While we’ll never know the whole story, we can pick up pieces through our research.
Sometimes we even find a treasure. I heard of Grandma’s love letters all my life. After she died, they were lost. Lost for over twenty years. About five years ago, my cousins found these letters in a barn at my great aunt’s house. As I post them, you’ll see that some are missing. But there’s still enough here to see the love and relationship grow between two people between January 1927 and March 1928.
In January 1927, Joseph Jones Smith was 23 years old. He was a farmer in Montgomery County, NC. Virginia Allen was 22 and a teacher was Center, Stanly County, NC. She taught in the Pee Dee, Montgomery County community in 1926-1927.
I first posted this in May, 2014 with no explanation.
Mt. Gilead, N.C.
January 15, 1927
Dear Mr. Smith,
I received the message that you sent by Walter, and accept it with pleasure.
Please let me know what time you are coming.
Love is this week’s challenge. I thought (finally) beginning to post “Grandma’s love letters” would be quite fitting. Expect the next letter in March.
A few of the unusual names that show up in my tree. Another, Alice Virgillia. It’s been recorded in a book about the Harris’ as Virginia. However, my grandmother was always emphatic that it was Virgillia. There’s a few reasons I believe her. But first, the facts:
Born: 8 October 1875
Married: 25 April 1894
Died: 12 January 1912
Alice is my third ancestor via:
Her daughter, Racie Elmira Harris Morris
Her son, Randy Harris Morris
Alice was born to Lee and Sarah Russell Harris on October 8, 1875. She grew up in the Eldorado Community in Montgomery County, NC. In 1880, she lived with her parents. She had a brother who died at 6 months old in December 1877. Her mother, Sarah, died and Lee soon married again and had several children. His second wife was Nancy Elizabeth Russell. With Nancy, he had Bulah, Travis, Silvia, Oscar, Jessie, and Georgie.
On 25 April, 1894, she married William Christopher Harris.
By 1900, she’s living with her husband and 2 children. Still in Eldorado. They’re renting and he’s a day laborer.
In 1910, she and William are still living in Eldorado. He’s a laborer doing odd jobs. They still rent and they have 7 children; Jonah, Sarah, Clifford, Nina, Mattie, Joe, Iola. My grandmother, Racie, would come in June of the following year. By January of 1912, Alice is dead.
Her children went separate ways and William visited from time to time. He suffered from mental illness and committed suicide in 1924.
My grandmother went to live with Alice’s parents. And now to the reasons I think my grandmother was right about Alice’s name. Even though she never knew her mother, she did grow up with her grandparents. Her grandfather, at least, was one of the two people who named Alice and did all they could to help her know her mother. They would most certainly know Alice’s name.
Virgillia is such an odd name. I’ve often wondered where it came from.
Not the challenge I was going to post about this week. He had cancer and was five minutes into his first chemotherapy treatment.
At first, I thought I would discuss my challenges with my family tree. Such as having a family full of common names. Having a family who were poor farmers with no paper trail. Or perhaps the numerous trees that connect people (such as adding a father to John “Jacky” Morris) when there isn’t one or any sort of connection makes no sense.
However, I decided instead to consider some of the challenges some of my ancestors likely faced. Until Thursday. Since then, this particular challenge has weighed heavily. I was always a daddy’s girl and always will be.
It’s not my ancestor’s challenge, but mine. Dealing with having lost both parents at 45. Suddenly. Even though my father had cancer, his body and heart were what gave out. I’m glad it was at the beginning of his treatment and not the end. I’m glad he has won this battle. He didn’t give cancer the chance to win.
He loved knives and guns and particularly old cars. His favorite was a 35 Master Coupe. As the obituary said, he never met a stranger. I smiled when I read that. It was true. He worked hard and would give the shirt off his back if he knew it would help someone else.
Today I said goodbye to the first man I ever loved.
John “Jacky” Morris is my fourth great grandfather via:
His son, William Morris
His son, John “Sutt” Morris
His son, Charlie Ardell Morris
His son, Fred Hoyt Morris
Born about 1785, probably in Virginia.
Died 07 December 1874.
Buried in Morris Cemetery in the Uwharrie Community, Montgomery County, NC
This week’s prompt is “First.” John “Jacky” Morris is in many ways first. He was my first roadblock. He’s also the first mystery in which DNA has been used to attempt to solve. Thanks to a cousin, several people in the Morris line have been tested. We now have our own group.
For some reason, solving the DNA relationships is something that has proven very difficult for me. Outside of family I already knew, I don’t recognize any of the names listed. It’s been hard for me to cypher out as to where everyone belongs. So hard that I haven’t succeeded in solving anyone’s relationship yet.
This is also my first blog post in a long while. I changed jobs and got busier. However, just because I haven’t taken the time to post, I have still worked on my genealogy. I’m hoping to use Amy Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks to help push me to continue. I also hope to learn more about John “Jacky” Morris and his wife Amelia in the coming year. Quite the lofty goal considering he has been a roadblock for my family for at least the last 30 years.
But back to John “Jacky”. He appears in the 1850 census in Montgomery County, NC. HIs occupation is miner and he and Amelia were born in Virginia. Also living with Jacky and Amelia are Tempy, Disa, and Caroline. Jacky is 70 and Amelia is 60. They’re surrounded by other Morris’ who I believe to be their sons and respective families.
In 1860, they’re living in the Bean’s District of Montgomery County. He’s still 70 but Amelia or Milla is 68. Living with them are Eliza Morris aged 21 and a Joseph Morgan aged 10. Jacky is a farmer now and still says he was born in Virginia. But Milla was born in North Carolina. I’m not sure if Eliza is their child or possibly a grandchild.
He died on December 7, 1874 and is buried in the Morris Cemetery in Montgomery County, NC.
I have not been able to find him on the 1870 census.
This is an incomplete account of all the research done on John Jacky. He will indeed be my focus for 2019.
I originally thought this was 1882 until I actually paid attention and saw that it clearly says Taxes for the year 1888. I’m not entirely sure if the year is 1888 or 1889 or if that scribble is something else entirely!
This post is part of a series of transcriptions of letters, papers, receipts, and other ephemera that are held in the Smith Family Collection. All originals are held in this collection, unless otherwise stated.
Lived in the Pee Dee Community of Montgomery County, North Carolina
Yesterday as we gathered at my grandfather’s, there had been talk of visiting one of the local cemeteries we all remembered from our childhood. One aunt suggested we visit another. One none of us were familiar with. So, the girls piled in the vehicle for a short road trip and then a short trip through the woods.
The Thompson Cemetery is now in the middle of the woods. Trees felled, laying over graves and markers. Markers broken and some illegible.
Sallie Thompson lies pretty much in the middle. She was my great-great-great grandfather’s mistress and evidently fathered four children with him and another three with a different man. Seven illegitimate children.
In 1850, I find a Sally Thompson, age 31, living with Patrick and Elizabeth (ages 53 and 54) along with Martin (11), Sydney W (6), and Margaret J (1). I have no idea if those three children belong to Patrick and Elizabeth or if they are the first of Sally’s illegitimate children. Ages indicate she could be their daughter and the three children their grandchildren.
According to the 1880 Census, Sallie, age 61, was head of house. Living with her was Emma (26), John (24), and Betsy M (21). Sallie’s occupation was keeping house. Neither John nor Betsy could read or write.
I had not done much research on her, but found the story interesting. I asked my grandfather if it was widely known. He grinned in his usual way and said that the only thing he ever heard was that if someone misbehaved or ‘cut a fit’ someone would threaten to to send them to live with the other family.
I wonder how my grandfather and his siblings felt to know they had half-siblings. These siblings were likely just through the woods. Were they friends? Or did they snub one another? How were these seven children treated?
Was Sallie the sister to Martha, mother of Elizabeth? According to Findagrave.com, both Martha and Elizabeth both are buried at the Thompson Cemetery. Elizabeth was the illegitimate child of Martha and perhaps Collin McRae. Elizabeth married Absalom Strother. However, this is another story for another day.
Rec’d of DJ Allen J.P. $4.00 it being a fine collected
State vs. Wm Gaines (col) I am to bring this money
to the county treasurer and take his receipt for same.
Sept 5 1887 S.H. Milton
Yet again, I’m unsure of the name. My best guess is SH Milton, but I cannot find anyone like that on an 1880 or 1900 census. The person for whom the fine is due looks to be Wm Gaines, colored. I’ve found a William Gaines, 48, on the 1900 census living in Lilesville. I’m not certain, of course, that it’s the same person and need to see if I can find any court records to document. A $4 fine back then seems to indicate, at least to me, a more serious crime.