Showing posts with label Bailey Robert Anderson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bailey Robert Anderson. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Rain, Wind and Fear of Snakes, Blooming Grove Cemetery


Blooming Grove Cemetery, Polk County, Georgia, Genealogy, Frances Rainwater, Frances Ayers, Frances Bailey, Robert A. Bailey
Blooming Grove Cemetery 

As we pulled up to the property, I felt the hair rise on the back of my neck. 

I do admit to a rather overactive imagination at times, but the setting was perfect for a scary movie. The sky was dark and ominous, the rain was coming down in a steady stream and there we sat way out in the country at a very old cemetery, which appeared to be basically abandoned. We debated whether we
really wanted to get out of the car or not.....and for many reasons. 

We really weren't dressed for that kind of rain and the cemetery obviously hadn't had much attention for some time. And then there was the issue of ....snakes. If you've read my blog for a while, you know about me and snakes.   

Phobically afraid of snakes, I had done my snake research prior to our trip to Georgia to see if the things I had heard were true and I had learned from "Venomous Snakes of Georgia" written by the GA Dept. of Natural Resources that Copperheads are found in wooded areas, "both wet and dry." In addition to that, I was cautioned by those who knew I planned to visit cemeteries that it had been a bad year for copperheads. Super. 



Bailey, Georgia, genealogy, research, ancestry,
Graves into the trees in Blooming Grove Cemetery 



But my desire to find Frances Rainwater Ayers Bailey's marker was incentive enough to get me out of the car. Daughter of Joshua and Polly (Peterson) Rainwater, I knew from a journal that she and her sister, Olivia, my second great grandmother, had been close and I was so glad to be able to "visit" her in some way.

As I looked around, I was intrigued by the numerous headstones covered with overgrowth, many tucked deep in the trees. I so badly wanted to explore them all but didn't dare. The rain and the fear of snakes prevented me from going too deep into the brush and I so kept praying that I would find Frances' marker out in the open. The whole experience was a little tense.....

And then there was the knocking.

Yes....knocking. Several times while we were there, I heard a knock---three knocks in a row to be exact. Looking around, I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. It sounded fairly close and it clearly was not a woodpecker. I know what they sound like. I walked around the abandoned church a couple of times to see if possibly someone had managed to get inside the old church and was trying to scare me away. (Yes, I've seen too many movies.) But it was boarded up with no obvious way to enter. 


Blooming Grove Church
Blooming Grove Church 

But what I did finally find was Frances Rainwater Ayers Bailey's marker. 

Obviously, it was not an old marker, and there were flowers there, so apparently, someone else had visited within the week. I wished I knew who. 


Frances Rainwater Ayers Bailey


The Ayers Family fenced area 

Frances' marker was in-between the Ayers' family fenced area and the church. Her first husband, Reuben Ayers had died in the Civil War, which was many years before Frances' approximate 1913 death date. 


Several years after Reuben's death, Frances married Robert Bailey. Although they lived next to Matilda in Haralson County right after Matilda lost her husband, the Baileys later moved to the Blooming Grove area and lived there for many years. It was a beautiful community known for its abundance of mineral springs. A newspaper article described it this way:
"Blooming Grove, about eight miles south of Cedartown, it is stated, is capable of being made a valuable resort for people in summer, several nice springs affording different varieties of water, fine scenery and pleasant surroundings generally being characteristics." (1)
As always, just standing there at Frances' humble little marker, I felt a warmth at seeing some physical evidence that she was real and I was so glad that I had braved the rain, wind and yes, even the fear of snakes that day to find Frances. 


Earlier I wrote a three-part series about Frances and those posts can be found here:

1. Cedartown Advertiser, 1878-1889, July 12, 1883, Image 3. Accessed on Georgia Historic Newspapers, Digital Library of Georgia. 


Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2020, All rights reserved. 
  No use without permission 



Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Came Next?

As Frances approached the end of her life, what life events did she reflect on?  What stood out
among her memories? 

Blooming Grove Church, Polk County, Georgia
Blooming Grove Church
Polk County, Georgia
Photo:  Regina Dawson Shuman
(used with permission)
Growing up in the evolving state of Georgia, and a daughter of a War of 1812 soldier, many of the historical events that we only read about had been part of her life and her heritage.  How did those things shape Frances?  Was she even aware of the impact they had on who she became, or like most of us,  in the process of accepting and dealing with each situation that presented itself, was she focused just on getting through the day, unaware of the impact those events had on who she became?

Her birth came during a very tumultuous time in Georgia history as tensions flared between the influx of new citizens and  Native Americans.  She was a little more than a year old as the Trail of Tears commenced not far from where she lived.  How much was her family aware of the event and how did it impact their lives?

Frances sent her husband off to fight in the Civil War and then alone faced the difficult dark days that followed.  Her husband never returned and she became a widow at the age of 26 with a small daughter to care for.

Following her marriage to Robert Bailey in 1866, her life appears to settle down and fall into a relatively predictable pattern.  I think it is safe to assume that she faced typical day-to-day challenges, but her life was also full of many good things.

I wish I had more insight into Frances herself.  I wish I knew what she enjoyed doing.  Was she a good cook?  Did she have a sense of humor? Was she thoughtful, sensitive, stubborn, light hearted? I have nothing that helps me to know Frances, the woman.  In addition, no photos have surfaced of Frances or either of her husbands.

I do know that Frances was a daughter, a wife and a mother.  She was a farmer's wife and she bore six children, raising five to adulthood.  Her children grew up, married and then Frances was blessed with a crew of at least 28 grandchildren.

Blooming Grove Cemetery, Polk County, Georgia
Blooming Grove Cemetery
Polk County, Georgia
Photo: Tim Hite
(used with permission)
As I consulted census records to learn more about Frances and Robert,  the 1900 Census (1)   shed a  slightly different light on Robert because rather than showing "farmer" for his occupation as both earlier and later census show, Robert is listed as a U.S. Deputy Marshall.  Surely there is a story in there, if only I knew it.

On the 1910 US  Census (2), when Robert was 65 and Francis was 74, they took in a boarder who is listed as a peddler and a traveling salesman. His name was William Henderson and he was from Georgia.  Did they know him or was he simply a source of income?

Frances Rainwater Bailey, Blooming Grove Cemetery, Polk County, Georgia
Frances Rainwater Bailey
Blooming Grove Cemetery
Photo:  Tim Hite
(used with permission)

In 1913,  at the age of 77, Frances passed from this life while living in Polk County, Georgia, where she and Robert had reared their family.  She was buried in Blooming Grove Cemetery.  Since Robert was ten years younger, it is not surprising that he survived her.

In 1917, just four years after Frances' death, Robert passed away in Jefferson County, Alabama at the age of 70.   His death certificate indicates that he had resided in Jefferson County for one year. With both his son Abner and his daughter Laura Frances living in Jefferson County, I assume that he was likely living with one of them at the time of his death. He is buried in the Shades Mountain Cemetery.


While Frances had some sad twists and turns in life, I like to think that overall she had a good life. And while she never lived a life of wealth or ease, she was blessed with a large posterity and for many, that is what matters most.  I hope that as she reached the end of her life, her thoughts were of the good things in her life.



Frances's husbands and children

Frances L. Rainwater (b. Jul 1837 Cedartown, Polk, GA  d. 1913 Polk County, GA)
Reuben Ayers b. 3 Mar 1838 GA  d. 5 Jul 1862 Richmond, VA, marr. 24 Jan 1856 Polk Co., GA
  •         Mary Ann b. 1857

Frances L Rainwater
Robert Anderson Bailey  b. Jan 1847, Alabama  d. 24 Mar 1917 Oxmoor, Jefferson Co., AL, marr. 1866, Georgia
  •        Elizabeth Baily b. abt 1866
  •        John W. Bailey b. 1869
  •        Abner Joshua Bailey b. 1871
  •         Robert Linfield Bailey b. 1876
  •         Frances Laura Bailey b. 1877
     

(1)  1900 US. Federal Census, Blooming Grove, Polk, Georgia,  Roll: 217 Page 13B; ED 0088; microfilm 1240217,  accessed on Ancestry.com 21 October 2014

(2) 1910 US Federal Census,  Blooming Grove, Polk, Georgia, Roll T624_208 Page 2A; ED 0134; microfilm 1374221, accessed on Ancestry.com 21 October 2014

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

Friday, August 24, 2012

Treasured Find

John Monroe Ganus and his boys
L to R top row:  Robert, Roderick, Newton
bottom row: John Monroe, John T., Frank
At the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy held in January 2012, one of the instructors reminded our class of the value of checking online trees to determine what research may have been done by other individuals.  I admit that I was a little surprised because most recently I have used that resource less and less.  It is frustrating to discover so many online trees riddled with error, without sources and, in many cases, simply “cut and pasted” from someone else’s incorrectly done work.   But, during that class, I realized that I have essentially     thrown the baby out with the bathwater, as the saying goes.   


Truthfully, Rootsweb lists and message boards, Genforum,  Ancestry’s message boards and online trees had all been a great resource for me in the past, directing me to individuals that often privately held information that solved some of my toughest genealogy mysteries.  I say “in the past” because I realized that as I have progressed in knowledge, I have turned to those sources less frequently.   As I consider the scan of a family Bible record shared by one such contact, the two scanned journals from the late 1800’s which mentioned my ancestor, pictures and treasured first person accounts that I have received from contacts met through such sites, I realize that I have lost touch with a very precious resource, essentially the living descendants of siblings and associates of my ancestors.  Along with the increased availability of digitized online sources, there has been a steady decline in the once very thriving community that existed on forums and lists and many theorize that the two are related.  But the truth is, digitized material and sites that facilitate exchange do not have to exist mutually exclusive of each other.  None of us can truly be successful researching in a bubble.   We need each other. 

A good example of the value of resources obtained through online forums and lists is a journal that was shared with me by a woman who I met years ago on a Rootsweb list.  This journal was kept by John J. Pledger Murphy from 1886-1887 in Georgia.  In addition to giving me an idea of what life was like for many in the Cedartown, Georgia area in the late 1880’s, it also provides a glimpse into my ancestor’s life.  

Following are two excerpts from that journal:

Oct. Saturday 23, 1886
John Ganus and I go a squirrel hunting we kill one squirell after two hours hunt.  Return to Johnnys and have squirrel, long leg collard and sweet potatoes for dinner.  Nute and Boby Ganus and John Bailey goes to town with cow and calf.  They return and John Ganus goe with them to Baileys a possum hunting.  Catch one fine fat possum.  Frank and Rod Ganus come.  Frank and me sleep at John Ganus.  The bed fell down with us.
 
Oct. Sunday 24, 1886
At 9 a.m. Johney and the boys come with the old big fat possum.  We scald him and scrape him and Mrs Ganus cooked it for dinner.  I et one hind leg and some cabbage at ½ past 2:00 


As I read this passage, I almost feel like I am right there with them.   I love thinking of Olivia (John Monroe Ganus’s wife) cooking up squirrel, long leg collards and sweet potatoes for her family and guests one night and possum and cabbage the next.  I can imagine them enjoying their dinner together and then sons Frank (William F.) and Rod (Roderick) joining them.  I can just see the men all talking after dinner and deciding to take off  hunting together with their Bailey relatives and then returning home together with  “one fine fat possum” while the younger cousins, Nute (Newton), Boby (Robert) and John Bailey (Olivia’s sister’s son) , go together to take their cow and calf to town.   It makes me laugh to imagine the crash when the bed broke in the middle of the night with their guests in it.  I love knowing that Olivia’s family and her sister’s family were part of each other’s daily lives.  In many ways this journal allows me to see the Ganus family in a way nothing else could.

I’m glad to be reminded of the valuable resource that we can be to each other as we share what we have. It also looks like it’s time I returned to some of those online lists and forums to see what connections I can make with the living.