Category Archives: 52 Ancestors

A Few Steps Closer to a Death Date and a Burial Place — 52 Ancestors: #6 Elizabeth Jane Wallace

There are a lot of things I know about Elizabeth.  Her parents.  Her husband. Her children. But I didn’t know when she died or where her final resting place was.  And it bothered me.

Donald Plot at Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia
Donald Plot at Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia4

Her husband, James Calvin Donald,1 her son John Charlton2 and John’s wife Elizabeth3 and their two sons are buried in at Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia.  All in the same plot. You can see James Calvin Donald in the back with the Southern Cross.  John C Donald Sr and Elizabeth J Donald in the front, and to the right out of the picture are John and Elizabeth’s two sons.  Where is Elizabeth Wallace, wife of James? Mother of John?

There are four posts about six inches high around the plot.  I took this short video to document the size of the plot and then empty spaces.

I headed over to the cemetery office to ask him about the plot and to see if there was any information we could find. The very helpful office worker, I wish I could remember his name, looked up James in the index and then helped us find the correct card in his book.  Two columns.  On the left, John C Donald  (Dec 27/1827 March 6/ 1748), Elizabeth J Donald (1895-1973), John C Donald (1921-1976), and William Lewis Donald (6-28-1927 – 5-16-05)5

page from donald burial records at stonewall jackson cemetery
Page from burial records taken in office of Stonewall Jackson Cemetery6

And in the right column? James C. Donald (1836 -1899).  And three graves.  We asked the caretaker and he said that those were unmarked graves.  He also told us that the information came from the church when they transferred the cemetery to the city.    Notice the information on the right was typed.  The information on the left was written, no doubt when the person was buried.

Now let’s say one of them was Elizabeth Jane Wallace, wife of James.  Who are the other two? According to a rather lengthy family history of the Lyle family in Rockbridge County, James and Elizabeth had two children that died young: William D and Andrew M.7

snippet from lyle book

Are the three unmarked graves, Elizabeth, William and James?  I asked about the question mark on that page and it is a possible grave.

We do know that Elizabeth’s will was written in 1901 and she left everything to her son John C Donald, who is buried in the plot with unmarked graves.8  He also declares himself the executor of her estate on October 1st, 1918.9  It is loose circumstantial evidence that he would have buried his mother in that same plot that he later was buried in and his father was buried in.

I also know that Elizabeth is in the 1910 census, living with her son, John C, and her mother.10 So she died sometime between 1910 and 1918, most likely in 1918.  And I think there is a strong possibility that she is one of the unmarked graves in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery.  Still more work needs to be done.  But I’m closer!


1 Find A Grave, digital images, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 5 Feb 2014), memorial page for Pvt James C. Donald,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 34346979, citing Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.
2 Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Main Street, Lexington, Virginia), John C Donald marker, upper portion of cemetery, personally read, 2013.
3 Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Main Street, Lexington, Virginia), Elizabeth J Donald marker, upper portion of cemetery, personally read, 2013.
4 Mitchell, Anne Gillespie, Photo of Donald Plot, Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia. Copy help by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], California, 2013
5 Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Lexington, Virginia), Donald Plot burial records, Lewis section, (viewed by author, 2013).
6 Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Donald Plot.
7 Oscar K. Lyle, Lyle family: The Ancestry and Posterity of Matthew John, Daniel and Samuel Lyle, Pioneer Settlers in Virginia, (New York, New York: Lecouver Press Company, 1912), 169; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 Feb 2014)
8 Rockbridge, Virginia, Will Book 39:373, E J Donald, widow of James C Donald, Will, written 2 Jan 1901; Clerk of County Court, Lexington.
9 Rockbridge, Virginia, Will Book 39:413-414, Exec.’s bond for E J Donald, John C Donald, Exec., filed 1 Oct 1918; Clerk of County Court, Lexington.
10. 1910 US Federal Census, Rockbridge county, Virginia, population schedule, Lexington Magisterial District, [unnumbered], ED  109, sheet 13-B, dwelling 186, family 186, Elizabeth Donald household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 Jan 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1647.

Early Research. Sloppy Research. Lots of Questions. 52 Ancestors #5: Mary Elizabeth Gillespie

1866-1883 - GrandmotherOver time, we all get better at genealogy.  We learn better ways to search, to analyze and how to prove that which seems unprovable.   The first group of family you work on is most likely to be filled with errors and bad assumptions.

My Gillespie line is that line for me.  I worked on it with my Dad, but neither one of us had a very good idea of what we were doing.

So let’s review.

My cousins and I believe this to be Mary Elizabeth Gillespie Gillespie.  Based on the watermark it was taken between 1866 and 1883 in Tennessee.  Mary would be have been somewhere between 40 and 60 years old.  I’m guessing I can get a better date on this by analyzing the head scarf she is wearing and the clothing.  She looks very serious.

My great aunt, Eva Dold Gillespie, told my father that Mary and Jeremiah, Mary’s husband, were first cousins.  I’ve never proven that, but I have used that to make a lot of assumptions about my research.  I have no reason to doubt my great aunt.  She was very sharp, taught history in Lexington, Virginia and according to my father cared a great deal about family history.  Oh, if I only I had been interested in this when she was alive!

So what do I know about Mary?

  • The marriage register for Mary states that her surname was Gillespie.  It does not list her father; no one had to sign for her, so I’m pretty sure she was at least 18 when she married Jeremiah Gillespie November 21st, 1848.  This suggests that her birthday was before November 21st, 1830.[1]
  • Because she was married in 1848, there is no census record where she will be enumerated by name.
  • In 1850, she is living with Jeremiah and their 6 month old daughter in the Eastern District of Amherst County, Virginia.[2]
  • In 1860, she is still living with Jeremiah and 4 children: Harriet I (10), Jas R (9), Wm H (7), and 8 month old Sarah M.[3]I never noticed it before, but there is a very big gap between Harriet, James, William and then Sarah.  Why where there no children?
    • There is actually I missing child here, George C, who would have been about 4 years old and William was more likely to have been 5.  That makes the ages of the children a bit more believable.
    • The Civil War came and went. I can find no record of Jeremiah serving even those his older brother did and his two younger brothers did.
    • Sarah dies in February of 1865[4]; Wyatt Paul, Jeremiah and Mary’s youngest child is born July 15th, 1865, 5 months later.[5]
    • The 1870 census is very strange to say the least. Mary is listed as Ann.  (I have no reason to believe that Mary had died, Jeremiah had remarried an Ann and then later married a Mary. I guess it’s possible.)  They own $100 worth of real estate. And the entire family is listed as not being able to read and write.[6]

    1870-us-census

  • In 1880, they are living in the Pedlar District of Amherst. Jeremiah “Jese” and Mary are living with Harriet, George and Paul.  This time Jeremiah is listed as 60 and Mary as 40. [7]

1880-us-census

The difference in Mary’s age does support the Jeremiah has possibly married two different Mary’s, but why would the children who would be the wife of the first Mary be listed as the heirs of the second Mary’s estate in 1893?  It seems that it should be the same woman.

  • I do not have an exact date of death for her, but I have a deed where her heirs sell their inheritance to Wyatt Paul Gillespie, my great grandfather and her youngest child in 1893.[8]

So who were Mary Elizabeth Gillespie parents?  Jeremiah’s parents where Tarlton Gillespie and Mahala Reynolds.  There were two other possible Gillespie families in the Amherst area that are possibilities.  Willis Gillespie and Roland Gillespie.  Both had daughters named Mary.  Roland’s daughter Mary married James S Camden.[9]  Willis had a daughter Mary who is listed in his will as Mary Gillespie (no husband given).[10]

Willis had a son, Wyatt who died May 15th, 1865 in the Prisoner of War camp in Elmira, New York.[11]Jeremiah and Mary had a son Wyatt who was born July 15th, 1865.[12]  Was they younger Wyatt named after the older?  Does this show a relationship?

Then there is the Bedford County connection.  Tarlton and Mahala, Jeremiah’s parents, were married there.[13]  There are other Gillespie’s there.  They need to be considered.

What if Mary Gillespie was a Gillespie because she married another Gillespie before marrying Jeremiah?  Not as likely, but it’s possible.

I need to start with doing some deed work and hoping I can find the connection between the land Mary and Jeremiah might have owned and someone else.  Or find something useful in neighbors.  Or tax lists. Or chancery records.  Or order books.  Lots of places left to look.  Lots of work to do.


[1] Amherst County, Virginia, “Register of marriages, Amherst County, Virginia, 1763-1853″, index and images, Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia, p. 408, entry for Jeremiah Gillaspie and Mary E Gillespie, bond date 21 Nov 1848; FHL microfilm 30273. Parents or Guardian of Husband: Talton Gillaspie; Security and Witnesses: James Gillaspie; J Powell Jr; Richd Waugh.
[2] 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Eastern, [unnumbered], dwelling 340, family 340, Jeremiah Gillaspie; digital images,  Ancestry.com  (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);  citing NARA microfilm publication, M432, roll 933.
[3] 1860 U.S. Federal Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, p. 132 (penned), dwelling 979, family 977, Jaremiah Gillispie;  digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);   citing NARA microfilm publication, M653, roll 1332.
[4] Virginia, Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Jul 2012), entry for Sarah Gilispie, daughter of Jerry and Mary Gillespie, Feb 1865, Amherst, Virginia.
[5] Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Main Street, Lexington, Virginia), Wyatt Paul Gillespie marker; personally read, 2013.
[6] 1870 U.S. Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Peddler, p. 497 (stamped), dwelling 218, family 210, Jeremiah Glasby;  digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 18 Jul 2012);  digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, M593, roll 1633.
[7] 1880 U.S Federal Census, Amherst County, Virginia, population schedule, Pedlar, enumeration district 19, p. 215A (stamped), p. 13 (penned), dwelling 118, family 125, Jese Gilaspie;  digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 14 May 2010);  digital images, citing NARA microfilm publication, T9, roll 1353.
[8] Amherst County, Virginia, Deeds, UU: 393-4, Mary Elizabeth Gillespie heirs to W.P. Gillespie, recorded 10 Nov 1893, Clerk of Circuit Court, Amherst.
[9] Virginia, Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Feb 2014), entry for Mary E Camden, daughter of Rolin and Lucy Gillaspie, 16 Apr 1881, Amherst, Virginia.
[10] Amherst County, Virginia, Will Book 19:253, Willis Gillespie, Dec.18,1865; Clerk of County Court, Amherst.
[11] Find A Grave, digital images, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 24 Aug 2012), memorial page for Corp Wiatt Gillespie  Find A Grave Memorial no. 35296331, citing Mount Olivet Cemetery, McGaheysville, Rockingham County, Virginia, USA.
[12] Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Main Street, Lexington, Virginia), Wyatt Paul Gillespie marker; personally read, 2013.
[13] Virginia Marriages, 1740-1850, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Feb 2014), entry for Tatton Gillaspie and Mahala Reynolds, 27 May 1816, Bedford, Virginia.

Come out, come out wherever you are! The hunt for Ancestor #4: Georgia Eva Baxter’s parents. 52 Ancestors.

There was a lot of sadness in Eva Georgia “Georgie” Baxter Payne’s 47 years.  Her mother died when she was 4.[1] Georgie died 5 years after her husband when she was 47 leaving behind 8 children, the youngest who was 8.

And she had a really inconvenient birthday. The 1880 census recorded everyone who was living in the household on June 1st, 1880. And Georgie was born on June 10th, 1880.[2] Oh, the 1880 census her family was on was enumerated on June 17th, 1880; but this enumerator followed the rules.[3]

Finding her parents was a bit of a challenge.  Georgie’s death certificate said her mother was Mary Alexander and her father was S. R. Baxter.  The informant was my grandmother, Georgie’s daughter, Jennie E Payne.[4]

image01-52-ancestors-from-death-certificate

There are no S.R. Baxter’s that I could find in North Carolina.  I looked.  And I looked.  And I looked.

I looked for Georgie’s marriage certificate James. James and Georgie were married October 18th, 1902. North Carolina marriage certificates have parents’ names. I found the film, I scrolled through it.  Bingo! You know that feeling when you find the obvious document that will have your answer.  The excitement! The answer!

image02-marriage-certifcate

Georgie’s parents are listed as unknown and unknown, and they both were dead. And you know that feeling too, don’t you?

Time to use the FAN method! I recorded the information that was on the marriage certificate including those who signed. B. R. Payseur, and name I still can’t read, and something like Reasley Carrol.

image03-m-c-signers

I went back to the North Carolina death certificates on Ancestry.com and search for people who had a father S.R. Baxter or a mother Mary Alexander.

And I found Sara Baxter, whose mother was Mary Baxter and her father Peter Baxter.  And her husband? Boyce R. Payseur.[5]  Now we know that B. R. Payseur was a witness to James and Georgie’s wedding.  I felt like I was on to something. OK, not solid proof.  But it sure felt like a substantial lead.  And it was.  Boyce is listed as a guardian for Georgie’s children.[6] James and Georgie’s son was named Jack Boyce Payne. [7]

image04-br-payseur

But I needed more.  I hunted down Peter Franklin Baxter’s probate files, who is listed as Sarah’s father on her death certificate and her father in 1880.[8] He died October 16th, 1897, five years before Georgie and James were married.[9]  When his will is recorded it lists a Sally Payseur, wife of Boyce and a Georgie Baxter.[10]  But that still isn’t enough. What if there is another Georgie Baxter that has a sister named Sally/Sarah?

So I searched for the final settlement for Peter’s will.  And lo and behold, Georgie, is now Georgie Payne and her husband is JR Payne.[11]

image05-settlement

She tried to hide her parents, but with a little FAN work I found her.  Every piece of data on every may be significant.

The answers are out there.


[1] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 29 Jan 2014), memorial page for Mary M Baxter,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 1616009; citing Bethlehem United Methodist Church, Lincoln County, North Carolina.
[2] North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 3 Aug 2010), entry for Georgie E Payne, 3 Feb 1928, reg. dist. no. 3C5462, reg. no. 2, cert. no. 397; North Carolina State Board of Health, Office of Vital Statistics, Raleigh, North Carolina.
[3] 1880 U.S Census, Lincoln County, North Carolina, population schedule, North Brook Township, ED 104, p. 22 (penned), dwelling 213, family 213, P Frank Baxter household;  database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Apr 2011); citing FHL film 1,254,970;  citing NARA microfilm publication, T9, roll 970.
[4] North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 3 Aug 2010), entry for Georgie E Payne, 3 Feb 1928, reg. dist. no. 3C5462, reg. no. 2, cert. no. 397; North Carolina State Board of Health, Office of Vital Statistics, Raleigh, North Carolina.
[5] North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 20 Jan 2014), entry for Sarah E Baxter Payseur, 26 Jan 1961, reg. dist. no. 23-70, rcert. no. 567; North Carolina State Board of Health, Office of Vital Statistics, Raleigh, North Carolina.
[6] “North Carolina, County Records, 1833-1970,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-20584-4368-0?cc=1916185&wc=M9M5-7BR:n955600874 : accessed 23 Oct 2013), Gaston > Estates, 1894-1962, vol. 106, Patrick, G. Reece – Payne, William F. > image 442.
[7] 1920 U.S Census, Gaston county, North Carolina, population schedule, Crowder Moutain Township, [unnumbered], ED 75, sheet 6-B, dwelling 107, family 116, James R Payne household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Jan 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1299.
[8] 1880 U.S Census, Lincoln County, North Carolina, population schedule, North Brook Township, ED 104, p. 22 (penned), dwelling 213, family 213, P Frank Baxter household;  database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Apr 2011); citing FHL film 1,254,970;  citing NARA microfilm publication, T9, roll 970.
[9] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 30 Jan 2014), memorial page for Peter Frank Baxter,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 81615977, citing Bethlehem United Methodist Church, Lincoln County, North Carolina.
[10] “North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-195-2581892-1-13?cc=1867501&wc=10922811 : accessed 30 Jan 2014), Lincoln > Wills, 1895-1911, Vol. 05 > image 58 of 330.
[11] “North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-195-2609206-1-55?cc=1867501&wc=10922709 : accessed 30 Jan 2014), Lincoln > Settlements, 1904-1919, Vol. 03 > images 342-343 of 372.

I think my great grandmother was a muse. 52 Ancestors: #3 Sarah Sudie Hamrick

When I first starting looking at what knew about my great grandmother Sudie Sarah Hamrick Turner, I thought I didn’t know much about her.  But once I started digging into her life and the life of her family I found something different.  She appears to have been part of a creative and ambitious group.

Sarah “Sudie” Hamrick was born September 9th, 1891 in North Carolina, daughter of James M Hamrick and Delia P Hopper.[1]  She died October 1st, 1978 at the age of 87 in North Carolina and is buried next to her husband James Austin Turner in Sharon Memorial Park in Charlotte, North Carolina.[2]

If her tombstone is right, she was 15 when she married James, age 21, July 5th, 1907 in Henrietta, Rutherford, North Carolina; the marriage register says she was 20.[3]  They were married for 52 years until James’ death on January 22nd, 1959.[4]  She never remarried.

Sudie, which is the name I most often see her called, and James moved around a lot. And James appeared to try his hand at many different businesses, all of them family owned.

  • They were married in Henrietta, North Carolina in 1907,[5]
  • By1910 they were living in Charlotte and James and his brother Ira who was living with the family were both mattress retail merchants working on their own accord, [6]
  • In 1918 we find James and Ira in Rutherford;[7] in 1920 James was working as a “G Merchant” possibly a grocery merchant, again, working on his own accord,[8]
  • Back in Charlotte by 1925 the City Directory leaves us with no clue as to what they were doing,[9]
  • Then on to Statesville by 1930 where he appears to have owned an undertaking parlor, [10]
  • James was a manager at Penders Store in Charlotte in 1933,[11] by 1941, still in Charlotte, James’ was a salesman for the Turner Trading Company and is brother Ira was a bookkeeper for Turner Trading Company as well.[12]
  •  The family was in Asheville in 1942 and James was working at Turner Body Works, which was owned by Lonnie W Turner, relationship unknown, and finally settled down in Charlotte. In 1943 still in Asheville, James owned a welding school, his son Howard was a manager there and his daughter-in-law Jennie worked in the office.  Howard was also a radio broadcaster at WISE,
  • James and Sudie were back in Charlotte by 1951.  James owned Turners and his brother Ira was working in real estate.[13]
  • When James died in 1959 his usual occupation was Real Estate.[14]

So how did Sudie keep up as her husband bounced from location to location, job to job?  I’m guessing she participated in these ventures while she was raising her six children.  And what an interesting group of children they were.

  • Ruth Louise (1908-1990) who changed her name to Gary Delisser and became an artist painting a portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt among others.  She married Donald Dick Delisser in New York on May 9th 1941 and they hobnobbed with Hollywood celebrities and lived quite an interesting life.
  •  James Austin (1910-1998) who married Annie Lineriux Boone on November 12th 1933.  He was successful business man and left behind a foundation.
  • Mary Sue (1912-1967) who worked as a copy editor before marrying William Franklin Gaines who was a newspaper editor in Greenville, South Carolina.
  • William (1917-1917) who was born in Henrietta, NC and died 6 days later.
  • Howard Arthur (1919-1992) who married multiple times and worked as radio broadcaster in the 1940’s and went on to be part owner in National Welders Supply Company.[15]
  • Michael Conrad (1926-1994) who served in World War II and who according to my uncle was an actor and was the “fun” uncle.[16]

So I wonder what kind of woman Sudie was.  Long suffering, putting up with constant moves and changes?  Or was she encouraging?  More of a muse to her families various activities as they pursued their dreams?  I think given the creativity and success of her children and her husband she was more of a muse.  And no doubt some of her accomplishments are still hidden in records I have not discovered.


[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Rutherford county, North Carolina, population schedule, High Shoals, ED 139, sheet 14-B, dwelling 250, family 261, James Hamrick household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 Feb 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1216.
[2] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 20 Dec 2013), memorial page for Sarah Susan Sudie Hamrick Turner,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 55355682, citing Sharon Memorial Park, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
[3] North Carolina, Marriages, 1759-1979, index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F836-18M : accessed 22 June 2012), Jacob A. Turner, 1907.
[4] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 22 Jun 2012), memorial page for Jacob Austin Turner,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 55355632, citing Sharon Memorial Park, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
[5] North Carolina, Marriages, 1759-1979, index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F836-18M : accessed 22 June 2012), Jacob A. Turner, 1907.
[6] 1910 U.S Census, Census, Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, population schedule, Charlotte Township, p. 210 (stamped), ED 101, sheet 12-A, dwelling 149, family 224, Austin Turner household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Dec 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1121.
[7] World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 7 Nov 2009), card Jacob Austin Turner, serial no. 2721,  order no 620, DRAFT Rutherfordton, N.C.; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509, roll 1,765,939.
[8] 1920 U.S Census, Rutherford county, North Carolina, population schedule, CIVIL, p. 185 (stamped), ED 185, sheet 5-A, dwelling 75, family 81, Jacob A Turner household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Dec 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1321.
[9] U.S. City Directories (Beta), database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Apr 2012), entry for J Austin and Sudie Turner, 1925, Charlotte, N.C.; Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N.C.) City Directory vol. 1925, (Richmond, VA: Hill Directory Co., Inc., 1925), 960.
[10] 1930 U.S. Census, Iredell county, North Carolina, population schedule, Statesville City, p. 131 (stamped), ED 49-30, sheet 18-A, dwelling 334, family 343, James Turner household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Mar 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1700.
[11] U.S. City Directories (Beta), database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Apr 2012), entry for Jas A and Sudie S Turner and entry for J Austin Turner, 1933, Charlotte, N.C.; Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N.C.) City Directory vol. 1933, (Richmond, VA: Hill Directory Co., Inc., 1933), 504.
[12] U.S. City Directories (Beta), database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Apr 2012), entry for J Austin and SarahTurner, 1941, Charlotte, N.C.; Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N.C.) City Directory vol. 1941 X, (Richmond, VA: Hill Directory Co., Inc., 1941), 722.
[13] U.S. City Directories (Beta), database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Apr 2012), entry for J Austin and Sudie Turner, 1951, Charlotte, N.C.;Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N.C.) City Directory vol. 1951, (Richmond, VA: Hill Directory Co., Inc., 1951), 894.
[14] North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 28 Dec 2009), entry for Jacob Austin Turner, 22 Jan 1959, cert . no. 90-1829; North Carolina State Board of Health, Office of Vital Statistics, Raleigh, North Carolina.
[15] “Howard Arthur Turner,” The Charlotte (Mecklenburg, North Carolina) Observer, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 19 April 2012).
[16] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 22 Dec 2013), memorial page for Michael Conrad Turner,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 84007199, citing Sharon Memorial Park, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

How an Ancestry Shaky Leaf Solved My Marriage Problem: 52 Ancestors #2: Clara Ellen Hash

My great grandmother was Clara Ellen Hash. Her parents were Weldon Alexander Hash and Sarah Hash who were first cousins.[1]    Their fathers were Zebedee Hash and Abram Hash, respectively.

She was born May 12, 1889 in Grayson County, Virginia.[2]  She had 6 children with Adam Franklin Feazell: Sarah, Ann, Carl, Helen, Charles and Harry.[3]  She died in Buena Vista, Virginia on March 8, 1948 at the age of 58.

And all of that is fairly well documented.  The one thing I could never find was where and when did Adam and Clara get married? Did they get married?

Sarah, their oldest, was born April 10, 1915.[4]. Assuming they were married before she was born, you would think they were married around 1913, give or take a few years.

  • In May of 1910, Adam was living with his parents John and Idella Feazell in Groseclose, Smyth County, Virginia.[5]
  • Also in 1910, Clara was living with her parents, Weldon and Sarah in Atkins, Smyth County, Virginia as well.[6]
  • On June 5, 1917, Adam and Clara and two children were living in Marion, Smyth County, Virginia.[7]

I searched the records of Smyth County.  Nothing.  I checked Grayson County where Clara was born. Nothing.  I abandoned my search.

Maybe they weren’t ever married.  Maybe I just wasn’t being clever enough or exhaustive enough in my search. The 1930 census suggested that they were married in 1913.[8]  So I was pretty sure I wasn’t being clever enough.

Yep I wasn’t clever enough. :-)

One day, up pops a shaky leaf  for Clara.  Ancestry.com had indexed West Virginia marriage records.  And guess who was there?  Clara and Adam.  There were married March 6, 1913 in Williamson, Mingo County, West Virginia.[9] West Virginia has lots of vitals online, and lucky for me, the image was there.

Frank Feazell and Clara Hash marriage record
Frank Feazell and Clara Hash marriage record

Now why they went to West Virginia to get married is still a bit of a mystery to me.  Adam’s older brother Elbert was most likely living in Williamson around that time.  He was living there as early as September 12, 1918.[10]

I also see that Frank was working as a railroad worker.  Maybe he was trying to earn money to get them set up.  Maybe they eloped.

Frank and Clara's marriage record: bottom portion
Frank and Clara’s marriage record: bottom portion

But at least now I know when and where they were married.


[1] Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Certification of Birth, Clara E Hash, 12 May 1889, Grayson County, Virginia; Department of Health – Division of Vital Records, Richmond, Virginia.
[2] Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Certification of Birth, Clara E Hash, 12 May 1889, Grayson County, Virginia; Department of Health – Division of Vital Records, Richmond, Virginia.
[3] 1930 U.S. census, Smyth county, Virginia, population schedule, Marion Magisterial District, [unnumbered], enumeration district (ED) 82-5, sheet 16-B, dwelling 328, family 319, Frank A Feazell; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 Nov 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2461.
[4] Smyth County, Virginia, “Index to births and deaths, 1853-1917″,  registrations ordered alphabetically, entry for Sarah Josephine Feazell; FHL 2025451, item 2. birth date 10 Apr 1915, file no. 1.
[5] 1910 U.S. census, Smyth county, Virginia, population schedule, Groseclose Precinct, p. 99 (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 85, sheet 9-A, dwelling 157, family 159, John D Feazell household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 Nov 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1649.
[6] 1910 U.S. census, Smyth county, Virginia, population schedule, Atkins Precinct, p. 95 (stamped), enumeration district 85, sheet 5-A, dwelling 81, family 82, Weldon Hash household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 May 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1649.
[7] “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database and images, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 4 Nov 2009), card for Adam Franklin Feazell, serial no.521, Precinct 1, Smyth County, Virginia; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509, 4,582 rolls.
[8] 1930 U.S. census, Smyth county, Virginia, population schedule, Marion Magisterial District, [unnumbered], enumeration district (ED) 82-5, sheet 16-B, dwelling 328, family 319, Frank A Feazell; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 Nov 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2461.
[9] West Virginia Marriage Index, database and images, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, (http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=10332698&Type=Marriage : accessed 1 May 2013), entry for Frank Feazell, 25 and Clara hash, 23, 6 Mar 1913, page 85; citing West Virginia State Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics.
[10] World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, database and images, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 11 Sep 2012), card for Elbert A Feazell, serial no.1245, Local Board for the County of Mingo, Williamson, Mingo, Virginia; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509.

52 Ancestors: #1 Laura Cecile Donald

My 52 Ancestors posts are going to focus on the women in my family tree.  Just to try something different.  I’ve discussed both of my grandmothers so I will start with my great grandmothers.

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Granny Laura and her Dog, about 1950.  Granny was 73 years old.  This looks like it was taken at 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia.
Granny Laura and her Dog, about 1950. Granny was 73 years old. This looks like it was taken at 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia.

Great Granny Laura.  My father’s paternal grandmother.  One of my favorite pictures of her is the one with her dog which I think was taken around 1950.

She lived a good long life (1877-1964), 87 years all in Lexington, Virgina.1

Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald ca. 1894. I suspect that this is their wedding photo.
Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald ca. 1894. I suspect that this is their wedding photo.

She was married to Wyatt Paul Gillespie, merely 16 when they were married on January 24, 1894, in Lexington, Virginia.2 They were married for 47 years until his death 1941.She lived on her own for another 23 years.

She had 8 children: Minnie, Ashby, Eva, Clinton, Louise, Fred, Gilbert and Helen.4

The family lived at 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia from early in the 1900’s and it remained in the family until 2003.

She was the daughter of a Civil War Veteran who spent part of the war as part of Stonewall Jackson’s troops.  They are all buried within sight of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s grave.  I imagine she worked hard all her life, raising her children, keeping her husband’s house.  She lived through Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era.  She couldn’t vote until she was 42 years old when women were given the vote in 1920. She lived through Prohibition, survived the Great Depression.

And she was remembered fondly by everyone in the family who talked about her.

Footnotes

1. Find A Grave, digital images, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 2 Jan 2014), memorial page for Laura Cecile Donald Gillespie, Find A Grave Memorial no. 56061683, citing Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.
2. Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Marriage Certificate, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecil (sic) Donald, 24 Jan 1894, Rockbridge, Virginia; Department of Health – Division of Vital Records, Richmond, Virginia.
3. Find A Grave, digital images, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 2 Jan 2014), memorial page for Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Find A Grave Memorial no. 56048050, citing Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.
4. Rockbridge, Virginia, Will Book 54:417-418, Wyatt Paul Gillespie Will, recorded 21 Feb 1941; Clerk of County Court, Lexington.

Ready for a Challenge? 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks!

My friend and colleague Amy Johnson Crow came up with a great idea on her blog No Story Too Small: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52ancestors

The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.

I’m always looking for an idea and I really like this one!  It can be any old thing as long as it is one ancestor.  I’m going to add a twist on mine, and do mine on female ancestors.  I’m going to start with my great grandmothers: Laura Cecile Donald, Idella Josephine Snavely, Sudie Hamrick, and Georgie Eva Baxter.

Go to Amy’s article, add your name in the comments and tell her you want to be included in her weekly wrap up.  Then once a week, write a blog post about an ancestor and include in the title: 52 Ancestors: #<x> <name>” (ex., 52 Ancestors: #1 Adah Young Johnson or 52 Ancestors: #1 Laura Cecile Donald). And remember it can be anything.  A story, a biography, a photograph, a research problem, a cool document.  What ever.

To your blogs!  It’s time to write!