Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Serendipity


It's funny how you sometimes stumble across something really great that gives you a real glimpse into the experience of people, beyond names and dates.  I was looking into 1940 census records for various people in the family.  I found my grandmother's, Mary Fuller Rose, and decided to search for her sister, Maude, at ancestry.com.  When I did, I happened to see some pictures of letters that someone had attached to their tree.  Upon reading them, I found that these were actually letters that were written from the adoption agency to the Fullers after her adoption, a letter from a man in the town they lived in, Clarkesville, Georgia, who referred to himself as having been the Ordinary at the court when she was adopted, as well as a heartbreaking eight page letter from Maude's biological sister to her, explaining how she came to be in an orphanage.  Both Maude and Mary were unaware that they were adopted until they were grown, married and mothers.  Their adopted mother, Mamie, had apparently decided to adopt them when she found she needed two female dependents in order to qualify for a homestead.  Her husband, Spann, went to Atlanta and it sounds as if he chose Maude, who was about 6 or 7, and took her home.  Perhaps all that was needed back then to adopt was proof you could support a child and that was that.  Sometime not long after that, they also adopted my grandmother, Mary, who was an infant.   After Maude discovered she was adopted (which happened when she made her mother angry and Mamie blurted it out to her), she looked for and was successful in finding her birth family.  Mr. Hill's letter reads as follows:



 July 8, 1916
Dear Madam, your of 7 received. In reply will say I am sorry that I can't tell you the name of your people. The Fullers always claimed that they got you and Mary from an orphans home and I am satisfied it is true, I was Ordinary at the time and Mrs. Fuller had an application for homestead which could not be granted unless she had dependent female children and I suppose that is why she took you and Mary too. You certainly are no kin to her and I would not regret that if I were you. I suppose your parents were dead else you would not have been in the home. Don't worry about being in the home for as honorable children as any gets there is no discredit to any one but it was cruel of the Fullers to deceive you they should have told you all the knew of your parentage and kin. I am sorry indeed that I can't. I am glad to hear from you and hope you are doing well as a friend, I will do anything I can for you.
Yours Respectfully,
W.D. Hill

His letter doesn't sound like he held a high opinion of Mamie.  From the court records I've seen, she was the one buying and selling property, so she may have had the money in the family.  My grandmother learned she was adopted shortly before Mamie died in 1917.
A letter from Mr. Levi B. Nelson, husband of one of the women who founded the Home for the Friendless in Atlanta, was sent to Spann Fuller on February 5, 1897, a short time after Maude left the orphanage with him.  

Dear Sir,
By request of Mrs. Nelson, I enclose the adoption agreement approved by the Ordinary as promised by him when you was here.  We hope the little girl is getting along nicely and that Mrs. Fuller was pleased with her. 
Truly Yours,
L.B. Nelson

The information I have seen in these letters makes my theory that Mary and Maude might have been biological sisters seem impossible.  Maude's mother apparently died in 1891 and Mary was born in 1896.  The letter that Maude's biological sister wrote to her after Maude had discovered who her biological family was, is especially sad.

Mrs. Maude E. Hall
Dear Sister, I take the greatest of pleasure in answering your kind and welcome letter. We received a few days ago and was more than glad to hear from you. Well Maude you ask me why I didn't keep on track of you when you was at the home. Well I got Claude and David and Clarence and Oscar he run away. But I got them out and they wouldn't let me have you and said if I would come back the next day we could get you. and we went back the next day and you was gone. They told them a man come and got you the day that they was there and they wouldn't tell us who got you and wouldn't even tell the address of the people who got you. Well Maude you ask me to answer the questions you ask me in your letter. The first question you ask me why you was put in the home. Well Maude the reason you was put there was so many of us all and you all was out of a home and was on the streets in Atlanta and they taken you all up and sent you all there. (2) yes your father was dying at that time. (3) you was three years old when you was put in the home. (4) yes mamma was dead (5) she died in the year of 1891 it was the 11 day of June 1891. (6) Mamma died with child bed fever and was buried in Holliewood Cemetery five miles from Atlanta. (7) Mamma was a Sims before she married and her name was Nancy Pallistine Everett. (8) Yes Maude our father did leave us all and you all was naked and almost starved and he was a drunkard and that is the truth the reason you all was there. (9) No our father is dead now he died in October 6, 1908 on Monday evening at 6:00 and he is buried at Greenwood Cemetery two miles off the car line. (10) Well Maude, I am the oldest child. My name is Mary Catherine Mctildy Latham but they nick name me at home and called me Mollie and I still go by the name of Mollie. I will be 45 years old the second day of next May and Edward Westley Everett that is my twin brother. Idella Everett and Gwen Ella Everett is Twins. They are our sisters. Idella Everett married {Manie Rattirce} they live in Atlanta. And Gwen Ella Everett married Will Webb they lived in Kirkwood but Ella is dead now. She died in March the 8th day 1908 and her husband is married again now. And Oscar is next he is married and got a big family and he lives in Alabama and {Dorie Viola Everett} she married a man by the name of Dave ray but {Dorie} is dead now. She died the 15th of August 1914 and was buried the 16. And Claude Manuel Everett he is married and has got a a wife and three children living and two dead. And James Earnest CLarence Everett he is married and got a wife and got 4 children and you are next your name is Maude {Goss} Lowena Everett and there was two young children dead after you. Well Maude this is all of us children. Well our house got burned up the 11 day of March 1918 and the papers of all of our ages got burned up but when I get to Atlanta again I can get our ages again from Aunt Kate Menten and then I will send them to you. Well Maude you ask me did we own our home, yes we own our home. And I guess will live here as long as we live and we guess we will buy more this fall. And if you all will come here we will give you all a home as long as you all live. Yes I have got some children. I have had seven. I have got five living and 2 dead. Annie Mae Latham is my oldest child she is 23 years old. She married a man by the name of Will Cole the first time and he died and then she married a man by the name of Rufus Coleman Fowler. And she has got two children a boy and a girl her boy name Hugh Dorsey he will be three years old the 27 of January. He is Annie Mae birthday present and the girl name Mary Bell she will be five years old the 24 day of this month. And Lela Pearl Latham is next she is 22 years old she married a man by the name of Albert Darrow. She has got two children they are both boys. On name George {Brian} Darrow he is five years old in April 8, 1918 and the other name is Hiriam Eligar Darrow he was three years old he was born on July 6, 1915 and Fred Grady Latham is my next one he is dead and Mary Lou is the next girl she is dead. Lillie Bell Latham is next she is married. She married a man by the name of Hurman Eady she is 15 years old she was 15, May 24, 1918 and she has been married 10 months the 17 of last month. And Tommie Eligar Latham is next he is 12 and he will be 13 the 22 of November and Cathern Latham she was born the 17 day of April 1918.Well Maude I am very small like you. I weight 2 hundred and 65 pounds. Well I will send you some pictures. Well Maude I have got your picture inlarge when you was a little girl. And please send me your all pictures now of all of you all. And I will send you some of mamma's hair. Well Maude how much does it cost to come to where you are at and what is the closest town to you. I am thinking about coming to see you. Just as soon as they get up with their work and find out how to come and how much it will cost. I will try to come down there if you can't come first. Well Maude I can't read and write myself Annie Mae have to read and write for me. Well Maude me and you are the only ones that takes after our fathers side for he was large and fat and we are the only children that is large. I have got one of his pictures but it is inlarged. Well I will close for this time answer soon and a long letter. Your sister as ever
Mrs. Mollie Latham
Haralson GA
R.F.D.1





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