Monday, March 29, 2010

Rachel Anameltha Edwards Nix, 1827 - 1910

In very advanced age. Most likely taken at the Davis home place just before her death.

The ornate embossed paper cover of the photograph above.

b. 25 Sept/Oct 1827, South Carolina
m. 1847, SC
d. 13/14 Apr 1910, South Carolina

Census: 14 Aug 1850
Union Co, South Carolina
age 22, wife

Census: 31 Aug 1870
Cross Keys Twnp, South Carolina
age 40, keeping house

Census: 1880
South Carolina
Rachel, age 51, keeping house

Census: 14 Jun 1900
Cross Anchor Twnp, Spartanburg Co, SC
age 72, wife

Jessie Belle Case Burns, 1896 - 1987

Photographed in her teens, around 16 years old, perhaps a wedding photo

b. 19 Feb 1896, Kingsport, Tennessee
d. 27 Sept 1987, Greensboro, Guilford County, North Carolina
m. Houston Griffin, 11 Feb 1922 (anulled)
m. Frank Davis "Pop" Burns
b. Guilford Memorial Park, Greensboro, North Carolina

daughter of Thomas I. Case and Permelia Case

Census: 20 Jun 1900
Hooper's Creek Twnp, Henderson Co, NC
age 4, daughter

Census: 22 Apr 1910
Greenville, Greenville County, SC
age 14, daughter, spinner, cotton mill, b. TN

Census: 1930
Greenwood Fire Station, Greenwood Co, SC
age 31, Jessie, homemaker, b. TN, parents NC

avid reader, though not much formal education ( liked Reader's Digest condensed books )

a hard tough woman, a bit lacerating, drank heavily

swore that her son Elbert weighed 15 pounds when he was born and she had to sleep on her back on a folding Army cot during the last stage of her pregnancy

never did the dishes after she ate because she'd always had to do them when she was a kid right after dinner and she told herself that when she grew up, she'd do the dishes the next day and not have to lift a finger but to rinse and soak them

disliked son Elbert's first wife Mazelle so much that she wouldn't let Elbert have the car to drive to SC to marry her unless his father Frank drove him there himself

Jessie Belle Case was a half-breed Cherokee girl living with her very hard-working family in the poor Blue Ridge county of Hawkins, TN. Her father, Thomas, born in the equally poor county of Henderson, NC, was an illiterate day laborer who was away from home months at a time. Her mother, Permelia, a full blood NC Cherokee Indian, held the reins of the family with an iron grip. There were reportedly over 10 children, so strict control was probably necessary.

Didn't seem to work one iota on Jessie Belle.

There was a dissolved marriage early in Jessie Belle's life, a dissolution allegedly forced by her mother. What I was able to dig up was a marriage record, dated 11 Feb 1922 in Tennessee, to a boy named Houston Griffin. According to lore, Jessie came home to her mother pregnant, to which her mother told her she'd either come home and live as her daughter or else go off and live with him, but he couldn't come live with them.

Jessie responded to this by having the baby (a girl named Clarabelle) and then letting the boy in through her window and getting pregnant again (another girl named Ruthie). I'm sure Permelia was pulling her own hair out.

Jessie was married to this boy, but the records tell another story. According to the records, those babies were illegitimate. THEN, Jesse eloped with Houston. THEN, her mother said, "Oh no you don't!" At any rate, the marriage license was issued, but never returned for ratification.

Permelia took both Clarabelle and Ruthie away from Jessie and raised them as her own children. They called her "Mother" and referred to Jessie Belle by name, like a sister. Jessie groused in later years that her mother would never let her have her girls back, but her other siblings told her that she coulda gotten them at any time.

The plot thickens.

If Jessie married Houston in February of 1922, the marriage must have been dissolved immediately, for her family turns up in South Carolina, where the cotton mills were in full steam, and all the girls went to work as spinners. She must have been in total rebellion mode by then, because, after a whirlwind courtship, she eloped with my great grandfather, Pop, and had my grandfather, Frank, less than a year after her dissolved marriage to Houston.

Also, according the records, Jessie was lying about her age. They all put her birth date around 1896. Pop was born in 1902. She told everyone she was born in 1907. I'm sure being 8 years older than one's husband at that time might have looked tacky. Pop's regal mother, Letha, was less than thrilled to have a salt-of-the-earth, heathen-behaving woman in her house.

Flash forward many years.

A family reunion. Permelia is there, demanding banana cream pie. "I don't care if it's my last day on earth, I want banana cream pie!"

"It musta worked her over because we were back in no time for the funeral," my Grandma said dryly.

Driving to the summer-time funeral was hell. Jessie was backseat driving like crazy, and her son Frank was repeating and repeating, "I'm doing the best I can, Mother...."

When they arrived, it was in a curious and ugly little town near a small airstrip called Conestee in South Carolina, a strange collection of houses built on stilts against the hillside, with red dirt yards that they combed clean and not a blade of grass to be seen anywhere. At the church, Permelia was apparently so well respected that the entire community showed up to say a word.

That "word" turned into 3 hours. No less than five preachers stood up to give a verbose eulogy.

Grandma said she could no longer feel her backside on the hard pews, but that she'd been taught not to squirm in church. The weather was hot, but they were in a shady glen, and the church windows were open, so it wasn't so bad, she said.

When the fifth preacher was speaking, a voice rang out. "GET ON WITH IT."

Frank was horrified. "Mama!" he hissed. "Be quiet!"

"Ain't no one worth 3 hours of talkin'!" Jessie snapped.

Letha turned around in the pew in front of them, said acidly, "Sinners can't stand being told anything."

Grandma said she wanted to melt into the floor from mortification.

Barnett Calhoun Burns, 1850 - 1913

The ornate embossed paper cover of the photograph below

"Barney" and wife, Isabella Franks Burns

b. 8 Apr 1850, South Carolina
d. 17/19 Jul 1913, South Carolina
buried: Rocky Springs Presbyt Church, Laurens, SC

Census: 1850
Laurens Twnp, Laurens, SC
age 8 months

Census: 1860
United States Federal, SC
B. C., age 10, son

Census: 25 Jul 1870
Laurens Twnp, Laurens, SC
b. 1850, Barnett C, age 20, farm labor, literate

Census: 1880
Youngs, Laurens, South Carolina
Barnet, 28, b. 1852, married, laborer, parents SC

[*in the 1880 census, he and his brother Jefferson L. are listed as living with their grandfather John (age 70) and and grandmother Narcissa (age 69) Burns]

Census: 5 Jun 1900
Scuffletown Twnp, Laurens, SC
52yo, Barny C, head of house, farmer

Census: 4 May 1910
Clinton, Laurens, South Carolina
age 60, head, B.C., farmer

Whelen Elbert Burns, 1877 - 1940

Photographed as an older man, very likely in the 1920's or 30's based on his clothes and the Art Deco style of the photo card border

Photographed as a young man, very likely before 1900 (unable to determine what the sash is for)

b. 5 Sept 1877, Laurens County, South Carolina
d. 22 Sept 1940, Enoree, Greenville County, South Carolina
m. Letha Davis, 18 Mar 1900, Enoree, SC
buried: 23 Sep 1940, Graceland Cemetery, Greenville County, SC

Cause of death: angina pectoris

Physical description: medium height and build, brown hair, blue eyes

listed as 'William' Elbert Burns on his WW1 Draft Card

Census: 30 Apr 1910
Laurens Township, Laurens County, SC
age 33, head of household, carder at cotton mill

Census: 30 Jan 1920
Greenville Township, Greenville County, SC
age 42, head of household, reverser in cotton mill

Esther Gertrude Davis, 1886 - 1887

On the banner: "Not Lost, but Gone Before"


A precious one from us is gone, A voice we loved is stilled, A place is vacant in our home, Which never can be filled. Safe in the Arms of Jesus, Safe on his gentle breast, There by his love o'er shadowed, Sweetly my soul shall rest.

In either Mack or Cornelia's handwriting:

"Sacred to the Memory of Our Darling Babe --- Esther Gertrude Davis --- Was Born September the 6th 1886, And Died September the 19th 1887, Aged 1 Year 13 Days - She Was Sick Two Monts [sic] Before Her Death And Her Suffering Was Very Great."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Leah Matilda Roderick, wife of Warren Turner, b. 1842

[picture provided by cousin, name withheld]

24 June 1842 - 1 Jan 1919, Morganton, NC
*buried: Forest Hill Cemetery, Morganton

*nicknamed "Til"
*A charter member of the First Baptist Church of Morganton, North Carolina.

*appears in the 1850 census: Burke Co., NC, age 8
*appears in the 1870 census: Linville, Burke Co., NC
*appears in the 1900 census: Morganton, Burke Co., NC; age 57, wife
*appears in the 1910 census: Morganton, Burke Co., NC; age 67, wife

*The following is a transcription of a newspaper clipping, dated October 26, 1878 (sixty years old when found in the Bible of Leah M. Turner in October 1938) reads:


On the 26th of October last a reunion of Daniel Roderick's family was held at the old homestead in Linville Township, Burke County. There were forty-five relatives present. Daniel Roderick died in the year 1860, at the age of fifty-six years, leaving his wife, Elizabeth who is now living at the advanced age of seventy-eight years and was present at the above mentioned occasion. At the death of her husband, Mrs. Roderick was left with a large family to raise. She has three children dead, and eleven living, all of whom are married and are members of some branch of the Christian church.

She has sixty-four grandchildren, six of whom are married and fourteen great-grandchildren. Her descendants with their wives and husbands number one hundred and nine persons of whom ninety-seven are now living. All these descendants were possessed with good minds and none of them ever had a law suit or have been imprisoned for crime, thus fulfilling the passage by scripture: 'Train up a child in the way it should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.'"

Frederick Gray Turner, Sr., Postmaster, b. 1877

2 Oct 1877, Morganton, NC - 9 Nov 1950, of a heart attack, Piedmont Mem. Hosp, Greensboro, NC
*buried: 10 Nov 1950, Forest Hill Cem., Morganton

* an employee of the Railway Mail Service from 1900 to Sept. 1939 in the chief clerk's office in Greensboro . He survived three catastrophic train wrecks without injury : first, the 1904 head-on collision of the Knoxville with the Asheville bound train, that killed 60 people; a second head-on collision; third, he was in a mail car when the locomotive plunged off a washed-out bridge.
* was a charter member of the First Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina

I remember seeing a framed badly-yellowed photograph from a newspaper on my grandfather, Fred Turner Jr's bedroom wall of a very nasty train wreck. It was, in fact, the 1904 collision mentioned below, one of the worst in American railroad history for sheer destruction and loss of life.
In his obituary, Fred Sr's harrowing account of the wreck is as follows: