Pete Packett’s Papers: A Letter from Eston P. Packett, 1966

April 19, 2014

Packett Eston 1966 001

                                                                                November 16, 1966

Mr. Pete Packett

% Fort Myers News-Press

Fort Myers, Fla.

Dear Mr. Packett:

Received your letter and hope I can be of some help.

I knew your father and mother; they lived across the street from

my family when their first child was born.  They were living

with your Grandmother Webb.

Your dad came to see me in Knoxville about 1940.  Some of you

were in the service then.  He was pastor of a church in Lenoir

City at that time.

My father was Issac Henry Packett and my grandfather was Vinsent Packett.

Alvis Lee Packett’s father was Harbison Packett.  All

of this family was born and raised in Union County, Tenn.

My sister, Mrs. Della Morrell, who lives in Sevierville, Tenn.

has the old family bible with the records in it.  You can write

her:  Route 3 Sevierville, Tenn. 37862.

I have three children, all living in Lakeland, Fla.  My son Jack

Packett is with Publix – buyer for Gourmet Food and candy.  He

lives at 510 Lone Palm Drive.  My two daughters are Mrs. Roy Essary,

(Betty) and Mrs. Stephen Stith, (Barbara).

I hope this helps you in your search.  My sister probably can

give you additional information.

PS  My father, Issac Packett had only one brother, who was

Harbison Packett – A.L.Packett’s father.  Issac Packett

died in Knoxville, Tenn. in 1938.  I do not know who

John and Gaines Packett were.


Eston P. Packett

2180 Colonial Ave.

Lakeland, Fla. 33801

And the first child that was born to my grandparents James and Ruth Packett?  That was my mother, Uncle Pete’s sister.

Back by Popular Demand, 2014 Style

April 18, 2014

This blog frequently gets visitors and commenters who are interested in the Lawton stuff.

Last year I dismantled the scanner and stored it away, clearly in a delusional state, because I thought that I had scanned everything necessary to mankind regarding my genealogy papers.  I need the space here, folks.  It’s kitten season, and I have three little babies in a crate, and space is at a premium here in the RV.

Guess what?  The scanner is back in operation.  I found Uncle Pete’s papers, and also the folks needing to know about the Lawton family reunion need their fix.

I’ve scanned the Christmas newsletter which has the info about the most recent past reunion and the upcoming one this June.  I’m also trying something new for me and this blog – I’ve added a “contact me” feature at the bottom of this post.

See you in June!

LawtonFamilyReunion2014 001

The Lawton and Allied Families Association

135 Lamont Drive

Decatur, GA  30030

December, 2013

Dear Lawton Cousins,

Christmas greetings!  We celebrated our 2013 reunion jointly in June with our Robert cousins from Louisiana.  Our Friday night meeting was at Gloria Tuten’s childhood home at Robertville.  We enjoyed a great meal, caught up with our cousins from Texas and Louisiana and had a wonderful piano/organ concert by Gloria and her sister-in-law, Alene in the Robertville church sanctuary.

Saturday morning, we met at the Robertville Baptist Church for a presentation on the life and times of our common ancestor, Pierre Robert, based on Tom Lawton’s original research paper and read by cousin Marie McEntire.

Saturday afternoon, we visited the Old Robert Cemetery.  Thanks to Cousin Lawton O’Cain and your generous contributions, we have made much progress in keeping this important part of our history clear from the bushes and trees that would otherwise consume it.  Your contributions make the difference.

Plan to come to Robertville JUNE 13 and 14, 2014 for this year’s reunion.  We will celebrate Friday night at Davis’s swimming pool, which many of you, who were raised in the area, fondly remember.  On Saturday, we’ll be at the Robertville Baptist Church to hear Fred York’s talk about the Union army at Honey Hill.

I look forward to meeting you there!

Your cousin and friend,

Neale Hightower




From Uncle Pete Packett

April 16, 2014






From my mother, Nov. 1, 1966:

“Well, little Mandy and I went last Wednesday to see Lonie Rodgers

to see if she knew any about the Packetts.  She was Grandma Packett’s

neice (sic).  Grandma Packett was a Rodgers….  I don’t know if you remember

Bob Yearout here.  Well they are related to the Webbs.  I knew that but

didn’t know how much.  They said my grand mother’s name was Rodie

Webb, which I always thought was Sarah.  I didn’t know my Grand-

father’s name but they said it was Cart.  Mrs. Yearout told me Sunday

night at church they were going to Wildwood Springs soon to see his

sister and she would know something.  I think he knows what he is

talking about because when I was very small we lived in Wildwood

Springs.  My father had a country store there and my mother owned

two houses.  I very well remember when they sold them…  My father

was Dr. L. D. Webb.  My mother Henry Etta Collins.”

Uncle Pete went on a letter-writing campaign in 1966.  This letter from his mother, who is my grandmother, shows how little she knew for certain about her grandparents.  Her father’s father was Lynch Webb, and his wife was Sarah Couch Webb.


(More from Uncle Pete)

Henry Etta or Henrietta Collins Webb died May 3, 1934.  Lynch Delisha

Webb died when my mother was about 12 or 13, about 1906 or 1907.

My father’s parents were William Packett, who died about 1906 also,

and is believed to be buried in Dalton, GA, and Esther Lily Rogers

or Rodgers Packett, died in the early 1930s, and buried in Lenoir


I also can recall as a child going to Wildwood Springs Cemetery with

mother and dad to trim up and decorate Grandfather Webb’s grave in

Wildwood Springs.  (My note:  no one knows today where his grave is, although I can find a death certificate.)

My father, James Packett, was born in Loudon County, TN Sept. 5, 1891,

and mother Ruth Jeanette Webb in Blount County, TN, March 25, 1894.

Letter from Mrs. (Douglas) Marie Hurst, Sevierville, TN, Jan. 8, 1967:

“I am Mrs. Marie Hurst, daught of Della P. Morell.  I am sending her

dad’s birth: Isaac Henry Packett, March 27, 1860.”

Jan. 20, 1967 (More from Marie Hurst)

My grandmother’s maiden name is Mary Catherine Allbright, July 3, 1868,

at Union County.  Her dad’s name was Jasper Allbright, her mother’s

was Betty Wilson before her marriage to Jasper.

The rest of the births in the old Bible are grandmothers and grand-

father’s children.

Della Packett Morell, August 19, 1888

Leonard V. Packett, Dec. 18, 1889 (deceased)

Cora Lee Packett, Oct. 9, 1891 (deceased)

Martha E. Packett, March 11, 1894

Edgbert Packett, Oct. 23, 1897

Esten P. Packett, Oct. 28, 1900 – this is Betty Essary’s dad.  (Handwritten:  Cousin of Alvis Lee Packett of Knoxville.)

More letters to follow!



Lunch in Atlanta

April 16, 2014

We on our way home!  It’s been a lovely trip.  We were hungry on the way, so we had lunch in Atlanta.

We didn’t actually stop the van.











It is unwise to stop in Atlanta unless you are not in a hurry to get anywhere.

Soon, we’re home.  William Starr Basinger would be pleased.

Another Hike, For Tomorrow We Drive

April 16, 2014

After the trip to the Natural Bridge, we returned to Sugar’s cousin’s home.  The dogs were ready for a walk.  Really, they go on a long walk every evening.  At least they call it a walk.  Other people would put on a backpack and carry water, for it’s a hike.

At the edge of the plateau, we stopped, and I snapped a photo of the opposite ridge.



On the way back to the house, there were interesting rock outcroppings everywhere.  Sugar stops to look back to make sure I’m still hiking along.



Isn’t that remarkable?  All the rocks.  There are no rocks at all where we live, only sandy soil, because apparently we were underwater once upon a time.

The visit draws to a close, after a meal with more oysters, and we get ready to leave early in the morning.

Because vacation is almost over…

The Sewanee Natural Bridge, Or: In Which Pictures Tell the Story

April 16, 2014























I learned that Sugar is afraid of heights.  He hid it pretty well, until I was crowding him on the bridge…

Onward to Sewanee

April 11, 2014

The path from Dahlonega to NearSewanee takes several hours to travel.  Part of it is interstate highway travel.  The end of the journey involves a climbing mountain road to arrive at the top of the Cumberland Plateau.  Road signs and directional markers become fewer and homemade.  I had a handwritten set of directions, which were effective until near the end, when the directions said to turn on the left road right after the sharp right turn.

We never found the sharp right turn, but instead ended up at a stop sign.  Sugar considered going on, but I countered that the stop sign was not in the directions, and that we should backtrack.  He countered that we never went through a sharp right turn.  I settled the matter by saying, “I’m from Tennessee, and we need to go back”.  We would go back and retrace our steps, and ignore the “sharp right turn” part.

This involves driving down every road until we found a mailbox with an address on it so that we could know what road we were on.  When I was growing up, there were no road signs outside the city limits near where I lived.  You simply told someone how to get to your house.  Go about 1 mile from town, turn right sharp downhill, go across the creek and take the left fork, second house on the right.  It’s on a hill.  You can’t miss it.

We finally found our road, and fortunately I had copied the address.  We don’t have GPS, so everything is part of the adventure.

Sugar’s cousin greeted us warmly, and we settled in.  We had done it!  We delivered oysters that had been on ice for three days, so were possibly about 4 days harvested.  We talked about what to do with these oysters for dinner.  Oyster stew, fried oysters, what?  It seemed that the dogs needed a walk and the food decisions could wait.

The four of us, being myself, Sugar, his cousin, and her husband, plus the dogs, set out to walk the property.  Apparently they thought we were spry enough, and I hoped my knees would prove this to be true.  It’s hilly, and there was a little stream to cross.  This proved to not be a walk, this was a hike for most sorts of folks, but we did it, and no one blew out a knee or twisted an ankle.  It was remote, yet populated, territory, and at the correct geologic area for caves, which is why they live here, for they are cavers.

No, we did not go caving.

Then we had raw oysters on saltines with sauce.  In anticipation of oyster stew, which SugarCousin made from scratch with milk and a stick of butter. Mouth watering now.



The next day we set out for sightseeing.

(Insert apologies here.  There’s more than 70 photos.)



SugarCousin’s husband works at a FireTowerLookOuty Place.




Here’s a shot of the tower and a bird that’s catching some early morning sunshine.



On the way to Green’s View.  No view of terrain, but the early morning fog was spectacular and worth the trip.










Ice!  Still a bit left from the storm Titan.








Now, onward to Sewanee to the Archives.  Closed!  Until the afternoon.  So, yeah, we’ll be back later.

Sugar’s paternal grandfather went to school here in the 1880′s.  It’s now the University of the South, which went through severalhistorical twists and turns to become what it is today.





Yes, this is taken out the window.



One of the highlights of this campus tour is the chapel, which is now indeed much grander than a chapel, and is quite cathedral-like.  See what you think.










IMG_6204 IMG_6205



























We leave the chapel and head over to another overlook, still on the campus.














Now we head down into the town of Sewanee for some lunch, and to kill time until the archives are open.

We chose The Blue Chair.  The food was great, and fresh, and there was a friendly lunchy atmosphere.  I don’t even remember what I ate – a Greek salad? – but it was delicious – I have a delicious memory that the experience was delicious.

When we got back to the archives, the gentlemen in charge of the archives told Sugar that he had located a record of Sugar’s grandfather showing that he had matriculated in 1883 or thereabouts, but that was all.  We were not allowed to look at any records, which was a disappointment.

We press onward to the Sewanee Natural Bridge, the subject for another post.  It’s quietly spectacular.

In Search of William Starr Basinger: Lots 37, 38, and 22

April 7, 2014

In the “Personal Reminiscences” of William Starr Basinger, he writes about his time in Dahlonega.  They rented a house from an Allen family, then decided to buy another house and add on to that house to accommodate the six children. That house was on lots 37 and 38, and later he bought town lot 22 for a vegetable garden and stable.

We walked about the town and the neighborhood northwest of the square, because we knew that the lots 37 and 38 were northwest of the square.  No houses matched the one in the photo that Sugar had.  (I apologize.  I don’t have the photo of the house.  I’ll have to wrest it away from Sugar and scan it.)

We walked up Church Street, andohmyheartbestill, there was a fabric and yarn shop on the left in an enormous old house.  I decided it might be best if I investigated this house while Sugar walked on, even though the orientation of the street slope and the facade of the house was wrong.  You know, just in case, and perhaps have a peek at the yarns and fabrics.  The super-nice shopkeeper, whose name I did not get said that the house was once owned by a person associated with the university, but it definitely was not the house we wanted.  We went about our business.  Sugar found me with my hands in a yarn bin, up to the elbows.

So, onward.  At the crest of the northwest quadrant, there was an empty lot full of trees and daffodils.  There clearly was once a house here, and there were terraced areas, and brickwork around the trees, but Sugar was sure that this was not it.

We walked on, and came to a historical marker that strangely I didn’t photograph.  Through the magic of the internet, I present this link to the historical marker that is a much better history than I could have provided. (Spoiler alert:  Photo #3 facing southwest – the house on the left, which is actually rental property, perhaps apartments, in on the lot 37 that William Starr Basinger owned.  We didn’t know it at the time.  I know, I know, we were walking all around it all morning.  *sigh*)

We walked further, and around, and perhaps went all the way around Robin Hood’s barn without finding the house.  Yes, we were the insane-looking people walking and staring looking at houses, all squinty-eyed.  Yet, the nice people of Dahlonega did not call the authorities on us.

Then it was off to the courthouse with us to look at actual records.




So Sugar took this book and started looking, page by page, line by line, for his great-grandfather.  He didn’t find a record of a purchase of lots 37 and 38.



Then he said, “Here it is.”  He did find Lot 22.



The index showed that he purchased lot 22 from N. H. Hand, and we pulled the actual book with the transaction on page 431.




Georgia      )                                             This Indenture made

)the 28th day of October A. D. 1889 between

Nathan H. Hand of White Plains in the State of

New York of the first part and William S. Basinger

of Dahlonega in the State of Georgia of the second part.

Whereas the said party of the first part by deed dated

the 28th day of November A. D. 1883 and recorded in

the office of the Clerks of the Superior Court of Lumpkin…






If we only had a map.  We saw a map on the wall, a large, framed map of the town lots.  It was too high for us to read the lot numbers.  If there had not been another person in the records room, I would have stood on the table under the map.  I used the zoom feature on the camera to get a shot, but the glare from the overhead lights reflected on the glass.  (Later, when we learned the location of the lots, I added the lot numbers to the photo.)



None of the staff could help us locate another map.  One staff member said that the frame was bolted to the wall by the maintenance man, and when I used the camera’s tripod to point to the lot numbers, she cautioned me to not tap the glass, so that the map didn’t fall off the wall.

We left at that point, because there seemed to be nothing left for us to do.

It’s just about lunchtime, and it’s time to meet up with Robbie with the Lumpkin County Historical Society, who just happens to own Coloth Type and Graphic Arts on the Square.  So we park on the square in front of her office and call her, and explain the dilemma that the house that his great-grandfather lived in was not the Vickery House after all, it was a house that is no longer standing, and we can’t tie the photo of the house to a specific lot. She said that was even better because it is lost history regained.

Sugar presents her with a photo of the house, and a photo of the Basinger family.


This was the magical moment that everyone that has ever done historical research longs for.  It’s the presentation to someone who is so stinkin’ enthusiastic about what you have done that you just feel like royalty, of sorts.  Suddenly, in one fell swoop, the town has gained a bit of information regarding a family, a house, a President of the college, a history, and a link to the present.

It was a good day.  The oysters and we headed over the line for Tennessee, where Sugar’s cousin waited.

In Search of William Starr Basinger; Or, The Oysters Stay at a B&B

April 5, 2014

Sugar had found a place where he really, really wanted to stay.  He was sad-faced when he learned that they were going to be closed for a private event. The one night that we want to be there.

Plan B:  the Lily Creek Lodge.  It’s on Auraria Road.  After making the reservation, Sugar looked at his great-grandfather’s “Personal Reminiscences” yet again, and saw mention of Auraria Road.  So we get to stay at a place on a road that his great-grandfather traveled.  Bonus.


We checked-in, settled in a bit with a chat with the hostess, who made suggestions of who we should talk to in our search to know more about Dahlonega history.  The drive back into town was only four miles, and supper was needed.  The Picnic Cafe was open but Sugar wanted to try something different.  Hint:  when in Dahlonega, just go ahead and eat all your meals at the Picnic Cafe.  Not to say that the other places don’t have good food, there’s just a good vibe there.

We drove around after dinner, and made a plan for the next day.

And the oysters?  Still in the car, on ice.

In Search of William Starr Basinger, or, The Oysters Go to Dahlonega

April 1, 2014


We left Athens, slowly, driving slowly, on the way to Dahlonega.

Sugar had allowed several hours to get there, but we found it was a very short trip, and we pulled into the town square just in time for lunch at the Picnic Cafe.  How did we decide where to eat?  It was literally in front of our parking spot, and the weather was breezily cold, so we dashed inside.  Plenty of other folks had made the same decision.  A good crowd is a good sign of good food.



Ah, salad and hot soup in a freshly-baked bread bowl.


After stuffing ourselves, we went outside for a look around.  It was still cold and crisp, yet folks were strolling about.




Sugar said that his great-grandfather William Starr Basinger had a law office on the square on the second floor of a building. Why couldn’t this door on the left be the door to his office? I ask you, why not?



I had it in my mind that we would find the house where William Starr Basinger and his wife Margaret Roane Garnett and their family lived.  And as usual, I got my mind all wrapped up around the thought that it could be this house, the Vickery House, which was associated with the college and right by the campus.





There was a log cabin being constructed behind the Vickery House, so here are the photos.




This is a shot of the Vickery House from across the campus using the zoom lens.



We walked back to the square, and I was grateful for my lined, hooded coat and my warm cowl.




Frank W. Hall was a man of means and owned a lot of Dahlonega properties.

After our quick tour, we are no closer to finding the Basinger house.  We have plans to meet with some folks from the Historical Society the next day, and possibly to find some court documents, so cross your fingers!


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