Posts Tagged ‘Savannah’

The Letters of ROBERT MACKAY to His Wife

November 14, 2019

Because I’ve gotten wrapped up in the family tree of Basil Cowper, I found this reference to Robert MacKay. Robert married Eliza McQueen, the niece of Basil’s wife Mary Smith Cowper.

I found this dandy volume on Amazon.

Is it MacKay or is it Mackay? Is it pronounced M’Kay or is it Makkie? I seriously don’t know.

Inside my book is a newspaper article from 1949. It has been in the book so long that it has left a shadow on the pages.

July 21 – 1949

Around Town

By SARAH VIRGINIA GARDINER

SCORES OF LOVE LETTERS WRITTEN DURING thrilling times, all tied with blue bows, now turning dark with age, and packages of other romantic letters with bright red ribbons, they too turning dark with the coming and going of generations, will be the interesting highlight for Colonial Dames in the early Fall…..

*****

THE AUGUSTA CHAPTER OFF Colonial Dames is particularly interested in the letters of long ago, and so will we, when we find that an Augusta man wrote them.

They will take book form and will be rolling off the press early this fall. They are being published under the auspices of the Georgia Society of the Colonial Dames of America.

“The letter of Robert Mackay to His Wife”, is taken from letters written by Robert Mackay, who was born in Augusta in 1772, son of an enterprising Scottish merchant and a New England mother. Robert lived here in Augusta until about 1795, then moved to Savannah, where he became a prominent merchant, member of the city council and a figure of importance in social life in the community.

The first part of the book centers on the romantic courtship, followed by interesting accounts of Savannah, telling of the period when Savannah was the seaport and commercial center of the state and was a city of about five thousand persons and the fourteenth largest city in the nation.

In this period he tells of the gradual emerging of an influential group of merchants and factors who lived in opulence, in the fine old Regency dwelling, now landmarks in the coastal town.

*****

OTHER LETTERS WERE written from England and other South Atlantic ports and also some from the extreme north.

The famous collection of his letters were given to the Georgia Society of Colonial Dames by the late Mrs. Frank B. Screven and the late Miss Phoebe Elliott. Those who have had the thrill of reading a few of his letters, tell us they are particularly significant in their portrayal of the thoughts and the very way of life led by a true Southern gentleman of the early nineteenth century.

*****

He mentions Oatland Island, a Smith property near Savannah, which means a field trip is in order. Eliza’s mother Anne Smith McQueen died at Oatland Island in 1809 at the home of her sister Jane Smith Bourke (Mrs. Thomas Bourke).

The book mentions the death of their firstborn child Robert in 1804 at age 4. None of the online family trees on ancestry show this child, so I’ve added him to the one I made.

Robert died young while in New York. Eliza didn’t remarry. Good night, friends, we’re thinking of you.

FlowerFest 2016: Visiting the Batesons at Laurel Grove

January 21, 2017

The first stop of the day is at Laurel Grove to see the Batesons. You might remember that Thomas and Christopher had their graves marked in June 2016. 



The Densler Mausoleum is not far away, so we stroll over to see Aunt Polly and her people, who are not related to the Bateson people at all. 

It is always dark at the Denslers because of the huge old trees. So dark today, that the reflective markers on Sugar’s shoes show up in the photo in broad daylight. 


We find a large downed cherry laurel with a hollow cavity. This casualty is probably from Hurricane Matthew. 


A good portion of it has been cleared away, and Sugar spots the mistletoe. 


Over the years, the list of poinsettia memorials has changed a little. Today, we realize that we have an extra poinsettia, and we are close to Alexander family. This is a very old family out of Sunbury, Georgia, and the link is Sarah Alexander who married Alexander Robert Lawton. 

Edward Porter Alexander. Look him up. He’s quite famous.


Louisa Porter, a local benefactor.


Dr. Adam Alexander is in the foreground. There are also Houstons, Reads, and Cummings.


Across the lane is Jeremy and Louisa Fredericka Gilmer. 


Now over to the other side of Laurel Grove. 


We’ve always come to the Jones-Lawton Mausoleum to bring flowers. Augustus Seaborn Jones’s daughter Elizabeth married William Seabrook Lawton, and they are Sugar’s great-grandparents. 

We’re in for a surprise today. Sugar sees it first at the back of the mausoleum. 


Our best guess is that the hurricane rain ran behind the veneer and separated it enough that the veneer’s weight went over in one motion. 

The back of several pieces had identifying writing, like “7th course”, which was probably the original writing when the pieces were made in Italy, well over 100 years ago. Grease marker, perhaps?  



The night before had been down to freezing. This accounts for why the poinsettias looked a little bedraggled today. We console ourselves with”it’s the thought that counts”, and we head across Savannah to Bonaventure. 

The Revolutionary War Pension File of William Rawls

September 24, 2016

Annnddd the last pension file to produce belongs to William Rawls. No kin. Once again.

rawlswilliam-pension-file-001rawlswilliam-pension-file-002rawlswilliam-pension-file-003

REVOLUTIONARY WAR RECORDS SECTION.

3-525

_____

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

BUREAU OF PENSIONS

Washington, D. C.S. F. 47.905

In reply to your request of _____, received _____ for a statement of the military history of William Rawls a soldier of the REVOLUTIONARY WAR, you will find below the desired information as contained in his (or his widow’s) application for pension on file in this Bureau.

DATES OF ENLISTMENT OR APPOINTMENT.

1776 OR 1777

LENGTH OF SERVICE.

Served at various times about 2 years.

RANK.

Pvt.

OFFICERS UNDER WHOM SERVICE WAS RENDERED.

CAPTAIN.

John Garvin

Tinnel

McCay

COLONEL.

Gadsden

Hammond

STATE.

S. C.

Battles engaged in, Sumters Defeat and Kings Mountain.

Residence of soldier at enlistment, Buford District S. C.

Date of application for pension, Nov. 9, 1832. His ?? was ??.

Residence at date of application, Gadsden Co., Fla.

Age at date of application, 73 years, born in North Carolina

Remarks: He was the son of John Rawls. It is not stated whether he was married. Brothers John & Cotten.

Respectfully,

Commissioner

rawlswilliam-pension-file-005

Territory of Florida

County of Gadsden

On this 9th day of November 1812 personally appeared in open court before Thomas Randol, Judg of the Superior court of the Middle District of Florida now sitting, William Rawls, a resident of the County and Territory aforesaid aged about 73 years who being duly sworn according to law doth by his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress dated June the 7th 1812.

That he entered the service of the United States in the year 1776 or 1777 in the summer of one of those years but which year he does not distinctly recollect. He entered the service under the command of Captain John Garvin and was detached to the regiment of Colo. Gasden and served under them three months. Genl. Bull was the Genl in command during those three months. He was stationed on Beaufort Island, South Carolina. He was then relieved of service for a short time but was called out again in the same year and under the same officers and performed another tour of duty of three months when he was stationed at the seaboard near Beaufort Island at a place called Scotch Neck. Then after the expiration of said last mentioned three months he was not called again into service until the latter part of the year 1778 or the first of the year 1779 shortly before the British forces took possession of Savannah. He remained in service during that tour only one month and was under the command of the same

rawlswilliam-pension-file-006

before specified time. He was not called into service again until the latter part of 1779 and was stationed at Perrysberg in South Carolina under the command of the same captain and Colo as aforesaid and under the command of Genl Linkhorn (Lincoln). The length of time he served during that tour he does not distinctly recollect but it was until the arrival of the First Fleet at Savannah. Then he was there relieved from service for a short time but was again called into service about four months afterwards and was marched down to Savannah and arrived there two days after the attack was made on Savanah by the French and Americans (?). He was march from Savanah to Perrysburg under the command of Colo Gasden and Captain Garvin and remained at Perryburg about one month when he was relieved from further duty at that time. He was called into service again in about two months under the same officers and acting on the Savanah River and continued to perform duty (?) said service until Charlestown fell into the possession of the British. He then moved into North Carolina and joined Genl Sumpters Army in the year 1780. He joined Captain Tinnels company at the battle of King’s

rawlswilliam-pension-file-007

Mountain and at which battle Colo Williams and Colo Shelby and Colo Campbell were the principal officers. Then he was not again in service until the siege of Augusta when he was under the command of Captain Mery and Colo Hammond and then after the Americans took possession of Augusta he was not again in service. That when he first entered the service he resided in Beaufort District South Carolina, that he first entered the service of the United States as a private and substitute for his father John Rawls, that he performed the first tour of duty as a substitute and all the other tours as a drafted ;militia up to the fall of Charlestown and from that time as a volunteer that he was at the battle on the Cataubaw in which Genl Sumpter was defeated and was in the battle of Kings Mountain that he marched through the country from Beaufort District South Carolina to Savanah in Georgia and from Savannah to Perrysburg in said state and from that place to Kings Mountain there performed service with the (?) officers before moved but does not recollect the names of the regiments that he knew Major Harry and Genl Linkhorn and Genl Sumpter and that he has no (?) evidence by which he can substantiate his claims and that he knows of no person whose testimony

rawlswilliam-pension-file-008

he can at this time procure to substantiate his claim that their are some persons who are acquainted with his services and who were living at the last accounts but they reside in distant parts of the United States and he does not know that they know to make the necessary prooff.

W. M. Rawls

Sworn and subscribed in open court

R. C. Lester Clk. GSC

By J R Adams DC

And the said William Rawls being first interrogated on the interrogation presented by the War Dept. and (?) was being first duly sworn.

That he was born in North Carolina near the Virginia Line, that he does not recollect the year in which he was born. That he once had a record of his age, but it was burnt or lost during the Revolutionary War. That he was living in Beaufort District of South Carolina when called into service, that shortly after the Revolutionary War, he removed into Georgia into what was then Effingham and is now Screven County, where he lived until his removal into this county of Gadsden, Territory of Florida in the year 18?? where he now lives. That in his first military service he was a substitute for his father John Rawls a soldier in the militia. That of the (?) officers with whom he served he recollects at the (?) of his (?)

rawlswilliam-pension-file-009

 

S.C.

William Rawls S47905

Middle Florida

Gadson County

Personally came before me McKeen Greene who being duly sworn saith he has been intimately acquainted with William Rawls of the County aforesaid and Conection, ever since 1778. I do know that the whole of that family were warm friends of their Country through the American Revolutionary War and said Rawls & his two eldest brothers John & Cotten were generally esteemed (??) and brave soldiers through all the Southern struggles. (??) from the fall of Savannah of Georgia till this evacuation of Savannah aforesaid & Charleston of South Carolina. Soon after said William moved into the state of Georgia and after many years moved to Middle Florida where he now resides.

McKeen Greene

Sworn to before me this 24th of Oct 1832

John Littleton Jr.

*****

Here’s what I’ve got to say about this file: my father’s Rawls ancestors have been identified in a DNA group as a group originating in Nansemond County, Virginia. Nansemond is a defunct county now, but it was on the NC line. It appears that William Rawls was not married or had descendants.

I haven’t looked at this file in almost twenty years. With it, I found my handwritten transcription notes. I had transcribed all except a bit of the last page of testimony. Almost twenty years ago, I didn’t know that someday I would be living in the former Beaufort District of South Carolina, near Effingham and Screven Counties of Georgia.

Seriously? I have ENOUGH projects, but I think this file has just moved near to the top.

 

Mary Robert Lawton Garrard’s House at 202 Gwinnett, east

April 20, 2016

Sugar and I have been tracking his great-aunt, Mary Robert Lawton Garrard, around Savannah. Our most recent discovery is that she lived at 202 Gwinnett, east. And since I’ve a bit of research to do for an out-of-state friend at the Georgia Historical Society, and we’re going to be in Savannah anyway, it’s an easy hop-skip-jump over to Gwinnett after lunch. 

Because lunch is important, and researchers need strength. 

   
 
As, of course, it turns out that we have driven by here several times in the past years. 

It looks like the house is occupied. There’s a light on in the downstairs. 

   
   
The house is directly on the sidewalk on both cross streets. We walk past the front of the house and around the corner. There’s a storage space under the front steps. 

  
Then at the back corner along the sidewalk, looking towards Gwinnett. 

   
 
Then at the back. The back of the lot is surrounded by a high brick wall. 

   
 
We don’t know if this is a single family dwelling, or if it’s been converted to apartments. 

But we do know that Mary Robert Lawton Garrard lived here. Out of her 6 children, 2 died before she died in 1902, and two died shortly afterward within a few years. 

Good-night, Mary. 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!

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Gulielma Garrard, 1891-1906

April 11, 2016

Here’s another child of Mary Robert Lawton Garrard and Colonel William
Garrard that died too soon.

image

GarrardGulie1906

Image accessed from ancestry.com on 4/10/16. I edited the image by outlining the specific record for Gulie Garrard.

She died in the Telfair Hospital on Apri 4, 1906, of tuberculosis after an illness of 6 weeks. She left behind her parents, her brother William, and her sisters Emily and Cecelia.

Mary Robert Lawton Garrard

March 23, 2016

I feel badly about poor Mary Robert Lawton Garrard. I can’t stop thinking about her. 

She was probably about 37 years old when she died. She had lost her first child, Bessie Garrard, when Bessie was one year old. She lost a son, Lawton Garrard, when he was six years old. 

According to her obituary, which was provided to me by her great-granddaughter Emily, Mary had had an operation following 8 weeks of lingering illness. 

So now I need to know more. I found her will and two codicils on ancestry dot com. 

   
  

   
Most of the will is legalese about dispensing monies, real property, and personal property to the surviving four children. Perhaps her husband prepared this section since he was an attorney. 

The sections that you and I might find most interesting are the ones where she dispenses personal items to the children, Giulie, William, Emily, and Cecelia. It is in the 2nd codicil that she distributes silver, China, glassware, and jewelry. A diamond pin here, a ruby ring there. Mary accounts for everything beautifully. 

It occurs to me that the will is dated the 30th day of March, 1901, almost 115 years ago. Yet she doesn’t die until October 11, 1902, a full year and a half later. The obit says she has had a lingering illness of 8 weeks. 

What causes a young woman in her 30s to write at least one will? Because she does mention that all other wills would be made null and void. Perhaps she was ill for a long time. 

She could not know that two more of her daughters, Giulie and Emily, would die in childhood after she herself passed away. 

Good-night, Mary. Rest well from your worldly cares. 

FlowerFest 2015: At Stop Two

December 9, 2015

Here’s Sugar’s relative Jordan.


His great-grandfather was Jefferson Brown.

Jefferson’s father was Winnie Joe Brown.

Winnie Joe’s father was most probably Francis Asbury Lawton. According to the DNA and the family stories, he’s the most likely candidate.

Sugar and Jordan share DNA that goes back to the 1700s to Joseph Lawton. Sugar and Jordan’s mother also share DNA.

By a stroke of pure luck and coincidence, Jordan (in Germany, mind you) mentioned that Jefferson Brown lived in Savannah, and he told this to me the evening before we were to set out on a FlowerFest. I found a city directory listing for 1925 that matched the address that Jordan had from a draft registration. Sugar was agreeable to do a drive-by, since he was the one driving the time machine and he knew the area.

 

Jefferson Brown lived at 1024 West 36th Street, Savannah, Georgia, in 1925.


We drove down the street to find the house was gone. There was an empty lot. No sign that Jefferson Brown had ever been there.

Just past the empty lot is a church at 1050 West 36th Street.


Directly across the street from where 1024 would have been was 1025. It is a more modern construction, so I’m guessing that any houses westward from 1024 and 1025 were demolished or removed, and new structures were built, including the church.


The houses at the corner where the street sign is look to be of a vintage similar to the ones where Edith Barnes lived. Edith was Sugar’s grandmother’s housekeeper, and she lived on the east side of town. Her area has been gentrified.

So let’s guess that Jefferson Brown lived in a house that was styled much like this.


And let’s also imagine that Sugar’s grandfather’s family, whose family line had been in Savannah since the mid-1800s, was living on the east side, while Jordan’s great-grandfather was living on the west side about the same time.

But nobody knew about this connection until a DNA match responded to Jordan’s inquiry.

Sometimes the puzzles just work themselves, with properly placed nudging.

You know what this means? We have to find a Sanborn Fire Insurance Map.

*****

It would have been helpful to have checked the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map before we went to Savannah and before I wrote this blog post…

We were on the wrong section of 36th. The 1916 map shows Lot 1024 to be across Ogeechee Road. We were on the section between 1046 and 1047.

1024 West 36th Street, SAV

 

 

 

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…

Bateson, Spear, and Ebbs

November 15, 2015

Sometimes it looks like I’m doing things in a backwards manner. That’s the order that things present themselves. It’s like the universe has a paper bag of items that gets shaken up and parceled out in bits here and there. Sometimes I don’t get enough puzzle pieces to make a clear picture. 

That’s what’s going on with the Thomas Bateson family of Savannah, Georgia. We discovered that Thomas Bateson was affiliated somehow with William Spears and William Ebbs, because they are mentioned as guardians of the minor children Georgia Agnes and Alice after the rest of the family died in the 1870s. 

Sugar and I found one of them the city of Savannah cemetery database which listed William Ebbs in plot 1494. 

We visited plot 1494 with Sugar’s Bateson cousins in January of this year. There’s no marker there. 

We couldn’t find any record of William Spears at all for months. Nothing online. Until I remembered that some of the records spelled it “Speer”. 

And there he is listed online in lot 1028. So we drove on over to say hello and see if there’s a story. 

  
The story is that there is no story here, unless we dig deeper, figuratively speaking. There’s not even a plot marker. 

There’s another blank lot without a marker, just like the Bateson plot and the Ebbs plot. 

  
 Sandwiched between 1027 and 1029 is most probably 1028. Discouraging. 

  
And so I walk about, circling the lot and taking shots of all sides. 
  
 

Front to back with 1029 on the left & 1027 on the right.


 

More of the same. Back to front.

  
  
It occurs to us to stroll over to the Ebbs lot. Close in life, perhaps close in death. 

  
 

The Ebbs plot at 1494.


Very close. It’s perhaps at most 50 yards away across a little lane looking back to our right. You could throw a football there.  The clump of trees is next to the Speers/Spears plot. 

   
  
There’s William Speer, age 81, died on June 15, 1899; Rachel, age 45, died December 10, 1874; and William E. Spears, age 1 year and 9 months, died May 1, 1863. 

*****

Oh, my. The new collection of probate records came out…