Saturday, October 8, 2011


     It is interesting to see where our names come from.  Many mothers use their maiden name as a first or middle name for a child.  The father's name is often used with another name; sometimes both names used and the child becomes a Jr. or II.

     On one family tree, cousin Elva's name  is from great Aunt Elva Jane, Agnes Vivian is from her Aunt Zola Vivian, and Uncle Rupert is from his Uncle Rupert Edwin.  Elbert's first name is from his father, Cecil Elbert Turner, and his name from George Elbert Light, an uncle born in 1880.  There was Iowa Catherine Vipperman Light (Elbert's great grandmother).  Everyone called her "Catty".  I like Iowa.  My daughter's name is Aleta Ellen--my middle name is Ellen, from grandmother Martha Ellen Turner Hollandsworth and her mother Sarah Ellen Martin Turner.  Aleta's daughter is Chloe Jean-Ellen Wood--both of her grandmothers' middle names.

     Aleta's name came from the Sunday comics--Prince Valiant.  His wife is called Queen Aleta--a beautiful blonde--reminds me of my daughter.  I was named for the daughter of one of the founders of Bassett Furniture Company.  My mother said she thought Avis was a pretty name and she was a pretty woman.  It is easy to help people remember my name when I say:  "Just like the car company, Avis Rent-a-Car--I'm #2, but I try harder".  Not long ago I heard on the news, that Hertz had dropped from #1 to #2--Enterprise Car Rental is now #1, and Avis, #3.  Oh well, I'm still trying--hard as I can.

Josiah Booth Conner

     My husband's middle name is Conner, his mother's maiden name is Conner--4th child of Josiah Conner and second wife, Sallie Wood.  Josiah was born on June 3, 1858, son of Daniel Conner and Anna McAlexander.  He married 1st Malinda Ellen "Ellie" Tuggle on January 8, 1879; he was 21, she was 17.  They had nine children:  Nannie Jane, Daniel Columbus, Sallie Lou, Lelia Etter, Posey John, Lena May, Loretta Anice, Marion Josiah, and Lucy Ellie.  Josiah and his family made their home on a large farm in the Lone Ivy section of Patrick County, Virginia.  The house was a white two-story with porches and pretty Victorian trim.  Ellie Tuggle Conner died on May 21, 1899, age 36.

     Josiah Booth Conner married 2nd Sallie Lou Jane Wood, nicknamed "Tippy", on June 13, 1901; he was 43, she was 25.  They had five children:  James Benjamin, Irby Elijah, William Jefferson, Gladys Elizabeth, and a baby that died at birth.  Miss Tippy died on August 20, 1914 in childbirth at age 38.

     Josiah married 3rd Mary Elizabeth Wood, Sallie's first cousin; both were 57 years old.  They had no children.  All children in the first and second families affectionately called her "Miss Mary".  Josiah Conner was a county supervisor for the Smith River District at the time of his death.  He had served in that capacity for many years.  He died on November 24, 1922, age 64, nine days after an accident near his home.  He was cutting a tree down.  It fell against another tree and knocked a limb off, which hit Josiah on the head.  He was semi-conscious during this time, singing hymns at times--then he got pneumonia.  Jim Cockram preached the funeral on the back porch on a very, very cold day.  Miss Mary died on September 22, 1937, age 79.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Old Iron Mine


I took this picture on July 27 when Edith, Peggy and I went on a Family Tree Trip.  This is one of the closed Iron Mines on the Stuart's Knob Iron Mine Trail at Fairy Stone State Park.  To the left, before the mine entrance was a large mound of "tailings".  Iron ore is broken down to separate the good iron ore from worthless sand and rock.  The ore is removed and waste is discarded--thus the mound of waste called "tailings".

The Park brochure tells us the iron mines operated off and on between 1780 and 1911.  After the Civil War, Sam Hairston purchased the land, later selling to J. B. Fishburn and Associates who operated the mine under the name Virginia Ore and Lumber Company from about 1906-1911.  The mines were closed due to pig iron imported at the same price, already smelted (refined and separated).  Mr. Fishburn became the sole owner of property in the mine area; he gave the land to the state of Virginia for the purpose of building a state park in the 1930's.

From a description written for the old Henry County Historical Society's tour of old homes we read about Hordsville, one of many Hairston plantations.  Date of tour was May 16, 1970.  "Located 10 miles west of Martinsville between Bassett and Fieldale is the brick, three-story, ante-bellum plantation house built in 1813 by Colonel George "Rusty" Hairston, while he was a senator in Richmond.  The 12-room mansion, with a cozy fireplace in every room, sits atop a small knoll, surrounded by flower gardens, lawn, huge boxwoods and towering trees.  There's a lot of iron work at Hordsville:  iron bases for the front porch pillars, even iron dishes.  This is because the founder of the Hairston Plantation had an iron works situated where the state's Fairy Stone Park is now.  The original plantation consisted of over 1,000 acres.  The land was bought from John Hord, who was born in England in 1700, and got the land from King George of England."

On August 6, 1967, my mother and father went on the Iron Mine Trail.  This is what she wrote in the Park brochure under Notes:  "This is a winding trail--Some real big trees--and after you get about no. 5 or 6 (mines), not so bad--winds back and forth until you are way up high, then winding back down hill--really enjoyed this old mine trail."

I hope everyone enjoys learning about history, visiting places that we can, and are lucky enough to have some mementoes of those places.  I especially appreciate this note, handwritten by my mother, Ida Carter (1913-2000).  My father died in 1970.
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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Let's Go Tracing!

     I began tracing our family trees years ago, before computers and the internet made it easier.  I had a portable Royal typewriter, then a regular Royal typewriter that I once used at a temporary job with Turner Brothers Lumber Company.  Next, I borrowed an IBM Selectric, it was later given to me, and finally conked out; it was getting hard to find ribbons for it, anyway.  I need a new computer now, (2nd one I've had), but I still miss my typewriter. 

     I've gotten family tree info from many primary sources:  family Bibles, scrapbooks with obituaries, diaries, letters, and interviews with older relatives.  I've visited courthouses, Virginia State Archives, and local cemeteries.

     In the 1970's I was working on my husband's family tree--especially his great grandfather Turner.  James Tyler Turner was born July 26, 1853.  He died December 17, 1933, age 80.  I visited his grave in a cemetery on the hill behind the site of Central Academy School in Patrick County.  It was October, 1972--we visited several cemeteries and old home-places that day--my-laws, Cecil and Gladys Turner, and my four-year-old daughter, Aleta.  We had a picnic on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  My father-in-law who was a Primitive Baptist minister for 50 years remarked, "This is as much fun as a barrel of monkeys!"  James Tyler Turner (who was Cecil's grandfather) married Eleanor Martha Plasters.  Her parents were Creed William Plasters and Ruhamey Griffith.  James Tyler's parents were William "Billy" Green Turner (born February 3, 1830, died January 14, 1904, almost 74) and Mary Jane Vaughan (born ca. 1832, died September 13, 1904, age 72).  James and Eleanor had five children:  Rufus Filmore married Emma Lawson; Creed William married Annie Malinda Light; Maybelle, single; Rozanna "Rose" married S. J. "Boss" Williams; and "Hamey".

     Creed William Turner, born August 29, 1884, had a farm a mile or so from his father's gravesite.  "Creed Will" died April 4, 1965, age 81.  Annie Light's parents were Andrew Jackson Light and Iowa Catherine Vipperman.  Annie was born January 30, 1884, died February 9, 1952, age 68.  Creed Will and Annie had nine children:  Cecil Elbert married Gladys Elizabeth Conner, Grenville Conway married Dovie Adeline Morrison, Arnold Jackson married Susie Vaughn, Alice Gwendolyn married Carl Lawson, Agnes Vivian married George Lee Thomas, Verona Ethel married Davis Stowe, Wanda Catherine married 1st Paul Conway, 2nd Sam Handy, Rupert William married Irene Roberson, Norman Puer married Virginia Frances

     It was a good day for tracing the tree and seeing old home-places and cemeteries.  I was so pleased that my father-in-law enjoyed it.  He was always serious when talking about the Bible and preaching in church, but he had a fun side, too.

     A few weeks ago, my sister Edith, and our double-first cousin Peggy, rode out tracing--trying to find where our grandmother Hollandsworth had lived in Patrick County.  We think we found the spot, nothing to see anymore; but we went on the Iron Mine Trail in Fairy Stone State Park.  We enjoyed our trip; stopped at a little restaurant on the way home, and began planning for more trips.  We'll take water to drink, maybe a picnic lunch, and plenty bug spray!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

John Jackson Hollandsworth

     My great grandfather was a Civil War veteran.  His name was John Jackson Hollandsworth, called "Jack".  He was born April 21, 1838 in Franklin County, Virginia.

     Jack Hollandsworth enlisted in the Confederate Army at age 25 on August 1, 1863 at Christiansburg, Virginia in Montgomery County.  He was a Private in Company K, 22nd Regiment, Virginia Cavalry, McAustin's Brigade.  Enlistment was for a period of three years.  His Captain was John Francis.

     After serving for a little over one year, he was captured at Strasburg, September 23, 1864.  J. J. Hollandsworth's name appeared on a Roll of Prisoners of War at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, captured by General Sheridan's Forces, and sent to Point Lookout, Maryland on September 30, 1864. 

     J. J. Hollandsworth's name appeared as signature to a Roll of Prisoners of War paroled at Point Lookout, Maryland and transferred to Aiken's Landing, Virginia March 17, 1865, for exchange.

     In an interview with my grandfather's sister, Naomi Hollandsworth Holley, she remembered her father raring back in his chair telling about battles in Gettysburg.  After the war, his nickname was "General Jackson".  He died February 13, 1920, age 82.  Jack Hollandsworth is buried in the Cahill Cemetery next to his wife, Orpah Anne Cahill Hollandsworth, who died in 1933, one day shy of her 88th birthday.

Information from copies of original records ordered by Avis C. Turner, personal research, and interviews.

     An item in the Martinsville Bulletin's Stroller on June 24, 2011, told about a new interactive online resource.  "Walk in Their Footsteps" helps visitors identify and follow Civil War Regiments through battles in Virginia.  The history and genealogy resources.
     I recently found interesting maps and lists of Virginia battles.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Pounding

Several days after his father died, Clifford went to a nearby store in the wagon to get some corn meal ground. He came back with 6 pokes of flour, 1 sack of Daisy Middlings, 1 sack of meal, 10 pounds of sugar, 2 pounds of coffee, one dollar's worth of beans, an envelope of money, and this note:

"Whereas the said Homer Carter met with death in an areplain (sic) and has left a wife and fore (sic) children and they are weakly and left them very dependent and we the people feel it our duty to give her money to help her bar (sic) her many berdens (sic) and sign our name below."

Two sheets of lined paper listed 85 names and their contributions totaling $161.50.  I'm sure the custom of helping neighbors out in time of need by giving a "pounding" (a pound of sugar, flour, coffee, etc.) and the gifts of money made things a little easier for Annie Carter and her children.

Annie died two years later on June 1, 1928, age 37, after a measles epidemic.  The four children stayed on the farm until December, when the place was sold.  Then, they came to Bassett and boarded with various friends and relatives.

The Day the Airplane Fell

On that Sunday afternoon in the spring of 1926 I can picture friends, neighbors, relatives, old and young, watching the airplane rides from the edge of a large, open field.  It must have been exciting to the farmers, housewives, and children to watch this still "new-fangled" flying machine take off, circle around with each passenger, then land--safely--and to hear each person telling of the thrill of their airplane ride.

Homer Carter watched and listened intently.  He really wanted to go up in that airplane, but had forgotten his "pocketbook".  Suddenly, someone said, "Go on Homer, it's your turn."

Homer Carter declined.  Then, "I dare you!".

Homer replied, "I don't have the money."  So, a hat was passed among the spectators and the fee was collected.  Ironically, as Homer and the pilot walked toward the airplane, someone playfully teased, "What kind of flowers do you want for the funeral?"

My dad, Homer's only son, stood watching apprehensively.  Fifteen year old Clifford had on a new pair of shoes that fateful Sunday, but when that airplane fell, he tore across the field as hard as he could.  As Homer was being put into a vehicle for transportation to the hospital, a relative told the children to tell their father good-bye.  Clifford watched helplessly as Homer spoke his last and only words, "I'm cold."

My grandfather Homer Richard Carter, who married Annie Lura Young in 1907, died May 3, 1926, age 40, from his injuries in the plane crash near Henry Station in Franklin County, Virginia.  The pilot was not hurt.


Little stories do make genealogy more interesting.