Friday, January 24, 2014

I'll Tell You When I'm Dead

William Smith Telford was my wife's great great grandfather. He was born October 7, 1837 in Ray County, Missouri and died February 3, 1934 in Abilene, Texas.

He enlisted in the 13th Regiment of Texas Volunteers on January 10, 1861 and served until the end of the Civil War.

When he was 92 years old he filed to collect the Texas Civil War Pension he had been entitled to receive thirty one years earlier.

He was a pretty independent guy and farmed up until his mid eighties. He only moved to Abilene when he got too old to run the farm.

He must not have wanted to get tangled up in the State bureaucracy or maybe he didn't need the money until the Depression hit. Whatever the reason, he didn't start receiving the pension until August 1, 1930 and collected it only a few years.

Less than a year after the got the first check, he received this letter from the State.

It was sent to all Civil War Pensioners telling them they could be Fined $100 dollars or Imprisoned for not less than a year, if they died and didn't notify the State.

The State's letter is dated June 1, 1931 but they crossed out the year and put 1932.

Telford wrote them back promptly on June 7, 1932. He had someone else transcribing his thoughts but it has his aged signature, letting them know they would be notified at once if he or his wife died. 

Letter from the State

I can imagine him having a few choice words about the bureaucrats in Austin and this being the reason he never filed for the pension before.

Telford's Response

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Catfish Creek

I was looking at some old research about my Rowell family this week and came across a reference to this place. A letter dated October 4, 1915 from John C. Sellers of Sellers, South Carolina was relaying what he knew of the Rowell family. My grandmother was Ila Rowell Green.
Catfish Creek Baptist Church

John Sellers said that his late father, W.W. Sellers had originally done the research for a book he published called "A History of Marion County South Carolina" in 1902.

As part of this book he interviewed an old man named Valentine Rowell who's grandfather Jacob Rowell settled in Marion County in the 1700s.

Valentine Rowell was then 82 years old and had been born in 1821. He said the Rowell family first came to South Carolina in 1736 and settled on the bank of Catfish Creek.

They were originally part of the Welsh Settlement created in 1703 in New Castle County Pennsylvania.

Valentine Rowell's marker 1821-1906

Thirty years after landing in Pennsylvania they were induced by available land to move to South Carolina. The Colony eventually gave the Welsh control of over half a million acres and that started a large migration south. The Rowells were part of this group who first settled on Catfish Creek.

Most of them didn't like the Southern climate they found (think mosquitoes, humidity, etc.) and left Catfish Creek after a couple years to form the Welsh Neck Settlement in Darlington County.

The Rowells stayed behind and apparently there are family members who descend from the first ones still in the area today. There are 15 Rowell families listed in the phone book for this rural community with a population of 1,357.

The Catfish Creek Baptist Church was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The nomination form said the present building dates to 1883 but the first Catfish Creek Baptist Church had been built on the same site in 1802.

Catfish Church Marker

The first church was built in the area around 1740 as part of the Welsh Neck Baptist Church and renamed Catfish Church in 1752. It lasted until about 1790 and then the present church was formed a couple miles upstream.

This marker is about 400 feet from I-95 and SR 17 in Dillion County, South Carolina. The original Catfish Creek settlement and Church location is a couple miles south.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Uncle Henry

I came across this photo in the Manatee County Florida Historical Records Library collection. It caught my attention because it listed Henry Foreman as the man on right. 

The caption on the photo says "An unidentified Guthrie, Mrs. James Guthrie, an unidentified person, Macey Guthrie, James E. Guthrie, Henry Foreman and Beulah Guthrie at the Guthrie home." I have other photos of James Guthrie and know the man on the left is him. James Guthrie's first wife was Charlotte Foreman, Henry's niece.

Henry Foreman was the brother of my great great grandmother, Hope Jane Foreman Adams Garner. Henry was born in 1846 in Harlowe Township of Carteret County, North Carolina and died January 14, 1935 in the County hospital in Bradenton, Florida. The photo was taken in Cortez, Florida around 1915-20.

This is the only photo I have of the Foreman family in that generation.

James E. Guthrie House

"Uncle Henry" as he was called in Cortez was one of the first settlers and lived on Perico Island before moving to Cortez. His sister Hope, her husband Elijah Meadows Garner, his brother William J. Foreman and wife Hettie Bell all moved to Perico Island in the early 1880s.

As far as I can tell Henry never married. He was always listed as single on the census and lived with various family members. He lived with his niece, my great grandmother Sallie Adams Fulford late in life but when he got sick had to be moved to the county hospital, which doubled as a nursing home. His death certificate says that is where he died at age 89. I assume he was buried in the Palma Sola Cemetery but there is no marker there for him.

Henry Foreman

The book "Fogs Comin In" by Doris Green has this story about him:

"He and his wheelbarrow were a familiar sight, hauling cow manure for 5 cents a load or bringing firewood. He slept in Capt. Jim Guthrie's barn for some time and carried the mail to Bradentown. First by horseback and later he had a two-wheeled road cart that seated two and was pulled by a horse. There was a deep round container under the high seat used to hold the mail and shopping items that he purchased in town before heading home. There was no need for a list of desired items as he remembered exactly what and how much each person wanted."

Herman Sidney Guthrie, (the son of James Guthrie in the photo) said this about him in a 1974 interview:

"He had a wonderful memory. Before he died, the last year, he would tell you the date right to the day that every child here was born."

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Do You Remember Where You Were?

There were several newspaper articles recently about health problems that can be caused by drinking unpasteurized milk. They reminded me of the story I heard told by my mother's first cousin, Doris Mae Adams Green. Doris could easily remember where she was during several major events of the 20th Century.

Doris was a double cousin since she married my Dad's first cousin, Woodrow Wilson Green. We have the same birthday, although a few years apart.

She was born May 28, 1915 in Cortez, Florida and died September 15, 2001 in Bristol, Tennessee.
Doris Adams Green

Doris had problems with her back which the doctors blamed on her drinking unpasteurized milk as a child. The vertebrae in her back deteriorated when she was in her twenties. Dairy cows were not tested for TB or other germs and her doctors said the raw milk was the cause of her problems. She had multiple back surgeries and hospitalizations over a period of forty years or so and was in a full body cast for a while.

When I knew her, Doris was a person who always had a smile and you wouldn't have known she had any physical problems. In fact the story she told wasn't about being so bad off but the unusual coincidence that went along with her many surgeries and hospitalizations.

It seems that often when she was in the hospital some major event or disaster happened.

The first time was in December 1941 when the Japanese decided to bomb Pearl Harbor at the same time she was in the hospital in the body cast. 

Four years later in April 1945 she was in the hospital again when President Franklin Roosevelt died.

In August 1960 she was admitted to the brand new Manatee Memorial Hospital for back surgery. Hurricane Donna with 130 mph winds decided to visit Florida at the same time. They had just finished the surgery when the worst part of the storm hit. She was in the recovery room and the nurses noticed water dripping from the ceiling.

They put her on a gurney and rolled her down to the first floor thinking the building was going to be evacuated. The hospital administrators decided they couldn't move the patients during the storm, so rolled her back to a private room on the second floor. The hospital didn't exactly have hurricane proof material. While she was in the room, still recovering from the surgery, water started blowing through the closed windows. The 2nd floor flooded from the water coming in the windows so Woodrow had to take off his shoes and wade though the water to get to her.

The last time she was in the hospital during a major event was in January 1986 when the Challenger Space Shuttle blew up.

So one big event for folks in Florida and three National events, where she could give the same answer if someone asked her do you remember where you were?