Sunday, April 11, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2021 (Week 14): Great

 Amy Johnson Crow from Generations Cafe is again hosting the blog writing prompt this year called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2021.  I'm going to try to participate more fully this year.  I like that she gives us "permission" to interpret the prompt however we wish and share it however we wish.  It doesn't have to be a blog post; it could be a family video, a letter to a child or grandchild, an e-mail, etc.  

The Theme for Week 14 (Apr 5 - Apr 11) is Great.

My GREAT grandmother, Emma Vermell Harrell Drake (1867-1935), was my paternal grandmother's, Nealie Drake Tapley (1895-1970), mother.  I know almost nothing about Emma.  If I could meet her, I would have so many questions.  

Emma was born September 4, 1867 in Emanuel County, Georgia to William Robert Harrell (1838-1908) and Catherine M Odom Harrell (1841-1875).  Robert was born in South Carolina, as was his father before him.  Catherine's family, on both of her parents' sides, had been residents of Emanuel County since at least the late 1700s.  

Emma was one of three children born to Robert and Catherine.  She was the oldest.  Her sister, Nancy Jane (1869-1901), was 2 years younger, and her brother, John Milledge (1872-1951) was 5 years younger. 

Emma also had an older "half" brother.  Roan Perry Riner (1860-1941) was Catherine's child from her first marriage to Lawson Riner (1837-1863).  Lawson died in the Civil War.    

In 1875, tragedy struck the family.  Emma's mother passed away just 13 days after Emma's 8th birthday.  Catherine was only 34 years old.  Her obituary states that in her last moments, she turned "her attention to her four small children, [and] said many things to them." I cannot imagine how heartbreaking and confusing this would have been for the children.  

So Robert was left with three small children to raise.  In those days, the men had to go out and work to make a living to support their family.  So usually, in the case of a baby, another relative would take that child and raise it or the the man would remarry quickly.  Just a little over two years after Catherine's death, Robert remarried.  On January 1, 1878 in Emanuel County, he married Winford "Mimie" Barwick (1853-1939). Turns out that Catherine and Winford were 1st cousins.  Again, it wasn't that unusual for a widower to marry a member of his late wife's family, even her sister!

Robert and Winford had a baby boy in 1881, Robert Lanier Harrell (1881-1947).  Emma would have been 13 years old when this new baby brother was born.  As the oldest (and a girl), I am sure she had to help take care of all the other children.  In 1885, another brother was born named Grover Cleveland Harrell (1885-1928).  

Emma married William John Drake (1857-1927) on July 30, 1883.  She was 15 years old.  John had been married before (his wife had passed) and had a baby girl, Samantha Augusta Drake (1881-1966), who was only 2 1/2 years old at the time of their marriage.  Fifteen months after marrying, Emma gave birth to the first of their nine children:

Hattie Lay (1884-1912)

Kenneth Catherine (1886-1973)

William Lovick (1892-1912)

Nealie Vermell (1895-1970)

William Robert (1897-1927)

James Weldon (1900-1977)

Keland Lawton (1903-1972)

Nancy Mary Ann (1906-1931)

Martha Lou (1908-1986)

In my opinion, Emma had more than her share of tragedy during her life.  In addition to losing her mother so young, she lost two of her children, Hattie Lay and William Lovick, to typhoid fever within a few months of each other in 1912.  She experienced double tragedy again in 1927 when her son, William Robert, was murdered in June and her husband was accidentally shot and killed by their son, James Weldon, in August.  Then 4 1/2 years later, in 1931, her daughter, Nancy Mary Ann died at only 25 years of age.  (I do not know her cause of death.)  

In addition, her daughter, Kenneth Catherine, moved away to South Carolina, and I don't know how often Emma got to see her.

My grandmother, Nealie Vermell, "ran off" with a man twice her age with three children, and from what I can tell, Emma may have never seen her again.

Nealie's husband, Lusion K Tapley (1870-1935), passed away in July 1935.  Emma passed in October of that same year.  My father was shocked when I told him that because he said he had absolutely no memory of his mother attending Emma's funeral.  Of course, he was only age 7 at the time, so he may have just not remembered.  He also didn't remember ever meeting his grandmother.

However, I am led to believe that perhaps some of Daddy's older brothers may have met their grandmother because my first cousin, Gary, who is the son of Daddy's brother, Hugh "Dorsey" Tapley, told me that Emma was a little "off."  I am theorizing Gary got that from his father, but I don't know if Uncle Hugh witnessed it for himself or was just repeating what he had heard.  Either way, who could blame her if she was?  

I do not know that I have any pictures of Emma or her husband.  I do have  this picture that belonged to Grandma Nealie and is unidentified.  Could this be the Drake family?  

The little girl on the left looks very much like my Aunt Irene, who was Nealie's only daughter.  That makes me think the little girl in the photo was Nealie and this is a picture of her family.  If that's the case, the woman in the middle, dressed in black and holding the baby, would be Emma Vermell Harrell Drake, my great grandmother.  

Sunday, April 4, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2021 (Week 13): Music

 Amy Johnson Crow from Generations Cafe is again hosting the blog writing prompt this year called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2021.  I'm going to try to participate more fully this year.  I like that she gives us "permission" to interpret the prompt however we wish and share it however we wish.  It doesn't have to be a blog post; it could be a family video, a letter to a child or grandchild, an e-mail, etc.  

The Theme for Week 13 (Mar 29-Apr 4) is Music.  Yes, I skipped a couple of weeks/challenges.  Part of the beauty of this series is we can join in when we can.  

My family was not the ones who gathered around the piano and sang songs together.  There was no one in my immediate family trying to make it in the music business.  I mean music was a part of our lives.  I'm not sure there is anyone on this planet who could avoid music.  

I've told the story of my paternal grandmother, Nealie Drake Tapley, who played the organ at Powell's Chapel Church in Johnson County, Georgia, and how she would drive her horse and buggy more than 8 miles each way on Sunday mornings to play there.  

My mother plays the piano.  I took five years of lessons.  It was not my favorite thing, and I do not play very well today.  I've always said that my mother tricked me.  I told her I wanted to learn to play the guitar, and she told me I had to  start with the piano, to get the basics of playing music, so to speak.  I don't know if that was true or not, but I did the piano lessons and never got to guitar lessons!

My father was a country music fan.  He passed that along to me.  I grew up in the 1970s listening to Daddy's 8 track tapes of Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn and more.  I loved Charlie Rich, Charley Pride, Brenda Lee, and Tammy Wynette.  And of course I know every word to "Harper Valley PTA" by Jeannie C. Riley.  My father's favorite song was "Satin Sheets" by Jeanne Pruett.  

My mother also instilled the love of show tunes.  We had the album of the soundtrack of My Fair Lady, and I would belt out the song "Just You Wait (Henry Higgins)" on Saturday afternoons.  

As I got older (into my teen years), of course I discovered rock 'n roll.  I loved Chicago and Foreigner.  In the 1980s, I loved the big hair bands:  Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, and Poison.  

Nowadays, I still love country music.  But I also alternate between it, rock and pop music.  I think my tastes are quite eclectic.  (Though I do not enjoy opera.)  

During my ongoing search of relatives, I did come across a cousin who was an actual country musician in Nashville!  

Clayton Claxton (1944-2020) was my 4th cousin.  We are both descended from my 3rd great-grandparents, Zachariah William Claxton (1806-1895) and Lincelia Bush (1806-1872).  His obituary stated he had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1999 and was a founding member of the band, Rode West.  

So I decided to do some research into his career.  I could not find much.  Here's what I did find on

"Clayton Claxton, singer, songwriter, and entertainer, since he was 12 years old, loves to be in front of people. With his band, RODE WEST, they play stomp down Country music their own way, wherever they are called to play.  Impressionist, humorist, and songwriter, he has fronted shows for major Country stars for years.  Having his own #1 record in Australia and chart records in the USA, Clayton worked on the world famous GRAND OLE OPRY for 22 years.  The guys in the RODE WEST BAND have been with Clayton for over 20 years, one being his son, the lead guitar player. They do a family show that everyone can enjoy. They do some fifty's music, they do some old Cowboy harmony songs from yesteryear, and they bring the Grand Ole Opry to the stage with impersonations."

I particularly like this song:

He had an excellent, traditional voice. Here's another one that seemed to have been popular in Australia:

So this is my closest brush with an actual country music star, and I never even got to meet him!

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Google Maps of Ancestral Homes

 From Randy (cousin discovery!!) over at Genea-Musings:

it's Saturday Night 
time for more Genealogy Fun!!!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

(1)  Identify an ancestral home address (preferably one with a street address...) for one of your ancestral families.  (You DO know where they lived, don't you?  If not, consult the 1900-1940 U.S. Census Records or City Directories.)

(2)  Go to Google Maps ( and enter the street address (and city/town if necessary - usually you can pick from a list) for your selected ancestral home.  

(3)  Look at the street map, the satellite map, and the street view.  Zoom in or out or manipulate the image as you wish.

(4)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a post on Facebook.  

(5)  Do you have maps and street view pictures for all of your known ancestral homes?

Here's mine:

I picked one of the homes where my great-grandparents lived at 313 S. Sierra Way, San Bernardino, California.  Luther Boardman Ranney lived here from about 1938-1943, when he passed away.  His wife, Bessie Carter Ranney, lived there with him and then moved to Redlands in 1944.  Their eldest daughter, Alice, lived there with them the entire time.  Their youngest daughter, Ethel (my grandmother) moved there with them in 1938, but she married my grandfather the following year and moved out.  

Here is the Map View:

Here is the Satellite View:

A zoomed in view of the house on the Satellite View shows that it now sits on a very busy 4 lane road:

The Street View shows the front of the house:

I am sure the house looks very different now than it did in 1938-1944!  I could have sworn my mother and I visited this location in 2010 when we visited, but the place we saw was an empty lot.  This is definitely not.  

I do not have Google Map images for any of  my ancestral homes.  I will now add the project to save the ones that I have the street address.  However, so many of my ancestors were farmers and lived out of town on a rural route.  It will be almost impossible to pinpoint those places.  

That was a lot of work (I couldn't remember how to do a screenshot!), but it was fun!  I looked at several locations in California before choosing this one, however, most are no longer there.  When I found one, it was neat!

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - "Who Was Your First Ancestor Born in...?"

 From Randy (cousin discovery!!) over at Genea-Musings:

it's Saturday Night 
time for more Genealogy Fun!!!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

(1)  Lorine McGinnis Schulze asked in her blog post "Who Was Your First Canadian or American Born Ancestor?"

(2)  Let's broaden it a bit to "Who was your first ancestor born in Canada, America, or your chosen country, state, province, or county?" based on your known ancestry.

(3)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a post on Facebook.  

Here's mine:

None of my ancestors were from Canada.  Most were from various countries in Europe, but I haven't "jumped the pond" yet in my research.  So I'll be concentrating on various states in the United States.

- My first ancestor born in American and the state of Connecticut was my 9th great-grandmother, Mary Hubbard, born 16 Jan 1642 in Hartford, Connecticut.  She was the daughter of George Hubbard Sr and Elizabeth Watts Hubbard.

- The first of my ancestors born in Massachusetts was Stephen Snow, born before 1648, though I'm not sure exactly where in Massachusetts.  He was my 8th great-grandfather.  His parents were Nicholas Snow and Constance Hopkins Snow.  Constance came over as a teenager on the Mayflower in 1620 and Nicholas came over three years later on the Anne.

- The first of my ancestors born in New York was Jacob Isaac Osman, born 1732 in Suffolk County, New York.  He was my 5th great-grandfather.  He was the son of Isaac Osman and Mary Bayley Osman.

- Pennsylvania:  Peter Conrad Hesser was born 1760 in Germantown, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.  He was my 5th great-grandfather.  His parents were Johann Conrad Hesser and Anna Heizer Hesser.

- After a migration to the Western Reserve, my 4th great-grandfather, Luther Boardman Ranney, was the first of my ancestors born in Ohio.  He was born in Hudson, Summit County, Ohio on 28 Nov 1809.  He was the son of Comfort Ranney and Elizabeth Hubbard Ranney.

- Soon the Ranney family migrated again... to Michigan.  The first of my ancestors born there was also named Luther Boardman Ranney (grandson of the one mentioned above).  He was born 11 Mar 1870 in Chapin, Saginaw County, Michigan.  He was my great-grandfather.  He was the son of Comfort Ranney and Mary Margaret Hesser Ranney.

Now let's head south...

- Virginia was the landing place of most of my southern ancestors.  The first of my ancestors born there was Thomas Jordan II, born 07 July 1634 in Isle of Wight County.  Thomas was my 8th great-grandfather.  His parents are unknown.

- The first of my ancestors born in North Carolina was my 5th great-grandfather, Dempsey Goff.  He was born in 1758 somewhere in the state.  His parents are unknown.  
    (However, this information is unsourced so to be on the safe side, let me say that it is possible that my first ancestor born in North Carolina was actually Francis Bryant Drake.  He was born 16 Oct 1806 in Nash County.  He was my 3rd great-grandfather and the son of Richard Drake and Pherabah Bryant Drake.)

- My 3rd great-grandmother, Sarah Tapley, born in 1775, was the first of my ancestors born in South Carolina.  She was born on a stopover during the family's migration from North Carolina to Georgia.  She was the daughter of Newhampton Tapley.  Her mother's identity is unknown.

- Last but not least is my home state of Georgia.  Samuel Goff was born 1790 in Emanuel County, Georgia.  He was my 4th great-grandfather.  He was the son of Dempsey Goff and Catherine Herring Goff.  
    (Again, the Goff information is not well sourced, so it is possible that the first ancestor of mine born in Georgia was one of Sarah Tapley's twins.  George Washington Tapley (my 2nd great-grandfather) and James Marion Tapley were born 02 May 1814 in Emanuel County, Georgia.  Their father was Canneth Swain.)

Saturday, March 20, 2021

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2021 (Week 10): Name's the Same

 Amy Johnson Crow from Generations Cafe is again hosting the blog writing prompt this year called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2021.  I'm going to try to participate more fully this year.  I like that she gives us "permission" to interpret the prompt however we wish and share it however we wish.  It doesn't have to be a blog post; it could be a family video, a letter to a child or grandchild, an e-mail, etc.  

The Theme for Week 10 (Mar 8-14) is Name's the Same.  Yes, I'm a week late with this challenge.

For this topic, I began to wonder how many people in  my family tree of 17,840 people were named Elizabeth, like me.  Elizabeth has consistently been a favorite name for newborn baby girls for at least 100 years.  It makes a good first name and an excellent middle name.  Then there is the long list of nicknames you can make out of Elizabeth:  Liz, Lizzie, Beth, Eliza, Betty, Liza, etc.  So many possibilities.  

So I went to my Family Tree Maker (FTM) 2019 software and pulled up an Individual Report under Publish.  For individuals to include, I chose any that in the Name field had Elizabeth.  I ended up with an 8 page report of 384 women in my family tree with Elizabeth as either a first or middle name.  That is 2.2% of my database!

They range from Elizabeth Julia Adams (1915-1993) who was my 4th cousin through my Swain line to Kaitlyn Elizabeth York (dates unknown) who is my 8th cousin, 2x removed through my Drake Line.

There are 10 women named Elizabeth Bush in my tree:

    Charity Elizabeth (abt 1771-1829)            6th Great Aunt

    Elizabeth (dates unknown)                        3rd Cousin, 4x removed

    Elizabeth (dates unknown)                        7th Great Aunt

    Elizabeth (dates unknown)                       1st Cousin, 6x removed       

    Elizabeth (dates unknown)                       1st Cousin, 7x removed

    Elizabeth (1631/32 - unknown)                10th Great Aunt

    Elizabeth (1796-1851)                              1st Cousin, 5x removed

    Elizabeth (1804-unknown)                       4th Great Aunt

    Elizabeth (1824-1879)                              4th Great Aunt  

    Elizabeth C. (1833-unknown)                  2nd Cousin, 5x removed

    Sarah Elizabeth (1880-1952)                   2nd Cousin, 3x removed

There are some with three middle names:  

    Louisa Elizabeth Jane Carr (1841-1928)                My 2nd Great Uncle's Mother-in-Law

    Rita Jayne Elizabeth Chabot (dates unknown)       Wife of my 3rd Cousin, 1x removed

    Georgia Ann Elizabeth DeVaughn (1850-1892)     5th Cousin, 4 removed

    Ollie Elizabeth Pearl Doss (1908-2005)                 Wife of my 6th Cousin, 1x removed

    Nancy Elizabeth Winfred Drake (1871-1947)        2nd Great Aunt

    Nancy Ann Elizabeth Hatcher (1845-1926)           Wife of cousin of my 2nd great-grandfather's wife 

    Sarah Ann Elizabeth McAfee (1865-1929)            Wife of 1st Cousin, 3x removed

    Elizabeth Ann Jane Pullen (1838-1866)                 2nd Cousin, 3x removed

    Mary Ann Elizabeth Pullen (1840-unknown)        2nd Cousin, 3x removed

    Mary Ann Elizabeth Webb (1856-aft 1920)          Wife of 2nd Cousin, 3x removed 

I also have 12 Elizabeths that their maiden names are unknown.  One of these is my 3rd great-grandmother (1824-aft 1880) who was married to George Washington Tapley.

I actually have 19 Elizabeth Tapleys in my family tree.  That seemed like a little much to list here.

Finally, there is my version, Mary Elizabeth.  There are 28 of us in the family tree!  A very popular combination!

So I hope you can see just how versatile the name Elizabeth can be.  

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your High School Years

 From Randy (cousin discovery!!) over at Genea-Musings:

it's Saturday Night 
time for more Genealogy Fun!!!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

(1)  This week we travel down Memory Lane again.  Tell us about your high school years with answers to ten questions.

(2)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a post on Facebook.  

Here's mine:

(1)  What was your high school's full name, where was it, and what year did  you graduate?
        Swainsboro High School, Swainsboro, Georgia (it was on W Church Street then; it has since moved across town to South Main Street), 1985

(2)  What were the school team nickname, and what are/were your school's colors?

        We were the Swainsboro Tigers.  Our colors were Black and Gold.  

(3)  What was the name of your school song, and can you still sing it?

        I don't recall that we had a school song.  We had a class song when we graduated, as I wrote about just last week here.

(4)  Did you have a car?  How did you get to and from school?

        I rode the school bus until my junior year.  Daddy bought me a car when I was 16, and I drove it, unless I got into trouble for something, and then it was back to the school bus!

(5)  Did you date someone from your high school? Or marry someone from your high school?  Were you considered a flirt?

        My father did not let me date until I was 18, so I only went on only two dates in high school.  Not being allowed to date pretty much put off any boys from asking me out.  In addition, I wore glasses and didn't wear designer clothes, so that put them off also.  I moved away right after high school, thus did not marry anyone I knew there.  I was not considered a flirt at school, but I was at my after school job. 

(6)   What social group were you in?

        I was definitely not in the popular group, but my friends and I made our own group.  It was made up of girls who didn't fit in with the popular group for whatever reason:  looks, clothes, parents' careers, etc.  Our school was definitely cliquish.  I was a smart kid - I was in the so-not-politically correct class called "Gifted."  Most everyone in that class was from the popular group.  They didn't mind working with me on school projects, but drew the line at friendship.  

(7)  Who were your favorite teachers?

        Mrs. Barbara Stokes was our gifted teacher.  She always pushed me out of my comfort zone and got me to do more; that has been good for me in my lifetime.  Mrs. Bennett and Mrs. Jersey were my FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) advisors.  I definitely loved them.  

(8)  What did you do on Friday nights?

        Sat at home and watched TV with my parents like every other night.  

(9)  Did you go to and have fun at the Senior Prom?

        Like I said, I went on exactly two dates in high school:  my Junior and Senior Proms.  I remember I wore a borrowed dress to my junior prom, and went with a guy I liked named David.  I don't remember anything else.  For my senior prom, my dress was blue with white lace over it, and I think I bought it.  I went with a guy I worked with at the building supply.  He did it as a favor to me.  I do remember that I drank a tiny bit that night and ended up having a great time.  I'm sure my curfew was so early that we didn't have time to get into any trouble.

(10) Have you been to reunions, and are you planning on going to the next reunion?

        I went to one reunion - I think it was the 10th - and it was continuing drama like the years had not even passed.  Most of our class seems to have moved away, or at least the ones who would actually plan a reunion, so I am not sure we've even had another one.  I guess our next one would be the 50th in 2035.  If the stars aligned, I might go to that one.  Most of the people that held me at arm's length in high school have become Facebook friends, so I'd be interested in seeing the dynamic of being in person with them.  I was one of the ones who moved away, plus I came out, so even my closest friends from high school and I are no longer in touch.  

I really do not remember loving high school.  It was tense at school and it was tense at home.  I was just counting the days until I could move out and away.  

Go ahead!  If I can walk down this Lane and put my true confessions out there, so can you!

Enjoy the memories!  Or not... but please do share!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Time Capsule Tuesday, 1899


My father's oldest sister, Annie Jane Tapley Lampp, was born March 15, 1899.  Let's see what was happening in America at that time.

March 15, 1899 was a Wednesday.  

In the United States, the most popular baby name for girls is Anna.  This name was given to 5,115 baby girls.  For the boys, it is John. This name was recorded 6,990 times in the year 1899. 

The generation born between 1890 and 1905 is called The Lost Generation.  A large portion of the Lost Generation fought in World War I, and thus was named after those lost in the great war.  Actually, The Lost Generation lived through both world wars, the Great Depression, Korea, and the Vietnam War.  

The President of the United States was William McKinley.  The Vice President was Garrett A. Hobart. 

In the U.S., the 1890s were marked by a severe economic depression sparked by the Panic of 1893, as well as several strikes in the industrial workforce. The decade saw much of the development of the automobile. While most of the country was still rural, cities were growing at a fast pace.  

The period was sometimes referred to as the "Mauve Decade" - because William Henry Perkin's aniline dye allowed the widespread use of that color in fashion - and also as the "Gay Nineties," referring to the fact that it was full of merriment and optimism.  (However, the phase, "The Gay Nineties" was not coined until the 1920s.)  This decade was also part of the Gilded Age, a phrase coined by Mark Twain, alluding to the seemingly profitable era that was riddled with crime and poverty.   

1899 Prices

Bread:  $0.03/loaf

Milk: $0.28/gal

House: $4,200

Average Income: $635/year

(So there were [almost] no cars [on the road] nor a minimum wage in 1899!)

Top Songs for 1899:

She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain 

The Girl I Loved in Sunny Tennessee


People Born on March 15:

1767 - Andrew Jackson, Carolinas, 7th President of the United States (1829-37)

1916 - Harry James, Albany, Georgia, Trumpeter (married to Betty Grable)

1935 - Judd Hirsch, Bronx, New York, Actor (Taxi, Dear John, Ordinary People)

Literature of 1899

Anton Chekhov published Uncle Vanya 

Kate Chopin published The Awakening

Joseph Conrad published Heart of Darkness

Historical Events

March 15, 1899 seems to have been a slow news day.  However, there were some interesting events that happened over the entire month of March that year:

2nd:  President McKinley signs bill creating Mt Rainer National Park (5th in the U.S.)

6th:  "Aspirin" (acetylsalicylic acid) patented by Felix Hoffmann at German company, Bayer

17th:  Windsor luxury hotel in New York City catches fire; 92 die