Friday, August 7, 2020

George Hugh Arthur

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.

George Hugh Arthur, son of William Arthur and Martha “Patsy” Bryant, was born in Oglethorpe County, Georgia on March 5, 1852. George had at least six siblings—William Arthur Jr., Mary Arthur, Sarah Arthur, James Arthur, Susan Arthur, and Mark Arthur.

My connection is a stretch but there is one. George is the paternal grandfather of husband of niece of husband of 1st great grand aunt. We have no common relative. The great grand aunt is Lillie “Della” Lankford, sister of my great grandmother, Alice Beman Lankford Callaway. It’s complicated so here’s how he traces to Della: Lillie Della Lankford > her husband Hayden Edgar George Sr. > his father Raleigh David George > his son James England George > his daughter Mary Lou George > her husband George Hugh Arthur Sr. > his father William Henry Arthur > his father George Hugh Arthur.

For the most part, George grew up without a mother. Not listed in the 1860 record with the family, she apparently died sometime between his birth and before the census was taken. On June 12, 1860, seven-year-old George lived with his father and siblings in Maxeys, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. His father was a farmer with a personal estate valued at $200. George’s brother William worked as farmer alongside their father. Susan, Mark, and George were all three attending school.

George’s father apparently died sometime between 1864 and 1870. He was enumerated in the census for re-organizing the Georgia militia but was not with the family when the census taker visited their home in Maxeys on June 13,1870. Sister Sarah, at age 25, found herself the head of the household, assisted by sister Mary in keeping the house. Sister Susan and 16-year-old George were not working while brother Mark worked as a farm laborer, the only person in the home working. 

At the age of 18, George celebrated the new year in 1871 by marrying Mary Caroline S. Johnson, daughter of John S. Johnson and Caroline Eleanor Hogg, in Greene County, Georgia. George and Mary had 10 children together—Mattie Ellen Arthur, Anna Belle Arthur, William Henry Arthur, Bessie E. Arthur, Julia Agnes Arthur, John Gordon Arthur, Maggie Love Arthur, Mamie Arthur, Georgia Lucile Arthur, and one unknown child.

George Arthur and Mary Johnson marriage certificate

On June 8, 1880, George and his family lived in the 138th district of Greene County, Georgia. He earned a living as a farmer. George and Mary had three children at this point—Mattie, Anna, and William. His widowed mother-in-law lived with the family so helped with the children.

The year 1895 was a sad one for the family with the death of one of the children. Little Mamie, birthdate unknown, was in April. The Oglethorpe Echo published two news articles about her death. The first story ran on April 26 and read:
We were sorry to hear of the death of the child of G. H. Arthur last Tuesday morning. We extend our sympathy to the family.
The second story ran on May 3, 1895 and included her name, which was important since she does not show up in any census records. This story read:
We take this method in behalf of the people along the river to extend our sympathy to Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Arthur and brothers and sisters in the death of sweet little Mamie. Yes, indeed she was a sweet and lovely child.
On June 7, 1900, George and his family lived in Bairdstown, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. George and Mary had been married for 28 years. George was a farmer who could read and write. The census enumerated noted that Mary had given birth to 10 children, 8 of which were living. Their son William also worked as a farmer, probably assisting George. Julia, John, and Maggie were attending school. George’s 79-year-old mother-in-law Caroline still lived with the family.

On April 16, 1910, George and his family lived in the Falling Creek neighborhood of Maxeys, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. George had given up farming and was now a keeper in a boarding house. George and Mary only had girls left at home now—Mattie, Anna, Bessie, Maggie, and Lucile. Daughter Bessie was a dressmaker, working out of their home. Five boarders lived in the home, all men. One man was a house contractor, one a carpenter, a third was a school teacher, a fourth a department store salesman, and the fifth was a bookkeeper for a dry goods store. They ranged in age from 38 to 19 years of age. Tragedy stuck George’s family on October 20, 1915 with the sudden death of his wife. The Oglethorpe Echo reported her death on October 22:
Announcement of the sudden death of Mrs. George Arthur, of Maxeys, Wednesday was indeed sad news to her many friends over the county. She was in apparently her usual health up until a few hours before her end came when she was taken with something like acute indigestion. She was a woman beloved by all who knew her, a true Christian, a true wife and a fond mother. She is survived by her husband and eight children. Her remains were laid to rest at Bairds church, of which she was a member, yesterday.
On January 3, 1920, George and his family still lived in the Falling Creek neighborhood of Maxeys. A widowed George still had a houseful in his home with six of his grown children living with him. George was also still a keeping of a boarding house and have five boarders living there as well. His son John worked as a department store salesman, however, none of the girls at home worked. The boarders worked as a saleswoman in a department store, a salesman of general merchandise, a dentist, a bank cashier, and an assistant cashier in a bank. 

George died suddenly on September 20, 1924 in Maxeys. The Oglethorpe Echo reported the news of his death on September 26, 1924:
Our little town (Maxeys) was again brought to sadness last Saturday morning at 8 o’clock by the sudden death of Mr. George H. Arthur. He had been in declining health for some weeks but he was about his daily duties Saturday morning, expressing himself as feeling better. He went up town, did some buying for the boarding house and ongoing home and delivering the purchase and coming into the back porch was seized, falling to the floor and in a minute was dead. His death ends a long and useful life. He was in his seventy third year; was raised and lived in this community all his life and had the utmost respect of everybody who knew him. For sixteen years he had been running a boarding house here. His wife preceded him to the grave three years ago. His body was tenderly put away at the Bairdstown cemetery Sunday afternoon after services by Rev Carswell. His children who yet remain are Mrs. N. J. Burgess, Henry and John, Misses Mattie, Annie, Bessie and Lucille. 
George was buried beside his wife at Bairdstown Cemetery in Bairdstown.

  • Death of Child of G. H. Arthur, Oglethorpe Echo, April 26, 1895.
  • Death of George H. Arthur, Oglethorpe Echo, September 26, 1924.
  • Death of Mamie Arthur, Oglethorpe Echo, May 3, 1895.
  • Death of Mrs. George Arthur, Oglethorpe Echo, October 22, 1915.
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed 11 July 2020), memorial page for George Hugh Arthur (5 Mar 1852–20 Sep 1924), Find a Grave Memorial no. 47256075, citing Bairdstown Cemetery, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, USA; maintained by Burgess Donnelly (contributor 47214861).
  • George H Arthur, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007.
  • George H. Arthur Sr., Oglethorpe County, Georgia Deaths, 1919-98.
  • George Hugh Arthur Sr. Standard Certificate of Death no. 28225, Georgia State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.
  • Georgia Marriages to 1850, William Arthur to Patsy Bryant, July 27, 1840.
  • Personal visit to Bairdstown Cemetery, Denise Murphy.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Bairdstown, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. 1900.
  • U.S. Federal Census, District 138, Greene County, Georgia, 1880.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Division 66, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, 1850.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Falling Creek, Oglethorpe County, Georgia. 1910, 1920.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Georgia Militia District 228, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, 1860.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Maxeys, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, 1870.
  • William Arthur, 1864 Census for Re-Organizing the Georgia Militia.

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