Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Envelope Please...and the winner is me.

If you're like me and are into genealogy research then you know just how fun it is to receive from a relative an envelope in the mail that contains photos, obits, or other information. I got to open just that this week, sent from a friend of my family, Carolyn, who is also from Haywood County, TN and someone with whom  I share some common ancestors.

The items she came across and sent to me belonged to her mother and much of it is in reference to members of the Watridge family.

This is an interesting line for me because both my paternal grandparents are descended from William and Milly Thompson Watridge. Hey, don't judge. Haywood County was a small place.
William and Milly Watridge had a son named James who was the father of Martha Jane Watridge, the mother of Will Williams, the father of Lloyd "Bo" Williams, the father of Bob Williams, the father of me.

William and Milly Watridge also had another son named Daniel who was the father of Zula Zera Watridge Castellaw, the mother of Elizabeth Williams, the mother of Bob Williams, the father of me.
The enveloped from Carolyn contained some really interesting items that will help me flesh out some of the Watridge and other families in my tree and fill in some missing dates.

Here are a few of the items that were in the envelope:

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William Conner Watridge
This is William Conner Watridge. On the back of the photo is stamped:
W.W. White
Drawer 1112
Birmingham, ALA

Conner's parents were Champ and Maggie Watridge and their other children were Finis, Joe, C.C. Camilla and Aurelia.

William Conner, who is pictured above, was likely there when his father's leg was cut off.

"Champ had a peg leg. He lost one leg when he and his boys were cutting wood or logs, and a tree kicked back on him and pinned his leg to the ground. There was no one there but his boys. He instructed them how to free him and all the time cautioning them not to panic. They lay a crosscut saw across the tree trunk and proceeded to saw off a section of the tree trunk...Finally, the boys freed their dad and got him to a doctor. The leg had to be amputated because it was so badly mangled."
"Nicholas Cobb Descendants, Neighbors and Relatives 1613 - 1983" by Joe H. Cobb

Conner died at the age of 76 on June 4, 1979. He is buried here at the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in the Hillville Community of Haywood County.

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Many of the visitations and funerals I have attended have taken place, like Conner's, at Brownsville Funeral Home in Haywood County. This is the style of the commemorative sheet that is distributed at the funeral home.

These are really helpful in connecting family lines or filling in missing dates and it's always interesting to see who preached their sermon and who was chosen as pallbearers. In addition to Conner's above, Carolyn's envelope included one of these for:
Betty Brantley Sullivan, Sister of my grandmother, Virginia Brantley Lovelace
Buried at Zion Baptist Church Cemetery, Haywood County, TN

John T. Carlton, Sr., Husband of my Great Aunt Marie Lovelace Carlton
Burried at Lebanon Cemetery, Haywood County, TN

Finis Rye Watridge, Son of Champ Watridge
Buried at Holly Grove Cemetery, Haywood County, TN

Irby Watridge, Brother of Maggie Watridge who was Champ’s wife
Buried in Harmony Cemetery, Haywood County, TN

Mrs. Alva Bruce Watridge, Wife of Irby Watridge
Buried in Harmony Cemetery, Haywood County, TN

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It's really great to get old obituaries from newspapers like this one. They tell so much about a person and are loaded with information. Joe Watridge was another of the sons of Champ Watridge and Conner's brother. You can read his obit and discover a lot about him including things like the fact that he worked for the G. D. Dodson Ford Motor Company in Humboldt, TN in 1928 and later opened his own service station.

Unfortunately, someone at the paper misread what the family had written out and the obit includes, "Mr. Watridge was proceeded in death by two brothers, Comer and Finis Watridge..." rather than the correct name, Conner.

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I suspect this photo of students at Centerville School at the Holly Grove community in Haywood County must have appeared in the "Brownsville States Graphic" at some point. I really need to locate a good copy of this photo because it contains so many of my ancestors including Fowlers, Cobbs, Brantleys, Lovelaces, Booths, Watridges, Joyners, Williams, Marburys, Manns, Whites, and Outlaws. I have never seen a photo with so many of my ancestors in one spot. If you know where I can find a version closer to the original, please email me.

For more information on the Watridge Family, check out their page on

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