Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Wicked Stepmother - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

While researching a line of my husband's family, I came across Elmira (or Almira) Johnson, the second wife of Peter Colwell.  Elmira married Peter in November of 1828 in Morgan, Georgia.   His first wife, Sarah Curry, had died in 1825, shortly after giving birth to their ninth child.  Elmira apparently didn't take to raising Sarah's children and after her marriage to Peter; she began "kindly dropping off" the children with relatives.  The phrase "kindly" was a term for "kind of;" Elmira simply found other homes for the children to live in.  I do have to wonder why Peter allowed her to do this - did he not want to have the responsibility for raising the children either?  He and Elmira had six more children before he died around 1849.

Marriage record of Elmira Johnson and Peter Colwell

In 1830, Peter and Sarah's twin daughters (names unknown) drowned at about the age of seven while living with relatives.  Their brother William Barnes apparently held his stepmother personally responsible for their deaths and is said to have lay in wait for her in a potato field, preparing to murder her.  He had a change of heart (saying "the old b**** isn't worth killing")and he moved to Texas with his family rather than carrying out his plan. 

Elmira moved to Randolph County, Alabama by 1858, along with her son Matthew.  She purchased property 1858 and 1859; in January of 1859 she signed an affidavit saying that she was 48 years old and residing in said (Randolph) county.  She was a widow, the head of her family, and was "so afflicted and physically diseased" that she was unable to attend in person at the land office.  She also stated that she had been residing there since January 1858 and had a dwelling house, corn crib and eight acres of land in cultivation.

The last record for Elmira is the 1866 Alabama state census, where she is a resident of Randolph County.  She died some time after this.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Stanfill Family 1904

Jesse and Drusie (Dorsey) Stanfill with childern Avery, Rhoda, Lincoln, Lechter, Delsie and baby George

Family portrait of my maternal great-grandparents Jesse and Drusie Stanfill with their family.  The baby is my grandfather, George.  The photo was taken in 1904 in Madison, Arkansas. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - Grave of Unknown Union Soldier, Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia

This grave sits next to one of the walking trails in Kennesaw Mountain National Park in Georgia.  The Union soldiers who died in the battle there in 1864 were moved to the nearby Marietta National Cemetery for burial when their remains were found, but this soldier was not located until the 1930's when the park was being created.  Buttons from a union uniform were found, indicating he was one of the Federal soldiers who fought at the battle of Cheatham Hill.  His remains are just below the Confederate earthworks at the foot of a hill. 

In 2009, research into the Illinois soldiers who fought here was able to identify the soldier as Mark Carr of Illinois, about 22 years old when he died.  According to an article published in the Chicago Tribune, he was born in Indianapolis, moved with his family to Dixon, Illinois, and enlisted in the 34th Illinois Infantry, Co. I - the "Red River Rifles" - on September 7, 1861. 

This is the only grave that sits within the park and it is passed by numerous hikers and joggers every day.  Many still pause and place flowers on the grave nearly 150 years after his death.

Illinois Monument, Kennesaw Mountain National Park

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Maude Everett Fuller Hall

Maude Fuller was my paternal grandmother's adopted sister. She was born about 1890 in Atlanta, and along with several of her siblings, was placed in the Atlanta Home for the Friendless when their mother died.  In early 1897, Maude was adopted by Spann and Mamie Fuller of Habersham County, Georgia.  The Fullers were apparently not a childless couple who longed to be parents, but rather needed two female dependents in order to qualify for a homestead in their home county.  Spann traveled to Atlanta alone to get Maude; a letter from the orphanage administrator to him several days later said that they "hoped Mrs. Fuller was pleased with the little girl."  My grandmother Mary was adopted shortly after Maude from the Home for the Friendless.

The Fullers never told Maude or Mary that they were adopted; Maude found out when Mamie blurted the information out in a moment of anger.  Mary was told when Mamie was on her deathbed.  From the stories we've gathered, it seems as if Mamie was never much of a mother to the girls, although Spann appears to have been a loving father.  After Maude learned the truth about her birth, she began searching for her birth family.  This couldn't have been an easy task at that time, but she was able to find her family, the Everetts, and connect with some of her siblings. 

After Maude found her birth family, she wrote to her eldest sister and received the following letter in return:

Haralson, Ga.

Aug 3, 1919

Mrs. Maude E.  Hall

Dear Sister, I take the greatest 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 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 was 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 Mollie.  I will be 45 years old the second day of next May and Edward Westley Everett 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 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 got 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 we will live here as long and 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 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 she 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.  One 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 weigh 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.  Please send me 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 and what is the closest town to you.  I am thinking about coming to see you.  J ust 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 picture 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, Georgia

I don't know if Maude was ever able to visit her sister Mollie.  I do know that she and her brother Claude met and had a relationship for the remainder of their lives.   Mollie died in 1935 and is buried in Atlanta.  Maude died in 1955 in Anderson, South Carolina.  She is buried with her father Spann, and her infant daughter, Jessie, at Shiloh Cemetery. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - The Death of William "Billy" Kirkpatrick

William Kirkpatrick was born in Newton County, Georgia in 1839, one of eight children of John and Liddy (Hall) Kirkpatrick.  His father appears to have been a farmer who received land in the land lotteries in Georgia in the 1830's.  William and his siblings are listed among the children attending the "poor school" in Newton County in the 1850's.  The family moved from Newton to Calhoun County, then on into Alabama.  When the Civil War began, he enlisted in Abel's Artillery at Bainbridge, Georgia, in May of 1862, and was wounded at the Battle of Ocean Pond, Florida.  After the war he married Sarah Carter and they settled in Shelby County, Alabama where he had a farm, and later in life, was a mail carrier.  He and Sarah had thirteen children. 

On September 29, 1913, Billy's two youngest children, brothers Jesse and Connie, had an argument over a crop jointly owned by them.  The clash was heated enough that Jesse left the family home and went to his brother Joe's house to spend the night.  Connie apparently went to a neighbor's house and borrowed a shotgun to protect himself in case his brother returned.  The next morning Jesse, learning that Connie had a gun, also secured a shotgun and walked home.   As Jesse approached the house, Connie appeared on the porch and opened fire.  Just as Jesse fired back, Billy ran from the house and got in between his two sons in an effort to stop them from shooting.  Jesse's shots struck his father in the abdomen and chest, and he died several hours later.

Jesse and Connie were both arrested, Jesse being charged with his father's death, although it was eventually ruled an accident.  Jesse remained in Shelby County, marrying and fathering at least one son, and working at what appears to be odd jobs until his death in 1940.  Family stories say that Connie left Alabama for Texas after his father's death, although there is little evidence to back that up beyond a 1920 census record in Tarrant, Texas for C.B. Kirkpatrick, born in Alabama in 1894, living in a rooming house.  In fact, there is a wanted poster for Connie (for assault with intent to murder) that is dated more than a year after his father's death in Shelby County - is this for his role in Billy's death or some other incident?  He is said to have come to his brother Joe when he returned to Alabama, cash in hand, hoping to persuade his brothers and sisters to forgive him.  No further records have been found for Connie, so I don't know if he was arrested and imprisoned or where he ended up.  One of the family mysteries that I would love to solve.  I have to believe there was bad blood between the brothers prior to this incident for them to be willing to actually shoot (and possibly kill) one another. 

Billy was buried in an unmarked grave at Pelham Cemetery in Pelham, Alabama.  Sarah lived until 1928; she is also buried in an unmarked grave at Pelham Cemetery.