Friday, October 31, 2014

Sepia Saturday: The Life of the Church

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

This week’s Sepia Saturday photo showing party guests going through the buffet line could have been taken at any one of the many dinners at Cradock United Methodist Church.   Fellowship Dinners are what most Christian churches do.  Cradock was no exception.  In fact, if there wasn’t a dinner on the calendar when we were members back in the 1980s and 90s, we thought something was terribly wrong. 

There were dinners to thank volunteers.

Cradock United Methodist Church Dinner June 1984

Cradock United Methodist Church Dinner June 1984
The "roast" for Reverend Ed was packed.
How did we even get to our seat?

There were dinners to bid farewell to a much loved minister and his family.

There were dinners to welcome the new one.

Cradock United Methodist Church Dinner 1984
Eddie Leonard and Dana Tyson
Cradock United Methodist Church Dinner 1984
Audrey Williams was confined
to a wheelchair, but she
could serve punch.

There were Bunny Breakfasts for the kids at Easter.

Bunny Breakfast Cradock UMC 1986
The children eagerly watched for the Bunny to arrive.

I have long forgotten the many chicken casseroles and lemon meringue pies thoughtfully prepared at home by proud cooks, but I distinctly recall wonderful times spent in the kitchen with the men and women who kept that church alive.

People like Helen Barnes.  She was the Kitchen Nazi. 

Helen Barnes Cradock United Methodist Church
 Helen at the dishwasher
Wow - look at those pans!

She was good-natured but strict, even intimidating until you got to know her.  The kitchen was HER domain and she didn’t let you forget it.  That was one clean kitchen, cleaner than any commercial kitchen, without a doubt.  Helen didn’t let anyone else wash dishes.  You could brush the scraps into the trashcan; you could dry dishes; you could move the dishes to their rightful spot in the cabinets.  But nobody messed with Helen’s pride and joy, her commercial dishwasher. 

Some of the ladies of the Silver Anniversary Circle
Mary Williams, Cookie Mutter, Margaret Spruill,
Sue Scott, Frances Deyerle, Marian Garrett
And people like the ladies of the Silver Anniversary Circle.  My sister and I were among the youngest members.  I miss those days being in the kitchen with all those wise women, those funny women, those crazy women. 

We didn’t run out to a Cosco or Sam’s Club to purchase pre-packaged entrees and salads; we cooked from scratch.  Mary Williams taught me how to make gravy.  Betty Lewis and Margaret Spruill stood alongside me as we cut loaves of bread into cubes for homemade dressing – no bag of Pepperidge Farm turkey stuffing for Cradock's annual Thanksgiving Feast.  Measuring sage.  Mashing potatoes.  Shuttling gravy boats to the buffet table.  It was always a flurry of activity in the kitchen at Cradock Church.  And always laughter. 

Pig Picking Cradock United Methodist Church
Not much left of the pig except the head !
The various circles rotated serving the United Methodist Men at their monthly dinner meetings. It was a good little fund-raiser for the Methodist Women and a strong motivation for the men to come out for the meetings.  The men had their own food-related fund-raisers too such as a pig-picking and a fish fry. 

Men like Ray Spruill, George Mutter, and Buddy Lewis couldn’t wait for their turn at the fryer which was tucked behind the church away from public view.

It’s not because they were selfless volunteers. It’s common knowledge that the Methodists were historically teetotalers very active in the temperance movement. The truth is that the men sneaked a cooler of beer into the boiler room in eyeshot of the fish fryer.  Men will be boys.  One time they were caught by the new preacher who looked at them and said, “I didn’t see a thing.” 

It’s true what they say about the power of food to bring people together, to build community.  People like the Lewises, the Spruills, the Muters, and Helen Barnes were the life of Cradock Church.  Most of these fine people are gone now.  The dwindling congregation merged with another Methodist church and Cradock closed its doors.  The property has been sold.   But I have my Cradock Church cookbook with recipes and names to remind me of so many good times in a church that once was alive and well feeding its sheep in more ways than with a church dinner. 

Get in line and sample the tasty blogoriffic concoctions prepared by the members of Sepia Saturday.

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved

Thursday, October 30, 2014

In Memory of Walter Davis

Walter B. Davis, Shenandoah, Virginia
Walter Beriah Davis
12 Sep 1867 - 30 Oct 1934

Poem by Sallie Clift
Inside the back cover

On the last page of the photo album belonging to my great grandmother Mary Frances Jollett Davis is this poem written on the occasion of my great-grandfather Walter Davis’s death 80 years ago today. 

The poem was written by Mary Frances’s sister Sallie Catherine Clift. 

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Gone to the Dogs #16

Wordless Wednesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks family historians to create a post in which the main focus is a photograph or image.

Mascot of the USCGC Eastwind 1946-47
Mascot on the USCGC Eastwind 

This is Skunk.  He was a much-loved mascot on the USCGC Eastwind when my dad was in the Coast Guard 1946-47.  I wrote about Skunk HERE.

Counting down the number of photos of dogs in my collection

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

52 Ancestors: #43 - Edward HERNDON

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.

My 5X great-grandfather Edward Herndon (1738-1831) was the son of William HERNDON and Ann DRYSDALE.  In 1762 he married Mary Ann GAINES and together they raised at least twelve children in Culpeper County, Virginia.

Doing the math suggests Edward was just the right age to take up arms along with the militia against the British in the fight for independence in 1776.  Clearly Edward must have been a patriot.  But how much of a patriot was he?  The answer to that question might depend on whom you trust:  the DAR, the SAR, or

Findagrave shows a tombstone for one Edward Herndon buried in Elbert County, Georgia.  Engraved on the stone are his dates:  1768-1827.  A patriot marker rests at the base of the stone.   Another mathematical calculation reveals that THIS Edward was only 7 when the war began and 15 at its conclusion.  So it’s entirely possible that Edward had served briefly; however, THIS Edward was not the same Edward whose service records were presented as evidence for any descendants’ entry into the DAR or SAR.  In fact, THIS Edward was one of the sons of my 5X great-grandfather Edward Herndon.

Will of Edward Herndon, Madison County, Virginia dated 1822
Will of Edward Herndon dated 1822
Madison County, Virginia

Edward’s descendants are aided in their quest to prove their lineage by his will which named all twelve children.  It was dated 1822 and then probated in Madison County, Virginia in 1838, seven years following his death. has quite a few images of applications for membership into the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), all of which seem to lead logically to this Edward; however, proof of Edward’s service has been verified by documents for a different Edward Herndon. 

Will of Edward Herndon, Madison Co, Virginia dated 1822
Edward gave 1 / 12 to each child.
Sons-in-law were to have no rights to his estate.

Fold3 has documents that point to three Edward Herndons, none of which are MY 5X great-grandfather, let alone the ancestor of any of the SAR applicants.  In one case, Reuben Herndon of Kentucky, administrator for the estate of his grandfather Edward Herndon, petitioned for Edward’s pension allowance for the grandchildren.  This Edward, who died in Spotsylvania County, Virginia in November 1837, had only two children, however.  Not MY Edward, the patriot.

Another Edward Herndon died in Spotsylvania County in 1799. Not MY Edward.

The other Edward was a resident of Campbell County although at the time of the Revolutionary War, he resided in Goochland, not far from Culpeper or Madison.  In 1844 he petitioned on his own behalf for the full pay owed him as an officer who had served the duration of the war.  In his application he provided amazing detail of service with corroborating evidence from soldiers who served with him.  Stories of his rise through the ranks and his capture by the British are echoed in numerous applications for membership in the SAR.  But this is not MY Edward Herndon.  How do I know?  Because this one said he left NO wife and NO children.   Yet application after application presents the lineage that can be traced only to my Edward.

On the DAR website the patriot lines look most like mine.  However, even MY Edward’s line has been flagged.  That means a problem has been found in at least one previously verified paper.  If I’m reading the site correctly, it appears someone may have assigned a descendant to the wrong parents.  That doesn’t mean Edward wasn’t a patriot.  According to the DAR, he served in the Culpeper Militia and supplied beef to the Army.  More specific evidence of his service is not available online. 

Fortunately Edward’s son William served too, and his record seems to have stayed out of the melee.

Edward HERNDON ( 16 Jul 1738 Campbell Co, VA – 11 May 1831 Madison Co, VA) & Mary Ann GAINES (May 1742 Orange, VA – 15 Jun 1829 Madison Co, VA)  30 Nov 1762 Culpeper Co, VA

1. James Gaines HERNDON ( 1764 Culpeper Co, VA –  After 1822 Elbert, GA) & Sara THORNTON

2. William Pendleton HERNDON ( 29 Feb 1764 Culpeper Co, VA – 12 Aug 1847 Greene Co, VA ) & Mary RUCKER  (23 Mar 1763 Culpeper Co, VA – 26 Feb 1835 Orange, VA)  28 Nov 1785 Virginia
  • Edward HERNDON ( 13 May 1787 Orange Co, VA – May 1866 Orange, VA ) & Mary BRADLEY  19 Oct 1822  Orange, VA
  • James HERNDON ( 23 Jan 1789 Orange Co, VA – 07 Dec 1857 Madison Co, VA ) & Esther FERNEYHOUGH (1803 – 1892 Madison Co, VA )    30 Dec 1823 Madison Co, VA
  • Ezekial HERNDON ( 07 Dec 1790 Orange Co, VA – 12 Aug 1847 Rockingham Co, VA ) & Sarah JONES (1794 Virginia – Jul 1869 Oskaloosa, IO)  19 Jan 1821 Orange County, VA
  • Elizabeth HERNDON ( 06 Jun 1792 Orange Co, VA – After 1850 ) & Benjamin CASON  17 Dec 1818  Madison Co, VA
  • Mary Pendleton HERNDON ( 02 May 1794 Orange Co, VA – )
  • Abner HERNDON ( 22 Jan 1796 Orange Co, VA – )
  • Rachel HERNDON ( 25 Aug 1797 Orange Co, VA – )
  • William HERNDON ( 29 Jun 1799 Orange Co, VA – )
  • Henry HERNDON ( 09 Sep 1800 Orange Co, VA – )
  • Manson HERNDON (29 Jun 1802 Orange Co, VA – )
  • Joel HERNDON ( 27 Jul 1804 Orange Co, VA – )
  • Thomas HERNDON ( 29 Jun 1807 Orange Co, VA – )

3. Benjamin HERNDON ( 09 May 1765 Culpeper Co, VA – 12 Apr 1805 Elbert, GA ) & Susannah AHART ( 1769 Culpeper Co, VA – 1835 Elbert, GA )

4. Rachel HERNDON ( 1767 Culpeper Co, VA – ) & m1) Jeremiah WHITE ; & m2) Unknown HAWKINS

5. Edward HERNDON ( 06 May 1768 Culpeper Co, VA – 12 Sep 1827 Elbert, GA ) & Nancy Ann RUCKER (1768 Culpeper Co, VA – 1845 Elbert, GA )   18 Aug 1791 Culpeper Co, VA

6. John HERNDON ( 1771 Culpeper Co, VA – 1823 Madison, KY ) & Elizabeth WOOD ( 1775 Orange Co, VA – 1841 Monroe, MO )

7. Elizabeth HERNDON ( 17 Mar 1772 Culpeper Co, VA – 11 Sep 1836 Wilson, TN ) & Richard JARRELL JR. ( 1771 Culpeper Co, VA – 1836 Wilson, TN )

8. Mary HERNDON ( 1774 Culpeper Co, VA – 1828 Madison Co, VA ) & John JACKSON ( 1780 – 1850 Madison Co, VA )

9. George HERNDON ( 12 Apr 1779 Culpeper Co, VA – 10 Dec 1874 Cooper, MO ) & Elizabeth Franky ZACHERY ( 1778 Madison Co, VA – 1847 Cooper, MO )

10. Nancy HERNDON (1780 Culpeper Co, VA – ) & Unknown JORDAN

11. Joel HERNDON ( 1782 Culpeper Co, VA – 03 Jun 1854 Greene Co, VA ) & Lucy QUINN ( 1780 Madison Co, VA – 1865 Madison Co, VA )

12. Henry HERNDON ( 1782 Culpeper Co, VA – 1831 Madison Co, VA ) & Lucinda WOOD (1785 Virginia –  1860 Randolph Co, MO )

© 2014. Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Sepia Saturday: We're No Duck Dynasty

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

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt suggests any number of alliterative possibilities including brushes, bellies, British bobbies, bums, and beards.  Unfortunately – or not – I come from a long line of clean-shaven men.  But there are a few memorable beards.

There is a DISTINGUISHED beard:

Billy Long of Shenandoah, Virginia
Billy Long, the father of neighbors
of my great grandparents in Shenandoah, VA

Some GOAT beards:

James Franklin Jollett 1836-1930
My 2X great-grandfather
James Franklin Jollett
John Wesley Jollett 1832-1916
2X great granduncle
John Wesley Jollett

Some GRIZZLEY beards:

Unknown possibly Mitchell Davis
Unknown -- I suspect he is a Davis,
maybe my 2X great grandfather Mitchell Davis

Family of Daniel and Lydia Kohne, Hardy County, West Virginia
Family of Daniel and Lydia Kohne

Family of Adam and Caroline Kohne Hardy County, West Virginia
Family of Adam and Caroline Kohne
my husband's great grandparents
(the littlest girl is his grandmother)

And even some FAKE beards:

I don’t know where I had been – grocery store probably, but this is the scene I came home to in August of 1993. 

Mathias girls and friends
Left to right:  Kim age 10, Jordan age 12
Meghan age 13, Zoe age 10

Masking tape beards and rolled paper cigarettes always make a game of cards more fun.  (And for the record, the beer was NOT opened, thank-goodness.)   

Whether the idea sprang from boredom or mischief, those girls set the bar high on creativity. 

For more beards and maybe some bellies and bobbies, get your bum over to Sepia Saturday.

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

FGS Ambassador: Do As I Say

The Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City will be THE place to be February 11-14, 2015.  The Federation of Genealogical Societies and RootsTech are planning a special event:  2 conferences in 1.  It promises to be the Mac-Daddy of conferences combining methodology and technology for both amateur and professional genealogists.

And I’m going to miss it. 

Chalk it up to poor timing.

Here’s what I’ll be missing:

A chance to Connect
·         With bloggers – It’ll be a regular homecoming, a family reunion of “best friends” who have never met except online; they’ll be wearing their blogger beads, taking selfies, congratulating each other on creating such interesting blogs.  But without me!
·         With societies – Historical and genealogical societies will be sharing exciting projects and programs to inspire the next generation of family historians. 

A chance to Explore
·         New topics – Missionaries and Settlers; Ethnic Groups in the West; Wagon Trains and Railroads.  These are just 3 of the tracks and frankly, I can’t think of one of my ancestors for whom any of these apply but I KNOW from past experience that the strategies or techniques the speakers bring to such topics can be applied to my research too.  Besides, they just sound interesting in their own right.
·         New technology – I always feel at least two steps behind when it comes to technology, so a conference is the perfect place to see what’s new and to see it in practice.
·         Vendors – Book sellers, publishers, genealogy jewelry, genealogy gifts, tombstone cleaner, data backup services, you name it and they will be in the exhibition hall.  It’s the family historian’s candy store!
·         Education opportunities – I have no ambitions to become a professional genealogist, but I do want to improve my skills.  I imagine there will be SOMEONE there promoting SLIG, NIGR, and IGHR.  But what else? 

A chance to Refresh
·         I’ve been to ONE genealogy conference, and even then I missed the first two days.  Yet with the few sessions I attended, I already feel like a better researcher and a more focused blogger.  That’s the power of attending a conference.  Moments of self-doubt, thoughts of “why am I doing this research when my family doesn’t care,” and frustration with the whole genealogy thing magically vanish.  The enthusiasm of like-minded people is truly contagious.

So I hope you’ll “Do as I say, not as I do” and make plans to be in Utah in February for FGS and RootsTech.

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Gone to the Dogs #15

Wordless Wednesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks family historians to create a post in which the main focus is a photograph or image.

Fred Slade
My granddaddy Fred Slade
with the Moores' dog

My granddaddy Fred Slade kept a kennel of beagles at his sister and brother-in-law's property on Jolliff Road in Chesapeake, not far from where I live now.  When I was just a baby, George and Margaret Moore owned that German Shepherd.  It was not a particularly nice dog, but it liked me.  In fact, it stood guard when my parents put me down for a nap and wouldn't let anyone near me.  

Counting down the number of photos of dogs in my collection

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.