Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Two Sisters, Two Stories

As I looked at the pictures of Bertha and Gussie Fricks, I was taken by how much the sisters looked alike, in fact at first I wondered if they were twins. But research would show that they were born two years apart. Bertha was born about 1885 and Gussie was born about 1883. Daughters of Ramsey Fricks and Emma Faucett, the girls grew up in Walker County, Georgia and were sisters to Carl Fricks, whose story I shared here.  

In the picture, the girls wore very similar dresses and both wore their hair pulled up on top of their heads in the Gibson Girl style. Did their dress just reflect the current style for young girls, or did they have the same taste? Perhaps we see the common tendency of a younger sister to imitate the dress and style of an older sister.  

family history, genealogy research, ancestors, research, sisters, Oklahoma
Gussie (Fricks) Brummitt
genealogy, family history, Walker County, Georgia, Bertha Fricks, Gussie Fricks, Faucett, Ramsey Fricks
Bertha (Fricks) Lamb

I wonder if they were close. Not having any sisters of my own, I used to think about how wonderful life would be if only I had a sister. I imagined that we would play together, share each other's clothes and at night, when we were supposed to be asleep, we would giggle and whisper secrets in the room that we shared. As much as I loved my brothers, I knew that having brothers was not the same deal. I would like to think that Bertha and Gussie had a close loving relationship, although I don't really know. 

In my research, I could see other similarities between the two girls.  They married within two years of each other and both married in Walker County, Georgia. Interestingly enough, both girls married men quite a bit older. Gussie married a man 10 years her senior and Bertha's husband was nearly 7 years older than she was. Each had only one child, a son. (I shared Gussie's story here.)

Whatever similarities existed between the two girls, there were also some striking differences. At the young age of 16, Bertha married Sam Lamb on the 22nd of July 1900. Although several years older, Gussie actually married two years after Bertha. Bertha and Sam's son, Jesse Wallace Fricks, was born about 1902. Gussie and her husband John Brummitt would have a son three years later. 

The most striking difference though was the length of Bertha's life which sadly was considerably shorter than Gussie's. 

Bertha didn't live long enough to appear on a single census with her husband and son.  Dying before her son Jesse was two years old, she missed out on so much. She didn't experience growing old with her husband, nor seeing her son Jesse marry and have children. She never knew the joy that grandchildren bring.

Sadly no death certificate exists for her and not even a Find-A-Grave entry helps identify where she was laid to rest. Thankfully, a short article appeared in the Walker County Messenger, a newspaper for LaFayette, Georgia.  The following entry was published on Thursday February 26, 1903:
"On the 14th inst. while the shades of night hung over our sleeping valley the angel of death entered the home of Mr. Sam Lamb and snatched from his bosom his dear wife. Two short summers ago she stood by his side a beautiful blushing bride full of life and vigor; but soon the much-dreaded monster, consumption, with its cold hands laid hold of her body and finished its deadly work. The deceased was the daughter of Mrs. Ramsey Fricks. In this, the saddest hour of their lives, we offer sympathy and trust that the Good Master will at last lead the bereaved to a sweet home where no sad farewells are heard."   (1)              J.B. Cagle                                                                                                                                                                         
Only 18 years old and with so much ahead of her, Bertha succumbed to the awful disease, consumption, known today as tuberculosis. She left behind her husband of two years and her young son. Two sisters and two stories, but one story was much too short. 

(1)  LaFayette Georgia Walker County Messenger 1902-1905, image 218, February 23, 1903. Accessed on Old Fulton New York Post Cards, October 24th, 2015.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Smile and Say Cheese

I remember the big day of school pictures when I was a kid. Regardless of how my hair looked the day of pictures or whatever goofy expression I might have had when the photographer snapped my picture, my image was forever preserved. That day mattered. 

My kindergarten picture
As a kid I didn't think about it, but as I got older I worried about "picture day." My mom would always order enough pictures for grandparents, other family members and of course all of the little photos which I would carefully cut out and exchange with my friends.

As much as I worried about how I would appear to my friends, it never ever occurred to me that generations later people might look at my picture and try to gather impressions about who I was and what I must have been like. Just as my pictures never told how shy I was or how mischievous I could be at times, I know it is the same for my ancestor's photos. I am thrilled when there are pictures, but I wish those pictures could speak. 

Gussie Fricks Brummitt, Chattanooga Tennessee, genealogy, family history, Sallie Ganus, Sarah Faucett, Carl Fricks Emma Faucett, Ramsey Fricks, Brummitt John Wesley, Brummit Fred J.
Gussie Fricks Brummitt

As I have researched my Faucett and Fricks families, I was happy to realize that my grandma had photos of several of the family members in her little suitcase, including one of Gussie Brummitt (Fricks).

The picture of Gussie reminds me of a school picture but is in fact from the same studio as her brother Carl's picture. I shared his story in a previous post. This picture also bears the stamp which reads "Pickard's Penny Photographs, 820 Market Street, Chattanooga, Tenn, Closed Sundays." In addition a penciled message which is barely visible reads, "Gussie Brummitt sends this to Sallie Ganus." 

Sally (Faucett) Ganus was Gussie's aunt and my great grandmother. 

I love knowing that although Sally had moved to Oklahoma, she had remained in touch with her sister and her family in Georgia. 

Gussie Fricks was a daughter of Ramsey Fricks and Emma Faucett. She was born in Walker County, Georgia on the 19th of November 1883, just a month before Christmas.  Her father farmed a little and also worked as a carpenter.   As the middle child in a large family, she likely helped with cooking, cleaning and tending the younger children when she wasn't in school.

Gussie married John Wesley Brummitt in about 1902, when she was 19 years old. Since the back of the picture gives her name as Gussie Brummitt, it must have been taken sometime after she married John.  

Like her older brothers, she and John soon moved across the border into Tennessee. There they welcomed a son into the world on December 5th, 1905. Fred J. Brummitt would be their only child. 

John Wesley Brummitt registered for the WWI Draft in September of 1918 when he was 45 years old. He was described as being of medium height, medium build, with blue eyes, and gray hair. From that registration card I learned that his left leg was amputated about an inch below the knee. Undoubtedly he faced many challenges as he tried to take care of his many responsibilities as a husband and father.  

John provided for his family in a variety of different ways. On the 1910 census he indicated that he was a constable, on the WWI Registration form he was listed as an inspector of shells at Columbia Iron Works. In 1920 he was a watchman for a machine company. 

Gussie and John did not get the opportunity to grow old together because John died from cirrhosis of the liver in 1922 at the age of 47. Gussie was 39 years old and left alone to care for their 17 year old son, Fred. Two years later Fred married Miranda M. Rowe and for a time Gussie lived with him while working as a packer at a candy manufacturer. 

In 1937 Gussie rented a place across town from Fred and his family. But by 1940 Fred, his wife Miranda and their son John Wesley moved almost 3,500 miles across country to the Seattle area. As a mother and grandmother, I can imagine how alone Gussie must have felt without her husband, her only son or grandson nearby.  

I wonder what Gussie did in her few remaining years. I do know that she died of a stroke in 1943, just a few years after Fred moved. She died in the home of her sister, Mary Victoria (Fricks) Warren. Although her son Fred was there to sign her death certificate as the informant, I wonder, was she able to tell him goodbye?

Her obituary reads as follows: 

BRUMMITT- Mrs. Gussie, 59 died Wednesday morning at the home of her sister, Mrs. E. W. Warren, 5414 Dorsey Avenue. Other survivors are one son, Fred J. Brummitt, Seattle, Wash.; one brother, A.J. Fricks, Chattanooga; one grandson, John Wesley Brummitt, Seattle, Was. (sic) Funeral services will be held this afternoon at 2:30 o'clock at the South St. Elmo Baptist Church, with Rev. Frank Ziegler conducting. Burial will be in Chattanooga Memorial Park.  Pallbearers will be Wade Craft, Richard Evans, J. A. Orrell, Will Crane, Richard Kines and Hooper Cordell. The body is at Mrs. Warren's home and will remain there until the hour of service. National Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.         Chattanooga Times, September 23, 1943, p. 15

Way before school pictures entered the scene and way before selfies, thankfully many people had their picture taken. I am so glad that I know what Gussie looked like and that someone sent this picture to my great grandmother Sally Faucett Ganus. If only her picture could help tell her story.   

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Worth Every Drop of Spit--Carl Fricks Pt 2

Carl Fricks, Mary Alice Ellison, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Family History, Genealogy, FaucettAs I shared on a previous blog post, on the back of a picture in my grandma's collection were the words "Carl Fricks and wife." Initially I had no idea who Carl was, but thanks to a DNA test, I was able to find not only Carl, but a new modern day cousin to help with the search.

With both my new found cousin and I knowing very little, we combined what we did know and then launched into a search to find more about Emma (Martha Ann Emmeline Faucett) and her husband Ramsey Fricks.  My cousin indicated that her records showed that Ramsey and Emma had a son named Carl. Knowing that both Ramsey and Emma's families had lived in Walker County Georgia, we started there.

Sure enough, the 1880 US Federal Census showed Ramsey and Emma Fricks in Walker County, Georgia. At the time they were newlyweds and so only Ramsey and Emma were living in Pond Spring, Walker County, Georgia. [1]

Located in the northwest corner of Georgia, Walker County is nestled up against both the Alabama and Tennessee borders. From there it is about 30 miles to Chattanooga and a little over a 100 miles to Atlanta. With densely treed mountains, rivers, lakes and waterfalls, Walker County was and is beautiful.

It was there that Ramsey and Emma settled down and began their family. Soon the kids began to come and by 1900 Ramsey and Emma had six children living with them, the oldest was 14 and the youngest was 4. [2]  I had hoped to find Carl among those children, but sadly he was not listed in the household. But luckily the census did indicate that Emma had had seven children, so maybe Carl was a part of that family after all. 

While no Carl Fricks could be found on the 1900 census anywhere, according to a 1903 Chattanooga City Directory, a Carl Fricks was living just across the border in Alton Park, Tennessee and working for Chattanooga Bottle & Glass Manufacturing Company.[3] 

A year later, back in Walker County, Georgia, Carl Fricks married his bride Mary Alice Ellison on 2 January 1904.[4] Although they tied the knot in Georgia, by 1910, Carl and Mary were living in Marion, Tennessee, just outside of Chattanooga, along with their two little girls Lela and Geneva (Hassel), and a son, Robert. Carl tried his hand at farming and Emma was busy "keeping house." [5]

Whether Carl tired of farming or simply had other aspirations, he turned to carpentry work in the years that followed and continued in that work throughout his life. Apparently Tennessee agreed with Carl and Alice because they remained there all of their married life. 

On January 28th, 1918, just 20 days after their 14th wedding anniversary, Alice died of heart failure, leaving Carl with their 3 small children.[6]  At the time, Lela was twelve, Robert was eight and Hassel was only six. The following month Carl registered for the draft and from that application we learn that he was of medium height, medium build with brown eyes and brown hair. [7] I can't help but wonder about his emotions as he registered. Was registering such a standard procedure for all men of his age that he registered without thinking much of it, or did he feel a tug at his heart at the thoughts of possibly having to leave his kids? 

The following year, on the 20th of April 1919, Carl, a thirty-nine years old widower, married Edith Coffee (formerly Holtzclaw) [8] and together they created a blended family consisting of Lela, Hassel, Robert E. and her two sons Walter and Willie.  

Once again Carl married in Walker County, but settled down in Tennessee. Always renting, Carl and his family had a tendency to move about somewhat, but always remained in the same general area of Chattanooga. In 1920, thirty-nine year old Carl, forty-two year old Edith along with children Lela, Hassle, Ed and Walter were living in St. Elmo.[9]  By 1930 Carl, Edith and Carl's twenty-four year old daughter, Lela, were living in Chattanooga. [10]

On the 6th of June, 1936 Carl passed from this life due to cardio vascular renal disease. [11] Once again, just as he had done for his marriages, Carl returned to Georgia, this time to be buried.

His obituary reads:
FRICKS, CARL C., 56 passed away at his residence, 5704 Dixie Avenue, Saturday afternoon. Besides his widow he is survived by one son, Edward Fricks of San Diego, Cal; two stepsons, Willie and Walter Coffey of Chattanooga; two daughters Hassel Fricks and Leila Fricks, of Chattanooga; three sisters, Mrs. E. F. Morrell, of Philadelphia, Pa; Mrs Gussie Brummit of Chattanooga; Mrs. E. W. Warren, of Chattanooga;  two brothers, Jack and Merl, of Chattanoga.  Funeral services, conducted by Rev. H. Frank Ziegler, of the South Elmo Baptist church Monday afternoon at 1:30 o'clock. Interment in Singletery Cemetery, near Cooper Heights, GA. Arrangements by the National Funeral Home. [12]

Carl's death certificate confirms his father was Ramsey Fricks and indicates his date of birth was 18 July 1880. With the 1880 census taken in Walker County just one month prior to his birth, Carl did not appear on the 1880 census with his parents and by the following census in 1900, he was 20 and by all appearances had ventured out on his own. 

My search began with the picture, with the words "Carl Fricks and wife," on the back. Since I first acquired the picture, I've come a long way in learning about Carl's life. As it turned out, this mystery man was in fact my first cousin, twice removed. But there is one question that remains unanswered;  Just who was "and wife?"  

Although I can't say for sure, by her appearance and considering her age, I suspect it was Carl's first wife, Mary Alice Ellison. Carl and Alice married when she was 24, but Carl married his second wife Edith when she was 42. In addition, looking at the styles of hats women wore in 1904, when Carl married Alice as compared to the styles in 1919, when Carl and Edith married, the woman's hat in the picture seems more consistent with the styles of the early 1900's. In either case, I would love a photo of either of these women to help confirm the identity of "and wife."

Going through the DNA matches on can sometimes be overwhelming. The vast number of matches without the benefit of attached trees is disheartening, the quality of the some of the attached trees and other issues can make the task of finding common ancestors daunting if not down right depressing.That said, sometimes things fall into place and when they do, the effort to do a DNA test is worth every drop of spit and dollar spent to help us find those cousins, both living and dead.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved


1.  1880 United States Federal Census, Pond Spring, Walker, Georgia; Roll 169; Family History Film: 1254169; Page: 334B, ED 184, Image 0476.  Accessed on Ancestry. com

2.  1880 United States Federal Census, Pond Spring, Walker, Georgia, Roll: 169; Family History Film: 1254169; Page: 334B, ED: 184; Image 0476.  Accessed on

3.  U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989[database on-line]. Accessed on

4.  Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978. Accessed on

5.  1910 United States Federal Census: Civil District 3, Marion, Tennessee; Roll: T624_1512; Page: 11A; ED 0123; FHL microfilm: 1375525. Accessed on

6.   State of Tennessee, Tennessee Death Records 1914-1955 for Mary Alice Fricks. Accessed on

7.  U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Registration State: Tennessee; Registration County; Hamilton; Roll 1852989; Draft Board 2. Accessed on,

8.  Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978, accessed on

9.  1920 United States Federal Census,  St Elmo, Hamilton, Tennessee; Roll: T625_1743; Page: 22B; ED 201; Image 778

10.  1930 United States Federal Census; Chattanooga, Hamilton, Tennessee; Roll: 2252; Page: 20B, ED 00061; Image 718.0; FHL microfilm 2341986. Accessed on

11.  Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1958, Tennessee State Library and Archives; Nashville, Tennessee; Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1959; Roll #5.  Accessed on

12.  Chattanooga Times, 7 June, 1936 p 7. Obituary obtained from The Chattanooga Public Library.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Web Sleuthing––Chattanooga Public Library

Chattanooga Public Library, Tennessee obituaries, Faucett, Fricks
If you are like me, you are always on the hunt for great genealogy based websites. New websites seem to pop up daily and I love it when others take time to pass on websites that they have found helpful.

I don't profess to be an expert at either finding websites or perfectly navigating them, but periodically I am going to share a website that I like to use.

Recently I found myself researching my ancestry in Tennessee. Of course there are many websites with great information such as Ancestry and FamilySearch, which have many online records, but I also found other helpful resources. One of those sites is the Chattanooga Public Library, which can be found here.

While a lot of their online resources are available only to Tennessee residents or to those  physically in the library, their online obituary index is available to all and provides wonderful clues. I've been thrilled with what I have been able to find there.

The index lists the individual, and sometimes for married women, it also includes their maiden name as well as their husband's name, which of course helped me to know if I had the right person.

Below is an example of a woman listed with both her maiden, married name and her husband's name.

For a fee, the library will copy and mail the obituary to you. I recently sent off for several obituaries and was pleased at how quickly they were mailed back to me. We all know what a treasure trove obituaries can be and I've already found all kinds of goodies in them.

Who have I found so far?   While my direct line of Faucetts migrated to Colorado in the late 1880's, some of my great grandmother's siblings initially remained in Walker County, Georgia and their children and their families moved to Chattanooga. Thanks to the Chattanooga Public Library and their obituaries, I have been able to identify many more relatives in the Faucett and Fricks line. Thank you to the kind staff at the Chattanooga Public Library!

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved