Friday, October 15, 2021

Mary Pearl Davison

Mary Pearl Davison, age 25
Mary Pearl Davison, daughter of James McCluney Davison Jr. and Estella Martin Tiller, was born in Woodville, Greene County, Georgia on January 4, 1877. She was the third of four children—James Martin Davison, Joseph Robert Davison, Mary Pearl Davison, and Temperance Estelle Davison. She went by Pearl and is my 3rd cousin, 3x removed. Our nearest common relatives are Robert L. Hobbs Sr. and Mary Marion Caldwell.

When Pearl was just nine days old, her one-year-old brother Joseph died on January 13, 1877. Joseph was buried at Greensboro City Cemetery in Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia. Three years later, she lost her father when he died in Greene County from heart disease on May 2, 1880. He was buried beside Joseph at Greensboro City Cemetery. James left his estate to Pearl’s mother and their three remaining children, share and share alike. He requested that the children be educated, supported, and maintained out of the proceeds of his estate in common, until they became of age or married. The will was witnessed by my 2nd great grandfather, Thomas P. Janes. At the time of their death, the family was apparently living with Pearl’s maternal grandmother in District 148 of Greene County. 

After spending hours looking for the Davison family in the 1880 census records, I finally found them on a June 3 record. I knew they were “family” number 70 because the 1880 Federal Census Mortality Schedule for Greene County that recorded the death of Pearl’s father showed he lived with family 70. After searching through every district in Greene County, it finally dawned on me they may have moved in with Pearl’s grandmother. After all, the death of her father left her mother alone to raise three young children, ages 6, 3, and 1. She needed help. I found family number 70 with the head of household listed as Tempy Teller (age 54). Tempy shared her home with Tempy David (age 25 and a farmer), James (age 6), Mary (age 3), and Temperance (age 1). Pearl’s grandmother was Temperance (Newsom) Tiller so there they were, finally! 

1880 Greene County, Georgia census (click to enlarge)

On June 18, 1900, Pearl and her family continued to live in Woodville. At age 23, Pearl had been working as a school teacher for five years, as was her sister Estelle. Her brother James, age 26 and a lawyer, was the head of the household. Her widowed mother was enumerated as having had four children, three of which were living. Pearl’s widowed grandmother, Temperance Tiller, lived in the home, as did an aunt named Ann H. Newsome. The household also had two white servants—Shadrack Terrell (age 26) and Simon Daniel (age 23). Pearl married her childhood sweetheart, James “Mercer” Reynolds, son of John Leonard Reynolds and Emerette “Emma” Ellington Moody, in Woodville on February 19, 1903 in a ceremony performed by gospel minister C. A. Owens. Although their marriage certificate recorded their wedding day as February 19, Pearl’s obituary would later list the date as February 4.

Reynolds-Davison marriage license

Mercer Reynolds and Pearl Davison (ca. 1903)

Pearl and Mercer had five children together—Mary Estelle Reynolds, Martin Reynolds, James “Mercer” Reynolds Jr., Jack Davison Reynolds, and William Reynolds.

Shortly after their marriage, Pearl and Mercer moved to Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi where Mercer had been “named manager of the Southern Cotton Oil Company.” Their daughter Estelle was born in Mississippi in 1905. Shortly after her birth, Pearl and Mercer moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee where he had taken a job as manager of the Lookout Oil and Refining Company. Pearl was the matron of honor for the June 5, 1906 wedding of her sister Temperance in a ceremony took place in Greene County. This gave Pearl a chance to visit with her mother. By the end of October that year, Pearl’s mother reciprocated and paid a visit to their Chattanooga home. Their son Martin was born there in February 1907; Mercer Jr. was born there in November 1909. 

On April 21, 1910, Pearl, Mercer, daughter Estelle, and sons Martin and Mercer Jr. lived on Georgia Avenue in the St. Elmo neighborhood, located at the foot of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga. Mercer worked as a manager at a cotton oil mill. Son Mercer Jr. was four months old. Estelle was the only child attending school. Two significant events took place in 1912—the July birth of son Jack in Chattanooga and the September death of Pearl’s sister Temperance and her infant daughter, who only lived a few hours. Temperance, who was listed as Estelle in her obituary, and her daughter were buried at Greensboro City Cemetery. Mercer’s business interests were picking up by July 1913 with the formation of the Planters Gin Company in Chattanooga (he held half interest and was the president), but Pearl and Mercer still found time to travel home to Georgia to visit family. Possibly distraught from the death of Pearl’s sister, brother-in-law George Merritt took his own life on January 14, 1916, leaving 8-year-old son George an orphan. George apparently went to live with Pearl and her family in Chattanooga. The house would grow by one more when Pearl’s son William (Bill) was born in November 1916. When Mercer submitted his World War I draft registration card about 1917, he listed his home address as 550 Vine Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee. At the time, he worked at the Lookout Oil and Refining Company in Alton Park, Tennessee.

On January 16, 1920, Pearl and her family lived on Vine Street in Ward 7 of Chattanooga. Mercer worked at refining cotton seed. Her 12-year-old nephew, George Merritt, continued to live in the home. Pearl’s brother James died from pneumonia on February 15, 1920 and was buried at Greensboro City Cemetery. 

On April 14, 1930, Pearl and her family still lived on Vine Street in Chattanooga. Their home was valued at $20,000 and had a radio. George no longer lived in the home. Mercer was a proprietor in a cotton mill, Estelle a teacher in a public school, and Martin a clerk at an electric supply store. A joyous event took place at the home on June 20, 1931—the marriage of her only daughter Estelle to Kay Tipton. The home must have been large as the marriage was witnessed by 100 people in the living room. Pearl and Mercer traveled to Southampton, England in April 1933. They arrived back at Ellis Island, New York on April 13 aboard the S.S. Manhattan. The Reynolds family were apparently big fans of Studebakers. On November 5, 1933, the Chattanooga Daily Times reported that Mercer Jr. accepted “delivery of a 1934 President Regal Studebaker sedan for his father.” The article goes on to say it was the 15th Studebaker they had purchased, the first one being in 1910. April 1935 was a happy time for the Reynolds family when Mercer Jr. took a bride, Charlotte Virginia Crabtree, one of “last season’s debutantes.” Pearl and Mercer hosted a dinner at the Hotel Patten for the couple on April 22 to celebrate the upcoming nuptials. The wedding took place at the First Baptist Church in Chattanooga on April 27. In January 1937, they traveled to Havana, Cuba aboard the S.S. Cuba, returning to the Port of Tampa, Florida on January 23, 1937. A month later, Pearl was taking care of her daughter-in-law Charlotte who was recuperating at the Reynolds home after an appendectomy at Erlanger Hospital. Pearl’s daughter Estelle and young daughter Kay traveled from Kansas City, Missouri for a visit with Pearl and Mercer in June 1937. Son Bill, a sophomore at Vanderbilt University in Nashville came for a visit that month as well. Pearl and Mercer hosted all five of their children and their families, along with nephew George Merritt, for Christmas dinner in 1937. A parent’s worst nightmare took place the evening of April 1, 1939. Pearl’s son Martin, a salesman with the Tennessee Electric Power Company, had dinner with his parents at their Chattanooga home. After the meal, Martin went to his room and took his own life. Mercer called a neighbor, Dr. J. Hamilton Taylor, who came to the home and stayed with Martin until he passed away. Martin had attended Georgia School of Technology and had been working with the power company for about nine years. He was active in several local clubs—the Mountain City club, the Engineers’ club, and the Chattanooga Golf and Country club. He had not felt well earlier in the week but Pearl and Mercer had no idea he would take his own life nor what brought him to take this action. Martin was buried on April 2 in section K, lot 124, grave number 2SE at Forest Hills Cemetery in Chattanooga following a service at the First Baptist Church. He was only 32 years old and single.

Like her father before her, education must have been important to Pearl and Mercer, sending their children to schools such as the University of Chattanooga, Shorter College, Vanderbilt University, Georgia Tech, and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville to name a few.

On April 10, 1940, Pearl, Mercer, and son Jack lived in the same house on Vine Street in Chattanooga. Nephew George Merritt, his wife Velma, and 8-year-old daughter Maryllyn lived next door. Mercer was the president of a cotton chemical company. Son Jack was a chemist in the cotton chemical industry, probably working for his father. George was a proprietor at a drug store. Three of Pearl’s sons served in the U.S. Army during World War II—Mercer Jr., Jack, and Bill. Bill, a private at Camp Cross, South Carolina, was able to come home for a visit in October 1941. In February 1942, Pearl and Mercer visited Bill at Camp Claiborne in Louisiana. They made stops in New Orleans and Florida before going home to their Vine Street home.

Pearl and Mercer celebrated 50 years of marriage on February 19, 1953 with a dinner at their Vine Street home. This would be the last anniversary together for the couple. Mercer had been ill for just over two years. Bedridden the last three months of his life, he lapsed into a coma mid-December 1953 and died of congestive heart failure at the age of 79 on January 13, 1954. Mercer was buried on January 14 in section K, lot 124, grave number NT001 at Forest Hills Cemetery. Upon his death, he was remembered by the Kingsport News in Kingsport, Tennessee on January 14, 1954 as an “industrialist who pioneered in the development of the chemical cotton industry.” Mercer’s estate was left to Pearl and their children. Pearl was specifically left their Chattanooga home and “all interest in property jointly owned by the two, free of estate or death taxes.” He also left her stock in the Southern Chemical Cotton Company. The 5,000-acres of land in Greene County, Georgia was to be managed by his three sons and son-in-law for the benefit of the four children. 

Pearl died at home at the age of 82 from malnutrition due to senility and cerebral arteriosclerosis (hardening of the walls of the arteries in the brain) on July 22, 1959. She was buried on July 24 in section K, lot 124, grave number NT002 at Forest Hills Cemetery in Chattanooga. Son Mercer Jr. was the informant on her death certificate. Pearl was survived by daughter Estelle, sons Mercer, Jack, and Bill, and six grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made to the Children’s Home.

Photo by SteveL, Find A Grave ID 47040641

During his lifetime, Mercer’s career soared in the chemical cotton industry. He bought and ran several businesses through the years and held several patents in the chemical cotton field. According to the book “History of Greene County” by Thaddeus Brockett Rice, Mercer was a native of Woodville. He would go on to discover “the process of solidifying cotton seed oil thereby making it possible to ship the oil in blocks instead of barrels or tank cars.” According to an article published in the Chattanooga Daily Times on January 14, 1954, Mercer was a pioneer in “many important developments in the production of vegetable oil compounds.” He was also interested in developing power resources of the Tennessee River and according to the same article, “became one of the South’s experts in the field of hydroelectric power development.” He was recognized for his work by President Herbert Hoover who “named him as a member of a commission to investigate and make recommendations concerning the development of water-power resources along the Tennessee River.” Mercer became active in highway development, joining the Dixie Highway Association and the Chattanooga Automobile Club. He served on the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, including holding the office of president. In addition to his business activities, Mercer was a member of several country clubs. He purchased thousands of acres of land in Greene County and built a family retreat that he named “Linger Longer.” The family used the retreat for many years as a getaway to hunt and fish. The land on which Linger Longer stood was eventually merged with land purchased by Mercer’s cousin James Madison Reynolds Sr. and used to develop Reynolds Plantation (now called Reynolds Lake Oconee), a luxury resort in Greensboro. Years later, the land would leave the family but because of Mercer’s ambitions and achievements, Pearl, Mercer, and their family were able to live a very comfortable life that was enriched by the many social activities they were involved in. 

Photos of Pearl Davison and Mercer Reynolds used with permission of Ian Mackenzie. 


  • Chattanooga City Directory, 1942.
  • Chattanooga Daily Times, Chattanooga, Tennessee, February 13, 1937.
  • Chattanooga Daily Times, Chattanooga, Tennessee, February 13, 1937, December 26, 1937, October 28, 1941.
  • Chattanooga Daily Times, Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 5, 1933, February 25, 1942.
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee, City Directory, 1942, 1944, 1952.
  • Federal Census Mortality Schedule Greene County, Georgia, 1880.
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed 26 September 2021), memorial page for Mary Pearl Davison Reynolds (4 Jan 1877–22 Jul 1959), Find a Grave Memorial ID 143490704, citing Forest Hills Cemetery, Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee, USA; maintained by woowoo (contributor 49949980). Tombstone photo by Steve L., Find A Grave ID 47040641.
  • Forest Hills Cemetery website;
  • Jack D. Reynolds, U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946.
  • Jack Davison Reynolds and Bill Reynolds, U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1898-1929.
  • James Davison Certificate of Death no. 4992, Georgia State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, 1920.
  • James Davison will, Greene County, Georgia; Georgia, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1742–1992.
  • List of United States Citizens, Florida, U.S., Arriving and Departing Passenger and Crew Lists, 1898-1963.
  • Lt. and Mrs. Mercer Reynolds Jr., Chattanooga Daily Times, Chattanooga, Tennessee, August 1, 1943.
  • Martin Reynolds, Certificate of Death no. 7745, State of Tennessee, Dept. of Public Health, Division of Vital Statistics.
  • Mercer Reynolds Jr., U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1898-1929.
  • Mercer Reynolds Sr. Dies; Pioneer in Chemical Cotton, Chattanooga Daily Times, Chattanooga, Tennessee, January 14, 1954
  • Mercer Reynolds Sr. to Mark Anniversary, Chattanooga Daily Times, Chattanooga, Tennessee, February 19, 1953
  • Mercer Reynolds Sr., The Jackson Sun, Jackson, Tennessee, January 14, 1954.
  • Mercer Reynolds, Certificate of Death no. 54-00716, State of Tennessee, Dept. of Public Health, Division of Vital Statistics.
  • Mercer Reynolds, U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010.
  • Mercer Reynolds, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918.
  • Miss Crabtree and Mr. Reynolds Married in Saturday Ceremony, Chattanooga Daily Times, Chattanooga, Tennessee, April 28, 1935.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds Have Dinner for Bridal Couple, Chattanooga Daily Times, Chattanooga, Tennessee, April 22, 1935.
  • Mr. Mercer Reynolds and Miss Pearl Davison, marriage license, State of Georgia, County of Greene; Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828–1978.
  • Mrs. Pearl Davison Reynolds, Certificate of Death no. 59-16932, State of Tennessee, Dept. of Public Health, Division of Vital Statistics.
  • Mrs. Reynolds, 82, Dies at Home, Chattanooga Daily Times, Chattanooga, Tennessee, July 23, 1959.
  • Reynolds Ends Life at Home: Son of Manufacturer Goes From Dinner Table to His Room, Shoots Self, Chattanooga Daily Times, Chattanooga, Tennessee, April 2, 1930.
  • Reynolds’ Estate is Left to Family, Chattanooga Daily Times, Chattanooga, Tennessee, January 23, 1954.
  • Rice, Thaddeus Brockett, History of Greene County, Georgia, 1786-1886, Carolyn White Williams (Editor), 1961. 
  • Services held for Mrs. Kay Tipton, Madisonian, Madison, Georgia, July 17, 1975.
  • Six Stand Ginnery and Large Warehouse, Walker County Messenger, LaFayette, Georgia, April 3, 1914.
  • St. Elmo website;
  • Tennessee, Birth Records (ER Series), 1908-1912, database with images, FamilySearch ( accessed 3 October 2021), 007794323 > image 1086 of 2712; citing The Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville.
  • The Atlanta Georgian, Atlanta, Georgia, June 2, 1906, June 7, 1906. and October 31, 1906.
  • The Augusta Daily Herald, Augusta, Georgia, September 25, 1912.
  • Tipton-Reynolds Rites Solemnized, Miss Estelle Reynolds Weds Macon Attorney, Chattanooga Daily Times, Chattanooga, Tennessee, June 21, 1931.
  • United States Federal Census, Chattanooga, District 19, Hamilton County, Tennessee, 1930.
  • United States Federal Census, Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee, 1940.
  • United States Federal Census, Chattanooga, Ward 7, Hamilton County, Tennessee, 1920.
  • United States Federal Census, District 148, Greene County, Georgia, 1880.
  • United States Federal Census, St. Elmo, District 0086, Hamilton County, Tennessee, 1910.
  • United States Federal Census, Woodville, Greene County, Georgia, 1900.
  • Walker County Messenger, LaFayette, Georgia, July 25, 1913 and July 26, 1914.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Students from a Paulton, Pennsylvania school

Another in a series of photos from Bertha Smith Athya’s photo collection.

This one is a postcard. On the front side is a photo of a group of children from a school in Paulton, Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. The back side has “Bertha Smith” and “Paulton, Pa.” written on it. That’s probably their one room schoolhouse behind the group.

I can identify Bertha—she’s the girl in the dark dress at the end of the second row—but no one else. Bertha was born in 1898 and I’m estimating her to be about 10 years old in this photo. If that’s the case, this photo would have been taken about 1908

Bertha is my husband’s grandmother.  

Friday, October 1, 2021

Let’s play ball!

Another in a series of photos from Bertha Smith Athya’s photo collection. 

I love this photo but unfortunately, can’t identify either of the boys, who most likely lived in Armstrong or Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. It’s possible one, or both, are Bertha’s brothers—Howard Stanley Smith, Benjamin Gordon Smith, George Nelson Smith, or John Thompson Smith.

Could the one on the left be Howard, born in Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania in December 1890?

I feel like the boy on the right looks like George, born in Apollo in October 1885.

What do you think? Anyone care to weigh in? I’d love to hear from you. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Pets are family too

You won’t find pets in the family tree but they are certainly part of the family. And our family lost a member last Friday. Our last pet wasn’t a dog or cat. It was a rabbit, and he found us, showing up in the neighborhood the summer of 2014. He looked like a domestic rabbit, not a wild one. No one knew who he belonged to. For a couple of months, he went up and down the street, scrounging for food at the different houses. We periodically gave him food and water so he kept coming back. At the time, I telecommuted on Friday’s and remember looking out the front door to see him looking inside a few times. Rabbit visited every day, sometimes playing in the flower beds.

My husband Charlie started playing with him and the next thing you know, Rabbit followed him around the yard like a puppy dog. 

Summer came to an end and it started getting cooler outside. One morning Charlie walked across the street to get coffee from 7-Eleven. As he left the store, he saw Rabbit sitting on the street corner, like he was waiting for Charlie. That scared Charlie. Because Rabbit followed him around, Charlie was afraid it would try to follow him across the street the next time. Charlie stopped by a local veterinary practice to ask a few questions about rabbits and cold weather. They told him a rabbit could survive outside with temperatures between 37 and 85, but otherwise, needed cover. That was when Charlie decided it was time to adopt the rabbit and bring him inside. Our daughter-in-law named him Dopey because he had one floppy ear but she was the only person to call him that. The rest of us just called him Rabbit, or Wabbit. 

Our niece donated a cage she no longer needed and Rabbit stayed outside until it got too cold. The vet had given Charlie a crate and that became his home in a corner of our dining room once we brought him inside.

Charlie did some homework to learn which vegetables rabbits ate. From then on, Rabbit got a plate of fresh veggies and fruit every night. He even at the plate! There was always dry pellets, hay, and water inside the crate. Rabbit’s favorite food was bananas. He always ate them first. We eventually learned he could eat parsley and then that became his favorite food. He also loved a treat that looked like Fruit Loops. He’d go crazy when you walked past his crate so I often gave him one—that’s all he needed to be happy.

We didn't let him roam the house much but did learn he could go up the steps on the rare occasion that we let him loose.

A year after Rabbit found us—standing on the inside looking out.

For the most part, Rabbit lived like a king. But his life was not without trauma. Wanting to give him a little room to move around, Charlie bought chicken wire and made a playpen for the backyard. That didn’t work out too well though. One summer we had a fox roaming the neighborhood. As Charlie left for work one morning, he saw the fox walking down the sidewalk, heading towards our house. Charlie said he thought to himself, this can’t be good, and quickly turned the truck around to go home. By the time Charlie got to the backyard, Rabbit, who was inside the playpen, and the fox, who was outside the playpen, were staring each other down. Charlie chased the fox off and a crisis was averted. We also noticed a hawk hanging around the yard, watching Rabbit. The tarp Charlie used to provide shade helped avert that crisis.

Another niece gave us a chicken coop. It was like a penthouse for Rabbit, providing a safe environment from the prey, as well as protection from the weather while we were at work. 

But it wasn’t perfect. One day our son heard dogs barking behind the house so went outside to see what was going on. He found Rabbit laying on his back with a big dog’s jaws locked around his stomach. The cage was damaged so apparently the dog had tried to get inside and Rabbit ran for his life. Thankfully Chris was home to save Rabbit from that crisis. He wasn’t hurt, just traumatized. Another time I got home from work and noticed something sitting by the front porch chair, only to discover it was Rabbit. His playpen had turned over somehow, probably the winds catching the tarp, and he found his way to the front porch. I opened the front door as quickly as I could. Rabbit ran in the house as soon as the door opened—he couldn’t get inside fast enough. Still another time, I heard a racket outside only to discover two beagles harassing Rabbit inside his cage. That traumatized him as well! 

One time it was Charlie who was traumatized. He couldn’t find Rabbit in the coop and had a moment of panick thinking Rabbit had gotten out somehow. Turns out, he had jumped up inside the coop house and was chilling out in the straw.

Charlie upgraded the indoor cage a few years ago. I don't know if Rabbit liked it better, but he had more space.

Rabbit liked to have his nose and ears scratched. Did you know rabbits lick a person like a dog does? We didn’t! As Charlie gave Rabbit his nightly cuddles, he’d start licking Charlie’s arm. The harder his ears were scratched, the more he licked.

In the seven years we had him, Rabbit was only sick one time, with a urinary tract infection. It cost us an arm and a leg to take him to the vet. We learned he’s considered an exotic pet and not all veterinarians handled those. Like the pet, the price tag was exotic as well! 

Rabbit comforted my father-in-law during in his final year when he lived with us. Charlie brought Rabbit to him before or after taking him outside. 

He brought joy to others as well, both young and old.

All seemed to be going well until last Friday. I’ve been working from home since mid-March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but that day had to go into the office. Mid-way through the day, Charlie called and said he was taking Rabbit to the vet emergency room. Rabbit was unable to move his left rear leg and something told Charlie it was serious—he didn’t have a good feeling about it he said. The vet told Charlie it could have been several things and none of them were good. There was a 90 percent chance he wouldn’t recover and he was in pain. Charlie made the decision then to put him down and brought him home for burial in the back yard beside our Cocker Spaniel Barney.

We would never have considered getting a rabbit as a pet, but as mentioned earlier, he found us, we didn’t find him. He was a good pet. I hope he never regretted picking us to be his adopted family all those years ago.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Helen Margaret Smith and friends

Another in a series of photos from Bertha Smith Athya’s photo collection.

Unfortunately, I can only identify one girl in this photo—the first person on the left is Helen Margaret Smith

Helen, born in November 1895, was Bertha’s sister. She would be my husband’s grand aunt.

Helen died of heart disease in March 1913 so this photo was possibly taken between 1910 to early 1913. Helen and her family lived in Paulton, Washington Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in 1910 and was still living there at the time of her death so one could assume everyone in this photo lived there as well. 

My guess is that's their school in the background.


  • United States Federal Census, Paulton, Washington Township, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, 1910.
  • Helen Margaret Smith Certificate of Death no. 22975, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Smith family photos

Another in a series of photos from Bertha Smith Athya’s photo collection. This one is Howard Stanley Smith, his wife Myrtle Mary Stewart, Amanda Horne Smith (mother of Howard, George, and Bertha), and George Nelson Smith. All most likely lived in Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania at the time this photo was taken. Howard married Myrtle in 1916 so I’m guessing this photo was taken somewhere between 1916 and 1920.

Amanda is my husband’s great-grandmother; Howard and George his grand uncles. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Georgianna McIlwain and Electra Smith photo

In May 2018, I blogged about a photo album that once belonged to my husband’s grandmother, Bertha Edna Smith Athya and is now in  the possession of my husband and I. Bertha also left a box of photos behind, many of them from her early years. Most of the photos are the size of a baseball card or smaller. This is one of the photos from that collection. The two women in the photo below are Georgia Anna McIlwain Austin and Electra B. Smith Jack.

Georgianna, which is what I believe she went by, was born in Pennsylvania (most likely Apollo, Armstrong County) on September 28, 1868. The daughter of James Xenophon McIlwain and Emaline Hildebrand, she was Electra’s half-niece. Georgianna married Charles H. Austin on September 4, 1895 and died in Apollo on September 3, 1932.

The daughter of John Thompson Smith and Jane Gordon, Electra was born in Apollo on February 11, 1841. At age 55, she married Daniel Jack, son of Samuel Jack and Catharine Beck and a veteran of the Civil War, in Apollo on February 20, 1896. Daniel’s first wife was Electra’s sister, Eunice Alvira Smith, who died in 1890. Electra died in Washington, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania on April 22, 1932. At the time, she lived in the home of her niece Bertha (Smith) Athya. Bertha was the informant on Electra’s death certificate.

In this photo, you can see an unknown man holding a rifle, apparently just back from a day of hunting. Tied on the back of his car, is a deer. Georgianna, Electra, and a second unknown man had come outside to check out the catch of the day.


  • E. B. Smith and Daniel Jack marriage license, Pennsylvania, U.S., Marriages, 1852–1968.
  • Georgie Mcilwain and C. H. Austin marriage license, Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852–1968.
  • Mrs. Electra Jackson Certificate of Death no. 42910, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.
  • Mrs. Georganna [sic] Austin Certificate of Death no. 81576, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.