Friday, July 31, 2015

52 Ancestors – no. 47: Howard Stanley Smith (week 31)

Howard Stanley Smith
Howard Stanley Smith, son of John Milton Smith and Amanda Larimer Horne, was born on December 7, 1890 in Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. He was the fourth child of seven—Benjamin Gordon Smith, George Nelson Smith, Edith McCrum Smith, Howard Stanley Smith, Helen Margaret Smith, Bertha Edna Smith, and John Thompson Smith. Howard was my husband’s great-uncle.

On June 25, 1900, nine year old Howard lived with his family in the Washington Township of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. As he should have been for his age, he was attending school.

Howard’s 18 year old sister Edith, blind as the result of measles, died of typhoid fever on October 24, 1906 at Mercy Hospital. She was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

On April 26, 1910, Howard’s family lived in Washington Township but Howard wasn’t living with them. He would have been 19 years old at that time so that’s not unexpected. Instead, I found a 19 year old male named Howard Smith living as a “hired man” with the Thomas R. Martin family on Apollo Road in the Washington Township on April 25, 1910. Oddly enough, there is another Howard Smith living as a boarder just three houses away but he was 22 years old. I feel the Howard Smith living with the Martin family is most likely the Howard I’m looking for. Howard was working on the Martin’s farm as a farm laborer. His family wasn’t far away. I make it a practice to check the census page to see who else lived in the neighborhood. I didn’t see the Smith family on that sheet, but when I checked the next sheet, there they were. The Martin’s lived at house number 70 and the Smith’s lived at house number 81.

Howard Smith

Howard’s father, John, died in Westmoreland County on March 9, 1912. He was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Apollo.

Another sister, Helen, died in Paulton on March 18, 1913. She was only 17 years old. Helen was buried on March 20 in the family plot at Apollo’s Riverview Cemetery. She shares a tombstone with her parents and sister Edith.

Howard and Myrtle (Stewart) Smith
On June 5, 1917, Howard registered for the World War I draft. He lived on Fourth Street in Apollo and was an office clerk at American Sheet and Steel in Vandergrift, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Howard was of medium height and build, he had blue eyes, and light hair. My mother-in-law once told me that Howard had one brown eye and one blue eye but that’s not noted on his registration card. Howard noted that he was married but did not record that he had any children under the age of 12. This record is important because I haven’t found a marriage record yet so it tells me that Howard married before June 5, 1917. I know his wife was Myrtle Mary Stewart, daughter of Abner D. Stewart and Mary Bell Johnston. Together he and Myrtle had three children—Stewart Stanley Smith, Alma Margaret Smith, and Richard Franklin Smith.

Howard became a father on January 11, 1919 when his first son, Stewart Stanley Smith, was born in Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.
Howard, Myrtle, and child

On January 12, 1920, Howard and Myrtle lived with her mother and brother Harry on the south side of North Fourth Street in Apollo. Howard was a clerk in a mill office. Their son Stanley was 11 months old.

Howard’s only daughter, Alma Margaret Smith, was born in Apollo on February 25, 1922. His third child, a boy they named Richard Franklin Smith, was born in Apollo on July 17, 1924.

On April 11, 1930, Howard and Myrtle lived in the First Ward of Apollo. Howard was 24 when he married Myrtle, she was 23. He was a hardware merchant. They had a radio in their house, valued at $3000, which they owned.

On April 4, 1940, Howard and his family still lived in the North Fourth Street house in Apollo. The highest grade he had completed was the 8th. He was a salesman in a hardware store. His son Stewart, who still lived at home at the age of 21, worked as a mortician’s helper.

Howard and Myrtle Smith
At the age of 51 in 1942, Howard registered for the World War II draft. He lived at 507 North Fourth Street in Apollo.

Howard’s mother, Amanda Larimer Horne Smith, died on January 11, 1943 following a stroke in Washington, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. She was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Apollo with her husband and daughters Helen and Edith.

Howard retired as a hardware store owner in 1946.

Howard’s brother, Benjamin, died on December 15, 1957, Bedford, Virginia within 10 minutes of having a heart attack. He was buried in the Elks National Cemetery, a section of Oakwood Cemetery designated as the burial place for residents of the Elks National Home.

On December 23, 1959, the Leader-Times of Kittanning, Pennsylvania, reported that “Howard S. Smith, Apollo borough secretary for 38 years, has resigned his post due to ill health. He is recuperating at his home from a heart attack suffered last month.”

Howard’s brother George died on April 24, 1959 in the Washington Township of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. He was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Apollo.

John T. Smith, his wife Virginia (Johnston) Smith,
Howard S. Smith, his wife Myrtle (Stewart) Smith, George D. Athya,
his wife Bertha (Smith) Athya, George N. Smith, his wife
Verda (Hilty) Smith, and Benjamin G. Smith
 Howard died at his residence on January 14, 1961 after suffering another heart attack. He was survived by his wife, Myrtle Stewart Smith; two sons, Stewart Smith of Vandergrift and Richard Smith of Apollo; a daughter, Mrs. William (Alma) Piper of Apollo; seven grandchildren; a sister Bertha Athya of Phoenix, Arizona; and a brother John T. Smith of Blairton. King Funeral Home handled his funeral with the Rev. Warren Martin, pastor of the Apollo Presbyterian Church, in charge of the service. Howard was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Apollo.

Howard and Myrtle lived in their home on 507 North Fourth Street in Apollo for 44 years. In addition to serving as a well-respected member of the Apollo Council for 38 years, Howard was a member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church and a life member of F and AM Masonic Lodge 437 of Apollo. Friends called him “Smitty.”

Friday, July 24, 2015

52 Ancestors – no. 46: Margaret Athya (week 30)

Maggie Athya, Athya great-nieces, and
Margaret (Sloan) Athya
Margaret Athya, daughter of James Athya and Jemima Durie, was born on June 4, 1880 in Liverpool, England. It’s believed that James and Jemima had at least 10, possibly more, children but only eight have been identified—Margaret, Elizabeth, Isabella, Robert, John, George, David, and Mary. Both George and Robert shared their mother’s maiden name, Durie, as their middle name. Margaret went by Maggie and was my husband’s maternal grandfather’s sister.

In 1891, Maggie lived with her family in the Bothwell District in the County of Lanarkshire, Scotland. She was big sister to Elizabeth, Isabella, Robert, and seven month old John.

Maggie was not living with her family in 1901 according to the Dalziel Parrish of North East Lanark census record for James and Jemima Athya. I did find a Margaret Athya, age 20, born in England living in the home of Samuel Laurie (age 72) as a domestic servant. The address for the home was 10 New Square in the Bellshill District, Civil Parish of Bothwell in the County of Lanarkshire. There was also a Lizzie Athya (age 18) living in the home as a servant. Maggie had a sister named Elizabeth born about 1883 so she would have been 18. My best guess is that this is Maggie Athya.

At the age of 22, Maggie married John W. Close, son of James Close and mother unknown, in Glasgow, Scotland on June 6, 1902. Together they had three children—James, Ina, and John W. Close Jr. Their first child, James, was born in Bellshill, Scotland in 1905. Daughter Ina was born in Scotland on Christmas Day, 1907.

Maggie and her family departed from the port of Glasgow via steerage on the S.S. Grampian, Allan Steamship Line, on May 8, 1912. They arrived in Quebec, Canada on June 16. On the outward passenger list, they declared that their “Country of Intended Future Permanent Residence” was Canada. John was a miner so once arriving in Canada, they settled at Joggins Mines in Nova Scotia where they lived for two years. The outward passenger list contained a surprise for me in that it listed their daughter as Jemima, not Ina. It makes sense as her maternal grandmother’s name was Jemima, but I’d only heard her called Ina. In all of my conversations with my mother-in-law about this family, she never mentioned a name change for Ina. I wonder if she knew about it.

Immigation record for Maggie
Outward passenger list listing Jemima (Ina)Close

Maggie’s father James died in 1913 at the age of 57 in Glasgow, Scotland.

In 1914, John left the family behind in Nova Scotia and traveled to America. He arrived on July 9, 1914 via Class D at the Port of Vanceboro, Maine. At the age of 36, he was joining his uncle, William J. McCandler, who lived in Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio. John listed his father James of Coatbridge, Scotland on the manifest as his nearest relative. John was 5’ 7”, had a medium complexion, brown hair, and brown eyes. He paid $50 for his passage. Maggie, James, and Ina left Nova Scotia in November 1914 to join John in Steubenville. They arrived in America via the Port of Buffalo, New York on November 8, 1914. Maggie was 35 years old at the time. Immigration papers record that Maggie was going to 320 Reserve Avenue in Steubenville and planned to stay there permanently.

Maggie’s brother David, who served as a private in the Second Highland Light Infantry, was killed in action on May 10, 1915 at France and Flanders during World War I. Family history is that David most likely died in the second Battle for Ypres standing in a Belgium trench between his brothers, George and Robert. David was awarded the Victory, British War, and 15 Star medals for his service in France. His name is inscribed at the Le Touret Memorial in Pas de Calais in France.

Maggie’s third child, John Jr., the only child born in the United States, was born in Steubenville on July 30, 1917.

On January 22, 1920, Maggie and her family lived at 641 Grandview Avenue in Steubenville. A friend named Della L. Harvis, age 51 and divorced, lived with them. The enumerator recorded Maggie’s place of birth as England and that she immigrated in 1915. Present day family believe that she was born in Scotland. Maggie was recorded as an “Alien.” She sponsored her brother George when he left Glasgow for America on May 11, 1920 via the ship Columbia. George arrived at Ellis Island New York on November 9, 1920.

1920 Soundex card
Maggie’s mother Jemima died in 1924 at the age of 68 in Glasgow, Scotland. The following year, Maggie’s 19 year old son James died of pneumonia at home in Steubenville on February 21, 1925. He was buried at Union Cemetery in Steubenville. Maggie’s brother George was the informant on James’ death certificate.

On April 2, 1930, Maggie and her family lived on Grandview Avenue. They owned the house valued at $3,200. The census enumerator recorded Maggie’s place of birth as Scotland this time. Her husband John was a laborer in a steel mill. John W. Irwin (age 37, born in Ohio) and Norma Irwin (age 19, born in West Virginia), lived in the home and was recorded as boarders.

The 1938 Steubenville (Ohio) City Directory listed John and Maggie Close as living at 641 Grandview Avenue.

On April 18, 1940, Maggie and John still lived at the Grandview Avenue home in Steubenville. Their house, which they owned, was now valued at $2,000. Maggie had a 6th grade education. The census enumerator recorded her place of birth as England. John was still working in the steel mill.

Maggie’s brother Robert died in Steubenville on January 6, 1949. He was buried at Union Cemetery in Steubenville.

Maggie’s husband John retired from the Strip Mill Department of Wheeling Steel Corporation in 1954. He died from lobar pneumonia in Steubenville at the age of 80 three years later on December 15, 1957. His funeral was held on December 18 at the Cole Brothers Funeral Home. The Rev. Dr. Charles W. Fulton officiated, followed by burial in section 31, lot 72 at Union Cemetery in Steubenville.

Maggie’s brother George died of lung cancer in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona on August 30, 1964. His funeral was held on September 2, 1964. George was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Scattering Rose Garden (section 48) at Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery in Phoenix.

Maggie died of congestive heart failure at the age of 88 at home at 240 Woodridge Drive in Wintersville, Jefferson County, Ohio on December 19, 1968. She was survived by her daughter, Mrs. Joseph A. (Ina) Schneider with whom she made her home; a son, John Close of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; two grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Family and friends were received at the Cole Brothers Funeral Home on December 20, followed by a service there on December 21. She was buried at Union Cemetery beside her husband John.

Maggie was a housewife all of her married life. She was 5’ 1”, had a medium complexion, brown hair, and gray eyes. Maggie was a member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Union Cemetery record

Friday, July 17, 2015

52 Ancestors – no. 45: John William Burnett – (week 29)

John William and Martha Ursula
(Hanson) Burnett
John William Burnett, son of Samuel Pride Burnett and Millicent Virginia Overton, was born November 18, 1868 in Georgia. He was the oldest child of 13—John William, Thomas Terrell, C. B. Annbelle, Abijah Winkfield, Oscar Lee, Mathew E., Laura J., Frances Elizabeth, Mattie Lou, Benjamin Franklin, Virginia O., Joseph Benjamin, and Mollie M. Burnett. He went by Will and was the brother of my great-grandfather, Thomas Terrell Burnette.

On July 28, 1870, Will and his family lived in Covington, Newton County, Georgia. Two year old Will was big brother to 11 month old Thomas. Their father farmed the land while their mother, who was enumerated as Lily, kept house.

On June 18, 1880, Will and his family lived in the Harbins District of Gwinnett County, Georgia. At age 12, Will was a farm laborer along with his brother Thomas.

Will was 20 years old when his youngest sister, Mollie Mae Burnett, was born in Walton County, Georgia on April 26, 1889.

I have no clue how or when Will made his way to Alabama but he married Martha (Mattie) Ursula Hanson, daughter of Stephen P. Hanson and Martha Caroline Durrett, on March 26, 1899 near Bear Creek in Marion County, Alabama. Martha was born on July 29, 1880 in Cleburne County, Alabama. Together they had eight children—Samuel Stephen, Julia Virginia, Herbert Newton, Amy Leona, Jasper Petty, William Ellis, Charles Noel, and Leonard Dixon Burnett. There was a 13 year age difference between Will and Mattie.

I’ve spent several hours searching for Will and Mattie in the 1900 census records but they are nowhere to be found. I’ll keep looking.

John William Burnett family

In January 1909, Mattie’s parents purchased over 500 acres of land for $1256.46 about five miles south of Loretto in the southern part of Lawrence County, Tennessee. In October 1909, they divided the land among their children as follows:
  • James Petty Hanson, 71 acres
  • George Henry Hanson, 79 acres
  • Loucious Franklin Hanson, 75 acres
  • Thomas Jefferson Hanson, 77 acres
  •  Robert Jackson Hanson, 56 acres
  • Martha Ursula Hanson, 92 acres
The Hanson’s kept the remaining acres for their home place. Martha didn’t receive her land until a year after her brothers did. Later that year, Will and Mattie moved their family to the community of Liberty Grove in Lawrence County, a year after the Stephen Hanson family moved there. During the Hanson family move to Lawrence County, the women and children traveled by train to Loretto. The men and boys drove the cattle and wagons with their belongings along narrow dirt roads. All of them built homes on their land and engaged in farming except for James Petty (Pet) who became a school teacher. Will was one of the founding members of Liberty Grove Baptist Church.

On April 22, 1910, Will and his family lived on Livington Road in the Civil District 2 of Lawrence County, Tennessee. Will was a farmer on a general farm, which he owned. He was able to read and write. Mattie and their oldest son Samuel were farm laborers on the home farm. Mattie had given birth to six children, all of which were living.

On November 28, 1916, John died suddenly at the age of 48 after returning from the fields in Liberty Grove. It was said he had stomach sickness but it may have been a heart attack. Will was buried at St. Truitt Cemetery on November 29, 1916 in Liberty Grove. He was survived by his wife Martha, who lived 41 more years. She died on November 11, 1957 in Lawrenceburg, Lawrence County, Tennessee, and was buried beside her husband at St. Truitt Cemetery.

Anyone that does genealogy knows you make new friends and find new “cousins” along the way. In late 2000, through the wonder of the Internet, my sister and I connected with several other researchers working on the Samuel P. Burnette and Virginia Overton lines. We were scattered across five states—Virginia, Georgia, Maine, Alabama, and Tennessee. For the most part, each of us could document our direct lines and were aware of Samuel and Virginia, but didn’t know much more. We shared what we knew, compared notes, and then set out to do more research. We had a wonderful time sharing stories, photos, and just being friends. Our research eventually slowed down and we kept occasional contact through Facebook. The only man in the group was Austin Landis Burnette, a direct descendent of John William Burnette. Austin was always joking around with us. I enjoyed his wit and humor. But then he went silent for a while and I later learned that he was suffering from a bout of depression and wasn’t doing much research. Then in mid-February 2011, I received an email from Austin telling me that he was in hospice care. He told me he didn’t want to leave this world without “us girls” knowing what had happened to him. Less than two weeks later, I saw his obituary posted on his Facebook page. Austin was a kind, southern gentleman and it was a pleasure working with him and being a virtual friend and cousin. The pieces of personal information in this blog post where shared with the group by Austin. I hope he knows I’ve shared his family’s story. I'm sure he would have loved to be a part of it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

52 Ancestors – no. 44: Presley Church (week 28)

Presley and Nellie Church
The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “Road Trip: Any epic “road trips” in your family tree? Which ancestor do you want to take a road trip to go research?” I’ve made a few road trips to research my family in Georgia but the one that came to mind first was a road trip we made several years ago to West Virginia with my father-in-law, Earl Murphy. He was from Littleton, Wetzel County, West Virginia and I happened to be working on his lines at the time so asked him to let us take him “home.” I wanted him to show us where he grew up and hear the stories that might be sparked by the trip. I also had a long list of people I wanted to visit at the Wetzel County cemeteries. His sister-in-law lived in Bridgeport so we planned to spend one day with her, one day in Wetzel County to meet up with his brother/visit cemeteries, and a third day visiting cemeteries in Harrison County. We spent a lot of time on the road but it was fun. My father-in-law was upset when he saw the ruins of the bank and other buildings in Littleton. The countryside was just beautiful. His sister-in-law had a wealth of knowledge to share about the family and she also knew where the cemeteries were so we didn’t have to waste time trying to find them. I was fascinated by the cemeteries there and how people were buried on the hills. Of course, we often found the graves we were looking for at the top of one of those hills.

One of the graves we visited was that of Presley Church, my father-in-law’s uncle. He often talked about Presley. Unfortunately I wasn’t smart enough to take notes so I can’t share any personal memories of Presley or his family—just the facts from my research. I do know I only heard good things about him.

Nellie and Presley Church
Presley Church, son of Robert Church and Lucinda Murphy, was born September 29, 1900 in Littleton, Wetzel County, West Virginia. He was the youngest child of 13—George, Samuel C., James Benton, Jennie F., Anna B., Dessie, Charles Cleveland, Martha, William Henry, Donald Roy, and Presley. Two children are unknown to me but enumerated in the 1910 census record. They most likely didn’t survive.

On April 28, 1910, 10 year old Presley lived with his family in the Clay District of Wetzel County, West Virginia. His father Robert was a farmer.

According to Presley’s Delayed Certificate of Birth filed in the state of West Virginia, he attended Sugar Grove School in Wetzel County in September 1911.

On January 15, 1920, Presley lived with his family in the Clay District of Wetzel County. The enumerator recorded his age as 18, which should have been 19 having been born in September 1900. Presley was able to read and write. His sister Dessie, her husband Charles Homer Murphy, and their son Ralph lived next door.

Presley married Nellie B. Cumberledge, daughter of James William Cumberledge and Rosa Belle Hixenbough, in Marshall County, West Virginia in 1923. Together they had three daughters—Betty Lee Church, June Louise Church, and Doris Jean Church. Nellie was five years younger than Presley, born April 6, 1905 in West Virginia. Their daughter Betty was born the following year in Wetzel County. Their second daughter June was born in 1926.

Betty, Nellie, Doris Jean, June, and Presley Church

On April 7, 1930, Presley, his wife Nellie, and daughters Betty and June rented a home on U.S. Route No. 250 in the town of Littleton. Presley was an operator at an oil and gas company. He was 23 and Nellie 19 when they married. They lived three doors from his sister and brother-in-law Dessie and Charles Murphy and their five children—Ralph, Evelyn, Raymond, Glenn, and Earl.

Presley’s youngest daughter Doris Jean was born in 1932. Presley’s father Robert died in Littleton at the age of 82 on November 29 that same year. Robert was buried at Thomas Chapel Church Cemetery in Wetzel County. Less than two months later, Presley’s mother Lucinda died in Littleton at the age of 74 on January 13, 1933. She was buried at Thomas Chapel Church Cemetery with her husband Robert.

On April 17, 1940, 39 year old Presley, his wife Nellie, and daughters Betty, June, and Doris Jean lived in Littleton. Presley had an 8th grade education. He worked 40 hours a week for an oil and gas company.

During the period 1946 to 1954, Presley’s daughters married and moved out of the house. June married Billy Joe Daniel in 1946 and moved to Rome, Floyd County, Georgia where she would live the rest of her life. Betty married John David Watters in 1952 and Doris Jean married Calvin Grey Harris in 1954. Both Betty and Doris Jean lived in Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia after they married.

Presley retired from the Equitable Gas Company in Littleton. He was a member of the United Methodist Church, also in Littleton. They lived in a house near the railroad tracks in Littleton. My husband remembers visiting Uncle Presley as a child and having to hold his nose when he drank water the sulfur smell was so bad.

Presley died at the age of 84 on December 21, 1984 at the Charleston Area Medical Center in Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia. He was survived by his wife, Nellie; three daughters, Betty Watters and Doris Jean Harris, both of Charleston, and June Daniel of Rome, Georgia; six grandchildren; and eight great-great-grandchildren. His funeral service was held at 10 a.m. on December 24, Christmas Eve, at the Hunt Funeral Home in Hundred, Wetzel County, West Virginia. Presley was buried at Anderson Bethel Cemetery in Littleton.

Ruins of the Bank of Littleton

Ruins of buildings in Littleton

Friday, July 3, 2015

52 Ancestors – no. 43: Samuel Jackson Holland (week 27)

Samuel Jackson Holland
This blog post is about my Grandfather, or rather “Granddaddy,” and is a compilation of my own research and personal memories, as well as memories of two of his daughters—Fay and Barbara. Time passes, we grow older, and our memories fade. Speaking for myself, sadly I have large gaps in what I remember about of my childhood. Someday I’m going to start writing down what I do remember and maybe I’ll find a story there. Meanwhile, in the spirit of keeping memories alive—which is the point of 52 Ancestors—I offer his story instead. Scattered throughout this blog post are a few memories shared by my Aunt Barbara. I’ve placed quotes around her words to distinguish her memories vs. my ramblings. I thank Aunt Barbara for sharing these memories with me. Granddaddy was interested in his family history and attempted to document some of it himself. I wish I could share with him what I’ve learned about the Holland family, which is quite a bit since I started down my genealogical path. I hope I’ve done him proud!

Samuel Jackson Holland, son of Elijah Jeffers Holland and Cornelia Jane (Janie) Dove, was born at home in Whitfield County on October 13, 1904. He was the youngest of three children—Roy Holland, Nellie Holland, and Samuel Jackson Holland. A fourth child did not survive. He went by Sam.
House that Sam was born in
On May 4, 1910, Elijah, Janie, Roy, Nellie, and Sam lived in Whitfield County. Elijah was a farmer on a general farm. Janie, Roy, and Nellie helped out as farm laborers. Five year old Sam rounded out the family. His Aunt Sallie Dove Bowers lived four houses away with her family—husband Boone and children Ursula (Lula), Miriam, and Alec. Sam loved his Aunt Sallie. He remained close to her years later after the loss of his Mother. I imagine she became the Mother figure in his life. Sam was also close to his cousin Alec, who was just two years younger than him. I imagine they were almost like brothers what with living so close to each other and being so close in age. On August 19, 1920, the North Georgia Citizen reported that ‘Mr. Sam Holland, of Varnells Rt. 1, was calling on Mr. Alex Bowers one day last week.’ Barbara remembers “a story that Daddy used to tell about slipping a girl out of her parent’s house so the other guy with him and the girl could elope. I’ve always wondered if that could have been Alec and Myrtle Bowers.”

Sadly, young Sam lost his father Elijah who was 42 years old when he died in Dalton, Whitfield County, Georgia on March 4, 1915. Elijah was buried at Deep Springs Baptist Church Cemetery in Dalton. His death was reported in the North Georgia Citizen on March 11, 1915 as ‘Elijah Holland, a highly respected resident of the Deep Springs section, this county, died last Thursday. Interment was made in Deep Springs cemetery Friday.’ Four years later, the year started off tragically when Sam’s brother Roy died at the age of 21 on January 1, 1919 in Deep Springs. I haven’t found a death record for Roy yet so don’t know what caused his death at such a young age. Roy was buried at Deep Springs Baptist Church Cemetery near his father. At the young age of 14, Sam was now the man of the house.

North Georgia Citizen, August 19, 1920
On January 30, 1920, Sam, his mother Janie, and sister Nellie lived in the Ninth District of Whitfield County. The following year, 20 year old Nellie contracted tuberculosis and died at 7 a.m. at home in Varnell, Whitfield County, Georgia on May 6, 1921. She was buried later that day at Deep Springs Baptist Church Cemetery beside her father Elijah, her brother Roy, and Grandfather Leroy Thomas Holland. Sam was the informant on Nellie’s death certificate, listing his address as was Rt. 1, Varnell, Georgia.

Sam married Mary Opal Stone, daughter of Luther W. Stone and Ella (last name unknown), about 1922. Together they had one child, a son they named William Luther Holland but called W.L., born in Georgia on October 31, 1923.

On April 23, 1930, Sam, Opal, W.L., and his mother Janie lived off Cedar Valley Road in Whitfield County. Their next door neighbors were Milas and Effie Shields. That would be the last time Janie would be recorded in a census as she died in Varnell on September 19, 1930 at the age of 58. Janie was buried at Deep Springs Baptist Church Cemetery in Dalton. Sam, the informant on his mother’s death certificate, was now the sole surviving member of his family.

Sallie (Dove) Bowers and Sam
Seven months later, Opal, Sam’s wife of nine years, died in Whitfield County on April 26, 1931. She was just 26 years old. Now it was just Sam and his young son W.L. Sam never talked much about his family. It must have been hard losing everyone at such a young age. Remember, he lost his father in 1915, his brother in 1919, his sister in 1921 followed by his mother in 1930, and finally his wife in 1931. The emotional stress of losing his entire family in such a short time and at such a young age must have been too much to bear and weighed heavy on his heart.

Two months after Opal’s death, Sam married Daisy Lee Shields, daughter of James Stewart Shields and Hattie Jane Rhinehart. Daisy was the niece of Milas Shields, Sam’s neighbor. He called her Lee while the rest of the family called her Daisy. Sam and Daisy didn’t rush to have children. He had a lot of outstanding funeral expenses for Opal and his mother and all of the financial burdens fell to him. Daisy helped Sam pay off the funeral debts by making quilts. She would drive around town in their old model A or T car selling her quilts.

In 1933, Daisy gave birth to their only child, a daughter they named Juanita Fay, at home in Tunnel Hill, Catoosa County, Georgia. After Daisy went into labor, Sam drove to Ringgold to get the doctor. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it back in time. Instead, a neighbor helped Daisy deliver Fay herself. When Sam returned, Daisy told Sam ‘there won’t be any more children.’ And there weren’t!

In 1938, Sam and Daisy lived at 1101-A E 14th Street in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee according to the Chattanooga, Tennessee, City Directory for that year. Sam was a truck driver for Miller Motor Lines.

On April 15, 1940, Sam, Daisy, W.L., and Fay lived on East 14th Street in Chattanooga. Sam was a truck driver for the Motor Express Company. Sometime after this census was taken, Daisy left the family and got a room on her own in Chattanooga. She kept in touch with Fay in 1940 but then had little contact with her from 1941 to 1948.

About 1941, Sam and Daisy divorced leaving Sam alone to take care of W.L. and Fay. After the divorce, Fay remembers that her father often took her to Warner Park in Chattanooga to see the monkeys and ride the swings. In 1942, W.L. turned 18 and was drafted into the Army. Sam and Fay rode the bus to Fort Oglethorpe to see W.L. off to Colorado where he stayed the rest of his duty, guarding prisoners of war. Sam and Fay lived alone in Chattanooga for a few months. Sam had help from Arlie Mack Rhinehart (Hattie [Rhinehart] Shields’ brother) and his wife Martha. After Arlie returned to Catoosa County, Georgia, Sam hired a housekeeper to help out. His route took him from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Murphy, North Carolina so he spent a lot of time on the road and was required to drive the trucks overnight. Fay was too young to be left by herself so she would stay with a neighbor at night.
Patsy and Sam Holland

Sam met Patsy Reba Seibers, daughter of William L. Seibers and Missie Belle Boles, in Rossville Walker County, Georgia where she was a waitress at a truck stop. They married in Rossville on September 18, 1943 and lived in Chattanooga. Together they had four children—Samuel William Holland, Barbara Jane Holland, Brenda Louise Holland, and Charles David Holland.

After Sam and Patsy were married, he decided to move the family to Atlanta so he drove a truck there to look for an apartment for himself, Patsy, and Fay. Daisy accused Sam of taking Fay across state lines (which he had not) and had him arrested. W.L. eventually testified in court that he was with Patsy and Fay at home while Sam went to Atlanta and the case was dropped.

Sometime before 1944, Sam, Patsy, and Fay moved to Atlanta where they rented a house on Washington Street from a man named Mr. Speilberger. The house had two apartments and one bathroom on the first floor. Mr. Speilberger lived in one room in the front of the house. They all shared the bathroom. Another family lived upstairs. They had the whole upstairs, including their own bathroom. Barbara was born in Atlanta at Crawford Long Hospital in 1944 while they were living in the Washington Street house.

In May 1946, Patsy gave birth to a son they named Samuel William Holland. He died on July 29 at the age of two months and was buried in an unmarked grave at Hillcrest Cemetery in East Point, Fulton County, Georgia. The Hillcrest Cemetery Memorial Association records the grave in section 3, block G, lot 10. Sam bought two plots when his infant son died. Several years ago, the Hillcrest Cemetery Memorial Association set up a Veterans Memorial Brick Program to raise funds for a veteran’s memorial to be constructed alongside the main entrance drive at Hillcrest. In addition to honoring a veteran, you could recognize a loved one buried in an unmarked grave at Hillcrest. It bothered me that young Samuel didn’t have a tombstone so I made a donation for a paver brick to be engraved with his name. The veteran’s wall is finished but I have yet to find out if the brick for Samuel has been placed on the wall.

In 1947, Sam and Patsy lived at 739 Central Avenue SW in Atlanta (near where the Ted Turner stadium stands in 2015) according to the Atlanta, Georgia, City Directory. Sam was a foreman with R. L. Dante Freight Line. They still lived there in 1948 but at some point that year moved down the street into a house across the street from Julia and Jerry Gregory. The Gregory house address was 714 Central Avenue. Later that year, Sam’s daughter Fay married Julia’s nephew, Sam Lankford, at the home of Patsy’s brother, Allen Derod Seibers.

After the Central Avenue home, Barbara remembers that they “apparently moved around several times before settling the first time at a home in Hapeville, Fulton County, Georgia. They were living in a rental house on Windsor Street (she believes) in Atlanta when Brenda was born at Crawford Long Hospital in 1948. After that, they moved to a home off Bankhead Highway. Brenda was still a baby. I started kindergarten there [Fall 1949 to Spring 1950] and half the first grade [Fall 1950 to December 1950]. We then moved to a home at 3791 Highland Avenue in Hapeville. Brenda was still a toddler and no Dave.” If we calculated this correctly, it would have been January 1951.

Sam and Patsy still lived at the Highland Avenue home in 1951 according to the Atlanta, Georgia, City Directory. Sam was a foreman at Dance Freight Lines. They still lived there in 1953 but Sam was now an assistant manager at Rutherford Freight Lines. And they were once again recorded on Highland Avenue when the Atlanta City Directory was published in 1954. Sam was back at Dance Freight Lines as an assistant manager. Patsy was listed as Reba P. Holland.

Sam, two of his kids, and his Lankford grandchilden
David was born in Atlanta in 1954. According to Barbara, “Fay and Bonita [Fay’s daughter] came to stay with us while Mom was in the hospital. Mom evidently had false labor on trip number one to the hospital. Trip number two produced Dave but Mom always said that ‘it took her a week to have Dave.’” After the school year ended, Sam took the family to Gainesville [June 1954]. Brenda started the first grade at Miller Park School in Gainesville. According to Barbara, “he had a customer whose daughter had a house in Gainesville. She and her family wanted to move to Atlanta. For a time, they just traded houses. They lived in our Hapeville house and we lived in her Gainesville house from June until Christmas 1954. After that Mom and the kids moved back to Hapeville to be there for the sale of the house. Brenda finished the 1st grade at Hapeville Elementary School and I finished the 5th [June 1955]. When school was over in 1955, the Hapeville house sold and we moved to Gainesville permanently. I remember that Mom was not a happy camper selling the house and moving back to Gainesville. I guess she mellowed after a time. I think it helped when she learned to drive and could be out and about.”

The Gainesville, Georgia, City Directory recorded Sam and Patsy as living at Atlanta RD 2 in 1957. Sam was a manager at Atlanta-Ashville Motor Express Inc. The 1959 and 1960 Gainesville, Georgia, City Directories recorded Sam and Patsy as living on Tower Heights Road. Sam was a general manager at Atlanta-Asheville Motor Express Inc. Barbara remembers “we lived on Thompson Bridge Road briefly and again Dad had a customer and we moved to his rental house on Atlanta Highway. We lived there about two years and then Dad bought the Tower Heights house … and lived there until 1963 when they moved to the house you remember on Roberta Circle. Dad lived the rest of his life there.” The Tower Heights house was in Murrayville, although it had a Gainesville mailing address. Barbara believes (but can’t be sure) that they lived at the Tower Heights house when a scary event took place. “Dad was either coming or going to work on Myrtle Street near the warehouse. A young child ran out in front of the car and Daddy hit him. However, the child apparently wasn’t hurt too bad because he/she jumped up and ran into a house. Dad left the car and ran behind the child to the house or into the house (not sure). Anyway, it must have scared the daylights out of both Daddy and the child.”

The Roberta Circle house sat on a circular dirt road and was within walking distance of Lake Lanier. I recall visiting often and remember spending at least a week there during one summer. We went fishing on the lake. To get to their house, we had to cross a bridge with no side rails. I hated crossing that bridge. I just knew Mama was going to drive off the bridge into the lake. As we got closer to the bridge, I would cower in the backseat floor until we had safely crossed it. There was also a water fountain as you drove through Gainesville and I remember it was often filled with bubbles, probably from some prankster the night before. And best of all, they had a Coke machine on their carport! The neighbors would come and buy Cokes. I thought that was cool. Barbara remembers that “Mom had a huge bed of beautiful strawberries at the Roberta Circle house. One day he was out cutting grass and cut down the strawberry patch. I can’t imagine him doing that but he did. I remember he told Mom that he did it because he didn’t want to see her working so hard out there. SURE!” I suggested that meant no pie for Granddaddy and Barbara noted “That was kinda cutting off his nose to spite his face as Mama would have said. That man loved to eat and I always loved to watch him eat because he enjoyed it so much. He mixed some of his foods together. Sounds ucky but he enjoyed it. Also, I remember he sometimes drank his coffee from a saucer. I started drinking coffee at a young age because I wanted to be like Daddy.”

At home in Gainesville
Barbara remembers “Dad had a painful ulcer in the mid to late 1950s. He was up a lot at night in pain and I remember that he hung a wet towel across the head of their bed and it left one of those white stains. Apparently, he was trying to ease the pain. Anyway, the doctors finally put him in the hospital and did surgery. He spent 21 days in the Hall County Hospital.”

Sam was a trucker/warehouseman and was the manager of Atlanta-Asheville Freight Lines until his retirement in 1970. Barbara remembers that “he was at Atlanta Asheville from the beginning when the warehouse was in an old, old building on Railroad Avenue with only two boxes of freight on the floor. The freight line was already started in Atlanta. Dad started the branch in Gainesville. He visited businessmen around Gainesville to solicit their business and built up the business over the years. I remember that it seemed that Daddy worked all the time. He spent many long hours at Atlanta Asheville Freight. Gone early morning, and then after coming home for supper, he would go back to the warehouse to ‘finish up’ typing the paperwork. He was a two finger typist but good at it. I think his work at Atlanta Asheville represented a defining moment in his life. He was a farm boy from Whitfield County who only completed the 6th grade and went on to build this business with his hard work. Retirement in 1970 did not come easy for him. It was a difficult transition. He couldn’t sit back and take it easy. He sold Watkins Products and also made what he called a ‘rolling store’ in the back of his truck. He and Mom went round the country neighborhoods selling his wares. In fact, as I remember, he was out doing this when he had his first stroke. Dad had a mischievous streak that sometimes came out. It should have come out a lot more instead of all that working.”

Sam was active in church all of his life. As a young man, he sang at the church, most likely Deep Springs Church in Dalton. Barbara remembers that “Dad and Mom joined Emmanuel Baptist Church and he was active there. When they moved to Murrayville, they changed memberships to Corinth Baptist Church. He was active in church there. I don't recall that he sang in the choir as he did at a church we attended in Atlanta.”

Sam didn’t smoke or drink. He had diabetes and died from a stroke on May 26, 1972 around 9 a.m. at Hall County Hospital in Gainesville. Barbara remembers “Brenda was with him at the hospital. I was at work a few blocks away and Mother was on the way to the hospital. We were all taken to the hospital chapel and didn’t get to see Daddy until later that day at Vickers Funeral Home.” He was 67 years old. His funeral was held at Corinth Baptist Church with the Rev. O’Dean McNeal and the Rev. Willis Moore officiating. He was buried with his infant son Samuel at Hillcrest Cemetery in section 3, block G, lot 10, space 2. Sam was survived by his wife Patsy, three daughters, Fay, Barbara, and Brenda; two sons, W.L. and David; 10 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. Vickers Funeral Home of Gainesville handled the arrangements. I don’t remember the day he died or the funeral but I do remember that since my family lived in Atlanta everybody came back to our house after the service for dinner. If my memory serves me correctly, I left after the church service with Daddy so we could get home early enough for him to cook curried chicken for the family.