Posts Tagged ‘History’

More SugarCousins: Maude Constance Tilton, 1876-1937

May 1, 2016

And another thing…

A nice lady found my blog. She is a SugarCousin, and she wonders what we can find out about her grandmother from Savannah, a certain Maude Constance Tilton who married Joseph Maner Lawton. 

Before you gasp and exclaim *That’s my Joseph Maner Lawton*, well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. There were several. Regardless of which one, you’re a cousin. 

I poked around the Internet and made a little tree. I added Maude’s parents and husband. 

Then I added Maude’s siblings… 

Then one generation back. 

Then I checked the City of Savannah’s Cemetery database. 

Aaa n d we’re off to the cemetery. 

The first stop is Laurel Grove. 

We are looking for lot 1874, which is where Mrs. Rosa M. Tilton, Clifton Mills Tilton, and Nathaniel O. Tilton are buried. We turn down a lane that we’ve never traveled before, near the front of the cemetery, and SugarSpotter spotted a stone that he needed to see. Demanded I take a photo, he did. 


William Maner Bostwick, 1875-1947

Sugar thinks that this Bostwick person to be a derivation of Bostick, especially because it is coupled with “Maner”. And who am I to argue about local names with a local? I have learned to pick only the fights I can win. 

On to 1874. The lot, not the year. 

Nothing. No markers. This is not the first, nor the second, nor the third time we have encountered this, right here in Laurel Grove. 

There *IS* a simply wonderful Sago Palm that surely was planted long ago. It’s HUGE. 

Sorry for my poor planning and lack of forethought for not having a Sugary frame of reference to show you how big this Sago is. I think I was unnerved that there were no markers. 

 There were a couple of outlined graves. If you read a recent post about the Bateson plot at #322, you’ll remember that we can talk to he nice cemetery conservator who has the marvelous database that shows who is where. 

We know that the Bateson brothers have not had their markers installed yet, so we bypass a visit there because we still have much to see across town at Bonaventure. Plus lunch. A girl’s gotta have priorities. 

Now at Bonaventure. We’re at the sign at the entrance, looking for Section F, lot 46. Sorry for the reflection on the map. 

The Tiltons that I can identify as being part of this group are Jane C. Tilton, Major N. O. Tilton, O. L. Tilton, Rosa A. Tilton, and Mrs. Rosa B. Tilton. 

Of course. the SugarSpotter find a Lawton next door. 

Now, back to the true reason of our visit. 






Because I did a little homework before we set off for the cemetery, I found these documents about Nathaniel on ancestrydotcom. 

That wraps up our cemetery tour. I’m guessing that there are lots more documents online about this family. When I find more, I’ll edit this post and add them. 

Good night, Tilton people. We’re thinking of you.   

The Lawton and Allied Families Association Reunion: 2016

April 14, 2016

Lawton people! Here’s your 2016 reunion!

Even if you can’t attend, send in your annual dues, which goes in part toward good works, like the repair of the cemetery wall at the Lawton-Seabrook Cemetery on Edisto.

But really? Savannah! You know you want to!


In Memory of Miser

February 24, 2016

While Sugar and I were at the Savannah Wildlife Facility’s diorama, I saw a tombstone in one of the displays. I took some photos which were found later not to be clear. 

We went back so I could get better photos. I was the one hanging over the rail with Sugar posted as the lookout. 


In Memory of Miser

Who was a Driver on this Plantation for 30 years. He was a faithful Servant, a true Christian, and the noblest work of God – an honest man. 

This slab is placed over his remains by his Master Daniel Heyward in token of his love and esteem. 

Good-night, Miser. I hope you rest well from your labors. 

This Is The Year

January 1, 2016

2015 was an amazing year. There were undreamable moments that came true. There were unbelievable people that emerged. There were worries and issues. 

This year might just explode. In a good way. I hope. 


Once, when I was a little girl, my mother was talking to her friend about learning more about her family. Like making a family tree, back when it was hard, and there weren’t many resources. 

“Oh, you don’t want to do that,” her friend said. “You might not like what you find.” Because the liking was an important part of the search. 

Someone she knew had done such a thing, and they were changed forever. They found that they were mixed race. She went on to tell us that when she and some other ladies would work a blood drive (which was in another state but could have been anywhere), they marked the collection vials with “W” or “Co”. Because we don’t want a blood transfusion of the wrong blood when we are bleeding to death. Which today reminds me of the old saying that one drop of colored blood means that you are colored. 

I’m not even going to rant about that and use up valuable energy that could go towards good. 


Y’all know that Sugar took an autosomal DNA test. The day came that the test confirmed what we had already learned from other distant cousins. 

It turns out that none of the black cousins had ever met the white cousins, at least not since 1881. On December 26, 2015, we made history. 


Standing: Elizabeth Lawton Hromika and Leslie Lawton Bateson. Seated: Francine Brown.

A big part of this meeting is the fact that conversations were started and maintained. Sometimes one race won’t talk to another race, even online which is where the conversations start, once race is revealed. 

Francine’s great-nephew is the one who took the DNA test, and when he reached out, people responded. The connections got bigger and bigger. 

So people? Start the conversation. Go make some history.  

FlowerFest 2015: Stops One and Two

December 8, 2015

We’re off on our annual poinsettia-placing to Savannah. 




From SC into GA

Sugar and I head into Laurel Grove first. It’s on the west side of town, so we approach it first once we cross over the bridge. 

Our goal is to start with the Densler and Bateson plots, then finish up at the Lawton-Jones mausoleum. As we drove along the lane, we got visually side-tracked by a limping dog, who limped along across the lane in front of us and joined another dog. Then a little shepherd mix PUPPY popped out of the underbrush, right by a black dog that might have been his mother. We had no food in the car to give them. It was all disconcerting. 

The dogs melted into the underbrush, but the puppy came out to bark at us. 

There was really nothing we could do about the dogs, except leave them. 

We parked back of the Densler mausoleum and walk around to the front. Mrs. Mary Densler is buried here, and she is William Starr Basinger’s Aunt Polly. More correctly, I believe she is the sister of his mother’s mother Ann Pearson Starr. 

Some of the bricks look clean and repointed. 

We walk over a few lanes to the Bateson plot. This lot is special to us. We discovered in 2014 that there were Batesons right here in Savannah in an unmarked plot, and Sugar ordered a stone for them. There are 10 people buried here in a lot that can hold 12. The last burial was in 1879, that of the child, Thomas Remington Bateson. No one was left to mark the burial place until 135 years later when a Sugar came along. 

I always want to just sit with these people. I wonder what they would think of this: the picture-taking, the blogging, the marking of the plot. And the automobiles, the traffic, the sounds of the interstate nearby, the planes overhead. Every vehicle was pulled by animal power when these folks were alive. I want to talk to them, or actually, simply to listen to what they have to say. This family breaks my heart. 

It’s time to go to Jones-Lawton. 

This crypt is on 4 plots, if I understand it correctly. There are 4 graves buried outside the crypt, Sugar’s aunt Emily Augusta Lawton, and his first cousins Mary Garrard Mackin and her brother William, and William’s wife Alice Knott Garrard. 

Inside are at least 18 people. The story goes that it was built by Augustus Seaborn Jones for himself and his wife Emily Robert Jones. Here’s where things get convoluted. Their daughter Elizabeth “Bessie” Jones married Dr. William Seabrook Lawton (they are Sugar’s great-grandparents).  Their son Edward Percival Lawton (he is Sugar’s grandfather) and daughter Gulielma Lawton Read (she married Abram Carrington Read) are buried there, but not their spouses. Another daughter of Edward Percival is there: Leslie Lawton Read, who married a different branch of the Reads. Leslie’s daughter Margaret Louisa Read is there, and she took the last spot. (Another daughter of Edward Percival’s is Emily Augusta Lawton, already mentioned.)

So many Lawtons, so little time. 


Sugar spots a rainbow effect over Jones-Lawton.


We walk around the grounds, noting that the crepe myrtles could be cut back yet again. 


From the rear

It’s time now to go somewhere we’ve never gone, literally and figuratively. 

The day before, I had an online conversation with another of Sugar’s Lawton cousins who mentioned that his grandfather Jefferson Brown, a Lawton descendant, lived at 1024 36th Street. I offered to go by to see if the house still stood. 
His name is Jordan, and he tested with 23&me. He’s definitely a Lawton. 

You can read his story at the 23&me website. 


The Gold Mine in the Closet: Statement by Elizabeth Georgia Basinger of the experiences of her mother, Jane Susan Starr Basinger, & herself during the occupation of the City of Savannah by Sherman’s army on December 20th, 1864.

November 29, 2015

This Gold Mine in Sugar’s Closet is as wide as it is deep.

I was tootling through some Garrard papers (Hi Emily! I’m working on it!) when I found this statement and a transcription. I don’t know when the statement was written, and I don’t know when the transcription was transcribed, or who the transcriber was. I wonder if it’s the same typist and/or typewriter who transcribed William Starr Basinger’s “Reminiscences”. Regardless, I don’t know who transcribed the “Reminiscences”.

What I do know is that it appears to have been written long afterward Sherman’s occupation of Savannah based on some of Elizabeth “Georgia” Basinger’s statement.

So here I’ll present the images and then my digital transcription of the transcription. The original statement is difficult to read, but really? It’s possibly 150 years old. The paper it is written on is solid and only slightly worn on the edges. It is one continuous sheet.

Here we go…

BasingerEG 1864P1BasingerEG 1864P2BasingerEG 1864P3

BasingerEG P1

BasingerEG P2

BasingerEG P3

Here’s an oddity on the back of page one. It’s a carbon. I haven’t attempted to flip the page in a digital fashion. I remember the old days of manual typewriters and carbon sheets. I think that the carbon was inserted incorrectly between two or more sheets. I remember that usually, when typing an important paper, the first draft was not the final draft, and I think that this was an early attempt at transcribing the statement.

BasingerEG Back of P1

Statement by Elizabeth Georgia Basinger of the experiences of her mother,
Jane Susan Starr Basinger, & herself during the occupation of the City of
Savannah by Sherman’s army on December 20th, 1864.
The 20th Dec 1864 was a sad and sorrowful day in Sav, for we
knew the Y army was but a short distance off, and that during the night the City would be evacuated by the Confederate troops. There was but little provision What provision was the Quartermasters had were distributed to the citizens. The Hospitals & Soldiers Homes were disbanded, dismantled & their
little stores divided out among those who were at hand to receive them.
Night drew on dark & threatening, the stars were veiled in clouds as if in sympathy, those whose fate it was to remain in the City retired to their houses, glad to light their lamps, & sit around their fires, though they could do nothing, & talk of nothing but the events of the past day & the anticipations of the morrow. About 10 o’clock we suddenly remembered a sabre we had in our possession & was at that moment leaning in the corner, which had been taken from the enemy & given us by a friend, we had no time then to dispose of it in a safe place as we had done other articles of the
same kind, so Mother & I took it & went to the door & listened for some one to pass to whom we could give it. Presently we heard the noise of a horse’s feet & the rattle of a sword, it was so dark (there was no gas) that we could see neither horse or rider, but we went to the pavement & called. It proved to be an officer, & we knew by his voice & manner a gentleman, so we gave it to him, with a few brief words of explanation & he rode on. We went to bed, more from habit & because we did not know what else to do.
The first sound we heard early the next morning was Oh Miss, Oh Miss Lizzie, de Yankees is come, dey is just as tick (thick) as bees, dey is so many on horses & de horse’s tails is stanin’ out right straight, you jes come look out de winder. We were sorry to see the daylight which brought such a sight to us, what the little negro had said was too true, our street was full of them, there were pickets in the lane, a vacant lot near us was full & they had taken the next house wh was unoccupied. We had our gates & door securely fastened, several did get into the yard, because the servants were obliged to go in & out sometimes, but nothing was taken from the premises.
Our cooks husband would stand at the front gate a few moments & he had a ring taken from his finger & stolen & I was glad of it for it made them more careful. We closed our windows & mourned all the day, sad & listless, all our energy gone, & not a cent of money which was available of any use then we could not eat so we did not realize then that when our stock of provisions exhausted we had no money with which to get more. We retired that night.
At night there were fires in the lane & soldiers around them, their muskets stacked near by. We were amused when on retiring to our rooms we made a little noise with the windows, to see every man spring to his feet & grasp his musket, looking around as if expecting an attack. Thankful that our house had not been invaded we went to sleep. Quite early next morning Mother called “Come, let us up & be doing! As soon as we can get our breakfast we
must go to work, the Yanks all want something sweet & we want some green-backs, we will make cakes & pies &c and sell them”. We did so & were quite successful, we had several little negroes about who were delighted to do it. Several trays full were stolen by the soldiers. This was our life for some time & we made enough to get many things we needed. The rations which were given out, I think belonged to the City, they were given to all white persons who presented themselves. We as well as most others received the rations, because we had no money but Confederate. Whether any were ever denied or not I never heard; those persons appointed to distribute them were well acquainted in the City & I presume much had to be left to their discretion. It was some time before we took any of the enemy into our house; we heard so much about other persons providing for their whole families from the rations brought by those in their house, that we decided to take the next who applied; so shortly five asked to have a room, they would pay
for the room, & the gas, would bring their rations & we would have them prepared & put upon our table, where they & ourselves would take our meals.
The provisions were such that we could not stand it long; so we had to eat our own meals first, then go to the table & pretend to eat. Of course we could have no conversation with them, tho’ they tried their best to induce us, by discussing person & event in which they knew we were deeply interested, but we had made up our minds to be silent & we were. Their very presence soon became so hateful, & the feeling of degradation at even sitting
down with them so great, that we told them they might keep the room but we could no longer cook their meals.
Before breakfast one day, one of the servants said “Miss (they called mother so, short for mistress) I bleve dem Y is going, one big wagon is at the door”. Before we could turn round, they were gone sure enough, & we never heard more of them, the gas bill they did not pay, it was afterwards presented to us, but we declined to pay & so the matter ended. I do not remember the names of the men, we were only too glad to forget all about them.
If we had been sociable with them I have no doubt they would have provided much better; but our pride could not come down to that. Brother was in Va. all that time & Mother had been very sick, the grown negroes had left, & my time was fully occupied. We never came in contact with any of the enemy, so knew next to nothing except from hearsay. Occasionally we would hear from
what was left of the Confederacy. We had (& I have never ceased to regret it) taken the oath in order to receive our letters, for we felt as if we must hear from Va. & a letter did reach us sometimes.
On April 6th (???) I think, was fought the last battle of the confederacy, at Sailor’s Creek Va. Brother’s battalion was there, many were killed & he with many others taken prisoner. The first particulars came to me from my cousin who was also a prisoner. I well remember the number of persons who met me that afternoon on leaving the P O. The news soon flew over the City & by the time I reached home our house was full all eager to hear of their
friends who were in the fight. We had to tell many of the death of their sons, brothers &c, others were left in doubt of the fate of friends, many  were wounded & carried to prison. Brother was taken to Johnsons Is, my cousin to Fort McHenry. After that our amusement was to write long letters & take them to the Provost’s office to be approved & sent off. Three or four would undertake to read one letter, but would soon tire, put it in the envelope & mark it approved. We always took care to give them something sprey
to read about themselves & the fun was to see them make faces over it & yet could not exactly find fault. Brother remained in prison about 6 months, he with a number of others would not take the oath ordered, so they were kept, until their captors got disgusted I suppose for they were released & took no oath. The prison fare was very hard to those who had no money, many
ate rats & scraps left by the more fortunate. Those who had means & obtained better food, put up boxes in the passages, & would put in them what they could spare, & those who needed took from the boxes, so their feelings were saved & those who gave were pleased. We were able by exertion & some sacrifice to keep Brother provided. When he came home we were all right again.
The Mayor as on the approach of the enemy , met them & gave up the City. At the time we felt that terribly & thought we had rather have been bombarded, in our cooler moments we believed the Mayor was right. One night while the five Y were in our house, there was an immense fire in W. Broad St.; powder, shell &c were stored there, of course there were explosions & the shell went all over the City, in some cases through the roofs & into the houses. There was great excitement, & everybody much frightened. Our 5 thought at first that the Confeds were trying to retake the City. I do not remember, but I think the rations were given for about a month.
Many persons were much annoyed by the Y soldiers, but we escaped. The houses of those who had left the City were generally taken possession of, the furniture, clothing &c destroyed & given away, the negroes were paid for their services with it, carpets cut up for horse blankets, vaults in the cemetery broken open to hunt for treasure, particularly those which seemed to have been recently opened for interment. Sav on the whole fared much better than most places.

It’s a favorite old Southern story that the Confederate families that were left behind buried the family silver at the approach of the Union Army. The Basingers were city people, and even though they had a town lot, there is no story of any hiding of family valuables. Sugar has a story that the Basinger silverware was placed in a safe-deposit box at a bank in the 1900s. It was never recovered, if the story is true.

There are a few pieces of silver that Sugar has in his collection. We were looking at them over the Thanksgiving holiday this year, and he found a fork with the initials “E G B” on the underside of the handle.

Do you suppose, when Elizabeth Georgia Basinger took her meals at the table with the Yankees, that she used this fork…

Along the Rivuh

November 21, 2015

We’re out in the churchyard at the Church of the Cross in Bluffton on a BatesonFest. We used to only go on LawtonFests, because Sugar didn’t know any other Batesons. But since Julie in Belgium found an online family tree I posted, and she found a cousin’s wife in New Zealand who connected us to another cousin in South Africa, who connected us to her daughter and family in North Carolina and yet another cousin in Saskatchewan, he’s feeling not so lonely. It’s his Canadian cousins who have stopped for a visit and the subsequent BatesonFest. 

There’s a sort of sundial in the yard, and we weren’t sure it it was still on Eastern Standard Time or Daylight Savings. Maybe you can tell. 

There are some carvings around the base. We don’t know what they mean, but here they are. 

We stand in the shadow of an ancient cedar tree. There aren’t many cedars to be found in this part of the country, and when you do find a cedar, it’s old. 


The Maye Rivuh


Then we piled back in the van and drove around old Bluffton and Sugar showed us his boyhood haunts. We drove over the little causeway to Myrtle Island, and he told us how people would go crabbing there. We drove around Myrtle, a small residential island with beautiful homes and matching views in every direction. We drove past Sugar’s boyhood home, which was set away from the road and closer to the marsh and so overgrown that the actual hour could not be seen. We saw some of the other historic houses and properties, like the Heyward house, the John Lawton Property, and the Boy Scout hut where Sugar and his buddies met. He said his troop was unique, Bluffton-style, and it was a mixed bag of boys, with the younger ones on the roof throwing sticks, and the older ones smoking cigarettes. He had a friend from Hilton Head named Fred, and Fred’s father wanted his two boys in the scouts until he drove up one day with the boys in the car to join the scouts. He saw that rough-and-tumble group and just kept driving.  
Then we did something I’ve always wanted to do. 

We went through the boat landing. There is a nice portapotty there, which was not the reason we went. 

Okay, it was the reason we went, but it was a perfect opportunity to walk down to where the boats put in on a point of land. 

Across the way are other little islands. 

We drove around a bit more as we wound our way to the British Open Pub for lunch. We thought it might be fun for the Bateson boys to eat in a British pub, since their families were born Brits. The meal was unremarkable and no photos are forthcoming. 

But then, we head toward Hilton Head even though it is Saturday, which is changeover day for the tourist rentals and no one in their right mind gets on the one road in and out of Hilton Head unless it’s the offseason. Sometimes we are not in our right mind, but it’s offseason, and on we press to see the house and property where Sugar’s friend Fred grew up. It’s a museum now. With a gift shop. Which will have books!


The John Lawton House on the Maye River

October 11, 2015

It’s time for a roll down Memory Lane. 

We head over to the site of the John Lawton house in Bluffton. 

I’m always surprised that no one tries to accost us. I mean, if someone were standing outside your house, taking photos, would you be flattered or would you pick up a shotgun? Strangely, we’ve NEVER had a problem. Perhaps it’s because of my ninja-like stealth-photo-taking abilities. Or perhaps it’s my cloak of secrecy. Or perhaps it’s because I don’t look like I know how to operate an iPhone camera = undangerous. 

At any rate, I’m right up against the gate in some of these photos. 


Site of the John Lawton house, circa 1888

There are two houses on the property, but neither are the original John Lawton house. 


Y’all know I love old bricks.

 Stay tuned ’cause there’s always more dead people fun around here. 

The Frederick Ball House and the View From Columbia Square

September 27, 2015

After Sugar and I walked around the exterior of the Frederick Ball House in Savannah, Georgia, we headed across the street to Columbia Square. 

A walking woman saw us wandering around taking lots of photos, and she thought we were lost tourists. She offered her assistance by asking if we were lost. We replied that we were local-ish, and she told us once of meeting some folks walking south, who commented that they were almost to the river. The river is indeed north. 



 On the way back to the car, I realized that the front door knocker was too interesting and ornate to pass by. 


So come along the next time with us! Always something interesting to see in Savannah. You don’t even have to be a relative.  

The Frederick Ball House in Savannah, Georgia

September 24, 2015

Do you remember when Sugar and I went to Washington, Georgia?

If you are new to the blog then you don’t remember it at all. But it happened almost exactly 2 years ago. Our interest in Washington, Georgia, was due to the fact that we were searching for more information about Corinne Elliott Lawton.  Corinne’s mother, Sarah Alexander Lawton, was from Washington. 

There were other reasons we were there. We were interested in Fanny Andrews. We were interested in her parents, Garnett Andrews, who married Annulet Ball. And Annulet’s father was none other than Frederick. 

Recently another of Sugar’s and Corinne’s cousins, yet another Corinne, was reading one of Eliza Frances “Fanny” Andrews’s books, Diary of a Georgia Girl, which is her war-time journal during The War. Sugar discovered that Fanny’s mother’s parents had a house in Savannah. 

You know what this means? We’re off to Savannah!

We didn’t attempt to break and enter. Of course, I took photos from every angle. 

Up the steps to the first floor, and down the steps to the ground floor. There’s not a basement or cellar, there’s a *ground* floor. 


The west side of the house is the front entrance.


A passageway between the Ball house and the house next door to the south.




The north side of the house


The building behimd the house.


The back of the house over the fence.



Ah, crape myrtles, and Columbia Square across the way.


Now let’s walk through the square…