Three Ancestors Ago–Dillard Jones (52 Ancestors)

This post is a part of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge by Amy Johnson Crow at

Dillard is husband’s direct ancestor.  First, the facts:

  • Born 1884
  • Died after 1942
  • Parents:  Fillmore Jones and Lucy T. Mitchell
  • Married Mary Wells then Reba Matherly
  • My husband is descended from him, Dillard, through
  • his son, John Robertson Jones
  • his son

I really don’t know a lot about Dillard other than what shows up in a few historical records.  Dillard was born about 1884 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia to Fillmore and Lucy T. Mitchell Jones.

In 1904, he married Mary Wells and widowed in 1917.  They had three children; Martha, John, and Annie.  Minnie died at about 12-13 years of age.  Mary died at age 37.  Both Mary and Minnie(as well as second wife Reba) are buried in the Matthew Wells Family Cemetery in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

On September 12, 1918, he filled out his WWI registration card.  Dillard Jones is a short stout, blue eyed, light haired fellow working for Jack Slaydan? in Callands, Virginia.  His nearest relative is Minnie Jones.  He’s not able to sign his name, instead simply leaving his mark.

In 1920, Dillard is living in Pittsylvania County with wife Reba (age 14) and children John and Annie.  His second, very young wife, is only a few years older than his son.  They’re renting in Fransisco Buckingham County, Virginia and he’s a laborer on a general farm.

In 1930, he’s living in Southside, Appomattox County, Virginia with with Reba and eight children, 4 sons and 4 daughters.  John and Annie are listed at the end of the list, instead of being in order by age.  They’re renting a place on William Marshall Road and he’s a farm laborer on a farm.

In 1940, he’s living in the Dan River District in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  He’s listed as a widower lodger living with Jessie Gosney.  He’s a farmer.

The last evidence I have on Dillard Jones is in 1942 on his WWII registration card.  His nearest relative is Annie Jones of RFD 5, Danville Virginia.  He lives on RFD 5, near Mt. Olivet Church.  He works for Mr. BM Williams at Marshall Terrace in Danville.  By this time, he has at least learned to sign his name.  This card says he has no middle name.

I don’t know what happened to Dillard Jones after this.  I have a couple of pictures I think are of him beyond the one of him, Reba, and seven little children.  I have yet to find where those seven children went after Reba died.  Some were clearly too young to be on their own.  I wonder why they weren’t with him.

I wonder if he’s buried in the same cemetery as his two wives and oldest daughter.  The cemetery which was his first wife’s family cemetery.


  • Jones, Dillard.  US Federal Census, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940
  • Jones, Dillard.  WWI Draft Registration Card
  • Jones, Dillard.  WWII Draft Registration Card
Dillard Jones Family

Dillard Jones Family


Three Ancestors Ago–Reba Matherly Jones (52 Ancestors)

This post is a part of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge by Amy Johnson Crow at

Reba isn’t my husband’s direct ancestor.  She was his great-grandfather’s, Dillard, second wife.  But there’s something tragic about her.  First, the facts:

  • Born 1905
  • Died 1935
  • I think her parents are Christopher Jack and Florense Matherly
  • My husband is descended from her husband, Dillard, through
  • his son, John Robertson Jones
  • his son

She was right at the same age as Dillard’s prior children.  My husband’s grandfather was only a couple of years older than her.  She was very young when she married Dillard.  In 1910, she’s living with Chris and Florense Matherly.  In 1920, she’s 14, living with, and married to Dillard Jones.  By 1930, she and Dillard have six children.  She’s 24.

By 1935, she’s dead.  You can see a picture of her tombstone here.  I have a photo somewhere.  I’ll add it when I find it.


edited to add:  Found the picture.  Reba Matherly Jones with husband Dillard and seven children.   Wow.  I think this is not too long before she died as there are three boys and three girls standing.  This fits the 1930 census.  One more child after 1930 who seems to be about a year old or less.  I wonder if she was pregnant with an 8th child and died due to complications.  Now to find out where all the children went!

Dillard Jones Family

Dillard Jones Family

Five Ancestors Ago–Nancy McSwain Allen (52 Ancestors)

This post is a part of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge by Amy Johnson Crow at

Nancy McSwain Allen was my 3rd great grandmother via

  • her son David Jones Allen
  • his daughter Virginia Allen Smith
  • her son
  • his daughter

According to her gravestone, she was born August 22, 1828 and died May 10, 1806.  The year of her birth was fairly close to what was reported on each census I’ve seen.

I’ve found a Nancy McSwain (age 21) living with Sarah McSwain (age 36) and Thomas McSwain (age 1) in Centre, Stanly County, NC.  This could be my Nancy living with a sister or sister-in-law.

Nancy and William were married with two children by 1860.  My mother’s notes indicate 1852 but I haven’t found anything to correlate that yet.

I don’t know a lot about Nancy other than she lost her husband during the Civil War and was left with two small children to raise on her own.  In 1880 she and son, David, are living in Stanly County.  In 1900, she is living with son David and his family, again in Stanly County, NC.

Her will leaves all property to her son and names him as executor.  It does not mention her daughter Sarah nor any children of Sarah.

According to my mother’s notes, her parents were Charles and Lurana Washburn McSwain perhaps of Rutherford County, NC.  However, I haven’t found the proof of this as of yet, either.



  • Allen, Nancy.  US Federal Census.  1880 & 1900.
  • McSwain, Nancy.  US Federal Census.  1850.
  • Stanly County Wills.

Three Ancestors Ago–John Ed Robertson (52 Ancestors)

This post is a part of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge by Amy Johnson Crow at

I chose John Ed today because it’s the anniversary of the Spanish Flu epidemic.  Whenever I think of a flu epidemic, I think of John Ed.  Our families were lucky in that we didn’t have a lot of deaths caused by the flu, at least not during the epidemic years.  John Ed Robertson isn’t exactly my husband’s ancestor.  He was married to my husband’s great-grandmother.  Mary Thomas was my husband’s great-grandmother via:

  • her daughter, Ruby Robertson
  • her daughter

John Ed was born June 19, 1888 in Pulaski County, Virginia.  The best I can tell, he lived all of his years in Pulaski county.  He was 30 when he died.  According to my mother-in-law, it was the flu that brought his demise.

According to his WWI draft record, as of June 5, 1917, he worked for H.W. Bird as a farm laborer.  He was tall, with a medium build, with brown hair and blue eyes.  Also, according to the draft record, he was born on June 19, 1888.

Interestingly enough, his tombstone lists he was born in 1885 and died in 1919 but he appears on the 1920 census as a 34-year-old farm laborer.

Did someone put the tombstone up later?  Someone whose memory was perhaps off a year?  I haven’t been successful in finding any more information about John Ed.

John and Mary had no children together in the few years they were married.  They were married some time after 1920, if census data is to be believed.


  • Robertson, John E.  US Federal Census, 1900, 1910, 1920
  • Personal Stories
  • Robertson, John E.  World War I Draft Registration Card

7 Ancestors Ago — Mean Johnny Bolt (52 Ancestors)

This post is a part of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge by Amy Johnson Crow at

Since today is Sunday, I decided to follow the Geneabloggers blogging prompt “Black Sheep Sunday” for this week’s ancestor.

Johnny Bolt is in my husband’s 5th great-grandfather via:

  • his son, William Anderson Bolt
  • his daughter, Lauretta Bolt
  • her daughter, Martha T. Worrell
  • her daughter, Mary Thomas
  • her daughter, Ruby Robertson

Disclaimer:  I haven’t proven much for myself yet.


  • Born Around 1778, perhaps in North Carolina
  • Death 1860-65 in the Poor House in Carroll County, Virginia., buried in an unmarked grave in “Carpenter Cemetery”
  • Married Rebecca Dillard in 1807

According to family stories and various things I’ve read around the internet, Johnny Bolt’s nickname, “Mean Johnny,” was well-earned.

While he did agree in March of 1821 to care for his mother-in-law, Rutha Goad Dillard, it was for a price[1].   Later, he and his wife, Rebecca, were at least separated, if not divorced.  Rebecca appears on the 1850 census with children Thomas and America[2].  I wonder if America is a daughter or granddaughter of Thomas.  She would have been 43 when America was born.  Not unheard of, for sure, but, well, it’s just a thought.

Tradition says that John was known as “Mean Johnny” Bolt, and the term may have been
appropriate. It was generally believed that Mean Johnny waylaid and killed William McPeak.

Letter to Betty Winn, from Mary Anne Sutphin, 9 January 1999: After the death of Tommy Bolt in the Civil War, John Bolt went to the poor house. Might have been his daughter-in-law  Julia and granddaughter Emeline, worked there. On his death bed he told his granddaughter he knew he was dying, so he wanted to confess to the murder of William “Billy” McPeak, and tell them where the body was so it could be taken home for burial. He instructed them to call the law after his death. They did so, and Billy McPeak was taken back to Buffalo Mountain for burial.[3]


  1. Articles of Agreement, Bolt, Dillard, McMillian, Cock, Branson, 1822 – Patrick Co. VA
  2. Bolt, Thomas, 1850 Census, Carroll County, Virginia
  3. Artlip, Elaine C.   browse this site John Bolt Family Of 

    Southwest Virginia., accessed 20 January 2014.

Two Ancestors Ago–Fred Hoyt Morris, Sr (52 Ancestors–Week 8)

The facts:

  • Fred Hoyt Morris Sr
  • Born:  June 14, 1907 in Montgomery County, NC
  • Parents:  Charlie “Braid” & Annie Cranford Morris
  • Married:  Racie Elmira Harris in Bennettsville, SC in September, 1928.
  • Died:  October 23, 1980
  • My Grandfather
    • I am descended through:
      • his son

morris, fMy Pa Pa was my everything until I was 7 years old.  Ma Ma always said he let me do whatever I wanted.  If that meant writing in books, I did.  There is still evidence of that.  We made forts on couches and fished and picked blackberries.  Well…he baited my hooks and watched me lose it or catch a catfish or suckerfish which he had no use for.  I have a feeling that fishing wasn’t quite what he usually enjoyed when I was along with him.  He never complained except for the one time he was trying to lay a new sidewalk at church and I demanded to go along with him.  I stubbed my toe and nearly took my nail off.  His initial response was worry and frustration and fussed that he told me I didn’t have any need to be there anyway.

 While my parents worked, I stayed with my daddy’s parents until I was four, and then I stayed after school.  Pa Pa would come pick me up early after he was done with his rounds and probably his sort of fishing.  He was my light and I never wanted to miss an opportunity to be with him, even if it meant trekking through the woods (he went in front to get rid of spider webs) or blackberry briers (usually I watched from the side).  I simply couldn’t get enough. 
 When I was seven, he had a heart attack and spent two weeks in our local hospital in ICU.  Even though the age limit was 12, I was able to go in and see my Pa Pa.  I didn’t quite understand why he couldn’t get up and go with me, or sit up and really play.   After two weeks, he was transferred to another hospital.  They were more strict there, but when my cousins took me for a walk, we went right by the wing he was in.  He got up out of bed and came to the window to see me.  I wanted to stay longer, but my cousin’s hurried us both along, saying PaPa needed his rest.  I don’t know how soon after he was gone.  My child’s memory says he was in both hospitals about two weeks each.  I know he was due to come home and had another, worse, heart attack.  This one, he couldn’t overcome.  He passed away on October 23, 1980.  I remember being upset that it was my mama’s birthday and how bad that was.
 Fred Hoyt Morris was born on June 14, 1907 in the Moratock community in Montgomery County, NC.  His parents were Charlie “Braid” and Annie Cranford Morris.  In 1930, he worked for the sawmill.  I have pictures (I’ll try to remember to add them) from 1932 when he went on a trip to Tennessee to sawmill for a bit.  By 1940, he was working as a carpenter in the Bridge Building industry.  He worked for the State of NC Highway Department for 30 years.  My daddy found his service pins the other day (one for 10, 15, 20, 25 and maybe one for 5), a few are shown here along with his lighter and a Methodist Men pin.  

2014-02-24_19-07-09_813 2014-02-24_19-03-24_331 2014-02-24_19-03-46_858 2014-02-24_19-04-28_850 2014-02-24_19-05-21_464 2014-02-24_19-06-49_392

  • Sources:
    • Personal Knowledge
    • Morris, Fred Hoyt 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940×2 US Federal Census

Six Ancestors Ago–John Calvin Caudle (52 Ancestors)


Now this is the way a newspaper article should read.  This notice appeared in the The Charlotte Democrat on April 06, 1877.  I haven’t done a lot of research on my 3rd great-grandfather.  I remember this tale being told regarding his death and was happy when I found the article on  I have seen transcriptions elsewhere that added his parents and/or wife, making it seem the original article included that information.  I look forward to finding more information on Mr. Caudle.



  • www.chronicleamerica.goc.  The Charlotte Democrat, 06 April 1877.  Accessed 16 February 2014.

Six Ancestors Ago–Absolom Strother (52 Ancestors)

When I started this challenge I didn’t put any thought into the order of ancestors or where to start.  I just wrote about whichever ones struck me at the time.  I figure, the rest of this challenge will go like that.  However, my Week 1, when I get it done, will be about my mother as she gave me my start in genealogy.  I didn’t write this weeks post.  My mother wrote it about 25 years ago.

Abner Strother is my 3rd great-grandfather on my mother’s side.  His foster great-niece (Nina) is my great-aunt on my father’s side.  Abner’s second wife was my 2nd great-aunt on my father’s side.  Small…small world!

Absolom Thomas “Abby or Abner” Strother was born on 5 August 1843 and died July 5, 1919.  It is not known whether he was born in Cheraw or Camden, South Carolina or Richmond County, North Carolina.  His death certificate lists South Carolina.  They are listed in the Richmond County Census in 1850.  His father may have been named William and his mother Eliza.  He had at least one brother and several sisters.  Brother William was captured by the Yankees and taken to Indiana during the Civil War and never returned.  We know of at least one visit that Absolom made to see William in Indianapolis.  Susan, born 1 Jan 1833 in South Carolina or Richmond County, North Carolina, Died 8 April 1919 in Montgomery County.  Susan married William Gilbert Thompson and are referred to in Montgomery County Heritage 1981, story 826.  Absolom had two sisters to emigrate to Baltimore, MD around the time of the Civil War.  Their names may have been Martha, Sarah or Phoebe.

Research indicates he may have descended through one of Jeremiah’s sons William.  Other family names around this time are Charles and Solomon.

Absolom enlisted into the Confederacy at Cheraw, South Carolina on 20 March 1862.  He was paroled at Appomattox Courthouse on 19 April 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered.  His parole paper says that he was 20 years old which would have put him born in 1845.  His grandchildren remember him talking about the war and being so young when he enlisted.

After the Civil War was over Absolom came to Montgomery County where his sister Susan was living.  He married Elizabeth Frances Thompson Bird circa 1866.  Their children were Mary Elizabeth, born circa 1867; Ida m., born circa 1870; Sarah Marie (Sallie) born 1872, married Jones Monroe Smith died 1956 (story 800 in Book 1).  William Charles, born circa 1875, moved to Turlock, California; John Wesley (Bud), born 1877 – died 1956; Robert James, born 1879 – died in Virginia, and Della Ann, born 1881, died 18 Mar 1936

Frances was the daughter of Martha Thompson Bird and step-daughter of Henry Bird.  She had a brother Thomas Bird.  Frances died in the early 1880’s and is buried in the abandoned Thompson Cemetery between Wadeville and Pee Dee in an unmarked grave.  Her mother “Granny Bird” is buried near her.

On 30 October 1884 Absolom married Lourette Harris of Eldorado in Montgomery Co. North Carolina.  Their children were Alfred Thomas, born 1886 – died 1971; Ruth Blanche, born 1892, married Paul Branson; Marion Marquette, born 1894 and Millard Carson, born 11 May 1897, died 1 Jan 1986.

Absolom and Frances bought land from the estate of Edmund Deberry in the Township of Pee Dee near where Stoney Fork Baptist Church is now.  His house is occupied by a great-great-granddaughter today.

Susan Strother Thompson gave land for Stoney Fork Baptist Church and Absolum was a charter member and deacon.

strother, ab family

The only picture we have of Absolum were made in 1916.  He had cancer and was going to take a train ride to Turlock, CA to see his son Charles.  Pictures were made of Absolom and Lourette and some of the children before the trip.  A granddaughter remembers them getting ready and his family thinking they probably would never see him again.  He did make the trip, returned and lived until 1919.

The following is quoted from an obituary written by “A Friend”:  “The writer of this knew Mr. Strother from his earliest existence up till his death.  He was a father to the fatherless and a friend to the friendless; he was a Christian gentleman of the noblest character.  Though he be gone his influence will live for years to come.  As a Sunday School and mission worker he was unexcelled.  His plea for the orphans at Thomasville often brought tears to the audience’s eyes.  His departure has not only been a great loss to the family and relatives; his host of friends have sadly missed his presence in their hour and in every good movement in the upbuilding of God’s kingdom on earth as well as the upbuilding of this neighborhood.

Not only has he been a faithful Christian worker, his citizenship has been of the highest type, genuine American, first, last and at all times.  Rather than be a traitor to the land that gave him birth, he faithfully followed the Stars and Bars through four years of hardship and privation in General Lee’s Army as courier and bugler, and was present when the surrender was made to General Grant at Appomattox Court House.  He was in may of the great battles fought in Virginia, and was alway found at his post of duty, although at heart he was a union man and his sympathy was with the union.  After the Civil War he returned to Montgomery County and married; settled down to farming in the poor hill section, five miles north of Mt. Gilead where he has worked hard and raised a large family.

Absolom, his second wife, Lourette and other family members are buried at Stoney Fork Baptist Church in Montgomery County.

Sources:  Granddaughters Annie Mae Smith McRae, Katherine Strother Fossett, Beatrice Crouch Slate, Great-Grandson Nelson Smith, Karen Seals Gury, death certificates of Absolom and Susan, marriage license of Absolom and Lourette.  Land Deed and Will recorded in Montgomeery County, North Carolina and Military and Census Records.

Story by:  Katherine Smith Morris

Those in the back are Mark or possibly Carson, foster great-niece Nina Harris, daughter Ruth.

Four Ancestors Ago–Boston Miller Robertson (52 Ancestors Week 2)

Boston Miller Roberston has turned out to be a much bigger puzzle than I had anticipated.  I can’t find any information on him regarding his Civil War activities beyond the Application for Headstone.  Evidently, when his son, Roy, applied for the headstone, there was quite a bit of a problem finding him!  The application is a mess.  The original application was Boston Miller and the updated one was for B.M. which is what is on his headstone.  I contacted a fellow genealogist and Civil War buff for some help with Boston as I can’t find anything.  He had helped me find William Allen so I was very hopeful.  He couldn’t find ANYthing on Boston!  His exact statement was,

“How his family got him a CSA marker, I don’t know.”

He did find in the Pulaski Heritage Book that Boston was a nickname for Sebastion.  This was indeed news to me.  I hope to find out the writer came upon this tidbit of information.  I do find Boston on several censuses and each time he’s Boston or Boss, so I’m not inclined to put much merit into it thus far.

According to the headstone application, he served as a Private in Company K of the 23rd Virginia Infantry but that’s as far as I can get.  Oh, how I wish these slips of paper would tell all their handlers knew!

Boston is my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather.

  • Sources:
    • Martha Thomas Robertson
    • Robertson, Boston Miller 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 US Federal Census
    • Robertson, Boston Miller, “US Headstone Application”
    • “Robertson/Robinson.”  Grose, S.  Pulaski County Heritage, 2003

Five Ancestors Ago–William Allen (52 Ancestors #5)

I found a challenge yesterday and thought it would be a perfect way to really get this blog going.  I’m going to go back (cheat) and add the other two for previous weeks and I’ll catch up the other two posts sometime later.  In August of 1862, William Allen headed to war.  On August 6th, his will was recorded in Stanly County.

This is my last will that my wife Nancy shall after my death have all my possessions; all that is mine shall be hers to raise my children with.  This is my last will and testament.

When I came across the will I was surprised at how short it was, but in a way, it goes right along with how the last few months of his life went.  Two days later, on August 8th, he enlisted in Stanly County.

He traveled all the way to Northhampton County, just over 200 miles, then headed towards Fredrickburg, Virginia.  Family legends holds that,

he made his will and left in August, laid out in the fields in December or January in the snow, caught pneumonia, and was dead by February.

It seems there were a lot of deaths from disease more so than actual war wounds.

According to his records, he has black eyes, dark hair, and a dark complexion and was 6’1 1/2″.   His records  also say he died on February 4, but someone whom I corresponded with, the person actually provided me with these records, wonders if that’s wrong because of another date that’s out there in March.

This I don’t know.  What I do know is that in May 1863, his father, Joseph Allen, took his will to open court for probate and he left behind his wife, Nancy McSwain Allen, and two small children, Sarah and David.  I haven’t found what happened to Sarah yet, but Nancy and David were never apart.  She lived with him until her death.

William is my third great grandfather.