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Are You My Cousin?: April 2010

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!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Phoebe Anne Community House

Phoebe Anne Community House
Halifax, Halifax Co, VA

The family of Silas Baker and Winnie (Haley) Carr lived in the Phoebe Anne Community House near outside of Halifax, VA. The house was owned by the Episcopal Church located down the road. The family was very active in the Episcopal Church and helped to run the community house. Notice the dog stretched out on the front porch? There always seems to be a dog somewhere in the family's pictures.
Elton Davis Carr, daughter of Baker and Winnie, wrote about the history of the this community house in her scrapbook. It reads as follows:

The Phoebe Anne Community House

A long time ago about 1840 or somewhere along there a poor widow with several daughters lived in a log cabin at this old place when the widow died and the daughters married and moved away. Mr Dabney Cosby bought this place and built a saw mill here and rented and finally sold it to Mr Milton Booth who built a small frame house here he married twice and lived there till the mill was blown up. He never finished paying for it and it Mr Dabney Cosby bought it back and sold it to his daughter Mrs Van Bluthuysen [?spelling] who built the present house when the old one was burned down. She painted it red. She sold it to Mr Henry Edmunds when she moved to Richmond. He painted it gray and had an orphan home made of it and named it after his mother "The Phoebe Ann House". Then he gave it to the church and called it the "The Phoebe Ann Community House". The big oak tree which stands out in the yard now at the mail box Mr Dabney Cosby cut it down for a post years ago and that is the reason it ________ and pretty now. Mr. Van [Bethuysen] came out here during the Civil War and meat up with Miss Cosby and married. He was the nephew of Jefferson Davis and that was his name.

By Elton Carr
Information from Mrs. M L C Edmundson

Both the Community House and the Episcopal Church still stand today. The church is today called the Emmanuel Episcopal Church. The Phoebe Anne Community House is a private residence and the intervening years have not been kind to it. The outbuildings are no longer there and the large building attached to the right side of the house is gone as well. I wonder if today's residents have any idea of the house's rich history.

Phoebe Anne Community House as it stands in 2010.

Emmanuel Episcopal Church 2010


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday Sarah Owen Talbott

Sarah Owen Talbott
1 Dec 1812
19 Jul 1910
Sarah Frances Owen Talbott was my great x 3 grandmother and the wife of John B Talbott. She is buried at Pleasant Grove Christian Church near Halifax, Va.
This is a historic church founded in 1803 with a very large cemetery. It is well tended and many old stones are still there. There are a number of graves marked only by a field stone. The church provides a cemetery directory which is located at the entrance to the cemetery. What a pleasant surprise!

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Monday, April 26, 2010

An Update on William Haley

It does appear that William Henry Haley and George W Haley are in fact the same person. (See my post here for the background on this mystery.) William (or should I say George?) has a daughter-in-law still living who has confirmed that his name was George William Haley. No one seems to know when the name "Henry" appeared or why. Interestingly, he's not my first ancestor to alter his name.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Confederate Cross

I had a great time this weekend "touring" where my Talbott ancestors lived, worked and were buried in Halifax County, VA. I heard lots of stories and took lots of pictures. Now I look forward to processing all I saw and learned. I'll be sharing more about my trip in future posts. In the meantime, I introduce you to my great x 3 grandfather John B Talbott.

John B Talbott was born 20 Nov 1836 and died in Halifax County, VA 24 Jan 1924. He is buried in the cemetery at Harmony United Methodist Church in Alton, VA. Above is a picture of the Confederate Cross that sits on his grave. A church member told me that my ancestor's Confederate Cross is the only one left in this cemetery. Apparently there were many more in the cemetery at one time. However, many were stolen over the years.

This is John B Talbott's gravestone. It pays tribute to his service in the Civil War and provides the name of the unit to which he belonged: Wright's Co, VA Heavy Art, CSA. Interestingly, there are no dates on this stone.

I have to say this was a lot of excitement before 9 in the morning!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday Elton Davis Carr Finley

Elton Davis Carr was the second child and oldest daughter of Silas Baker Carr and Winnie Davis Haley. She was born 27 Nov 1912 in Clarkton, Halifax County, VA. I was fortunate enough to have known my Aunt Elton. She always wore a smile just like in the above picture.

Aunt Elton was a scrapbooker long before it became the popular hobby it is today. It is through her scrapbook I have come to see glimpses into her life as a young woman.

Aunt Elton used what appears to have been an old Halifax County public works book from about 1925 for her scrapbook. In it she pasted photos and newspaper clippings of family and friends including movie stars of that day. I found many obituaries of her many cousins among the pages. A family historian's dream! In the front cover of the book she wrote as this interesting title:
The crape book of deaths and funny thing by Mrs S. B Carr and daughter Elton

Halifax Virginia

Phoebe Anne Community House

July 1, 1927.

I really like the following page documenting her meeting of her first husband Beverly Dixon.

Unfortunately, Beverly was killed in an automobile accident shortly after he and Elton were married. Aunt Elton did go on to live a very full life, eventually marrying William J Finley. Elton passed away 2 Feb 2000 in Kernersville, Duplin, NC.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday Joanna Lyons White

Joanna White
Abt 1852-6 Jun 1910
Wife of Thomas Jefferson White
Of Surry County, NC

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Is George Really William or William Really George?

It's time for another update on William H Haley (1861-1948), my great-great grandfather and current "favorite" mystery man.

Up to this point, I believe I have determined that William's parents were S C (Stephen Case) Haley and Mary Ann Tribble. They were married 13 Nov 1860 in Halifax County, VA. They were living in Staunton, Halifax, VA in both the 1870 and 1880 census records. In fact, they were living next door to Mary Ann's parents. In the 1870 census the family has three children listed: George (9), Ellen (5), and John (1). William was born in Dec 1861 and would have been 9 years old during this census. But where is he on this census listing? Was he perhaps George William?

By 1880, the family of Stephen Case and Mary Ann have the following children in the home: Jennie (13), John (10), Emma (6), and Robert (3). No George or William listed. William would have been about 19 and likely out of the household. Sure enough I found a George W Haley (18) still in Staunton, Halifax Co, VA living with the James Guthrie family as a servant/farm laborer.

Also, of note, in 1880 William's future wife Clara Holt is living in the same district in the household of her father Branch W Holt. Clara and William were married in 1883. It is on the marriage registration that William listed his parents as SC and Mary A Haley. George really William? I tend to think yes. Putting the primary source of William's marriage registration record along side of the census records, I think the case can be made that George and William are the same person. If so, why the name change? Ah...another mystery! He certainly would not be the first ancestor I've had to change a name.

I confess while I think I am correct, there's still a element of doubt.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Weekly Postcard Niagara Falls

This is a fun postcard from Niagara Falls. More specifically, this is the American Falls. I chose this postcard to share as I will participate in the 8th Edition of A Festival of Postcards over here.
This edition's theme is geography and Niagara Falls seemed to fit.

This postcard is addressed to my great-grandmother Esther Lee Richardson in New Ferry, VA. It is postmarked 16 Oct 1913 in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Unfortunately the card is not signed and I have no idea who sent it.

The message on the card is written in pencil and a bit more smudged than other cards in my collection. The transcription is as follows:

Just a word to you to let you know I am having a nice time Hope you are well and enjoying the best of life



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My New Look

I'm debuting a new look for my blog today. I made the changes using the new Blogger In Draft and am quite pleased with the outcome. This is a great new Blogger feature and very easy to use. I may still do more tweaking in the future, but for now I'm happy with it. Hope you enjoy it, too!

Wordless Wednesday Another Unknown Photo

Today I am posting another of my "unknown" photos and as usual, I find it hard to be wordless. While I do not know their identities, I believe this young couple to be from Halifax County, VA. Likely they belong to the Haley, Holt, or possibly the Richardson family.

There are no markings on the photo. The original appears to have been cut down from a larger sheet of photo board. In fact the edges are a little lopsided.

So....if there are any Halifax County, VA researchers out there, take a close look. Might this couple be your ancestors as well?


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Just a Little Housekeeping

I will be doing a little updating to my blog's appearance in the next week or so. I'm rather excited about doing this as it will be a learning process for me. So, if things look a little amiss in the process, I apologize in advance. Just keep checking back.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Am So Honored

I feel so honored to be the recipient of the Ancestor Approved award! Astrid from

Of Trolls and Lemons , Betty from Betty's Boneyard Genealogy Blog and Yvonne at
Sweden Roots nominated me. Thanks so much!

As a recipient of this award I am to list 10 things you have learned about my ancestors that have surprised, humbled or enlightened me, and then pass the award on to 10 other genealogy bloggers who I believe would make their ancestors proud.

So, here goes.......

1. I was very surprised to trace several lines of my ancestors back to the county where I currently live. They didn't stay here, but I must have brought things full circle. Apparently I live in what was a common migration route.

2. I found not one, but two ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War.

3. I was pleasantly surprised to find the longevity was common in my ancestors. It is not unusual to live into your 90's in this family. (That puts retirement planning in a new perspective!)

4. One of the best things I have gained from the studying the family history, is connecting with older family members. Some of these I've known all my life, and some I met recently.

5. I was surprised to learn that I have a maternal line (Maddox) and paternal line (Richardson) that were both members of St Peter's Parish in Goochland County, VA in the 1700's.

6. My great x 3 grandfather Calvin Maddox's estate papers gave me a lot of insight into a 1848 farming household.

7. I was surprised to learn of an Irish ggg-grandmother in my White family line. Now if I could just find her prior to 1851....

8. I was surprised (well, maybe not really) to determine the "Cherokee medicine doctor" grandmother does not exist in our Howard line. Sorry, Cousins! I think this was a story that took on a life of its own.

9. I've always known my grandfather Lester Howard was a true Southern gentleman and caretaker of his family. I'm humbled by the stories told by his cousins of what a truly great man he was.

10. Finally, I have been enlightened by each of my ancestors. I started genealogy wanting to learn my family line. I was thrilled to add names and dates to my charts. But now I find myself drawn more to the individuals, their lives and the stories they seem to want to tell. I feel privileged to be able to share their stories on my blog.

Now I get to share 10 blogs to pass this award to. Just 10 is hard, there are so many good blogs out there!

Tracy at A Multitude of -sens
Harriet at Genealogy Fun
Tina at Gen Wish List
Kim at My Genealogy Adventure
Jennifer at Jennifer's Genealogy Blog
Diana at Random Relatives
Dionne at Finding Josephine
Alana at A Twig in My Tree
Patty at Bits of Yesterday
Jennifer at Climbing My Family Tree



Sunday, April 4, 2010

Today Is My One Year Blog-iversary

One year ago today, I started this blog to tell the stories of my ancestors. I wanted to take my ancestors "off the charts" and tell their individual stories. I wanted to share the results of my research with other members of my family. This process of blogging has made my research richer and more colorful than I could have ever imagined. My ancestors are no longer just dates and places, but people who led full lives.

So, if you are a real cousin or just a fellow blogger, thanks for reading my blog and encouraging me along the way. I look forward to sharing more ancestors and stories throughout another year.

Happy Blog-iversary!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday Esther's Dress

This is a dress (actually a skirt and top) that belonged to my great-grandmother Esther Lee (Richardson) Talbott. It is pictured in the condition I received it. In truth, I'm not quite sure how to preserve it without doing harm to it. Mostly it appears to need a good washing and ironing. I estimate its age to be about around 90 years old.

Esther was quite the seamstress. The above picture is of the cuff of the sleeve. It is difficult to tell in the picture, but the quality of her sewing was exceptional! Look at those straight and even stitches.

An interesting thing about genealogy. My ancestors often seem bigger than life to me when I am researching. I know what Esther looked like as I have numerous photos of her. I just never thought about her actual size. Based on this dress, she was a rather small woman. I believe she was no taller than I and likely a bit shorter (i.e. less than 5'4"). She also had a very tiny waist.

How fortunate our family is to have these items of Esther's. Her personal items tell the short story of her life more fully and more colorfully than could be told from just the official records.

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