Thursday, May 30, 2013

Looking For Louie - The College Years

Louie Love Padgett
source: Emory Campus 1920 [yearbook]
Before his years teaching in China, Louie Love Padgett had amassed quite a college resume as evidenced by looking at his college yearbooks.  I am so grateful that in recent years Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library has digitized almost all of the university's yearbooks and has them available for free searching online  Looking into the 1920 and 1921 yearbooks has provided us with more information about Louie.

Although Louie was reared on the family farm on North Georgia, he was in a family that valued education with several of his siblings educated to be teachers.  Louie's degree from Emory was a B. Ph, Bachelor of Philosophy, a degree that even today is considered to reflect the scholarship of those to whom it is awarded.

The 1920 yearbook provided us with important dates concerning Louie.  It states that he "entered college Fall of 1915, ... entered U.S. Army June '16, service in France, January, 1917, to August, 1919, discharged as Captain October, 1919, [and] re-entered School of Liberal Arts November 1919".(1)  These dates have been invaluable as we are tracking down information about Louie's time as an Army officer in World War One.

During his years at Emory University, Louie was involved in a number of campus activities and organizations.  Louie was a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity and of the campus Ministerial Association.  He was also an active member of the YMCA organization at Emory, serving while a Junior as President of that organization in the Spring of 1920 as well as being a delegate to the Student Volunteer Convention of 1916.  This relationship may help to explain how Louie came to be hired through the International YMCA to teach in China.

Louie was also an outstanding college debater   Prior to his entering the Army, he had already been selected to be on the Debate Team for the following year.    Following his stint in the Army, Louie returned to Emory and was selected to the Champion Debate Team for 1920.  Furthermore, during his senior year as Emory, he served as the Editor of the 1921 yearbook.  Both of these activities suggest that Louie was a strong communicator.

Finally, Louie's time in the Army extended into two more campus activities.  He was a member of the American Legion Post at Emory University and served as the President of the Over Seas Club, an organization that included a number of international students from Asian countries.

No one could ever accuse Louie Love Padgett of coasting through his college years!

(1)  The Campus 1920 (Decatur, Georgia: Emory University, 1920), digital images, Emory Libraries MARBL : 2013.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Military Monday : The Tale of Two Brothers

photo source:

Memorial Day is set aside to remember those soldiers who lost their lives while serving in our military.  My husband’s GreatGrandfather, Jesse Padgett, was one such soldier.  Telling Jesse's story also needs to include the story of his younger brother, Benjamin Padgett.

Jesse Padgett had moved from the family farm in Hamilton County, Tennessee, to Atlanta, Georgia, where he was farming in the early 1860s.  Much of what we know of his life comes from the application filed by his widow Parthenia for a Confederate Widow’s Pension from the state of Georgia.(1)

State of Georgia Confederate Widow's Pension Application for Parthenia Padgett

Although family stories indicate that both Jesse and Parthenia were opposed to slavery, Jesse enlisted as a Confederate soldier on 20 August 1861.  He served in Company H of the 7th Regiment of the Georgia Infantry, also know as the Roswell Guards.

In late December of 1861 Jesse was serving with the Roswell Guards in Virginia, seeing action at Manassas Junction.  According to Parthenia’s pension application, Jesse contracted typhus fever after which he was moved to the military hospital at Richmond, Virginia, where he died on 2 January 1862.  Like so many during the Civil War, Jesse died as a result of disease and / or sanitary conditions rather than from an actual battlefield wound.

Some records indicate that Jesse was buried in the Confederate Section of the Military Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia, but specific documentation has proved difficult to locate. His widow Parthenia was left to raise their four children, five-year old twin son and daughter, a three-year old daughter, and a year-old son.  She never remarried, and following The Battle of Atlanta in 1964, according to family stories, she loaded all the family possessions into a wagon and moved the family to Gordon County, Georgia where some of her relatives lived.  Parthenia lived in Gordon County until her death in 1898.

But this is also the tale of Jesse’s younger brother, Benjamin.  According to the 1860 census, Benjamin was a medical student still living with his family in Hamilton County, Tennessee. His life took a different turn as he enlisted to serve in the Fourth Tennessee Cavalry of the Union Army in December of 1862, less than a year following the death of his brother Jesse who had served in the Confederate Army.(2)  Benjamin served as a doctor in the Union forces, an occupation he continued after the Civil War.  He also served several terms in the Tennessee State Legislature.  Following his death in 1907, Benjamin was buried in the Chattanooga [Tennessee] National Cemetery.

Living in East Tennessee for many years, I have heard and read of numerous situations in which families were torn as they had relatives serving in both the Confederate and Union forces.  This was true for the Padgett family, two brothers, enlisting to fight in support of two different causes, two different outcomes for each brother and his family, two different burial places.  But two brothers, both willing to serve and even die for their country.

(1)  "Georgia, Confederate Pension Applications, 1879-1960," database and images. ( : accessed 26 May 2013); citing Confederate Pension Applications,Georgia Confederate Pension Office, RG 58-1-1, Georga Archives.
(2)  John Wilson, "The Padgetts Were Pioneer of Ooltewah," The, 19 Feb 2006, ( : accessed 26 May 2013).
(3)   United States Department of Veterans Affairs. "National Gravesite Locator." : 2013.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Looking For Louie - Teaching in China

As related in a previous post, once Louie Love Padgett arrived in China, one of his first duties was to register as an American citizen with the American consul in Amoy, China.  In this registration he stated he would be teaching at the Tan Ka [Kah] Kee School in Chip-Bee, Singapore, China.

Statue of Tan Kah Kee in front of his memorial hall
Source: Wikipedia Commons
Tan Kah Kee was a wealthy Chinese philanthropist "who gave a million dollars, practically all of his fortune, to found the new university [of Amoy] and its preparatory schools".(1)  The Tan Kah Kee Foundation exists today, and  the foundation's web site provides further information about this gentleman's generous support and philanthropic efforts on behalf of education in China.  It was for one of these schools that Louie Padgett was originally hired as a teacher.

In May of 1922, Louie notified the US Consul in Amoy that after 1 July 1922, his local address would be Kulangsu, Amoy where he would be teaching at the Tung Wen Institute.(2)  He continued to teach at Tung Wen until he left China in June, 1924.

Old postcard with picture of the Tung-Wen Institute,

The Tung Wen Institute had an interesting history.  It was founded in 1898 by the American Consul in Amoy and a group of wealthy local businessmen.(3)  This blending of Eastern and Western education was designed to prepare the sons of the wealthy Chinese for roles of leadership in the world economy.

Louie's years in China followed the Boxer Rebellion and were in the days of the rise of the Communist Party.  Politically, it was not always peaceful during these years.  The is no way to verify one family story, but it still must be shared.  One day Louie was taking a break from his teaching responsibilities, fishing in a local stream.  Suddenly two opposing factions began firing at each other across the bridge near where Louie had cast his pole.  Quickly he had to duck under the bridge for safely until the minor skirmish ended.  Just another adventure for Louie

Finally, 25 June 1944, Louie Padgett applied for an emergency passport as he prepared to return home to Oakman, Georgia.  On this application, he indicated his desire to travel to "all countries" on his return trip to the United States.(4)  His adventure was to continue.

(1) Monroe, Paul. A Report on Education in China. New York: The Institute of International Education, 1922. Digital Images. Google Books. : 2013.
(2) US Passport Applications, 1795-1925, database and images, ( : accessed 18 May 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington D.C. ; Passport Applications January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925. Collection Number, ARC identifier 583830 / MLR Number A1 534; NARA Series M1490, Roll #1561.
(3) Catalogue of the Collection of Chinese Exhibits at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, 1904. St. Louis: Shallcross Print, 1904. Digital Images. Google Books. : 2013.
(4) US Passport Applications, 1795-1925, database and images, ( : accessed 18 May 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington D.C. ; Passport Applications January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925. Collection Number, ARC identifier 1244182 / MLR Number A1 543; Box #4358, vol. #142.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Looking For Louie - Perusing His Passport Files

Louie Love Padgett, passport application photo
Louie Love Padgett, my husband's uncle, was an interesting man.  The facts of his life are simple, born 6 Oct 1893 to John Padgett and Joella Love Padgett, educated at Reinhardt College and Emory University, rose to the rank of major in World War I, taught school in China, and later was a traveling salesman.  Recently I started looking further to learn more about the man behind the facts.

US Passport application

The first document that got my attention was Louie's passport application which he obtained prior to going to China to teach.(1)  Rather than the standard two pages, his application covered five pages due to the accompanying letters.  Continuing to turn pages provided new facts and information to add to what we already know about Louie.

This application included information about his first passport, a military passport issued 1 Jan 1918 by the War Department.  The family had heard that Louie had taught in France following his service in World War I, and the 1918 date seems to support this.  A soldier would not have need for a passport, but an individual remaining in a foreign country in a civilian capacity would need one.  Included on the application is the statement that he resided in France from Jan 1916 to 17 Jul 1919, giving more information related to his military service and possible later time as an American residing in France.

His proposed itinerary for traveling to China is part of the application.  From it we learn that he planned to sail from Vancouver on the Empress of Asia, leaving on 26 April 1921.  His travel would take him from Vancouver to Japan, finally arriving in China for his teaching position.  His application for a late April journey is stamped 9 April 1921; apparently paperwork moved more rapidly in those days.

Also included in his application are letters pertaining to his employment at the school in China.  His two-year teaching contact was with the International Committee of the Young Men's Christian Association for teaching in one of the private school in China.

Letter from YMCA accompanying the passport application

The final document in Louie's passport application was another letter from the YMCA detailing the passport application process and information concerning the payment of taxes.

Registration as US citizen with US consul in China
By 22 June 1921, Louis was in China where he had to register as an American citizen with the United States Consul in Amoy, China.(2)  This document provides additional dates for Louie's travel, indicating he left the United States on 28 April 1921, arriving at Amoy in the province of Fukien on 21 May 1921.  He states that he would be teaching at the Tan Ka Kee School in Chip-Bee and that his annual income during his three year teaching contract would be $1800 silver, somewhat higher than the average salary of $1678 reported for high school teachers by the University of Chicago Press.(3)

I ended up being pleasantly surprised by how much more we now know about Louie just by turning the pages of some standard government documents. 

(1) US Passport Applications, 1795-1925, database and images; ( : accessed 18 May 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Collection Number: ARC Identifier 583830 / MLR Number A1 534; NARA Series: M1490; Roll #: 1561.
(2) US Consular Registration Applications, 1916-1925, database and images; ( : accessed 18 May 2013); citing US Department of State, Division of Passport Control, Consular Registration Applications, Roll #: 32734_620305173_0275.
(3) Bonner, H R. "Salary Outlook for High-School Teachers." The School Review vol. 30, no. 6 (June 1922). Online archives. : 2013.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing

Megan Smolenyak2 had written an interesting book, filled with tidbits of celebrity genealogy and solid research techniques.  The cover grabbed my attention as I was at the library recently, and I found myself looking for small blocks of time in which I could read a chapter of two.

Each chapter focuses on a different genealogical question.  I ended up with two favorite chapters, ones I continue to think about.  The book's first chapter deals with Smolenyak2's work as a forensic genealogist with the US Army.  CSI fan that I am, I remembered an episode in which a genealogist provided helpful information in the solving of a case, but Smolenyak2's work was different.  In the book she related her experiences locating the probable next of kin for soldiers whose remains had been returned to our country.  Her accounts were both thorough and touching as she wrote of this final service to our military and covered an aspect of genealogical research of which I was unaware.

What if George Washington had been crowned King of America rather than elected President?  This was the topic of my other favorite chapter.  Apparently there were those in revolutionary times who wanted to retain a monarchy in America with Washington was our king.  Smolenyak2 explores this idea, referencing the various successors named by other genealogists.  After briefly documenting her research, Smolenyak2 named her candidate for Washington's present day descendant as our "king".  It was a fascinating area of speculation about our country's history.

Through all her interesting chapters, several key points continued to come through.
  • Think outside the box when you are faced with a brick wall.
  • Everything is not answered on the internet.
  • DNA testing is an important tool in genealogy research.
  • Sometimes we find information in the most surprising places.
  • Have solid research to back up your conclusions. 
When you read Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing I'm sure you'll have your own favorite chapters.  In addition, you'll also learn the reason behind the "2" in her name.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Life With Louise* - The Car

*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.

Out for a ride in Wallace's car, about 1917-1918

Louise included this picture of three of her sisters and her younger brother riding in a car identified as belonging to Wallace Clark.  Left to right, the group includes Charlotte Vaughan, unknown woman, Sue Brown Vaughan Clark (at the wheel), Clara Vaughan, unknown woman, and Calder Vaughan.

I've dated the photograph as between 1917-1918.  Sue Brown Vaughan had married Wallace Clark in 1917, the approximate date of the photo.  When this picture is enlarged, a ring is visible on Sue's left hand, probably either her engagement ring or her wedding bad.  Another help in estimating the date of the picture were the apparent ages of Charlotte and Calder.  Included in my Vaughan Family Archives is a letter Albert Thomas Vaughan, the older brother of the siblings, had written to his family at about this same time.  He was asking them to be very careful whenever they were riding in Wallace's car.  Heartfelt wishes to all from their big brother.

I'd spent time searching online trying to identify the make and model of the car but without much success.  Two web sites, John's Old Car Pictures and Early American Automobilesboth have hundreds of photographs of vintage automobiles, but I couldn't find one that seemed to match Wallace's car.  Finally, through facebook, I contacted a high school friend who restores vintage cars, asking for help in identifing the car the family was driving.  Within a few minutes my friend got back to me, identifying the car as a T Model Ford.  Going back to the two automobile web sites, I finally found several photographs of other T Model Fords that looked very much like Wallace's car.  Great how the Internet lets us span 95 years in just a few minutes.  

Now I've started wondering if Sue actually drove the car or if this was just a posed picture with friends and family seated in her husband's car.  Wonder if DMV records are available for searching for genealogical information?  As usual, an answer to one question brings more questions to be answered.  Why am I not surprised?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Life With Louise * The Snow!!!

*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.

Yes, occasionally, it does snow in central Georgia.  These students look as excited about the snow as their counterparts today would be.  

A snowy day at school

Quite an accumulation of snow for LaGrange, Georgia

Fashionable dress for a snowy day

Monday, May 6, 2013

Matrilineal Monday : Louises Everywhere

"Kudzu, the Vine That Ate the South"
photo by Kid Doc One on flickr

While trying to tie up some loose ends related to my Great Aunt Mary Louise Vaughan, I discovered that the name Louise was an extremely popular name in her extended family.  The name kept popping up, spreading along the branches of the family tree like kudzu vine so prevalent all over the south.

Mary Louise Vaughan (Louise 1) married Walter Dallis between 1943 and 1944.  Although they had courted for a number of years, they did not marry until Louise was in her mid-50s and Walter in his mid-60s.  The bachelor Walter had always lived in the family home with his parents, later caring for his widowed mother Louiza Leslie Dallis (Louise 2).  Louiza Leslie and her husband Leslie W. Dallis (those two Leslies are another story) had six children including a daughter Louise Dallis (Louise 3).  That meant that for a number of years in this small, central Georgia town, there were two ladies named Louise Dallis, mother and daughter.  Furthermore, my Great Uncle Walter Dallis, at various times, had a mother, a sister, and finally a wife, all named Louise Dallis.

Spreading out a little further, Walter's sister Louise Dallis (Louise 3) married Emery Robert Park prior to 1920.  Turns out that Emery Park's step-mother was named, you guessed it, Louize (Louise 4).  So, Louise Dallis Park had a mother and a mother-in-law both, sharing her name of Louise, and there were two women named Louise Park, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.

Looking further into the Dallis family was an interesting experience, my first time searching without a direct blood relation being involved.  I first started exploring these Louises by checking some of the "shaking leaves" showing up in Ancestry and Family Tree Maker hints.   Quickly I discovered that Louise 1, 2, or 3 would show up as a hint for one of the other Louises.  The more I explored, the more interesting it became, especially as I learned that two of the Dallis brothers married two of the Leslie sisters, yet another story.  Hopefully, you like your in-laws in a family such as this.  

Through the years, I have seen many wonderfully original and creative names among my students.  Maybe the uniqueness of their names 100 years from now will help future genealogists who will be exploring their family trees.  Meanwhile, I will keep my eyes open for any other Louise tucked away in this branch of the family tree.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wordless Wednesday : Life With Louise* - The May Pole

*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.

I had always heard about having a May Pole Dance performed on May 1, but I had never seen one until I found these two pictures in one of Louise's photo albums.  My guess is that these pictures were taken at the school where Louise taught for many years.  Based on the clothes it looks as if the pictures were taken in the late 1920s.

The May Pole

Dancing around the May Pole