My mother’s grandfather was George Alex Lineberry (making him my great-grandfather). He was the 6th child/3rd son of Jacob P. and Piety Thomas Smith Lineberry, born February 3, 1844 in Grayson County, Virginia. Although my mother and her brothers moved to Virginia in February of 1922, she didn’t get to meet her grandfather because he had died six years before she arrived.
The 1850 census, though not a very clear image, does reveal something about families in that time period. His parents married in November 1833 and had their first child in February 1835 and over the next 15 years had another child every year or two. To clarify, his siblings were Catherine, Elizabeth, Allen, Joseph, Mary, Wesley, Martha, and Jacob. Only one more child was added in the 1860 census – Piety, born in 1856.
By 1861 and 1862 the country was facing a looming war between the states and George enlisted in Company F of the Virginia 29th Infantry on April 3, 1862 in the small community of Saltville. Saltville was an important strategic area because of the railway lines and because of the salt mines that were crucial for supply provisions for the Confederate Army (1). Saltville was about 70 miles northwest of George’s Carroll County community through the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains. George’s cousin, Orin A. Lineberry, must have made the trip with him because he also enlisted at Saltville on April 3, 1862. His brother, Wesley, enlisted in the same unit, but in Carroll County, on February 13, 1863 and his cousin, Joseph (Orin’s brother), enlisted on February 21, 1863, also in Carroll County. The Virginia 29th engaged in many battles throughout the years of the war; a list of the battles can be seen at http://www.geni.com/projects/29th-Virginia-Infantry-CSA-US-Civil-War-Project/4334. On our trip to Virginia this past summer, Kay and I stopped at the Appomattox Courthouse, which was the location of the signing of the documents that ended the Civil War – one of the battles listed for the Virginia 29th was Appomattox Courthouse. Some of the stories told about George’s experiences during the war were related in an audio recording made by my Uncle Leonard and written up by my daughter on a blog she called “The Wool Overcoat & Trying Times.”
A couple of years after the war George married Rhoda Harmon on February 26, 1867 in Carroll County, Virginia. The 1870 census lists George and Rhoda and their first child, Leander Francis, who was eight months old at the time of that June 1, 1860 record. George was listed as a farmer on property valued at $120, although he likely also participated in the family’s iron forge business.
By the 1880 census, George and Rhoda had added several more children, including my grandfather, Jacob, and their daughter, Piety Catherine, who provided a home for my mother from 1922 until 1929, following the deaths of both my mother’s parents. George was still listed as a farmer.
George and Rhoda were enumerated as living next to George’s parents in the 1880 census. His mother died in 1885 and his father in 1887. According to letters written by my grandfather to his brother, Leander, from 1894 through the beginning of 1915, the George Lineberry household was not one of peace and tranquility. In those letters, we learn of the death of George’s wife, Rhoda, and of his subsequent marriage to the former Amanda Thompson. George was 52 and Amanda was 22. There is some indication in Jacob’s letters that Amanda may have been George’s son Alex’s girlfriend, which, along with George’s abusive words and behavior, caused a good bit of ongoing animosity between George and Alex.
George and Amanda began their own family and the 1900 census enumeration shows them: Lillie and Alexander are Rhoda’s children. Although Amanda stated she was the mother of three children, all living, and three children are listed (Calla B., Robert and Burton), Calla was born in 1894 while Rhoda was still alive and three years before her marriage to George.
The 1910 census doesn’t shed much light on the question of Calla:There are five children listed: Robert E., Burton L., Rudy R., Benjamin G. and Roby P. Calla is not listed although she should only have been about 15. Amanda is listed as the mother of six children of which only five are still living. However, a marriage record for Callie stating she is the daughter of George Lineberry and Amanda Thompson was recorded in Carroll County in 1911 and she did not die until 1989. Since George and Rhoda already had a daughter named Callie born in 1881, it doesn’t seem likely they would name another daughter Calla/Callie born to them in 1894 while the original Callie was still living. The question then is, who were the parents of Calla Bell Lineberry and which child of George and Amanda died between 1900 and 1910? The 1920 census – taken four years after George’s death – lists one more child: Luria. That makes a grand total of 17 or 18 children for George.
A family reunion photo shows a small portion of what that kind of family looked like. As best as we can reconstruct, neither Amanda nor any of her children are in this photo. George is on the back row just to the right of center.
George died of pneumonia on January 18, 1916. He is buried at the Alex Lineberry Cemetery on the family farmlands just above Crooked Creek with headstones of both his wives nearby.
(1) http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Saltville_During_the_Civil_War. Included on that website is an image of an early drawing of the Saltville railroad and mines that first appeared in 1865 in Harper’s Weekly. A number of other Saltville articles and drawings can be seen at http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1865/january/saltville-virginia.htm
This blog was prepared as a part of Amy Johnson Crow’s No Story Too Small 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.