Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's Enough To Make You Smile ...

Thumbs Up Smiley; source: skotan,

Some days you just have to smile.  I had one of those days the other day as I was looking for more information about the Hillhouse family.

Recently I had posted about Elijah Hillhouse who was both a Mexican war veteran and a Confederate soldier.  Through I found some additional information about Elijah which provided another view of this man.  My search for information on Elijah Hillhouse provided a link to the Bartow County [Georgia] Genweb site where I found a transcription of a newspaper article from the 4 Jul 1872 issue of The Standard and Express.  The article "Cherokee County Sketches, X" was about Elijah Hillhouse.(1)  The article spoke about his being elected to public office several times [tax receiver], living in the Sixes area of Cherokee County, and his death "on a distant battlefield".  There was enough information in the article that I could feel certain that it was about our Elijah. 

Smile #1:  It turns out that Elijah Hillhouse, the soldier and tax receiver, was also a "singing school" teacher.  The article told of his involvement with the style of hymn singing known as Sacred Harp singing.  Growing up in the South, I had long known about Sacred Harp (or shaped note singing), especially since I lived in an area which occasionally held Sacred Harp singings.  These singings were usually held at small churches located out in the county.  More recently, I heard a family quartet singing in the Sacred Harp tradition at the funeral of my husband's uncle.  The haunting beauty of that music later sent me to YouTube where I listened to a number of wonderful examples.  If you want to learn more about this style of singing, view the movie trailer for a documentary about Sacred Harp music, "Awake, My Soul".  Learning that the soldier was also a singer was a surprising bit of information.

Smile #2:  Since my husband and I both have deep roots in Cherokee County, Georgia, I wasn't surprised to learn about our ancestors knowing each other.  In fact, I wrote a post about a few of these connections.  Continuing my research on the Hillhouse family, I was looking at some World War I Draft Registration Cards, primarily looking for birth date, residence, employment, and information on next of kin.  I was glancing over the card for John D. Hillhouse, taking notes, when the signature of the Draft Board Registrar caught my eye.  It was that of my Grandfather Oscar Perkinson!  I have his familiar signature on some family documents, but this was my first time to find it in such an unexpected place.  I knew he had been a community leader in Woodstock, having been elected to several offices, but it was a surprise to now learn that he had been a part of the local Draft Board in Cherokee County.

World War I Draft Registration Card for John DeWitt Hillhouse

It turned out to be a good research afternoon.  I had learned two surprising facts about two different relatives using two different resources.  Good reason to smile.  Good day to remember on my next brick wall, wheel spinning day.

(1) "Cherokee Sketches, X", transcribed by Linda Baty.  The Standard and Express, July 4, 1872; accessed through

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