Friday, April 3, 2020

Annie Armstrong

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.

Annie Armstrong, daughter of James Armstrong and Mary Caroline (Carrie) Edmondson, was born on July 19, 1860 in Georgia, most likely Penfield, Greene County. She had an older sister named Harriett Eliza Armstrong who was born in 1857. Annie’s connection to me is distant, but it’s there—she’s the wife of husband (Thomas B. Wilson) of sister-in-law (Evie Lena Stephens) of 1st cousin (Warren Andrews Mullins) of husband (Robert Dawson Callaway) of great grandmother (Alice Beman Lankford). Whew, I think I got that right! Annie and I have no common relative.

Annie’s mother was a little over a month from giving birth when the census was taken in 1860 so she wasn’t counted when the census taker came through Penfield on June 4. But according to that census record, her father James was a merchant with real estate valued at $1800 and a personal estate valued at $2000. A search of historical newspapers shows that James and Joseph P. Wilson owned a dry good business together in Penfield, an important business in the community. Dr. Frank Durham and his wife Sarah lived with the Armstrong family in their home located on Main Street.

When the Civil War began in 1861, Annie’s father joined other men from Penfield, including my 3rd great-grandfather James Meriweather Lankford, and mustered in with Company C (Dawson Grays) of the Third Regiment, Georgia Infantry. James wouldn’t come home to his family though—he was killed on May 3, 1863 during the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia. His body was brought home to Greene County at some point and buried at Woodville Cemetery in Woodville, not far from Penfield. James left an estate valued at approximately $9000. After his death, the house and lot were sold to pay his debts. Annie’s mother was given an allowance of support and maintenance for 12 months for herself, Hattie, and Annie, who were both minors. Two years after James’ death, Annie’s mother married her husband’s brother, John Armstrong, in Greene County on November 16, 1865. Carrie and John had two children together, Sarah (Sallie) Armstrong and James H. Armstrong. Within two years (May 7, 1867), John filed a petition for letters of guardianship in Greene County for Hattie and Annie.

Carrie Edmondson Armstrong
(photo shared on by
Missy McPherson, July 31, 2015)
On June 15, 1870, the Armstrong family continued to live in Penfield. Annie’s step-father John worked as a farmer with real estate valued at $2500 and a personal estate worth $500. Her mother, enumerated as Mary C. Armstrong, was keeping house; Annie was enumerated as “Anna” and her sister Sarah as “Sallie.” In mid-February 1875, Annie’s father John was diagnosed with paralysis. The Greensboro Herald reported his illness on February 18, 1875:
Sad Affliction. We are pained to learn that Maj. John Armstrong, residing near Bairdstown, Ga., was stricken with Paralysis, last week, and is still in a precarious condition. We trust he may be spared to his friends and his county.
Annie, her mother, and sister were dealing with John’s illness when the family suffered a terrible loss–the death of Annie’s mother at home near Bairdstown, Oglethorpe County, Georgia on April 22, 1875. Carrie’s death was reported in The Greensboro Herald on April 29, 1875:
Died. We are pained to announce the death of Mrs. Carrie Armstrong, wife of John Armstrong, Esq., which occurred on last Thursday evening at the residence of her husband, near Bairdstown. Mrs. Armstrong was a most estimable woman, and her death creates a vacuum in the family circle and the community which can not be filled.
Less than two months after Carrie’s death, Annie’s step-father John lost his battle with paralysis, which was reported in The Greensboro Herald on June 17, 1875:
Death. It becomes our painful duty to chronicle the death of John Armstrong, Esq., which occurred at his residence, near Bairdstown on last Saturday, after a protracted illness of Paralysis. Mr. Armstrong was an intelligent, hightoned gentleman, and in his death the county sustains a serious loss.
A second article appeared on the same page that day:
The county and the Bairdstown community sustain a serious loss in the death of John Armstrong, Esq., which occurred last Saturday evening. Only a few weeks ago, a large cortege of mourners followed the remains of his wife to her last resting place. It is truly a bereaved family.
At some point after the death of Carrie and John, William R. Wilson was appointed a guardian to 14-year-old Annie. William was either her grandfather or uncle, I’m not sure which. On December 22, 1875, Annie’s sister Hattie married Robert E. Davison, son of James McCluney Davison Sr. and Margaret Moore. The Davison’s were a prominent family in Greene County. Robert, known as Bob to family and friends, would eventually become prison commissioner for the state of Georgia. Prior to that, he was named guardian for Sallie and James.

At the age of 16 years, Annie married Thomas B. Wilson, son of William Ralph Wilson and Mary Frances Edmondson, in Greene County, Georgia on January 18, 1877. Thomas was 19 years old.

Marriage certificate for Thomas B. Wilson and Annie Armstrong

By the time Annie reached the age of 19 years, she had given birth to two children, a daughter named Annie Lee Wilson in September 1877 and a son named James Lamar Wilson in August 1879.

On June 9, 1880, Annie and her family lived in the 138th district of Greene County, Georgia (I believe Woodville). She was keeping house while Thomas farmed to support the family. Little Annie was two and James nine months. A 14-year-old mulatto girl named Harriet Langsten, a cook, and a 14-year-old black boy named Harry McCommon, a laborer, were living in the home at the time. In 1882 when Annie was 22, paperwork was filed to dismiss her guardianship. She gave birth to her third child, a son they named Thomas Walter (or Walker) Wilson, in November 1883.

The next decade began joyfully with Annie giving birth in May 1890 to a fourth child they named Eva J. Wilson. The decade ended in sorrow with Annie’s death of unknown causes at the age of 38 years in Georgia on June 3, 1899. Annie was buried at Bairdstown Cemetery in Bairdstown.

Her will was filed on July 5, 1899 in Greene County by James H. McWhorter, Ordinary. She asked that Thomas C. Davison act as her executor, and that he do so without bond. Thomas was the brother of Hattie’s husband Robert. In her will, Annie asked that her estate be kept together and managed by her executor until her daughter Eva became of age or married. She further asked that Eva have a “good English education” and that Walter “go to school less years beginning in 1900” and that the cost be paid out of her estate. She asked that her sister Hattie control and raise Eva. After Eva married, Annie requested that the remainder of her estate be equally divided between her husband and children, share and share alike. Annie must have known she was dying when her will was written—she signed it on May 25, 1899. She died on June 3.


  • Certificate of Death no. 31483, Mrs. Hattie Armstrong Davison, Georgia State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.
  • Death, The Greensboro Herald, Greensboro, Georgia, June 17, 1875.
  • Died, The Greensboro Herald, Greensboro, Georgia, April 29, 1875.
  • Georgia, Civil War Muster Rolls, 1860–1864.
  • James Armstrong, Greene County, Georgia, Wills and Probate Records, 1742–1992.
  • Last Will and Testament of Mrs. Annie Wilson, 1899.
  • Muster Roll of Company C, Third Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry Army, Dawson Grays, Northern Virginia, Greene County, Georgia.
  • “Sad Affliction,” The Greensboro Herald, Greensboro, Georgia, February 18, 1875. 
  • Sale of Half Interest legal notice, The Greensboro Herald, Greensboro, Georgia, December 11, 1879.
  • U.S. Federal Census, District 138, Greene County, Georgia, 1880.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Militia District 138, Greene County, Georgia, 1870.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Penfield, Greene County, Georgia, 1860.
  • William R. Wilson, guardian of Annie Wilson, The Greensboro Herald, Greensboro, Georgia, April 20, 1882.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Barney, a family pet

You won’t find family pets in your ancestral tree but they are definitely part of the family. Once upon a time, we had a dog named Barney, the sweetest Cocker Spaniel you could ever have. Barney originally belonged to my sister Jennifer and it was her family who named him. I don’t remember why, but Jennifer gave Barney to Daddy while he was still a puppy. Daddy loved dogs and already had Spot, Barney’s brother, so he happily took him when offered. Like all dogs, Barney and Spot loved to run and play, and Daddy had a nice big fenced in yard to keep them safe and happy. Unfortunately, they tore up Daddy’s flowers, and Daddy loved his flowers, so he wasn’t happy about that. Around that time, our dog Murph, a Shepherd/Collie mix, died. Our oldest son Chris was around four years old then. Chris and Murph had been best buddies and Chris really missed him after he died. One day, Chris asked me, “Mommy, can I die for just a little while so I can go see Murph?” It broke my heart. The next time I talked to Daddy I told him what Chris said and his immediate response was I’m bringing him a dog—and he did. Before you knew it, we were picking the two of them up at Dulles Airport.

Barney turned out to be a good dog too. He was only a year old when he moved to Virginia and he had a lot of energy. Our yard was fenced in so he could run all he wanted to and he had a little boy to play with, soon to be two little boys. Like most dogs, Barney would run up and down the fence barking at people as they walked past our house. It didn’t take much to keep him happy.

He slept in the bed with the boys. Chris remembers he slept with him all the time.

Chris and Barney

When I look back at Christmas pictures, Barney was always right there with Chris and Kevin. Santa brought him treats too. Pig ears were his favorite. Barney was good about leaving the Christmas tree and gifts alone, but one Christmas I remember bringing a gift home from work that I hadn’t opened. I put the gift under the tree and we left for dinner, not worried about it since that hadn’t been a problem before. It turns out the box contained candles and Barney must have smelled something so of course, did what any dog would have done, he figured out which box it was and he opened it. When we returned home, the box and wrapping paper had been torn to shreds and were all over the living room floor, along with the candles. And there sat Barney in the middle of it all, looking guilty.

Chris, Kevin, and Barney

We used to take two week-long vacations every summer. The first one was to Florida. When it was time to pack the van, my husband would pull it up in the yard to make it easier to pack (we took everything but the kitchen sink). It’s like Barney knew we were going somewhere and he’d crawl into the front seat and just sit there, like he was waiting for us to get in and head down the road. We’d literally have to drag him out of the van when we finished packing. We couldn’t take him on that trip but he always went with us when we headed to Atlanta to visit my family. He never forgot Daddy and he’d go crazy when we got to his house. Kevin remembers how excited Daddy got as well when he saw Barney.

Daddy and Barney

Kevin, Barney, and Spot
Barney was pretty much a one trick dog. He’d shake your hand and that was about it. My husband remembers he wouldn’t let you get close to his bowl at dinner time. He’d growl at you if you tried to. Barney liked to look out the window and would sit on the back of the couch, which was the perfect height for him to see outside. As he got older, we had to keep an eye on him because he couldn’t keep his balance and fell off the back of the couch a time or two.

We lost Barney in May 2003. At nearly 17 years, he just got old. His health had been declining for a while and we knew his time on Earth was coming to an end. He got to a point where he couldn’t see and probably didn’t know what he was doing. He’d walk in a circle and hit his head on the furniture as he turned. If you didn’t stop him, he’d just keep going in circles. Other than old age, he didn’t have health problems so we decided to just keep him comfortable. But we knew we’d have to make a decision if it came to a point where he was in pain because we didn’t want him to suffer. I remember arriving home from work the Friday night before he we had him put down, finding him crying in pain. We knew it was time and called the veterinarians office right then and scheduled an appointment for the following morning. It was the longest night. We took turns sitting and hugging him, all saying our goodbyes. The next day, Charlie, Kevin, and I took him to the veterinarian’s office while Chris and his friend stayed home to dig a grave for him. When we returned, we put the box in the grave and then all stood there, lost in our own thoughts for a few minutes. Out of nowhere, Kevin says, “has anyone seen my baseball shirt?” We all looked at each other, none of us wanting to open the box. Finally, Chris’ friend said he’d do it and sure enough, there was the shirt. Turns out it had gotten caught up with the towel Barney was wrapped in when we arrived at the veterinarian’s office. The nurse must have thought we meant it for him and she wrapped him in both the towel and shirt.

It’s been a while since we had a dog and I miss having one. I’m hoping to get one after we retire.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Embroidered table scarf and pillowcases

Sam Lankford (ca. 1974)
It’s been a while since I shared a family treasure and because I’m behind on my research, I thought why not this week. Short and sweet.

My Daddy, Sam Lankford, used to do embroidery to relax at night. This was more than likely a winter activity because his evenings were spent in his gardens during the spring, summer, and fall months. If you follow my blog, you’ve seen his embroidered picture that won Best of Show at the Prince William County Fair in Manassas, Virginia or the crewel owl that I had made into a pillow for my son Chris. You would have also seen some of his quilts. What I’m sharing today are pillowcases and a table scarf he embroidered. I don’t know when they were completed but he gave them to me during the 1980s.

The first image is from a table scarf, you know, the kind you used to see at your grandma’s house. Can’t you just see Cinderella climbing into her pumpkin coach, on her way to the ball? I used this scarf to protect my hutch for several years but it’s been years since I put it away. Actually, I’m not sure where I put it. I know it’s in the house somewhere. I need to look for it!

The next three images are from pillowcases, so there are two of each. I’ve never used these pillowcases and at one point thought about framing them instead. You can see on the image with the pear that he used a pattern but I’m sure he added his own personal touch. His stitches were clean and tight.

I really don’t ever recall seeing Daddy doing any embroidery work so still can’t wrap my head around the fact that he created these beautiful pieces of art. I hope you enjoy them.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Mendie Octavia Hayes

Mendie Hayes and her sister.
I was told her sister was named Lucie
but after researching the family, don't see
a sister with that name.
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.

Mendie Octavia Hayes, daughter of Waddy Thompson Hayes and Nancy Rice, was born in Carnesville, Franklin County, Georgia on July 9, 1892. Her parents had their hands full with 15 children—Francis C. Hayes, Mary E. Hayes, Sarah Hayes, Alice Hayes, Margaret Hayes, Dora Hayes, Charles B. Hayes, Cornealyos J. Hayes, James Rice Hayes, Parkes T. Hayes, Nancy E. Hayes, Harrison (Henry) L. Hayes, Mendie Octavia Hayes, Bessie (or Dessie) M. Hayes, and Alex E. Hayes. Mendie would be the wife of my 2nd cousin 3x removed. We have no common relative.

On June 20, 1900, Mendie and her large family lived in Canon, Franklin County, Georgia. Her mother was enumerated as having had 15 children, 13 of which were living. Her father was a farmer, most likely assisted by his six oldest children who were all enumerated as farm laborers. Nancy, Harrison, and Mendie were attending school. In what had to be devastating to the family, Mendie’s father died at the age of 61 on Valentine’s Day 1907. He was buried at Carroll’s United Methodist Church Cemetery in Carnesville, Franklin County, Georgia. Mendie was just 14 years old when she lost her father.

On May 5, 1910, Mendie lived with her brother James on Jim Hayes Road in Canon, along with her widowed mother Nancy, sisters Dora and Dessie, brother Harrison, and niece Sara Casey. At 25 years of age, James was head of the household. He was enumerated was a farmer on a general farm with everyone in the home except for Mendie helping on the farm.

Mendie married Robert Chester Lankford, son of William Mell Lankford and Nancy Ella Young, on December 2, 1917 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia. Together they had seven children—Robert Chester Lankford Jr., Nancy Lowe Lankford, Mell Thomas Lankford, William Norris Lankford, Vesta Mendie Lankford, Otis Young Lankford, and an infant son that did not survive. I believe her husband went by Chester.

Marriage certificate
On January 6, 1920, Mendie, Chester, and their son Robert lived on Lexington Road in Bairdstown, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, next door to Chester’s parents. Chester was farming on the family farm. Both Mendie and Chester could read and write. Mendie was a new mother with Robert just eight months old. Daughter Nancy was born in Oglethorpe County in June 1920, son Mell was born in Canton, Georgia in February 1922. Sometime after Mell was born and by the time Norris was born in April 1924, the family had moved to Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, which is where Norris was born. They lived in a house on Tremont Avenue during that time. Chester worked as a brick layer to support the family. Instead of being a joyous time for the family, Christmas 1926 turned into a very sad holiday. On December 22, Mendie gave birth to a baby boy. The baby was most likely born prematurely and hadn’t fully developed yet so they probably immediately knew he was in trouble. Dr. H. N. Abernathy attended to the baby, but his little body couldn’t sustain life and he died four days later on December 26. His death certificate recorded him as “Infant of R. C. Langford” so it’s possible he was never given a name, but I can’t confirm that. They buried the baby the following day at Trinity Cemetery in Charlotte.

On April 22, 1930, the Lankford family lived in a house valued at $1500 on Glenwood Drive in Charlotte. Chester worked as a brick mason in the public works sector. Mendie was kept busy keeping track of her five children ranging in age from 11 to a year and a half. They were still living in Charlotte when Vesta was born in October 1928 and Otis in October 1930. Sometime after Otis was born, the family moved to Missouri, settling in St. Louis. Their lives would be turned upside down when Chester died of heart disease at the age of 46 in Brentwood, Missouri on October 22, 1938. Now Mendie was left to raise their six children alone. Chester’s body was returned home to Georgia and buried at Bairdstown Cemetery in Bairdstown.

On April 13, 1940, a widowed Mendie and her children lived at 8913 Pendleton Street in Brentwood, Jefferson Township, St Louis County, Missouri. They had been living in this same home since at least April 1935. The census enumerator noted that she had an 8th grade education and wasn’t working. Her 21-year-old son Robert was an assistant timekeeper for a fire brick manufacturer with an income of $1100. Her 19-year-old daughter Nancy was a beauty operator in a commercial beauty shop. Mendie’s son Norris enlisted in the U.S. Army in March 1943, serving as an infantryman during World War II. He was reported missing in action in Germany on December 16. Three months later, on March 2, 1945, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Norris was actually a prisoner of the German Government. At the time, Mendie lived at 459A Laurel Street. I believe Norris was released from captivity on May 1, 1945 and released from the Army on November 29, 1945.

In October 1950, Mendie probably received a phone call that all parents fear after her son Otis was involved in a car accident. He and his three passengers all suffered non-life-threatening injuries after crashing the car into a tree. In November 1951, Otis enlisted in the U.S. Marines, serving during the Korean War.

Mendie died in St. Louis, Missouri on December 30, 1979. She was buried beside her husband Chester at Bairdstown Cemetery in Georgia.


  • “Among War Casualties from St. Louis Area,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri, March 2, 1945.
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, City Directory, 1925.
  • Find A Grave Memorial 32145777, Mendie Octavia Hayes Lankford.
  • Find A Grave Memorial 23490318, W. T. Hays.
  • “Five in County Injured When Auto Overturns,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, St. Louis, Missouri, October 5, 1950.
  • Infant of R. C. Langford, certificate number 313, North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909–1976.
  • Otis Young Lankford, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007.
  • Robert Lankford Certificate of Death no. 36755, Missouri State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.
  • “Scout Unit Notes,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, St. Louis, Missouri, November 12, 1939.
  • U. S. Federal Census, Canon, Franklin County, Georgia, 1900.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Bairdstown, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, 1920.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, 1930.
  • U.S. Federal Census, St. Louis, Brentwood County, Missouri, 1940.
  • U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1898-1929, Robert Chester Lankford Jr., October 16, 1940.
  • U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Mendie Octavia Lankford.

Friday, March 6, 2020

John W. Lankford, a confederate soldier

John W. Lankford, son of William A. Lankford and Nancy Goodman, was born in Georgia about 1838. He was the oldest child of seven—John W. Lankford, Elizabeth Lankford, Charles L. Lankford, William Lankford, Robert Alonzo Lankford, Sarah W. Lankford, and Mary Frances Lankford. John would be my 1st cousin 4x removed with our near common relatives being Charles L. Lankford and Miss Moore. His father was the brother of James Meriweather Lankford, my 3rd great grandfather.

On October 19, 1850, John and his family lived in 165th District of Greene County, Georgia. His father was a farmer. Both his father and mother were able to read and write, however, none of the children could.

On June 4, 1860, John, age 22, lived alone in Penfield, Greene County, Georgia. He was employed as a grocer with a personal estate valued at $600. The country was in turmoil and within two weeks after the American Civil War started on April 12, 1861, John enlisted in Penfield on April 24 by Capt. R. L McWhorter as a Private in Company C of the Dawson Grays, Third Georgia Infantry Regiment. John was not the only Lankford in Company C—his brother Charles Lankford and uncles James and Curtis Lankford enlisted as well. Less than a month after the war began, John mustered into service at Augusta, Georgia on May 3, 1861 by Capt. R. G. Cole, the same day Company C left for Portsmouth, Virginia. John most likely participated in the Battle of South Mills that took place in Camden County, North Carolina on April 19, 1862. As happened with many soldiers, John became sick and was admitted to a hospital in Richmond, Virginia on June 14, 1862. Whatever the illness was, he wasn’t able to recover and died while still in the hospital that summer. I found conflicting dates for his death however. I originally thought he died on October 6, 1862, the date the Roster of Confederate Soldiers of Georgia 1861-1865 shows he mustered out. Then I recently found a news article published by the Weekly Chronicle and Sentinel in Augusta, Georgia on December 9, 1862 noting he died of disease at a Richmond hospital on July 31, 1862. His service record, however, shows that he died on August 4, 1862. I would think that the service record would be more accurate than a newspaper article so feel that his death occurred in August. The paperwork probably didn't catch up until October 6 which would account for the date he mustered out being listed on the index. A burial location is not noted on any record but I assume he was buried in a cemetery there in Richmond. John was 24-years-old at the time of his death. William A. Colclough, of Greene County, was named administrator of his estate. 

Weekly Chronicle and Sentinel, Augusta, Georgia, December 9, 1862


Friday, February 28, 2020

Her name was Lillie Mae

My paternal Grandpa, Carroll Harvey Lankford Sr. passed away on May 13, 1970. After the funeral, I distinctly remember someone approaching Daddy, telling him that he represented a woman who was Grandpa’s daughter. He wasn’t talking about the four daughters we all knew and loved—my Aunts Lucile, Alice, Liz, and Betty—he meant another daughter. That’s pretty much all I remember about that day. I don’t know if Daddy ever had any other contact with the man or the daughter he represented. Daddy talked about his family a lot but that was never part of the conversations we had. And to tell you the truth, I’d actually forgotten about her.

Now fast forward 50 years to February 9, 2020 when I should have been doing research for my next blog post but instead, started searching the Lankford surname on the Family Search website. New records are posted all the time so I periodically do my due diligence and check all of my “go to” sites. Normally, I’ll scan a few pages and then move on to do what I sat down to do. This particular day though, I kept going, page after page, until I saw the names C. H. Lankford and Eva Eskew who had a daughter named Lillie Mae Lankford in a Polk County, Georgia Index to Delayed Birth and Birth Certificates filed in 1942. Oh my, what had I stumbled on to? And then I remembered the secret daughter. Was this her? I had to know more about Lillie Mae.

Polk County, Georgia delayed birth record for Lillie Mae Lankford (click to enlarge)

I wasn’t prepared to go full blown research yet though. I first wanted to figure out whether there was a connection between Polk County and Greene County where my Grandpa lived most of his life. That part confused me because as far as I knew, he only lived in Greene and Oglethorpe Counties in Georgia during his lifetime.

I asked Mama what she remembered about the man at the funeral and she said only that he represented the daughter. My Aunt Betty remembered that Grandpa often spoke to a man in Greensboro but never thought much about it until he approached her at Grandpa’s grave site and asked if she knew she had another sister. She referred him to Aunt Lucile and Daddy thinking it was the wrong place and time to discuss. I asked a cousin what she knew and she’d never heard about the possibility of another aunt. A family secret that if anyone knew anything about, wasn’t discussed. So, what information do records provide?

Grandpa was married twice, first to Eva Eskew in Greene County, Georgia on March 28, 1913. I knew about her but always thought her last name was Askew. When I finally found the marriage certificate, I remember thinking that George A. Merritt, the Ordinary for Greene County, had misspelled her last name. I often see my maiden name Lankford spelled as Langford within the same family so perhaps the same thing happens with Eskew and Askew.

Marriage certificate for Carroll Lankford and Eva Eskew (click to enlarge)

His second marriage was to my Grandma, Floria Mae Burnette, also in Greene County, on March 12, 1922.

Marriage certificate for Carroll Lankford and Floria Burnette (click to enlarge)

On a side note, Grandma had a brother named Samuel A. Burnette who was married to Kittie “Lorene” Askew. For some reason, I thought Eva was Kittie’s sister which would mean her parents were William Clarence Askew and Adaline Ruth Mullins. But after I found the delayed birth index, I took a hard look at the 1900 and 1910 census records. Since Eva was born in 1895, she would have been enumerated with William and Adaline Askew in both census records if she was their daughter. It didn’t take long to see my mistake. In 1900, William “Clarence” Askew was still single and living at home with his parents. There was a daughter named Kittie in the home but she was his sister.

William Clarence Askew family in 1900 census (click to enlarge)

By 1910, William Clarence Askew was married to Adaline Ruth Mullins and they had five children. In the 1910 census record, you see Kittie L. but no Eva. If Eva was their daughter, she would have been four years old and should have been enumerated with the rest of the family.

William Clarence Askew family in 1910 census (click to enlarge)

So, I have determined that Eva was not their daughter and I have been wrong all this time. If you follow my tree on and have that connection, please take note—I’ve made the correction.

I next searched “Eva M. Eskew,” this time using the correct spelling of her last name, and found another Polk County delayed birth record (date filed unknown). It provided the names of Eva’s parents, William Kinch Eskew and Lizzie Channell.

Polk County Georgia delayed birth record for Eva Mae Eskew (click to enlarge)

Then I searched “William Kinch Eskew” and found a marriage record that shows Kinchen Askew and Elizabeth Channell were married in Greene County on March 9, 1890. So now we know that at some point, William Kinch (Kinchen) Eskew and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Channel lived in Greene County.

Kinchen Askew and Elizabeth Channell marriage license (click to enlarge)

In the June 21, 1900 census record, Eva’s father was enumerated with the martial status of “W,” or widowed. This means that Lizzie Channell Eskew died sometime between Eva’s birth on September 9, 1895 and this census record (I haven’t found a death record yet). William Kinch Eskew had also moved his family to the Poplar Springs District of Clayton County, Georgia. In this record, Eva’s birth year was recorded as September 1892, not 1895, but that often happens.

William Kinch Eskew family in 1900 census (click to enlarge)

Eva’s father married Annie Mae Merritt in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia on December 27, 1900. By the time the census was taken on April 26, 1910, he had moved his family to Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia. Eva, age 16, was the oldest child in the home. This is the first record that I found her living in Greene County.

William Kinch Eskew family in 1910 census (click to enlarge)

To keep the timeline straight, remember that Grandpa married Eva Eskew in Greene County on March 28, 1913, three years after the 1910 census was taken. Lillie Mae Lankford was born in Polk County on January 12, 1916. Grandpa’s World War I service card shows he was inducted into the U.S. Army in Greensboro on September 6, 1917. The registration card shows that he was single when he registered. That would mean that Grandpa and Eva must have divorced shortly after Lillie was born in 1916.

World War I service card, Carroll Lankford (click to enlarge)

World War I registration card, Carroll Lankford (click to enlarge)

On January 13, 1920, I found Eva, enumerated as single and living as a boarder in Greensboro.

Eva Eskew in the 1920 census record (click to enlarge)

That same day, the census enumerator found Grandpa, single and living alone 7.5 miles away in Penfield, Greene County, Georgia. It took me a while to find him since he was enumerated as Calvin.

Carroll Lankford in the 1920 census record (click to enlarge)

Below is a record from the U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index for the period 1936–2007. In it, you see that Eva M. Eskew was married to William Lankford and had a child named Lillie Mae Hagan. William is clearly not my Grandpa’s name but if you read the blog I posted for him here, you’ll see that the paper trail often lists names that are incorrect. You’ll also notice that I made no mention of a fifth daughter, again because I forgot about her. Lillie Mae must have married a man whose last name was Hagan.

Social Security Applications and Claims Index for Eva M. Eskew (click to enlarge)

So, what do you think? Was the little girl, Lillie Mae Lankford, born nearly 104 years ago in Polk County, Georgia, my Grandpa’s oldest child? If so, Grandpa and Eva were married so why was she kept a secret all those years? I guess we’ll never know the answer to that question. If you’re researching these families and can provide insight into this mystery, I’d love to hear from you.


  • Carroll Lankford and Eva Eskew, Marriage Certificate, State of Georgia, County of Greene, recorded April 1, 1913.
  • Carroll Lankford and Florrie Barnett, Marriage Certificate, State of Georgia, County of Greene, recorded March 15, 1922.
  • Carroll Lankford, Georgia, World War I Service Cards, 1917–1919.
  • Carroll Lankford, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917–1918.
  • Eva Mae Eskew, Births, Vital Statistics Index, Polk County, Georgia, date recorded unknown;
  • Kinchen Askew and Elizabeth Channell, Marriage License 271, State of Georgia, Greene County, recorded March 9, 1890.
  • Lillie Mae Lankford, Births, Vital Statistics Index, Polk County, Georgia, recorded 1942;
  • U.S. Federal Census, District 0043, Greene County, Georgia, 1900.
  • U.S. Federal Census, District 0056, Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia, 1910.
  • U.S. Federal Census, District 0058, Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia, 1920.
  • U.S. Federal Census, District 0063, Penfield, Greene County, Georgia, 1920.
  • U.S. Federal Census, District 0065, Hutchinson, Greene County, Georgia, 1910.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Poplar Springs, Clayton County, Georgia, 1900.
  • U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Grover Bennett Lankford

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.

A small stone in Bairdstown Cemetery marks the grave of Grover Bennett Lankford, an infant who did not survive his first year of birth. Grover, born on October 8, 1884 most likely in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, was the first child of newlyweds William Mell Lankford and Nancy Ella Young. William and Nancy celebrated their first anniversary on December 11, two months after his birth.

Grover's time on Earth was short. He died, probably at home, on July 12, 1885, when he was just over nine months of age. I have yet to find a death record for him so don't know what caused him to die so young but possibilities are diphtheria, typhoid fever, cholera, or whooping cough, all common in 1885.

Grover’s parents would go on to have eight more children—Howard Young Lankford, Annie Lou Lankford, Robert Chester Lankford, Masina Elizabeth Lankford, Vesta Bell Lankford, Pauline Lankford, William Reese Lankford, and Otis Elmore Lankford. He would be my 2nd cousin 3x removed with our nearest common relatives being Charles L. Lankford and Miss Moore. His paternal grandfather was Robert Chester Lankford, brother of my 3rd great-grandfather, James Meriweather Lankford.