Friday, June 29, 2018

Nutter Fort, West Virginia Soap Box Derby

The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “Black Sheep.” Hmm, I’ve already written about my granny, Daisy Lee Shields, who was described to me as the black sheep of the family. If interested , you can read her story here. So, off the top of my head I can’t think of anyone I’m ready to declare a black sheep, nor do I have any sheep farmers in the family. I guess that means it’s time to share more photos from the slide collection of Ralph Murphy, my husband’s uncle. His wife, Aunt Jean, gave the collection to my husband several years ago. It took me a while, but I converted all of the slides to digital and I share them when I can for others to enjoy.

These photos are from a Soap Box Derby that rolled down Pennsylvania Avenue in Nutter Fort, Harrison County, West Virginia every year. I’m not sure what year these photos were taken but my guess would be somewhere between the late 1940s to the mid-1950s. It helps that I know Uncle Ralph’s photo collection dates from 1947 to 1984. Hoping to pinpoint a date and taking note of the red Nutter Fort Fire Department squad car in several of the photos, I contacted the Nutter Fort Volunteer Fire Department via Facebook and sent them a copy of one of the photos. I received several comments from members of their Facebook group:
One person dated the photo 1954 to 1957 and remembered that the Nutter Fort Fire Department used the squad car to pick up the firemen.
A second person dated the photo 1955 to 1960 and remembered watching the races on Pennsylvania Avenue as a young girl.
A third person recalled watching the races on Pennsylvania Avenue as well, stating that she “loved watching the races.”
A fourth person—a former retired president of the Nutter Fort Volunteer Fire Department—dated the photo “somewhere between 1947 to 1957” and stated that it was a “cool old pic and a piece of NFFD history.” 
A fifth person stated “Nutter Fort had the truck when we moved to the town (1955). I remember it. I also remember that the truck was wrecked before 1960—one night a drunk stole it from beside the fire station and ran into a bread truck with it. It sat in the lot behind the station for some time after that.” 
A sixth person recalled that the Soap Box Derby ended in Nutter Fort around 1967. 
A finally, a seventh person stated “Thank you for sharing this picture. It helped the younger members of the NFFD learn about a piece of apparatus that they didn’t know much about and it also served as a great talking point to reminisce about on the Nutter Fort, WV Facebook group. Thanks again!”

Just like today’s races, the derby cars had sponsors. Some of the businesses represented on the cars were:
McJunkin Corporation
Bridgeport Lions Club
Kirby's Esso
Strand Company
Baker Equipment Engineering Company
Iaquinta & Son Plumbing and Heating
Richardson Tractor Company
Community Hardware, Nutter Fort
McKinney & O’Neil Restaurant

There were other sponsors, but the photos aren’t clear enough to read.

The house in this photo still stands at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and White Street.

Uncle Ralph and Aunt Jean lived in this house in Nutter Fort. As far as I can tell, the house was not far from Pennsylvania Avenue.

I think Uncle Ralph would be happy to know that his photos live on and are helping people learn a little history for an important organization to Nutter Fort.

If you’d like to see more photos from Uncle Ralph’s collection, click on the links below.
Warner’s Skyline Drive-In Theater
Vintage Christmas photos
52 Ancestors – no. 40: Anna B. Church – (week 24) (Anna (Church) and Everett Evans photos only)

Six Killed in Private Plane Accident, “The Charleston Daily Mail,” November 4, 1975.
Nutter Fort Volunteer Fire Department (via Facebook).

Friday, June 22, 2018

John W. Close Jr.

The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “same name” so this post is about a man named John. John had four other men named John in his life, including three that had the same middle initial as him—W.

John W. Close Jr., son of John W. Close Sr. and Margaret Wylie Athya, was born in Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio on July 30, 1917. He was the third child of three—James Close, Ina Close, and John W. Close Jr. John would be the 1st cousin 1x removed of my husband Charles. Their nearest common relatives are James Athya and Jemima Durie of Glasgow, Scotland.

John was the first-generation American in this family. His brother James was born in Bellshill, Scotland in 1905; his sister Ina was born in Scotland on Christmas Day 1907. His parents, brother James, and sister Ina left Scotland in 1912, traveling to Canada. Once arriving in Canada, they settled at Joggins Mines in Nova Scotia, where they lived for two years. In July 1914, John Sr. left Nova Scotia for America, having an uncle in Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio. John Sr. settled in Steubenville and then brought his family there in November. John Sr. bought a two-story house on Grandview Avenue to raise his family.

Ship manifest for Maggie Athya Close, her son James, and daughter Ina

The 1920s brought some stability to the Close family. On January 22, 1920, the census enumerator found them living in the Grandview Avenue home. John was a toddler at 2 ½ years old. His father worked on heater furnaces in a mill. A divorced friend named Della Jarvis lived in the home with them. But their stability would be shattered in 1925 when James, John’s 19-year-old brother, died of pneumonia at home in Steubenville on February 21. They buried James at Union Cemetery in Steubenville. And then four years later (about 1929), John’s sister Ina married Joseph Schneider and moved out of the home, leaving 11-year-old John home alone with his parents. Ina didn’t go far though—she and Joseph remained in Steubenville until 1950 when they built a home in nearby Wintersville, less than five miles from Steubenville.

1920 Soundex card for the John Close family

On April 2, 1930, the family still lived in the Grandview Avenue house. John’s father continued to work in the steel mill, now as a laborer. They had two lodgers living in the home at the time—John W. Irwin (the third male named “John W” living under the same roof) and his wife Norma. John married Dorothy Elizabeth Sells, daughter of John W. Sells (4th man named John W) and Ella L. Rine, in Wellsburg, Brooke, West Virginia on May 15, 1936. He was 22 and she 21. Their marriage was blessed with two children—John Carl Close (5th man named John, born 1939) and Shirley Jean Close (born 1941).

1936 marriage license for John and Dorothy

Sometime after the wedding, John and Dorothy moved the family to Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. On April 26, 1940, they lived in a house located 160 South 16th Street. John worked a jack hammer (at least that’s what I believe the census enumerator wrote) for the W.P.A., or Work Projects Administration. According to Wikipedia, “The Works Progress Administration (WPA; renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration) was the largest and most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of people (mostly unskilled men) to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. By the time an unemployed John registered for the World War II draft in Pittsburgh on October 16, 1940, they had moved to 1618 Roland Street in Pittsburgh. John was 5’ 8 ½” tall and weighed 150 pounds, had brown eyes and hair, a ruddy complexion, and a scar on his lip and chin. John served as a private first class in the U.S. Marine Corps. He entered into active service in Pittsburgh on August 8, 1945 and served until April 26, 1946 when he was separated with an honorable discharge at Parris Island, South Carolina.

On January 18, 1950, John filed an “Application for World War II Compensation.” At the time, he lived at 49 Thomas Street in Crafton, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. His application was disallowed for having served less than 60 days active service during the eligibility period. John was still living on Thomas Street in 1957. He worked as a foreman at Dacar in Pittsburgh, which appears to still be in existence. According to their webpage, Dacar “is the oldest Pittsburgh-based company making water treatment chemicals in southwestern Pennsylvania.” It’s interesting to me that he worked there. His brother James, who died in 1925, was a chemist.

The year 1957 would end on a sad note with the death of John’s 80-year-old father in Steubenville on December 15, 1957. John Sr. suffered from lobar pneumonia. His funeral was held on December 18 at the Cole Brothers Funeral Home, followed by burial at Union Cemetery in Steubenville. Ten years would pass before the death of his 88-year-old mother of congestive heart failure on December 19, 1968 at Ina’s Wintersville home. Maggie was buried at Union Cemetery beside her husband John Sr. Another 10 years would pass before John lost his sister Ina who died in Steubenville at the age of 70 on August 16, 1978. She was buried at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Steubenville. And then another 10 years would pass before John died of lung cancer at Forbes Hospital in Pittsburgh on July 12, 1988. He was buried at Jefferson Memorial Park on Curry Hollow Road Pleasant Hills, a suburb of Pittsburgh. John was survived by his wife Dorothy, son John, daughter Shirley, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. His obituary notes that he had been an instructor at a vocational school. He lived in Crafton Heights at the time of his death.

Gravestone photo by Searching, Find A Grave ID 47333277

I wonder if any of his grandchildren were named John.


  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Certificate of Death, 071043, John Close Jr., July 12, 1988.
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Certificate of Death, 9339, James Close, February 23, 1925.
  • Darcar Industries, Company Biography;
  • John W Close Jr. obituary, The Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 13, 1988.
  • Marriage License Record, 236, Brooke County, West Virginia, John Close and Dorothy Sells, May 15, 1936.
  • Ohio, Birth Index, 1908–1964.
  • Pennsylvania Veterans Burial Cards, 1777–1999.
  • Pennsylvania, Veteran Compensation Applications, WWII, 1950.
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1957.
  • Registration Card, D.S.S. Form 1, John Close Jr., undated.
  • S.S. Grampian, Card Manifest Data Sheet, John Close, July 9, 1914 and Maggie Close, November 8, 1914.
  • Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Multiple Registrations March 14, 1938.
  • U.S. Census, Steubenville, Jefferson, Ohio, 1920, 1930.
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850–2010.
  • U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007.
  • U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940–1947.
  • U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s–Current.
  • Union Cemetery Association Interment Directory, James Close, February 24, 1915.

Friday, June 15, 2018

My two Dads

The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “Father's Day” so I thought I'd share photos of the two fathers in my life. The first group are photos of my father-in-law, Earl Murphy, in different stages of his life. We lost Earl in 2015. I miss him a lot.


My husband Charlie and Earl

Charlie, Earl, and sister Colleen
Charlie's brother Pat, Earl, and his Mom Mary in the Smokies
Earl and Charlie
Earl and my son Chris (who could get Grandpa to do anything)

Earl with a paint by number picture he did years ago

The second group are photos of my Daddy, Sam Lankford, in different stages of his life. Daddy is 92 now, living in a nursing home.

Age 16

My sister Vanessa and Daddy standing in front of an early Atlanta airport

Me, Jennifer, Daddy, and Michael at Grant Park in Atlanta

Me, Jennifer, Daddy, Michael, Vanessa, Bonita

This spring -- 92 years young

Daddy and Chris (who could talk PawPaw into almost anything)

Friday, June 8, 2018

The wedding of Albert Edward Davison and Stark Campbell Cobb

The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “Going to the Chapel.”

I spend a lot of time researching the historical newspapers so often find articles announcing engagements and weddings. Some of the articles go into great detail describing the decorations, flowers, and dresses from the wedding. They’re always fun to read. One of my favorite families to research is the Davison family, who connect through my Hobbs line. None of them are direct ancestors, and in fact, most are distant. But they were a prominent family (and may still be) in Greene, Clarke, and Fulton Counties in Georgia so were often in the society columns. That’s where the historical newspapers come into play.

Today I’d like to share the wedding story of Albert Edward Davison, son of Alexander Hamilton Davison Sr. and Ida M. Dorsey and Stark Campbell Cobb, daughter of Andrew Jackson Cobb and Stark Campbell. Their wedding was a well-documented event.

Albert Davison and Stark Cobb

As mentioned above, Albert’s connection to me is distant—he’s the step grandson of a 1st cousin 5x removed. We have no common relative. Laid out, the link looks like this:
My grandfather – Carroll H. Lankford
Carroll’s mother – Alice B. Lankford
Alice’s father – James C. Lankford
James’ mother – Caroline B. Hobbs
Caroline’s father – Nathan A. Hobbs Sr.
Nathan’s father – Robert L. Hobbs Sr.
Robert’s daughter – Sarah Hobbs
Sarah’s daughter – Mary Ann Southerland
Mary Ann’s husband – James M. Davison Sr.
James’s son (from another marriage, thus no common relative) – Alexander H. Davison
Alexander’s son – Albert E. Davison
Albert and Stark were married on October 15, 1913 in Athens, Clarke County, Georgia. He was 26 and she was 22. Stark’s father announced their engagement in an Athens Banner article published on August 31, 1913:
Cobb-Davison. Mr. Andrew J. Cobb announces the engagement of his daughter, Stark, to Mr. Albert Edward Davison, of Athens, the wedding to take place at the First Baptist church in Athens on the evening of Wednesday, October the fifteenth, at nine o’clock. 
Miss Cobb is the second daughter of Judge Andrew J. Cobb and is one of the most charming and popular young girls in Athens. She is the great grand daughter of the late Gen. Howell Cobb and comes of an old and distinguished family. 
Mr. Davison is the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Davison and is one of the substantial business men of Athens, a junior member of the well-known firm of Davison-Nicholson.
Davison-Cobb marriage license, Clarke County, Georgia

The Atlanta Constitution quickly picked the story up, noting that the engagement was of “state-wide social interest.” The newspaper published the following article on September 2, 1913:
Cobb-Davison. A state-wide social interest has centered in the announcement of the engagement of Miss Stark Campbell Cobb, of Athens, and Mr. Albert Edward Davison.
The bride is a daughter of Judge Andrew J. Cobb, dean of the law school, University of Georgia, and one of the state’s most widely known educators and beloved citizens. She is one of a group of lovely and accomplished sisters, each one making the most of unusual talent and in the social life of Athens she is a charming figure.
The marriage will take place on the evening of October 15 at 9 o’clock at the First Baptist church in Athens.
The Atlanta Constitution again referenced the upcoming wedding in an article they published on September 14, 1913:
Brilliant Weddings to Mark Fall Social Season at Athens. Athens, Ga., September 13.—(Special.)—Athens is to have a series of weddings in which great interest socially will center this autumn. October 15 will witness the marriage of Miss Stark Campbell Cobb to Mr. Albert Edward Davison, both of this place. Miss Cobb is a daughter of Judge Andrew J. Cobb, formerly of the Georgia supreme bench, a pretty representative of one of the oldest and most prominent families of the state. Mr. Davis is a son of Mr. A. H. Davison, and a partner with his father in a large mercantile business. He is a nephew of Hon. R. E. Davison, and is connected with several of the leading families of the state.
On October 1, 1913, Stark’s father issued a wedding invitation in an article published in the Athens Banner:

I’m not sure who the invitation was meant for. I can’t imagine it was meant for everyone living in Athens!
It didn’t take long for the parties to begin now that the engagement had been announced. Stark had a close circle of friends and they all wanted to host a party to honor their friend. The first party took place on October 7 and was mentioned in the Athens Banner that same day (Tuesday):
For Miss Stark Cobb. This morning at 11 o’clock at her home on Meigs street, Miss Lois Fleming will be the attractive hostess at a sewing party, and handkerchief shower in compliment to Miss Stark Cobb, a popular bride-elect.
The next party, a small gathering, was scheduled to take place two days later. The Athens Banner ran the following article on October 7:
Society Things of Interest to Women – Social Calendar. 
Thursday, Miss Ruth Hodgson’s luncheon at 1 o’clock for Miss Starkie Cobb.
Thursday at 1 o’clock Miss Ruth Hodgson will entertain at a luncheon for Miss Stark Cobb. Only twelve guests to be invited.
Of course, family members started to gather as well. The Athens Banner began referencing the visitors in an article published on October 10:
Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Cobb will come over next week from Atlanta to be present at the marriage of their sister, Miss Stark Cobb to Mr. Albert Davison.
A third party took place on October 10. The Athens Banner wrote about it on October 11:
Society Things of Interest to Woman—For Miss Stark Cobb and Miss Rebecca Stack
One of the most delightful parties of the week was the sewing party given yesterday morning by Mrs. Howell Erwin at her attractive cottage on Dearing street, in honor of Miss Stark Cobb, a charming bride of the month, and Miss Rebecca Stack, of Monroe, N.C., the attractive house guest of Miss Nell Hunnicutt.
Sewing was enjoyed on the spacious veranda which was made most attractive with lovely ferns and palms. At noon a delicious lunch of several courses was served.
Mrs. Erwin looked most attractive in a beautifully embroidered gown of white voile, lace trimmed.
Miss Stark Cobb, the charming bride-elect looked stunning in a white cloth suite with a corsage of valley lilies, and a black hat trimmed in aigrettes.
Miss Rebecca Stack was becomingly gowned in a stylish costume consisting of green plaid skirt and green coatee with hat to match.
The hostess presented Miss Cobb with a pair white silk hose.
This delightful party was enjoyed by the following young ladies: Misses Starkie Cobb, Rebecca Stack, of Monroe, N.C., Sarah Cobb, Ruth Hodgson, Marion Hodgson, Carolyn Baynes, of Shady Dale, Nell Hunnicut, Nell Mallory, Lois Fleming, Laurian Johnson, of Atlanta, Rebecca Stewart, Susie Davison, Louise Dorsey, Louise Vincent, Jennie Arnold, Adgate Ellis, of Atlanta, Alice Keene Briggs, Laura Cobb Hutchins, Susie Trenor and Katharine Rowland.
The Athens Banner noted five more Davison and Cobb family members expected to arrive in town in an article published on October 11:
Society Things of Interest to Women
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Davison, of Woodville, will arrive in the city next week to attend the Cobb-Davison wedding.
Mr. and Mrs. John A. Cobb, of Americus, will arrive Tuesday for the marriage of Miss Stark Cobb and Mr. Albert Davison, which will occur Wednesday evening.
Mr. T. G. [C.] Davison, of Comer, will arrive next week for the Cobb-Davison wedding.
Five more parties were scheduled to take place before the wedding. The Athens Banner wrote about them on October 12:
Parties the Past Week for Bride-Elect
Miss Stark Cobb whose wedding to Mr. Albert Davison will be a social event of this week has been the honoree at many delightful parties. Among those entertaining for her were Miss Lois Fleming’s handkerchief shower on Tuesday.
Miss Susie Davison’s lovely party on Wednesday.
Miss Ruth Hodgson’s luncheon on Thursday.
Mrs. Howell Erwin’s sewing party on Friday.
Miss Rebecca Stewart will entertain Tuesday evening after the rehearsal with a buffet luncheon in honor of the bridal party.
The Athens Banner described one of the parties, hosted by Albert’s sister Susan, in an article published on October 12:
Miss Susie Davison’s Party. One of the most beautiful and unique affairs ever given in Athens was the lovely party Miss Susie Davison gave last week in compliment to Miss Stark Cobb. Miss Davison plans all her entertainments with so much originality and artistic taste which, combined with her cordial hospitality, make all her parties most enjoyable and long to be remembered.
The hostess’ home was decorated most artistically with palms, ferns and exquisite autumn flowers.
The guests were each given a card with a toothpick and piece of gum from which they were asked to fashion a rose.
Beautiful white satin and chiffon roses with valley lilies and tulle bags of rice attached to long stems were given as favors.
The fair honoree was presented with a handsome “Bride’s Book.” Just before the refreshments were served the postman appeared with a large white satin bag filled with letters of “good wishes” to the bride-to-be, written by each guest.
Gorgeous roses were used in protrusion all over the house. A delicious salad course and ices, frozen in roses, with dainty heart cakes were served. Miniature brides and grooms were [printing error – one sentence was repeated and another left out] … beautiful and enjoyable occasion. Only the intimate friends of the bride-elect were invited.
Miss Davison received her guests wearing a white satin lace trimmed.
Miss Stark Cobb was daintily gowned in an elaborately lace trimmed voile, a corsage of cream roses and valley lilies completed this pretty toilet.
Those present were Miss Stark Cobb, Miss Sarah Cobb, Miss Rebecca Stewart, Miss Lauri Johnson of Atlanta, Miss Carolyn Baynes of Shady Dale, Miss Ruth Hodgson, Miss Marion Hodgson, Miss Lois Fleming, Miss Callie Lumpkin, Miss Jennie Arnold, Miss Laura Cobb Hutchins, Miss Alice Keene Briggs, Miss Maude Cheney, Miss Frances Cheney, Miss Adaline Dobbs, Louise Dorsey, Dorothy Hart and Miss Maxwell.
The Sunday before the wedding (October 12) brought another article published by The Atlanta Constitution:
Two weddings of great interest here and over the state are to occur at the same hour Wednesday evening - at 9 o'clock. Miss Marguerite Thomas weds Mr. Payne White at home and Miss Starke Cobb will be married to Mr. Albert Davison at the First Baptist church. Many affairs have been given in honor of these two charming brides to be. Mrs. Morris Yow this afternoon entertained at the home of her parents, Judge and Mrs. John R. White in honor of Miss Thomas; Mrs. James White entertained in honor of Miss Thomas Tuesday; Mrs. Howell Erwin this morning entertained at a sewing party in honor of Miss Cobb and for Miss Stark, also; Miss Ruth Hodgson entertained for both the brides to be, Miss Thomas and Miss Cobb; Miss Lois Fleming, Miss Susie Davison, and a number of others have had showers and morning parties in honor of Miss Cobb.
And finally, the big day arrived! The Athens Banner published the following article on October 15: 
Cobb-Davison. This evening at 9 o’clock at the First Baptist church will occur the wedding of Miss Stark Cobb and Mr. Albert Davison. Dr. J. W. Lynch, officiating.
The bride will be given in marriage by her father, Judge Andrew J. Cobb.
Mrs. Jesse Cobb, of Atlanta, sister-in-law of the bride will be matron of honor.
Miss Sarah Cobb will be her sister’s maid of honor. Misses Rebecca Stewart, Lois Fleming, Ruth Hodgson and Susie Davison will be bridesmaids. Mr. Alex Davison, Jr., brother of the groom will be best man. Messrs. Bob Holman, John Davison, of Comer, Howell Cobb and Joe Deadwyler will be groomsmen.
Messrs. Howell Erwin, Ben Barrow, E. H. Dorsey and M. G. Nicholson will be ushers. After the ceremony an informal reception will be held at the home of the bride, only the bridal party invited.
The day after the wedding took place, The Atlanta Constitution published a sizable article describing the events that took place:
Cobb-Davison Marriage / Brilliant Event in Athens. Athens, Ga, October 15, - (Special) A brilliant social event of the year in Athens was an October wedding this evening in which two of the most prominent families in this section. A beautiful affair it was too, when Miss Starkie Cobb, daughter of Judge Andrew J. Cobb, married to Mr. Albert Edward Davison, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander H. Davison, of this place. The marriage ceremony was solemnized in the First Baptist church at 9 o'clock this evening, the pastor, Rev. James W. Lynch. D D officiating in impressive manner. The church was decorated with taste and presented a beautiful background for the handsome bridal party. 
The bride was given in marriage by her father, Judge Cobb., Mrs. Jessie Cobb, of Atlanta, sister in law of the bride, matron of honor wearing white satin and carrying white roses. Miss Sarah Cobb, sister of the bride, was maid of honor; she also wore satin and carried pink roses. The bride's dress was of white satin and her pure white roses were beautiful indeed. The other maids were Miss Rebecca Stewart, Miss Lois Fleming, Miss Ruth Hodgson and Miss Susie Davison. Mr. Alex H Davison, Jr., of Riverside was the best man to the groom, and the other groomsmen were Mr. Joe L. Deadwyler, Mr. Howell Cobb Jr., Mr. Robert Hollman, and Mr. John Davison, of Comer. 
Messrs. Ben Barrow, E. H. Dorsey, M. G. Nicholson and Howell Erwin were ushers. 
Twelve hundred invitations had been issued and there were many out of town guests present beside the large number of local friends who filled the big church to witness the ceremony. After the ceremony at the church there was a reception at the residence, to which the bridal party and only immediate family were invited. The home was beautifully decorated throughout. A buffet luncheon was served and on the midnight train Mr. and Mrs. Davison left for a trip of two weeks—itinerary and destination being kept a profound secret except to members of their families. 
Mrs. Davison as Miss Starkie Cobb was popular and attractive in the college circles and in the town society.  Mr. Davison is the eldest son of Mr. A. H. Davison and is a partner in the large mercantile business of Davison - Nicholson company. 
The presents from the hundreds of friends over the state and many from other states, made a brilliant picture.
The week wasn’t all fun and parties though. Sadly, Albert’s half 1st cousin, Joseph Briscoe Davison, died unexpectedly in Oglethorpe County, Georgia the same day as the wedding (October 15). You can read about Joseph here. The Athens Banner reported his death on October 16. Specifically, the fact that Robert E. Davison, the chairman of the prison commission, was called away from the wedding because of Joseph’s death:
Hon. R. E. Davidson Visits Athens.
Head of the prison commission board of the state here yesterday.
Hon. R. E. Davison, chairman of the prison commission, and Hon. Shade Hawes, inspector for that department, were visitors to the city yesterday.
Mr. Davison came over to be present at the wedding of his nephew, Mr. Albert Davison, to Miss Cobb. While here he received a telegram announcing the death of another nephew, Mr. Joe Davison, of Atlanta. His many friends and those of Mr. A. H. Davison, of this city, will sympathize with them on the death of their relative.
Mr. Davison will hold a conference with Prof. C. M. Strahan, of the University, regarding the matter of a state road supervisor. This office will be filled shortly, and the people of this state will be given the benefit of the services of a road expert.
Mr. Davison has accomplished much in this department of the state government since his inauguration into office and now that he is taking up this new work, the people of Georgia will receive the benefits.
Mr. Davison left early this morning for Woodville, where he goes to attend the funeral of his nephew, which will be held in that place this afternoon.
Not to be outdone by The Atlanta Constitution, the Athens Banner published an article on October 16 that went into great detail describing Albert and Stark’s wedding:
The Cobb-Davison Wedding. The marriage of Miss Stark Cobb and Mr. Albert Davison was solemnized last evening at the First Baptist church at 9 o’clock in the presence of a brilliant assemblage of admiring friends and relatives.
Dr. J. W. Lynch performed the impressive ceremony.
The lovely young bride was given in marriage by her father. Judge Andrew J. Cobb.
Mrs. Jesse Cobb, of Atlanta, sister-in-law of the bride was matron of honor.
Miss Sarah Cobb, the bride’s sister, was maid of honor.
Misses Susie Davison, Rebecca Stewart, Lois Fleming, Ruth Hodgson were the bride’s maids.
Mr. Alex Davison, brother of the groom was best man.
Messrs. Robt. Holman, John Davison, of Comer, Howell Cobb and Joe Deadwyler were groomsmen.
The users were Messrs. Howell Erwin, Ben Barrow, E. H. Dorsey and M. G. Nicholson.
The handsome church was very attractively decorated for the happy occasion.
Southern smilax was gracefully festooned around the altar which was banked with stately palms with tall vases of pink cosmos, the effect being very beautiful with a brilliance of unnumerable electric lights. The lovely young bride presented a picture of girlish beauty in her bridal robes as she entered the church with her father. Judge Andrew Cobb, preceded by the attendants, meeting the groom with his brother, Mr. Alex Davison at the altar, were the nuptial vows were made. The ring ceremony was used. The bride’s gown was an exquisite model of white charmense satin made en train, embroidered in chrysanthemums. Chantilly lace and seed pearls were effectively used on the corsage and skirt. The veil was adjusted to a real lace Julette cap with spray of orange blossoms—her flowers were bride’s roses showered with valley lilies.
Mrs. Jesse Cobb, matron of honor, wore an elegant gown of white brocade satin, trimmed with Duchess lace and pearl garnitures. She carried an armful of white roses tied with tulle.
Miss Sarah Cobb was exceedingly handsome in white charmeuse with trimmings of shadow lace and rhinestones. Her flowers were pink roses. The group of lovely bride’s maids were particularly attractive in gowns of shell pink satin veiled with chiffon. The bouquets were pink roses tied with long streamers of white tulle.
Following the wedding ceremony an informal reception was held at which the bridal party and members of the family were the only guests present. The Cobb home on Milledge was bright and beautiful with hand some decorations of ferns, smilax and vases of Killarney roses used through out the lower floor. The cutting of the bride’s cake was particularly interesting.
Mr. and Mrs. Davison left at midnight for a trip north. On their return they will be at home to their friends at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Davison on Prince avenue.
The presents were numerous and very elegant. Conspicuous among them a chest of silver from the bride’s father and one from the groom’s parents. A silver service, of handsome design, silver pitchers, dishes and platters, lovely cut glass and china.
Much pleasurable interest was centered around the popular young couple. The bride is the second daughter of Judge Andrew Cobb, one of Athens fairest and most popular young women, possessing many lovely traits of character and charming graces of young womanhood. Many pretty pre-nuptial affairs in her home have marked the social calendar of the week and the lovely wedding last night was one of the most notable social events of the season.
Mr. Davison is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Davison, and one of the most popular and progressive young business men of Athens, being a member of the large mercantile firm, the Davison-Nicholson Co.
Among the out-of-town guests were Rev. John Davison, of Camden, S.C., Mr. and Mrs. Robert Davison, of Woodville, Mr. and Mrs. T. C. Davison, Miss Elise Davison, of Comer, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Cobb, of Atlanta, Judge John A. Cobb, of Americus.
The couple went on a two-week honeymoon to an undisclosed location. The Athens Banner reported their return on October 26:
Society Things of Interest to Women. Mr. and Mrs. Albert Davison were expected home Wednesday from their wedding trip.
The parties continued after they returned as reported in the Athens Banner on November 1:
Society Things of Interest to Women, To Mrs. Albert Davison.
A very beautiful event of the week was the lovely luncheon given by Miss Adaline Dobbs yesterday in compliment to Mrs. Albert Davison a very popular fall bride. The elegant home of the hostess was exquisitely decorated with foliage plants and gorgeous yellow chrysanthemums, being arranged in the handsome drawing room library and dining room.
The beautifully appointed tables had for the centerpiece a cut glass bowl of golden chrysanthemums. The place cards were hand-painted, carrying out the design of the flowers in bright effect. The color motif of yellow continued in the delicious and very elaborate course luncheon, which was a pretty compliment to the young matron whose recent wedding was a brilliant social event. 
The guest enjoying this happy event were: Mrs. Albert Davison, Miss Rebecca Stewart, Miss Sarah Cobb, Miss Susie Davison, Miss Ruth Hodgson, Miss Marion Hodgson, Miss Lois Fleming, Miss Laura Cobb Hutchins, Miss Jennie Arnold.
On November 2, the Athens Banner published a list of marriage licenses issued for the month of October that included Albert and Stark. Sometime after early November, Albert and Stark decided to build a house on Woodlawn Avenue in Athens. The Athens Banner published the following news article on November 2:
Woodlawn Avenue Becoming Popular. Well known young people purchasing homes on this beautiful thoroughfare. 
Mr. Claude Anderson, president of the Bludwine Co., has purchased of Mr. A. H. Davison, through R. T. Goodwyn, realty agent, the beautiful Woodlawn cottage on the South side of the street. He will occupy the place as a residence.
Mr. Geo. C. Armstrong has bought and moved his family into the handsome cottage built by Mr. Harry Hull.
Mr. Albert Davison will build a pretty cottage on this avenue in the near future.
Woodlawn avenue is now being per feetly graded and granolithic sidewalks will be laid. It will be one of the most popular residential sections of the growing city.
Albert and Stark had two children, daughters they named Mary Stark Davison (born September 28, 1914) and Ida Dorsey Davison (born June 21, 1920).

The Woodlawn Avenue house was finished by December 1914.

Albert and Stark were married for 38 years.


  1. “Cobb-Davison,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, August 31, 1913.
  2. “Cobb-Davison,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, September 2, 1913.
  3. “Brilliant Weddings to Mark Fall Social Season at Athens,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, September 14, 1913.
  4. “Cobb-Davison,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, October 1, 1913.
  5. “For Miss Stark Cobb,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, October 7, 1913.
  6. “Society Things of Interest to Women – Social Calendar,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, October 7, 1913.
  7. “Miss Ruth Hodgson’s Luncheon,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, October 7, 1913.
  8. Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, October 10, 1913.
  9. “Society Things of Interest to Woman,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, October 11, 1913.
  10. “Society Things of Interest to Woman—For Miss Stark Cobb and Miss Rebecca Stack,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, October 11, 1913.
  11. “Parties the Past Week for Bride-Elect,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, October 12, 1913
  12. “Miss Susie Davison’s Party,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, October 12, 1913.
  13. The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, October 12, 1913.
  14. “Cobb-Davison,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, October 15, 1913.
  15. “Cobb-Davison Marriage—Brilliant Event in Athens,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, October 16, 1913.
  16. “The Cobb-Davison Wedding,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, October 16, 1913.
  17. “Hon. R. E. Davidson Visits Athens,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, October 16, 1913.
  18. “Society Things of Interest to Women,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, October 26, 1913.
  19. “Society Things of Interest to Women, To Mrs. Albert Davison,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, November 1, 1913.
  20. “Marriages of the Month of October,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, November 2, 1913.
  21. “Woodlawn Avenue Becoming Popular,” Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, November 2, 1913.
  22. Athens Banner, Athens, Georgia, December 1, 1914.
  23. Georgia Deaths, 1919–98.
  24. Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828–1978.
  25. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current; memorials # 27024507 and # 27024656.
  26. Athens Ward 4, Clarke, Georgia, 1900 United States Federal Census.
  27. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936–2007.
  28. Stark Cobb photo from Stark Family of Georgia,, brooke1956.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Luther Mercer Overton

The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “so far away.”

Luther Mercer Overton, son of Fletcher L. Overton and Martha Cornella Lester, was born in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia on June 27, 1899. His mother had at least 10 children, 8 of which lived according to the 1910 Stansells District, Newton County, Georgia census record. I can track 8 children—Minnie L. Overton, George Robert Overton, Leonard Lorenza Overton, Carrie Winnie Overton, Luther Mercer Overton, Clodie Overton, Parie Mae Overton, and Sadie Lee Overton. There was a girl named Clara Overton listed in the 1910 census record, born the same year as Parie Mae but I haven’t been able to track her elsewhere. That particular census record doesn’t have a child named Parie Mae so she might have actually been Parie Mae listed incorrectly as Clara in the census. I’ll keep looking. I haven’t identified the 10th child yet. Luther’s grandmother was Louisa E. Overton, daughter of Abijah Overton and Elizabeth Ann Rhodes, my 3rd great-grandparents. I’ve been told Louisa only had one child (Fletcher) which she gave the Overton name, but I haven’t proven this yet. Luther would have been my 2nd cousin 2x removed.

On July 10, 1900, 1-year old Luther and his family lived in District 0094 of Rockdale County, Georgia. His parents had been married for 13 years. His mother was enumerated as having had six children, five of which were living. His father Fletcher was a farmer, being helped by 11-year-old Minnie and 10-year-old George.

By May 11, 1910, the family had moved to the Stansells District of Newton County, Georgia. The enumerator noted the location as “Rockdale County Line to Yellow River” so they must have moved just over the Rockdale County line. Luther’s mother was enumerated as Dollie and as mentioned above, was noted that she’d had 10 children, 8 of which were living. His father was still farming, now with the help of Leonard, Carrie, and Luther. The William Presley family lived next door which would be a significant factor to Luther’s future.

On April 6, 1917, the U.S. joined Britain, France, and Russia and entered World War I. On June 26, 1917, rather than waiting for the draft that would take place in July, 18-year-old Luther left his home in Conyers, Rockdale County, Georgia, headed to Atlanta, and enlisted in the 5th Regiment. I’m sure he knew that it would mean he would be sent far away from home to fight in the war but he didn’t let that stop him. According the a June 27, 1917 article titled “Men Enlisting Now Before Draft Comes” published in The Atlanta Constitution, “… it is advantageous to join now, with a good chance at promotion, rather than waiting to be a private in one of the regiments of the drafted army … .” Luther served in Company B of the 5th Georgia Infantry NG until June 3, 1918. His overseas service began on June 20, 1918. At some point, he began serving in the 267th Company of the Military Police Corps, and then the 1st Replacement Depot until his discharge. He received the grade of Private First Class on November 2, 1918. Nine days later on November 11, World War I ended. It appears that Luther stayed in France for several more months though. On December 12, 1918, The Atlanta Constitution published an article that included a poem written by Luther and another soldier:
Two Atlanta Boys Send Poems Fresh From Trenches—In addition to playing at the war game with all the enthusiasm that has marked the fighting of Georgians during the present war, Privates Luther Overton and H. E. Russell, the former of Company C of the 164th infantry, and the latter of 217th Military Police company, have found time to combine efforts and produce some war poetry that reflects real credit on the writers. Here is a short selected poem from several received by a friend in Atlanta sent him by Privates Overton and Russell from the trenches in France:
The Sammies.
We were with General Funston on the border.
And we were with General Pershing on the Marne;
Under General Lyons at Camp Wheeler. 
 And under General Scott in St. Aignon.
We helped the Sammies pacify the Mexes.
And we also did our bit to whip the Huns;
But the hardest times we ever spent was when
We were privates shouldering Enfield guns. 

I’m not sure why Luther would have still been in France, but he had apparently suffered a broken leg at some point. Injured, he departed St. Nazaire, France on April 18, 1919 onboard the SS Kroonland, heading home to Conyers. He arrived in Hoboken, New Jersey on April 29 and I believe was taken to Camp Mills in Long Island, New York. Unless he spent time in medical facility there, he was most likely put on a train and sent home to Georgia. Luther received an honorable discharge on May 15, 1919.

Wikipedia provides an interesting piece of information about the April 1919 voyage, “… On 18 April, Kroonland began her next homeward journey, embarking several companies of the 111th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. 28th Infantry Division among the 3,100 troops carried. Though the fighting was over, the men still wore life jackets for the first three days at sea amidst fears of striking floating mines. George W. Cooper, historian of the 2nd Battalion of the 111th Infantry, reported that some of the men had to serve as stokers during the trip because of a “shortage of help.” In the middle of the crossing, the ship “sprung a leak” and took on 10 feet (3.0 m) of water; she had a list for a day or so, until repairs were made. The troops later disembarked at New York on 29 April.

SS Kroonland, oil on canvas painting by Antonio Jacobsen, [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons, published in the U.S. before 1923 and public domain in the U.S.;,_Antonio_Jacobsen,_1903.jpg.

 US General Pershing at a review of the 5th Division in Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg, November 1918.
.By UnknownDonation to 'europeana' by André Schoup
CC BY-SA 3.0 lu,  

Luther married Ruby L. Presley, daughter of William Thomas Presley and Dovie Estelle Townsend, most likely in 1919. I haven’t found a marriage license yet, but found the married couple living with her parents in the January 12, 1920 Almon, Newton County, Georgia census record. Neither Luther or Ruby were working at the time. Later that year, Ruby gave birth to their first child, a daughter they named Clara “Agnes” Overton in Atlanta on August 30, 1920. By 1923, the couple had moved to Atlanta, living at 163 E. Ormond. Luther worked as a clerk at the time. They didn’t stay there long though. In 1924, still in Atlanta, they lived at 127B Garden. Luther was now earning a living as a driver. Luther’s mother, Martha, died in 1925. She was buried at East View Cemetery in Conyers. In 1928, the couple had once again moved, now living at 240 Milton Avenue SE in Atlanta. Luther was a manager. In 1929, they were still living on Milton Avenue but now at 230 rather than 240.

On April 11, 1930, I found Ruby and Agnes living with her parents at 251 Milton Avenue in Atlanta. Ruby was enumerated as married, but Luther wasn’t living in the home and I haven’t been able to find him in any other census record. He was living there in November however. On November 13, 1930, Luther was “driving toward Atlanta in his car,” when he came upon an accident “two miles south of Jonesboro” in which Colonel Robert Vans Agnew, U.S.A., retired, was seriously injured. Colonel Vans Agnew was a popular officer formerly stationed at Fort McPherson. Luther rushed Colonel Vans Agnew to Grady Hospital in Atlanta, but he died at the hospital from his injuries. A former soldier himself, this must have been traumatic for Luther.

The following year brought happier times to the family when a bouncing baby boy they named Luther Mercer Overton Jr. joined the family. They still lived in Atlanta in 1932. At the time, Luther was the manager of Overton Service Station. Luther’s father Fletcher died in Atlanta on July 10, 1933. Luther was the informant on his death certificate. They buried Fletcher beside Martha at East View Cemetery in Conyers. In 1934, Luther and Ruby lived at 1040 Ridge Avenue SW in Atlanta. Luther worked at a restaurant. By early 1935, Luther and Ruby had moved to Miami, Dade County, Florida, renting a home at 3064 SW 17th Street. Luther was a waiter. On March 4, 1935, Ruby gave birth in Miami to their third child, a daughter they named Barbara Jean Overton.

On April 10, 1940, Luther and his family were still living in Miami. Luther was working as a painter in the building construction industry. Agnes was no longer living at home. In 1942, 42-year-old Luther registered for the World War II draft. He and Ruby lived at 796 Ashland Avenue NE in what is now the Inman Park neighborhood of Atlanta. Luther was apparently self-employed, working out of his home, however, the registration card doesn’t record what his occupation was at the time. Sadly, while still a young man at the age of 43, Luther died on June 20, 1943 in an Atlanta hospital. He was survived by his wife, two daughters, a son, three sisters, and three brothers. Ruby applied for a military headstone for his grave at Roseland Cemetery in Atlanta.

WWII registration card

Application for Headstone or Marker

Headstone photo for Find A Grave Memorial 101020856 by Sgt Ed Elstan, Find A Grave ID 47188165


  1. “Men Enlisting Now Before Draft Comes,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, June 27, 1917.
  2. “Retired Army Colonel Killed in Auto Crash,” The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, November 14, 1930.
  3. Atlanta, Georgia, City Directory; 1923, 1924, 1928, 1929, 1932, 1934.
  4. Census: 1900; Town, Rockdale, Georgia; Page: 20; Enumeration District: 0094.
  5. Census: 1910; Stansells, Newton, Georgia; Roll: T624_204; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 0137.
  6. Census: 1920; Almon, Newton, Georgia; Roll: T625_271; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 124.
  7. Census: 1940; Miami, Dade, Florida; Roll: m-t0627-00632; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 69-114A.
  8. Georgia Health Department, Office of Vital Records; Deaths, 1919–1998; Certificate Number: 14705.
  9. Georgia World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1940–1945.
  10. Georgia, World War I Service Cards, 1917–1919.
  11. Georgia, World War II draft registration cards;
  12. Miami, Florida, City Directory, 1935.
  13. Mr. F. L. Overton Certificate of Death, Georgia Department of Public Health.
  14. U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910–1939; The National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985; Record Group Number: 92; Roll or Box Numbers: 138 and 139.
  15. U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910–1939;
  16. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s–Current.
  17. U.S., Headstone Applications, 1925–1963.