Monday, April 29, 2013

Life With Louise * - Dean and the Kitten

*Mary Louise Vaughan Dallis kept several photo albums and scrapbooks.  They were filled with family pictures and scenes of life in LaGrange, Georgia, between 1900-1935.

Dean and the kitten., ca 1908
One album had this picture of my father, Oscar Dean Perkinson, playing with a kitten.  They look as if they are sitting in a box in the yard of the Vaughan family home.  The fence in the background looks like the same one where the three little sisters had posed for a previous post's picture.  This is also the earliest picture of my father that I have so it is very special to me.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Life With Louise* - The County Fair

*Mary Louise Vaughan Dallis kept several photo albums and scrapbooks.  They were filled with family pictures and scenes of life in LaGrange, Georgia, between 1900-1935.

Welcome to the 1914 Troup County Fair.  I only wish there were more photographs from it in her albums.

Biplane, 1914

Horse racing at the fair

Monday, April 22, 2013

Life With Louise* - The Circus Comes to Town

*Mary Louise Vaughan Dallis kept several photo albums and scrapbooks.  They were filled with family photos and scenes of daily life in LaGrange, Georgia between 1900-1935.

In 1905 the Ringling Brothers Circus came to LaGrange, Georgia.  Louise included several pictures of the circus parade in her album.  Apparently people were able to walk around the back lot of the circus because Louise (or someone else) was able to take snapshots of some of the circus animals.

Now I think of these pictures whenever I see a box of animal crackers!

Circus Parade, LaGrange, Georgia, 1905
Ladies in the parade
Here come the clowns!

Every circus needs elephants

and camels.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday : Life With Louise* - The Coverlet

*Mary Louise Vaughan Dallis kept several photo albums and scrapbooks.  They were filled with family photos and scenes of life in LaGrange, Georgia between 1900-1935.

Baby on coverlet, taken about 1910

I kept being drawn to this photo whenever I browsed through Louise’s photo albums.  Perhaps it was because of that sweet baby who I think  is one of my father’s three sisters.  Sometimes it was the bonnet or the woven willow chair that caught my attention.

Suddenly I had an “Ah-Ha” moment.  I recognized the coverlet that the baby was sitting upon.  It was upstairs in my attic!

Perkinson coverlet, woven in the late 1800s

This coverlet has been in the Perkinson family for many years.  The tan and ivory coverlet consists of two woven strips, 36” x 82” that are sown together along one edge, forming a 72” x 82” coverlet.  The story I always heard was that the wool coverlet had been woven for the Perkinson family by an itinerant weaver who was traveling in the Cherokee County, Georgia area in the late 1800s.  

Herrs Antiques has an interesting history about woven coverlets, What You Always Wanted to Know about Coverlets but Were Afraid to Ask.  For additional information take a look at The University of Arizona monograph which provides a history and photographs of many of the traditional patterns used by the weavers.

Since the coverlet is estimated to be between 125-140 years old, it is showing signs of wear, so much that I will be researching how to properly care for it without causing any further damage.  I’m just glad my mother and I didn’t cut it up years ago to make throw pillows or toss it aside as rag!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Life With Louise* - Little Sisters

*Mary Louise Vaughan Dallis kept several photo albums and scrapbooks.  They were filled with family pictures and shots of life in LaGrange, Georgia between 1900 – 1935.

Charlotte, Sue, and Eleanor Vaughan
Being in a family of seven girls, Louise had lots of pictures of her sisters.  This is my favorite from her albums.  Pictured above are the three youngest Vaughan girls L-R, - Charlotte, Sue, and Eleanor.  Based on their apparent ages, the picture was probably taken about 1907-08 in the yard of the family’s home in LaGrange, Georgia.  All three look like they are having a good time!

Little sisters eventually grow up. 

After attending college, Charlotte taught English at the Birch-Wathen School in New York.  I had always heard that she was a writer and worked with a publishing company, but I have not yet been able to verify this family story  Charlotte never married, and died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 37.   

Sue Brown Vaughan, like her sisters, attended Southern Female College in LaGrange, Georgia.  She married a young LaGrange physician, Wallace Henderson Clarke, and they raised a family of four children.  Sue had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh; she looks ready to laugh in this picture, too.

Eleanor Dean Vaughan attended Southern Female College and, like her sisters, taught school for some years.  She married Barron Nichols, a professor at Winthrop College.  Eleanor and Barron had no children except for the hundreds of students with whom they were in contact each year.

I have so many fond memories of Great Aunt Sue and Great Aunt Eleanor.  I was delighted to find this happy picture in one of Louise’s scrapbooks.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Treature Chest Thursday: Life with Louise - The Photo Albums

Mary Louise Vaughan Dallis, ca 1915

Mary Louise Vaughan Dallis, my great aunt, was an interesting lady.  Born in 1889, she was one of six girls born to Albert Bell Vaughan, Jr. and his second wife, Georgia Camp Vaughan, one of seven daughters in the family of nine children.

Like all the Vaughan girls, Louise attended college, later teaching school for many years.  She was also a talented artist.  I am privileged to have three pieces that she painted including the watercolor she painted as a wedding present for my husband and me.

Through the years, Louise also kept a number of photo albums and a scrapbook, four of which were passed on to me by an aunt.  Besides family portraits, the books also have photos that show life in the central Georgia town of LaGrange, Louise’s home for most of her life.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing some of the interesting things I have found in her albums and scrapbook.  I hope you enjoy looking at “Life With Louise”.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Military Monday : Saying "I Do" During World War II

Celebrating their wedding during World War II,
photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Last week I transcribed several hundred wedding records from the mid-1940s and realized what a picture they gave of life during World War II.  Before my last upload to FamilySearch, the teacher in me ended up doing a quick item analysis of the records.  It resulted in an interesting snapshot of life.

Calhoun County, Alabama, the county of the records I was transcribing, was home to an Army base, Ft. McClellan.  It was not surprising that over 50% of the records I transcribed were for soldiers stationed at the base, along with several Navy and Marine personnel apparently home on leave.  Over 5% of the records involved brides in the military, one indicator of the number of women serving in the military at that time.

Others not in the military listed their occupation as working in a defense plant, ship builder, aircraft  inspector, or bomb maker, again showing the jobs that were supporting the war effort.

Some days were busy ones for the base’s Army chaplains as almost 15% were married on base, with chaplains sometimes performing three or four weddings on a single day.  I also came to recognize the names of several local ministers who married a number of the couples.

In the past I sometimes had found marriage record registers in the South segregated by race, but these 1944-1945 records I transcribed had all races recorded in the same register.  Another small sign of changes in society.

I felt some kinship with many of these couples.  My husband and I set our wedding date according to when he could get a week-end off, knowing that he would soon be heading to Vietnam.  My father was a soldier in World War II and my mother a nurse, married at the base chapel.  A brother-in-law is a retired Army chaplain.  So to all those couples associated with the military whose marriages I indexed, Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday : A Scholarly Man and His Book

Sermon Notebook of Albert Bell Vaughan, Jr.
Albert Bell Vaughan, Jr., my Great Grandfather, was a prominent Baptist minister from the late 1800s until his death in 1930.  When he died in 1930, The Christian Index, the newspaper of Georgia Baptists, was filled with laudatory comments from ministers and leaders as to the depth of Albert Bell Jr's knowledge of the scriptures.  Looking through one of his personal notebooks recently gave me a glimpse of this for myself.

The son of a farmer and country preacher, my Great Grandfather Albert Bell Vaughan, Jr. was born in rural Pike County, Georgia.  As a young man, A. B., Jr. received the notice of some other ministers who encouraged him to attend college following his ordination into the ministry.  In 1878, A. B., Jr. received an A. B. degree with honors from Mercer University, Macon, Georgia.  Eleven years later, in 1889, this same university would honor him by bestowing on him an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree.

From his ordination in 1874 through his final church ministry in 1928, A. B., Jr. was known for his scholarship.  A scan of his notebook showed how easily he would reference scriptures from both the Old and the New Testaments as he outlined sermons and debated issues with himself, sometimes referring to the original Greek when discussing nuances of meaning.
Page 1, Sermon Notebook of Albert Bell Vaughan, Jr.
The first entry in this notebook was made in January, 1892 and contains notes made over several years.  On the first page, Albert Bell, Jr, indicated that he would be recording his thoughts about  "the Scriptures and works, theological, philosophical and historical."  Every page is filled with his handwriting, pages of Bible passages, or newspaper articles, with notes seemingly added at various times to previous entries.

In 1894, according to the notebook, the issue of the equality of men and women within the church was becoming a serious issue.  Albert Bell, Jr. started by referring to a newspaper article about this subject then studying the topic for himself.  It was fascinating to read his notebook as he discussed  the matter as a debate topic over the next ten pages.  

First, he stated the question: "Is the public speaking of women before mixed audiences, i.e. Church Assemblies, wrong?"  He then proceeded to present the negative side with Biblical references to women and their role throughout church history .  Next, he stated the affirmative side, again citing numerous scriptures.  Because this was well before the days of scanning or photocopies, A. B. actually cut up pages from a Bible, glued them into the notebook, then added personal commentary beside key passages.  He ended his personal treatise with two conclusions, both supporting the affirmative side of his debate.  It all made for fascinating reading.

The book is over 120 years old, the leather cover and lined pages crumbling to the touch.  But looking at it gives insight into the man, his heart, and his mind.  Recently I passed the notebook on to one of my children who is interested in reading it.  I'm sure A. B., Jr. would be glad to know that another descendant will be reading and pondering "the Scriptures and works, theological, philosophical and historical." 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Talented Tuesday: The Fiddlin' Farmer

Bill Nelson, ca 1930s

William Nelson, born in 1875, was a blacksmith and a farmer. This man, my husband's grandfather, spent his entire life in Cherokee and Gordon counties in north Georgia.  He was a hard worker, farming on rented land.  Together with his wife Cleo, he raised eight children.  Some years, crops failed, and twice, according to old family documents, he had to use his best cow, "the black one with horns," as collateral for a bank loan .  William's story was also the story of many of our ancestors a century ago.

But Bill, as he was known to his friends, also had a special talent.  He was a natural-born fiddle player.  As far as we know, Bill never had a music lesson in his life.  Somehow, he just knew how to play a violin, make that a fiddle.  No one was ever quite sure exactly how he learned to play a fiddle  or why or even where he got that fiddle..  He had learned the skills of a blacksmith from his father and taught them to his son, my father-in-law, but playing his  fiddle was just something special and unique about Bill.

My father-in-law used to tell how his father would spend a hard day in the field, then, come evening, take his fiddle, sit on the front porch, and play for what seemed like hours.  The old country and tradition tunes he played could be heard rolling around the Georgia pines.  Sometimes neighbors would come by to talk, and Bill and his fiddle would carry on well into the night.

None of his children seemed to have inherited Bill's innate talent, and his fiddle just stayed in a closet for years following his death.  About 15 years also, my father-in-law gave the fiddle to one of our sons, another Bill Nelson.  Maybe someday one of William Nelson's great great grandchildren will discover that spark, and  Bill's fiddle will sing again.