Archive for December, 2017

The 2017 FlowerFest

December 25, 2017

Suddenly another year has gone by.

Last year we were festive early in December. This year found us much closer to Christmas before we made our annual Publix poinsettia run. We’ve considered not doing this any more, but we don’t have many Christmas customs, and it seems like we should keep this one, as long as the money holds out.

Yes, that is a bag of Cheetos.

Eight or nine-ish poinsettias should be enough.

Off to Laurel Grove in Savannah first.

Do you remember the Jones-Lawton mausoleum? And how the veneer on the rear fell off, most probably after the heavy rains of Hurricane Matthew last year? Sugar’s cousin Emily has been researching the restoration costs. Repair (or estimates) for a building that is over 150 years old is not cheap nor quickly done. And like most things, when you start assessing a problem, you find more problems. So you Lawton and non-Lawton folks out there, we’ll be working on a Dropbox where you can view the assessment and make a contribution toward repair.

But first: poinsettias.

These girls look thirsty, and Sugar waters them after placement.

We have a new photographer in the mix.

This time of day always make the red of the poinsettia pop out against the gray mausoleum.

We take a quick look at the deterioration overall and also one of the test sites by the company that is providing the estimate. It seems that in years past, a 6″ thick layer of concrete was added to the top of the original marble.

There are wooden members that were added, most probably to give the cement something to cling to, like old school plasterwork inside a house.

The rear of the building where the veneer came off…

7th Cours Rear

9th Cours Rear

We find that every year we locate a flower pot that we have left from the year before in random plots.

Over to see the Batesons now.

He knows how he wants this to be.

He keeps a digger tool in the van.

I just trot along and take photos.

Since Sugar has joined Facebook, he’s a bit unhappy that he shows up in so many of my photos. I told him that his descendants will be happy to see how he is chronicled. Still, not convinced.

A quick lunch at the Sentient Bean is in order on the way to Bonaventure.

Dr. Tucker is our first stop.

We still don’t know why he and his wife are buried in the Corbin plot. We found them here a few years ago when we were tracing Albert Sidney Lawton who married Tayloe Corbin.

When we stand in front of the marker, the angle of the sun makes shadows on the gravestone. I stand behind the gravestone, lean over to take the photo, and then rotate the photo, which is about the extent of my editing capabilities. But sometimes I crop and lighten and straighten, and those simple actions can definitely improve a photo.

Now to the Basingers. This plot is always shady, even in the winter. The trees are wonderful here.

The Starrs are directly across the lane.

The pot from last year is in the same location and has grown a magnificent stalk of grass.

Then we head over to the grand plot of Alexander Robert Lawton.

The light is always so light and clear over here by the river.

We finish here and go someplace we’ve never been.

The family of Conrad Aiken has a tragic story. It is easily found on the internet. I’ll just say that Conrad’s parents died on the same day.

We end our FlowerFest for today here with the Aikens. We have more poinsettias for the Mosse family and the Robert Family in the Robertville area in South Carolina…

Which is a story for another day.

Meet Collins Catpurrnip

December 20, 2017

Sugar: I think the neighbors got a cat.

YoursTruly: The same neighbors that set your property on fire?

Sugar: Yes, I’ve seen a cat in my yard, and I saw him at the neighbors.

YoursTruly: No. Way. Those. People. Have. A. Cat. NOPE.

Sugar: Maybe he’s a stray.

YoursTruly: (rolls eyes) You’ve only had 3 in a year. He’s probably a stray.


We were headed out and about, just driving about halfway along Sugar’s driveway, when he spotted the cat in the neighbor’s yard, crouched down behind an overturned rusty metal bucket. Those people are yard ornament collectors of sorts, but none of their collectibles seem to have any value. There’s a deceased boat, and sections of chain link fencing, and assorted vehicles, and yard debris, and garden statues of dubious value, and the remains of their yard-burning extravaganza. There were plenty of places for a feral cat to hide, but this one was huddled by the overturned bucket

We stopped and put out a can of food, because doesn’t everyone carry canned cat food in the car? He scooted away, feral-style.


Sugar set his trap one evening and caught the little guy almost immediately. I had offered to take him, because the little guy’s presence was making Sugar’s cats go nuts.

After being tested and neutered and vaccinated and ear-tipped, we let him go in my woods by the cat dormitory. He skittered away like a water bug, zigzagging out of sight through the trees.

Sometimes I don’t see cats again after release. I can only hope that they will return for food and shelter after their initial panic. I didn’t see the little guy for almost a week. I returned home from work after dark, and I thought I saw him at the feeding station on the picnic table.

A few evenings later, I heard a high-pitched mewing close by the driveway near The Treehouse.

This was definitely he and not the Scruffy Cat that has been hanging around.

He started showing up in the daytime. Sugar would ask about him every day, and I told him he was going to have to give the cat a name. He knows that I have a few cats that hang around that don’t have names. It’s not like they are going to come when I call them. But if I was going to have to give a progress report every day on this damn cat, then I wanted him to have a name.

Sugar drew a blank in the name game. He suggested that I name him. I rose to the challenge.

Alright, he was going to be Collins after my Collins family, and… hmmmm… and…

Catpurrnip. Collins Catpurrnip.

Mr. Catpurrnip managed to climb into The Treehouse. Sue is harmless and non-confrontational. (Sue has a name because she had to go to the vet, and Cat1000 seemed like a bad idea.)

So he’s not very feral. I would call him a “soft feral”, as opposed to “hard-core”. Soft ferals can be seen in the daytime, but can’t really be handled. There are varying degrees of feral-ness.

He’s not fully integrated into the group. He hasn’t figured out where his place is. Is it okay to be in The Treehouse? Is it okay to eat at the same time from the same dish with another cat? Which cat? Is someone going to chase him away?

The answer is no, no one is chasing Mr. Catpurrnip. But he’s the one that has to get that all sorted out in his brain.

He soon learned that he can’t eat out of the same dish at the same time as Georgia because she will purr and headbutt you and make happy feet on you, which is never good for the digestion.

Welcome to the ‘hood, Mr. Catpurrnip!

Elvis the Kitten

December 14, 2017

Six newborn kittens were left in a cardboard box on a nature trail. They were found the next day and taken to the shelter where it was estimated that the babies were born the day before. Their umbilical cores were still attached.

The shelter called me to bottlefeed them. This kept them going until a nursing mother was found. I ended up fostering them after they were weaned, and they stayed.

The shelter had named this guy Jeff, but you can see that he’s a hunka hunka burnin’ love.

He has taken to living in the wild. I see him at most once a week. This suits his nature. Here he is free to come and go as he pleases, and he doesn’t suffer for it.

Sometimes I look at those cute cat toys for sale, and they are so cute that I want to buy some. Then I remind myself that the cats have the trees and the sky and the earth and all of the wonderful exploring here. Someday, this too will end, but for now, it is a pretty awesome adventure.

Read a Book

December 13, 2017

When I was in elementary school, I decided that I would read all the books in the library. My system was going to start with all titles beginning with the letter A and work my way through, basically working through the shelves from left top shelf to bottom right shelf.

This quickly proved to be a faulty system. There were books I didn’t want to read, even though I tried. I also found that I was reading things out of sequence, if there was a series of books, because someone else had checked out the other books. I read “Those Happy Golden Years” first, and was amazed to find that Laura Ingalls Wilder had written other books.

Things changed for me. Life. Work ensued, marriage happened, children came, complications arose. This left zero time and money for books and reading.


I’m past all that now, but I’m still not reading books. The biggest issue was my eyesight, which starts to get fuzzy in the evening with tired eyes. I’m also more interested in electronic reading and British tv watching.

I’m interested to see that people ask for suggestions online for books to read. These people are professionals, women in general, with families and social life. How do these people have time to commit to reading a book start to finish?

There’s a little library nearby that has a book sale every week. I twisted Sugar’s arm in going. He’s a book snob, and he’ll tell you so himself. He doesn’t read novels; he collects serious, thoughtful, critical-thinking-type books. He suspected that a small-town Library wouldn’t have books of his nature, and he was right. But he humored me, and we went.

I found a couple of books by Josephine Humphreys, and got them mostly because we had met her. I was also drawn to intriguing titles or reviews or covers. Yes, I was judging books by their covers. Sometimes when a thing tells you what it is, you should believe it. One that I chose was “The Memory-Keeper’s Daughter”.

Y’all, when I started to read this, I discovered that I had already read it. How was this possible? When? Where did I get it before?


I tried a different book. The books were cheap, and I had gotten several. I made my way through “The Mermaid Chair” in a weekend. I tried another, but decided if I wasn’t interested in the first few pages, I would read a few pages near the end, and if that didn’t work for me, I’d try another book. Life is too short to make yourself pursue something you are not interested in. Sadly, this was going to have to include books.

I tried “A Spool of Blue Thread”. Might be about sewing. I never found out.

I tried a quilting novel. Elm Creek Quilts, maybe? That and “Spool” have been left at a free street library in Savannah.

“The Family Tree” by Carole Cadwalladr was spellbinding. It takes place in England, so that was a bonus for me.

Ooooh! “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is excellent! Interesting structure because the book is a series of letters written to and from a varied cast of characters. I could read it again.

I have a tote-bag full of more. The biggest problem with reading novels at this point in my life? The commitment. I’d rather be reading and watching news stories, social media, and blogs.

I’ve become a critic of writing styles and subject matter. And I don’t like to be critical, because Lord knows that I hate being criticized myself. And what is going on in the world today is far more interesting than reading a so-so novel.

So y’all? If you need me, I’ll be in my blanket fort, looking at the iPhone. Because you can’t read a book under the covers without a flashlight.

The Chancery Court Record of Thomas G. Carlton

December 9, 2017

I know very little about my 2xgreat-grandparents, Isaac and Mary Harriett Margaret Foster Rawls. I’ve found the census records, and one court reference that someone else put online. The court reference image was blurry, and when I asked the person that posted it where I could find it in real life, she wasn’t sure. She got it from someone else.


It is such a frustrating search. My header photo is of a family reunion of Isaac’s brother, Washington Lafayette Rawls and his wife Martha Trent Rawls, circa 1895ish. That’s as close as I can get to knowing what these people look like.

We know that Isaac was born in Virginia, except where the record states that he was born in North Carolina. Virginia seems to be the common state of birth for these Rawls people, but that’s a big state. Which county could it be? I know very little about Virginia.

Yesterday, I finally clicked on a link on ancestryDOTcom for Thomas G. Carlton’s chancery court records even though I know it’s not about my people. And I was right. It’s not. But then I read the name Washington L. Rawles and his wife Martha Trent. Martha’s mother was Susan Trent, which I didn’t know, and her maiden name was Carlton. She was the half-sister of Thomas G. Carlton, the subject of the court record. It seems that he died intestate without issue. He had lots of brothers and sisters, both half- and whole-siblings. This was the first time I had ever seen siblings referred to as “half-blood” and “whole-blood”. Apparently Thomas G.’s sibs populated the earth in his stead.

So that was good, to find this reference to someone I knew, plus it gave me a county that I can use for a base search. I read a little further, and there’s someone else I know, and she is mine.

It’s Elizabeth Rowe Owens and her husband Henry Lycurtas Wilkins. She is the daughter of Nancy Owens, formerly Nancy Carlton, a sister of the “half blood”. I didn’t know that Elizabeth’s mother was Nancy, only that Elizabeth’s father was Josiah Owens.

Here’s where it gets even more complicated, as if that were possible. Martha Trent Rawls’s mother was Susan, and Elizabeth Rowe Owens Rawls’s mother was Nancy, so Susan and Nancy were sisters. Martha’s brother-in-law Isaac Rawls’s son John Theophilus Rawls married Eulalia Spence Wilkins, the daughter of Henry Lycurtas Wilkins and Elizabeth Rowe Owens. So I’m in on the Carlton action, too, not just on the fringes.

My transcription of the 3 most pertinent pages of the record are as follows:

To the Worshipful Justices of the County Court of King and Queen County in Chancery sitting

Humbly complaining show unto Your worships Your Orators and Oratrices Nathaniel M. Lovelace and Ann Eliza his wife who was Ann E. Carlton, Washington L. Rawles and Martha E. his wife who was Martha E. Trent and William G Trent children of Susan Trent decd formerly Carlton, James W. Cruise and Mary I his wife who was Mary I. McKenzie, John McKenzie, William McKenzie, Charles McKenzie, Elizabeth McKenzie and Virginia McKenzie, children of Catharine McKenzie decd formerly Carlton, Robert D. Bowden and Mary Ann his wife who was Mary Ann Owens, D. J. Bowden and Eliza F his wife who was Eliza F. Owens, Henry L. Wilkins and Elizabeth his wife who was Elizabeth  Owens, Philip W. Frazier and Sarah Ann his wife who was Sarah Ann Owens, Sen. P. Owens, Thomas C. Owens, Edward D. Owens, George R. Owens, and Charles H Owens children of Nancy Owens decd formerly Carlton, and Robert R. Hart the only child of Polly Hart decd formerly Carlton, that Thomas G. Carlton late of the County of King and Queen departed this life sometime in the latter part of the year 1865 intestate and without issue leaving Your Oratrix the said Ann Eliza Lovelace his only surviving sister of the half blood, the said Martha E. Rawles and William G Trent the only children of Susan Trent decd formerly Carlton who was another sister of the half blood; Mary I. Cruise, John McKenzie, William McKenzie, Charles McKenzie, Elizabeth McKenzie and Virginia McKenzie children of Catharine McKenzie decd formerly Carlton who was another sister of the half blood, the said Mary Ann Bowden, Eliza F. Bowden, Elizabeth Wilkins, Sarah Ann Frazier, Sim P Owens, Thomas C Owens, Edward D. Owens, George R. Owens, and Charles H. Owens, children of Nancy Owens decd formerly Carlton who was another sister of the half blood, the said Robert R. Hart the only child of Polly Hart decd

(Page 2)

formerly Carlton, who was another sister of the half blood; and Garrett Carlton and Levi Carlton only children of John Carlton decd a brother of the whole blood, James Gibson the only surviving child of Nancy Gibson decd who was Nancy Carlton the only child of Garrett Carlton decd another brother of the whole blood and Mary W. Estes now the wife of James Estes who before her intermarriage was Mary W. Yarrington, Richard H. T. Yarrington, James P. Yarrington and Lucy L Yarrington the surviving children of Agnes Yarrington decd and John S. Yarrington the only child of Edgar Yarrington decd who was another child of the said Agnes Yarrington decd which said Agnes was the only child of Richard Carlton decd another brother of the whole blood, his only heirs at law. Your Complainants further shew that the said Thomas G. Carlton decd at the time of his death was seized of a small tract of Land lying in the County of King and Queen containing about 145 acres worth about $400 per acre and a small perishable Estate which sold for less than $500.00 and bonds amounting to about $100 that shortly after the death of the said Thomas G. Carlton the said Garrett Carlton qualified as his admr in the County Court of King and Queen and by virtue of the authority vested in him by law reduced into his possession all the perishable estate and choses in action belonging to the said decd and shortly thereafter sold off the perishable estate as required by law and rented out the land for the year 1866 and has again rented out the land for the present year 1867. Your complainants further show that the said Thomas G. Carlton owed little or nothing at the time of his death and that there is no necessity for the admr longer to hold in his hands the assets belonging to his intestate estate, the amount for which the perishable estate sold has been decd now nearly 12 months and all the expenses of the admin has long since been paid

(Page 3)

off. Your Complainants further show that there is no necessity that the Land should be rented out for another year and if continued to be rented out then interest now worth but little in a few years would be worth less – Your Complainants further show that it is evident from the number of parties entitled and the size of the tract, to make partition of it would be ruinous and it also being apparent that the share of each one interested would be less than $300. they have requested the said Garrett Carlton and Leve Carlton and James Gibson and James Estes and Mary W. his wife who was Mary W. Yarrington, Richard H I Yarrington, James P. Yarrington, Lucy L. Yarrington and John L Yarrington that they give their consent that the Land should be sold and partition made of the proceeds among the parties according to their respective rights, but they have refused saying that no consent that they could give would be of any avail because the rights of infants are involved. Your Complainants further state that they have applied to Garrett Carlton the admer to settle his account and make distribution of the balance in his hands and this too he refuses to do; stating that the rights of the parties have not been so defined as to enable him to make the proper distribution all of which actings and doings are contrary to equity and good conscience. Intended consideration whereof and in as much as your Complainants are without remedy save in a Court of Equity where such matters are properly regnizable and relievable. In the end therefore that right and justice may take place your Complainants pray that the said Garrett Carlton and Levi Carlton the only children of John Carlton decd, James Gibson the only surviving child of Nancy Gibson decd who was Nancy Carlton decd the only child of Garrett Carlton decd, James Estes and Mary  W. his wife who was Mary W. Yarrington, Richard H. I. Yarrington, James P. Yarrington and Lucy L Yarrington, surviving children of.

Here’s the link to the complete file at the Library of Virginia.

The people who initiated the case are Nathaniel M. Lovelace and his wife Ann Eliza Carlton Lovelace, yet another sister of Thomas G. Carlton. Nathaniel and Ann are living in Weakley County, Tennessee, in 1850, and in addition to their children are Martha Trent and William Trent. And their neighbors?

Washington Lafayette Rawls and his parents and siblings.

This doesn’t mean that the Rawls people came from King and Queen County, Virginia, but right this minute, that looks like a good starting place.