My Family – 100 Years Ago – Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Randy Seaver in this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun has given us this mission:

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1)  Determine where your ancestral families were on 1 January 1913 – 100 years ago.

2)  List them, their family members, their birth years, and their residence location (as close as possible).  Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?

3)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status or Google+ Stream post.

My grandparents, Zed Hamp and Mellie Jane Welch Willis were living in New Salem Precinct, Itawamba County, Mississippi April 23, 1910 when the census enumerator listed them. Their children at the time were Franklin (7), Thomas (6) [my daddy], John (4), Earnest (3) and Ruthy (1 yr 8 months). Mellie would have been early in her pregnancy with the next son, Rufus Rex who was born in December 25, 1910. They were family number 155 while family number 158 was Mellie’s brother, James W. Welch, and his wife, Pearlie, and their 3-year-old daughter, Brazzie.

On a visit to the library in Fulton, Itawamba, Mississippi in 2002, we found a 1912 listing of school students and all but Ruth were listed as students in Township 10, Range 9 of Itawamba County. This would have been two to three miles north of New Salem where they were for the 1910 census (Township 11, Range 9). I found an old Itawamba map that shows the township/range on it; I copied just that section to have some idea of where that was.1912 Township 10, Range 9 Itawamba County

By the time of the 1920 census they were just south of the New Salem location in Smithville, Monroe, Mississippi, which might indicate they were somewhere within a 25 to 30 mile straight line  in eastern Mississippi. However, another child, Lee Roy, was born May 17, 1913 and his birth location was Fayette County, Alabama, which was the marriage location as well as the birth location for the first three of their children (the first daughter died in infancy). Whether they had moved back to Alabama for a brief time between 1912 and May 1913 or whether Mellie had delivered a baby on a visit there is not known, although we did find a quit claim deed for 40 acres of land in Township 10, Range 9 that was conveyed in May 1919, which would indicate they were most likely living there from 1912 through 1919.1919 May Quit Claim Deed

Zed Hamp’s father and my great-grandfather, James Franklin Willis was born and died in Fayette County, Alabama. J.F.’s wife had died about 1883  and his mother sometime between the 1900 and 1910 censuses but he lived until 1926. On a trip to Fayette County in 2010, a second cousin, Charles Burns, drove us along Old Gin Road and pointed out locations where JF had lived. The land was totally overgrown with no homes anywhere along Old Gin Road. At the end of the road, we made a right turn onto Ballenger Road and Charles drove us by the last home location for JF when he lived with his son John William. We do have a photo of that home taken in 1961.

John Willis Home ca 1961

Although J.F.’s wife and my great-grandmother, Mary Jane Buckner Willis, had died sometime after 1883, and her father died during the Civil War, her mother lived until 1917. Nancy Foster Buckner Watkins Saling moved to Wise County, Texas sometime around the middle of the 1890s where she married for the third time in 1897. According to a Civil War pension file dated December 1913, Nancy had resided in Decatur, Texas for 20 years. On a trip to Wise County in 2011, we drove through areas we had found records about her and visited Oaklawn Cemetery in Decatur, Texas where she is buried.

IMG_0109

My paternal grandmother Mellie’s parents, William Thomas and Mary Monroe ‘Molly’ Sanford Welch were living in Fulton, Itawamba, Mississippi at the time of the 1910 census. Also enumerated in the family home were Jessie Ellis (21), Lovie (16), Essie (15) and Myrtie (11). We do not have any photos of their home. Today would have been their  134th wedding anniversary, having married January 5, 1879 in Fayette County, Alabama at the home of his brother, James Alexander ‘Bud’ Welch. Mellie’s grandparents were both deceased prior to 1913 (in 1907 and 1911).

My mother’s parents, Jacob Wesley and Eva Keithley Lineberry were living in the Capitol Hill area of Oklahoma City. There are city directories for almost every year available on ancestry.com and the majority of them show them living at 318 Avenue D, which is approximately the 300 block of SW 26th Street in Oklahoma City. In 1908 he was a carpenter, 1910 a dairyman, 1913 working in feed and coal – from letters he wrote to his brother, he was actually working in feed and coal in Cushing, Oklahoma and only managing to come visit his family in Oklahoma City periodically.

1913 OKC Directory Listing

The children living in the home on Avenue D would have been Willie (11), Bernita (9), Johnnie (7), Leonard (5), Joe (3) and George (1); my mother would not be born for another year. We were sent a photo of their home by a distant relative who found it in a box of photos in Galax, Virginia, which is where Jacob was from – he had presumably sent it to his sister.

Eva, 3 kids & other woman OKCThe woman on the left is unidentified but the woman on the right is Eva and the children are Bernita, Johnnie and Leonard in Eva’s arms; the picture would have been taken about 1909.

Jacob’s father, George Alex Lineberry, had remarried in 1896 after the death of Jacob’s mother. George (67) and Amanda (37) and their five living children were enumerated the 1910 census in Sulphur Springs, Carroll, Virginia. He was a farmer in the Blue Ridge mountains and we do not have any pictures of his home.

1910 Census Clip

Eva’s parents were both deceased prior to 1913; her mother sometime around 1890 and her father in 1911. Her father was living in Joplin, Jasper, Missouri at the time of his death. Her paternal grandmother died in Lewiston, Fulton, Illinois in May 1912 and we have no information on her maternal grandparents.

None of the residences of my grandparents and great-grandparents still exist and I’ve never seen any of them; in fact all but Zed Hamp died before I was born and he died when I was one year old.

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5 Responses

  1. I’d forgotten about that one house photo. It’s always amazing how we can have so much information yet still not have enough to answer such basic questions like where did they live and what did their home look like.

  2. This is wonderful! I enjoyed reading this and will delve into your blog for more information. My grandmother is Bobbie…daughter of Bernita. What a wonderful family line you are giving each of us. Thank You!

    • Hi Kristin, I’m glad you read it. My daughter, Kay, and I have been working really diligently to try to know something about our family. It has been difficult since they all died so young; Jacob and Eva were both dead before Bobbie was born and Eva died just weeks after Junior was born. Bernita had most of whatever remained of family information and almost everything made of paper was destroyed in the flood in Capitol Hill in the mid-1920s when Edson and Bernita’s basement was flooded. I talked with Bobbie about anything that might be remaining but it was after her stroke and her recall was not quite complete and she never found anything. We have come up with a few early pictures of your great-grandmother, including the one I posted in front of the house – I am always happy to share.

  3. I find it very emotional visiting the old home places, finding some gone, some uninhabited, some remodeled. My grandfather built with his own hands their home in Roanoke, VA. The home still stands, front stoop is gone, side porch now enclosed. But the fond memories will never change.

    • I envy you having memories of your grandparents’ homes and visits with them. Having never known a grandparent, I can only imagine the fond memories. Just being able to find a photo and look at that makes me emotional. In spite of using the word ‘envy,’ I am pleased for you that you do have those memories.

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