Friday, November 25, 2011

Priscilla and Aquila

I don't know about other folks but we had a difficult time naming our children. We had all the name your baby books and got advise from friends and family but they didn't help much. I think we came up with good names, reflecting both our southern heritage and wanting our girls to be independent of encumbrances.

You have to admit, it would take a preacher to name his kids Priscilla and Aquila. But that is what James Hamilton Wentworth did on January 11, 1889. Wentworth was married to Elizabeth Green the sister of my great grandfather when they had twins in Bilowry, now part of the Eglin Air Force base in present day Santa Rosa County Florida.

Wentworth was working as a Baptist preacher and missionary in this remote area after a diverse career as an Lieutenant in the CSA, school teacher, Superintendent of Taylor County Florida Schools, Judge, Census Taker and Lawyer. There isn't much there in Bilowry now other than mosquitoes and sand gnats so you can only imagine what it was like in 1889.

Priscilla and Aquila were first century missionaries who went with the Apostle Paul on his travels and risked their lives for him. James and Elizabeth Wentworth were probably thinking of their remote home and difficult life in 1889 when they decided on the names.

Elizabeth apparently had a hard pregnancy and subsequent delivery. The twins, Aquilla Edgar Wentworth and Priscilla Elizabeth Wentworth lived only two and three days. Elizabeth never fully recovered and died herself in September of that year.

I wouldn't know anything about the twins except for two letters that were found in my great grandfather's bible. He kept the letter James Wentworth wrote on February 7, 1889 telling about the birth and death of the twins and another one on September 28, 1889 telling about Elizabeth's death.

The first letter says the twins were born two months early and he thought they were well but Elizabeth was too sick to nurse or care for them and they did not survive.

I think they were buried with their mother, in the Holley Point Cemetery in Santa Rosa County but there is not a marker for any of them. There are a couple graves there that would fit the time period, with only a concrete cover. One is an adult and the other a child size grave.

My great grandparents named their next son after Aquilla but spelled it with an E. Marian Equilla Green was born on February 22, 1891.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The stars fell on

I've never understood the Alabama license tag slogan. Is it something about a UFO sighting? This has nothing to do with those folks anyway.

I have been looking for a book written by W. T. Cash because I heard he included information about my Green family history. I think I first heard of it from one of my great aunts or maybe my father.

William Thomas Cash (1878-1951) grew up in Taylor County Florida and after working as a school teacher and then a short political career moved to Tallahassee, Florida where he got a job as the first State Librarian of Florida. When my wife worked at the State Library in 1981 she had a coworker, Dorothy Dodd, who had known and worked with him. Somewhere along the way I heard he had written about my family and so I have looked for his book for almost 30 years now.

The problem is that W. T. Cash was a prolific writer. He undoubtedly was the first blogger of Florida. He regularly wrote for several newspapers and also wrote many articles in the Florida Historical Quarterly. There are hundreds of his writings around. Many of his newspaper articles were short histories or remembrances of people he knew growing up. He also wrote several books, some in multiple volumes dealing with Florida history.

He was a childhood friend and contemporary of my grandfather, Millard Fillmore Green and later became close friends and a colleague of three of my grandfather's siblings who also worked as school teachers in Taylor County. One of them, Sylvester Green worked with Cash in Taylor County and later moved to Gainesville, Florida where he became a history professor at the University of Florida. Sylvester died in 1938 so I never knew anything about him until long after he was gone. I had been told that he researched the family history himself and was hoping he may have shared some of his findings with his friend W T Cash.

When my oldest daughter attended Florida State University I had her search the school library for W. T. Cash's books and I've bought a couple of them myself over the years when I found them available at used book stores. Unfortunately none of the books I could locate had any mention of my family.

Several months ago I received an email about a new book that put together many of his newspaper articles by the Taylor County Historical Society. I wrote to them and arranged to have a copy mailed to me.

The book does not have any comprehensive story of my family but does mention many of my relatives. It also tells of the stars falling in the late 1890s and a funny story about my grandfather.

In the article Cash called "The Old Time Religion" he said that he and Fillmore had been to the Bethpage community prayer meeting, to hear the circuit preacher in the 1890s.

He says as they were walking back to Fillmore's family home, "A meteor flashed across the sky making a dazzling light. Soon after we saw the light, there was a report like distant thunder and so far as we were concerned that ended that."

"On Friday night following there was a prayer meeting at a Mr. Jenkins' and during the testimony meeting following, a county Baptist preacher arose and testified that the Sunday night before he was overshadowed by a light so bright he could have read from his New Testament. In a low tone Fillmore remarked to me: "That d--d fool doesn't know that that was a star fell."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Got a pair?

Is the chance of having twins inherited? Most people say fraternal twins can be inherited from the X Chromosome which means it comes from only the mother. If that's the case then it doesn't explain so many twins in my Fulford family. They happen when the Fulford connection is on the male or female side.

I did some research on twins in the family after a cousin, Pat in Florida asked me if there were other cases of twins. She had a daughter who had twins and she knew her grandmother also had twins.

I checked back a couple generations and found enough cases that it does seem to ask the question.

My grandfather's brother William Fulford was married to Julia Etta Quinn who had two sets of twins. One set died at birth and the other, Donald and Dorothy were born in Cortez, Florida in 1927.

William's daughter, Betty had twins Mark and Richard born in Charleston, SC in 1966.

One of William's great granddaughters had a set of twins Adam and

Audrey who were born in 2003.

Now that I think of it all three of these generations could have been passed on from the X chromosome they received from Julia Quinn Fulford. That would not explain these other cases.

My grandfather's sister, Dora Jane Fulford Adams had twins, Mabel and Barbara born in Cortez, Florida in 1926.

My grandfather's first cousin John David Fulford was married to Beatrice Elizabeth Roberts who had twins, Laura and Lula born in St Petersburg, Florida in 1933.

John's sister, Thelma Martha Fulford had twins Lorraine and Elaine born in Tampa, Florida in 1933

My uncle Gary's wife Pamela had twins, Jared and Julie born in Bradenton, Florida in 1979.

Friday, November 4, 2011

What's in a name?

Doing family history research you often resort to google searches to find new information about a family line. An interesting part of google searches is using the image search page

I think it would be a good research project for some grad student to see how many mug shots turn up in the first 100 hits for various surnames and what that means.

If you search for my own name Green, adding a location like Florida you wouldn't see any because it gives so few photos of people in the results.

Search for a more unusual name like Ezell, the maiden name of my great great grandmother on my Dad's side and two out of the first 10 are offender photos.

Try it with some of the names in your family.