Posts Tagged ‘Garnett’

A Visit with Mama Florrie

December 4, 2015

I went for a visit with my Mama Florrie.

She’s 102!

I showed her photos of her family on FaceBook by way of my iPhone. She oohed and aahed over photos of her great-great-granddaughter. I was proud that I could give her that moment.

She’s always a good sport when I want to make selfies.

Her son Harold agreed that I could photograph him. Years ago, he looked at a photo I took of him and left the room, saying “Old. Look old.” Today he was much more pleased with the results, even though he’s visibly grayer than 2 years ago.

Here’s to 103 years in February!

The Gold Mine in the Closet: A Basinger Boy

February 23, 2015

But which one?

Garnett, Will, Walter, or Tom?


The Tison Family Cemetery in Garnett, South Carolina: Revisited in 2014

July 7, 2014

A man contacted me because he wanted to know if I could take a photo of a headstone in the Tison Family Cemetery in Garnett, South Carolina.  I replied that I could, but I would have to wait for a Sugary companion to go along, because it’s a remote cemetery, and possibly unsafe for a middle-aged, middle-sighted individual, such as YoursTruly.  Snakes, and whatnot.

I convinced Sugar that we could fit in a quick visit on the way to the Lawton and Allied Families Reunion.

I was driving along that morning, with time to spare, and Sugar twitched that I had missed the turn.

I insisted that I had not.  I might have pounded the steering wheel for emphasis.

He insisted that I had.

I insisted that I had not, because the cemetery was south of the main entrance in the woods next to a corn field.

He was pretty sure that we were supposed to be driving by Robbie the Pimp’s place which was the back way to Mistletoe Grove.

Y’all see that this could play out very badly.

I was sure that I was right, and I was also sure that I could prove to him that I was right by staying the course, but what if I was wrong?  I spent my married life with Mr. X.  I was always wrong.  It was always my fault.  I have confidence issues as a result.

Being Sugar-like, he agreed that we should go the way I remembered, even though we had not been there in 5 years.  Time has a way of muddying the memories, especially when creative minds like ours can take a memory and relocate it to a different place.  It’s a gift, really.

So just like that, he smoothed things out, even though if I were wrong we would be terribly late because we would have to backtrack over by Robbie the Pimp’s place.













































It’s nice to be right occasionally…

Letters From Mrs. Harris E. Willingham To Edward Lawton

June 17, 2014




Willingham 003


Willingham 004

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Mrs. Harris E. Willingham

224 East Hunting Towers

Alexandria, Virginia

Jan. 17, 1965


My dear Mr. Lawton,

Yesterday I

mailed you the picture I

have of Peter Jones Trading

Station and Blandford Church

on Well’s Hill, built between 1734

and 1737, when Peter Jones

was vestryman.  It is now a

Confederate Memorial Chapel.  I

have a copy of “Bravest Surrender”

A Petersburg Patchwork, by Catherine

Copeland with illustrations by

P. Hairston as well (Copyrighted

1961 by P Hairston Seawell, Newport News

which has a prettier picture of

the church and one of

“Folly Castle” built 1768 by Peter

Jones a descendant of Peter Jones

for whom Petersburg named (a bachelor).

I enclosed a little picture

of “Springfield”, where I was born

and where in 1814 my great

grandfather Wood Jones married

Elizabeth Trent Archer, daughter

of Peter Field Archer, son of

John Archer of “Archer’s Hall”, Bermuda

Hundred and Elizabeth Trent.  “Archer’s

Hall” was burned by Arnold on his

way up James against Richmond

and Petersburg.

“Springfield” is falling down.  The

old parlor was panelled and here

the 18th Ga. Battalion officers slept

the night of the evacuation of

“Fort Jones”.  “Springfield” on Powhatan

side.  “Fort Jones” on Amelia Co side

opposite.  Flat bottom boats brought

things down the Appomattox to be

shipped on Richmond & Danville

R. R. to Richmond.  An old map

I have gives a number of buildings

at Mattoax.  Grandfather held

rank of Captain in Confederate army,

detailed during war at Mattoax

as Postmaster & Freight Agent.

After Lee’s army passed over and

Fort evacuated, he had all

the Freight piled on the Iron trus

bridge and set fire to it from

our side, “Springfield” on the

line of march, evacuated by family several times because of raids.  The

armies camped in the yard

burning fences and outbuildings

for their camp fires.  After the

surrender Grandfather was

ploughing a garden with an old

blind mule, all he had.  Union stragglers from Appomattox

coming by started to take this, but

one said, “let the old devil make

a living if he can!”  We were

terribly poor!  Barred by Iron-clad

oath for 2 years, Grandfather

then became Postmaster at Mattoax.

He did active fighting against Kautz’s

raid at Flat Creek, Amelia, where

the Yankees were repulsed

in their effort to destroy Mattoax

bridge.  After this the 18th Ga. Battalion

was stationed at Mattoax.  “The

Oaks” was some distance

from Mattoax.  I wonder if

“Fort Jones” named for Gen. Jones

or for my Grandfather who

was “holding the fort” there before

the Savannah Volunteers came

to help.  The scrap-book made

by Aunt Bernie (Hibernia Lewis Jones)

was made on “Mattoax ticket-book”

(paper so scarce).  They wanted

to run a road through the

fort across the river and a

mile through “Springfield” about

20 yrs ago and sent me

blue prints showing the road by battery

and how it would come through

my land (60 ft wide highway for

a mile)  I refused to give gratis

this mile.  I had a given already

permission to widen roads –

Grandfather right of way for R. R.

and a siding, a mile from Mattoax.

So I do have a drawing of

battery of “Fort Jones”.  Twenty-three

Yankees were killed at Flat Creek.

Lee sent reinforcement by Burkeville

to help them.  Grandfather cared

for wounded and dead who were

buried at Mattoax.  Many Northern

families came after the war to

thank him for his attention, and

his letters home to let them know.

The dead buried in a trench with

boughs over their faces to protect

them.  Grandfather kept prisoners

at various times in the old

parlor at “Springfield” – Gone with

the wind!  I did not expect you

to use picture of Springfield

and grandfather, but thought it would

interest you.

I don’t know anything about

Miss Boyd now,  but William Mason

daughter Mrs. Norfleet used to

live in Washington.  I can write

my cousin in Richmond, and

see what I find.

My husband descends

from Benjamin Themistocles Dion Lawton

and wife Jane Moss daughter

of Dr. George Moss.  I have a

picture of her and a Christmas

card from Harris’ cousin Mrs.

Broadus Willingham of Macon,

Ga. said, I believe, they had a

picture of Dr. Mosse.  I must write

her.  I have “Our Family Circle”,

and a “Family History”, by Ann

Willingham Willis.  I don’t want

to divert you.  Keep on with

your work!  More power to you!


Lynn Lewis J. Willingham

P.S.  I belong to D.A.R., Colonial Dames

of America, “F.F.Va”, Jamestown

Society, and Nat. Soc. Dau. of Barons

of Runnemede and in last

Vol III, “Living Descendants of Blood Royal”,

so you see I am a foolish old

lady about genealogy.


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Jan 23, 1965

My dear Mr. Lawton,

I thought

you would like my picture

of Peter Jones’ Trading Station,

and I treasure the Blandford

Church picture as my Peter Jones III

was vestryman when it was

built.  I had these made

36 years ago, and they were

not expensive.  I did not go

to the expense of having them

copied to send you as you

said you could have it done

free down there and I knew

time was important.  I would

like them back soon as you

can have copies made as I

keep them in my “Peter Jones

Genealogy,” by Fothergill and

would hate to lose them.

“Springfield” has about fallen

down.  This was taken many

years ago.  Father died in 1924

and his sister lived there for

a few years afterwards.  It is of

no value except for timber,

played out land!  Sentiment for me!

The Southern has cut out passenger

trains, and all the neighbors

moved away or died, even the old

darkies.  I thought you would be interested

in seeing Grandfather who guarded the bridge

before 18th Ga. Battalion.

I wrote my cousin in

Richmond to find out about Miss

Lizzie Boyd and “The Oaks”.  I will

let you hear.  Copy my notes

on “The Oaks” and send them

back.  How far back have you

gone on Sam Jones family have

you gone?  I infer you descend

on another line from Abram Jones.

I copied my Mallory line

from Va. His. Mag. and it had

picture of Hatton Conyers in it which

I had copied.  This gave Tempest Family

married into Washington family.  Battes

make us eligible for 16 lines in Barons

of Runnemede.  I joined on Randolph.


Lynn Lewis Willingham

(in the left margin)

We are in “Our Family Circle.”  I wrote

Willingham corrections for reprint.

Tom Lawton wrote Lawton corrections.


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Mrs. Harris E. Willingham

224 East Hunting Towers

Alexandria, Virginia


My dear Mr. Lawton,

I am

flying to Louisville, Ky to spend

a week with Harris Jr.  I had

this little scratched notes on the

Jones Family who lived at “The

Oaks” after the war.  It was a

quaint little place like out

“Springfield” – “Fort Jones”, on a

high bluff overlooking the Apomattox

river at Mattoax, Amelia Co. guarded the

iron-truss bridge of the Richmond

and Danville R.R. which was

the main artery from the South

for Richmond (near Southern R.R.)

I’ll write more when I

get home.  I am 70 and have

cataracts, but going strong and

love history.

I knew Miss Garnet here in Washington

now dead, who was of this branch

of the family.  She belonged to Club of Colonial Dames.

Aunt Anna may have made

mistakes in what she told me

but I put it down thinking I

would write a piece about”The

Oaks” because my family loved

the people there and admired

their struggle.  The girls put cloth

tops to old shoes, but were always

pretty, gay, and popular.  Everyone

was so poor!

Merry Christmas!   I have

wonderful things on the Battes,

Mallorys and Bishop Vaughan.  My

Sarah visited Chester Cathedral

when she an her husband were

in England 7 years ago.  They are now in Geneva

Switzerland Larence Biedenharn

Jr. Prof of Nuclear Physics at Duke,

on a years leave to study and with

grant from Nat. Science Foundation.  I

am in “Living Descendants of Blood

Royal” Vol III on Randolph & Isham lines.

Our Batte line is traced out on pp 589

591 – to King Henry I of France.


Lynn Lewis J. Willingham



Letters From Elizabeth E. Garnett to Edward Lawton

June 16, 2014

Sugar has some old letters that he’s read to me from time to time.  I have a short memory, so I never remember what they contain, until he reads them again.

The most recent spark of interest in these letters were caused by a Garnett contact.  You might remember all the Civil War letters by William Starr Basinger?  He married Margaret Roane Garnett, and we’ve traced their path several times, visiting places they lived in Savannah, Athens, & Dahlonega, Georgia, and Amelia County, Virginia.  If you ever want to search the blog, hover your mouse over the main heading “Ruthrawls’s Blog”, left-click, and you’ll go to a new page with a search bar in the right hand column.

Margaret had sisters and brothers.  One brother had a daughter named Elizabeth E. Garnett, and she was an avid researcher.  She corresponded a bit with Sugar’s Uncle Edward.

Garnett 1957 001

Garnett 1957 (02) 001


Garnett 1957 (03) 001


Garnett 1957 (04) 001


2009 EYE STREET, N. W.


July 22 – ‘57


Dear Edward:

It is good to hear

that you are interested in the

family again.  While I have not

had time to do much, I still

get a little done from time to


Everything I had, I

sent Cousin Garnett & he was

busy on several lines when I

heard from him last.

Right now I am busy

working on the Moseley line, also

Hipkins.  If I can find one generation

of Hipkins, I can complete that line from

England to now.  One generation is


The D.A.R. Library here is an ex-

cellent genealogical one & you have

access to the shelves, which I find a

help.  Why don’t you come down in the

fall for a week and do some re-

search.  I have quite a lot of leads.

I have some information on the

Garnetts beyond Thomas who married

Margaret Roane which I hope to

prove before too long.

I plan to spend the next 3 or 4

weeks working at the library as often

as I can.

This is what I have.

I  John1 (of Gloucester) b. about 1660


II  Thos.2 will probated Essex

1743, m Elizabeth —


III John Jr.3 m. Mary Fogg


Joshua4 m. France

Andrews who was dau. of Joyce

Garnett Andrews.  Joshua was a nephew

of Joyce Garnett & therefore married

his 1st cousin.

Va. Hist Mag. Vol 43- p 69

Joyce Garnett m. Thomas Andrews (will

probated Essex Aug 16 1779.

IV  Joshua


V  Thomas who married

Margaret Roane (Harwood)


VI  James Muscoe Garnett

who married Mary Ann Jones.


VII  Margaret who m. Maj. Basinger, etc.

I still have some lines to prove but I think I can

given time.  Love to Betsy & come down to see us.




And next…

Garnett 1958 001 Garnett 1958 002

                Jan. 25 – 58.

Dear Edward:

The record of the

ancestry of the “Branch” that I am

sending you has been checked &

authorized for each generation given.

As I was asked to join the “Nat’l Soc.

Daughters of the Barons of Runnemede”

by a friend who is the present

president & told by her that my

line has been used & passed

upon by Dr. Adams, I looked

it up & found to my amusement

that it was fairly easy as the

English records were all intact.

Some time if you have time look at

the Soc. of Harlein Viretatines Vol 57-

page 74.

If you can’t get Harlein Viretatines

I’ll send you the Bostocks all

the way back to “Alfred the Great”

of England.  Part of this is in a

book by Browning which takes him

back to Alfred the Great.  Also see

“Branch of Abingden”, by James Branch


The Bostock record is quite remarkable.

Some time Daphne may want to join

the Barons – so you might keep it for


Emily tells me you are going to Europe in

April.  Maybe you’ll get the chance

to look into the records over there.

We keep busy and well.  I still have

my students although I have tried to stop

(?) for several years with no success

so I keep them & enjoy them.

Love to Betsie & Daphne – Love,



Garnett 1958 003 Garnett 1958 004 Garnett 1958 005




Feb. 18, 1958


Dear Edward:

The information I am sending

is the Bostock Family from Alfred the Great

down to Christopher1 who came to Va.

While I was working on the Magna Charta

Barons, I decided to copy this at the same

time and complete the Branch Line as far as

I could go.  It wasn’t hard to do once I got into

the lines back to Alfred the Great.

I don’t know that you remember

hearing Cousin Bird saying we were descended

from Alfred the Great but as she never produced

any proof, I decided it was mostly heresay.

I must have been wrong as it was all there.

The Bostocks interested me because

we come down in an unbroken

line from 1066 to 1450 or more under

the same name.  They made history,

the Bostocks.  They were brave men &

a proud race.

There was much about the “Branche”

Family but I’ll have to work on that another

When Daphne grows up & wants to join the

“Soc. of Americans of Royal Descent”, she can

on this & King Ed I.  My cousin Maria Verm

belongs & has urged me to join but so far I

am not interested.  I did join the Magna

Charta Soc. & am proud to have had an-

cestors who signed it.

I’ve been working on this for some

time and am going to tackle the

“Blount” line.  He also was a Magna Charta

Baron on my mother’s side.  It has

been worked out but I want to prove

it for myself.

The Moseley’s have a distinguished

line in England and I want to

work on that this summer if I

can manage it.  They were prominent

here also.

There is not much family news.

Emily keeps fit and goes to work

regularly.  She offered to copy some

of this for me, but it is hard to

follow.  My typewriter is old so I

did it the easiest way – by pencil.

I hope you can make it out & do a

nice job of typing it for your records.

I am going to do it this summer.

Margaret like her job at Interior Dept.

“Indian Affairs”.  She does ½ day and

rests in afternoon.

We had 14” of snow Sat. and very

little has melted – it is very cold.

I spent last week in Phila.  Went to see

“Vanessa”, Tues. night.  Met. Opera gave it.

It was unusual & very interesting.  Also met

the Dean of (?) at a dinner given

by my hostess.  He was very interesting & an

attractive speaker.  I came back in the

snow storm.  Love to you all –




There you have it, Garnett people!  Alfred the Great??








The Breeler Field Cemetery

December 23, 2013

After taking a photograph of every.single.marker in Solomons Cemetery, we got back in the van and drove further along the lane to find Breeler Field.


Breeler Field is big, so only a few photos were taken for Reader Maureen, who is researching the Beckett family.





























And because Mama Florrie’s father was a Gant, I took a photo of the only Gant I saw, not knowing if/how this Gant fits into Mama Florrie’s family.

That’s Breeler Field. Easy to find, and full of stories.

Patience Taylor, Born 1868, Died December 11, 1917

October 2, 2013

A few posts ago, while looking for Colonel Lawton Cemetery, Sugar and I were at Bostick Cemetery in the area outside the fence.

And after we found Colonel Lawton Cemetery, about a week ago, I had the bright idea that I would start a new blog.  You see, I started browsing through the South Carolina Death Records on and found many, MANY death certificates for people that had no headstones in Colonel Lawton Cemetery.

That’s right, *no* markers of any kind.  Nothing physical to show any visitors that anyone was there except the depressions on the ground.

I decided to start a new blog just using the death certificates and/or the photos of the headstones.

Reader Sharon contributed the name “Certifiable Presence“.  LOVE the name.

Today I was scrolling through 1917 and found a death certificate for Patience Taylor in Bostick Cemetery, which rang a bell.  It turns out that I took a photo of her headstone, but didn’t transcribe it.

I have learned that if you don’t put the words out there, search engines cannot find you.  So in remembrance of Patience Taylor, here is her marker and death certificate.

Patience Taylor, wife of Stephen Taylor

Patience Taylor, wife of Stephen Taylor

Notice that the death date and her age on the headstone and the death date and her age on the death certificate do not match.

SouthCarolinaDeathRecords1821-1955 (63)

“Faithful to her trust,

Even unto Death”

Where Is Lawton Cemetery? In Which I Ask Miz Florrie

September 20, 2013

One day I’m at the Laundromat, and while I’m waiting for the clothes to dry, I call Mama Florrie to say hello.  She said, “When are you coming?”

When your mama calls, you should go.  I had the rest of the day off, and I stuttered in surprise that I could be there in two hours.

If you use to search for South Carolina Death Records, like I do, you can find some old certificates that show the deceased is buried in Lawton Cemetery or Col. Lawton’s Cemetery or Lawton Pl. Cemetery.

Where is that, exactly?  There’s no Lawton Cemetery on the map.  Don’t confuse it with Lawtonville Cemetery, which I’ve already written about.

Lawtonville is west of Estill.  It’s a well-kept cemetery, and seems to be predominantly white.  If there are black folks buried there, I don’t know about it.

There are several cemeteries in this area that are divided by race.  Black on one side of the highway, white on the other.  White inside the fence, black outside the fence.  The cemetery that I want to find is black.

So I asked Mama Florrie, in a little interview of sorts.

I had several people to ask her about, with the last names that were the same as her mother’s and father’s and husband’s families.  There were some people that she said she did not know.  I’m always puzzled by that for in my world it seems that she should know everyone and their dog in that little town.  I don’t know if it means that she knew them once but forgot them, or really just doesn’t know of them, like I didn’t know about a cousin in my little town because we are related so far back that we didn’t know of the connection until I found it earlier this year.

I asked her where Lawton Cemetery was.

She told me, and Lordy, I have a hard time understanding her.  She didn’t have her teeth in, and I don’t hear very well, plus she speaks with a lowcountry brogue that I can’t translate very well.

She said, in her low voice, “Yoo goo to tha foork in tha rood.”

YoursTruly:  “The fork in the road?  Where’s that?”

Mama:  “It’s ovuh there.”

YoursTruly:  “Goodman Road?”

Mama:  “Noo, not Goodman Road.  The foork in tha rood.”

YoursTruly:  “Where’s that?  Robertville?”

Mama (becoming exasperated):  “Nooo!  Not Rohbertville!”

I look to her daughter Rose for help.

Rose:  “Mama, what fork in the road?”

Mama (starting over):  “You goo tord Rohbertville, and turn at the foork in the road.”  Here she raised her left hand, and placed it near her right shoulder, as though she were preparing to say the pledge of allegiance by placing her left hand over her right shoulder.  The problem with this is that she was pointing north, and Robertville was south of where we were.

YoursTruly:  “Miz Florrie, I’m lost.  I don’t know a fork in the road.”

Mama:  “You goo too the foork in the rood, and turn there.  It’s between the house and the rood.”

YoursTruly:  “There’s a cemetery at Pleasant HIll where Rose and Miss Yvonne and Sugar and I went a few years ago, but that’s not Lawton land.”

Mama & Rose (excitedly):  “Yes, that’s it!”

YoursTruly:  “But that was Robert land.  It’s across from Black Swamp Plantation.”

Mama & Rose:  “No, that was Lawton land.”

YoursTruly:  “Okay.”

Rose:  “Mama, that house not there any more.  It was torn down.  Anna Marie used to live there.”

Mama:  “That’s right.”

(Note:  I have never seen a house on that property.  It must have been years and years ago, and according to some old records, it was where Henry Martyn Robert grew up.)

After a few more questions, I went on my way.  The cemetery in question just happened to be on my way home.  We’d had a lot of rain for days, and there was so much muck in the lane into the property that I had to turn back.  I was afraid Ole Yeller would get stuck, and there’s spotty cell phone reception.


Sugar and I decided to see for ourselves.

A few days later, we went on a mission.

We found the cemetery we’d been to before.  There’s no sign, and it appears to be on private property, but still, here we go.


Does anyone see anything wrong with this photo?  I knew that something was not right, but didn’t figure it out for a few more photos.



I have it on a “fish-eye” setting.  Someday perhaps, I will learn to check the setting before I start snapping photos.


Sugar was going along, very efficient-like, because he had other things he wanted to accomplish that day, like go to the Bostick Cemetery and go see Richard, who we heard bought a house.  An old house, but a house, nonetheless.



I’m muttering right about here, because I can’t figure out what is wrong with the camera.  The image looks completely wrong, and I still haven’t discovered that, once again, it’s the operator and not the equipment.



OK, now here we go.  Wrongs are righted.


There’s a family tradition that says that there’s a McPherson link to Miz Florrie’s family, but I haven’t seen proof of that.  Here’s a few McPhersons just because.









Now that I’ve gone back and looked at these photos again, I realize that I didn’t get any of the old headstones.  If I had gotten a name and a death date before 1955, I could go to and compare them to the actual death certificates and see where that burial place is.  But I didn’t, so I can’t, and I’ll need to go back.  I should do that right now, but other things are calling me, so perhaps I can go tomorrow.  But tomorrow is the 3rd Saturday, and Georgia Historical Society is open.  Decisions, decisions.

We managed to get out of that cemetery without seeing snakes or poison ivy, and we headed over to Bostick Cemetery.


A few years ago, Richard’s wife Wanda died.  There was no where to bury her.  I had never considered that that would be an issue, not having a place to go.  It seems that all the local cemeteries in that area were on private land, and you need permission to  bury someone there.

Richard secured a spot for her at the Bostick Cemetery, outside the fence.

The first time that we went to Bostick Cemetery, we were surprised to see that there was another burial area down a lane next to the cemetery, outside the fence.  We roamed around the area, and Sugar found a headstone dedicated to someone named Charles, a faithful servant of B. R. Bostick.  I got some good photos then, which were later lost in a computer meltdown, because at that time I didn’t back up anything.  The headstone for Charles seems to be the farthest headstone to the left, back in the left corner as you are facing the cemetery.  At the time, Sugar supposed that this was a black burial ground.

On another occasion, Mama Florrie told me that her mother Alice was buried at Bostick, but she didn’t know where.  Alice doesn’t have a headstone.



We pull into the lane at Bostick, and I stop the van to take a photo of the fenced cemetery.

Here's a photo of the plaque at the Bostick Gate.  I took this years ago, perhaps around 2008.  I'll have to check on that.

Here’s a photo of the plaque at the Bostick Gate. I took this years ago, perhaps around 2008. I’ll have to check on that.

Now we look left of the cemetery to little lane that leads to the area outside the fence.



When we get to the area outside the fence, we are surprised to see that someone has installed a chain link fence along the lane side.  Just one side is fenced, not the entire cemetery.  I park at the end of the chain link.  Something that strikes me odd is that the headstones face AWAY from the approach to the cemetery and the fence.  I believe for the most part they are facing east.

I start taking photos, and while I did not get all of the headstones, I got a great many that seemed relevant to Mama Florrie’s family.  Some are not relevant at all to me, but that’s perhaps because I don’t know of possible family connections.  It is said that everyone in the village is related, and I suppose that’s highly possible.




Here is the headstone for Charles.  It’s much more discolored than it was the last time I photographed it, and I can’t make out all the inscription.  I suppose I will have to go back when Sugar is not so twitchy, and do a rubbing.


















I rotated this image until the headstone appears upright and on a hillside. It’s not that way in real life.






I think this is Peter Eady.




This is Mama Florrie’s aunt Daisy who was married to William. There are no dates of birth or death on her marker. Perhaps no one knew.


And this is William, Mama Florrie’s uncle. She lived with him and Daisy after her grandmother died.



This name is obliterated.


A homemade marker for a child.


This is Davis Eady. Mama Florrie said his name was “David” not “Davis”, yet this is what his marker says. He’s listed as Davis on the census, so is this just a local pronounciation? I don’t know, either.






Sugar is not kicking this headstone. That’s his thoughtful pose in the background while he’s contemplating another marker. Often when I’m photographing headstones, and I later look at the images, he’s in the background. The photo thief that took my images from and posted them to as his own has some with Sugar and Mama Florrie’s daughter Rose in the background. I’d like to hear him explain who they are and how they got into “his” photos.


At another back corner is Richard’s wife Wanda.  The cemetery starts to slope away at this point into a swampy area.  I’m at the farthest point away from the van on a diagonal like across the cemetery.


This is Richard’s wife Wanda.








And when we get back to the van, there’s a most unusual insect on the gatepost.  I’ve never seen one like this.  He (She?) is very colorful and vibrant-looking.



So that’s our day in the cemeteries.  I can’t say as we solved anything.  We still don’t know where Lawton Cemetery is, or at least we can’t confirm that Mama Florrie is right, and really, why wouldn’t she be?

All the images that are imprinted with are posted to under Bostick Cemetery in Hampton County.  I created memorials for all of them except Calvin Eady, so I added his headstone photo to the existing memorial.

Where’s Lawton Cemetery?  Anyone?

I saw on that a person had added name to a cemetery named “Lawton”.  When I contacted that person to find out where the cemetery is, she gave me GPS coordinates which led me to an area way west of Garnett on Augusta Stagecoach Road.  Way, way, far away from the village, so who would choose to be buried out in the middle of nowhere?  I looked at the satellite images online and it doesn’t appear to be a graveyard.  When I contacted her again online for driving directions, she said that she had not been there, but hoped to find it when she got to SC again.

Oh no.  Don’t believe what you read on the internet, and don’t follow someone’s GPS coordinates off into the swamp.

Now where to look??


The Oaks: From Amelia County To Richmond

July 31, 2013

Let’s recap.

Sugar’s great-grandfather William Starr Basinger from Savannah was stationed near Richmond, Virginia, during the Civil War.  While calling on the homes in the area to let the families know of the Confederate presence, he met the young woman that he would return to marry after the close of the war and his imprisonment.  She was Margaret Roane Garnett.

Basinger wrote the story of his life which was produced in six volumes, one for each of his children, and he writes the story as written to his children.  From Basinger’s “Personal Reminiscences”, which you can click here to read the typewritten pages as transcribed by his son from the original journals, or you can read below.



Arriving at Richmond, I supposed I would

have no difficulty in finding where the battation

had been sent.  But no one could tell me, even at

the office of the Adjutant-General.  I was in a

great dilemma about it, when I fell in with Genl

J F Gilmer, chief Engineer of the Army, whom I had

long known, and told him my trouble.  He suggest-

ed that Genl Bragg knew all about it; and he took

me to Genl Bragg’s office and introduced me.  I

found that Genl Bragg did know all about it, and

was at the bottom of everything.  He was trying to

re-organize the Army, and had conceived the design

of consolidating my battalion with the 12th, under

myself as Colonel.  I wished to be heard on this

subject, and stated some very serious objections to

it – but was cut short by the very peremptory state-

ment that I would be expected to submit to whatever

the Govt might order in the matter.  I was by no

means convinced that the Govt could lawfully order

any such thing; but we were not then in a position

to stand upon exact legal rights, and I contented

myself with replying that if the consolidation should

be insisted on, I would, after having entered my pro-

test, take command of the proposed new regiment, if

required.  But nothing ever came of this proposed

consolidation.  The two battalions were separated,

as the war went on, and never came together any more.

But I learned from Genl Bragg that the

Guards had been sent to Mattoax, where the Richmond

and Danville Railroad crosses the Appomattox River;

and, being informed what duty was expected of us

there, I hurried out next day and rejoined them.

(***FOOTNOTE*** I think it was on May 28th that I

arrived at Mattoax).  I found them there, sure

enough, quartered in box cars on a switch.  The

R & D RR was a very important one – because over

it supplies were transported to the Army from the


Gulf States.  It crossed the Appomattox on an iron

bridge, and Flat Creek, a tributary of the Appomat-

tox, a couple of miles from Mattoax, on a wooden

bridge.  The destruction of either of the bridges

would interrupt the transportation of the supplies.

Raids of the enemy’s cavalry had gone very near

these bridges – so near as to threaten them; and

the duty assigned to the Guards was to protect these

bridges against such attacks.  And a fort was in

course of construction on a hill commanding the

bridge over the Appomattox, which was intrusted (sic) to

us as a means, not only of defence, but of offence,

and which was armed with artillery suitable for the

purpose.  Some works had been thrown up at the

Flat Creek bridge also; but no guns were ever mount—

ed there.  We were to defend that the best way we


My first care was to acquaint myself with

all the roads leading to both bridges.  As my own

horse had not yet arrived, I had to be content with

borrowing a horse of a Mr. Boisseau, who lived

near by, and securing his services as a guide.  A num-

ber of days were spent in this reconnoitring (sic).  The

railroad station at Mattoax was on the right bank

of the river; and all the land on that side was part

of a plantation belonging, incommon, to Genl Sam

Jones, before-mentioned as being in command at Charles-

ton, and his sisters.  In riding about with Mr Bois-

seau, we had constantly to pass through the private

roads of this plantation; and he often endeavored to

persuade me to go with him to the house to call upon

the ladies there.  I, as constantly, refused – say-

ing that I had not been sent there to call on ladies,

but to defend those bridges.  But, finally, on his

representation that I was commander of the troops,

and that the troops were upon the property of those

ladies – that there was no man in the house – and

that I ought to give them some assurance that their

property would be respected, so far as my command

was concerned, I  consented to call with him.  I had

nothing else in view, and no other purpose than to

ensure the ladies that they would not be disturbed

by the troops under my command.  We were shown into

a parlor.  After waiting a little while, I heard

a quick step coming down the stairs, and to the par-

lor door, and then entered – your mother – in the prime


of her youth and beauty.  Soon after, she was fol-

lowed by Miss Emily Read, and then by her aunts Miss

Martha, Miss Eliza, and Miss Margaret Jones.

* * * * *


        These ladies have all died since then, ex-

cept Miss Read.  She is the sister of Mrs Genl Sam

Jones.  There were several sisters, grand-daughter

of that George Read, of Delaware, who was one of the

signers of the Declaration of Independence.  All

these sisters but Miss Emily married officers of the

1st U S Artillery – the eldest to Col Pierce, the

commander of the regiment, who was an older brother

of Franklin Pierce, President of the U S.  I have

since met two others of the sisters – Mrs French

and Mrs Reeves.  A daughter of the latter, Miss Min-

nie Reeves, as well as Miss Read, have, since the

war, betaken themselves to authorship, and have pub-

lished some very pleasant works of fiction.

Genl Jones and Mr B N Jones also are now


* * * * *

        As I afterwards learned, these three sis-

ters (Martha, Eliza and Margaret Jones), with Mrs.

James N Garnett, and Genl Sam Jones and his brother,

Mr Benjamin M Jones, were the joint owners of the

place, which was named “The Oaks”, from the splendid

oak trees in the midst of which the house was placed.

And, really, as seen from the hill at Mattoax, or

any other distant point, it was a perfect picture of

a baronial residence.  The house was an old-fashion-

ed one.  It consisted of a main house and two wings

each covered by its own roof, rising, in the form

of a four-sided pyramid, to an apex.  It was sadly

in want of paint, and had taken on a sort of gray

hue, which harmonized beautifully with the dense fo-

liage of the huge oaks surrounds it.  All round

the house, and under the trees, was a smooth carpet

of grass.  And, seen from any point, the whole as-

pect of the place was most attractive and prepos-

sessing in the highest degree.  The house still

stands; and a passenger on the Richmond and Danville


Railroad, going either north or south, may still see

it as the train passes.

I have stated that, on arriving at Mattoax,

I found the battalion quartered in box cars switched

off on a side-track.  Close to the track was a

small station-house, used buy the Agent of the Road

and the telegraph operator.  This had a very small

upper room, which I took possession of for my own

quarters.  But this little station house was in a

deep cut, and my quarters were fearfully hot.  I

think I suffered from heat there more than in any

place I have ever been in, before or since.  More-

over, the cars occupied by the troops were ranted.

And I very soon got some tents, and had the men quar-

tered in them on the slope of the hill towards the

river.  My own tent, and the Adjutant’s, were pitch-

ed together higher up on the hill, immediately under

the fort, in a position from which I could see every-

thing that was going on.

The construction of the fort was conduct-

ed by an engineer officer, with negroes furnished by

the neighbors; and my men had nothing to do.  There-

fore, after the daily duties of the camp were over,

as there was no need to keep them confined to the

camp, leaves of absence were freely given, and they

went visiting about the neighborhood, to their great

delectation – for they were everywhere most kindly

received and entertained, as was the wont in Virgin-

ia in those days.

My own time was very largely taken up with

a study of the country in the vicinity of the post,

with a view to the defence of the two bridges against

a possible raid.  And, as my own horse, under the

care of old Joe, the fifer, arrived after a while, I

could do this at my own convenience.  When I had en-

tirely learned the topography of the country so far

as was necessary to the defence of the two bridges,

I set the men to work to keep up their drill both as

infantry and artillery – guns, six and twelve pound-

ers, having been sent for the armament f our little


* * * * *



        This horse of mine, named Bessie, became

a great favorite with your mother.  She used to ride

her a great deal during our stay at Mattoax, when I

would get some other, either from the Quartermaster

or at The Oaks.  It will be seen later that my horse

was paroled at Appomattox.  She was faithfully tak-

en home by the man in charge of her, and put in a sta-

ble in Aunt Adeline’s yard.  Unfortunately, there

was a hole in the partition which separated her stall

from another.  She contrived to get one of her feet

through this hole, and in struggling to get it out,

was thrown down.  She was unable to get up again,

and, being very weak from a long journey and want of

food, struggled herself to death before morning.

* * * * *

        At first, after our arrival at Mattoax,

and the organization of the force for protection a-

gainst raiders, we were under the immediate command

of Brig Genl Martin.

* * * * *


        Genl Martin’s first wife was one of the

Read sisters, mentioned in a previous note, and again

later, which I had forgotten when adding that note on

going over my narrative for the purpose of supplying

any omissions.

Click on this link to see photos of The Oaks and its interior.  You’ll see the stairs where William Starr Basinger heard Margaret Roane Garnett’s quick step.

Here’s a beautiful find.  Thank you, internet.  It’s an old map of Amelia County on the Library of Congress site.  The map was made by Major General J. F. Gilmer, also mentioned in the “Reminiscences”.  When you manipulate the image and look at the northeasterly point, you can find the location of The Oaks at “Miss Jones”, and further north from there, you can find the location of “Mr. Boiseau”.  Do you see “Matoax Station & Bridge”?

The house at The Oaks was moved to 307 Stockton Lane, Richmond, Virginia, by railcar.

We found the house.  We followed the map, but went past it, as has been our protocol on this trip.  It’s for sale, which was a lucky bonus for us, because we were able to find the real-estate listing and to view the interior of the home.















Did you notice that I keep objects between myself and the house, as though I expect someone to burst forth from the house with blazing six-shooters?  Sugar is bold and walks right up to the house, but neither of us had the nerve to ring the doorbell.  I asked would he please call the realtor and explain who he is so we can get inside the house?  You know that the house would be in perfect order since it’s for sale.

There are some things that even I can’t imagine doing.

But don’t you love the love story?  It’s better than Gone With The Wind.

Onward To Amelia County, Virginia: On The Trail Of William Starr Basinger & Margaret Roane Garnett

July 30, 2013

From Petersburg to Amelia County, there is no direct route. It’s a good example of a classic dilemma in the South when giving directions: “You can’t get there from here.” Anyone not from the South can’t quite understand the logic, but it’s true, nonetheless. You have to go somewhere else to get to where you are going.

Day Two of the trip:  We puzzled over the map, Pop-eye style, and saw that we were going to have to sort out a path while we were on the way.  Google was no help; it sent us somewhere else to get to where we wanted to go, in true Southern fashion.

It wasn’t so much that we wanted to see Amelia Courthouse, but it seemed that we could reconnoiter when we got there.  Our true mission was to find the plantation The Oaks, even though the house had been moved from there to Richmond almost one hundred years ago.  And perhaps some lunch could be found.

We crossed over the Amelia County line.  Not far into Amelia County, we passed by an old building with an odd collection of items and a man in a recliner on the front porch.  He called out to us as we passed by, and Sugar said to turn around and go back to see if the man knew where Mattoax was.

Turns out, the man didn’t know where it was, so perhaps it didn’t exist any more.  If anyone knew where Mattoax was, it should have been this man, but after further conversation, he had only been out of the state of Virginia a few times in his life.  He asked where we were from, and when we said South Carolina, he looked wistful and said he had always wanted to go to South Carolina.  His name was Jimmy Olgers, and he was the high mayor and proprietor of Olgers Museum.  He said that this great-grandfather was in the battle at Saylor’s Creek.  Sugar didn’t chime in and say that his great-grandfather had been there, too.  He let the man have his moment and wax rhapsodic about the good old days.

He invited us into his museum, but declined to accompany us because of health reasons.  The museum was actually the house he grew up in; he said that he was born in the back room.  There were things there that should have been kept in a climate-controlled vault, like books and newspapers.  There were hand-lettered memorials to his family members where Jimmy had listed names and relationships and dates of birth and death.  It was the most unusual collection of items I had ever seen, like kewpie dolls, advertising signs, utensils, tools, and bric-a-brac.

There was a collection urn at the entrance for donations for the upkeep of the museum.  Sugar dropped in a donation.  After we finished the tour, we stopped back at the front porch, and Mr. Jimmy talked some more.

He eyeballed Sugar, and said, “How old are you?”

Sugar:  How old do you think I am?

Mr. Jimmy:  Take off your hat!

(Sugar removed his ball cap.)

Mr. Jimmy:  Seventy-one!

(One of the reasons I call him Sugar is because his hair is white like sugar.  There’s other reasons, too.)

Sugar:  (exhales loudly)

Sugar:  That’s right.  (Not true.)

Mr. Jimmy:  (Delightedly)  I knew it!  I’m always right!

Mr. Jimmy:  Why, that woman is twenty-five years younger than you!

YoursTruly:  Heh!  (Sugar clapped his ball cap back on his head.)

Mr. Jimmy:  She’s your *second* wife, isn’t she?

Sugar:  (Nodding his head.)  That’s right.  (He considered retrieving his donation.)

We said good-bye to Mr. Jimmy, who started talking about a Civil War battle that happened across the road at his ancestor’s house, and we headed in a westerly direction.

Somehow, we made it to Amelia Courthouse, the county seat where the historical society was located.  It was closed – the historical society, not the county seat – because it was Memorial Day, duh us, but also due to construction.


Well, now, that’s awkward.  The only day in our life to be in Amelia County for historical research, and we are going to have to rely on our notes, our memories, and Sugar’s great-grandfather’s Book of Reminiscences, and then we discover that he has forgotten the book.

At this point, it hardly mattered, because there is a historical marker for William Branch Giles, yet another one of Sugar’s ancestors.



Noted lawyer and statesman William Branch

Giles was born12 Aug. 1762 in Amelia County

and educated at Hampden-Sydney College,

Princeton, and the College of William and

Mary.  Giles served Virginia in the United

States House of Representatives (1790-1798

and 1801-1803) and in the U.S.  Senate (1804-

1815), where he was a chief Republican ally

of Thomas Jefferson during the Republican

and Federalist party debates of that era.

Giles was elected governor by the General

Assembly in 1827 and served until 1830.  He

participated in the state constitutional conven-

tion of 1829-1830.  Giles died 4 Dec. 1830

in Amelia County and is buried near the

Wigwam, his house, which stands to the north-

west on Rte. 637.

Hmmm, Route 637.  It’s not on the map.  We circled around the downtown area, which was quite small and closed up tight as a drum.  Sugar spotted a man outside what appeared to be a bed-and-breakfast, and he commanded the van to a halt.

The man said that it used to be a bed-and-breakfast, but when the economy failed, they started taking in long-term renters instead.  He didn’t know where Mattoax or the Wigwam or Route 637 were. and he produced a little map of the local area, which also did not have Route 637 on it.  There were some numbers that were close, and we wondered if the route number on the historical marker was incorrect.

He gave us general directions heading east, and after our goodbyes, we headed over to a four-lane divided highway.  We were looking for Chula, and thought that we had missed our turn, with that typical nervousness that lost people with poor directions have.  So we stopped at a sandwich shop, one of the few places that was open.

The sandwich shop has a good crowd of local folks, but we didn’t ask anyone, not even the police officers, where Mattoax or Route 637 might be.  We’d already struck out with Mr. Jimmy and the B and B guy, so it was beginning to look doubtful that local folks could help.

So we looked at the map of Richmond and the surrounding area ONE MORE TIME, and headed east again on the four-lane, Highway 360, also known as Patrick Henry Highway.

Highway 604, Chula Road, turned left off of Patrick Henry Highway, so we did, too.  A car behind us rode our bumper as we crept along looking for Mattoax Lane on the right.  This continued forever, or perhaps about 15 minutes, and as the car raced past us downhill, we saw it on the right.  Mattoax Lane.

There’s nothing left of Mattoax.  No train station, no post office, just a little lane that winds along to the Appomattox.  We followed the lane along to almost the end, a green, leafy amble past fields and trees and not much else.

The lane ended in a gateway for a restricted community.  No trespassing.  We were so close to finding where The Oaks was.  No trespassing.  We did not feel like going to jail on this day, so we turned around and headed back out Mattoax Lane.

We drove further along Chula Road where it stayed Highway 604 but became Genito Road.  We knew that it crossed the Appomattox at some point, so if we only had a boat, we could float down the Appomattox past the old location of The Oaks.

A photo of the Appomattox will have to do for now.  The bridge was quite high and cars were whizzing also.  This was a totally unsafe maneuver on my part, but I had to get the shot.


Our next plan was to find The Wigwam, even though we were feeling discouraged at not being able to get to The Oaks property.

We headed back toward Chula, and I pulled over to get a shot of the Mattoax Lane sign.

IMG_3986 (2)


Well, this wasn’t helping us find Route 637, so Sugar proposed another turn-around to head north of Chula to find The Wigwam.  We wound around a good bit, grateful for a large tank of gas, and Sugar pointed to another lane that headed south, which was not the direction we should be going in, but we are on vacation, and in no hurry, so why not?

A turn in the road revealed a brick church, which looked exactly like the church that Sugar’s cousin found perhaps twenty-five years ago as the location of where William Starr Basinger and Margaret Roane Garnett got married.





This was exactly the church where they were married, except it wasn’t.  Sugar’s cousin found the wrong church.  But this is exactly the church where Sugar’s cousin had his photo taken on the steps.

You might ask why this looks like the back of the church is facing the road.  You are very clever, and you already know the answer.  The road was not here when the church was built.  There was another road in front of the church which was further into the valley, and apparently was impassable from time-to-time, so a new road.


The true front.


Hickory nuts were everywhere, and we saw chipmunks scampering about.

Hickory nuts were everywhere, and we saw chipmunks scampering about.


We headed on in search of The Wigwam.  Did we find it?  Stay tuned.