Posts Tagged ‘Tennessee’

The Revolutionary War File of Peter Owen

March 4, 2017

Here’s another paper file that I’ve had for close to 20 years. It is 34 pages. Thirty-four! You’d think there would be something of genealogical value for me, but alas. There is not.

My father has an ancestor named Josiah Owen(s). Josiah had a brother named Staples, who is in no way affiliated with the store nor the Swingline company. They settled in the vicinity of Henry and Weakley counties in Tennessee.

They were from Virginia, and so when I found that this Peter Owen was from Virginia and settled in Henry County, Tennessee, I figure that there might be a relation. Nope. I got nuthin’. At least, if they are related, I don’t know where the connection is.

Almost 90 years ago, someone else was looking for a connection to Peter Owen. A Miss Nelle Kell (really, that’s her name) from Mt. Vernon, Illinois, wrote to the U.S. Commissioner of Pensions in Washington, D.C., looking for information on Peter Owen, John Kell, Joe Luke, and Robert Little.  Her letter, and the reply, is located here.

There are some random papers that seem out of order, and perhaps there are bits of the original file that are missing. I present the file to you in the order that I received it, all stapled (no relation) together.

Remember to trot on over to the to see transcriptions of this and other files.


Good-night, Peter Owen. We’re thinking of you.


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 Sewanee Natural Bridge, Or: In Which Pictures Tell the Story

April 16, 2014























I learned that Sugar is afraid of heights.  He hid it pretty well, until I was crowding him on the bridge…

Onward to Sewanee

April 11, 2014

The path from Dahlonega to NearSewanee takes several hours to travel.  Part of it is interstate highway travel.  The end of the journey involves a climbing mountain road to arrive at the top of the Cumberland Plateau.  Road signs and directional markers become fewer and homemade.  I had a handwritten set of directions, which were effective until near the end, when the directions said to turn on the left road right after the sharp right turn.

We never found the sharp right turn, but instead ended up at a stop sign.  Sugar considered going on, but I countered that the stop sign was not in the directions, and that we should backtrack.  He countered that we never went through a sharp right turn.  I settled the matter by saying, “I’m from Tennessee, and we need to go back”.  We would go back and retrace our steps, and ignore the “sharp right turn” part.

This involves driving down every road until we found a mailbox with an address on it so that we could know what road we were on.  When I was growing up, there were no road signs outside the city limits near where I lived.  You simply told someone how to get to your house.  Go about 1 mile from town, turn right sharp downhill, go across the creek and take the left fork, second house on the right.  It’s on a hill.  You can’t miss it.

We finally found our road, and fortunately I had copied the address.  We don’t have GPS, so everything is part of the adventure.

Sugar’s cousin greeted us warmly, and we settled in.  We had done it!  We delivered oysters that had been on ice for three days, so were possibly about 4 days harvested.  We talked about what to do with these oysters for dinner.  Oyster stew, fried oysters, what?  It seemed that the dogs needed a walk and the food decisions could wait.

The four of us, being myself, Sugar, his cousin, and her husband, plus the dogs, set out to walk the property.  Apparently they thought we were spry enough, and I hoped my knees would prove this to be true.  It’s hilly, and there was a little stream to cross.  This proved to not be a walk, this was a hike for most sorts of folks, but we did it, and no one blew out a knee or twisted an ankle.  It was remote, yet populated, territory, and at the correct geologic area for caves, which is why they live here, for they are cavers.

No, we did not go caving.

Then we had raw oysters on saltines with sauce.  In anticipation of oyster stew, which SugarCousin made from scratch with milk and a stick of butter. Mouth watering now.



The next day we set out for sightseeing.

(Insert apologies here.  There’s more than 70 photos.)



SugarCousin’s husband works at a FireTowerLookOuty Place.




Here’s a shot of the tower and a bird that’s catching some early morning sunshine.



On the way to Green’s View.  No view of terrain, but the early morning fog was spectacular and worth the trip.










Ice!  Still a bit left from the storm Titan.








Now, onward to Sewanee to the Archives.  Closed!  Until the afternoon.  So, yeah, we’ll be back later.

Sugar’s paternal grandfather went to school here in the 1880’s.  It’s now the University of the South, which went through severalhistorical twists and turns to become what it is today.





Yes, this is taken out the window.



One of the highlights of this campus tour is the chapel, which is now indeed much grander than a chapel, and is quite cathedral-like.  See what you think.










IMG_6204 IMG_6205



























We leave the chapel and head over to another overlook, still on the campus.














Now we head down into the town of Sewanee for some lunch, and to kill time until the archives are open.

We chose The Blue Chair.  The food was great, and fresh, and there was a friendly lunchy atmosphere.  I don’t even remember what I ate – a Greek salad? – but it was delicious – I have a delicious memory that the experience was delicious.

When we got back to the archives, the gentlemen in charge of the archives told Sugar that he had located a record of Sugar’s grandfather showing that he had matriculated in 1883 or thereabouts, but that was all.  We were not allowed to look at any records, which was a disappointment.

We press onward to the Sewanee Natural Bridge, the subject for another post.  It’s quietly spectacular.

The Family Bible of Thomas Elisha & Jane Susan Starr Basinger: Intermission

January 22, 2014

I photographed the Bible last week, and when I loaded the photos onto the computer, I found that the images were unclear when I attempted to enlarge them. The spidery handwriting fragmented so much upon enlargement that it became illegible. Is that an 8? Or a 3? Numbers are important in genealogy.

I knew I’d have to photograph them again, this time much closer and in sections.

This particular Bible also has the Apocrypha, just like the Family Bible of Stephen Lawton. I’m fascinated with the concept of this section of the Bible that has been removed from modern day Bibles. That seems like a whole new area of study of me, and I flipped through some of the sections.


I have a 5th great-grandfather named Josias Gamble. He was a Revolutionary Era patriot, and I was able to join the Daughters of the American Revolution using him as my patriot ancestor. When I was filling out the application forms, more than one person asked me, “You sure that’s right? Josias? Not Josiah? Did you spell it wrong?” I do a little foot-stampy thing right about here, and insist that it is right. He had descendants that were also named Josias, and their headstones say “Josias”. So there. He was already a recognized patriot in the DAR files, but us local folks had never heard it, and to be fair, everything on the DAR application needs to be right and correct, and I do understand that, and I appreciate everyone’s diligence in that matter.

Insert surprised expression here upon viewing the Apocrypha.


From the book of Ecclesiasticus:
Chapter XLIX
1 The praise of Josias, 4 of David and Ezekias, 6 of Jeremy, 8 of
zekiel, 11 Zorobabel, 12 Jesus the son of Josedec: 13 of Nee-
mias, Enoch, Seth, Sem, and Adam.
THE remembrance of a Josias is like the composi-
tion of the perfume that is made by the art of
the apothecary: it is sweet as honey in all mouths,
and as music at a banquet of wine.
2 He behaved himself uprightly in the conversion
of the people, and took away the abominations of
3 He directed his heart unto the Lord, and b in the
time of the ungodly he established the worship of God.
4 All, except David, and Ezekias, and Josias, were
defective: for they forsook the law of the Most High,
even the kings of Juda failed.
5 Therefore he gave their power unto others, and
their glory to a strange nation.

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…