Sunday, April 19, 2015

52 Ancestors #16: 106th Birthday "Girls"

Ancestor Names: Minnie Hazel (GORDON) Greenlee (1885-1992), Ruth Marion (SCHULTZ) Falkenberg (1881-1987), Susan Bertha Amelia (TALMON) Amsberry (1892-1998)

The person who lived the longest in my tree was Henry Roy Tucker. He lived to be 107 years old and was the fourth cousin twice removed of my sister-in-law. I've written about him before. So I decided to write about the next oldest person. It turns out there are three women who share the honor. Without getting into months and days, let's just say they all lived long enough to see their 106th birthday and leave it at that.

Minne Hazel (Gordon) Greenlee

Minnie was the wife of my fourth cousin twice removed, William Francis Greenlee. She was born on 28 November 1885 in St. Paul, Nebraska, which is located in the Loup valley. St. Paul was established by two surveyors, struck by the beauty of the land, in 1871. Minnie married William Greenlee at the age of 19 in her hometown. They had eight children who lived to adulthood. Her husband became the editor of the newspaper in Oshkosh, Nebraska. He died in 1968 and Minnie died in 1992. They are buried at Oshkosh Cemetery.

Grave site of William and Minnie (Gordon) Amsberry; photograph by
Find a Grave member Debbie McGinley

Ruth Marion (Schultz) Falkenberg

All I know about Ruth comes from a book, Our Schalin Family, by Lucille Fillenberg Effa. Ruth was born on 2 June 1881 and died on 25 August 1987. She married Rudolph Falkenberg, my first cousin twice removed. They had three known children. Rudolph emigrated from the Volyn region of Ukraine (at the time part of the Russian Empire) on 9 May 1893 aboard the S/S Stubbenhuk. His family traveled with a group of other German Baptists to the Fredericksheim area of Alberta, Canada. Rudolph died on 29 August 1940 at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton. He was a truck driver at the time of his death and was buried at Beechmount Cemetery, also located in Edmonton. Ruth died forty-seven years later on 25 August 1987.

Susana "Susie" Bertha Amelia (Talmon) Amsberry

Susana was born on 18 April 1892 in Cheyenne County, Kansas. Her father was a farmer, who had immigrated from Germany. Susie married Alfred Lee Andrew Amsberry on 2 August 1909 in Benkelman, Nebraska. He was my fourth cousin twice removed. They had twelve children with eight surviving childhood. Alfred was a truck driver in 1940. He died in 1965; Susie, in 1998. Both are buried at Benkelman Cemetery in Benkelman, Nebraska.

Susie (Talmon) Amsberrty and her husband, Alfred, and some of their
children; photograph courtesy of member igoodwin165.
Susie and Alfred are on the far right.

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge optional theme Live Long.

Celebrating a Centenarian: Henry Roy Tucker
Sunday's Obituary: Kathreen Estelle (Gibson) Hecker Huntley Glatfelder
Honoring a Centenarian

Thursday, April 16, 2015

TVA and the Hatchcock Family

I ran across the Hatchcock family when I was researching a DNA match of a descendant of Ignatius Riggin, the youngest known son of James and Mary (Howard) Riggin.

Sarah Caroline Barrett, known as Callie, was born in Colbert County, Alabama, on 13 August 1889. The county is in northwest Alabama. The terrain is quite hilly as the southern slopes of the Appalachian mountains reach into the county and the Tennessee river bisects the county from east to west. Callie came from a farming family and on 26 December 1909 she married Bennett Moland Hathcock, who also farmed. By the time the Great Depression cast it global shadow, Bennett and Callie had eight children.

Soon after Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president, Congress enacted the TVA Act of 1933. The Tennessee Valley Authority was a very different kind of government agency. Roosevelt had asked Congress to create "a corporation clothed with the power of government but possessed of the flexibility and initiative of a private enterprise." The organization was responsible for providing navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development in the Tennessee Valley, a region deeply affected by the the Depression.

Erosion of Alabama farm land during the Depression; photograph
courtesy of the Library of Congress

During the 1930s nearly 30 percent of the population of Tennessee suffered from malaria; the average family income was $639 a year; and much of the land had been farmed for too long without resting the soil through crop rotation. TVA not only built the dams that enabled power generation, it taught Tennessee farmers the latest farm management techniques. But not without cost. In order to provide low-cost electricity to these rural families, TVA displaced 15,000 families by condemning their land.

Ben and Callie Hathcock's family was one of those 15,000 families. They were renting a farm near Cherokee from George Hurd and had done so for about a year. Ben and Callie had six of their children still at home. Eventually, Ben and Callie secured land in Mississippi from their landlord and relocated to Mississippi on 26 January 1937. However, I sense a bit of impatience in the TVA removal case file about the length of time it took:

A TVA dam under construction in Tennessee c1940; photograph courtesy
of Wikipedia

"5 Nov 1936: This home is located on the tract belonging to George Hurd, which has recently been condemned by the Authority. It is located on the highway leading from Margerum to Riverton and about half way from Margerum to Iuka Bridge across Bear Creek.

The home is a four room frame building of box construction. It is in a fair state of repair. The interior is modestly furnished, and was clean at the time of the visit.

The family consists of husband, wife, and six children, all of whom are in good health and present no known physical handicaps with the exception of Uzell a fifteen year old son who is a cripple, having been afflicted with infantile paralysis.

Both Mr. and Mrs. H. are native of Colbert County, having been reared and lived most of their life in the Middle Creek section and moved to their present location a year ago. Mr. H. is engaged in farming, and he has followed this occupation all of his life. One son, Estel is employed by the TVA in the Reservoir Clearance Division.

The family is a third and fourth tenant. Mr. H. owns two head of work stock. He has thirty-five acres in crop, eighteen of which is cotton and will yield nine bales. These resources together with the employment of the son should be adequate for the family to care for themselves and maintain the present standard of living.

No definite plans for removal have been made, and as stated above the family despairs of being able to find a suitable place for relocation. 

3 Dec 1936: This family has been contacted twice since the original contact. At the time of the last visit, Mr. H. informed the worker that he secured land for another year from Mrs. R. H. Hurd near Burnsville, Mississippi, and would remove as soon as it was possible for them to build a house for him.

6 Jan 1937: This family was contacted on the above date, and the worker was still informed that they were waiting for the house to be completed in order that he might move. Again on 15 January, the family was contacted, and the worker was advised that the house had been completed, however, the condition of roads and weather made it impractical for them to move.

26 Jan 1937: Mr. H. and family removed to their new home site today. This relocation is considered as satisfactory


Page 2 of the Ben Hathcock TVA case file; courtesy of