Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Update on the Gunter and Marbury Families

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The Claiborne and Martha Gunter Family, Likely mid-1890s

Being able to use social networks to connect with others researching the same family lines is such a significant part of my genealogy addiction, I have a hard time imagining what it would be like now to work without it.

Last year, I blogged about a photo of the Claiborne and Martha Gunter family I received from a cousin, Janet Marbury.

At the time, I was trying to figure out the identity of Rush Marbury's first wife and the exact connection between Andrew Francis Marbury and the Claiborne Gunter family.

Rush Marbury was the brother of my 3rd great-grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Marbury (who was the father of Hardy Joyner Marbury, who was the father of Allie Ern Marbury Brantley, who was the mother of Virginia Brantley Lovelace who was the mother of my mother, Shirley Lovelace Williams).

This week I received an email from Karen Hunter who has also been researching the Gunter family and she provided both the identity of the individuals in the Gunter photo above AND a photo of Rush's first wife, Alice Gunter Marbury.
Included in the photo above are:
Back row: John Wesley Gunter (some in family think he may be Lafayette), Robert Joshua Gunter, Arch Fiddler (a neighbor, 1900 census lists him as an "orphan" living with Claiborne and Martha), Isiah (sic) Lafayette Gunter, and Perry Oliver Gunter.
Seated: Tommye (possibly a nickname) Gunter, Claiborne Gunter, Martha Dallas Gunter, and Netta (possibly Jeanetta) Gunter.

Photo from Karen Hunter

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Siblings John Wesley Gunter and Alice Gunter Marbury

It was also great to get confirmation of Rush's first wife and actually get to see a photo of her.

What I now know about Alice Gunter Marbury is that she married Rush Marbury then they had a son, Andrew Francis Marbury, on 5 May 1883. It appears they were living in Arkansas after their marriage.

Alice died when her son Andrew was very young and he stayed in Arkansas to live with her family, Claiborne and Martha Gunter, while his father returned to Haywood County, Tenn.

Rush married Delilah Mann on 17 Oct 1888 so Alice was already deceased when the photo at the top was taken in the mid-1890s. Rush was likely already back in Haywood County living with his father and step-mother, otherwise, he would have been in the Gunter family photo.

Photo from Janet Marbury

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Left to right, back row: Alice Marbury Cobb, Jesse T. Cobb, May Anne
Marbury, Owen Marbury, David Marbury, Juanita Marbury, Janet Marbury,
Mable Ruth Holladay Marbury, May Ethel Marbury, Andrew Earl Marbury
Clarice Marbury Overton, Marcia Overton, and Charles Horace Overton Jr.

Front row: Andrew Frances Marbury, Frances Adien Cain Marbury
and Charles Phillip Overton

Andrew lived in Haywood County for the rest of his life. He married Frances Adian Cain and together they had five children. Andrew named his first daughter, Alice, after his mother.

Andrew, who was referred to as a "substantial citizen" in his obituary, died on 5 July 1955 and was buried in the Zion Baptist Church cemetery.

You can find more about the Marbury family on their page on my website.

For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or to check out the genealogy research about my specific family lines, go to my Haywood County Line Genealogy Website.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Closer Look at the Chas. H. Organ Docking Near Memphis

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The Chas. H. Organ Landing at Mound City
Copyright Dec. 31, 1910, Library of Congress

I was recently exploring the Library of Congress Digital Photography Collection and came across a great photo of a ferry landing in Mound City, Ark., right across from Memphis, sometime before 1910.

Also referred to as a "river packet," ferryboats like this shipped cotton grown in the south to northern industrial towns and also ferried residents up and down the river.

The Chas. H. Organ was built in 1897 for the Corps of Engineers and was later owned by the West Memphis Packet Company.

A case argued before the Tennessee Supreme Court, Foppiano v. Speed, in 1905 included a few details about this particular boat.

Companies selling beer or liquor in Memphis were required to pay a tax to Shelby County. James Foppiano leased the bar on the Chas. H. Organ but did not pay taxes because he claimed he was "engaged in interstate commerce and not subject to be taxed by the state." Details in the arguments of this case included:
"For more than four years last past the West Memphis Packet Company had used and employed the steamboat Chas. H. Organ as its regular ferryboat in carrying on the ferry aforesaid...operating a ferry across the Mississippi river from Hopefield Point, in Crittenden county, Arkansas, and other points adjacent thereto in the state of Arkansas...had been making landings regularly, at its dock, at the wharf in the city of Memphis on the Mississippi river and there receiving and discharging freight and passengers transported or to be transported by means of such ferry along and across the Mississippi River."
The book, "Standard History of Memphis, Tennessee," written in 1912 by Judge J. P. Young also includes a reference to this ferry.
"The West Memphis Packet Company at the foot of Court Avenue, runs the steamer Charles H. Organ several times daily to Hopefield, Mound City, President's Island and Wyanoke. This boat is much patronized by excursionists and pleasure seekers." p. 394 
The copyright for this photo was entered in the copyright office on Dec. 31, 1910 by the Detroit Publishing Company. Started by publisher William A. Livingstone and photographer Edwin H. Husher in the late 19th-century, they took thousands of photos which were used for the production of postcards.

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What makes this photo really interesting is the incredible high-resolution and clarity of events taking place in the background as the Chas. H. Organ was sitting at the dock.

When you first see the digital photo, which was made from an 8 x 10 dry plate negative, all you see is a white horse standing in front of a boat. But when you zoom in the background, you can make out much of the action in surprising detail.
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From the upper-class passengers up top, whose attention is directed at the nervous mule creating a raucous on the dock below, to the working-class African American workers who were only a generation away from slavery, the activity captured in the photo is mesmerizing.

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These three passengers appear to be casually checking out the action taking place behind the dock. They seem bored with it all and have the same look people today have when riding a city bus.

I wonder if that's some of Foppiano's adult beverages in the barrel behind them?

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Slavery had ended only about 50 years prior to this photo so this older lady in the apron could have been a slave as a young girl. She and the lady next to her appear to have some sort of service job at the dock. Perhaps they are cooks? It seems as though she had just finished some chore, wiped her hands on her apron and stepped outside to check out all the action.

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She and the man standing on a pile of lumber are the only two who seem interested in what the photographer was doing. He turned and looked right at the moment the photo was taken.

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Many of those waiting on the dock appear to be dressed for a pleasure trip rather than for work and a lot of them are holding baskets that I assume hold food.

In 1918, the Patton-Tully Transportation Company purchased the Chas. H. Organ from the West Memphis Packet Company and renamed it the Dan Quinn. Their website states it was used to barge logs around Memphis. 

The Dan Quinn was dismantled in 1933 and the hull was converted to a barge. The Detroit Publishing Company declared bankruptcy in 1924 and was liquidated in 1932.

Fortunately, most of the existing negatives and prints are now housed by the Library of Congress so through them, we can get a small glimpse into the past.

For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or to check out the genealogy research about my specific family lines, go to my Haywood County Line Genealogy Website.

Friday, November 15, 2013

If Truman Capote and Diane Arbus threw a party in Haywood County, this is what it would look like

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These incredibly strange photos were taken at my paternal grandparent's house. They are unusual for several reasons. Obviously, a bunch of older adults dressed as...um...in strange costumes -- and then posed like they're at Studio 54 is fascinating.

But also, I'm certain anyone who knew Bo and Elizabeth Williams would not have considered them big party-throwers. 

The one in the middle with the flower is my grandmother or "Granny" as we called her. 

Another odd thing about these photos is that you can't tell where their early 1960s clothing ends and their costumes begin. I am guessing most of them are wearing the glasses they wore every day. 

It's like the theme of the party was "just do something weird to yourself." A lot of them rolled up their pants legs like they were almost wearing shorts. Scandalous.

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"Daddy Bo," my grandfather, is the one wearing a bow-tie. I'm pretty sure he's wearing make-up as well. No judgment.

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This photo shows off my grandparents den furnishings really well. I was born around this time so I can say with confidence, most of this stayed as it was until my grandfather's death in 2008.

Through the years, it would fill up with lots of photos of their adult children and grandchildren but that was about it. You can get a sense of the decor of their house on this blog entry I posted a few years ago.

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I am guessing these party guests were from my grandparent's church, Holly Grove Baptist Church. I can also say with confidence, no alcohol was served at this party. My grandmother was a teetotaler.

One summer when I was a kid, my parents dropped me off at Granny and Daddy Bo's to spend a few days. Once my parent's left, she said, "Go look in the 'frigerator and you'll see Pat's blue ribbon." Since I have a cousin named Pat, that made some sort of sense, but the way she said it indicated I was going to see something memorable.

Even when I saw the can of beer sitting there in fridge, intentionally separated from everything else, it still didn't make sense to me.

Until she pointed out the name and laughed. It was Pabst Blue Ribbon. She took it out, sat it on the table and told me how bad it would be to drink it and that if she didn't want to try out a recipe for beer bread, she would never allow this in her house.

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Unfortunately, I forgot the story she told next but it had something to do with her being a young girl and someone -- it may have been one of her older Castellaw brothers -- having some sort of "honkey-tonk" in a basement where they made moonshine. She didn't attend the festivities but she knew they would dance, drink and sin all night long because there was a small window close to the ground and she would spy on them. She made sure I knew every one of those people's lives were eventually ruined by alcohol so I should never drink. 

She finally pointed out that we had nothing to worry about making bread though because anything bad would burn away while the bread was cooking. 

Still, I remember eating that bread seemed awfully sinful and I was certain I felt a little dizzy after eating it.

I never see the Pabst Blue Ribbon logo that I don't think about her and those sinful basement honkey-tonk parties. 

For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or to check out the genealogy research about my specific family lines, go to my Haywood County Line Genealogy Website.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

19th Century Self Branding

Look at me, look at me.

Some might think that "selfies," photos people take of themselves and then share online, are one of the first forms of using photography for self branding, however, I just learned that photography had been used for this purpose, at a much earlier point in history.

I recently purchased a collection of 75 photos on ebay. They were called "carte de viste" cards and, to be honest, I really had no idea what I was buying but they looked interesting. Below are just a few of the cards that were in the assortment. While most of the photos were of men, there were also a few of couples.

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Carte de vista, which means "visiting card" in french, was a small photo printed on thin paper but mounted to a thicker card stick. The process, invented by french photograher André Adolphe Eugène Disdéri in 1854, allowed for eight images to be taken with one negative. Sharing photos of yourself in this format eventually became so popular, "cardomania" as it was called, spread across Europe and into the United States.

As it turns out, CDVs as they are called for short, combine three of my favorite interests: photography, history, and advertising.

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During the mid-ninteenth century, when people visited someone's home it was the custom to present their calling card. With the development of this affordable photographic process, they were able to leave a photo behind instead.

It became customary for living rooms of the wealthy and middle class to include baskets or albums full of the CDVs of their friends and family. I guess that was the first "friends list."

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Photo of Will Curtis taken in Elmira, New York

About the same size as a baseball card, the earliest CDVs had no border. According to an article in Phototree.com c. 1862, one or two thin lines were used to outline the picture area. In 1864, two lines became popular and in the early 1870s, much thicker lines became the trend.
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In 1862, the craze for these cards had become so great, poet and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes noted, “Card portraits as everybody knows have become the social currency, the green-backs of civilization.”

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Many of the backs were printed or stamped advertisements for the photographer. Some hired illustrators to help them create a brand for their studio and they kept the negatives on file for when customers wanted reprints. "Additional copies can be had any time" appears on the back of many CDVs. The price of these photos was affordable for most people, averaging six for $1.00.

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From President Abraham Lincoln and the British royal family to abolitionists and actors, mass producing CDVs for purchase by the public became a promotional and public relations tactic for those who had a cause or personality on which to capitalize. In some circles, collecting CDVs of famous people became a contest and robust collections became a source of great pride.

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According to "Victorian Cartes-de-visite" by Robin and Carol Wichard, both Queen Victoria of England and Empress Elisabeth of Austria were passionate collectors. Queen Victoria eventually filled 36 albums with photos and Queen Elisabeth used her position to seek out photos from around the world. Her collection even included some of the women who were part of the harem of the Sultan of Turkey.
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This form of photography for the masses gave a financial boost to the profession and also introduced the concept of celebrity photography.

An article in the Photographic News on Feb. 27, 1885 includes the fact that the most popular CDV had at that point sold over 300,000 copies. It was of the Princess of Wales carrying her daughter on her back. Ironic, considering 112 years later another Princess of Wales would experience a disastrous outcome with photographers attempting to take her photo.

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It seems we Americans also became obsessed with CDVs that depicted those with unusual physical features like conjoined twins, bearded ladies and those who traveled in circuses and western shows during this time. Leave it to us to create the equivalent of a 19th century reality show.

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Many of the studios included fancy furniture, backdrops and clothing that customers could rent, allowing working-class folk to pose for photos that presented themselves in a higher class. 

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From August 1864 to August 1866 CDV photography was taxed and the revenue was used to help pay for the Civil War. If a CDV has a stamp on the back, you know it was taken during this period. CDVs became especially popular among soldiers who wanted something to leave behind as they headed off to battle or as a way to hold on to memories of their friends and family back home.

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Some of the cards in the batch I purchased on ebay included the subject's autograph which makes it even more compelling to me. These people, many whom have otherwise been forgotten, left behind a physical reminder that they were here.

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By the early 1870s, the fad had ended and CDVs were replaced by "cabinet cards." These were a larger format and they remained popular until the Brownie was introduced by Eastman Kodak in the 1900s.

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In 1861, the man who first patented the CDV process, Disdéri, was considered the richest photographer in the world. Unfortunately, he didn't save any of the money that he made and when the fad ended, so did his fame and fortune. His last photo gig was as a beach photographer.  Later, in 1890, he died in Paris at a hospital for the poor.

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You can check out a really interesting collection of CDVs on the George Eastman House's Flicker page and a galley of over 1,000 at Phototree.com. This opinion article in the New York Times includes some great info on CDVs and the Civil War.

For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or to check out the genealogy research about my specific family lines, go to my Haywood County Line Genealogy Website.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

More About Civil War Captain Francis J. Wood of Crockett County, Tenn.

In a blog post a few weeks ago, I mentioned Captain Francis J. Wood, the grandson of my 4th great-grandfather and my first cousin four times removed.

Oddly enough, he showed up for me again this week when I received a research document I ordered from AZ Arrow, a company that specializes in collecting and copying articles and information from antique and out-of-print books.

The 54-page spiral bound booklet on Crockett County, Tenn., includes excerpts from three vintage publications including an 1887 book “History of Tennessee,” originally published by Goodspeed Publishing Company, in which a bio about Captain Francis J. Wood appeared.

I was glad to get the article because I was curious what happened to Francis since his father died when he was just two and his mother died when he was 19.
“Capt. Francis J. Wood was born January 27, 1839, in this county once Haywood, and is a son of William and Marina (Manning) Wood, both natives of North Carolina. The father was born in 1812, and died in 1841, in this State. The mother died in 1858. Our subject was the only child born to his parents, and was reared in the country merchandise business by his relatives.  
He continued in the merchandising business till the breaking out of the war, when he assisted in organizing Company G, of the Twenty-seventh Tennessee Infantry, and was elected first lieutenant of the same. At the re-organization at Corinth, Miss., he was elected captain, and served in that capacity till the close of the war. He was severely wounded in the leg at Atlanta, Ga., and, on account of disability, was appointed provost-marshal at Macon, Ga., where he was captured.  
He was paroled at the same place, and was presented a mule by the Federal officers, on which to ride home. For the mule he paid a ransom, viz.: the buttons off his uniform. When he reached Chattanooga, Tenn., the commander of the post would not recognize the parole and placed him in prison, but he was soon released. 
After returning home he engaged in the merchandise business at Laynesville, Tenn., and continued in that business almost exclusively till the date of the organization of the county (1872), when he was elected county court clerk of the same. At the end of six years he engaged in farming and in the merchandise business at this place.  
He was married, February 7, 1871, to Fannie R. Gregory, daughter of Richard and Jane Gregory. To this union were born six children: Ora M., Carrie, Jessie, Katie, Lela and Francis J.  
Our subject is a good citizen and a self-made man. He is a member of the Masonic order; is a chapter member, and is now Master of the same. He is a Democrat, and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. Mrs. Wood is a member of the Christian Church. Mr. Wood presided over the last Democratic convention that was held in the Ninth Congressional District, September 8, 1886.”
The bio of Captain Wood in “History of Tennessee” ends in 1886 when he was 47. 

He and his wife, Fannie, went on to have one more child, a daughter named Patti, in 1893. She died when she was just two, in 1895.

His wife Fannie’s given name was actually Francis so I assume she went by Fannie to avoid the confusion of being a couple referred to as Francis and Francis Wood.

Fannie died in 1896 and was buried in the Belleview Cemetery in Bells, Tenn.

On Christmas Eve 1899, 60-year-old Captain Francis Wood married 39-year-old Susan Emma Smothers. According to the 1900 census, the only child still living at home was 16-year-old Francis J. Wood Jr. who went by the name of Frank. (Frank would later marry Margaret Castellaw, a daughter of my second great-grandfather Thomas Jefferson Castellaw's half-brother, James W. Castellaw and his wife Rebecca Thomas Castellaw. Another of James and Rebecca's sons, Sam Castellaw, was the father of Olis Castellaw who married my great-uncle, Ovid Lovelace).

In 1905, Captain Wood and Emma had a daughter, Cora Maie Wood. From pension records we also know they had another child who died. 

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Headstone of Captain Francis J. Wood

Captain Francis J. Wood died 17 Apr 1909 at the age of 70 and, like his first wife Fannie, was buried at Belleview Cemetery in Bells.

Emma, Captain Wood’s second wife, would live almost 40 more years.

A quick online search returned the 1907 application by Captain Wood for a Civil War pension and the 1929 indigent pension application by his widow, Emma Wood.

Wood’s application was stamped “Rejected” while Emma’s was stamped “Accepted.”

Follow up on Wood’s application states "he failed to show that he is a pauper, or in indigent circumstances, on the contrary he is in affluence as compared to other old Soldiers and widows of old Soldiers in Tenn.”

His application does include a few additional facts about his war service in the answers he provided.
Question: In what battle or battles were you engaged, and, if not wounded, state what disabilities did you receive, if any?
Answer: I was wounded 22d of July 1864. was in Battles from 20th to 22, Peachtree Creek and others. 

Question: What was the precise nature of your wound or disability, if any?
Answer: I was shot through the right thigh. 

Question: How did you get out of the army, when and where?
Answer: Captured and paroled by Gen. Wilson at Macon Ga 20th April 1865
His wife’s application, submitted 22 years after Wood’s was rejected includes a letter of endorsement from a friend of Emma's that offers a little insight into her life after the death of her husband.
ALAMO, TENN., Mch. 30th 1929

Prof. Claude J. Bell
Nashville, TN

Dear Friend: Am writing you to ask a favor of you for one of our mutual friends. Mrs. Emma Smothers Wood has filed an application for a Pension with the State Pension Board - Confederate, in your city. The application is No. 9338. Said Board will have a meeting in April - do not know the date of meeting. Now the thing I want to ask of you for her is to make it a point to go before this Board during its session and call attention to her application.

Two former Confederate Soldiers - Messrs. Wm. Grant and Thomas J. Evans signed her application, which makes it regular. Capt. Wood willed his property, the most of it at least, to his children, and his youngest daughter, Miss Maie, is now 21 years old so Mrs. Wood is really in need of the Pension. With kindest regards, and thanking you in advance for your interest in this matter, I am your friend,

J. C. W. Nunn
Emma Smothers Wood died 5 Oct 1948 at the age of 87 and her obituary appeared in "The Crockett Times" on Thursday, Oct. 7, 1948.
Mrs. Emma Smothers Woods
Funeral services this Thursday a.m. at the Goosmann Funeral Home in Bells for Mrs. Emma Smothers Woods, who died Tuesday night at a Nursing Home in Memphis, where she had been for several weeks. Rev. J. P. Irion officiating. Burial was in Belleview Cemetery. She leaves her daughter, Mrs. Maie Woods Kerr of Olive Branch, Miss., with whom she had made her home for several years; two grandsons, Billy Woods Kerr and Robert Kerr; two stepdaughters, Mrs. John H. Harris and Mrs. C. J. Montgomery of Bells.
Although this line is a few branches away from me in my family tree, hopefully it will help others in their ancestry research.

For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or to check out the genealogy research about my specific family lines, go to my Haywood County Line Genealogy Website.