Posts Tagged ‘Lenoir City’

The Lacy

September 17, 2017

I went to the Lacy Hotel last week. Only it’s not a hotel any more. It’s a gift, antique, and home furnishing shop. 

I wasn’t shopping. I have a #CousinNotCousin whose grandmother and aunt worked at the Lacy, back in the day when it was an actual hotel. They cooked there for many years, and their cooking was legendary. One friend said she could still taste the rolls, warm from the oven, even though the Lacy as a hotel has been out of business for many years. 

It opened during the 1920s. It was a place where you could get a meal, book a room, or attend a meeting. Ladies’ society clubs met there. Men’s business groups met there. Families went for a meal. 

My family went the same places over and over, and the Lacy wasn’t one of them. I don’t know why. 

So that made my visit extra-interesting. My goal was to snap a few shots for my #CousinNotCousin Beth in Illinois. The Lacy was so beautiful that I got carried away. 

Walk straight through the front door to the room behind, turn around, and you see this room…

Then across the room at a diagonal to the doorway beyond which is the old dining room. 

I made myself stop taking photos of the stairs. It was an unusual layout. 

There are 6 rooms upstairs. Nooks and crannies are full of wonderful things. 


I’m rather astonished that a gift shop is alive and well in my hometown. 

I bought some mulling spices and also a heritage book “Windows to the Past”, which was published in 1982 as part of Lenoir City’s Diamond Jubilee. 

I got the book with the thought that I would send it to Beth in Illinois as a token of remembrance from the Lacy. Much later, I was looking through it, and I saw a photo of the graduating class of 1938. Y’all? There was my mother. 

I hope Beth enjoys her mulling spices. 


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.

Photos From A Christmas Card

January 3, 2013
Who are these people?  Is that you, BigSis?  And you, Uncle Pete?

Who are these people? Is that you, BigSis? And you, Uncle Pete?

I didn’t send any Christmas cards this year.  None.  At all.  Y’all know where to find me.

I did, however, receive two cards, which is just fine with me.

One of them was from my cousin.  She included four photos in the card.  One of them I had seen before, but these three I had not.

Thank you, Cousin, for the photos from the past!

Here's my mom in a rare snowy setting.  This is perhaps at the house on Hill Street, next door to Miss Willie's house.

Here’s my mom in a rare snowy setting. This is perhaps at the house on Hill Street, next door to Miss Willie’s house.

This looks like my mother and my BigBroBob at the house on Wilson Street.  I'm guessing this photo was taken about 1946.

This looks like my mother and my BigBroBob at the house on Wilson Street. I’m guessing this photo was taken about 1946.

And if you don’t have a scanner, get one now and start sharing your photos before they are lost.  Sugar is pretty sure when his kids come to clean out his house someday in the far, far future, they are just going to have a construction dumpster pulled into the yard.

Willie May Pierce Packett And Her Baby Lucile

October 16, 2012

Once, back in the day, BigBroBob went to see Mom when she was in the nursing home.  His visits weren’t just visits, they were events.  He knew all the residents, and they loved his visits.

On his last visit with Mom, which he didn’t know would be his last, he had his notebook and did an interview.

Mom told him some stuff that, when he shared with me, I had never heard before.

It seems that her mother had been engaged before she married James Packett.  She broke off the engagement when she learned that her fiance had gotten another woman with child.

But that wasn’t all.  It seems that James Packett was married before, but his wife and baby had died.  I thought that meant that his first wife died in childbirth.


I’ve been browsing the death records of Loudon County in 1908.  There were many deaths from tuberculosis, heart problems, accidents, cancer.  One of the more bizarre causes of death was pellegra.  I couldn’t remember what that meant, but I did remember in health class many, many years ago, we were learning about diseases caused from nutritional issues, like scurvy, rickets, and pellegra.  Sugar looked it up after I told him about it, and he said it was caused by a niacin deficiency.  I looked it up, too, and the photos I saw looked like a horrible way to go.  Here’s a quote from the article I read:

In the early 1900s, pellagra reached epidemic proportions in the American South. Pellagra deaths in South Carolina numbered 1,306 during the first ten months of 1915; 100,000 Southerners were affected in 1916.


All this made me curious to know more about the causes of death during this time frame.  While randomly scrolling through the death records of Loudon County, I found a death certificate for Lucile Packett whose father was James Packett and mother was Willie Pierce Packett.  I didn’t connect that he was my grandfather.  At first glance, I thought that it was his grandfather James and grandmother Millie.

When I enlarged the certificate, I found that Lucile was the baby, and she died from “hermorrhage from the lungs following pertussis”.

Little Lucile.

And this made me curious to find out what happened to her mother, who clearly did not die in childbirth, at least not with this child.

Willie May Pierce Packett.



Willie May and Lucile are buried at Pleasant Hill Church Cemetery.  I went there once maybe ten years ago to see if I could find their gravestones, and of course, I could not, because I have that issue about not being able to see things that are right there in front of me.

James went on to marry my grandmother, and if not for that, and some other factors, I wouldn’t be here today, and BigBroBob wouldn’t have been able to interview Mom.

And as grateful as I am to be here today, I still feel bad that Willie May and Lucile are buried in a different graveyard than my grandfather.

Good night, and sleep well.

In Which I Make A Plan

October 12, 2012

So I’m still looking for some Rogers folks.  I went to high school with a particular girl that I wasn’t friends with, but only because I didn’t know her.  We didn’t travel in the same circles, which was neither good nor bad, it’s just the way it was.

Anyway, we are friends now, albeit virtual ones, and we might even be related.  She is looking for her Rogers family, and I am looking for Lillie Rogers and where she came from.  It would seem that, in a town the size of Lenoir City, that we must surely be related.  We just can’t prove it.  YET.

Her particular Rogers is one Samuel Ro(d)gers.  On his death certificate, the informant was his wife Lona, and she did not know the name of his father, and she only knew that his mother was named Martha Rodgers.  I thought this meant that Lona knew her as Martha Rodgers, even though the maiden name was supposed to be given.

So hold up a minute.  What if Lona knew what she was doing, and Martha Rodgers WAS the correct maiden name, which would mean that Martha married a Rodgers.  Martha Rodgers Rodgers.  It would certainly make it easy to sign her correct name, but, oh so confusing for researchers.

I can’t find a death certificate that I am certain is correct for Martha Rogers Rogers.  I DID find a marriage certificate where Martha Rogers married John Rogers, but I can’t be certain that they are Samuel’s parents.

So why don’t I just look through all the death certificates online?  They start in 1908.  I started with Loudon County.  There were only 56.

Near the end, I found two brothers.  They were the children of the very first headstone photo that I took back in July at the Lenoir City Cemetery, that of Fred P. Derieux.

Fred P. Derieux

And in the 1910 census, his wife Mollie went on record that she had given birth to 8 children, but only 6 were living.  I found the two babies, or at least I found their death certificates.

Richard Derieux, age two.


Halbert Derieux, aged nine months.


The two-year-old died first, then about two weeks later, the baby died.  The father, Fred, had lost his father the year prior to this.

So much death, so much sadness.

I forget now what my plan was.

Lillie Packett, Provided By Tim

October 4, 2012

Here’s a family sketch regarding Lillie Rogers Packett and her husband John William.  This is a scan of a copy of an email that Tim Packett sent me on March 20, 2000.  The world had not ended because of Y2K, fortunately, and we had found each other, so to speak, through the magic of email.


I’ve extracted my favorite part of the email.  It’s about Lillie Rogers.


Lillie, who went by Lila in the later census reports was a widow in 1910, and living with her son and daughter-in-law Joseph ad Bessie in 1920.  I do not have the death date or info on John William.  Do you?  He is not buried with Lillie in the City Cemetery and records just state “Lillie w/o J.W.”.  None of my family contacts know what happened to him or where he ended up.  Some seem to think he went to Alabama or Georgia.

Family legend has it that during one of their many legendary fights, John threatened to leave and never come back.  Lillie supposedly replied, “You’ve got diamonds on your back.  The farther you go, the better they shine!”  He supposedly left that day and they didn’t hear from him again.  How much of this is true or just embellishments I can’t say.  Perhaps you know the true story?

Also Lillie is listed as a Rogers until later in funeral home records of some of her children, and she is listed as Lillie Simpson.  Do you know anything about that or is it just misreported?

She was living with my father’s family when she died, and he and his siblings have all kinds of memories of her, none of which seem to be very good.  They all say she was a very hard woman who could curse like a sailor and had all the children very afraid of her.  She did fascinate them when they had catfish for dinner.  She could put fish in her mouth, chew on one side while working bones out the other, talk, and drink without ever getting choked!  Isn’t it weird what small children remember?  They also said that she would sit on the porch and if someone came walking down Bon Street she would holler into the house to my grandfather, who was a Primitive Baptist Minister, and ask, “Hey, Pug, who th’ hell is that bastard walking down th’ road?”  My father, who was only four, remembers his older siblings grabbing him and running for cover!  They say as she grew older she had a large goiter on the side of her neck that had hairs growing out of it, which made her even scarier.  My father said that after she died there was one of her trunks in the attic full of old clothes and mementos, and the kids were afraid of it, too.  He said that they would scare him by saying Granny Packett is waiting for you in there!  It must have been awful being the youngest in the family.


So choose your email words with care, because you just might end up someday on someone’s blog…

Zola Packett O’Neal’s Death Cert

October 1, 2012

Zola Packett O’Neal, died in 1924.

We looked at this death certificate a few days ago.  Most of the Packett people have heart-related deaths.  In this one for Zola, the cause of death is “Result of anesthetic”, then on the next line in different ink, “operation to relieve ankalosed knees”.

Sugar and I finally deciphered the hand-writing to come up with the cause of death.  Unlike me, Sugar needed to know what ankylosis meant.

You can read more about it here.

I almost wish he hadn’t told me.

Millie Brewer Packett, 1834-1918

September 30, 2012

I like to say that I prefer dead people to living ones.  After all, the dead ones don’t hurt your feelings, steal your money, or lie to your mama.  I especially like Millie Brewer Packett, and not because she’s deader than the others.  Millie Brewer lived a long time, and saw many changes in her life and in the life of her country.  She might have been about 83 years old, or at least that’s what was guessed by the informant, her daughter Sarah Catherine (Mrs. J. E. Lively), on her death certificate, because her true date of birth was not known.

Millie married James Packet(t), and they had seven children.  The oldest was John William Packett who married Hester Delila Lillie/Lula/Lila/Lillie Rogers, and that was a whole big bunch of crazy (more on that later).

Millie and James set up housekeeping about July 2, 1859.  The scholars among you will know that their world was about to explode into the Civil War.

BigBroBob provided this widow’s pension about 13 years ago.  It was a bit complicated to scan so that it shows to its best advantage, but only the second page has been broken into three parts for better viewing.  The remaining pages all fit onto the scanner, although some of the pages are a bit cramped.  Remember to left-click once, then again, on the image to enlarge.  Someday I’ll come back to this post and transcribe them, but for now I won’t take away your fun in trying to read this.  Click away!

The cover page with her name and the file number.

The top of the first true page.

The bottom of the first true page.

Perhaps I didn’t mention that I don’t have any magical software to blend the two images together.

Next, here’s the little bit of script from the left side of the above image.

Now comes the true pages.  Let me say that the top of one page that has a child’s name and date of birth, etc. etc., is exactly as it was sent to me.  I imagine it must be a boring job to make copies of historical documents in a historical archives setting, but I’d say that I’d like a crack at that job.  Maybe the image was taken from a microfilm and so it’s recorded that way for posterity.

The name that is cut off at the top of the page is Mary E. Packett. She’s the one that married Hugh Blair Simpson. Their granddaughter was Lavona Simpson, my elementary school librarian.

This is the order that I received these pages.  I’ve noticed there’s a seemingly random number on the bottom left corner of the pages, like it’s number 5 in the page above.  Out of order?  Possible.  Any comments and suggestions are welcome.

Good night, Millie.  We’re thinking about you.

More Dead Packetts

September 29, 2012

Clever reader Leo and I had an email discussion about Lillie Rogers Packett, and the fact that she has no early existence, at least not that we can prove.  Tim Packett, now deceased, couldn’t prove it, and I’m afraid that I can’t either.  Where in North Carolina did she come from?  Who were her folks?  Which leads us to the question:  What if she wasn’t a Rogers?  So maybe we’re just looking for someone who doesn’t exist.

Her son James Packett thought her maiden name was Rogers, and told his wife so, because it’s his wife Ruth that provides the information on James’s death certificate.  What if Grandma got it wrong?

Oops, didn’t.

Here are the death certificates that I can find for James Packett’s siblings.  They all list the mother as a Rogers.

Here’s the 1st child, Joseph Lafayette Packett.

Joseph Lafayette “Fate”, the oldest., 21 Oct 1884 – 10 Jul 1950.

This is the second child, Amanda, who married first one Richard Underwood.  I had a hard time finding her marriage certificate because the magical program that translates old handwriting into legible English translated a sloppily written “Packett” as “Pochliztgh”.  I love this stuff.

Amanda Packett Dell, 2nd of 6, 5 Mar 1887 – 21 Oct 1952.

Next child was John William Packett, who was born 14 Oct 1889 and died in February 1966.  The state stopped these handy death certificates in 1958, and went to the Social Security record system which does not show this info unless you send off for a copy of the original, and that costs money. I actually clicked through about a dozen screens in the process right up to ordering it, and I stopped at that part where it said it would cost $25.00.  You know that feeling, right?  Naw, stopping here and backing this horse up.  But you can’t actually back up until you get back to the screen.  Because the screen stops at the ordering screen, even though you left-click, oh, a half-a-dozen times in an effort to get back before you catch on that you have to go back to the home page.  Bastards.

The fourth child was my grandfather, James A. Packett, and you saw his delayed birth certificate and his death certificate from the past few posts.

The fifth child was Belle, born about 1892.  She’s another mystery woman.  I can’t locate her past the 1910 census, but I’m working on that, so just give me a minute.

And here’s the sixth child, Zola Packett O’Neal, who was ill for a year before passing away.

Zola Packett O’Neal, 11 Jun 1896 – 22 Jul 1924.

I also have the added bonus of Zola’s obituary, brown from age.

This leads me to believe that Belle Packett was already deceased because she is not mentioned in this obituary for Zola Packett in 1924.

I wouldn’t have found that Amanda Packett married Richard Underwood without this obituary.  I certainly wouldn’t have found her listed as “Manda Pochliztgh”.

And, just for fun, I’m throwing in none other than Hester Delilah Lily Lila Lula Lillie Rogers Packett’s death certificate.

Daughter of Jim Rogers from NC. That’s all I’ve got. Y’all take it and run with it.

Rogers, over and out.

James Packett’s Delayed Birth Certificate

September 26, 2012

Today’s post will be about going, or coming, full circle.  As usual, I’m doing things in a bit of a backward fashion, but usually it’s because things present themselves in a backward fashion.

Yesterday I found James Packett’s death certificate.  Then later in the day, I found his birth certificate.

More properly, back in the day, there were no birth certificates.  The basic record for recording a birth was in the family Bible.  Those not in the know might guess that a birth record in the family Bible could be forged, but I believe that would be inviting hellfire and the wrath of damnation upon one’s head from messing with God’s playbook.  Not that I personally believe that, but rather I believe that the folks back in the day would believe that, and they would certainly not forge a birth record in a Bible.

And if you left click, and left click again, on the image, you will get a magically enlarged version of James Packett’s delayed certificate of birth.

I see that a family Bible record was presented as proof that James Packett was born.  Good enough for God, and apparently good enough for the state.

What I did not know (and yes, indeed, what I don’t know can fill a universe), and what I latched onto was that James Packett had an aunt Mary Simpson.  I had to decide which parent was Mary’s sibling, and I chose Lillie Rogers Packett.  Lillie is our mystery woman.  Apparently she was hatched from an egg somewhere in North Carolina, and just showed up one day and married John William Packett.

As luck would have it, she was the wrong parent.  John William had a sister Mary who married Hugh Blair Simpson.


When I was growing up, we would have library time when our class would go to the library to check out books and to hear stories read aloud by our librarian, Miss Lavona Simpson.

Miss Simpson was referred to as an old maid, although never to her face.  My mother seemed to know Miss Simpson, and really?  Why wouldn’t she?  Mom seemed to know something about everyone, and if I had been paying attention, this could have been a far more interesting blog.

Miss Simpson seemed stern and sweet, and when she smiled, she gave a tight little pursed smile, never showing her teeth.  It was hard to tell if you were getting approval or merely tolerance.

Who’s got the stinkin’ family Bible?

And now after searching around a bit in, I know that Miss Simpson’s grandmother was Mary Packett Simpson, the sister to my great-grandfather, John William Packett.  Writing that made me squirm a little in my seat, like I just got caught talking in the library.

How about that, LilSis?