Friday, May 27, 2016

52 Ancestors – Connections to Apollo’s history (90-2016)

The borough of Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania is celebrating their bicentennial this year and are in the midst of a “year-long community celebration that will culminate in a 10-day festival July 1, 2016 through July 10, 2016.” This caught my attention several months ago because my husband’s maternal roots extend deep into Apollo’s history. So out of curiosity, I thought I would pull together some of the key items of interest to see how it played out. I’ve noted his direct lines as well as collateral ancestors. Some lived their life quietly, going about everyday business, while others took action and helped shape Apollo.

John Thompson Smith (second great-grandfather)
John T. Smith, a local innkeeper, was elected Apollo town councilman on May 3, 1848 at an election held at his house—the inn. He was also an Apollo postmaster, running the post office from his tavern. When Apollo celebrated its Quasqui Centennial (125th anniversary) June 29 – July 4, 1941, John was included on page 24 of the souvenir program published for the celebration as part of Apollo’s history where it noted his part in Apollo’s first election. Page 41 of the program notes him as a Apollo “First”—the first tailor. John died in Apollo on March 11, 1864 and was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Apollo.

Apollo's Quasqui Centennial souvenir program.
We have Mary Athya's copy.

Five of John’s six children were born in Apollo: Electra Burnette Smith on February 11, 1841, Eunice Alvira Smith on September 19, 1844, Martha Jane Smith on October 3, 1846, Minerva Smith on May 21, 1849, and John Milton Smith on February 27, 1851. Minerva died from cholera on May 17, 1850 and was buried at Riverview Cemetery.

His wife Jane Gordon Smith died on March 11, 1877 and was buried at Riverview Cemetery. The tombstone is a marker for Jane, Jane’s first husband John McIlwain, who died in Apollo in 1837, and John Thompson Smith. John McIlwain was listed on page 22 of Apollo’s Quasqui Centennial souvenir program. He was one of the early settlers of the town of Warren, which eventually became part of the borough of Apollo. John McIlwain was a tavern owner there. Upon his death, Jane married John Thompson Smith. T. J. Henry’s book History of Apollo, PA. 1816 – 1916: The Year of a Hundred Years (published in 1916 by The News-Record Publishing Company in Apollo) notes on page 23 … “After the death of John McIlwain, John T. Smith married his widow and they kept tavern for many years on the corner of Warren Avenue and First Street.”

John Milton Smith (great-grandfather)—son of John Thompson Smith and Jane Gordon
Census records show that John and his sister Electra lived in Apollo on June 23, 1880. John married Amanda Larimer Horne, daughter of Moses Horne and Elizabeth Larimer, at Apollo United Methodist Church on January 19, 1882. John died on March 9, 1912 in Bell, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and was buried at Riverview Cemetery on March 12.

John's wife Amanda was received by probation at the Apollo United Methodist Church on October 25, 1874. She died in Apollo on January 13, 1943 and was buried at Riverview Cemetery.

Amanda Larimer Horne Smith and her grandson John Thompson Athya

John's son Benjamin Gordon Smith was born in Apollo on November 18, 1882. His mother Amanda, a seamstress, made a baby dress for Ben in 1884. The dress hangs in my bedroom today. Ben joined the Apollo Presbyterian Church on January 21, 1900. He registered for the World War I draft in Apollo on September 12, 1917 and for the World War II draft in Apollo on April 27, 1942.

Benjamin Gordon Smith

Dress made for Benjamin G. Smith
by his mother Amanda Horne Smith

His daughter Edith McCrum Smith was born in Apollo on March 4, 1888. She died from typhoid fever at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh on October 24, 1906. Edith was buried at Riverview Cemetery on October 26, 1906.

Edith McCrum Smith

His daughter Helen Margaret Smith died from heart disease in Westmoreland County on March 18, 1913. She was buried at Riverview Cemetery on March 20, 1913.
Unknown girl and Helen Margaret Smith

Moses Horne (second great-grandfather)
Apollo county land ownership maps recorded the Moses Horne family living on Indiana Street in 1876. Census records indicate Moses was a “dealer in groceries” in Apollo on June 26, 1880. Moses died of heart disease in Apollo on April 11, 1910. His death certificate indicates he was buried in Apollo but doesn’t note the cemetery name.

Several of Moses’ children were born in Apollo: Lydia E. Horne on September 18, 1864, George R. Horne on December 1, 1869, and Keziah Chambers Horne on July 24, 1873.

His daughter Josephine B. Horne was baptized by J. F. Murray at Apollo United Methodist Church on August 26, 1883. She died of mitral stenosis in Apollo on March 24, 1941 and was buried at Apollo Cemetery on March 26. She lived at 213 South Second Street at the time of her death. Jo was deaf and never married.

Josephine and Amanda Horne

Moses' wife Elizabeth died in Apollo on May 1, 1913. She was buried at Apollo Cemetery on May 3.

His son George died on December 19, 1915 from a fractured skull and other injuries caused after being struck by a locomotive on the Conemaugh Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad at the West Apollo Crossing. He was buried at Vandergrift Cemetery in Vandergrift, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

Bertha Edna Smith (grandmother)—daughter of John Milton Smith and
Amanda Larimer Horne

Bertha probably attended events at Apollo’s Centennial celebration in 1916. We have the picture below of her standing in front of a house with patriotic banners I see in other pictures from that year.

Bertha Edna Smith on the left

Three of Bertha’s four children were born in Apollo: John Thompson Athya on June 12, 1925, Howard George Athya on April 2, 1927, and James Jem Athya on June 7, 1930. The family lived at 213 South Fourth Street when Jim was born.

Bertha Edna Smith Athya, Amanda Larimer Horne Smith holding Mary Margaret Athya,
Electra Smith Jack, John T. Athya, and Howard Athya
Bertha and her husband George Durie Athya (born in Glasgow, Scotland) lost a home on Cherry Lane when the Kiski River flooded in the early 1940s. The river flooded and took the house downstream where it crashed into a bridge. George built the house himself and was nearly done when the flood took place.

George Durie Athya in white shirt and his wife Bertha Edna Smith Athya
sitting beside him. Others are unknown.
Railroad Avenue, Apollo, Pennsylvania on March 18, 1936
Mary Margaret Athya (mother)—daughter of Bertha Edna Smith and George Durie Athya
Mary attended Apollo’s Quasqui Centennial in 1941. She was part of the “Kiskicade” cast and was listed on page 37 of the souvenir program: episode XII—Miss Apollo and Her Court—Foreign Countries.

Mary Athya is listed under "Foreign Countries"

Howard, Jim, and Mary Athya

Electra Burnette Smith (second great-aunt)—daughter of John Thompson Smith and Jane Gordon
Electra was born in Apollo on February 11, 1841. She was admitted to Apollo’s First Presbyterian Church on October 8, 1858 and was baptized and received full communion as an adult on October 10, 1858. Electra married Daniel Jack at the Apollo Presbyterian Church on February 20, 1896. Daniel was the widower of Electra’s sister Eunice. Information for Daniel Jack can be found under Eunice.

Daniel Jack, Electra Smith Jack holding an
Athya great-nephew

T. J. Henry’s book History of Apollo, PA. 1816 – 1916: The Year of a Hundred Years acknowledged Electra’s (and others) contributions for “information furnished from memory’s stores” in the book’s Foreward. She was also mentioned on page 89—“Mrs. DANIEL JACK (nee SMITH), is the oldest native inhabitant of Apollo.”

Electra Smith Jack
Electra's water pitcher sits on my dresser today

Sylvester Hildebrand (pictured below) and Xenophon W. McIlwain witnessed an affidavit in Electra’s filing for a widow’s pension (Daniel Jack) on January 11, 1926.

Electra died on April 1932 and was buried at Riverview Cemetery.

Erastus Smith (second great-uncle)—son of John Thompson Smith and Jane Gordon
Erastus mustered into Company E of the 139th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment as a private in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania on September 1, 1862. Perhaps wanting to make sure his spiritual life was in order before entering the war, he joined the First Presbyterian Church in Apollo. The church register shows that Erastus was admitted to the church by “Escamination” on October 10, 1862. He married Jane Rachel Anderson, daughter of Samuel Anderson and Mary Mawheny, on March 24, 1869 in Apollo. Census records indicate that Erastus, Jane, and daughter Elsie lived in the Kellys Station subdivision of Apollo on June 24, 1870. He was suspended from the First Presbyterian Church in Apollo on March 21, 1872. Erastus died from erysipelas in Apollo on April 13, 1886 and was buried at Riverview Cemetery. His wife Jane died in Apollo on March 5, 1916. 

Erastus Smith's stone

At least two of his children were born in Apollo: Florence G. Smith on December 2, 1875 and Richard Barton Smith on September 7, 1879 and at least three of his children died in Apollo: Florence on December 7, 1909, Mary Jane Smith on January 12, 1908, and Richard on April 12, 1931.
Ladies from First Presbyterian Church, Apollo, Pennsylvania

Eunice Alvira Smith (second great-aunt)—daughter of John Thompson Smith and Jane Gordon
Eunice married Daniel Jack, son of Samuel Smith Jack and Catherine Beck, on June 27, 1867 in Apollo. Eunice died in Apollo on March 19, 1890 leaving six children behind. She was buried at Riverview Cemetery. Six years later, Daniel married her sister Electra on February 20, 1896 in Apollo.

Eunice Alvira Smith Jack's stone

Daniel Jack was born in Apollo on August 30, 1840. He played first alto in Apollo’s First Brass Band in 1857 which disbanded when the Civil War started. Daniel was one of the first recruits to enroll on April 27, 1861 in support of the Union Army when he enlisted at Camp Wright. His unit—Company G, Pennsylvania Eleventh Reserves, 40th Infantry Regiment—was recruited by S. M. Jackson at the first call for troops to fight in the Civil War. Daniel held the rank of Sergeant. After the Civil War ended, another brass band was formed and Daniel again was a member. Apollo census records indicate that Daniel worked in a planing (lumber) mill on June 23, 1870. He and his family lived in the Kelly’s Station subdivision of Apollo. Daniel was elected Quarter Master of the Charles S. Whitworth Post on January 21, 1878. He submitted a Declaration for Invalid Pension in Armstrong County on March 13, 1896 stating that he was “partially unable to earn a support by manual labor by reason of general disability.” His address was Apollo, Pennsylvania. A July 1916 newspaper article (name unknown) ran stating “Mr. Daniel Jack is a life long resident of Apollo. He has been quarter-master of the local G.A.R. post for a long term of years and until two years ago has carried the colors to the cemetery on Memorial Day since the organization of the post. His residence is on S. Fourth Street.” Daniel appeared before a justice of the peace on April 15, 1921 in Apollo to file a declaration of pension. He claimed that he was 80 years old, a resident of Apollo, and the identical person who enrolled at Apollo under the name of Daniel Jack on April 27, 1861 as a Sergeant in Captain James H. Mills Company G, 11th Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserves Infantry, in the service of the United States in the Civil War. He further claimed that he was honorably discharged at Pittsburgh on June 13, 1864, ending his service. Daniel died of a paralytic stroke at his home in Apollo on December 10, 1925. He was buried at Riverview Cemetery. His obituary stated that he was “one of Apollo’s oldest and most esteemed citizens.”

Civil War Veterans. First row: Ed Dentzel, Henry Blystone, Mr. Ross, Joseph McGuire, Daniel Jack, Thomas Cochran, Sylvester Hildebrand, John Fiscus. Back row: Unknown, Enoch Whay, unknown, Samuel Ams, James Rowland, David Coulter, Hugh Owens, Col. S. M. Jackson.

Six children were born to Eunice and Daniel in Apollo: Charles Stanley Jack on May 3, 1868, Effie Gordon Jack on May 16, 1872, Ethel Jack on January 26, 1874, Alice T. Jack on May 28, 1875, Samuel Howard Jack on December 28, 1880, and Frank Walter Jack on April 28, 1885. Ethel died in Apollo on August 19, 1879 and was buried at Riverview Cemetery.

Martha Jane Smith (second great-aunt)—daughter of John Thompson Smith and Jane Gordon
Five children were born to Martha and her husband Hugh Evans in Apollo: Elsie E. Evans in September 1866, Annie Evans about 1869, William F. Evans about 1871, Edith Evans about 1873, and Alice Evans about 1875. Martha died in Apollo on March 31, 1921 and was buried at Apollo Cemetery.

Martha Smith Evans and husband Hugh Evans stone

Howard Stanley Smith (great-Uncle)—son of John Milton Smith and
Amanda Larimer Horne

Howard was born in Apollo on December 7, 1890. He was a hardware merchant in Apollo during the 1930s and 1940s, retiring in 1946. Howard and his wife Myrtle Mary Stewart lived in their Apollo home on 507 North Fourth Street for 44 years. He was the Apollo borough secretary for 38 years, resigning his post in December 1959 due to ill health after suffering a heart attack in November. Howard died in Apollo on January 14, 1961 following a heart attack and was buried at Riverview Cemetery. 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.”

Bertha Edna Smith, Howard Stanley Smith, Myrtle Mary Stewart Smith

Howard and Myrtle’s three children were born in Apollo: Stewart Stanley Smith on January 11, 1919, Alma Margaret Smith on February 25, 1922, and Richard Franklin Smith on July 17, 1924.

Stewart and Alma Smith

His wife Myrtle died in Apollo on September 5, 1978 and was buried beside Howard at Riverview Cemetery.

Myrtle Mary Stewart Smith

George Nelson Smith (great-Uncle)—son of John Milton Smith and
Amanda Larimer Horne

George was born on October 22, 1885 in Apollo. He died in Westmoreland County on April 27, 1959 and was buried at Riverview Cemetery.

Willis Hawk and George Nelson Smith

At least three generations of my husband’s family have a connection to Apollo’s milestone celebrations. While my husband isn’t attending the bicentennial celebrations this summer, this is my way of connecting a fourth generation. I wish the people of Apollo a very happy bicentennial!

Friday, May 20, 2016

52 Ancestors – William Henry Church (89-2016)

William Henry Church
William Henry Church, son of Robert Church and Lucinda Murphy, was born February 11, 1895 in Littleton, Wetzel County, West Virginia. He was one of 13 children—George Church, Samuel C. Church, James Benton Church, Jennie F. Church, Anna B. Church, Dessie Church, Charles Cleveland Church, Martha Church, William Henry Church, Donald Roy Church, and Presley Church. Two children are unknown to me but enumerated in the 1910 census record. They most likely didn’t survive. He went by Henry and was the brother of my husband’s grandmother Dessie Church Murphy.

On June 9, 1900, Henry and his family lived in the Church District of Wetzel County. Henry’s father was a farmer. His mother Lucinda was enumerated as the mother of 11 children, 10 of which were living.

On April 28, 1910, Henry and his family lived in the Clay District of Wetzel County. Henry’s parents have been married for 32 years. His mother Lucinda was enumerated as the mother of 13 children, 10 of which were living. Fourteen year old Henry was a farm laborer on the home farm. He was attending school and was able to read and write.

On June 5, 1917, Henry, who lived in Littleton, registered for the World War I draft. He was a farmer, employed near Littleton by his father Robert Church. He was of medium height and build, had grey eyes, and light hair.

Henry married Gay Thomas, daughter of Samuel Jefferson Thomas and Mary Ann (Mollie) Sole, on January 18, 1918 in Hundred, Wetzel County, West Virginia. Henry was 22 years old and Gay 17. Together they had three children—Clarence H. Church, Wanda M. Church, and Laverne G. Church. Clarence was born in May 12, 1918.

On January 30, 1920, Henry, Gay, and their one year old son Clarence lived in Littleton. Henry was 24 and Gay 18. The census enumerator record “none” under the column for occupation/trade. Gay was not working either. Wanda was born in May 1920, and Laverne in July 1923.

On April 18, 1930, Henry and his family lived in the Center District of Wetzel County. Henry rented the home they lived in.

Gay (Thomas) and William Henry Church
Henry’s brother, Samuel C. Church, died at age 50 on June 22, 1931 in the Church District of Wetzel County. His father Robert died on November 29, 1932 in Littleton. Both were buried at Thomas Chapel Church Cemetery in Wetzel County. Henry’s mother Lucinda died on January 13, 1933 in Littleton and was buried at Thomas Chapel Church Cemetery. The Wetzel Democrat of New Martinsville, West Virginia published her obituary on January 19, 1933: “Last rites for Mrs. Lucinda Church, aged 74 years, were held from the Thomas Chapel M. E. Church on Sunday afternoon with Rev. Eismon officiating. Interment was made in the Thomas Chapel Cemetery. Mrs. Church died Friday morning January 13th, following a serious illness of only three days. Mrs. Church was a lifelong resident of this county, being born near this city in 1858. Her husband, the late Robert Church, preceded her in death by only six weeks. The deceased was a daughter of John and Joanna Murphy, pioneers of Wetzel County. She was a member of the M. E. Church. Surviving are nine children: James Church of Hundred, W. Va.; Henry Church of Kodol, W. Va.; Charley Church, at home; Presley Church of Littleton, W. Va.; Donald Church of Clarksburg, W. Va.; Mrs. Dessie Murphy of Littleton; Mrs. Jennie Davis of Weston, W. Va.; Mrs. Martha McIntire and Mrs. Anna Evans, both of Clarksburg.”

Henry’s sister, Martha Church McIntire, died in Clarksburg, on August 6, 1936. She was buried at Elkview Cemetery in Clarksburg beside her two husbands, brothers Lester and Chester McIntire.
On June 29, 1940, Henry and Gay owned a house valued at $1000 in the Center District of Wetzel County. They were living in the same house in 1935. Henry was a farmer on a home farm and had worked 60 hours the week prior to the 1940 census being taken. Laverne, age 17, was the only child left at home.

Henry’s sister Dessie died at home in Littleton on November 20, 1940 from stomach cancer at the young age of 51. She left five children behind with the youngest child only 12 years old. Dessie, along with her parents, husband, and sister Jennie, are buried in the front row at the base of the hill at Thomas Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery in Wetzel County. 

In 1942, Henry registered for the World War II draft. He lived in Littleton which had a mailing address of Kodol, West Virginia. Henry was 47 years old and a farmer.

Henry’s brother Charles Cleveland Church died in Littleton on April 12, 1955. He was buried at Anderson-Bethel Cemetery in Littleton.

Henry’s sister Anna died of occlusive arterial disease at Weston State Hospital in Weston, Lewis County, West Virginia on March 29, 1959. She was buried at Green Lawn Cemetery in Clarksburg.
Henry’s sister Jennie died of a cerebral hemorrhage and arteriosclerosis on February 26, 1963 at Weston State Hospital in Weston. She was buried beside her parents at Thomas Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery in Glover Gap, Wetzel County, near the town of Hundred. His brother James died on August 9, 1969 in Salem, Columbiana County, Ohio. He was buried at Hope Cemetery in Salem.

My husband remembers visiting family in Wetzel County in the late 1960s or early 1970s. They took their camper and camped at the foot of the hill where Henry and Gay’s house sat. At 6 o’clock one morning, Gay came knocking on the camper with a fresh apple pie for the family. He said he was sure it was good!

Henry died on April 7, 1971 in West Virginia. He was buried at Thomas Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery in Wetzel County. 

Henry was a descendent of Henry “Old Hundred” Church for whom the town of Hundred was named.

Friday, May 13, 2016

52 Ancestors – Myrtle Mary Stewart (88-2016)

Myrtle Mary Stewart
Myrtle Mary Stewart, daughter of Abner D. Stewart and Mary Bell Johnston, was born September 25, 1892 in Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. She had a brother named Harry Howard Stewart. Myrtle apparently had a third sibling that died. This is based on the 1900 and 1910 census records which listed Mary Johnston Stewart as the mother of three children, two of which were living.

On June 6, 1900, Myrtle and her family lived on a farm in the Allegheny Township. Her father was a farmer and her 11 year old brother Harry a farm laborer. A 26 year old man named Harry McCurdy was a boarder in the home, most likely working on the farm as he was also listed as a farm laborer. It’s possible that other family members lived close by as several of their neighbors had the last name of Stewart or Johnston.

Bertha Edna Smith (Howard's sister), Howard,
and Myrtle
By April 23, 1910, the family had moved to Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. They lived in a home located on the south side of North Fourth Street. Myrtle’s paternal grandparents, Robert George Johnston and Mary Catherine Kimmel Johnston, lived next door. Her father was a merchant in his own store and her brother Harry was a college student. Both Myrtle and her mother were unemployed. The move to Apollo was a good one as this was most likely where she met her husband. Myrtle married Howard Stanley Smith, son of John Milton Smith and Amanda Larimer Horne, sometime before June 5, 1917 which is when Howard registered for the World War I draft. Howard noted on the draft record that he was married. He did not however, 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 I don’t have a marriage date. Together Myrtle and Howard had three children—Stewart Stanley Smith, Alma Margaret Smith, and Richard Franklin Smith. Stewart, their first born, joined the family on January 11, 1919. The year began full of joy with a new baby in the family and ended with sorrow when Myrtle’s father Abner Stewart died on December 30. He was buried at Apollo Cemetery in Apollo.

Son Stewart and daughter Alma
On January 12, 1920, Myrtle and Howard lived with her mother and brother Harry in the Apollo North Fourth Street house. Howard was a clerk in a mill office. Stanley was 11 months old. Their only daughter, Alma Margaret Smith, was born in Apollo on February 25, 1922. The family was completed when their third child, a boy they named Richard Franklin Smith, was born in Apollo on July 17, 1924. Myrtle’s mother Mary died in Apollo on March 31, 1929. Myrtle was the informant on her death certificate. Mary was buried at Apollo Cemetery.

On April 11, 1930, Myrtle and Howard lived in the First Ward of Apollo. Howard was now a hardware merchant. Their house which they owned was valued at $3000 and contained a radio.

On April 4, 1940, Myrtle and her family still lived in the Apollo North Fourth Street house. Her husband Howard was a salesman in a hardware store. Her son Stewart, who still lived at home at the age of 21, worked as a mortician’s helper. In 1942, Howard registered for the World War II draft. They lived at 507 North Fourth Street in Apollo so were in the same house. I don’t believe Howard served during the war but I’m sure that weighed heavy over Myrtle. Howard retired as a hardware store owner in 1946.

Howard and Myrtle Smith
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 died at their residence on January 14, 1961 after suffering another heart attack. 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.

Myrtle’s brother Howard died June 1973 in Apollo leaving her as the last member of the family. Myrtle herself died on September 5, 1978 in Apollo. She was buried beside her husband at Riverview Cemetery in Apollo.

Myrtle and Howard lived in their home on 507 North Fourth Street in Apollo for 44 years. Her husband served as a well-respected member of the Apollo Council for 38 years.

Friday, May 6, 2016

52 Ancestors – Samantha Jane Holland (87-2016)

Samantha Jane Holland, daughter of John Holland and Elizabeth H. Majors, was born May 12, 1842 in Belton, Anderson County, South Carolina. She was 1 of 16 children—P. C. Holland, Elijah Major Holland, Gambrell W. Holland, Martha A. Holland, Leroy Thomas Holland, Emma C. Holland, Symantha C. Holland, Miranda Elizabeth Holland, Martha L. Holland, Nancy L. Holland, Samantha Jane Holland, Jane A. Holland, John Louis Holland, Mary M. Holland, George W. P. Holland, and Eliza Amanda Holland. Samantha was the sister of my second great-grandfather, Leroy Thomas Holland.

On August 16, 1850, Samantha and her family lived in the Eastern Subdivision of Anderson County, South Carolina. She was enumerated as Jane S. Holland. Her father was a farmer.

On June 25, 1860, 17 year old Samantha lived with her family in the 4th Regiment of Anderson County, South Carolina. Her 18 year old sister Nancy, and brother-in-law, Marcus Hall, lived next door. Samantha’s father John was a farmer.

Samantha married William Daniel Grant, son of Asa Grant and Lucinda Elizabeth Gilbert, on December 23, 1860 in Belton. Together they had 12 children—John W. Grant, Asa Preston Grant, Thomas Lee Grant, Charles E. Grant, Joseph Henry Grant, Savannah J. Grant, Sarah Etta Grant, Starling S. Grant, James Rusk Grant, Noel Willis Grant, Judson Speer Grant, and Mamie Lillian Grant. I’m told by another researcher that Samantha actually had 15 children but only 12 lived. I haven’t found evidence to support that myself but thought I’d share that piece of information anyway. There is a stone at Old Clarkesville Cemetery where Samantha and William are buried that’s marked “Children of W. D. & S. J. Grant” so it’s certainly a possibility that there were other children.

Samantha and William moved to Clarkesville, Habersham County, Georgia in 1861, shortly after their marriage. The newlyweds were still adjusting to their new life in Clarkesville when the Civil War broke out in 1861. Two years later, William enlisted in Company C of Phillips’ Legion in the Regiment of Georgia Volunteers, Wofford’s Brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia in June 1863, leaving Samantha at home with their two year old son John and pregnant with their son Asa. In November 1863, William contracted rheumatism, which moved into his hip and knee. The rheumatism grew worse until in June 1864, the Board of Physicians examined William and discharged him from service, sending him home from Richmond, Virginia. William probably arrived home shortly after the June 1864 birth of Asa (who would eventually serve as a member of the house of representatives from Oconee County, South Carolina and as a magistrate in Seneca, South Carolina for 20 years). William remained at home until September 1864 when he was ordered to report for service at Macon, Georgia. By this time, the rheumatism was so bad he had to walk with a stick and was unable to do manual labor. While in service, William became disabled again with rheumatism and an attack of jaundice. In February 1865, William was sent to the hospital in Macon. After examination by the physicians there, William was again sent home on furlough about the first of March. He was still at home on furlough when the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia took place on April 9, 1865. Leroy Thomas Holland, Samantha’s brother and my second great-grandfather, however, was one of the prisoners of war surrendered by General Robert E. Lee and paroled at Appomattox. The rheumatism didn’t affect William’s ability to procreate, and he and Samantha added 10 more children to their family with their third child, Thomas, being born in April 1866 and their last child, Mamie, in 1885.

On June 5, 1870, Samantha and her family lived in Clarkesville. William was a blacksmith with a personal estate valued at $1,000. Elizabeth (Majors) Holland, Samantha’s mother, died on February 27, 1876 at the age of 66. Her family was still in mourning when on December 24, 1876 Samantha’s son Starling died at the age of 2 in Habersham County. He was buried at Old Clarkesville Cemetery in Clarkesville. The following year, John Holland, Samantha’s father, died at the age of 70 on September 9, 1877. It’s believed John and Elizabeth Holland were both buried in the Math Cobb Cemetery across the railroad from the old home place on Pea Creek in Anderson County, South Carolina.

On June 1, 1880, Samantha and her family lived in Clarkesville. She was keeping house and William was still a blacksmith.

On June 14, 1900, the family still lived in Clarkesville. Samantha was enumerated as Jane. The census recorded her as the mother of 11 children, 10 of which were living. Her son James was a lawyer. Noel was a school teacher. Noel would eventually join the U.S. Navy and serve as lieutenant commander of the U.S.S. Delaware. Her son Judson was enumerated as “Judge.” Samantha was also recorded as “Jane” in the 1850 census as well as her son Asa’s 1942 death certificate. This makes me wonder if she went by Jane vs. Samantha.

On April 19, 1910, Samantha, William and their youngest child, Mamie, lived on Washington Street in Clarkesville. William made his “own income.” The census enumerator recorded her as the mother of 12 children, 11 of which were living. Samantha and William had been married for 49 years. Her son Charles died at the age of 45 in Wheatland County, Montana on June 24, 1913. It’s believed he was buried at Langston Cemetery in Harlowtown, Montana.

Samantha died on October 4, 1914 at the age of 72 in Clarkesville of “an attack of acute indigestion.” On October 6, The Constitution of Atlanta reported her death was from cholera morbus described as “acute gastroenteritis occurring in summer and autumn and marked by severe cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting” by the Free Dictionary. The Constitution described Samantha as “one of Clarkesville’s oldest and most respected residents.” Funeral arrangements were held up until her son Noel, who was lieutenant commander of the U.S. Delaware, stationed at Vera Cruz, could be notified. Her obituary [from an unknown newspaper but possibly The Constitution as well] reported “Death Comes Suddenly to Mrs. W. D. Grant—After an Illness of Only a Few Hours One of This City’s Beloved Mothers Passed Away Sunday. Sunday morning at 11 o’clock Mrs. Samantha Jane Grant, wife of Mr. W. D. Grant, was stricken with an attack of acute indigestion and for several hours it seemed that death was inevitable but she rallied and it was thought her condition was much better, but a second attack came and in a few minutes she had passed away, death occurring at 6:30 o’clock Sunday afternoon, October 4th. Mrs. Grant was born at Belton, Anderson county, S.C., May12th, 1842, being at the time of her death in her 73rd year. She was a daughter of John and Elizabeth Holland. She married to Mr. Grant on Dec. 23, 1860, coming to Clarkesville as a bride, where she resided until her death. Mrs. Grant was the mother of 12 children, ten of whom survive her. They are: A. P. Grant, Seneca, S.C.; T. L. Grant, Atlanta, J. S. Grant, Bostwick, J. W. Grant, Welsston, Okla., Capt. J. H. Grant, Oklahoma City, Okla.; J. R. Grant, Hazelhurst, N. W. Grant, lieutenant commander of the U.S.S. Delaware, stationed at Vera Cruz, Mexico, Mrs. Max Holtz, Atlanta; Mrs. J. C. Hood, Nacoochee, Mrs. H. K. Wood, Clarkesville. All came for the funeral but two sons, N. W. Grant, who couldn’t reach here in time, and Capt. Grant, who is sick at his home. Mrs. Hubert Nelson, a granddaughter, of Florence, S.C., and other grand and great grandchildren attended the funeral. There are 65 direct descendants, seven of whom are great-grandchildren that survive her, besides her husband, who is 77 years of age. She was a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church being a consecrated member of her church. She was a woman beloved by all who knew her. Hers was a life of service and usefulness to those near and dear to her, and truly it can be said of her that a “Mother in Israel” has passed away. Mrs. Grant was very fond of flowers, especially the old time ones, and her casket was laden with many of her favorite flowers, the offering being many from her large circle of friends. The funeral will be held Wednesday afternoon at 2 o’clock at the residence and the interment will be in the old cemetery in this city, Rev. J. W. Kytle, of this city officiating.”

It’s believed that William, a blacksmith, built the iron fence that
surrounds the Grant family graves at Old Clarkesville Cemetery.