Thursday, November 6, 2014

Longline Fishing Boats

If you were watching the news this week you saw Nik Wallenda walk blindfolded on a highwire between two Chicago skyscrapers.

Seventy three years ago, in 1941, his great grandfather Karl Wallenda, walked a highwire over Longboat Pass near Cortez, Florida. It was part of the celebration to announce a new concrete bridge was being built between Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key.

Karl Wallenda was born in 1905 and died when he fell off a wire between two towers of a 10 story hotel in Puerto Rico in 1978.

The original Longboat Key bridge was built in 1926 and made of wood. It was washed away during a storm in April 1932. Although they had the party in 1941 the new bridge wasn't completed for another 17 years. They were delayed initially by WWII and then I guess it was effected by the normal efficiencies of local and State government.

This second photo of Nik Wallenda walking across the wire is interesting because it shows he enlisted fishermen from Cortez to help keep it from blowing in the wind. You can see boats anchored on both sides of the wire with cables going up to keep the wire tight. The boats on the right are fishermen from Cortez. The one in the front is my grandfather Tink Fulford's boat.  The third one from the front is his cousin, John Luther McDonald's boat. I can't identify the others.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Family Circle

I enjoy reading books but almost always they are non-fiction, historical choices. I've tried to read all the new books that come out about early presidents and events in the US before 1900.

One of the major topics of course in those books was what happened in the 1860s. I've tried to read books on both sides and about the men who led both armies. I recently read a new one about Ulysses S. Grant and just finished one on William Sherman. In reading about Grant I remembered a story about his early romances and then came across a newspaper article that tied it to the Fulford family.

Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio but the next year his family moved to Georgetown, Ohio. As a teenager there he met and fell in love with Mary Ann King. She had been born on February 4, 1824 in Georgetown to Victor and Mary Ann Mickle King.

Grant left home at age 17 to enroll in the U.S. Military Academy but kept up a correspondence with Mary King for many years. He continued to write her even after he became romantically involved with his future wife Julia Dent, who he became engaged in 1844.

While he was serving in the Mexican War in 1846 he drew a painting and sent it to Mary Ann King. The painting is mentioned in the newspaper article below from the January 9, 1890 edition of the Asheville Democrat.

The article said Mary King married a man named Fulford and moved to California. I decided to track her down and was able to locate her in Louisiana. At this point I haven't figured out how her husband is related to my Fulford family but would assume he is, considering where he was from.

John Davidson Fulford was born in Norfolk, Virginia on January 28, 1818. He married Mary King while she was still in Ohio and they moved to Louisiana in the 1850s.

John Fulford became a Carriage Maker and they had at least five children. John died on October 13, 1870 and is buried in the St. John's Cemetery in Thibodaux, Louisiana. I found him on census records but haven't been able to identify his parents.

I did locate his brother, James W. Fulford, who was living with John and Mary on the 1860 census in Louisiana but moved to North Carolina when the war broke out and enlisted in the Confederate Army. James W. Fulford was born in 1830 in Norfolk, Virginia and died on July 25, 1881 in Columbia, North Carolina. This article from the July 26, 1881 Weekly Economist tells of his death.

Mary Ann King Fulford died in 1903, still living in Thibodaux, Louisiana and is buried next to her husband in the St. John's Cemetery. Although she was well known in the area, I can't find any newspaper articles that mentioned her relationship to Grant, who was not very popular in Louisiana, so I guess she chose to take that secret with her to St. John's.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ancient Relics

I've written a couple times about my great great uncle Stephen F. Fulford who lived in New Bern, North Carolina. He had an interesting life, having owned a general store near the waterfront for almost 50 years.

He also worked for a while as a Boat builder. This was a common occupation in Carteret County where he was born. I have several family members who did this for a living and the Florida Maritime Museum in Cortez, Florida has some of the fishing boats they built on display.

I'm sure Stephen Fulford built many fishing boats but the only record I've found of his skill in boat building was his contribution to the CSS Neuse, a Confederate Navy ironclad. It was built starting in October 1862 and launched in November 1863 but wasn't equipped for service for another six months.

This 100 year old newspaper article from the New Bern Daily Journal was published on January 11, 1914. two years after Stephen died. It tells about a local man who had on display a large section of the armor plate used in the hull of the ship. It mentions Stephen F. Fulford as one of the builders.

The CSS Neuse never really saw any action as it was pinned down by Union troops and adverse conditions, literally stuck in the mud for over a month. It remained at the dock in Kinston, North Carolina until March 17, 1865 when it was scuttled and burned by it's crew to keep it from being captured.

In 1963 the remains of the ship were located near the Kinston harbor and raised. It was kept in a local museum until 2012 when it was moved to the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center in downtown Kinston.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fifty less one

Today is the 49th anniversary of my Grandpa Fulford's death. It is one of those monumental days for me that made such an impact I will always remember where and when I the heard the news.

I was just coming home from elementary school on my bike with a neighborhood friend riding on the front handlebars, which I had been told several times not to do. As we pulled into our driveway I saw my Dad in the carport and thought I was in big trouble. He didn't say anything about our daredevil bike tricks but only waited for me to pull up so he could give me the news that Papa Tink was dead.
Unloading fish with Tink 1959

Walton "Tink" Fulford was only 62 years old, younger than two of my siblings are today. He was born March 8, 1903 and died September 22, 1965 in Cortez, Florida

He looked much older than 62, but that is because he spent 50 years as a commercial fisherman, in the sun most days and working harder than anyone else. I've heard several older cousins say he always outworked younger men and was always either fishing or thinking about fishing. He was regarded as the most successful fisherman of his generation. He had three sons but at least another three that I know of who considered him a father. Some were related some weren't. There are few men who grew up in Cortez who didn't fish for him or claim that they had. I met one recently who told me he fished with Tink during the 1950s but my mother's cousin Blue shook his head and said "there are a lot of folks around today who say they fished with Tink but I never saw em on the boat."

He fished without benefit of GPS, electronic fish finders, mechanical rollers or spotter planes. Most of his years he fished with cotton nets which required constant repair and maintenance. I've found many newspaper articles telling about the tens of thousands of fish he brought to the dock.

I can remember being miles out in the Gulf of Mexico at night and he told us to put the nets out because he smelled Bluefish. None of the rest of us saw or smelled anything, but Tink seldom came home without a load of fish.

I was fortunate to be the youngest grandson, who was old enough to fish with him. Those who were younger never got the chance and those who were older thought it was work, not fun. For me, it was the best thing I could think of doing. He would take me out fishing but since I was the youngest, I got to sit up front and help him steer the boat. He sat up on the left side of the cabin, using his right foot to reach the steering wheel. I would sit on the other side of the cabin, with my left foot stretching to reach the wheel too. The other members of the crew slept in the cabin or hung out in the back.

When he died, after a summer of treatment for cancer, the day after his funeral, I distinctly remember a group of fishermen, headed up by my mother's cousin Gene Fulford, meeting on the dock of Fulford Fish and collecting money for his grave marker. My grandmother could have bought the marker, but this was something the men of the community wanted and needed to do.

The marker was engraved, "In loving memory by friends of Tink."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ten to Life

Two years ago I wrote about the murder of a distant relative that happened in New Bern, North Carolina back in 1914. I found a newspaper article recently that tells what happened to the man who killed him.

This is from the Concord North Carolina Times, dated February 15, 1915.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Buried under a Cannon

Otway Burns was one of the most well known North Carolina veterans of the War of 1812. He wasn't a Soldier but a Pirate. Back then the US Navy only had a few ships so they enlisted anyone who had something that would float to harass the British Navy.

Otway Burns captained a merchant ship called the Snap Dragon that the owner had enlisted to be a Privateer, a legal Pirate flying the US Flag. He was credited with capturing and plundering several dozen British merchant ships.

The British Navy decided he had caused too many problems and sent a Man of War after him in 1814. While Otway was sick at home, the Snap Dragon was captured, most of the crew killed and the ship sent off to England.

One of my mother's cousins is a distant relative. He even has Ottway as a middle name. His great great great grandfather was Francis Burns, the brother of Otway. Somewhere along the way on his side of the family they misspelled the name and it stuck.

Otway Burns Grave
Otway Burns was born in 1775 in Swansboro, North Carolina and died on October 25, 1850 on Portsmouth Island. He is buried in the Old Burying Ground in Beaufort, North Carolina just across the street from The Langdon House Bed and Breakfast where we have stayed several times. They put a cannon, supposedly from his old ship on top of his grave  in 1901.

The story is that the ship sunk 70 years earlier and somehow, someone who was not identified, found it and salvaged a cannon. I doubt the story is true, but it sounds good.

When the grave marker was dedicated in 1901 one of my distant relatives, Romulus Armistead Nunn gave the speech. He was the County Judge in New Bern, North Carolina and a local historian. He apparently wasn't convinced of the Cannon's provenance either as he said it was only purported to be from the Snap Dragon. Folks quickly forgot his comment and grave marker has become a popular tourist attraction in Beaufort.

I researched his family several years ago when someone told me my mother's cousin was a grandson of Otway Burns. I decided to check out the story and figure out if Otway had any descendants. I found the cousin descended from his brother, not Otway.

Otway became a very popular name for boys in North Carolina in the late 1800s and has carried on even today. There are also several towns and at least two US Navy ships named after him.

In the early 1900s there were several men who came forward claiming to be his grandsons. He had been married at least three times but on census records it was difficult to document the males who were in his household. There were two young males on the 1820 census but in 1830 there was only one. From the age on the 1830 and 1840 census, if this male was a son he would have to be from the first marriage.

Otway's first wife was Joanna Grant who he married in 1809 and divorced in 1814. I found this newspaper AD he took out, saying he was no longer responsible for her debts.

The story is that she had a son named Owen Burns, but because there were no census records with names at this time, it is difficult to prove this true. Joanna Burns died in 1837. Owen Burns was apparently born about 1810 and died in 1869 in Maryland. He served in the US Navy for about 20 years.

Otway Burns also had a daughter Harriett, who was born in 1827 to his 2nd wife Jane Hall. There were no males born to this marriage. Harriett Burns married Richard Cornelius Canaday who's father was my first cousin, several time removed. His father Richard Canaday was the gg uncle of my great grandmother Sallie Adams Fulford.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Punching the Ticket

This is a War of 1812 pay voucher for my ggg grandfather, Colonel Richard Whitehurst. It is dated May 24, 1814 and shows he was serving as a Private in the Carteret County Militia, commanded by Captain Joseph Fulford.

War of 1812 Pay Voucher
He was appointed Lt. Colonel in the North Carolina Militia on December 17, 1789 but when the militia was activated during the War of 1812 he served as a private.

The State called out the militia to defend the coast from British ships during the summer of 1813. They were stationed near the Beaufort, NC harbor.

The pay voucher has a black circle in the middle where it was punched out after being paid by the State Government. It was issued almost a year after the militia service and then paid in cash sometime after that.

Richard was born on July 12, 1766 in the Straits area of Carteret County, North Carolina and died on October 15, 1823. He was buried in a small family plot near his house, which was on the water.

Sometime in the 20th century the cemetery was bulldozed to build waterfront homes. In recent years his grave marker was found buried under three feet of dirt and was installed in the Whitehurst Family Cemetery at the end of Stewart Street. This cemetery was started by his son John Burgess Whitehurst in the mid 1800s. We were there five years ago and found his marker.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Wanderings of Moses

I shared some maps of the homesteads my great grandfather Green settled in Taylor County Florida last week. This time I thought I would highlight homesteads of my great great grandfather Moses Wilson.

The Bureau of Land Management maintains records of the first land owner in many States so you can identify the homesteads and land purchases from the 1800s granted to early settlers.

My cousin Cindy, who lives in St. Petersburg says everyone who was born in that part of Florida is related to the Wilson family. Moses had at least 25 children by two wives, so she could be right. Moses, like his namesake, moved around for a while before he found his promised land.

Moses Wilson was born in North Carolina in 1813, moved to Alabama soon after it was opened up to settlement in the 1820s and then moved to Florida when the Civil War started.

1835 Alabama Homestead
In 1835 he obtained a 42 acre homestead in Montgomery County Alabama. It is near the Ramer community, west of Hwy 231. We drive that road several times every year going to Florida. His land is the dark orange box in each of the pictures.

I spent an afternoon in this rural area about five years ago, looking for a cemetery where several Wilson relatives were buried. At the time I thought Moses's father was buried there but now know he wasn't.
1837 Alabama Homestead

In 1837 Moses obtained a 40 acre homestead just south of the first parcel in Montgomery County.

He moved to Florida in 1861 and settled in what is now Pasco County. He originally bought land and lived adjacent to several children.

1883 Florida Homestead
In 1883 he obtained an 80 acre homestead just south of Dade City, Florida. It is near Hwy 301, which they call Old Lakeland Highway on the map. If you follow that highway south you would pass close to the property my parents lived on in Manatee County.

Moses died on April 17, 1896 and I think he was buried in the Dade City Cemetery, just north of his property. There is no marker for him, but several of his children are buried there. There are many old graves with illegible markers. The cemetery was originally called Oak Grove Cemetery, named for the nearby Baptist Church, where he was a member.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Moving to the Sandhill

It is always interesting to find the land where your ancestor lived. Using the mapping features of web pages makes it very easy today to do it from the comfort of your home.

In this particular case I had found the property several years ago in person but just didn't know it at the time.

My Great grandfather, Andrew Jackson Green moved to Taylor County Florida in the 1860s when he was only  a few years old. In 1888 he obtained a 40 acre homestead in the Shady Grove area, in the north part of the County. It was fortunate that he did so, since my grandmother Ila Rowell lived close by and I am sure that proximity led to her meeting my grandfather, Millard Fillmore Green. After my grandparents got married they lived in Shady Grove until about 1910.
Andrew's 1888 land in Shady Grove

I had written about this land before because of the water feature. There is a large lake called Adrew's Lake on the property. I wondered if he named it because it was on his property. A Rowell cousin who lives nearby thinks it was named for a subsequent landowner. I'm still looking for a map from the turn of the century to see if it shows a name. This maps shows his 40 acre homestead in the orange box.

In 1903 Andrew Green moved near his father in law, James Henderson Hogan. He obtained a 121 acre homestead in the southern part of Taylor county, where the present day county road 422 runs.
Andrew's 1903 Homestead

It is also just north of the Sandhill Cemetery. I've driven this desolate timber company property area twice trying to find the cemetery because my great grandmother Rebecca Hogan Green was buried there. On the 2nd try, three years after the first one, I found the cemetery.

I didn't realize until now that my great grandparent's property was just north of the cemetery. This map shows their property in two the dark boxes.

I don't know what the land looked like in 1903, but assume it had virgin timber on it and was good farmland since many families moved down there about the same time. They named the area Sandhill so there was some signs of the current state. Today it is mostly clear cut or with new pine trees planted to be harvested by the next generation and the sandy soil doesn't look like it would grow much, other than pine trees.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Stepmother for a time

My dad's mother died when he was three years old so he didn't have many memories of her. Soon after his mother died his father found a woman to live in the house and help take care of his five sons. She was called a housekeeper but the unusual thing about the arrangement is that she brought three boys of her own. So for at least five years there were eight boys under age 15 living with the two adults.
Sarah Holden with boys abt 1916
Front row Floyd & Clyde Green & Riley Holden 

Sarah Jane Dean Holden was born July 31, 1883 in Brooks County Georgia to Mitchell and Cordelia Murdock Dean. She died March 17, 1973 in Flora City, Florida and was buried in the Hills of Rest Cemetery.

She married Riley George Holden on May 5, 1898 in Hamilton County, Florida and they moved to Taylor County soon afterwards. They had three sons, Charles Jackson Holden born in 1905, George Alston Holden born in 1909 and Riley George Holden, Jr. born in 1912.

Sarah and Riley split up about 1915 and he married Olive Lucille Beasley Bass of Jefferson County Florida in 1929.

Sarah Holden never married again and moved to Citrus County Florida about 1928. Two of her sons ended up there too. She died just a few months before my grandfather in 1973. I'm not sure if they stayed in touch over the fifty years after they lived together. I don't recall my dad ever visiting with her or the Holden family in the Taylor County area.

Riley Holden, Jr. Clyde Green & George Holden abt 1920
The youngest son, Riley George Holden Jr. was just a couple months older than my dad so they were in the same grade in school. His mother moved to Citrus County when he was in high school.

Riley Jr. joined the Navy after high school and served on Submarines. Shortly before he died in 2011 he was honored as the oldest member of the "Holland Club" the US Navy Submarine Veterans organization for those men with over 50 years designated as qualified submariners.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Hurricane Arthur

Hurricane Arthur, the fast developing Cat 2 storm with 100 mph winds, made landfall last night at Cape Lookout, North Carolina. This barrier island off the coast of Beaufort, NC has become one of our favorite places since we first visited in 2003.

It is only inhabited by fishermen who rent cabins by the night or setup tents on the beach and volunteers who man the Cape Lookout Lighthouse for the National Park Service. Being a Cape Lookout Lighthouse Keeper Volunteer is still on our bucket list.

All the people on the island were evacuated before the storm so as I write, there is no word on any damage. The 150 year old Cape Lookout Lighthouse is made of brick and has taken the force of stronger winds without a problem. The old houses, part of a former fishing village that was taken over by the government, walkways over the dunes and other wood structures on the island may not have fared as well.

The land for the Lighthouse was donated to the Government in 1805 by one of my gg grandfather's Joseph Fulford and his brother in law, Elijah Pigott.

We will be in the area later this month and hope to go out to the island.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mother Seth

My great great Grandmother, Versanoy Smith Rowell has it on her grave marker, "Mother Seth," I'm not sure what it means. Her father's name was Seth and she named her son, my great Grandfather Seth.

I can't find any records that list her name as Seth, other than the grave marker.

Versanoy Smith was born in June 1836 in Thomas County, Georgia to Seth Dykes and Eleanor Ann Adams Smith. She married Joseph Ruell Rowell on January 9, 1851 in Jefferson County Florida.

She filed for a Civil War Widow's Pension after her husband died so there are several documents with her signature, always shown as Versanoy.

A coincidence is that my gg grandfather on the other side of the family, James Henderson Hogan was the Chairman of the Taylor County Commissioners in 1900 and signed an affidavit supporting her pension application.This was five years before his grandson Millard Fillmore Green married her granddaughter Ila Rowell.

When the State didn't process the application as quickly as she thought reasonable, she sent several letters to Florida Attorney General David Lang, a former Confederate Army General.

She also had the County Judge and County Court Clerk write letters on her behalf. I am sure she would have gone to see the General in person if needed. Her tenacity to do whatever necessary, prompting the government to action, definitely got passed down to later generations in her family.

Versanoy died sometime between 1910 and 1920 in Shady Grove, Taylor County Florida. She was buried in the Fellowship Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery.

There weren't written records of deaths kept at this time in most parts of rural Florida so there is no certificate to explain why her name is Mother Seth on the marker.
I've never found an old bible for the Rowell family but maybe one will turn up one day and explain the name.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Looking for Bill Ireland

Doing family history research usually means looking for traces of an ancestor's life in old records, census, land, wills, etc. In this case I have been looking for someone and I really didn't know who he was.

I mentioned Bill Ireland in another story, about the net camp my Grandpa Tink Fulford had near his house. Tink let several fishermen live in it when they needed a place.

Bill Ireland
Bill Ireland was one of them, but has been a mystery as to where he came from, where he went and how he ended up befriended by Tink.

He was old enough to be Tink's father and maybe he was originally a friend of Tink's father and that is why Tink looked out for him.

My research uncovered a distant family connection. He was the fist cousin of the wife of the first cousin several times removed of Tink's mother Sallie Adams Fulford. I doubt that either Sallie or Tink knew of this at the time. He was from the same area of North Carolina as Tink's parents and had been fishing in Cortez since Tink was an infant, so maybe that familiarity had made Tink want to look out for him.

Twice over about 15 years Tink took off on road trips to find Ireland when he needed help and either move him back to Cortez or set him up fishing somewhere else where.

When you consider that Tink rarely drove a car or truck the stories of him taking off to look for Bill Ireland intrigued me. I can remember only one time being in a car with my grandpa driving. He always let his wife Edith drive. On that occasion we were going to St. Petersburg to visit relatives. He got behind the wheel and I was sitting shotgun. When grandma got out to the car she said under her breath "well I never" but got in the back seat without a fuss. She did have to point out the push buttons on the dash for the Dodge's transmission before he could back out of the driveway.

William Dill Ireland was born February 2, 1872 on Portsmouth Island in Carteret County, North Carolina to John Elze and Nancy Jane Simmons Ireland. He died while a patient at the State Hospital in Arcadia, Florida on July 15, 1957.

The first record I found of him in Florida was on the 1910 Census when he was living in Cortez, Florida. He was listed as single and living with several other single fishermen in one of the buildings on the waterfront that were used to store fish nets and provide shelter for single men. The buildings were called net camps but the cotton nets were usually kept outside on wooden frame structures called net spreads, to let them dry out. They didn't keep the nets inside for long or rats would make a home in them and tear them up.
Death Certificate

In 1918 Ireland registered for the WWI draft while in Cortez and listed his closest relative as his brother, David S. Ireland of Gum Neck, Terrell County, NC. He was in Cortez on the 1920 Census but moved away in 1933. He got into a confrontation with Major Hall, another single fisherman who lived in a net camp, over a woman. Ireland shot his rifle towards Hall's net camp. No one was hurt and no charges were filed but Ireland decided to leave.

On the 1935 Florida Census he was living in Sebastian, Florida, on the Atlantic coast. On the 1940 Census he was in Punta Rassa, near Fort Myers in Lee County Florida on the Gulf coast.

This photo, taken in the early 1930s shows the building out over the water that was Ireland's net camp. He built the camp in the late 1920s. I don't know if one of the men in the photo is him but you can see them mending holes in the nets, which was a daily job. Ireland sold the camp to my mother's cousin Grey Fulford in 1933 who moved it to the shore, renovated and lived in it until he died in 1988. It is still there on the waterfront in Cortez.
Ireland's Fish Camp

Sometime around 1939 my mother, who was in high school at the time, made a trip with Tink to find Ireland south of Sebastian, in Fort Pierce, Florida. Tink heard he wasn't doing well over there and wanted to bring him closer to home. They brought Ireland to Cortez in the old truck, and then Tink took him to Punta Rassa and set him up with a job at a friend's Fish house.
Mary Frances, looking for Bill Ireland in Ft. Pierce

In the late 40s Tink heard that Ireland was sick and went down to Punta Rassa and brought him back to Cortez again. He lived in the net camp in front of Tink's house and fished in Cortez until about 1955 when he was too sick to stay alone and went to the hospital.

Both my mother and her cousin Doris Adams Green have fond memories of Ireland. Doris wrote in her book, "Fog's Comin In" that he would make fish hooks for her out of straight pins and gather snails for bait from the net spread pilings, so she could fish on the waterfront. My mother said he was considered part of the family.

My uncle Ralph and my mother's cousin Blue Fulford were younger and didn't know Ireland until he came back to Cortez in the late 1940s. He was just an old man to them at that time and they never knew where he came from or how he ended up in Cortez. Ralph said when Ireland was living in Tink's net camp in front of the family house he would cook most of his own meals on a small propane stove. He often invited Ralph to eat lunch with him and was a pretty good cook.

Marker on grave
Ireland had a small fishing boat, the size of a skiff, with a 9 hp air cooled engine that he fished by himself. He used a gill net, fishing for mullet in The Kitchen near Cortez and Sarasota Bay. Blue ended up with the boat after Ireland died. It was Blue's first boat after fishing with Tink since he was 10. He told the story of catching 3-400 lbs of mullet once in The Kitchen which was all the small boat could hold. When he got back to the dock, Tink was standing there with some visitors. Tink pointed to the fish and said, see that's my nephew Blue, he comes in every morning with a load like that.

As far as I know Bill Ireland never married or had children of his own. By the time he died in 1957 he was the last of his family and was buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Arcadia.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Abraham's Cousins

I have been organizing the Fulford family DNA project for 9 years now and one of the first test matches was between my uncle and a descendant of Abraham Fulford who lived in Stratford, Connecticut.

Abraham was born about 1675 and died in 1730. His son Gershom Fulford was born in 1701 and died January 7, 1790 in Waterbury, Connecticut. Gershom served as a Lieutenant in the Waterbury Regiment during the French and Indian War.

Fulford Pioneer Cemetery
By the time the next war came around in 1776 his son Jonathan decided to follow his father's lead and enlisted in the King's Loyalist Rangers. Jonathan was born December 9, 1737 in Waterbury, Connecticut.

At the time he must have thought it a good idea as most would not have expected the gang of rebels outside Boston would have ever won a battle against the British Army. But being on the losing side meant he had to move to Canada during the later part of the Revolutionary War.

In 1784 he was allowed to return to Connecticut and escort his wife and children to St. Johns in Lower Canada.

His family eventually settled in Elizabethtown Township, Leeds County, Ontario, Canada. Jonathan obtained property in several land grants and when he died about 1830 he was buried in the Fulford Pioneer Cemetery he had established in 1786 when his infant son died.

Fulford Pioneer Cemetery
Follow this Canada Fulford family six generations from Jonathan and you get to the Fulford male in Brighton, Ontario, Canada who matched my uncle's Y chromosome. This means they share a common Fulford ancestor.

He had researched his family back to Abraham but wasn't able to determine which Fulford family Abraham came from in England or Scotland. I have the same problem with my earliest known grandfather, John Fulford who settled on the coast of  North Carolina in the early 1600s. So we are cousins and friends on Facebook but it will take some more work to figure out who our common grandfather was.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Waiting on Midnight

This past week marked the end of Stone Crab season in Florida and in a week or so the season for Snapper starts. In the past regulations kept fishermen from doing any fishing at all during certain times of the year.

Tink and Anna Dean on the new Fulford Fish dock
My uncle Ralph Fulford, told about the time in 1941 when my grandfather built the Fulford Fish Company building on the waterfront in Cortez, Florida.

Back then there was a closed fishing season from the first day of December until January 20th. Grandpa Tink decided to use the closed season to build a new fish house using his fishing crew and several others who would be out of work.

Grandpa had another building out over the water but wanted a new bigger fish house on land, so it would be easier to load the fish on trucks. The first fish house was built about 1930 and he called it Dixie Fish Company. That company closed during the depression and in 1940 he started Fulford Fish Company.
Fulford Fish 1979

They started tearing down the old building on December 8, 1941. Soon after more than a few of the workers quit to go "fight the Japs."
Tink chose two future in-laws to be in charge of the project. Earl Guthrie, Ralph's future father in law and Walter Taylor, my aunt Irene's future father in law were the foremen. They were paid 80 cents an hour and the fisherman were paid 50 cents an hour.

Earl Benjamin Guthrie was born December 16, 1901 in Carteret County, North Carolina to John Wesley and Addie Lou Taylor Guthrie. He had been a boat builder in North Carolina. He died November 5, 1984 in Cortez and is buried in the Manasota Cemetery.

Walter Clarence Taylor was born June 6, 1902 in Myakka, Florida to Jacob Mathew and Martha Jane Durrance Taylor and came from a farming family. He married Tink's first cousin Bertha McDonald on April 16, 1924, moved to Cortez and became a fisherman. Walter and Bertha lived in the first house my great grandfather built in 1889 and it is still one of the nicest homes in Cortez. Walter died June 29, 1980 and is buried in the Skyway Cemetery.

Earl and Walter had the new building finished on January 19, 1942. Ralph said it was illegal to have any fish on the property until January 20th. On the evening of the 19th he was at the dock and there was a crew waiting until midnight to unload a boat load of mullet.

In 1965 they celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Fulford Fish Company. I was fortunate to be staying in Cortez that summer, working at the dock for Ralph and fishing with Grandpa Tink.

Ralph had these silver rulers made to mark the anniversary. He gave me one and I've used it ever since.

I don't know how may of the rulers were made but suspect this is the only one still around. Now that I've told people I have it, I'll have to lock it up when certain relatives come to visit who are known for taking home souvenirs.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Chasing Storms

Commercial Fisherman have the good sense not to chase storms, but sometimes are the prey.

I've been on a boat once, out of sight of land, at night, with a storm heading towards us. It wasn't a good feeling. I was fishing with my uncle back in the early 70s in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of St. Petersburg. We were on my grandfather's last boat, The Bluefish, which thankfully was also the fastest boat he built.

We saw a storm heading towards us and took off away from it. When we looked back it was heading in a new direction, the same as us and closer than before. We changed course a couple times before outrunning it and heading back to shore without ever putting the nets in the water.

Another Cortez family has a sad history of losing two family members to storms, seventy years apart.

John B. Kight, who was married to my grandmother Edith's first cousin, Mattie Wilson, drowned on January 11, 1918 when a freak Winter Tropical Storm hit south Florida. He was fishing off the coast of St. Petersburg. His body was recovered and he was buried in the Major Adams Cemetery in Bradenton.

His great nephew, Paul Stephen Kight was lost on November 5, 1988 when Tropical Storm Mitch struck the Key West area. Fourteen foot waves swamped the 39 foot "Kar Free" fishing boat he was on 68 miles offshore and Paul and another Cortez fisherman, Donald Atkins drowned. Atkins body was recovered several days later but Paul was never found.

Friday, May 2, 2014


I've been doing something other than family history research for the last week. Granddaughter Ruth Lorraine arrived Saturday so we have been in Philly teaching her about her family and all things Southern.

Friday, April 25, 2014

True, Faithful, Honest

Qualities we all think we have but sometimes it takes a while for them to appear.

I noticed the grave marker for William Ernest Foreman and his wife Lillier Bethany Jane Lundy Foreman in the Palma Sola Cemetery in Bradenton, Florida was almost identical to that of their daughter who died half a century later.

I have a double connection to the family. William Foreman was the first cousin of my great grandmother Sallie Adams Fulford and his wife was the first cousin of my great grandmother Ida Lundy Wilson.

William Foreman was born in Carteret County North Carolina in 1870 and moved to Manatee County Florida with his father in the 1880s. They were one of the first settlers on Perico Island and the first family from Carteret County to move to Manatee County.

William was a fisherman who eventually moved to Sarasota and died in his fishing boat in Roberts Bay, near downtown Sarasota, Florida in 1927. He was buried in the Palma Sola Cemetery in a plot next to his parents. His grave marker has a design with a fence and the gate opening to a star.

In cemetery speak, that symbolizes going from Earth to Heaven and the Star is the one that was seen over Bethlehem. William's wife was born in Taylor County Florida in 1875 and when she died in 1945 was buried next to him. Her parents were Mathew Washington Lundy and Susan Salinda Head Lundy.

When their daughter Josephine's husband died in 1955 the marker she bought for his grave nearby had the same shape as her parent's with the same fence and star but she added the words "True, Faithful, Honest."

Laura Josephine Foreman was born in 1892 on Perico Island and married William Downs Thomas in 1917. He was born in 1887 in Carmi, Illinois but moved to Florida as a teenager and enlisted in the Army  from Bradenton during WWI. He and Josephine owned a grocery store in Samoset, Florida.

William died in 1955 and Josephine died in 1977. A Lundy cousin in Perry, Florida sent me this photo of them.

William and Josephine Thomas

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Preaching to the Enemy

Thomas Mann was the brother of my gg grandmother Sarah Mann Adams. He was born September 4, 1811 and lived in what is now Newport, North Carolina. At the time it was called Shepherdsville, which is an appropriate name for his story. He was listed as a Farmer and Turpentine Maker on the census records but made his reputation by being a Preacher.

In fact during the Civil War he preached to the Union troops who were occupying Carteret County and the locals didn't like that at all. He was taken prisoner by Confederate troops who thought he shouldn't be preaching to the enemy.

The Union troops retaliated, taking several hostages until Thomas Mann was released. He died sometime before 1870 and this memorial plaque was later placed in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Newport.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Perfect Apples

My niece's husband grows apples and many other crops on a 4th generation family farm in Delaware. When we visited them last year he told us a little about how most apples are grown and then stored in warehouses for months. They only sell them fresh from his farm, which means they are better quality but they don't have them year round.

I'll have to ask him what he thinks about this article I found about my great uncle, Stephen Fulford, who lived in New Bern, North Carolina.

The Charlotte Democrat wrote about him on June 7, 1895, saying one of his trees was growing three perfect apples on the trunk, not on a branch. I've never grown apples and actually never had much luck with other fruit trees either. I tried to grow peaches when we lived in Jacksonville, Florida but my crops hardly ever had three peaches total! I'm glad to know my distant relatives had better luck.

Charlotte Democrat June 7, 1895

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Kalmar Nyckel

My family, having lived on the coast of Florida and North Carolina for over 300 years, can claim a diverse maritime history. There are many ship captains, fishermen and boat builders in the family tree.

Kalmar Nyckel
It is my wife though who's mother grew up in dry, desolate Texas that has the 300 year old ocean crossing story that comes with a ship that you can still sail. 

Her grandmother's maiden name was Longacre. The first Longacre in her family arrived in the fall of 1639 aboard the Kalmar Nyckel.

Peter Andersson (Longacre) came with other Swedes to what they called New Sweden in the Delaware Valley.

The Kalmar Nyckel was a armed warship, converted into a merchant ship, that between 1637 and 1644 made four runs to the new county with Swedish immigrants.

A reproduction of the ship was built in 1995 and today from April to October you can find it at the home port in Wilmington, Delaware and go for a sail. It is also in Philadelphia during the summer on certain weekends. This will be on our list when we visit our daughter this summer.

Peter Andersson was born about 1620 and after coming to America went back to Sweden in 1654, married Gunnilla Andersson and brought her back the next year.

Peter died about 1678 and he was probably buried at the old Swedish log church at Wicaco, site of present day Gloria Dei church across from the Philadelphia harbor. It was built in 1700. The oldest part of the church cemetery was covered over to build raised platforms for I-95. They didn't move the old graves when the interstate was built over them but the State added these Swedish seals to mark the location.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Three Point Play

We're starting March Madness so I thought I needed  to add some basketball to this story.

Every couple months some distant relative contacts me about family history and I have to go pull out the paper files I've accumulated over 30 years to see if I have the answer. The oldest paper in my family folders are photocopies of Florida census records my wife made in 1982. They are those old style paper copies that feel like the print will rub off if you aren't careful. She worked at the State Library of Florida at the time and brought home things that she found about my family.

This week I was looking for proof that would help a distant relative gain membership into the Huguenot Society. His great great grandfather Mathew Calvin Blanchard was the brother of my great great grandmother Elizabeth Blanchard Hogan. The Blanchard family from Duplin County North Carolina settled there in the 1700s but had left France as part of the Protestant Reformation.
1839 Militia Minutes

He submitted an application to the Society but they rejected it for of lack of proof that Mathew Blanchard was the son of Benjamin Blanchard from Duplin County NC. Benjamin Blanchard died at the end of 1839 or beginning of 1840 so there is no census record with him as head of the house, listing his children. That wasn't done in the U.S. until 1850.

The 1840 census showed Holly Blanchard as the head of the house with the number and sex of the children and the 1850 census showed their names. So we had proof that Mathew and Elizabeth Blanchard were Holly's children but no proof from the Census that Benjamin Blanchard was their father. He was listed as the head of the house on the 1830 census but like the 1840 record it only showed the number of children and ages, no names. There is no record of a Will for Benjamin's estate which isn't unusual for that period.

1822 Deed
I knew I had some documentation but had to read through my files to find it.

What I found was a copy of the October 25,1839 minutes from the Duplin County NC Militia where Benjamin was excused from duty. It didn't say the reason, only that he had some affliction. I figure it was a serious illness since he died soon after this. This is why he was not on the 1840 census.

But what was even better was the February 22, 1832 Deed where Benjamin and Holly Blanchard sold a tract of land that Holly had received from her fathers' estate. This proved Holly was Benjamin's wife.

The third proof was a page from my great grandmother Rebecca Green's bible stating Holly Ezell Blanchard her grandmother.

Rebecca Green's Bible

Benjamin Blanchard was born about 1790 and died about 1840 in Duplin County North Carolina. Holly Ezell Blanchard was born May 31, 1797 and died in October 1884 in Taylor County Florida. I am not certain where either were buried but think Holly was buried in the New Hope Methodist Church Cemetery in Taylor County.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Death of an Old Lady

I came across the story last weekend of the fire on March 1, 2014 that destroyed the 130 year old Mentone Springs Hotel in Mentone, Alabama.
Mentone Springs Hotel -2006

We were there eight years ago on a Spring Break trip. It was a time to get out of town for a while, stay in a B&B and also do some genealogy research.

Mentone is close to Fort Payne, Alabama where the Cherokees were held in a prison camp before they were forced to walk the "Trail of Tears" to Oklahoma. My wife's Lawrence family had stories of Cherokee connections and being related to Cherokee Chief John Ross who lived in the area in the early 1800s. 

We didn't find anything new about her Lawrence family but did locate the graves of her 3rd Great Grandparents, Thomas and Judith Longacre from the Glenn side of her family. They died in Jackson County, Alabama about 20 miles north of Mentone in the mid 1800s and were buried on their farm.

Thomas and Judith Longacre
Their graves have since been surrounded by a community cemetery and we were probably the first family members to visit in over a hundred years.

Uncle Sam @ Mentone Springs Hotel
The Mentone Springs Hotel had a collection of antique quilts hanging on the walls, some attributed to the slaves who lived on plantations in the area.

My wife made a copy this "Uncle Sam" quilt just using the pictures we brought home and it is one of my favorites in her collection.

The hotel changed owners a couple times since we visited so hopefully the old quilts were not inside during the fire.

They are saying the fire was caused by old electrical wiring. We stayed there during a cold spring and I remember the only heat in the room was from the fireplace. It was a fun visit and we had planned to go back but I thought at the time a fireplace in guest rooms of an old wooden hotel wasn't a good idea.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sixty Four K

According to Google statistics the page views on this blog have now reached 64,000. That is almost the same number of people in the database I use for my genealogy research.

I started the database thirty years ago. It was originally on paper. It went digital with a computer that required a boot disk and had 256 K of memory.

I've used a lot of different software programs and a succession of newer and faster computers. It's now backed up to a cloud server so I can access it anywhere with a web browser.

The blog started in 2008 so it has gotten to 64 K much faster. My daughter who publishes books in Philly has signed several popular bloggers to big dollar book contracts. So far she hasn't offered me one and I'm not sure why. If she doesn't move soon I may end up with one of her competitors.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Box of Senators

My dad had this old Muriel Senators cigar box for many years that he kept mementos in. Many of the items were from his early days in the Army and Air Force.

One of the more interesting was a telegram he received 76 years ago today.

It is dated February 21, 1938 and was sent to him at the U.S. Army base, Randolph Field in San Antonio, Texas by the U.S. Senator from Florida, Claude Pepper.

He knew Claude Pepper from his days in Taylor County, Florida where my dad was born.

Pepper was born in Alabama in 1900 but moved to Perry, Florida in the 1920s after graduating from Harvard Law School. He opened a law practice and in 1936 was elected to the U.S. Senate. They were only 12 years apart in age but when he sent this telegram he and my dad were at opposite ends of influence.

My dad had been in the U.S. Army for only two years, while Pepper was near the height of his power. He was a close friend and ally of FDR and known as one of the most liberal members of Congress.

That came to hurt him a few years later when he was voted out of the Senate after his opponents accused him of being a Communist. Both he and my dad had the nickname "Red," for different reasons. Pepper made a comeback in 1963 and served in the US House of Representatives for 26 years.

Telegram from Senator Pepper
The telegram says Pepper had contacted Brigadier General James Chaney who at the time was the Assistant Chief of the U.S. Army Air Corps. My dad had called Pepper to ask his help so that he could stay in in the U.S Army Flight School. He had been told they were washing him out so he did what he could to try and stay in. It didn't work and the local Colonel introduced him to a shovel for going outside the chain of command.

Dad had learned to fly several years earlier. He had to drop out of college because he ran out of money. Starting college in 1930 was bad timing considering the depression that was just getting underway.

Daddy at Randolph Field 1938
He got a job delivering bread to grocery stores in Florida and met Harvey Dobbs, a competitor from another bread company. They became a life long friends. Harvey's father had a plane in Miami and took Daddy up several to teach him to fly. Trying to get into Flight School was one of the reasons he joined the U.S. Army in 1936. Again, timing worked against him as the standards for pilots in 1938 were very high since there were not many planes and those they had were WW I leftovers.

If he had been born a few years later when they were trying to fill the cockpits of all the new planes being built to send to WW II battle areas, he no doubt would have made it without any problem.