Archive for December, 2018

A Rawls Connection from Dorset?

December 31, 2018

I received an email from a gentleman who thinks that we have a link on Chromosome 8. He believes that this is a Rawls link, and that we have a connection on 8 with several other people.

Our MCRA (Most Recent Common Ancestor) is 4.8 generations, so let’s call it 5. I suspect there was some intermarriage so that could skew the results. My oldest known Rawls ancestor is Theophilus Rawls, born approximately 1800 in Virginia or North Carolina.

I see that I am going to have to educate myself more on DNA. I’ve been content to dabble around the edges of the DNA pond, but Dorset changes things. I’ve suspected that my Rawls line came from Dorset, but that was not scientific thinking, merely coincidental that there is a higher concentration of the Rawls name in that area of England.

On that note, I’ll close out this post and this year.

Happy New Year, and see you in 2019!

A FlowerFest 2018: Part Three

December 31, 2018

Fifteen minutes later, we’re at the Basinger plot.

There’s Sugar’s mother, twin brother, grandmother, and great-grandparents, and assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Across the lane are his great-greats and great-great-greats at the Starr plot.

Further along we decide to stop at Corinne’s marker. We’re not a fan of the not-red poinsettias, but we bought some anyway since we did not have a lot of choices. We think that Corinne will not mind, because we’ve never, never seen anyone leave flowers for her except us. I see the tour guides on Facebook post photos of her memorial with our flowers, but they never seem to leave flowers or any token. Perhaps I have missed their floral offerings.

And that’s it! Another FlowerFest is finished.

Will we see you next year?

A FlowerFest 2018: Part Two

December 31, 2018

We’re at the Corbin plot in Bonaventure Cemetery where we see a note in a jar left at the grave of Dr. Tucker and his wife.

I’ve read about things like this. Other people leave notes in a plastic bag pinned into the earth for someone else to find. Sometimes people are searching for connections and they communicate the best way they know how, but I read about notes on the grave in a pre-internet world.

This person was serious. The note is in a plastic jar with a screw top, and there were rocks and roots added to weight the jar down.

December 13, 2018

Dear Friend,

Your caring and thoughtfulness in the deliveries of the beautiful poinsettias for the Tuckers each year is very much appreciated, and our family would like you to know how grateful we are to you.

Please leave us your name and contact information so that we may personally thank you.

Merry Christmas.


Alice Xxxxx

I blacked out her name for privacy. But she is a Corbin, and research tells us that her father’s sister married Albert Sidney Lawton, from Garnett, SC.

We left Sugar’s address, but not his phone number, because he is a recluse, and recluses don’t want to talk on the phone. It’s too people-y.

You can see the 3 Christmas wreaths in the background that Alice has left for her family.

Once again, time and happenstance have woven together to create the perfect chance for a connection to be made. We were late with poinsettias this year. We almost didn’t take poinsettias at all. I thought we should omit Dr. Tucker, but Sugar thought otherwise.

And now we wait for a reply.

A FlowerFest 2018

December 31, 2018

We almost missed FlowerFesting this year. Things have been complicated, and life has thrown up roadblocks. Sugar didn’t think he could do it this year. I thought we could. More importantly, I thought we should.

Publix has been our go-to location for poinsettias, but this year there was no enormous display outside the store. The local feed and seed has some large, gorgeous ones with a large, gorgeous price tag. We waited until Christmas Eve to buy a couple from Publix, because that’s all they had, and the rest from (whispers) *Walmart*. Bonus sale price!

Off to Savannah on Christmas Day, first to Laurel Grove.

We stopped to see our friends at the Bateson plot on Aisle 15.

Sugar’s CousinEmily spearheaded a renovation project for the Jones-Lawton mausoleum to repair the facade that came away on the back wall after Hurricane Matthew in 2016. This repair and several others were completed this year. I suppose I should do a before, during, and after blog post. That sounds good. I’ll get right on that… wink, wink.

Y’all look! A new gate! There hasn’t been a gate here for years! We almost can’t figure out how the latch works.

And fence repairs! This is wonderful.

The back facade is repaired and looks great, considering it is over 150 years old.

Once again, the red of the poinsettia really pops against the gray of the mausoleum. This photo looks like other photos that I have taken over the years. The light through the trees and the blue of the skies is magnificent. I don’t appreciate how beautiful it is until I see the photos.

We’re the only ones in the cemetery, although we see where several graves have been decorated with poinsettias. We decide we are finished here, and so we head over to the Sentient Bean for lunch. It is packed! After all, most everything is closed because it is Christmas Day.

Then on to Bonaventure to stop first at the Corbin plot to see Dr. Tucker and his wife.

Sugar said he thought we needed to cut back this year on the number of poinsettias. I thought that meant he would omit Dr. Tucker. But no, he was insistent that Dr. Tucker get a poinsettia.

We used our handy Bonaventure Cemetery Illustrated Map to confirm which lane, and when we arrive at the plot, we find…

A note in a jar at the grave.

How Autumn Came and Went

December 30, 2018

I met Autumn when she was a puppy.

In 2005 I was working as a manager at a luxury boarding kennel, and I was at the front lobby working the desk on the day that she bounced through the door for the first time. Her big puppy feet pranced like a Clydesdale. Her big brown eyes were bright and animated. Her yellow Labrador coat was like soft velvet. She was delighted to see everyone, and we all fell in love with her.

Autumn would come for day care, and she grew quickly. She was smart, and always hungry, and she learned commands easily because she was food-motivated. Her family consisted of a father and mother, a daughter who was a sophomore in high school, a son who was deployed overseas in the military, and a little ten-pound doggie friend.

Her family had a plan for her. By the time the daughter would be old enough to go to college, Autumn would be several years old and fully trained. If the daughter lived in an apartment, Autumn would be there to be her protector and companion. It was a perfect plan.

Like many plans, things change.

About a year after they got her, the family dynamics changed. The father died at home suddenly.

Autumn started coming for day care more than usual. Sometimes at the end of the day, no one had come for her, and she spent the night at the kennel. Sometimes she spent several days and nights in a row.

Her family had fragmented and was trying to realign themselves. I remembered how, only a few years before, my then-husband decide to leave with little notice. One child was in college, one child was in high school, we were new to the area in a big house with a big mortgage and a car payment, and things fell apart. I was constantly in crisis mode.

Things came to a head for them one day when Autumn was eating from the little dog’s bowl. Like a lot of small dog owners, his owners left a bowl of kibble out. He approached the bowl, and Autumn growled and snapped at him.

She was banished to the garage. She still went to daycare, but her personality had changed over the months following the father’s death. She was food aggressive. She didn’t like other dogs. She was a fence fighter.

One day, the mother approached me with a plan. Would I keep Autumn until the daughter graduated from college? She would pay me a monthly stipend.

I agreed, knowing that I would have to keep Autumn away from little Daisy, and that she would have to learn to get along with Packett and Aureus. She already knew them from the kennel. She adopted a submissive posture with Aureus, and licked at his face and muzzle. She fought Packett the first time, and he fought back, and then it was settled that he wasn’t a threat.

It seemed settled.


We moved out here to the woods in 2008. One day, some people were walking their 5 dogs, and some of the dogs ran through the woods up to the fence, barking and challenging my dogs. Autumn grabbed Daisy by the head and bit down, puncturing her left eye and cracking her skull. We went to the emergency vet in Savannah, who removed the damaged eye and stitched her up.

I contacted the woman who told me to have Autumn put down. I hate those words “put down”. My son and I talked, and he asked his employer, because by then he too was working at a boarding kennel, if Autumn could be fostered there. It was agreed that she could live there, but every time she went out on a trial, she would fight the other dogs. People would see her and think what a beautiful lab she was, and then would find out that she had issues beyond their expertise. Once she was only out on trial for 2 hours.

My son had finally gotten in a living situation where he was able to keep Autumn. They worked through her hostility toward other dogs, and learned how to introduce her properly, and how to reprimand and teach her.

Things changed again. He went through a series of living arrangements over the years, and finally entered a living arrangement where he thought it best not to take Autumn. Things were complicated for him, and I think it best not to discuss that here, because we all wanted what was best for all parties. Autumn came back to me in February of this year. By that time, Daisy and Aureus had passed away, and it was just me and Packett and a bunch of cats.

Autumn had been limping on her right front leg. We went to the vet, and the X-rays revealed osteosarcoma.

We went through trials of different medications to ease her discomfort. Some made her lose her appetite. I bought a variety of canned foods and treats to supplement her diet. I knew we were fighting a losing battle, but I was willing to fight as long as she could.


It was time. She had stopped eating, and was going outside to be by herself to die, even though she could barely walk, and I had to blockade the door at night to keep her in. I made an appointment for Friday, August 24, 2018. The evening before, we sat outside. I took these last photos of her and by the time I finished, she was too weak to lift her head.

On that morning, at 4:15 am, a gigantic crashing noise filled the air. I went outside with the flashlight, because both of my outdoor lights were burned out. I couldn’t trust that the power company would come inside the fence with the dogs on the property, and I couldn’t take a chance that the dogs would get out. In the faint beam, I saw that the one tree that had been damaged by a hurricane in 2016 had fallen and taken out a section of fence. This complicated things in an extreme way. I had to go to work for a half-day before I took Autumn to the vet, and Packett could get out. Stray dogs could get in and kill the cats. The tree might be blocking the road.

I had to make a plan. At 5am I was at the road pulling pieces of tree out of the way. At 6am I sent an email and a text to the kennel owner telling him that I had to bring Packett for a few days because Autumn was dying.

At 6:15am I loaded Packett in the car to go to the kennel. Autumn barked for us as we drove away. From the kennel, I went to work, then hurried home at noon.

I burst through the door to see her lying on her side on her blanket and bed. I called out to her “Autumn, are you gone?!” Her eyes were receding, her dry tongue was hanging out, and she was barely breathing.

I gathered her up in the blanket. This was no small accomplishment, because even though she had lost weight, she was still about eighty pounds. Her body was limp, and we made it out the door and over to the fallen tree which blocked our path. We stopped there at the tree, me completely breathless and she completely limp, and I draped her body across my lap as I sat on the log catching my breath.

For a few moments it was like we were two old friends, sitting outside together, enjoying the late summer sunshine.

When I caught my breath, I gathered her again and made it out the gate when I had to stop once more. By this time, Sugar had arrived to help me get her onto the backseat. I sped away to the vet, calling them in the phone to say that we were on the way and that she was almost gone. They said they would have everything ready when we got there.

Once there, I parked off to the side and ran in to tell them we would be waiting in the car. I ran back to the car and sat in the back seat with her, cradling her head in my lap. When the vet came to the car, I held off the vein in her left front leg while the vet inserted the needle.

At 1:41pm she was gone.

Goodnight, Autumn. Rest easy. Your worries are over.

The WWII Ration Card

December 24, 2018

One of the BEST things about writing a blog is the readers.

Strangely, some of my readers are people that I knew from over 40 years ago. I mean, once I left after college, I rarely went back home to see my parents. I was married, and things were complicated.

The magical internet changed all that. Well, not the complicated part, but it definitely changed the ease of communication across the miles. Like this week, I heard from a DNA match in Dorset, England!

But Dorset has nothing to do with kids from high school.

Like Reader Janice…

She found a mother lode of applications for World War II ration cards. And in that lode, she found my parents.

There’s no date on the card, but we know that they were married in June of 1942, and their first child was born in July of 1943. So we can guess that our time range is 6/1942 to 7/1943.


The house at 306 Hill Street still stands, just a couple of houses away from Janice’s house where she lived when I knew her back in the day. And remember Miss Willie? She also lived on Hill Street. Is that how Mom and Dad met Miss Willie and her husband? Because they rented a house from them? Always more questions. And don’t forget reader Walter who now lives across the street.

Thanks, Janice!

The Bonaventure Cemetery Illustrated Map

December 23, 2018

I’ve been holding out on you. My online cartographer friend, Michael Karpovage, has a line of illustrated maps. One of them is Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah.

Michael made some map overlays for me for the blog regarding Scott’s Neck in what was then the old Beaufort District near present day Sheldon. You can check that out by clicking here.

“Michael Karpovage is an award-winning cartographer, author, and designer based out of Roswell, GA. His new Bonaventure Cemetery Illustrated Map can be found at Karpovage Creative, on Amazonand is also being sold at Bonaventure Cemetery in the visitors center.

I bought *two* maps, one from Amazon and one directly from Michael. The 2nd edition map has been updated to include the true story of Corinne Elliott Lawton.
There’s a nice feature story about her and her family.

Michael sent me a link to upload some graphics of the map to share here on the blog, but because I have waited almost 2 years to actually write this post, the link isn’t active any more. I could say that I’m a slacker, but I’ve been dealing with life, and I’m so far behind. I used to think that I’d get everything in life sorted out in due process, but now I think I will run out of time before I get everything accomplished. Some big things, some little things, some in-between things like writing this blog post. I have a few days off from work so I might just probably pound out a couple of blog posts over the next few days.

Back to maps…

I scanned the Corinne corner of my map. I apologize because it is not high resolution, but I have a new-ish scanner that doesn’t always talk to the ancient netbook, and sometimes the netbook doesn’t talk to me at all.

I have circled the location of the Lawton plot in red.

I love the bird’s eye view. We think we will indicate other plots of importance, like the Basinger and Starr plots, and the Corbin plot where Dr. and Mrs. Tucker are buried.



One of the most notable and visited monuments in Bonaventure Cemetery is of Corinne Elliott Lawton, shown above in the foreground (Section H/Lot 168, C-18 on map). Corinne was the eldest daughter of Confederate Brigadier-General Alexander R. Lawton, whose own monument stands in the background overlooking the river. His monument features a life-sized sculpture of Jesus Christ at Heaven’s Gate.

Corinne was born in 1846 and died on January 24, 1877, from an illness, most likely pneumonia. She was sick for 5-6 days and died in bed while surrounded by family members, according to her mother’s diary entry. Any other stories you hear about her demise are false.

She was buried in Laurel Grove cemetery first. She was then re-interred at Bonaventure Cemetery on the bluff, and at the time no other monuments existed in the family plot. Her father’s monument came many years later later after he died in 1896.

The sculptor of Corinne was Benedetto Civiletti who created the artwork in his studio in Palermo, Sicily, in 1879. From photographs and the recollection of the bereaved parents, he modeled the figure in which the parents acknowledged to be a very remarkable likeness. Her epitaph reads: “Allured to brighter worlds and led the way.”

Plus I have previews of the new Charleston map!

The actual map, the flip side, and a close up.

Try the links! You know you want a map.