Saturday, November 27, 2010

Great Photo from the Texas Castellaws

The family of Jeremiah Fletcher and Mary Aurelia Blaydes Castellaw
Back row: Lucy Albina "Bina" Castellaw Cobb and Albert "Al" Lafayette Cobb, Likely Arthur Fletcher Castellaw, Jack Castellaw, Thomas Jefferson "Tom" and Helen Moody Castellaw, Rosie Whitamose (girl the Castellaws raised) and Egbert Castellaw
Front row: Paul Cobb & Flynn Cobb, Jelks F. Castellaw, Jeremiah Fletcher Castellaw, Charlie Castellaw (in framed photo) Mary Aurelia "Pus" Castellaw, and Jessie Beatrice Castellaw. (Myrtle Castellaw died when a small child).
I think the great thing about the internet and genealogy is, it allows people who appreciate their ancestors to connect and share stories, photos, documents and other pieces of history. My recently-discovered cousin, Lynn Graves from Texas, just posted this awesome picture of our descendants on his Facebook page. I love the fact that someone on this branch of the tree was a bike-rider. You can see it on the porch leaning against the wall.

Lynn and I share a relative in Thomas Jefferson Castellaw and his second wife, Mary Cole. He was my third great grandfather. He was quite wealthy, was a substantial land-owner and was very active at Zion Baptist Church beginning in 1839.

T.J. Castellaw Obituary

"Brother T.J. Castellaw. Sr. died the 23rd December 1878 at the residence of his son, G. W. Castellaw, near Jones Station. T.J. Castellaw Sr. died in the 71st year of his age. He was born in Bertie County, North Carolina on the 15th September 1808. He moved to Haywood County, Tennessee while young. He married Mary Cole at age of thirty-one years. He professed religion about 1839 and joined Zion. He was a sufferer for many years before died."
My second great grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Castellaw Jr. was a brother of Jeremiah Fletcher Castellaw whose family is pictured in the photo. Jeremiah took off for Ennis, Texas and lived a while with his family. After several of his children died, he left Ennis and returned to Haywood County, TN.

Fortunately, Lynn's mother took the time to write the identities of each of the people in the photo so we know exactly who each person is: 

Looking at a variety of other sources, including Joe Cobb's book, we can know what happened to most of the people in the photo.

Fletcher and Mary Aurelia Blaydes Castellaw
After returning to Haywood County, TN, Fletcher and Mary's home was on Poplar Corner Rd. about a half mile from Holly Grove Baptist Church. Mary's nickname was "Puss" and both she and Fletcher were very well liked in the community. Fletcher was very prosperous and they had nine children. Fletcher died in 1915 and Mary died 18 years later. They are both buried in the Holly Grove Baptist church cemetery.

Al and "Bina" Cobb
Fletcher's daughter Albina or Bina as she was called, married a son of Sim Cobb named Albert Lafayette who was also called "Bud Al."  Sim Cobb was a brother of William Thomas Cobb, my maternal third great grandfather and Mourning Adeline Cobb Watridge, my paternal second great grandmother so both Al and Bina are on my family tree. You can read more about the Cobb Family here.
According to Joe Cobb's book, Al was handsome, witty and good conversationalist. However, he ended up loosing his property for whatever reason. Al and Bina moved to Ennis with Fletcher in 1896. They had three children and shortly after the third child was born, Bina died and was burred in the Myrtle Cemetery.  Al returned to Haywood County, TN by 1900. Their three children, Alice, Paul and Harry, were living in the household of Al's father Sim along with Ida and Dorsey T. Watridge. Al Cobb later married Lenora "Nonie" Thomas and he and Lenora raised Alice and Paul. They also had three other children. Fletcher and Mary Castellaw raised Harry Cobb.  Al died of a heart attack in 1936 and he and his second wife are burred in the Holly Grove Baptist Church cemetery.

Thomas Jefferson and Helen Moody Castellaw
Fletcher's son, Thomas Jefferson and his wife Helen also returned to Haywood Co., TN. They built a house across from Holly Grove Baptist Church and the school that was on the corner of Poplar Corner and Dr. Hess Rd. They were also members of that church and he was a magistrate. They had three children, J. Clarence, Grace and Moody. He died in 1940 at the age of 69. His obituary mentions two sons, Moody and Clarence and one daughter, Grace Powell.

Jack Castellaw
Jack Castellaw probably stayed in Ennis, Texas. He married Lila Janie Pender from Abilene. Jack eventually opened a drug store in Ennis and became very successful there. He and Lila's son Jack was a scorekeeper for the Baylor basketball team and was killed when the team bus, on the way to a game,  was hit by a train. They are now referred to as "The Immortal Ten." You can read more about that here. Jack died in 1951 and Lila in 1969 and both are buried in the Myrtle Cemetery in Ennis, TX. Prior to her death, Lila made a significant donation to Baylor University for the construction of the Castellaw Communications Center named in memory of her son.

Jelks Castellaw
Jelks left Haywood County and returned to Texas where he opened a men's clothing store, eventually becoming the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce in Ennis, TX, organizing the first Texas State Fair and creating a magazine called "Texas Livestock Journal." He died in 1966 in San Antonio at the age of 78 and was buried in Gilmer, Texas. He was survived by his wife Mildred, a son Bill J. and a daughter, Mrs. J.D. Graves.

Egbert O. Castellaw
Egbert returned to Haywood Co., TN and never married. He died in 1941 at 92 and is buried in the Holly Grove Baptist Church cemetery.

Jessie Beatrice Castellaw
Jessie married J.H. Shettlesworth and moved to Memphis. She had three sons, John Jelks, Jesse Hugh and Charles.

Pat Castellaw
This is likely Arthur Fletcher Castellaw who died in 1899 at age 19. You can imagine this may have been one of the final blows that caused the family to return to Haywood Co., TN.

You can read lots more about The Castellaw Family on my site Haywood County Line.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Preparing for the Pilgrams

So since this is Thanksgiving, it seems fitting to mention my ninth great grandfather, Joseph Cobb. He basically showed up in the new world, turned on the heat, got the turkey in the oven and greeted the Pilgrims when they finally showed up.

I've been focusing on the Cobb family and found some fascinating ancestors but Joseph is important because he was truly one of the first to try and settle in America.

Joseph arrived in Jamestown in 1613 on a ship called The Treasurer. This was seven years before the Pilgrams landed at Plymouth Rock.

Once Joseph was dropped off, the captain of the ship, Samuel Argall, lured Pocahontas on board and kidnapped her to use as ransom to negotiate for the release of English prisoners. Everyone knows how that turned out. She fell in love, got married and signed a contract with Disney.

Joseph was classified as "a gentleman, entitled by rank to wear a sword and trained by experience to use one." He brought his wife and family over and started a plantation.

He has been designated an "ancient planter" meaning he arrived in Virginia before 1616, remained for three years and paid for his passage." When he arrived there were a little more than 1,200 English living in the Colonies.

Although, when he died in 1654, he did not have a huge amount of wealth, he did begin the line that would eventually result in me so for that, especially at Thanksgiving, I am grateful.

You can read all about the Cobb Family on the Cobb page of

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Looking for George Phenney

Standing in Fort Fincastle on the Island of Nassau
I recently wrote about Penelope Golland Maule Lovick Phenney Johnston who was my seventh great grandmother. Her third husband was George Phenney who was the second Colonial Governor of the Bahama Islands and lived on the island of Nassau before he married Penelope. I recently found myself alone in Nassau with a day to kill so I decided to try and find some evidence of Phenney on the island. He was there from 1721 - 1727. I started with tours of two forts, Fort Fincastle and Fort Charlotte.

According to the sign on the wall Fort Fincastle was completed in 1793. It was built by Lord Dunmore who named it after his second title. No luck there since it was built a few years after Phenney died.

Cannon at Fort Charlotte
Next stop was Ft. Charlotte.  Built a little earlier, this one was completed in 1789, also by Lord Dunmore and was named after the wife of King George. Dunmore was the last royal governor of the Colony of Virginia. There was an underground well and some interesting places to store weapons and food but no sign of Phenney so I moved on.

Nassau Public Library & Museum

Next stop was the library. I had to ask around quite a bit but it was only a few blocks away from the main strip. The librarian was very helpful but the only mention of George Phenney was in a book that I had actually checked out of the Memphis Public Library so that was no good. It was an interesting library in that it was very small but overflowing with books in several hallways that led out from the small, circular main room. "Absolutely No Photography" signs were everywhere so I obeyed the rule. I only had one more chance to find Phenney before I headed back to the ship. Like everyone who lived in that area at the time, Phenney had to deal with Pirates. So I checked out the Pirates Museum.

On the deck of a fake pirate ship at The Pirate Museum in Nassau.

The Pirate Museum was your typical tourist attraction that included a guy dressed as a pirate and screaming "arrrrg" in front of the building. I have a feeling the people who own the museum are very grateful to Johnny Depp.  Inside the museum were some little scenes of pirate life back in the day and pirate trivia questions on the wall. Finally, toward the end of the tour, right before the pirate giftshop, on a wall hung what I had been looking George Phenney sighting.

Next to a manaquen representing Woodes Rogers was this panel that said:

The Last Years of Woodes Rogers
Having sent Captain Woods Rogers to the Bahamas to drive out the pirates, the British government proptly abandoned him...He was forced by ill health to return to London and was replaced as Governor by George Phenney who proved totally ineffective.

Ouch. That doesn't seem very fair. One thing I do know is that his wife at the time is credited with introducing basket weaving to the natives. Although she did enslave many of the people of the Bahamas, forcing them to work for free and creating a monopoly on trade. She was also accused of bullying competitors and threatening other businesses on the island at the time. But, come on, basket weaving is obviously still effecting the economy on the island since there were ladies selling woven things everywhere.

I tried to change history a little by letting a few basket selling ladies know that my seventh great grandmother's third husband's first wife was the one responsible for their career but they just wanted my money and I was getting hungry so I headed back to the cruise ship happy in the knowledge that at least I had located George Phenney.

You can read more about George and Penelope on my Web site.