Showing posts with label Davis Malinda M. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Davis Malinda M. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Zombies are Not My Thing

Fayetteville, Georgia, Senoia, Ganus, genealogy, ancestry, North Georgia, CarrolltonFayetteville, Georgia. Tell people you are going there and some want to talk about the popular series "The Walking Dead"  filmed in nearby Senoia. In fact, knowing that the Ganus family lived in Fayetteville for many years, someone recommended that I watch the series so I could see the area where my family had lived. So, I gave it a try, but I didn't last ten minutes. Apparently, zombies are not my thing, but being a genealogist, dead people are.

On our October trip to Georgia, one morning we drove from Carrollton where we were staying, to Fayetteville to see the area where the James (Gur)Ganus family had lived for nearly 30 years. 

Driving through North Georgia helped me better understand a few things about my ancestors and their moves in the 1800s in Georgia. 

For instance, the distance from Fayetteville to Carrollton didn't seem like much when viewed on a map, but driving the fifty miles brought new perspective as I considered the difficulty of taking that same trip in wagons through the dense trees while also navigating either through or around the numerous rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes. Driving the distance helped me understand at a different level that the 76-mile move from Fayetteville to Cedartown that James' son, John made about 1850 had not been a casual event, but an intentional move.

I loved seeing the homes tucked back in among the trees and the numerous churches and cemeteries everywhere we drove. I wondered if James' son, John Ganus heart had ached for the beauty of Georgia when he and his family moved to the flat wide-open farmland of the San Luis Valley, Colorado in 1886, and then onto the plains of Oklahoma about ten years later.

Starrs Mill, Fayette County, Georgia
Starrs Mill Fayette County 

A few miles from Fayetteville, we stopped at the beautiful Starrs Mill on Whitewater Creek. It was peaceful and serene there. Although the current mill isn't the original mill that was built in 1825, I wondered if the Ganus family had reason to go to the original mill or if they knew the family who owned it.   

Starrs Mill, Fayette County 

James and Betsy (McCluskey) Gurganus moved to Fayette County in time to be included in the 1840 census. I've always wondered what the push or pull was that influenced that move. Prior to Fayetteville, James and Betsy had lived in Bibb County where James' father David Gurganus and his stepmother Rebecca were living.

Fayette County Court House, research, genealogy
Fayette County Georgia Court House
The year 1838 was a pivotal year for the Gurganus family. That year, Mary Ellen (Gurganus) Pratt, sister to my 3rd great grandfather, James, was murdered. I shared that story HERE. That same year, James's brother, David was arrested in an unrelated incident, a story I shared HERE.

Is it just a coincidence or is it possible that either or both scandals contributed to James' move at about that same time and also contributed to the shortening of his name from Gurganus to Ganus?

Fayette County was created in 1825, so it was a relatively new county when the Ganus family first moved there. At that time the population was around 7,500 people and, "....there were two churches, two schools, three stores, five barrooms, a printing office, and a Division of the Sons of Temperance (or there probably would have been more barrooms)." (1)  Over the next thirty years, while Georgia continued to enlarge its borders and grow, James and Betsy worked on their farm and raised their children, ten in all. 

The Ganus family was living in Fayette County in  1862 when smallpox broke out. Impacted families who contracted the disease were quarantined as Fayetteville struggled to control the outbreak. 

The Ganus family was also in Fayette County when the War between the States broke out and they watched four sons go off to war, and one never came home. Although no large battles took place in Fayette County, it was the scene for several skirmishes and individuals have recorded some of the frightening experiences they experienced when Union soldiers came through. 

The Ganuses would have been among those who endured the challenges experienced during the years of reconstruction when basic commodities were scarce. "In 1867, the State of Kentucky sent corn and bacon to this (Fayette) County. The  Justices wrote . . . corn and bacon will be contributed to the suffering citizens of our County who are unable to support and help themselves."(2)

By 1870, Elizabeth had passed away and James moved in with their daughter Mary and her husband Burton Cook and that is the last record for James.  Although I feel confident that both were buried somewhere in Fayette County, there is no record of where either James or Betsy was laid to rest.

So this is my tie to Fayette County and why I was excited to pay a visit to The Fayette County Historical Society while there. The volunteers were so kind and eager to help. 

Fayette County Historical Society, Fayetteville, Fayette, Georgia
Fayette County Historical Society
Marriage records, genealogy, Fayette County Marriage Records, Book C
Fayette County Marriage Records, Book C

I was thrilled to learn that among their collection were marriage record books. James and Betsy's oldest child, Mary married Burton Cook in nearby Dekalb County and their son, John, my second great grandfather married Olivia Rainwater in Cedartown, Polk County. However, their children Margaret and David both married in Fayette County. Even though I already had the dates of their marriages, I loved being able to view their entries in the actual book. 

Margaret Ganus, James Blackmon, Fayette County Marriage records
Margaret Ganus and James Blackmon's marriage entry 

David Ganus, Malinda M. Davis, Fayette County Marriage records
David Ganus and Malinda M. Davis' marriage entry 
Not only did I not see any zombies while there, but I also didn't find any new information, yet I was so glad to have visited. A lot can be said about the experience we have of seeing the area where our ancestors lived and the feelings we experience as a result as well as the increase of understanding we gain in the process.

It was hard to leave Fayetteville that day and I couldn't shake that feeling that I had unfinished business there. Hopefully, someday I will return.  

1.  The History of Fayette County 1821-1971  published by the Fayette County Historical Society, Inc., First Edition, December 1977, The Fayette County Historical Society, p. 20

2. Ibid,  p. 20

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Photos! Do Not Bend!

I opened the mailbox and peered in, half holding my breath while hoping today would be the day. Every day for 3 weeks I jumped and ran to the mailbox when I heard the mail truck and every day I opened the mailbox and was greeted by nothing more than junk mail.

But today was different. There sitting among the grocery fliers was a small padded envelope from Chattanooga, Tennessee. The words "PHOTOS, DO NOT BEND" were written across the front. The much hoped for letter had come!

A few weeks earlier I had once again gone through the obituary index on the Chattanooga Public Library site found HERE. In the past, I had searched the obituaries there primarily for my Faucett and Fricks line, but I recently realized that some of the descendants of David Ganus, had ended up in Chattanooga as well. I was so happy to find an obituary for Burton Bartow Ganus' daughter. Burton was the son of David Ganus. David was the son of James Gurganus and Elizabeth McCluskey and a brother to my second great grandfather, John Monroe Ganus. I previously shared David's story HERE,

David Gurganus, Mary Swain, James Gurganus, Elizabeth McCluskey, David Ganus, Malinda Ganus, John Monroe Ganus, Burton Bartow Ganus, Whitfield Georgia, Chattanooga, Chattanooga Public Library, Family History, Genealogy, Ancestry.

With the help of the obituary and the internet, I was able to trace his family forward and find a living descendant!! So I wrote her and was ecstatic when she wrote me back. 

Burton Bartow Ganus, was David and Malinda's third child and their only son. Born in October of 1861 in Fayetteville, Georgia, which is about 30 miles outside of Atlanta, he and his family faced many frightening and difficult events over the first few years of his life.

Burton was only 8 months old when on May 1st,1862, his father enlisted in the 53rd Company C, The Fayette Planters. His mother Malinda who was only 23 at the time surely had her hands full with three small children; 8-month-old Burton and his two sisters, one two years old and the other five years old. I can imagine David telling his young family goodbye, fully expecting to soon return to his life with Malinda and their babies.

On June 20th, after only a few weeks of drilling and training, David, along with the other members of the 53rd, boarded the train bound for Virginia.

David soon experienced first hand the horrors of war. On September 17, 1862, the 53rd fought in their first major battle, the battle of Sharpsburg, or the Battle of Antietam, often referred to as the single bloodiest day in military history. Although many of their regiment died or were wounded, David and his brother-in-law Burton Cook would survive that battle.

As fall turned to winter, the temperatures grew cold and David caught pneumonia from exposure. In December of 1862 David died while in the Winder Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, leaving his wife Malinda and their 3 children without a father.

David Ganus, Winder Hospital, Richmond  Virginia, Fayette Planters, Georgia 53rd Regiment Company C, Fayetteville, Civil War
David Ganus is #358 in Hollywood Cemetery
Richmond, Virginia
Back at home, Malinda and the rest of the residents of Fayetteville faced many challenges. Although there were no battles fought in Fayetteville because it is located a short distance from Atlanta, troops often passed through there and the residents endured many hardships as a result. As a young boy, Burton would have seen Federal troops march through, taking what they wanted, terrorizing those who lived there and burning what they could not take with them. Life was hard for the families there. 

I am not sure how Malinda managed to care for her family, but by the time she was able to apply for and receive the meager pension allotted to the widows of confederate soldiers, it was 1891 and her children were grown.

Burton would marry three times. He first married Emma Plaer first and they had a daughter. Emma died early in their marriage and Burton then married Susan (LNU). I do not know if they divorced or if she died, but about 1922 he married Emma Jane Stowe and he spent the remainder of his life with her. 

Burton farmed a little and also worked with the railroad in Whitfield County, Georgia, which is at the southern end of the Appalachian mountains and borders Tennessee. In her last years, Malinda moved in with Burton and his family and remained with them until her death. 

After Malinda passed away on December 23rd, 1908, Burton applied for reimbursement for her burial expenses because she was a widowed pensioner. Ironically he applied for reimbursement 47 years to the day that his father had died.

Burton died 1 Jun 1959 in Whitfield, Georgia at the age of 71. A petition for the benefit of his widow indicated that at this death, he had a piece of land worth $200.00, a heifer jersey, 30 hens, some farming tools, a few household goods, a bedstead, dresser, chairs and one organ. He was a man raised in a difficult time and difficult place and yet following the example of his determined mother, he forged ahead, creating a life for himself.

I gathered this information through research and while sadly my new cousin could not add any new information to what I already knew, she could share something I did not have and something very precious to me---a picture! Finally, I was able to put a face with the facts I knew about Burton !!! I was thrilled!

Burton Bartow Ganus, Whitfield Georgia
Burton Bartow Ganus
Thank you to Grand daughter for graciously sharing this photo. 

I love to look into an ancestor's eyes and wonder what they would tell me if they were still living. As I look at Burton, I see a man weathered by many hard experiences, beginning almost immediately after his birth and yet his features do not reflect the harshness of his life, instead, I see warmth and kindness. Like his mother, he was a survivor. 

The day I opened the mailbox and saw the envelope from my new found cousin was an exciting day for me and I will forever be grateful for the arrival of that little padded envelope with the four simple words, "Photos, Do Not Bend!"

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A True Love Story?

Some of my ancestor's stories seem to reach out and draw me in as if inviting me to learn more. I've never quite figured out why some ancestor's stories are so much more compelling than others, but some are. Such is the case with David Ganus.

It was the 14th day of March 1857 when young David Ganus and Malinda M. Davis married in Fayette, Georgia.  He was 21 and she was about 15, although it's difficult to know her exact age as it is different on every census and document on which she appears.  Son of James Ganus and Elizabeth McCluskey, David was born in 1836, probably in Fayette County, and was the fourth of ten children.  His oldest brother was John Monroe Ganus, my third great grandfather.

David provided for his family by farming, just as his father and brothers did.  Soon David and Melinda had two little girls,  Mary Jane born March of 1858 and Nancy born about 1860. 

Life in Fayetteville during those first few years of their marriage appears to be typical for a small farming community in Georgia, but that would soon change.  A regiment made of men from several neighboring counties, including the county of Fayette, was formed in the spring of 1862.  May 1, 1862 David enlisted in the confederate army, along with two brothers and 3 brothers-in-law.  David became a Private with the Fayette Planters, Co C 53rd Regiment. 

David Ganus
Co C 53rd Infantry
 Among other battles, David participated in the Battle Of Sharpsburg, but by October of 1862 David was shown as "absent" due to sickness.  In December, his service records show that he had febris typhoid, which is a bacteria caused by salmonella.   By the 15th of December, records indicate that he had pneumonia and then on December 24, 1962,  David Ganus, lying in a hospital near Fredrickburg, Virginia, died.  He is listed among those buried in a mass grave at Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia.

As I slowly cranked the wheel of the microfilm reader, looking for David’s civil war service records,  I wept when I came to the card that indicated that he had died. Really, the war had just begun, and he was so young,  I had been excited to learn more about him and had not expected for his life to end quite so soon.  Next my thoughts  turned to his young wife.  I cannot fathom the obstacles that Malinda faced at that point in history.  It was 1862 and suddenly Malinda was a 20 year old widow with two children and a third baby on its way.  Living  just outside of Atlanta, she would soon have three children to feed, clothe and protect  and she had no idea what the war would yet bring to citizens of that community.

Malinda M Davis Ganus CW widow of David Ganus
Malinda Ganus's
Claim Commission

 During the Civil War, many of those living in the Fayetteville area were victim to losses and much violence.  On the 27th of September 1871,  along with many of her neighbors, Malinda filed a claim for damages claiming 475 lbs beef,  25 bushels of corn and house furniture had been taken by General Wm. T. Sherman’s Army on August 30, 1864 . 

 Malinda consistently filed for her Widow’s Pension until the end of her life.  Most of her later years , she lived in Whitfield, Georgia, close to her children.  She appears on the 1900 census living with their  son, Burton, and his family.  Living a couple of doors away is daughter, Mary Jane (Ganus) Alexander.  Burton was the child born after his father's death. 

Burton's application
for mother's burial
The final record that I have for Malinda is a document in David's Civil War service file, filed by Burton.  He indicated that his mother died on the 7th of December 1908 and that her burial expenses amounted to $20.00.   Malinda was approximately 65 at the time and there is no evidence that she ever remarried.  She always appeared on census records and other documents as Malinda Ganus.

There are several possible reasons why Malinda never remarried, although many other Civil War widows that I have traced did.  I  recognize the possibility that she may have remarried but concealed it in order to obtain her pension, but I just have not found anything to substantiate that.  I choose instead to believe that this is one of those true love stories and that no one could ever replace her David.  It really makes me wish I knew more about them both.