Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Town and County

Growing up in the South, I would spend a week during the summers with each set of grandparents. One lived in the town and the other in the country. One was a farmer and the other a mill worker. When visiting my town grandma, I remember going to the grocery store on a regular basis, and have fond memories of the locally owned "Johnson's Market". There was also a small corner store in the mill village called "Mary's" where we could walk to get a cold Cheerwine or a slice of bologna. Although Grandma canned most of her vegetables, I don't recall her having more than a small garden patch. 

While driving past the now closed Johnson's Market today it hit me that I have no memories of ever going to a grocery store with my country grandma. Preparing dinner at her house started out with her going to the chicken coop (and I will stop there) and sending us to the fields to pick some corn or beans, or dig up potatoes or turnips. I also can't remember having anything but chicken or pork at her house because she didn't have cows. She had a strawberry patch and fruit trees, and she made all her clothes plus most of mine, my sisters and our cousins. Summers with her meant work. You never knew what you would be called on to do but it was always an adventure and you were always willing. There was a old rock quarry we called "The Pit" about half a mile through the woods and a afternoon swim meant a bath wasn't necessary. Evenings meant ghost stories (starring real family members), old family stories (thank goodness for those!) and hide and seek in the fields and woods.

Summers in town meant errands with Grandma and Grandpa to Johnson's and Zayres.  We made mud pies in  the back yard, and we were driven to visit the local aunts, uncles and cousins. Evenings were spent on the front porch chasing fireflies and waiting on the mill whistle to blow at 11:00 PM so we could meet Grandpa walking home from work with his lunch pail. There was also a poodle named Mimi who may as well have been a cousin but I will save her to star in her own entry,

Funny thing? Neither house had air conditioning and I don't remember ever being hot.

The Townies

The Countries

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Visit to the Old Antioch (Belk) Cemetery on Trinity Church Road - Union County, NC

Yesterday was such a beautiful Fall morning I decided to make the one hour drive to visit the cemetery where some of my Belk ancestors are buried, mainly the Belk who started all Belks, John Belk from England. I had visited before but at first had a hard time finding it because Trinity Church Road is in two sections separated by a short drive down Plyler Mill Road. Once on the correct section, it is easy to spot.

The Sons of Confederates had place three Confederate crosses on three Confederate memorials. All three lost their lives in that war. I had already done a bit of research on Calvin Funderburk Dickerson as he is the brother-in-law of my 3rd grand uncle, and his photo was published in "State Troops and Volunteers" along with my 3rd great grandfather and his two brothers. Calvin died of "exhaustion" due to the "amputation of his thigh" and a wound to his hand. He was 29 years old.

It was a beautiful morning for graveyard wondering, as you can see. I took a few photos of names I recognized, and if you are welcome to any of my photos for your records (no credit necessary as I do this for us).

 Doctor Doster

 Darling Belk 1835
 Darling Belk 1835

The Original John Belk

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Uncle Fed

OK, I admit it. I have a bit of a crush on 3rd great grand uncle Frederick "Fed" Moser. Maybe because he is the only one in the family I've been able to find information on because, well, he made some bad decisions. But I am still convinced he was a good man. He was the younger brother of my not so good 3rd great grandfather James P. Moser.

Fed was born in Chesterfield County, SC circa 1840 and raised in Lancaster County, SC, moving to Pickens, SC with his entire family around 1865. Some say he was never married but we know better. Some say he was a trouble maker but I think he was what we would call today a "free spirit". The last known existence I have of Fed is in 1884 when he was stabbed and hopefully survived. I am in touch with a descendant of the Moser Family in Pickens and in her family records it says Fed died in an abandoned house sitting by a fire to keep warm and his feet caught on fire. My poor Fed. It also says he was never married but we have a marriage record of Frederick to Ellen Adenie Ayers in Franklin County, GA, which is near upstate SC. He is also on the 1880 census with Ellen. And I met another cousin whose 2nd great grandmother was fathered by Fed and she believes they were married round 1869 but we have no proof. But her 2nd great grandmother knew who her father was, and her children did, as well. And this cousin connected to the family through DNA.

The family said he would steal to help the poor

Catherine Howard was not connected to Fed, just part of the news

 We do know the family was very poor, that few of them could read or write. We know they left Lancaster, SC, due to some trouble with a brother. I believe this was William Postell Moser and that he was hanged in Lancaster in the mid 1860's for horse thievery. Fed was a wanderer that could not seem to settle down. He was a thinker. He had three brothers that served as Confederates in the war, but there is no record of Fed in the war even though he was of age. 

Did Fed survive the stabbing? Did he die when his feet caught on fire? We may never know. The 1890 census was destroyed but apparently Fed didn't make it to the 1900.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Twelve Confederate Grandfathers and a Union Sympathizer

My Southern roots go deep. All of my ancestors that I am aware of (there are a couple brick walls) have been here since the revolution. I have been able to document 12 grandfathers that served in the Civil War. Only two of them lost their lives, both killed in action.

Paternal 3rd Great Grandfather Confederate Soldiers

·                     James P. Moser
     Apr 1833 - Jun 1910
     Lancaster County, SC Confederate - Enlisted as Private Feb 23, 1861 Co C 1st SC Regulars and Co.G De Saussure Light Artillery. Served four years until surrender. Pension application records for James and widow in my possession.

·                     Samuel Montgomery Small
     15 Feb 1839 - 13 May 1906
     Lancaster County,SC Enlisted as Private in Company C, Hampton Legion Infantry Regiment South Carolina. Surrendered Company C, Hampton Legion Infantry Regiment South Carolina on 9 Apr 1865 at Appomattox, VA.

·                     Levi P. Whitaker
     1918 - Oct 1901
     Lancaster County,SC Enlisted as Private at Wild Cat, February 3, 1863, on muster roll of December 31, 1864. Co. C Butler's 1st Regulars SC Infantry. Died at the Old Soldiers' Home on Sullivans Island, SC. Buried with CSA Headstone Union Baptist Church Cemetery, Lancaster, Taxihaw, SC. Headstone application in my possession.

·                     Peter Washington Plyler (out of wedlock)
     28 May 1835 - 13 Dec 1862 Fredericksburg, VA
     Enlisted as Sergeant 15 March 1862 in Union County, NC Co. E 48th Infantry
     Promoted to Full Lieutenant on 26 Nov 1862. Shot and killed instantly on 13 Dec 1862.  Battle at Fredericksburg, VA. Body was brought home to be buried with family. Widow pension application record on file.

Thought to be Peter Plyler
·                     James Alexander Pate Sr.
     born abt 1810 - survived war
     Enlisted as Private 1st Regiment NC Infantry Co. B.

·                     Ellison Deas
     1832 - 7 Oct 1862
    Enlisted in Company E, North Carolina 48th Infantry Regiment on 10 Aug 1862.Mustered out on 07 Oct 1862 at Staunton, VA. Died in hospital in VA of typhoid and is buried at Thornrose Cemetery.

·                     Alfred Jesse Algerton
     22 Apr 1811 - 22 Jan 1906
     No record-Lost two sons in the war. Filed with the US Southern Claims Commission in 1876 and commission was granted: 
     The main stipulations for qualifying to receive a reimbursement were that: the claimant had to prove loss of property, that he had supported the Union during the war and that he not provided any assistance to the Confederates. Nearly 22,300 cases were filed by individuals and families, as well as businesses, institutions,churches, and other organizations. Not only do the names and locations of the claimants provide background information about the Civil War, but each claimant was required to provide witnesses. The witnesses had to answer the same 80+ questions that the claimant had to answer. Many of these witnesses were former slaves whose names rarely appear on any other legal document from the Civil War era. They also    provided names and dates for family members who often lived on other plantations.
·                     John Pleasant Dees
     1822 - 1895
     Enlisted as Corporal, Captain Kelly's Company, Chesterfield,SC, Light Artillery

·                     William Thomas Rorie (step-great grandfather)
     30 Sep 1845 - 13 Jul 1924
     Anson County,NC Enlisted in Company A, North Carolina 23rd Infantry Regiment on 22 May 1861. POW Captured by General Sheridan's forces, 19 September 1864, at Winchester, Virginia.
WT Rorie front center sitting

Maternal 3rd Great Grandfather Confederate Soldiers

·                     John Elliott
     Feb 1827 - 15 May 1915
     Enlisted as Private Mar 19, 1862 Catawba County, NC. Enlisted in Company I, 49th Infantry Regiment North Carolina on 16 Apr 1862.

John Elliott early 1900s with great grandchildren

·                     Jesse Barkley
     21 Aug 1826 - 16 Oct 1894
     There is a J.R. and a J.M. Barkley for Iredell, NC, but I do not have his middle initial. He was taxed $1 for a buggy in 1865.

·                     George Washington Lafayette Belk
     16 Mar 1829 - 14 Oct 1863 Battle of Bristoe Station, VA
     Enlisted as Private, Union County, NC 15 Mar 1862. Enlisted in Company E, North Carolina 48th Infantry Regiment on 19 Apr 1862. Killed in Action 14 Oct 1863 at Bristoe Station, VA. Memorial gravestone New Hope United Methodist Cemetery, Union County, NC with wife and her second husband Charles Fisher Helms. Do not know if body was returned for burial.

·                     Charles Fisher Helms (step-3rd great grandfather)
     21 Jan 1842 - 29 Jun 1918
     Enlisted as Private in Company B, North Carolina 26th Infantry Regiment on 09 Aug 1861.
     Tuesday, June 23, 1903, THE MONROE JOURNAL (Union County, N.C.)
     “I guess we old soldiers won’t get a great many more dinners and reunions,” said Mr.     Fisher Helms, an old soldier.  Mr. Helms was a member of the famous 26th North   Carolina Regiment, and was in a few yards of the gallant young Col. Burgwyn when the latter was killed, and himself was shot on the same field.  He was wounded five times    during the war and yet carried a ball in his body.  “Yes,” he continued, “I hope all      the boys come to Monroe on the Fourth.  I want to come to accept the invitation of the people of Monroe, and to see as many as possible of the old soldiers again.”

·                     James Mason Richardson
     Sep 1840 - 8 Feb 1904
     Enlisted as Private 2 Dec 1862, Camp Mangum, NC. Enlisted in Company B, North Carolina 26th Infantry Regiment on 29 Dec 1862

Mr. J. Mace RICHARDSON, who formerly lived in Buford township and long enjoyed the reputation of a fighting man, died on Monday of last week of dropsy, in Lancaster county. He moved to that locality about four years ago from Rock Hill. A wife and six children survive him. The body was taken to Rock Hill and buried beside one of his sons. 

Mr. J. M. Richardson, of the Creek section, died Monday from an abesess on the lung, caused it is supposed from injuries receieved by being thrown from his wagon by a runnaway team about two years ago. He was about 63 years of age and leaves a wife and six children. He had been confined to his home for several months. His remains were taken to Rock Hill yesterday for interment.

·                     Nathaniel "Nathan" Abernathy - no record found
     1814 - 1870

·                     ? Tolbert ? Talbert ? - name unknown

·                     Ezekiel Collett - No Record Found (Ezekiel Collett record is his nephew)
     1813 - died aft 1880 Zion, Greensville, VA

·                     Jacob William Correll - I recently found another death notice on Jacob that states he was a drummer in the war but haven't been able to find any records.

     27 Sep 1827 - 7 Apr 1899

Jacob William Correll


William Atlas Belk - Knocker Up

I recently found out from my great aunt, age 95, that my great grandfather William Atlas "Buck" Belk was a Knocker Up for the Alcoa Mill in Badin, NC. Great Grandpa was a painter by trade, but in the early 1920s when times were hard he took the job with Alcoa. A "Knocker Up" was in charge of making sure everyone got up in the morning to go to work. He would go knock on doors and windows, getting people out of bed and on their way to the mill. My great grandfather died four years before I was born but I've always heard he was an early riser and always happy, not to mention a big flirt. I can just imagine him getting a sneak peak of a lady in her shift and going on about it. I guess present day Southerners would describe him as a "mess".

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ancestor Namesakes

Figuring out who my ancestors are named after has always been a fun past time for me. The best one yet is the family of my great great grandparents Allen and Cornelia "Neely" Correll Collett. 

Their first child was Lillian Fostina and I have not been able to figure out where that name came from.

Their second child was Jacob Edward. Neely's  father was Jacob, as was her brother,  and her brother Charles' middle name was Edward.

The next son was Joseph Allen, named for his father. I do not know his father Allen's middle name but I do know it starts with a J. Could be Joseph? 

Daughter Harriett was born next, named after her grandmother, Neely's mother. 

The third and last son was Charles Fisher. Fisher was the middle name of Neely's brother and the name he went by. And Charles was the name of her brother whose middle named was used for Jacob. I think she used her two favorite brothers names but mixed them up. Jacob Edward was named for Jacob Fisher and Charles Edward, and Charles Fisher was named for the same two. Are you with me?

Next was my dear great grandmother Annie. She was named after her great grandmother Annie Groner, mother of Harriett.

The last born child was Molly who is still a mystery. Maybe they thought it was a cute name.

Jacob 'Fisher" Correll

Charles Edward Correll

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Maternal Grandfather Avery Lee Abernathy

My maternal grandfather Avery Lee Abernathy was was born in Newton, NC, on June 15, 1909, to Bertis Abernathy and Prudie Elliott. According to his birth certificate, he was delivered at home by midwife Lucy Ramseur. The family eventually moved to Rowan County, where they all worked at Cannon Mills.

Prudie Elliott Abernathy

Bert Abernathy

Avery and his wife Vera Belk Abernathy worked at Cannon Mills in China Grove their whole lives. I remember visiting as a child, waiting for the midnight whistle to go off so we could run to meet Grandpa at the gate. He'd be carrying his large metal lunch pail, and when we got back to the house we'd sit on the front porch and play with his tools. I still have a scar on my finger from the time he told me to stop playing with that pocket knife or I was going to cut myself!

Grandpa liked swinging in his porch swing, reading comic books and watching Days Of Our Lives. He was also known for his "Red Eye Gravy" and we had a little tune for it, "Want some red eye gravy? Get the recipe from Avery!" One of the funniest stories about him was told to me recently by his youngest living son, Clinton Abernathy. Uncle Clinton told me that when they were boys Grandpa would come home from the mill everyday and sit in his swing reading his comic books. I guess this was his way to unwind when working 1st shift. One day his two oldest sons, Buddy and Charles, took a string and tied it to the swing, ran it across the street and tied it to the screen door of a cranky neighbor. Everyone remembers how those old wooden screen doors bang? Every time Grandpa would swing forward that door would open and slam shut. The boys were hiding under the porch watching, and surely laughing their stinking little heads off. Cranky neighbor man came out to investigate, grabbed the string, and followed it all the way to Grandpa's swing.  I fell certain he knew it was those rotten Abernathy boys (there were FOUR of them and one sweet daughter, my mom) and not my Grandpa.

Harold "Buddy" Abernathy
Charles Abernathy

Grandpa's parents Bert and Prudie are buried at West Lawn Cemetery in China Grove, Bert is marked but Prudie isn't. Two of their daughters are also buried there and not marked. Sad. Grandpa had five brothers and three sisters. One of his brothers, Baby Ervin, died as an infant and is buried at Chestnut Hill Cemetery in Salisbury. Grandpa, a soft heart, would always tear up when he spoke of his baby brother. The other brothers are Fred Monroe, Ernest Edward, Everett Lewis and Carl Hampton. The sisters were Jessie, Annie Belle and Margaret "Odessa". The only sibling I knew was Odessa, and she was loved by all of us.

Fred Monroe Abernathy
Odessa on right with sister-in-law Vera

I have not been able to locate Bert's parents or a death date on them. Their names are Mitchell Abernathy and Nancy Jane Talbert or Tolbert. She went by Nancy or Jane and has been hard to trace. They lived in Gastonia and Mitchell disappears off the census after 1900. In 1913 there is a Jane Abernathy, widow of Mitchell A. living in Salisbury (according to the US City Directory). That is the last record I have found on who I believe to be my 2nd great grandmother Nancy Jane Abernathy. My guess is after Mitchell died she moved to Salisbury to be close to her daughter Fanny, who is also in the city directory. I hope to visit the city cemetery in Salisbury soon to see if they have records. I do know that neither of them is buried where their son Manuel Alvin Abernathy in Gastonia was buried.

Here is Avery, a very sweet man, wonderful father, member of South China Grove Baptist Church where he sang in the choir, lifetime cotton mill worker, surf fisher, lover of animals and children, and a horrendous snorer.

Avery Lee Abernathy loved the beach

One of my favorites - how I remember him

A young Avery with wife Vera Belk Abernathy

Avery and Vera

South China Grove Baptist Church Choir - Avery back row left

Charles, Buddy, Avery, Vera, David, Ann, Clinton

The author on right with little sister, Mimi the dog and my grandparents