Thursday, March 28, 2013

Time to order that DNA test

Family Tree DNA is running a special on the Y Chromosome dna test for only $39. It will end on March 31st.

So for you men who've been thinking of doing a dna test to trace your family history, now is the time.

Family Tree DNA: The Official DNA Sponsor of "Who Do You Think You Are - Live!"

Family Tree DNA believes price should not keep anyone from taking the first step in DNA testing. For a limited time, we're offering the basic Y-DNA 12 test for only $39. If you've ever considered exploring the origins of your direct paternal line, the time to order is now! NO SUBSCRIPTION FEES! For information please click here

DNA testing can show:

  • if two people are related
  • your suggested geographic origins
  • your deep ancestral ethnic origins

Y-DNA12 - Male Test
Your matches and ancestral origins largely depend on how your DNA compares to our database. With the largest DNA database in the world, you have the greatest chance of finding close relatives by testing with us. However, if your paternal line is rare, it is possible you will not have matches or ancestral origins information right away. As our database is constantly growing, you may have matches over time, and we will send you e-mail notifications about any new matches.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

William Irwin

William Irwin was my wife's great great grandfather. He died on February 28, 1865 in Ellis County, Texas.

His grave marker in the Waxahachie City Cemetery gives his age as 85 years 7 months, so from it you can figure he was born in July of 1779.

William Irwin's granddaughter Louisa married Allan Bethel Hall in 1864 in Smith County Tennessee and her daughter Lassie married Eli Lewis Lawrence twenty years later.

William Irwin was born in Virginia but moved to White County Tennessee by 1812. He is shown on a militia list for Captain Townsend's Company that year and was in White County up until after the 1840 census.

By then his wife had died in Tennessee and he moved to Texas with his younger daughter Vetura and her husband Jonathan Erwin Prince. Vetura's family moved from Tennessee to Arkansas in 1847 and then to Dallas County Texas the next year. They eventually settled on a farm outside Waxahachie, Texas south of Dallas.

He is listed on the 1850 census with Vetura's family in Ellis County Texas. By 1860 he was 81 years old apparently living on his own. The James Petty Apperson family was shown in the household on the census but that may be a recording error and they may have been next door. William Irwin was listed as the owner of land valued at $3.500 and personal property at $3,500 on that census so he had his own place. He died five years later and was buried in the Waxahachie Cemetery.

This photo of him late in life was sent to me by another one of his granddaughters who lives in Texas.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Travel for a Cure

William Wyatt (1791 - 1850) was one of the earliest settlers in both Tallahassee, Florida and what is now Manatee County, Florida.

His grandson William Dudley Wyatt married Nancy Elizabeth Rawls, my grandmother's first cousin. I'd seen his name before in information a family member shared with me but didn't think much of it until many years later.
He has an unusual story. He was born in Maryland but moved to Florida soon after the Spanish left. He was listed on the first Florida census which was done in 1825.

1826 Florida Election Returns

Wyatt originally owned a small tavern in Tallahassee and in 1824 built The Planters Hotel on the northeast corner of Pensacola and Adams streets. 

He chose a good spot since the Capitol building was built across the street from the hotel in 1828. His hotel became popular with politicians and the locals. Prince Murat held his going away party there in 1830.

It was the first brick building in town and one of the few structures that survived the fire of 1843.

In 1966 during excavation for the "new" Capitol building in Tallahassee the crews uncovered the remains of the original hotel. They found 30 chamber pots, "two privies, a deep well, old coins and odds and ends."

In 1826 Wyatt was elected a member of the Territorial Legislature. This election return from St. Marks which in now in Wakulla County shows him ahead by one vote. He had six votes and his opponent William McComb had only five. 
Letter to Governor Duval

When the Capitol building was being planned he made a proposal to the State to construct it. Since he had built the only brick structure in town and owned a brick making business, you would think he'd get the job. Nope, they choose someone else and he filed a complaint over the decision because his bid was $9,000 less.

The Florida Archives had this letter he wrote to Governor William Duval on April 22, 1828.

Florida had only been part of the US for 6 years but political deals had already made their way south.

Floridian and Journal May 11, 1850
In 1835 he commanded a company in the Florida Indian Wars. He was called Colonel in these newspaper articles from May 1850 but the enlistment and service records showed him as a Captain in the 3rd Regiment of Florida Volunteers.

My great grandfather William Rowell was a Captain in the Florida Mounted Militia during this same time. The two men were about the same age and moved to Florida about the same time.

Floridian and Journal May 18, 1850
In the late 1840s Wyatt moved to what is now Manatee County, Florida and built a sugar cane Plantation.

Unfortunately he didn't live long after that. The articles say he went to New Orleans, LA for medical treatment and died on the way back, aboard the Schooner William R. Pettes.

The 1850 census for Hillsborough County Florida listed him on the Mortality Index, dying as a result of Diabetes. These indexes were done every 10 years along with the census and only listed those who died within one year of the census. It is unusual to actually find someone you are researching on them.

The death notice says the boat stopped at St. Marks and Wyatt's body was taken to Tallahassee. He was buried in the Old City Cemetery in Tallahassee but there is no marker there.

To travel by boat from Manatee County to New Orleans is over 500 nautical miles. I've been in the Gulf of Mexico, out of sight of land, on fishing trips and it's not a good feeling, especially when a summer storm comes up. On a sailboat in 1850 you can figure it was a long trip.

I found a reference to another distant relative who went from Virginia to New Orleans about the same time for medical treatment and he died while there.

I'd like to find out what kind of medical facility or physician NOLA had back then that would entice people to travel such a distance for a cure.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eleven Dollars a Month

Today when someone is discharged from military service they receive a DD 214. You know the name of the form if you were in the service or like me involved in making funeral arrangements for someone who was.

When my Dad died in 2001 I had to send a copy of his DD214 from 1960 to the office at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida to arrange for the Military Honor Guard at his funeral. Thankfully he left a copy with his papers in the safety deposit box, I suppose knowing it would be needed.

Back in 1862 the Confederate Army just used a payment ledger to handle discharges. This is the form that was filled out on September 21, 1862 when my great great grandfather Joseph Ruel Rowell was discharged from the 2nd Regiment, Florida Infantry Battalion. He enlisted on July 13, 1861 in Jacksonville, Florida. When he was discharged in 1862 it was because he was over 35 years of age, considered too old at that time for the military.

The Southern Army soon discovered they needed everyone, not just the young so they started taking the old men. Joseph Rowell only stayed home a few months. He enlisted again on March 5, 1863 in the 11th Regiment, Florida Infantry and served until the end of the war. He was at Appomattox Court House when General Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865.

This discharge statement showed that as a Private in the Confederate Army he was paid eleven dollars a month, with a separate allotment for clothing and rations.

He went back home to Shady Grove in Taylor County Florida after the war. My great grandfather Seth had been born there in 1858. Joseph Rowell died in 1896 and was buried in the Fellowship Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Madison County Florida.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Another Birthday

I decided to recognize all my grandparents this year. Both sets had birthdays in the same month. My mother's parents were both born in March and my father's parents were both born in May.

Today is my Grandpa Fulford's birthday. He would have been One Hundred and Ten.

Walton "Tink" Fulford was born March 8, 1903 in Cortez, Florida to William Thomas and Sallie Adams Fulford. 
Tink Fulford 1952

He was a commercial fisherman from the time he was old enough to climb on the boat until he died. He had his own boat and crew before he could drive.

Those who were in his generation or the next say he was always fishing or thinking about fishing. For me and my cousins that was OK because he took us with him. It was always an adventure. 

Albert "Junie" Mora, now in his eighties started fishing with Tink when he was a teenager. He said everyone in the area wanted to be on Tink's crew because they knew he was going to catch more fish and make the crew more money. There was a waiting list. They had to "sign the book" and wait until someone else got sick, quit or got fired.

They had to wait out all the family members too. Tink had a big one and many of them fished with him.

He didn't have to worry about the grand kids taking his spot though. It was normal for younger crew members to only get a half share. If you were family you got half that. So on payday I was paid a half of a half share. My cousin who works as an engineer designing cars in Japan would probably say that is the same as a quarter share. The complex nature of higher math used by commercial fishermen isn't taught in school. Most of them in that generation didn't graduate from high school and many like my grandfather dropped out before the sixth grade. They understood the math necessary to compute when the tide was coming out, how deep and fast the water was moving, how bright the moon would be and how much net and where it should be put it in order to catch a boat load of fish.   

Junie said Tink would fish from 12 o'clock midnight on Sunday till noon on Saturday. He always took Sunday off and the crew liked that because they knew they would be off at noon on Saturday until Sunday at midnight. He said many Saturdays Tink would take the boat out by himself or with the kids and grand kids saying it was a boat ride but he was really looking for fish. That way he would know where to take the crew the next night.

Junie told a funny story about a time in the 1950s when the market for selling fish was slow and Ralph "Pig" Fulford, Tink's son who ran the fish house told his Daddy that he was cut off, they wouldn't buy any fish from him until it got better.

Tink owned the business and was mad that his son would cut him off. Tink called Junie and told him to get the crew together and go out after dark and gave specific instructions on where to fish. He said "be sure you don't come down here until after dark because if Pig sees you he'll cut you off." Junie took the crew out and they caught 45,000 lbs of mullet. When they unloaded them on the dock the next morning, Pig was mad and said "you can't bring fish in, I cut you off." Tink was there and told Pig he was cut off but Junie hadn't been cut off. He said Pig started calling buyers and sold the fish before noon. Tink said he knew Pig could sell them. He had never been cut off in his life and wasn't going to start then.

Tink Fulford mending net 1954
My mother's cousin Thomas "Blue" Fulford says Tink was more of a father to him rather than an uncle since his father died when he was three. He started fishing with Tink when he was ten years old.

Blue tells how in the 1940-50s when they were running big Stop Netting crews there was fierce competition between them. Tink always wanted to catch the most fish. Sometimes he would "hog" the other crews by tricking them out of a spot if he knew there were a lot of fish there.

It was understood that if a Captain had a boat anchored in an area the other crews had to stay away. On Saturday all the crews would pull the cotton nets out of the boats and let them dry on the spreads over the weekend to keep them from rotting. If you saw a crew pulling out their net you knew they were done for the week. Tink would have his crew pull out the nets but tell them to stay around the dock. They would wait for the other crews to pull out their nets and leave and then he would pull his nets back on the boats. They would go out and anchor one of the boats on the spot Tink wanted so they would have it later when they were ready to fish.

This picture from 1954 was taken by a Tampa newspaper photographer but it wasn't necessarily staged. Mending net is what he did on days if he wasn't fishing. He gave me his old white hat like the one he is wearing in this photo the summer before he died. It was his dress hat, not for fishing.

Bradenton Herald
September 24, 1965

 "Tink" Fulford, Pioneer's Son, Dies At 62

Walton "Tink" Fulford, 62, of Cortez died Wednesday, Sept 22,1965 at Memorial Hospital. Mr. Fulford was born and lived all his life in Cortez and was the son of the late Captain William T. "Billy" Fulford who was a pioneer settler in Cortez.

Tink and Mark 1959
 Captain Fulford came to Perico Island in the 1880s from the eastern coast of North Carolina, near Moorehead City. He met and married Miss Sallie Adams of Moorehead, N. C. in Florida and their first daughter, Mrs. Dora Adams, now 75, was born on Perico Island. With his brothers, sisters and family Captain Fulford moved to Cortez in the early 1890s, which was then named Hunter's Point, later changed to Cortez.

Mr. Walton Fulford owned and operated one of the largest fishing fleets on the west coast of Florida and shipped fish all over the eastern part of the country. In 1940 he opened the Fulford Fish Company in Cortez. He was a member of the Cortez Church of Christ.

Survivors include his widow, Mrs. Edith Wilson Fulford; four daughters, Mrs. Mary Green of Tallahassee, Mrs. Belinda Porterfield of Montgomery, Ala., Mrs. Irene Taylor of St. Petersburg, Mrs. Anna Dean Riddick of Hollywood, Fla.; three sons, Ralph M., Wayne W. and Gary D. Fulford all of Cortez; four sisters, Mrs. Dora Adams, Mrs. Grace Guthrie, Mrs. Sallie Moore, all of Cortez, Mrs. Bessie Henning of St. Petersburg and 13 grandchildren.

Funeral services will be Saturday at 10 A.M. at Griffith - Cline Funeral Home with Olin Hastings, of Oneco Church of Christ and Charles Geer, of Cortez Church of Christ, officiating. Burial will be in Skyway Memorial Gardens. Pallbearers will be J. O. Guthrie Jr., Thomas Fulford, Woodrow Green, O. K. Drymond, Paul Taylor and Manley Bell.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Happy Birthday Grandma

Today is my Grandma's birthday. She would have been one hundred and seven. She is the only grandmother I knew so if someone says Grandma, she is who I think of. She had a stroke before she died, so the last few years she depended on others more than I am sure she would have wanted.

Edith Mae Wilson was born on March 3, 1906 near Oneco, Florida to Benjamin Franklin and Ida Lundy Wilson.

Edith abt age 5
 This photo was taken on the front porch of her parent's home. It is an enlargement of a family group photo. All the family is dressed up for the picture but as you can see she isn't wearing shoes. It looks like she is holding a small purse in her lap.

Having a purse in her lap would fit her. She was always ready to go somewhere. She took vacations several times driving from Florida to North Carolina or Virginia with a car full of children and grandchildren. Once I was old enough to drive with her and sit up front I decided I would rather ride the bus!

She married Walton "Tink" Fulford on June 4, 1924 and my mother was born about 13 months later. She had seven children over 24 years, the last one being born almost two years after her first grandchild.

Her home, built in 1926 was on the water of Sarasota Bay in Cortez, Florida. It was always a showcase for native palm trees, tropical plants and roses. Tink grew palm trees to sell and planted them all over the yard. Sometimes he would sell one from the yard but she made sure the hole quickly was filled with another one. She was responsible for the plants and roses.

She died in 1992 on the same day Hurricane Andrew arrived on the Florida coast. At her funeral my brother made the comment that you would expect Tink Fulford to come back with the biggest, baddest wind he could find to pick up Edith.

Grandma Fulford 1952

The Tampa Tribune

Friday, August 28, 1992

EDITH MAE FULFORD, 86, of Cortez died Sunday at Suncoast Manor in Bradenton. She was a lifelong resident of Manatee County. She was a homemaker, a member of Cortez Church of Christ and worked as a volunteer to raise money for the Cortez Volunteer Fire Department for 31 years. She is survived by three sons, Gary D. of Bradenton, and Ralph M. and Wayne W., both of Cortez; four daughters, Mary Fulford Green of Bradenton, Anna Dean Riddick of Sarasota, Belinda Porterfield of Montgomery, Ala ., and Irene Taylor of St. Petersburg; a brother, Walter H. Wilson of Lecanto; 22 grandchildren; and 20 great-grandchildren. Brown & Sons Funeral Home Chapel, Bradenton.