Friday, July 31, 2020

Nancy Irene Holland

Turner and Irene (Holland) Snipes
Nancy Irene Holland, daughter of Marion “Scott” Holland and Frances Eleanor Williamson, was born in the Craytonville section of Anderson County, South Carolina on October 17, 1895. Large families tend to run in the Holland lines and this one was no exception. Her parents had 11 children. I can document 9 of them—Minnie Lee Holland, John William Holland, Isom Todd Holland, Arthur “Brown” Holland, Sudie (or Sula) Bell Holland, Emma Eldora Holland, Nancy “Irene” Holland, Eunice Maude Holland, and Julian Clair Holland. I’ve been told they had a son named Andrew who died in infancy but I have found no record to prove that so far. I’m not sure about the 11th child. Census records show a child named Nannie Amanda Holland but I believe this is actually Irene. Or perhaps she had a twin sister who died in infancy but that’s just speculation on my part. The bottom line is, I have no clue as to who this child was, only that census records show Irene’s mother had 11 children. Irene would be my 1st cousin 2x removed. Our nearest common relatives are Leroy Thomas Holland and Amanda Elizabeth Scott, my 2nd great grandparents.

On June 1, 1900, Irene lived with her parents and six siblings (John, Isom, Sula, Emma, Eunice, and Julian) in the Honea Path Township of Anderson County, South Carolina. She was enumerated as Nannie A. Holland. The census record shows her as age 4, born in October 1895. The Soundex Index card lists her as Nannie Holland, age 4, born in October 1899. Clearly something is wrong here. Her parents had been married for 20 years. Irene’s father was a farmer with brothers John and Isom both working as farm laborers. Her mother was enumerated as having had 11 children, 9 of which were living. John and Isom were the only children who were able to read and write at this point. Her brother Brown was not living with the family and I have yet to find him during that census year. My notes show that Andrew was born and died (in infancy) in 1900, but as mentioned above, I can’t confirm this. If he was born in 1900, it would have been late in the year because Julian was born in March 1900.

Clarence Franklin Snipes
On April 28, 1910, Irene, her parents, and five siblings (Isom, Brown, Emma, Maud, and Julian) lived in Honea Path. Her father was enumerated as Scott M. Holland. This census year notes that Frances had given birth to 11 children and 9 were still living. Irene’s father was a farmer on a general farm. Her brothers Isom and Brown (once again living with the family) were farmers on a home farm. Irene’s sister Minnie lived next door with her husband Walter M. King, and five children (Annie, Frank, Max, Evelyn, and Howard). Irene was just 17 years old when her mother died in Anderson on December 11, 1912. She was buried at Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery in Belton, Anderson County, South Carolina. On May 24, 1916, Irene and Turner Walter Snipes, son of Clarence Snipes and Alice Ann Wright, went before W. P. Nicholson, Judge of Probate for Anderson County, and filed a marriage license. They were married on May 28. Together they had three children—Blair H. Snipes, Buren Turner Snipes, and Clarence Franklin Snipes. When Turner registered for the World War I draft on June 5, 1917, he and Irene lived in Belton. Turner was a tenant farmer on land owned by Irene’s father.

On January 5, 1920, Irene, Turner, and sons Blair and Buren lived in Honea Path. Turner was a farmer on a general farm. Irene and Turner were both able to read and write. They lived two doors from Turner’s parents and his brother John. At the age of 2 years, the unthinkable happened when Irene’s son Clarence died on October 10, 1925 of enterocolitis, an inflammation of the digestive tract according to Wikipedia. He was buried at Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery in Belton on October 10. Within three years, the family was back at the cemetery to bury Irene’s father who died in Anderson on February 5, 1928.

Blair and Buren Snipes
On April 25, 1930, Irene, Turner, Blair, and Buren lived in Honea Path. The census enumerator recorded her as Irene. Turner was a farmer on a general farm. Tragedy struck the Snipes family again in 1937 when Turner died suddenly of a coronary thrombosis, also known as a blood clot of the heart, on August 5 at their home in the Friendship community of Honea Path. Only 45 years old, Turner had lived his entire life in Anderson County and was a “well known farmer in the county.” He was buried at Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery in Belton on August 6.

On April 8, 1940, Irene, Blair, and Buren lived in Honea Path. She owned the house which was classified as a farm and valued at $3,000. Irene was a farmer, working 25 hours a week. Blair, at age 22, was a laborer in a cutting department. Buren, at age 21, was a filling station operator.

Irene lost of her sister Sudie in November 1949, her brother John in October 1952, and her brother Isom in November 1957.

At some point by 1960, Irene moved into her brother Brown’s Honea Path home. Her grandson Dan Snipes recalled that she lived upstairs and Brown downstairs. In February 1964, Brown wrote a letter to my grandfather, Sam Holland, telling him that Irene had an apartment in his house and cooked for him. Irene moved to Belton in 1967. Her brother Brown died in March 1968. About that time, Irene’s health starting declining. It worsened the summer of 1969 and she died at Anderson Memorial Hospital on September 21. She was buried at Bethany Church Cemetery beside her husband Turner. She was survived by her sons Blair and Buren; brother Julian and three sisters, Minnie, Maude, and Emma; six grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. She was a member of the First Baptist Church in Honea Path at the time of her death.

Irene (Holland) Snipes on left and Snipes family members

Irene (Holland) Snipes

Snipes family plot at Bethany Church Cemetery

  • A. B. Holland obituary, The Greenville News, Greenville, South Carolina, March 31, 1968.
  • Clarence F. Snipes, Standard Certificate of Death no. 16452, State of South Carolina, Bureau of Vital Statistics, State Board of Health.
  • Enterocolitis;
  • Frances Eleanor Williamson Holland Find a Grave memorial 41331097.
  • Isom Todd Holland, State of South Carolina, Application for Certificate of Birth no. D-539, May 12, 1951.
  • John William Holland, Standard Certificate of Death no. 52-013004, State of South Carolina, Bureau of Vital Statistics, State Board of Health.
  • Julian Holland obituary, The Greenville News, Greenville, South Carolina, January 5, 1977.
  • Letter from Brown Holland to Sam Holland, February 22, 1964.
  • Mrs. Sudie Holland Martin, Standard Certificate of Death no. 49-015279, Division of Vital Statistics, State Board of Health, State of South Carolina.
  • Nannie Irene Holland Delayed Certificate of Birth no. 139-20-1104, Division of Vital Statistics, State Board of Health, State of South Carolina, February 2, 1956.
  • Personal memories of Dan Snipes.
  • Sudie Holland Martin, Standard Certificate of Death no. 49-015279, State of South Carolina, Bureau of Vital Statistics, State Board of Health.
  • Turner W. Snipes Obituary, Anderson Independent, August 6, 1937.
  • Turner Walter Snipes and Nannie Irene Holland marriage license/certificate, South Carolina, County Marriage Records, 1907–2000.
  • Turner Walter Snipes, Standard Certificate of Death no. 11700, State of South Carolina, Bureau of Vital Statistics, State Board of Health.
  • Turner Walter Snipes, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Honea Path Township, Anderson County, South Carolina, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Hidden West Virginia racetrack photos

My husband and I have been watching Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s new show on Peacock, Lost Speedways. It’s a pretty good show that Earnhardt hosts himself, telling stories of abandoned speedways. They’ve done their research and obviously have personal knowledge of and access to the people who raced on these tracks so it’s pretty interesting. As I watched the first four episodes, I was reminded of photos that are part of my husband’s uncle Ralph Murphy’s slide collection given to my husband by his Aunt Jean Murphy in 2007. The collection consists of 15 boxes of slides (thousands) taken by Uncle Ralph, spanning the years 1947 to 1984. Many are scenic shots from their travels across the United States, some are family members, and others friends and co-workers. I converted the majority of the slides to digital several years ago and have been enjoying them ever since.

The photos you see below appear to be from two different racetracks—one a dirt track and the other a circle eight. I don’t know where these tracks were located but assume somewhere in West Virginia. As far what city in West Virginia is concerned, several possibilities come to mind. Uncle Ralph lived in Nutter Fort in the 1950s. From a little internet research, there appears to have been tracks in Nutter Fort, Grafton, Shinnston, and Clarksburg, including one at the Clarksburg Airport. These are all cities I know Uncle Ralph would have frequented in work and play so any of them are possible. If you look closely, you’ll even see small parked airplanes in the circle eight track photos.

The dirt track

The circle eight

What stories and history could be told about these racetracks? Do they still exist or are they abandoned now? Who were the people who raced there or cheered the racers on? I don’t know and probably never will, but maybe someone will stumble on this post and recognize these tracks. It would be fun to learn more about them.

If you’d like to see more photos from Uncle Ralph’s collection, click on the links below.

A boy and his bicycle
The beauty of nature
Ruth Miller
Share your photos and make a difference
Water sports at Tygart Lake
Nutter Fort, West Virginia Soap Box Derby
Warner’s Skyline Drive-In Theater
Palace Furniture Company and Pepsi-Cola—a colorful combination
Vintage Christmas photos
52 Ancestors – no. 40: Anna B. Church – (week 24) (Anna (Church) and Everett Evans photos only)

Friday, July 17, 2020

George Cleveland Burnett

George Cleveland Burnett
, son of Edward George Burnett and Frances “Fannie” Rice was born November 1885 in Covington, Newton County, Georgia. The Burnett family was a large one with 10 children. I can document 8 of them by name—Captain Charles Burnett, Richard Clifford Burnett, Maggie Burnett, William Clarence Burnett, Claud Young Burnett, Ida Burnett, George Cleveland Burnett, and Cornelia “Nealy or Neal” Ann Burnett. The 9th and 10th children can be documented but not named via the 1900 Gem Creek, District 85, Newton County, Georgia census record that shows Fannie had 10 children, 8 of which were living.

This has been a hard family to research, beginning with George’s father, Edward. Edward’s last name was actually Caton, not Burnett. After much research many years ago by a group of Burnett relatives, we came to the conclusion that Edward’s father, William Caton, died or divorced his mother Drucilla Henson just prior to 1850. Around 1854 or 1855, Drucilla married Joseph Burnett and they moved to Gwinnett County, Georgia. At least two of Drucilla’s three children with William Caton changed their last name to Burnett, Edward and his brother Samuel Pride Burnett. Samuel is my 2nd great grandfather. If you’re interested in reading about the name change, click here

George and I are 1st cousins 3x removed. Our nearest common relatives are William Caton and Drucilla Henson. 

George was just eight years old when he lost his father Edward who died in Conyers, Rockdale County, Georgia on April 18, 1894. Edward was buried at Almand Cemetery there in Conyers.

On June 25, 1900, 14-year-old George lived with his family in Gum Creek, Newton County, Georgia. His widowed mother was a farmer on a rented farm. There were four children living in the home—Clarence, Ida, Cleveland, and Nealy (Cornelia). Clarence was working as a farm laborer and both George, who was enumerated as Cleveland, and Cornelia were at school. It was noted that Fannie, Clarence, and Ida were able to read, write, and speak English. George’s brother Richard (enumerated as Clifford) lived next door with his wife Mary and daughters Fannie and Katie.

On April 27, 1910, George lived with his brother Richard and his family on Hammonsville Road in the Gum Creek neighborhood of Newton County. George was a farm laborer on a home farm, most likely helping his brother work his farm. George was unable to read or write. Richard and his wife Mary had six children—Fannie M. Burnett, Katie Bell Burnett, Metz Burnett, Ray Burnett, Charles Burnett, and Billie Burnett.

George enlisted in the U.S. Army for a period of three years at Ft. Slocum in New York on November 9, 1910. He stated that he was born in Newton County, Georgia, was 25 years old, and a farmer. George had blue eyes, medium brown hair, a ruddy complexion, and was six foot one and a half inches tall. He was discharged on November 8, 1913 at Fort Mason, “once known as the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, US Army, in San Francisco, California.” If I’m reading the paper trail correctly, at the age of 28, George re-enlisted in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio on July 16, 1914. At the time, he lived in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia so I’m not sure why he would have re-enlisted in Ohio. By December 1917, he was serving as a Mess Sergeant. On June 18, 1919, George served with the Quartermaster Corps, “the U.S. Army’s oldest logistics branch.” He received an honorable discharge on July 8, 1920 upon the abolition of the Regular Army Reserve following the passage of the National Defense Act of 1920

George's World War I service card

George apparently remained a part of the Organized Reserve until his death of tubercular meningitis in St. Louis, Missouri on November 8, 1921. At the time, he was a soldier at Jefferson Barracks, “a training and recruitment station for soldiers heading to Europe,” there in Missouri. At age 35, George never married. He was buried in the Burnett family plot at Almand Cemetery in Conyers on November 11. On June 2, 1932, the Conyers Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy filed an application for a military headstone. It was to be delivered to George’s brother Clarence who lived in Conyers. 

Application for Headstone

The stone was shipped in late September and reads:

[it has a cross above his name]
NOVEMBER 8, 1921


Friday, July 10, 2020

Marian Langford Hobbs

Marian Langford Hobbs
Marian Langford Hobbs, daughter of Nathan Augustus Hobbs Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Lankford, was born in Georgia, most likely Greene County. I have a birthdate for Marian, but unfortunately, there is an issue with the date. Marian’s tombstone records her birthdate as October 29, 1835. The month and date are probably correct, but, if she was born in 1835, she would have been 10 years old when her first child was born. I don’t think so. So, the question here is what year was she born. It took me writing this post to actually see this date issue, even though other researchers have shared information with me in the past where they noted the discrepancy. The first thing I did after realizing this was to take a look back at census records. In the 1850 census, Marian was 25 years old (born about 1825); in 1860, she was 30 years old (born about 1830); in 1870, she was 40 years old (born about 1830); and in 1880, she was 45 years old (born about 1835). So, it’s a best guess scenario. Her brother Minor was born on July 24, 1830 so my guess is she wasn’t born that year since she was born in October. There is a large gap between the birth of her sister Caroline in 1821 and her brother Augustus in 1829, so a good possibility would be 1825, but I can’t confirm that and I haven’t found any birth records that would help.

Marian had seven siblings—Robert L. Hobbs, Joel Garner Hobbs, Rebecca L. Hobbs, Caroline B. Hobbs, Nathan Augustus Hobbs Jr. (he may have gone by Augustus), Minor Smith Hobbs, and Elizabeth Fanny Hobbs. Marian is my 3rd great grand aunt, with her parents being our nearest common relatives. Her sister Caroline is my 3rd great grandmother.

Marian married John Jenkins in Greene County, Georgia on September 13, 1845. Her name was spelled “Meron” on the marriage certificate. They had four children together—John Nathan C. Jenkins, Marian Louisa Jenkins, Mary Elizabeth Jenkins, and William Jenkins.

John Jenkins-Meron L. Hobbs marriage license (1845)

On August 14, 1850, Marian and John lived in Greshamville (District 145) of Greene County, Georgia. She was enumerated as Maria L. Jenkins, age 25. John was a printer, born in South Carolina. He had real estate valued at $100. With three young children, John (age 4), Louisa (age 2), and Mary (age 5 months), the house would have been a busy one.

By 1860, Marion’s husband John had disappeared so was probably dead, but I have yet to find a record confirming that. I did find several announcements published in The Temperance Banner, a local Penfield newspaper, in the fall of 1852 through at least June 1853, where James L. Tarwater, guardian of John Jenkins (lunatic) was selling the interest of Jenkins’ 160 acres of land in Cherokee county. It’s possible this was Marian’s husband since James L. Tarwater was married to her sister Rebecca so was her brother-in-law. If John was having health issues, I suppose it makes sense that a male family member may have taken guardianship to handle his affairs. But this is something else I have been unable to prove at this point.

On June 4, 1860, the census enumerator found Marion living with her parents in Penfield, Greene County, Georgia. She was enumerated as Marian Jenkins (age 30). Unfortunately, the record does not show her marital status but John was not enumerated with her. Only two of her children were living in the house—Louisa (age 12) and William (age 9). Both were attending school. Marian’s oldest son, John, was living with her brother, Nathan Augustus Hobbs Jr. and his wife Harriet in Penfield. At age 13, John was also attending school. Marian’s daughter Mary (age 10) was living four houses away with Marian’s sister Rebecca Tarwater and her husband James. Marion’s father was the postmaster; her brother Minor was a painter.

One month after the 1860 census was taken, Marian married William Harris McCarty, son of John D. McCarty and Rena Harris, in Greene County on July 8, 1860. William is described by a grandson as having blue eyes, thin, tall, and “straight as a ram rod.”

William McCarty-Marion L. Jenkins marriage license (1860)

In April 1862, William enlisted as a private in Company B of the 55th Infantry Regiment of Georgia. William surrendered with his company at Cumberland Gap in Tennessee on September 9, 1863. It’s been said that “after the Civil War ended, he did not like Yankees and would never wear the color blue.” Marian’s brothers Minor Smith Hobbs and Nathan Augustus Hobbs Jr. both served with the Third Georgia Infantry Regiment, Company C, also known as the Dawson Grays, during the Civil War. Nathan (or Augustus, whichever name he went by) died of wounds received during the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania on July 2, 1863. Minor survived the war and brought the regimental drum back home to Greene County, holding onto it until old age when he gave it to Captain W. A. Wright, a member of the regiment. The drum eventually made its way to the Georgia State Capitol museum. When my sister discovered that piece of information, she contacted the museum that holds the drum and she, Daddy, and myself were given a personal tour of the drum and Greene County regimental flag that was in storage at the time. Marian’s brother Joel served with Medlin’s Independent Company, Georgia Infantry.

Third Georgia Infantry Regiment, Company C (Dawson Grays) drum

On June 22, 1870, Marian and William lived in Penfield, along with their infant daughter Mattie. The census record noted that Mattie was two months old, born in April. William was a farmer with a personal estate valued at $250. Marion was keeping house. An eight-year-old black girl named Margaret Lankford was living in the home with them.

Marian later in life

On June 14, 1880, Marian and William lived in Penfield. Their last name was enumerated as McCarter. William (Bill) was a farmer and Marion keeping house. The only child in the home was a daughter named Gussie, enumerated as a 10-year-old laborer. Her full name was Gussie Annette McCarty. Gussie’s age isn’t correct is this census record. Her tombstone shows her birth year as 1884 and her obituary lists it as 1883. Gussie’s obituary also notes that she was born in Bairdstown, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, so either the family left Penfield for a short time or Gussie was living with someone else. Her living with another family member is entirely possible as we’ve already seen that happen with Marian’s other children.

Marian’s father Nathan died in Penfield on June 4, 1889 at the age of 99. An Atlanta Constitution article that ran on June 7 marking his death noted that he “was one of the most remarkable men ever raised in the county.” Nathan was buried at Penfield Cemetery in Penfield.

Just five months after the death of her father, Marian died in Penfield at the age of 54 on November 1, 1889. She was buried at Penfield Cemetery. Her tombstone reads "None knew them but to love them, none named them but to praise."

I’m happy I chose to blog about Marian because it took me looking at her life timeline to realize the birth date issue. And because I hadn’t really looked at that before, I was posting incorrect information.


  • "Guardian’s Sale," The Temperance Banner, Penfield, Georgia, September 25, 1852, December 11, 1852, and June 25, 1853.
  • Marian L. McCarty tombstone, Penfield Cemetery, Penfield, Georgia.
  • Marion Hobbs, North America, Family Histories, 1500–2000.
  • Marion L. Jenkins and William McCarty marriage certificate, Georgia, Marriage Records from Select Counties, 1828–1978.
  • Memories of Guy Walton George.
  • Meron L. Hobbs and John Jenkins marriage certificate, Georgia, Marriage Records from Select Counties, 1828–1978.
  • U.S. Federal Census, District 145, Greene County, Georgia, 1850.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Militia District 140, Greene County, Georgia, 1870.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Militia District 148, Greene County, Georgia, 1880.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Penfield, Greene County, Georgia, 1860, 1870.
  • William H. McCarty, Georgia, Confederate Pension Applications, 1879–1960.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Giving back, part 2—North Carolina floods

Hurricane Floyd making landfall in North Carolina
on September 16, 1999 (public domain)

This blog post is the second in a series related to my Mama’s (Fay Lankford) volunteer activities. As long as I can remember, volunteering has been an important part of her life and I wanted to highlight some of what she’s done to serve others.

In September 1999, Mama and her best friend Sue Jester spent three weeks in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, a historic city located near the Tar River. Unfortunately, they weren’t there on a girl’s vacation, but rather a mission as mass care technicians supporting the Red Cross relief efforts for the floods caused by Hurricane Floyd.

Floyd, at one point a Category 4 hurricane, made landfall in the Cape Fear region of North Carolina as a Category 2. Torrential rainfall followed, causing widespread, historic flooding in the area which just weeks earlier had experienced torrential rainfall from Hurricane Dennis. Residents, who had been evacuated prior to Floyd making landfall, came back to utter devastation. Everything was lost—homes and all their possessions. Thousands were left homeless. Cars were destroyed, pushed around by the water. All of their household belongings had to be piled on the curb for pick up. Always there to help, the Red Cross called on its team of volunteers. Both Mama and Sue were recently trained members of the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team and they didn’t hesitate to accept this as their first national assignment. They were assigned to work together in Rocky Mount. After meeting a Red Cross representative at the Atlanta Airport to pick up their airline tickets, they boarded a plane to North Carolina. Upon arrival, they were picked up in a van and taken to the center they would work out of. Volunteers were interviewed one by one to determine pairings and were then divided into teams. Since they were friends, Mama and Sue were paired together.

Mama and Sue Jester

Mama and Sue checked into a motel (they shared a room) located about 10 – 15 miles from the church that would be their focal point every day. They were assigned to an Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV), the truck used to feed the flood victims. Mama remembers a nice young man who stayed at the same motel but was not assigned to her team. He was wealthy and didn’t have work so instead, spent his time volunteering. The young man drove the ERV from the church to the motel the first night. Sue preferred to drive herself, so after that first trip, she took the wheel.

Photo by Jonathan Heeter, Clayton County News Daily, June 21, 2002
At the end of each day, Mama and Sue would get cleaned up and then go out to dinner. Mama remembers eating BBQ one night. She said they didn’t like it though—too much vinegar. She also remembers there being a lot of men from the Salvation Army at the restaurant that night who walked through the restaurant, talking to the volunteers. The remainder of their nights were spent in their room, watching TV. Mama said the young man played the stock market at night.

Tents and food preparation stations were set up on the church grounds. The Southern Baptist Men’s Association brought their own equipment—stoves, pots, and pans—and cooked large quantities of food outside. After returning from their daily food delivery, Mama and Sue helped wash the pots and pans for the men. Everyone worked long hours, usually at least 12-hour days, sometimes more. Mama and Sue had one day off during their mission, but they didn’t mind. They were happy to be helping. They served one meal a day – around 1 pm. Food was served to the flood victims in disposable divided food containers. In addition to handing out food, Mama and Sue prepared toiletry kits with items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, soap, and tissues. As they distributed food, they offered the toiletry kits, a wash bucket, mop, bottle of cleanser, and a roll of paper towels to anyone that wanted them.

Mama and unknown volunteers

Mama remembers riding through neighborhoods where household items such as pianos, refrigerators, stoves, beds, and televisions were stacked on the side of the road. They passed a nursery school that had piled all the little chairs on the street to be hauled away in a dump truck. She remembers a man sitting on a bedsheet in his front yard, holding pictures of his family. Most of the houses were gutted. One was sitting in the middle of the road. Mama never saw any, but was told there were dead cows floating in nearby streets.

After returning home at the end of her three-week mission, Mama told a reporter for the Clayton Neighbor that she’d do it all over again. She received a certificate of appreciation from the Red Cross signed by the Vice President of Disaster Services and the Chairman of Disaster Services recognizing her time and dedication in assisting those affected by Hurricane Floyd in September 1999. They were proud of the work they had done to help the flood victims.

In Part 3, I’ll tell you about Mama volunteering to be a security guard during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. If you missed my post about her support to the Red Cross during the Oregon and California fires of 2002, you can read that here.