Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A to Z April Challenge: T is for Thelma



My theme for the A to Z April Challenge is “In-Laws and Out-Laws – Friends of the Family.”  I will be researching friends, colleagues, neighbors - those people who came and went touching my family’s lives in both small and large ways. 



is for Thelma.  Thelma Clare Hockman.

Okay, it’s time for me to come clean.  

THIS is Thelma Clare Hockman.  
Thelma Clare Hockman about 1925
Thelma Clare Hockman Sarver

It is NOT Bill Porter as I reported HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

See -- it says "Bill"

When my grandaunt Velma Davis Woodring labeled the picture “Bill,” I believed her.  There really was a girl at Harrisonburg Teachers College in 1925 known as “Bill Porter.”  But the name was never aligned with a photo to compare.  I trusted my aunt not to deceive.

But she did.  When I ran across the “Lovingly, Thelma” portrait, I went searching for the truth which had been in front of me every time I looked at a census.  There she was:  Thelma Hockman, next door neighbor. 

Thelma was the third of four children born to Jacob and Attie Hockman.   Velma and Thelma grew up side by side in Shenandoah, Virginia.  They even went to college together.  However, Thelma attended for just one year.  Yet, there are probably more photos of Thelma in Velma’s scrapbook than of any other friends.



Thelma Hockman 1924
Thelma Hockman at Massanutten Peak
a college hiking trip Oct. 1924


Unknown and Thelma Hockman 1924
Thelma Hockman on the right
waiting for the train on the campus of
Harrisonburg Teachers College

Thelma Hockman, Leta LeVow, Velma Davis 1924-25
Velma captioned this "Us and No More"
Thelma, Leta LeVow, and Velma
Leta and Velma were roommates;
maybe Thelma was the third roommate.
Unknown, Thelma Hockman, Velma Davis 1924
Unknown, Thelma, Velma
in the new outdoor pool at
Harrisonburg Teachers College 1924
























June 1925 Velma Davis, Thelma Hockman, Leta LeVow
June 9, 1925 - last day
of their freshman year at HTC
Velma, Thelma, Leta LeVow, and
unknown

Thelma Hockman and Virginia Cole 1924
Thelma is sitting on the beam
Virginia Cole is standing.
























Thelma married Lacy Wilson Sarver March 7, 1927.  An amusing tidbit in the social column of the Richmond Times Dispatch on March 6 noted that Lacy was spending the weekend in Shenandoah.  

Cambria, Virginia social column sent to Richmond Times Dispatch March 6, 1927
from Genealogybank.com

Well, I guess so!  It was the wedding.  Then at Christmas, the newspaper reported that Thelma was spending several weeks with her parents. 

Cambria, Virginia social column sent to Richmond Times Dispatch Dec. 1927
from Genealogybank.com






Thelma and Attie Hockman, Velma and Mary Frances Davis 1925
Velma captioned this "Us and Our Mothers"
Standing: Thelma and Velma
Sitting:  Attie Hockman and Mary Frances Davis

Thelma and Lacy lived in Christiansburg, Virginia, and had four children, 3 girls and a boy.  Lacy worked as a postal clerk for the railroad.  At least during the time when the 1930 and 1940 censuses were conducted, Thelma did not work.  Apparently they never left Christiansburg.

Thelma died in 1992.  She and Lacy are buried in the Sunset Cemetery in Christiansburg, Virginia.

 
from Findagrave.com
photo courtesy Jan Robinson

I am no toady who would try to thwart the throngs in their tenacious trek through the terrain called the A to Z April Challenge.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A to Z April Challenge: S is for Shore

My theme for the A to Z April Challenge is “In-Laws and Out-Laws – Friends of the Family.”  I will be researching friends, colleagues, neighbors - those people who came and went touching my family’s lives in both small and large ways. 

is for Shore.  Katherine Elizabeth Shore.

Katherine Elizabeth Shore was yet another friend of my grandaunt Violetta Davis Ryan from their college days at the Normal School in Harrisonburg (later Harrisonburg Teachers College, then Madison College, now James Madison University).  No doubt she lived in Spotswood Hall, judging by the location of many of Violetta’s photos. 

When I read in the yearbook that Katherine lived in Burkeville, I was surprised she didn’t attend the Normal School in Farmville (now Longwood University).  After all, Burkeville is less than a 30-minute drive away.  But after looking for her in the census records, I am guessing her family might have moved to Burkeville after she had already enrolled in Harrisonburg.

Katherine Elizabeth Shore 1923
Katherine Shore
Katherine moved quite a bit in her early years.  In fact, she and her sister were born in the same city where I grew up:  Portsmouth, Virginia.  In 1910 the Shores were living in Portsmouth.  Her father was a streetcar conductor.  By 1920 they relocated to Columbus, North Carolina, where Katherine’s parents both worked in a retail store.  Yet the Normal School School Ma’am yearbooks of 1922 and 1923 note they were residents of Burkeville in Nottoway County, Virginia. 

In college, Katherine was a member of the High School Club, typical for girls planning to go into secondary education.  She also joined the Elizabeth Club for girls who shared that name, whether first or middle.  She was remembered for being “Not too serious and not too gay, but at all times a good pal.”  In the description under her graduation picture, words like “steadily” and “reserved” capture the quiet personality of one for whom “Avoiding unnecessary excitement is [her] chief occupation.”

Katherine Elizabeth Shore 1923
Katherine Shore
scanned from the School Ma'am 1923

In the times when Katherine and Violetta were studying to become teachers, a 2-year degree entitled the graduate to teach anywhere for seven years.  A 4-year degree was a life-time certificate to teach.  Violetta earned her two-year diploma in 1923 and put in her seven years before returning to school for the 4-year degree.  But not Katherine.  As soon as she graduated, Katherine went straight to the State Normal School in Farmville.  She earned her BS degree two years later in 1925. 


Katherine Elizabeth Shore 1925
Katherine Shore
scanned from The Virginian 1925









In 1930, Katherine boarded with her aunt and uncle, the Cobbs, in Swain County, North Carolina, along the Tennessee border.  There she taught in the public high school as did her cousin Jacob and another teacher from South Carolina. 

It doesn’t seem that she stayed there much longer though, at least according to the multitude of mentions in the Burkeville social columns – unless she was doing a lot of weekend travel.  It seemed if there was a Bridge game, Katherine was there. 

from Genealogy Bank
Richmond Times Dispatch Jan. 1931


from Genealogy Bank
Richmond Times Dispatch Nov. 1932
from Genealogy Bank
Richmond Times Dispatch Apr. 1933
("Gay Bachelors" probably had a
different meaning in 1933.)




Unfortunately, in 1934 Katherine was sick enough to be admitted to a hospital in Richmond.  I wonder if she had some long term condition.  In 1940, she was back home in Burkeville with her parents where she had lived at least since 1935.  She was not working.  Katherine Elizabeth Shore died in 1945, only 39 years old. 

from Genealogy Bank
Richmond Times Dispatch Jan. 1934








The sagacious among you sedentary spectators should slip on over to the A to Z April Challenge to scrutinize some scintillating and sardonic selections that will surely leave you feeling satiated.


Monday, April 21, 2014

A to Z April Challenge: R is for Rebekah




My theme for the A to Z April Challenge is “In-Laws and Out-Laws – Friends of the Family.”  I will be researching friends, colleagues, neighbors - those people who came and went touching my family’s lives in both small and large ways. 

is for Rebekah.  Rebekah Elizabeth Stephenson

Rebekah Stephenson was a college friend of my grandaunt Violetta Davis Ryan when the two were students at the Harrisonburg Normal School (later Harrisonburg Teachers College, then Madison College, now James Madison University.  GO DUKES!)

Rebekah was older than many of her classmates by about six years.  Violetta and other girls went to college straight from high school, but Rebekah didn’t.  In fact, in 1920, at age 21, she was already a teacher in Wakefield, Virginia.  In 1921, she was a student at the State Normal School. 

Rebeka Stephenson 1923
Rebekah Stephenson
scanned from the School Ma'am 1923

While that seems backwards today, the requirements for becoming a teacher were quite different.  In a rural area, someone with an eighth grade education could be appointed teacher.  However, I don’t know what Rebekah’s situation was or what she was teaching when she enrolled in college.  She was in a two year program, most likely in Home Economics judging by her membership in that club, indicating her desire to either teach or supervise in that special area. 

Rebeka Stephenson 1923
Rebekah in front of Spotswood dorm

Described in the yearbook as “capable and sensible, broadminded . . . , brilliant . . . ,”  it is no wonder Rebekah was voted President of the Senior Class.  The added description as “musician for us all” plus the Class Prophecy that she would one day be on a music tour abroad are puzzling since she seemed never to have been in the Glee Club or orchestra.

Whether she went on to teach Home Economics after graduation in 1923 is not known.  On October 15, 1925, Rebekah married Charles Baskerville Watkins, Jr., a businessman twenty years her senior. 

Wedding Announcement
Richmond Times Dispatch
from Genealogybank.com








In 1930, the two were living in Clarksville, Mecklenburg County, Virginia.  Bass was a banker and Rebekah was caring for their three-year old son. 

By 1935, they were living in South Hill, Virginia, where in 1940 Bass was an accountant.  Rebekah was caring for three sons.

Obituary Richmond Times Dispatch
from Genealogybank.com





















In the 1950s, the Watkins were in Richmond where Bass died in 1952. Rebekah died August 30, 1977 in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  I have to wonder what brought her back to the home of her Alma Mater.


Run right over to the A to Z April Challenge for some roaring good reads.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

52 Ancestors: #16 - Fielding JOLLETT

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge:  write one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor.  It can be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem – anything that focuses on one ancestor.



The supposed first son of James and Nancy Walker is my direct ancestor, Fielding Jollett, my 3G grandfather.  Since I have already written a great deal about Fielding’s legal problems, I will present “just the facts, ma’am,” but you can read about his exploits here:



Fielding was born sometime between 1795 and 1801 in Orange County, Virginia.  He married Ann Stoutemire/Stoutamoyer on December 7, 1822 in Rockingham County.  They had two known children, but the presence of a second boy under age 5 in the 1830 Rockingham County, Virginia census suggests there may have been a third child.  Ann did not live long.  In fact, she died about 1828.  Perhaps she died in childbirth.

The wife in the 1830 census is Fielding’s second wife, MaryAnn Armentrout, from whom I descend.  Whether the boy was hers or Ann’s is unknown, but he evidently did not live long.  He does not appear after the 1840 census. 

Fielding and Mary Ann had 5 known children.

Mary Ann died January 1870 of Epaulus.  Searches for this term have turned up no definition.  One possibility is that it was a misspelling of a type of skin tumor.
Lucretia Jollett and Thomas Shifflett tombstone McGaheysville, Virginia
Lucretia Jollett and
Thomas Shifflett tombstone
photo courtesy Jan Hensley
Findagrave.com

Following the death of his wife, Fielding lived with his youngest daughter Lucretia and her family in Rockingham County, Virginia, until he died after 1880.  She and her husband are buried in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in McGaheysville.  It makes sense that Fielding would be there too, but if he is, there is no marker. 

Three Generations:
Fielding JOLLETT (1795 in Orange Co, Virginia - After 1880 in Rockingham Co, Virginia) & m1) Ann STOUTEMIRE  (1795 – Before 1828 Rockingham Co, Virginia)  7 Dec 1822 in Rockingham Co, Virginia ;  & m2) Mary Ann ARMENTROUT (1795 – Jan 1870 Rockingham Co, Virginia) 2 Oct 1828 in Rockingham Co, Virginia

Family of Fielding & Ann Stoutemire JOLLETT:

1. Emanuel JOLLETT  (16 Jun 1824 - 19 Oct 1859 in Rockingham Co, Virginia) & Ann Elizabeth BREEDING/BREEDEN (10 Sep 1824 – After 1870)  4 Jan 1843 in Page County, Virginia
  • Jonathan S. BREEDEN (1839 - ) & Elizabeth MEADOWS (1837 - ) 28 Oct 1858 in Page Co, Virginia
  • Susannah (Susan A.) JOLLETT  (1844 in Page Co, Virginia - ) & Charles W. LONGLEY (1838 Rockingham Co, Virginia – 3 Oct 1864 Elmira, New York)  19 Oct 1862 in Page Co, Virginia
  • Margaret A. JOLLETT (1845 in Page Co, Virginia - )
  • William H. JOLLETT (1847 in Page Co, Virginia - 28 Jun 1924 in Monroe Co, West Virginia) & m1) Mary Elizabeth MARTIN (1845 Warren Co, Virginia - ) 27 Nov 1865 in Warren Co, Virginia ; & m2) Harriet Hattie ECHOLS (28 Sep 1857 – Before 1940) 1 Aug 1876 in Giles Co, Virginia  **aka William P. BOYD
  • Nancy JOLLETT (1850 in Page Co, Virginia - )
  • Sarah E. JOLLETT  (1852 in Page Co, Virginia - )
  • Andrew J. JOLLETT (14 Nov 1855 in Page Co, Virginia - )
  • UNNAMED JOLLETT (27 Aug 1859 in Page Co, Virginia - 27 Aug 1859 Page Co, Virginia)

2. Margaret Ann JOLLETT (19 May 1826 in Rockingham Co, Virginia - 15 Aug 1899 in Oakland, Carroll, Maryland ) & Peter J. NAIR (20 Mar 1819 – 13 Nov 1884) 13 Jan 1845 Rockingham Co, Virginia
  • George NAIR (6 Oct 1845 in Bath County, Virginia - )
  • Thomas J. NAIR (6 Oct 1845 in Bath County, Virginia - 11 Dec 1911) & m1) Elizabeth WINE ( 1839 – Before 7 Sep 1878) ; &  m2) Mary Fanny KINDIG  (Feb 1851 Virginia - ) 7 Sep 1878
  • Mary Jane NAIR (14 Dec 1847 - 11 Aug 1926) & Matthias Buchanan ROSS (1836 – 11 Jul 1898) 9 Jun 1866
  • Robert Franklin NAIR (14 Mar 1848 - Jun 1917) & m1) Susannah HESS ; & m2) Mary Susan SMITH
  • John NAIR  (1849 in Highland Co, Virginia - )
  • Simon Peter NAIR (10 Jun 1849 - 24 Apr 1924)
  • Martha Laura NAIR (1851 Virginia - )
  • Sarah Frances NAIR (19 Mar 1853 - 24 Jan 1930 in Loch Lynn, Ohio) & John Wesley CALHOUN (Sep 1851 - )
  • Melvina NAIR (1858 in Highland Co, Virginia - 18 Feb 1860 Rockingham Co, Virginia)
  • Bellzora NAIR  (1 Oct 1859 in Rockingham County, Virginia - ) & Charles MCROBIE
  • Malinda NAIR (1861 in Virginia - )
  • William J. NAIR (1867 in Highland Co, Virginia - ) & Mary Ellen SMITH
  • Alpharetta NAIR  (1869 in Virginia - )
  • Ruhamiah A. B. NAIR (1872 in Maryland – 1918) & Ellis Rizer SHROUT (17 Nov 1869 – 1935) 19 Mar 1892
Family of Fielding & Mary Ann Armentrout JOLLETT:

1. Lydia Catherine JOLLETT  (26 Apr 1830 in Rockingham Co, Virginia – After  1910) & George Washington BREEDEN (1825 – 1910) on 19 Oct 1846 in Page Co, Virginia
  • Josiah BREEDEN (1847 in Page Co, Virginia - Before 1900) &  Mary Susan Polly PATTERSON (1854 – After 1930) 3 Jan 1876
  • James Madison BREEDEN  (Jan 1851 in Page Co, Virginia – 1915) & Sarah Eliza MEADOWS (May 1841 – 1917)
  • John F. BREEDEN (1 Apr 1853 Page Co, Virginia - 3 Oct 1889 Augusta Co, Virginia) & Mary S. UNKNOWN
  • Fielding L. BREEDEN (26 Oct 1857 Page Co, Virginia - 23 Mar 1865 Page Co, Virginia)
  • Mary Catherine BREEDEN (1858 – After 1930 Washington) & George CARPENTER (1850 Greene Co, Virginia – Before 1930 Washington) 12 Feb 1880 Rockingham Co, Virginia
  • Elijah Nicholas BREEDEN (Apr 1864 -26 Dec 1928 Rockingham Co, Virginia) & Christina Catherine SELLERS (2 Sep 1859 Rockingham Co, Virginia – 4 mar 1940 Rockingham Co, Virginia) 4 Oct 1884 Rockingham Co, Virginia
  • Berryman Suel BREEDEN (1869 - 15 Jul 1876 Rockingham Co, Virginia)
  • Charles Wesley BREEDEN (5 May 1872 – 1938) & m1) Mollie F. WILLIAMS on 12 Oct 1893 in Rockingham Co, Virginia ; & m2) Lucy CRAWFORD on 01 Jun 1926

2. John Wesley JOLLETT  (6 Apr 1832 in Rockingham Co, Virginia - 18 Oct 1916 in Page Co, Virginia) & Sarah Elizabeth SMITH (22 May 1834 in Rockingham Co, Virginia - 30 Jan 1917 in Page Co, Virginia) 21 Feb 1853 in Rockingham Co, Virginia
  • Artubine Joseph JOLLETT (16 Dec 1853 Page Co, Virginia - 27 Oct 1862 Page Co, Virginia)
  • Mary E. V. JOLLETT  (1854 Page Co, Virginia - Before 1901 Page Co, Virginia) & Hiram Franklin MEADOWS (14 Sep 1849 - 22 Feb 1911 Page Co, Virginia) 8 Mar 1870 Page Co, Virginia **aka Marietta V.
  • Matilda Catherine JOLLETT (16 Feb 1858 Page Co, Virginia - 24 Jan 1953 Page Co, Virginia) & Thomas Wesley MEADOWS (15 Jan 1854 Page Co, Virginia - 4 Feb 1941 Page Co, Virginia)  7 Dec 1873 Page Co, Virginia
  • John B. JOLLETT (30 Jan 1867 Page Co, Virginia - After 1940 Baltimore, Maryland) & m1) Fannie Bell GRIFFITH  (Mar 1872 – Before 1940) 13 Dec 1883 ; & m2) Carrie M. UNKNOWN (1894 Maryland - )
  • Charles Belsin Lewis JOLLETT (29 Aug 1871 Page Co, Virginia - 15 Jan 1939 Portsmouth, Virginia) & Nannie June FOGG (Aug 1872 Rappahannock Virginia – 30 Jun 1947 Portsmouth, Virginia) 24 Jun 1890 Page Co, Virginia 

3. Henry Harvey JOLLETT (26 Jul 1834 Rockingham Co, Virginia – 1850 Page Co, Virginia)

4. James Franklin JOLLETT  (17 Nov 1836 Rockingham Co, Virginia - 3 Jun 1930 Augusta Co, Virginia) & m1) Lucy Ann SHIFLETT (1843 Greene Co, Virginia - 1884 Monroe, Greene, Virginia) 12 Nov 1859 in Greene Co, Virginia ; & m2) Eliza Jane COLEMAN (17 Jan 1856 Greene Co, Virginia - 9 Dec 1938 Augusta Co, Virginia) 29 Aug 1885 Greene Co, Virginia

Family of James Franklin & Lucy Ann Shiflett JOLLETT:
  • Burton Lewis JOLLETT  (1860 in Virginia – Before 5 May 1934 in Greene Co, Virginia) & m1) Louisa SULLIVAN (1861 – 1900) 20 Jan 1881 ; & m2) Cornelia MORRIS (Nov 1844 – Before 1920) 19 Sep 1900 Greene Co, Virginia
  • Emma F. JOLLETT (1 Feb 1863 Greene Co, Virginia - 10 Apr 1945 in Shenandoah, Page, Virginia) &  Andrew Jackson COLEMAN (29 Jul 1858 Greene Co, Virginia – 4 Oct 1947 Shenandoah, Page, Virginia) 26 Nov 1880 Greene Co, Virginia
  • Laura E. JOLLETT (30 May 1865 Greene Co, Virginia - 30 Jul 1947 Shenandoah, Page, Virginia) & William J. SULLIVAN (13 Jan 1866 – 22 May 1942 Shenandoah, Page, Virginia) 14 Jan 1886 Greene Co, Virginia
  • Columbia Ann Leanna JOLLETT (14 Mar 1867 Greene Co, Virginia - 20 Sep 1936 Greene Co, Virginia) & James Mitchell KNIGHT (9 May 1866 Greene Co, Virginia – 16 Feb 1942 Greene Co, Virginia) 1 Mar 1885 Greene Co, Virginia
  • Mary Frances JOLLETT (10 Jan 1870 Greene Co, Virginia - 22 Feb 1950 Harrisonburg, Rockingham, Virginia) & Walter Beriah Sylvester DAVIS (12 Sep 1867 Rockingham Co, Virginia - 31 Oct 1934 Shenandoah, Page, Virginia) 11 Feb 1890 in Greene Co, Virginia 
  • Sarah Catherine Sallie JOLLETT (11 May 1872 Greene Co, Virginia  - 7 Jul 1944 Washington DC) & George Thomas CLIFT (Sep 1865 Virginia - ) 30 Mar 1891
  • Victoria Elizabeth JOLLETT (19 Mar 1878 Greene Co, Virginia - 2 May 1944) & Decatur Bainbridge BREEDEN (15 Sep 1877 – 27 Sep 1952 Washington DC) about 1902
  • William Isaac JOLLETT  (Jan 1880 Greene Co, Virginia - Jul 1903 Newport News, Virginia)=
  • Ulysses Finks JOLLETT (26 Jan 1883 Greene Co, Virginia - 30 Jan 1931 Baltimore, Maryland) & Sadie Janiero LAMB 23 Nov 1903 Greene Co, Virginia

Family of James Franklin & Eliza Coleman JOLLETT:
  • James Henry JOLLETT  (Apr 1894 Augusta Co, Virginia - 1909 Augusta Co, Virginia)

5. Lucretia  JOLLETT (18 Sep 1838 Rockingham Co, Virginia - 31 Dec 1911 Rockingham Co, Virginia) & m1) Jacob Haskell SHIFLETT (1836 Greene Co, Virginia – Before 1871) 5 Aug 1858 in Page Co, Virginia ; & m2) Thomas S. SHIFLETT (1839 Albemarle Co, Virginia – 16 Jan 1924 Rockingham Co, Virginia) 8 Oct 1871 Greene Co, Virginia

Family of Lucretia JOLLETT & Jacob Haskell SHIFLETT:
  • Mary E. SHIFLETT  (May 1859 - Before 1955) &  George Remington MAYHEW (Jul 1847 New York - ) 17 Mar 1879 Page Co, Virginia,
  • Martha F. S. SHIFLETT (1863 - Before 1955) George W. MCCAULEY (Aug 1852 – Before 1920) 8 Jun 1882 Rockingham Co, Virginia
Family of Lucretia JOLLETT & Thomas SHIFLETT:
  • James William Newton Will SHIFLETT (16 Apr 1873 - 2 Mar 1955 Rockingham Co, Virginia) & m1) Phenie BERRY (1881 – Before 1902) 18 Jul 1901 Rockingham Co, Virginia ; & m2) Sudie Belle LIFE (Jul 1885 – 28 Mar 1950 Rockingham Co, Virginia) 17 Dec 1902 Rockingham Co, Virginia
  • John Thomas Sylvester Sell SHIFLETT (19 Oct 1876 Rockingham Co, Virginia - 10 Mar 1958 Rockingham Co, Virginia) & m1) Annie Laura MEADOWS  (1880 – 27 Dec 1898) 13 Dec 1898 Rockingham Co, Virginia ; & m2 ) Margaret JOHNSON (25 Nov 1862 Rockingham Co, Virginia – 27 Dec 1954 Rockingham Co, Virginia) 14 Dec 1901 Rockingham Co, Virginia
  • Aaron SHIFLETT (Apr 1891 Rockingham County, Virginia - )


Saturday, April 19, 2014

A to Z April Challenge: Q is for Query


My theme for the A to Z April Challenge is “In-Laws and Out-Laws – Friends of the Family.”  I will be researching friends, colleagues, neighbors - those people who came and went touching my family’s lives in both small and large ways. 


is for Query.  Leo Francis Query.

The Query family was a good Catholic family that attended St. Paul’s Catholic Church with my great-grandmother Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh and her children.  My father always said the Querys and Killeens and Walshes were related somehow, but I think he was wrong unless he just had a very broad definition of “family.”

I’ll say right up front that my research to prove or disprove a connection is not strong, but I was drawn to this name for two reasons:  (1) it’s a Q, and if the Q fits . . . .  and (2) “Leo Francis” is my uncle’s name, and there is a family secret surrounding the identity of his real mother and father; you can guess where I’m going with this, but maybe “Leo Francis” is just a good Catholic name and I should read nothing more into it.

I asked my aunt about Leo Francis Query, but she hadn’t heard of him.  Then she said, “Well, you know, Mary Kat was a Query.  I think the Querys were cousins of Uncle Herbert.”   I remember as a teenager seeing Mary Kat Whitehurst at my grandaunt Helen Killeen Parker’s house but not really knowing who she was or why she was there.   As an adult, I knew Mary Kat in a different way – she was a neighbor, she was the mother of kids my sister went to school with, she was related to my best friend’s in-laws, and she played Bridge with my mother. 

Then my aunt told me this most interesting and surprising thing:  Uncle Herbert and Aunt Helen were going to adopt Mary Kat at one time but then something happened to change all that.  My aunt didn’t know the rest of the story.   

But I think I do.

Leo Francis Query was born about 1900 to James and Annie Query.  They had six children plus three more from Annie’s first marriage.  In 1918 Leo worked as a stenographer at the Pig Point Ordnance Depot, which incidentally was where Uncle Herbert worked too.  This was a government facility that processed tons of ammunition daily during World War I.  (NOW this is making sense – I see how they at least knew each other even if not related.)

Pig Point Ordnance Depot 1918-1920
from the scrapbook of Herbert Parker
Pig Point Ordnance Depot about 1918-1920

Leo married Mary Annette Hall in 1924.  They had at least 5 children:  Leo Jr., Mary Kathleen, James, Donald, and Norman.  Mary died in 1944.  Mary Kat would have been about 12.  So perhaps Leo was unable to care for all those kids on his own.  MAYBE that’s when Herbert and Helen stepped in with an offer to adopt. 

But then Leo married again.  Mamie Belle High, a woman slightly older than his oldest son, became a wife and stepmother sometime after June 1944.  MAYBE that’s why the adoption of Mary Kat fell through.

The answer to the question of whether the Querys and Parkers were related or simply good friends will have to be answered another time because right now, I just don’t know.

All Saints Catholic Cemetery, Portsmouth, Virginia
photo from Findagrave.com courtesy Johnny

All Saints Catholic Cemetery, Portsmouth, Virginia
photo from Findagrave.com courtesy Johnny

All Saints Catholic Cemetery, Portsmouth, Virginia
photo from Findagrave.com courtesy Johnny












Don’t quit now.  Are you in a quandary?  If you’re quick, you’ll enjoy some quirky and quotable quips at the A to Z April Challenge.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A to Z April Challenge: P is for Powell


My theme for the A to Z April Challenge is “In-Laws and Out-Laws – Friends of the Family.”  I will be researching friends, colleagues, neighbors - those people who came and went touching my family’s lives in both small and large ways. 


is for Powell.

The Powells were neighbors of my great grandparents Walter and Mary Frances Jollett Davis in Shenandoah, Virginia.  Just how chummy they were is not clear, but they were close enough to exchange cabinet cards. 
Sarah Long Powell with Rosalie and Lacuta 1895
Sarah Powell
Rosalie and Lacuta
about 1895

The 1900 census suggests the Powells lived on Third Street sandwiched between my great-grandparents, my grandaunts and uncles the Colemans, Sullivans and Clifts.  Eugene Powell worked for the railroad and Sarah was home caring for their three daughters Rosalina, Lacuta, and Elsie.  Lacuta and Elsie were roughly the same ages as my grandfather and his brother, so the four likely were in school together as well as neighborhood playmates along with their cousins.

In 1910, the Powells were living in Andover, New Jersey where  Eugene was superintendent of railroad construction.  Sarah claimed 3 of 5 children living, so apparently between 1900 and 1910, they lost two.

By 1920 they were back in Shenandoah.  Rosalie and Elsie were living at home with their parents, both teaching in public school.  Lacuta was married to John Neal Parrott.  The two were renting a house in Washington D.C. where John worked as a conductor for the electric streetcar system.  Lacuta was a clerk for the Internal Revenue Service.
Elsie Powell Judy Wingold
Elsie Powell
June 28, 1898 - Dec. 13, 1992

By 1930 all three girls were gone from the Powell household.  John and Lacuta owned a house in Washington D.C. valued at $8800.  Apparently motormen and government clerks made good money.  Rosalie was married to Ben Merchant, a horse dealer, and living and teaching in Fauquier County.  Elsie had married Frank Judy, a widower with sons ages 19 and 20.  She continued to teach in Page County; Frank was a merchant of general merchandise.   Meanwhile Eugene was driving a delivery truck for a local retail store and Sarah was caring for her father.
Lacuta Powell Parrott
Lacuta Powell Parrott
May 25, 1895 - Jan. 29, 1997

In 1940, at age 70, Eugene was still driving that delivery truck and Sarah was still housekeeping.  Lacuta and John were living in Arlington in a house valued at $12,000.  He was still a car operator for the Transit system and Lacuta was still an income tax clerk for the IRS; interestingly enough, her salary was higher than his by $700.  Over in Fauquier, Rosalie continued to teach but now Ben was out of work.  Poor Elsie was a widow.  Apparently she had no reason to stay in Shenandoah, so Elsie moved to Craig County where she lived in a boarding house with several other public school teachers.  I don’t know when, but sometime later Elsie met and married John Conrad Wingold, a widower. 

Apparently none of the Powell girls had children. 



For more pontificating and other pieces in print, pop over to the A to Z April Challenge.

Sepia Saturday: Hoe Hoe Hoe

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.




This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt is the garden.  My maternal grandmother Lucille Rucker Davis always had beautiful flowers and delicious tomatoes growing side by side.  Her garden was not the beautifully planned and dedicated space that drives aficionados of Pinterest to pin and repin.  But she did know the value of digging a $5.00 hole for a 50¢ plant.


Lucille Rucker Davis
Grandma on Easter Sunday 1967
As I looked for pictures to show off Grandma’s beautiful camellias and peonies, I just laughed at the sorry state of her flower beds.  Sadly, we didn’t catch them in their glory.  Our pictures are of beds that needed weeding and a little mulch.   In my mind’s eye, though, I see the sparkle of white Spirea in bloom.  Camellia bushes bursting with pink and red blooms.  Blue hydrangea bending under their own weight.  Tulips and daffodils.  Tall gladiolas in pink, purple, white, and yellow held upright with a stick.  Forsythia in March.  Azaleas in April.  Creeping Phlox and Candy Tuft dotted here and there to mark the outer limits of foundation beds.




Wendy Slade
I LOVED that purple plaid dress.  And Grandma's flowers, of course.

Grandma didn’t invest a lot of time in a vegetable garden.  She simply made room in the flower beds for a few tomato plants because even in the 1960s good tomatoes, “real” tomatoes, were not to be had in the grocery store.  She also had a reliable fig tree that supplied all she needed for everyone’s anticipated gift of fig preserves.







Maybe it is Grandma’s influence that makes gardening and canning appeal to me.  When my girls were little, we had a square foot garden.  It was fairly successful and certainly easy to manage.  But when we moved to our current house, I lost all interest in gardening as rabbits took over the garden, and softball and horse shows took over our lives.

Zoe and Jordan Mathias watering the garden 1985
Zoe and Jordan April 1985

Now the girls are grown and gone. I’m retired.  I have a new fence.  And a square foot garden.


Last year at this time, I was busy planning my younger daughter’s October wedding.  I don’t know who had the bright idea to decorate with white pumpkins, but I thought for sure it would be easy to grow our own, and cheaper too than buying them in the fall.  So I purchased seeds and dedicated most of the squares to pumpkin plants. 







Of course, I had to save room for a few tomatoes and peppers because the grocery stores still don’t sell “real” tomatoes.







In July, my pumpkins were coming along really well. 





The next thing I knew, my garden looked like the set of a B-movie, some sci fi flick in which pumpkin plants devour Chicago.
















In the end, I got a handful of Baby Boo pumpkins and only one Lumina, losing all the rest to rot. 

One Baby Boo was the perfect "paper weight" for cocktail napkins.

One Baby Boo added a little sumn sumn to the cake table.

I didn’t inherit Grandma’s green thumb, but I got her hoe and watering can.




I’ve planted the seed, so please visit my friends at Sepia Saturday to see what is blooming in the blogisphere.