Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Lettie

Naming your boat after a beloved, beautiful or famous woman is a custom that goes back hundreds of years. The ships that carried early explorers from Europe to the New World had names of women. It was also common practice of the British Navy and until recently the US Navy.

The Lettie
There may not be any conclusive reason for it but most traditional seagoing men still stick to it. I'm looking for a light weight Kayak to add to our camping equipment and will probably Christen it "Mary."

I read that Bartholomew "Bat" Fogarty of Fogarty Boatworks in Manatee County, Florida built a Schooner in the early 1900s that he raced several times and it had a reputation for being extremely fast. There are several newspaper articles about it in the Manatee River Journal archives.

There are at least two surviving photos of the boat identified with the name "Lettie" and saying Fogarty sold to Captain Carl William Bahrt who was a Ship Pilot in Tampa Bay.

Carl William Bahrt was married to Luddie Garner, the sister of my great grandmother, Sallie Adams Fulford.

My first thought after seeing the name was that it was named after Bahrt's wife but I wasn't sure this was true because of the spelling. I never met the Bahrts or their children and couldn't find any record of Luddie being called Lettie.

1967 Interview of Ollie Zipperer Fogarty
In addition, Bat Fogarty had a sister named Mary Letitia Fogarty so maybe the boat was named for her.

Recently I found an interview the Manatee County Historical Society did of Ollie Zipperer Fogarty in 1967. She was a contemporary of Bahrt and Luddie and in the interview she called her Lettie.

I don't know if Bart Fogaryt had a name on the boat when he owned it but I'm now pretty sure it was Carl William Bahrt that painted on the name Lettie.

Luddie Garner Bahrt

Luddie Garner Bahrt was born September 13, 1885 in Carteret County, North Carolina and died March 31, 1964 in Tampa, Florida. She is buried in the Myrtle Hill Memorial Cemetery in the Bahrt family plot. Her father was Elijah Meadows Garner and her mother was Hope Jane Foreman.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tearing Down Monuments

Fulford Day Memorial at Municipal building
There has been a lot in the news recently about tearing down Memorials to Political and Military leaders, Wars and even Explorers.

As a person who studies family history that is intertwined with history of the place where family lived I'm very much opposed to this.

I'm sure some folks who want to remove memorials have sincere feelings but most seem to be involved for the blood sport or because they read only the news headlines.

I discovered a War Memorial to a family member several years ago and had not written about it because I got too busy with other things. I decided to do so now before it is bulldozed over.

Beaufort News May 12 1921
James Irvin Fulford was a distant relative, a 5th cousin. Far enough that the DNA connection would be slight, but I've researched his family for a while and know several family members who are also doing research.

We share a common ancestor, Joseph Fulford of Carteret County, North Carolina.

I learned of the memorial to him and Leonard Day while searching online newspapers for family surnames in North Carolina. I found several articles about the Fulford - Day Memorial in Morehead City, North Carolina from newspaper articles in the early 1920s.

I visit Morehead City several times a year and decided to try to locate the memorial.

In May of 1921 It had been erected on Arendell Street which is US Hwy 70, the main road through town at the intersection of 8th Street.

The memorial was originally a fountain in the middle of the road, next to the railroad track.

Fulford Day Memorial Fountain on Arendell Street
There wasn't any record of it in recent years but I did locate something that said it had been moved to several blocks to Evans and Jib Street at one point and then later to the Morehead City Municipal Building many years after the building was constructed in 1926.

Two years ago while making plans to visit the area I contacted the City Maintenance department and they said it was still outside the building. I stopped by one afternoon to get the photo.

Beaufort News March 31 1921

Irvin Fulford was honored with a memorial along with another local man because they both died in WWI.

Irvin was born July 15, 1898 to Walter Ernest and DeElla Sawyer Fulford.

He was killed on October 11, 1918, one month before the Armistice of Compiegne was signed which ended the fighting. We celebrate this Armistice and our Veterans every year on November 11th.

He died in one of the last great battles of the War, at the Hindenburg Line. This resulted in a win for the Allies and the Germans losing over 36,000 prisoners. Immediately after this defeat the Germans requested an armistice.

James Irvin Fulford WWI Service Card

His body wasn't returned home until the following March.

He was buried in the Bayview Cemetery in Morehead City in a family plot that thirty years later would make room for his parents.

James Irvin Fulford Gravemarker

Thursday, August 17, 2017


I have to admit it, Bewtiched was one of my favorite TV shows growing up. I mean, what's not to like about it. A good looking woman who could do all kinds of magic when needed. I'm sure most guys would like being married to someone like her and women would like to be her.

I was reading a transcript of an interview my grandmother's cousin, Louise Lundy Simmons gave in 1988 to the Manatee Historical Society and found an interesting story about being Bewitched.

My great great grandfather, William Augustus Lundy died in 1903 in Manatee County Florida. The family story I heard was that he died of cancer.

Louise heard a different one, from his wife Marjorie Henry Lundy. Marjorie Lundy died in 1933 when Louise was 22 years old. Louise told the historical society:
Marjorie Henry Lundy - 1930

"Well, my Grandmamma told me that he was out riding in the woods on his horse. And there was a lady sitting on a log that had fallen over. And she was a fortune teller. And she asked him to give her $15 and she’d tell his fortune.

Well, he wouldn’t do it. And she said just to let him know what she was talking about, she told him something that was really true. But he still wouldn’t give her $15. And then he got sick, and they thought that the old lady had bewitched him."

"And they got him and they took him, my Uncle Jim and Aunt Ada, they went somewhere up north. There was somebody up there that could break that spell. And they went north and that man told them that the rest of the family had to go home. And leave him here with me. They wouldn’t do it so they brought him home."

I knew about them taking him to Glen Springs in South Carolina in 1902 shortly before he died, but didn't know it was an attempt to break the spell from a witch.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Legal immigrants

I found this record showing my entry back the USA after my family spent two years in Europe.

My father was in the Air Force and had to do a tour overseas so he took his family with him. I have a letter he wrote to my grandfather shortly after I was born saying he was being pressured to go overseas again.

He had been in the armed forces for parts of three decades by then and most of that time had been overseas, including the Pacific during WWII. He had been able to avoid going after he got married and had four kids.

We were in France for those years where he helped setup the Strategic Air Command bases that were part of NATO for many years.

When we came back we spent two year in Kansas, before he retired. just put these records online and it was surprising to see my name. Since today is Armed Forces Day, I though it was a good time to share this.

I apologize that I haven't been posting to this blog in a while, but that's not because I don't have stories to share. There have been a lot of other things taking priority recently so I've been putting them in the cue and hope to be able to have time to write them out here soon.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Buying the Fort

I've been doing a lot of research on family members who lived in Craven County North Carolina recently. The County made a lot of old records available online which makes it very convenient to locate them from home.

Fort Barnwell
I found a land record showing one of my great grandfathers bought the land where a fort was built during the Tuscarora Indian War of 1711.

Francis Nunn settled in the Craven County area in the early 1700s. He may have been one of the Militia members from South Carolina who came to fight the Tuscarora Indians after they attacked New Bern, North Carolina and massacred over 400 white settlers.

There was a Francis Nunn in South Carolina at the time who would have been the right age to be a part of the militia. Several men who took part in the war ended up moving to North Carolina afterwards because they found the land better and readily available.

1729 Deed from William Hancock
South Carolina sent a militia of 30 white officers and 313 friendly Indians under the command of Col. John Barnwell. They built a fort on the bank of the Neuse River at Half Moon Swamp in 1712. The State of North Carolina put a historic marker there in the 1950s.  

In 1729 Francis Nunn paid 95 pounds to buy a Plantation of 640 acres, including the old fort, from William Hancock, Jr. His father, Col William Hancock had received the land as a Grant from the Lords Proprietors.

Four years later Francis Nunn was given permission to operate a Ferry across the Neuse River at Fort Barnwell.

The Court file says "ye said Mr. Nunn to receive the sum of two shillings and six pence for ferin man and horse."

Francis Nunn's gg granddaughter Mary Nunn was the mother of Mary Catherine Ellis who married David Fulford of Carteret County in 1862. Their son, William Thomas Fulford was my great grandfather.

Monday, May 2, 2016

William's Famous Peas

I wrote a story about my distant first cousin Capt. William Fulford several years ago. That told of the unfortunate circumstance of his house being blown up in 1863 by Union troops. They were trying to put out a fire on Front Street in Beaufort, North Carolina, that had started in the kitchen of his neighbor Mr. Ensley and intentionally blew up William's house as a crude fire break.

I found this article in the July 26, 1859 edition of the New Bern Weekly Progress, four years before the fire. The same Mr. Ensley who started the fire, was trying to get some notice for the gardening skills of Capt. Fulford so he took his extra large peas to the newspaper in New Bern.
I think my daughter inherited the Fulford gardening chromosome because she produced some pretty large organic Kale in her backyard last summer and even sold some to the local grocery store.  

Monday, April 25, 2016

Confederate Memorial Day

If you live in Montgomery, Alabama you would find the State offices closed today. It is one of the few States that still recognizes Confederate Memorial Day and calls it by that name.

First White House
Several years ago I received a book, Sweet Mystery, from a distant cousin who had researched her family history and learned I had a connection not only to Montgomery but to one of the more unusual Confederate Memorials. Several of the stories I will share come from her book.

In this day of trying to change our history to make it more acceptable I thought this would be a good time to tell the story. It has all the components of what any history contains, some good and some not so good parts. You can take it as a whole or only focus on those components that make you comfortable.

If you visit downtown Montgomery one of the places on any Tourist Map is the First White House of the Confederacy. The house was built in the 1830s and shortly before the original seven States, that had been first to secede, formed a Provisional Confederate Congress it had been bought by Edmund Harrison of Lowndes County Alabama. Colonel Harrison as he was called was the 2nd husband of Elizabeth C. Ware. Elizabeth's mother, Judith Anthony, had been married first to William Green in Georgia and after he died, she married Robert Alexander Ware and moved to Montgomery, Alabama in 1822. So Elizabeth was the step-sister of my distant Green family cousins.

Exchange Hotel 1961
Colonel Harrison offered to lease his house to the Confederate Congress for use of the newly appointed President Jefferson Davis in February 1861.

The house was leased for $5,000 a year fully furnished with servants. Unfortunately by the time Jefferson Davis and his wife moved in, on April 14, 1861 the weather in Montgomery was already hot with a "record breaking heat wave" so on  May 20, 1861 the Provisional Confederate Congress decided to move the Confederate Capitol to Richmond, Virginia. Harrison sold the house three months later for $20,000 to Willis Calloway.

The fact that the First White House is one of the more revered places in Montgomery is strange since it was only used by Jefferson Davis for five weeks. In fact Davis camped out at the Exchange Hotel in Montgomery for almost twice as long. Unfortunately the old hotel was torn down in 1973 to make way for a new office building. This was three years before the old White House was renovated and opened as a tourist attraction.

Colonel Harrison could easily afford to lease the house with servants because he was one of the larger slave owners in the area. I found a family history blog page trying to trace some of his former slaves.

On the 1850 census Harrison is listed as owning 71 slaves and on the 1860 census the number had grown to 79.

Cowles Mansion in Montgomery
I am currently reading a biography of Theodore Roosevelt that talks about his mother's family in Savannah, Georgia being slave owners while his father was an abolitionist from New York. The author says TR's Georgia grandfather was listed as a Planter on the 1850 census because he owned land and more than 20 slaves. I'd never heard the definition of Planter being tied to the number twenty and am not sure if this was widely accepted but Harrison and the Ware family in Montgomery were all listed as Planters.

1860 Slave Census - Elizabeth Cowles
Elizabeth Ware was also a large slave owner. The story goes that when her parents moved from Georgia to Montgomery they brought 20 slaves.

Elizabeth's first husband, Thomas Meriwether Cowles, was listed with 112 slaves in 1850 and owned not only a large plantation but a mansion in Montgomery on River Street. Today both the house and the street no longer exist.

According to the History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, published in 1921, when President Millard Fillmore visited Montgomery in 1854 he spent the day at the Cowles Plantation.  After Cowles died in 1857 his estate was divided between wife Elizabeth and his two siblings, so on the 1860 census she was only listed with 22 slaves.

So if you want to just conclude this was a terrible family who made their money on the backs of slaves, kidnapped from their home country and forced to a life of horrors, you should stop reading now.

The other side of the story, and the family, are those who after the Civil War used their money, reputation and risked their lives to do good for the former slaves.

Elizabeth Ware's niece, Augusta Knox Walker was born in a mansion in downtown Montgomery, the first floor occupied by Yankee Army Officers, in 1871. Her grandfather, Henry Tabb Walker was from Memphis and had organized the 2nd Regiment Confederate Infantry among the Irish Immigrants in Memphis and fought at Shiloh with his 17 year old son Hal. The grandfather fell ill soon after with Typhoid and Dysentery and went home to Memphis to die. His son, the father of  Knoxie Walker, joined on as aide to Confederate Calvary General Frank Crawford Armstrong for the rest of the war.
William Burns Patterson

Knoxie Walker's future husband was also in Alabama about 80 miles from Montgomery. His father, William Burns Patterson, an Immigrant, from Tullibody Scotland moved to Alabama during the Reconstruction years and settled first in Hale County, Alabama. He started teaching former slaves, now working for the railroad, how to read and write. He started a school in 1871 and called it Tullibody Academy in Greensboro, Alabama.

In 1878 he moved to Marion, Alabama to run the American Missionary Association's Lincoln School. In 1873 the Alabama legislature provided funds and renamed it the Normal College for Negroes. This was the first State sponsored college for blacks and quickly became known as a "Teachers College."

The campus of the school in Marion was burned by vigilantes in 1880. The Alabama legislature in 1887 allocated $10,000 to build a new campus for the Normal College in Montgomery.  The school was renamed Alabama State University in 1969 and today has over 5,500 students.
Tullibody Hall Montgomery Normal College - 1906

Will Patterson continued as the head of the school after it moved to Montgomery and served for a total of 37 years.

He also started a nursery business, called Rosemont Gardens, growing flowers in the back yard. Several years after the move to Montgomery he and his wife awoke in the middle of the night to find a cross burning outside their small frame shotgun house and a note giving them 24 hours to leave town. The next night the vigilantes returned to find him sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch. As they came closer to the house they also found five Confederate veterans from Montgomery sitting on the porch in back of Will Patterson, with their rifles across their laps. That was the end of his problems with vigilantes.

The Patterson family sent roses to the five former Confederates every year on their birthdays for as long as they lived, as a sign of gratitude for the way they helped save the school.

So there are a lot of memories of Confederates today. You'll find celebrations in many small towns and folks dressed in period costumes. You won't see most of these on the news and if they are talked about, it won't be kindly. But there are many sides to the story of what happened and sometimes we need to open our minds to the other side, from what makes us feel comfortable.