Friday, June 23, 2017

Eulilla May Callaway

Greensboro City Cemetery
Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia
Eulilla May Callaway, daughter of Lemuel Lawrence Callaway Jr. and Julia C. Askew, was born on May 11, 1891, most likely in Greene County, Georgia. Eulilla came from a large family, 14 children in all. Her parents had eight children—Sidney Johnson Callaway, Arthur Howell Callaway, Olivia Callaway, Annie Callaway, Eulilla May Callaway, Ida Ruth Callaway, Samuel Ezequiel Callaway, and Claude Parkis Callaway. Eulilla’s father was a widow when he married her mother and already had six children from his first wife Anna Josephine Mullins—Talula Callaway, Jack Mullins Callaway, Carrie Callaway, Robert Dawson Callaway, Lemuel Kelser Callaway, and Earnest Callaway. Eulilla was the 1st cousin of my step grandmother Eva Askew, my grandpa Carroll H. Lankford’s first wife. We have no common relative.

On June 6, 1900, Eulilla and her family lived in the Hutchinson District of Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia. Her father was a farmer. Eulilla was enumerated as Lillia. At the age of 9, she was attending school along with her siblings Sidney, Arthur, Olivia, and Annie. She could read and write.

On April 28, 1910, Eulilla and her family lived at Greensboro and Cary Station Roads in Greensboro. She was enumerated as Lilla May. At age 18, she wasn’t working or attending school. Her father was a farmer on a general farm. Just under a month before her 19th birthday, Eulilla died of unknown causes on April 13, 1911, most likely in Greene County, Georgia. She was buried at Greensboro City Cemetery in Greensboro.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Wedding memories

Mr. and Mrs. Murphy
My husband and I celebrated our 37th anniversary this week so I have weddings on my mind. In honor of our anniversary, I thought I’d share memories of my wedding as well as the traditional items my son and daughter-in-law thoughtfully included in their 2013 wedding that honored our family.

When my husband Charlie proposed to me, I didn’t say yes immediately. Instead, I told him that this was a big decision and I needed to think about it. I couldn’t remember how long I made him wait so asked him as I wrote this. He said it was a week. I hope the wait was worth it to him.

Our wedding was for Charlie, not me. I never wanted one. I always felt weddings were a waste of money that would be better spent on setting up a house to live in at the beginning of a new marriage. A wedding also meant I had to be the center of attention and that’s just not me. But he said he was only doing this once and he wanted to do it right. So, the planning began. This was long before the Internet and Pinterest were around so thankfully my roommate Helene was there to guide me. I wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without her. We funded the wedding ourselves. I want to say we only spent $1000. My wedding dress was my something borrowed so that saved a lot of money. No fancy wedding photo album—all I have are snapshots and they’re not that clear. We had a live band that played for free—it was my brother-in-law’s band. Most of the money was spent on food that we prepared ourselves … and booze.

Me and Helene
We randomly selected the date, which turned out to be Charlie’s maternal grandparents wedding date as well. It was also Flag Day. This was appropriate considering Charlie wore his patriotic socks to the wedding (more about that later). The city I live in hangs flags on the telephone poles on our street every Flag Day so over the years I’ve had fun telling our boys they put them up to celebrate our anniversary. In fact, I still say that!

Three days before our wedding, I had to have an emergency root canal. The years of neglecting my teeth caught up with me at the wrong time. That was a lesson learned and I have taken very good care of them since then!

We had a simple ceremony in the neighborhood church my husband attended while growing up. The reception was held at the local fire department hall. Helene, my family, and I had spent Thursday and Friday that week preparing a wedding buffet for the approximately 150 people attending. Friends set the food up during the ceremony.

I had only lived in Virginia for a year so my part of the guest list was small—about 25—my family, my roommate, a friend and her family who I grew up with in Atlanta and who had convinced me to move to Virginia in the first place, and a handful of co-workers. The rest were Charlie’s family and friends.

Me and my Mama

Our niece Michelle was the flower girl. She gave me a “lucky” dime to carry as I walked down the aisle. As time drew near for the wedding to begin, Michelle started getting nervous. I believe we had to bribe her to walk down the aisle herself. She was still the best flower girl ever! Our neighbor’s son Brian was the ring bearer. I remember him telling me that he and I were the two most important people in the wedding. My brother Michael walked me down the aisle.

Left: Me and the best flower girl ever.
Right: Michelle and Brian

My brother Michael and me

Once everyone was seated inside the church, my soon to be brother-in-law Mike sang “Evergreen” and then later in the ceremony he sang the beautiful “Wedding Song” by Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame. I heard the song playing on the radio one day while we were planning the wedding and knew I wanted that song. After we said our vows, everyone bowed their heads for a prayer. I remember having my eyes closed, hearing soft music, and thinking “who is playing music during my wedding!” Stupid me didn’t realize that Mike had started quietly playing the guitar as the minister finished the prayer. Once the prayer ended, Mike started singing the song. I still smile when I think about it today. Mike’s performance was beautiful and is a fond memory of my wedding. I just listened to the song and still think it was a good choice.

My brother-in-law Mike

We lit unity candles and I remember Charlie’s hands shaking so much I think the candle almost went out. I can still see us waving our fingers trying to will the flame to keep burning.

After the ceremony, we were driven to the reception by Charlie’s friend Eddie in his classic car.


Mike’s band played during the reception and was a great hit. They were a local favorite so many people already knew and loved them. I distinctly remember the fiddle player standing on top of a table playing the heck out of his fiddle when the band played “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” He brought the house down with his performance.

Mike and part of the band

My co-worker and friend Jan was our bartender. Charlie and his Dad had made a run to Washington, DC to stock the bar. They probably would have been arrested for transporting too much liquor across state lines if they’d been stopped! Charlie told me he was going to ask Mama to dance with him during the reception. Having never seen her dance, I told him that wouldn’t happen. We had a bottle of Cold Duck at the bar and told Jan that was just for Mama to give her a little encouragement. Charlie got his dance.

My friend Jan. We're still friends today.

When it was time to cut the cake, I was so gentle when I fed Charlie his bite. He on the other hand, was not so gentle and shoved the cake into my mouth. I had never heard of such a thing and couldn’t believe he had done that. Of course, now I know it’s just something people do. I don’t like that tradition.
See how gentle I was!

My sister Vanessa caught the bouquet and Charlie’s brother Pat caught the garter. As tradition has it, Pat then had to put the garter on Vanessa. When he took the garter a little higher than Michael felt he should, Michael jumped in and told him that’s high enough! He was smiling when he said it. We all got a kick out of it.
Vanessa caught the bouquet

Pat puts the garter on Vanessa

Charlie and I left the reception in his faded 1965 Mustang trashed by unknown individuals.



All in all, the day was a blur but I have many fond memories. At 37 years, I figured I’d better write them down before I forget some of them!

The wedding party

Us with my family from Georgia


While our families were involved in our wedding, thinking back, I don’t recall putting any thought into including them in ways that my son Chris and his wife Ashley included ours in their 2013 wedding. She and Chris honored our families in three ways which I thought were very touching.

The first thing was my son wearing his Dad’s wedding socks. I blogged about that last year. Click here if you’d like to read that story. Who knows if we’ll have a grandson who would one day buy into this tradition or if the socks will even survive that long. Only time will tell.

The second thing was the clay bowl they made for the ring bearer to carry in the wedding. Ashley found the idea on Pinterest and thought one of Mama’s doilies imprinted in the bowl would be cute. I think she was right. I was happy Mama came to Virginia for the wedding and could see it for herself. Here’s a few pictures of Chris and Ashley making the bowl, one with the ring bearer holding the bowl during the ceremony, and a picture of it on display at the reception.





Ring bearer bowl

The third thing was Ashley’s “something borrowed.” She asked me if I had something she might use for this traditional wedding piece so I pulled several items out of my jewelry box to see it something fit the bill. She picked my mother-in-law Mary’s 1929 mercury dime to pin on her garter. The dime had been wrapped in silver and had a loop at the top so it could be worn as a necklace, something Mary often did when she dressed up. The dime was special to Mary as she was born in 1929. I’m sure she would have loved the young woman her grandson picked for his bride and would have been honored to have loaned the dime to Ashley to use as her something borrowed as she walked down the aisle. But now looking back, if I’d remembered the dime my flower girl gave me to carry in my wedding, I would have asked Ashley if she too wanted to carry it in her wedding. Interesting that she picked my mother-in-law’s dime. That should have been a hint to me. I consider that a missed opportunity!






Friday, June 9, 2017

James Benton Church

James Benton Church, son of Robert Church and Lucinda Murphy, was born December 12, 1882 in Littleton, Wetzel County, West Virginia. He was the 3rd child of 11—George Church, Samuel C. Church, James Benton Church, Jennie F. Church, Anna B. Church, Dessie Church, Charles Cleveland Church, Martha Church, William Henry Church, Donald Roy Church, and Presley Church. James was my husband’s grand uncle.

James’ brother George died sometime between 1880 and 1900 but I’ve been unable to find any record of his death.

On June 9, 1900, James and his family lived in the Church District of Wetzel County. His father was a farmer. At age 16, James worked as a farm laborer. Samuel and Charlie were also farm laborers. His mother was enumerated as the mother of 11 children, 10 of which were living. Samuel, James, and Charles were helping work the farm.

On May 29, 1904, James married Louisa Virginia (Jennie) Kiger, daughter of Nicholas Kiger and Martha Elizabeth Watson. The marriage was performed at her parents’ home in Littleton by James Vanhorn, Minister of the M.E. Church. James already had a connection to Jennie—his brother Samuel married her sister, Rhoda M. Kiger, in 1901. Together James and Jennie had two children—Mary Lucile Church and Sue Ella Church. Mary was born on March 5, 1905; Sue was born on October 14, 1908. Both of their daughters were born in Wetzel County.

On April 28, 1910, James, Jennie, and their daughters lived on Sugar Run Road in the Center District of Wetzel County. James and Jennie had been married for seven years. James was “working out” as a laborer. Both he and Jennie could read and write.

James registered for the World War I draft on September 12, 1918. His permanent address was 1 Glover Gap in Marion, West Virginia. James was a self-employed farmer. He was of medium height and slender build, had blue eyes, and light brown hair.

Marriage License, Wetzel County, West Virginia
On January 7, 1920, James and Jennie lived in the Church District of Wetzel County. James’ brother Samuel and his family lived next door. James was a farmer on a general farm. Daughters Mary (age 14) and Ella (age 11) were attending school and could read and write.

On April 3, 1926, daughter Mary married Armond Tustin, son of Doctor Columbus Tustin and Elizabeth Bessie Hart, in Mannington, Marion County, West Virginia.

On April 16, 1930, James and Jennie were still living in the Church District of Wetzel County. His brother Samuel and his family lived two doors away. James owned his home which included a radio. James was a laborer at Manufacturers Light and Heat Gas Company.

The 1930s was a hard decade for the Church family. On June 22, 1931, James’ brother Samuel died at age 50 in the Church District of Wetzel County. His father Robert died on November 29, 1932 in Littleton of an organic heart lesion contributed by a blocked left coronary artery. He lost his mother Lucinda on January 13, 1933 (in Littleton). All three were buried at Thomas Chapel Church Cemetery in Wetzel County. James’ sister Martha Church McIntire died in Clarksburg on August 6, 1936. She was buried at Elkview Cemetery in Clarksburg beside her two husbands, twin brothers Lester and Chester McIntire.

On April 30, 1940, James and Jennie lived alone in the Church District of Wetzel County. Both had an 8th grade education. James was a laborer for a gas company. They had been living in this house since at least 1935. Thanksgiving Day that year (November 21) would have been a sad one for James as his sister Dessie died at home in Littleton on November 20 after suffering from stomach cancer. She was only 51 years old and left five children behind—the youngest my father-in-law at 12 years old. Dessie was laid to rest with her parents in the front row at the base of the hill at Thomas Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery in Wetzel County.

James Benton Church and his wife Louisa Virginia (Jennie) Kiger

James registered for the World War II draft in 1942. He lived in Hundred, Wetzel County, West Virginia but his mailing address was Burton, West Virginia. At age 59, he was still working at the Manufacturers Light and Heat Gas Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His telephone exchange was Rose Line.

On May 31, 1949, James’ daughter Sue Ella married Edward P. Brethold, son of Henry D. Brethold and Katherine A. Schurr, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. This was a second marriage for Sue. She had previously been married to a Mr. Smith, first name and date of marriage unknown. Sometime between the time James registered for the World War II draft and his daughter Sue’s marriage, they moved to Lisbon, Ohio.

The Church family decline continued in the 1950s. James’ brother Charles died in Littleton on April 12, 1955. He was buried at Anderson-Bethel Cemetery there in Littleton. His sister Anna died of occlusive arterial disease at Weston State Hospital in Weston, Lewis County, West Virginia on March 29, 1959. She was buried at Green Lawn Cemetery in Clarksburg. Another sister Jennie died of a cerebral hemorrhage and arteriosclerosis on February 26, 1963 at Weston State Hospital in Weston. She was buried beside her parents at Thomas Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery.

James’ wife Jennie died in Ohio on February 3, 1968. She was buried at Hope Cemetery in Salem, Columbiana County, Ohio. Daughter Sue Ella was named executrix of the estate. A year and a half later, James died at North Columbiana County Community Hospital in Salem, Columbiana County, Ohio on August 9, 1969. He was buried with his wife Jennie at Hope Cemetery. Sue Ella was named executrix of his estate as well. James’ estate of household goods, antiques and old items, and tools and miscellaneous was sold at public auction on May 9, 1970.

Gravestone photo by BMK, Find A Grave member #47156952
My father-in-law often spoke of his aunts Jennie and Anna and uncles Charlie, Henry, Donald, and Presley but I don’t recall him ever mentioning James. Neither does my husband.

James is a descendent of Henry “Old Hundred” Church for whom the town of Hundred, West Virginia is named.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Ethel Odell Jones

Ethel Odell Jones
Ethel Odell Jones, daughter of Benjamin Franklyn Jones and Susan Ann Palmer, was born in Georgia, most likely Walton County, on October 7, 1906. She was the second child of four—Troy C. Jones, Ethel Odell Jones, Cleo Idus Jones, and Edna Jones. Ethel would be my 3rd cousin, 1x removed. Our nearest common relatives are Henry P. Jones and Sarah Lightfoot Vickers.

On April 28, 1910, Ethel and her family lived in the Broken Arrow District of Walton County, Georgia. Her parents had been married for eight years and had two children, both of which were living. Her father was a farmer on a general farm. They lived next door to her uncle Sylvanus Jones and his wife Myrtle Estell (Whitley) Jones. Her paternal grandparents James Darlyn Jones and Josephine F. (Webb) Jones lived next door to Sylvanus.

On February 8, 1920, Ethel and her family lived at Grayson and New Hope Roads in the Bay Creek District of Gwinnett County, Georgia. Ethel could read and write. Her father was a farmer on a general farm and her brother Troy was a farm laborer on a home farm.

According to another Jones family researcher, Cleo remembers standing with Ethel near the creek in Monroe, Walton County, Georgia looking at Double Springs Church which they attended when she was 10 years old (about 1924). Ethel started crying and told Cleo she wanted to have the song “Lord, I’m Coming Home” sung at her funeral.

About 1925, Ethel married Madison (Matt) Fincher Moss, son of John William Harrison Moss and Mary Frances Shepherd. I haven’t been able to find a marriage record for Ethel and Madison but assume they were married in Walton or Gwinnett County. Together they had two children—Frances Odell Moss and William Julius Moss. Their daughter Frances was born about 1926 and son Julius was born on December 14, 1928.

Ethel Jones Moss, daughter Frances, and husband Madison Moss
Late December 1928, Ethel came down with pneumonia. She saw a doctor on December 30 but died at home in Monroe on New Year’s Day 1929. Ethel was buried on January 2 at New Hope United Methodist Church Cemetery in Between, Walton County, Georgia. The Jones family researcher that told me the story about the song Ethel wanted sung at her funeral also told me Cleo didn’t mention that conversation to family members when Ethel died. She didn’t think they would believe at child her age.

A young mother of two, one of them three weeks old, Ethel was just 23 years old at the time of her death. Ethel must have sensed that she was going to die. I’ve been told that during her brief illness, Ethel told her husband she wanted Cleo to raise her two children. Four years after her death, Madison married Ethel’s sister Cleo and they went on to have 11 children. Madison and Cleo raised Frances. Julius was raised by Ethel’s parents (his grandparents) Benjamin and Susan Jones. The census enumerator found Julius living with them in both 1930 and 1940.

The death date on Ethel’s tombstone reads December 29, 1928, not January 1, 1929 as recorded on her death certificate.

New Hope United Methodist Church Cemetery
Between, Walton County, Georgia

Friday, May 26, 2017

Wesley Buford Palmer

Today I remember a family member who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Wesley Buford Palmer, son of Benjamin Dewey Palmer and Sallie Addice Shields, was born in Georgia (most likely Whitfield County) on July 5, 1922. He was the second child of six—Robert Lee Palmer, Wesley Buford Palmer, Viola Marie Palmer, Winnie Lynn Zell Palmer, Marvin Kenneth Palmer, and Weldon Lamar Palmer. Wesley would be my 1st cousin, 2x removed.

By April 17, 1930, Wesley and his family had moved to Tennessee where they lived on Highway 58 in Civil District 2 of Meigs County. His father was a laborer in a saw mill. At age 30, his mother was unable to read or write. By 1935, Wesley’s family had moved back to Georgia, living in Whitfield County.

On April 19, 1940, Wesley and his family lived on Chatsworth Road in Dalton, Whitfield County, Georgia. Wesley was a laborer on a farm. His father was a life insurance salesman, his mother and sister Viola were machine operators in a bedspread factory, and his brother Robert was a gas station attendant.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and America entered World War II. A year later (December 31, 1942), Wesley headed to Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia and enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army. His enlistment records show that he had a grammar school education and was semiskilled in the fabrication of textile products—not surprising since Whitfield County is known for its textile and carpet mills. Wesley, who was 5’6” and weighed 150 pounds, was married to a woman named Marie, last name unknown, at the time.

In 1943, the fighting continued in Europe with many battles being fought. Back home, Americans were rationing shoes, food, clothing, rubber, metal, and fuel. Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill began planning the Battle of Normandy, an invasion in France that Wesley would take part in with his unit, the 821st Tank Destroyer Battalion. The Invasion of Normandy was launched on June 6, 1944. Wesley survived the landing but was killed in action on July 31, 1944 during the engagement at Villebaudon, which is in the Manche, Normandy region, in the north of France.

At the request of his family, Wesley’s body was brought home to Georgia for burial at Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery in Dalton. His mother applied for a flat granite military headstone on June 14, 1949. The stone was transported to Kenemer Brothers Funeral Home who handled the arrangements for placement on his grave.

Application for Headstone

Wesley’s death came just five months after his paternal first cousin, John Billy Shields, was killed in Italy on February 26, 1944 as his landing barge came ashore in combat during the Battle of Anzio.

“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.” 
                                                                       – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia

Wesley's headstone photo by dreid2277 (Find A Grave #47339526).

Friday, May 19, 2017

Vincent Thomas Langford Sr.

Vincent Thomas Langford, Sr.,
a blacksmith by trade
Vincent Thomas Langford Sr., son of James C. Lankford and Mary Ann Wilson, was born in Woodville, Greene County, Georgia on March 29, 1887. He was the 8th child of 10—Homer J. Lankford, Alice Beman Lankford, Julia Lee Lankford, Jessica Corinne Lankford, James Vason Lankford, Mary Corrine Lankford, Nathan Lawrence Lankford, Vincent Thomas Langford Sr., Oliver Wilson Lankford, and Lillie Della Lankford. He went by Vince and would be my great grand uncle.

As I looked at the different records to write this blog post, I noticed the spelling of Vince’s last name went back and forth between Lankford and Langford. I mention this because Daddy used to say that the Langford’s thought they were better than the Lankford’s and that’s why they changed the spelling. Of course, that’s not true and he didn’t feel that way. Somebody had probably said it to him at some point and he repeated it as I'm doing here. I often see the spelling switched and find it interesting that it happens in the first place. If your name was spelled one way, why wouldn’t you correct someone if it was spelled incorrectly? Over the years, I know I’ve corrected people many times. It seems people hear the “g” more often than the “k.” Of course, Langford could have been the correct spelling and it was switched to Lankford. Who knows. Whatever the case, I’ll note the spelling in each record as I go along.

On June 1, 1900, Vince and his family lived in Woodville. The census enumerator recorded his age as 11 and birth as October 1888 which I believe it incorrect. If born in 1887, Vince would have been 13 years old, which matches the other records for him. Vince was already working as a farm laborer in June 1900, most likely helping his father who was a farmer. Vince could read and write. The census record shows that his parents had been married for 31 years and his mother had 10 children, all of which were living. Julius C. Wilson, Vince’s paternal 1st cousin (son of Emma Lankford) and his family lived next door.

When Vince was 20 years old, he married Maude Miriam Jarrell, daughter of William Jarrell and Mary Broom, in Oglethorpe County, Georgia on August 31, 1907. They were married by Marion S. Weaver, a Baptist preacher. Vince’s last name was spelled Lankford, with a “K” on their marriage license. Together Vince and Maude had five children—Agnes G. Langford, Estelle Alice Langford, Vincent Thomas Langford Jr., Roy Eugene Langford, and Mary Alma Langford. The following year started off with the death of Vince’s father James C. Lankford on January 21, 1908 in Greene County (probably in Penfield). He was 60 years old, young by today’s standards. James was buried at Penfield Cemetery in Penfield. That same year, Vince and Maude’s first child Agnes was born on December 8, 1908 (probably in Penfield as well).

Vince and Maude's Marriage License, Oglethorpe County, Georgia

Photograph of a group of men in front of a store, Penfield, Greene County, Georgia, 1908.
Vince is standing beside the horse.
From Vanishing Georgia, Georgia Archives, University System of Georgia.

Vince’s daughter Alice, born in Penfield, joined the family on January 20, 1910. Exactly three months later on April 20, 1910, the census enumerator found Vince and Maude living on Sanders Street in Penfield. They had been married for three years and had two children—Agnes (age 2) and infant daughter Alice (three months old and unnamed in the census record). Vince was a blacksmith who could read and write. The family of another paternal first cousin, Walter L. Wilson (son of Emma Lankford), lived three doors away. Two years later, Vince Jr. was born in Penfield on June 20, 1912.

Vince, Maude, and most likely daughters Agnes and Alice

Vince registered for the World War I draft in Penfield on June 5, 1917. He noted that he had a wife and two children. Vince described himself as short and slender, with blue eyes and black hair. He was still a blacksmith. His last name was spelled Langford, with a “g” on his registration card. On June 17, 1917, Vince and Maude welcomed baby Roy to the family. Vince’s mother Mary Ann Wilson Lankford died of Bright’s disease in Penfield on March 26, 1919. She was buried beside her husband James at Penfield Cemetery on March 27. Three months to the day after Mary’s death, Vince and Maude’s youngest daughter was born on June 27. They named her Mary so it’s possible that she was named for the grandmother she never knew. The family lived in Penfield when both Roy and Mary were born.

World War I draft registration card
On January 30, 1920, Vince, Maude, and their five children lived in Penfield. Vince rented a farm that was four houses from his sister, Jessie Lankford Barnhart, and her family. In early October 1920, Maude came down with diphtheria and tonsillitis which proved to be fatal. After 11 years of marriage, Maude died in Penfield at 2:30 a.m. on November 30. Every record I find for Maude has a different birth year but according to the Georgia Death Index, she was 33 years old at the time of her death. The informant on her death certificate was Annie Young who I believe was her sister. Maude was buried later that same day at Penfield Cemetery beside Alice Escoe Lankford, first wife of Nathan Lawrence Lankford, Vince’s brother. James C. Lankford and Mary Wilson Lankford, her father- and mother-in-law, are buried on the other side of her grave.

1920 Census Soundex card

Suddenly faced with raising five small children alone, Vince must have been in a panic. How was he going to work at the blacksmith shop and take care of his large family? He needed a wife. According to family members, Vince knew Thomas Terrell Burnette and his wife Elizabeth (Jones) (my great-grandparents) and arranged to marry their daughter, Eva Drucilla Burnette (my grand aunt). It’s been said that Vince and Eva’s courtship was not a storybook romance. Vince’s great-granddaughter once told me that he basically showed up at the house one day and took Eva away. Vince and Eva were married in Greene County on May 27, 1922 by John S. Callaway, the local Justice of the Peace. His last name was spelled Lankford, with a “k” on their marriage license. Vince’s sister Alice (Lankford) Callaway (my great grandmother) had a son Carroll Lankford (my grandpa) who was married to Floria Burnette, Eva’s sister. My grandparents Carroll and Floria Lankford were married on March 12, 1922 so perhaps that was how Vince knew that Eva was a single young woman of marrying age, but I don’t really know. Vince was nine years older than Eva. They had one child together, a boy they named James Hoyt Langford (Sr.), born in Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia on May 26, 1923.

Thomas and Elizabeth (Jones) Burnette and family, ca. 1908.
Eva is the taller girl in the plaid dress. My grandma Floria is standing to her left.

Vince and Eva's marriage license, Greene County, Georgia, 1922

Vince’s sister Julia died in Wilkes County on September 2, 1924. She was buried at Resthaven Cemetery in Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia. His brother James Vason Lankford died in Tryon, Polk County, North Carolina on December 22, 1929. He was buried at Penfield Cemetery in Penfield.

By April 8, 1930, Vince and Eva had moved the family to Greensboro. Agnes and Alice were no longer living in the home with the rest of the family. Vince owned his home, valued at $1210. Vince was still a blacksmith and by now, had Vince Jr. helping him in the shop. The 1930 census record was the first time I found Vince’s last name spelled Langford with a “g” instead of Lankford with a “k.”

On April 11, 1940, Vince, Eva, and James lived on Walnut Street in Greensboro. The highest grade that Vince had completed was 4th, Eva had completed the 5th grade, and their son James had completed the 7th grade. Vince was a proprietor in a blacksmith shop. The census enumerator spelled his last name Lankford, with a “k.”

Vince lost two sisters in 1951—Jessie died on August 1 and Alice on December 5. Both were buried at Penfield Cemetery. Jessie’s obituary noted that Vince lived in Greensboro while Alice’s noted that Vince lived in Penfield.

Vince was admitted to Minnie G. Boswell Hospital in Greensboro on June 10, 1956, suffering from congestive heart failure and pneumonia due to hypertensive and arteriosclerotic cardio vascular disease. He died on June 17 at the age of 69 having never left the hospital. His son Roy was the informant on his death certificate which incorrectly listed his brother James Vason Langford as his father. Vince’s obituary also listed his father as James Vason Langford. Vince’s funeral was held at Walker United Methodist Church in Veazey, Greene County, Georgia on June 19. He was buried near Thomas and Elizabeth Burnette in the church cemetery following the service. Vince was survived by his wife Eva; daughters Agnes, Alice, and Mary; sons Vince Jr., Roy, and James; sisters Mary and Dell; and brothers Nathan and Oliver. His obituary mentions a third brother named Carol Langford of Penfield who I can only assume is my grandpa, Carroll Harvey Lankford, who lived in Penfield. Carol was the son of Alice Beman Lankford, Vince’s sister, so would be his nephew, not his brother. This is just another case of my grandpa not being recognized as Alice’s son. Vince was also survived by 15 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Two of the pallbearers were Eva’s brothers, Prince and Luther Burnette. Other pallbearers were C. H. Crumbley, Ed Brown, Cola Langford, and Frank Moore. Frank Moore was the husband of Eva’s sister, Claudia Burnette. His last name was spelled Langford, with a “g” on his grave stone.

Vince was a blacksmith for many years in Greensboro as were several members of the Lankford family. One of his favorite activities was sitting on the back porch on a Sunday afternoon in a rickety old lawn chair according to his great-granddaughter.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Robert Dawson Callaway

Robert Dawson Callaway, son of Lemuel Lawrence Callaway Jr. and Anna Josephine Mullins, was born on April 10, 1875 in Union Point, Greene County, Georgia. Together they had six children—Talula Callaway, Jack Mullins Callaway, Carrie Callaway, Robert Dawson Callaway, Lemuel Kelser Callaway, and Earnest Callaway. He went by Bob and was the husband of my great-grandmother. We have no common blood relative.

Bob’s father was originally from Sumter, Alabama and served in Company H of the 8th Texas Cavalry (AKA Terry’s Texas Rangers) during the Civil War. His mother had a twin sister named Georgia A. J. Mullins.

On June 18, 1880, Bob and his family lived in District 146 of Greene County. His father was a farmer, his mother was keeping house. His sisters Talula and Carrie and his brother Jack were attending school, however, at age six, Bob was not.

Bob was just seven years old when his mother died on May 7, 1882 in Penfield, Greene County, Georgia. Bob’s father took a second bride less than a year later on April 12, 1883 in Greene County, Georgia—Julia C. Askew, daughter of Ezekiel Griffin Askew and Cornelia Frances Mullins. Lemuel and Julia added eight more children to the family—Sidney Johnson Callaway, Arthur Howell Callaway, Olivia Callaway, Annie Callaway, Eulilla May Callaway, Ida Ruth Callaway, Samuel Ezequiel Callaway, and Claude Parkis Callaway.

On October 27, 1897, Bob married Alice Beman Lankford, daughter of James C. Lankford and Mary Ann Wilson, in Greene County. John S. Callaway performed the ceremony which was recorded by James H. McWhorter, Ordinary. Together they had one son, a boy they named Homer Crawford Callaway. Alice already had a son named Carroll Harvey Lankford (my grandpa) when she married Bob. I won’t go into the details of his birth here but if you’re interested, you’ll find the blogpost I wrote about Alice here. I’m sure my grandpa’s birth brought great shame to Alice at the time and therefore he was never fully acknowledged as her oldest child. This was something he had to live with his whole life.



On June 9, 1900, Bob, Alice, and their one-year-old son Homer lived in Woodville, Greene County, Georgia. Bob, who was unable to read or write, supported his family on a rented farm. His wife Alice was enumerated as the mother of one living child, which was incorrect.

On May 10, 1910, Bob and Alice still lived in Woodville. They had been married for 13 years. Bob had learned to read and write since the last census was taken. The census enumerator recorded Alice as the mother of two children this time, both of which were living. In fact, both boys were living in the home—Homer (age 11) and Carroll (age 19). My grandpa was enumerated as Carrel L. Callaway this time around. Both Bob and Carroll were farmers on a general farm.

Bob Callaway (1911)

Bob’s half-sister Eulilla died on April 13, 1911, most likely in Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia at the young age of 19. She was buried at Greensboro City Cemetery there in Greensboro. The following year, his father Lemuel died in Greensboro on July 22, 1912. I’ve been told (but haven’t found any proof yet) that Lemuel was working for the Georgia railroad as a night watchman at Carey Station when he died. Someone played a prank on him and turned the red light so the train would stop. Lemuel was walking the trestle to turn the light so the train could pass when the train hit and killed him. Lemuel was also buried at Greensboro City Cemetery.

On September 12, 1918, Bob was 43 years old and living in Greensboro when he registered for the World War I draft. He listed his occupation as farming and his nearest relative was his wife, Mrs. Alice Callaway. Bob was of medium height and build, had grey eyes, and light hair.

World War I registration

On January 2, 1920, Bob and Alice lived on a rented farm on Penfield Road in Penfield, Greene County, Georgia. Bob was a farmer on a home farm and Alice was a farm laborer. Their son Homer and his wife Lou Emma (Armour) lived next door.

On April 25, 1930, Bob and Alice lived in Penfield. Homer, Lou Emma, and their six-year-old son Dawson were living with them. Both Bob and Homer were a laborer in a saw mill.

On April 15, 1940, Bob and Alice still lived in Penfield. Homer and his family, now consisting of five children, lived next door. At age 65 and 69 respectively, Bob and Alice were no longer able to work.

In 1941, photographer Jack Delano, working for the U.S. Farm Security Administration, took at least two photos of Bob and Alice for the book “Tenants of the Almighty” by Arthur F. Raper. The book, published by The MacMillian Company in 1943, depicted the story of Greene County, Georgia and its agriculture. Bob and Alice didn’t make the book but both pictures are in the Library of Congress today. The photo is captioned “Mr. and Mrs. Bob Callaway, couple receiving old age pension, Penfield, Greene County, Georgia.”

 Mr. and Mrs. Bob Callaway, couple receiving old age pension,
Penfield, Greene County, Georgia, Nov. 1941. Photographer Jack Delano.
Photograph retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/fsa2000028130/PP/.

 Mr. and Mrs. Bob Callaway, couple receiving old age pension, 
Penfield, Greene County, Georgia, Nov. 1941. Photographer Jack Delano. 
Photograph retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/fsa2000028130/PP/. 

Bob’s wife Alice died in Union Point on December 5, 1951. She was buried at Penfield Cemetery in Penfield. Bob lived another four years without Alice. He died of pancreatic cancer at his home in Union Point on March 1, 1955. He was 79 years old at the time. Bob was buried beside Alice at Penfield Cemetery on March 3 after a service at Penfield Baptist Church. The pall bearers were Earl Butler, Marshall Turner, Howard Lankford, Vason Lankford, Julian Callaway, and Beaman Callaway. Rev. Charles H. Kopp officiated the service. Bob was survived by his son Homer; his stepson Carroll, sisters Ruth and Mrs. B. M. Jester (I can’t figure out which sister she was but she lived in Augusta, Georgia); brothers Lemuel, Samuel, and Claude; 6 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Daughter-in-law Lou Emma (Armour) Callaway, son Homer Callaway,
wife Alice (Lankford) Callaway, and Bob Callaway

Stone at Penfield Cemetery

My Daddy remembers Bob as a kind man who loved his wife Alice and liked to tease her. Bob was a member of the Penfield Baptist Church and a Mason in the past lodge in Penfield.