Friday, February 14, 2020

Hattie Jane Rhinehart, from the hills of Tennessee

Hattie Jane Rhinehart Shields
Hattie Jane Rhinehart, daughter of William Dearnald Rhinehart and Roda Elizabeth “Bettie” Sneed, was born in Flat Creek, Sevier County, Tennessee on March 24, 1895. She was the youngest of five children—Sarah Malonia Rhinehart, Ollie C. Rhinehart, James (Jim) Daniel Rhinehart, Arlie Mack Rhinehart, and Hattie Jane Rhinehart. Hattie is my maternal great-grandmother. Her children called her Mommie all of her life. We called her Grandma Shields. Hattie had a paternal aunt named Hattie Jane Rhinehart so may have been named after her.

With no proof to back this up, it’s believed that Hattie’s family began in this country when two or three Jewish brothers immigrated from Germany. One settled in Tennessee, one in Texas, and one went to an unknown location. My DNA ethnicity estimate doesn’t include anything from Germany though so I am questioning that family lore.

On June 11, 1900, Hattie and her family lived in the 13th Civil District of Sevier County, Tennessee. Hattie was enumerated as five years old, born in April 1895. Her parents had been married for 14 years and her mother had five children, all of which were living and still in the home. Hattie’s father William was a farmer, most likely being assisted by his 10-year-old son James who was enumerated as a farm laborer.

William D. Rhinehart family
Hattie was educated in a one room schoolhouse, learning to write using chalk and slate-rock. She learned to read from the Bible. She loved to read and did so often most of her life.

Hattie was just 13 when her father William died in Tennessee on April 19, 1908 at the age of 44. He was buried at Catons Chapel Cemetery in Sevierville, Sevier County, Tennessee. Hattie was probably still mourning her father’s death when she married James “Stewart” Shields, son of Samuel “Cas” Shields and Martha Ogle, in Sevier County on March 30, 1909. Her bother-in-law Ashley Sutton and Stewart posted a $1250 bond when they filed for the marriage license on March 29. The ceremony was performed by the local Justice of the Peace, A. D. Eledge, who it turns out lived seven houses from the Cas Shields family. Hattie was 14-years-old and Stewart was 17. Hattie and Stewart had 12 children over a 30 year period—Daisy Lee Shields, Willie Mae Shields, James B. Shields, Betty Ann Shields, Paul Sam (he went by Paul Sam) Shields, Bessie Lucille Shields, Mary Nell Shields, Dorothy Joline Shields, Bobbie Jean Shields, Charles Dewayne Shields, Loyal Mack Shields, and an infant that did not survive.

Stewart Shields - Hattie Rhinehart marriage certificate

After the marriage, Hattie and Stewart moved in with her widowed mother in the 13th Civil District of Sevier County, which is where the census enumerator found them on April 29, 1910. Her sister Ollie and brothers James and Arlie were also living in the home. Her mother Bettie was a farmer on a general farm that she was renting. Hattie’s siblings were all farm laborers, as was her husband Stewart. She was the only person in the home not working. All of her mother Bettie’s children were still living. Hattie’s sister, Malonia, lived next door with her husband Ashley Sutton and daughter Georgia. Two months after the census was taken, 15-year-old Hattie gave birth to her daughter Daisy (my Granny) in Sevierville.

Stewart, Daisy, Hattie, and Willie Mae Shields

Malonia Rhinehart Sutton
Sometime after Daisy was born and before her second daughter Willie Mae was born in 1914, Hattie and her family, including her mother, loaded up the wagon and moved to Whitfield County, Georgia. Around 1914, her sister Malonia became ill. Needing someone to help take care of herself and her children, Malonia and her family also moved to Whitfield County. It’s believed that Malonia had some type of cancer. Her health worsened until she died on November 25, 1916. She was buried at Deep Springs Baptist Church Cemetery in Dalton, Whitfield County, Georgia, leaving three young daughters behind, ages seven, three, and one. Malonia’s oldest daughter Georgia would later tell her granddaughter that the one vivid memory she had of that time was sitting in the wagon that carried her mother’s wooden casket to the cemetery.

From October 1917 until June 1919, Hattie’s brother Jim Rhinehart served in the U.S. Army during World War I. Jim was shipped to France where he served as a Wagoner in the Supply Company of the 318th Field Artillery.

On January 5, 1920, Hattie, Stewart, their four children (Daisy, Willie, James, and Betty), and her mother lived in Dalton. Stewart was a farmer on a general farm and her mother Bettie was a farm laborer on a home farm. Hattie, Stewart, and Bettie could all read and write. Daisy and Willie were both attending school. James was two and a half years old, and little Betty was just three months old.

1920 Soundex cards

On April 18, 1930, Hattie, Stewart, and their now eight children continued to live in Dalton, at Prater’s Mill and Deep Springs Roads. Stewart’s father, mother, and brother Blaine lived next door. Hattie’s mother Bettie had moved back to Sevier County and was living with her widowed sister, Mary Sneed Loveday, niece Ellen Loveday and nephew George Loveday. Hattie, Stewart, Daisy, Willie, James, and Bettie could all read and write. Paul and Bessie were unable to read and write but were attending school so it wouldn’t be long before they could check that box. Hattie’s sister Ollie Rhinehart Mathews died of pellagra of the bowels at the age of 45 in Sevierville on July 24, 1934. She was buried at Catons Chapel Church Cemetery in Sevierville. By 1935, the family had moved to Blackstock, Catoosa County, Georgia.

Hattie, Stewart, and Mack Shields
On April 23, 1940, Hattie and her family still lived in Blackstock. Stewart and Paul Sam were both farmers, working a 30-hour week. The highest grade that Stewart had completed was third; the grade box was unchecked for Hattie. Even though four of the children had left home—Daisy, Willie, James, and Betty—there were still seven children at home—Paul Sam, Lucille, Mary, Joline, Bobbie, Charles, and Mack. Hattie’s mother Bettie died of breast cancer in Sevierville on July 23, 1945. She was buried two days later at Catons Chapel Cemetery. I had a photo of William’s headstone thanks to someone posting it on his Find-A-Grave memorial so thought I’d request one for Bettie’s stone. Unfortunately, she must be buried in an unmarked grave because the volunteer that responded told me the following: “I could not find any other Rhinehart graves in this cemetery and he had lots of open space around him so wife could possibly be buried there also but I did not see a stone at all.”

My Mama remembers Grandma Shields as a very sweet person. During the early 1940s, Mama lived in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee with her father Sam Holland (my Granddaddy). Daisy (my Granny) had been declared unfit by the courts after she left Granddaddy and Mama so he had sole custody. Grandma Shields stepped in and played a key part in Mama’s life at this time. Since Grandma Shields lived in Tunnel Hill, Catoosa County, Georgia, Granny’s brother Jim Shields drove to Chattanooga and picked Mama up every weekend so she could spend it with Grandma Shields. On Sundays, Granddaddy came to pick her up and take her back home to Chattanooga. Mama spent her summers in Tunnel Hill.

Hattie and her brother Jim Rhinehart (child unknown to me)

Several of Grandma Shields children are close in age to Mama so she had built-in playmates in her aunts and uncles. Sometime Hattie's brother, Arlie Rhinehart and his wife, Martha or Aunt Marthie, would pick Mama up in a wagon and take her to his house for a few days. Mama remembers shelling corn and saving the cobs for the outhouse when she stayed with Grandma Shields and Uncle Arlie. Being on the farm meant there was always lots of work to do. Mama remembers that Grandma Shields hand milked the cows. She gave the first few squirts of milk to the cat and then kept milking until she had two gallons of milk. After she finished, she’d put a few nubbins of corn in her apron. As she walked outside, she tossed the corn on the ground for the chickens. While they ate the corn, she’d decide which chicken she wanted to cook for dinner. Then she’d pick it up, wring its neck, and take it in the house and pour boiling water over the chicken from a pot she’d started before going out to milk the cows. Then she’d defeather and gut them (the worst part), and fry it in her big iron skillet for dinner. Grandma Shields made the best cornbread you ever had to go with the chicken, along with summer vegetables picked from the garden. And of course, she was a southern cook so you know there would be a pan of biscuits when she didn’t make cornbread. Mama remembers going to the spring to wash clothes. Grandma Shields would take her scrub board, octagon soap, and the dirty clothes to the spring, put them in a tub, and then hand scrub and rinse them. Then they’d carry the clothes back to the house and hang them up on the clothes line. After the clothes were dry, Grandma Shields would heat up the iron so she could iron the white shirts the boys wore with their overalls on Sunday.

Stewart and Hattie Shields
My parents married when Mama was 15; she had my sister Bonita at age 16. The marriage was only a year old when Daddy left. Once again, Mama’s uncle stepped in and moved Mama and Bonita to Tunnel Hill. They spent some time with Grandma Shields and some time with Granny while Mama got a divorce. Since Mama now had to support herself and Bonita, she got a job in Chattanooga. Grandma Shields helped by taking care of Bonita while Mama worked. After a year, Mama got an apartment in Chattanooga. After a while, Daddy showed up again and they ended up getting married again and moved back to Atlanta. I know Mama was thankful for Grandma Shields help during this trying time in her life.

In 1954, Hattie and Stewart lived in Tunnel Hill. Stewart, however, worked as a janitor for the O. B. Andrews Company, a paper manufacturer that made paper margarine wrappers among other things, in Chattanooga. Stewart used a hammer to knock the perforated sheet out of a big sheet of paper. He worked there until his retirement; date unknown.

Hattie thought TV was the devil’s instrument. In the late 1950s, it was thought she had cancer so the doctor sent her to a cancer hospital in Rome, Georgia. She stayed there a year but doctors eventually determined she didn’t have cancer after all and sent her home. While she was gone, Stewart bought a TV for the house. When Hattie returned and saw the TV, she made him put it in the back room. But low and behold, she started watching it and found a soap opera she liked called Love of Life. One actress, named Vanessa, was her favorite. At the time, Mama was pregnant with her fifth child and when she was born, Hattie asked Mama to name her Vanessa, which she did.

Mama and Bonita standing in the Shields home driveway
with a cake for Hattie's son Charles

Stewart (we called him Pappy) was a farmer and owned 65 acres of land in Tunnel Hill. He gave one acre each to Granny and Paul Sam. I have very fond memories of going to visit Grandma Shields when my siblings and I were younger. She lived down the road from Granny, who we often visited. Bucket’s in hand, we’d walk down the dirt road to Grandma Shields’ house, picking blackberries along the way and thinking about the blackberry pie someone would make later that day. You walked into Grandma Shields’ house through the back door. The front of the house had a porch across the front that overlooked a beautiful pasture. There was an L-shaped porch on the back that always had stuff on it, including rocking chairs. My sister Bonita remembers sitting out there listening to the Grand Ole Opry. Grandma Shields had a big quilting rack set up in the living room and everyone sat around it working on a quilt section. They let Bonita sit with them and do something like she was working on the quilt too.

Shields home in Tunnel Hill, Georgia

Stewart Shields standing in the driveway of the Tunnel Hill home

Grandma Shields played the fiddle, banjo, and mandolin; Stewart played the banjo, fiddle, and guitar; and several of her children played as well. In 1910, Hattie and Stewart formed a band they called The Skillet Lickers and played around Sevier County. I imagine there was always music in the house.

Paul Sam Shields playing the banjo

Loyal Mack Shields from The Settler's Magazine

Stewart died suddenly at 71 years of age on September 7, 1962, a Friday night. They found him dead in the field by his house in Tunnel Hill. He was buried at Nellie Head Memorial Baptist Cemetery in Catoosa County, Georgia. Hattie moved in with her son Paul Sam after his death. Her granddaughter Evelyn remembers my Granny (Daisy Shields) and her husband Hoyt (Vest) coming to their house to pick Hattie up (and sometimes Evelyn) to attend a Dalton tent revival. They always stopped for a root beer float on the way home. Evelyn also remembers that she could always talk to Hattie about anything and enjoyed going to church with her. After living with Paul Sam for a couple of years, Hattie moved back to Sevierville and lived with her sister, Ollie, in the house owned by cousins Mack and Ellen Loveday. Mack and Ellen were the children of Mary Catherine Sneed Loveday, sister of Hattie’s mother Bettie. This house was previously owned by Bettie before the Loveday’s lived in it. Hattie and Ellen worked hard to prepare food for the winter months. They would lay a white sheet out on the porch and lay green beans out to dry. They called these leather britches. They stored food in fruit jars under the front porch, canned vegetables, sausage, and beef. We visited Grandma Shields when she lived in this house. I’m told this is the house where we helped feed the pigs.

Hattie and her cousin Ellen Loveday

Lankford kids feeding the pigs

About 1970, our family celebrated having five living generations. The picture below includes the representative members—my great-grandmother Hattie Rhinehart Shields, my Granny Daisy Shields Vest, my mother Fay, my sister Bonita, and her son Brian.

Five generations - Hattie, Daisy, Fay holding Brian, and Bonita

Hattie’s brother Jim died in Sevier County on January 29, 1971 at the age of 80. He was buried at Shiloh Memorial Cemetery in Pigeon Forge, Sevier County, Tennessee. Hattie’s son James died in Sylacauga, Talladega County, Alabama on September 26, 1972. He was buried at Nellie Head Memorial Baptist Cemetery in Catoosa County, Georgia. Her daughter Betty died in Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama on February 16, 1975. She was buried at West Hill Cemetery in Dalton.

Mama remembers getting a call at work in the Atlanta metropolitan area that Hattie was in the hospital. She left work and headed to Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga where Hattie had been admitted, arriving at the hospital room minutes before Hattie died on April 11, 1982. She was buried beside Stewart at Nellie Head Memorial Baptist Cemetery in Catoosa County after a funeral service officiated by Rev. Junior Bryson. Hattie was 87-years-old.

Hattie beside a stream in the Smokies
I have never heard anything but nice words about Grandma Shields. I hope she knows she’s still alive in our minds and hearts.

  • Chattanooga, Tennessee, City Directory, 1954.
  • Obituary, James Stewart Shields, Chattanooga Daily Times, Chattanooga, Tennessee, September 8, 1962.
  • Obituary, Mrs. Hattie J. Shields, unknown newspaper, April 13, 1982.
  • Personal memories of Fay Lankford, Bonita Streetman, Denise Murphy, Evelyn Shields Jenkins, and Carol Defore.
  • Settler, vol 3, no. 4, December 1986, Sevier Printing Incorporated.
  • State of Tennessee, Sevier County, Rite of Matrimony, March 30, 1909.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Blackstock, Catoosa, Georgia, 1940.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Civil District 13, Sevier, Tennessee, 1900, 1910.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Lower Tenth, Whitfield, Georgia, 1920, 1930.
  • U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939.
  • U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010.
  • U.S., Lists of Men Ordered to Report to Local Board for Military Duty, 1917–1918, Tennessee.
  • U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Registration State: Tennessee; Registration County: Sevier; Roll: 1877690.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Moses Horne, a 2nd great grandfather

Moses Horne, son of George Horne and Mary Brown, was born in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania on April 6, 1832 or 1833. The book History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Volume 2 by John Newton Boucher includes a sketch for George Richard Horne, son of Moses. In the book, Boucher notes “In this class may be mentioned George Richard Horne, a representative of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and a roller in the Vandergrift mills of the Amrican [sic] Sheet Steel and Tin Plate Company. His grandfather, who was the founder of the family in America, emigrated to the United States and settled in Maryland, whence he came to East Liberty, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. He was a well known contractor in his day, and furnished the stone for the building of the old Allegheny court house and the county jail. He died at an early age, being drowned in the Butcher’s Run flood in 1838.” The grandfather mentioned in this passage would have been the Moses’ father, George Horne. It also means that because George Horne died in 1838, Moses would only have been five or six years old when the flood took place. I haven’t found any other records showing that Moses had siblings, so it’s possible he was an only child. Moses was my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather.

Raised in Allegheny County, Moses became a carpenter, which records show he did for many years. During that time, he also became a contractor (like his father before him), as well as worked in the retail business.

On August 10, 1850, Moses and his 56-year-old widowed mother lived with the Bernard O’Neil family in the Peebles Township of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He was 17-years-old and working as a laborer. In 1858, Moses married Elizabeth Larimer, daughter of William Larimer and Magdalene Neley. Between 1859 and 1873, they had eight children—Amanda Larimer Horne, Mary Jennie Horne, Lydia Enna (or Emma) Horne, Josephine B. Horne, Ollie Bertha Horne, George Richard Horne, Keziah Chambers Horne, and one unknown child. I can only document seven of the children.

Daughters Amanda and Josephine
On June 11, 1860, Moses, Elizabeth, Amanda, and his 70-year-old mother “Mary” lived in the Peebles Township of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Moses was working as a carpenter. In 1862, they lived on Shady Lane in East Liberty. He paid taxes in Allegheny County during the months of May and June 1863. Moses was working as a retail dealer in 1865 and paid $10 in annual taxes in Division No. Five of Collection District Number 22. It was with the help of these tax records that I finally found Moses in the 1850 census record after having looked solidly for several weeks. I’d previously looked for Moses in those census records, but this time around, I looked almost every day to no avail until I discovered the tax records. I was looking in the wrong township. It made me very happy to find the 1850 census record if I must say so myself! I needed to see if there were other children in the Horne family and it was this record that told me the answer was probably not. The 1862 Pittsburgh city directory showed that Moses’ widowed mother was still living in the home and he was still working as a carpenter. He was still living on Shady Lane and working as a carpenter in 1868 but there was no mention of his mother Mary. Sometime during that year, Moses moved his family to Paulton, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. 

On July 8, 1870, Moses and his family lived in the Manor Dale area of the Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Moses, who was working as a carpenter, had real estate valued at $1200 and a personal estate valued at $500. Elizabeth was keeping house. Daughters Amanda, Mary, and Lydia were attending school; son George was just a baby at five months. Moses’ 75-year-old mother Mary was living with them. It took me a while to find Moses in the 1870 census record due to a transcription error—Worn vs. Horn or Horne—but like in 1850, I kept looking and finally found the record. Around 1875, Moses and his family moved to Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. He immersed himself into the community by becoming active in politics as well as joining the Apollo United Methodist Church. 

On June 25, 1880, Moses and his family still lived in Apollo. He was a dealer in groceries. His 10-year-old son George was a clerk in a store so was most likely helping his father. Elizabeth stayed busy keeping house while daughter Amanda was a dressmaker. I can personally attest to Amanda’s sewing skills as I have in my possession a baby dress she made for her son Benjamin Gordon Smith about 1884. Click here if you’d like to see and read what I wrote about Ben’s dress several years ago. At age 20, Amanda was no longer attending school, but Jennie, Lydia, Josephine, Ollie, and George all were. Moses’ youngest daughter Keziah was enumerated as Kizzie. In 1882, Moses attended the wedding of his daughter Amanda to John Milton Smith, my husband’s direct ancestors. The wedding took place in Apollo, so it’s possible that if the Horne family had not moved there, I wouldn’t be married to my husband today as she might have never met John and the family wouldn’t be what it is today!

Moses Horne family in the 1880 Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania census

On April 3, 1890, Moses attended another wedding, that of his daughter Lydia to Harry T. Henry in Apollo. And then he attended the wedding of his son George to Emma Schmidt in Armstrong County on March 26, 1892. 

A Republican, Moses was a member of Apollo’s city council in 1895.

On June 1, 1900, Moses, Elizabeth, and Josephine were living in Apollo. Moses had returned to his carpentry work. At age 35, Josephine was apparently not working. The census enumerator recorded Elizabeth as the mother of eight children, five of which were living. 

Moses died at home of heart disease in Apollo at the age of 77 on April 11, 1910. His son George was the informant on the death certificate. He was buried at Riverview Cemetery there in Apollo. The census taker came around four days later.

Moses' death certificate

Moses’ obituary ran in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on April 12:
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 12, 1910
Deaths in Nearby Towns
Apollo, PA., April 11.—Moses Horne, aged 77, died today at his home here. He was a steel worker and had lived here for 50 years. He was a member of the First Methodist Episcopal church. He is survived by four daughters, Mrs. Harry Henry of Vandergrift, Mrs. H. Smith and Miss Josephine of Apollo, and Mrs. V. Shepler of Leechburg; and one son, William Horne of Apollo.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 12, 1910

I found his obituary interesting in that most of the information is wrong, at least as far as my research goes:
  • Not once did I find any record that said Moses was a steel worker.
  • He didn’t move to Apollo until around 1875, which would be 35 years, not 50. 
  • The church records I found have him attending the Methodist church, not the Episcopal.
  • His daughter Amanda married John Milton Smith, not Mr. H. Smith.
  • His only son was named George Richard Horne, not William.
  • It did not list his wife as a survivor. She didn’t die until 1913 and her death noticed listed her as the wife of the late Moses Horne.
Pittsburgh Daily Post, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 3, 1913

Whatever the case, I’m happy I decided to write this sketch for Moses. When I started it, I didn’t have any information on his father and only a name for his mother. Finding the History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania sketch on George Richard Horne helped take me backwards one more generation which is always exciting. 

  • Bertha Edna Smith Athya photo collection.
  • Boucher, John Newton, History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, vol. 2, pp. 599–600.
  • Certificate of Death number 34752, Moses Horne, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Bureau of Vital Statistics, April 12, 1910.
  • East Liberty (Pittsburgh);
  • Elizabeth Horne obituary, Pittsburgh Daily Post, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 3, 1913.
  • Marriage License, George R. Horne and Emma Schmidt, State of Pennsylvania, County of Armstrong, March 26, 1892.
  • Marriage License, Lydia E. Horne and Harry T. Henry, State of Pennsylvania, County of Armstrong, April 7, 1890.
  • Members in Full Connection, Apollo United Methodist Church; Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669–2013.
  • Members in Full Connection, Apollo United Methodist Church; Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669–2013.
  • Moses Horne obituary, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 12, 1910.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1862.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1868.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, 1880, 1900.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Manor Dale, Washington Township, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, 1870.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Peebles, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, 1850, 1860.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Washington, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, 1870.
  • U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862–1918 for Moses Horne, Pennsylvania District 22; Annual Lists; May 1865.
  • U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863–1865 for Moses Horne, Pennsylvania 22nd vol. 1 of 3.

Friday, January 31, 2020

My Grandma, Floria Mae Burnette

Grandma and one of her grandsons
standing in front of Penfield Baptist Church
in Penfield, Georgia
This blog post is another in a series connecting the dots in my tree to the souls buried at Bairdstown Cemetery in Bairdstown, Oglethorpe County, Georgia.

Floria Mae Burnette, daughter of Thomas Terrell Burnette and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Jones, was born in Loganville, Walton County, Georgia on November 18, 1897. She was the 3rd of 13 children—Luther Terrell Burnette, Eva Drucilla Burnette, Floria Mae Burnette, Jesse Burnette, unknown twin Burnette, Willie Lloyd Burnette, Prince Albert Burnette, Claudia Burnette, Maudie Burnette, Henry T. Burnette, Eleanor (Elna) Estelle Burnette, Samuel A. Burnette, and Julia Virginia Burnette. She was my paternal grandmother whom we called Grandma.

On June 26, 1900, Floria and her family lived in the Vinegar Hill District of Walton County. Her parents had been married for six years; her father worked as a farmer. The census enumerator recorded her mother as having had five children, all of which were living, however, there were only four children listed in the census record—Luther, Eva (enumerated as Ever), Flora, and a son named Jesse (age 1, born January 1899 in Georgia). I’ve been told that Lizzie had two sets of twins—one set survived (Claudia and Maudie) and one set that died at the age of one. This census is the only record I’ve found that lists Jesse who I’m assuming to be one of the twins. But what about the fifth child (the other twin)? Where was it? If the family lore is true, Jesse would have died shortly after this census was taken.

1900 Census, Walton County, Georgia. The only record that lists a child named Jesse.

When Floria was 11 years old, she attended the Jones family reunion with her family in 1908. The group photo below was taken that day. At this time, I can identify 38 family members.

Jones family reunion, ca. 1908

The photographer also took individual family photos. Floria is the girl with the bun on the left behind her mother.

Thomas Terrell Burnette family, ca. 1908

On April 28, 1910, Floria and her family lived in Greshamville, Greene County, Georgia. Her father was enumerated as Tom and was still farming. Luther, Eva, and Floria were all farm laborers on a home farm; all three could read and write and were attending school. The enumerator recorded her mother as having had 10 children, 8 of which were living. This accounts for the death of the twins. Still at home were Luther, Eva (again enumerated as Ever), and Floria (enumerated as either Florence or Flor Mae, it’s hard to read) with five more children added to the family—Willie, Prince (enumerated as Price), twins Claudia and Maudie, and Henry.

1910 Soundex Cards

Floria was a teenager during the early to mid-1910s. On one of her birthdays, her mother gave her a carnival glass vase that was eventually given to my Daddy. I remember it always sat on an end table in our living room when I was growing up. Today, it sits on my bedside table.

Grandma's carnival glass vase
You can see the vase on the table in our 1960s living room
On February 13, 1920, the family lived in the Walkers District of Greene County. At age 22, Floria, enumerated as either Florrie or Flossie (again, hard to read), was still living at home, as was her 24-year-old sister Eva. Her father was farming on a general farm and Eva, Floria, Willie, Prince, Claudia, Maudie, and Henry were all laborers on a home farm. The house was full with Floria’s parents, 10 of the children, and Floria’s 78-year-old widowed paternal grandfather, Samuel Pride Burnette all living together. Three more children had joined the family since the last census was taken—Eleanor, Samuel (enumerated as Sammie), and Julia. Floria’s brother Luther and his wife Etta Belle lived next door.

1920 Soundex Cards

Floria and Carroll Harvey Lankford, son of Thomas P. Janes Jr. and Alice Beman Lankford, visited the courthouse in Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia on February 23, 1922 where they obtained a marriage license from Judge F. B. Shipp at the Court of the Ordinary. They were married by Mr. Dreyer on March 12, 1922 in Penfield, Greene County, Georgia. Floria was 26-years-old and Carroll 36-years-old. Judge Shipp incorrectly wrote Floria’s last name as “Barnett” when he issued the license. I’m assuming they took the license with them when they left the courthouse so the person who married them could complete and sign it after performing the marriage ceremony. That would mean Floria and Carroll should have seen the misspelling of her last name. I can’t help but wonder why she didn’t ask the judge to correct the spelling, but that’s something we’ll never know.

1922 marriage license for Carroll and Floria Burnette

Something else we’ll never know is whether the burden Carroll brought to the union had any effects on their marriage. I’ve already told my grandpa’s story, one of a child born out of wedlock and living with that shame during his lifetime. If you’re interested, you can read it here and if you care to read more, click here to learn about our DNA connection to the Janes line. Floria and Carroll would go on to have eight children together—Carroll (Sport) Harvey Lankford Jr., Floria Lucile Lankford, Samuel Terrell Lankford, twins Alice and Elizabeth Lankford, Grover William Lankford, Clark Eugene Lankford, and Betty Ann Lankford.

Grandpa and Grandma with their eight children—front:  Carroll Harvey Jr. (AKA Sport),
Grover, Clark, and Sam; back: Liz (twin), Lucile, Grandma (Floria),
Grandpa (Carroll Sr.), Alice (twin), and Betty (ca. September 1959)

Carroll worked as a sharecropper, farming cotton and vegetables. Being a sharecropper meant they moved every two years working the land. Until Floria and Carroll moved into a house Daddy bought in Penfield, they lived in old, deserted plantation houses owned by Ralph Brightwell. Mr. Brightwell rented the houses to Carroll for half—Mr. Brightwell got the cotton and Carroll kept the vegetables. As the family grew, and as mentioned previously, they moved a lot, living in Stephens in Oglethorpe County and Woodville, Union Point, and Penfield in Greene County. I can’t find the family in the 1930 census records, but know they were still in Penfield that year. They made another move to Oglethorpe County, living in Maxeys, then moved back to Penfield, and then back to Maxeys by 1935. They eventually settled down in Penfield in a home purchased by their son Sam. Carroll also worked as a blacksmith, although I don’t know when and for how long.

Lankford home in Penfield, Georgia

Floria’s father Thomas died of heart disease at the age of 71 on February 6, 1940 in Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia. He was buried at Walker United Methodist Church Cemetery in Greensboro. On April 11, 1940, the census enumerator found the family living in Woodville. Floria was a housewife and Carroll was enumerated as Caral Lanford working as a farmer on his own farm. The highest grade Floria had completed was the 7th and Carroll the 4th. Their son Sam joined the Navy in 1944 and left home. He returned in 1946, staying for a year before moving to Atlanta in 1947 to live with Floria’s sister Julia. While living with Julia, Sam worked with her husband, Jerry Gregory who was a plumber. Jerry taught Sam the trade and it wasn’t long before Sam encouraged his brothers Grover and Clark to move to Atlanta as well. Before long, all three were plumbers and worked together for many years.

Sam in the white t-shirt, other men unknown. Standing in front of Gregory Plumbing.

Before leaving for Atlanta, Sam transferred the house title to his mother Floria. Carroll sold pulpwood off the land and then bought an additional 20 acres, giving them a total of 25–30 acres. Carroll also bought property between Greensboro and Penfield from the government but was unable to pay for the land and filed bankruptcy on that piece of property. Along with whatever income Floria and Carroll received from his farming and blacksmith work, he also received a monthly pension of $60 for his service during World War I, which was eventually increased to $72. Really not that much money coming in.

My Aunt Lucille and Grandma
In 1955, Floria’s brother Henry was killed in a hunting accident in Putnam County, Georgia on New Year’s Eve. Henry was buried at Pine Grove Cemetery in Eatonton after a service held at Oak Street Baptist Church. Floria’s mother Lizzie died at Minnie G. Boswell Hospital in Greensboro on December 2, 1956. At the time of her death, she suffered from multiple issues, including acute adrenal insufficiency following a fracture of her right shoulder, cardiovascular disease, senility, and chronic bronchitis. Lizzie was buried beside her husband at Walker United Methodist Church Cemetery in Greensboro the next day. Her sister Eleanor died in Fulton County, Georgia on April 25, 1963 and was buried at Salem Baptist Church Cemetery in McDonough, Henry County, Georgia.

My Grandma was diagnosed with cancer (of the stomach I believe) in September 1969. By the time it was discovered, the cancer was pretty advanced. She and Grandpa moved into a nursing home for a short time but they both hated it so moved in with their my Aunt Lucille. With no money to pay medical expenses, Sam (my Daddy) hired a local Greensboro lawyer named Miles Walker Lewis to transfer their Penfield property over to my uncle Ralph Epps (Aunt Lucille’s husband). Uncle Ralph sold the property off in pieces to pay the medical bills for both Grandma and Grandpa. After all was said and done, there was only $500 left. The cancer took its toll and my Grandma died on March 3, 1970 at Boswell Hospital in Greensboro at the age of 72. I still remember the night she died. I knew she wasn’t doing well. My bedroom was downstairs at the time and after hearing the telephone ring just after 10 p.m., I headed upstairs. When I got to the dining room, Daddy was standing there crying, with his hands covering his face. That was the only time I ever saw my Daddy cry. My Uncle Clark, who was at the hospital with Grandma, was the person who called Daddy after she was gone. Daddy once told me that he remembers dreaming about Grandma the night she died and was woken by the phone when Uncle Clark called. Her funeral was held the next day at Bairds Baptist Church in Bairdstown, Oglethorpe County, Georgia with Rev. Robert C. Black officiating. She was buried at Bairdstown Cemetery near the church. She was survived by sisters Eva, twins Maudie and Claudia, and Julia; and brothers Willie, Luther, Prince, and Sam.

I was only 13 when Grandma died so only have a few memories of her. I remember the yearly family reunions at their house in Penfield, always in September to coincide with Grandpa’s birthday. I remember that house looked like it always needed to be painted, as in it was raw wood. Daddy said Grandpa wouldn’t let them paint it. Parts of the house was caved in; I remember in particular portions of the back porch. You pulled into a dirt driveway; in fact, most of the yard was dirt. My sister Bonita remembers that Grandma swept the dirt yard, an old Southern custom to help ward off snakes and make a safe play area for children. Pictures show there was a wooden building, perhaps a barn, at the end of the driveway. There was an outhouse a short distance from the house, in the field with a mule. I was always afraid of using the outhouse because you had to walk past the mule to get to the outhouse. Water was drawn from a pump well in the backyard. There was a large round grinding stone, powered by pedaling, either on the back porch or in the yard, that was used to sharpen knives and tools. You entered the house by going up a few steps which led into the kitchen. I don’t remember but it was probably the dining room as well. There was a large wood stove in the kitchen that Grandma cooked on. Because they had no heat or water in the house, Grandma got up before daylight every morning to light the stove and heat up the house before she cooked breakfast. I remember her adding wood to the stove, making biscuits in a large wooden bowl (my sister Bonita has that bowl now), and then putting the pan of biscuits in oven of the wood stove. It still fascinates me that people cooked that way inside their house.

Carroll and Floria Lankford (ca. 1959)
Daddy remembers they shelled a lot of corn so that must have been one of Grandpa’s crops. I can picture Grandma, standing in front of her wood stove, stirring a pot of southern style creamed corn for dinner, something any good southern woman knows how to cook.

My cousin Tim told me his Mom (Alice) said the kids only got one pair of shoes once a year when they were growing up. Aunt Alice told my cousin Kathy that when she and her twin sister Liz started working at the mill, they had Grandma and Grandpa’s house wired for electricity. They also bought them a refrigerator, two bedroom suites, a couch, a rug or piece of carpet for the living room, and put some kind of shades on the windows.

I don’t remember it but my Aunt Betty told me that Grandpa and Grandma had a piano. Aunt Betty said Grandma played by ear and loved to play church songs.

My cousin Euleen remembers spending the night at their house, something I don’t think I ever did, and having to watch the Jackie Gleason Show on their television. I didn’t even know they had one! Euleen also said they always had tons of quilts on the bed when they slept there in the winter. It got cold in the house at night.

Floria on the right standing
beside her mother Lizzie
and granddaughters
Linda and Nancy
Money was probably an issue all of her married life. Grandpa worked all the time, as a farmer/sharecropper and blacksmith, but Daddy once told me Grandpa couldn’t hold onto money—if there was money in the house, he spent it. That had to be hard on Grandma. I cringe when I hear someone complaining about the (material) things they don’t have. My mind always goes to how my grandparents lived, how hard life must have been for them, and how much they didn’t have. We think we have it so bad sometimes but we don’t know what bad really is.

A quiet, kind, sweet, and gentle woman—these are the words used by myself, my siblings, and cousins to describe my Grandma. That is how I remember her.


  • “Back When Mamaws Would Sweep Their Yards,” Appalachian Magazine, April 11, 2017;
  • Certificate of Death no. 30983 for Elizabeth Jones Burnette, Georgia Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, December 4, 1956.
  • Certificate of Death no. 4275 for Thomas Terrel Burnette, Georgia Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, February 9, 1940.
  • Floria Mae Burnette and Carroll Lankford, Marriage Certificate, State of Georgia, Greene County, recorded March 22, 1922.
  • Mrs. Lankford Passes Away, obituary, newspaper unknown, March 1970.
  • Obituary, Carroll H. Lankford Jr., McCommons Funeral Home, Greensboro, Georgia.
  • Personal memories of Denise Murphy, Kathy Osborne, Tim Griffith, Alice Griffith, Betty Elrod, and Euleen Disharoon.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Greshamville, Greene County, Georgia, 1910.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Vinegar Hill, Walton County, Georgia, 1900.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Walkers District, Greene County, Georgia, 1920.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Woodville, Greene County, Georgia, 1940.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Roland Lankford, a victim of diphtheria

This blog post is another in a series connecting the dots in my tree to the souls buried at Bairdstown Cemetery in Bairdstown, Oglethorpe County, Georgia.

Roland Lankford, son of Edward James Lankford and Nancy (Nannie) T. Reynolds, was born circa April 1879 in Bairdstown, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. He was the 2nd of 12 children born to Edward and Nannie—Ethel S. Lankford, Roland Lankford, Robert Lankford, James Brook Lankford, Sallie Mae Lankford, Idarene Lankford, Pearl M. Lankford, Ruby Lankford, Cecil Lankford, Thomas Watson Lankford, Sythia E. Lankford, and Edwin John Lankford.

Roland is my 2nd cousin 3x removed with our nearest common relatives being Charles L. Lankford and Miss Moore.

Roland’s story isn’t one of a long prosperous life though as he did not survive infancy. At the age of about eight months, he contracted diphtheria, a “serious bacterial infection that usually affects the mucous membranes of your nose and throat” according to the Mayo Clinic. Diphtheria was once a leading cause of death among children. That would prove to be true for Roland when he died, most likely at home in Bairdstown, in November 1879. Roland was listed as R. Lankford on the mortality schedule taken in 1880. If you don’t read the notes on the schedule, you might think this child was his brother Robert, who died in 1880. But Note A reads: The Census Year begins June 1, 1879 and ends May 31, 1880. Mortality schedule 5 for “Persons who DIED during the Year ending May 31, 1880 …”  noted that Roland was 8/12 months and that he died in November. Because the schedule ended in May 1880, that would mean this child would have died in November 1879, not 1880 so it would have to be Roland, not Robert. Roland was under the care of Dr. Devant at the time of his death.

Mortality Schedule for the period June 1, 1879 to May 31, 1880, Oglethorpe County, Georgia

Roland was buried at Bairdstown Cemetery in Bairdstown. Sadly, he wasn’t the only infant in the family that didn’t survive. When you visit Bairdstown Cemetery, you’ll find a row of five stones—all with just a name and a single year—for Roland and his siblings born after his death, Robert, Idarene, Ruby, and Cecil.

Thanks to vaccinations, diphtheria is now rare in the United States.


Friday, January 17, 2020

Martin William Murphy

Martin William Murphy
Martin William Murphy, son of Samuel C. Murphy and Nancy Daugherty, was born on August 22, 1852 or 1853 in Marshall County, Virginia. He was the second child of five born to Samuel and Nancy—Mary C. Murphy, Martin William Murphy, Margarete Emily Murphy, Elmer Elsworth Murphy, and Nancy Elizabeth Murphy. Martin is my husband’s great grandfather.

On September 6, 1860, Martin and his family lived in Marshall County, Virginia (now West Virginia). His father was a farmer with real estate valued at $375 and a personal estate valued at $150. Martin and his sister Mary were attending school at the time. His sister Margaret at one-year-old was obviously too young to be in school. Martin’s maternal grandparents, John P. and Catherine (Brannon) Daughtery, lived five houses from the Murphy house. On this census record, I learned that John Daughtery was from Ireland. Martin’s sister Nancy was born on January 25, 1867 and was just under two weeks old when their mother died in Marshall County on February 7 at the age of 41 years. Martin’s mother was buried at Greenville Ridge Cemetery in Silver Hill, Marshall County, West Virginia. Martin’s father Samuel was now left to raise five children alone. But that changed on November 27, 1868 when he married Tabitha A. Bonar Clark, daughter of David Bonar and Elizabeth J. Core near Belton, Pennsylvania. Tabitha, a widow, had previously been married to James C. Clark who died in 1865 and had five children of her own—Eliza Jane Clark (20), Emeline Clark (15), Charles W. Clark (12), Ann Rebecca Clark (7), and Artimace M. Clark (4). Tabitha had a sixth child named Sarah E. Clark who died on October 4, 1863 at the age of 2 years in Wetzel County, West Virginia. Samuel and Tabitha were only married a few months when Tabitha’s daughter Emeline died on March 10, 1869.

On July 26, 1870, Martin and his now blended family lived in the Center Township of Wetzel County, West Virginia. His father was a farmer with real estate valued at $500 and a personal estate valued at $200. Martin’s stepmother Tabitha was keeping house and unable to write. At 17 years of age, Martin was attending school but was also unable to write. Only three of Tabitha’s children lived in the home—Charles, Rebecca, and Artimace. They lived next door to the William H. Murphy family and beside him was the James Murphy family. I need to figure out if they’re connected to Samuel and his family.

Sarah E. Anderson Murphy
On June 24, 1880, the Murphy family lived in the Liberty District of Marshall County, West Virginia. Martin’s father was a farm laborer, most likely assisted by 24-year-old Martin who was a farm laborer. His stepmother Tabitha was keeping house, sister Emily was working as a domestic, and brother Elmer was working as a laborer. Martin’s stepbrother Charles was working as a farmer, while stepsisters Rebecca and Artimace (enumerated as Arte) were both “at home.” Martin now had a nephew named James L. Blake, although I haven’t determined which sister or stepsister he belonged to.

Martin married Sarah Elizabeth Anderson, daughter of Lewis Anderson and Mariah (or Mary) Eckelberry. I have yet to find a marriage record to determine the date and location. Between the years 1881 and 1903, Martin and Sarah had 11 children—Cora Belle Murphy, Edward Francis Murphy, Charles Homer Murphy, Essie Lee Murphy, William (Willie) H. Murphy, Ella Mae Murphy, Arliff Barow Murphy, Tabitha M. Murphy, Cecil Pearl Murphy, Addie Opal Murphy, and Olive Ruby Murphy.

Daughter Tabitha was born in 1896. Sadly, she only lived for about two years, dying in 1898. Tabitha was buried at Anderson Bethel Cemetery in Littleton, Wetzel County, West Virginia. I wasn’t aware of this child until we visited the cemetery in 2009 and found her grave, which thankfully was clearly marked by the stone below.

 I found a second marker nailed to a tree.

On June 22, 1900, Martin and his family lived in Littleton, within the Clay District of Wetzel County, West Virginia. The 1900 census record shows that Martin and Sarah had been married for 16 years which would have meant they were married about 1884, three years before their first child was born in 1881. Martin supported his family working as a teamster, someone who hauled merchandise using a team of horses. As a teamster, Martin would have “worked 12–18 hours a day, seven days a week for an average wage of $2 per day” according to the Teamster’s webpage. His wife Sarah was enumerated as having had nine children, eight of which were living. That would account for the death of little Tabitha in 1898. Martin, Sarah, Charles, and Essie were all able to read and write, however, sons Edward and William weren’t. Their daughter Cora had already left home, living in the home of James and Ida Johnston, a local merchant. Cora was working as a servant, although it’s not clear if she was working for the Johnston’s or someone else. Daughter Essie married Frank Oscar Grimm in 1907 and by 1908 had started a family of her own.

On April 27, 1910, the Murphy family continued to live in the Clay District of Wetzel County. Martin was now working as a general farmer. The 1910 census record shows that Martin and Sarah had been married for 27 years and that Sarah was the mother of 11 children, 10 of which were living. Eight of the children still lived at home—Edward (26), Charles (21), William (18), Ella (17), Arliff (16), Cecil (11), Addie (8), and Olive (6). Edward, Charles, and William were working as teamsters in an oil field, daughter Ella as a servant for a private family, and son Arliff as a farm laborer. Cecil and Addie were both attending school while six-year-old Olive was not. On May 25, 1915, Martin’s daughter Essie died of septic endometritis in Warwood (a neighborhood of Wheeling), Ohio County, West Virginia. She was just 27 years old and left three young children behind, the youngest being three years old.

On January 13, 1920, Martin and Sarah still lived in the Clay District of Wetzel County, along with three of their adult children—William, Arliff, and Addie. Martin was the only person in the home working—farming on a general farm. Martin’s wife Sarah died of cancer on April 1, 1927 in the Clay District at the age of 67. She was buried at Anderson Bethel Cemetery in Littleton. Just five days later, Martin died on April 6, 1927 in Mannington, Marion County, West Virginia at the age of 74. He was buried beside Sarah at Anderson Bethel Cemetery in Littleton on April 8. Martin’s son Willie was the informant on his death certificate. Dr. F. W. Vance noted that he did not treat Martin and that he evidently died from a cerebral hemorrhage, also known as bleeding of the brain.

I wanted to write about Martin after finding the above photos of him and his wife Sarah last weekend on the website. These photos take us back visually one more generation in my husband’s family, which is very as exciting. Thank you to Cora Childers for posting the photos, as well as for giving me permission to post them here.


  • Find A Grave, Martin W. Murphy memorial 38949113.
  • Martin Murphy Certificate of Death no. 4950, West Virginia State Department of Health.
  • Martin Murphy, West Virginia Births, 1853–1930;
  • Martin Murphy, West Virginia Deaths, 1804–1999;
  • Martin William Murphy and Sarah Anderson Murphy photos courtesy of Cora Childers.
  • Personal visit by Denise Murphy to Anderson Bethel Cemetery, Littleton, Wetzel County, West Virginia.
  • Sarah Murphy, General Index and Register of Deaths, Wetzel County, West Virginia.
  • Tabitha Murphy tombstone, Anderson Bethel Cemetery, Littleton, Wetzel County, West Virginia.
  • The Early Years, Teamster’s;
  • United States Federal Census, Marshall County, Virginia, 1860.
  • United States Federal Census, Center Township, Wetzel County, Virginia, 1870.
  • United States Federal Census, Liberty District, Marshall County, West Virginia, 1880.
  • United States Federal Census, Clay District, Wetzel County, West Virginia, 1900, 1910, 1920.