Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sentimental Sunday


Nov 29, 1914  – Maxon Morris was born in Shenandoah, VA. He was the son of my grandfather’s cousin Reba Coleman and James Mitchell Morris, but little Maxon died of pneumonia on January 14, 1915.

Coverstone Cemetery
Shenandoah, VA

Dec 1, 1905 – Martha Willson Davis died in Rockingham County, Virginia. She was my 2X great-grandmother.

Martha Willson Davis

Dec 4, 1887 – Fielding Jollett died in Rockingham County, VA. He was my 3X great-grandfather. 


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Photo Friday - Emma and Jack


Back: Mattie and John
Front Jack holding Russell, Minnie, Emma holding Reba

On their anniversary – Emma Jollett (my great-grandmother’s oldest sister) and Andrew Jackson Coleman married on 26 Nov 1880.


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

52 Ancestors - THANKFUL: Blog Revisited

This week I am thankful to be traveling to spend the holidays with my daughter and her family. In lieu of a sappy post, I offer this photo which I have used many times before.

My grandmother Lucille Davis, my uncle and aunt 
Orvin Jr and "Scoop," me, cousin Glenn 
I think my cousin Bobbie was hidden to my right

I looked back on my post from Thanksgiving week last year and realize it’s pretty darn good. I don’t think I can improve on it. Read it HERE if you want to read how I learned to cook.

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.


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

On This Day - Ulysses and Sadie

My great-grandmother’s youngest brother Ulysses F. Jollett married Janeiro Sample “Sadie” Lamb on 23 November 1903.

Sadie and Ulysses

from Richmond Times Dispatch
29 Nov 1903


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

52 Ancestors - BIRTHDAYS: Party With the Olivers

What 80-year-old man gets invited to a 4-year old’s birthday party? That was what I wanted to know when I stumbled upon this item in the personals column.

from Harrisonburg Daily News Record 21 Nov 1916

I had other questions as well, mainly who were Mr. & Mrs. Charley Oliver, and were they related to my 2X great-grandfather James Franklin Jollett? Maybe they were related to his wife, Eliza Jane Coleman.

Once I slowed down and paid attention to the names of the other guests, the invitation made more sense. I recognized S. V. Shiflett. He was son of James Franklin’s sister Lucretia Jollett Shiflett.

The birthday girl was little Margaret Oliver, the one and only daughter of Charley Oliver and Annie Florence Hott. Annie was a daughter of Margaret Johnson and her second husband George Peter Hott. He died not long after Annie was born. Margaret married a third time, and then a fourth time – to Sell Shiflett making him Annie’s step-father and step-grandfather to Margaret Oliver, the birthday girl. That makes James Franklin Jollett her step-great granduncle.

Sell and Maggie
photo courtesy Susan Huffman

I wonder what was on the menu and what lovely presents Margaret received.

And what about her later life? Margaret’s name appeared over 300 times in the personals column of the Harrisonburg Daily News Record between 1935 and 1969. Here is what the articles reveal:

  •  Margaret never married but the fellas apparently missed out on a good cook. In 1935 she took first place at the Rockingham County Fair for Best Quince Preserves, Best Peach Preserves, and second place for Best Damson Preserves.
  • Margaret and her mother visited people in hospitals in nearby cities. They also vacationed together or with relatives going to places like Pennsylvania, Colonial Beach, and Richmond.
  • Margaret was active in the Methodist Church, often hosting her Sunday School class social events. She also chaired a conference for the Methodist Women. For several years she was in charge of Christmas Baskets for the needy.
  • The Olivers entertained family and friends. They were also frequent guests at other parties and weddings. Margaret hosted a bridal shower for a friend and sometimes served the cake at the weddings of her cousins, nieces, and friends.
  • As the consummate hostess, Margaret was able to surprise her mother with a birthday party.

from Daily News Record
15 Mar 1957

Margaret’s death certificate shows that she had been an employee at Madison College (now James Madison University – GO DUKES!), but in what capacity I do not know. Perhaps she had been a secretary, a cafeteria worker, or even a dorm mother. 

Margaret died in 1969, 10 years after her father and 10 years before her mother. Just as they were always together in life, they are together in death.

from Findagrave
Mt Olivet Cemetery, McGaheysville, VA

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.


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Photo Friday - Woody


My grandaunt Velma Davis’s husband Woody Woodring standing outside my great-grandparents’ home on Sixth Street in Shenandoah, Virginia. It was probably around 1930. The house on the right across the street was built about that time by my great-grandfather and grandfather right after my mother was born in 1929.


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

On This Day - James Franklin Jollett

On this day, November 17, 1836, my great-great-grandfather James Franklin Jollett was born.

Oldest known photo 
Maybe his wedding photo?

My favorite photo
17 Nov 1836 - 3 Jun 1930


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Photo Friday - Betty and Fred


My aunt Beverly Slade ("Aunt Betty") and my father Fred Slade

I do not know the occasion for which Daddy wore a boutonniere and posed with his little sister outside their home in the Cradock Gardens community of Portsmouth, Virginia. 


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 8, 2021

On This Day - Fred Slade Sr

On this day, November 8, 1901, my grandfather Fred Robert Slade was born.

Granddaddy was only 18

Love this portrait!

Granddaddy and his beloved Beagles


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Photo Friday - Lucille and Fleeta


Fleeta Davis with Ben Jr. and Lucille Davis

It was 1925. My grandmother Lucille Rucker Davis had recently given birth to her first child, Orvin Jr. My grandfather's cousin Ben Davis and his wife Fleeta Berry, after having 7 girls, finally had a boy - Ben Jr.


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

52 Ancestors - VOTING: Denied

In 2012, I wrote about my 3G granduncle Wesley Eppard (1825-1882) whose right to vote had been denied. How did I know that? He said so, right there in the Federal census of 1870.

Phoebe Breeden and Wesley Eppard

In the 1870 Federal Census, Columns 19 and 20 concern Constitutional Relations. In column 19, Wesley is confirmed as a male US citizen of age 21 or upwards. In column 20, there is a mark indicating he was denied the right to vote on “other grounds than rebellion or other crime.” As a native Virginian, Wesley likely had sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War, but that should have had no bearing since the question says “other than rebellion.” He was white. He was not checked off for being deaf, blind, insane, or idiotic. Why was Wesley denied the right to vote?

To answer that question, we need to know why “Constitutional Relations” was included in the 1870 census.


The question on the 1870 census fulfilled the requirements of Amendment XIV - Section 2, of the US Constitution, passed by Congress on June 13, 1866 and ratified July 9, 1868. This section states that “...when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

In other words, the number of male citizens denied would have an impact on the number of electors for national and state elections. The decennial census determined the population of a state for the purpose of representation, thus making it necessary to add the question about whether an individual had been denied voting rights. The distribution of representative power in Government depended on accurate answers to the question.


The 1870 Instructions to Enumerators addresses the question on pages 11 and 12. They were expected to complete column 19 easily since they needed merely to identify if the person was a male citizen 21 years of age or older. Column 20 would require some delicacy in obtaining information. For one thing, those who never even tried to vote would not know if their rights were being denied. At any rate, the instructions called for the enumerators to determine whether a man had been denied at the polls for a disability, lack of qualifications, or any reason that the State had set by law prohibiting him from voting, other than rebellion and committing a crime.

Since the basis for denial of voting rights was state law rather than federal law, it was important for an enumerator to study the laws of his own State in order to complete column 20 accurately.


The 15th Amendment, which guaranteed no one would be denied the right to vote based on race, was ratified in 1870. Nevertheless, some states continued to try to deny voting rights to certain citizens, not just former slaves, but to the Irish and Chinese among others. That didn’t apply to Wesley either. In his county, only 3 other white citizens were denied the right to vote: a German, an Englishman, and a Canadian, all of whom were also US citizens.

The Missouri Constitution which was ratified in 1820 remained the law of the land right through to the time of the Civil War. In 1863, the Missouri General Assembly passed a gradual emancipation order. This did not sit well with those who thought slave owners were trying to maintain some form of slavery. In 1865 a new Constitution was drafted that not only banned slavery unconditionally, but also restricted the rights of former “rebels” and Confederate sympathizers.

Article 2 of the new Constitution became known as the Ironclad Oath. It required teachers, lawyers, clergy, and ALL VOTERS to promise they had not committed a long list of disloyal acts. The wording was so severe that even many Unionists opposed it, but the Constitution was ratified anyway by a narrow margin.


Wesley Eppard, as a Southern sympathizer, was denied the right to vote because that was the State law. It would take some time for the war tensions to heal, for former enemies to enter into business contracts and political alliances before such stringent voting restrictions would be eliminated.


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.


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.