Friday, June 24, 2016

52 Ancestors – George Nelson Smith (94-2016)

George Nelson Smith
George Nelson Smith, son of John Milton Smith and Amanda Larimer Horne, was born October 22, 1885 in Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. He was the second 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. George’s mother had a brother named George R. Horne so it’s possible he was named for him. George was my husband’s great-uncle.

On June 25, 1900, George and his family lived in the Washington Township of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. At age 14, George was in school and able to read and write.

When George was just 22 years old, his 18 year old sister Edith, blind as the result of measles, died of typhoid fever at Mercy Hospital on October 24, 1906. She was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

On April 26, 1910, the family lived in Paulton, Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. A neighbor two doors away was John A. Stewart. Mr. Stewart was also a neighbor in 1900 so they must be living in the same house. George, his father, and brother Ben all worked in a sheet mill. Two years after this census was taken, George’s father died on March 9, 1912 in Westmoreland County. He was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Apollo. The family was probably just getting out of their mourning period when John’s 17 year old sister Helen died in Paulton on March 18, 1913 after suffering with endocarditis (an inflammation of the inner layer of the heart) for two years. She was buried on March 20 in the family plot at Apollo’s Riverview Cemetery, sharing a tombstone with her parents and sister Edith.

George registered for the World War I draft in Vandergrift, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania on September 12, 1918. He listed his mother as the nearest relative. George and his mother were living together at Box 30 in Apollo. George listed his occupation as a “catcher” with the American Sheet and Tin Plate Company in Vandergrift. He was tall and slender, had dark blue eyes, and dark brown hair.

George and Verda (Hilty) Smith
On January 26, 1920, 34 year old George lived with his 60 year old widowed mother in the North Washington District of Washington Township in a home located on Greensburg – Apollo Road. His adult siblings were also part of the household—Ben (age 37), Bertha (age 22), and John (age 18). All were able to read and write. George, Ben, and John all worked in a steel mill with John being a “ruffer.”

George married Verda Mary Hilty, daughter of Samuel E. Hilty and Bella Jane Gibson in November 1925. They never had children.

On April 14, 1930, George and Verda lived in Paulton, Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Verda’s sister May Hilty, age 42, lived with them. George owned their home and they had a radio. He was a ruffer in a steel mill.

George and Verda's house
On April 8, 1940, George and Verda lived in the Washington Township, the same house they lived in in 1930—the neighbors were the same and the census enumerator recorded that it was the same house as in 1935. May still lived with them. George worked a 40 hour week as a laborer at Carnegie Illinois Steel Corporation. George registered for the World War II draft in 1942. His mailing address was R.D.1 (Blairton), Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. He listed his mother, living in Paulton, as the person who would always know his address. He worked for the Carnegie Illinois Steel Corporation. George’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.

George retired in the mid-1950s after working in the Vandergrift plant of U.S. Steel Corporation for 43 years as a mill worker. On December 15, 1957, his brother Ben died from a heart attack at the Elks Retirement Home in Bedford, Bedford County, Virginia where he had been living. Ben was buried in the Elks National Cemetery in Bedford, a section of Oakwood Cemetery designated as the burial place for residents of the Elks National Home. George died of a heart attack at home in the Washington Township on April 24, 1959. He was buried on April 27 with the Hilty family at Riverview Cemetery in Apollo.

George lived in Blairton for 33 years and was an active member of Apollo Presbyterian Church for 57 years.

Friday, June 17, 2016

52 Ancestors – Mary Ann Wilson (93-2016)

Mary Ann Wilson, daughter of Oliver Porter Wilson and Jane Elizabeth Johnson, was born November 10, 1851 in Greene County, Georgia. She was the third child of four—Martha J. Wilson, William Oliver Wilson, Mary Ann Wilson, and Robert Harrison Wilson. Mary was my 2nd great-grandmother.

On June 5, 1860, 10 year old Mary and her family lived in Penfield, Greene County, Georgia. Her father was a wagoner with real estate valued at $300. They lived next door to Nathan Augustus Hobbs Jr. and his wife Harriet (Tiller). Nathan was the son of Nathan Augustus Hobbs Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Lankford. His sister was Caroline B. Hobbs, my 3rd great-grandmother. Three years after this census was taken, Nathan would be gone—killed in Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania on July 2, 1863 while serving with Company C of the Georgia Third Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. Eight years after the 1860 census was taken, Mary Ann Lankford married into the Lankford family, becoming the wife of James C. Lankford, son of Caroline (Hobbs) and James Meriweather Lankford on January 5, 1868 in Greene County, Georgia. The marriage ceremony was performed by Lucius C. Broome, Justice of the Peace. Together they had 10 children—Homer J. Lankford, Alice Beman Lankford, Julia Lee Lankford, Jessica Corinne Lankford, James Vason Lankford, Mary Corrine Lankford, Nathan Lawrence Lankford, Vincent Thomas Langford Sr., Oliver Wilson Lankford, and Lillie Della Lankford. Mary and James Lankford were pioneer citizens of Greene County.

On June 8, 1870, Mary and James lived in Penfield. Mary was keeping house and James was a butcher. James’ sister Emma and her husband James Wilson, also a butcher, lived four doors away. Sometime before 1880, Emma died and was buried at Penfield Cemetery in Penfield.
On June 10, 1880, Mary, James, and their children—Homer, Alice, Julia, and Jessie—lived in Falling Creek, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, next door to James’ parents, James and Caroline (Hobbs) Lankford. James was a blacksmith. Mary was enumerated as Mary Ann Lankford.


On June 1, 1900, Mary and her family lived in Woodville, Greene County, Georgia. She and James had celebrated 31 years of marriage. James’ nephew, Julius C. Wilson, son of Emma S. (Lankford) Wilson, lived next door with his wife Elvie and son Julius. James was a farmer and their sons James, Nathan, and Vincent were farm laborers. I assume they were helping their father on the farm. Charles C. Davison, a member of the prominent Davison family of Greene County, lived two doors away with his family.

Mary’s husband James died in Greene County on January 21, 1908. He was buried at Penfield Cemetery. His obituary reads “Mr. J. C. Lankford. At 1 o’clock Tuesday morning, Jan. 21, 1908, Mr. J. C. Lankford’s spirit passed to the great beyond, in the sixtieth year of his age. Mr. Lankford was a busy man, with boundlis energy but never too busy with his own affairs to lend a helping hand to those in distress, and need of help. He was a good neighbor, a faithful and enthusiastic friend, and a man who will be missed in the community. He leaves a large family, a wife, five sons, and five daughters and three sisters, who with a host of other near relatives and friends deeply mourn his untimely departure from our midst. The funeral was conducted by Rev. J. S. Callaway and the interment was in our city cemetery. E.B.R.”

On April 15, 1910, a widowed Mary lived in Penfield. The census enumerator recorded her as the mother of 10 children, all of which were living. Her 20 year old son Oliver, a blacksmith, lived with her. Two houses away was James England George and his wife Gussie (McCarty) George, William McCarty (Gussie’s father and widowed husband of Marian Langford Hobbs of Penfield), and Hayden George (brother of James). Hayden married Mary’s daughter Lillie Della Lankford in September that same year.

Mary died of Bright’s disease in Penfield on March 26, 1919. She was buried on March 27 beside her husband at Penfield Cemetery. Mary’s death certificate listed her birth year as 1841 vs. 1851. If you do the math, that would have made Mary 78 years old—not 68 years, 4 months, and 16 days as recorded on the certificate. Her tombstone is marked 1851. Mary’s death certificate also listed her middle name as Amanda. The only other time I’ve seen a middle name listed for Mary vs. her initial “A” was the 1880 census where she was listed as Mary Ann Lankford. So is her middle name Ann or Amanda? Hard to say. Seaborn Brice Barnhart, her son-in-law, was the informant on her death certificate.

Mary’s daughter Jessica or “Jessie” was the administratrix of the estate. Mary left a “large estate of real and personal property, worth the sum of five hundred ($500) dollars.” Jessie applied to sell the land in the Village of Penfield, Greene County, Georgia on June 9, 1919. The petition showed that Mary’s estate consisted of a tract of land in the Village of Penfield, on the northeast corner of Evans Gresham’s lot, bounded north by Main Street, East by thirty feet street and lot of Mrs. Barnhart, south and west by Evans Gresham lot, formerly owned by Penfield Hosiery Mills. Jessie sold the land for $600 to pay her mother’s debts and then distributed the remaining money among her siblings. Disbursements were made as follows:
  • Voucher No. 1/Penfield, Georgia, September 1, 1919. Received of Mrs. Jessie Barnhart as adm’x estate of Mrs. Mary Lankford $191.90 in settlement of the attached eight accounts, transferred to me as shown by entries thereon. [signed] S.B. Barnhart
  • Dr. E. G. Adams: $44
  • Boswell Trading Company: $76 for one casket and phone messages
  • E. R. Boswell: $2 for two hands digging the grave of said Mrs. Lankford
  • J. T. Campbell: $3 to fix the grave of Mrs. Lankford
  • Dr. W. M. Durham: $13.50 to visit Mrs. Lankford four times
  • Dr. Goodwin Gheesling: $8 for one visit and two prescriptions for Mrs. Lankford
  • McCommons-Thompson-Boswell Company: $35.90 for brick, cement, lime, flooring, and hearse hire
  • Dr. J. A. Stapler: $9.50 for professional services
  • The Herald-Journal: $12 to publish citations to sell land and to announce the administration sale
  • F. B. Shipp: $23.50 Ordinary services (appointment of administratrix and sale of land), and final estate settlement
  • Noel Park: $25 for professional services (attorney)
  • Voucher No. 5 [this line cut off of copy]. Said purpose ($18), T. S. Gentry trip same ($1.50), Love Kimbro trip Greensboro to Penfield for medicine delivered same ($1.50), E. L. Leach same to Woodville ($2), J. Roy Boswell same to Woodville ($1.15), Wade Barnhart hauling same to Mrs. Lankford’s grave ($3), P. Kendrick hauling brick and cement to same ($4), Hal English trip in car to Greensboro by adm’x ($1.50), R. W. Copelan, selling land, auctioneer ($1), Revenue stamp on adm’x deed ($1). Total $71.45. [signed] S. B. Barnhart.
  • Voucher No. 6—Penfield, Georgia, September 1, 1919. Received of S. B. Barnhart as adm’x estate of Mrs. Mary Lankford $30, commissions due adm’x. on $600 received and paid out. [signed] Jessie Barnhart.
  • Alice Beman Lankford Callaway: $27.35
  • Voucher No. 8. Penfield, Georgia, September 1, 1919. Received of Mrs. Jessie Barnhart as adm’x. estate of Mrs. Mary Lankford $218.80 for the following items. Share Mrs. Jessie Barnhart in estate of Mrs. Mary Lankford / $27.35 / Amount due Mrs. Jessie Barnhart and S. B. Barnhart as transferees of the following heirs of the estate, to wit: Mrs. Della L. George, J. V., O. W., V. T. and N. L. Lankford, Mrs. J. D. West and Mrs. Mary L. Callaway, see deed dated March 28, 1919, recorded Clerk’s office Greene Superior Court in deed book 19, page 531. / $191.45 / $218.80 [signed] S. B. Barnhart [signed] Jessie Barnhart.

Friday, June 10, 2016

52 Ancestors – Millicent Virginia Overton (92-2016)


Millicent Virginia Overton, the daughter of Abijah Overton and Elizabeth Ann Rhodes, was born July 7, 1849 in Conyers, Newton County,* Georgia. She was the 9th of 10 10th of 13 children—James H. Overton, Mary J. Overton, Unknown Overton, Julia Saphronia Overton, John M. Overton, Elizabeth Z. Overton, William Mosby Overton, Frances A. Overton, Louisa E. Overton, Virginia Overton, Thomas L. Overton, and Emma G. Overton, and Mattie L. Overton. She went by Virginia or Jinnie and was of Cahaba Creek Indian descent. Virginia was my 2nd great-grandmother.

[NOTE on 4/23/2017: I've made corrections to mis-information previously written above. Thomas was the son of Virginia's sister Mary J. Overton and Mattie was the daughter of her sister Frances A. Overton. Also, when looking back at my notes, I'm unsure about the unknown child so am removing it. I apologize if I've sent anyone on a wild goose chase!]

On September 26, 1850, Virginia and her family lived in Subdivision 65 of Newton County, Georgia. She was enumerated as Milly. Her father, a farmer born in South Carolina, was enumerated as Elijah rather than Abijah. His real estate was valued at $1500.

On October 15, 1860, the family lived in Conyers, Newton County, Georgia. Virginia’s father was still farming. His real estate was now valued at $2000 and he had a personal estate valued at $850. Virginia was a seamstress. The next two years were devastating for the Overton family. Virginia’s nephew, John L. Wooley, died in Conyers on March 30. Two weeks later, the Civil War started on April 12. But the Overton family had other things on their mind. Just three days after the start of the war, Virginia’s sister and John’s mother, Julia Saphronia Overton Wooley, died in Conyers on April 15, 1861. I don’t know the circumstances of John and Julia’s deaths, but wonder if they were the result of an epidemic that hit the area. Probably still overcome by grief, Julia’s husband, Hansford D. Wooley, enlisted as a private in Company B of Georgia’s 18th Infantry Regiment on October 2, 1861. Before he left, Hansford filed his will in Newton County in which he directed that he be buried beside his wife. Hansford appointed Virginia and Julia’s father Abijah Overton as the executor of his will. Hansford didn’t survive the war and died “in service” in Richmond, Wise County, Virginia on April 29, 1862. He left his estate to his father Basel Wooley and to Abijah Overton, “share and share alike.” John, Julia, and Hansford all three were buried at Old Conyers Cemetery in Conyers.



Portion of  Hansford Wooley's will


Virginia married Samuel Pride Burnette, son of William Caton and Drucilla Henson, on August 23, 1866 in Newton County, Georgia. Together they had 14 children—John William Burnette, Thomas Terrell Burnette, C. B. Annbelle Burnette, Abijah Winkfield Burnette, Oscar Lee Burnette, Mathew E. Burnette, Laura J. Burnette, Frances Elizabeth Burnette, Mattie Lou Burnette, Benjamin Franklin Burnette, Virginia O. Burnette, Joseph Benjamin Burnette, Mollie M. Burnette, and one unknown to me but recorded in census records.


Marriage license


By July 28, 1870, Virginia and Sam lived in Covington, Newton County, Georgia. She was enumerated as Lily V. Burnett and was keeping house. They had two children—John (2) and Thomas (11 months).

During the period 1873 – 1877, the Burnette family lived in District 476 of Rockdale County according to the Georgia Property Tax digest.

By June 18, 1880, the Burnette’s had eight children, the oldest being 12 years old. They lived in the Harbins District of Gwinnett County, Georgia. Virginia’s oldest sons John and Thomas helped their father work on the farm while Virginia, who was enumerated as Millie V. Burnett, was “keeping house.” Shortly after this census was taken, the family moved to the Buncombe District of Loganville, Walton County where they lived during the period 1883 – 1887 according to the Georgia Property Tax digest.

Virginia’s father Abijah died in Conyers on June 14, 1887. Her mother died in Conyers six months later on December 11, 1887. I have yet to find the location of their final resting spot.

Life was hard for Virginia and Samuel in the early 1900s. Samuel, who had served for three years in Company F of the 24th Regiment of Georgia during the Civil War, filed an Indigent Pension Application in Walton County, Georgia on May 7, 1900 on the grounds of infirmity and poverty stating that he was in feeble health and not able to earn a support by his own or any kind of labor. He and Virginia had no homestead of their own. On June 6, 1900, the census enumerator found Virginia and her family living on a rented farm in the Buncombe District of Walton County. Her son Abijah, his wife Eugenia, and infant granddaughter Robena lived next door. The census record shows that Virginia and Samuel had been married for 34 years that that Virginia had 14 children, two of which had died. There were still six children in the home, ranging in age from 11 to 20 years. Samuel was a farmer.

In failing health, Samuel again filed an Indigent Soldier’s Pension Application in Walton County on January 28, 1902. He and Virginia still owned no property. Samuel filed yearly through at least 1907. In 1905, Samuel’s application stated that his physical condition was “old and in feeble health, not able to earn a support.” His property consisted of “nothing,” and he earned “nothing.” Times must have been hard for Virginia and Samuel.

Virginia’s brother John M. Overton died on April 14, 1906. He was buried at Almand Cemetery in Conyers, Rockdale County, Georgia.

On April 25, 1910, Virginia, Samuel, and two adult children—daughter Lula M. (age 27) and son Joseph B. (age 22)—lived in the Broken Arrow District of Walton County. Joseph, a “wage hand” on farm, was the only person in the home working.

Virginia died in Georgia on January 10, 1916. She was buried at Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Loganville, Walton County, Georgia. Her tombstone reads: Come Ye Blessed / Jinnie Burnett / July 7, 1849-Jan 10, 1916 / She was ready to / every good work.




*Today Conyers is in Rockdale County but according to Wikipedia, “… In 1870, the surrounding area was incorporated into Rockdale County out of Newton County, Georgia, and Conyers became the county seat.”

Friday, June 3, 2016

52 Ancestors – Tabitha M. Murphy (91-2016)

Tabitha M. Murphy, daughter of Martin William Murphy and Sarah Elizabeth Anderson, was born in Wetzel County, West Virginia in 1896. She was the 8th child of 11—Cora Belle Murphy, Edward Francis Murphy, Charles Homer Murphy, Essie Lee Murphy, William H. Murphy, Ella Mae Murphy, Arliff Barow Murphy, Tabitha M. Murphy, Cecil Pearl Murphy, Addie Opal Murphy, and Olive Ruby Murphy.

Tabitha’s was a short life having died in 1898 at the young age of two years. The circumstances of her death are unknown to me. She was buried at Anderson Bethel Cemetery in Littleton, Wetzel County, West Virginia.

I’ve been unable to find a record of Tabitha’s birth or death online. I’ve searched records in the Vital Research Records database of the West Virginia Archives and History website but nothing comes up. It’s possible they have a record somewhere and that I might find one if I went to Wetzel County but that’s not happening any time soon. Because Tabitha was born in 1896 and died in 1898, she was never recorded in census records. I wasn’t even aware of her existence until we visited Wetzel County several years ago and went to Anderson Bethel Cemetery where I found her marker. This was a good lesson to me to make every effort to walk the cemeteries when possible. I also learned to take pictures of the surrounding graves and to take notes of who is buried nearby. It’s a good possibility other family members are buried there, you just haven’t made the connection yet. In Tabitha’s case, I first found a metal marker stuck on a tree or pole. She also she had a stone marker in the ground that recorded her as the “daughter of Martin Murphy.” If someone hadn’t added that notation to her stone, I may have never figured out who she was.