Sunday, May 29, 2011

New Marker

A new marker was installed on my great uncle's grave in Jacksonville, Florida this week.

William Burgess Fulford died on Christmas day in 1924 and was buried in the Old Jacksonville City Cemetery but the marker had his name spelled wrong. I don't think he had any children so it is unlikely any relative ever saw the marker over the last 75 years.

The Kirby Smith Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans assisted in putting the new marker in place for me. I appreciate their help and interest in marking the graves of veterans who in many cases have been long forgotten.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Andrew's Lake

I was reminded of the Bureau of Land Management records recently when a Rowell cousin was asking about land records for one of our common ancestors.

I sent him a copy of the Land Patent for William Rowell and noticed they had a new link to map the location of the property. Unfortunately they don't have the Google map working yet but I decided to use the Florida Survey Data Interactive Map to look up the location of the land owned by a couple ancestors.

One record that I had seen before and wondered about was the first homestead patent for my great grandfather, Andrew Jackson Green. I found his land on a map of Taylor County Florida several years ago and noticed the lake on land section was named "Andrew's Lake."

I don't know if it was named for Andrew Green or not. He obtained the 40 acres on November 14, 1888. Since he was the first patent owner he could have named the lake or over the last 120 years someone else may have named it.

The cousin who was asking about the other grandfather lives nearby in Shady Grove, Florida so maybe I will ask him to check it out one day.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Like Father, Like Daughter

They say mental illness runs in families. My dna test at gives the chance of several related diagnosis and thankfully says they are lower than normal. Some of you may discount these results.

There were several in the family who weren't so lucky. I have an Aunt in North Carolina that folks called crazy so much that most thought it was her first name. She was the one actually named for a boat, but that will be another story.

An interesting story I found recently is the father and daughter who were both committed to the same mental hospital. Stephen Fulford, a great great uncle owned a grocery store for many years in New Bern, North Carolina. On the 1910 census, at age 80 he was listed as an inmate and insane at the State Hospital in Raleigh, North Carolina. He died two years later and was buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery in New Bern.
It was not until recent months I learned about his daughter, Theresa Bowman Fulford. She was born in 1872 but since Stephen's name was misspelled on the 1880 census I just located his family on that report. When I did I also found the name of his daughter.

She was also committed to the State Hospital when the 1910 census was taken, listed as insane. Her mother had died in 1907 and with her 80 year old father in the hospital maybe she just wanted to be close by.

She recovered enough to leave the hospital because for both 1920 and 1930 she was living in the Bridgeton area of Craven County NC in a boarding house. She never married and died at age 74 in 1946. She was buried near her parents at the Cedar Grove Cemetery in New Bern.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Cora Belle

Cora Belle Davis is buried in Palma Sola Cemetery in Manatee County.

I listed her grave there on findagrave in 2006 not knowing she was a relative. Just recently I found a link to her father Charles Luke Davis being buried in the same cemetery. He is in an unmarked grave but he was listed on a death record of Manatee County showing he died in 1939. His mother was listed on the record and I recognized her name as being from a family in Carteret County North Carolina.

I did a little research and found that Charles was born in 1863 to Wittington Davis and Sabra Fulford Hancock. My genealogy software shows he is a 3rd cousin.

Charles's death record showed he was a fishing boat Captain in Palma Sola, Florida. After finding him on the census records for Manatee County I discovered that many of the Davis names in Palma Sola Cemetery were his children.

One of these was Cora Belle Davis. Originally I had only listed her death date, October 6, 1918 because the marker is partly buried in the sand. She has a military marker on her grave showing she served in the US Army Nurses Corps. The census showed she was born about 1895 in Palma Sola, Manatee County Florida. I've checked the online military records, veterans gravesite locators and WWI Service cards and have not found her military record.

From her date of death she could have died in a combat area during the war but instead she died of disease. This was the middle of the World wide influenza epidemic. I found an old newspaper account of her death that was written during another influenza outbreak in the 1990s.

She was a nurse at an Army camp in Georgia when she became sick and died of what they called the Purple Death. She had been there only a few months, caring for the soldiers who had come down with influenza. She was about 23 years old at the time and in the prime killing range of the epidemic. It seemed to search out those age 20 to 40. Today we consider the very young and elderly at risk from the flu but that outbreak got the young adults of the generation, including thousands of US military personnel either in the war zone or supporting it, like Cora Belle.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Gas Mask

I recently found the WWI service record for Aaron Parx Bell, a cousin from Cortez, Florida.

He was the husband of Jessie Blanche Fulford.

Aaron enlisted in the Army on April 3, 1918 at age 22 and after basic training was assigned to the Chemical Warfare Service. This was a branch of the military that was created in July 1918.

The CWS had a defense unit and an offensive detachment. Aaron served in the defense unit. They designed, created and tested gas masks and protective clothing for the US troops.They used the actual chemicals to do the testing.

When the US entered WWI it had no gas masks. The first troops went to Europe without any protection from the mustard gas and other chemicals being used by the Germans and British troops.

The US started making gas masks based on the British model but later developed their own. The Chemical Warfare Service was also supposed to train US troops on how to protect themselves from the gas.

The spring of 1918 saw the highest use of chemicals in the war and US troops had very high casualty rates.

Aaron Bell was in the Chemical Warfare Service until February 1919, three months after the end of the war. He was fortunate the war ended before he was sent overseas so he never had to wear the mask in combat.