Posts Tagged ‘Old Pictures’

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. 

The Gold Mine in the Closet: A Basinger Boy

February 23, 2015

But which one?

Garnett, Will, Walter, or Tom?


The Gold Mine in the Closet: An Unidentified House, Part 2

December 21, 2014

Here’s the photo of an unidentified house from Sugar’s gold mine in the closet…

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We drove by where we thought the house should be, only we were looking on the wrong side of the street.

We didn’t know it at the time. If only we had looked left.


When in doubt, I have a method wherein I take an informal survey. I talk to everyone who will give me the time of day. To the outsider looking in? They go nuts, because I don’t follow the advice of the crowd. I don’t understand why people go nuts. It’s my game. It’s my rules. I’m just interested in what other people have to say. I doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to follow their advice. I’m just looking for opinions and input.

I went the easy route. I asked Sugar’s cousin by way of FaceBook.

She didn’t know the house, either, but she knew people who might know.

Sure enough, SugarCousin has an answer. The house’s address is 601 Whitaker Street, not Huntingdon at all. It’s on the southwest corner of Whitaker and Huntingdon, not across the street at the northwest corner where the vet clinic is.


This modern-day photo is from the website of the Whitaker-Huntingdon Inn. But you know at some point we’ll go by there.


So how’d we get the address wrong? It looks like there’s a side door fronting onto Huntingdon, which must be 101 Huntingdon, West. We thought we were looking for the front of a house, not an apartment entryway or a side door.

Take a look at their website. It’s quite lovely. According to the history on the page:

The third owner was Dr. Lloyd Taylor who lived with his family in the home 42 years. In 1923, Dr. Taylor added the one story addition on the rear of the structure as his medical office. Two additional rooms were also added by Dr. Taylor in a two story addition in the rear of the house. During W.W.I, the Taylor’s also converted the second story into an apartment.

Apparently Dr. Taylor also added an apartment at some point that Sugar’s grandmother rented for a brief period.

Anyone want to go on a field trip?

The Gold Mine in the Closet: In Which We Look for Edith

December 10, 2014

Sugar’s grandmother lived at 122 East Taylor Street in Savannah for as long as he knew her.

We found several photos of the house in the gold mine.

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We also found one of Edith.

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Edith worked for his grandmother. I don’t know how to properly describe what Edith did for his grandmother.  I know that she cooked and cleaned. I don’t want to call her a maid, even though that’s the descriptor we found in the city directories. I’m uptight like that, not wanting to put labels on people, even though her “job” description in the city directory says “maid”. Sugar just says Edith worked for his grandmother for a long, long time. He doesn’t call her a maid either. I suppose we could call her a housekeeper, but I think now that her role was much greater.

We were discussing Thanksgiving, and I was talking about the food that my mother made, and I asked him what his mother made, since there are differences in local dishes.  Like stuffing. Do you call it stuffing, or dressing? And is yours cornbread based, or would it be local with oysters? And did you help in the kitchen? What kind of pies were made?

He really couldn’t answer those questions, because Edith made their Thanksgiving dinner.

So now we have to know more about Edith…

But all we have is her photo. And a few Sugary memories.

The Gold Mine in the Closet: Gordonston, The George A. Murphy Home

November 19, 2014

It’s hard to keep up.

I’m back-tracking to some more photos I took while we were in Gordonston taking photos of Sugar’s grandparents’s house and his aunt’s house.




Mr. George A. Murphy owns house number 3 in the above brochure.

While we tooling around Gordonston, hanging out the van window taking photos and looking completely incognito, I spotted an older home that surely was on the brochure.  I started thumping the brochure like it was a Bible and I was a street preacher.





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My goodness, like a fine wine, this just keeps getting better.

The Gold Mine in the Closet: The Lawton Children

November 7, 2014

Edward Percival Lawton and Mary “Leslie” Basinger Lawton had 7 children.  One child, Helen, died young while they were living overseas.


First, 4 girls were born, then 2 boys, then the youngest was Sugar’s mother.


Margaret, Emily, and Leslie.


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Left to right: Emily, Margaret, and Leslie.


The girls: Emily, Margaret, and Leslie. The boys: William and Edward.

The youngest child, Mary Genevieve “Genette”, lived for a time with her brother Edward, who was employed by the Department of State.  She received an invitation to attend an event at the White House in 1935.

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Edward attended a school in Virginia, and Sugar found a school photo.  I’ve circled Edward in the photo.



Edward and William with their mother Mary “Leslie” Basinger Lawton, about 1910 in Switzerland.

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Mary “Leslie” Basinger Lawton, with her two sons, William and Edward, and an unidentified daughter with the dog. This is taken at their Topside Plantation in Puerto Rico.

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Edward Jr. went to West Point and graduated.  He had a military career, like his father.  At one point he was with the Department of State in Washington, D.C., perhaps around the early 1930’s.






November 2

Dearest Mother,

I have been lax about writing you,

but you have doubtless heard from both Betsy & Ge-

nette.  We have been very busy – I in the office &

Betsy with her mother.  Mr. Rounds comes tonight &

they both return to N.Y. Sunday.  Betsy will pro-

bably go down to N.Y. later in the month for a few

days.  Perhaps I will be able to get away at

Thanksgiving & go too.

No further news about my future movement.

I suppose I won’t know until it is about time to


Mrs. R. took us and Genette to a concert last

night at the Constitution Hall, & G. seemed thrilled.

Apparently she is having much work but little play,

with a congenial room-mate in the same fix.  We

have tried to broaden her circle, but know too few

people her age to be of much use.  She looks better

and her complexion has improved.  I received your

ten dollar check & gave her the proceeds.  G.

& her room-mate sit at a small table with Mr.

Ritchie which seems to please all of them.

Verne has a friend at his boarding-house

named Sears Garnett from Virginia, somewhere

near Norfolk.  Very nice.  He is a nephew of a

prominent local attorney named Leslie Garnett

— cousins, I suppose.  Verne & his friend &

Betsy and I went to Princeton to a football game

last Saturday.  As we were invited we could

not talk Genette.

Must close & get this off,

Love to all,



So many stories, so little time.

The Gold Mine in the Closet: 122 East Taylor Street, Savannah, Georgia

November 3, 2014

Sugar’s earliest memory of his mother’s mother is at 122 East Taylor Street, Savannah, Georgia.  He never knew either grandfather, and only a little of his father’s mother.

His mother was the youngest child of seven children, a large range in ages of approximately 20 years, start to finish.  One of the children died at a young age.  The family traveled the world, following Grandfather Lawton’s military career.  The travel took its toll on the mother with six children, what with having lost one to death in a foreign country, and finally she was done traveling the world, and went home to Savannah with the children.  Grandfather kept traveling with his career and business interests, and died of cancer in Paris in 1929.

You can double-click on this image to enlarge.

You can double-click on this image to enlarge.

While we were sifting through the photos, and he was arranging them in small heaps of organization, he found a series labeled “122 E. Taylor Street”.  He thinks perhaps it is his mother’s handwriting.  Upon later reflection, he thinks that one photo is not at Taylor Street, but we don’t know where it is exactly yet at this moment in time.  So I include it here, because if it wasn’t at Taylor Street, it was most likely just before they moved to Taylor Street.

I said “they” moved to Taylor Street.  I meant Sugar’s grandmother.  All the children were out and about in the world.  At one time the family lived at Gordonston, the first subdivision of Savannah, and Sugar thought that they lived with the oldest daughter Margaret who married William Garrard.  After looking at more photos and thinking about it, he was surprised to realize that his mother and grandmother had their own house in Gordonston, which will probably be the focus of another blog post.  His grandfather was the owner of that house, and after his death in 1929, we find that  his wife “Leslie” is renting a house on Gaston Street in the 1930 census.  Apparently they lost the house, moved into rental property, and she later moved to Taylor Street.  It was said that one of the sons and his wife purchased the Taylor Street house for Sugar’s grandmother.  Truth?  I don’t know yet, but I like that notion that she was provided for.

Let’s look at 122 East Taylor Street, Savannah, Georgia.

Here’s the first page.  None of these pages are in a book, so perhaps the books were torn apart and divided between family members.  Sugar’s mother was already married and gone.

I took this page, copied it until I had enough pages for each photo saved to the computer so that I could adjust, edit, straighten, and crop to individual images.

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The oldest daughter, Margaret, petting a dog.

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This was a city house, and this is the garden area at the rear of the house.

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This is Sugar’s mother’s mother. On the bench in front of the window, I see an African violet, a pair of glasses, and perhaps an old-fashioned cardboard fan. I also see a newpaper on another surface. I’m wondering if this is the springtime because of the light-colored slipcover.

The next photo was attached to another page along with another photo that was unidentified.  It’s probably not Taylor Street, but it’s still lovely.  There are items on the mantel that probably were gathered during their travels.


Sugar thinks that this is NOT East Taylor Street because he can’t place the fireplace at the Taylor Street house. I include it here until we figure out where it belongs. “Leslie” is with one of her daughters-in-law, Betsy.

So let’s guess that she moved into the Taylor Street house in the early 1940s, because on the 1940 census she is listed as renting, not owning.

LawtonLeslie 1940

In the photo below, you can see the front steps of the Taylor Street house.  The house itself, remember, is a city house, so there’s another house on either side.  This is not the traditional style house that I grew up in, so it’s hard for me to get an understanding of sharing a common wall.  (Spoiler alert:  you know we went over to the Taylor Street house and took photos.)  The house to the left shares a wall.  The house to the right is perhaps 4 or 5 feet away, creating an alley of sorts to the rear garden, and passage to the alley is restricted by a gate.

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It’s easier to see where the Taylor Street house ends on the right, and the next house starts.  The chimney on the right is Sugar’s grandmother’s.


This is the view of the house from across Calhoun Square.  Savannah is arranged on a grid system, with squares around which homes were grouped.

This is the view of the house from across Calhoun Square. Savannah is arranged on a grid system, with squares around which homes were grouped.

Let’s skip forward in time, and we’re back in the garden at Taylor Street.  Who are these adorable babes?  It’s Sugar and his brother!


Sugar’s mother arranges him on the left to meet the camera, and her sister Margaret holds his older brother Richard. Hard to believe that the tiny lady on the left just gave birth to twins.

Sugar remembers that his grandmother employed domestic help.  His first memory is of Edith, a black woman who always had cornbread and jelly for them.  I’ve never had jelly on cornbread, but that makes my mouth water every time he says “jelly on cornbread”.  Heck, it’s actually watering just typing those words.

After Edith retired, there was Vivian, an educated black woman who had limited work opportunites.

She also employed a man who came several times a year and oiled the hardwood floors.  I wish she had kept a journal like her father, William Starr Basinger, because now I want to know details.


The boys with their mother’s mother on the front entry porch. We are facing west as we view this photo, and Sarah Alexander Cunningham lived a few doors down. I say Sugar is the one with the sweeter face.


And that’s beautiful 122 East Taylor Street, Savannah, Georgia.  I’ve never been inside, but a few years ago, the property had changed hands and was being remodeled, as was evident by a dumpster parked outside with Grandmother’s hardwood flooring sticking out of it – A LOT. We were sorely tempted to snag a piece of Grandmother’s floor.


The Gold Mine in the Closet

November 1, 2014

Boxes and boxes of photos.

That’s what Sugar has in a closet.  Many of them are labeled; some are not, but he knows who they are for the most part.

We’ve been sifting through these photos for about a week and a half, and I’m starting to recognize people, places, and things.  Nouns in black and white, they are.  Little sniplets of life, in a box or three, in a closet.

He drew out a select series of photos relating to Edisto Island, to start.  Sugar’s parents knew Chalmers and Faith Murray, and spent time living with them, both before and after Sugar was born.  He remembers bits and pieces, little snapshots of his own.

Some of the photos are loose, and some were attached by glue dots to the classic photo/scrapbook style pages of heavy, construction-paper-like stock, and some were enlarged to a 5×7 size.  Sugar thinks that his dad liked some of the smaller ones so much that he had them enlarged.

So I’ll start here and sort them out a bit as I go.

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The page above show shots of Edisto in 1947.  There’s a shot of the river, a former slave cabin, the dog Meechie, and a shot of an upstairs window.

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The next page, which you’ll see above, shows Sugar’s father washing dishes in a bucket, outside on the grass.  When they stayed with the Murrays, there was no electricity or running water in the house, on purpose.  The Murrays chose to live that way.  Also above you’ll see another shot of the river, a man driving an oxcart, and another shot of a tree that you saw on the very first page.


I cropped this one out of the photo above. You can see in greater detail that there are tools in the back of the cart, and it doesn’t appear that this cart was used for hauling heavy loads.

The next page is striking.  It’s one large photo glued to the paper.  The photo can be clicked on to enlarge.  I see two people in front of the house, a clothesline in the back, perhaps an outhouse.  This is a classic style of slave cabin that was built on Edisto Island.


Here’s Oxcart Man again, in greater detail, and also the tree by the river.

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I’ve cropped Oxcart Man out of the page above, and I think that’s a handsaw in the cart.  I’d be interested to know what you think.


It must be springish here.  Nothing is growing is the field, and there’s no leftover greenery from crops.  The curtains have blown outside the windows.


Next, here’s a little fun in the sun.  This was the summer before Sugar was born.  Here’s his father and mother in a boat in 1946.  We’re guessing this photo was made by Faith Murray.  When you see the other photos, you’ll see why we can guess who the photographer is of each photo.


Sugar’s mother and Faith Murray at Edisto Island in 1946, most probably taken by Sugar’s father.  Note the glue dots from where the photos were once in an album.


And to round out the trio of photos, here’s one of Sugar’s father and Faith Murray, most probably shot by Sugar’s mother.




Here’s the house where Sugar and his family stayed when they visited the Murrays. Sugar says there’s an addition to the house on the left, but it’s hard to see here.

Here’s fun bit.  I wondered why someone took a photo of an upper-story window.  Sugar said there’s someone there, and he thinks it’s his mother.  I think it must be, too, and see where’s it’s handwritten that this was in 1947?  Sugar was born in late summer 1947, so I think  that his mother is pregnant here, but that’s just me talking.  I don’t know that for a fact, but if I had just delivered, I don’t think I’d be off for a vacation at the beach without running water and electricity.  You can click on this photo, or any of the photos, to enlarge, and wonder along with me.





So you know after looking at all these photos, we’re planning a day trip to Edisto Island.  Today was our first best chance, but cold and windy?  We went to the grocery store instead, because we’re brave pioneers like that.

Back to the Basingers: Sugar Finds a Gold-Mine in a Closet

October 22, 2014

Sugar has a closet with odd, assorted items in it, all pertaining to his family.  It’s like a little time capsule.

He knew that he had some photos of when his parents would go to Edisto Island and stay with Chalmers and Faith Murray.  He’s not really sure how those four met up, and none of the photos actually had Chalmers in them.  He was a busy fellow.  Google him – you’ll see.  He was an attorney, an author, a writer, and editor, a speaker.

So the time machine was activated, and Sugar found photos of Edisto, but that wasn’t all.  He found photos of his mother as a little child, photos of his mother’s mother, and other family members, then he found a jaw-dropper.


We went on a little history tour earlier this year in March.  He took some photos of the William Starr Basinger family to a local Staples to be copied so that he could present them to the historical society in Lumpkin County, Georgia.  You might remember reading about our follow-up visit in the historical society’s newsletter.  Good times.

He was pretty sure that he got the family photo from another cousin in Savannah, until he pulled out the original from the closet box, and O MY.  There is handwriting on the back that identifies the people.

But wait for it.  There’s ANOTHER photo of the same family with the parents and the children, also all identified.

Y’all, please.  Go get those photos out of the closet and scan them.  NOW.


Dahlonega, Ga.

The Basinger family

Leslie, Tom, Auntie, Grandma

Walter, Mamma, Papa,

Maggie, Ate’





J. N. Wilson, Savannah, Ga., 1885

The Basingers

Garnett, Mag, Will

Leslie, Maj. Basinger,

Walter, Mrs. Basinger,




(I used an automatic adjustment feature on the computer program to alter the lightness/darkness of the back of the 2nd photo.  It made the handwriting more distinct, but also changed the color.)

In Search of William Starr Basinger: Lots 37, 38, and 22

April 7, 2014

In the “Personal Reminiscences” of William Starr Basinger, he writes about his time in Dahlonega.  They rented a house from an Allen family, then decided to buy another house and add on to that house to accommodate the six children. That house was on lots 37 and 38, and later he bought town lot 22 for a vegetable garden and stable.

We walked about the town and the neighborhood northwest of the square, because we knew that the lots 37 and 38 were northwest of the square.  No houses matched the one in the photo that Sugar had.  (I apologize.  I don’t have the photo of the house.  I’ll have to wrest it away from Sugar and scan it.)

We walked up Church Street, andohmyheartbestill, there was a fabric and yarn shop on the left in an enormous old house.  I decided it might be best if I investigated this house while Sugar walked on, even though the orientation of the street slope and the facade of the house was wrong.  You know, just in case, and perhaps have a peek at the yarns and fabrics.  The super-nice shopkeeper, whose name I did not get said that the house was once owned by a person associated with the university, but it definitely was not the house we wanted.  We went about our business.  Sugar found me with my hands in a yarn bin, up to the elbows.

So, onward.  At the crest of the northwest quadrant, there was an empty lot full of trees and daffodils.  There clearly was once a house here, and there were terraced areas, and brickwork around the trees, but Sugar was sure that this was not it.

We walked on, and came to a historical marker that strangely I didn’t photograph.  Through the magic of the internet, I present this link to the historical marker that is a much better history than I could have provided. (Spoiler alert:  Photo #3 facing southwest – the house on the left, which is actually rental property, perhaps apartments, in on the lot 37 that William Starr Basinger owned.  We didn’t know it at the time.  I know, I know, we were walking all around it all morning.  *sigh*)

We walked further, and around, and perhaps went all the way around Robin Hood’s barn without finding the house.  Yes, we were the insane-looking people walking and staring looking at houses, all squinty-eyed.  Yet, the nice people of Dahlonega did not call the authorities on us.

Then it was off to the courthouse with us to look at actual records.




So Sugar took this book and started looking, page by page, line by line, for his great-grandfather.  He didn’t find a record of a purchase of lots 37 and 38.



Then he said, “Here it is.”  He did find Lot 22.



The index showed that he purchased lot 22 from N. H. Hand, and we pulled the actual book with the transaction on page 431.




Georgia      )                                             This Indenture made

)the 28th day of October A. D. 1889 between

Nathan H. Hand of White Plains in the State of

New York of the first part and William S. Basinger

of Dahlonega in the State of Georgia of the second part.

Whereas the said party of the first part by deed dated

the 28th day of November A. D. 1883 and recorded in

the office of the Clerks of the Superior Court of Lumpkin…






If we only had a map.  We saw a map on the wall, a large, framed map of the town lots.  It was too high for us to read the lot numbers.  If there had not been another person in the records room, I would have stood on the table under the map.  I used the zoom feature on the camera to get a shot, but the glare from the overhead lights reflected on the glass.  (Later, when we learned the location of the lots, I added the lot numbers to the photo.)



None of the staff could help us locate another map.  One staff member said that the frame was bolted to the wall by the maintenance man, and when I used the camera’s tripod to point to the lot numbers, she cautioned me to not tap the glass, so that the map didn’t fall off the wall.

We left at that point, because there seemed to be nothing left for us to do.

It’s just about lunchtime, and it’s time to meet up with Robbie with the Lumpkin County Historical Society, who just happens to own Coloth Type and Graphic Arts on the Square.  So we park on the square in front of her office and call her, and explain the dilemma that the house that his great-grandfather lived in was not the Vickery House after all, it was a house that is no longer standing, and we can’t tie the photo of the house to a specific lot. She said that was even better because it is lost history regained.

Sugar presents her with a photo of the house, and a photo of the Basinger family.


This was the magical moment that everyone that has ever done historical research longs for.  It’s the presentation to someone who is so stinkin’ enthusiastic about what you have done that you just feel like royalty, of sorts.  Suddenly, in one fell swoop, the town has gained a bit of information regarding a family, a house, a President of the college, a history, and a link to the present.

It was a good day.  The oysters and we headed over the line for Tennessee, where Sugar’s cousin waited.