Monday, June 29, 2009

Gardening--Welcome to Turtledeck Farms!

My First Tomatoes

This is a fun posting. Anyone who knew my grandfather, James Lester Howard, could attest to the fact that he loved to garden. He didn't just have a little garden for himself and his family. He had a garden for all of Greensboro. Well, at least it seemed like it when I had to shell the butter beans. Personally, I wanted nothing to do with the garden. It had bugs in it and I just did not like most of what was growing out there. My favorite vegetable was the corn from which I collected the corn worms in old jars. I learned early that corn worms do not make good pets. During our trips to Grandmom's and Grandad's, Mom and I had a deal that I would not have to actually eat the butter beans as long as I helped shell them. I shelled a lot of butter beans in my young life.

I do believe that Grandaddy would be proud of me today. I have my first garden (on a much, much smaller scale) where I've grown lettuce, green onions, tomatoes, peppers, squash and okra. Yes, I ate the tomatoes and am eagerly awaiting more. I have 6 plants! You will notice the absence of a certain bean! I doubt this is a genetic inheritance, but family history and tradition apparently run deep.

Turtle Deck Farms

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Esther Talbott's Sewing Patterns

I spent some time today going through the boxes of family items that came out of my Aunt Elma (Talbott) Solomon's house. I've looked through the boxes several times before, however, there is so much in them that processing it all at one time is difficult. Today I was struck by these old sewing patterns in one of the boxes. They belonged to my great-grandmother, Esther Lee (Richardson) Talbott. Her name is penciled on the back of one of the patterns. She must have been an excellent seamstress. These are very detailed garments. Above is a Pictorial Review Patter #7568. It is for a little boy's suit. Below is the back of the envelope giving cutting and sewing instructions. I was unable to find a date on this pattern, however, her oldest child Crafton was born in 1916. She died in 1923, so I would presume that this pattern is from that time period.

This next pattern is Butterick pattern #7441. It is for a Ladies' dress "in Clearing Length, with Slightly Raised Waistline"and contains 13 pieces. This pattern was patented in 1898. Note the price was 15 cents.

Below is the back of the envelope containing the cutting and sewing directions.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Pictures of Lester and Cecile (White) Howard

I thought I would share a few pictures not all the cousins have seen. They are some of my favorites, though truth be told, all pictures of my ancestors are my favorites! Above is a picture of Cecile White Howard, my grandmother.

Baby pictures are always fun. Above is Lester Howard, my grandfather. Based on other pictures I have, I believe this was taken at the Maddox homeplace during a photo shoot there.

This is Cecile Clara White. Isn't she cute!

Another photo of Cecile White Howard. Does anyone know the story behind this one?

I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I do.
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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Introducing James T. Maddox

James T. Maddox

I introduce to you James Tarleton Maddox (1844-1892), wife of Martha Jane Lett and father of Mattie Maddox. He was the son of Calvin Maddox and Semantha Buchannan. Unfortunately Calvin died at a young age, leaving Semantha (Semanthy) alone to support James and his two sisters Julia and Mary Frances. The law at that time considered the children orphans even though Semantha was very much alive. Guadianship papers naming Semantha as their guardian (and protector of their inheritance) provided James' full name as well as the identity of his two sisters. These documents along with the estate papers settling Calvin's estate are on file at the NC Archives. Of an interesting note, James' middle name is after his grandfather Tarleton Maddox.

In Mar 1862, James enlisted as a Confederate soldier in the 50th NC Infantry, Company F. He was a private and listed as a full musician. James was 18 years old. (Dr James Lamar Shepard was also a member of this company.) Later in 1915, his wife Martha applied for and was awarded his Civil War pension. I remember my grandfather telling me about his grandmother receiving that pension.

James was born in Chatham County, NC in 1844 and married Martha Jane Lett (also of Chatham County, NC) on 2 Dec 1866. They had 10 children: Wesley, Thomas, James Arthur, Bertis, Cornie, Mattie, Ira, Pressly Jonas, Viola, and Curley. On the 1860 federal census, he is listed as head of the household and living in the Pittsboro district of Chatham County. In 1870 and 1880, he and his family are listed as being in the Cape Fear township of Chatham County. I do not think the family moved, but that the lines of division for the federal census districts changed. James was a farmer and the family lived on a 275 acre farm on the banks of the Cape Fear River.

Sadly, James died at the age of 47 on 32 Jan 1892 just two days prior to his mother Semantha Maddox. It leads me to speculate a winter illness could have been the culprit. James Maddox is buried at Moore Union Christian Church (now in Lee County, NC) along with other Maddox ancestors.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Update on John B Talbott

I've recently had the pleasure of reading John B Talbott's Civil War Pension application. (John B was my great-great grandfather.) The copy quality was not the best, but I was able to read it well enough to learn more about his war experience.

John B Talbott made his application in Mar 1904, confirming information that the family already knew. He was born in Halifax County, VA and lived there all his life. He was listed as a farmer on rented land, stating that he had been a farmer "all my life". He reason for applying for the pension is due to his war injury of "ruptured and weak lungs". He stated he could only do a little work occasionally and made less than $60 a year. The actual statement on the application reads as "I am ruptured so badly that I was unable to work at all." From reading his application, it is clear he was injured in the war, but I do not know exactly what is meant by a "ruptured lung" or when the injury actually took place. John B served in the war from 1862 until its conclusion. I think it is interesting that his application is dated 1904. I am unsure reading the application if John B received his pension though I believe he did. (That part of the copy was of poorer quality.)

As usual, I found some answers and more questions! I would be very interested in knowing if any of the cousins ever heard stories about Grandaddy John and the Civil War.
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