dee_burris: (Default)
2015-10-31 03:33 pm
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[sticky entry] Sticky: Photographs and memories...

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Burris clan in Russellville, Pope Co., AR, circa 1920/1921


There's a wall of photographs over my bed. I call it my dead relatives gallery, and I'm not really joking, although some of my family and friends laugh nervously when I say it.

I'm using this journal to share information I have acquired over the past several years for surnames in my family tree. The journal is "tag intensive" to make it easier to locate information and photos about specific surnames. (Tags list is in the left sidebar of the journal.)

They say you can choose your friends, but not your family. Personally, I find my family fascinating, and even more so the older I get. Sure, we have our share of archetypes - shrill, bossy women...strong "silent type" men...and the requisite number of "crazies." But hey, this is the deep South, and as Julia Sugarbaker said in Designing Women:

"...we're proud of our crazy people. We don't hide them up in the attic. We bring 'em right down to the living room and show 'em off. ...no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they're on." Like Julia, mine are on both sides.

Primary surnames researched include Ashmore, Balding, Burris, Callaway, Chapin, Darter, Duvall, Grooms, Harkey, Hayslip, Herrington, Hill, Holder, McBrayer, Meek, Parrish, Pettit, Shinn, Wharton, Williams.

All comments are welcome, including anonymous comments. You do not have to be a Dreamwidth member to comment, and may use Open ID, i.e., Google, WordPress, etc., to comment.

ETA: Most of the photos you will find in this journal were taken over 100 years ago. Regardless of their age, these photos were falling out of albums, or lying loose among family papers and I have scanned them to preserve them for posterity. Photos of gravestones appearing in this journal were taken by me.

I said all that to say this - if any of these photos are of your family members, just right click and save them to your computer. No one associated with this journal is going to chase you down to try and prosecute you for copyright infringement, as long as you don't claim you took the photo.

The written content of this journal is copyrighted. Don't use it without my written permission.


Email me at sharpchick13 at hotmail dot com.
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2014-08-10 07:54 am

Bits and pieces....

This is the part I love about collecting old postcards. From a flea market last week, I purchased a bit of Arkansas history.

Three sisters, the daughters of Abner Clark Evans and Mary Catherine Morrow. It appears the family lived, worked and died in Izard County after Abner and Catherine's marriage in 1855 in Independence County. All of these are buried in Barren Fork Cemetery, Mount Pleasant, Izard Co., AR.

Identification of the sisters on the back, and the date was 20 Nov 1922.

From left to right:
Sarah Elizabeth "Lizzie" Evans McSpadden - Jan 1867 - 9 Aug 1936
Minnie Kate Evans McSpadden - 26 Sep 1874 - 18 May 1936
Alice C Evans Sims - 5 May 1862 - 13 Nov 1947

I'd love to get this card home to direct descendants. If any of you have connections in Izard County and are able to locate direct descendants, please comment below or email me at sharpchick13 at hotmail dot com with an address to mail the card.
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2014-07-03 10:27 am

Patriots in the family tree

Although the family tree is full of veterans and heroes of service - past and present - in the armed forces of the United States, I focus today on my ancestors who served in battles before and during the American Revolution.

James Samuel Ashmore - born 4 Nov 1732 in Harford Co., Maryland Colony. He was the son of Richard Ashmore and Margery Lindley.

James was one of the rabble-rousers who was determined to annoy, harass and set back the cause of our fledgling country's British oppressors.

So in an act of covert defiance, on 2 May 1771, James - along with his half-brother, Joshua Hadley, and several other men - burned a gunpowder train that was on its way to Tory General Waddell, which was intended to be used against the group of colonists protesting the unreasonable taxes being imposed upon them by the Brits. This group of men became known as The Black Boys of Cabarrus County, North Carolina, due to them blackening their faces before setting out on their destructive mission.

In his deposition about the incident taken on 22 Jun 1771, James said:
...they found and stopped the waggons and enquired for the powder that was carrying to General Waddell. When in the waggon belonging to Col. Alexander they found the powder and took it out of the waggons, broke open the hogsheads and kegs that contained the powder, and set the same on fire and destroyed some blankets, leggins, kettles, and other things, and then dispersed soon after, having at this deponent first joining of them sworn him to secrecy as they informed who they all before, and further his deponent sayeth not. (Sourced to this website.)

Public sentiment among the colonists grew overwhelmingly in favor of "The Black Boys." As stated here, When the drama of the Revolution opened, these same "Black Boys" stood up manfully for the cause of American freedom, and nobly assisted in achieving, on many a hard-fought battlefield, the independence of our country.

Line of descent to me:
James Samuel Ashmore/Elizabeth Balch
Joshua Bloomer Ashmore/Mary Henderson
Andrew Sawyer Ashmore/Elizabeth McCarley
Elizabeth Adeline Ashmore/James Littleton Burris
George Washington Burris, Sr./Mary Mathilda Wharton
George Washington Burris, Jr./Addie Louise Herrington
my dad
me
Jesse Williams - born 19 Jun 1750 in Newcastle County, Delaware Colony, died 29 Sep 1834 in Rockcastle Co., KY after being kicked by a horse he was shoeing.

He was the son of David Shion and Mary Williams, immigrants to Delaware Colony from Wales.

Jesse enlisted in the Revolutionary War at Baltimore, MD in the summer of 1776, and as was the practice for the voluntary army made up overwhelmingly of farmers, served his multiple week tours of duty until the summer of 1781. (Sourced to his descendant's application for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution, at this link.) Note - paywall for the link.

Line of descent to me:
Jesse Williams/Elizabeth Rachel Gott
David Williams/Elizabeth Rowe
Jacob Williams/Catherine C Mueller
Jo Desha Williams/Maxie Leah Meek
Jo(e) Duffie Williams/Doris Geneva Balding
my mother
me
Joel Chapin - born 22 Apr 1732 in Springfield, Hampden Co., Massachsetts Colony, died 17 Mar 1805 in Bernardston, Franklin Co., MA.

He was the son of Caleb Chapin and Catherine Dickinson.

History of the Town of Bernardston, Franklin County, Massachusetts. 1736 - 1900 by Lucy Jane Cutler Kellogg (publ. E A Hall and Company, 1902) describes Joel Chapin as one of the members of the "committee of inspection" established on 30 Jan 1775, "when war was an almost assured event" in colonial Massachusetts. Although I have been unable to turn up his service record, Joel must have served because his gravestone in Old Cemetery, Bernardston, Franklin Co., MA says he was Lieut. Joel Chapin.

Line of descent to me:
Joel Chapin/Sarah Burke
Solomon Chapin/Rebecca Porter
Joel Chapin/Adeline Foster
Nathaniel Foster Chapin/Elizabeth Pancoast-Harris
Frederick Chapin/Eada Belle Parrish
Hattie Belle Chapin/Victor Claude Balding
Doris Geneva Balding/Jo(e) Duffie Williams
my mother
me


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Betsey Ross flag at Valley Forge
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-06-17 06:04 am
Entry tags:

Now, I understand

The older I get, the more I understand some of the things my grandmother, Doris Balding Williams, did.

Now, I understand the only-damp-but-not-soiled paper towel lying on the kitchen counter, ready to be used again.

Now, I understand the clotheslines strung up in the garage, and the car parked in the driveway.

Now, I understand the empty boxes of Russell Stovers candies. With me, it's those paper bags with the sturdy handles.

Now, I understand the joy of moving slowly through the garden making new discoveries every day. And sharing them with others.

Now, I understand leaving the sewing machine up. All the time.

Grandma Dee, it took me a half century, but now I understand.
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Doris Balding Williams, in her garden in 1972
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2014-06-01 06:24 pm

Guest blogger, Cristi Broach Hendry

Hi! Guest Blogger Cristi Broach Hendry here, GGG Granddaughter of James Littleton Burris. My paternal grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Burris “Nana” (1917-1998,) was born and raised in Atkins, Arkansas. Had it not been for the Depression, I might call Arkansas home rather than Riverside, California.
The Burris family home

JL Burris’ son James Franklin Burris, Postmaster of Atkins, built a family home in Atkins in about 1880 (See photo below. The house has been torn down). My dad was born in that house and I appreciate the fact that the Burris family home is the reason my sister and I have Burris family stuff - a quilt made by Mary’s maternal grandmother, Postmaster Burris’ desk and his Postmaster certificate, and a lovely bureau that may date to the 1800s.
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James Franklin Burris II about 1925 or 1930

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Frank Burris' service station in Atkins. The Burris home is on the left.

Introduction to Mary

Mary and her second husband Otis “Papau” moved to San Diego in 1940 with my dad (more on that later). Until 1969, we lived in San Diego too, and we spent a lot of time together - particularly since Mary and Otis had a pool. Mary worked at a clothing store called Walker Scott in the 60s -- a very good job for someone with a lifelong love of beautiful clothes. I can’t remember exactly how tall Mary was -- about 5’2” -- but she wore her clothes like a movie star. Think Rita Hayworth. Otis was 6’3”, and we always said, looked like Gregory Peck (see photo below).
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They built a good life in San Diego. My dad spent his teen years surfing and playing volleyball. In the 60s they acquired a charming home with that pool I mentioned - and Otis had Karmann Ghia in his driveway. No matter that the steering wheel became detached on a trip to Arkansas. It was a cool car!
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Mary gets married

When Mary was 16, she married Astor Pettit Broach, also an Atkins family -- son of Margarite Victoria Pettit and William Broach “Ma and Pa Broach”. My father, James William Broach, was born in 1935 when Mary was 17. The Depression was in full swing, Pettit had drinking issues and the marriage didn’t last long after my father’s birth. Mary’s high school classmate, Otis Lamar Hanks (1914-1994) of Russellville, had been carrying a torch for Mary, and was waiting in the wings. They married in 1937. Otis loved Mary truly and deeply his whole life.
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Mary Elizabeth's high school class, 1933

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Mary Elizabeth Burris, age 4


The Depression

The Depression sent Otis looking for copper mining work in Colorado and my dad, known as “Billy,” stayed with the Broaches in Atkins. By 1938, Mary and Otis returned to Atkins, collected Billy and joined the migration West with so many others. Otis got work in a copper mine in the strangely named Miami, Arizona, where the legs of Billy’s bed had to be set in buckets of water to prevent scorpions from getting him. The wind and blowing sand drove Mary crazy and after a vacation in San Diego in 1940, they said -- this is for us!

War years

In 1940, war was in the offing and defense jobs offered employment - but housing was tight because of the number of people moving to San Diego for the jobs. Otis got a job at Convair and they did find an apartment, but distressingly - the apartment didn’t allow children. Billy lived with another family for the first year, which was understandably very hard on a five year old. Eventually, they found an apartment that allowed children and, after the war, they settled into a paradisical life in San Diego.
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Billy in a suit Otis tailored, 1945

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James William Broach senior class photo 1952


The good life

Mary and Otis were good at making friends -- Mary had a lively and engaging personality. My impression is that they had a very active social life. One thing that didn’t go exactly right is that my dad eloped after knowing my mom for six weeks. That shocked and hurt Mary - but given that he was 19, perhaps it had more to do with hormones than anything else. When dad called to tell her the news, she told him to come over and my mother should stay in the car until they had talked. And then they welcomed my mother into the family as their daughter.
No story of Mary Burris could be complete without mentioning she was an artist. Each of her grandchildren has a large canvas she painted hanging in our homes. In later years she took up ceramics, which I have displayed in my garden. I often think about what I can leave artistically for my family. Having a visual reminder of your loved ones is a marvelous thing.
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Mary and Cristi, 1959

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Mary Elizabeth, Cristi and Vicki


Staying connected

Mary was close to her mother - even though Abigail “Abby” Bailey Burris, by many accounts had a difficult and demanding personality. Mary and her parents visited each other fairly regularly - and considering the distance - that’s somewhat remarkable at that time. Abby and Frank Burris (James Franklin Burris II) never quite got into the beach culture -- included here is a photo of them sitting on the beach at La Jolla in full dress clothes.
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In the mid-60s, Mary’s brother, James Franklin Burris III “Jimmy” (1921-1992) and his family visited San Diego. My dad’s cousins, Sharon and Randy, were teenagers and they were totally fascinating to me at 8 years old. Sharon was a cheerleader and actively missing her boyfriend (now her husband Winston) and Randy was a musician (still is). They came packing their own Dr. Pepper (not available in San Diego!) Also remarkable was the fact that Uncle Jimmy built their home AND airplanes. He had a lifelong passion for planes.

In 1973, my dad took us to Little Rock to visit Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Twila. That trip left a deep impression on me. The southern ways, manners, lifestyle -- all so different than California. Gracious, slower, more time for family -- in fact -- life was all about family. My sister, mother and I visited Aunt Twila in Little Rock in 2004 -- and I felt the tug of the south all over again. We visited Atkins too, and Otis’ sister Johnnie Marie was still living there. I recall that after mentioning at the restaurant that we wanted to visit with Johnnie, the word went out and reached her at the beauty salon within a half hour.
Southern DNA

I treasure the artifacts of southern-ness that our family has held on to after migrating to California -- my Nana was a fantastic southern cook. Once I gave Nana a dessert cookbook and she was shocked. I really should have known that she never used a recipe for a dessert in her life -- the recipes were in her head. Nana and Aunt Twila used to defer to each other on fried chicken -- each said the other was the best cooker of fried chicken. I could never make up my mind. I have picked up some southern-isms in my speech -- y’all just makes sense to me! My dad didn’t stay Billy -- he reclaimed his first name as a teen and became Jim but he is still crazy for the the Razorbacks. Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie!


My thanks to Dee Burris Blakley for inviting me to do this guest blog -- it’s been wonderful revisiting the memories.

Cristi Broach Hendry
Cristi Broach Hendry is my third cousin, once removed.

If you are connected to the same branch of the Burris family as Cristi, and would like to contact her about this entry, you can either reply to the entry, or email her at:

cristihendry at gmail dot com
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-05-23 05:06 pm

Remembering them on Memorial Day...

There is no intention of a slight to the members of my family whose stories do not appear here.

I have chosen to feature for this Memorial Day three members of my family - one a direct ancestor and the other two my cousins - who died far from home and family.
The first is probably the most poignant for me, for the location of my g-g-g grandfather's grave was unknown to any of his family for nearly a century and a half.

Nathaniel C Callaway (1819-1862) went off to fight for the Confederate States of America on 6 Mar 1862. He enlisted in his home town of Arkadelphia, in Clark County, AR. His youngest child had just celebrated his fourth birthday. Nathaniel and his wife, Julia Ann, had just buried their second child nine months earlier.

And he just never came back. Nathaniel died of typhoid fever on 7 May 1862 at Southern Mothers' Hospital in Memphis - an overburdened facility staffed by nurses who really were Southern mothers.

None of the descendants at the annual family reunion knew when or where he died or was buried. No one’s parents knew what happened to him.

It took me two years of looking off and on until I finally mis-spelled his surname badly enough for a Google search engine to give me some valid results.

And I finally found him at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, TN. Not only that, but one of his cousins. They were buried in the section called Confederate Soldiers Rest.

So I rounded up a Callaway cousin and we came to see.

We discovered that Nathaniel C and Levi A Callaway’s graves were not formally marked, but had the numbered concrete markers installed on all the Confederate graves in 1886. So we ordered their military markers from the VA.

And waited. The gravestones were delivered to my workplace and carefully loaded by the truck driver into the back of my SUV. Joe and I could have had them delivered to Elmwood, but after 149 years, we just couldn't stand the thought that something might happen to them.

Joe and I were finally able to travel to Elmwood on 19 Feb 2011 to watch the stones being set on the graves.
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Todd Fox, the cemetery superintendent, set the stones for us. It may sound hokey, but when Mr. Fox was preparing Nathaniel and Levi Callaway's gravesites to install their stones, and told me I could have the tops of the numbered concrete columns he took out to lay the markers...

Well...

I jumped on it. Nathaniel's was 102, Levi's 140.
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So family, those weathered pieces of concrete at the bottom of the steps in the east garden?

They are priceless.
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Woodrow L. Rainey, S. 1/c.
Woodrow L Rainey, S. 1/c., 28, was killed in action in the South Pacific, the Navy Department has advised his wife, Mrs. Myrtle Nolen Rainey. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Rainey of the Griffin Flat community.


Woodrow's parents were Edgar Clarence Rainey and Millie Mae Burris, making him my 4th cousin.

Woodrow died aboard the USS Kimberly, a Fletcher-class destroyer, in World War II. Departing San Pedro Bay on 21 March 1945 for radar picket duty, the destroyer, off the Ryūkyūs, was attacked 26 March by two Aichi D3A "Vals," dive bombers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Despite accurate antiaircraft fire and numerous hits, one enemy plane, trailing fire and smoke, crashed into the aft gun mounts, killing 4 men and wounding 57.

His parents placed this stone in Appleton Cemetery in Pope County, AR in memory of him, although they were unable to bury his remains. Woodrow was buried at sea.
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Woodrow Lyle Rainey, 1916-26 Mar 1945
Seaman, 1st Class USN


I knew there was a memorial wall - the memorial to veterans who died in World War II during the invasion of Pearl Harbor.

I looked for Woodrow's name, and found it.

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(You can search for names of your family members on "The Wall" by clicking this link, but you will have to be a member of Ancestry.com to see the images from the free index.)
John Elbert Burris was the son of Thomas Frank Burris and Winifred Brashear. He was only 20 years old when he was declared missing and presumed dead by the United States Navy on 1 Dec 1943. He was later classified as killed in action.

John was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.

He is memorialized on The Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. The names of those whose remains were recovered and identified afterwards are punctuated with rosettes.
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I do not know if John's remains were ever recovered. He was my third cousin, once removed.
I created memorials for each of my relatives at Find a Grave. You can leave virtual flowers on those memorials by clicking the links below:
Private Nathaniel C Callaway, CSA
Seaman First Class Woodrow Lyle Rainey
Seaman Second Class John Elbert Burris
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-04-30 06:15 am

One of those I-was-looking-for-one-thing-and-found-another...

Name: John Rush Johnson
Event Type: Marriage
Event Date (Formatted): 07 Sep 1957
Event Place: , Logan, Arkansas, United States
Age: 54
Birth Year (Estimated): 1903
Residence Place: State Sanatorium, Logan, Arkansas
Spouse's Name: Doris Cline
Spouse's Age: 49
Spouse's Birth Year (Estimated): 1908
Spouse's Residence Place: State Sanatorium, Logan, Arkansas
Marriage License Date: 06 Sep 1957
Page: 612
GS Film number: 2069449
Digital Folder Number: 004331522
Image Number: 00063
"Arkansas, County Marriages, 1837-1957," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NMTN-NBH : accessed 30 Apr 2014), John Rush Johnson and Doris Cline, 07 Sep 1957; citing , Logan, Arkansas, United States; FHL microfilm 2069449.

Name: Don Hooker
Event Type: Marriage
Event Date (Formatted): 10 Dec 1957
Event Place: , Logan, Arkansas, United States
Age: 22
Birth Year (Estimated): 1935
Residence Place: State Sanatorium, Logan, Arkansas
Spouse's Name: Erma Lee Johnson
Spouse's Age: 23
Spouse's Birth Year (Estimated): 1934
Spouse's Residence Place: State Sanatorium, Logan, Arkansas
Marriage License Date: 10 Dec 1957
Page: 628
GS Film number: 2069449
Digital Folder Number: 004331522
Image Number: 00071
"Arkansas, County Marriages, 1837-1957," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NMTN-JQC : accessed 30 Apr 2014), Don Hooker and Erma Lee Johnson, 10 Dec 1957; citing , Logan, Arkansas, United States; FHL microfilm 2069449.
Two things, actually.

Both of these couples' place of residence was the State Sanatorium in Logan County.

So I know something more about them.

They were Caucasian.

The State tuberculosis sanatorium for white people was at Booneville, in Logan County.

It was later converted into a warehouse for people with disabilities that Arkansas now very disingenuously calls a Human Development Center.
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-04-22 05:58 am

Cyrus Foster Chapin, 1853-1926

He's one of my orphan relatives. Cyrus was the oldest of 10 children born to my third great grandparents, Nathaniel Foster Chapin and Elizabeth Pancoast Harris.

He never married or had children. Census and city directory records say that he followed in his father's footsteps and became a carpenter, but he doesn't seem to have been able to work at that trade consistently enough to support himself.

Cyrus never married. He also didn't seem to have set up his own house in his lifetime, living first with his parents into his young adulthood, and as an older adult, with his younger sisters and their families.

He lived with sister Addie the longest - from at least 1900 until her death in 1925. Then he moved from Denver, CO, to Altoona, PA, where he lived out the remainder of his life with his sister, Essie.
Cyrus' obituary made me curious.

Died at 3 o'clock this morning at the home of his sister, Mrs. Essie Lebolt Finn of 1421 Second street, following an illness of six weeks. He suffered from a complication of diseases.

I wondered what "complication of diseases" he had. As previously noted in this post, the 1880 census form said he had sciatic rheumatism, a very painful nerve disease that sometimes makes walking almost impossible. I found it really strange that a 27 year old man would have an illness that usually comes with advanced age.

So I ordered his death certificate from the State of Pennsylvania.
Cyrus' death certificate didn't note any central nervous system disorder.

It says he died of senility.

I've seen scads of death certificates that say that. Searching for it as an "olden days" cause of death, I've also found cautions to doctors about ruling out any other cause of death before just saying someone died of old age.

Cyrus' death certificate also lists a contributory cause of death. But it's the one I think probably killed him.

Chronic interstitial nephritis. In truth, he probably died of kidney failure and also had some form of senile dementia. The death certificate says he was attended by his physician from 15 Feb 1926 until his death at 3 a.m. on 3 Mar 1926.

His obituary said he was ill for six weeks. Makes me wonder how long people waited back then to call the doctor for an ailing 72 year old brother.

And about that "complication of diseases" noted in his obit.

I guess I'll find out on the other side.
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-04-20 08:47 am

Musing on death, and dying at home

I got death certificates in the mail Friday - four of them - for a great grandfather, great grandmother, and two great-great grandparents.

Fred and Eada Parrish Chapin, Victor Claude Balding, and Mary Mathilda, "Tildie" Wharton Burris.

They were related to each other not by blood but by marriage, so I can only use any similarities in causes of death as they apply to me, and other common descendants of the multiple blended families.

The years of death are 1938 (Fred Chapin and Tildie Burris), 1944 (Eada Chapin), and 1945 (Pop Balding).

And as I laid them out side by side, I noticed something else.

Three of the four of them died at home - or at the home of a child, where they had been living. (That's the multi-generational family living under one roof thing that was the rule instead of the exception until after World War II.) They were surrounded by people and things that were familiar, and even if in a small way, comforting.

And it struck me.

What a grand way to die...
The aftermath of World War II not only saw a change in the way American families lived, but also how - and where - they died.

Prior to World War II, only in exceptional circumstances did people die in hospital beds instead of in their own beds, in their own homes, or a home of relatives (frequently their children) that had become their home.

My paternal great grandmother, Tildie Burris, died on 26 May 1938 at the home of her daughter, Emma Burris Crites. Her death certificate notes that she died of chronic nephritis, or kidney disease as we would say now. It also says the doctor saw her for three days leading up to her death and she was in a partial coma. As has been noted by memories of her grandchildren, some of whom said she got "mean" in her later years, the certificate says she had senility.

The next death in the chronology was my great-great grandfather, Fred Chapin, on 29 Dec 1938. He died at Baptist Hospital of prostatic hypertrophy - a condition in which the prostate gland becomes enlarged. He also had kidney disease - a combination of which we recognize today as dangerous for older men. His doctor attended him (Fred was also diagnosed with senility) from 28 Nov 1938 to the date of his death. I'm going to guess that he was only hospitalized for part of the 32 days his doctor cared for him.

On 2 Dec 1944, my great great grandmother, Eada Chapin, died at the home of her daughter, Hattie Chapin Balding, of a heart attack. There is no note on the certificate of senility, but it does say she had arteriosclerosis.

Only a little more than a month later, my great grandmother, Hattie Chapin Balding, was present at the death of her husband, Victor Claude "Pop" Balding, when he died at home - in the same house - of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Some of those deaths were sudden, some weren't.

But I am sure now - whether I leave suddenly, or because of a lingering illness - if at all possible, I'd like to die at home.
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-03-26 08:38 pm
Entry tags:

Note to Son

I think you already know this about me, and accept it. You know me pretty well.

I live a very simple life. On purpose. A lot of people don't "get that" about me, and assume I would should want to "do better."

I've lived in a 16' X 60" single wide mobile home for nearly 20 years. That's 960 square feet in two bedrooms. I own the home free and clear, and rent the lot.

And the answer to the curious is yes, I can afford to live in a larger home - even a larger, newer mobile home. On my own property.

But I don't want to. I love my home. There are so many wonderful memories here - of all the people who have found shelter here...either for an extended period of time, or very briefly. My garden has matured in nearly 20 years, and gives me limitless joy.

I believe there is value in growing where I'm planted.
Sometimes, I know by the looks on their faces that I am grinning at the questions I get - and offers.

Of a used but much more recent model of some household appliance. Most often, it's for a clothes dryer, since I haven't had used one for the past 4 years.

At first, I liked the savings on my electric bill. Then, I fell in love again with the smell of laundry hung out in the sun.

Then, I embraced the gift from the universe - a freely available way to provide for myself. Not just drying the laundry, but spending time outside with nature. (Yes, when it's rainy or 20 degrees, I hang the laundry in the house.)
I've also been offered refrigerators and TVs.

The fridge came with the house. It works just fine. The washing machine moved in with me. It also works just fine. I have done dishes by hand for most all of my adult life, and it hasn't killed me yet. It would be ridiculous to give up counter space for a dishwasher.

I only recently bought a 23" flat screen TV and got rid of my bulkier, 6 year old analog model. Even then, people wondered why I hadn't gotten a larger one.

I don't need a larger TV. Or more than one.

And the digital antenna is fine - I don't need cable, Uverse or satellite.

As I have gotten older, less is more. Simplicity frees me up to spend time on the important stuff.

Remember, son...whatever it is - it has to last me 20 years.
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-03-23 10:08 am

The Ne-Hi baseball league - here's the historic proof

About geneablogging, I have long said...

If we build it, they will come.

An email from a complete stranger in my inbox this week turned me onto historic documentation for Pop Balding's Ne-Hi League, which my Grandma Dee had often told me about, but for which she had no documentation, only her memories.

Memories of her father creating the world's first "little league" baseball league, long before the officially recognized Little League created by Carl Stotz in 1939.

Grandma Dee remembered her mother sewing uniforms. She remembered the names of some of the teams, like the Midgets and the Microbes, although I do not recall her talking about the Cannibals.

My correspondent shared some pages from the 1914-1915 and 1916-1917 volumes of Reach's official American League base ball guide (publ. A. J. Reach, 1883-1927).

And said there were photos of the team members also.

I found the Reach guides online.
I don't recall Grandma Dee saying anything about the impetus for Pop's decision to create a baseball league for little boys.

According to the Reach guide:
Mr. Balding, whose home is at 229 Rice Street, organized the league in 1913 on account of the ill health of his son. To-day his son is as healthy as any other member of the league. Mr. Balding first organized a base ball team of boys in his neighborhood. Finally a second team was organized and games played between the two teams. The boys grew tired of playing each other, and the idea of a league appealed to Mr. Balding, which resulted in the forming of the worlds
only organized "short pants" base ball league.
(THE REACH OFFICIAL AMERICAN LEAGUE GUIDE, 1916-1917, at page 393.)

That son had to be Eugene - Gene as I always knew him, and Genie-boy, as I understand his mother called him. Gene was born in 1905, so he would have been 8 at the time Pop Balding created the league. Marvin and Linky weren't born until 1915 and 1917, respectively.
For the cousins, here are scans of the pages from the 1914-1915 and 1916-1917 volumes of Reach's official American League base ball guide that discuss Pop and the Ne-Hi League. (Cousins, right click and save.)

THE REACH OFFICIAL AMERICAN LEAGUE GUIDE, 1914-1915, at page 375.
 photo R15Ne-HiLeagueInfo.jpg


THE REACH OFFICIAL AMERICAN LEAGUE GUIDE, 1916-1917, at pp 391, 393 and 394.
 photo R16Ne-HiLeagueInfo.jpg

 photo R16Ne-HiLeagueInfo2.jpg

 photo R16Ne-HiLeagueInfo3.jpg

There were photos on page 376-377 in the 1914 volume, and page 392 in 1916 volume.

My correspondent extracted them from the pdf documents and has hosted the results here. Naturally, they are a bit grainy - after all, they are images of old photos published on paper.

But what a wonderful find...
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-03-19 06:22 pm

Remembering my Aunt Jean...

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 photo GeorgeWandLouiseBurriswiththeirchildrenBillBurrisWandaNeumannMaryAnnRutherfordandJeanLensing1969.jpg
Jean (far right) with her brother and sisters on the occasion of her parents' 40th wedding anniversary in 1969

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Jean with her mother at her family home, 808 Crittenden Street Arkadelphia

I try not to claim any of my relatives as mine, because they also belong to the rest of my family.

But at the request of one of her daughters, I am remembering my Aunt Jean.

I say unashamedly she was my favorite aunt.
Her full name was Emma Jean Burris Lensing. She was born at home in Arkadelphia, AR on Friday, 12 May 1933.

She was named for her daddy’s favorite sister, the only one of his sisters who survived to become an adult. It’s the name she shared with one of her granddaughters.

When she found out I was delving deeply into our family history, she helped me out with tidbits of information and photographs. She took the news of our philandering forbear without skipping a beat, and readily agreed to take a DNA test to settle the matter of the ethnicity of another.

I asked her about her own childhood in Arkadelphia. Among other things, she told me she grew up knowing she was not “the pretty one.”

I was shocked and told her so. Aunt Jean was always beautiful to me - inside and out.

She was genuinely appreciative of the smallest act of kindness. When she loved you, you knew it, because she told you so. And showed you in some tangible way- like a little card out of the blue, just to say she was thinking of you.

Aunt Jean was all about family. One day,I asked her to tell me about how she and Uncle Tommy met. As she talked, her eyes lit up with love and memories. I always saw the same look on her face when she showed me pictures of her kids and grandkids. And her kids also included her daughters-in-law and son-in-law. She was so proud of all of her family.

She made The. Best. Christmas cookies.

One of my favorite photos of her was taken in the kitchen of her parents’ home at 9th and Crittenden in Arkadelphia on Mother's Day in 1967. Aunt Jean was goofing around with her sisters as they did the dishes after one of those HUGE meals. I’ll always think of that photo as the Burris sisters chorus line.

 photo MaryAnnRutherfordJeanLensingandWandaNeumaninkitchenonCrittendenMay1967.jpg

Aunt Jean was my go-to person for “the rest of the story” about our Burris family history. My Dad had told me about the time as a kid when he got bitten by a rattlesnake while he was fishing. Aunt Jean rode him to the hospital on her bike. When I asked her about it, she furnished a little detail Dad left out. Turns out Dad and his buddy were fishing on a Sunday, strictly forbidden in the G W Burris home.

I can only recall one instance in which Aunt Jean was visibly annoyed with me. It was a few years ago when she and I wrestled for the check at US Pizza. I thought it was a draw - that we had split the check. Imagine my surprise when I looked at my bank statement and saw that in the end, she had won that match. She had US Pizza credit back what I thought they had charged to my card.

We talked about that later. She told me then that if there were such an occasion again, I was to let her buy, and drop the matter.

There really wasn't anything else to say then but yes ma'am.

She smiled and reminded me that both she and I had inherited that mile wide streak of stubbornness known to anyone who is a Burris, marries a Burris,or happens to more than casually cross paths with a Burris. The “Burris bullhead.”
My Aunt Jean finished this part of her journey on 13 Dec 2013.

She was dearly loved,and will be sorely missed. I hope I honor her memory by remembering the past, but living in the present, by being truly appreciative of small things, and always taking the time to say,“I love you.”
She’s left us the legacy of a life well lived.

And we’ll see her on the other side.

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Jean with her youngest granddaughter, Ava
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-02-28 10:14 am

Getting the scoop on Adaline Chapin...

As I said in this entry, I have been most keen to try and puzzle through the marriages and wanderings of my second great grandaunt, Adaline Chapin.

I'm suspect Addie - as she was called through most of her life - was one of the two Chapin daughters of Nathaniel F Chapin and Elizabeth Pancoast-Harris that my family disapproved of on the basis of snippets of conversation I heard as a child. I recall overhearing one conversation in particular - between my grandmother and one of her brothers, who was compiling the family genealogy. They were talking about whether to leave out two of the Chapin sisters altogether because of their behavior, or to keep them in and just call them prostitutes.

I'm betting that's because Addie and her younger sister, Essie, were married multiple times. I suspect both daughters' multiple marriages and divorces bothered their parents and siblings. And two of Essie's descendants have stated multiple times in comments to this blog that there was a fracture in the family that continued throughout Essie's life.

But now, I have to wonder if Essie took it harder than Addie did.
Addie's marriages were not really hard to document.

She married first in 1886 to George D Rouse while they were living in Ft Scott, Bourbon Co., KS, where Nathaniel Chapin had relocated his family between 1883 and 1885. Addie and George were divorced - my guess is that was in Greene Co., MO, where she married Lorenzo D Melton on 21 Sep 1904.

She was divorced from Lorenzo Melton on 11 Sep 1914 in Arapahoe Co., CO, and on 5 Oct 1915, married Charles M Mendenhall in Littleton, Arapahoe Co., CO. (I have requested the divorce records from the Colorado State Archives and am waiting for them to be mailed.)
The eldest of the Chapin siblings, Cyrus, made his home with Addie for at least 25 years.

He lived with her through all of her marriages in Springfield, MO, and Littleton and Denver, CO. In the 1880 census, Cyrus was noted to have sciatic rheumatism. I was unfamiliar with that ailment. I found it described on page 3 of the 27 Apr 1915 issue of L'Impartial, a Swiss French-language daily newspaper published since 1880.

There are very few ailments more painful than sciatic rheumatism. At first one is scarcely able to straighten up, and finally, if neglected, it gets so bad it is impossible to walk. Sciatic rheumatism is a combined form of neuralgia and rheumatism, and has been considered very hard to treat successfully...

Although it appears that Cyrus tried intermittently to work in the trade of his male relatives - as a carpenter or woodworker - mostly I found him unemployed, with the exception of any money he may have made as a notary public in Denver from 1907 to 1915.

So Addie housed and supported her brother for a great many years.
I guess that's why I found Cyrus' obituary a bit odd. His obit was how I found Addie's date of death, which I used to get her death certificate from Denver.

Cyrus F Chapin

Died at 3 o'clock this morning at the home of his sister, Mrs. Essie Lebolt Finn of 1421 Second street, following an illness of six weeks. He suffered from a complication of diseases. He was born in Bradford county, Dec. 2, 1853, and resided with a sister in Denver, Colo., until March 15 last year, when the sister died, Mr. Chapin then removing to this city. He is survived by three brothers, George Chapin of Atlanta, Ga., Fred Chapin of Little Rock, Ark., and Willard Chapin of California, and the sister of this city. Surviving also is a niece, Mrs. J.A. Boorman of Altoona, and a nephew, E C Shephard of Pontiac, Mich. He was a member of the International Bible Students' association. The funeral will be held from the Lafferty & Tobias funeral parlors on Saturday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Interment will be made in Rose Hill Cemetery. Source: Altoona Mirror, Wednesday Evening, 3 Mar 1926, at page 1.

[R]esided with a sister in Denver, Colo., until March 15 last year, when the sister died...

That sister had a name. Why didn't Essie use it? I know it's common to have to pay by the word for an obit, but Essie didn't have any problem getting that Lebolt surname in there instead of her maiden name...
Addie's death certificate says she died at her home at 2025 Clay Street (now part of an interstate system in Denver) from the flu, secondary to bronchial pneumonia.

She was buried at Olinger Crown Hill Cemetery in Wheat Ridge, Jefferson Co., CO, just outside Denver. Although she was married three times, she had no children.

And now I'd love to know the rest of her story...
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-02-12 12:09 pm
Entry tags:

In search of descendants of John Joulious Smith...

Born 18 Dec 1924. Served in World War II with the US Engineers in the European theater on a secret war project.

I know this from a packet of old letters and documents given to me by a man who found them in the wall while he was renovating the house in Benton, AR where the family lived briefly.

Apparently, Joulious' mother (most of the documents refer to him by his middle name) was Mrs. John G Smith, or Mrs. Gib Smith, and the letters in the packet were addressed to her.

I'd love to return this packet of documents to the family...

Contact me by comment to this entry, or by emailing me at sharpchick13 at hotmail dot com.
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-02-12 11:55 am

Streetcars and people...

My offering for Sepia Saturday 215 are a few old postcards of streetcars.

Which I adore, particularly after the memories shared by my grandmother, Doris Balding Williams, about riding the streetcar with her own mother to shop and pay bills in Little Rock in the nineteen teens...

.

.

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Washington St. looking west from Meridian St. Indianapolis

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K. St., Sacramento, Cal.

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Penn Square, Lancaster Pa.
(I see someone had a fine dinner in Lancaster when they sent this card.)

This is a Sepia Saturday post.

Head over there to see other lovely old photos and cards.
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-02-08 09:00 am

The tragic end of another "orphan" relative...

I wrote about my naughty, naughty auntie recently in this post.

I have now found all of Rebecca Parrish's husbands' dates of death and final resting places. Alas, not Rebecca's...

[personal profile] rainbow often helps me out with research dilemmas, and does a fine job.

When [personal profile] rainbow commented on the entry about Rebecca Parrish, I mentioned that Rebecca's son with Ulysses Grant Bond - her first husband - was unaccounted for.

[personal profile] rainbow went to work and found a bunch of information for the 14 year old "Stevie" I found living with his dad in the 1900 census in South Leitchfield, Grayson Co., KY.
Stephen Washington Bond was named for his paternal grandfather. He was my first cousin, 3 times removed.

It's been hard to account for how he spent his life. His father didn't die until 1948, and stayed close to home. Very close to home. Ulysses Grant Bond is buried in the same cemetery as his parents, five year old daughter, siblings and grand nieces and nephews in Caneyville, Grayson Co., KY.

Stephen could have stayed close to his dad, but seems to have had some wanderlust that took him all the way across the country.

In the 1910 census, he was employed at the Hot Lake Sanitarium in Union Co., OR. Click here, and here for photos from 1940 and the time during which Stephen would have recognized the building, which also served as a hotel. This photo shows the destruction of one of the buildings in the complex by a fire on 7 May 1934.

On 12 Sep 1918, Stephen registered for the draft for World War I in Santa Barbara Co., CA. He gave his occupation at that time as an oil pipeline worker for Associate Oil Co. of the same county. He listed his dad as his next of kin on the card.

And after that, I cannot find Stephen Washington Bond - not in the 1920, 1930, or 1940 censuses, which leads me to believe that my cousin may have been what was then called a hobo.

The next time I can locate him (thanks to [personal profile] rainbow) is at the time of his tragic death on 11 Nov 1951, in Lewiston, Nez Perce Co., ID.
MAN IS CRUSHED TO DEATH IN PIT
Pensioner Perishes on Rails of Engine Turntable


Lewiston, Idaho, Nov. 11 (AP)

An elderly pensioner was crushed beyond recognition last night under a locomotive turntable in the railroad yards of East Lewiston.

The victim was identified as Stephen Washington Bond, 65. He lived in a shack about 150 feet from the turntable.

Police theorized that Bond slipped and fell into the turntable pit sometime after 10:30 last night. He was last seen alive leaving a Lewiston tavern at that time.

Lay on Track

Officers said Bond had apparently struck his head on a rail in the pit. They believe he was seriously injured by the blow but that he managed to drag himself 77 feet across the pit where he collapsed.

He lay beside the track upon which the turntable revolves as it swings around the reverse [of] the direction of the locomotives.

The table was used during the night, and Bond was crushed by the tremendous weight of the table and the engine it carried.

William Hart, turntable operator, found the body early this morning when he noticed some coins and a shoe beside the turntable. A hat and an unopened can of coffee were lying beside the crushed body.

Source: The Spokesman-Review, 12 Nov 1951
Perhaps Stephen chose to live in that little shack by the railroad because of his memories of the sanitarium where he worked in 1910. Maybe he was just very poor or anti-social - or a combination of those or other things. Telling the story of the orphan relatives is never easy.

I've asked for the necessary corrections to Stephen's Find a Grave memorial to make it more complete.

And I'd love to know more about the little boy whose mother left his life all those years ago.
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-02-05 10:04 am
Entry tags:

Naughty, naughty auntie...

Actually my second great grandaunt, Rebecca A Parrish.

She was the daughter of Benjamin Abraham Yeager Parrish and Minerva Hamilton, and younger sister to my great great grandmother, Eada Belle Parrish.

Rebecca was married three times.

Her first marriage was to Ulysses Grant Bond. They were married in Kentucky in 1883.

According to her next marriage record, Rebecca divorced Bond in February 1899. That's what she said on her marriage license in Perry Co., IN when she married Webster Taylor on 28 Nov 1906.
 photo RebeccaParrishBondmarriagerec.jpg


I haven't yet done the research to find out what happened to Webster Taylor.

But on 2 Jun 1910, Rebecca Parrish Bond Taylor was getting married again - this time to James A Shea.

She had shaved a couple of years off her age, and said she had been married once before, a marriage that ended in the death of her spouse in 1892.
 photo RebeccaParrishTaylormarriagerecord.jpg


I wonder if James Shea knew about Rebecca's previous marriages?

I wonder if he also took some creative license with the "facts" he gave the clerk on this marriage record?
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-01-17 09:25 am

For shame, Angela Harris...

I could not believe my eyes when I opened my email today and saw links to blog posts on the deliberate and willful destruction of historic records, ordered by Angela L Harris of the government of Franklin County, NC.

You can read how the events unfolded last month in other bloggers' entries here, here, and here.

I just sent an email to Ms. Harris and copied two of the County Commissioners.
By now, family historians all over the country are shaking their collective heads in disbelief and horror that you could have authorized the deliberate destruction of so many historic Franklin County records when there was a group of people ready and willing to go through all material and digitize those records of historic import without breaching the privacy of individuals still living. My understanding of the situation is that the group in question was making ready to take custody of the documents and begin the process of digitizing them when you clandestinely ordered destruction of the documents.

Your actions are repugnant and fly in the face of common sense and decency. Let me add my voice to those of others calling for your resignation. If you are unable to recognize the value of preservation of historic documents in this digital age, then in my view, you have no business serving in your current post.

It is my fervent hope that family members and/or descendants of the World War I soldier whose letter was deliberately destroyed will sue the pants off of you and the members of the Franklin Co., NC Commission in your official capacities for the willful and deliberate destruction of family papers, and win.

I hope the County Commissioners are now aware of the terrible place of dishonor your actions have garnered for Franklin County, NC among family historians, descendants of slaves, and genealogists, not only nationwide, but internationally as well.

Dee Blakley
Mabelvale, AR

Email addresses I used were:
Angela L Harris - alharris@franklincountync.us
Shane Mitchell - esmitchell@franklincountync.us
Sidney E Dunston, Chair - sdunston@franklincountync.us
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-12-31 09:03 am

Sepia Saturday 209: Cars and trucks...

Not horse drawn conveyances this Saturday, but the automated kind.

Walter Nathan Brandon, Sr., Ruth Balding Brandon (my grand aunt) and Walter's son, Walter Nathan Brandon, Jr. Photo circa 1932/35.
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The tour bus "at Glen Cove on Pike's Peak" Co. My grand aunt Marion "Murnie" Balding seated back seat, closest to camera. Photo taken 12 Aug 1929.
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The Williams Grocer Co., owned by my great grandfather, Jo Desha Williams, made home deliveries. Photo taken before the business went belly-up prior to 1920.
 photo WillamsGrocerwagon.jpg

This is a Sepia Saturday post. Head over there for other old photos and postcards.
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-12-25 09:25 am

Celebrating holy days

Well wishes for the season come to the cottage this morning.

Although the majority of my ancestors through six or seven generations have been Christian, I am not. During this month, the followers of many faith traditions have at least one major holy day, others more than one. My personal celebration is on the winter solstice.

No matter what your faith, I hope your holy day celebration this month finds you warm and safe, surrounded by the joy and laughter of the people you love.
I leave you with a photo of Grandma's table, where this morning I am mindful of my many blessings.

 photo Grandmastable122513.jpg


I don't know what kind of action it saw in her home, but here at the cottage for the past nine years, Grandma's table has hosted countless meals, served a gazillion cups of coffee (and not a few beers), and been a place where the people I love can kick back and feel free to laugh, cry and let their hair down.

This 64 year old table bears the scars of well loved use. I suspect it has borne witness to many secrets.

All my cats have used it for a regal perch. I manage my finances at the table, journal random musings and tarot readings in a succession of leather bound volumes, wrap gifts, complete handcrafted creations, and contemplate this journey called life.

The journey is good.

Joy to you on your holy day.