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Are You My Cousin?: October 2009

Are You My Cousin?

Discovering My Ancestors -- One Cousin at a Time

My Photo
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

I tell the stories of my ancestors’ lives. Whether they lived 20 years ago or 200 years ago, they each have a story to tell. Some ancestors tell their stories willingly. Others must have their stories carefully teased from the records. Sometimes the stories are sad. Sometimes the stories are happy. Sometimes the stories are just funny. Regardless, my ancestors’ stories shaped their lives and the lives of those that followed. Come and share in the tales!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fishing - Where a Family Legacy Began

Martha Jane Lett Maddox

b. 16 Jan 1851

d. 15 Feb 1935

Anyone who knew my grandfather James Lester Howard knew of his love of fishing. A fishing trip to local ponds (usually located in someone's cow pasture) was always highly coveted event. All the grandchildren (and great grandchildren) at one time or another got to go fishing. Keep in mind that this was cane pole fishing with live worms on the hooks. (And yes, I did bait my own hooks.)

My personal fishing story begins as a very young girl who was angry that her brother got to go fishing with Grandaddy and she did not. Well...when the fishermen got back, I put my hands on my hips, stamped my foot and in no uncertain terms stated "When I get to be a boy, I'll get to go fishing!" I was sitting on the banks of a pond with a fishing pole in my hands the next day. I enjoyed many fishing trips with my grandfather through the years.

It was not until I began researching the family history that I discovered how my grandfather started fishing. His maternal grandmother Martha Jane Lett Maddox would take him fishing on the banks of the Cape Fear River in Lee County, NC. In his journal, he related being a young boy of five or so and proudly carrying the fish they caught home. It was so big (or he was so small) that the fish's tail dragged the ground all the way. Obviously this was a special memory that stayed with him throughout his life.

So, what drew Grandaddy to fishing and made him share his love for it with future generations? Perhaps it was the time spent one on one with his grandmother. Perhaps it was the satisfaction of providing his family's food. Or perhaps it was the quiet time spent with his own thoughts. I suspect it was all three. Whatever the reason, fishing gave him much enjoyment throughout his life.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday's Treasure

This is my great-grandmother Winnie Haley Carr's iron. It's amazing how heavy this thing is. What a chore ironing must have been for her. I'm thankful for my electric one! Winnie's iron now sits on my fireplace as "home decor". I enjoy thinking about her when I see it.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Boss Henry Talbott
~Age 18 years
(His given name was Johnny Hodias Talbott. As an adult he changed his name to Boss (Bossy) Henry Talbott for reasons unknown to the family.)

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: Samantha Buchanon Maddox

Samantha Buchanon Maddox

Samantha Maddox was my great x 3 grandmother. She was the mother of James T Maddox, grandmother of Mattie Maddox, and great-grandmother of James Lester Howard. The above photo was taken at Moore Union Christian Church outside of Sanford, NC.

I have a particular fondness for Samantha, though for exactly what reason I'm not sure. Perhaps it's the mystery I found surrounding her. She was born in 1820 in Chatham County, NC and married Calvin Maddox 10 Feb 1842. Unfortunately, Calvin died before Nov 1848 leaving Samantha with three young children: Julia, James Tarleton, and Mary Frances. Calvin died without a will, thus generating a lot of estate papers including guardianship papers for the children and an inventory of the household. (More on this in a later post.)

I have found other researchers who attribute two other children to Samantha and Calvin. They were Flora Maddox (b.1853) and Sina Jane Maddox (b.1862 d. 1905). Comparing the dates of this family, neither Flora nor Sina Jane could be children of Calvin given he had died several years prior to their births. I have found no evidence that Samantha remarried after her husband's death or that she perhaps took in two nieces/orphans to raise. Indeed, the federal census records list the girls as daughters. So, Flora and Sina Jane were most likely half-sisters to my great x 2 grandfather James T Maddox. The question remains: Who was the father(s)?

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Spelling of Names

When I became interested in my family's genealogy, I learned quickly to be open minded with the spelling of the surnames I was searching. Some surnames were easy to identify even in their many variations. Others were less so, but I have had a lot fun keeping count of the different spellings. I've shared these spellings with cousins individually in the past, but thought other cousins who read my blog would find the name variations interesting as well. (Notice I am assuming someone does read my blog!)

I started initially researching the surname Talbott. Other spellings included:
All in all, I was able to keep track of the family back through the years.

Howard proved a trickier name to track back through the records. After "losing" the family only 3 generations back, I found the name was Harward. At this point, the family remembered that indeed the family name was Harward, but no one knew the reason for the change to Howard. Lesson learned: Ask for family name variations when interviewing older family members. Through the records other variations were found:

The Haley family out of Halifax County, Virginia also has a number of variations including:
I am early in the process of tracing this family, but keeping an eye out for other variations.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

This is another one of my unidentified ancestors found among my great-grandmother's things. (Esther Lee Richardson Talbott was my great-grandmother). I believe she could be of the Richardson or Elliott family of Pittsylvania County, VA. I hope to one day be able to put a name with her picture and learn her story.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday -- Sarah and Grisham Thomas

With only a few minutes to spare on a recent cemetery research trip, I found this marker for Sarah (1788-1856) and Grisham (1783-1858) Thomas in Broadway, NC. Sarah and Grisham are believed to be the great-grandparents of my great x2 grandmother Emma Thomas. I use the term "believed to be" because this relationship has yet to be confirmed.
On the back of the tombstone, are listed the "issue" of Sarah and Grisham. (Now I must confess that I had been told by another researcher that this marker was in this cemetery.) What I found interesting was the newness of this marker. Next to this marker are several very old, weather worn markers that are no longer readable. Perhaps they are the original markers for the family.At some point, Thomas ancestors erected this new marker so Sarah and Grisham would not be lost to future generations.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Elton (1912-2000) and Lawrence (1910-1985) Carr
Children of Winnie (Haley) and Silas Baker Carr
Halifax County, VA
About 1914

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Three Cemeteries and a Piggly Wiggly

Three cemeteries and a stop at the Piggly Wiggly--my cousins and I know how to live large. I dare say this needs a little explanation.....

I spent the weekend with 5 cousins, 1 great-aunt, 1 aunt and my mom for their annual cousins weekend. Now this is a very exclusive group that gets together once a year and my generation is not on the invitation list. I'm the first cousin once removed. I may be the "removed" cousin, but I am the tallest! (At 5'4" that's not really saying much!) Why did I get the the honor this year? I was there to share our family history and genealogy. What a treat to have such a captive audience. (But don't think I didn't probe their memories for stories of the past.) I think I learned as much as they did.

After church on Sunday, we took off for the country churches where our ancestors are buried. I had been to two of these before, but was happy to return to seek out more ancestors that I had found through my research since my last visit. I found ancestors in unexpected places, took lots of pictures, introduced our ancestors to my cousins, and even got to tour one of our ancestors's churches. Unfortunately, I discovered the church's BMD records did not or no longer exist. Ouch, that hurt.
Oh, and I almost forgot. We drove as close as we could to the land where one family's old homeplace used to be. I very much would like to find it's exact location. I am told by older family members that a small family cemetery is there. The land is now a gated property with No Trespassing signs. To be so close.... I guess this means I have another project.

On the way back the modern day, we made a quick stop at the Piggly Wiggly. For those of you not from the south, that's a grocery store. All in all, I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Howard Brothers

Connie and Britton Howard
Good looks run in our family. Okay, I hear the groans, but I couldn't resist. The dapper gentlemen above are my great-grandfather Connie Howard and his brother Britton Howard.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Viola Maddox

In loving
memory of
daughter of J. T. and M. J. Maddox
Born Feb 28, 1889
Died Jun 2 1890

Viola R. Maddox was the youngest sister of my great-grandmother Mattie V. Maddox (1881-1927). She is buried in the church cemetery of Moore Union Christian Church in Lee, County, NC. So few people are even aware of her existence anymore. Viola was born in 1889 and died at the young age of 15 months. Church records of that time period for this small church did not or no longer exist, and the 1890 federal census was lost to fire. That leaves only her weather worn tombstone marking her short life.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Festival of Postcards - Esther's Easter Card

Here is another addition to the Festival of Postcards hosted by A Canadian Family . This month's theme is Quadrapeds.

I went through my collection of postcards and was suprised by the number of postcards featuring four legged animals. I must say that my choice was easy. This is an Easter card sent to my great-grandmother Esther Lee Richardson of News Ferry, VA. Who actually sent her the card is not easily discerned. The card is signed "as ever a friend" with no name given. There does appear to be a name at the very top of the card. Possibly "Hallie" or "Hattie" with the t's uncrossed. (Of note, Esther's mother's name was Hattie.) I know of no other women in the family who's name might match.

What do I know about this card?

It is postmarked 19 Mar 1913 in Ringgold, VA. The Richardson family lived in Ringgold earlier and many cousins and relations were still there during this time period. This card is dated before her marriage in 1915. I doubt it is from her future husband Bossy Talbott as he usually signed his cards to her. (I am fortunate to have a number of these.) I also know that Esther and her Richardson cousins were prolific postcard and letter writers. Likely this is a postcard from one of her cousins. There is also a possibility that this was sent from a gentleman admirer. I have found several cards among my collection to Esther from "gentleman callers". Fortunately, as a keeper of family history, Esther saved much of her correspondence.

I hope you enjoy the card as much as I do. It gives a glimpse into the life of a young woman in southern Virginia. Esther died in 1923 leaving a husband and 4 small children. Her postcards and letters are her legacy through which I have get to know her.

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