Showing posts with label Georgia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Georgia. Show all posts

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

He Never Came Home - Part 2

Reuben Ayers never came home.  As I shared in my previous post here, Reuben enlisted in August of 1861 in Haralson County, Georgia,  for what many thought would be a relatively short lived battle.   He fought alongside his neighbors and friends with the Georgia 35th Infantry while Frances waited for him to return home to her and their daughter, Molly.  But he never came home.

Instead, Frances, Reuben's wife of six years, learned in July of 1862 that he was among the many who had lost their life in Richmond, VA.  Frances was suddenly a twenty-six year old widow with a daughter to support.

In March of 1863, eight months after Reuben's death, Frances applied for the $73.83 due to Reuben which included bounty, pay and clothing.   Among his service records was the following application:

Widow in mourning exhibit, Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, Virginia
Widow in mourning exhibit
Museum of the Confederacy
Richmond, Virginia
State of Georgia
Harralson(sic) County
 To wit on this Nineteenth day of February 1863.   
Personally appeared before the subscribing Justice of the Peace in and for said county Frances Ayers who after being duly sworn according to law deposeth and saith that she is the widow of Reuben Ayers deceased who was a Private in Capt. Heads Company 35th Regiment of Georgia Volunteers commanded by Capt Thomas in the service of the Confederate States. . .  the said Reuben Ayers entered the service at Buchanan Harralson County, Ga on or about the 12th of August 1861 and died at Richmond Va on or about the 5th of July 1862, leaving a widow that makes this deposition for the purpose of obtaining from the government of the Confederate States whatever may have been due the said Reuben Ayers at the time of his death for pay bounty or other allowances for his services as a private as afforesaid.  Sworn to and subscribed to before me.
J.G Newman JP      Frances Ayers (1)

For three years following Reuben's death,  Frances and daughter, Molly, remained in Haralson County, Georgia and did the best they could during a difficult time.  Several years later, Frances met Robert A. Bailey who was nearly ten years younger than she and in 1866 they married. Once again Frances settled into the role of a farmer's wife.

Molly, the only child from Frances and Reuben's marriage, was eleven years old by the time her mother and Robert had their first child.   At the tender age of eleven, Molly had seen the ugliness of war, felt the pain of loosing her father and undoubtedly experienced the hardship shared by most Georgians in the post Civil War period.  Hopefully her mother's marriage to Robert Bailey and the addition of siblings added a measure of normalcy and happiness to her life.

By the 1870 census, Frances' sister, Olivia, and her husband John Ganus had returned to Georgia and lived just down the road from the Baileys.  As I shared in an earlier story, the two sisters and their families enjoyed each other's company for the next 17 years.

By 1870,  Frances' mother, Polly, had died.  In addition, her father, Joshua Rainwater,  and her brothers Abner and John, along with their families, had joined many others in the migration to Texas. Frances' older sister, Mariah, and her husband, William Barnwell, were living in Alabama.

Then in 1887, Frances' sister, Olivia, and her husband,  John Ganus, and their sons packed up and moved across the country to Colorado.  By that time, only Frances' oldest sister, Matilda, who was sixteen years older and was the widow of Josiah Goggans, also lived in Georgia.

Although in ways it may have been hard for Frances to stay in Georgia when so many of her siblings had gone, she and Robert had a growing, thriving family of their own and with that, many reasons to remain.


(1) Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Georgia, digital images, database, Fold3.com (www.Fold3.com: accessed 26 October 2014), entry for Reuben Ayres, 35th Infantry, Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Confederate Organizations, compiled 1903-1927, documenting the period 1861-1861. NARA M266, Record Group 109, Roll 0414. 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Winter Rainwater Wedding - Part 1

It was a chilly winter day in Polk County, Georgia (1)   when nineteen year old Frances Rainwater, daughter of Joshua Rainwater and Polly Peterson, married eighteen year old Reuben Ayers, son of Martin Ayers and Sarah Simmons.
Mary (Polly) Peterson
Polly Peterson Rainwater
Frances' mother
Photo shared by: Trudy Capps

I wonder, who was there to witness their marriage?  Did Frances have a special dress?  Did family and friends gather afterwards to celebrate her special day?

Frances was the youngest of the three Rainwater daughters and the baby in a family of six children.  Her family lived along the beautiful winding Tallapoosa River in Haralson County, Georgia. Their father, Joshua, supported their family by farming. Their family was among the early members of the Bethany Baptist Church (2)  located on the outskirts of the current town of Tallapoosa.  If Frances was like other girls of her time, she grew up helping her mother, Polly, with cooking, sewing and caring for their small farm animals.

Bethany Baptist Church, Haralson County, GA
Bethany Baptist Church
Haralson County, GA
(original location but newer building)
Photo shared by: David Rawlings

By the time Frances married Reuben on January 24, 1856, her older siblings Mariah, Abner and Olivia, were married and living nearby with their spouses and children. Siblings Matilda and John were still at home and would not marry for several more years.


In October of 1857, Reuben and Frances welcomed a baby girl to their home. They named her Mary Ann,  but called her Molly.  By the1860 US Census (3), they were living just across the Georgia/Alabama border in the rolling hills of Calhoun County, Alabama and Reuben provided for the family by farming.  Frances' sister, Olivia, and her husband, John Ganus,  and their three sons Frank, John and James R. were living nearby. As a farmer's wife and the mother of a little girl,  Frances settled into life, with her older sister Olivia nearby for friendship and support.


Near Calhoun Alabama  Wikimpedia Public domain
Overlooking Calhoun, Alabama
Wikipedia Commons

By August of 1861, Reuben, Frances, and Molly returned to Haralson county, Georgia where Reuben enlisted with Company A,  35th Georgia Infantry. Although Frances' mother, Polly, had passed away, Frances's father,  Joshua, and several of her siblings lived close enough to be a help and support while Reuben was away at war. Typically soldiers' wives had to care for their farms and their families while they anxiously awaited for any news about their husbands and their regiments.  I am sure Frances was no exception.




Joshua Rainwater Family

Joshua RAINWATER  (b. 13 Nov 1791 SC d. 15 August 1878 Upshur TX) & Mary PETERSON  (b. abt 1794 SC  d. bef 1860 GA
  • Matilda RAINWATER b. 10 Aug 1821 Pendleton Dist, SC - 16 Sep 1904 Haralson Co, GA 
  • Mariah RAINWATER  b. 1826  d 1903 SC - 1903 Talledega, AL
  • Abner RAINWATER b. 1827 d. 1908  b. 16 Apr 1827 SC - 23 Sep 1908 Hamilton, TX
  • Olivia RAINWATER b. 20 Feb 1831 Hall Co., GA  - 12 Sep 1902 Okmulgee, OK 
  • John RAINWATER b. 19 Jun 1832  GA - 14 Jun 1890 Upshur, TX
  • Frances RAINWATER b. Jul 1837 GA  - 1913 Polk Co., GA
1.  Marriage  Reuben Ayers to Frances Rainwater 24 January 1856, "Georgia, County Marriages, 1785-1950," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1951-25515-21526-85?cc=1927197 : accessed 16 Oct 2014), 0419307 (005191034) > image 94 of 415.
2. Lois Owens Newman and Carroll County Genealogical Society, Haralson County A History (Carrollton, GA: Carroll County Genealogical Society, 1994), 93.
3. 1860 U.S. census, Calhoun, Alabama, population schedule, Oaklevel PO, p. 42 (penned), dwelling 302, family 302, Ruben Ayres; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 23 October 2014); from Family History Library Film: 803004. 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

It Was Over--Or Was It?

It was 1871 and, although the Civil War had been over for many years, for many Southerners it was far from over.  Many struggled with substantial losses on a variety of levels.  Land stripped and void of vegetation, loss of farm animals and in many cases the complete loss of their homes and personal belongings all contributed to a sense of desperation.  It would take many years to establish a sense of normalcy in their lives and some would never fully recover.  Living just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, the Ganus families were among the many that struggled.

North Side of Atlanta
following the war
Library of Congress
Beginning in March of 1871, the federal government allowed citizens in some Southern states to file for compensation for the losses sustained during the Civil War.  Applicants were required to prove that property was taken or destroyed by the Union Army.  In addition, applicants were required to prove that they remained loyal to the federal government during the war. Thousands of Southern citizens sought relief from their impoverished condition by applying.  Burton W. Cook and wife Mary (Ganus) were among those who applied.

In Clayton County, Georgia on the 26th of June, 1871,  Burton filled out an application for losses he suffered at the hand of the Union Army.   His claim was rejected without justification.

The paperwork however still contributes information to what is known about Burton.  Filed among the Southern Claims Commission papers, Barred and Disallowed,  Burton claimed the loss of a mare valued at $100.00 and 35 bushels of corn valued at $35.00.   He indicated the property was taken in Fayette County, Georgia by General Sherman's army on its way to Jonesboro on 31st of August, 1864.  

Anxious for any opportunity to receive their "just dues" from the federal government, many Southerners filed erroneous claims.  The question is not whether Burton's family suffered losses, but whether Burton was always loyal to the US Government?  I suspect I know the answer.   While Burton's damages pale in comparison to many other claims, unfortunately, his claim also lacks the testimony that accompanies many claims.  As luck would have it, his file consists of four pages of the basic form, with no additional testimony.

The files can provide interesting reading.  Some include testimony in which the claimant describes in great detail the harsh circumstances personally endured.  Some include dramatic statements of their professed allegiance to the government.  Often such richly woven stories include the names of family, neighbors and friends.  I found myself smiling at one such lengthy claim that comprised many pages of testimony describing the claimant's love for the federal government in addition to his secret disdain for the rebel cause.  The claimant added that he had always supported the federal government.   Unfortunately his case was rejected with the conclusion that not only had the man supported numerous sons while they served as Confederate soldiers, but he himself had served for a time and had contributed substantial funds and supplies to the Confederate Army.

Burton too had served in the Confederate Army from the beginning of the war until the end when he was released as a prisoner of war, and yet he filed a claim.  Was his application simply an effort to receive compensation for losses?

The basic form that Burton filled out required that the applicant provide the names of individuals who could verify the truth of the claim.  I was interested to know who he listed and was pleased to see his witnesses were James Ganus of East Point, Fulton County, Georgia and Mary Cook, also of East Point.  Mary was Burton's wife and James was his father-in-law.  While the document does not contain James' actual signature, it does give me reason to believe that James lived at least until June of 1871 when the application was filled out. James was shown living with Burton and daughter Mary on the 1870 US Federal Census.  This is the latest document currently known on which James' name appears. James would have been approximately 72 years old, a ripe old age for that time.


While Burton's file is relatively small, I am grateful for the few details it provides.  Once again I am reminded of the benefits of finding all documents relating to our ancestors.

I am sure Burton felt at least some disappointment when his claim was rejected, although his situation was not uncommon.  The number of people claiming property loss greatly exceeded the number who received compensation.   Undoubtedly, for those who had been so vested in the Southern cause, proving their loyalty to the US Government was a difficult sell.

The war was over,  issues continued and yet slowly the South did rebuild.  While much had been destroyed, the unconquerable spirit for which Southerners were known survived.  And so, Burton and his family, along with countless others, began the tedious process of rebuilding.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Are You Missing Out?

What would he be like?  Would he look like his pictures?  How comfortable would it be to visit with him?  Would we have anything to say after the initial polite introductions?  I had butterflies in my stomach and many questions running through my  mind as I drove down to the Family History Library recently to do research and meet a distant cousin.

Back in 2000, Claude and I began emailing while searching for more information about Martin Ayers. I had shared some information about Martin on  Rootsweb  and Claude saw the information and contacted me to see what the connection was. We then began the typical exchange of sharing information and working together to try and fill in the blanks on our family trees. As is so often the case, he had things I did not have and visa versa, so we were able to help each other.  We have continued to stay in touch for 13 years now.
image
Claude and I with our spouses at
This is the Place Heritage Park

Martin Ayers was born in 1796 in Greenville, South Carolina and his wife, Sarah Simmons, was born 13 July 1800 in Greenville, South Carolina.  They married 31 August 1817 in Greenville, but eventually moved to Georgia, where they were living when they died.  They are both buried at the Bethlehem Baptist Church Cemetery in Haralson County, Georgia.  A picture of the cemetery and their headstone can be found here.

Claude was researching Martin and Sarah’s daughter, Mary Anne Ayers, who married William W. Johnson and I was interested in Martin Ayers for several reasons.  Martin and Sarah’s daughter Nancy E. Ayers was the first wife of James W. Ganus, who was brother to my 2nd great grandfather, John Monroe Ganus. In addition, Martin and Sarah’s son, Reuben Ayers,  married Frances L. Rainwater, who was sister to my 2nd great grandmother, Olivia Rainwater Ganus.  Claude generously shared pictures of descendants and pictures from his trip to Georgia and I shared information that I had been able to find at the Family History Library.

A few weeks ago Claude and his wife flew in with his local genealogy society for a week of research at the Family History Library and so, after all of these years, Claude and I were able to meet.  The initial nervousness left as soon as I met Claude and his wife.  Their kindness was immediately evident and their deep Texas drawl warmed this displaced southerner to her very core. 

image
View of Antelope Island
From the marina at the Great Salt Lake

We spent time researching at the library together while sharing more information and enjoyed going to lunch and getting to know each other better.  In addition, my husband and I were able to spend some time showing Claude and his wife some of the local sites. I had a great time and was so grateful to finally meet this distant cousin and his wife.

From family reunions to research field trips, there are many opportunities to step outside of court houses and libraries into the present and make connections with cousins---opportunities that I don't want to miss.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2013