Archive for September, 2012

Millie Brewer Packett, 1834-1918

September 30, 2012

I like to say that I prefer dead people to living ones.  After all, the dead ones don’t hurt your feelings, steal your money, or lie to your mama.  I especially like Millie Brewer Packett, and not because she’s deader than the others.  Millie Brewer lived a long time, and saw many changes in her life and in the life of her country.  She might have been about 83 years old, or at least that’s what was guessed by the informant, her daughter Sarah Catherine (Mrs. J. E. Lively), on her death certificate, because her true date of birth was not known.

Millie married James Packet(t), and they had seven children.  The oldest was John William Packett who married Hester Delila Lillie/Lula/Lila/Lillie Rogers, and that was a whole big bunch of crazy (more on that later).

Millie and James set up housekeeping about July 2, 1859.  The scholars among you will know that their world was about to explode into the Civil War.

BigBroBob provided this widow’s pension about 13 years ago.  It was a bit complicated to scan so that it shows to its best advantage, but only the second page has been broken into three parts for better viewing.  The remaining pages all fit onto the scanner, although some of the pages are a bit cramped.  Remember to left-click once, then again, on the image to enlarge.  Someday I’ll come back to this post and transcribe them, but for now I won’t take away your fun in trying to read this.  Click away!

The cover page with her name and the file number.

The top of the first true page.

The bottom of the first true page.

Perhaps I didn’t mention that I don’t have any magical software to blend the two images together.

Next, here’s the little bit of script from the left side of the above image.

Now comes the true pages.  Let me say that the top of one page that has a child’s name and date of birth, etc. etc., is exactly as it was sent to me.  I imagine it must be a boring job to make copies of historical documents in a historical archives setting, but I’d say that I’d like a crack at that job.  Maybe the image was taken from a microfilm and so it’s recorded that way for posterity.

The name that is cut off at the top of the page is Mary E. Packett. She’s the one that married Hugh Blair Simpson. Their granddaughter was Lavona Simpson, my elementary school librarian.

This is the order that I received these pages.  I’ve noticed there’s a seemingly random number on the bottom left corner of the pages, like it’s number 5 in the page above.  Out of order?  Possible.  Any comments and suggestions are welcome.

Good night, Millie.  We’re thinking about you.

More Dead Packetts

September 29, 2012

Clever reader Leo and I had an email discussion about Lillie Rogers Packett, and the fact that she has no early existence, at least not that we can prove.  Tim Packett, now deceased, couldn’t prove it, and I’m afraid that I can’t either.  Where in North Carolina did she come from?  Who were her folks?  Which leads us to the question:  What if she wasn’t a Rogers?  So maybe we’re just looking for someone who doesn’t exist.

Her son James Packett thought her maiden name was Rogers, and told his wife so, because it’s his wife Ruth that provides the information on James’s death certificate.  What if Grandma got it wrong?

Oops, didn’t.

Here are the death certificates that I can find for James Packett’s siblings.  They all list the mother as a Rogers.

Here’s the 1st child, Joseph Lafayette Packett.

Joseph Lafayette “Fate”, the oldest., 21 Oct 1884 – 10 Jul 1950.

This is the second child, Amanda, who married first one Richard Underwood.  I had a hard time finding her marriage certificate because the magical program that translates old handwriting into legible English translated a sloppily written “Packett” as “Pochliztgh”.  I love this stuff.

Amanda Packett Dell, 2nd of 6, 5 Mar 1887 – 21 Oct 1952.

Next child was John William Packett, who was born 14 Oct 1889 and died in February 1966.  The state stopped these handy death certificates in 1958, and went to the Social Security record system which does not show this info unless you send off for a copy of the original, and that costs money. I actually clicked through about a dozen screens in the process right up to ordering it, and I stopped at that part where it said it would cost $25.00.  You know that feeling, right?  Naw, stopping here and backing this horse up.  But you can’t actually back up until you get back to the screen.  Because the screen stops at the ordering screen, even though you left-click, oh, a half-a-dozen times in an effort to get back before you catch on that you have to go back to the home page.  Bastards.

The fourth child was my grandfather, James A. Packett, and you saw his delayed birth certificate and his death certificate from the past few posts.

The fifth child was Belle, born about 1892.  She’s another mystery woman.  I can’t locate her past the 1910 census, but I’m working on that, so just give me a minute.

And here’s the sixth child, Zola Packett O’Neal, who was ill for a year before passing away.

Zola Packett O’Neal, 11 Jun 1896 – 22 Jul 1924.

I also have the added bonus of Zola’s obituary, brown from age.

This leads me to believe that Belle Packett was already deceased because she is not mentioned in this obituary for Zola Packett in 1924.

I wouldn’t have found that Amanda Packett married Richard Underwood without this obituary.  I certainly wouldn’t have found her listed as “Manda Pochliztgh”.

And, just for fun, I’m throwing in none other than Hester Delilah Lily Lila Lula Lillie Rogers Packett’s death certificate.

Daughter of Jim Rogers from NC. That’s all I’ve got. Y’all take it and run with it.

Rogers, over and out.

James Packett’s Delayed Birth Certificate

September 26, 2012

Today’s post will be about going, or coming, full circle.  As usual, I’m doing things in a bit of a backward fashion, but usually it’s because things present themselves in a backward fashion.

Yesterday I found James Packett’s death certificate.  Then later in the day, I found his birth certificate.

More properly, back in the day, there were no birth certificates.  The basic record for recording a birth was in the family Bible.  Those not in the know might guess that a birth record in the family Bible could be forged, but I believe that would be inviting hellfire and the wrath of damnation upon one’s head from messing with God’s playbook.  Not that I personally believe that, but rather I believe that the folks back in the day would believe that, and they would certainly not forge a birth record in a Bible.

And if you left click, and left click again, on the image, you will get a magically enlarged version of James Packett’s delayed certificate of birth.

I see that a family Bible record was presented as proof that James Packett was born.  Good enough for God, and apparently good enough for the state.

What I did not know (and yes, indeed, what I don’t know can fill a universe), and what I latched onto was that James Packett had an aunt Mary Simpson.  I had to decide which parent was Mary’s sibling, and I chose Lillie Rogers Packett.  Lillie is our mystery woman.  Apparently she was hatched from an egg somewhere in North Carolina, and just showed up one day and married John William Packett.

As luck would have it, she was the wrong parent.  John William had a sister Mary who married Hugh Blair Simpson.


When I was growing up, we would have library time when our class would go to the library to check out books and to hear stories read aloud by our librarian, Miss Lavona Simpson.

Miss Simpson was referred to as an old maid, although never to her face.  My mother seemed to know Miss Simpson, and really?  Why wouldn’t she?  Mom seemed to know something about everyone, and if I had been paying attention, this could have been a far more interesting blog.

Miss Simpson seemed stern and sweet, and when she smiled, she gave a tight little pursed smile, never showing her teeth.  It was hard to tell if you were getting approval or merely tolerance.

Who’s got the stinkin’ family Bible?

And now after searching around a bit in, I know that Miss Simpson’s grandmother was Mary Packett Simpson, the sister to my great-grandfather, John William Packett.  Writing that made me squirm a little in my seat, like I just got caught talking in the library.

How about that, LilSis?

James Packett’s Certificate of Death, Part 2

September 25, 2012

I should just post a photo of myself smacking myself upside of the head.  You can then interpret if the correct caption should read “Eureka!” or simply “Dummy.”

The death certificate that I just posted for James A. Packett has his year of death as 1944.  I just now saw that.  It never registered that the BigBroBob was born in 1945, so he definitely was not in the hospital being a babe wrapped in swaddling diapers.

But here’s the bigger issue:  Why did I not catch the fact that the Cert of Death said 1944?  Because I did not need to verify that the year was correct, and I merely overlooked it, because I KNEW that my grandfather died in 1945.  How could I know that?  I wasn’t even born, was I?

Because his cemetery marker  says “Nineteen hundred and FORTY-FIVE”.


Woopsy to the marker people.

And I said that it’s easy to make a mistake on paper in an office setting.  So I’m guessing that the marker was ordered long after his death, and somebody got the year wrong, perhaps on the paperwork.  Because it’s just so easy to get your husband’s death year wrong.

And here’s proof…

James Packett’s Certificate of Death

September 25, 2012

My grandparents were married for less than 30 years when he died.  None of the grandchildren knew him, for the oldest one was my BigSis, and she was about two years old when he died.

My grandmother lived about another 50 years as a widow.  She had a dream once that she told me about when I was a little girl.

There was a knock at the door.  When she went to answer it, it was her husband.  He had a knife, and he was trying to come through the screen door to hurt her.  She asked him, “Why are you trying to hurt me?”  I remember that when she described the dream to me, her voice was her sweet little-old-lady voice, desolate and pleading.

I don’t remember anything else about the dream, if indeed there was more.  I suppose she woke up when her husband was trying to force his way through the door, and take it from me, when your husband tries to force his way through the door, you’d want to wake up, too.

I don’t know very much about my grandfather, just the bits that a few people who knew him have told me, and now the things I find on the internet.  He was in World War I, and was ill from being generally run down and having lung problems, I suppose from effects of mustard gas, but I’m only supposing.  I do know that he also worked in textile mills, and probably had fiber in his respiratory system.

Therefore, I was surprised today when I found his death certificate.  His primary cause of death is haematuria, which is blood in the urine, and his secondary causes of death are a general run-down condition and a duodenal ulcer.   I was also surprised to see that he was a construction foreman on a housing project.

He died on his birthday, but whoever filled out the death certificate put down the wrong month of birth, and I know, from working in many office settings, that it’s so easy to mis-state somehing.  My BigBroBob would have been less than a week old when James Packett died.  In those days, would my mother and the BigBro still have been in the hospital?  I’ve heard that the mother and baby stayed 10 days during those times.  Whatever the circumstances, it sounds like a very stressful time for the family.

Good night, James Packett.  I’m sorry I never knew you.

You can click on this image, then click again, to enlarge.

Jackie Lends A Paw

September 24, 2012

You know how cats love all things wool?  There’s nothing like sleeping under a wooly blanket, and then waking up to a cat sucking and kneading on the bedcovers.

Well, I don’t have a wool blanket in this hot climate, but I have been knitting some woolen articles, and that started me to thinking about cats and wool.

I started a new design last week.  It’s called a “Cat Mat”, and it’s knitted of 100% wool with a novelty “eyelash” yarn added in for textural interest.

I used a size 13 circular needle, cast on 40 stitches, purlwise, with 2 strands held as one, changed the colors as needed, and added the eyelash yarn when knitting the borders.  Then I put the item in a pillowcase, tied it shut, and washed it for a full cycle in the washing machine.  This results in a felted item.  Normally the instructions for felting an item in this fashion call for using hot water, but I don’t have any hot water for the washing machine (because the water supply for the washing machine comes directly from the well hook-up), and the first time I tried my cold-water method and it worked, I felt like I had created cold fusion, whatever that is.

Jackie helped with a little photo session.  I draped a fitted sheet over the doghouse for a backdrop, and Jackie was quality control.

Step 1: Start with woolly article. If you do not have a mammoth lying around, a knitted-and-felted item is acceptable.

Step 2: Add cat.

Step 3: Adjust brightness.

Step 4: Stand guard protecting your woollies from the dogs while trying to look nonchalant.

And here’s the uncropped photos…

Then Step 5:  Bribing The Inspector takes place.

W. C. Eblen: Request for Presidential Pardon

September 22, 2012

As usual, when looking for something, I find something else equally, if not more so, interesting than what I was looking for.

Here’s W. C. Eblen’s request for pardon from the president for his part in the Confederate Army.

Slightly tardy.

Charleston Tenn

Apil 28th 1866

Hon. Andrew Johnson


                             I am impelled by

duty as well as inclination even at this

late date to solicit your pardon for the

part I took in the late rebellion.  And

in humbly seeking your clemency, only

submit the statement of your old friend

Genl Gamble of Polk Co Tenn

                   Very Resp

                             Your obt Servt.



Hon. Andrew Johnson President

                   Dr. sir:  I have known

your petitioner for twenty years, and know

of not one act of his life, by any means reproa-

chable either before or since the war.  He

was one year in the rebel army, after which

time, he was not engaged in the service.  While

in the service, as Captain he committed no

violence to Union men of which I have ever herd

charged.  Since the return of peace, he is as before

a quiet law abiding citizen.  On these

grounds earnestly ask the favor

                             Very truly

                             James Gamble


An American Educator: Mary Humphreys Stamps

September 20, 2012

I like to trace genealogy lines for people.  For myself, I haven’t found anyone of remarkable note, like criminals or politicians.  My folks seem to be ordinary folks living ordinary lives as best they could.

Sugar, on the other hand, has all kinds of fascinating people on both sides of his family, and he has accumulated papers, documents, and photos of some of them.  He recently reframed his grandmother’s diploma from her college graduation.  That’s devotion, and really, who else is going to do it?  We do what we can where we can.

Sometimes he tells stories about his ancestors like he know it to be the truth.  I’m always amused.  How could he possibly know the story of how his great-great-grandmother Mary Humphreys Stamps went to retrieve the body of her husband who was killed in battle during the Civil War?

Because he’s got a memory like a steel trap.  And I don’t mean that once it’s closed, you can’t get anything into it.  I mean his brain grabs onto stuff and doesn’t let it go.  Lucky for us he dug this out of his stash.

Thinking of you readers, who, like me, love this stuff.  It makes me aspire to better things, and to basically just shut my mouth and soldier onward.

As always, you can left-click on each image, and yet once again if you so desire, to enlarge and enjoy.  Keep in mind that this is an electonically produced image of a scanned image of a copy of the original.  Not bad stuff, indeed.

When I read the article, I used an exaggerated Southern accent.  It will be even more fun if you bat your eyelashes and drop an occasional curtsey.

The Century Illustrated Montly Magazine, 1909








I’ve had this article for 4 days, and have only just now gotten it online.  Every day Sugar asks me if I’ve put it online.  Funny thing about that, he’s not worried if it gets online or not, he’s worried that I will lose the article and he won’t get it back.

The Lenoir City Train Station

September 15, 2012

Calberta Bowden was a local artist in Lenoir City.  She made this in 1977.  It was among my mother’s things.

Here’s a link to a Wikipedia article about Lenoir City.  I know, I know, say what you will about Wikipedia, but for my purposes, it’s a good article.

Mrs. Bowden’s daughter was my 4th grade teacher.  She gave us lots of art and music time.  I don’t remember much about 4th grade, except she was a sweet teacher, kind and pretty and well-groomed, and now I know why she encouraged art and music.

I just might have to make a family tree for her.

“THE ORANGE AND BLACK”, November 13, 1935

September 13, 2012

Here’s a copy of the Lenoir City High School Newspaper dated November 13, 1935.

The newspaper just barely fits on my scanner, and the first page didn’t fit very well at all.  So this post is a bit of an experiment, and I’ll post the first page in two sections.   The remaining pages will be posted as they were printed, and it’s possible that a bit of the edges gets cut off.  You should be able to make out what the words are, but in truth, I don’t think very many people will be clamoring to read this newspaper, what with the limited readership and all.  We’ll see what happens.

As usual, you can left-click on any image to enlarge, then left-click yet again to enlarge even MORE!








Can someone tell me why Dykes Service Station is paying “good cash prices for furs and hides”?