Friday, October 31, 2014

Captured at Waynesboro

William Henry Jennings was born in 1838 in Amherst County, Virginia, to Powhatan Perrow and Catherine B (Jewell) Jennings. He was my great grandfather's older brother. Their mother died in 1854 and their father married Elizabeth A Rhodes soon after. Before Powhatan's death in 1858, he fathered another child, Willie Ann Jennings. An inventory of Powhatan's personal property conducted in 1859 placed the value at $5,495.75.

When the 1860 census was taken Elizabeth, Willie Ann, and several children from Powhatan's first marriage were still living on the farm. Elizabeth's real estate was valued at $400 and her personal property at $1,000. William Henry's real estate was valued at $5,000 and his personal property at $5,000.

Three years later, he enlisted in Confederate States Army as a private in Company G, 51st Virginia Infantry Regiment. The regiment was known as the Virginia Volunteers and had been originally mustered at Wytheville, Virginia, two months after the first Battle of Bull Run. During the winter of 1862-1863 the regiment established their winter camp at the Narrows of the New River, which was five miles from Pearisburg, at a point where the river was shallow and narrow. William Henry Jennings likely joined the regiment at their winter camp soon after enlisting.

Topographical map illustrating the Narrows at New River; courtesy of

At the start of the 1863 campaign season the 51st Regiment was assigned to Wharton's Brigade. Their mission was to protect the Kanawha salt works, lead mines at Wytheville, and the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad in southwestern Virginia from Federal cavalry troops. They spent the summer marching here and there to protect their objectives. During September fatigue was the regiment's main problem. They had marched nearly constantly for four months yet had not engaged the enemy in a major battle. William Henry Jennings was promoted to Corporal on 1 September 1863.

From Harper's Weekly, 14 Jan 1865; illustration courtesy of Son of the

He fought with the regiment throughout 1864 but the Confederacy began to taste defeat at the hands of Union General Sheridan late in the year. Morale across the South was near its nadir. Grant pressed hard on Lee's troops around Richmond; Sherman was ravaging Georgia; and Sheridan had lain waste to Virginia's beloved Shenandoah Valley.

That winter, the 51st made its winter quarters in Fishersville, and the time passed without incident. In late February the regiment received orders to prepare for a move. At dawn on March 2, the 51st Regiment began moving towards Waynesboro. The Federal cavalry approached the unit as it prepared to cross the Shenandoah River. Wharton's men quickly formed into a battle line, having only 1,000 muskets and four artillery pieces. They were outmanned. The enemy cavalry hit their left flank hard and the Confederal line disintegrated. William Henry Jennings was taken prisoner by Union soldiers. He was one of 393 Confederate prisoners captured that day.

Virginia Historical Marker; courtesy of Visit Waynesboro

The prisoners were marched to Staunton, Virginia, in muddy ground so terrible it was described as being "up to our knees and some places even deeper." They were housed in Staunton temporarily at the Western State Hospital and were fed flour and bacon. Soon they were on their way to Harper's Ferry where the prisoners were shipped either to Elmira, New York, or Delaware.

William Henry Jennings was sent to Fort Delaware, Delaware, on 12 March 1865 and remained there for the rest of the war. On 10 June he was administered the Oath of Allegiance and released. Several versions of the Oath were in use, but this is the one of the most common:

Civil War era photograph of Fort Delaware prisoner of war camp;
photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress

"I do solemnly swear that I will support, protect and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States against all enemies, whether domestic or foreign, and that I will bear true faith, allegiance and loyalty to the same, any ordinance, resolution or law of any State, convention or legislature to the contrary not withstanding; and further, that I do this with a full determination, pledge and purpose, without any mental reservation or evasion whatsoever: So help me God."

William Henry went on to marry three times (his first two wives were sisters) and fathered six known children. He died in 1929 at the age of 91 years old and is buried in Tudor Hall Cemetery in Amherst County, Virginia.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: North Carolina Monument at Gettsyburg

The sculptor of the North Carolina State Monument at Gettysburg was Gutzon Borglum, best known today for Mt. Rushmore. The bronze casting for the monument was done in New York. North Carolina seceded from the Union on 20 May 1861, following Lincoln's request for troops to put down the rebellion. Up to 125,000 North Carolinians fought for the Confederacy, and they accounted for around a quarter of the Confederate losses during the war.

The idea for this post came from

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Honor Roll Project: Frederick, Maryland

A Sunday drive to the quaint, historic city of Frederick, Maryland, included a lovely surprise -- the Memorial Grounds with several memorials to those men and women who served their country in time of war from the city and county of Frederick, Maryland.

Vietnam War

The Vietnam memorial was a striking monument with several tablets surrounding the shiny black obelisk.

Vietnam War obelisk, Frederick Memorial Grounds

The men who lost their lives in Vietnam from the City of Frederick or Frederick County, Maryland:

Clyde S. Hines, USA, 26 May 1968
John W. Fraser, USA, 27 May 1968
Woodrow F. Carbs, USMC, 5 Jun 1968
Kenneth I. Krom, USA, 18 Aug 1968
Harold F. Kline, USA, 24 Aug 1968
Stephen E. Stroka, USA, 3 Aug 1969
James M. Atchison, USA, 12 Apr 1970
Franklin J. Krantz, Jr., USA, 13 Jun 1970
Robert I. Willard, USA, 28 Jul 1970
Robert E. Smith, Jr., USA 15 May 1966
Daniel S. Brittan, USMC, 30 May 1966
Richard W. Meehan, USA, 8 Aug 1968
Robert H. Lerner, USA, 31 Aug 1966
Wilson L. Cook, USA, 27 Feb 1967
Gary W. Cosgrave, USAF, 12 May 1967
Charles F. Brandenburg, USA, 5 Aug 1967
John F. Plunkard, USA, 8 Apr 1968
William E. Zimmerman, Jr., USA, 28 Apr 1968
Larry F. Brashears, USMC, 30 Apr 1968
Michael L. Brewer, USA, 9 May 1968
Charles W. Harbert, USA, 12 May 1968

Plus one more name of a serviceman missing in action whose remains were recovered in 2006 still needs to be added to this list.

Korean Conflict

The Korean War Memorial at the Memorial Grounds
in Frederick, Maryland

Korean War Veterans Memorial
June 25, 1950
January 31, 1955

Killed in Action

Charles Austin Brandenburg
Paul Kenneth Carty
Manville Eugene Dagenhart
Jacob Augustus Ely
Raymond Randolph Flair
Edward Ray Fisher
Samuel Oliver Frye
Albert Eugene Green
Raymond Louis Kemp, Jr.
Harvey Elmer Matthew Luby
Harold Edward Lugenbeel
Albert Lee Miss
Ira Victor Miss, Jr.
Norman Lawrence Reid
Charles Clark Roberts
Paul James Sewell
Clyde Jacob Smith
Virgil Lee Stambaugh
Norman Richard Thompson, Jr.
Robert Campbell Thomas, Jr.
Joseph Hayes Trail
Jack Dempsey Wallace
Victor Lorentz Wills
Irvin E. Lanehart
George W. Ambrose
Sterling L. Ambrose

World War II

The World War II memorial was the largest one on the memorial grounds. Names were engraved on both sides.

A portion of the World War II memorial at the Memorial
Grounds in Frederick, Maryland

Killed in Action

Frank W. Albaugh
Garfield H. Ambrose
Benjamin W. Anderson
Charles W. Andrews
Sherman E. Axline
John S. Baer
Franklin E. Baker
Gerald L. Baker
Melvin L. Baker
Olin W. Bales
William F. Beacht
William R. Beall
Garland O. Bell
Leon Biser
Charles S. Bowers
James B. Bowers
Raymond Bowins
Harry R. Brown
John J. Brown
Jesse. E. Burall
Leroy Burdette
Robert J. Burdette
Michael E. Busch
Floyd W. Butts
Calvin C. Cannon
Benjamin E. Cantwell
Wilson T. Carmack, Jr.
Miller B. Cassell, Jr.
Carl A. Cline, Jr.
Joseph H. Comer
Edwin C. Creeger, Jr.
Lawrence H. Crickenberger, Jr.
George B. Crist
Irvin W. Culler
John D. Culler
Paul C. Cummings
Russell Y. Dansberger
Clark L. Davis
John W. Davis
Wilbur A. Davis
Paul K. Dean
Johnny T. DeGrange
William T. Delaplaine, III
Paul E. Dodd
Wesley D. Dolan
Nathan G. Dorsey
Tommy Duble
Donald A. Duncan
William G. Duvall
Paul W. Esworthy
Vernon L. Etzler
Glenn W. Eyler
John F. Eyler
Llewellyn C. Eyler
Kenneth F. Fagan
John C. Felix
George F. Ferrell
Daniel W. Fetterolf
Earl W. Fitzwater
Richard L. Fleming
Milton L. Fletcher
John T. Flook
Max K. Flook
Dale M. G. Ford
George W. Ford
Harry F. Fraley
Edward L. Fulmer
Henry L. Gall
John R. Gall
Frank A. Gardner, Jr.
Irvin B. Gaver
Kellsie A. Gaver
Richard C. Geisbert
Habard T. Gladhill
Carl P. Gochnauer
George M. Gosnell
Charles V. Gouker
Donald V. Griffith
William J. Grimes
Harry M. Hahn, Jr.
William H. Hanvey
Aubrey L. Harner
Earl M. Harwood
Roland T. Hauver
Joseph E. Hemller
Lloyd H. Herbert
Arthur J. Hessong
Harry R. Hessong, Jr.
Robert L. Hessong
Garland Z. Hightman
Leslie A. Himes
Kathryn L. Hoffman
Morris E. Hoffman
Ruben Holler
Clarence C. Hood
Aubrey L. Horner
Monroe E. Hossler
Richard B. House
Paul E. Huffer
Richard Huntzberry
Paul R. Hyatt
George D. Jenkins, Jr.
James C. Jones
Jay Jones
Melvin Jones
Marlin L. Keeney
Gerald C. Keller
Charles D. Kemp
Charles F. Kennedy
Francis L. Kennedy, Jr.
Charles E. Kerchner
Ignatius B. Keyser
Charles D. Kidwiler
Carroll M. Kline
John F. Knott
Roy C. Koontz
Robert A. Lane
Mehrle E. Leatherman
John F. Leatherwood
James T. Lee
Merhl G. Lee
Robert L. Lewis
William F. Lines
Reginald R. Linton
John W. Little
Wilbur R. Long
Marvin D. Lowry
Franklin B. Makel
Reynolds Marrow
Harry C. Martin
Marvin L. McAdams, Jr.
Allan C. McBride
Robert C. McClanahan
John W. McDevitt
John F. Meehan
Paul Megna
Rayhugh G. Michael
Earl F. Miller
Richard O. Miller
Roy C. Miller
Thomas E. Miller
Charles T. Mills
William C. Moberly
Howard V. Mobley, Jr.
Ira L. Moore
Robert L. Morris
Warren R. Morrison
Roland E. Moss
Joshua E. Murphy, Jr.
William C. Myers
Fleet B. Neighbours
Robert P. Neisser
Owen A. Nichols
Harry A. Nogle
James A. Null
Harrmy M. Nuse
Clarence E. Nusz
Robert L. Pellicott
Ernest L. Perkins
William C. Petty
Charles L. Peyton, Jr.
John K. Phelps
Alton J. Plaine
John G. Poland
Milvin W. Poole
Warner M. Poole
Kenneth L. Porfs
Herbert F. Price
Gordon L. Pryor
Raymond L. Pryor
Claude T. Ramsburg
Austin C. Reed
Donald E. Reeder
Charles A. Rhodes, Jr.
George E. Rice
Dorsey L. Riddlemoser, Jr.
Clarence E. Roberts
Harry W. Rohrback
Chester E. Rollins
Hasson S. Sauble
Waldo E. Schmitt
James W. Schwartz
Daniel J. Scott
Edmond K. Seiler
Earlston F. Shafer
William F. Shankle
Charles L. Sharrer, Jr.
Joseph M. Shaw
Jacob W. Shinnick
Charles E. Shook
Annon C. Shriner
Ronald F. Sier
Richard F. Simmons, II
Alvey H. Smith
William B. Smith
William D. Smith
Woodrow W. Smith
R. J. Stambaugh
Arnold E. Stamper
George A. Strathern
Orville F. Streight
Charles M. Stull
Lester E. Stull
Raymond W. Sweeney
Marion C. Talley
Balfour E. Thomas
Fred P. Timmerman, Jr.
Gerald W. Tritapoe
Francis E. Valentine
Dominick D. Varano
Norman M. Wachter
Albert R. Walch
Robert S. Walters
Leo H. Ward
Charles R. Waters
Albert P. Watkins
Dallas D. Watkins
Ernest F. Wiles
James E. Wiles
Gilmour M. Will, Jr.
Leroy T. Wilson
Norman L. Windsor
Lester Winebrenner
Harry E. Wolfe
Harry R. Wolfe
Charles T. Wright
Harry F. Young
Carroll S. Younkins
Donald E. Younkins
Preston S. Younkins

World War I

World War I Memorial at the Memorial Grounds
in Frederick, Maryland

This monument
was erected in honor of
the sons and daughters
Frederick County
who served their country
in the Great World War
1917 -- 1918

These men died for their county

Lewis R. Adams
Byron V. Akers
Albert Garland Alder
Clarence D. Armstrong
Murray Baker
Hobert McKinley Beachley
Morris W. Bennett
Arthur H. Bentzel
Thomas R. Bopst
William Bunke
Harry C. Burke
Jesse D. Burke
Jesse L. Burns
Frederick F. Carroll
Honore Martin Claggett
Hugh Corun
John D. Darr
William Lee Dertzbaugh
Francis Zavier Elder
Morris Etzler
Benjamin F. Eyler
Edgar J. Eyler
Carl Lawrence Firor
Paul Firor
William Fraley
Charles Frances Gelwicks
Wilber Ecker Graham
Martin Luther Hahn
Norman G. Haller
Earl J. Harper
Earlston L. Hargett
Harvey Lycurcus Hedges
Roy Hoffman
William Shuff Hooper
Roy C. Huffer
Charles Winfield Jacobs
A. D. Keenan
Roy O. Kelbaugh
William C. King
Benjamin F. Kline
David F. Koogle
Gaither Leon, Lewis
Henry Lowry
Martin Luther Lutz
Roland Wordsworth Martin
Frank T. McNalley
Jacob Mercer
Walter A. Monath
George S. Morningstar
Walter Thomas Myers
Vernon Ross Ohler
Charles P. E. Peugnet
Andrew J. Ponton
Jesse Pryor
Leonard Melville Quinn
Benjamin Reed
Robert Bruce Reifsnider
William Ricketts
George W. Roeber
Francis E. Rowe
George C. Saunders
John Reading Schley
Leslie F. Selby
Daniel Austin Shankle
George S. Shaw
Charles S. Simpson
Guy Austin Smith
Harry Beachley Smith
Herman E. Smith
Franklin L. Staley
Howard W. Steadman
Clifford Martin Stitely
Charles Stream
Raymond O. Stull
Stanley M. Toms
Charles Walker
Russell J. Watkins
James Somerset Waters
John R. Webb
Nevel E. Wheeler
George Williams
Clive E. Wise

Monday, October 27, 2014

Honor Roll Project : West Hazleton, Pennsylvania

My husband and I are traveling -- he for work and I am going for genealogy.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, author of the Nutfield Genealogy blog, began an Honor Roll Project a few years ago. The objective of the project is to transcribe and photograph military honor rolls. The transcribed names make soldiers available to search engines so that descendants may one day find find them when searching the Internet.

It's hard to drive through a new city now and not look for a war memorial. We found this one in West Hazleton in front of the historic Miners Bank.

The memorial was included in a 1930-1940 era postcard of the bank building.

Miners Bank and War Memorial of West Hazleton, Pennsylvania;
image courtesy of Boston Public Library

The memorial includes the name of every soldier who served in World War I from the greater Hazleton area.

War Memorial in West Hazleton, Pennsylvania

The names of veterans were engraved on all four sides of the memorial as well as the plinth. The top of the granite column says: Lest we forget their sacrifice, their suffering, their service. In this blog post, I am transcribing only the names of those soldiers, sailors and airmen who lost their lives:

Joseph Adams
John J. Banko
Stanley, J. Bator, Jr.
Anthony C. Bien
John W. Burke
Nicholas F. Callen, Sr.
John R. Comshick
Alvin E. Daubert
Edward R. Evans
Alfred E. Ferrari
Carl J. Fey
Walter A. Gaska
Walter L. Hagelgans
Michael Harvilla
Robert A. Hinger
Albert J. Kokitas
Anthony Koloski, Jr.
Henry Kotaneski
John A. Koval
Thomas Ksanznak, Jr.
George Lencalis
Raymond L. Maleski
William J. Martini
George McAndrews
Victor Melkosky
John W. Michaelski
Robert H. Morrow
Michael Patlowski
Raymond R. Pollock
Michael Patlowski
Laur E. Reinmiller
Thomas  Reese, Jr.
Joseph Rockovich
Leo G. Samborowski
Harold E. Smith
Rober R. Snyder
Albert L. Stelmach
Frank Stelmer
Anthony S. Strzeleki
Donald R. White
Alphonso P. Yuknis
Michael J. Yurick
Wallace M. Zellner

Sunday, October 26, 2014

52 Ancestors #43: Questions, Questions, Questions

Ancestor Name: Robert MUIR (c1800-1869)

I promised my father I would write a book about about his great great grandfather, Robert Muir, who was a coal miner in Scotland, and his descendants. When Dad was able to research our family, he did not have access to Scottish records and so knew very little about his only immigrant line. I have finally gotten serious about this project; and, after exploring several self-publishing options, decided the easiest was writing the stories in a blog format and then "pointing" the publishing application at the blog. So I started the Robert Muir Family blog after creating an outline and determining how that outline would translate to blog categories, or labels.

It was when I was writing the post about Robert's children and typing all the birth and death dates and locations, I had an a-ha moment. Robert Muir and his family HAD to be living in East Kilbride parish when the 1841 Scotland census was enumerated because he had a daughter born there that year and several children born before her and after were born in East Kilbride. So I went back to ScotlandsPeople and finally found it, several search permutations later.

1841 Scotland Census record for Robert Muir's family; document
courtesy of ScotlandsPeople

I transcribe all my documents and refer to the transcriptions when writing.

1841 Scotland Census Transcription:
06/06/1841 Moore, Henrietta (Census 1841 643/00 001/00 001)
Parish of East Kilbride
Place: [illegible, possibly Leugh, perhaps for Low?] Common
Houses: One inhabited House
Robert Moore, 35, Male, Coal cutter, foreign born, including England or Ireland
Henrietta Moore, 30, Female, born in Lanarkshire
William Moore, 15, Male, Coal cutter, born in Lanarkshire
Elizabeth Moore, 12, Female, born in Lanarkshire
Martha Moore, 10, Female, born in Lanarkshire
Jane Moore, 3, Female, born in Lanarkshire
Robert Moore, 1, Male, born in Lanarkshire
[illegible] K., 1 month, Female, born in Lanarkshire
Francis McColl, 30, Male, Agricultural laborer, foreign born, including England or Ireland
Stephen McColl, 26, Male, Agricultural laborer, foreign born, including England or Ireland
Francis McMillan, 20, Male, Agricultural laborer, foreign born, including England or Ireland
Peter Roony, 25, Male, Agricultural laborer, foreign born, including England or Ireland

What's Right?
I concluded this was the correct record for "my" Robert Muir family because:
  • Robert Muir's family was known to be living in East Kilbride in 1841
  • Robert Muir was foreign born
  • Robert Muir was a coal miner (also described as hewer or cutter)
  • Robert Muir's wife's name was correct
  • The birth order, names, and ages of their known children was also correct
Good News!
Like most new finds, this one included new information:
  • Henrietta (Brown) Muir's approximate age and birth location
  • 15-year-old son, William
What's Wrong?
Like some records, there are bits and pieces that are not accurate:
  • The spelling of the family's surname as Moore instead of Muir
  • Robert Muir's age, which doesn't match two other records
There's Always More Questions
Why does each new find bring excitement, especially when they've been so hard to find; and why do they always generate more questions?
  • What was William Muir's life like? Did he marry? When did he die?
  • Was Robert Muir married before and is William Muir a product of that marriage?
  • Research each of the foreign-born boarders living with Robert Muir's family. Were they relatives of Robert's?
  • Will I ever find Robert and Henrietta (Brown) Muir in the 1851 Scotland census
  • Could the new information about Henrietta's date and place of birth help me find her parents?
  • Explore Robert's new birth date; perhaps it is not wrong?
Robert Muir was born about 1800 in Ireland. His parents are unknown, though his father's name was listed as James Muir on his death registration. He married Henrietta Brown on 26 January 1828 in Avondale, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He was a coal miner and lived in Glassford, East Kilbride, Larkhall, and Storehouse, Scotland. His wife, Henrietta died between 1851 and 1869. When the 1861 census was enumerated Robert was listed as a "former coal miner." He died on 20 April 1869 in Stonehouse of palpitation of the heart and bronchitis.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Worldwide Genealogy: Memorial Day Foundation

As we in the U.S. get ready to celebrate the second of our two annual holidays to commemorate veterans, who served in the armed services, I wanted to review a website volunteers may use to upload photographs and information about war memorials into a war memorial registry.

The Memorial Day Foundation is a tax-exempt not for profit organization created to increase awareness and respect for the holiday. The foundation provides flower bouquets when can be laid at war memorials across the country. It also maintains a website which is a crowd-sourced repository of photographs and information about almost any type of war memorial.

I hope you'll click on over to my review at Worldwide Genealogy -- A Genealogical Collaboration to read my thoughts on this website.

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France,
wait for the end of hostilities. This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on
11 November 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I
went into effect

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Elks National Home

When my grand uncle, Charles Albert Jennings, Sr., registered for the World War II draft, he was 61 years old and listed his place of residence as the Elks National Home, Bedford, Virginia. If his date of birth and the address of his wife, who lived in Roanoke, didn't match other records I'd already collected, I might have passed over this record. Why? Charles had a seemingly prosperous career.

Charles Albert Jennings World War II Draft Registration Card, 1942;
image courtesy of

As a young married man, Charles and his wife, Margaret "Maggie" Susan Pifer were living with her parents at 3rd Avenue, NW in Roanoke. Charles was a bookkeeper at a bakery. Four years later, he was working for, or part-owner of, Maddox & Jennings, which was a confectionary or bakery. He continued working for that establishment until 1926 when he became president and proprietor of Jennings & Pedigo, Inc.

So what was he doing at the Elks National Home in 1942? I never did discover the reason, though I have called the Home to see if they will release his records. Charles died in 1947 and is buried at Fair View Cemetery. In 1942 his wife lived with her son, James Edwin Jennings in Roanoke and later moved to 1702 Rorer Avenue, SW, living there until at least through 1958. She died in 1972 at the age of 81.

I have learned the Elks National Home has an interesting history. The organization purchased the old Hotel Bedford in a bankruptcy sale. It was turned into the National Home, which was established for the indigent and dedicated in 1903. Over 5,000 Elks attended the dedication ceremony from around the country.

The original Hotel Bedford building, which was the first
Elks National Home; photograph courtesy of

The old hotel quickly became inadequate and a new building was erected during 1915-1916. Then U.S. Senator Warren G. Harding attended the dedication ceremony for this new building. The facility really expanded between 1923 and 1938 when three more buildings were added for residents as well as a laundry building and theater.

The new Elks National Home Building circa 1954; photograph courtesy of

On 9 December 1937 a large bronze elk statute was installed in front of the new home. It was a gift from John Schmitt, a member of New York Lodge No. 1. The elk weighs 1,950 pounds.

The Elks National Home decorated for the holidays. You can see the bronze
elk statue. Photograph courtesy of Elks National Home website.

In 1999 the Elks organization began accepting women residents at the National Home.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Honor Roll Project

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, author of the Nutfield Genealogy blog, began an Honor Roll Project a few years ago. The objective of the project is to transcribe and photograph military honor rolls. The transcribed names make soldiers available to search engines so that descendants may one day find find them when searching the Internet.

Last Sunday Pete and I photographed two honor rolls.

Cherrydale World War I Memorial

This memorial is located in the Cherrydale area of Arlington County, Virginia, at 3710 Lee Highway in front of the Cherrydale Health and Rehabilitative Center building. This was an interesting memorial to find. Every website that includes it says it is located at North 20th Road, but that is a residential area and no memorials or monuments were found on that two-block street. I grew up not far from Cherrydale and still go to my childhood dentist. I remembered something that looked like a memorial when we drove down Lee Highway on our semi-annual visits to the dentist. But where exactly? I finally spotted it mostly hidden underneath a crepe myrtle tree and we were elated to find it -- a wonderful example of a "hyper" local memorial.

Cherrydale World War I Memorial, Arlington County, Virginia


Erected in honor of the boys of Cherrydale, Virginia who gave their lives in the World War

Lieut. John Lyon, USA
Lieut. Irving T. C. Newman, Aviation Corps
Frederick Wallis Schutt, USN
Archibald Walters Williams, USN
Privt. Harry E. Vermillion, USA

By the Francis Wallis Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution

Fairfax County Courthouse War Memorial Plaques

The historic Fairfax County Courthouse is actually located in the independent city of Fairfax. On the courthouse grounds near the intersection of Rts. 123 and 236, are two monuments dedicated to those killed in the service of their country from Fairfax County. The Marr Monument commemorates Confederate soldiers and the other monument commemorates those who lost their lives in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.

The Marr Monument will be photographed at another time.

World War I Memorial Plaque at the Fairfax County
Courthouse, Fairfax City, Virginia


A tribute to the men of Fairfax County who in the spirit of loyalty served their country in 1917 -- the World War -- 1918

Died in the service

Thomas L. Brady
James F. Carper
Clarence M. Dawson
William I. Deardorff
Howard Derr
Percy J. Dove
C. Bryant Dyer
Willie R. Fairfax
Corliss M. Fox
Clarence Cunnell
Caleb W. Hall
Robert N. Kendall
Stephen P. McCroarty
Warnie V. McIntosh
John R. Mitchell
Raymond Rogers
William J. Sampson
Roger Stambaugh
Walter L. Tavenner
Joseph Thompson

Charles Conic
Frank Cook
Harry Hatcher
John W. Harris
Morris Lucas
Arthur C. Morgan
Perry Robinson
Richard Weaver
George White
Daniel Webster Williams

Erected under the auspices of the Fairfax County Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution

World War II and Korean Conflict Memorial Plaque at the
Fairfax County Courthouse, Fairfax City, Virginia


1941 -- World War II -- 1945

Flavious B. Allder
Richard R. Arnold
James V. Barron
Harry L. Baughman
Leland E. Belgard
Edward A. Belknap
Charles E. Besley
James H. Brett, Jr.
Thomas W. Bridges
Corbin B. Bryan, III
Daniel C. Budd
Alex E. Campbell
Richard B. Carmichael
Stanly L. Carts
David C. Cather
Willis U. Chinn
Milvin S. Cobb
Robert E. Cockehill
Richard L. Coffeen
John O. R. Cole
Raymond L. Cooper
Thomas J. Cunningham
Garland W. Davidson
Leonard R. Davis
Claude S. Deavers
John T. DeBell, Jr.
Joe De Ganahl
G. W. Donovan
Eugene F. Garr
Robert A. Feltner
John W. Ferguson, Jr.
Ralph P. Ford
Paul H. Fraley
George W. Frame
Howard R. Garner
Robert J. Girard
Robert M. Graves
Warren L. Hawley
John W. Heath
John Heitmann
Edwin B. Hutchinson, Jr.
R. L. Hutchison
Miller O. Jackson
Vincent Kane
Harry H. Kanmermier
John M. Koutsos
James G. LaMarre
John R. Lane
Richard W. Leary
Norman E. Leppert
Charles E. Lewis
Joseph K. Linkins, Jr.
Ralph T. Lynn
William M. McCarthy
Alfred B. McClure
Joseph W. Madden, Mr.
Lindon R. Marshall
Julian E. Martin
Raymond J. Martin
Ellis S. Middleton, Jr.
Reuben C. Moffat
Ira C. Morris
Allen J. Murray
Calvin G. Neigh
Carl E. Niswander
Walter J. Norford
Kenneth H. Ogden
William A. Otis
Harlie Pace
Daniel S. Payne
John E. Peabody
Henry B. Pearson
Phillip E. Pergande
Foster Perzel
Ross R. Poole
William C. Powers
Russell A. Quick
Charles D. Reeve
Larry W. Roberts
C. E. Shelhorse
Hambleton Slingluff
Sidney D. Spear
John W. Stump
Stephen C. Stuntz, Jr.
George T. Sutphin
James W. Taylor
Carrol M. Thomas
W. W. Thompson
Lawrence T. Turner
Victor T. Turrou
Leonard C. Urquhart
Robert M. Warren
John W. Watkins
Egbert T. Watt, Jr.
Orland I. Webley
James V. Whitmer
Maurice M. Williams
Randolph M. Wood

1950 -- Korean Conflict -- 1953

William P. Brooks
James H. Crutchfield
Alfred W. Fox
Frank H. Forney
Knots Gilmore
Sylvester R. Hays
Benjamin R. Hudson
Jefferson Johnson
Charles L. Marr
Irving Munroe
Warren H. Taylor
Benjamin F. Terrell

Vietnam War Memorial Plaque at the Fairfax County
Courthouse, Fairfax City, Virginia


1957 -- Vietnam War -- 1975

Balzer, Michael A.
Barone, Sandro N.
Beauchamp, Ernest M.
Bessor, Bruce C.
Blair, Thomas G., Jr.
Blodgett, Douglas R.
Bonnet, C. Christopher
Brown, Charles E., Jr.
Browne, Ray B.
Buckley, Victor P.
Byrne, Paul R.
Carkin, Harvey M.
Caton, Gerald L.
Chaney, Arthur F.
Cole, Randall E.
Colgan, George B., III
Collins, Ross W., Jr.
Consolvo, John W., Jr.
Conway, Raymond L.
Cross, Frank W.
Cross, Frederick W.
Cupp, Robert W.
Davies, Joseph E.
Dean, Robert W.
Dickey, James W.
Dillenseger, Bernard G., Jr.
Donahue, Morgan J.
Donnell, Peter F.
Dunham Bruce J.
Eads, Walter T.
Elliott, Charles H., Jr.
Feagan, Michael J.
Finch, Melvin W.
Fowler, Roy G.
Franks, Ernest R.
Freudenthal, Richard H.
Gaither, Thomas M.
Gibbons, Darrell L.
Gill, Donald W. Jr.
Gosselin, Robert J.
Graham, Bruce E.
Graham, William R.
Gray, Richard T.
Grayson, Welby H., III
Green, Martin L., Jr.
Gunter, Calvin D.
Harvey Cleveland R.
Hawkins, Johnny L.
Heriot, Theodore S., Jr.
Hoffler, Richard W.
Holdaway, Guy
Holland, Kermit W., Jr.
Holmes, William D.
Honse, George E.
Jenkins, John A. V., III
Johnson, Bernard L., II
Johnson, Lorenzo R.
Jordan, Wayne L.
Judy, Herman L., Jr.
Karas, Paul R.
Keberline, Michael J.
Kidwell, Wayne M.
Kilduff, Michael J.
King, James E.
King, Lyell F.
Ledford, Henry A.
Leichliter, Vyrl E., Jr.
Lerner, David A.
Levendis, William M.
Lewis Robert R.
Lilly, Lawrence E.
Lockhart, George B.
Ludwig, Michael E.
Lyberger, Arden R.
MacLeod, Sidney B., Jr.
Malone, Philip N.
Mashburn, Tschann S.
McCants, Leland S., III
McCarron, Michael J.
McDonald, Robert F., II
McElhannon, Kevin C., Jr.
McNulty, Charles R.
Messer, Thomas H.
Monette, Neal E.
Moore, Donald R., Jr.
Mull, Gerald C.
Nadeau, Roland H.
Ninow, William C.
Norris Kenneth E.
O'Callaghan, Brian J.
Overbay, Clarence M., Jr.
Page, Henry L., III
Pardee, Scott K.
Payne, Darnell M.
Peppin, David D., Jr.
Perry, George E., III
Powell, Joseph L., Jr.
Prochaska, Willard F.
Regan, Thomas F.
Richardson, Harry F., Jr.
Riek, Jeffry R.
Robinson, Bruce E.
Robinson, James W., Jr., CMH
Rohlinger, Joseph E.
Rose, Harry Q.
Rumble, Jon M.
Rush, Joseph B.
Sawyer, Kenneth R.
Schlie, Kenneth M.
Scurlock, Allen G.
Shartzer, Joseph C.
Shelton, Leslie L.
Sigholtz, Robert H., Jr.
Simon, Donald R.
Smith, Johnny J.
Spengler, Henry M., III
Steward, Jerry W.
Stone, Lewis L.
Strickler, David F.
Stuller, John C.
Sullivan, Michael N.
Supinger, Claude C.
Suthard, Charles L., Jr.
Sutton, William J.
Taft, Philip J.
Thomas, Michael O.
Thornton, Matthew W.
Thruston, Robert R., III
Touart, Foster J. G., Jr.
Toward, Ronald J.
Umholtz, Darrell R.
Valentine, Jeron F.
Warczak, David J.
Ward, James C.
Ward, Ronald W.
Weiss, Richard E.
Whitbeck, Robert E.
White, Daniel W.
Whitmire, Warren T., Jr.
Williams, Raymond L.
Winkler, John A.
Wolfe, Hiram M., IV
Young, Carl, L.

Bayless, Paul M.

Fairfax County Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
American Legion Post No. 177
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 8469

26th North Carolina Infantry

A few months ago, Pete and I toured Battlefield Park at New Bern, North Carolina, and walked the battlefield, which is wooded and quite hilly for coastal Carolina. Along one of the paths, we discovered this monument to the 26th North Carolina Infantry, commemorating the unit's experience at New Bern. One of my first cousin's husband is related to Zebulon Baird Vance.

26th North Carolina Infantry monument at
Battlefield Park, New Bern


Twenty-Sixth Regiment
North Carolina Troops
Zebulon Baird Vance, Colonel

Abner Bynum Carmichael, Major
Henry King Burgwyn, Jr., Lieutenant Colonel

"Soldiers!! the enemy is before you and you will soon be in combat. You have the reputation of being one of the best drilling regiments in the service. Now I wish you to prove yourselves one of the best in fighting. Men, stand by me and I will by you."

Lt. Col. Henry Burgwyn, Jr.
To the men of the 26th NC on the eve of the battle...

On March 14, 1862, a combined Union army and naval expedition, consisting of 11,000, under the command of Brig. Gen. Ambrose Burnside commenced an assault against Brig. Gen. Lawrence O'B. Branch's 4,000 man Confederate defenses at New Bern.

The 26th NC was assigned to defend the right section of the Confederate line following Bullen Branch from the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, west to Bryce's Creek. The right wing of the 26th NC's line covered Weatherby Road and was manned by companies B, E and K of the 26th NC and several attachments, all under Lt. Col. Burgwyn's command. The center of the 26th NC's line, companies C, F, H and I, were under the direct command of Colonel Vance.

The left wing of the 26th NC was defended by companies A, D and G, and was under the command of Major Carmichael. From this line, east to Wood's Brickyard, occurred the most intense fighting of the day. For over three hours the 26th NC, with assistance from the 7th NC and 33rd NC, repelled the enemy's assaults along the railroad and Bullen Branch. A final Union assault on the brickyard succeeded in breaking the Confederate center.

With this, the Confederate forces, holding the line from the brickyard to Port Thompson, retired to New Bern destroying the bridge over the Trent River. The 26th NC, cut off and nearly surrounded, was the last Confederate unit to leave the field. This engagement was the baptism of fire for the 26th NC, which at Gettysburg would sustain the largest numerical losses of any unit, North or South, during the entire course of the war.

26th NC Soldiers Who Died at New Bern
Major Abner B. Carmichael -- Capt. William P. Martin, Co. H
Corporal Michael M. Woode, Co. A
Private M. Kevley, Co. C -- Private Thomas M. McRory, Co. B
Private Joseph Miler, Co. C -- Private Solomon Mullin, Co. B
Private Jackson W. Pope, Co. D -- Private Hugh M. Ray, Co. H
Private William Taylor, Co. A -- Private Lewis B. Tysor, Co. H

In addition to the 11 members who died at New Bern, the 26th NC also lost: 1 man mortally wounded, 9 men wounded, 2 men wounded and captured and 68 men captured for a total of 91 casualties.

Under the leadership of Colonel Zebulon Baird Vance, these North Carolinians made the ultimate sacrifice while defending their native soil. May they always be remembered.

Erected by the Society for the Historical Preservation of the Twenty-Sixth Regiment North Carolina Troops
March 10, 2007

Sunday, October 19, 2014

52 Ancestors #42: Doctor or Gold Digger?

Ancestor Name: William Reid RICE (1826-1890)

William Reid Rice was just another box I added to my family tree after a DNA match sent me searching for the ancestors and relatives of my great great grandmother, Barbara Ann Mitchell (1841-1890). I discovered he was a second cousin of my great great grandmother's. He really came to life, though, after my very used copy of Rice and McGhee Families of Bedford County, Virginia, by Virginia Rice Biggerstaff, arrived in the mail.

Dr. William Rice with some of his children; photograph courtesy of
Virginia Rice Biggerstaff's book, Rice and McGhee Families of Bedford
County, Virginia

The book included a partial transcription of the will of Professor Frederick Speece, father of William Reid's second wife, Ann Booker Speece.

"I was soon informed by letters of their unhappy situation. Among other doleful facts, my daughter stated to me, "Doctor Rice is as poor as poor can be." I was surprised and grieved at this, for I did not know his character, and he had told me of his full practice through a good many years. I wrote him to bring his wife back to my house, which he shortly did. I then proposed to him the following: Take all my property into your possession and enjoy it, work the farm and give me half the proceeds. To this he agreed and took possession. I delivered to him three negro men, at that time strong, and hogs sufficient for the family. My table was well furnished with wares of every description, with silver spoons and other plate to the amount of twenty-five pieces. My house was furnished with bedding, chairs, etc., some of them elegant...

From that time up to this, Doctor Rice's sole object has been to get all he could from me by fair means or foul...Within two years my hogs were extinct. The horned cattle were...nearly all destroyed. Two work horses were worked to death. My table furniture within two years was almost broken up, the silver plate was made a plaything for the children, black and white, and was soon reduced to seven or eight pieces...At this time I am almost without clothes of any description. My son-in-law and my daughter, Ann, have refused me any but the coarsest. I have been begging for a pair of half soles for my old shoes for the past two months and have been refused...

Doctor Rice and my daughter are the laziest people that I ever knew. He does nothing from a consciousness that he is the greatest man in the world and must not compound his dignity. She is completely negative and from long habit has become physically a dead flat. At least half her life she is asleep...My daughter, the wife of Doctor Rice, is not much better than he is, but she has some excuse as he treats her tyrannically; so much that she has begged to be divorced, and parted from him forever. This he told me himself not long ago...

That my helpless, hapless daughter, Ann, may not in any extremity be without a roof over her head, I hereby give to her under certain conditions 90 acres of land including the home house and all its her during her life and at her decease to her children in perpetuity. The conditions of the above bequest are these: I have good reason to believe that William R. Rice will present heavy claims against my estate for medical service rendered to my family and also for his supervision of my negroes, farm, stock etc...No such claims shall be paid. Should he or his wife make such a claim, the above bequest of land to my daughter and her children shall be cancelled, revoked, and be utterly null and void...I hereby sign seal and deliver said will in presence of witnesses this 10th day of November 1865. (signed) Frederick Speece (seal)

Now that is some will!

Frederick Speece died in 1866 and his daughter Ann Booker (Speece) Rice died the following year on 10 March 1867. She was buried in the Callway-Steptoe Cemetery in Bedford County, Virginia, where her father is also buried.

Historic marker for the Callaway-Steptoe Cemetery where Ann Booker
(Speece) Rice was buried; photograph courtesy of
member Rebecca

William Reid Rice married this third wife, Elizabeth Frances McGhee on 27 August 1867, just five short months after the death of Ann. Elizabeth was the daughter of Samuel Henry and Margaret (Rice) McGhee. Elizabeth and William were second cousins. Elizabeth's father, Samuel Henry McGhee gave his daughter $10,000 in gold, two farms, and a three-story mill at Montvale as wedding presents.

The counterpoint to Professor Speece's description of William Reid Rice's character comes from his daughter, Margaret Lucy Rice, who was a product of his third marriage. She told her niece and the author of the book that her father had married three wealthy women -- each wealthier than the previous wife. But he went through all three fortunes -- giving it to the needy patients of his practice.

William Reid Rice's headstone; photograph courtesy of
member Dacanta

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

William Reid Rice was born on 16 October 1826, likely in Bedford County to Rev. Samuel Davies and Sarah Dodridge (Mitchell) Rice. He was a medical doctor by profession. He married Sally Nowlen and they had two sons. Sally developed cancer at quite a young age about 1857. A year later he married Ann Booker Speece, the daughter of Frederick and Ann Booker (Morton) Speece. Her father was a retired Greek and Latin teacher from the New London Academy near Liberty, Virginia. Together William and Ann had two daughters. Ann died in 1867 and five months later, William married his second cousin, Elizabeth Frances McGhee. They had seven children. William died on 12 January 1890 in Roanoke, Virginia. He is buried in Montvale, Virginia, at the Montvale Presbyterian Church Cemetery. His third wife died on 17 December 1921 and she is also buried in Montvale, Virginia.

Margaret Rice McGhee and the Staunton Lunatic Asylum

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: 12 February

Every Saturday, Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings poses a question for fellow genealogy and family history bloggers to research and answer. He calls it Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. Tonight, he asked us to list our favorite song. Honestly, I couldn't decide. Mine favorite changes frequently based on mood and so on. So I decided to answer last week's question which sounded like fun.

What day of the week was your Grandfather born (either one)? Tell us how you found out.
I've not written much about my maternal grandfather, Gustav "Gust" Lange. So I'm picking him for this project. Gustav Lange was born on 12 February 1888 in Lutsk, Russia. The area is now part of Ukraine.  I've always had his birth date, which I got from my father's family tree and he knew from my Mom, Gustav's daughter. When we cleaned out Mom and Dad's house prior to selling it, I brought home all Dad's genealogy files. I found Gustav's Russian birth record:

Gustav Lange's Russian birth papers. Russia did not convert to the
Gregorian calendar until 1922, which I believe is the reason for the
discrepancy in the dates listed and the date Grandpa celebrated
his birthday

What has happened in recorded history on your Grandfather’s birth date (day and month)? Tell us how you found out, and list five events.
On 12 February these historical events happened:

  • 1793 -- Congress enacts the first fugitive slave law
  • 1865 -- Rev. Henry Highland Garnet, the first African-American to address the House of Representatives, preaches to the House on slavery and the Civil War
  • 1912 -- The last emperor of China abdicates
  • 1986 -- Anatoly Scharansky released from a Soviet gulag
  • 1999 -- President Clinton acquitted

What famous people have been born on your Grandfather’s birth date?  Tell us how you found out, and list five of them.
I used to find these famous people. There were many more, but I chose not to list entertainment and sports celebrities.

Put your responses in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.
It occurred to me I could print out a birthday calendar from my family tree and do this type of post almost forever...well, at least 365 times!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Newly Discovered Photos

In my latest 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks post was about my great grandmother, Effie Davis (Beard) Jennings. I lamented that I knew so little about her and my only photograph was her headstone.

Later that day I checked my email and discovered my second cousin, who descends from Effie's only daughter, sent me photos of my great grandparents, Charles Edward and Effie Davis (Beard) Jennings.

Effie Davis (Beard) Jennings (1871-1906)

Charles Edward Jennings (1843-1917)

I sent the photo of Charles to another second cousin who descends from his daughter, Leta, by his first wife. In return, she sent me a photograph taken in 1873 of Charles as a young man.

Charles Edward Jennings in 1873

The idea from this post came from

Monday, October 13, 2014

Loyalists in My Tree?

I believe the Riggin family of Somerset County, Maryland, was one of many families that were fractured by the Revolutionary War. Stephen Riggin (before 1747-after 1800) served as a private in St. Asaph's Company, Somerset County Militia, and has been approved by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) as a patriot.

Stephen Riggin's pedigree chart

Yet his son, Isaac (1765-1828), or his first cousin once removed, also named Isaac (1760-?) very  likely served as a loyalist with the Queen's Rangers.

Six different Riggin/Riggen men are included in Murtie June Clark's book entitled Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War, Volume II -- Canaan, Cannon, Darby, Isaac, Jacob and Randolph. I do not have any Canaan, Cannon, Jacob or Randolph Riggins in my tree...yet. But I do have two people named Isaac Riggin of the correct age to serve in the war and one Darby Riggin.

I knew nothing about loyalists; they certainly didn't tell us in our history classes that there were loyalists in Virginia and Maryland. The teacher's reaction would have been, "Perish the thought!" But they existed and are likely in my family tree; I just don't know enough about them yet to know who did what to whom.

When I learned that the 1st battalion of Maryland Loyalists was raised primarily from men who were from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I began to suspect that those Riggin loyalists belong somewhere in my tree.

From "Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War, Vol. II" by Murtie June Clark:

"Both the Maryland and Pennsylvania Loyalists were raised in Philadelphia in the fall of 1777, their numbers made up wholly from refugees. Lieutenant Colonel James Chalmers, commanded the Maryland Regiment and Lieutenant Colonel William Allen commanded the Pennsylvania Regiment. These regiments served with the British Army and went to New York with them in 1778. Later, after embarking with the army for the invasion of Georgia, they were stationed at Pensacola, at which they arrived in January 1779 after a stopover in Jamaica. When Pensacola fell to the Spanish, in May 1781, they were imprisoned in Havana, and a month later they were paroled to New York.

Spanish grenadiers and militia pour into Fort George at Pensacoloa;
image courtesy of the U.S. Army Center for Military History

The Virginia Loyalists were raised in November 1775 by Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Ellegood and served at the battle of Great Bridge. Lieutenant Colonel Ellegood was captured early in the campaign and spent most of the war as a prisoner. This regiment went to New York in 1776 and was later merged with the Queen's Rangers, serving throughout the war in that regiment. Musters or pay rolls for their service as Queen's Loyal Virginia Regiment have not been located. 

The Queen's Rangers were raised in New York and Connecticut and combined with the Queen's Own Loyal Virginia Regiment in 1776. They were in the 1777 campaigns at Philadelphia, Brandywine*, and Germantown, and later fought at New York and Monmouth. In 1781 they were sent to Virginia and surrendered at Yorktown.

The Philadelphia Light Dragoons were raised in Philadelphia by their commander, Captain Richard Hovenden. They served with the Queen's Rangers and the British Legion and in 1782 were merged with the King's American Dragoons.

The British Legion was raised in New York in July 1778 from other companies. Their field commander was Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton, who was much admired by his soldiers. They were sent to Savannah in December 1779 and served in the siege of Charleston in 1780. They were in many battles in the Carolinas and Virginia and were feared by the Americans. In the battle called Buford's Massacre, Tarleton's horse was shot from under him, and his men, thinking he had been killed, took vengeance on the soldiers they thought had killed their leader. The expression 'Tarleton's Quarter' was coined to describe the lack of mercy shown to American's trying to surrender. The regiment was also captured at Yorktown."

New additions to my genealogy library

James Chalmers, commandant of the Maryland Loyalists, authored a political pamphlet in 1776 entitled Plain Truth, which was a rebuttal of Thomas Paine's Common Sense. He was from Chestertown, Maryland, which was called Newtown at the time. The first battalion was comprised of troops mostly from the Eastern Shore. After the war many members of the regiment were transported to Nova Scotia by the British. One such ship was shipwrecked in 1783; its survivors were some of the earliest settlers of New Brunswick.

Loyalists who remained in Maryland had to pay triple taxes and sign a loyalty oath. Many had their lands and property confiscated, which probably explains why so many of my Riggin ancestors began migrating west in the very early 1800s.

My 4 times great grandfather, Samuel Beard, fought at Brandywine with the Continental Army's 5th Virginia Regiment.

George Washington Spoke to Him
Tarleton's Southside Virginia Raid

Sunday, October 12, 2014

52 Ancestors #41: The Mother Nobody Knew

Ancestor Name: BEARD, Effie Davis

My Dad was the genealogist in our family for several years. One of his brick walls was his paternal grandmother, Effie. That was literally all he knew -- her first name.

When Mom and Dad decided to sell their house and move into an assisted living facility, we cleaned it out. I returned home with Dad's genealogy files. I found a print out of an email from my second cousin who had discovered Effie's surname among her grandmother's papers -- Effie Davis Beard.

Dad's genealogy files and old photograph albums

With that information I was able to trace Effie's parents and document many things about her life. She was born in Bedford County, Virginia, on 1 October 1871 to David Fleming and Barbara Ann (Mitchell) Beard. The Beard family had lived in the county for generations. I believe the Beards to have come to the Virginia Colony from Scotland sometime before 1700.

Over the next days and weeks, I worked back to Effie's great grandfather Samuel Beard. I thought Samuel's father was Adam Beard and that he was a brother of Capt. David Beard, who served in the Revolutionary War. I had no real proof of that connection, however. I was working with wills and land records and wasn't feeling entirely comfortable with the results as this was one of the first occasions I'd been able to work back so many generations and these types of records were new to me. There were several family trees on the Internet that went back much further, but were not documented.

Two DNA matches confirmed many things, including Samuel's father and siblings. Through those matches, I've made a wonderful new cousin-friend and fellow research collaborator. But I still know so little about my great grandmother. I have no idea what she looked like or how she lived. My only photo of her is of her headstone.

Effie Davis (Beard) Jennings headstone; photograph courtesy of member John Shuck
Graves of Charles Edward Jennings, Effie Davis (Beard) Jennings and
their youngest son, Clyde Graham Jennings; photograph courtesy of member John Shuck

The facts I know are these.

She was my great grandfather's second wife and she was 28 years younger than her husband. He'd already buried one wife, a cousin who likely died in child birth, and had seven children to raise. He and Effie married in June 1895 and lived most of their married life in Roanoke, Virginia. Charles was in the grocery business.

Effie and Charles Edward Jennings had four children of their own. On 29 December 1905, Effie had her last child, Clyde Graham Jennings. She died on 4 May 1906 and little Clyde died a month later. At the age of 63, Charles was left to raise three more young children, the oldest being 10 at the time of her mother's death.

When the 1910 census was enumerated, Charles was working as a carpenter. There is a story in our family that he was fleeced by his business partner when the man ran off with all their money. It may be true as Charles placed his two of his three young children with relatives and my grandfather was given to the Lutheran Orphanage in Salem, Virginia, in 1911.

Pedigree chart for Effie Davis (Beard) Jennings

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

Effie David Beard was born on 1 October 1871 in Bedford County, Virginia, to David Fleming and Barbara Ann (Mitchell) Beard. Her father died when Effie was 7 years old and her mother died in 1890. Effie married Charles Edward Jennings in June 1895. He was a widower several years her senior with six living children. They settled in Roanoke and had four children. Effie died ten years later on 4 May 1906. Her youngest child died a month after her death. Charles Edward Jennings died on 10 August 1917. Charles, Effie, and their youngest son, Clyde Graham, are buried in Fair View Cemetery in Roanoke. Their burial plots were owned by Robert Watkins Jennings, the son of Charles' first cousin, Samuel Henry Jennings.

Battle of Seven Pines
A Lover, Not a Fighter
My Grandfather and the Orphanage
AncestryDNA and Finding a New Cousin
Lutheran Orphanage in Salem, Virginia

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Finding Della...Again (The Power of Offline Records)

Earlier this week I blogged about finding my third cousin, once removed, Della Virginia (Jennings) Bray Borgard, after her father killed her mother and then himself in 1913. A reader of Your Family Tree magazine in the United Kingdom found a record of Della's marriage to Clement Elliott Bray, Jr. She contacted me through my public genealogy Facebook page.

Della's marriage record on The indexer has
certainly made a hash of Clement's first name

I sent my Jennings research collaborator, Ann, an email with the marriage information. We both started researching Della immediately. I quickly discovered a Della Bray, who died in Hancock County, Ohio, in 1931. From the index I could not definitely determine if it was our Della. That same year Clement and his second wife, Ruhamer Bray, were living in Tampa, Flordia, and, in 1940 Clement and Ruhamer Bray were living in Washington, DC. Clement worked as a composer. A 16-year-old daughter named Jo Clare was living with them. So the death date made sense as Clement could have remarried soon after Della's death. I was able to find Ruhamer's birth registration and a marriage registration for her first marriage on the West Virginia Division of Culture and History's website.

But Ann found a different Della, one who didn't die in 1931. Her record trail indicated Della had married Eugene Alexander Borgard, Jr., in the 1930s and they lived together with a daughter, Maxine Elliott Bray, in Pittsburgh. The blended family took several vacations to Bermuda together in the mid 1930s. Maxine married James Patrick Lennon and moved to Miami. They divorced in 1967 and Maxine moved to Colorado and died there in 1998. Della moved to Miami, likely following her daughter, and died in 1959.

Passenger list from with Della, her daughter, and
second husband Eugene Borgard

Ann's information seemed more likely to be correct than the Della I had found. Maxine having the same middle name as Clement was one small clue. I also discovered several newspaper articles, using and, which confirmed Clement Bray was a musician, composer and orchestra leader. He wrote and copyrighted several songs, including one entitled, "Ruhamer," which seemed to confirm the name of his second wife. That little bit of trivia didn't really help determine which Della Bray was the correct one, however.

So I ordered Della Bray's 1931 death certificate from the Ohio Historical society. It arrived a few weeks ago. When I first read the death certificate, I was crestfallen. The father and mother for this Della Bray were unknown. So I read more of the certificate. This Della Bray was almost 66 years old, which was too old to be our Della. She also was African-American, and her husband's name was Willis Bray, which ruled her out, confirming Ann had found the correct Della.

Death certificate for the Della Bray who died in Ohio
in 1931, confirming she was not our Della.

Twitter enabled me to connect with the editors of a British magazine and write the article that a reader found interesting enough to stop and look for Della. She contacted me on Facebook with information she found about Della's marriage. That's the power of using social media to aid your family history quest. However, there is still a place for offline records and old-fashioned research. Without it, we would have lost the trail of Della again and not known for sure which Della Bray was the correct one.

There are still a few marriage and divorce records to be ordered and I have not yet found the entire cast of characters in the 1930 census, but I made a lot of progress, thanks to a lovely Your Family Tree reader in the U.K.

Murder-Suicide in Toledo
Finding Della (The Power of Social Media) 
Tangled Roots and Trees on Facebook
@TweetTRnT on Twitter
Your Family Tree magazine

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: I'm Published!

My article in Your Family Tree magazine about a random act of genealogical kindness that helped me find Della, missing since the tragic death of her parents in 1913.

The idea for this post came from Geneabloggers.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Finding Della (The Power of Social Media)

During Dad's research of the Jennings family, he worked occasionally with another family researcher who discovered that Dad's second cousin once removed, Samuel Lee Jennings (1863-1913), killed his wife and then himself. Samuel and his wife, Emma, had two children, Della, 14, and Clifford, 4. Della was the informant on her mother's death certificate, but that was the last trace of her I could find until a few months ago.

I blogged about the tragedy during the summer of 2013, and as I always do, tweeted a link to the post. One of the editors of the British magazine, Your Family Tree, asked if I would write an article for their magazine. The article appeared in the December 2013 edition and was entitled, "Skeleton in the Cupboard: Murdered by Her Husband."

My article about Samuel and Emma's murder-
suicide in Your Family Tree magazine

In late August of this year, someone posted on my Tangled Roots and Trees Facebook page. She said she lived in the U.K. and was re-reading the magazine prior to throwing it out. It struck her that Samuel and Emma's daughter had disappeared after the death of her parents. So she went looking for Della and found a marriage record!

We exchanged email addresses and she sent me the link to the record. Once I had that bit of information, the brick wall that was Della Virginia Jennings (1899-1959) came tumbling down!

Virginia Select Marriages, 1785-1940 on

I knew from my one of my Jennings research collaborators that Della was born on 26 January 1899 in Columbus, Ohio. Her family moved to Toledo before her brother was born in 1909. Her father killed her mother and then himself in June 1913. Della and Clifford's Uncle Charles Jennings traveled to Toledo to see to shipping his brother's body back to Virginia and about the care of the children. Clifford was placed in the Baptist Orphanage in Salem, Virginia. I do not know what happened to Della until 1918.

She married Clement Elliott Bray, Jr., on 21 May 1918 in Lynchburg, Virginia. Clement was a professional musician, composer, and orchestra leader, specializing in popular dance music. During their marriage, they lived in Easton, Maryland; Martinsburg, West Virginia; and Fairmont, West Virgina.

As published in the Harrisburg Telegraph
on 15 September 1934

While they were living in Easton, they had a daughter, Maxine Elliott Bray, born on 23 January 1920. However, things went bad for Bray marriage sometime between 1927 and 1931. It likely went bad in Fairmont where Clement perhaps met a young married woman named Ruhamer Inez (Bosserman) Kuner as Ruhamer was born and married in Fairmont. Clement and Ruhamer were living together in Tampa, Florida. by 1931.

Through the power of social media -- blogging, tweeting, and posting on Facebook -- I was able to solve the mystery of what happened to Della immediately after the tragic death of her parents. What happened to Della after she and Clement Elliott Bray, Jr., were no longer together? Had I lost her again? Staying on Della's trail, however, required the use of different tools.

To be continued, so stay tuned!

Murder-Suicide in Toledo
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