Archive for July, 2016

“Aunt Gram”: Elizabeth Norton Joyner Graham, 1749-1832

July 31, 2016

A few weeks ago, Sugar and I were at the Robertville Baptist graveyard. I was side-tracked by other photo-taking opportunities, and didn’t know who Aunt Graham was.

I’d heard him chatter about Aunt Graham before, but never made the cerebral connection. Well, that, plus I wasn’t listening with both ears.

Today’s outing was devoted to Aunt Graham. I reminded Sugar that there was a vine that had to be cut away from her little tombstone. He gathered gloves and cutting utensils.

When we got there, I wanted to take better photos of the marker for Robert E. Sweat. I’m working on a completely unrelated line that has absolutely nothing to do with Aunt Graham, even though they are buried almost side by side.

Aunt Graham’s marker is the little one that is two away from Robert E. Sweat.

I spend a lot of time taking and editing photos right in the field. Mostly because I don’t have a lot of memory on the iPhone, so I can post and delete, but I also like to get those photos out into the big world as soon as possible. Otherwise, I just don’t get things done. I’m posting to Facebook or messaging or blogging right in the cemetery. It seems important. Sugar, in the meantime, is twitching. “What are you doing? What are you doing?” Seriously? I’ve been doing this for the almost two years that I’ve owned an iPhone. This is my modus operandi. I can’t be rushed. I’m CONCENTRATING, for the love of all that is holy. I’m not looking for a damn Pokemon.

 

“I have a precious Saviour to trust in.”

I had finally grasped that Aunt Graham was the sister of Mrs. George Mosse, one Dorothy “Phoebe” Norton. They were the daughters of Jonathan Norton, and I’ve written a bit about how he donated land on St. Helena for the Chapel of Ease.

Now I’m ready to step over and concentrate on Aunt Gram.

Sugar pointed out that she doesn’t have a mini-headstone. No, her stone was actually broken off near the base, and some wise preservation-minded person dug down in front of the base and fitted the stone snug against it. Sugar pulled the vines and said there were words that went down into the dirt.

I had not a clue what he meant. That is, until I saw that the inscription ended mid-sentence.

We weren’t sure what to do, but we decided that it was okay if we wiggled it out, deciphered it, and re-seated it. You would probably have decided the same thing had you been there.

Sugar had a diggy tool in the car, and he fetched it to help in the replacing part.

After a bit of a wiggle, the stone lifted out clean.

He supported it while I snapped a photo. But I couldn’t read the last line because that’s where the break had occurred.

We decided to fit the stone in place, and it sat upright like a puzzle piece that had been waiting to be put home. And then the inscription was complete.

The glare was fierce on the screen of the iPhone. I couldn’t be sure that the photo was positioned properly.

 

SACRED

To the Memory

of

Mrs. Elizabeth Graham

Who died 23d Oct. 1832

Aged 83 years 2 months

and 12 days.

She had been an

exemplary member of the

Baptist Church 30 Years

and was distinguished for

her Piety and Benevolence.

Afterward, I found a birthdate calculator. You take the person’s date of death and the age at death, and plug those facts into the equation.

Aunt Graham was born on August 11, 1749.

There’s an online story that says she secured a pass and rode into a British camp where her brother was being held and had become ill. She rode out with him and saved his life.  He would have been a Norton. True story or not? Internet, I ask you.

Supposedly, she was married to Rev. William Eastwick Graham who was the rector at what is now known as Sheldon Church. If this is true, she would have been at that area when the church was burned by the British. I really need to know the answers.

Her sister Dorothy Phoebe Norton Mosse relocated with husband George Mosse from  Savannah to Robertville, South Carolina, about 1807. Aunt Gram would have been a widow by then, so possibly she lived with them. The location of the Mosse plantation and graves is unknown, and maybe if we knew more about Aunt Gram during this time, we could know more about the Mosses.

Aunt Gram is reported to be the first burial in this churchyard. Good-night, Auntie, we’re thinking of you.

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If Wishes Were Horses, I Would Ride: Looking for a Pension File

July 28, 2016

I requested a pension file for Sugar’s grandfather. I found the mention of a pension in a Civil War index. This wasn’t the right location for his pension to be, because he wasn’t in the Civil War. If  he served in the Spanish-American War, I don’t know about it. The only other choice in the online list was WWI, and he would have been an old man them. So I chose Span-Am War, and detailed why I thought this was the right choice, instead of Civil. 

  
Today I received an email that said basically: thank you for playing our game. 

  
I didn’t even get any lovely parting gifts. 

Now where to look?

A Blog Anniversary, Plus Sugar Makes a Plan

July 24, 2016

Seven years. Wow, seven years of blogging!

I find that I don’t blog much in July. I’m not sure what that means. Too hot? Maybe, but the air conditioner works (thank you Lord). Too depressed? Not this year, but there have been years it was so. Too lazy? That might be the root of it. 

I used to pressure myself to write, even though my writing is more picture-book-style. I admire those people who write without bolstering their work with photos. I need photos in my writing. 

And therein lies a plan. Sugar has one. His plan involves action, which requires that I remove myself from whatever horizontal surface I have requisitioned, and make sure the camera batteries and the cell phone are both fully charged. 

Annnnd we’re off to the graveyard. 

He has a plan that I won’t reveal yet, but it involves space, real estate, and measurements. 

Remember how last year we found a new memorial at the Black Swamp Baptist Church? AgainWeMustGoNow. 

  
Do you see the squarish block on the ground behind the marker? We think that marks the corner of the plot and that the marker is therefore straddling the plot boundaries. We think. 

  

 

Wouldn’t that make the square, blockish thing in the foreground to be another corner marker? And say, if someone wanted to have another memorial marker installed, that there would be room? Martha Mosse Lawton is to the right. Perhaps she wouldn’t mind a neighbor. 

  

There’s a tall memorial in the plot next door under the magnolia tree. I took a photo of it as a reference. When I got home, I found that there was already a memorial on findagrave, complete with inscription, but no photo. 

 
This is Robert E. Sweat who died at Culpepper Court House, Virginia, on August 19, 1861. If I read the monument correctly, he is not buried here. This type of marker that commemorates a person who is buried somewhere else, perhaps even in an unknown location, is called a cenotaph. 

There’s a little marker next to Robert Sweat’s marker for someone that Sugar called Aunt Graham. He wanted me to get a photo, but there were some vines growing over some of the words, and it was so frickin’ hot in July that I thought I might topple over if I bent down to pull the vines. Plus I have some kind of weird sensory disorder that I don’t like to get my hands dirty, coupled with the fact that I pulled some vines back in early 1979 during the winter when they were unidentifiable, and they were of a poison type and the oils got onto my hands and of course onto my face. Said face swelled up like a water balloon and I thought I was going blind.  My then-husband, Mr. Satan, made me sleep on the couch, even though I was the sick one on lots of meds. Which has nothing to do with Sugar’s plan or Aunt Graham. 
Later, when we got home, Sugar fussed a little that I had not gotten a photo of Aunt Graham’s marker. And I cussed that he could have pulled the vines, and what was the big freaking deal about Aunt Graham. Who even was she?!

Y’all, I should have stepped up and gone to the car for a pair of scissors and clipped the vines. Aunt Graham is Martha Mosse Lawton’s mother’s sister. 

*****

We wandered around a bit more, and I went to the far corner, farthest from the church. There were two markers. One was toppled off its base. Both were discolored. 

  

J. S. Scott, 1866-1908. 

  

Mother

Mamie Tannings

1866-1911

I don’t know who these folks are, but maybe the Internet can solve that mystery. 

And Sugar? He’s got a plan. 

A Postcard From Margaret Read

July 18, 2016

Margaret Read died 15 years ago. 

Sugar still has a postcard that she sent him two years before she died. 

  
  

Dear Lawton,

Finally received the clipping just before I left Charleston. Thank you. Am in a busy social whirl up here. Lots of lunches and dinners & cocktail parties. Very cool today. Am enjoying the Inn but have to move to my godson’s on Thursday. Then the other godson will drive me home on Sunday the 29th. I hope to see you down at Edisto.

Love, Margaret

She was staying at the Highland Lake Inn and Country Retreat. They are still in business. 

Margaret thought that the house in the logo was the old Lawton House. We can’t find that in an online history. 

Maybe someone out in Internet World knows the answer?

Because the Blog is My Scrapbook: Lawtons Who Served on the United States Colored Troops

July 10, 2016

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I’ve been schlepping through and saving some records. What better place to save them further except this dandy little blog?

 

I’ve intended to order a book about the 128th Regiment but have been too busy tending to the state of my bank account. Plus the fellow that sells the book doesn’t take PayPal and prefers a check. A paper check – can you imagine (insert smiley face here). This elicits further procrastination on my part.

In the meantime, I have a small collection from the Civil War index on ancestry.com.

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Some of the records have two names: one name plus an alias. I don’t know which name is the Before Freedom name. I suppose it depends on the individual case.

So if you have records that you think should belong here, give me a shout.

Rebecca Jane Grant, the WPA Slave Narratives, and a Day Trip

July 4, 2016

Howdy, everyone, and happy July 4th!

Today I’m thinking about Rebecca Jane Grant and clever new blog reader Matt. Matt is a researcher and mapmaker extraordinaire. 

Even clever mapmaking researchers need advice sometimes. When I don’t know the answer, I ask Sugar, who has books and has actually read and remembered them. On this day, Matt and I are talking about how to request pension files, one of my new obsessions. 

It’s not complicated to request them online, but the tricky part is maneuvering the NARA site. Matt is interested in Rebecca Jane Grant, since he has found that she is linked to several of his families. She is featured in a WPA slave narrative interview, and there is mention of a pension file. I advised Matt to find the relevant info regarding her file, like the Civil War index that documents the pension application, the soldier’s name, the widow’s name (if there is a widow), and the company and regiment the soldier served in. 

   
 
   
 
   
 
If you know Phoebe Faucette, you’ll know that she was a Lawton who is buried in Lawtonville Cemetery. 

  
You can find the slave narratives on ancestry.com. You can also find the Civil War index there. 

Like this one:

  
I’m pretty sure that this one is the one we want. Even though people changed their last names, several things match up, and this one is the only James Lawton with widow Jane. Trust me, I checked. I scrolled through the entire Lawton section, which yielded a bonus. But now, we take a trip to Lena. 

Taking a trip to Lena is an exaggeration. There are no stores, no gas stations, no convenience stores, no post office. If there weren’t a sign at each east-west end of Highway 3, you would not know that you passed through Lena. Wikipedia says this:

“Lena’s history has largely been intertwined with the Southern Railroad (today’s Norfolk Southern).
From 1899 until the 1980s, Southern operated a line through Lena and nearby Allendale, Tarboro, and Furman. Called the “Southern Columbia to Savannah Route”, the rail also ran through Barnwell and Blackville to the North. Its primary purpose for Southern was to increase north/south passenger/freight traffic by feeding into ACL (Atlantic Coast Line) at Hardeeville for passage south to Florida or north to Charleston and other points. The rail line was built to compete with another North/South rail line operated nearby by Seaboard Air Line (also called the Florida Central & Peninsular, later Seaboard Coast Line, and presently CSX) which ran a different course through Denmark, Fairfax, Estill, Garnett (parallel to U.S. Route 321) and then into Georgia. Between 1963 and 1970, Southern abandoned its tracks between Furman and Hardeeville leaving Furman as the ending station from Columbia. Finally, in the early 1980s, Southern abandoned its tracks south of Blackville, ending rail service to Barnwell, Allendale, Lena, and Furman. However, by the 1970s, any rail service to Furman (through Lena) would have been a rare event.
Nearby Estill was founded at about the same time as Lena. Estill was named after the president of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad which laid tracks through what is now Estill at about the same time Southern was laying tracks through what is today’s Lena.
Lena was named for Aline Lawton, whose father, W.A. Lawton, owned land Southern workers camped on. Since the name Aline was too similar to the nearby established town of Allendale, Aline’s nickname of “Lena” was selected as the name of Southern’s station in what is now Lena.”

We drove along, and Sugar spotted a sign that said a history marker was ahead. We arrived at the other end of Lena without seeing a marker. We drove back and in and out of several little lanes without finding it. We had one near-miss when Sugar spotted a pole with no sign atop it, but the street sign that should have been on the pole was lying in the weeds. 

Then SuperSpotter spotted a large block-like thing about 15 feet off the road. 

   
 

Just to the east of this site once stood the station and / or stop known as Lena on the Southern Railway’s line connecting Columbia and Savannah, and from which point more than half a century, one could embark for faraway places with strange sounding names. Gone but not forgotten is the Skyland Special which nightly wound its course through these parts between its  fixed points of Jacksonville and Asheville and connections; the echo of the shriek of its whistle piercing the stillness of eerie night, as those of its sister trains, now lost in the vastness of time and spa even, are hopefully enshrined herein. For its silent but helping hand in the loves and labors, the joys and sorrows, the successes and failures and having been the lifeblood economically of this community this re-creation of the past which having once been worth living should not be now wholly scrapped for the present is memorably and gratefully dedicated to The Southern as it looks ahead!

The homestead that we suspect might be the original site of the Lawton-Willingham home built in 1828 is south of here. There are no railroad tracks, so right now we’re not sure what’s what. Somebody out there will surely know. 

Maybe it’s in a pension file. 

And the bonus in the Civil War index?

  
Sugar’s grandparents! Who weren’t born until after the war. Who knows why they  are in this collection. It is true that Leslie Basinger Lawton received a pension. Perhaps a new file clerk trainee didn’t know where to file this particular card and slid it into the nearest collection. Don’t scoff. It could happen. 

 

The Bateson Brothers: A Final Tribute

July 1, 2016

Sugar and I were asked to deliver a eulogy for Thomas and Christopher Henry Bateson at the Laurel Grove Cemetery with the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Sugar, being a recluse, couldn’t do it. I figured I’d have to say a piece for them. After all, they have been unrecognized since Christopher died in 1870 and Thomas in 1877. Somebody needed to speak. I enlisted help from other family members who contributed remembrances and lists of Thomas’s descendants, and I decided to create a eulogy from that.

Less than 24 hours before the ceremony, Sugar volunteered that he is compelled to give a eulogy.

*****

If you want to discuss states right, this is not the place to do it.

If you want to talk about slavery, this is not your forum.

If you want to debate on the economic impact the the war made upon the South, you’ll want to go somewhere else.

This was a funeral service and a tribute to two brothers, whose two little sisters died young in 1853, whose father died when the brothers were teenagers in 1855, whose mother remarried and tried to hold their father’s business together before she died. Christopher died young, Thomas’s wife Martha Mann died young, Thomas died young, and Thomas’s son Thomas Remington died in 1879 at age 7.

*****

I drove so Sugar could practice his speech on the way. When we pulled into the cemetery gates, he had a mini-meltdown. There were people in re-enactment garb gathering. We didn’t know what was planned, but we weren’t really expecting this. It’s hard for a recluse to be around people.

We convoyed over to Lot 322, where the markers had been draped. The soldiers gathered under the trees across the way.

The decision was made to start a few minutes early. The soldiers were wearing woolen uniforms.

An introduction was made, a prayer was said, we made the Pledge of Allegiance and a salute to the Confederate flag, Sugar said his piece, I read a letter by Thomas in 1873 and a tribute from LaRoy Bateson Dunster. I couldn’t read the tribute by LaRoy’s daughter Liz because it was so beautiful that I kept snotting up and crying when I practiced it.

To the Bateson Brothers

by Leslie Bateson

The brave Bateson family buried here originated in Lancashire, England, came to New York City, and then to Savannah by 1852. For 25 years they ran an import goods store downtown at the southeast corner of Drayton and Congress specializing in children’s toys. Misfortune after misfortune finally extinguished most of this family, and they were forgotten and even unknown by other branches of the family who also moved to North America.

My branch entered in New Orleans, where my great-grandfather, a nephew of this Christopher Remington Bateson, married a great-niece of Jefferson Davis and eventually went to New York City to engage in textiles. My father married a Savannah girl, and here I am.

By chance, two years ago a previously unknown cousin in Belgium contacted my friend Ruth about an ancestry.com search and told us of Batesons in Laurel Grove. Astonished, I felt compelled to place a marker here. Then, a cousin in Canada found Mrs. Piechocinski, and now we must heartily thank the United Daughters of the Confederacy for commemorating the Civil War service of these young Bateson brothers.

Ruth will read a copy of a letter given to us by my Canadian cousin Walter Bateson, from Thomas Bateson in Savannah to his Uncle Henry in England.

*****

(Insert my reading the letter here. It’s already on the blog, so I have to go find it and transfer it.)

*****

From Africa with Love

by LaRoy Bateson Dunster

My father, Roy Liston Bateson was 1 of 7 children. He was the first son of Richard Liston Bateson, who came with his brother from Australia to fight in the Anglo/Boer War in South Africa in the late 1800’s. The family saying goes that his brother fought for the Boers & returned to Australia. My grandfather remained in South Africa. My father and his siblings were all proud of their background and at family gatherings held at our home (called Roybo in Vereeniging) we heard the family history. My father died rather young (1913 -1966), which caused a split. He would be so delighted to know about these developments.

Thank You to everyone involved.

LaRoy Dunster (born Bateson), June 25, 2016

Westville, near Durban, South Africa

*****

(Now Liz Dunster’s tribute, which I could not read during the ceremony and had to read to the brothers after the ceremony.)

25 June 2016

To the Bateson Brothers

Dear Christopher and Thomas:

Growing up as a little girl outside of Durban, South Africa, I remember seeing the Bateson family tree – and remember seeing your names in “Savannah, USA”. I had no idea where that might be, and I was curious as to what had happened to you – and where “Savannah” might be.

Fast forward to early 2015. Now living in Wilson, North Carolina, I and my husband and son were less than a month away from our American Citizenship being granted when I discovered that I had Bateson relatives in South Carolina, Canada, and Belgium – and they wanted to know me (you would like them too). That discovery led also to knowing that the Batesons of Savannah USA that I had seen on the old family tree as a child – was in fact your family – from Savannah, Georgia. All of this was an incredible gift at that time – because I felt the , that I truly did have roots in my new country – because they are here, and you were so long ago.

I think that you would be happy to know that although your Bateson family is scattered around the globe – on virtually every continent now – remarkably many of us – nearly 150 years later – are delighted to be in contact with one another. We are honored also to be thinking of you, and honoring you today. Though time and space might separate us, the family bond remains.

Rest in peace.

With love,

Liz Dunster


A wreath was placed at the family marker that Sugar had commissioned two years ago.

The markers are revealed.



The flags are placed on their graves.




The flag known as theStars and Bars is placed on the family marker.


Did I say that the predicted weather was a high temperature of 99*F. and storms? It was perhaps only 95 with a slight breeze. We stood in the shade of a mausoleum across the lane.

 

Mrs. Piechocinski, Sugar’s cousin Emily, and Sugar



A rifle tribute by the soldiers.







There was a total of 3 shots fired. I have a video that I will attempt to load. If I am unsuccessful, just know that now I understand why the soldiers stood so far away. It was a loud tribute. I can’t even imagine how loud an actual battle would be.

Well done, everyone. It was an honor to be present.

I wonder if this Bateson chapter is over.