Monday, September 20, 2021

On This Day - Leanna


My great-grandmother’s sister Leanna Alice Jollett Knight died 20 Sep 1936.

Leanna A Knight
Born
Mar 14, 1867
Died
Sept 20, 1936


 Wendy

© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved. 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Photo Friday - Happy 98th Anniversary


Orvin and Lucille 1925
Shenandoah, VA
expecting their first child

My grandfather Orvin Davis was supposed to be driving Lucille Mary Rucker to nursing school, but instead they eloped across the state line to Hagerstown, Maryland, where they exchanged their vows on 17 September 1923.

Wendy

© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

52 Ancestors - On the Farm: Jollett and In-Laws

Austin Morris Farm (1990s)
Greene County, VA

The 1880 Agricultural Census Schedule for Greene County, Virginia is not easy to read. The image is dark, the column headings are fuzzy beyond readability, and the entries look like they were written with a fat Sharpie. All in all, a somewhat discouraging document to plow through (pun intended – get it??).

1880 Agricultural Census Schedule

However, a blank form is available on the National Archives and Records Administration website (www.archives.gov). By following along, I was able to glean some insight into my 2X great-grandfather’s life as a farmer. 

I assume that the other 9 listed with him on the page were close neighbors, and some were relatives on his wife’s side. How did James Franklin Jollett and his wife Lucy shape up next to the in-laws? I compared them to the following:

  • Austin Morris, husband of Lucy’s sister Susan Clementine
  • Madison Shiflett, Lucy’s uncle, her father’s brother
  • Miley Frazier, Lucy’s uncle, her mother’s brother
  • Thomas J. Frazier, Lucy’s cousin

The first set of questions dealt with the nature of the farm itself. All 5 claimed to OWN their farm. None of them claimed any grass land or grass products such as clover and hay. They likely grew hay, at least, for their own use, but if they sold any, they had to report it.

 

Acres

Tilled

Acres

Wooded

Value of

Farm

Value of Farm

Machinery

Value of

Livestock

Value of Farm

Production 1879

JF Jollett

40

28

$300

$35

$125

$115

A Morris

30

30

$250

$5

$240

$30

M Shiflett

6

100

$200

$2

$30

$60

M Frazier

50

180

$400

$5

$40

$111

TJ Frazier

41

100

$600

$5

$125

$190

James Franklin Jollett and his brother-in-law Austin Morris were about comparable in farm size and the value they put on their farm, but evidently Austin did much more with livestock than did James Franklin. Although he was a much smaller farmer than Uncle Miley and Cousin Thomas, James Franklin’s farm production was on par with Miley’s.

The next set of questions dealt with livestock. James Franklin and Thomas each had two milk cows. Madison Shiflett and Miley Frazier each had 1; Austin had 3. In 1879, James Franklin and Thomas produced 200 pounds of butter each. Austin claimed 300 pounds while Miley produced only 100 pounds and Madison none.

James Franklin Jollett and Austin Morris were the only ones who bothered with sheep, at least in 1879. James Franklin sold 5. Austin bought 2 and slaughtered 2. He also reported 20 pounds of fleece shorn in the spring of 1880.

All 5 were busy with swine and poultry. “Poultry” is assumed to mean chickens but it might mean ALL poultry which could include geese and ducks.

 

# Swine

# Poultry

Egg production 1879

JF Jollett

2

12

50 dozen

A Morris

11

17

75 dozen

M Shiflett

1

12

60 dozen

M Frazier

12

5

20 dozen

TJ Frazier

4

5

30 dozen

It seems clear that Austin Morris was much more involved with livestock than others in the family. Jollett and Madison Shiflett depended heavily on their chickens for the production of eggs.

Morris’s emphasis on livestock is further revealed in the reports on “Cereals” and Sugar. He devoted only 4 acres to Indian Corn; all other columns were left blank.

 

Indian Corn

Oats

Rye

Wheat

Sorghum

Acres

Bushels

Acres

Bushels

Acres

Bushels

Acres

Bushels

Acres

Gallons

JF Jollett

10

???

6

41

4

21

1

8

1

77

A Morris

4

75

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M Shiflett

6

100

 

 

 

 

2

10

 

 

M Frazier

5

43

 

 

 

 

10

25

 

 

TJ Frazier

7

250

 

 

 

 

4

50

 

 

James Franklin Jollett reported on his taxes that he was a distiller of spirits. I wonder if sorghum was used in that business. 

Finally, questions about orchards and forest showed the 5 to be relatively equal.

 

Orchards 1879

Forest Products

Acres

# Trees

Bushels

Cords cut

Value 1879

JF Jollett

4

90

100

10

$15

A Morris

 

 

 

10

$15

M Shiflett

 

 

 

10

$15

M Frazier

3

60

No report

10

$15

TJ Frazier

2

90

61

30

$20

REFLECTIONS

James Franklin Jollett always seemed to be able to keep up with the Joneses – or in his case, the Morrisses, Shifletts, and Fraziers. While egg production was important, the emphasis was on what he could grow whether it was corn, grain, or apples.

Madison Shiflett seems like he was just a small-time farmer, but it might be a sign of his age. He was nearly 70, definitely an older man then who likely farmed just enough to get by. The farm size and value were about half  that of what he reported in the 1850 agricultural schedule.

The Fraziers were clearly the big landowners. At one time Miley owned over 1000 acres. At his death he gave each of his children 200 acres. Today the Frazier land is part of the Skyline Drive. You can read about the Frazier Discovery Trail HERE.

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Wendy

© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Sentimental Sunday


 Lots of births in the family this week . . .

My great grandfather Walter Beriah Sylvester Millard Davis was born 12 Sep 1867.

Walter Davis
12 Sep 1867 - 31 Oct 1934


My grandaunt’s husband Clifton Holland was born 14 Sep 1897.

Mae Killeen and Clifton Holland, Helen Killeen 

My great-grandmother’s brother-in-law Decatur Breeden, husband of Victoria Jollett, was born 15 Sep 1877.

Decatur Breeden
15 Sep 1877 - 27 Sep 1952

Lucretia Jollett Shiflett, sister of my 2X great-grandfather James Franklin Jollett, was born 18 Sep 1838.

Wendy

© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Photo Friday - Buford Boyd


Buford Dennis Boyd
1928 - 1983
photo courtesy Russ Boyd


Buford Boyd was the grandson of William H. Jollett, better known as William Preston Boyd. I chose this photo because today is the 197th birthday of Buford’s great-grandmother Anna Elizabeth Breeden Jollett.

Wendy

© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

52 Ancestors - WORKING: The Envelope System

Davis Store in the 1920s

The Davis Store in Shenandoah, Virginia, has been the subject of several blogs here on Jollett Etc. It was built by my great-grandfather Walter Davis sometime before 1920 at the corner of Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, probably about the same time that he built their Sears & Roebuck Craftsman house on Sixth Street.

Walter Davis 1933

Walter was a carpenter by trade, just like his father Mitchell Davis. Walter must have had an entrepreneurial spirit when he built the store and named it “W.B. Davis & Sons Groceries Etc.” How long son #1 Millard worked there is unknown, but my grandfather Orvin, son #2, was the owner and manager according to the 1930 census. Actually, my grandmother Lucille ran the store because my grandfather also owned a garage where he repaired cars. The garage was located on Pennsylvania Avenue just behind the store.

Among the boxes of STUFF retrieved from my grandparents’ attic after 70 years are several bundles of receipts from the store.

Envelopes containing receipts

My grandmother Lucille Davis behind the counter of the Davis Store

J.D. SNYDER

Most likely J.D. was John David Snyder. He grew up in Shenandoah, and like his father, he worked for the railroad in the 1920s and 30s. Shenandoah was a boom town even during the Depression because of the railroad. If someone in Shenandoah didn’t actually work FOR the railroad, they had a relative who did. In spite of having a steady job, Snyder always seemed to owe money at the Davis Store. The receipts are dated from October 1935 to July 1936. 

The last receipts of JD Snyder

The Snyder shopping list was modest, usually Wheaties, bread, lard, soap, beans, bologna, “weinies,” eggs, and bacon. Other practical items included notebook paper, envelopes, and a pencil. The most extravagant purchases were chewing gum, candy and cakes. Occasionally he bought cigarettes. If times were hard, he made an effort to be thrifty and conservative. Nevertheless, he ran up a bill over $60. According to the inflation calculator, that equates to the buying power of $1138.67 today. 

1936 was about the time Snyder moved his family to Baltimore, Maryland where he, a son and a daughter went to work at the steel mill. The last three receipts indicate he worked hard to pay off his debt. According to the last receipt, though, he still owed $35. That equates to about $665 today. No wonder my grandparents held onto the receipts. They must have hoped he would finish paying them back. 



E.D. ROTHGEB

Receipts showing
purchase of medicine
No doubt this was Emil Rothgeb who owned the house next door to Walter Davis on 6th Street. In 1930 Emil was earning a living as a house painter. Perhaps he painted some of the houses that Walter had built. However, in the 1940 census, Emil was working with the WPA and reported having worked only 40 weeks in 1939. 

His receipts are all dated from October-December 14, 1938. The timing of going to work for the WPA and the purchases on credit make sense. Times must have been hard. The last receipt shows he put down $2.00 in cash reducing his debt to $20.58. That equates to about $385 in buying power today. 

Like the Snyders, the Rothgebs did not seem to be extravagant in their shopping. Most of the receipts are for the typical necessities like bread, lard, meat. However, purchases of aspirin, cough drops, Bromo seltzer and “medicine” suggest someone must have been sick. The holidays meant Essie Rothgeb needed yeast, nutmeg, sugar, flour, and coconut. 


ERNEST COMER

Paper-clipped together is the thinnest collection of receipts from Ernest Comer, a farmer by trade. They are dated from July 1937 to October 1938. However, a death record indicates he died in 1936. I know I have the right Ernest Comer because a couple of the receipts are written to his wife Lottie. Aside from the date confusion, what makes this group of receipts interesting is that part of the family debt was paid in goods, specifically meat in November 1937 and potatoes in June 1938.



MRS. MOORE

When I first opened the envelope, I thought Mrs. Moore was a customer at my grandfather’s garage. All the receipts are from his car repair shop. Only one receipt shows work done on her car. 

2 tubes and a condenser
only 75 cents for labor!

The rest of the transactions, however, show she was a customer at the grocery store. I wonder if this was about the time that my grandfather took over at the store. Maybe he had not had new receipts printed yet.

Because there were a number of families named Moore living in Shenandoah, Virginia in the 1930s, I did not think I could identify the woman who ran up a debt at the Davis Store in 1933. Robert and Charlotte Moore lived on Seventh Street, just a block behind the store which certainly would have made shopping there convenient. By 1940, the couple was divorced. That made me rethink all the accounts at the Davis Store. Since men were the bread-winner in most households, the accounts were likely in their name even if the wife did the shopping. As a divorced woman, Mrs. Moore had her own account. Unfortunately, the envelope holding her receipts was marked “Judgment.” I think that indicates my grandparents must have sued for payment.


REFLECTIONS

If my grandparents kept a ledger or other bookkeeping system, it did not survive. Only these envelopes of detailed receipts attest to who shopped at the Davis store, what they purchased, what they still owed. With no Excel spreadsheet and no calculator, my grandparents carefully carried the balance forward on each carbon-backed receipt and calculated debits and credits. It was a simple system.

One story I always heard was that customers who could not pay their bill often left diamond rings as collateral. I wonder if these receipts are for the very customers who owned those diamond rings and never came back for them.

Ring my mother had made from the diamonds
left at the Davis Store

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.” 

Wendy

© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.