Friday, January 31, 2014

Sepia Saturday: The Runaway

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




This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt is a suitcase.  A suitcase implies travel, maybe for business, maybe for pleasure.  But sometimes we are just fed up and need to get away. 

What kid has never felt the need to teach their parents a lesson and just pack up and leave?  Ask my sister – she’ll tell you.

THE RUNAWAY

Mary Jollette Slade Portsmouth, Virginia
Mary Jollette

Baby sister Mary Jollette was about 6 or 7 years old when she had had enough.  Why?  Because of this woman. . . .

THE MEAN WOMAN  

Mary Eleanor Davis Slade faculty photo
Mary Eleanor Slade
Faculty Photo about 1965-66

Yes, our mother.  According to Mary Jollette, Momma was no fun and she never let her have any fun either.  Momma steadfastly refused to let Mary Jollette take ballet classes.  No future Margot Fonteyn for this family!  And no horseback riding lessons either.  No riding “The Pie” to victory in the Grand National.  What’s a child to do?

Run away, of course.  That'll show'em.

THE ACCOMPLICES

Grandma - Lucille Davis

#1 -  Grandma was tired of hearing Mary Jollette whine and fuss, so she told her to go, just run away.  Grandma even helped her pack.  Mary Jollette didn’t have a proper suitcase, child-size or otherwise, so they used a paper bag.













Rusty Taylor Portsmouth, Virginia
Friend - Rusty Taylor

#2 – Mary Jollette knew she could rely on her best buddy Rusty Taylor for aid and company while giving Momma time to come to her senses and pay for ballet.














Nancy Taylor Portsmouth, Virginia
Nancy Taylor (the Mean Woman is behind Rusty)

#3 – Rusty’s mother Nancy (Momma’s BFF, by the way) would never turn away a kid who was like her own. 
















THE ESCAPE ROUTE 


From our house, it was just a short walk to the corner where Grandma lived and then a left turn onto Frailey.  The safe house was the second one on the left.









THE RETURN

A long time passed.  Maybe a couple hours.  The phone rang.  Nancy said it was time for Mary Jollette to go home.  So she went.

Momma didn’t say anything about the running away business.  But she did complain loud and long about Grandma packing ALL those clothes that Momma then had to put away.  Where was Grandma then?


Please travel to Sepia Saturday – no need to pack a suitcase!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: So Cold!

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.


 
Violetta Davis Ryan about 1922-23, Harrisonburg, VA
Grandaunt Violetta Davis Ryan on the right
at Harrisonburg Teachers College about 1922
in front of Spotswood Hall

In 1922 or 1923, the girls of Harrisonburg Teachers College bundled up for a big snow.   And thanks to the Polar Vortex of 2014, so are we!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

52 Ancestors: #4 - That OTHER Jollett Family

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.




Last time I mentioned another Jollett family living in Culpeper County, Virginia, James and Gracey.  While it looks like they would be likely candidates for the parents of my confirmed James Jollett, “Gracey” as mother defies logic considering all the marriage records on which “Mary” is listed as mother of the bride.  Instead I have tricked myself into assuming they are an aunt and uncle, but I do realize they need more attention than I have given to their research. 

What I do know for sure is that there was a James JOLET who obtained a land patent for 61.5 acres in Spotsylvania County in 1748.  That puts him in the time frame of Thomas and William Jollett. 

In exchange for the land, James Jolet was required to pay one shilling for every 50 acres of land on the Feast of St. Michael the Arch Angel.  “Michaelmas” fell on September 29, the beginning of autumn when harvest was done.  In addition, he was expected to cultivate and improve 3 acres for every 50; failure to do so would result in revocation of the patent.  (I do not know for sure whether the payment was to King George II or to the governor of the Virginia colony.)

Then in 1760, James JOLLY purchased 127 acres along Little Crooked Run in Culpeper County from Joseph and Mary James.  I have transcribed the indenture, but to avoid a snooze-fest of legal jargon, I have isolated the description of the property because metes and bounds are just fun to read:

. . . Grant, Bargain Sell Enfeoff and Confirm unto the said James Jolly his heirs and assigns forever all that Tract or Parcel of Land Situated lying and being in the County aforesaid and on little Crooked Run and Bounded as followeth. Beginning at two Maples and Red Oak on Little Crooked Run in Beverlys line thence with his line North Twenty seven Degrees East One Hundred and Sixty eight poles to a White Oak and Two Pines Corner to the said Beverly and Henry Field, thence with the said Field’s line North Seventy two Degrees West one hundred and four poles to a White Oak and Pine thence South Twenty seven West one hundred and Sixty eight poles to two Pines on the North side Crooked Run thence South Six Degrees West fifty poles to three Pines on Kirtley Road thence East Sixty Pole to a White Oak on the South side the said Road thence North Seventy Degrees East Seventeen pole to a Maple and White Oak in the Little Crooked Run thence down the Several Meanders of the Run to the Beginning. Containing One hundred Twenty seven acres of Land . . . .

Seventeen years later, James and Gracey JOLLETT sold 127 acres along Little Crooked Run to Alexander Newman.  Let’s compare those metes and bounds:

. . . one hundred twenty seven acres of land in County aforesaid on Little Crooked Run bounded beginning at two Maples on the aforesaid run in BEAVERLY's line thence with his line North to two pines Corner to said Beaverly and HENRY FIELD thence with said Field's line North to a white oak on the North side of Crooks Run thence South West to KIRTLEY's ROAD thence East to a white oak on the South side of the said road to a Maple in Little Crooked Run down the several courses of the run to the first beginning. . . . 

Yep, sounds like the same property to me.  I wonder if those maples and white oaks are still standing.  Seriously, obviously this Jolly and Jollett are the same person.  The difference in spelling might indicate a pronunciation, perhaps French. 

(LIGHT BULB moment:  maybe James and Gracey were Thomas’s parents – it makes sense for Thomas to name a son after his father, little James’s grandfather). 

To do list:
  1. Look for wills, marriage records in Culpeper County using variant spellings Jollett, Jolet, Jolley, Jolly
  2. Look to see if Newman sold the land


Friday, January 24, 2014

Sepia Saturday: Don't Turn Your Back

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





This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt focuses on the very thing that defines “winter” in the northern hemisphere:  SNOW.  However, here in Virginia, winters can pass us by without the first sign of a snowflake.  We are just as likely to be able to craft a snow angel or small snowman in early spring. 

In October 1925, a snowstorm out of the Gulf of Mexico dumped between 1 and 3 inches of the white stuff up and down the east coast from Virginia to Southern New England.  The unexpected mix of orange leaves and snow must have delighted the college girls at Harrisonburg Teachers College, judging by the number of photos in my grandaunt Velma Davis Woodring’s scrapbook. 

Many of the pictures were taken on campus looking across Main Street to the Wellington apartments where Velma lived during her college days. 

Velma Davis Woodring Oct 1925 Harrisonburg Teachers College (now James Madison University)
Velma Davis Woodring October 1925
Not the best shoes for snow!

Leta LeVow Oct 1925 Harrisonburg Teachers College (now James Madison University)
College roommate Leta LeVow October 1925

Oct 1925 Harrisonburg Teachers College




A couple photos made me think the girls had enjoyed a bit of a snowball fight.  However upon closer inspection of the enlarged scanned version, I discovered that what I thought was the remnants of a well-aimed snowball was actually a FACE. 


A face of Uncle Sam?? 

And a dog??

















And here’s another strange coat with what? a cat? on the back.













                                                                                    
What kind of coats were these?  Is it a joke or did the flapper generation actually dress like this?






Grab a coat and slip on over to Sepia Saturday for more wintery tales and scenes.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: American Royals?

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.


From collection of Helen Killeen Parker about 1920



This photo from the album of my grandaunt Helen Killeen Parker is of people I don’t know.  But it’s a charming photo.  These fashionable couples look like they would fit right in at Downton Abbey.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

52 Ancestors: #3 - Thomas 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.



Last week I discussed William Jollett who purchased land in Orange County in 1736.  Here is where I stumble in my effort to connect the dots to my known ancestor James Jollett.  I am maybe a generation or two away.  Of course, it’s also possible the names I’ve found are collateral lines rather than direct.  But in the meantime I’ll amuse myself by believing I’m on the right track.  So let’s move on.

My James’s father COULD be Thomas Jollett who COULD be William’s son.  Here is why I think so:

First of all, Thomas was in the right neighborhood.  In 1745, he was listed on the receipts from an estate sale in Orange County.

In 1750 he was paid at least twice as a witness for the plaintiff in a court case:

Orange County Order Book 5:228
1750 -- On the motion of Thomas Jollett a witness for Thomas Houison Plaintiff against Henry Elly Defendant. It is ordered that the said Thomas Houison pay him one hundred & forty pounds of Tobacco for two days attendance and for coming thirty miles from Spotsylvania County & returning according to law.

Orange County Order Book 5:272
1750 -- On the motion of Thomas Jollett a witness for Thomas Houison Plaintiff against Henry Elly Defendent. It is ordered that the said Houison pay him forty-nine pounds of Tobacco for one days attendance & coming over eight miles from Culpeper County according to Law.

Secondly, there’s the 100 acres William purchased in Orange in 1736.  In 1786, Thomas alienated 150 acres to James Jolley/Jollett in Culpeper County.  Culpeper was carved out of Orange in 1749, so MAYBE this is the same land. 

Finally, the absence of Thomas Jollett in tax records after 1788, both land and personal, provides a strong argument for his being older than James and therefore, possibly James’s father.  For several years, James and Mary were side by side paying personal property taxes in Orange.  Mary is most likely his mother.  

Fortunately I have better evidence for that conclusion:  marriage records.  In several documents she is listed as mother of the bride and James as Bondsman.  See – no father. 

Using marriage records alone, I have constructed this POSSIBLE family of my known 4G grandfather:
Thomas JOLLETT (about 1725 -about 1788) and Mary UNKNOWN
  1. Susannah JOLLETT (about 1762 - ) married James BRIANT 1782 Culpeper County, Virginia
  2. James JOLLETT (about 1765 – before 1850) married Nancy WALKER 1787 Culpeper County, Virginia
  3. Sophia JOLLETT (about 1771 - ) married Cuthbert NORMAN 1791 Culpeper County, Virginia
  4. Judy JOLLETT (about 1772 - ) married William CAVE 1791 Orange County, Virginia
  5. Elizabeth JOLLETT (about 1773 - ) married William EATON 1793 Orange County, Virginia 

While I want to feel good about this little constellation, there is another Jollett family out there, James and Gracey.  “Gracey” doesn’t fit with the marriage records though, so possibly this James is Thomas’s brother.  Maybe?  And then there’s a Mary Jollett who at age 18 married John Dodgens Forrester in 1768, making her too old to have been a sibling in my imagined family.  A cousin?  A sister to Thomas? 

Sigh – more work to be done!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sepia Saturday: Barred From Service

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




This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt commemorates the Great War, World War I.  A particular second cousin twice removed has always held a certain fascination for me although I don’t know why.  I never knew any of his family and I know very little about him.  Heck, I don’t even have a picture. 

Charles Sherman Jollett WWI draft cardHis name was Charles Sherman Jollett, the only son and middle child sandwiched between two older sisters and two younger sisters.  The son of Charles Belsin and Nannie June Fogg Jollett was born in Page County, Virginia on September 22, 1897, even though his World War I draft card says September 23, 1894. 

Charles Belsin Jollett was a machinist who sought better opportunities for his family, so they moved to Portsmouth, Virginia some time before 1905.  Sherman followed in his father’s footsteps as a machinist for the Seaboard Air Line Railroad.  Saying “Air Line” and “Railroad” in the same breath sounds funny, like a contradiction, an oxymoron, a paradox.  But in the days before air travel was common, “air line” was a term used to indicate the shortest distance between two points.  Thus railroads often used “air line” in their names to suggest their routes were shorter than road travel.

Now this is what confuses me:  according to his World War I draft card dated 1917, Sherman had served as a machinist in the Navy for a half year.  Nevertheless, he was claiming an exemption from the draft.  The reason he gave is difficult to read, but it appears to say “Barred from service.”


WHAT?

OK, I understand that the military wouldn’t want someone who had an arrest record, didn’t meet weight requirements, had a personality disorder, or proved to be otherwise unsuitable for service.  However, Sherman was gassed during the Great War so he must have served anyway.  How did that happen?

Anyway, according to family lore, Sherman was never the same afterwards.  He continued to work as a machinist following the war, but he lived with his parents, at least until 1925, the last time his name appears in a city directory.  Sadly, in the 1930 census, he is listed as a patient at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC. 

Center building at St. Elizabeth's, Washington DC
Image from Wikimedia Commons


Not familiar with St. Elizabeth’s?  You probably saw part of the west campus in “A Few Good Men.”  This hospital has the distinction of being the first large-scale, federally run psychiatric hospital in the United States.  The doctors there pioneered the lobotomy, studied the effects of race on mental illness, and tested “truth serums” during World War II. 




Exciting times at the insane asylum!

In the 1940 census, Sherman was a patient in the Veterans Administration facility in Salem, Virginia, an institution for “nervous and mental diseases,” according to the enumerator’s notation at the top of the page.  The 1940 document is full of interesting information.  For one, it indicates that Sherman was living in a “Govt Inst” in Washington DC in 1935, likely still at St. Elizabeth’s. 

It seems Sherman had only a sixth grade education.  He was listed as Single even though he was listed as Married in the 1930 census, a “fact” I believe to have been entered in error, and one that warrants further investigation. 

Another surprising bit of information is the listing of patients’ occupations.  I wonder if that means their “usual occupation” or if they continued to work even though hospitalized.  Sherman is listed as still a machinist for the railroad. 

I suspect poor ol’ Sherman was under long term care most of his life.  He died in 1957 while a patient at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Hampton, Virginia.  He is buried in Olive Branch Cemetery in Portsmouth.

Charles Sherman Jollett 1897 - 1957
photo courtesy of Allen Cutchin


For more stories of soldiers and the Great War, march on over to Sepia Saturday.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: German Mine

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.

German Mine in collection of Ray Rucker (1899-1927)



This photo of a German mine is one of many war time photos among the effects left behind by my maternal grandmother’s brother Ray Rucker (1899-1927).


Sunday, January 12, 2014

52 Ancestors: #2 - William 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.



In my inaugural entry for the 52 Ancestors Challenge, I mentioned that I BELIEVE Morris Jollett of Westmoreland County, Virginia is one of my ancestors.  The little bit of supporting evidence rests in his son’s purchase of land in Orange County. 

Huh?  A map of the counties of Virginia will help explain that leap in my logic. 



See – just a hop, skip and a jump from Westmoreland over to the counties of Spotsylvania, Culpeper, and Orange where my confirmed Jolletts could be found in the late 1700s-early 1800s. 

William purchased 100 acres in Orange in 1736, just four years after settling his father’s estate in Westmoreland.  There are 2 documents entered on the same day in the Orange County Deed Book.  They appear to be for the same parcel of land, but I do not understand real estate transactions enough to say for sure what the difference is in the two.  I welcome anyone to wade through the legal jargon and weigh in on William Jollett’s purchase.

Joseph Bloodworth to William Jollitt
May 1736
Orange County Deed Book 1: 258-59

This indenture made the Seventeenth day of May in the sixth [?] Year of our Sovereign Lord the King and in the Year of our Lord Christ One thousand Seven hundred and thirty six Between Joseph Bloodworth of the County of Orange of the one part and William Jollitt of the aforesaid County of the other part Witnesseth that the said Joseph Bloodworth for and in consideration of the sum of five shillings current money to him in hand paid by the said William Jollitt before the ensealing and delivery of these presents the Receipts whereof the said Joseph Bloodworth doth hereby acknowledge doth devise grant bargain sell and do [---] lett unto the said William Jollitt his heirs and assigns a certain parcel of land or woodland ground containing one hundred acres situated lying and being in Orange County and bounded as followeth viz  Beginning at three pines corner to Joseph Bloodworth and Courado Ausberger [unreadable due to black ink bleeding through from other side – few readable letters are indicating metes and bounds] degrees West one hundred and eighty poles to three pines thence South thirty degrees West forty five poles to three pines. To John Paul [ Furkls? – this appears to be one word like Paulfurkls ] line thence with the said Paul [---] line to the said Paul [---] Corner Courado Ausbergers line thence with the said Ausberger lines to the beginning Together with all houses, Buildings, [---], Gardens, Orchards, Woods, Waters & Watercourses, Liberties privileges Hereditaments and appurtenances whatsoever to the said Land and premises belonging or in any ways appurtaining to have and to hold the said land and premises hereby devised and their and every of their appurtenances unto the said William Jollitt his heirs and assigns from the day of the date of these presents [---] for and during the term of one whole year from thence next Coming and fully to be completed & ended yielding and paying therefore yearly the rent of one ear of Indian Corn on the first of St. Michael if the land shall be lawfully [---] to the intent and purpose that the said William Jollitt may  by virtue of these presents and of the statutes made for transferring [---] into possessions be lawfully possessed of the said land and possessed of said hereby be enabled to have take and receive a Grant and Release of the Inheritance [?] and fee simple from the said Joseph Bloodworth who the said William Jollitt, his heirs and assigns forever In Witness whereof the parties to these presents [---] have interchangeably set their hands & seals the day and year first above written.
Signed sealed & delivered             Joseph Bloodworth {seal}
In the presence of
Benja. Porter [?]
Jno. Christopher

At a Court held for Orange County on Tuesday the 18th day of May 1736 Joseph Bloodworth acknowledged this his lease for land indented to William Jollitt which on his motion is admitted to record.



Joseph Bloodworth to William Jollitt
May 1736
Orange County Deed Book 1: 266-67

This Indenture made the eighteenth day of May in the sixth year of the Reign of our Sovereign  Lord the King and in the year of our Lord Christ one thousand Seven hundred and thirty six Between Joseph Bloodworth of the County of Orange of the one part and William Jollitt of the aforesaid County of the other part Witnesseth that the said Joseph Bloodworth for and in consideration of the just sum of [unreadable] pounds in current money to him in hand paid by the said William Jollitt before the ensealing and delivery of these presents the receipt whereof the said Joseph Bloodworth doth hereby acknowledge and thereof and from every part and parcel thereof doth fully acquit and discharge the said William Jollitt, his heirs exectors and administrators  Hath given, granted, bargained, sold, remised, released and confirmed and by these presents doth give, grant, bargain, sell, remise, release, & confirm unto the said William Jollitt in his actual possession [---] by force and virtue of a certain Indenture of Lease to him made of a parcel of land with the appurtenances hereafter mentioned by the said Joseph Bloodworth the said Indenture beareth date the day next before the day of the date of these presents for one whole year from thence next coming and by force and virtue of the statute made for transferring [---] into possession and to his heirs forever and part or parcel of land or woodland ground containing one hundred acres situated lying and being in Orange County and bounded as followeth viz Beginning at three pines corner to Joseph Bloodworth and Courado Ausberger and runneth thence South twenty four degrees West one hundred and eighty poles to three pines thence South thirty degrees West forty five poles to three pines in John Paul [furkls?] line thence with the said Paul [furkls?] line to the said Paul [furkls] corner in Courado Ausbergers line thence with the said Ausbergers line to the beginning.  Together with all houses, buildings, [---], gardens, orchards, woods, waters & watercourses liberties and privileges Hereditaments and appurtenances whatsoever the said land or premises belonging or in any way appertaining to have and to hold the said land [unreadable line due to ink bleeding through] hereby sold with the appurtenances unto the said William Jollitt to the only proper use and behoof of him the said William Jollitt, his heirs and assigns forever and the said Joseph Bloodworth doth hereby covenant for himself his heirs executors and administrators by these presents that he and they shall and will warrant & forever defend the before granted land and premises with the appurtenances unto the said William Jollitt his heirs and assigns him the said Joseph Bloodworth his heirs executors administrators and assigns and against the claim or claims of any other person or persons whatsoever and that both the said William Jollitt his heirs executors administrators and assigns shall and may from time to time and shall [---] or hereafter forever freely, peaceably & quietly have hold use occupy, possess and enjoy all and singular the before granted land & premises with all and singular the appurtenances & that it is freely and clearly acquitted and discharged of and from all manner of former gifts, grants, bargains, sales, and leases and of and from all manner of other titles troubles and encumbrances whatsoever, and the said Joseph Bloodworth for himself his heirs executors administrators & assigns doth further covenant promise and grant to and with the said William Jollitt, his heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns that to the said Joseph Bloodworth, his heirs, executors, administrators shall and will at any time hereafter within the space of ten years from the date hereafter the request and desire of the said William Jollitt, his heirs, executors and assigns at their charge make do and execute in fue form of law any other conveyance and assurance whatsoever for the better more perfect and absolute conveying and sure making of all and singular the before granted land and premises with the appurtenances unto the said William Jollitt his heirs and assigns forever.  In Witness whereof the parties to these presents Indentures have hereunto interchangeably set their hands & seals the day and year first above written.
Signed, Sealed & delivered                          Joseph Bloodworth {seal}
In the presence of
Benj. Porter
Jno Christopher

At a Court held for Orange County on this day the Eighteenth day of May 1736.
Joseph Bloodworth acknowledged this his Release of land indented to William Jollitt which on his motion is admitted to record.
Teste
Henry Willis CC

To do list:
Look for other documents for William Jollett including death, will, marriage


Friday, January 10, 2014

Sepia Saturday: Making Do

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




This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt suggesting the many surprises that are often sandwiched between the pages of old books has given me the opportunity to take a closer look at a little black book passed down to me by a grandaunt.

Oh, no, not THAT kind of “little black book.”  This one at 4” x 7” is barely hanging on to its classification as a book.  The black tape spine is dry-rotted and the back cover is cracked nearly in two.  Pages are missing and the stitching has popped. 




The book appears to have served as the precursor to the Time Clock, a place for employees of the Norfolk & Western Railway to sign in each day.  Columns identified the worker’s occupation, name, signature, and time called to report.  At the top of each page were blanks to fill in the specific division, yard, and date.


There are not many pages left, so probably any official business was removed leaving a handy little booklet for children to practice writing their names and for the lady of the house to jot down favorite recipes.  When those few pages were full, recipes were scribbled on any scrap of paper available and inserted into the book along with a prayer that they wouldn’t spill out.  Now over 80 years later the scraps of paper are yellowed and either very soft or very brittle. 


I’m not sure who the “lady of the house” was as I recognize the handwriting of my great grandmother Mary Frances Jollett Davis, my grandmother Lucille Rucker Davis, and my grandaunts Violetta Davis Ryan and Velma Davis Woodring


Their rural roots can be seen in the recipes for canning corn, beets, tomatoes, catsup, and grape juice.  But it’s their sweet tooth that dominates in this collection:  2 recipes for spice cake, 2 for gingerbread, 2 for walnut cake, 2 for chocolate caramel cake, 2 for chocolate pies, a variety of other cakes (including Pound, Mystery, and 1-2-3-4 Cake), and – heaven help us – 5 recipes for fruit cake. 


I can almost hear those fine cooks chanting, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”   The required frugality of the Depression years is everywhere evident in the varied scraps of paper and old envelopes on which are recorded those treasured recipes. 

In some cases, what the recipe was written on is more tantalizing than the recipe itself.  Velma’s “Plain Cake” is on the back of the Eastman Photo Co. envelope that held some photos and negatives she had developed while living in Martinsburg, West Virginia.  She developed one roll of film for 10¢ and 6 photos at 5¢ each for a grand total of 40¢.  The slogan on the envelope reminds customers to “Remember with pictures.  Have your best negatives enlarged.”


Another envelope contained two bills addressed to my great grandfather Walter Davis from Massanutten Power Corporation.  The electric bill for December 1933 was $1.50.  The water bill was for the same amount for the same time period.  The buying power of $1.50 in 1933 equates to almost $27 today. 

In many ways this book is a time capsule out of which spills elements of life during the Depression.


More surprises are spilling out at Sepia Saturday


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Corkhill Car

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.


Corkhill Brand Products car 1920s in collection of Violetta Davis Ryan



I wonder if this car sporting the “Corkhill Brand Products” label was calling on my great grandfather Walter Davis who ran a store in Shenandoah, Virginia.  Corkran, Hill & Company, a distributor of meat and margarine, prevailed in a lawsuit over a trademark patent in 1920.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

52 Ancestors: #1 - Morris 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.




My first stop on a hippity hop tour through my database is Morris Jollett.

Morris Jollett - aka Morris Jolley and aka Morriss Jollott - lived in Westmoreland County, which is on the Potomac River on the Northern Neck of Virginia.  I sometimes wonder if he knew his famous neighbors, the Washingtons, the Monroes, and the Lees.


Map of Westmoreland County
image courtesy of FamilySearch.org


The few documents I’ve found for Morris Jollett include a record of a patent for his cattle brand in 1711 and again in 1716.  Three years later he was a witness in an inquisition into the death of a man who had drowned.  Then in 1732 his Westmoreland County estate was settled and presented for record by his son William.

I'm not sure how Morris Jollett is related, but surely he must be.  I'm just a few generations away from connecting the dots between his son William and my 4G grandfather James Jollett.

To do list:
Look for a will
Look for the document by which his estate was settled


Friday, January 3, 2014

Sepia Saturday: Open Door Policy

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




The first Sepia Saturday prompt of the new year inspires any number of responses:  buses, dams, men in white coats.  However, it is the open doors of the tour bus that reminded me of a photo that captures a very sweet moment between brother and sister.

Mary Eleanor Davis Slade and Orvin Davis Jr. 1929 Shenandoah, Virginia
Mary Eleanor Davis and Orvin Davis, Jr.
1929 Shenandoah, Virginia











My mother’s older brother is propping her up to look out the car window (offering an interesting look at the inside of the car, by the way).  Momma was likely less than a year old, so the year was 1929.  When she was born that January 6th, her brother looked at her and declared she was “cuter than a pup.” 


Mary Eleanor Davis Slade about 1948 Dayton, Virginia
Mary Eleanor Davis on the left



She was still cuter than a pup many years later when she stepped out of a car while a student at Shenandoah College

. . .  







just moments after her friend got caught making an adjustment.  



The bus to Sepia Saturday is leaving, so hop on – my friends will be ready to open the door for you.