Saturday, July 25, 2015

J. H. Brissey Dies of His Injuries

Obituaries are often some of my favorite sources of genealogical information. The good ones provide information about the deceased's birth, parents, siblings, spouse, children, hobbies, occupation, burial, cause of death, and locations lived. Others, however, will merely state that someone died and where to send flowers.

The one for my fourth great-grandfather, Jessie Ambrose Brissey, is one of the good ones.
Newspaper in which the obituary was published
Taken from what would have been his local paper, Anderson Daily Intelligencer, this account of Jessie and his death is quite thorough, even if they mistakenly report his middle initial as an "H," instead of an "A." I will share his obituary with you now.

NOTE: All punctuation and capitalization is as it appears in the obituary. I have inserted some things in parentheses for words that seem to be missing letters or if I can't make out a word in the text. I will post the questionable passages and if you think you know what something may say, just send me a message or leave a comment.
Headline for the obituary
Venerable Citizen of This County Never Rallies - Funeral This Afternoon at 5:30

M. J. H. Brissey who has been desperately ill at Anderson county Hospital for several days, passed away yesterday afternoon at 5 o'clock. The funeral services will be held this afternoon at 5:30 at the home of his son, W. L. Brissey of Calhoun street.

Mr. Brissey was seriously injured one week ago last Tuesday when a horse which he was driving ran away and caused him to receive injuries which from the first appeared to be very serious. He had come to the city from High Shoals in a wagon that day, and even before leaving for the city expressed a premonition that he should not come. On the return to the country the horse ran away with the sad results stated.

Mr. Brissey was rendered unconscious and was never thoroughly aroused to consciousness, although he aroused partially at times. He sank into a stupor about three days (a)go (a)nd never rallied. He did not appear to be in pain, but just slipped away.

The deceased had for many years been one of the staunch citizens of Anderson. He was born in Greenville county on the 11th of April 1842, and went to the war with a company from that county. He was a good soldier and served continuously in every battle that his company went into, but was never wounded. He was one of the happiest of the old soldiers at the reunion this year.

He settled in Pickens county after the war and lived there about 25 years and about the same length of time in Anderson. His old home was on South Main near the Orr Mill. Mr. Brissey was a carpenter and millwright by trade and was well known over all of this section of the state. His wife was Miss Permelia Francis Rodgers, daughter of John Rodgers of Greenville county who preceded him to the grave 22 years ago.

Mr. Brissey had retired from active work in the last few years and was giving his time to visiting around among his children. At the time of the accident which caused his death he was living with his son J. H. Brissey at High Shoals five miles east of the city. Mr. Brissey had property in Alabama and Florida.

Of the 11 children born to Mr. and Mrs. Brissey 6 are living. Messrs W. I.(,) J. H. and John Brissey of this city; Mrs. J. C. Nalley of this county; Mrs. Charley Burgess of Jacksonville, Fla, and Mrs. Pr(illegible) Tribble of Belton. It is expected that all of the children with the exception of Mrs. Burgess will be here today.
List of surviving children and where the children currently reside
Mr. Brissey is also survived by four brothers and one sister, C. C. Brissey of Orrville; Dave Brissey of Charlotte, N. C., Charles Brissey of Richland, Ga., Jim Brissey of Pendleton and Mrs. Granger of Greenville.

The announcement of pall-bearers could not be made last night, but the funeral services will be conducted at the home of his son by the Rev. J. W. Speake, his pastor, at 5:30 this afternoon. Interment at Silver Brook. Mr. Speake said last night that he had been urged to stay in Char(illegilble) where he has been on conference matters, but he felt that something was drawing him home and he is glad that he came back at this time. He saw Mr. Brissey passing on the wagon on the day of accident and the good man seemed unusaully happy and cheerful that day. He was a good man indeed, is the encomium(?) of his pastor.
Final paragraph of obituary
  • 14 June 1914 issue of "Anderson Daily Intelligencer," Page 2 (accessed on Chronicling America)

Saturday, July 18, 2015


I remember my great-grandmother Rosemary telling me once that, where they lived in Chicago, she was the only person on her street to have a radio. She said this with a sense of pride, as if to imply that her family was the richest on the block.

I decided, for this post, I would pull the information for the 1930 census for her block of Chicago and list who did and did not have a radio on her street in 1930.
16th Ward, Block 10, Chicago City, Cook County, Illinois
S. Marshfield Avenue

South Marshfield Avenue, 16th Ward, Block 10, Chicago City, Cook County, Illinois
  • Borden Friend, radio
  • Kajsa Williams, radio
  • Joseph Bradel, NO radio
  • Joseph Reaber, radio (my great-great grandfather)
  • William Topel, radio
  • Ignatz Koperski, radio
  • Louis Koncecki, radio
  • George Lucas, radio
  • John Trevillion, radio
  • Mary Carroll, NO radio
  • Margaret Ryan, radio
  • John Migliore, NO radio
  • Daniel Toomey, radio
  • Thomas Whalen, NO radio
  • Walter Gregory, radio
  • Joseph Conklin, radio
So, out of 16 families, only four families on their street don't have radios. Since she did not tell me when they were supposed to have been the "only" family to have a radio, I can not be sure if she was referring to a time earlier in life or not. I don't doubt that at one time in her life, her story may have been accurate.

  • 1930 Chicago City, Cook County, Illinois U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

William B. Findley

On 20 June, I discussed one of my "brick wall" ancestors, George Hodson Triplett. This week, I thought I would talk about another. His name is William "Ben" (which I have come to assume to be either Benjamin or Bennette) Findley. Like George, I think I know who Ben's parents are, even though I can't yet prove it. (I believe them to be John M. Finley/Findley and Sydney Louisa Brissey.) Here's what I do know:

According to Ben's tombstone, he was born 4 June 1883. According to every census record I find him living, he was born in South Carolina.

The issue for me is not Ben's beginnings though. It's everything else.

The first piece of evidence I found, at some point during my research, was the following document.
Certificate of Marriage, UNKNOWN SOURCE
I don't know where it originated (I think someone posted it in an Ancestry tree, but I haven't been able to track down the original uploader), but it appears to be from a Family Bible. Whose Bible? I don't know. If you know who has the original Bible or copy of this record, PLEASE send me a message or leave a comment here.

So, here we have my great-great grandparents, W. B. Findley and Pearl Olivia Cargill. The record states they were married 14 April 1907. It also says they were both from Anderson County, South Carolina when they got married.
Clipping from the 1907 Anderson, Anderson County, South Carolina Directory
Clipping of 1907 Anderson, Anderson County, South Carolina Directory
Now, if we attempt to walk through the census records, that's where it really gets confusing.

I think I have found them in 1910 living in Lee County, Georgia. The only thing that baffles me slightly with this record is that the child, who would be my great-grandfather, is listed as Ben Jr. My great-grandfather's name was Jesse Lee. I am curious if and when they changed his name because I had never heard of him ever being called or named Ben.
Clipping from 1910 Lee County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census
In 1920, it gets more confusing.

Here, they are seen living in Hart County, Georgia. By this time, my great-grandfather's name is correct and some of his siblings are present.
Clipping from 1920 Hart County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census
But then, here they are seen living in Walhalla, Oconee County, South Carolina.
Clipping from 1920 Walhalla, Oconee County, South Carolina U.S. Federal Census
This census is also from 1920. Also, notice Jesse, Jack, and Pope (spelled Hope in the Hart census) are missing and another child, Ollie May, has taken their place.

I can't help but think this has to be a different family. The children are different. Pearl is listed as being born in South Carolina instead of her actual homestate of Georgia. And Pearl is listed to be about 10 years younger than she is.

Now, all of these things could be explained as follows: They moved between the 5th of January when they are shown in Oconee and the 23rd of January when they are shown in Hart. Pearl's place of birth could have been miswritten or assumed on the part of the enumerator (though there are several families on the same page who are from multiple locations aside from South Carolina). And Pearl's age could have been mistakenly recorded 20 instead of 30.

Despite all of those explanations, I feel confident these are two different families. The problem, however, lies here:

Look at how close all of these locations are! All three counties in question (Anderson, Oconee, and Hart) are touching. This could still very well be the same family.

In 1930, I find the family living in Hart County, Georgia again.
Clipping from 1930 Hart County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census
(Remember, Jesse Lee was living in Chicago by this point.) So it seems once again that the family is clearly living in Georgia, and not in Anderson, South Carolina.

Meanwhile, from 1931 through 1959, a Pearl and a William E Fendley are shown listed in the city directories of Anderson. To me, this proves that this William and Pearl are a different family unit than my Ben and Pearl.

Still, even with this large entanglement sorted out, I find myself with a million questions about this family. My main question is: Why did they move to Anderson County, South Carolina in 1907? What drew them there? Pearl, I assume, moved there with her (recently?) widowed mother and sister; but this is the only time I see Ben listed as a butcher. He always appears as a farmer in the records.

Perhaps it was just destiny playing out. Somehow, the two of them had to have the chance to meet. I've been playing around with Google Earth lately. I hope to plot their respective addresses from the 1907 directory to see where they lived in relation to one another and where Ben's butcher shop was located. Be sure to look for that post further down the road.

  • 1907-1959 Anderson, Anderson County, South Carolina City Directories (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1910 Lee County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1920 Rays, Hart County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1920 Walhalla, Oconee County, South Carolina U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1930 Rays, Hart County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1940 Rays, Hart County, Georgia U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • Bible Record of unknown origins
  • Map of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee (found here on FamilySearch)
  • Tombstone, William B. and Pearl Olevia Findley (as viewed on Find-A-Grave)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Revolutionary War Story: Upshaws, Gatewoods, Thorntons, and a Dozier

With today being a day of respect and remembrance of our nation's beginnings, and also being a day most people enjoy with their families, I thought I would highlight an extended family's experience in the American Revolutionary War.

I wrote about John Upshaw's experience in the Revolution in a previous post, and I mentioned how his father-in-law, Larkin Gatewood, was a Sergeant under Captain William Tucker, who was also John's Captain during his first draft.

John Upshaw's daughter, and my sixth great-grandmother, Sarah Upshaw married Benjamin Thornton on 12 January 1796. Benjamin was the son of Dozier Thornton and Lucinda Elizabeth Hill.
This portrait of Dozier hangs in Van's Creek Baptist Church in Elbert County, GA
Portrait copy found on various websites and forums related to Dozier and Van's Creek.
Dozier Thornton also served in the American Revolutionary War. Even Dozier's father, Mark Thomas Thornton, is thought to have aided in the War.

Dozier and Mark are no longer accepted Patriots in the Daughters of the American Revolution. Dozier's grave has been marked twice (once by the DAR and once by the SAR) as being in the North Carolina Militia during the Revolution, though I haven't found any proof of his actual service. But I refuse to give up hope of finding it! I still have a few leads to follow, but they will require actual trips to repositories that aren't yet available online.
Application for Military Headstone for Dozier Thornton, dated 8 November 1927
There seems to be some confusion about Dozier's service online with people thinking he fought in Captain Dunston Blackwell's Division and Major David Dobbs' Battalion. This misinformation comes from a land lottery in Georgia drawn in 1825 (and awarded in 1827) where Dozier is shown as receiving lottery entries. This land lottery was not related to the War in any way. Soldiers did, however, get two drawings in the lottery. That may have sparked some of the confusion.

The fifth person in the family to have aided in the War was (possibly) Mark's father-in-law, Leonard Dozier. (Leonard's relationship to Mark is often debated. While it is clear these two families are related, they may not be father/son-in-law.) Leonard is listed in Abercrombie and Slatten as furnishing beef for the War.

Even despite Dozier and Mark's disputed service, this particular branch of the family tree leaves me feeling very grateful and very patriotic, especially on holidays like today. I hope everyone enjoys a safe and pleasant Fourth of July, and I hope everyone appreciates the actions of the men and women who attributed to the founding of this nation we call The Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave.