Monday, October 13, 2014

More old photos from Haywood County

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Charles Steele, Roy Jr. Simpson, Blondell Taylor, Maurice Earl Steele
Gene Smith, Mary Grace Kerr Edwwards, Betty Castellaw Ross
Marian Booth Warren, Maxine Lovelace Stewart, Evelyn Castellaw,
Mable Duffy (possibly), Jesse Thomas White and Bobby or
Billy Waddell (they were twins).

When I was back home in Tennessee for the Lovelace Family Reunion, Fay Booth McAbee brought along a couple of photos to see if anyone could identify anyone pictured. We figured out a few at the reunion but for the rest, I turned to Facebook. Several of my Facebook friends (and real world cousins) either knew some of the people in the photo or printed it and shared the photo with parents.

I've added the names of those who have been identified. If you know any of the others, please email me.

Maxine Lovelace and Evelyn Castellaw, who are in the photo on the right, were both my first cousin, one times removed. Maxine was born in 1926 and Evelyn in 1929. If they were 18 or so in this photo, it must have been taken around 1945.

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Allen School, 1890s

This photo came from the genealogy room at the Elma Ross Public Library in Brownsville, Tennessee. It was taken in the 1890s at the school in the Allen Community of Haywood County. Notes on the back of the photo indicate the school was located close to where Russell Kirby's house is today.

The photo was given to the library by Lawrence Cobb who ran a grocery store located near my maternal grandparent's house. A recent blog post included a photo of the gas pump from Mr. Lawrence's store and a post from February 25, 2011 included a photo of Mr. Lawrence and others cleaning up the Cobb family cemetery.

I quickly recognized Mr. Lawrence's father, Sim Cobb, in the photo in the upper left.

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Simeon Amherst Cobb

Sim was a small man who weighed only 150 pounds but his small stature didn't keep him from fighting in company L of the Seventh Tennessee Calvary in the Civil War. He married his third wife when he was 63 and she was 32 and it caused quite a stir at the time since she was younger than two of his children. They were married 24 years and had four children together. 

Sim was a brother of my second great-grandfather, William Thomas Cobb.

Part of Sim’s diary is included in Joe Cobb’s book. From his diary, I know Sim spent a great deal of time with many of my ancestors including William Cobb, Tommie Rawls, J.C.W. Cobb, Sam Marbury, Sarah Elizabeth Steele, Daniel Watridge, Tinie White, Martha Watridge and others.

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This last photo also came from the Brownsville Library. Although he isn't related to me, I liked the photo so I thought I would try to figure out who he was.

On the back is written, "Our boy when he was a cadet of the Memphis Military Institute." It was in an envelope with a faded photo of a man named W.J. Rutland and on his photo was written, "60 years, Aug 31st 1916."

After a little looking around online, there's a good chance that the man in the faded photo is William J. Rutland who was living at 196 Exchange Avenue in Memphis in 1920. He was married to Ada C. Rutland and had a son named George W. Rutland who was born in 1882. It's possible "our boy" is their son, George W. Rutland. Of course, that's just a guess but I'm posting the photo in case it's helpful for someone researching that family line.

I have some more old Haywood County photos I'll be sharing in the coming weeks.

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, October 5, 2014

Did you know the author of the best-selling book of the 19th Century once spent the night in Stanton?

My dad has a new gig as the pastor of the Stanton Baptist Church. This historic church is located in Stanton, Tennessee, a small town in Haywood County. As a fan of old churches, I was anxious to check it out. A few weeks ago when I was back home, we took a little detour on our way to the Lovelace Family Reunion and I got a personal tour from the new pastor himself.

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Pastor Bob Williams in front of
the First Baptist Church of Stanton, Tennessee

In the mid-1850s, Joseph B. Stanton purchased the land that is now the town of Stanton. After he used his considerable influence to make certain the Memphis and Ohio railroad came through Stanton, the town began to grow and prosper. According to the Heart of the Tennessee Delta, A Historical Guidebook to Haywood County, Stanton's daughter was the one who subdivided the lots and really developed the town.

One of Stanton's early claims to fame occurred during the Civil War. A few days before the famous battle of Shiloh was fought, Union General Lew Wallace stopped in Stanton with his army and spent the night. Sporting a killer goatee, he was on his way to reinforce General Grant at Pittsburgh Landing, on the bank of the Tennessee River.

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General Lew Wallace

After the war, Wallace was appointed Governor of the New Mexico Territory and U.S. Minister to the Ottoman Empire. He was the author of several novels including Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ which was one of the best-selling novels of the 19th century. When it was published in 1880, it knocked Uncle Tom's Cabin off the top of the chart of best-selling American novels and it stayed there until 1936 when Gone with the Wind took its place.

(For a really interesting article about Wallace, check out "The Passion of Lew Wallace" on

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A little Stanton history from the 1887 "History of Tennessee"

As more families continued to move to Stanton, a small Baptist church in the town of Wesley also decided to settle in the new community. As Stanton grew, Wesley fell so they moved where the action was. In 1868, they built a church on the spot where the current one stands today.  

My dad gave me some information that some of the members had written for the 150th anniversary of the church in 2002. It included the fact that the original building had two front doors--one for men and one for women. They also sat on different sides of the church.

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Historic photo of First Baptist Church of Stanton, built in 1912 

In 1912, the original Stanton Baptist Church building was torn down and the current church was built. The new building includes Doric columns and some really nice Gothic windows. Grant Wood would be right at home.

Next door to the large church building is the Stanton Masonic Lodge and School.

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The Greek Revival building was built in 1871 by the local Masons as the school for the local children.

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Stanton Historic Marker

Stepping into the church really is like going back to the 1950s. From the original vintage pews to the light fixtures and ceiling fans, it's one of the most well-maintained old churches I've been in. 

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Very little has been changed since it was built in 1911. The old stoves that heated the church with coal have been replaced with gas heaters and the old kerosene lamps that were mounted to the walls were replaced with electric light fixtures.

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Originally, a large Gothic arch framed an alcove in which the preacher would delivery his sermon each Sunday. In 1954, it was made into the baptistry and a pulpit was installed for the preacher.

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If you live near the town of Stanton, you should go check it out one Sunday. Yes, the building is amazing but I can also highly recommend the preacher!

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.