check mark).  Minnie's father was listed on the certificate as David Nichols (check mark) and her mother as Sara Benson (fireworks, please).  The information on the death certificate was provided by William M Nichols, the brother listed in the 1880 census (check mark).  I wasn't as successful in locating a marriage record at the Virtual Vault for David Nichols and Sara Benson.  Another task on my To-Do-List.  At least my other efforts have lead to establishing the probable family for cousin "Emma Nichols of Edgewood".

Death Certificate, Minnie Nichols
source: Georgia Virtual Vault

All in all, the wedding plans article turned out to be worthwhile to study in detail because it lead me to new information about my family.  I learned the employer of my uncle Ed.  I got another push to learn more about the Rev. Sam Dean.  And, I have the probable family for Cousin Emma Nichols, my first cousin, three times removed.  Not bad for a few hours of following the tidbits mentioned in an unexpected newspaper article.

(1) Georgia, De Kalb County, Edgewood, 1900 U.S. Census, population schedule. Digital Images. Ancestry.com. http://ancestry.com : 2013.

(2) Georgia, Paulding County, Old Twentieth,1880 US Census, population schedule. Digital Images. Ancestry.com.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories*: December 22 - Christmas Homecoming

We're not quite sure when it started, but the Nelson family has gathered for a big family dinner one Saturday close to Christmas for probably the past thirty years. This event has even taken on its own name, "The Very Nelson Christmas", VNC for short. E-mails, texts, and conversations about it fondly use that term these days.

Besides the families of my husband and his brothers, it has also included various in-laws, cousins, and "friends". The family all knows that bringing someone really special to the VNC is tantamount to an engagement announcement.

The food is unbelievable -- turkey and dressing, ham, my sister-in-law's macaroni and cheese, vegetables from summer gardens, salads, everyone contributing something wonderful. And then, the desserts. It is so worth dieting the week before and after.

By the time everyone finally gets there, all surfaces in the kitchen and breakfast room are covered with wonderful things to eat. The 30+ of us find a seat at one of the tables around the house. These days we have The Brothers' Table (our generation), The Kids' Table (our children and spouses), and The Little Ones' Table. Regardless of where we sit, there is a lot of laughter, plus table-hopping is allowed.

Weather permitting, after the fabulous meal, there might be some football or basketball played outside while others find a quiet corner to snooze or read or continue to catch up on family news. We'll gather near the tree for family pictures. The afternoon ends with a cut-throat Christmas gag gift grab. Gifts have ranged from a goldfish to "cute" holiday lawn decorations to the sign pictured above; gone are the early days of giving Starbucks or McDonald's gift cards. Every once in a while, a really nice gift appears, and the good-natured smack talk rises to a new level. It is as much fun to watch the gift grab as it is to participate. As for that sign at the beginning of this post, it is now displayed in the home of one of my children who delighted in "stealing" it from a cousin.

Finally it is time to gather up plates of great left-overs for the road. Time for another round of hugs and Christmas wishes. Time to look forward to next year's Very Nelson Christmas.

*The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family's holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mystery Monday: What Happened to Hiram Pinkney Duck?

"Question Man" source www.mrmediatraining.com

Sometimes a name or circumstance just keeps nagging for research.  That has been the case for me concerning Pinkney Duck.  You have to admit, he doesn't have a very common name, so he should be easy to research.  Think again.

I first stumbled upon Pinkney Duck when looking at the 1880 census records for Thomas and Hannah Nelson, residents of Fair Play, District 1028 of Cherokee County, Georgia.  It seems that Pinkney was living with the Nelsons as a boarder who worked on the farm when the census was enumerated on the 9th or 10th of Jun 1880.  Pinkney caught my attention because he was listed as having diphtheria.

A second check of census records showed Pinkney  as living with his mother, Jane Duck, in the Jerusalem District of Pickens County, Georgia in a 15 Jun 1880 enumeration.  Pinkney is listed as working on his mother's farm with no illness or disability mentioned in column 15.

Then I found Pinkney listed a third time on a 16 Jun 1880 census enumeration.  For the 16 Jun counting, Pinkney is still living with Thomas and Hannah Nelson although the residence is listed as District 1008 of Cherokee County, Georgia.  Two items caught my eye.  This time Pinkney is listed as a nephew, and his illness was recorded as typhoid fever on the day of the census visit.

I can see possible explanations for the three census entries.  The two Cherokee County entries can be the result of the Thomas Nelson family living on the border of two different militia districts, District 1028 and District 1008.  A number of people show up on both districts in the same order, so apparently they were counted as being in two different districts.  As for the listing with his mother in neighboring Pickens County, Georgia, Pinkney's time with the Nelson could have been a short term stay.  His mother could have considered him to still be a member of her family and just told the census enumerator about her son.  After all, people didn't have to be physically before the enumerator when the information was recorded.  This isn't the nagging question about Pinkney.

After 1880, what did happen to Hiram Pinkney Duck?  Did he die of diphtheria?  Was he in poor health due to typhoid fever?  Did he live a long, healthy, and productive life?  I have no idea.  That's my big question, especially since he might have been a relative (if he were Thomas and Hannah Nelson's nephew).

I first started the draft for this post about two months ago.  I felt certain that I could easily learn more about Pinkney due to his unusual name.  Even using variations of his name (Hiram / Hyram / Pinkney / Pickney / H P Duck) I have nothing more to add.  So far my research log shows only where I've looked and not found any additional information, including 

  • 1900 or later census records - no mention in any state
  • FindAGrave and BillionGraves - no mention
  • Cemetery registers found on USGenWeb sites for the state of Georgia, specifically the counties of Cherokee, Gordon, and Pickens - no mention
  • Military registers listing soldiers in the Spanish-American War - no mention
  • County Marriage Books as well as Death Certificates available online through the Georgia Archives
  • General searches on Ancestry, FamilySearch, and Mocavo
Maybe this post will someday be read by someone who does know more about Pinkney, and I'll get some answers.  Until then I feel like a child, playing hide and seek, calling out "Pinkney, come out, come out, wherever you are".

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories*: December 14 - Christmas Cookies

When our children were younger, I would go on a baking frenzy Thanksgiving weekend.  No fighting the malls for me.  While everyone else in the family was watching all the football games, I was happily baking Christmas cookies to store in the freezer until Christmas break.  

I usually made seven or eight different kinds of cookies, including favorites for each family member. My personal favorite was one I called "Sugar and Spice Cookies".  It was based on a recipe found in a cookbook I purchased years ago during a visit to Old Salem in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.(1)

Sugar and Spice Cookies

3 sticks butter
4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
5 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Combine flour, cream of tartar, salt, soda, and nutmeg.  Set aside.  Cream butter and sugar in large mixing bowl; stir in eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla, lemon, and almond extracts and beat well.  Gradually add flour mixture and blend thoroughly.  Place in greased bowl and chill overnight.  Roll out on floured pastry cloth and cut with cookie cutters.  Place on greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 325 until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

Makes 5 dozen cookies

NOTE:  The cookie dough can also be rolled into logs, wrapped tightly in waxed paper, and refrigerated overnight.  The cookies can then be sliced from the logs and baked.


*The Advent Calendar of Christmas memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family's holiday history twenty-four different ways during December!  Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

(1) Cooking in Old Salem.  Williamsburg, VA : Williamsburg Publishing Co, c1981.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories*: December 9 - Christmas Crafts

One of the joys of retirement is having more time to make special things for others.  One of my Christmas craft projects this year has been making a set of Wizard of Oz puppets for one of my grandchildren.  This little one loves The Wizard of Oz and wants to grow her hair long enough to braid, just like Dorothy.  Although she probably won't recognize it, remnants from some past projects made their way into her puppets.

As I worked on the puppets, I remembered fondly several Christmas crafts given to me as a child.  One year an aunt sent me a Christmas tree made with graduated rings of white crinoline covered with stars, all stacked on a candle.  For years, I felt this was the most beautiful Christmas tree in the world, especially when I was allowed to put it together on the candle as we were decorating the house.  Another special hand-made Christmas gift was an embroidered doll blanket made for me by my Grandmother using scraps of silk fabrics.  Both the crinoline Christmas tree and the doll blanket have long since gone, but I still keep happy memories of both.

Shh-h-h-h!  Don't tell my little one about her puppets.  I want it to be a big surprise for her.

*The Advent Calender of Christmas memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family's holiday history twenty-four different ways during December! Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories* December 3 - Christmas Music

The Trapp Family Book of Christmas Songs
selected and arranged by Franz Wasner and illustrated by Agathe Trapp
Pantheon Books, c1950 

My Grandmother, Gertrude Andrews Myren, was an accomplished musician.  She was also a fan of the Trapp Family singers, having seen then perform.  Years ago, my mother and I spied this book, The Trapp Family Book of Christmas Songs.  Mother and I knew it would be the perfect Christmas gift for Grandmother, and it was.  Now the book has been passed on to me and is one of the first of my Christmas things to be put in place each year.

The book opens with an introduction by Maria Auguste Trapp in which she described the various types of Christmas music associated with different cultures throughout the ages.  The beautiful illustrations throughout the book were woodcuts done by Agathe Trapp.

What makes this book such a special part of Christmas for me, beyond its association with my Grandmother, is the variety of carols it includes - Latin, traditional English and German carols, American folk carols, as well as music from Austria, Poland, and other countries. The book is truly a reminder that Christmas does not belong to any one culture, it is for all people to celebrate.

Besides, where else besides this book could I find all the verses of "O Tannenbaum!" in German?

*The Advent Calendar of Christmas memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family's holiday history twenty-four different ways during December!  Learn more at http://adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Military Monday: Ernest Vaughn Perkinson

Ancestry.com recently added a new database, "Georgia, World War One Service Cards, 1917-1919".  I had already used their database of World War I Draft Registration Cards for a number of my relatives, but I wanted to look around this new database since it contained records about officers in World War I from the state of Georgia.

I started by searching for any Perkinsons in the database.  The only family name shown was that of my Grand Uncle Ernest Vaughn Perkinson.  Side 1 of Ernest's service card showed the date of his appointment as an officer as well as a list of the various places he had been stationed.  Side 2 provided some new information, the fact that he had been inducted at Washington, DC.  All this time I thought that Ernest had been back in Cherokee County, Georgia.

Georgia, World War I Service Card for Ernest V Perkinson, side 2
source: Ancestry.com

The Service Card showed that Ernest was inducted into the Army on 29 Jul 1918, appointed Sergeant First Class on 6 Aug 1918, then honorably discharged on 6 Oct 1918 to accept a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant.  He remained with the 472 Engineers until he was finally discharged on 2 Jun 1919, six months after the war had ended.  The Service Card had provided a clear timeline of Ernest's military service.

But what brought Ernest to Washington, DC to enlist, especially as his residence was listed as Woodstock, Georgia?  That answer came as I looked back at his draft registration card.  It turns out that Ernest had been a surveyor with the International Boundary Commission of the State Department.  In the 1910 census, Ernest's occupation had been listed as a civil engineer with the US government.  Now I knew more about this work.  He had actually registered for the draft in Maine in May, 1917, as he apparently was working there as a surveyor.    Interestingly, by direction of the US Boundary Commissioner, he was seeking an exemption from the draft. 

World War I Draft Registration Card for Ernest Vaughn Perkinson
source: Ancestry.com

The final bit of military information I found that day was the application filed by Ernest's wife for a military headstone for his grave.(1)  It was interesting to see the verification of Ernest's military record - enlistment date, honorable discharge, his rank and branch of service - that was part of obtaining that marker for him.  The only surprise was seeing his name listed as Ernest Vaughn Perkinson.  The draft registration card had listed his name as Vaughn, but I had assumed it was just recorded incorrectly by the draft registrar.  All these years I had thought (incorrectly) that his middle name was spelled Vaughan, like the maiden name of my Grandmother Annie Laurie Vaughan Perkinson.  Wrong!  Ernest was related to Annie Laurie only as her brother-in-law, so there was no requirement that his name be spelled as my grandmother's surname.  Where the Vaughn in Ernest's name come from is probably another story.

Lessons learned:  
  • If you use Ancestry.com, it pays to look at their list of new and updated databases.  There is no telling what you might find.
  • Take the time to look at previous records with new eyes.  I had looked at Ernest's draft registration card before but had not noticed the link to Washington, DC, or the request for a draft exemption.
  • Once again, information about a relative has lead me to learn more about my country's history, in this case the work of the International Boundary Commission.  I had assumed that the US / Canada border had been firmly established long before 1918.  The Boundary Commission's website provides some interesting information about the work of this joint US / Canadian commission, work which continues today.
  • One more reminder that assumptions aren't facts.  Just because Ernest's middle name was Vaughn did not mean he was related to the Vaughan family, even if my mind kept automatically making that connection.
(1)  Ancestry.com. U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. "Application for Headstone or Marker" for Ernest Vaughn Perkinson; citing Microfilm publication M1916, 134 rolls. ARC ID: 596118. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Record Group 92. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Connections, Resources, and a Book

source: Museum Store Association website

When I started writing my blog it was just a way to share my research with family and others.  As I continue to write, I am thankful for the new connections this blog has enabled me to make.

I am thankful for the unexpected contacts I have made with other family members.  Some contacts have been with distant cousins living miles away, those with whom I have been able to swap family stories, photographs, family trees, and other information.  Sometimes the initial contact comes months after I write a post mentioning a family member.  This just shows the far reaching effects of posting on the internet.  Some of these contacts are just a few exchanges of e-mails, others continue, but each has provided new information about my family or my husband's.

All genealogy information isn't on the internet, and I'm thankful for that.  This year I've visited several smaller research centers where I've been amazing at the quantity and the quality of the information each contains.  The Bell Research Center in Cumming, GA and the T. Elmer Cox Library in Greeneville, TN were real gems.  Besides the information I found in books there, each visit introduced me to an individual working there who was a fount of local history information.  The internet can't quickly tell you the connection between your ancestor's property and present day roads or the backstory for a name witnessing a relative's document.  There is still no substitute for sometimes interacting with a real person in your research (and that's not just because I'm a former school library media specialist).

Earlier this year I became a member of The Organized Genealogist group on Facebook.  I have picked up a number of organization tips from the postings by group members.  It has been interesting and helpful to see have different people have such creative ways to address a common issue or to see different ways I can tweak things to work in my situation or work space.  Thanks to Susan Petersen for starting this group and for helping us as we try to maintain order in the midst of chaos.

Finally, I am so thankful that I purchased a download copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.  Previously, my source citations were minimal so I made the purchase to help me in this area.  But her book isn't merely a book about how to correctly cite a fact.  It really gets into the evaluation of sources so that I have a better grasp of the reliability or accuracy of the information I come across.  Sure, my citations are more complete and better written, but her book has really opened my eyes to  consider the source as I am researching more stories to celebrate.

Monday, November 18, 2013

... and there was James Houston

Portrait of James Houston that hangs in the Blount County Courthouse
Presented by Mary Blount Chapter, DAR(1)
Although I have lived in Tennessee for a number of years, James Houston has turned out to be the person who has made the early history of Tennessee, especially that of East Tennessee, come alive for me.  Previously I had written about the various places James traveled as a Revolutionary War soldier.  As I looked at events over the next forty years of his life, he seemed to show up in some unexpected places as the western frontier was growing into the state of Tennessee.

Following the Battle of King's Mountain, James returned home to Washington County, Virginia.  True to form, he didn't stay there very long as he headed to Tennessee to begin a new chapter in his life.  Sometime after 1872 James and his family moved from southwest Virginia to Greene County, Tennessee with his name showing up on the 1873 Greene County Tax List.(2)  When the first court of pleas and quarter sessions met in April 1873, there was James Houston listed as one of the original six court magistrates.(3)

My eyes flew wide open when I came across a document signed in April 1785 by the Governor of the State of Franklin, John Sevier.  In it Sevier named Justices of the Peace for Greene County.(4)  Once again, there in the list of the new appointees was James Houston.

Justice of the Peace Appointments for
Greene County, State of Franklin, USA
signed by Gov. John Sevier 
For people with Tennessee roots, finding a document linking a relative with John Sevier is almost like finding a link to George Washington.  Sevier was, among other things, the first and only governor of the State of Franklin, a six-term Tennessee governor, and a congressman, all before his death in 1815.(5)  The number of things named for John Sevier in this part of the state - a county, a town, streets, schools, and even an old hotel - attest to the esteem with which John Sevier is held.  But I digress.

The next surprise came as I was looking through the Greene County, Tennessee, Minutes of the Court of Common Pleas, 1783-1795.  I saw James Houston listed for several years as an juror in the quarterly court held there four times each year.   According to the minutes, in Nov 1783 James was named as a Deputy Surveyor for the county, then among the entries for May 1785 was something new about James: "James Houston Esq is appointed Sheriff and enters into bond himself with Col. Geo Doherty and David Craig Esq in the sum of 5000 pounds for the faithful discharge of his duty in office." (6)  James served as the sheriff of Greene County until a new sheriff was named in Feb 1786.

James and his family next moved to Blount County, Tennessee sometime after the late 1780s.  Again, he proved to be involved in the growth of the area and its politics.  Goodspeed's History of Tennessee From the Earliest Times to the Present had a list of early Blount County officials.  Once again, there was James Houston, listed as Clerk of the County Court from 1796-1818.(7)

Life wasn't entirely peaceful in the Tennessee territory in the late 1780s.  James was still living in the frontier, and the area of his home became known as Houston Station, identifying it as a populated area.  Following the Indian War of 1788, James actually filed a claim with the territorial government to be repaid for "ammunition and supplies procured by him to protect Houston Station during Indian War of 1788 by order of Colonel Daniel Kennedy".(8)

By 1795 there was movement around the territory to petition the US Congress for statehood.  Pat Aldridge, in her book The Overmountain Men,  wrote of some of the early events moving toward statehood, telling how "members of the first election, held by counties, met in Knoxville on Jan 11, 1796.  The following elected members assembled in Knoxville, presented their credentials, and took their seats ... [from] Blount County:  David Craig, James Greenaway, Joseph Black, Samuel Glass, James Houston."(9)  The group spend  the next three weeks writing a Constitution for the new state.  Among this mixture of former Virginians, Carolinians, aristocrats, and frontiersmen, James Houston was considered to be a moderate.(10)  By 6 Feb 1796, the new constitution had been written and approved.  The fifth person signing the Tennessee Constitution of 1796 was familiar; there was James Houston's signature on the new constitution.

Tennessee Constitution of 1796 (11)
In 1806, the US Congress allowed Tennessee to charter a number of academies.  Porter Academy in Maryville was one of those chartered in Blount County.  The present day Porter Elementary School in Maryville has a history of Porter Academy on the school's website as well as the historical marker shown below.   A few weeks ago I spent time looking through the Blount County, Tennessee, Deed Book 1, 1795-1819, abstracted by Jane Kizer Thomas.  I must have found close to 20 entries for James Houston, many of which involved buying, selling, or receiving property for Porter Academy.  Each transaction included a list of trustees for Porter Academy, and there would be James Houston listed as a trustee of the school.

Porter Academy Historical Marker
Maryville, Tennessee
James Houston turned out to be one of those distant relatives who I've hate to let go.  To me, he had been like one of those late-night infomercials, claiming " ... but wait, there's more!"  And there has been.  In addition to serving our country through a number of military enlistments, in peace time James served as an early court magistrate and sheriff, was an early appointee in the short-lived State of Franklin, served as  Clerk of the Court in Blount County for many years, was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1796, signed the Tennessee Constitution of 1796, and was involved in the direction of education in Blount County.  Thanks for the history lesson, James.

(1)  James Houston, portrait. Blount County Courthouse, Maryville, Tennessee,  http://www.tndar.org/~maryblount/NewProvidence.html.

(2) C. Hammett, extractor, from "1783 Greene County, TN Tax List" by Mrs. Louise Wilson Reynolds, published April 1919, D.A.R. Magazine, reprinted in The Overmountain Men by Pat Alderman, Johnson City, TN :  Overmountain Press, 1970, pp. 239 and 242. All [bracketed] words are additions by C. Hammett; extraction accessed on http://www.tngenweb.org/revwar/counties/greene/1783.html.

(3) Ray, Worth S, Tennessee Cousins : a History of Tennessee People, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1950. 

(4) John Sevier, Justice of the Peace Commissions, 14 Apr 1785; Volunteer Voices, http://diglib.lib.utk.edu/cgi/b/bib/bib-idx?type=simple&c=vvs-bib&sid=76b0e70f011a1619a6fcfef24612c7fd&q1=john+sevier&rgn1=entire+record.

(5)  "John Sevier", The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, version 2.0http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entry.php?rec=1190.

(6) Burgner, Goldene Fillers.  Greene County, Tennessee Minutes of the Court of Common Pleas, 1783-1795.  Ensley, SC : Southern Historical Press, 1982.

(7) The Goodspeed History of Tennessee from the Earliest Times to the Present, Nashville, TN:  Goodspeed, 1886-1887.

(8) "Tennessee Petition, 1822-1823", database, Tennessee State Library and Archives, http://www.tn.gov/tsla/history/misc/petition05.pdf.

(9) Alderman, Pat, The Overmountain Men, Johnson City, TN :  Overmountain Press, 1970.

(10) Barnhart, John D. "The Tennessee Constitution of 1796: a Product of the Old West"  Journal of Southern History, vol. 9, no. 4, Nov 1943, www.jstor.org.

(11) Tennessee Constitution, 1796, Tennesse Virtual Archive of the Tennessee State Library and Archives,  http://teva.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/tfd/id/90.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Military Monday: James Houston's Travels in Revolutionary Times

Map of Military Travels of James Houston, 1776-1780

Every once in a while, I stumble upon someone who turns out to be one interesting individual.  That has been the case with researching James Houston, the brother of Margaret Peggy Houston, my husband's third Great Grand Aunt.  I have been trying to learn more about Margaret and her family, and I kept coming across information about brother James when I was really just seeking more about Margaret.  Now I'm glad he kept popping up.

The areas where James traveled are taken from the original Revolutionary War Pension Application filed by James Houston in 1832.(1)  In his application he described his travels as a soldier during those years; I saw the names of many familiar places.  If you look at the map, my hometown of Johnson City, TN, is about in its center.  It turns out that James and his travels took him all around the area where I live and have visited for many years.  

Veterans Day seems an appropriate time to look at James and his service with the colonial forces.  His pension application provides sufficient details for me to be able to make the map above as well as locate the photographs below.  All quotes below regarding a specific place or area are taken from his application using the transcription found on the Southern Campaign Revolutionary War Pension Statements & Rosters web site.

Point A  Spring, 1776, Augusta County, Virginia -- "He entered the service in the spring season ... in the year 1776 under Captain William Buchanan as a volunteer in a patrolling Company, -- [he] resided in the County of Augusta in the State of Virginia at the time he entered the service."

Point B  September, 1777, Washington County, Virginia -- "Declarant removed from Augusta County ... to Washington County in Western Virginia in the month of September 1777, and in the month of February 1778 again entered the Service in said County of Washington, Virginia ... in a volunteer Company commanded by Captain Aaron Lewis.

Point C  February, 1778, Long Island on the Holston River, Tennessee, present day Kingsport, TN -- "Said Company belonged to a Regiment of Infantry who embodied at Long Island on Holston River commanded by Colonel Evan Shelby.

South Long Island, Kingsport, TN
source:  www.discoverkingsport.com

Point D  1778, Holston River at its junction with the Tennessee, present day Knoxville, TN -- "From Long Island on Holston the Army proceeded in canoes down Holston River to its junction with the Tennessee ... "

Holston and French Broad Rivers join in Knoxville to form the Tennessee River
source: www.Riverlorian.com

Point E 1778, Mouth of Chickamauga Creek, present day Chattanooga, TN -- " ... then down the Tennessee River to the Mouth of Chickamauga Creek, where we proceeded to destroy the encampments and provisions of a part of the Cherokee Indians, called Chickamaugas, but had no encounter with the Indians."

Chickamauga Creek, Chattanooga, TN
photo source: www.tnhistoryforkids.org

Point F and Point G October, 1778 to January, 1779, Powell Valley [There is a present day Powell Valley, TN and a Powell Valley, KY.  The state line between Tennessee and Kentucky may not have been widely known at the time of James' application] -- "About the first day of October 1778 again entered the service as a volunteer in the Company commanded by Captain Nathaniel Williams being a Company of Guards to reconnoiter the frontiers, and marched to Powels [sic Powell's] Valley in Kentucky and continued in service on the frontiers of Kentucky protecting the interior from the incursions of the hostile Indians until the month of January 1779."

Point H  April 1779 to October 1779, head of the New River, VA -- "Entered the service in Washington County, Virginia as Ensign in the Volunteer Company commanded by Captain William Edmondson.  ... said company reconnoitered as a company of discovery and guards on the frontiers of Washington, Virginia and on the head of New River, for the purpose of suppressing the disaffected and Tories."
New River in southwest Virginia
photo source: www.dgif.virginia.gov

Point I  October, 1779 [sic, 1780] at Watauga River, Carter County, Tennessee, present day site of Sycamore Shoals State Park -- " ... said Company joined the Regiment of volunteers commanded by Colonel William Campbell at Watauga River in what is now Carter or Sullivan County in the State of Tennessee ... "
Overmountain Men reenactment at Sycamore Shoals State Park, Elizabethton, TN
photo source: http://tnstateparks.com

Point J  1780, Battle of King's Mountain, NC / SC -- " ... from thence the Army were marched under the command of Colonel Campbell into the State of South Carolina [for] the defeat of the British and Tories at King's Mountain. ... from King's Mountain said Regiment returned home to Washington County and were discharged."

Monument at Kings Mountain National Military Park
photo source: Wikimedia Commons
Houston's return to Washington County apparently ended his military service.  His later life saw him playing various roles in the history of the young state of Tennessee, and that is definitely the subject for another post. 

(1)  "U.S., Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900," database and images. www.ancestry.com; citing Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files (NARA microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls). Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Amanuensis Monday: Helping the Widow Padgett*

* The Civil War records I downloaded from fold3.com about my husband's Great Grandfather Jesse Padgett, provided a wealth of information about Jesse.  The records also included a number of papers pertaining to Jesse's widow and her efforts to secure a pension following his death.  Below I have transcribed two of the records involving Parthenia, the Widow Padgett.

Note from Confederate Records for Jesse Padgett
source: www.fold3.com

State of Georgia
Fulton Co
[no date]
I do hereby constitute and appoint Capt Thos E King my attorney to collect for me what is due to my deceased husband by Confederate States for services rendered and commutation for clothing and any pension that may be due me as his widow.
[signed] Partheny Padget X her mark
J. L. Wood [and] J Roswell King Witness

Letter from Confederate Records for Jesse Padgett
source: www.fold3.com

Office Ivy Woolen Mills
James Roswell King [and] Thomas E King
Roswell, Cobb Co., Ga, 10th Apr 1862

Mr. W A I Taylor, Auditor
Treasure Dept CSA 2nd Auditors Office
Richmond, VA

Dear Sir,

Enclose please find certificate marriage Parthany Padgett, widow of Jessee Padgett private Co H 7th Regt Ga Vol who enlisted as a recruit 22nd Aug 1861 and died at 2nd Ga Hospital Richmond Va 2nd Jany 62.  Also I send her power atty.  You will please send me certificate of amount due her as his widow and commutation for clothing and any dues that may be due her as I am under the impression that the pay of deceased soldiers was confirmed to their families.  I acknowleged rect of certificate for Mrs. Jno Gossett.  The claim of Mrs. Jas Burton which I have before you has not been attended to.  We rejoice with humility before God for the great victory over the vandal Yanks.  It makes me almost forget my wound.

Very truly yours
Thos E King, Capt
7th Regt Ga Vol.

Additional information pertaining to the note and letter:
  • The note names Thomas E King as her attorney to act on her behalf.  It is not dated but was probably written on or before the April 10th letter.
  • The letter seems to be the earliest correspondence seeking to obtain any death benefit due Parthenia Padgett by the Confederate States of America following the death of her husband Jesse Padgett.
  • Thomas E King was one of the owners of Ivy Woolen Mills, Roswell, GA.  The company was a manufacturer of the "Roswell Gray wool" used in the manufacturing of Confederate uniforms.(1)
  • Thomas E King was the captain of Company H, 7th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, Pvt.Jesse Padgett's unit at the time of his death, 2 Jan 1862.  Capt King was wounded at the Battle of 1st Manassas,  21 Jul 1861.(2)
  • Jno Gossett (John E Gossett), the 4th Sergeant of Co H, was wounded at the Battle of 1st Manassas and died from his wounds 14 Aug 1861.(2)
  • Jas Burton (James A Burton), private in Co H, was wounded at the Battle of 1st Manassas and died from his wounds 8 Aug 1861.(2)
For me it was interesting to see that the Confederate States already had a system in place in its early days for attending to pensions for their soldiers or their widows.  There is significance also in seeing that Capt Thomas King was the attorney seeking pensions for the widows of three soldiers from his company.  As I have hear before, a good officer always takes care of his troops.  Whether he was paid to do so or not isn't as important as seeing how Capt. King was continuing to care for his men and their families.

(1) Brown, Fred, et al.  The Riverkeeper's Guide to the Chattahoochee. University of Georgia Press, 1997. Digital images, accessed through Google Books.

(2) Henderson, Lillian.  Roster of Confederate Soldiers in Georgia, vol. 1.  Hapeville, GA : Longine & Porter, 1959-1964.  Digital images.  http//www.hathitrust.org : 2013.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Military Monday: Private Jesse Padgett

Jesse Padget, Company Muster Roll
source: Fold3.com
Last week I spent some time at the Bell Research Center in Cumming, Georgia, using their extensive collection of Civil War resources.  I was trying to find more information about Jesse Padgett, my husband's Great Grandfather.  While I didn't find all the information I was seeking, I came home with a lot of new information, more questions, and some insight into researching our ancestors who were in the Civil War.

Company H, 7th Georgia Infantry, :Roswell Guards"
Roster of Confederate Soldiers in Georgia (1)

Prior to my visit to the Bell Research Center, based on his wife's application for a widow's pension, I already knew that Jesse Padgett had been a member of Company H, the 7th Georgia Infantry, known as the "Roswell Guards".(2)  I had been concerned, however, because I could not find Jesse listed in the Roster of Confederate Soldiers in Georgia.  Seeing Jesse's enlistment and death dates written on the company muster roll pictured above caused me to take a closer look at his widow's application for a Georgia Widow's Pension and the Roster of Confederate Soldiers in Georgia.  The enlistment and the death information from the muster roll is the same as that of the Roster's entry for Jesse Parker.  In addition, from the application for a widow's pension, the original three witnesses providing affidavits concerning Jesse Padgett's death (F. A. Hargrove, J. L. Gantt, and J. S. Pickens) are all listed in the Henderson roster for Company H.  I ended up feeling that Parker is just another variation of the Padget / Padgett / Paget  / Paggett name, perhaps based on the transcription of records containing Jesse Padgett's name.

With all the newly found information from the Center's Fold3 access, I knew I needed to put it into a timeline so I had a clearer idea of Jesse's life as a soldier.  Below is Jesse's Civil War timeline.  Events of historical significance are shown in red; events relating to Jesse and his wife/widow Parthenia Thomason Padgett are in black.

Aug 1860Jesse Padgett, Parthenia, and children residing in Atlanta area1860 census, Ancestry.com
19 Jan 1861Georgia secedes from the Unionwww.civilwar.org
9 Feb 1861Confederate States of America formedwww.civilwar.org
12 Apr 1861Attack of Fort Sumterwww.civilwar.org
21 Jul 1861Battle of Bull Run (or 1st Manassas)www.nps.gov
23 Aug 1861Jesse Padgett enlists in Co H, 7th Georgia, in Richmond, VAwww.fold3.com
31 Aug 1861Jesse Padgett, Company Muster Rollwww.fold3.com
28 Dec 1861Jesse Padgett admitted to hospital, Danville, VA, then transferred to hospital, Richmond, VAwww.fold3.com
Dec 1861Jesse Padgett, Company Muster Rollwww.fold3.com
2 Jan 1861Jesse Padgett dies in hospital, Richmond, VA
3 Mar 1862Beginning of claim process for Jesse's widow, affidavit of marraigewww.fold3.com
1 Jul 1862Payment of claim to attorney for widow, $72.66www.fold3.com
1864Payment of claim to widow, $11.00www.fold3.com
9 Apr 1865Lee surrenders to Grantwww.civilwar.org
22 Sep 1891Widow files for Georgia Widows' PensionGeorgia Virtual Vault

The National Park Service Soldiers and Sailors Database provides a short history of the 7th Regiment, Georgia Infantry, the regiment in which Jesse enlisted.  It was interesting to note that Jesse was not part of the original regiment when it was organized in the Atlanta area in May of 1861.  Instead, according to the Company Muster Roll, Jesse apparently traveled to Richmond  to enlist a few months later on 23 August 1861.

Some stories suggested that Jesse had been wounded in the Battle of Manassas, but putting verifiable information into a timeline showed that Jesse had not enlisted at the time of 1st Manassas.  The 7th Georgia was involved in this battle, so I can't help but wonder if perhaps news of this battle prompted Jesse to get to Richmond and join other family or neighbors in the Confederate effort.

Jesse's widow, Parthenia Thomason Padgett, filed for a Widow's Pension from the state of Georgia in 1891.  Her application affidavit stated that Jesse caught typhoid fever while serving in the Confederate Army and had died of that disease in a Richmond, Virginia hospital.(2)  Research has shown that over two thirds of deaths in the Civil War were due to disease or poor sanitation rather than from battlefield wounds.(3)  Jesse was one more part of these grim statistics.

My biggest question involving Jesse concerns where he was buried.  Previously I had not found any mention of Jesse using either findagrave.com and billiongraves.com.  It is logical to assume that following his death in Richmond, he would have been buried with other Confederate soldiers somewhere in the Richmond area.  The Bell Research Center contains an impressive number of cemetery registers both for Georgia soldiers and for Georgians buried in other states as well as registers developed by organizations and societies.  I spent close to 45 minutes going through a number of these registers but was not able to find any listing for Jesse Padgett (or any variation of the spelling of his name).  

Oakwood Cemetery, Richmond, VA, 1865
photo: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Online Catalog

The Confederate burials in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery have been well documented while the approximately 7000 burials in Oakwood Cemetery, Richmond, are not as easy to verify.  It may require a trip to Richmond and talking with cemetery officials to determine whether or not Jesse was interred in the Confederate area of this cemetery.  Although present day photos of Oakwood Cemetery show small numbered marble blocks as grave markers, this photo of Oakwood taken in 1865 provides a different view of the cemetery.  This image is enough for me to want to try and answer this final question about Jesse. 

(1) Henderson, Lillian. Roster of Confederate Soldiers in Georgia, vol. 1. Hapeville, GA:  Longine & Porter, 1959-1964. Digital images. http://www.hathitrust.org : 2013.

(2) "Padgett, Parthene, Mrs." in "Confederate Pension Applications." Database and images.  http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us:2011/cdm/compoundobject/collection/TestApps/id/237240/rec/2 : 2013.

(3) Fause, Drew Gilpin, "Death and Dying."  http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/national_cemeteries/death.html : 2013