Sunday, October 25, 2009

He got run over by a train

My grandfather's brother, John Henderson Green is buried next to my grandmother in the family plot in Perry, Florida. His grave marker is completely unreadable after 60 plus year of exposure to the elements. He died at age 36 in 1918. I am pretty sure the marker was put there in the 1940s since it matches those of my uncles who both died then.

It is made of concrete and I guess at the time it was thought to be a good idea but rain and the Florida sun coming down on it for all those years have polished it like river rock.

I wasn't even sure who was buried there until I located a census of the cemetery done by Jesse Paulk of Salem, Florida. He did the survey of Woodlawn Cemetery in the 1980s and I guess at the time he could make out the words.

When I found out who was buried there I tried to locate some information about him. I found him on a couple census records but nowhere else. He was always listed as single so I guess he never married. He wasn't listed in the WWI draft register and I couldn't find any land records in his name. I am pretty sure he was named after his grandfather, James Henderson Hogan.

The only place I found his name was in an interview done by my brother when he was talking to one my great aunts in the early 1980s. It just said "he got run over by a train."

Ben said the story was he was drunk and fell asleep on the track. I'm not sure if that was true but I guess it doesn't matter how you get hit by a train, the effect is the same. This photo of him was in my grandfathers papers. I expect it is the only one of him.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lost and found

I received word this week from distant cousin Giles Willis, the marker for Richard Whitehurst is not actually on his grave. His home was at the end of Stewart Road where this cemetery is located. He was apparently buried near his home in a family cemetery in 1823.

Somehow over the years his grave location was lost and the marker ended up buried 3 feet under ground. When a developer was clearing land to build new houses in the area they found the marker along with one for Sarah Langdon Whitehurst. The two markers were placed in the family cemetery of John Burgess Whitehurst who was the son of Richard.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oldest Ancestor

He didn't live to the oldest age but so far Col. Richard Whitehurst is the oldest ancestor I have located. At least to locate his grave in person.

While in Carteret County North Carolina for the 150th Anniversary event for the Cape Lookout Lighthouse this month we looked for and found the Whitehurst family cemetery on the Straits. Now it really wasn't lost but I had never seen in on prior trips to the area and the directions weren't real clear.

We drove to the end of Stewart Street without seeing it and only on the way back noticed the small concrete block wall. It looked like the beginning of a garage from the street.

Richard Whitehurst was born on July 12, 1766 and died October 15, 1823. I found a record showing he was appointed "Lieutenant Colonel Commandant" of the Carteret County militia on December 17, 1789. His son in law, Thomas Fulford succeeded him in this position.
He was married to Margaret Burgess and she is supposed to be buried in this cemetery but there is no marker for her.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nicholson's graveyard

My 3rd Great Grandmother was Rebecca Paulk and she married James Hogan on August 14, 1834 in Stewart County Georgia. Her marriage record was one of the first things I found when I started researching the Hogan family about 15 years ago.

It was several years later that I found a record that James Hogan had a second wife. James died in 1879 and his widow, Melody Arnold Hogan filed for a pension, claiming he served in the Creek Indian Wars from 1836 to 1838. As part of the application she filed an affidavit that Rebecca had died on October 4, 1847 and was buried in Nicholson's graveyard in Stewart County Georgia. It would have been 162 years ago this month.

I've looked for some reference to this cemetery ever since without success. There are several publications listing the cemeteries in Stewart and surrounding counties but none have one called Nicholson's. It would be nice to be able to locate it and see if her grave is there. Maybe one day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sad phone call

We called the Langdon House Bed & Breakfast this week to make a reservation. It is the B&B we have stayed at on two trips to Carteret County North Carolina. The Langdon House was built in the 1700s and is across the street from the Old Burying Ground in Beaufort, one of the oldest cemeteries in North Carolina. That however was not the attraction for us after we stayed there the first time.

Back in June 2003 we visited Carteret County on a beach vacation and my hunt for dead relatives. We chose the Langdon House just because it looked convenient to downtown Beaufort. One of the best features though was the innkeeper, Jimm Prest. Jimm grew up in Florida and went to college in Gainesville but we never held that against him. He was a fantastic innkeeper. His mother was from Beaufort and he bought the house and
renovated it to operate as a B&B.

You could tell Jimm loved his job. He met us on the porch, walked us to some rocking chairs with drinks in hand and really made us feel like he was at our call 24X7 for anything during the stay. His advice was always right on.

On our second trip to Carteret County in 2006 we discovered he was also a relative. Most of the people in the small community are related and since my family lived there for 300 years there was a good chance I was related to many of them. Still, it was nice to find out he had an interest in genealogy and he was surprised I had his ancestors in my database. For the record, we were not close relations, 8th cousins are probably so far off they wouldn't print on the same page of the family tree.

One of the best memories was when we left to drive home last time we were there. We told Jimm we were leaving early and it would be too early for breakfast. He said he would put some coffee on for us late at night and we could get a cup for the road. The next morning there was no coffee and no sign of anyone awake so we packed the car and started to leave. It was raining as we pulled out and about a block away I noticed in the rear view mirror a big man running in back of the car. Jimm had already been up and fixed us a special breakfast and packed in a box with some poetry written for his "friends." He hadn't heard us until we started the car so didn't know we were leaving until he saw the car pulling out. He ran after us in the rain to make sure we had breakfast.

This week I called Langdon House to make a reservation for our trip to the Cape Lookout Lighthouse 150th Anniversary and was very sad to find out Jimm had passed away last year. He had a heart attack and died at the house. His widow Lizzet is still running the B&B so we are still going to stay there, but it probably won't be the same.