Friday, July 20, 2018

Elijah Frank Marston—the music man

The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “music.”

Elijah Frank Marston, son of James Franklin Marston and Catharine Rhoda Winburn, was born in Georgia (probably Conyers) on February 1, 1861. He was the 4th child of 10—Elizabeth Frances Marston, James D. Marston, Catharine V. Marston, Elijah Frank Marston, John Henry Marston, Thomas Stewart Marston, Horatio Seymour Marston, Carrie A. Marston, Winnie Marston, and Dan Dean Marston. He went by Frank and is the great grand uncle of my brother-in-law Randy Marston.

Frank devoted his life to music—he lived and breathed it. Once obtaining adulthood, his musical career is well documented—it’s how he earned a living and spent his free time. As you’ll see if you read this entire blog post, Frank was very much a part of the city of Atlanta’s history.

On September 23, 1870, Frank, enumerated as Elijah F, and his family lived in Conyers, Georgia. His father was a carpenter with real estate and a personal estate valued at $1000 each. Frank’s sisters Elizabeth and Catherine were both attending school and his brother James was performing farm work. At eight years of age, no mention was made of Frank attending school.

On June 18, 1880, Frank and his family lived in Conyers, Georgia. In this census, he was enumerated as Frank E. He was a stone mason, the oldest child at home now. Brothers John, Thomas, and Seymour were all farm laborers. His father was still a carpenter. Frank’s sister had gotten married and she and her husband William Wallis were living in the home with the Marston family. William was a farm laborer. Frank’s brother James D and his wife Dora and daughter Edna lived next door. By 1881, Frank had moved to 162 E. Simpson Street in Atlanta and worked as a carpenter. In 1883, Frank and his brother John played with the recently formed Atlanta Musical Union band, which had been formed the summer of 1882. As a new band, they needed uniforms so that summer they performed a series of lawn concerts across the city to get exposure to the citizens of Atlanta and to raise money for the uniforms. One such concert was held at the home of Major W. B. Cox on June 22. By October, the band had raised enough money to purchase new uniforms, just in time for a big event—the American Musical Union band was scheduled to march in the fall parade of the Governor’s Horse Guards and would perform at the laying of the corner stone of the new Gate City Guard armory. The Atlanta Constitution reported on the parade preparation on October 6, 1883:
Music and Military: The Musical Union Band and the Coming Parade of the Horse Guard.
Last night the Musical Union band held a meeting in the hall over the store of Davenport, Johnson & Co., on Alabama street. The object of the meeting was to rehearse and drill for the parade of the Governor’s Horse Guard next Thursday. The new uniforms were on hand and the members of the band wore them for the first time. The uniforms are quite handsome and consist of dark blue coats elaborately trimmed in gilt, light pantaloons with red stripes, white helmets with red plumes and white emanel [sic] leather belts with music pouches. On the hat is a plate bearing the initials, “A.M.U.” The band made a handsome appearance.
President Ed L. Voorhis, of the Musical Union, and also first lieutenant of the Governor’s Horse Guard, was present with other members of the band, and drilled the band in such evolutions as will be needed in marching. The members are apt scholars and were not slow to learn the movements.  Lieutenant Voorhis will continue to drill them from time to time. At the conclusion of the drill the band played several selections in a manner which showed a very decided improvement of late. At ten o’clock the band by invitation proceeded to the arcade of the Markham house and played several pieces. Later they favored “The Constitution” with a serenade. The band is made up of the following gentlemen: Mr. Julius Krag, band leader, Mr. C. A. Lilly, leader of the orchestra, Mr. Charles Abbott, Mr. William Villaker, Mr. Samuel Albright, Mr. C. C. Manning, Mr. Thomas Carlton, Mr. John H. Marston, Mr. Thomas Bell, Mr. E. F. Marston, Mr. James B. Marston, Mr. J. C. Cauole, Mr. D. C. Goza, Mr. E. C. Monaghan.
The band is now in fine condition and will make a hit Thursday at which time they have consented to parade with the Horse guard and take part in the laying of the corner stone of the Gate City Guard armory.
On Thursday next the fall parade of the Horse Guard will take place. The laying of the corner stone of the Gate City Guard armory will take place on the same day and the two companies and the Masons and Knights Templar will be out. The Union band will furnish the music for the occasion. The display will be well worth seeing.
The band is now on a firm foundation after a great deal of hard work for which the members and the directors deserve much credit. A few uniforms are lacking but they will be supplied speedily. Last night Mr. W. J. Bleidorn sent Lieutenant Voorhis a check for thirty dollars, which is the price of one uniform. Mr. C. M. Cady, who has done faithful and effective work in aiding and furthering the interest of the band, deserves much praise for what he has done. President Voorhis is pushing everything and with Mr. Cady will no doubt make the union a grand success.
In 1886, Frank was instructing the Tennille Cornet Band. In April, “they were thinking of going to Augusta next month to play on fireman’s parade day” according to The Atlanta Constitution on April 25. The brass band had been organized earlier that year.

Frank married Carrie Cox Armstrong, daughter of William Hugh Armstrong and Carrie Cox in Georgia in 1887. Carrie was previously married to Joel B. Joyner, who passed away on September 29, 1880. She had four children with Joel—Callie Joyner, Hattie M. Joyner, Annie Joyner, and William Hugh Joyner.

A music teacher, in 1888, Frank lived at 34 North Calhoun Street in Atlanta. The 1889 Atlanta City Directory listed Frank as a traveling salesman for the Freyer & Bradley Company and leader of the Atlanta Rifles Band. He lived at 40 Pratt Street. In April or May of 1889, the Atlanta Zouave band was organized under the leadership of Frank. According to The Atlanta Constitution, the “… Zouave band consists of twelve members, and all are thoroughly familiar with their different instruments …” In September, the band performed at the Zouaves Fair held at their Marietta Street armory. The Atlanta Constitution reported that the “… Zouave band, directed by Professor Marston, began to play dance music in a way that induced the old to forget their ailments and join in the gay whirl.” The band played on a raised platform in a room that was lavishly decorated for the occasion. In the same Constitution article, they reported “Flags and bunting had been used with so lavish a hand that not a foot of unsightly wall remained. Even the chandeliers were decorated with small American flags, and the stall of the small pony, which is to be raffled for, was the fanciest stall that a horse ever occupied.” I bet it was a sight to see! In October 1889, Frank’s 14-piece Zouave Band performed at the Piedmont Exposition, an exhibition of the “… agricultural, mineral and manufacturing interests of the great Piedmont region …” according to The Southern Dental Journal published in 1889.

The 1890 Atlanta City Directory listed Frank as the leader of the Zouave Band, renting a home at 40 Pratt Street in Atlanta. In July 1890, Frank took his Zouave Band to Asheville, North Carolina to perform for the 4th of July celebration of Richmond Pearson, who according to Wikipedia at the time was a former “American diplomat and member of the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina”. The Asheville Weekly Citizen noted that the Zouave Band “contains 18 pieces, and took the premium at the Piedmont Exposition held in Atlanta in 1889.”

Frank didn’t just play and direct the music—he composed as well. On July 27, 1890, The Atlanta Constitution reported:

Clio, The Constitution's Elephant,
The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia,
August 15, 1890
A Delightful Programme.—Professor Marston has prepared a most delightful programme, to be rendered by the Zouave band at Grant park this afternoon.
Elephant and Lion Grand March.—Professor Marston, leader of the Zouave band, which will play at Grant park this afternoon, is composing a grand march to be rendered by his band on the day the elephant and lion make their advent into the park.
The Zoo Atlanta web page reveals that they did in fact get their first elephant, named Clio, in 1890. The event was celebrated at a midsummer festival in downtown Atlanta with a parade, including Clio the elephant, marching through the street of Atlanta to Grant Park. It was described as the “greatest parade ever seen in the south.” The Atlanta Zouave band acted “as a guard of honor to the elephant.” The August 13, 1890 Atlanta Constitution article wrote … “The famous Zouave band will lead the procession. Then will come the elephant, immediately followed by the Zouaves, whose picturesque uniform, harmonize with the oriental scenes suggested by the presence of an elephant. This combination will make a brilliant opening for the panorama.”

In August 1890, the Freyer & Bradley Music Company gifted Frank a gold and silver inlaid cornet as a “tribute to his musical skill and talent.” The cornet was valued at $160 and was described “as handsome a cornet as was ever seen in Georgia.” The Freyer & Bradley Music Company was “… one of the largest music concerns in the Southern States” according to the book “Musical Courier: A Weekly Journal Devoted to Music and the Music Trades, Volumes 30-31.” The Atlanta Constitution article published on August 3, 1890 reported that “… Mr. Marston is connected with the popular firm Freyer & Bradley and has, by his diligence and many rare qualifications, completely won the confidence and sincere esteem of these clever gentlemen …” so I assume this is where Frank worked at the time. (Atlanta City Directories will later show us that Frank did in fact work there.) The Constitution also reported that the Zouave Band was “soon to become the Fourth Battalion band.”

The Zouave Band played at the 3rd Annual Piedmont Exposition held in Atlanta in October 1890. The exposition included military drills, a wild west show, a flower show, dignitaries, and of course music. In an Atlanta Constitution article published on October 24, the Zouave Band was described as “A Superb Band”:
The directors of the exposition are to be congratulated on having secured such an excellent band to furnish music for the position. Captain Marston, leader of the Zouave band, has a company of natural born musicians with him at present, and under his splendid guidance they have become one of the best bands in the south. All of their music is well selected, and rendered in a most perfect manner. Every member of the band is a soloist.
In another article published by the Constitution on October 31, 1890, the band was described as “some of the most talented musicians in the south. Their music is universally pronounced to be the best ever before furnished at Piedmont exposition.”

On November 12, 1890, the Zouave band attended the Rome Fair in Rome, Georgia where they were one of four bands entered into a musical contest. The Atlanta Constitution doesn’t say who won the contest, but it does say “… the Marston Zouave band won the plaudit of all.” I had to google the word “plaudit” so for those of you reading this who doesn’t know what it means either, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary it’s a “an act or round of applause” or an “enthusiastic approval.” The Zouave band ended the year by performing at the laying of the cornerstone of Grady Hospital on December 23, 1890.

In June 1891, four military units—the Gate City Guard, Atlanta Rifles, Atlanta Zouaves, and the Grady Cadets—were making plans for an encampment for drills and practice at Chickamauga in July. The Atlanta Constitution reported on June 24 that “It is very probable that the Zouave band will be retained.” The camp organizers did in fact arrange for the Zouave band to attend the encampment, however, there must have been a miscommunication on the dates the band would attend. On July 2, The Atlanta Constitution reported about dissatisfaction with the band leaving before encampment ended:
… “Speaking of the band brings up the situation of the camp as to music. As already stated, the Zouave band left for Atlanta at the conclusion of Colonel Wiley’s command, leaving the camp without any music but the bugle and drum. Why the band left is not precisely understood, but there is one thing certain: Colonel Jones is being very severely criticized in a quiet way among the troops in the camp, as well as by visitors, for failing to provide a band of some description. The boys say they were perfectly willing to pay for a band, and feel much humiliated that they are without one. As the captain of one of the companies expresses it, the absence of music knocks all the poetry out of camp life, and it certainly does. Bright uniforms and gallant faces do not show up half so well, moving to “Hayfoot, Strawfoot,” as to the inspiring strains of “Dixie,” or something of that sort. The tameness of dress parade, guard mount, and so forth, without a band, is like champagne without the phiz.”
The Captains Act. This morning the captains of several of the companies got together and took the matter in their own hands. They feel very keenly the situation, and at any cost determined to get a band for the review by the governor tomorrow. They feel that it would be next to disgrace for the regiment to offer itself in review without a band, and this evening a delegation went down to Rome to see if a band could not be gotten there for this occasion at least. While Colonel Jones is criticised, the Zouave band, which has been here all along, also comes in for a round of censure. Colonel Jones’s explanation is that the band did not want to make terms with him at all, that he even offered to give $50 more per week than Colonel Mercer or Colonel Wiley had paid; but Professor Marston wouldn’t stay. When this unreasonable disposition on the part of the band became manifest, it is said that Colonel Jones got his whiskers up and broke off all negotiations by cussing out the entire musical aggregation.
The colonel feels offended that the band question should have gotten into the papers, because he thinks it will create a bad impression of his regiment, but the situation has amounted to a camp sensation, especially since the colonel has been so openly criticized by the troops today for neglecting to have this matter settled long ago. Before leaving Professor Marston told me that his reason for so doing was because he and Colonel Jones could not reach an agreement, but as Colonel Jones contradicts this with the statement that he offered $300, where the band had only been receiving $250, it remains an open question. Professor Marston says his band will come back during Atlanta week, which makes it appear a little strange that he would not consent to remain. The regiment generally does not think the Zouave band has treated them right and unless Professor Marston can show good reasons for leaving them “in a soup,” his name will be “mud” so far as the Ninth regiment can make it so. Colonel Jones telegraphed for the Fourth artillery band from Ft. McPherson today but it could not be secured.” …
On July 3, The Atlanta Constitution published a rebuttal by Frank:
Professor Marston Explains. 
Editor Constitution—Replying to your article, “The Want of a Band,” as contained in the edition of Thursday, July 2, 1891, would say that neither I nor my band went to Chickamauga to spend the entire time of the encampment, nor were we engaged to do so, but arranged with Colonels Mercer and Wiley for the first and second week of said encampment at least one week previous to the opening of the encampment, which was filled to their utmost satisfaction.
Colonel Jones endeavored to obtain the services of myself and band too late, as I had secured other engagements in Atlanta during the time of his command.
I trust you will allow me space in your columns, and as prominently placed, so that the Ninth regiment may appreciate the fact that it was not my wish to leave them “in the soup,” as I had no engagement with them and previous engagements prevented my making any of them. Yours truly,
E. F. Marston
Director Atlanta Zouave Band.
As you can tell from the above paragraphs, Frank and his Zouave Band were in fact very busy. They had to get back to Atlanta for a series of concerts scheduled as reported in The Atlanta Constitution on July 26, 1891:
Grand Concert. The Zouave band has been delighting the Sunday afternoon pleasure seekers for the past few weeks with a series of grand military band concerts at Ponce de Leon springs. This popular resort is becoming one of great attraction. 
The music rendered under the personal direction of Professor E. F. Marston never fails to please the most severe critics and delight the lovers of artistic rendition. 
The instrumentalists of the Zouave band are of exceptionally good talent, and have had the advantage of extensive experience. 
The following programme will be rendered this afternoon from 4 o’clock to 6 o’clock: 
1. March—“Crusader,” Sausa.
2. Grand medley overture—“A Night in New York,” Brooks.
3. “Oh! God in Mercy Hear Our Prayer,” Handel.
4. Euphonium solo—grand fantasie, “Stella,” Hall. Mr. McAfee.
5. “Coronation March.” Meyerbeer.
6. Grand march—“Recollections of the War,” Beyer
7. “Rival Overture,” Pettee.
8. Cornet solo—“The Lost Chord,” Sullivan. Mr. F. C. Bitgood.
9. Overture—“Silver Bells,” Schlepergvell.
10. Waltz—“Sounds from Erin,” Bennett.
11. Overture—“Celestial,” Prendiville.
12. March—“Among the Comrades,” Faust.
Another notable performance by Frank’s Zouave Band was the unveiling of the Henry W. Grady Monument in Atlanta on October 21, 1891. The event was attended by many dignitaries including Governor David B. Hill (New York), Governor William J. Northen (Georgia), Clark Howell (state politician and an editorial executive and owner of The Atlanta Constitution), Atlanta’s Mayor William A. Hemphill, judges, and members of the military community. The band played while the crowd gathered and then boarded a train to Belt Junction (between what is now Buckhead and Midtown Atlanta). They continued to play on the train as it headed for the ceremonies of the day.

Frank lived at 99 Piedmont Avenue in Atlanta in 1894. He was working as a musician. In 1896, Frank and Carrie lived at 83 Piedmont Avenue. Frank was working as a traveling salesman at Freyer & Bradley Music Company. At some point after 1896, Frank apparently moved to Anniston, Alabama where he worked as a manager of the E. E. Forbes Music House. He returned to Atlanta in July 1897. His father had moved to Calhoun County, Alabama which would probably explain Frank’s living in Anniston. In 1898, Frank and Carrie still lived at 83 Piedmont Avenue. He had changed employers, now working at John Church Company, as a piano tuner.

On June 1, 1900, Frank and his family lived in a rented home on Ivy Street in Ward 6 of Atlanta. The home was apparently a boarding house with Carrie, his wife, enumerated as head of the household and running the boarding house. Frank worked as a piano tuner. He and Carrie had been married for 13 years. She was also enumerated as the mother of five children, three of which were living. Their 11-year-old daughter Katie was at school. Frank’s stepdaughter Hattie and stepson Hugh lived in the boarding house. Hattie was 26 years old and working as a saleswoman in a millinery store. Hugh was 22 years old and working as a clerk for a railroad company. In addition to the 5 family members, there were 11 boarders also living in the boarding house. Their occupations included salesmen, physician, electricians, an optician, a railroad clerk, and a brewery agent. One person was still in school, probably college. Their ages ran from 19 to 36 years. The house next door was also a boarding house with 12 people living there.

Frank’s father died in Alabama on February 20, 1903, leaving no will. His estate was recorded with the Calhoun County, probate court there, listing Frank as an heir. At the time, Frank was living on Ivy Street in Atlanta and working as a piano tuner for Phillips & Crew Piano Company, a musical instrument retailer established in 1865 by H. T. Phillips and B. B. Crew. He was still living on Ivy Street and worked as a piano tuner in 1904.

As president of the American Federation of Musicians, local 148, Frank published a meeting notice in the local newspaper requesting his band members attend a funeral to perform during the service. An example, published in The Atlanta Constitution on October 30, 1904 follows:
Meeting Notice. Attention, Musicians, A. F. of M., Local, 148: You are hereby requested to meet at the undertaking establishment of H. M. Patterson to attend the funeral of Mr. John W. E. Hopens at 1:45 p.m. today (Sunday). All members who play military band instruments are requested to be on hand with instruments in citizens’ clothes.
E. F. Marston, President
S. E. Fields, Secretary.
In 1905, Frank still lived at 102 Ivy Street and was now a piano builder at Phillips-Crew Company. In 1906 and 1907, he again worked as a piano turner. My guess is that’s what he was doing in 1905.

The Marston family celebrated the wedding of Frank’s daughter Katie on June 19, 1907. The Atlanta Constitution reported her wedding on June 20:
Marston-Maynard. The married of Miss Kate Marston and Dr. Herbert Maynard took place yesterday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock at the home of the bride’s parents, Professor and Mrs. E. F. Marston, on Ivy street.
The wedding was a very quiet home affair, only a few intimate friends and the immediate relatives of the bride and groom being present. The ceremony was performed by Dr. H. K. Pendleton in the front parlor, which was tastefully decorated with palms and ferns. The bride wore a traveling gown of leather brown voile trimmed with baby Irish lace. The jacket being worn over a blouse waist of cream embroidered mull. The hat was an ecru straw, sailor shape, and was trimmed with brown velvet ribbon and brown wings.
Immediately after the ceremony, Dr. and Mrs. Maynard left for Augusta, where they will make their future home. 
The bride is a young woman, possessing the happy combination of rare beauty and charming personality, and is an accomplished vocalist. Dr. Maynard, formerly of Boston, Mass., but who for two years past has made Atlanta his home, is a young druggist of high standing. 
Dr. and Mrs. Maynard have a host of friends who are extending to them hearty congratulations and regret that they will not make Atlanta their home.
A year and a half later, Frank and Carrie welcomed a granddaughter whose birth was announced in The Atlanta Constitution on Christmas Day, 1908:
Mr. and Mrs. E. Herbert Maynard announce the birth of a daughter at their residence, 108 Ivy street. She has been named Sarah Carolyn Maynard, for her grandmothers.
Before baby Sarah could celebrate her first birthday, tragedy stuck when Katie died of typhoid pneumonia on December 1, 1909. The Atlanta Constitution reported her death the next day:
Mrs. Katie O. Maynard, 21 years old, wife of E. Herbert Maynard, died at a private sanitarium at 12 o’clock last night of typhoid pneumonia. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. F. Marston and lived with her parents at 102 Ivy street. The body will remain at the chapel of H. M. Patterson & Son until funeral arrangements are made.
On April 24, 1910, Frank and Carrie lived at 102 Ivy Street in Atlanta. Carrie was enumerated at Fannie C. Marston. Frank was a traveling salesman, Carrie a building housekeeper. The home was a boarding house, so she was most likely taking care of it. There were 10 boarders living in the home. The 1910 Atlanta City Directory listed them renting the Ivy Street house. Frank was a piano tuner for Phillips & Crew Piano Company. In 1911, Frank worked as a superintendent at the Phillips & Crew Company factory. He and Carrie lived at 470 Capitol Avenue.

Frank was elected district officer of the 10th district of the American Federation of Musicians. In 1911, as “president of the Atlanta Federation, he was instrumental in bringing their 16th Annual Convention to Atlanta for the first time in 13 years. Almost 3,000 delegates were expected to attend, representing 550 organizations. A band of 200 Federation members paraded through the streets of Atlanta the first day of the convention. The Atlanta Constitution published an article highlighting the event on May 9:
The parade, band and all, moved in columns of eight and made a decidedly attractive and imposing appearance and was watched with interest by a large concourse of people. The line moved up North Pryor street to Peachtree, where it countermarched down Peachtree to the viaduct and along Whitehall to Mitchell, down Mitchell to Broad, along Broad to Marietta, down Marietta to Edgewood avenue and down Edgewood to Courtland and up Courtland to the auditorium.
American Federation Musicians on Parade,
The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia,
May 9, 1911

Frank performed at a “benefit recital and musical” held at the First Christian Church. The benefit was organized to raise funds to help an orphan child adopted by the Delta Alpha class.

By 1912, Frank and Carrie had moved to 81 Washington Street. He again worked as a piano tuner. Frank still lived on Washington Street in 1916 but was now teaching at the Southern University of Music. I often found him called “Professor Marston” in news articles—this might explain why. I don’t have education records for Frank but it’s possible he was actually a professor at the Southern University of Music. In 1918, he lived at 86 Washington Street, still teaching at the university. In 1919, he lived at 86 Washington Street and was back to working as a piano tuner at Phillips & Crew Piano Company.

On January 13, 1920, Frank and Carrie lived at 86 Washington Street in Atlanta. Frank was a traveling salesman for a music house. The home was a boarding house with Carrie enumerated as the proprietress with 10 boarders living in the home. Frank and Carrie still lived at the boarding house in 1921 with Frank working as a piano tuner. A year later, Carrie died in Atlanta on March 23, 1922 of “cancer of the womb.” She’d been sick for several years at the time of her death. Carrie was buried at Westview Cemetery on March 25. They lived at 86 Washington Street at the time and Frank worked as a piano tuner at Phillips & Crew Piano Company. In 1923, Frank lived at 72 Richardson Street and still worked as a piano tuner at the Phillips & Crew Piano Company. Frank lived at 73 Richardson Street in 1924 and 1926 and worked as a piano tuner. In 1928 and 1929, Frank lived at 348 Richardson Street SW and worked as a piano tuner.

Frank’s sister Elizabeth died in 1931. She was buried at Old Conyers Cemetery in Conyers, Georgia.

Frank died of prostate cancer at the age of 70 at Grady Hospital in Atlanta on February 20, 1932. His funeral was held at the White & Company Funeral Home Chapel in Conyers with the Rev. T. H. Maxwell officiating. He was buried on February 23 at Conyers Cemetery in Conyers, Georgia.
Eight years after Frank’s death, he was remembered in The Atlanta Constitution on September 7, 1940, when they highlighted a September 7, 1890 news piece about Frank and the Zouave Band.

Frank Marston's death certificate

Researching Frank has been interesting and as usual, I learned new things about the city I grew up in. Also, this was the first time I’d heard of a Zouave Band so of course I had to google it to see what it was. As far as I can tell, the Atlanta Zouave Band stemmed from the 116th Army Band whose mission is “Provide music throughout the spectrum of military operations to instill in our forces the will to fight and win, foster the support of our citizens, and promote our national interests at home and abroad.” The lineage page of the 116th Army Band’s web page states:
Parent unit organized 24 July 1874 as the Atlanta Battalion, Georgia Volunteers, to comprise the Gate City Guard, Atlanta Zouaves, Atlanta Rifles, Fulton Blues and the Governors Guards
I’m trying to figure out if the Atlanta Zouave Band was a band of men in the military or a military-like band that played marches. John Philip Sousa was popular during the time Frank and his brother John played with the Zouave Band. In fact, family lore is that John played with Sousa’s band, but I haven’t found any evidence of that. I’m beginning to wonder if as the story was passed down through the years, Zouave evolved into Sousa. If a Marston family member reading this has proof of Frank and/or John playing with Sousa, I’d love to hear from you.


  1. Atlanta, Georgia, City Directory; 1881, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1894, 1896, 1898, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1916, 1918, 1919, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1928, and 1929.
  2. U.S. Federal Census, Subdivision 163, Newton, Georgia, 1870.
  3. U.S. Federal Census, Conyers, Rockdale, Georgia, 1880.
  4. “The New Band,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, June 27, 1882.
  5. “A Lawn Concert: A Pleasant Affair Last Night at the Elegant Residence of Major W. B. Cox,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, p. 7, June 23, 1883.
  6. “Music and Military: The Musical Union Band and the Coming Parade of the Horse Guard,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, October 6, 1883.
  7. “To-Day’s Display: The Military of Atlanta to Turn Out,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, p. 7, October 11, 1883.
  8. “Georgia Gossip,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, February 20, 1886.
  9. “Tennille,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, April 25, 1886.
  10. Holliday, R. A., The Southern Dental Journal, vol. 8, p. 394, 1889.
  11. “A New Band,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, May 14, 1889.
  12. “The Zouaves Fair: It Was Opened Under Favorable Auspices,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, September 5, 1889.
  13. The Asheville Weekly Citizen, Asheville, North Carolina, p. 1, July 3, 1890.
  14. “From Our Notebook,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, July 27, 1890.
  15. “Through the City: Items Gathered by Constitution Reporters,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, July 31, 1890.
  16. “A Beautiful Cornet: Presented to Mr. E. F. Marston by Messrs. Freyer & Bradley,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, August 3, 1890.
  17. “The Festival is Ready: Atlanta Opens Her Gates,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, August 13, 1890.
  18. “Atlanta’s Clio in the Gress Zoo: Where She will Ever Live,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, August 15, 1890.
  19. “This Will Be the Greatest Day of the Exposition: Three Splendid Programmes in One,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, October 24, 1890.
  20. “Notes on the Grounds,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, October 31, 1890.
  21. “The Rome Fair,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, p. 3, November 13, 1890.
  22. “For the Encampment: The Fourth Battalion Making Arrangements for Their Trip to Chickamauga,” The Atlanta Constitution, p. 7, June 24, 1891
  23. “The Want of a Band Seems to Have Created Dissatisfaction in Camp,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, p. 5, July 2, 1891.
  24. “Professor Marston Explains,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, July 3, 1891.
  25. “Grand Concert, At Ponce de Leon Springs This Afternoon, 4 to 6, by Marston’s Fourth Battalion Zouave Band,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, July 26, 1891.
  26. “The Unveiling of the Grady Monument Will Take Place Today,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, p. 9, October 21, 1891.
  27. Musical Courier: A Weekly Journal Devoted to Music and the Music Trades, vols. 30–31, Musical Courier Company, 1895.
  28. “Women and Society,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, July 24, 1897.
  29. Alabama, Wills and Probate Records, 1753–1999.
  30. “Meeting Notice, Attention, Musicians, A. F. of M., Local, 148,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, October 30, 1904.
  31. “Marston-Maynard,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, June 20, 1907.
  32. Sarah Carolyn Maynard’s birth announcement, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, December 25, 1908.
  33. “Mrs. Katie O. Maynard,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, December 2, 1909.
  34. U.S. Federal Census, Atlanta Ward 6, Fulton, Georgia, 1900, 1910.
  35.  “Musicians of America to Gather in Atlanta,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, GA, April 11, 1911.
  36. “Atlanta Gives Glad Welcome to Musicians: Sixteenth Annual Convention Begins with Parade in the Afternoon, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, May 9, 1911.”
  37. [Article title unreadable (subject: Delta Alpha Class)], The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, March 24, 1912.
  38. U.S. Federal Census, Atlanta Ward 2, Fulton, Georgia, 1920.
  39. “Mrs. E. F. Marston,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, March 24, 1922.
  40. Marston Funeral Announcement, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, March 25, 1922.
  41. “Phillips & Crew Piano Co. Occupied Fine New Quarters in Atlanta, Ga.,” The Music Trade Review, January 5, 1929;
  42. Mr. E. F. Marston Certificate of Death, George State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, certificate no. 32-3177, February 23, 1932.
  43. “And Fifty Years Ago,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, September 7, 1940.
  44. Garrett, Franklin M., Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its People and Events, 1880s-1930s, University of Georgia Press, March 1, 2011.
  45. Richmond Pearson;
  46. William J. Northen;
  47. David B. Hill;
  48. Clark Howell (1863-1936), New Georgia Encyclopedia;
  49. William Hemphill;
  50. Merriam-Webster Dictionary;
  51. 116th Army Band, Marietta, Georgia—History/Summary;
  52. 116th Army Band, Marietta, Georgia—History/Lineage;
  53. Zoo Atlanta, Our Story/History 1889–1950: The Early Days;
  54. Vanishing Georgia, Georgia Archives, University System of Georgia.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Reliving a road trip

The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “travel” so let me tell you about a road trip my family took the summer of 1990. The road crew consisted of my husband Charlie, sons Chris and Kevin, my Mama Fay, and myself. Our plan was to head north, spending a week on the road, visiting a different city each day. We pre-planned the cities and sites we wanted to visit but that was it. Otherwise, we had no set agenda. Along the way, we stopped at grocery stores to buy pastries, milk, and cereal for breakfast, and lunch meat, condiments, bread, and fruit for lunch. We’d look for a local restaurant to eat dinner. Mama remembers that Chris pointed out every McDonald’s we passed along the way. And I remember that either Mama or Chris pointed out every Pay Less Shoe Store we passed. Mama managed a Pay Less for many years, so they were near and dear to our heart. We had a van which had plenty of room for bodies but no space for stuff, so we used our trusty car top carrier to hold a portable bed, stroller, and our luggage. Mama flew in from Atlanta, so we drove to the airport (probably Dulles Airport in Virginia) to pick her up. My husband had been to a couple of the cities we were visiting but neither Mama nor I had been to any of them, so we were excited to say the least.

Our first stop was Great Falls Park, a scenic National Park Service site about 30 minutes from the airport that overlooks the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia. We didn’t stay long, just long enough to walk down to the overlook and get a good look at the beautiful falls. After snapping a few pictures, we hit the road, heading to our second stop. Years later, my husband and I visited the park again to walk the trails. While there, we spotted a Pileated Woodpecker, Grey Heron, and a Turkey Vulture.

Me, Chris, Charlie, and Kevin

Chris, me, and Kevin

Great Falls many years later, after heavy rain

Great Falls many years later, after heavy rain

Stop two of our road trip was Hershey, Pennsylvania. The countryside was beautiful there. The boys were fascinated by the black and white spotted cows we saw everywhere, and they loved the Hershey’s Kisses that topped the light poles. We found a hotel and then headed to Hersey Park, spending the rest of the day riding the rides, touring the zoo, and ending with a ride through Hershey’s Chocolate World. Of course we stopped to buy candy at the Hershey store. You can’t go to Hershey without buying chocolate! Before we left town the next day, we did a driving tour of the city and then headed to stop three.

Hershey Kiss topped light poles

Hershey Park

Chocolate Factory

We drove through Amish country on our way to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mama remembers seeing the Amish buggies as we passed through. It was late when we arrived at Philadelphia, so we found a hotel and settled in for the night. The next morning, we headed for the historic district. I remember finding it confusing because we kept coming across one-way streets (we didn’t have GPS). We finally found a parking lot to park the van, although it was many blocks from the historic district. Luckily, we all had our walking shoes on, so we made our way to the Liberty Bell site. After we finished looking at the Liberty Bell, we walked around the outside of Independence Hall which was close by. We spotted the horse drawn carriages on the streets, determined that the price was reasonable, so decided we’d tour the historic houses on the carriages. We were having a nice ride when something spooked the horse. The tour guide/driver lost control of the horse and it ran up on the curb and over the bulkhead doors against the front of a house, leaving damage behind. During all this, Mama’s hand got wedged between the side of the carriage and a tree as she held on for dear life. This all happened in front of a National Park Service house and I remember a park ranger running up to the carriage and yelling at the driver to “get control of your horse!” Things finally calmed down and the police suggested we take Mama to the hospital to get her hand checked out. Since we were parked so far away, the police drove us back to our van. The boys thought it was cool to ride in the back of a police car. Mama’s hand was badly bruised, so the doctor gave her a prescription for pain pills. Now we had to find a drug store. Once we got that taken care of we decided we’d had enough of Philadelphia and that was the end of that leg of the trip. We left town and headed for stop four.

Mama and the Liberty Bell

Mama and Chris

Carriage in front of Independence Hall

The whole purpose of this leg of the trip was to see the Statue of Liberty. I didn’t want to go into New York City at the time, so we decided to stay at a hotel just outside the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City, New Jersey. Once we got settled at the hotel, we headed to Liberty State Park to catch the ferry to Liberty Island. We walked around a while, took pictures, and then caught the ferry back to Liberty State Park for a picnic. I would have loved to stop and tour Ellis Island, but it was closed for renovation at the time. Charlie’s grandfather George Athya immigrated to America from Scotland through Ellis Island. It reopened that September and is still on my list of places to visit. But back to the road trip, stop five was next and I think this was the one Mama was looking forward to the most.

Riding the ferry to Liberty Island

Chris and Lady Liberty

Ellis Island


Looks like my boys liked to stick their tongues out!

A Holland standing outside the Holland Tunnel

Chris, Kevin, and Mama

The Twin Towers

Gambling in Atlantic City, New Jersey was on the agenda next. After we picked Mama up at the airport, she’d spend every chance she could, whether in the car or in the hotel at night, studying a gambling book she’d brought with her. She wanted to learn how to play craps before we got to Atlantic City. While in Atlantic City, we stayed at a hotel on the Boardwalk. We spent the daylight hours walking on the Boardwalk, checking out the sights there. Charlie walked the boys down to the beach while Mama and I sat on the Boardwalk and watched them play in the water. At the end of the day, we picked up some fried chicken at Roy Rogers Restaurant for the boys and I, and then headed back to the hotel. Charlie and Mama came back to the hotel long enough to clean up from a day in the sun and then left for the casinos. Mama finally got her chance at playing craps as well as the slots. Charlie spent his time at the card table playing Blackjack. The boys and I stayed in and watched TV and looked at the Boardwalk lights out the window. About 3 AM, I started hearing giggling noises coming down the hall and guess who it was—Charlie and Mama! They slipped in the hotel room but couldn’t contain themselves. They had a ball that night, and probably a drink or two.

Chris and Mama


Kevin, Charlie, Chris, and I

Taj Mahal, Atlantic City

Mama, Chris, and me

We left the next morning for stop six—Cape May, New Jersey. I remember traffic being very heavy as we drove into Cape May. We had trouble finding a hotel room but persisted and finally found something. We rode around town looking at the Victorian style houses, toured the lighthouse, and then found a restaurant along the water and enjoyed watching the boats while we ate. The next day we rode the ferry across the Delaware Bay. The sea gulls flew alongside the ferry and took French fries out of our hands while in flight. The ferry docked, and we loaded up in the van for our seventh and final stop.

Harbor at Cape May

Cape May Lighthouse

Seagulls flying beside the Cape May Ferry

We had to drive through Baltimore, Maryland to get home so decided to make it our last stop. It's another beautiful city by the water. We walked around the Inner Harbor and had lunch in one of the restaurants by the water, probably talking about all the new places we’d visited during our road trip. We’d come to the end of our road trip so headed home from Baltimore with lots of new experiences and memories. This was not an exotic vacation, but it still goes down as one of my favorite vacations of all times.

Baltimore, many years later

Baltimore, many years later

Baltimore, many years later

Friday, July 6, 2018

Robert L. Hobbs, a Revolutionary Patriot

The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “independence” so I’d like to write about a Revolutionary Patriot of which I’m a direct descendant—Robert L. Hobbs. This will only be a partial timeline of Robert’s life though. The paper trail for Robert is quite large and I haven’t taken the time to read, transcribe, and understand all of it yet but I wanted to take advantage of the theme.

Robert L. Hobbs was born on May 30, 1754 in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland. Many researchers record Robert’s parents as James Hobbs and Abigail Thomas but I haven’t found proof of that so will leave it at that. Whoever they were, they moved the family to Craven County, South Carolina sometime before 1776. If Robert had any siblings, they are unknown to me at this point in my research. Robert is my 5th great grandfather.

About 1776 or 1777, Robert married Mary Marion Caldwell in Cherokee Creek in Craven County, South Carolina. Years later (1843), he would swear under oath that they were married in the year 1777. In 1853, Mary would swear under oath that they were married by a Magistrate by the name of Tait in the Spartanburg District of South Carolina in the year of 1776. At the time of their marriage, Robert would have been about 22 years old and Mary 17 years old. They were blessed with nine children—Curtis Hobbs, Sarah “Sally” Hobbs, James H. Hobbs, Joseph Henry Hobbs, Nancy Hobbs, Nathan Augustus Hobbs, Isham Hobbs, Mary “Polly” Hobbs, and Robert L. Hobbs Jr. I descend through his son Nathan, born in the Spartanburg District of South Carolina on January 8, 1790. Shortly after Nathan’s birth, Robert moved his family to Greene County, Georgia where his last three children were born.

In 1797, Robert lived in Captain Phillip Hunter’s District of Greene County, Georgia.

Ten years after moving to Greene County, Robert was wrapped in controversary. The book History of Greene County by Rice and Williams tells the story of Robert being indicted on a forgery charge in 1800:
p. 454: … When Forgery Was Punishable by Death Without the Benefit of Clergy – On December 14, 1792 the Georgia Legislature passed an act entitled: “An Act for the more effectually preventing and punishing forgery.” This act is recorded in Watkins’ Digest, page 467. And the punishment prescribed upon conviction, was death by hanging and without the benefits of clergy. Forged land-warrants, deeds, notes, orders for goods, etc., seemed to be quite common prior to the year 1800. And any one found guilty of any kind of forgery, was not only hanged but was denied a Christian burial. …
… p. 455: The State vs. John McAdams and Robert Hobbs Indc’t for forgery. Verdict of the jury, Guilty with a recommendation to mercy. Both of these men were sentenced to be hanged on the twenty-sixth day of September also, and the wording of the sentence was exactly the same as that of Stephen and William Heard.
The Judge did not deny the convicted men the benefit of clergy. This was probably due to the fact that the jury recommended mercy. The law as it appeared on the statute books, did not allow the Judge any discretion, as death by hanging, was the only punishment prescribed. 
Although the Court records do not show it, tradition says, that neither of the convicted men were hanged.
Judge Columbus Heard, who was at one time a partner of Governor McDaniel, and one of the ablest lawyers in the State, became interested in the history of this case. And claimed to have unraveled the story. His version was as follows: He became interested on account of one of the defendants being named Stephen Heard, and as he was a descendent of General Stephen Heard of Wilkes county, he wanted to find out if these men who were convicted of forgery, were any kin to him. His investigations revealed the fact, that they were not related to General Stephen Heard. And that the forgery consisted of the changing of land-warrants, or the forgery of deeds to certain lands in Greene county that they wanted. Judge Heard also said, that some prominent people became interested in the case and secured the names of the Jury, Judge, and many citizens to a petition to the Governor to commute the sentence to life imprisonment. And that a number of Greene county citizens went to Louisville to see the Governor and present the petition. And that after much pleading, Governor Josiah Tattnall found that the time was so short, that it would require great haste in order to place the Governor’s order in the hands of the Sheriff in time to prevent the execution. And that it would be necessary to travel both day and night, and get fresh horses along the way, and that had not the Sheriff anticipated favorable action on the part of the Governor, and delayed the handing until the last hour, the order would have reached him too late.
There is no record to show where these men were every pardoned, and it is presumed that they spent the rest of their lives in prison.” …
Of course, records show that Robert did not spend the rest of his life in prison but rather went on to live a long life in Greene County. In fact, in the Rice and Williams’ book, they wrote the following on page 341:
Four men were sentenced to be hanged for forgery in Greene County in the year 1800. They rode on their coffins to the execution grounds, where their funeral sermons were preached by Dr. Cunningham, after which he handed them their pardons.
While the book doesn’t list any names in the above paragraph, since it was the year 1800, I feel certain Robert was one of the four men pardoned.

A slave owner and planter, Robert acknowledged the love he had for his son Nathan via land records recorded on December 1, 1805:
GREENE COUNTY, STATE OF GEORGIA. Robert Hobbs, planter of Greene County, on 2 December 1805, for love and affection I bear toward my loving son, Nathan Hobbs, give a certain negro boy named Isaac, to be delivered to him at my death. Wit.: Henry English and William Greer.
On August 7, 1820, Robert lived in the Captain Greers District of Greene County, Georgia. There were 20 people living in the home, 7 of them slaves. In 1827 and 1828, he lived in the Captain John Southerland District of Greene County.

The 1830 Greene County census record listed 12 people living in the home, 9 of which were slaves.

The 1840 Greene County census record notes that Robert owned 13 slaves. On January 1, 1841, the Post Office at Greensboro, Georgia was holding a letter for Robert. In 1843, Robert appeared before the Greene County Superior Court to declare his service during the Revolutionary War in an attempt to receive benefits. The following sworn declaration is Robert’s own words:

First paragraph of the declaration

State of Georgia, County of Greene
On this sixteenth day of September in the year eighteen hundred and forty-three, personally appeared in open Court, before the Honorable the Superior Court of the County aforesaid now sitting, Robert Hobbs, a resident of Greene County, and state of Georgia, aged eighty-nine years, who being first duly sworn according to Law, doth on his oath make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress, passed June 7th 1832.
That he was drafted and entered into the service of the United States in the face of the year 1779, which was the year before Charleston, in the state of South Carolina was taken by the British and was residing at the time he was drafted in Craven County, South Carolina, now Chester District in South Carolina. That he commenced his service in the month of November of the same year 1779 under Captain Terrill, 1st Lieutenant John Jones, Orderly Sergant James Mabry, and that our said company was attached to Col. Brannon’s Regiment, and rendezvoused at Col. Brannon’s on Brown’s Creek, and that from thence were marching towards Charleston by the way of the Eutaw Springs, to the 10 Mile House in Charleston Neck and stationed there during our service, which was for three months. And at the end of which time, I received my written discharge, which was signed by the proper officers, but has been lost. The Company to which I belonged had no engagements with the enemy during the tour. I returned home and did no further service until Charleston was evacuated by the British, after which time I volunteered under Captain George Taylor, 1st Lieutenant Daniel McLeary, Ensign Nat Robinson was mustered into the United States service, under General Greene they marched to the fort known as Ninety Six, in the month of June. The fort at that time was occupied by the British under Col. Cruger. The object of General Greene was to storm the fort which was invested at that time by the main army. The siege continued three weeks, and future success appeared certain when intelligence arrived that Lord Rawdon having received a reinforcement was approaching with a large army to the relief of the place. General Greene determined to evacuate his position and break up the siege. General Greene then returned towards North Carolina, our company went with to the North Carolina line where we were discharged and returned to our homes. During this year the inhabitants of the Carolinas endured calamity and distress, the country being ravaged and plundered by both armies.
It was in the fall of the same year (according to the best of my recollection) that I was drafted for a three-month tour under Captain John Thompson, 1st Lieutenant Nicholas Jasper, our company rendezvoused on Browns Creek and joined Col. Brannon’s regiment. We were marched on down Broad River to [Foose?] Ford, and then we crossed and marched down the river to Ancrum’s plantation on the Congaree River, where we were stationed during the term of our service, which was three months. There was a portion of Col. White’s command stationed there with us, also some Dutch under the command of Captain Frazier. A short time before the expiration of our term of service, a Tory scout of light horse commanded either by Cunningham or Gues [William Guest] committed some depredations on the other side of the river where we were stationed, we went up the river in pursuit of the Tories, but were unable to come up with them, their operations were confined to burning and plundering, and after murdering one man immediately departed. We were stationed there for some time for the protection of the settlement, when we were dismissed. 
We continued together until we had passed out of the region where the Tories were in force when we were dismissed. I arrived at home in January, and the succeeding fall, according to the best of my recollection, I volunteered under Captain John Mapp, 1st Lieutenant Nathan Robinson.
Our company marched and crossed Savannah River at the Cherokee Ford, General Pickens, commanding the South Carolina Volunteers, and joined the Georgians under the command of General Elijah Clark on the Buffalo Ford of Long Creek in Wilkes County Georgia. From thence we took the Hightower Trail and marched to the Long Swamp town in the Cherokee Nation, between the Chattahoochee and Hightower Rivers. We had two engagements with the Indians, killing ten and taking eleven of them prisoners; after taking the Long Swamp town, the Indians came in with a flag of truce and had a talk, and at which time ceded the county that comprised Franklin County in the state of Georgia, and Pendleton and Greenville districts in South Carolina, and Buncombe county in North Carolina. We volunteered for a three-month tour, some six weeks in the Nation, but I cannot positively state how long we were on our march, in going to and returning from the Nation, on this expedition, but to the best of my recollection we were on duty about three months, which was the last of my services in the Revolutionary War.
I served in many scouting parties against the Indians and Tories for short periods, these scouts were raised on emergencies whenever the Indians or Tories committed any depredations in the region of country where I was; as many men would be raised as could be in the neighborhood and would then go in pursuit which trips would last from two days to a week. I served as a private in every expedition I was in, I never was wounded nor in any engagement with the exception of those mentioned as having occurred with the Indians. I am of opinion that I was subject to service by draft and otherwise between three and four years and was in actual service for the space of three years. (See Davidson’s certificate appended.) He further states that he never took up arms against, or acted against the welfare of his country, neither avoided any duty that was imposed upon his by his country.
He further states that he has no documentary evidence to establish his claim, that he never received but one written discharge for his services, and that was for the tour to the Ten Mile house on Charleston Neck in South Carolina and which I have previously stated was lost or destroyed many years ago.
But he would most respectfully beg leave to refer to the annexed statement of facts contained in the deposition of John Davidson, the only surviving witness by whom he could introduce any evidence of the facts herein contained, and with whom he served, and was well acquainted during the Revolutionary War, and with whom he bore and suffered many privations during their services in the war. This witness is a pensioner for the services he rendered in the Revolution, and services in the county of Jasper in the state of Georgia.
He further states, that according to his father’s family record, he was born in Queen Ann County in the state of Maryland, on the 30th of May 1754 and removed from thence with his father to originally Craven County South Carolina, but now Chester District South Carolina, that he was married in 1777 on Cherokee Creek a branch of Broad River in said Craven County, now Spartanburg District in South Carolina. That he resided in Spartanburg District South Carolina until he removed from his residence there, to the state of Georgia in the year 1790, and in that year settled in Greene County, where he has resided ever since. That he has lived on the place where he now resides fifty-one years. That he has no record of his age, but has seen that family record of his father, and also from the recollection he has of what his father stated to him with regard to the date of his birth.
He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity, except the present, and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any state.
Robert Hobbs (his mark)
Sworn to and subscribed this date and year aforesaid
Francis H. Cone, Judge

Robert was granted a yearly pension by William Wilkins, Secretary of War under President John Tyler, on January 6, 1845 in the amount of $20 for the remainder of his natural life. The record states that the pension would commence on the 4th day of March 1831. Since it was retroactive, Robert’s first payment was $280. Robert was only able to draw seven months on his pension though as he died in Greene County on June 7, 1845. It’s not known where he was buried. I see the city of Greensboro mentioned in his paper trail so perhaps he’s buried in an unmarked grave at Greensboro City Cemetery. But I’ve walked that cemetery many times and have not found a grave for him there. His son Nathan was buried at Penfield Cemetery not far from Greensboro, but you had to be a long-standing member of the village of Penfield to be buried there and I haven’t found Penfield mentioned anywhere in his paper trail.

Motions were quickly set in place to administer Robert’s estate. His son Nathan and John G. Holtzclaw were named administrators. An inventory and appraisement was taken on September 16, 1845 and included 16 slaves—7 men (George, Dick, Henry, John, Nelson, Charles, Cheney) 4 women (Rachel, Ester, Mary, Jane), 3 boys (Hampton, Dave, Lewis), and 2 girls (Harriett, Lucy); a large variety of livestock including oxen, cows and calves, a bull, heifers, sheep, and horses; and normal household goods such as furniture, kitchen items, knives, lots of books, busts, quilts, farming tools and seed, and a spinning wheel. His entire inventory of goods and chattels was valued at $6188.45. On November 18, 1845, the Southern Recorder published this notice:
Will be sold on the first Tuesday in February next, at the Court-house in Greenesboro, Greene county, within the legal hours of sale, all the real estate of Robert Hobbs, Sen., deceased, in said county, (the widows’ dower excepted,) being the tract of land whereon said deceased formerly lived. Also, 17 negroes, viz: George, Dick, Henry, Hampton, John, Nelson, Rachel, Ester, Cheney and child, Dave, Mary, Jane and her three children, Charles a boy, and Lucy a girl. Sold under an order of the honorable Inferior Court of said county, when sitting as a Court of Ordinary—for the benefit of the heirs of said Robert Hobbs, Sr., deceased. Terms on the day of sale.
Nathan Hobbs, John G. Holtzclaw, Adm’rs.
Nov. 18, 1845
The Southern Recorder published a second notice on June 9, 1846:
Will be sold at Marietta, Cobb county, on the first Tuesday in August next, agreeably to an order obtained from the honorable Inferior Court of Greene country [sic], sitting as a Court of Ordinary, one tract of land containing forty acres, being lot No. 54, third district and third section originally Cherokee now Cobb county. Said for the benefit of the heirs of Robert Hobbs, deceased.
Nathan Hobbs, John G. Holtzclaw, Adm’rs.
June 2, 1846.
The Southern Recorder published a third notice on January 31, 1854:
Greene Sheriff’s Sale—Will be sold before the Court-house door in the town of Greenesboro’, Greene county, on the first Tuesday in February next, within sale hours, the following property, viz:
The one-eighth part of two hundred and twenty-four acres of land in said county, whereon Robert Hobbs, sen, deceased, adjoining lands of J. M. Davison and J. G. Holtzclaw—it being Nathan Hobbs interest in said land, and levied on as his property to satisfy two fi fas from the Justice’s Court of the 138th District G.M., one in favor of Beaman & French vs. Nathan Hobbs—one in favor of H. L. French vs Nathan Hobbs. Property pointed out by J. R. Sanders, plaintiff. Levy made and returned to me by Levi Mays, constable. 
H. H. Watts, Sheriff.
January 3, 1854
Each notice ran multiple weeks once published.

Land and personal items were sold, bills were paid, and money was disbursed to Robert’s heirs into the mid-1850s.

Robert, who died at the age of 91, passed good genes on to his descendants. His son Nathan lived to be 99 years. My Daddy, who is Robert’s 4th great grandson, is currently 92. Daddy’s older brother was 91 and his older sister 92 when they passed away. Robert’s wife Mary lived a long life herself—she was 94 when she died.

Mary received a widow’s pension until her death in 1853.


  1. Greene County, Georgia – Land Records: Deeds 1785 – 1810, abstracted by Freda R. Turner, p. 422.
  2. Georgia Tax Index, 1789–1799.
  3. Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793–1892.
  4. U.S. Federal Census, 1820, 1830, and 1840.
  5. U.S., Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, 1800–1900, sworn statement by Robert Hobbs, September 16, 1843.
  6. Southern Recorder, Milledgeville, Georgia, 1820–1872, September 2, 1845, November 21, 1845, June 9, 1846, and January 31, 1854.
  7. Georgia 1890 Property Tax Digests.
  8. Rice, T. B. and C. W. Williams, History of Greene County, Georgia, 1961.
  9. Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Nutter Fort, West Virginia Soap Box Derby

The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “Black Sheep.” Hmm, I’ve already written about my granny, Daisy Lee Shields, who was described to me as the black sheep of the family. If interested , you can read her story here. So, off the top of my head I can’t think of anyone I’m ready to declare a black sheep, nor do I have any sheep farmers in the family. I guess that means it’s time to share more photos from the slide collection of Ralph Murphy, my husband’s uncle. His wife, Aunt Jean, gave the collection to my husband several years ago. It took me a while, but I converted all of the slides to digital and I share them when I can for others to enjoy.

These photos are from a Soap Box Derby that rolled down Pennsylvania Avenue in Nutter Fort, Harrison County, West Virginia every year. I’m not sure what year these photos were taken but my guess would be somewhere between the late 1940s to the mid-1950s. It helps that I know Uncle Ralph’s photo collection dates from 1947 to 1984. Hoping to pinpoint a date and taking note of the red Nutter Fort Fire Department squad car in several of the photos, I contacted the Nutter Fort Volunteer Fire Department via Facebook and sent them a copy of one of the photos. I received several comments from members of their Facebook group:
One person dated the photo 1954 to 1957 and remembered that the Nutter Fort Fire Department used the squad car to pick up the firemen.
A second person dated the photo 1955 to 1960 and remembered watching the races on Pennsylvania Avenue as a young girl.
A third person recalled watching the races on Pennsylvania Avenue as well, stating that she “loved watching the races.”
A fourth person—a former retired president of the Nutter Fort Volunteer Fire Department—dated the photo “somewhere between 1947 to 1957” and stated that it was a “cool old pic and a piece of NFFD history.” 
A fifth person stated “Nutter Fort had the truck when we moved to the town (1955). I remember it. I also remember that the truck was wrecked before 1960—one night a drunk stole it from beside the fire station and ran into a bread truck with it. It sat in the lot behind the station for some time after that.” 
A sixth person recalled that the Soap Box Derby ended in Nutter Fort around 1967. 
A finally, a seventh person stated “Thank you for sharing this picture. It helped the younger members of the NFFD learn about a piece of apparatus that they didn’t know much about and it also served as a great talking point to reminisce about on the Nutter Fort, WV Facebook group. Thanks again!”

Just like today’s races, the derby cars had sponsors. Some of the businesses represented on the cars were:
McJunkin Corporation
Bridgeport Lions Club
Kirby's Esso
Strand Company
Baker Equipment Engineering Company
Iaquinta & Son Plumbing and Heating
Richardson Tractor Company
Community Hardware, Nutter Fort
McKinney & O’Neil Restaurant

There were other sponsors, but the photos aren’t clear enough to read.

The house in this photo still stands at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and White Street.

Uncle Ralph and Aunt Jean lived in this house in Nutter Fort. As far as I can tell, the house was not far from Pennsylvania Avenue.

I think Uncle Ralph would be happy to know that his photos live on and are helping people learn a little history for an important organization to Nutter Fort.

If you’d like to see more photos from Uncle Ralph’s collection, click on the links below.
Warner’s Skyline Drive-In Theater
Vintage Christmas photos
52 Ancestors – no. 40: Anna B. Church – (week 24) (Anna (Church) and Everett Evans photos only)

Six Killed in Private Plane Accident, “The Charleston Daily Mail,” November 4, 1975.
Nutter Fort Volunteer Fire Department (via Facebook).