Alethia ‘Letha’ DICKERSON HOLDER

Alethia Jane DICKERSON lived her life within a 30 mile radius in middle Georgia. She was born in an area called ‘Crowders’ in Monroe County. If you’ve ever eaten or heard of the Crowder pea, it was developed by John Crowder  of the same county. When ‘peas’ are on the menu of a family reunion of southerners, they aren’t talking about the green, English variety.  They’re talking about a field pea, such as ‘Crowder’ or ‘Purple Hull’ that make their own gravy color.

Alethia had almost as many versions of her name as there are field peas.  Her various names appear on documents throughout her life, ‘Letha’, ‘Leitha’,  ‘Lethy’ and ‘Aletha’.  They are all the same person.  She was so named by her parents Continue reading

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Woodworker – Thomas Jefferson HOLDER

Waist up formal portrait of Thomas Jefferson HOLDER

Thomas Jefferson HOLDER 1839-1883

Here is a handsome man who worked with his hands. He had his own woodworking shop near Wynn’s (later LeGuin’s) mill on the Tussahaw creek in Henry County GA near Locust Grove.  The county was created in 1821 and “. . . began as the land of pioneering people who invested their labor and time in exchange for land” according to The New GA Encyclopedia. Much of the area is now being developed for home construction although woods and farms are still plentiful (see pictures of a current farm development – tempting purchase).

Thomas Jefferson HOLDER married Aletha ‘Letha’ DICKERSON in 1857 and had 9 children together according to current research.  Coming from a family of 11 children, his own abundant quiver of children probably felt like home for Thomas. The oldest son was James Solomon HOLDER (see previous post) the father of Eula Mae HOLDER LINN.

Thomas was born on the 2nd of March, 1839 in Forsyth, GA.  The move from Monroe, the county of his birth to nearby Henry county occurred before 1880.  Below is a page from the HOLDER family bible where births were recorded.  T. J. HOLDER is the 11th down on the left side.  His parents are listed first.

HOLDER family Bible of births

Thomas died at the age of 44.  By word of mouth it is known that he must have anticipated his death because he made his own casket, carving roses on the top.

A further description of living at Wynn’s Mill, Tussahaw Creek can be discovered by reading A Home-Concealed Woman. The diary of Magnolia Wynn LeGuin 1901-1913 published by the University of GA press.  Excerpts from the book will be published in a future post about Thomas’ wife Letha DICKERSON as she probably had similar experiences and feelings as Magnolia (don’t you love the name?).

Newly Discovered

Last week we made several discoveries. While traveling through Augusta GA we were able to locate and visit the site of a place (see picture below) that employed several generations of kindred ancestors. Although it may look like a temple it is not, unless you worship your work.  Watch for future posts that will tell what, who and when about this place.  Very interesting.

Kindred Work Place Sibley Mills Augusta GA

The other discovery was finding another generation of kindred, previously unknown.
It’s been very exciting getting to know this new couple through a series of letters written during the civil war.  We rejoined Ancestry.com which enabled this newest discovery.  Look for a 2 part series revealing the content of the letters .

 

Evelyn Roberta BARKER, Young Nurse in South Georgia

Evelyn R. BARKER as young nurse

Young Nurse, fresh out of school. Evelyn Roberta BARKER

Charlotte, a close friend in nursing school with Evelyn Roberta BARKER, called Evelyn simply “Barker”, as did all the rest of her classmates.

Evelyn grew up as an only child to William Washington BARKER and Essie Lee INGLETT on 2018 Starnes Street, Augusta, Georgia.  The house is about 15 blocks from the now mothballed cotton mills on the Augusta Canal.

Evelyn was born 14 June 1921, and she had a good eye for drawing as a child.  She eventually went on to nursing school during World War II and found a nursing job in Thomsonville, GA.

During these early years before she married, she would travel on her off days to the Florida Panhandle beaches with her nursing friends and on one trip even traveled by boat to Cuba.

James Solomon HOLDER

James Solomon was the 2nd child of Thomas Jefferson HOLDER and Alethia ‘Letha’ DICKERSON, born on March 6th, 1871 probably in Henry County, GA.  Sometime in his 14th year, his father died at the age of 44, leaving him the oldest male in the family.

Yes, he’s the one who eloped with his bride Alma Josephine JACKSON in 1897.  The 1900 census reveals that he was farming next door to his brother John where his mother and two younger siblings lived.

He had been married three years by 1900, had 2 children and a house boarder by the name of Madison P. HOLDER age 53.  There is probably a familial relationship with the boarder but it has yet to be determined. Any educated guesses?

Like his father, J.S. found a career working with his hands.  He was a Blacksmith with his own shop by 1910, a career path he would follow the rest of his life.  He had suffered the death of Alma just 4 years earlier.  His daughter Eula recalled that he employed a black ‘Mammie’ to help care for and raise his 3 little daughters until he remarried in 1909.

Delia or ‘Della’ Odessa HARKNESS would be his 2nd wife.  They lived in McDonough, Henry county, GA.  Della began her married life by becoming an instant mother to James’ girls.  That first year of marriage she also shared her home with with a niece, Sallie McDaniel, age 71 (old niece, huh?) and 4 lodgers.

At age 48, James and Della were living in a rented home in Griffin, Spalding county, still working as a blacksmith.  They resided in Griffin until James’ death in 1939. He is buried at New Hope Methodist Church Cemetery in Locust Grove, Henry county GA.

What Did They Do? Kindred Occupations of Early 1900’s

Farmer, Electrician, Railroad Inspector, Attendant at VA Hospital, Retail Sales, Barber, Dress Maker, Homemaker, are representative of occupations that were prevalent in the years around the great depression of 1929 in Georgia.  Our Kindred Ancestors made a living in all of the above professions.

woman washing with wringer washing machine

James Elmer HOPKINS b 1886 d 1950 lived in Atlanta GA area. He was reported to be a farm laborer when he was just 13 years old and he eventually settled into the occupation of a barber for at least 10 years.

Myrtle Faye DENTON HOPKINS b 1890 d 1985 was a homemaker and raised 5 children.  Originally from TN and settled in Atlanta with her husband James Elmer.

William Washington BARKER b 1898 d 1977 was an electrician after he came back from World War I.  At age 32 he worked for the railroad as a car inspector and  finally ended his career as an attendant at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital. Lived in Augusta GA.

Essie Lee INGLETT BARKER b 1893 d 1980 worked in the 5 & 10 (nickel & dime variety) store and as a sales woman at a florist before she married William Washington in Augusta.  She was a homemaker throughout her married life and raised their daughter.

Max Augustus LINN b 1896 d 1952 was also reported on the census records to be a farm laborer when he was a young lad of 13.  He like, James Elmer HOPKINS, also eventually became a barber in Atlanta. Keeping a trim look must have been quite popular in those days.

Eula Mae HOLDER LINN b 1900 d 1993 was a young wife to Max Augustus and homemaker raising her children in Atlanta.  By the 1940 census, she was working as a dressmaker.  She was quite an active seamstress on the side and did a lot of sewing for her sister.

John Wesley DEAN b 1885 d 1965 was a farmer throughout his entire life in rural south Georgia in a place called Waycross (the railroads converged in this town and “crossed”), near the Willacoochee River and the Withlacoochee River in Atkinson County.

Bessie BURKHALTER DEAN b 1896 d 1971 married John Wesley as a young woman like Eula Mae HOLDER, and was a homemaker raising 9 children on the farm.  Hard working gal.

Alma Josephine JACKSON HOLDER

 

She was only 15 when she married.  Without her father’s knowledge or approval, she climbed out the window to elope with James, age 26.  He was waiting outside her window.  That was September 30th, 1897. . .

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It appears that Alma Josephine’s mother died when she was 9 years old leaving her father Elsberry JACKSON a widow at age 46.

About 9 months after Alma and James married, their first child Bertha Lane was born on July 1st 1898.

The following year in 1899, a son, Lindon C. was born. She was 17 years old and Bertha was 14 months old.

Another 14 months later, in Dec of 1900, Alma Josephine JACKSON delivered her 3rd baby, Eula Mae when she was 18 years old.  Eula was 8 days old when little Lindon died.

Three years later Mamie Lee was born in 1903.

It’s not hard to imagine how Alma filled her days with 3 little children to care for.

Alma’s father, Elsberry JACKSON never forgave James Solomon HOLDER for taking and marrying his young daughter.  He threatened to kill him if he ever saw him and would sit on his porch with a shotgun in his lap.  Apparently James wasn’t fond of his father-in-law either because it was remembered that Alma would sneak out with her girls to visit their dad and grandfather.

Alma died in 1906 at the age of 24.  The cause of death has not been discovered.

It all happened in Henry County, Georgia.  Mostly in Locust Grove, a town named after a grove of locust trees seen from the town.  The railroad was key to the town and its economy, carrying cotton, peaches and other produce  from the farming area.  In 1900, the town itself had a population of 254.  Alma, James and the children all lived there.  Alma and James were eventually buried there.

Fellow Travelers

Rand HOPKINS signed Broadway PlaybillIt’s pretty easy to connect with a first generation of ancestors.  Normally there are memories, pictures, possessions, and documents.  The hardest thing about making and celebrating these connections is our perspective and personal relationships we had with the deceased.

 

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The second generation generally has fewer memories, usually fewer pictures and  possessions, but the documentation might increase.  Kindred can be found on such things as census records, Social Security Index and military records.

 

Crochet Bedspread by Eula Mae HOLDER LINN close up of pattern

A third generation of kinfolk has even fewer, if any memories available and you’re lucky to possess something they owned.  Records and documents are still readily available and searching for your kindred can be exciting, even addicting.

 

Cemetery HeadstoneLooking for the fourth tier of kindred dead and beyond, makes one grateful for the internet and the ease of searching all kinds of records like immigration, census, wills, and deeds. The practice of burial with headstones is much appreciated for it is there you find proof of their existence.  It’s common to learn birth and death dates. On a really good day of research you might find other family members in the same cemetery.

 

WWII Black & White Postcard of City StreetOur parents had parents.  Their parents had parents and the pattern is repeated.  They are like an infinite to us.  Our ancestors existed, regardless of our ignorance of them.  Discovering them and learning about the circumstances of the times and places they lived can expand our thoughts, imagination and compassion.  They, like us, were and are fellow travelers in this journey through life.  Recognizing they had hardships and challenges can help us try to do our best on our own paths.