Tuesday, April 21, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015: #16 Long Live the Lathams!

Princeton Leader, Princeton, Kentucky, 18 July 1912
Elijah Stephen Latham, my 6th great grandfather, was born in North Carolina in 1756.  According the the above article, which appeared in at least three different newspapers, Elijah, as well as my 7th and 8th great grandfathers, Jeremiah and Phillip Latham, lived to be over one hundred years old!  Since I know very little about these three men, I was excited to find this information.

My fifth great grandfather, Stephen R. Latham, broke the trend of Latham longevity.  He died of typhoid at the age of 76.  Unfortunately, Stephen's son, James Harvey Latham, also died of typhoid fever.  He was only 39.  I wonder how long they might have lived if they had not been victims of the disease.

By the way, Rev. George Washington Latham, the subject of the newspaper article and a Civil War veteran, died a few years after the story was printed, at the age of 91.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015: #15 Mary Green, Early Pasadena Pianist

1889 Wm. Knabe & Co. piano advertisement
What was to be a joyous birthday present from the late P. M. Green to his daughter now comes to her as a sweet but sad memorial to his love. Some months ago, the millionaire ... gave his order for a specially designed Art Grand Piano to be manufactured by the famous old house William Knabe and Co., Baltimore.  Such special work requires months of patient waiting before the finished product is ready for shipment and this order was no exception to the rule... The piano arrived only yesterday, and is now on display at the Pacific Music company's warerooms... Seldom, if ever, has any show window in this city been decorated by such a magnificent specimen of the piano maker's art.  (Los Angeles Herald, 9 Aug 1903) 

The recipient of that piano was Mary Green, my 1st cousin 4 times removed.  She was born in March 1863 in Shelby County, Indiana and was the only child of Perry M. Green and Henrietta "Hettie" Campbell.  Mary's mother had poor health, which influenced the family's decision to seek a better climate. When Mary was 10 years old, she and her parents, aunt, uncle, and cousins joined a migration of Indiana families to southern California. 

Mary was the founder of the Pasadena Symphony Club, which met for the first time at her parents' house on November 5, 1896.  The club's meetings included papers given on composers and musical forms, orchestral and piano rehearsals, and many public performances.  According to several newspaper accounts, Mary was a remarkable musician and a pianist of great technical ability.  (I wish there was a recording of her playing!)  Among the pieces she performed with the Pasadena Symphony Club were:

Dvorak's Symphony No. 5 in E minor "From the New World"
Saint-Sรคens' Dance Macabre "Dance of Death"
Raff's Symphony No. 5 in E Major "Lenore"
Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" 

After Mary's father died in March of 1903, her mother's health also began to decline.  Hettie, who for a while benefited from the climate change, eventually contracted severe bronchitis and passed away in 1908.  Two years later, on July 22, 1910, Mary Green died from heart failure at the age of 47.  She never married and has no descendants.  I wonder what happened to Mary's beautiful piano.  I like to hope that it is preserved in a museum somewhere.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Slaves of John Nelson Sr. of Fauquier County, Virginia

Schalene Dagutis of Tangled Roots and Trees has initiated a new genealogy project: The Slave Name Roll Project.  It provides a way for genealogists to trace their enslaved ancestors.  By digitizing and recording information about ancestors who owned slaves, others can piece together their ancestor's lost stories.

John Nelson Sr. was born around 1725 in Fauquier County, Virginia.  On December 7, 1745, he married Sarah Whitson at Overwharton Parish in Stafford County, Virginia.  John Nelson died at the age of 59 in Fauquier County.  A transcription of his will, dated August 9, 1784, follows.

1787 Map of Fauquier County, Virginia.  Elk Run is highlighted.
Will of John Nelson 
Fauquier County, Virginia, dated August 9 1784 [Abstract of record].
John Nelson, Sen'r of Elk Run in Fauquier County, being aged and infirm but of a sound mind and disposing memory. 
Sons: Jesse and John Nelson--my tract of land on Dry Run in Shanado [Shenandoah] County to be equally divided between the said Jesse and John. 
Wife: Sarah -- have the use of the plantation and tract of land whereon I now live together with the slaves and stock of all kinds and household furniture thereon during her natural life, provided that as any of my children, namely Jesse, William, Margaret, Jemima, Lettice and Sarah Nelson (who are now single) do marry that each of them shall have four head of neats cattle, a feather bed and furniture and two ewes -- if my daus. Margaret, Jemima, Lettice or Sarah Nelson or any of my said four daughters should remain single till the death of their mother, . . . that the hire or labor of my two slaves, George and Daphne, shall be appropriated to the support and use of all or any my aforementioned four daughters while they remain single after the death of their mother. 
Son: William -- set of Smith's tools, a young sorrel mare, now in his possession -- (after the death of his mother) the plantation whereon I now live --Negro boy named Lymas. . . . at the death of my wife, the whole of my personal or moveable estate (excepting my two slaves George and Daphne)-- shall be equally divided between my children Jesse, John and William Nelson, Lidia Morehead, Nanny Fishback, Mary Rector, Margaret Nelson, Jemima Nelson, Lettice Nelson and Sarah Nelson or the survivor of them. 

Signed: John (his X mark) Nelson, Sen'r. 
Wit. Jno. Matthews, James Gillison, James Blackwell, Thos. Helm, Joseph
 George, John Thomas

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015: #14 Little Napoleon

James Cyrus Green, c. 1898
H. S. Stephens, Rushville, Indiana
This is my great-grandfather when he was about four years old.  I wonder how he felt about wearing this outfit.  The enormous bow tie and the tall button boots must have been very uncomfortable for him, but perhaps it made him feel special to be all dressed up.  The riding crop and bicorne hat seem unusual to me -- maybe they are props from the photographer.  I think they make him look like a little Napoleon Bonaparte.

James Cyrus Green (called Cyrus) was born on September 12, 1894 in Arlington, Indiana.  His parents were John D. Green, M.D. and Lavanche Emarine Trees.  He had two younger siblings, a sister named Mary Catherine and a brother named Maurice Thomas.  As a young man, Cyrus attended Sewanee Military Academy in Tennessee.  On June 12, 1916, Cyrus married Mary Ida Sefton in Greensburg, Indiana.  He died June 25, 1964 in Rushville, Indiana.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015: #12 and #13 The Twin Doctors Green

Left to right: William F. Green, Mr. Davis, Mr. Parrish, Thomas G. Green.
On the back of the picture is written "Davis and Parrish, from Illinois." 
This photograph of four young medical students was taken by Sally E. Garrity at her Louisville, Kentucky studio sometime between 1886 and 1889.  Miss Garrity was one of the first female photographers to achieve recognition and success. Often she photographed as many as 150 people a day, while also overseeing the development of every picture herself.  I've always been intrigued by this picture because of the strange way the men are positioned.  While researching Sally Garrity, I found that many of her pictures are charaterized by unusual poses. 

William Frame Green and Thomas Gary Green were identical twins, born on April 6, 1865 in Arlington, Rush County, Indiana.  Their father, James Wilkinson Green, was a doctor; four of their older brothers were doctors as well, including James C. Green and John D. Green.  William and Thomas graduated together from Louisville Medical College in Kentucky in 1889.  

For 10 years William and Thomas both practiced medicine in Shelbyville, Indiana, then William moved his practice to Indianapolis and eventually to Cambridge City, Indiana.  Thomas stayed in Shelbyville until he died in 1929 at the age of 63.  William died in 1931 in Cambridge City.

Both William and Thomas were interested in their family history. William wrote a history of his family that was used for SAR and DAR applications.  I have a letter that Thomas wrote to his fifteen-year-old nephew, James Cyrus Green (my great-grandfather), containing stories about the early Greens in America.  The following is a quote from the letter: "I have looked up the family history for you and will write you a brief copy, which if you will keep may be useful and valuable to you sometime."