Friday, August 19, 2022

Jack L. Wilson

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.

Jack L. Wilson, son of Thomas B. Wilson and Martha Williams, was born in Georgia on January 28, 1840. There were at least eight children in his family—William Ralph Wilson, Joseph Wilson, James Wilson, Jack L. Wilson, Pleasant Wilson, Eliza Wilson, Virginia Ellen Wilson, and Sarah (Sallie) Wilson. Jack is the uncle of husband of sister-in-law of 1st cousin of husband of great grandmother (Alice Beman Lankford Callaway) to me … weaving through Mullins to Callaway and finally to my Lankford line. We have no common relative. Yes, its roundabout but it is a connection, lol.

On October 24, 1850, the Wilson family lived in District 163 of Greene County, Georgia. His father, born in Virginia, was a farmer with real estate valued at $6,000. Although most of the children in the home were old enough to be in school, Jack’s brother William was the only one enumerated as a student. Jack’s parents may have been running a boarding house as there were six unrelated people living in the home—James Healey, age 35, peddler; William Jackson, age 20, mechanic; Thomas Callahan, age 27, merchant; W. A Houston, age 24, teacher; Daniel Brown, age 25, farmer; and James Armstrong, age 20, clerk.

On August 9, 1860, the Wilson family lived in Woodville, Greene County, Georgia. Jack’s father, still working as a farmer, was doing well financially with real estate valued at $5,500 and a personal estate valued at $29,000. Jack, at age 20, was the oldest child living at home and worked as a clerk. There was a 20-year-old male named Frank L. Veazey living in the home who worked as an overseer. Frank had a personal estate valued at $300.

When the Civil War began in 1861, Jack was enlisted by Capt. R. L. McWhorter at Penfield, Georgia as a private in Company C, Third Georgia Infantry, Confederate States Army on April 24. He was mustered into service on May 3, 1861 by Capt. R. G. Cole in Augusta, Georgia. Jack’s name appeared on the muster roll dated June 30, 1861. He was discharged in 1862.

Jack married Jane Catherine Neal, daughter of George W. Neal and Eliza W. Edmondson, in Oglethorpe County, Georgia on October 3, 1865. Jack and Jane had four children together—George N. Wilson, Blanche L. Wilson, Julia L. Wilson, and Nellie F. Wilson.

Marriage record for Jack Wilson and Jane Neal (click to enlarge)

On June 16, 1870, Jack, his wife Jane, and children George and Blanche lived in Penfield, Greene County, Georgia. Jack worked as a merchant and had a personal estate valued at $600. His father and sister Sarah (Sallie) lived six houses from Jack and his family. Jack’s father died some time in 1873. At the time, his father owned a tract of land in Greene County consisting of about 69 acres of which Jack owned one half interest in 40 of those acres. Jack agreed to the sale of the land for the benefit of the heirs and creditors of his father’s estate. During the years 1878 to 1882, U.S. property tax records for Bairdstown, Georgia show that Jack owned 155 acres of land valued at $400.

On June 3, 1880, Jack and his family (Jane, age 34; George, age 13; Blanche, age 10; Julia, age 7; Nellie, age 1) still lived in Penfield. Jack worked as a merchant while Jane stayed at home and kept house. Nellie was enumerated as Ellen F. Wilson. Their son George worked as a clerk in a store, probably with his father. The census record shows that although Jane was born in Georgia, her parents were both born in Vermont. There were three black servants living in the home—Mary Lumpkin, age 41, cook; Felix Brinkley, age 13, nurse; and Frank Wilson, age 25, farm hand. Frank’s wife Jane, age 23 and a housekeeper, and daughter Alma, age 6, lived in the home as well. Both Jane and Alma were enumerated as mulatto. The census agriculture record shows that Jack owned 50 acres of tilled land and 25 acres of woodland. His farm, valued at $1400, was maintained with $100 worth of tools and $140 worth of fertilizers. He kept his livestock, valued at $150, within fences that cost him $25 to build in 1879. Jack paid $150 wages for farm labor in 1879. Jack grew Indian corn, oats, rye, wheat, and cotton. During the years 1884 to 1887, U.S. property tax records for Woodville, Georgia show that Jack owned 301 acres of land valued at $1505. 

Property tax record for Woodville, Georgia (click to enlarge)

He employed 18 “hands” between the ages of 12 and 65. During the years 1878 to 1882, Jack owned 155 acres of land in Bairdstown, however, property tax records show that he was a non-resident. The same tax record shows that city or town property in Janie’s name had an aggregate value of $250. The same 301 acres of land in Woodville were valued at $1204 in 1890.

On June 1, 1900, Jack, his wife Jane (enumerated as Janie), and daughter Nellie, age 20, were the only people left in the home. They had left Penfield and moved back to Woodville. Jack worked as a farmer. Jane was enumerated as having had four children, all of which were living. Nellie worked as a music teacher. Jack may have moved to Bairdstown after the census was taken. As early as July 1900, the Bairdstown correspondent of The Oglethorpe Echo started reporting that Jack was sick. The newspaper chronicled his illness on multiple occasions:

July 27, 1900—Mr. Jack Wilson has been quite sick for several days but is better now.

August 3, 1900—Mr. J. L. Wilson, who has been sick, is much better we are are [sic] glad to write.

January 25, 1901—Mr. J. L. Wilson, who has been in bad health for some time, is improving a little we are glad to say.

March 15, 1901—Mr. J. L. Wilson, who has been very feeble, is improving we are glad to state.

March 22, 1901—Mr. J. L. Wilson, our postmaster, is still in very feeble health.

June 28, 1901—Mr. J. L. Wilson, our postmaster, who has been sick for some time, is slowly improving.

July 26, 1901—Mr. J. L. Wilson, who has been in bad health so long, is not improving very fast.

August 9, 1901—Mr. J. L. Wilson’s condition at this time is not at all favorable we are sorry to state.

August 16, 1901—Mr. J. L. Wilson is still very feeble. No improvement in his condition since our last.

They also reported that he was postmaster in Bairdstown so, do you have to live in the community if you’re a postmaster?

Jack died on September 3, 1901, in either Oglethorpe or Greene County. The Oglethorpe Echo published a death notice on September 6:

—Mr. J. L. Wilson, whose illness we have chronicled several times, died last Wednesday night at 12 o’clock. He will be greatly missed by his many relatives and friends. He was ever obliging and kind, always ready to render any service in his power. He leaves a wife and four children to mourn his sad death. Our loss is his gain, but we hope to meet him in that bright home beyond the skies where all pain and suffering shall cease and joy and happiness reign supreme.

“Then shall we know as we are known,

   And in that world above

Forever sing around the throne

   His everlasting love.”

Jack was buried at Bairdstown Cemetery.


  • Administrator’s Sale, The Greensboro Herald, Greensboro, Georgia, November 20, 1873.
  •, Georgia, U.S., Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
  • Census Year: 1880; Census Place: District 138, Greene, Georgia; Archive Collection Number: T1137; Roll: T1137:14; Page: 10; Line: 6; Schedule Type: Agriculture.
  • Company Roll of the Dawson Grays of Green Co., Ga. When This Company Joined the 3rd Regt. Ga. Vol. It Was Ever Afterwards Known as Co. C.
  • George W. Neal and Eliza W. Edmondson, Georgia, County Marriages, 1785–1950.
  • J. L. Wilson and Jane C. Neal (1865), Georgia, Marriage Records from Select Counties, 1828–1978.
  • Jack L. Wilson, Georgia, U.S., Property Tax Digests, 1793–1892.
  • Jack L. Wilson, U.S., Confederate Soldiers Compiled Service Records, 1861–1865.
  • Mr. J. L. Wilson death notice, The Oglethorpe Echo, Crawford, Georgia, September 6, 1901.
  • Mr. J. L. Wilson’s illness, The Oglethorpe Echo, Crawford, Georgia, July 27, August 3, 1900 and January 25, March 15, 22, June 28, July 26, August 9, 16, 1901.
  • Mrs. Janie Wilson obituary, The Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta, Georgia, March 28, 1944.
  • Personal visit to Bairdstown Cemetery, Bairdstown, Georgia.
  • Thomas B. Wilson and Martha Williams (1830), Georgia, U.S., Marriage Records from Select Counties, 1828–1978.
  • U.S. Federal Census, District 163, Greene County, Georgia, 1850.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Bairdstown, Georgia Militia District 232, Oglethorpe County, Georgia, 1860.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Penfield, Militia District 138, Greene County, Georgia, 1870, 1880.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Woodville, Greene County, Georgia, 1860, 1900. 

Friday, August 12, 2022

William Hoyt Vest

William “Hoyt” Vest, son of Andrew Jackson Vest and Bessie Elliott, was born in Beaverdale, Whitfield County, Georgia, on August 7, 1905. He was the oldest child of six—William Hoyt Vest, Della Mae Vest, Robert Earl Vest, George Luther Vest, Andrew Jackson Vest Jr., and Martha Lee Vest. He was my step grandfather and we called him Hoyt. I last saw Hoyt when I was a teenager so most of my memories of him have faded. I do remember that he was heavyset, tall, and a quiet, sweet man.

William "Hoyt" Vest

I researched and wrote much of this sketch on what would have been his 117th birthday and was anxious to see what I would find. It ended up being quite a few things. My research started out with a bump though. I was unable to find Hoyt in the 1910 and 1930 census records. I spent two days using the and search engines, as well as performing manual page by page searches myself. I looked in both Whitfield County and Catoosa County in Georgia, as well as Hamilton County in Tennessee. I searched on his wife and children’s names and found none of them. I finally had to move on but will check back later. This has happened before, and I eventually find them.

On January 19, 1920, the Vest family lived in Blackstock, Catoosa County, Georgia. Hoyt’s father was a farmer on a general farm. He was enumerated as what looks like Harriet, was 14 years old, and worked as a farm laborer on the home farm. Hoyt was attending school and could read and write.

Hoyt married Mary Wells in Hamilton County, Tennessee on November 7, 1925. The Chattanooga Daily Times reported their names on November 8, 1925 in a list of people who had obtained a marriage license. Hoyt’s last name was incorrectly listed as “West” vs. “Vest” in the news clipping. 

One page from the Vest-Wells marriage license (1925)

Vest-Wells marriage license (click to enlarge)

On June 29, 1926, a premature infant was born in Ringgold, Catoosa County, Georgia. It appears the baby was alive at birth vs. stillborn as the doctor certified that he saw her alive on June 29. Sadly, she died at 7 a.m. that morning. The unnamed infant was buried the same day on the home grounds in Ringgold. The death certificate listed the father as Hoyt Vest, born in Whitfield County, Georgia. However, the name of the mother is a mystery. In the box “maiden name of mother,” the name Mary K. Huffacker, born in Knoxville, Tennessee was listed. As you read on, you’ll see that on Hoyt’s World War II draft registration card, his wife was listed as Mrs. Mary Cathern Vest. So, is Mary Wells and Mary K. Huffacker the same woman? Did the “K” stand for Katherine (Cathern)? I don’t find any other records to help solve this mystery so who knows. Any thoughts you might have would be appreciated. 

Cropped image from the unnamed infant's death certificate showing the maiden name of mother
Hoyt’s sister Martha Lee Vest was born in Georgia, probably Whitfield County, on May 1, 1927. She died in Dalton, Whitfield County, Georgia on February 15, 1928. Her death certificate notes there was no physician present. Instead, a statement from Hoyt’s parents said Martha probably died from measles and influenza. She was buried the next day at Ebenezer Cemetery in Catoosa County.

Hoyt and Mary welcomed a daughter they named Louella Mae Vest on November 7, 1929, born in Chattanooga. Another daughter, Billie Jean Vest, was born in Hamilton County on February 16, 1934. Sadly, she didn’t survive infancy and died at home in Lupton City, Hamilton County, Tennessee on March 26. Lupton City was a suburb of Chattanooga. The cause of death listed on her death certificate was influenza and broncho pneumonia, contributed by congenital heart disease. Billie was buried the next day at Ebenezer Cemetery in Catoosa County, Georgia.

Cropped image from Billie Jean Vest's death certificate showing burial location
Martha and Billie’s death certificates were clues that helped me figure out who I believe Mary Wells’ parents were. If I’m correct, that would be James “Glenn” Wells and Amanda Leonard. Both Martha and Billie were buried in Ebenezer Cemetery. Neither death certificate included the cemetery location so I looked for that cemetery in the Chattanooga area. Didn’t find one so looked in Georgia and found one in Catoosa County. Hoyt’s family lived in Catoosa County as did Hoyt and Mary themselves at one point but I still needed a connection. One of the burials listed in Ebenezer Cemetery’s Find A Grave site is Thomas Benton “T.B.” Wells. So now I had both Vest and Wells burials in that cemetery but was still looking to connect Mary to T.B. Wells. I decided to let do the work for me and started building his family tree. It turns out, T.B. Wells had a son named James Glenn Wells who had a daughter named Mary with Amanda Leonard. The 1910 Blackstock, Catoosa County, Georgia census record shows the Glenn Wells family with daughter Mary (born 1909) and her grandfather “Benton Wells” living in the home. The birth year is off a little but within reasonable numbers. Assuming this is correct, along with the connection to Catoosa County, it makes sense that Mary would bury her daughter at Ebenezer Cemetery. I still need the paper trail to prove the connection, but I feel like I’m onto something here. 

Glenn Wells family, with Mary included, in 1910 census record (click to enlarge)

A son named Hobert McKinley Vest, was born to Hoyt and Mary in Tennessee on December 27, 1937.

On April 3, 1940, Hoyt, his wife Mary, daughter Louella, and son Hobert (enumerated as Hovert) lived in a rental home at 56 Third Avenue in Lupton City. They had been living in the same house since 1935. The highest grade in school Hoyt had completed was the 7th. A 21-year-old white female named Mossie Stepp lived in the home as well. Mossie was enumerated as a servant with the occupation of housekeeper in a private home. She too had been living in the home since 1935. Hoyt was employed as a yarn boy in a cotton mill and had made $789 in 1939. Mary was employed as a reeler in a cotton mill and made $889 in 1939. According to the Hall Genealogy Website: Old Occupation Names, a reeler “received yarn on bobbins or paper tubes and arranged them on a shelf above the machine; guided and attached the end of the yarns to swifts (skeleton reels), which revolved and wound the yarn upon themselves in skein form; controlled the power drive on the machine; mended broken threads; removed the hanks or skeins of yarn from the machine when completed.” Mossie had been paid $156 for her services with I imagine room and board included. 

Hoyt was also enumerated at his parents’ home in the Blackstock District of Catoosa County, Georgia on April 13, 1940. This census record shows that he was married but his wife and children were not listed. Hoyt was employed as a farmer/unpaid family worker and had worked 30 hours during the week of March 24–30, 1940. His father was still a farmer, as was his brothers Andrew Jr., Earl, and George. The record shows that everyone in the house had been living there since 1935, although we know that was not the case for Hoyt.

Hoyt registered for the World War II draft in Hamilton County, Tennessee, on October 16, 1940 at the age of 35. He and his wife, Mary, lived at 56 Third Avenue in Lupton City. His registration card described him as being 6’ 2” tall and weighing 222 pounds. He had a dark complexion, black hair, and brown eyes. Hoyt worked at the Dixie Mercerizing Company in Lupton City. According to Wikipedia, “mercerisation is a textile finishing treatment for cellulose fabric and yarn, mainly cotton and flax, which improves dye uptake and tear strength, reduces fabric shrinkage, and imparts a silk-like luster.”

World War II draft registration card

On April 7, 1950, Hoyt, Mary, Louella, and Hobert still lived in the Third Avenue house in Lupton City. Hoyt worked as an oiler in the spinning department of a textile mill while Mary was no longer employed. Their daughter Louella, age 20, was also working in the textile mill, as a winder. The Chattanooga City Directories for the years 1952 – 1954 showed that they continued to live in the Third Avenue house. In 1954, Hoyt worked as a spinner at the Dixie Mercerizing Company. Sometime after 1954, Hoyt apparently divorced Mary and married my granny, Daisy Lee Shields. I’m told they lived together for several years before they married so it must have been in the late 1950s. Hoyt was Granny’s sixth husband, well technically, fifth—she married one of them twice. 

Hoyt and my Granny, Daisy Shields in the Smoky Mountains

Hoyt, Granny, and my sister Jennifer

Hoyt and Granny

I remember they lived in a house in Tunnel Hill, Whitfield County, Georgia built by one of Granny’s other husbands. I believe the property the house was built on was given to Granny by her father, James Stewart Shields. The house sat up on a small hill and was a short walk down the dirt road from my great-grandparents house. There was no running water inside—it had both a well and an outhouse sitting in the yard. I recall going to the well, dropping the bucket that hung from a rope, and then drinking water from the big ladle that was always sitting in the bucket. Every summer, a couple of us usually spent a week there and we took our baths in a big wash tub in the kitchen. The outhouse sat on the other inside of the driveway on the back side of the house. Granny was a beautician and owned a beauty shop. The two of them would take us to the shop for a wash and haircut. We traveled together to the Smoky Mountains and they spent Christmas with us.

Hoyt washing hair at Granny's beauty shop (not sure which of us this is)

Me with Hoyt in the background

Hoyt and an unknown man. Unfortunately, I never asked Mama who he was.

My sister Bonita, Hoyt, me, brother Michael, sisters Vanessa and Jennifer and Granny

Me, Mama (Fay Lankford), Hoyt, and Granny

Hoyt’s mother Bessie died on September 17, 1959 at her home in Ringgold, Catoosa County, Georgia. By this time, Hoyt had moved from Tennessee and was living in Ringgold. His father Andrew died at Fort Oglethorpe, Catoosa County, Georgia on April 13, 1969. Both were buried at Nellie Head Church in Tunnel Hill.

Hoyt and his mother, Bessie Elliott Vest

At some point, Hoyt and Granny sold the Tunnel Hill house and moved to Calhoun, Gordon County, Georgia after he got a job in the carpet mills. They lived there four or five years and then moved to Cleveland, Bradley County, Tennessee. Somewhere along the way, Hoyt developed diabetes and lost a big toe on one foot. He eventually lost the leg above the knee and then later lost the other leg and was totally dependent on Granny. This apparently didn’t sit well with her and she filed for divorce. After the divorce, Hoyt moved to San Diego, California to live with his son. My sister remembers that he didn’t want to go but Granny was moving on. Other Vest family members had moved to California at some point so perhaps they were all together. Hoyt’s brother George died in El Cajon, San Diego County, California on September 20, 1983. We lost track of what happened to Hoyt after his move but did learn he died in San Diego on April 30, 1987. Unfortunately, we don’t know the circumstances or where he was buried. 

In researching to write his story, I learned that Hoyt had a lot of heartache in his life. And when he needed support the most, my Granny wasn’t there for him. I hope he found peace in life before he died.

Granny, my sister Bonita, Hoyt holding me, Daddy (Sam Lankford)
holding my sister Jennifer in our backyard


  • California Death Index, 1940-1997, database, FamilySearch ( November 2014), William Hoyt Vest, 30 Apr 1987; Department of Public Health Services, Sacramento.
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee, City Directory, 1952, 1953, 1954.
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed 9 August 2022), memorial page for Thomas Benton “T.B.” Wells (1838–7 Apr 1916), Find a Grave Memorial ID 10966405, citing Ebenezer Cemetery, Catoosa County, Georgia, USA; maintained by Lawrence Wells (contributor 47075545).
  • George Luther Vest, California Death Index, 1940–1997.
  • Hall Genealogy Website: Old Occupation Names;
  • Hobert McKinley Vest, California, U.S., Death Index, 1940–1997.
  • Inf. of Hoyt Vest, Georgia, U.S., Death Index, 1919–1998.
  • Marriage Licenses, Chattanooga Daily Times, Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 8, 1925.
  • Mercerised cotton;
  • Mrs. Bessie Elliott Vest and Andrew Jackson Vest obituaries, newspapers unknown.
  • Personal Lankford family memories.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Blackstock, Catoosa County, Georgia, 1910, 1920, 1940.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Lupton City, Hamilton County, Tennessee, 1950.
  • U.S. Federal Census, Rocky Face, Whitfield County, Georgia, 1930.
  • Unnamed infant of Hoyt Vest, Standard Certificate of Birth no. 13709, Georgia State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.
  • William Hoyt Vest, U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940–1947. 

Friday, August 5, 2022

James M. Lankford, the horse doctor

This week, I’d like to share three news articles I found that help tell the story of James Meriweather Lankford, my 3rd great grandfather. James wore many hats. In addition to being a son, husband, father, and grandfather, James was a farmer, soldier, constable, realtor, and merchant, selling groceries, household supplies, toiletries, and medicines. He spent much of his life dealing with horses—he was a stock trader; he owned and ran both a livery stable and a daily hack service that transported passengers to and from the train in Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia. And he was a horse doctor. James ran the following article in The Greensboro Herald mid- to late 1873 and early 1874.

Everybody! Look Here, The Greensboro Herald, Greensboro, Georgia, July 24, 1873.

To Farmers and Friends Generally. I have moved from Penfield to within one mile of Scull Shoals, Ga., where I propose to cure Horses diseased with Fistula, Polk-evil, Swinny, Big-head, weak eyes, Set-fast on the back, Founder; also to castrate Colts. No cure, I charge nothing for my trouble.

Having had twenty years experience in handling Horses, if I take your horse in hand it will cost you nothing unless I cure. I argue that 99 out of every 100 horses go blind or get disabled from the above diseases and the want of proper treatment.

My address will be SCULL SHOALS, Ga.

James M. Langford.

May 29, 1873

The Greensboro Herald, Greensboro, Georgia, July 24, 1873

He seemed pretty confident in his ability to heal horses, didn’t he? James was so serious about being a horse doctor, he wrote a book about it. I found an August 3, 1883 article in the Georgia Home Journal advertising the book A Treatise on the Horse and His Various Diseases! 

A Treatise on the Horse and His Various Diseases!

By J. M. Lankford, of Greene County

Receipes [sic] for all diseases, nils and complaints peculiar to horses, mules, etc., by a man of many years experience. This book is endorsed by some of the most prominent men in Middle Georgia. State and county rights for the sale of this book can be purchased from J. M. LANKFORD.

July 27th, 1883.

Georgia Home Journal, August 3, 1883

Of course, I had to see if the book existed and found copies of it for sale on several websites. However, the book shows the author as B. J. Kendall, not James. I finally found a digital copy on the Internet Archive website listing Burney James Kendall as the author of the book published in 1879, four years before James’ advertisement. I have no clue what was going on with James in 1883, but he did in fact publish a book that year. On January 25, 2016, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Blog featured Lankford’s Horse Book as the “book of the month.” The book, published in Atlanta in 1883, was written by James M. Lankford of Penfield, Georgia. But was this the same book as Kendall’s? The BPL Blog shared a sample remedy to cure colic from James’ book, so I checked Kendall’s book to see if the Treatise book had the same remedy. On page 8 of the Treatise book, there was a treatment for colic that’s very different from what the BPL Blog shared from Lankford’s Horse Book. So, they must be different books but not having a copy of Lankford’s Horse Book, I can’t confirm that. According to the Southern History Department (Birmingham Public Library System) Facebook page, “BPL is the only library in the world that owns Lankford’s Horse Book, and it is part of our rare book collection.” If interested, you can read the BPL Blog here: Southern History Book of the Month: Lankford’s Horse Book. You’ll find a copy of Kendall’s book here: A Treatise on the Horse and His Diseases

Image used with permission: Southern History Department, Birmingham Public Library System

Another interesting article was disturbing but did confirm James was a horse doctor. This article was published in the Georgia Home Journal in Greensboro on August 13, 1886. 

Georgia Home Journal, Greensboro, Georgia, August 13, 1886.—J. M. Langford, a horse doctor of Greene county, and well known in Augusta, was assaulted and robbed of $200 Saturday night. The robbers thought he was dead and threw his body into a creek. He crawled out and still lives.

I love to find these types of articles. They add substance to writing my ancestor’s life story.


  • A Treatise on the Horse and His Various Diseases!, Georgia Home Journal, Greensboro, Georgia, August 3, 1883.
  • Daily Chronicle and Sentinel, Augusta, Georgia, February 4, 1852.
  • Everybody! Look Here, The Greensboro Herald, Greensboro, Georgia, July 24, 1873.
  • Georgia Home Journal, Greensboro, Georgia, August 13, 1886.
  • Kendall, Burney James, A Treatise on the Horse and His Diseases, 1879, Internet Archive;
  • Southern History Book of the Month: Lankford’s Horse Book, Birmingham Public Library Blog, January 25, 2016.
  • Temperance Crusader, Penfield, Georgia, January 12, 1856.
  • Temperance Crusader, Penfield, Georgia, November 29, 1856.
  • The Georgia Temperance Crusader, Penfield, Georgia, February 4, 1858.
  • The Temperance Banner, Penfield, Georgia, December 1, 1855.
  • The Temperance Banner, Penfield, Georgia, June 10, 1854.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Mary Durie

After being out of town for three weeks, followed by a computer crash the weekend after I got home (thank goodness for backing up before my trip!), I sat down to write the story of an Athya infant for my next blog post. Instead, I went down a rabbit hole after noticing the informant on the death register was an aunt named Mary Wark. Who was she? I had never seen the name before so of course had to investigate. That opened up a full weekend of research and downloading of records from ScotlandsPeople. Turns out, she was my husband’s 2nd great aunt, sister of his great grandmother, Jemima Durie. Mary was one of those female ancestors who I hadn’t figured out yet, but now I know a lot about her. This also led to being able to take the Durie line back another generation (early 1800s) after finding the name of a different aunt on the death register for Jane Durie, Mary and Jemima’s sister. It was an exciting weekend of research!

Mary Durie, daughter of James Durie and Jane Liddell Braidwood, was born in Anderston, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland on September 14, 1849. She was the oldest child of nine—Mary Durie, Agnes Durie, Elizabeth Durie, George Durie, Jemima Durie, Andrewina Durie, John Durie, Robert Durie, and Jane Durie. As mentioned above, Mary is the 2nd great aunt of my husband. Their nearest common relatives are Mary’s parents, James and Jane (Braidwood) Durie.

In 1851, the Durie family lived at 67 and 69 Carrick Street in the St. George Civil Parish of Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Mary’s father, age 27, worked as an engineer. Mary’s aunt, Jessie Braidwood, age 21, was living in the home. The transcription is hard to read but I believe Jessie worked as a boy’s clothing maker. Jessie was a new family member so I’m curious to find out more about her.

In 1861, the Durie family lived at 62 Brown Street in the Clyde District of the St. George Civil Parish of Glasgow. Mary’s father (age 36) worked as an engine smith, a person who “made parts for and repaired engines using the tools of a Smith—similar work to that of a Blacksmith” according to the Hall Genealogy Website of Old Occupation Names. On May 26, 1861, Mary’s two-year-old sister Andrewina died at home of dothinenteritis, also known as typhoid fever. She had been sick for six weeks at the time of her death. The death register recorded her father’s occupation as engine fitter/journeyman. 

Register for Andrewina Durie's death (click to enlarge)

Five years later the family suffered another loss when Mary’s one-year-old sister Jane died of croup on November 6, 1866 at 22 Pitt Street in Blythswood, Glasgow, Scotland. Jane had been sick for two days. Mary and Jane’s father still worked as an engine fitter/journeyman. An aunt, Elizabeth Morris, was listed as the informant on the death register. Elizabeth lived at 53 Cadogan Street in Glasgow. This was another new family member and the aunt that led to taking the Durie line back another generation. 

Register for Jane Durie's death (click to enlarge)

Of course, I had to figure out which line she belonged to—James Durie or Jane Braidwood. The 1856 marriage register of Elizabeth Durie and John Morris made the connection. The Elizabeth on the marriage register lived at 53 Cadogan Street in Glasgow so I knew it was the same person. The register listed her parents as George Durie and Elizabeth (Taylor) Durie. 

Register for Elizabeth Durie and John Morris' marriage (click to enlarge)

Once I found George and Elizabeth, I was able to find a baptism record for James Durie on showing that his baptism took place on May 30, 1824 in Inveresk With Musselburgh, Midlothian, Scotland. I had his birth as about 1825. 

Baptism record for James Durie on

George and Elizabeth were married on January 16, 1820 in Inveresk With Musselburgh, Midlothian, Scotland. The puzzle pieces were coming together.

Marriage record for George Dury and Elizabeth Tailer on

Wedding bells rang in Tradeston, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland on December 27, 1872, when Mary married Robert Wark, son of Robert Wark and Margaret Murphy. The marriage took place at 5 Abbotsford Place in the Gorbals District of Glasgow, Scotland “after Banns, according to the Forms of the Church of Scotland.” The marriage was performed by Andrew Leiper, minister of the Gorbals Parish. Their witnesses were Charles Brown and Elizabeth Durie. At age 22, Mary was a spinster who worked as a muslin darner who lived at 22 Pitt Street in Glasgow. Robert, age 22, was a bachelor who worked as a cloth lapper (journeyman). According to the Hall Genealogy Website of Old Occupation Names, a cloth lapper “moved the yarn from the carding machine to the next process in weaving.” Robert lived at 24 Pitt Street in Glasgow. They obviously lived in the same neighborhood and possibly worked together which tells us how they probably met. Robert’s parents were both deceased. 

Marriage register for Mary Durie and Robert Wark (click to enlarge)

Mary and Robert had four children together—Jane Wark (born 1873 in Clyde, Glasgow), Robert Wark (1874), Georgina Wark (1878), and Mary Wark (1881). Robert, Georgina, and Mary were all born in Anderston, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland.

In 1881, the Wark family lived at 8 Canning Street in the Civil Parish of Barony in Anderston, Glasgow. I found it interesting that this census tracked the rooms with one or more windows. In this case, they had two. Robert still worked as a cloth lapper. Daughter Jane and son Robert were both scholars. Mary’s nephew James Athya died on April 12, 1884 in Anderston of congestion of the lungs. James was the three-month-old son of Jemina, Mary’s sister. Mary was the informant and still lived at 8 Canning Street. This was the record where I first discovered the aunt named Mary Wark that led to lots of new information. Four months later, Mary’s husband Robert (age 32) died on August 12, 1884 from pleurisy in Anderston, Glasgow, Scotland. Wikipedia describes pleurisy as an “inflammation of the membranes that surround the lungs and line the chest cavity” which can “result in a sharp chest pain while breathing. Occasionally the pain may be a constant dull ache. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, cough, fever or weight loss, depending on the underlying cause.” Robert had been ill for 14 days. According to the death register, the illness was accompanied by diarrhea and abscess for three days.

Register for Robert Wark's death (click to enlarge)

In 1891, Mary (age 39), Jane (age 18), Robert (age 16), and Georgina (age 12) still lived at 8 Canning Street in Anderston. Mary worked as a church cleaner. Jane worked as a turkey red cloth folder. According to Wikipedia, “Turkey red is a color that was widely used to dye cotton in the 18th and 19th century.” It “used the root of the rubia plant as the colorant, but the process was long and complicated, involving multiple soaking of the fabrics in lye, olive oil, sheep’s dung, and other ingredients. The fabric was more expensive but resulted in a fine bright and lasting red, similar to carmine, perfectly suited to cotton.” Robert worked as an apprentice tinsmith and Georgina was a scholar.

In 1901, Mary, Jane, Robert, and Georgina lived at 3 Piccadilly Street in the Barony St. Mark Parish of Anderston, Glasgow, Scotland. Mary (age 39) was no longer working, Jane and Georgina both worked as a sewer of furniture hangings, and Robert as a housepainter. This house had two rooms with windows. Mary’s father, James Durie (age 74), died at 33 McIntyre Street in Anderston, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland on December 13, 1902. Cause of death was a cerebral hemorrhage. His parents, George Durie and Mary (Elizabeth) Taylor Durie were both deceased. George’s occupation was recorded as handloom weaver. Mary’s brother, John Durie, was the informant on the death register. Mary’s mother Jane Braidwood Durie (age 77) died on October 28, 1908 at Stobhill Hospital in Springburn, Lanark, Glasgow, Scotland. Cause of death was senile cardiac arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.  

In 1911, Mary (age 61), Jane (age 38), and Georgina (age 32) lived at 35 Overnewton Square in the Kelvinhaugh Parish of Anderston, Glasgow, Scotland. Mary was unemployed, Jane worked at home as a dressmaker, and Georgina worked as a sewer (upholster).

Mary died at home at the age of 72 on October 18, 1922 in Anderston, Glasgow, Scotland. Cause of death was recorded as chronic bronchitis and tumour [sic] of left breast, nature unknown. Mary’s daughter, Jane Wark, was the informant on the death register. 

Death register for Mary Durie Wark

The register listed Mary’s mother’s full name as Jane “Liddell” Braidwood Durie. Jane Braidwood’s mother was Mary Liddell so it was important to me to discover that. More research is needed to find Mary’s burial location but I feel I learned a lot in two days of research.


  • Athya, James, Statutory Registers Deaths 644/10 246, National Records of Scotland, 1884.
  • Barony Parish, St. Mark, Anderston, Glasgow, Scotland census, 1901.
  • Dothinenteritis, the English Dictionary;
  • Durie, Andrina, Statutory Registers Deaths 644/5 442, National Records of Scotland, 1861.
  • Durie, James, Statutory Registers Deaths 644/10 735, National Records of Scotland, 1902.
  • Durie, Jane, Statutory Registers Deaths 644/6 504, National Records of Scotland, 1866.
  • Durie, Jane, Statutory Registers Deaths 644/6 881, National Records of Scotland, 1908.
  • Durie, Mary, Statutory Registers Marriages 644/9 656, National Records of Scotland, 1872.
  • George Dury and Elizabeth Tailer, Scotland, Select Marriages, 1561-1910.
  • Glasgow, Barony Civil parish, Anderston, County Lanarkshire, Scotland census, 1891.
  • Glasgow, Barony Civil parish, County Lanarkshire, Scotland census, 1871, 1881.
  • Glasgow, St. George Civil parish, County Lanarkshire, Scotland census, 1851, 1861.
  • Hall Genealogy Website, Old Occupation Names;
  • James Durie, Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950.
  • Kelvinhaugh Parish, Anderston, Glasgow, Scotland census, 1911.
  • Morris, John, Statutory Registers Marriages 644/6 28, National Records of Scotland, 1856.
  • Turkey red;
  • Wark, Mary, Statutory Registers Deaths 644/11 917, National Records of Scotland, 1922.
  • Wark, Robert, Statutory Registers Deaths 644/10 569, National Records of Scotland, 1884. 

Friday, July 22, 2022

Slaves named in the Will of Thomas Gresham Janes

Thomas Gresham Janes, son of William Janes IV and Selah Gresham, was born July 11, 1794. He married three times—first to Malinda P. W. West on January 30, 1821, second to Emily T. West (sister to Malinda) on January 17, 1828, and third to Elizabeth P. Sanford on July 26, 1839, all in Greene County, Georgia. It appears Thomas had six children—Mary Selah Janes, Athalia E. Janes, George V. Janes, Susan E. Janes, Sarah J. T. Janes, and William F. Janes. He only names five in his will. Unfortunately, I don’t know which wife the children belong to at this time. 

According to the book History of Greene County, Georgia, 1876–1886 by Rice and Williams, Thomas was a physician in Greene County and “represented Greene Co. in the legislature in 1827-28, 34-35 and was Senator in 1836-37-38. He was one of the first Trustees of Mercer University.”

Thomas died in Greene County on September 14, 1843. My DNA results show he is my 3rd great grand uncle. His brother was Absalom Madison Janes.

His will lists the names of 52 enslaved people.

Thomas G. Janes’ Will

Sept. adj. Term 1843

Green Court of Ordinary

Admitted to Record on the oaths of B. M. Sanders and P. H. Mell

Recorded in book G—Pages-10-11-12. 13-

28 September 1843.

Wm. L. Strain, Clk.

Green Court of Ordinary

Sept. adj. Term 1843

Personally appeared in open Court B. M. Sanders and P. H. Mell, two of the subscribing witnesses to the within last Will and Testament of Thomas G. Janes deceased, who being duly sworn say that they saw the within named Thomas G. Janes, sign, seal and heard him acknowledge the same to be his last Will and Testament, and that they each believed him to be of perfect sound mind and memory at the time of his signing the same—and that they together with W. H. Stokes, subscribed their names as witnesses thereto in the presence of the Testator.

B. M. Sanders

P. H. Mell

Sworn to and subscribed in open court this 27 September 1843. 

W. L. Strain, Clk.

State of Georgia, Greene County

In the name of God, amen, I, Thomas G. Janes, of the county and state aforesaid being of sound mind and memory, do make this my last will and testament.

Item 1st. It is my will and desire that all my just debts be paid.

2nd. I bequeath to my beloved wife Elizabeth P. Janes five hundred dollars in money, and the land and premises whereon I now reside together with all the household and kitchen furniture (with the provision that she be bound to furnish my three children (viz.) Susan E., George V., and Athaliah E. Janes, a bed stead and furniture with forty dollars each) my son William F. and Sarah J. T. having received theirs) also I give to my said beloved wife, all the plantation tools, four wheeled pleasure carriage and carriage horses, the two horse wagon and harnesses, six choice cows and yearlings, thirty choice stock hogs, four choice sows and pigs, all my stock of sheep and geese, also my family bible, hymn books and such other family books as she may choose. I also give to my said beloved wife the following named negroes (viz.) Mariah, a woman and her children Franklin and Sophy, with her increase, a negro man, Jesse and Fanny his wife and her increase, all the abovenamed property both real and personal to belong to my said beloved wife forever in fee simple. It is further my will that my beforesaid, beloved wife, whenever I may die shall have an ample supply of corn, fodder, pork or bacon, wheat, oats to support her and her negroes and stock during the next year following.

3rd. As it is probable that my said beloved wife Elizabeth P. Janes is in a state of pregnancy, I will to my said wife during her lifetime four other negroes (viz.) Len, a boy, Smith, a boy, Rosette and Queen, girls and their increase, but if my said wife should have a living child of her present probable pregnancy, the four last named negroes to belong to said child after the death of my said wife, but if there should be no living child or if such child should die in infancy, the said four negroes to belong to my said wife in her own right forever.

4th. It is my will, that if my said wife should have a living child from her present probable pregnancy, I will to said child, six negroes (viz.) Aron, a boy, Charlotte, Antinette, Isabella, Celin Ann, and Eliza and their increase (they being the children of Jesse and Fanny) but if no living child should be brought forth, or if such child should die in infancy, then and in that case the last six named negroes and their increase, to revert to and belong to my estate to be equally divided, share and share alike between my five other children, my said wife, having no part in them.

5th. I will to the child my said beloved wife may have, if her present probable pregnancy, five hundred dollars in money, ten share of the stock of the Georgia Rail Road and Banking company, and also the tract of land lying and being in this county on the entry of Richland Creek containing about seven hundred acres, called the Mill tract, adjoining Tarpley, Carlton and others, but if no living child should be brought forth or if such child should die in infancy then and in that case, the said money to wit five hundred dollars, the ten shares of stock of the Georgia Rail Road and Banking Company and the same seven hundred acres of land, to revert to and become a part of my estate and be equally divided share and share alike between my five other children, my said wife having no share or part thereof.

6th. It is my will that my Executor, herein after named, shall have full power and authority to rent, lease or sell the same mile tract of land, bequeathed in the 5th item, at their discretion whenever they may deem it for the interest of the estate in any time in fifteen years.

7th. I will to the eldest son William F. Janes, one bed and furniture one desk and book case, together with all my books, excepting those given to my beloved wife, also eight negroes (viz.) John Fitch, and Beddy his wife and her infant child and Miller, Berry, Rachel, Sally and Emily (all the children of John Fitch and Beddy) and their increase. Also, I will to my said son William F. the tract of land he now is improving in Paulding County, Georgia, lying in the second district of the fourth section consisting of numbers 888, 889, 890, 838, 839, 840, 817, 767, 769, and one third of number 768 – containing in all three hundred and seventy three and a third (373 1/3) acres more or less, also three acres of number 990, including the house and improvements where he now lives, together with privilege of water of the spring on said lot. 

8th. I will to my daughter Sarah J. T. Gibson, 1 bed and furniture one bureau, one horse, and all the property heretofore given her and six negroes (viz.) Betty and her five children, Daniel, Harry, Eve, Silsy, and Rebekah and their increase, and also, she may take a settlement of land at the Deason place, or lots number 849 of the 2nd district 4th Section and lands connected therewith lying to the Ninth West including the Scott place, to be laid off by my Executors in such a way as not to injure the realm of my other lands – all lying in Paulding County, Georgia. Also, I will to my said daughter three acres of number 990 – wherever she may see proper to locate it, for the purpose of building, together with privilege of water of the spring on said lot.

9th. It is my will that the property of every description willed to my son William F. Janes and Sarah J. T. Gibson be valued by persons appointed by the court of ordinary (excepting the Books within to my son William F.) and accounted for in the division of my estate between them and three other children Susan E. Janes, George V. Janes, and Athaliah E. Janes.

10th. It is my will and desire that all the negroes I may die papered of, not otherwise bequeathed in this my will, to be equally divided, share and share alike between my five children William F. Janes, Sarah J. T. Gibson, Susan E. Janes, George V. Janes and Athaliah E. Janes, William F. and Sarah J. T. accounting for three negroes willed them. The negroes of the three minor children, Susan E., George V. and Athaliah E. to be kept in common stock and each of them to receive their part when each shall arrive at lawful age or get married.

11th. It is my will that my executors, herein after named have full power and authority to sell any and all lands I may die papered of, besides there herein bequeathed, and excepting the lands I own in Second district fourth section originally Cherokee now Paulding County, in whatever parcels, and such credits and at such time, as they may deem most to the interest of my estate, within ten years.

12th. It is my will and desire that my executors herein after named and I do hereby authorize them to purchase for the benefit of my estate and lots of land in Cedar Dally Paulding County, Georgia, that they may think necessary and important to improve the realm of the settlements of land I own in said really – 

13th. It is my will and desire that whenever either of my three minor children, Susan E., George W. or Athaliah E. Janes, arrives at lawful age or marries, that person be appointed by the court and assign to such one as aforesaid, a settlement of land in Cedar Dally, Paulding County, similar to the tracts willed to my two eldest children, William F. and Sarah J. T. realized at the same rates as those given the two elder, or nearly as practicable, to be accounted for in the settlement between the legatees.

14th. It is my will that my executors have power and authority, to lease, rent, or sell my interest (it being one third part) of the land and mills on Cedar Creek, Paulding County, upon such time as they may deem to the interest of my estate (the other parts owned by William E. and George W. West).

15th. It is my will that my executors keep up the farm in Paulding County, now managed by Mark Jackson for me according to the written agreement between said Jackson and myself by contract with him or some other person so long as they may deem it for the interest of my estate.

16th. It is my will and desire that my Executors be required to be at all expenses necessary to give to my nephew Thomas Janes, son of Archibald G. Janes, a good English education, either at Penfield, Cedar Dally, or Cave Spring and if my said nephew should bid far in their judgement to make a good scholar, they be required to give him a classical education, causing him to graduate at Penfield.

17th. I will my silver watch to my son George V. Janes.

18th. It is my will and desire that all my property both real and personal not herein addressed bequeathed be equally divided share and share alike between my five children, William F., Sarah J. T., Susan E., George V. and Athaliah E.

19th. I do hereby constitute and appoint my son William F. Janes, my son in law Henry A. Gibson, and George W. West of Paulding County and Absalom Janes of Greene County, executors to this my last will and testament, in [unreadable] and ratifications of which I the same Thomas G. Janes hath hereunto set my hand and seal this the twenty eighth day of February A.D. One-thousand and eight hundred and forty three.

Thos. G. Janes

Signed sealed and executed in presence of B. M. Sanders, Wm. H. Stokes, P. H. Mell

Inventory & appraisement of the estate of Thomas G. Janes, deceased

Page 1
State of Georgia, Greene County

No. 1. Maria, a negro woman, valued at $400.00
2. Franklin,  "  boy   "   "   $200.00
3. Sophy,  "  girl   "   "   $150.00
4. Crawford,  "  boy   "   "   $100.00
5. Jesse,  "  man   "   "   $300.00
6. Fanny,  "  woman   "   "   $275.00
7. Len,  "  man   "   "   $500.00
8. Smith,  "  boy   "   "   $100.00
9. Rosetta,  "  girl   "   "   $350.00
10. Queen,  "   "   "   "   $150.00
11. Aron,  "  boy   "   "   $350.00
12. Charlotte,  "  girl   "   "   $350.00
13. Antonett,  "   "   "   "   $250.00
14. Isabella,  "   "   "   "   $250.00
15. Colia,  "   "   "   "   $175.00
16. Eliza,  "   "   "   "   $150.00
17. Jim,  "  man   "   "   $550.00
18. Lucy,  "  woman   "   "   $350.00
19. Stephen,  "  boy   "   "   $300.00
20. Dave,  "  boy   "   "   $275.00
21. Nelson,  "   "   "   "   $250.00
22. Elleck,  "   "   "   "   $200.00
23. Betty,  "  girl   "   "   $150.00
24. Bill,  "  boy   "   "   $125.00
25. Big Lucy,  "  woman   "   "   $400.00
26. Sibba,  "  girl   "   "   $175.00
27. James,  "  boy   "   "   $135.00
28. Maria,  "  woman   "   "   $300.00
29. Harriet,  "  girl   "   "   $400.00
30. Martha,  "   "   "   "   $350.00
31. Adeline,  "   "   "   "   $225.00
Amount Carried Forward $8225.00

Partial snip of Inventory and Appraisement, page 1 (click to enlarge)

Inventory & appraisement of the estate of Thomas G. Janes, continued

Page 2
Amount brt forward -- $8225.00
No. 32 Minerva, a negro girl, valued at $200.00
33. Ellen,   "   "   "   "   $100.00
34. John,   "   man   "   "   $200.00
35. Anna,   "   woman   "   "   $400.00
36. Lizzy,   "   girl   "   "   $350.00
37. Sandy,   "   man   "   "   $400.00
38. Phill,   "   "   "   "   $25.00
39. Mary,   "   woman   "   "   $350.00
30 head of cattle - $135.00
1 yoke oxen $25, 6 cows & yearlings, $60 - $85.00
100 head of Hogs $250, 4 sows & pigs, $20 - $270.00
1 cotton gin $50, 1 Thrashing Machine 50 cts. - $50.50
4 bales cotton - $80.00
1 lot wheat - $16.00
6 stacks oats $30, 6 sheep $9 - $39.00
3 Geese 75 cts., one horse wagon $2 - $2.75
1 Redd Waggon $28, two horse waggon $75.00 - $103.00
1 pleasure Carriage & harness - $125.00
Blacksmiths tools $10, Iron $11 - $21.00
Weeding hose, mattocks & fro---  - $3.00
1 log chain $2, 1 lot plough & cli??? $5 - $7.00
1 lot axes $2, 1 lot tools $1 - $3.00
1 lot spades & shovels $3, 1 lot Gil & pant $2 - $5.00
1 lot of medicines & Jan - $5.00
1 barrel linen $2, 1 Thermometer & Barometer $1.50 - $3.50
1 lot of family books $10, 1 lot of Books $100 - $110.00
1 desk & book case $30, 1 pr. saddle bags $1 - $31.00
1 man saddle $5 - $5.00
1 lot Household furniture - $500.00
1 lot Kitchen furniture - $20.00
2 shot guns $10, Surgical instruments $25 - $35.00
1 lot mea???? 25 cts. - $.25
Amount carried forward - $12,355.00

Partial snip of Inventory and Appraisement, page 2 (click to enlarge)

There are Paulding County, Georgia records to explore but because I'm concentrating on Greene County, I won't include here. 


  • Rice, Dr. Thaddeus Brockett Rice and Carolyn White Williams, History of Greene County, Georgia, 1876–1886, 1961.
  • Thomas G. Janes, Georgia, U.S., Marriage Records from Select Counties, 1828–1978.
  • Thomas G. Janes, Georgia, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1742–1992.