Thursday, May 31, 2012

Penningtons to West Virginia

When you first start out researching your family lines, it seems like there are endless possibilities for your unknown ancestors.  At that point all you usually have to go on is perhaps a few family stories that might have a kernel or two of truth.  As you do more research, your start to learn the history of the locations that you are researching because it helps you gain more knowledge about the families that you are tracing.  The Penningtons of Ashe Co., NC are an interwoven bunch that incorporates several named family groups in the Pennington Research Association’s list of families.  They all most likely have common ancestor several generations back – but they share something else in common as well  - the challenges of living in the New River area.

The New River area encompasses parts of North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.  The group of Penningtons that I am speaking of lived in the mountains in the corner where these three states meet.  It seemed like many of these families were quite large and the simple facts of economics were enough to force the younger members to go elsewhere for work.  Opportunity for land or work was probably why the first groups of Penningtons left Ashe Co., NC and went over to Smyth Co., VA.  It was just one family but rather groups of families.  There are pockets of families in Grayson Co., VA, Washington Co., VA, Lee Co., VA, Johnson Co., TN as well as Kentucky and West Virginia.  Kentucky must have seemed like new territory by the time the early 1800’s came about with the opportunity for many to buy land and have their own homes.  By the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, many Pennington families were going to West Virginia for jobs – mostly in the coal mines.

If you were poor and needed a good paying job to support your family – I don’t suppose that there was a better chance for work than the coal mines.  These men with young families would move to places like Mercer or Wyoming Co., WV.  I’m sure that some farmed…but most probably worked in the coal mines.  When coal was discovered in Mercer Co., WV in 1882, thousands of men went there to find work.  These men would work long hours in the coal mines in what was terribly dangerous work.  There was always the danger of gas pockets that would explode, cave ins that would trap the miners and starve them of oxygen.  If they survived all that, many died of the black lung that was caused by years of inhaling coal dust – in many ways, they doomed their sons to the same fate as they also worked in the coal mines.

So, if you are researching a family from the New River area and they disappear and perhaps show up in a later census – check and see if they are in West Virginia.  I have seen several families go to West Virginia and stay there and live out their lives and others who come back to live at their old home.  There is actually a great online resource of archives for West Virginia at that can be quite valuable.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Early Johnson Travels to Northwest - abt 1905

My great grandfather was one of the eleven children of Washington Abraham Johnson and Mary Ann Smith.  They were married on 21 Aug 1855 in Jefferson Co., TN and lived there until abt 1862 when they left Tennessee for Iowa.  Presumably to get away from the Civil War – Washington couldn’t have been in a good spot.  His cousin, Andrew Johnson, was the Union appointed military governor and he lived in an area where there were a lot of Confederates and Unioinist’s alike who were battling for supremacy.  It probably seemed to be the wisest thing to pack up what you could and leave and travel somewhere safe – in this case Iowa, where his older brother and family lived.  Their oldest daughter, Nanny, was still quite small when they left Tennessee.  She was born 17 Oct 1857 in Jefferson Co., TN and by 1862 they were in Iowa and had moved to Kirkman, Shelby Co., IA by 1865 which is where the family settled.

Nanny Eleanor Johnson Gill

Nanny Johnson and husband William Gill

Nanny married a William A. Gill abt 1874 and lived in Shelby Co., IA until abt 1887 when they moved to Whitman Co., WA.  That seemed to by quite a change of location.  I would guess that they moved with the railroad and I know that the Whitman Co., WA area was a growing place at the time with possibly a lot of opportunity.  They lived in near the small town of Garfield Co., WA which is in the heart of the Palouse hills.  It is still today a rural farm community.  I suspect that the attraction was the train station and the ability to work for the railroad.  Their youngest son was born while they were in Whitman Co., WA.

I’m not sure – but they left Whitman Co., WA sometime after 1905 and before 1910.  They moved to Hill City, ID.  If you go to Hill City, ID today – there is literally nothing there.  At one time, I was told that it was one of the largest places in the world to ship sheep to market via the train.  It must have been quite a change to move Hill City, ID.  Garfield Co., WA is a beautiful area with rolling fields usually filled with crops – Hill City, ID is in a high mountain semi desert.  The winters were more than likely quite brutal as it is in quite high elevation.  I’m sure the summers were also brutal because of the harsh weather. 

John Sira Johnson
Perhaps there was opportunity to be had – because two of Nanny’s brothers came west and joined them in Idaho including John Sira Johnson and Lytle Woods Johnson.  Not too long after Lytle Woods Johnson had probably arrived (at least a few years) he dies on 28 Apr 1915 at the age of 52 years old, perhaps an early victim of the onset of the flu epidemic.  Her older brother, John Sira Johnson died on 18 Feb 1918 and a few months later Nanny died on 12 Jun 1918.  All three were in Hill City, ID and while there is a cemetery there, I do not know where they were buried.  Since it was probably a time of a lot of death…perhaps they are in unmarked graves.  At some point, I will order their death records and find out what they say about death cause…but the dates certainly suggest the flu epidemic as the cause.  Neither John or Lytle ever had children, but Nanny left behind four children: - I have pasted their info below.

Descendants of Nanny Eleanor Johnson

Lytle Woods Johnson

Generation No. 1

1.  NANNY ELEANOR4 JOHNSON  (WASHINGTON ABRAHAM3, MOSES2, WILLIAM1) was born 17 Oct 1857 in Jefferson Co., TN, and died 12 Jun 1918 in Hill City, Camas Co., ID.  She married WILLIAM A. GILL Abt. 1874 in Shelby Co., IA, son of H. GILL and MARTHA PIPER.  He was born 17 Sep 1850 in KY, and died 19 Jul 1927 in Gooding, Gooding Co., ID.

Census 1: 1880, Douglas, Shelby Co., IA, Pg 137A
Census 2: 1860, Jefferson Co., TN, Pg. 250, #1790
Census 3: 1870, Jackson Twp., Hardin Co., IA, pg 29, #1
Census 4: 1900, Dist. 101, Garfield, Whitman Co., WA, Pg. 13B, #278
Census 5: 1910, (Blaine Co., ID)Gill, Nancy E,  Corral 52 F Tennessee T624 222 Page 186
Death Fact: Died of the flu

Burial: 22 Jul 1927, Hill City Cemetery, Camas Co., ID (DC says Fairfield)
Census 1: 1870, Shelby Co., IA - 40-43, Harlan Twp
Census 2: 1880, Douglas, Shelby Co., IA, Pg 137A
Census 3: 1900, Dist. 101, Garfield, Whitman Co., WA, Pg. 13B, #278
Census 4: 1910, (Blaine Co., ID) Gill, Wm A  Corral 59 M Kentucky T624 222 Page 186
Census 5: 1910, Blaine Co., ID, Corral Precinct
Death Fact: 19 Jul 1927, DR#058294
               i.   CHARLES A.5 GILL, b. 09 Nov 1879, Shelby Co., IA; d. Feb 1950, ID; m. GRACE G., Abt. 1903; b. Abt. 1881, NE.

Date born 2: Aug 1876, IA
Census 1: 1880, Douglas, Shelby Co., IA, Pg 137A
Census 2: 1900, Dist. 101, Garfield, Whitman Co., WA, Pg. 13B, #278
Census 3: 1920, Dist. 34, Vancouver, Clark Co., WA, Pg. 4A, #82
Census 4: 1930, Dist. 52, Vancouver, Clark Co., WA, Pg. 2A, #34

More About GRACE G.:
Census 1: 1920, Dist. 34, Vancouver, Clark Co., WA, Pg. 4A, #82
Census 2: 1930, Dist. 52, Vancouver, Clark Co., WA, Pg. 2A, #34

              ii.   JOHN EDWARD GILL, b. 29 Oct 1880, Shelby Co., IA; d. 05 Jan 1962, Boise, Ada Co., ID; m. ALDA GOHEEN, 04 Nov 1903, McMinnville, Yamhill Co., OR; b. 04 Nov 1882, Broken Bow, Custer Co., NE; d. 04 Apr 1977, Boise, Ada Co., ID.

Census 1: 1900, Dist. 101, Garfield, Whitman Co., WA, Pg. 13B, #278
Census 2: 1910, Dist. 264, 42 Pct- Whitman Co., WA, Pg. 7B, #169
Census 3: 1920, Fair Ground, Ada Co., ID, Pg. 15A, #106
Census 4: 1930, Dist. 32, Fair Ground, Ada Co., ID, Pg. 7A, #156

Census 1: 1920, Fair Ground, Ada Co., ID, Pg. 15A, #106
Census 2: 1910, Dist. 264, 42 Pct- Whitman Co., WA, Pg. 7B, #169
Census 3: 1930, Dist. 32, Fair Ground, Ada Co., ID, Pg. 7A, #156
Social Security Number: 518-30-9686, Issued ID

             iii.   WILLIAM H. GILL, b. Aug 1886, Shelby Co., IA; m. GERTRUDE E. MAXWELL, 21 Aug 1911, Blaine Co., ID; b. Abt. 1889, NE.

Census 1: 1910, (Blaine Co., ID)Gill, Wm H  Corral 23 M Iowa T624 222 Page 186  
Census 2: 1900, Dist. 101, Garfield, Whitman Co., WA, Pg. 13B, #278
Census 3: 1920, Dist. 12, Boise, Ada Co., ID, Pg. 1B, #20
Census 4: 1930, Dist. 5, Hill City, Camas Co., ID, Pg. 2A, #44

Census 1: 1920, Dist. 12, Boise, Ada Co., ID, Pg. 1B, #20
Census 2: 1930, Dist. 9, Boise, Ada Co., ID, Pg. 7B, #160

             iv.   GEORGE W. GILL, b. 14 Aug 1889, Whitman Co., WA; d. Dec 1964, ID.

More About GEORGE W. GILL:
Census 1: 1910, (Blaine Co., ID) Gill, Geo W  Corral 20 M Washington T624 222 Page 186 
Census 2: 1900, Dist. 101, Garfield, Whitman Co., WA, Pg. 13B, #278
Census 3: 1920, Dist. 12, Boise, Ada Co., ID, Pg. 1B, #20
Census 4: 1930, Dist. 5, Hill City, Camas Co., ID, Pg. 2A, #43

Friday, May 25, 2012

"OK, Pop, Turn Over"

Mom and Pop Friddle moved to Lewiston, ID around 1928 from Pomeroy, WA.  They had moved to Pomeroy, WA in the early 1920’s so their oldest son could go to school.  As soon as he graduated from high school, they moved to Lewiston, ID.  They lived for a while in the east part of the Orchards just south of Lewiston, ID.  At the time, the Orchards was not a part of the city.  They bought a large piece of property on the corner of Thain and Stewart and lived there the rest of their lives.  Pop Friddle worked for the irrigation department and made $1 a day in salary.  Half of that money went to pay for the land and the rest to support his family.

By the time my mother was born in 1941, Mom and Pop Friddle had raspberry bushes that they picked and sold the fruit as well as fruit orchards.  They also had huge gardens every year.  They gave a piece of their land to the daughter as a wedding present and she and her husband built a house just a short distance away from her parent’s home.  Mom was the second of two children born to her mother, Capitola and her father, Richard.  Mom’s favorite person in the world was her grandfather, who she called Pop.   When she needed a hug or sympathy she went to her Pop and got a big bear hug that let her know that she was loved.  When her father died when she was 6 years old…I’m sure that male presence was even more important.  By the time she was 8 or 9 years old, Pop Friddle’s health had began to fail and he was home much more.  He spent a lot of time around his home filling his time with work around the house and yard.

Every spring my mother remembers her grandfather complaining about the iris.  He hated iris with a passion.  Mom remembered him digging and burning the iris leaves only for them to come up again the next spring.  He was convinced that you couldn’t kill it and considered it the bane of his existence…at least in the spring.  Mom remembered him telling her grandmother to never put iris on his grave because if someone did then he would roll over in his grave in disgust.  Mom Friddle would smile at him and I suspect she always remembered his intense hatred of iris…she probably replanted some every year just to enjoy his disgust.  They were a wonderful couple – both had a great sense of humor and liked to play jokes on each other.  My mother remembers her grandparents telling stories on the other that everyone  knew was completely false and the other would just nod their head and smile. 
Mom and Pop having a good laugh

Pop Friddle’s health declined to the point that he suffered a bad stroke just after Christmas in 1954 and died on 4 January 1955.  My mother remembered sitting beside him as he died holding his hand.  It was a devastating blow to the entire family – but especially to his wife of 47 years.  That spring my great grandmother and grandmother gathered flowers to take down to their husband’s graves for Memorial Day.  It was a tradition in the south to decorate the graves and it was something that they embraced.  Mom Friddle gathered the biggest bouquet of Iris that you have ever seen and placed it on Pop Friddle’s grave and said “Ok, Pop…turn over!”  I imagine that my great grandmother shed a few tears on the first Memorial Day after Pop’s death…but I also think she might have had a good giggle on having the last laugh on her beloved Pop.

Mom Friddle over Pop's Grave
Mom Friddle survived Pop another 24 years.  For much of that time, she placed a huge bouquet of iris on his grave and said the same thing “Ok, Pop…turn over!”  When she could no longer go to the cemetery, she made my mother promise that she would always make sure that Pop would have iris on his grave.  Some years were harder than others to find enough iris to make a bouquet.  Mom had a few plants out back that didn’t always cooperate in giving us iris in time for Memorial Day.  Sometimes, she even had to buy iris…but every year, she kept her promise.  The last few years Mom was alive, she looked to me and told me that I had to keep her promise to Mom Friddle.  So…Dad and I have gone out to my aunt’s house and picked iris on a hillside, we’ve gathered blossoms from my sister’s home and neighbors.  We have even had to buy it.  This year I planted some iris in hopes that I would have a few more blossoms to work with…but the new iris hasn’t bloomed yet – but I do have a few on the older plants.  So, tomorrow evening, I will pick the iris that we have and Dad and I will go down and probably use mostly silk flowers on the other graves at Normal Hill Cemetery…but at Pop Friddle’s grave, we will place a bunch of iris.  Knowing Mom Friddle – she is probably elbowing him and giggling up above while he is groaning in disgust as she tells him “Ok, Pop…turn over!”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Mysterious Samuel

The Pennington Research Association has split the Penningtons up into ancestral groups based on their earliest known progenitor.  In general, this works out well.  There are few that don’t seem to fit anywhere so they get their own group.  One of these is the progenitor of Group 12, Samuel Pennington.

Samuel Pennington was probably born around 1795 in Albemarle Co., VA and possibly died around 1862 in TN.  He is not named in the 1850 census that we know of and his pretty much missing in action so to speak after the death of his wife Elizabeth Anderson.  We know that they probably married in Grayson Co., VA around 1820.  Elizabeth was the daughter of William Anderson and Catherine Walling and was born about 1802 in Grayson Co., VA and died abt 1846 in Grayson Co., VA.  We know that Samuel and Elizabeth were married and some general information because they had 8 children.

It seems that all the information about Samuel is a hazy.  DNA has cleared a bit of that up as we know that he connects genetically with the other Ashe Co., NC groups.  However, what does this mean exactly – is he connected with the Group 7 – Ephraim group or perhaps the Andrew Pennington – Group 30 bunch.   He is probably somehow connected to both if you go back enough generations – I am ever hopeful that some magic document will show up someday that will connect the dots, in the meantime we can only keep searching and bounce some theories about to see if anything sticks.  We do know that Samuel and his wife had several children who had descendants.  Their children were:
  • Stephen Pennington b. 24 Mar 1821 VA/TN d. 18 Mar 1890 m. abt 1842 Johanna Spencer b. 30 Nov 1820 VA d. 28 Dec 1911
  • Lucy Pennington b. 8 Jun 1823 VA/TN d. 27 Jun 1909 Grayson Co., VA m. abt Jan 1842 Joseph Joshua Spencer b. abt 1818 VA d. abt 1885 Grayson Co., VA
  • Mariah Pennington b. 5 May 1826 Grassy Creek, Grayson Co., VA d. 22 Mar 1900 m. 31 Jul 1848 Ashe Co., NC John Weiss, Jr b. 18 Sep 1825 Grassy Creek, Grayson Co., VA d. 6 Jan 1892
  • Celia Pennington b. 20 May 1828 Grassy Creek, Grayson Co., VA d. 24 Feb 1915 Grayson Co., VA m. abt 1849 John Weaver b. 21 Nov 1799 NC d. 14 Feb 1872 m2. W. G. “Bill” Kilby b. abt  1842
  • Claiborne Harvey Pennington b. 2 Nov 1830 Grassy Creek, Grayson Co., VA d. 20 Mar 1915 m. 22 Jan 1857 Grayson Co., VA Charity Celena Perkins b. 3 Jul 1834 Grayson Co., VA d. 15 Oct 1910 Grayson Co., VA
  • Elisha Pennington b. 21 Jul 1832 VA d. 18 Aug 1922 Ashe Co., NC m. 23 Jan 1859 Ashe Co., NC Tabitha Jane Anderson b. 10 Jan 1838 Grayson Co., VA d. 14 Sept 1899 Ashe Co., NC
  • David Pennington b. 1836 VA d. 1865 Civil War Prison Camp
  • Andrew Jackson Pennington b. 1838 VA d. 27 May 1864 Rock Island IL Prison Camp (Civil War) m. Elizabeth Kilby b. 29 Apr 1836 NC

There is conjecture that Samuel Pennington might have been the son of a Benajah Pennington who was married to Beatrice Pendleton and might have had a sister named Celia who married Rueben Cornett.  None of this is proven and is just guesses from some of those who have spent time researching this family.  There are also stories that Samuel possibly came from England with two brothers and were probably indentured.  However, that story has very little merit because Samuel’s descendants have DNA proof that they are connected to larger Ashe Co., NC Pennington group.  I’m not entirely convinced that he was born anywhere other than Grayson Co., VA and suspect that he might have some familial ties with the Pennington who lived in Laurel Twp – the descendants of Ephraim Pennington.   I’m also not real sure that Samuel Pennington made it to 1850 and suspect that he might have died not that long after his wife.  I’ve never found proof that he went to Tennessee or remarried and had another family.  So, in the end, Samuel remains a puzzle that may never be entirely solved.  Any gravestones that lend a clue is probably unreadable and there hasn’t been any document that has turned up that has offered any new information that I am aware of…so Samuel remains a mystery!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Maiden Name

As I walked through the cemetery this weekend after we buried my grandmother’s ashes, I was reminded of something that my mother and I discussed many years ago.  One of the frustrations of doing genealogy research is sometimes getting the maternal surname.  It is easy to get the first name of the wife…but not so easy to get the surname.

Mom and I decided then and there that if we had anything to do with the name on the gravestone that we would suggest that the maiden name be included.  When my mother died, I insisted that the gravestone read Betty Tannahill Johnson and not Betty J. Johnson which is how my mother signed documents.   So anyone who ever looks at her gravestone will know that she was born a Tannahill but died a Johnson.  My grandmother’s stone is listed as Capitola F. Shearer which includes the initial of her maiden name.  She is buried between her first husband O. Richard Tannahill and second husband Gwen D. Shearer.  However, there is nothing there to really tell you that her maiden name was Friddle.  Most women seem to be buried near their husband’s families rather than their own families.  It is as if they have lost their identity to their parents’s families.

Records are getting easier to obtain all the time.  So many are now online with or with – but there are still many places where you can’t get a death record unless you are a direct descendant.  So, that gravestone can be a very important clue.  So, put the maiden name of the woman on the gravestone – it is as much a part of who she was as her married name!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Rest in Peace

Today was a wonderful day…it was a celebration of everything that my grandmother loved.  We lost my grandmother on 30 Dec 2011.  She was 91 years old and for all of her life she had been a caretaker…taking care of her siblings, husband, children, parents, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.  We have family reunions every two years at my uncle’s place and my grandmother loved any opportunity to get together and enjoy being with those she loved.  Today her descendants, siblings, cousins and friends gathered to lay her ashes to rest next to her husband and not far from the home where she raised her children.

Grandma Marian looked forward to any family gathering that she could attend especially family reunions.  I think that we all knew that last year was going to be her last family reunion.  Her health was failing and her life was winding down.  That didn’t stop her from exclaiming over the young ones from her various descendants and including her nieces and nephews.  It was her last hurrah…and she did everything she could to enjoy the occasion.  We gathered at the beginning of January to mourn her passing and resolved to gather again in May to bury her ashes.  So, today we celebrated my grandmother and it was a wonderful day.

We began by gathering up at Rock Creek Cemetery to lay my uncle to rest.  He had died a few weeks ago and my aunt decided to take advantage of the gathering of family to lay his ashes next to his parents and son.  We then headed out to Freeze Cemetery to do the same for my grandmother.  An old family friend who is a deacon in our church said the burial rite over her grave.  To me it was a peaceful goodbye.  Towards the end of her life, Grandma’s faith was important to her and even when she could not attend mass, she would watch it on TV and wait for her Eucharistic ministers and friends to come to her house each Sunday morning to give her communion.  Today, she was laid to rest with the Lord’s Prayer said over her and holy water sprinkled over her resting place as we reminisced as a family at the remarkable woman who was such a huge part of each of our lives.

After the service, we all drove up the road turned off to Skyline drive and headed down to the picnic area.  There we gathered as a family from my 93 year old great uncle to the 2 year old cousins who blew bubbles in the air.  We ate hamburgers and hot dogs…salads and cake and did something our family does very well.  We visited with each other and caught up with the family news.  I caught myself a few times looking to try and find the familiar visage of my grandmother leaning close to hear some bit of news.  I thought to myself that this was a grand day and that all of those that we missed were watching us from above and rejoicing that the family they loved still gathered together to renew the bonds of family that they had helped meld.  Rest in Peace – Grandma.  We love you!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mecie Pennington

Every time an obituary gets posted on one of the Ashe Co., NC funeral home sites that have to do with a Pennington.  I go through a process.  I see if I have the individual and then I see if I have their parents.  Sometimes, I don’t have either one and I go even deeper into the research.  The last few times I have done this, I have found out that these individuals don’t descend from a male Pennington but rather a very specific female Pennington.

Artremicia Pennington was born April 1846 in Ashe Co., NC to James Pennington and Catherine Sexton and would be part of the Pennington Research Associations – Group 30.  She was obviously named after her aunt Artremicia Pennington (b. abt 1810 d. 27 Feb 1897 m. James Blevins)  I suspect that James Pennington and Artremicia might have been twins because they were both born the same year, however I don’t know this to be a fact.  Mecie (as she was called) was one of the younger children of James Pennington and Catherine Sexton and can be found in her parent’s household in the 1850, 1860, 1870 & 1880 census records.   What makes Mecie interesting and an enigma is that she had four sons with no sign of a father in the 1860’s and 1870’s.  One must admit that this was a bit strange during that time period.

In the 1870 census, Mecie is recorded first with her son James Emmit Pennington b. 2 May 1863.  He is listed in the household of his grandfather as his grandson.  By the 1880 census, Mecie has three more sons.  Robert Lee b. Jun 1873, Arthur Winfield  b. 27 Jun 1873 (I assume they are twins but I haven’t yet found a death record for Robert Lee) and finally Gordon b. Jun 1877.  Now I have run into this family several times…I find a Pennington and trace them back and it usually goes back to either Arthur Winfield Pennington or James Emmit Pennington.  I have no idea who their father was nor if they had the same father, but it is strange enough to take notice for the time.

By 1900, Mecie is recorded with her son Arthur Winfield Pennington as well as in 1910.  She dies on 24 Aug 1915 at Chesnut Hill, Crumpler, Ashe Co., NC. She is listed as single with very limited educational attainments.  She died of dropsy…which is today called edema probably due to congestive heart failure. Her family wasn’t entirely truthful on her death record because they list her birth as 20 Aug 1855.  Many researchers have this as her birth date but since she was recorded in the 1850 census and in almost every census is recorded as born around 1846, this is obviously a mistake.  Just goes to show that you can’t always trust the death record. 
I’m sure that my pursuit of information about Artremecia Pennington is not over.  There will be other Penningtons that I will find that trace back to her.  It is doubtful that anyone knows who the father or father (s) of her sons were.  I’m not sure even they knew because no father is listed on Arthur’s death record.  So, who knows what I might find out a few years from now.  Mecie has been an interesting puzzle.  Here is a bit more on her line.

Descendants of Artremicia Pennington

Generation No. 1

1.  ARTREMICIA5 PENNINGTON  (JAMES4, ) was born Apr 1846 in Ashe Co., NC, and died 24 Aug 1915 in Nathan's Creek, Ashe Co., NC.

Census 1: 1880, Chestnut Hill Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 23, #188
Census 2: 1850, Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 283B, #665
Census 3: 1860, SE District, Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 175, #1265
Census 4: 1870, Chestnut Hill Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 32, #218
Census 5: 1900, Dist. 18, Walnut Hill, Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 9A, #152
                   i.    JAMES EMMIT6 PENNINGTON, b. 02 May 1863, Crumpler, Ashe Co., NC; d. 08 May 1939, Ashe Co., NC; m. JULIA HOUCK, 09 Aug 1890, Ashe Co., NC; b. 19 Aug 1875, Ashe Co., NC; d. 03 Jan 1926, Ashe Co., NC.

Name 2: James Emmett Pennington
Burial: May 1939, P06 - Jefferson Municipal Cemetery, Jefferson, Ashe Co., NC
Census 1: 1870, Chestnut Hill Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 32, #218
Census 2: 1880, Chestnut Hill Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 23, #188
Census 3: 1900, Dist. 18, Walnut Hill, Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 8B, #144
Census 4: 1910, Dist. 26, Jefferson Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 6A, #101
Census 5: 1920, Dist. 29, Jefferson Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 8A, #158

Name 2: Juliana E.
Burial: Jan 1926, P06 - Jefferson Municipal Cemetery, Jefferson, Ashe Co., NC
Census 1: 1900, Dist. 18, Walnut Hill, Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 8B, #144
Census 2: 1910, Dist. 26, Jefferson Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 6A, #101
Census 3: 1920, Dist. 29, Jefferson Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 8B, #158

                  ii.    ROBERT LEE PENNINGTON, b. Jun 1873, NC; m. ELLA, Abt. 1896, NC; b. Jan 1883, NC.

Census 1: 1880, Chestnut Hill Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 23, #188
Census 2: 1900, Dist. 18, Walnut Hill, Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 12B, #213

More About ELLA:
Census: 1900, Dist. 18, Walnut Hill, Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 12B, #213

                 iii.    ARTHUR WINFIELD PENNINGTON, b. 27 Jun 1873, Hilton, Ashe Co., NC; d. 19 Jan 1940, Ashe Co., NC; m. JANE HOWELL, Abt. 1899; b. Abt. 1883, NC.

Name 2: Abraham Winfield Pennington
Name 3: Arthur Pennington
Date born 2: 29 Jun 1873, NC
Burial: Jan 1940, K13 - Scott-Blevins Cemetery, Walnut Hill Twp., Ashe Co., NC
Census 1: 1880, Chestnut Hill Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 23, #188
Census 2: 1920, Dist. 29, Jefferson Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 12B, # 236
Census 3: 1930, Dist. 16, Oldfields Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 8A, #134

Date born 2: Sep 1882, Robeson Co., NC
Census 1: 1920, Dist. 29, Jefferson Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 12B, # 236
Census 2: 1930, Dist. 16, Oldfields Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 8A, #134

                 iv.    GORDON PENNINGTON, b. Jun 1877, NC.

Census: 1880, Chestnut Hill Twp., Ashe Co., NC, Pg. 23, #188

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Resource You Should Be Using…

Several years ago, I received a link to a new website that looked promising.  In the intervening years, it’s promise has been more than realized. is one of the best free resources out there on the internet.  It brings together people who want to help others and those who are asking for genealogical help.  You might say it is a perfect marriage!

I am not as active on as I would like, but I have been a member for a few years now.  I’ve taken some photos for people locally and on one occasion I took a lovely walk through Spaulding cemetery and took photos of the stones.  It seems that so many of our families have spread throughout the United States and sometimes it is impossible to be able to visit all of the places that we would like in our genealogical pursuits.  I have had many people who have supplied me with information via Findagrave…but I’ve also been able to do the same for others. 

One of the gravestones that I had had been trying for years to get a photo of was that of my 2nd great grandfather, Winslow Lonsdale Pope.  I knew where he was buried, but I had never been able to get to the area nor would I in the near future.  I first tried to get the photo many years ago when a genealogy friend promised me that she would go get the photo for me.  She lived close to the cemetery and enjoyed helping others, so she generously offered to take the photo when she got the opportunity to do so.  Unfortuanately, my friend got sick and died very quickly.  This was someone (Mary Floy Katzmen) was probably one of the most generous and helpful researchers that I have ever worked with and her website “The Original Johnson County Tennessee Genealogy Page” at was and continues to be a wonderful resource for anyone researching Johnson County, TN roots.  Anyway, one day I decided to post the request to have a photo taken of Winslow Lonsdale Pope’s grave.  Someone initially tried to find the grave and was unsuccessful and then later, a gentleman found the grave and took the photo and then took photos of all of the Popes that surrounded the grave and most of them were related to me as well.  He told me that he liked to take walks through the cemetery and enjoyed taking the pictures.  What a wonderful generous man!

Sometimes Findagrave can be a great resource for finding dates for individuals or searching through possible genealogical connections.  There are times when the information is incorrect – usually you can contact the contributor and these errors are corrected.  One of the great options is having the ability to connect relatives together.  As a researcher, when you find someone connected to their parents and sometimes this will take you to the grandparents – what a wonderful path to pursue.  So, I suggest you take some time and take a look at and perhaps even become a member.   There are requests sent all the time from people all over the United States who would just love to see a photo of a family member.  It is a  great feeling to get that heartfelt “thank you” from another researcher.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day - Mom!

Mother’s Day is a bittersweet day for me these days.  I lost my mother the day after Christmas in 2005.  Today my father and I placed Mom’s favorite red roses on her grave just as we have done every year since she has passed.  As the youngest of four children, I probably got the opportunity to spend the most one-on-one time with my Mom…and I consider myself pretty lucky because of the privilege.

My mother was born Betty Jean Tannahill on 5 October 1941 to Oliver Richard Tannahill and Capitola Ester Friddle.  Mom was the youngest of two children…she had an older sister named Joan.  Mom’s family lived right next door to her grandparents and many of her stories of her childhood include many stories of her beloved “Mom & Pop Friddle.”  Mom lost her father, Richard, in a hunting accident in 1947 and Mom’s life was forever changed.  She had few clear memories of her father – but as she grew up and met others who had known her father, she was always told that he was good man.  I think she always found comfort in that.  About a year later, her mother remarried to Gwen Shearer.  Gwen was Richard’s best friend as well as business partner.  I have often thought how difficult it had to be for my grandmother in 1948 to be a businesswoman, widowed and with two young children.  Joan and my mother spent a lot of time growing up going to piano lessons and both girls were musically talented.  Mom used to say that they could always get out of doing dishes by going in and practicing their piano.  My grandmother could play the piano but she wasn’t a musician…there is a big difference.  Both of her daughters were musicians. My mother met my father towards the end of her senior year and by the next October; they were engaged to be married – they married in December of 1959.
I have always believed that I really had a wonderful childhood.  There were a lot of camping trips, picnics, and family time.  Mom would pack up the camper or tents and when Dad came home from work, he would take a shower and off we would go camping.  When Dad was working, Mom would take us each week to the library.  Each one of us would get our selection of books and when we got home the TV never was turned on.  Each one of us would be in our little corner of the living room reading our books.  I can remember putting together crossword puzzles at the kitchen table and playing games with my siblings and their friends with my Mom right in the middle of the activity. 

Mom organized trips that we took as a family to places like Yellowstone, Glacier Park and the Redwoods.  One of our most amazing trips was the one where we traveled around the United States for a month when I was eleven years old.  We traveled around in a Pickup and Camper and covered 40 states in a month’s times.  From the Mt Rushmore and the Badlands to Gettysburg, Mount Vernon, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Savannah, and Disney World to New Orleans – we saw a lot of our country.  You might say that she helped me gain my love of history.

What really makes all of this really amazing is the fact that Mom battled health problems for most of her life, but she never really let it stop her or stop her from enjoying her family.  It would be easy to dwell on some of the hardships that she faced…but Mom always kept a positive attitude even to her last days.  Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer for a second time in December of 2005 and she died only four days after the official diagnosis.  In those four days, we had time to celebrate Christmas and Mom was determined to make the most of it.  She gave every bit of energy she had to take the opportunity to enjoy her family and the celebrations.  The day after Christmas, she left us. 

I have wonderful memories of my mother – I wish everyone was so fortunate with their parents.   My mother lost her mother when she was 45 years old and she told me before she died that she still missed her mother.  It had been almost 20 years, but she felt the loss.  Last year my father and his sisters were all together for Mother's day with their mother and she passed this past December.  I suspect that if we are so lucky to have a wonderful mother that we always miss them and feel their loss.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Martha Brown Friddles Tester Dyson?

On the whole, I have been pretty successful in finding and gathering information pertaining to my various family lines.  However, there are a few brick walls that have presented themselves through the years, especially with the Friddle family.  I don’t know if I ever will make much progress on Moses Friddles past his supposed 1826 birthdate – but I have had almost as difficult a time on my great grandfather’s mother as well.

Martha “Mattie” E. Brown was born Sep 1862 in North Carolina probably either in Ashe Co., NC or Watauga Co., NC.  She was the daughter of a John Brown born abt 1836 in North Carolina and his wife, Margaret J. b. abt 1844 in North Carolina.  Her family is recorded in the 1870 census in Taylorsville, Dist. 2, Johnson Co., TN Pg. 3, #18.  By the 1880 census, Martha is married to Moses Friddles.  I have to wonder on a personal note if the pickings were pretty slim.  When she married Moses Friddle on 12 Oct 1878, she was 16 years old and he was 52 years old and she was his 4th wife.   Moses died in 1890 and by that time, they had had six children in 10 years.  The youngest was my great grandfather.  Their children were:
  • Roby B. Friddles b. 23 Mar 1879 Johnson Co., TN d. 25 Aug 1928 Johnson Co., TN m. Dora McLain
  • Jesse C. Friddles b. 16 Mar 1881 Johnson Co., TN d. ?
  • Calia Friddles b. 16 Mar 1883 Johnson Co., TN d. bef 1910 m. Clayton Matherson
  • James Blaine Friddles b. 29 Sep 1884 Johnson Co., TN d. 10 Oct 1928 Johnson Co., TN m. 1 25 Dec 1901 Dora Nevada Heck m. 2 4 Nov 1917 Emeline Guy
  • Roy Friddles b. 4 Feb 1887 Johnson Co., TN d. bef 22 Apr 1891 Johnson Co., TN
  • David Carl Friddle b. 1 May 1889 Johnson Co., TN d. 4 Jan 1955 Lewiston, Nez Perce Co., ID m. 22 Dec 1908 Sophia Vestelle Dollar.

The only reason that I have definite dates on their children is because the information came from Moses Friddles Civil War pension.  Evidently, Martha attempted to claim a few children who were no longer living.  I’ve never been able to find out much on her siblings or her parents after the 1880 census when they are still recorded in Johnson Co., TN.

By the 1900 census, Martha has remarried to John M. Tester (m. 18 Jun 1899) and is living with him, however her children are not.  My great grandfather is located in the household of Richard A. Wilson and is listed as a servant at the age of 11.  A short distance away, Calia is listed as a servant of Nathaniel Ward in his household.  Roby is listed in the military at Balincaguin, Philippine Islands, Military and Naval Forces, Pg. 1 - 36th Inf, Co H.  I’ve never located James and I believe that Jesse and Roy are both dead at this time.  I don’t know if Martha and John Tester divorced or separated, but John Tester is remarried after 1903 and Martha marries a T. F. Dyson on 29 Nov 1908 and she herself dies on 16 Jun 1909.  I’m not really positive about the third marriage, but I know that the first two did occur and that John M. Tester marries a Virgie in 1903.  According to the death record that I found for Mattie Dyson, she died of paralysis at about the age of 50.

My great grandfather never really wanted to go back to Tennessee especially after his brother, James died in 1928.  The bare facts of his childhood support the fact that he didn’t have a happy childhood and probably never really had a real childhood or a close relationship with his mother.  I know that she worked as a servant for a while for a Judge Vaught and that the old Judge taught my great grandfather how to read and write and that was probably the most formal education he had until he married my great grandmother.
Mattie still remains a mystery.  I have some clues to what happened to her but few facts.  I can’t seem to find the right section of Browns that would include her family.  In this area of Tennessee and North Carolina, Brown might be a more common name than Johnson and then to stick the first name of John on the front really makes it difficult.  I was excited a few years ago to finally get a copy of a picture of her.  It must have been taken at about the time of Calia’s marriage.  Perhaps someday, I will find out more about who she was and who her family was.
Upper level - James Blaine Friddles next to Calia Friddles - Lower - possibly Clayton Matherson, Dora  (James'  wife holding baby Jessie)  and Martha Brown Friddles Tester on the lower right.