Friday, April 26, 2019

Memories of Orchard Knob Baptist Church

Photo used with permission;
Orchard Knob Baptist Church Facebook group
The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “at worship.”

Orchard Knob Baptist Church, located at 3099 Humphries Drive, a few miles from our home on Macon Drive in Atlanta, Georgia, was the church of my childhood. We worshiped there three times a week—Sunday morning and evening, and Wednesday evening. Mama worked in the nursery while we attended Sunday School and services.

Sunday School classes were just down the hall from the nursery. Every Sunday morning, Mama put a quarter in five offering envelopes and gave each of us one to place in the offering plate that was passed around during the service. On the way to church Sunday evening, Mama stopped at a mom and pop store down the street from the church and bought candy for us—lemon drops come to mind. I wonder if it was a bribe, lol. I remember that I fell asleep during one Sunday night service—the pastor woke me up after the sermon ended and everyone else had already left the church. My sister Bonita remembers that during evening services, some of her age group sat in the back row.

The Lord’s supper was something we looked forward to. The deacons passed around a tray of little round shot glasses filled with grape juice and everyone got one, along with a small cracker. I don’t remember if I understood the meaning of the Lord’s supper but I always thought it was cool to pretend we were drinking wine.

Bonita remembers there being a lot of events for the youth of the church. One program my sister Jennifer and I took part in was the Girls Auxiliary (also known as the GAs), a program “developed to answer the call of girls interested in missionary work through the Southern Baptist Church” according to the website Vintage Kids Clubs Online Museum. I don’t remember for certain but imagine the GAs gathered on Wednesday evenings. Once a year, they held a coronation court that probably took place on a Sunday in front of the entire church congregation. I found the photo below on the Orchard Knob Baptist Church Facebook page taken in 1967 of one such court. You’ll see both myself and my sister Jennifer in the photo. I would have been 11 and Jennifer 13. She was a queen. You can see she’s wearing a crown in the photo. I was a lady-in-waiting. The same Facebook page also had a copy of the program from that court in which we’re both listed. The boys had a program called the RAs, or Royal Ambassadors.

Girls Auxiliary Coronation, Orchard Knob Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, 1967.
I’m the last girl on the right. My sister Jennifer is in the back row, the last girl on the right as well,
peaking her head behind two girls. I recognize several of the girls in the photo. We also went to
school together. 
Photo used with permission; Orchard Knob Baptist Church Facebook group.

Partial copy of the program from the 1967 Girl Auxiliary coronation.
Photo used with permission; Orchard Knob Baptist Church Facebook group.

Several years ago, I digitized Mama’s slides and discovered a photo of Jennifer and I, probably from the same coronation. You’ll see the GA emblem patch on both of our dresses in the photos below.

Jennifer and Denise Lankford

Bonita participated in the church choir. My brother Michael did as well, although he said it was just for a short time. He’s one of the boys in the photo below.

Orchard Knob Baptist Church choir. Michael is in the front row, third from the left.
Photo used with permission; 
Orchard Knob Baptist Church Facebook group.

I was baptized at Orchard Knob. The baptismal pool was in the front of the church, up high for all to see. I imagine I was scared to death. I don’t like to be the center of attention so that probably didn’t make me happy either. I remember the pastor putting a cloth over my face before dunking me backwards into the water and then someone handing me a towel.

My sisters Bonita and Jennifer were both married at Orchard Knob. After Jennifer’s wedding, everyone went to the fellowship hall behind the church for the reception.

Orchard Knob held yearly revivals. On April 4, 1964, Rev. Randy Haman, who joined Orchard Knob on August 19, 1962, gave me a pink New Testament Bible for bringing the most guests that week. I wrote his name on the inside cover. I have another Bible from Orchard Knob that was presented to me by Mrs. Connie Rayburn on September 26, 1965. Rev. Haman signed this Bible. He made notation of Philippians 1:3 on both Bibles: I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. I consider both Bibles to be family heirlooms.

Inside cover of full Bible

Rev. Randy Haman
Photo from The Tampa Times, Tampa, Florida,
September 30, 1967

The music director, whose name I can’t recall, played a large xylophone. He often entertained the congregation by playing songs on the xylophone on Sunday nights. We looked forward to that.

At Christmas time, the church raised money for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, a missionary program of the Southern Baptist Church. Mama remembers working with a group of four- and five-year old children they called the Sunbeam Band. The children collected money for the Christmas offering to light up a light on the church Christmas tree. On a prescribed day, the children marched down the aisle to the front of the church to hand over their envelope of money for the offering.

Easter was a big deal because we all got new clothes for Easter Sunday. Mama worked at Hill Brothers Shoes, which eventually became Pay Less Shoes, so you know what brand of shoes we were wearing. We have several photos of Jennifer and I wearing what we call the carrot dresses. They may have been Easter dresses at one point. Bonita remembers one Easter, even though it was extremely cold the Saturday before Easter, Mama washed the car and then woke up with a bad cold Easter morning. Mama didn’t feel good but got all five of us ready, without the help of Daddy, and we went on to church, dressed in our Easter finest. She sacrificed a lot of us during those years.

Denise, Jennifer, and Michael Lankford

Mama doesn’t remember who took the picture below but said we had to be on our way to church because the only time Michael wore a suit was to church.

The Lankford family: Michael, Fay, Vanessa (front middle), Jennifer (back middle),
Bonita, and Denise

As I wrote this, I wondered when Orchard Knob was established so used my historical newspaper subscription to see what I could find. The Atlanta Constitution published a news article on December 5, 1953 that stated “Tomorrow will be the 50th anniversary of Orchard Knob Baptist Church and a Golden Jubilee program is planned” so it appears to have been established in 1903. My family attended during the 1960s into the early 1970s. There’s so much I don’t remember about those years but it’s been fun to take a look back at what I do remember.


Friday, April 19, 2019

Daisy Lee Shields, the beautician

Daisy Lee Shields, my granny
The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “out of place.” When I first saw the theme, I remember thinking what in the world am I going to write for this. I mulled it over a couple of weeks but nothing came to mind. By the time I had to get serious and start writing, I had traveled to Georgia to visit my family and found myself “out of place,” without the usual resources nearby. Instead of panicking, I took advantage of the situation and decided to see what Mama had of interest. Lying in bed in what I call my room, I remembered Granny’s cash register tucked away in the closet. Mama once told that Granny used the cash register in her beauty shop for years. At that point, I decided to write about my Granny, Daisy Lee Shields, the beautician. Mama has shared a lot about Granny with me but now it was time to ask more questions.

Granny was a self-employed beautician her entire working career, which spanned 20 to 25 years. She cut hair, did perms, colors, and hair sets—nothing fancy. Her shop usually had four or five dryer chairs and her first shop had a perm machine that looked like it came from outer space. Mama remembers it well, describing it as looking like a lamp on a pole that had cords hanging from what would be the lamp part. At the bottom of the cords were tubes that Granny wrapped the hair around. Once heated up, the tubes curled the hair. The perm machine had wheels and Mama said if you moved around, the perm machine had to travel with you. Of course, I had to Google that and found the image below on Wikimedia.
Icall 1934 Permanent-Waving Machine,

I also found a YouTube video that I thought was interesting of a woman describing getting a perm as a child with the perm machine. You can view the video here:

Granny married my Granddaddy, Samuel Jackson Holland, about June 1931. She wasn’t working in 1940 when the census was taken but shortly after the enumerator made his rounds to their rented home on Fagan Street in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Granny went to beauty school. She opened her first beauty shop about 1941, around the time she and Granddaddy divorced. After the divorce, Granny moved to an apartment a couple of blocks from the Fagan Street house. Her beauty shop was also nearby. Because Granny had been involved with another man, the judge gave custody of Mama to Granddaddy. Mama remembers she had to pass Granny’s beauty shop when she walked to school as an eight-year-old girl. She’d stop by the shop so Granny could comb her curly hair the way she liked it. Granny bought a newly refurbished cash register to use in her shop. Mama remembers seeing the cash register and now has possession of it. Mama also remembers there being a large plant near the shop that made artillery shells. Granny kept the shop open until 10 or 11 p.m. so the women working the late shift could stop by and get their hair done. She made good money and probably kept the cash register ringing.

In the early 1950’s, Granny opened a beauty shop in Ringgold, Georgia. She named it Bonita’s Beauty Den, after her only grandchild at the time. Granny later opened a beauty shop in Dalton, Georgia and she and her husband Hoyt Vest lived in the back. During the summers, Granny always did our hair—cut and pin curls. My sister Bonita remembers that Granny cut our hair every September for back to school, or as she put it, Granny wacked it up lol. The pictures below were probably taken at the Dalton shop.

Granny giving an unknown woman a perm

Granny preparing a perm solution

Jennifer getting a perm; Bonita in the background
Hoyt helping Granny was my hair

Granny’s cash register was made by the National Cash Register company. It has the brand stamp “National” on the back and a serial/model number plate on the front. The serial number is S600448, with the “S” signifying that Granny purchased it newly refurbished. The model is 711. We believe the cash register is made of brushed metal and has a wood base. It’s very heavy, weighing about 60 to 70 pounds. There is a marble plate above the cash drawer, which still opens. The keys no longer work—the “No Sale” key is stuck. Mama tells me that my son Chris found it in her closet years ago and played with it until the key got stuck and the drawer no longer opened. That was the first I'd heard of that! My husband was able to open the drawer but unable to unstick the key. There is a cover on the top that when lifted, exposes several customer counters. A “Used Register Guarantee” card is glued on the bottom of the cash drawer. Unfortunately, it’s undated. My sister Bonita and her husband owned the Stairway to Heaven Antique Mall in Newnan, Georgia from September 4, 2009 until September 30, 2013 and displayed the cash register in the store. She didn’t use it—just displayed it on the counter for show. There was a cash drawer built into the store counter directly underneath where she placed the register so it gave the illusion that she was opening its drawer when she made a sale. When they sold the shop, she brought the cash register back to Mama. It’s been in our family for at least 79 years so I would classify it as a family heirloom.

Back of cash register

Cash register serial number and model

Side view with drawer and cover open


Keys and marble plate over cash drawer

Front view. You can see the No Sale key is stuck down.

No sale and placement of serial/model numbers
Used Register Guarantee card glued to bottom of cash drawer


  1. Chattanooga, Tennessee, City Directory, 1941, 1942.
  2. Dates of Manufacture for Factory Rebuilt Equipment, Cash Register Collectors Club;
  3. Perm (hairstyle);
  4. Perm Machine, Indiana State Museum, October 2, 2010;
  5. Personal memories of Fay Lankford and Bonita Streetman.
  6. U.S. Federal Census, Chattanooga City, 1st Civil District, Hamilton County, Tennessee, 1940.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Miles A. Caldwell

This blog post is another in a series connecting the dots in my tree to the souls buried at Bairdstown Cemetery in Bairdstown, Oglethorpe County, Georgia.

The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “DNA.”

In July 2017, I wrote about the one DNA match that I truly cared about. That would be the one where DNA proves my grandpa Carroll Lankford’s connection to the Janes family of Greene County, Georgia. You can read about it here if you missed reading it when I posted it. Instead, I went to the new ThruLines web page on Ancestry to see what DNA connections showed up. According to Ancestry, “ThruLines illustrates how you may be related to your DNA matches through a common ancestor.” It makes it easy to see how others doing research connect to you through DNA. I also wanted to do another post showing my connections to Bairdstown Cemetery so looked at the tombstone photos I’ve taken there. And I wanted to find a random person who I hadn’t connected yet versus one of the many who I already know connect to my Lankford family. I finally settled on Miles A. Caldwell. Miles and I have no common relative but he was the father-in-law of my 1st cousin 3x removed, Katie Mary Wilson Caldwell who was married to his son, Homer Anthony Caldwell. Katie was the daughter of William Oliver Wilson and Mary T. Lankford. Mary Lankford was the daughter of my 3rd great grandparents James Meriweather Lankford and Caroline B. Hobbs which makes her my 2nd great grand aunt. So, there was a connection!

Miles A. Caldwell, son of William Miles Caldwell and Mary Ann Caldwell, was born in Alabama on January 17, 1849. He had three brothers and one adopted sister—Cullen Jackson Caldwell, Joshua Augustus Caldwell, John Caldwell, Miles A. Caldwell, and Mary Caldwell.

Sometime after Miles was born, his family moved to Alabama. On November 19, 1850, five-month-old Miles and his family lived in District 19 of Chambers County, Alabama. It took me two days to find them in the census records because they were enumerated as the Colwell family, reminding me that you always have to check different spellings. Miles’ father was a farmer and his 15-year-old brother Cullen a student. No one in the family could read or write. There was another Colwell family living next door—Joshua Colwell (62), born in Maryland, his wife Mary (52), and their son Joshua Jr. (18). Both Mary and Joshua Jr. were born in Georgia. I assume they were family but at this point, don’t know what the relationship was.

On August 8, 1860, Miles and his family lived in the Southern Division of Chambers County, Alabama. His 46-year-old father worked as an overseer with a personal estate valued at $500. Miles and his 14-year-old brother Joshua were both attending school.

I have been unable to find Miles in the 1870 census but they apparently moved back to Georgia between census years 1860 and 1880.

On June 3, 1880, Miles lived with his family in District 138 of Greene County, Georgia. His father was a farmer, his mother a housekeeper. Miles’ paternal grandfather was born in Maryland. This record enumerates his 13-year-old sister Mary as adopted. Miles was a farmer. There were two servant women named Martha B. Lester (39) and Jane (20) living in the home along with Judge Lester (14), Elsie Lester (11), Ellen Lester (4), Paul Lester (3 months), Lewis Lester (6), and Pat Lester (4). His brother Cullen lived next door.

Miles married Sarah “Sallie” N. Anthony (parents unknown at this point) in Greene County, Georgia on March 11, 1882. Miles and Sallie had seven children—James V. Caldwell, Homer Anthony Caldwell, Abbie M. Caldwell, Estelle Caldwell, and three unknowns.

Greene County, Georgia marriage certificate for Miles and Sallie

Miles’ mother Mary Ann died on June 11, 1897. The “Oglethorpe Echo” reported her death on June 18, 1897:
Mrs. Caldwell, the mother of Messrs. Cullen, Miles and Joshua Caldwell died last Friday evening at 2 o’clock and was buried in the cemetery here (Bairdstown) Saturday evening at 3 o’clock. Rev. J. F. Cheney conducted the funeral ceremonies. She was 79 years of age.
On June 7, 1900, Miles and his family lived in District 138 of Woodville, Greene County, Georgia. Miles and Sallie had been married for 18 years. Sallie was enumerated as the mother of seven children, four of which were living. Miles was a farmer. All of the children were in school. The only person in the house who was unable to read or write was his mother Sallie.

On May 2, 1910, Miles, Sallie, Abbie, and Estelle lived on Bairdstown Road in Woodville, Greene County, Georgia. Miles and Sallie had been married for 28 years. Sallie was again enumerated as the mother of seven children, four of which were living. Miles was a farmer on a general farm.

Mile’s brother Cullen died in Greene County died on April 22, 1912. The “Oglethorpe Echo” reported his death on May 3, 1912:
The many friends of Mr. C. J. Caldwell of near Bairdstown regret to learn of his death and burial last week. He was a Mason and a member of Howard lodge at Maxeys. He was seventy-five years old, joined the Baptist church when young and served his country in the Confederacy.
Miles’ son James died in Fulton County, Georgia on July 20, 1914 at the young age of 30. Census records for 1910 show that James was a locomotive fireman, a dangerous job of shoveling “coal into a train engine’s firebox through a narrow opening, thereby feeding the fire coal” according to Wikipedia. The Wiki page Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen further states that “The job of a locomotive fireman was physically demanding—strenuous, filthy and dangerous.” I don’t know what caused James’ death at such a young age, but his occupation was certainly a possibility. James was buried at Crest Lawn Cemetery in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Miles’ wife Sallie died in Georgia on March 30, 1916. She was buried at Bairdstown Cemetery. And then shortly after the death of his wife, Miles died at age 67 in Georgia on June 9, 1916. The “Oglethorpe Echo” reported his death on June 16, 1916:
The funeral services of Mr. Miles Caldwell was conducted Saturday afternoon here (Bairdstown) by Rev. Robertson. The body was interred in the cemetery. His wife preceded him two months ago. He leaves three children, one son and two daughters to mourn his departure.
Miles was buried at Bairdstown Cemetery in Bairdstown, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. His stone reads “Trusting in Jesus he passed over the river.”


  • ThruLines,
  • Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen;
  • Find-A-Grave memorial ID 24042160 for Miles A. Caldwell, 127539871 for James V. Caldwell, and 24042230 for Sallie A. Caldwell.
  • Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978.
  • McRee Jr., Fred W., Oglethorpe County, Georgia Deaths: 1874-1938, 2006.
  • U.S. Federal Census, District 19, Chambers County, Alabama, 1850.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Southern Division, Chambers County, Alabama, 1860.
  • U.S. Federal Census, District 138, Greene County, Georgia, 1880.
  • U.S. Federal Census, District 138, Woodville, Greene County, Georgia, 1900.
  • U.S. Federal Census, District 51, Woodville, Greene County, Georgia, 1910.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Atlanta Ward 1, Fulton, Georgia, 1910.
  • U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Ruth Miller

The 52 Ancestors theme this week is “brick wall.”

I had full intentions of blogging about my husband’s 2nd great grandfather, Samuel C. Murphy, but decided against it when I pulled out the notebook full of Civil War era papers I have for him. I haven’t figured out who Samuel’s parents are so our Murphy line stops when I get to him. He definitely is one of my brick walls. Since he’s my husband’s direct ancestor, I want to get it right and not rush through his timeline so I’ll save him for later. Instead, I’m writing about Ruth Miller Dudley Chapman, the woman standing in front of a brick wall beside her second husband, Charles Vernon Chapman.

Ruth Miller, daughter of William T. Miller and Jessie Graham Waddel, was born on June 7, 1899 in Allegany County, Maryland. She came from a large family of at least 12 children—John Jacob Miller, Clara Jane Miller, Ruth Miller, William Robert Miller (twin), Jessie Graham Miller (twin), Irwin Miller, Florence Miller, Elmer Elsworth Miller, Verna Miller, Clarence Ernest Miller, Thomas Edward Miller, and Esther Miller. She and my husband Charles have no common relative. Family Tree Maker shows she is the wife of uncle of wife of uncle to my husband.

On June 18, 1900, Ruth and her family lived in District 15 of Lonaconing, Allegany County, Maryland. Her father worked in the coal mines. Her maternal grandparents were both from Scotland. Ruth was baptized at a Presbyterian Church in Lonaconing on November 3, 1902. Jessie, one of the twins, passed away in 1903 and was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lonaconing.

On April 25, 1910, Ruth and her family still lived in Lonanconing, now on Water Clift Street. Her father worked on a driving team, probably at the coal mines. When I looked at the men in her neighborhood, it appears that most of them worked in the coal mine at the time, although her brother John was working as a laborer on a farm. The census enumerator recorded that her mother Jessie had eight children, seven of which were living. That would account for the death of baby Jessie. The family suffered another loss when Ruth’s sister Esther passed away in 1916. She was buried beside baby sister Jessie at Oak Hill Cemetery.

On January 12, 1920, Ruth (age 20) and her family lived on Water Street in Lonaconing. Her father was a self-employed carpenter. Ruth, William, and Irwin worked at the silk mill. Ruth’s father William passed away in 1923 and was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery. Sometime between 1920 and 1923, Ruth married Joseph Dudley Jr., son of Joseph Dudley Sr. and Martha West and they moved to Bridgeport, Harrison County, West Virginia. Ruth and Joseph had three children—Bettie Lou Dudley born April 13, 1924, Leah Jo Dudley born July 7, 1926, and Florence Ann Dudley born January 30, 1928. Tragedy struck the family on October 8, 1928 when Joseph was severely wounded in a mine explosion. He died from his injuries the next day. Joseph was buried at the Bridgeport Masonic Cemetery on October 13. The explosion was no accident—his death was ruled a homicide. You can read about Joseph here. With his death, Ruth was left alone to raise their three daughters. Probably needing to be close to her family, she moved back to Lonaconing.

Ruth's sister-in-law Charlotte Randall Dudley (wife of James), Anne Dudley Sipe,
James Dudley (brother of Joseph), and Ruth

On April 4, 1930, Ruth and her daughters lived on Dye Road, not far from her mother’s home on Watercliff Street. Ruth supported her family working as a winder at the silk mill. Six of her siblings were still living with her mother so she had plenty of help taking care of her daughters.

On April 11, 1940, Ruth and her daughters lived with her mother, sister Verna, and brother Clarence on Watercliff Street. Ruth still worked at the silk mill. Verna was working as a teacher in a public school and Clarence worked in the printing department at Celanese Corporation. By 1945, Ruth had moved to Long Beach, California. She and daughter Bettie lived at 3933 Virginia Road and worked together at Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach.

Ruth and her daughters all celebrated a wedding in the late 1940s and 1950s. On June 30, 1946, Ruth traveled back to Lonaconing when her daughter Leah married Elmer Marsh. Ruth’s brother Clarence gave Leah away at the ceremony. Ruth wore a navy-blue dress with a navy-blue hat trimmed in white, and a corsage of gardenias. In 1948, Ruth married Charles Vernon Chapman, son of Granville H. Chapman and Cora C. Taylor. On January 28, 1951, her daughter Bettie married Norman Keith Glass in Las Vegas, Nevada. And daughter Bettie married John M. Lajoie on Julie 23, 1959 in Los Angeles, California.

Ruth’s family gathered every year to celebrate her mother’s birthday, a tradition they carried on even after her mother passed away in 1958. Ruth and Vernon were often the hosts of the celebration.

Her husband Vernon died on December 18, 1977 and was buried at Rest Lawn Memorial Gardens in La Vale, Allegany County, Maryland. Her daughter Bettie died in San Rafael, Marin, California on January 10, 1986 and was buried at Masonic Cemetery in Bridgeport, Harrison County, West Virginia.

Ruth passed away in Lonaconing on September 16, 2000 at the age of 101 years. She was buried beside Vernon at Restlawn Memorial Gardens in La Vale.

The photos on this post are part of my husband’s uncle Ralph J. Murphy’s slide collection. If you’d like to see more photos from Uncle Ralph’s collection, click on the links below.
Share your photos and make a difference
Water sports at Tygart Lake
Nutter Fort, West Virginia Soap Box Derby
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)


  • Bettie Dudley Is Wed to Norman Glass, “The Cumberland News,” Cumberland, Maryland, March 17, 1951.
  • Betty Lou Dudley, West Virginia, Births Index, 1853-1969.
  • California, Marriage Index, 1949-1959.
  • Find-A-Grave, memorial 115830709 for Esther Miller, 115830677 for Jessie G. Miller, 115830227 for William T. Miller, and 111233077 for Ruth Miller Dudley Chapman.
  • Long Beach, California, City Directory, 1945.
  • Merrbach, Marie, Wedding Ceremony Is Solemnized in First Presbyterian Church, “The Cumberland News,” Cumberland, Maryland, July 4, 1946.
  • Murphy, Denise, 52 Ancestors – no. 49: Joseph Dudley Jr. (week 33), Living in the Past blog.
  • U. S. Federal Census, District 17, Lonaconing, Allegany, Maryland, 1910.
  • U. S. Federal Census, District 49, Lonaconing, Allegany, Maryland, 1930.
  • U. S. Federal Census, Lonaconing, Allegany, Maryland, 1900.
  • U. S. Federal Census, Lonaconing, Allegany, Maryland, 1920.
  • U. S. Federal Census, Watercliff, Lonaconing, Allegany, Maryland, 1940.
  • U.S., Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1970