Who Are You?: Cora Amelia Marsha

Cora Amelia Marsha

I don’t know if I would consider Cora a brick wall but she has that brick wall feel to her. There is just so much I don’t know and don’t know how I could find out.

I’ve been dealing with Cora since the fall of 2009. She was my first frustration, before John Little and Gus Steward. This was the first time I had done research for someone other than myself and I guess I had set the bar too high. I wanted to do well. Most people define a brick wall as being unable to prove a person’s parents. That’s not my problem with Cora. It’s that so many years of her life are unaccounted for.

The first record I find is the 1875 New York State Census listing Cora with her parents at age four. I cannot find the family at all in 1880.

1875 Census, Essex, New York
1875 Census, Essex, New York. Family is second family on right hand side of page.

I don’t find her again until 2 April 1891 in Salem, South Dakota when her first child, Vella Catherine Price, was born. She was married to her first husband, William Price at only 20. She remained in Salem at until 1897 when her third child, William Leslie Price, was born.

Between that time and 1903, William Price left the picture. I don’t know if he died or if they were divorced. I have never found William and Cora together and I have found no evidence of death or divorce.

16 November 1903 saw the birth of Jessie Hoag in Sheldon, Iowa to Cora Marsha and her new husband, William Hoag. (She really loved her Williams, I suppose.) Two years later, Cora and three Hoag children: Jessie, Frederick, Bella were enumerated in the 1905 Iowa State Census without William Hoag. Again, I don’t know if he died or if they were divorced. I have never found this William and Cora together either.

1905 Sheldon, Iowa Census. Cora and children on top right.
1905 Sheldon, Iowa Census. Cora and children on top right.

On 13 November 1907, Cora married her third husband, Oliver Perry Jones, in Sheldon, Iowa. This is the first marriage certificate I have been able to obtain for Cora and I have no trouble finding her after this because she set down (metaphorical) roots with Oliver. I say metaphorical because they loved to move. They moved from Sheldon, Iowa to Springfield, Oregon, near where her parents lived.

a23208f8-777e-4d57-9cc1-253aa6167c9bOliver and Cora had two children, Howard and Harry. Howard died in 1924 at the age of 16. Oliver died in 1945 and Cora followed him in 1950. She was born in New York, lived in South Dakota, Iowa, Oregon, and died in Minnesota.

One of the prevailing things about Cora is ability to just move on. None of the children from the first marriage are found living with her during her brief second marriage. Vella married at 15 the year before her mother married Oliver Jones. William and Fred were 8 and 10 years old. Who did they live with? I can’t find them. Fred is staying with Cora and Oliver in 1920 but then gets married. None of the Hoag children I ever find again.

Perhaps I just don’t have enough information to go on. Maybe I’ve looked right at them a hundred times and just didn’t see. The incredible thing is I can’t find any of the Price family in 1900. They are perfectly aged to be found but I just can’t.

I hate not knowing.


Wednesday’s Child: Signe Marie Holm

I research three main families: mine and those of my two closest friends. I’ve blogged about one already with my posts about the Little/Fratis/Rapose/Smith/Hyde families. Signe Holm is the aunt of my other friend.

Signe Marie Holm was born to Gustaf Holm and his first wife, Anna Alfrida Anderson in Fort Dodge, Iowa on 24 June 1907. She was their first child.

Her life was contentious because the marriage between her parents was contentious. In the words of my friend, her grandfather (Signe’s father) was “a bull headed Swede.”

The marriage was bad enough that Frida packed six year old Signe and four year old Elmer and went back home to Sweden in November 1913 after six years of being married to Gust. They didn’t return until March 1918.

I believe they returned because Signe had started to show symptoms of tuberculosis. Frida probably had more faith in American doctors. Eventually, Signe deteriorated to the point she had to be put in the Glen Lake Sanatorium in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The family was living in Minneapolis at the time.

It was there that Signe died from TB on 16 February 1921 at the age of 13.

Signe at the sanitarium

Grandfather’s Diary, Part V

This is going to be the last entry for my grandfather’s diary because I deem most of what’s left too personal to publish.

“In October 1944 I entered Senatobia, Mississippi boarding school as I had never had the chance to finish high school. I graduated in August 1945.

I went to Memphis, accepted work with the U.S. [Army Corps of] Engineers. In a few years I got married. We have a son. In 1964, we decided to move back to Ripley, Mississippi, our hometown.

Mack and Hazel Holley, 1967.
Mack and Hazel Holley, 1967.

Everything has went wrong. I have not been able to get employment. Everything we tried to do has went wrong.

In June 1967 I decided to enter politics for county circuit clerk. I worked hard all the summer with my family. I received a good vote but strong politics overcame and I got left out. By hard struggle, we are still going. In November I came down ill [and] I entered the veteran’s hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

There I went through many examinations and tests which were very painful. It was several days before the doctors decided an operation was necessary. One day the doctor came in and told me that they had decided to operate and told me the exact day. I [was] very much upset for [the] whole night. I prayed to God to give me faith, courage, and stand by the doctors and guide their hands in the right way [so] the operation would be a success. By the next day I had settled down and [was] calm and I was not worried.

I continued to pray. My wife and son came to see me every weekend. That meant so much to me [to] have them stand by me, which they did the four weeks I was there.”

Over the past few weeks, I’ve come to a better understanding of who my grandfather was. He was a man you cannot label easily, even though I’ve tried. He was proud and deeply thoughtful. He was terrified of change but somehow muddled through it because that’s what life threw at him. He was human, just like me. He made mistakes that I don’t ever have to understand or approve of but most likely, if he were alive, he would say much the same about me.

I hope I’ve done right by him and by his memory.



Black Sheep Sunday: Jesse Earl Linville

My great-grandmother’s younger brother, Jesse Linville, had a troubled life for reasons I don’t fully understand because nobody talks, even all these years later, about Uncle Jesse.

Jesse was born in 1908 in Tippah County, Mississippi. He was the tenth child of David Hezekiah Linville and his wife, Mary Frances Shelton.

He grew up farming with his father and brothers and all seemed normal growing up.

Jesse Earl Linville

Perhaps there was an physical injury whose pain caused him to seek relief or a mental one, I don’t know. But for whatever reason, Jesse got hooked on drugs as a young man. I don’t know when it happened, because I cannot account for him between the years of 1920 and 1935.

I find him living in Longview, Texas in 1935 with his brother Frank and working as a cook. It wasn’t long after that that Jesse was arrested for burglary. On 1 March 1936, he was sentenced to serve two years in the Texas State Penitentiary. He entered prison that June and only served just over a year. He was released on 25 June 1937. You will notice the drug addict notation in his record.

Convict Register for Jesse Linville, top entry
Convict Register for Jesse Linville, top entry

I find no record of his draft registration for World War II. I surmise he was considered unfit and ineligible for service because of his drug addiction.

Sometime in between all of these arrests and prison sentences, he found time to be married at least two times, probably three. I found no names of any of his wives, just prison records that he was married. Frank had probably had enough of Jesse’s troubles, family or not. A desperate drug addict is capable of anything and Frank had a wife and two children to think about.

So, Jesse finds his way back to Mississippi and the huge farm in the Delta owned by his oldest brother, William. It was here that the story of Jesse Linville took its sharpest turn. I’m sure Jesse was not the easiest person to deal with, being hooked on morphine. Wild and crazy in the high and violently angry and paranoid when it wore off. So his marriages didn’t seem to last long enough to be counted and children were out of the question. He had also lost both parents in 1934 and went wild. With his last (probably fourth) wife Christine and her two children, he tried to get his life back together.

In 1949, it all came to a head.

The microfilm copy of this article from the Southern Sentinel didn’t want to cooperate so this was the best copy I could get.A murder-suicide. How incredibly tragic. What’s worse is the fact that the children witnessed this. Jesse and Christine fought, probably a lot since he couldn’t afford the morphine lately. He was probably angry and paranoid and just shot her. Then the fact that he did caught up with him and he shot himself. Thankfully William was close by and could help the children.


Sympathy Saturday: Reverend Lorenzo Harper Jamieson

Reverend Lorenzo Harper Jamieson
Reverend Lorenzo Harper Jamieson

“Departed this life Sept. 27, 1901, Lorenzo Harper Jamieson was born March 20, 1820, in York District, South Carolina. He moved with his parents to Tenn., in 1832, where they remained 4 years; then moved to Mississippi and settled six miles south of Ripley, near Orizaba in 1836. He was married to Minerva Childers, daughter of Squire James Childers, Dec. 15, 1846, at the crossing of the Salem and Saulsbury roads. He then entered a place on the Saulsbury road 8 miles north of Ripley, where he lived until his death. He was 81 years, 6 mos., and 7 days old. He was a noble character; devoted most of his time to farming and fruit growing at which he was very successful. He turned from his sins and joined the Primitive Baptist church at Antioch, in 1868, was baptized by Elder Miles Moore, was licensed to preach May 1871, and ordained July 1876, by Elders J.W. Norton and H.T. Rowland. He was the father of 12 children, six sons and six daughters; nine of whom they raised to be grown. He leaves a wife, one son, and four daughters, a host of grandchildren and friends to mourn his loss. We are made to feel that he has paid the debt we are indebted too. Though we may miss his voice and his sweet smiles, yet we feel confident that our loss is his gain. It makes us sad to part with such a friend, a friend that has made home pleasant, and those whom he came in contact with to feel proud of his presence. His noble deeds should be a good example for his bereaved friends, and let them say, they will try to live so as to meet this beloved friend in the better world, where there will be no more pain or sorrow, but will forever be peace and happiness. We know that God’s power is beyond man’s and if he breaks the greatest human cord, we must think there is a greater attraction in heaven for us than before. And where we look at the longevity of older people and see what steps they have taken, while drifting down the stream of time, a thought is impressed upon our minds that we should live so as to walk in their footprints and share with them in the treasures of Heaven. This good man was taken sick the second day of Sept. and was sick nearly four weeks. He was taken with typhoid fever of which he suffered untold misery. His remains were laid to rest in the Little Hope cemetery, Sept. 28, 1901. There was a host of friends and relatives that followed him to the last resting place, and as they laid eyes upon this good man for the last time, it almost broke their hearts to part with him. Weep not dear wife, children, relatives, and friends, for his last words were, “I am going home.” We know he is better off, in that happy home than he was here. Now may God’s richest blessings rest upon the bereaved home and when God calls you from this world you can reach forth your hand and say, I have fought the good fight, and have let my light so shine, that those around me are illuminated by its beautiful rays and are ready to step on board the Ship of Zion and sail through the pearly gates of Heaven, where you can shake hands with this dear friend.

Life is but a moment time,
We cannot prolong the wave,
Let us live for God above,
And in Heaven we shall be saved.

By a friend,

J.T. Linebarger”

This obituary from the Southern Sentinel in Ripley, Mississippi is flat out amazing. I don’t think there’s anything else to say about it except it would be nice to have a friend that wanted to remember me like that.

Follow Friday: My Favorite Blogs

If you must read another blog, other than mine. Then read the ones I read regularly. And if you have a recommendation, send it along. I’m always looking for interesting things to read.

No particular order:

  • Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Loretta Gillespie. This blog perfectly voices my frustration with Ancestry.
  • Hoosier Daddy? by Michael Lacopo. This blog has me hooked and helped me understand DNA. You feel with him all the way.
  • Tangled Roots and Trees by Schalene Jennings Dagutis. A new read. I’m envious of how far into the colonial period she seems to have gotten. Learning a lot and picking up a few tips. Also humorous. I love feeling along with a researcher.
  • Opening Doors in Brick Walls by Cathy Meder-Dempsey. Who knew Luxembourg could be so interesting? She makes it that way. My newest daily read (or until I get caught up).
  • Clue Wagon by Kerry Scott. Hilarious. Read it because she likes dead people just like we do.

‘In 1814 We Took a Little Trip’: Joseph Street

Joseph Street was born probably in Henry County, Virginia in about 1775. He was the son of Samuel and Lurana Street. He moved with his parents to Oglethorpe County, Georgia where he married Nancy Lucinda Key about 1798.

In 1800, Joseph was living in Captain Stewart’s District in Oglethorpe County with his wife, Lucinda, and son, John Waller Street.

On 5 December 1809, Joseph bought 133 acres on the water of Sandy Creek from his father-in-law John Waller Key for $66.50.

The next year Joseph and his growing family moved to Lincoln County, Tennessee.

On 7 April 1814, he was granted 100 acres on the headwaters of Coldwater Creek in Lincoln County, Tennessee. The next month he bought 100 more on the west fork of the same creek.

Coldwater Creek on the Elk River.
Coldwater Creek on the Elk River.

On 10 November 1814, he was drafted into the First Tennessee Militia Regiment, serving under Captain Obadiah Waller. He was in Louisiana at the time of the battle of New Orleans in December, but seemed to be ill and in hospital, and was placed aboard the steamboat Vesuvius along with other sick and wounded to be transported to Natchez in the then Mississippi Territory. He died on board at Natchez before he could be taken off to hospital on 22 March 1815. Joseph was probably buried in an unmarked grave in Washington, Mississippi, outside Natchez.

New Orleans was probably the most needlessly fought battle in history. There was no CNN and 24 hour media coverage. There were no telephones, no Facebook or Twitter (#treatyofghent?). There weren’t even telegraphs or airplanes. They had ships. They had to wait for the peace envoys to return. So men still died and one of those was my fifth great-grandfather. So unnecessary.

"Battle of New Orleans. January 8th 1815." From John Abbott's Lives of the Presidents of the United States. Boston: B.B. Russell & Co., 1866.
“Battle of New Orleans. January 8th 1815.” From John Abbott’s Lives of the Presidents of the United States. Boston: B.B. Russell & Co., 1866.

I wonder what went through his brain, if he even had a coherent thought from the fever ravaging his body while he laid on board the Vesuvius. I wonder if he thought about leaving his eight children behind. The oldest, John Waller, was 15 and the youngest, Joseph Boston, was 3. He wasn’t that old, only about 40. Joseph had so much more living he could do but no life was left in him.

I wonder what Lucinda thought back home and when she finally realized the man she loved wasn’t coming back. She was left with those children all alone while she was only in her early thirties.

His father had died a year or so before and his estate was still being settled when Joseph died. His part of his father’s estate was handled by his brother-in-law Pierce Key.

An inventory was made in Lincoln County of Joseph’s estate on 11 December 1818 by administrators John Carithers and Lucinda Street.  The principal buyer was Lucinda Street (for reasons I fail to grasp, she had to buy her own stuff back). She purchased: one lot of odd books for two dollars; one pewter dish and six plates for three dollars; three chairs for $2.50; one flax wheel also for $2.50; one reel for $1.50; one chest and one churn for two dollars; one mattock, two axes, one hacksaw, two hoes, one iron wedge and one pair of drawing chairs for five dollars; one side saddle for a dollar; one bedstead and furniture for $11.25; one smoothing iron for fifty cents; and one shovel which she apparently got for free. She also bought four head of hogs for $8.56.

She spent a grand total of $39.81 buying her own things back. That much money in 1818 would be worth $737.22 today. Where on earth did she get that kind of money? She probably already had it, if you think about how much land they owned.But I cringe at the thought of her having to buy her own possessions back.

However, she didn’t live much longer. She died in 1821.

Wishful Wednesday: My Wish List

My Genealogy Wish List

  1. I think we all want this: the 1890 Census, whole and complete. How many questions would that answer and how many brickwalls would be busted? 90% probably, if not more.
  2. A TARDIS (if you don’t watch Doctor Who, it’s the machine the Doctor uses to travel through time and space) to go back and beg my ancestors not to name their kids after their brothers and sisters because their brothers and sisters are doing the exact same thing and confusing me all these years later. Oh, and please don’t name your son John either.
  3. Use the TARDIS to beg my great-great grandfather James A. Taylor to tell me who his parents are.
  4. Be able to save every child in the family that died before adulthood and every mother who died because of childbirth.
  5. Better handwriting
  6. Wills, tombstones, and detailed obituaries for every person.
  7. the Irish home place of John Little
  8. Finding Gus Steward in the 1880 census (a lot of people got skipped in 1880, apparently) and therefore his parents
  9. To find out what really happened to my great-great grandparents Thomas Null and Beulah Mathis because they just disappear from the records
  10. To find Cora Marsha actually living with her first two husbands that seem not to exist except for a name on death certificates.

That’s my list for now. What’s your wish list? What answers do you want? Who would you like to meet?

Tombstone Tuesday: Thomas N Braselmann

IMG_0874Thomas Nathan Braselmann, Second Lieutenant in Company F, Second Mississippi Infantry. He died 21 July 1861 in the battle of First Manassas.

Transcription of the tombstone:

Beneath this silent marble sleep the remains of Thomas N Braselmann, son of Dr. T and H. Braselmann. Born in Newberry District SC Feb. 26, 1834, married Mary A T Rogers March 15, 1853, to whom he was a devoted and affectionate husband. He fell July 21, 1861, at the Battle of Manassas, defending the southern cause, which he felt was just and right, leaving a wife and three little children to mourn his loss. He was one of the first to sacrifice home and all that was near and dear to him, for freedom, and liberty.

We weep! Our earthly joys have fled,                                                                                 That once loved form is now cold and dead.                                                               But blessed hope looks far beyond the bounds of time,                                           When what we now deplore                                                                                           Shall rise in full immortal prime,                                                                                     And bloom to fade no more.