Posts Tagged ‘Knoxville’

The Pension File Of John Webb and Martha Belle Duggan Webb

August 31, 2016

John Webb married a younger woman. She wasn’t even born when he left the service of the B Company, 2nd Regiment of the Tennessee Vols Cavalry in 1865. They had several children. One appears to have been born before they were married, so I’m not clear if this child was born to another woman. At any rate, the mother of that child is not named.

The PDF file will follow this transcription of some of the more interesting parts of the file. Please do open the PDF and read it all, if you know how to read cursive.

ACT OF JUNE 27, 1890.



To be executed before a Court of Record or some officer thereof having custody of its seal.

On this 8th day of July, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and ninety, personally appeared before me, Clerk of the County Court, a court of record within and for the County and State aforesaid, John Webb, aged 45 years, a resident of the County of Blount, State of Tennessee, who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that he is the identical John Webb, who was ENROLLED on the 15th day of August, 1862, in Company B, 2d Regiment, Tennessee Cavalry Vols as a Private in the war of the rebellion and served at least ninety days, and was HONORABLY DISCARGED (sic) at Nashville Tennessee, on the 6th day of July, 1865. That he is wholly unable to earn a support by reason of deafness of both ears and broken thigh (left thigh) and injury to small of his back. That said disabilities are not due to his vicious habits, and are to the best of his knowledge and belief permanent. That he has formerly applied for pension under application No. 733,733. That he makes this declaration for the purpose of being placed on the pension roll of the United States, under the provisions of the Act of June 27, 1890.

He hereby appoints, with full power of substitution and revocation, W.C. CHUMLEA, OF MARYILLE, TENN.

his true and lawful attorney to prosecute his claim. That his post-office address is Uceba, County of

Blount State of Tenn.

It is agreed that the attorney’s fee be Ten Dollars  as prescribed by law under this Act.

John (X his mark) Webb


(Two witnesses who write sign here.)

  1. M. Webb
  2. Samuel Cameron



So. Division

Department of the Interior,


Washington, D. C., Aug. 27, 1897

No. 854786

John Webb

Co. B, 2 Reg’t Tenn. Vol. Cav.


Will you kindly answer, at your earliest convenience, the questions enumerated below? The information is requested for future use, and it may be of great value to your family.

Very respectfully,

J. L. Davenport

Actg Commissioner

Mr. John Webb, Uceba, Tenn.

No. 1. Are you a married man? If so, please state your wife’s full name, and her maiden name.

Answer: Marth Belle Duggan Webb

No 2. When, where, and by whom were you married? Answer: April 9 – 1894 at Marville, S. M. Morton

No. 3. What record of marriage exists? Answer: at Marville, Tenn.

No. 4. Were you previously married? If so, please state the name of your former wife and the date and pace of her death or divorce. Answer: No.

No. 5 Have you any children living? If so, please state their names and the dates of their birth. Answer:

Nancy Henry Etta Webb. Sept. 11 – 1892

Mitchell Dillard Webb. May 4 – 1895

George Francis Webb. Nov. 29 – 1896

Date of reply, Sept – 5, 1897.

John Webb





State of Tenn, County of Knox, ss:

IN THE MATTER OF Martha N. Webb wid John Webb, 2 Reg. Tenn Cavalry Vol

ON THIS 9 day of December A. D. 1918 personally appeared before me, a Notary Public in and for the aforesaid County, duly authorized to administer oaths, Leah E. Day aged 57 years, a resident of Knoxville in the County of Knox and State of Tenn

well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declares in relation to the aforesaid case as follows:

I will say that I am a sister to Martha B. Webb. I have been personal associated with her all my life and I know from personal knowledge that they lived together as husband and wife to his deth and neither of them was divorced. who died April 7 1898 I was present and atten his funer She then married Patrick Johnson August 21, 1904 and was divorced from him March 12, 1918. he proved to be such a wicked & drunkard he would not only abuse her but he would fight her. She was afraid to live with him he would threaten her life. he would not provide anything for the support of the family. he was a man that would run after lude women. he proposed to her to get the divorce – but she did not have the money so he said he would get it himself.

Her Post-Office address is 1407 Morres St. Knoxville Tenn

FURTHER DECLARES that no interest in said case and not concerned in its prosecution.

Leah (X her mark) E. Day

Signature of Affiant

  1. Wily Lyons
  2. Mattie Webb





State of Tenn, County of Knox, ss:

IN THE MATTER OF Martha B. Webb wid John Webb, 2 Reg Tenn Cav Vol

ON THIS 9 day of December A. D. 1918, personally appeared before me, a Notary Public in and for the aforesaid County duly authorized to administer oaths, Martha B. Webb aged 51 years, a resident of Knoxville in the County of Knox and State of Tenn.

well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, neing duly sworn, declares in relation to the aforesaid case as follows:

will say that I am the Claimant in this case – and will say my first husband John Webb and I got along peaceabley and happy during his lifetime and after his death I married Patrick Johnson August 21 1904 and was divorced from him March 12 1918 he was an awful wicked man he drank and cursed me – and he threatented diferent times to kill me – he would not provide for the family. We could not get along together So he proposed to me for me to get the divorce I told him I did not hav the money – he said he would get it – So I was afraid to live with him and I left him for feare he would kille me So he went a head and got the divorce.

Her Post-Office is 2138 Erine Av Knoxville Tenn

Marth B. Webb

Signature of Affiant

WebbJohn & WebbMartha – Pension & Widow’s Pension File

Wouldn’t want to be related to Patrick Johnson…

Another Gold Mine, Another Closet, Another Mystery

January 5, 2015

Another Family Bible has popped up.

(All photos are downloaded from correspondence on the internet. I don’t actually have the Bible in hand.)


This one is reported by my brother to have belonged to our grandfather James Packett.

But his name is not in it.

Yet my mother told my brother that this was her father’s Bible.

There are some names.

Miss Helen Wood

957 Lee Ave.

Knoxville, Tenn.

Helen Wood and

Claude Davis

were married Jan. 12, 1929

WoodsBible HelenWoods

But who are they?

I found Helen Davis, married, on the 1930 census and living with her mother Mabel Philips and her step-father Dewey Philips, but her husband is not in the home.

I also found in a 1930 Knoxville City Directory that Dewey Philips worked for a construction company as a foreman, and he was living at 957 Lee. Claude Davis is in the same directory, and he also works for the same construction company and lives at the same address.

But who are they?

I scrinched my eyes up, all squinty-like, and I imagined that I could see the imprints of a writing utensil coming through the paper from the other side. So I asked, and was told, yes, there is writing, but not like any other writing that’s ever been seen in a Family Bible.

The last names have been erased.

WoodsBible James&Susan

I imagined that the erased names are both “Woods”. The handwriting is the same as the top part of the previous page.

So I look for James and Susan Woods and I find them in 1920, both in their late sixties, with several children, including Hellen, age 8, and 2 younger children. They are listed as the children of James and Susan, which, on Susan’s part, is physically not possible.

And on a census previous to that, James and Susan have a large family including a daughter named Mabel. Let’s imagine that Mabel was not married to Helen’s father, since everyone has the same last name of Woods.

There’s also written in pencil “Mrs. Mabel Phillips, 957 Lee, Knoxville, Tenn.”.

WoodsBible MabelPhillips

I also found death certs for James and Susan Woods.At this moment I have only downloaded the death cert for James Woods, and not just because I’m lazy, but because I’m busy, and just today have two great missing pieces of the Bateson puzzle which will amaze and astound you.

WoodsJames DeathCertificate

The informant is son-in-law Dewey Phillips.

There is no known histoy of Woods people marrying my mother’s people,

So whose Bible is this and why did my mother have it?

Pete Packett’s Papers: A Letter from Eston P. Packett, 1966

April 19, 2014

Packett Eston 1966 001

                                                                                November 16, 1966

Mr. Pete Packett

% Fort Myers News-Press

Fort Myers, Fla.

Dear Mr. Packett:

Received your letter and hope I can be of some help.

I knew your father and mother; they lived across the street from

my family when their first child was born.  They were living

with your Grandmother Webb.

Your dad came to see me in Knoxville about 1940.  Some of you

were in the service then.  He was pastor of a church in Lenoir

City at that time.

My father was Issac Henry Packett and my grandfather was Vinsent Packett.

Alvis Lee Packett’s father was Harbison Packett.  All

of this family was born and raised in Union County, Tenn.

My sister, Mrs. Della Morrell, who lives in Sevierville, Tenn.

has the old family bible with the records in it.  You can write

her:  Route 3 Sevierville, Tenn. 37862.

I have three children, all living in Lakeland, Fla.  My son Jack

Packett is with Publix – buyer for Gourmet Food and candy.  He

lives at 510 Lone Palm Drive.  My two daughters are Mrs. Roy Essary,

(Betty) and Mrs. Stephen Stith, (Barbara).

I hope this helps you in your search.  My sister probably can

give you additional information.

PS  My father, Issac Packett had only one brother, who was

Harbison Packett – A.L.Packett’s father.  Issac Packett

died in Knoxville, Tenn. in 1938.  I do not know who

John and Gaines Packett were.


Eston P. Packett

2180 Colonial Ave.

Lakeland, Fla. 33801

And the first child that was born to my grandparents James and Ruth Packett?  That was my mother, Uncle Pete’s sister.

The Safety Patrol in Lenoir City, Tennessee, in 1936

May 13, 2012

As I’ve mentioned before, my mother was on the high school newspaper staff, and in her stash were some newspapers.  Here’s one of the highlights in 1936.

From the Lenoir City High School newspaper, the “Orange and Black”, in 1936: 

These boys are giving of their time to help prevent accidents and save lives.  They are the new Safety Patrol and are shown here with some of the helpers in the movement.

Front row (left to right):  State Patrolman Holden, Gene Lynch, Ray Harold Anderson, Charles Munsey, Gene McCarroll, W. F. Johnson, James Price and Sgt. Pace.

Middle row:  Elden Robinson, Elwood Robinson, Melvin Freedman, Jason Baker, B. F. Llewellan, Walker Barnett and James Soward.

Top row:  Capt. Mitchell of the Knoxville Safety Patrol, Ralph Blackburn, Clellan Perryman, Capt. James Hartsook,Glenn James, Fred Weaver, Jr., Burk Peterson, Supt. C. M. Mitchell and Harry M. Calloway, commander of the Legion who are giving the boys their equipment, belts, flags and raincoats.

Andrew Jackson Rhea and Rebeca Johnson Rhea

November 3, 2011

From the RV archives comes an old letter written by Andrew Jackson (A. J.) Rhea to his son William “Dock” Rhea.  This copy comes to me from cousin Diana McDonald of Mexia, Texas.  She sent many old letters written to Dock and his wife Martha “Mattie” Gamble Rhea.

A transcription of the letter follows the images of the letter.  For better viewing of any image or photo on this blog, left-click once, then once again to enlarge.

Comments, corrections, and questions welcome.

Pages 1 and 2 of a 4 page letter.

Ellejoy E Tenn Blount Co

May 5th 1880

Dour Son and douter it is with plasure that I rite you afue lines to let you no that wee air all well at pres hoping that this may fin you Aall injouningthe same good blesing I have had a very bad spell With my head tho I am Well and gone to Work a gane  I have No newes of much interist to rite you  Wee have hade a grate deal of rain this spring with wind and hal  on the last Satterday in March ther was  a Wind Storm thruu here bloed A tree don in and Kill that young givens (?) that worked with Hue Colt all so here horse and cripped tounsls Sliotey  it blod Claks Saw mill Shed don at Knoxvill and Kill him in it edd Clark Wheat is no promising by no moro (?) it has the rust  Son Wel air bee hind With oir crop this Spring tho I have a very good garden  I have potato sprouts large a nuf to put out the pech peair plum crop air all killed the canidates air All well primed and redding fur just to cock and shoot and Wee have loded More rule with A rifel charge  John Amprester is a canidat for constibell I beleve that is all the strang nuise that I have the relation on both sides air all Well as far as I no  Your Mothers helth is not very good tho she is stil going  Jack and Hettie has moved

I have not reseved but the one letter from you sense the card you rote me beefore you got to you joerney end and that dated New Years day  I have bin so anches that I have went to the ofes every mail and I cant tell what is up that you doo not rite and let me no how you air pleas and if you and your famly air well or not by you not riting makes me oneasy granma to the children love (sp?) you and minie must rite to me and rite often Dock I think often A bout you and your family  I would lik so well to see you all but I cant see you Kiss them littel children for me and tell them that I have not forgot them and never will  Dock don’t bee so long riting to us for wee wont to here from you  Jack saw your M(??) mair it mairvill (Maryville) the other day  She is in fine order  he did not see the colt  Granma Joncen is here and sais she would lik to see you all and tried to get to your house beefour you lef but coulnot  So I will close by asking you a gain to not fail in riting to us  We send our love to you and family take car of your helth and trust your sol in car of the blesed Savore

So we no at present your father and mother A. J. and Rebeca Rhea to W. F. Rhea

I forgot John Hedrick is out of the penetenture and (??) Nell Cuningham cals here babe rebeca Lue.


There are a lot of records available on about A. J.Rhea.  He was in the Civil War, having been born about 1815, and lived to at least 1891 when a Tennessee census shows him to be about 76 years old.  After his son Dock moved west to Arkansas, then Oklahoma, A. J. and Rebeca most probably never saw those children again.  If there was a reunion, I have no proof of it.

Dan Edward Yearout, 7/5/1928-9/11/2010

August 29, 2011

When I was much younger, I was in school with a girl whose last name was Yearout.  It was pronounced “YOUR-owl” and sometimes you couldn’t hear the “l”, and it sounded like “Your-ow”.  I promise.

I did not understand how this could be.  It was clearly “Year out”.  I like for things to be what they are on the surface, even though in literature I love symbolism and innuendo.  Like the meaning of the name of Sylvia the cat who loves to hang out in the woods, because she is sylvan and from the forest.  Although she’s not from the forest, she’s from the ditch besides the liquor store in Garnett.  I digress, but only a bit.

Sylvia: "My friends can call me Ditch".

So.  I started studying genealogy in 1999, and I met, via email, a man named Dan Yearout, who was also a studier of genealogy.  It seems that my ancestor, Lynch Webb, was in the Civil Wah at age 40 along with two of his sons and one of their cousins, Merah Yearout.  (It will pay us to note that Lynch’s FATHER was Merry Webb.)

Merry Webb, 1778-1864, at the Myers Cemetery in Townsend, Tennessee. (I promise this says Merry Webb.)

Merry Webb the elder was the progenitor of a large family.  He married several times.  When the time came for naming children and grandchildren, several of them, all males, were named Merry.  It appears that it was pronounced “Merah”, since that’s how Merah Yearout’s name is written on his Civil Wah pension file, and he was a descendant of Merry Webb.

So.  Merah Yearout and his wife are buried in the Lenoir City Cemetery when my parents and my mother’s parents and various other collateral relatives are buried.  Small world.  I’d never heard of Merah Yearout until I met, by email, his descendant Dan Yearout.  Who sent a picture of Merah that I cannot find now (insert future finding of picture of Merah Yourowl HERE!! Click here!!).

He also sent me a copy of a letter from one August Jahraus in Germany.  It seems that Dan did some sleuthing and traced the Yourowl name to Germany.  Now, I am not a German scholar, but my mother-in-law’s mother was from Sweden (Yumpin’ Yiminy!) and her maiden name was Jaderberg.  No, not JAY-der-berg, but YAH-da-bare.  So I can easily make the mental stretch from Jahraus to Yahrow to Yourowl.  Because when I am determined, facts do not necessarily get in the way.

Somehow Dan also found a translator.  Determination scores another win.


Translation of August’s Letter

26 of December 2000

Dear Mr. Dan Yearout

I’d like to excuse myself for not responding to your letters of 4th of July and from September 2000 and I hope that at least you received my response to your Christmas greetings with the attached photo of myself, my wife Katarzyna and our daughter Julia.  This photo was made on my 50th birthday on November 9th, 2000.

I married my wife Katarzyna at the age of 46.  She comes from Poland, close to Krakov, our daughter is 3 years old.

I run the vinery I took over from my parents and furthermore plant apples.  There are no other families by the name of Jahraus in Ilbesheim.  My father Karl Jahraus died in 1980 and my mother [no name mentioned] died in 1988.  As I am the only son, the name of Jahraus in Ilbesheim will not succeed. 

After my mother’s death I lived in our house by myself from 1988 to 1996.  Only during the times when there was lots of work in the vineyards, as in February-March (cutting the wine-plants back), June-July (working the leaves), and September-October (harvesting the grapes and apples), my today’s wife Katarzyna was here.

I make wine from the grapes, which I do not bottle and sell myself, but this wine is sold via commissioners to big vineries.  Under this marketing system we have not even been able to cover our costs in the last two years with the white wines.  Only with the red ones we can make decent money.  But the areas we use for growing red wine are very small and newly implanted vineyards do not carry enough harvest.  Thus all vineries with solemn or mostly production of barreled wine are in a sour economical situation.

Because of this I try to sell my apples directly to the customers.  Every Friday afternoon and Saturday I drive to a region where they do not have apple plantations, to sell them there.  This time is but amiss in my vinery.  During the time of grape harvest from the end of September until the middle of October there are many working hours necessary.  Furthermore there is lots of paperwork to be done until certain dates.  As my wife cannot do these, and even does not have a drivers license, which is valid in Germany, I managed to keep the fruit plantation in a good shape, but the paperwork keeps piling up, and I am only able to get the things done, that are absolutely running into their closing dates.  Especially the bygone year 2000 brought several problems onto the surface.

I can assure you, Mr. Yearout, that I am really interested in keeping in touch with you, but I never went into genealogy myself.  At this moment, I am not able to supply other information than the following ones:

I have a booklet, in which the emigration of people from Ilbesheim in the 18th and 19th century until WW I (1914-1918) is described.  There are three persons by the name of Jahraus mentioned, who have emigrated to the USA

1.  Jahraus, Jacob 1832

2.  Jahraus, Johannes 1832

3.  Jahraus, Katharina 1888

The author of this booklet mentions 33 persons, which have emigrated in the middle of the 18th century (1738-1754) from Ilbesheim.  But there are Jahrauses among these.  This might have its reason in the fact, that there were probably (guessed) more than 100 emigrants.

I wish you and your family health and luck in the New Year 2001.

Heartily greetings

August Jahraus


I was in the shed a few days ago in search of something and I uncovered a Rubbermaid tote that had the letter above.  I was curious to know if Dan Yearout was still out and about, so I did a google search and I found his obituary.

When I find Merah’s picture, I’ll post that, too.  I promise.

Rest well, Dan.

Old Letter from L.B. Gamble to his sister Martha Rhea, March 22, 1904

May 4, 2011

Corley Ark           March 22, 1904

Dear Sister          This leaves us up as well as common and hope will find you the same.  I got a letter from Sister Ruth today.  She wrote me that Sister Sallie Johnson died suddenly at 12:30 March the 9th.  She had been complaining some and had got dinner and washed her dishes and went across the street to Mollie’s at 12 o’clock and at 12:30 fell over dead.  Ruth said she had dropsy & heart trouble and weighed 238 lbs the last time she was weighed.   Ruth was in Atlanta when she died and came home in time to see her buried in Woodlawn Cemetery and that she was staying with Dave and Charlie for the present at 310 East Cumberland St., Knoxville, Tenn, and for you to write to her at that no.  I had a letter from Jim Gamble from Texas yesterday he said they was all well.  Also one from Nettie Gamble, Will Gamble’s girl at Newport Ark.  She said they was all well.  Hope to hear from you soon.  I will close for this time with our love to all.

                Your Brother

                L. B. Gamble

                Box 28

                Corley Ark



My great-great-grandmother was Ruth Gamble Collins, the sister of Larkin Boling Gamble, who is mentioned in this letter.  The woman that died was another sister, Sarah “Sallie” Johnson, the wife of Dave Johnson.  This Gamble family had a large number of siblings, a good many of whom moved westward.  Larkin Boling Gamble moved from Arkansas to Oregon.  Those letters are yet to come!

Old Letter From Lark Gamble to His Sister Martha “Matt” Gamble Rhea, April 29, 1904

May 2, 2011

Corley Ark April 29th 04

Dear Sister & family        Yours came to hand yesterday.  Glad to hear that you were all alive and reasonably well.  We are only sorter.  I have had a hard time this winter taken the Lagrippe in Dec and was hardly able to be up when Annie (his wife) was taken with pneumonia and then for over 3 weeks I was at her bedside from 16 to 20 hours out of 24.  Have had awful rheumatism all winter and since I wrote to you I have been so bad I could not turn over in  bed.  I am some better now but have had a stomach and bowel trouble for over a week but am a little better of that.  Had a letter from Ruth a few days ago.  She was back at her colledge farm boarding house and said Birdie had gone back to Atlanta Georgia and was to be married in a day or two and then go to Portsmouth to live.  She married a Mr. Jackson.  Mag Gamble writes me that her (illegible) was still alive but was weak not able to be up most of the time.

                Ruth wrote me that Jim Cochran was dead and that Minnie & Mary were both married and lived in Memphis Tennessee and that Minnie had been to Knoxville this winter on a visit.  Ruth said Jim was sick and had a hard chill taken a dose of medicine went to bed and was dead in a short time.  Have had no letters from Andy’s folks for some weeks they was all well at that time.  Em Rodgers and Tish Rhea Hute’s girls at or near the same place where Andy lives Mexia, Limestone Co. Texas and not over 80 or 100 miles from Cleburn where Oscar is.  I got letters from Nettie Gamble and L. B. Gamble from Newport Ark they are Will Gamble’s children.  Andy’s 2nd son Willie (?) wrote me that Pleasant H. Boling Uncle Pleas youngest son before and said that his wife had died a few days before and that he was coming to visit Will but had not come yet. 

     Well we have a nice garden considering the cold backward weather we have had mustard, lettuce, radishes for 3 weeks or we have had several messes of mustard greens.  The fruit prospect is not very good not many peaches, pears or plums.  Apples scattering some trees full others none and some scattering most of the corn is planted and cotton is being planted right along but the weather is still cool and cloud most of the time.

     I have had 3 swarms of bees but it is so cool they can do nothing.  I have 78 hives and am depending on the honey crop for a living to some extent but if it soon don’t get warm so the bees can work think the honey crop will be slim but hope for the best any way.  There is 12 acres of corn planted and 10 is all ready to plant in cotton.  On our place this year I keep some land for buckwheat for the pastor’s truck patches orchard vineyard is 5 or 6 acres in all.  Annie & some neighbor girls have gone fishing to day and fear they will catch more cold than fish as the wind is chilly.

We have 100 or more young chickens.  And not one of them but what is full blooded barred Plymouth Rock.  We keep no other and have not for 3 or 4 years.  So every chicken we have is as much alike as peas out of the same hull.  Well I will close.  Don’t wait so long about writing and come and see us when you can.  We are poor fokes but as clever as we can be and you mout like us after you got acquainted with us.  We have a few nice flowers but the yard is open to dogs, chickens and every thing else so flowers has a hard time to exist.

Well Dock play the old Blue Eagle and think of me.

                Your brother Lark

Box 28   Corley   Ark

Photos of Ivy Collins Coker

April 25, 2011

I’ve mentioned Ivy Collins Coker most recently in yesterday’s post. I also posted a photo of her with her mother Ruth Gamble Collins, who is my great-great-grandmother (what a nice first name), and also with Dr. Lynch Delisha Webb, who is my grandmother Ruth’s father. (They say it skips a generation. Not sure they were referring to my first name, but in this case, it does skip a generation.)

Here’s a couple more photos of Ivy from her grandson Dr. Harry Coker.  Dates and locations are unknown to me, but I would presume to say that the early photos were taken around 1900 in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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Old Letter From Elizabeth “Libbie” Gamble Cochran to Her Sister Martha “Matt” Gamble Rhea, circa 1880

April 24, 2011

So many old letters, so little time…

Over ten years ago, I received in the mail an amazing gift from someone I have never met.  Cousin Diana McDonald had copies of old letters in her possession, and she made copies and sent to me.  This copy is so faint that it cannot be read, but someone had transcribed the letter, what there was of it, into a typewritten page. 


Knoxville Tenn

March 26

My Darling Sister

Your wellborn letter reached me last night.  I was glad to hear from you all once more for I had come to the conclusion that you had forgotten your poor old afflicted sister in Knoxville.  I am so sorry that you are chilling.  It is so bad.  Have you ever tried Greens August Flowers.  I believe it would cure you, it is a good medicine.  I feel anxious for you to try it, you can obtain it at the drug store at Salome if they have not got it just get them to order it for you and don’t fail to try it.  You can get a small bottle a trial bottle for 10 cents with several doses in it  you might try one of them first, the next size is 75 cents.

Well, I will try to tell you what I know about fathers last days.  Mother came in here in October and said he was in his usual (piece of paper missing and part of word I think it is Health) and we thought we could have him in here with us this last winter.  We was going to send some easy conveyance and bring him in but before we sent for him he had a stroke of parralasys on the 11th of November at Hughs.  He was sitting by the fire and one of the little grand children was there in the yard and found a glass out of a pair of specticles and Eveline took it and went to him and ask him if it was his and he did not make her any answer.  She looked at him and one side of his face was all drawn and he could neither speak or move.  She called Hugh to the house and put him to bed and watched over him through the night.  In the morning they took him up and sit him at the table and he appeared hungry but could not swallow anything  but coffee and he drank four cups of coffee.  Evaline said to him he had better not drink so much at one time and take it more gradual and he said he was taking one cup after another.  He lived 13 days and slept the most of the time, would sometimes wake up and just speak one or two words and then go back to sleep again.  Mother was here and Ruth wrote to her.  She went out – I was sick and could not go to see him.  I have not been out there since you left here.  I did not hear of him speaking of any of us during his illness.  He had all the (page torn – I think it read consideration) that was necessary and was decently buried in the grave yard at Ellijoy in the row with Hughs children.  He was buried in the shirt I made for him.  He always said it was to bury him in and Mr. Cochran bought him a coat about a year before he died, he never had soiled it and it was put on him.  I fully believe he’s in heaven today.  Then let us try to live here so as to have a home with him there.  Pray to our heavenly father to show us the way.  I have been reading his dear old testament, I do love to read it because he read it so much.  Mattie read yours (this was all the letter I had unless I find second half)

On top page of letter as in a sort of ps she wrote

“you must try to write mother soon”

“Mrs. Lord and Gracie is both dead and Manley Keeble is dead.”

“John Cummings and Charity Davis married”


I read the letters over and over until I had memorized a good part of them.  They were like pieces of a puzzle, and I rearranged the names mentioned in the letters until I could make sense of some of them.  Who were they all?  Every name had value. 

One fall day in 1999 my children and I went to see my father in the assisted living facility.  We lived about 2 1/2 hours away, and I managed to fit in a side trip to Blount County.  We found the church and the graveyard at Ellijoy.  When I opened the gate to the graveyard, the gravestone directly in front of me was Manley Keeble, and I greeted him like a friend, “Well, Manley Keeble, so there you are!”  I still have no idea who Manley Keeble is, but we did find the grave marker for my great-great-great-grandfather Josias Gamble, 1800-1881.  I took a side shot so that you can see the stones marking the graves of the children of his son Hugh mentioned in the letter.


Elizabeth “Libbie” Gamble Cochran wrote another letter that I posted earlier.  You can reading it by clicking here.