Monday, January 31, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Petition in the estate of Elias J. Price

Some explanation is necessary for this one!

My maternal great great grandfather, George Schwalls, was married twice.  His first wife, Lincelia Claxton had been married previously to Elias Price, who died while serving in the Civil War.  Lincelia and Elias had two children:  Rutha and Elias J. Price.  She married George in 1866 and passed away in 1882.  Rutha was about 21 and Elias J. was about 20 when their mother died.

Then Elias J. (Lincelia's son) passed away two years later in 1884.  He died intestate and was not married, so it appears that his stepfather, George Schwalls filed a petition in 1886 to be made administrator of Elias's estate.  (I am not well versed on the inheritance laws of this time period; if anyone can offer any insight, I would appreciate it.)

This petition was filed in Johnson County, Georgia.  Blank lines indicate words I was unable to transcribe.

"April Term    1886

Johnson County
To J. M. Hightower Ordinary of Said County

Note to side:  Petition of George Schwalls adms on Estate of Elias Price

The petition of George Schwalls, a citizen of said State and County, and one of the Heirs of Elias Price, late, of said county, deceased, shows that said deceased departed this life on or about the 3rd day of October 1881 and as he believes intestate leaving property real and personal lying said county of the prob. value of Six Hundred dollars and that said estate should be _____ _____ for the purpose of collecting and paying the debts owed to and owing by said Estate and for the purpose making distribution.
Thereof announce the heirs of Said deceased.
Wherefore petitioners _____ are order _____ citation to issue and be published in terms of the law and that if no good cause be shown to the contrary _____ petitioners be appointed administrator of the Estate of said deceased this April 5, 1886.

                            George Schwalls

Read and considered and it is hereby ordered that Citations issue and be published as required bid on this 5th day of April 1886.
                            J. M. Hightower, Ordinary"

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: B. B. Tapley

Source:  Augusta Chronicle, Augusta, Georgia, September 21, 1967 on
Bascom was my grand uncle.  He was the youngest sibling/brother of my grandfather, Lusion Keman Tapley, and the youngest child of James (Jim) Madison Tapley and Rebecca Page Tapley.

I wonder why no surviving relatives were listed, as I know for a fact all four of his children were still living at the time.  One of his children reads this blog... maybe he can tell me.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - The Date You Were Born

It's Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to look up and share the following:

What day of the week were you born? Tell us how you found out.

          I was born on Friday, June 16, 1967.  My mother told me that a long, long time ago, cause I have known this fact for as long as I can remember.  I also remember learning and reciting the nursery rhyme:

"Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay."
     What has happened in recorded history on your birth date (day and month)? Tell us how you found out, and list five events.
(1)  June 16, 1911:  A 772 gram stony meteorite strikes the earth near Kilbourn, Columbia County, Wisconsin damaging a barn.
(2) June 16, 1933:  U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FDIC, created
(3) June 16, 1864:  Union General Grant begin siege of Petersburg, Virginia
(4) June 16, 1947:  First network news - Dumont's "News from Washington"
(5) June 16, 1963:  First woman in space.

I found this information on three websites:,, and the site that Randy recommended,  (It appears that June 16th is not a real "news-y" day.)

What famous people have been born on your birth date?  Tell us how you found out, and list five of them.
(1) June 16, 1895:  Stan Laurel, comedian, Laurel and Hardy
(2) June 16, 1899:  Nelson Doubleday, publisher, Doubleday 
(3) June 16, 1940:  Billy "Crash" Craddock, country music singer
(4) June 16, 1955:  Laurie Metcalf, actress, (Played Jackie on Roseanne)
(5) June 16, 1971:  Tupac Shakur, rap star/actor
I found this information on the site Randy recommended:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Grandma's Diary, Part 3

(You can read prior entries from my grandmother's 1933 diary here:  Part 1 and Part 2.)

Key:   The writer is Ethel Ranney Tapley.
          Alice is her sister.
          H = her boyfriend, Hazel Avery Plumlee
          Otho is Otho Hesser, her father's cousin.
          Viella is Otho's wife.
          Uncle Jont is Jonathan Hesser, Otho's father and her father's uncle.

Sunday, January 22:  "Kenneth came & woke us up about 5 am.  H. came over.  Lucile & Clint took us to town.  We played bridge & went to Church.  Bernice & family came up."

Monday, January 23:  "H. & I got home about 2:15 am.  Bernice got stuck in the mud didn't get started till about 2:00.  Kenneth & Laura left about same time.  Mama & I went to Yucaipa."

Tues., January 24:  "Mama & I washed.  H. came over & we went to Trowbridges & Plumlees.  It is a clear day for a change."

Wed., January 25:  "It is cloudy again.  Lucile came up & stayed for dinner.  I went home with her for the night.  Alice stayed at Uncle Jonts.  H. & Clint came down to Pences & played bridge."

Thurs., January 26:  "I came home about 9:30 am.  Mama & I got Viella at H. Hessers & we went to Holts to quilt.  H. came over in the evening."

Fri., January 27:  "Mr. Dearson came up.  Hazel came up & we went & got the tractor & I took the Ford home.  Stopped at Trobridges & Plumlees.  It is raining again."

Sat., January 28:  "We went by Holts & took Laura to San Berdo with us.  H. & I met in Redlands.  I came home with him.  Lucile & Clint came up & took us home with them."

  I love that she had good friends, spent lots of time with her boyfriend AND her family... and there was time to embroider, quilt and play bridge. 

More next week.... :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thriller Thursday: Fred Lewis Way (Jr.)

Well, I made a "thrilling" discovery on GenealogyBank this afternoon.  It is definitely worth it to search indirect family lines because you just never know what you might find!

Fred Lewis Way was my second cousin.  I never paid any attention to this fact before today.  He was just another name and date in my database.  I never met him nor any of his immediate family.  His grandfather, James L. Tapley and my grandfather, Lusion Keman Tapley, were brothers.

I was doing research on Fred's mother today and began searching GenealogyBank for Fred's father's obituary.  He and Fred had the same name, so during my search, the following information popped up.  Just imagine my shock.

On May 15, 2006, Fred died of a heart attack... while on death row in Florida State Prison.  He was sentenced to death in 1984 for the 1st degree murder of his 15-year-old daughter on July 11, 1983 in Town 'n' Country, Florida (a suburb of Tampa).  He was also sentenced to 99 years for the 2nd degree murder of his wife and 30 years for arson, all on that date in 1983.

Here is the first article I found dated June 5, 2006 from The Tampa Tribune.  (I have omitted the names of his living children.)

"Fred Lewis Way:  Killer Dies Awaiting His Execution:  Newspaper Obituary and Death Notice

  TAMPA - In March 1984, just three months into Fred Lewis Way's long wait on death row, he said he felt isolated, bored and horribly, horribly lonely.
  Way also maintained he did not kill his wife, Carol, or his 15-year-old daughter, Adrienne.  He said, some day, he would be vindicated.
  'If I'm not,' he told a Tampa Tribune reporter back then, 'I don't intend to spend 30 or 40 years in this miserable place.  This is hell, being locked up like an animal.'
  He said should his death sentence stand, he would rather be executed than remain in prison.
  On May 15, still awaiting appeals, Way died of an apparent heart attack.  He was 61.
  Way's son, ...was away from home playing basketball when his mother and older sister were killed.  But 12-year-old
{daughter} emerged from her bedroom and confronted her father immediately after their deaths.
  Both siblings testified against their father.
  Now married and living in Alabama,
{living daughter} said a cousin phoned her about her father's death a couple of weeks ago.
  She said she felt saddened, but not because he was gone.
  'I was hoping that before he died, I'd find out why he did it,' she said.  'He never admitted to it.  He just quoted a bunch of Scripture and told lies.'
  During the trial, prosecutors offered a gruesome tale.
  Way, 38 and an engineer for the Federal Aviation Administration, wanted to accept a transfer that would move the family to Central America.  Carol Way adamantly opposed the move.  Adrienne, his oldest daughter, did not want to leave her friends.
  On July 11, 1983, Way and his wife argued in the garage of their Town 'N Country home.  He struck her several times with a hammer.  Then, he called Adrienne into the garage and struck her.
  Way doused them in gasoline.
  Autopsy reports suggested the 15-year-old had not yet died when she and her mother were set ablaze.
{Living daughter} said she remembers playhing Parcheesi with Adrienne when her father told Adrienne to come with him into the garage.  He told {living daughter} to stay in her room.
{living daughter} heard a scream, she walked into the hall.  Her father, she said, walked past her, smiled and winked.  Moments later, he walked outside and started to smoke a cigarette.
{living daughter} tried to open the door to the garage, her father told her not to.  She saw smoke and asked him if he was going to call the fire department.  He said nothing, and she ran to a neighbor's house.
  'That night, he wasn't upset, it didn't seem,'
{living daughter} said.  'He didn't show any emotion to me.'
  Way's defense argued to the jury that his wife and daughter fought each other and, in the melee, accidentally spilled chemicals that caught fire.
  After 11 hours of deliberations over two days, the jurors unanimously found him guilty.  They recommended the death penalty by a vote of 7-5.
  In 1988, a month before Way was to be executed, he received an emergency stay while the courts studied one of his many appeals.  The U.S. Supreme Court eventually upheld the conviction but ordered a new sentencing hearing.
  In 1990, Way again was sentenced to death.  He died as his appeals continued.
  Mike Benito, the former assistant state attorney who prosecuted the case, said Way got everything he deserved.
  "The killing of his daughter was as cold-blooded and cowardly as it gets," he said.
  Not everyone saw it that way.
  Defense attorney David Rankin who learned of Way's death Thursday, said he always thought Way was innocent.  There were several pieces of evidence that never quite sat right with him.
  Rankin said he doubted Way could have murdered two people, spoken to his daughter, then walked outside to smoke all in a short amount of time.
{Living son}, who now lives in Tennessee, said he doesn't know whether his father was guilty, but he is surprised that prosecutors managed to secure a conviction on circumstantial evidence alone.
  'After years of therapy and 800 pages of depositions that I read, I think whether or not he did it, he was railroaded through the process,'
{living son} said.  'I'm not professing his innocence or his guilt, I just think everyone deserves a fair shake.'
{Living son} said he harbors some bad feelings about the way he says law enforcement used him and his sister in the days after they lost their mother and sibling.
  Although he has not rectified the deaths in his mind, he said he eventually did learn to forgive his father.
  'I guess my perspective is a Christian perspective," he said.  "Whether he killed them or not, it's not my place to judge.'"

Author:  Thomas W. Krause
Copyright (c) 2006 The Tribune Co.

Fred Lewis Way's Inmate Photo, Florida Dept of Corrections
That pretty much tells the story.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy, Week 4; Home

Week 4: Home. Describe the house in which you grew up. Was it big or small? What made it unique? Is it still there today?

I actually grew up in three different houses... I only spent four years each in the first two, but they feel just as much as home to me, if not more, as the one I spent 10 years in.

My first home was in Augusta, Georgia.  We lived there until I was 4 (1967-1971).  Unfortunately I have no pictures of this house and it has now burned down.  Being so young, I remember very little about this home.  A few things I do recall:

*  The steep driveway we had and my ball rolling down that driveway one day into the road.  Some nice gentleman stopped his car and returned it to me.
*  Locking the bathroom door from the inside and Daddy trying to get it open with his pocketknife.  Luckily, he succeeded.
*  Being stung by bees in the bushes on the side of the house
*  Having a four-poster bed and my one-time babysitter's daughter swinging on one of the posts and breaking it.  I also got a spanking for that, though Daddy admitted later that he knew I didn't break it.  :)

My parents moved back to Augusta in the 1990's.  To this day, Augusta feels the most like home to me.

My second home was in Jacksonville, Florida.  We lived there for four years - until I was 8 (1971-1975).  This is where my fondest memories lie.  My dad built this house.  My parents had actually lived on this property before.  The house was made of blocks, which was common in Florida at that time.  It had two bedrooms with one bath, and I remember Daddy adding the den (or "Florida Room") onto the back of the house.  Since we had the den, we didn't use the living room in the front of house much.  Our dining table overlooked the carport.  My bedroom was at the other end, on the back side of the house.  My mom read to me every night, and lying in my bed is where I learned how to spell "Elizabeth."  I was in my room playing one day and wanted to crank my "car" so I put a key into the electrical socket!  I had a swing outside.  I learned to ride a bicycle there and rode it all over the place.  Since we lived in a quiet neighborhood, I could ride my bike in the street, and Mom and I would even ride our bikes a couple of blocks to the Trout River.  The lot next to our house was empty so I used to play there a lot. 

I guess when we lived here, I was old enough to remember, but not yet old enough to realize that the world could be a bad and scary place.  So the vast majority of memories I have from Jacksonville are good ones.  

In 1975, when I was almost 9, we moved to Swainsboro, Georgia.  Or rather, Daddy and I moved to Swainsboro.  Mom worked for Southern Bell and could not get a transfer.  For a year she stayed in Jacksonville during the week and drove 4 1/2 hours to Swainsboro each weekend.  As I described in a previous post, my grandparents passed away in November 1973.  That left my grandmother's sister, Alice, alone, and it only took a few months for my parents to realize that Alice could not live on her own.  So thus the reason for the move.  I had already spent a lot of time in that house, visiting my grandparents.  I lived here until I was 18 (1975-1985). 

The house used to be a store building, and my grandfather converted it into a house in the 1960's.  It started out as three bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, but my father eventually added a fourth bedroom in the garage.  The garage ran the entire length of the house on the back.  Pop Pop had a library (den) off the living room and from that room, a glass sliding door led out to the garage.  There was a door leading outside from the dining room, which we also used a lot.  There was another entrance further down the front of the house that led into a little room that we called the vestibule that was not big enough for anything.  We kept a desk in there mostly and never used it.  The room was smaller than a closet.  There was a large window across the front of the living room, left over from the store.  The kitchen sink, oven and counters were all pink.  The picture was taken before my grandparents died... there was a concrete driveway and walkways later.

When we first moved there, the middle room, the room with no window because it backed up to the garage, was my room.  When Alice moved into a home in Augusta, I moved into her old room - the front bedroom.  That was my bedroom all through high school.  It had red shag carpet on the floor.  I had my own bathroom at that point.  The bathrooms in that house were huge.  I had a dressing table and a large linen closet in mine.  

Truth be told, I do not have many good memories from this house.  As a matter of fact, until as recently as 5 years ago, every nightmare or strange dream I had was set in that house.  

The house is still there.  Daddy sold it a few years before he died, and the new owners have changed it quite a bit. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Elizabeth V. Tapley

Elizabeth V. Tapley Powell
DOB Feb 12 1873
DOD June 19 1959
eldest daughter of James (Jim) Madison Tapley and Rebecca Page Tapley
sister of Lusion Keman Tapley (my grandfather)
My grand aunt


her husband,
James Marion Powell
DOB Sept 4 1870
DOD Dec 21 1942
son of James Bennett Powell and Virginia Perry Powell

The Powells are laid to rest at Oaky Grove cemetery, Johnson County, Georgia.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Amanuensis and Military Monday: James C Tapley

Pfc. James C. (J.C.) Tapley served in General Patton's Third Army in the 34th Division, 168th Infantry during World War II.  He was a medic, and he was killed near Venafro, Italy on November 1, 1943.  He was 22 years old.

J.C. was the son of Bennett Olin Tapley and Florence Price Tapley.  He was the grandson of James Madison Tapley and Rebecca Page Tapley.  He was my 1st cousin, 1x removed. 

J.C.'s nephew allowed me to copy a letter, probably the last letter, that J.C.'s father wrote to him during the war.  It was actually written 10 days after J.C. was killed, but obviously Uncle Ol (Bennett Olin) didn't know that.  That is what makes it especially heartbreaking.  (You will notice that J.C.'s address was scratched out... I am guessing the Army did that when they realized he had been killed in action.)

Note:  Wesley was J.C.'s brother; The "ant" or Aunt Morning was on his mother's side; and Uncle "Tell" refers to George Washington Sentell Tapley, Bennett Olin's brother.

"To:  PFC James C. Tapley
From:  B.O. Tapley, Kite, G, RFD #2, November 11, 1943 

Dear Son:

J C I am trying to answer your letter I received the 8 of November and was glad to hear that you was getting along O.K.  As far as the rest of us and myself we are getting along very well - 

J C we are going to try to send you a box for Christmas and I want you to be on your look out for it 

J C Wesley and myself are still cutting blocks for our self and we got about three loads ready to haul now: -

And we are having some cold weather now  We had a big frost this morning 

J C ant Morning ? ? for her and by the way JC Uncle Tell are -
getting along better   I am in hopes he will soon be where he can go again -

 By news being short I recton I witt hafe to close after this line

love Father"

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: Mrs. C. M. Schwalls

Here is another obituary I found on  Rosa Rountree Schwalls was the second wife of Charlie Milton Schwalls, son of my elusive George W. Schwalls.  (This Charlie is not to be confused with the Charlie whose obituary I posted last week.  THAT Charlie Schwalls was the grandson of George W. Schwalls.) 

Charlie Milton Schwalls was the brother of my maternal great-grandmother, Mattie Schwalls.

What I found interesting about this obituary was how many honorary pallbearers Rosa had.  There are four paragraphs of names! 

Obituary, February 9, 1954, Augusta Chronicle, Augusta, Georgia:

  "Mrs. C. M. Schwalls
    SWAINSBORO, Ga., Feb. 8 - Mrs. Rosa Lee Rountree Schwalls of Swainsboro died late Sunday night after a lengthy illness at a local hospital.
    She was born Jan. 22, 1875, eldest daughter of the late Joshua W. and Mahala Durden Rountree, both descendents of Emanuel county pioneer settlers.  She was married on Dec. 15, 1912, to Charlie M. Schwalls of Kite, who preceded her in death 25 years ago.
    DeLoach Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.
    Survivors are one son, Rountree Schwalls of Swainsboro, two daughters, Mrs. J. B. Meeks of Norristown, and Mrs. D. N. Meeks of Hazlehurst; one granddaughter, little Miss Joye Schwalls of Swainsboro; her stepmother, Mrs. Anna Rountree of Twin City; three sisters, Mrs. George M. Williamson of Twin City, Mrs. Sallie P. Taylor of Douglas and Mrs. Willie O. Coleman of Twin City; two brothers, Charles D. Rountree of Thomasville and J. Willie Rountree of Atlanta; and a number of nieces and nephews.
    She was a member of the Baptist Rest Primitive Baptist Church of Twin City where funeral services will be held Tuesday at 2 p. m. by Elders Pat Byrd and A. L. Brannen.
    Burial will be in Old Canoochee cemetery.
    Active pallbearers will be James Coleman, Carl Rountree, George Brophy, Perry Rountree, B. H. Taylor, Harold Meeks, Dalton Schwalls, and Charlie Schwalls.
    Honorary pallbearers will be Brode Johnson, Butler Watson, Gus Watson, Hubert Watson, Robert L Rowland, Philip Rowland, E. L. Smith, J. F. Mathis, David Cason, Edd Coleman, Hugh Coleman, W. O. Philips, Jim Brown, Dr. J. A. Meeks, W. W. Claxton.
    Also, C. L. Claxton, Murphy Norris, Walter Douglas, H. J. Claxton, Cliff Douglas, Milledge Anderson, Milton Anderson, Loren Anderson, Talmadge Harrison, Dartus Brown, Peyton Youmans, Robert H. Humphrey, Jottle Lewis, Olan Rountree.
    Also, Walter H. Rountree, John B. Spivy, Ivy W. Rountree, Bennie Ehrlich, Leon Ehrlich, Grayson Powell, R. E. Tanner, Silas Power, Wyley Powell, C. I. Welch, Pat Durden, Thomas Durden, Harold Durden, Carl Durden, Clyde Durden, V. H. McHale.
    Also, Pete Canady, Edwin Flanders, Jim Peebles, Johnnie M. Thompson, Arthur Chance and R. J. Waller Jr.
    The body will lie in state at the church for one hour before services.  Pallbearers are requested to meet at the church at 1:45 p.m."

WOW!  She must have been one beloved lady.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quick share

Two things I came across recently that I wanted to share here.

First is this web site/slide show:  The 1940's.  Turn your speakers up and you can hear music from the era to go along with the photos.  It is interesting, with lots of good information.

Second is an article I read today in the January/February 2011 issue of History:  The History Channel Magazine, entitled "Library Receives 'Landmark Gift.'"  The article is about a recent gift to the Library of Congress of a "large trove of photographs from the Civil War era."  According to Library officials, "the donation was the largest collection of Civil War photography they've ever received in as many as 50 years."

The collection includes almost 700 photographs of soldiers - taken before they went to war.  Most of them are of Union soldiers, and for the most part (emphasis added by Liz) are unidentified.  (This may be your chance to find a picture of your Civil War ancestor!)  The collection also includes a few photos of African-American soldiers, women and children. 

The Library is planning an exhibition of the photos in April, which is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. 

Here's the best part for us genealogists:  Many of images have already been digitized and are available to view HERE.

So check it out... you never know who you may find!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Grandma's Diary, Part 2

(You can read entries from the first 14 days of my grandmother's 1933 diary here.)

Key:   The writer is Ethel Ranney Tapley.
          Alice is her sister.
          H = her boyfriend, Hazel Avery Plumlee
          Otho is Otho Hesser, her father's cousin.
          Viella is Otho's wife.
          Uncle Jont is Jonathan Hesser, Otho's father and her father's uncle.

Sunday, January 15:  "Alice & I went to Sunday School.  Bernice's, Otho's & Uncle Jont's were here to dinner.  It looks a lot like rain.  H. came down from the mountains."

Monday, January 16:  "It is cloudy and rainy.  H. came over about 10 am. & we went to Trowbridges.  We ate dinner at Plumlees.  Laura & Ester came up."

Tuesday, January 17:  "The ground is covered with snow.  H & I went over to H. Wallons & H. ground the valves in his Ford.  On our way home we stopped at Trowbridges."

Wed., January 18:  "It is clear but awful cold.  Hazel moved to the lower place this afternoon.  We went to Hessers for a min.  Mrs. Ball came over in the evening."

Thurs., January 19:  "It is raining again as usual.  Mama went to church to an all day meeting with Viella.  I embroidered all day."

Fri., January 20:  "Everything is white.  There is about 8 in. of snow.  Alice couldn't go to school as car stuck in snow.  H. & Ben came over & we went to Anjel's {???} & played bridge."

Sat., January 21:  "We got our first egg from our chickens.  There is still quite a bit of snow.  H., Ben & Herman left for Barton Flats.  I finished my state quilt.  Mrs. Holt brot Laura up to stay over weekend."

More next week.... :)

52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy, Week 3: Cars

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.
Week 3: Cars.  What was your first car? Describe the make, model and color, but also any memories you have of the vehicle. You can also expand on this topic and describe the car(s) your parents drove and any childhood memories attached to it.
My first car was a baby blue 1975 Chevrolet Monte Carlo.  It was as long as a Navy ship, and I loved it.  It had white interior.  The most important feature to me at the time was the radio.  I was 16 years old and barely knew how to drive.  My father made me so nervous when I drove with him, and my mother drove a straight shift, which I had little interest in learning.  I basically taught myself how to drive in that Monte Carlo.  I remember the freedom I felt when I drove it... a feeling I never experienced at home.  I remember driving to a friend's house, singing along with "Islands in the Stream" by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers on the radio.  It was a boat, but I loved that car.  

I had nothing to do with picking it out.  I never thought I would get my own car at 16.  But I guess since I made good grades and had a part-time job, in a weak moment, my father felt proud of me and decided to get me a car.  Or more than likely, he didn't want to have to drive me to or pick me up from my job, and he surely believed in having a car, so he got me one.  Anyway, I just got off the school bus one afternoon, and there she was.  (This was not unusual; I never knew what I would find when I got off the school bus each day... a car for Mom, a truck for Dad, a motor home, a backhoe, a new tractor, a car for me...)  I am sure I loved her at first sight... my very own car... my first very own car.  It wouldn't have mattered what kind or condition.  

Getting a car was the start of trouble for me.  A new kind of trouble.  Give a 16 year old kid a little bit of freedom when she has NEVER had any, and there is going to be trouble.  Not being where I was supposed to be, a ticket, car damaging mishaps... and then finally, the wreck. I think I was a senior by then.  Daddy took the car away from me, and I was back to riding the school bus.  (Oh the humiliation!)  Eventually (when he finally forgave me) he sold my beloved Monte Carlo and decided he would get me something that got better gas mileage for me to take to college.  I think I got into trouble one more time or something, and I never got a car for college.  I was given an old Pontiac my parents owned.  It had no a/c, no radio, and once thieves tried to break into it, no lock on the driver's side door.  (Like what in the world did they think they were going to get out of THAT car?!!  It didn't even have a radio!  They wasted their time and energy on that one!) 

There are have been several cars since then, but I do remember the first one fondly.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Vianna Tapley

Vianna Bell Tapley
youngest child/daughter of James (Jim) Madison Tapley and Rebecca Page Tapley
DOB October 4, 1886
DOD March 24, 1965
She is buried at Oaky Grove Church cemetery, Johnson County, Georgia.

Never married.
After her mother died in 1924, she moved from one sibling's house to another.  When she passed away, she was living with her brother's, Bennett Olin's, family.

I do not know why the day she died was never engraved on her headstone.  I have added that to my genealogical to-do list.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Military Monday: Bascom Tapley

This is the World War I Draft Registration Card for my grand uncle, Bascom Bishop Tapley.  Uncle Bascom was the youngest brother of my grandfather, Lusion Keman Tapley. 

On June 5, 1917, the date of the registration card, Uncle Bascom would have been 27 years old with a wife and no children.  His first child was not born until 1921.

I like finding these registration cards for ancestors because they provided some good information such as date of birth, occupation, and a hint of what the person looked like, i.e. eye and hair color, height, build.  Also, if you get really lucky, they will list the name of their next of kin, rather than just stating "wife." 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: Charlie Schwalls

Thanks to Jen over at Climbing my Family Tree, I joined and have spent almost every waking hour this weekend scouring what they have so I can add to my family tree! I have hit pay dirt several times over (!!), including this one from The Augusta Chronicle dated August 9, 1978:

All the years I was growing up in Swainsboro, Rufus Schwalls lived down the hill from us, and I knew he was related to my mother somehow.  From reading this blog, you may have already figured out that the Schwalls line is the one I have the most brick walls in... so I never could figure out just how Rufus fit into our family tree.  Finally, this one obituary, that lists among Charlie Schwalls' survivors, "mother, Mrs. Lester Schwalls" and "brother, Rufus Schwalls" made it clear to me.  I know who Mr. Lester Schwalls was, the son of my "Most Wanted" ancestor, George W. Schwalls, but I did not have any information on who his wife and children were.

So now I know.  Rufus was definitely our cousin.  And now I can explain how!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Ancestor Roulette

I haven't done one of these before, but I saw this posting by Jenny on Are My Roots Showing? and thought this sounded like fun!

It's Saturday night, and Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings gave us the following assignment:

1) How old is one of your grandfathers now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

Both of my grandfathers have passed away, so I will choose my maternal grandfather, Charles Morgan Tapley.  He would be 103 years old.  103 divided by 4 is 25.75, which I rounded to 26.

(Using my paternal grandfather brought me to a live cousin, and I try to avoid sharing information about living relatives here unless I have their permission.)

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel"). Who is that person?

That person is my aunt, Anna Lois Gladdin Tapley. 

 3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."
  • She was married to my uncle, William Lamar Tapley.
  • She raised two children:  Mary Ann and William Lamar Tapley, Jr. (Buddy).
  • Lamar & Anna Lois circa 1964
  • She passed away February 1, 2000 and is buried at Restlawn Memorial Park, Jacksonville, Florida.
That was neat!  And I learned something - I need to find out more about my aunt!  Thanks Jenny and Randy for the great idea!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Diary

My maternal grandmother, Ethel Ranney Tapley, kept a diary for all of 1933 and part of 1934.  It is small and red, with "Five Year Diary" in gold across the cover.  We've all seen the type... each page has a date at the top with five sections per page to write a four line entry for that day for five years.  I have had this diary in my possession for several years, and now that I have this blog, I think it is high time that I transcribe it.  This first entry will catch us up from January 1 - 14, 1933 and then I'll post each weeks' posts once a week.  *Please note that all misspellings and punctuation and/or grammar errors are my grandmother's.  I will not attempt to correct what she has written.  If I don't include an explanation of who someone is that she refers to, then my mother and I do not know who they are. 

She would have been 20 years old when she started keeping this diary.  She lived with her parents, Luther and Bessie (Carter) Ranney, her brother, Kenneth Carter Ranney, and her sister, Alice Lucille Ranney.  They lived in Mentone, which is in San Bernardino County, California.  They had family (the Hessers and the Coopers) and friends in the area:  Redlands, San Bernardino, and Yucaipa. 

Inside the front cover, my grandmother wrote her name and location:

"Ethel Ranney

The first page is just lined with no date at the top.  Here it appears that she did a synopsis of important dates for the years.  For 1933, it reads:

"March 2 - The banks closed indefinitely.
March 10 - Had a worse earth quake that we've had for 18 yrs.  Several were killed at the beachs. 
March 14 - The banks opened today.
April 17 - Alice got her diamond.
April 22 - I got a permanent.
June 21 - Earl in accident - 3rd degree burn.
June 28 - Earl died 3am.
Sept. 4 - Kenneth got married.
Sept. 16 - Alice got married."

So it appears that 1933 was a momentous year for the family.  Two weddings in one year.  Let's see what else happened.

Sunday, January 1, 1933:  "H {her boyfriend, Avery Hazel Plumlee} & I went to Baumans to New Year's party last night.  Had a flat tire.  Went to S.S. - Hazel & Herman {Alice's boyfriend} stayed to dinner.  H & I went to Luciles and played bridge."

Monday, January 2:  "Herman went home about 12:30.  Went to Coopers then to Hesser's.  Bernice came after Sch and brot Scalackies.  We stayed for supper at Hesser's."

Tuesday, January 3:  "Mama & I washed.  Hazel came over in the evening."

Wed., January 4:  "Mama & I ironed.  H. & I went to Yucaipa in the afternoon.  H. patched our tire.  H. & I went to Dietrichs & played cards."

Thurs., January 5:  "Calvin Coolidge passed away.  Alice & I went down to Keeney's camp this afternoon."

Fri., January 6:  "Dad, Mama & I went to town & got the rent & nearly bought the stores out.  H. came over in the evening, we played cards."

Sat., January 7:  "Went to Yucaipa this morning.  H. left for Barton Flats this afternoon with Herman.  We spent the evening with Balls."

Sun., January 8:  "Mrs. Cooper went with us to S.S. & church.  Coopers & Mr. Trowbridge were here to dinner.  Cathearts & Mrs. Barnett called in the afternoon."

Mon., January 9:  "Mama & I washed.  Went to Yucaipa.  Lucile came up & I went home with her.  We went to the show in the evening."

Tues., January 10:  "Lucile & I didn't get up till late.  I came home about two pm.  Hazel came back from the mountains.  Otho {Otho Hesser, her father's first cousin} called."

Wed., January 11:  "Hazel came over about 1:30 pm.  H. & I went to Yucaipa & fixed a tire at Clints. Folks took Coopers & went to a church supper.  H. & I stayed home much to everyone's disgust."

Thurs., January 12, 1933:  "Herman Wallon & family came over in the afternoon to find Hazel.  Hazel came over about five.  We went to Dietrichs & played cards."

Fri., January 13:  "Mama & I washed & ironed.  Mr. & Mrs. Ball came over in the evening.  Lucile & Clint came over for a little while.  Lucile & I had the gigles."

Sat., January 14:  "We went to San Berdo.  Got the licence & pair of shoes.  Went to Holts to See Laura Dodson.  We had to wait 2 hrs. for them to get home."

I find this so interesting!  A peek inside their life in 1933.  I love it!  Look for another installment next week!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - Perfume Bottle

Last month, I helped my mother clean out some things at her house.  She had two guest rooms and decided she only needed one, so there were a lot of photographs and knick-knacks to go through.  She suddenly handed me this bottle and asked if I wanted it since it had belonged to my grandmother.  I asked which grandmother... figuring it had belonged to her mother.  But no... to my surprise, she replied that it had belonged to my paternal grandmother, Nealie Drake Tapley.  I instantly said I wanted it even thought I wasn't even sure what it was.  I believe it's a perfume bottle. 

Pretty, isn't it?  I wish I knew who gave it to her and what she used it for.  Now it has a place of honor in my heritage cabinet... where I store all the knick-knacks that came down through our families or are a part of our history.  


I mentioned in last week's Treasure Chest Thursday post which was about bronzed baby shoes that I had to wear a special device on my feet when I was a baby.  I was just a couple of months old when the pediatrician's office discovered that my right foot was turned inward at the middle of my foot.  So I had to wear this plastic disk on my feet for awhile, and by the time I started learning to walk, my right foot was fine.  Well, I said I would locate the one picture we have of that contraption.  Let me confess something now... it took some looking to find this picture... and I'm embarrassed to say the reason why was that I had scrapbooked this picture WITHOUT SCANNING IT FIRST!  Let me just quote Maya Angelou here and say, "When we know better, we do better."  Now I know better, and I scan all old pictures before scrapbooking them.  Anyway, that is the reason the word "Dad" is across the picture - I cannot remove that without damaging the photo.  The photo is now scanned, but with "Dad" forever across it.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: I would love to know for sure who this family is

This picture was found in a old suitcase belonging to my grandmother, Nealie Drake Tapley, many, many years after she passed away.  I want to believe that this was her parents and siblings.  The little girl on the far left bears a striking resemblance to my Aunt Irene, who was Grandma Nealie's only daughter.  Since (often) a daughter greatly favors her mother as a child...

But I may never know for sure.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: George Washington Sentell Tapley

George Washington Sentell Tapley
7th child of James (Jim) Madison Tapley and Rebecca (Page) Tapley
my grand uncle
DOB July 5, 1876
DOD June 28, 1944
buried at Oaky Grove Church cemetery,
Johnson County, Georgia

(Jim's father was named George Washington Tapley so I'm assuming Sentell was named for him. However, I do not know how the name Sentell was chosen.  He went by Sentell his whole life.)

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's Done!

The Ranney transcription that I have literally been working on for YEARS is finished!  I sent the last section (generation) off earlier this evening.  What a feeling of accomplishment!  (And please no one ask me to transcribe anything else for a long, long while!  LOL)

I hope it helps someone with their Ranney research.  The link to the index is here.

I also made that call to my grand uncle's (Kenneth Carter Ranney) step-daughter this week!  Go me!  I hate cold calling, and I really have to wait until the mood hits me.  The call did not go as well as I hoped; of course when someone gets a call like that from a stranger, their first thoughts are "Who IS this person?" and "What do they WANT?"  I think more than anything she felt she needed to defend her care of my uncle in his later years.  I have no doubt she took excellent care of him, and we were not in touch with him at that time, so who are we to judge?  I was really hoping she had his death certificate that I could get a copy of, but from the feel of the call, I did not think it was best to ask about it.  I will just wait until Texas makes his death certificate available to non-next of kin relatives in 2014. 

I am thinking that I will send his step-daughter a follow up note, just thanking her for her time, etc. 

I have been spending a lot of time researching again this week.  There are some branches that I got a few leads on and I wanted to look into those.  I found out a lot of information, but I swear for every new piece of information you find, you also find a new mystery! 

It's been a fruitful week.  I am sure I will keep on digging to find out more!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday

Bronzed baby shoes.  Do you have any of these?  My grandfather (Pop Pop) really believed in them!  We have mine (pictured above), my mother's, and some who we don't even know whose they were!

I just realized that there is a picture of me at 6 years old with my baby shoes... hmmmmmm. 

Before I actually started walking, I had to wear corrective shoes.  My foot was turned inward from the instep to my toes.  So I had to wear shoes that were set into a plastic disc.  There is one picture somewhere of that contraption... I'll try to find it and share it here.  It did the job, and I was able to walk normally when the time came. 

So I guess the shoes that were bronzed came later... after I started walking.

You don't see these anymore.  I'm kind of ambivalent about them.  But my Pop Pop evidently thought they were important, so Mom and I will hang on to them.  (Most of them.  Shhhh, don't tell Pop Pop, but Mom and I found a set at her house the other day that had virtually turned green.  Plus we weren't sure whose they were.  They got tossed.  Gasp!)

Let me know if you have some!  I'd love to see them so I will know that I'm not alone.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Lusion Keman Tapley

Lusion Keman Tapley
a/k/a L. K. Tapley
my grandfather - "Papa"
Third child and son of James Madison and Rebecca (Page) Tapley
March 31, 1870 - July 3, 1935
laid to rest at
Powell's Chapel Church 
Johnson County. Georgia

Monday, January 3, 2011

Military AND Mystery Monday: John Russell Tapley Update

Russ (left) w/unknown buddy
This is an update to a November post I did about how little I know about my Uncle Russ's World War II service and how I long to find out what unit in which he served:

My cousin went to the funeral home that handled Uncle Russ's funeral to see if they still had a file on him and possibly had his separation papers in that file.  Unfortunately, my cousin completely struck out; he was told they have no records back that far (1960's). 

So my next step, I guess, is to check with the county where he was living when he was discharged to see if he filed his separation papers there.  I don't know at this time when I'll make a trip to Jacksonville, but this will go on my to do list for my next visit.

Meanwhile, I found a website called Vet Friends that seems to be a place where veterans can go and try to locate people they served with.  As a matter of fact, the site seems to be all things veteran.  You have to join (for a fee) to get on the message boards and post a search for someone.  The fees are:  [and I quote]
 I have not decided whether to join just to place a "blind" post on the message board and hope that a World War II veteran who happened to serve with my uncle will see it.  It's a long shot.  But that appears to be all I have.  

I am sure that this is a worthwhile site with lots to offer our veterans.  However, they send me more than one e-mail every single day!  And I've only signed up for the free membership so far!  So the jury is still out on this one.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to find out what unit my uncle served in during WWII???  I would appreciate any and all ideas.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sympathy Saturday: Charles Morgan Tapley and Ethel Ranney Tapley

Mom and Pop Pop, abt 1972-73
Grandma with Alice, my parents, and me

My maternal grandparents both died on November 12, 1973.  A car accident you wonder?  Dare you think it, a double murder??  No, my grandparents both died on November 12, 1973 about six hours and 35 miles apart. 

My parents and I lived in Jacksonville, Florida at the time.  I was six years old and in the first grade.  I remember very vividly seeing my mother getting ready that morning and explaining to me that Pop Pop had passed away, and we had to go to Swainsboro. 

My grandfather had been in the hospital for several days with pneumonia.  He had a heart attack and died about 4 am. 

My grandmother had multiple sclerosis (or something in that family) and was in a wheelchair.  Her sister, Alice Ranney Thornburg, lived with Pop Pop and Grandma assisting with her sister's care.  When Pop Pop went into the hospital, Alice was unable to care for Grandma by herself so the decision was made to temporarily place her in a nursing home in Dublin... just until Pop Pop came home.  However, that never happened.

We arrived in Swainsboro, and my mother's brother, Bob Plumlee and his wife Louise, arrived from Marietta, Georgia.  We picked up Alice and all drove to Dublin to give Grandma the bad news and bring her home.  Of course, as soon as she saw all of us walk in, telling her the news was a moot point; she knew.  We wheeled Grandma outside to the car to head back to Swainsboro.

From this point forward, I remember it all like it was yesterday.  I was standing next to my mom with Aunt Louise on the other side.  My father picked my grandmother up out of her wheelchair and bent over to place her in the car.  Suddenly, my father urgently called to my uncle, "Bobby!  Help me!"  And my mother knew.  Her knees buckled, and if my aunt Louise had not caught her, she would have collapsed on the pavement.  My grandmother died of a heart attack right there in my father's arms. 

The doctors or scientists can say what they will, but I firmly believe that she just did not want to go on without Pop Pop.  She probably thought she would spend the rest of her life in the nursing home if he was gone.  I am sure my grandparents had their problems - every couple does - but he was very devoted to her and took his responsibility of caring for her very seriously.  He would have kept her at home and taken care of her to the very end, I am sure.  But unfortunately, that was not meant to be.  And my grandmother did not want to face a life without her husband.

The rest is a blur for me.  There was a double funeral.  A lot of people came to their house in Swainsboro to pay their respects.  I remember seeing family I had never met or had not seen in a long, long time.  My Uncle Hugh (Dorsey) Tapley took me to the flower shop and bought me a small plastic flower bouquet in a wicker basket.  I guess he wanted to cheer up a little girl who had just lost the last of her grandparents.  I have that arrangement still. 

In the "new" items I got from Mom recently was Pop Pop's funeral book, along with their obituary and this article.  They are not marked, but I am fairly certain the article is from the Swainsboro Forest-Blade.  The obituary appears to be from the Augusta Chronicle.

I cannot being to imagine how my mother felt that day.  I know she misses her parents very much.  I was close to them as they were really the only grandparents I had known.  Pop Pop doted on me; I always say that if he had not taken pictures of me when I was little, there wouldn't be any!

 Forever memorialized, side by side, in death as in life.