Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: James Franklin Jollett and Eliza

Tombstone Tuesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers which asks us to create a post including an image of a gravestone of one or more ancestors; it may also include a brief description of the image or the ancestor.

My great-great grandfather James Franklin Jollett and his wife Eliza Jane Coleman Jollett are buried side by side in the Harriston United Methodist Church cemetery in Grottoes, Virginia.  The words “Father” and “Mother” stand out to me because Eliza was not really the mother of my great-grand aunts and uncles.  Her only child James Henry died young (read about him HERE).  Eliza was James Franklin’s second wife whom he married a year after his first wife Lucy Ann Shiflett died of “childbed fever.”

Did Eliza purchase the tombstones herself and provide the wording?  Did one of the children?  Maybe someone thought “Step-Mother” would have been aesthetically unbalanced and crowded, or simply inappropriate.  Or maybe I'm reading too much into this -- maybe this was just a standard design.

Most of James Franklin’s children were between 13 and 25 when he remarried.  Three children were under 7.  Only one of them probably had no memory of his mother. 

While Eliza was not the “real” mother of the Jollett children, she was the only GRANDmother that the Jollett grandchildren knew.  I have been told she was warm and loving but not quite as affectionate as their grandfather. 

Maybe “Mother” says something about how Eliza viewed herself or how the Jolletts viewed her.  She was “A” mother to them if not “THE” mother.  Judging by this next picture, she seems like a happy woman who would have made a good mother.


  1. I remember Vessie and Violetta referring to her as "Aunt Liza"

  2. Interesting story. Where is the first wife buried?? Nearby?

    Love the photo! The dog certainly likes her.

  3. I wish I knew where James Franklin Jollett's first wife Lucy Ann Shiflett Jollett is buried. I suspect she's buried in a family plot in Greene County. They were living in Greene when she died, and her family was there. Since there seems to be no record of her burial spot (and there are many active genealogists and folks in Greene Co really into documenting cemeteries, especially family plots), I bet her tombstone is unreadable. Just my guess. Thanks for asking.