Wednesday, March 25, 2015

James Blaine Friddles

When you first start doing genealogical research, you start out by putting your direct ancestors in and then you start filling out the list of siblings.  You never know what kind of story that you are going to find when you start looking beyond the names and dates, and sometimes the stories are rather sad.  My great grandfather’s brother, James Blaine Friddles is one of those sad stories.

James Blaine Friddles was born 29 Sept 1884 in Mountain City, Johnson Co., TN, the 4th of the six children of Moses Friddles and Martha “Mattie” Brown.  (Moses had at least two other surviving children before this 3rd family was born)  I don’t believe that he likely had a good childhood…perhaps better than his younger brother (my great grandfather – David Carl Friddle) but from everything that I have read, the family was not prosperous.  In the 1880, Moses Friddles is listed as a laborer.  I know that during the Civil War, he was called an “Artificer” and one of his main roles was shoeing horses in the 13th TN Calvary, which is how he was injured.  I doubt he was able to work much and at about 60 years old, he was probably not what one might call an active father.  James’ mother was only 16 years old when she married Moses and would have been about 24 when James was born.  When James was six years old, Moses died (11 Mar 1890) and I am sure that the situation went from bad to worse.  Martha was left with six children, one of whom died about a year later.  From family stories, I think she ended up working for an old judge who lived nearby (I have heard him referred to Judge Vaught.  I believe he was Joseph L Vaught, who served in the area as a Justice of the Peace.  Joseph Vaught was in the Civil War and served with Moses Friddles and his daughter married Moses Friddle’s oldest son, Albert.)  Evidently, Martha worked as an housekeeper and I believe that Judge Vaught took it upon himself to teach at least my great grandfather how to read and write…and this was likely the case with with James’s siblings Roby, Jesse, and Callia.  Judge Vaught died in 1897 and by 1899, Martha aka Mattie was remarried to a John M. Tester.  In the 1900 census, I find Calia and David Carl listed as servants in other households, Roby is in the military in the Phillapines and Jesse and James are nowhere to be found.  I believe that they were in other households as servants just like Calia and David Carl. 

On 24 Dec 1901, James marries Dora Nevada Heck.  (daughter of Albert Heck and Susannah Kidd b. 15 Feb 1884 in Johnson Co., TN) and in a short time, they start their family.

  • George Harrison Friddles b. 1902 d. 1902
  • Jessie Raydell Friddles b. 30 Jul 1903 d. Jan 1986 m. Guy Landrum
  • Bessie Mable Friddles b. 7 May 1905 d. 23 Apr 1996 m. Luther Cress
  • Walter Paul Friddle b. 7 Sep 1906 d. Jun 1976 m. Doshie m. Mattie Brenson m. Evelyn McClendon
  • Martha Callonia Ivalee Friddles b. 6 Mar 1909 d. ?? m. Charles Burnette
  • James Howard Friddles Cleaton b. 1 Jul 1912 d. 10 Jan 1961 m. Bertha Ellen Watson


Tragically, Dora dies on 27 Oct 1912 of Typhoid fever in Greenville, Greene Co., TN and James is left to care for their children with the youngest only being a few months old.  As the story goes, James marries again…but there is a plan to take care of his children.  His new wife and he decide that they are going to farm out their children so they can be taken care of.  So, James does this and marries Emeline Guy on 4 Nov 1917 in Johnson Co., TN.

I have found in the records that Emeline was married to a Thomas Coleman Icenhour and had several children with him.  Thomas Icenhour lives until 1936, so I don’t know if a formal divorce occurred or what process was gone through to end the marriage.  He is found in the 1920 census remarried and with most of his children living with him.  It makes me wonder as to what happened to that marriage.
From what I have gathered from James Friddles descendants, this was not a happy marriage and within a few years, James wants to get his children back.  I know also that his older brother, Albert, had communicated with him and was encouraging James to come west because of the availability of land.  Albert Friddles had come out in the mid 1880’s with his family.  July Friddles Prestwood came out west shortly after 1900 and my great grandfather came out in 1910…so just about all of James’s living siblings were living out west…and the theory is that he was getting ready to bring his family out west.  However, that was not to be.  James was found alongside the road shot to death on 1 Oct 1928.  Officially, he committed suicide but family descendants don’t believe that and say that he was shot to death by his wife, because he was going to leave her.  According to the Tennessee, Deaths and Burials Index, 1874-1955 on Ancestry.com, James was buried at Withs Cemetery in the First District in what I believe was a paupers grave with no marker.  If someone can provide me some additional information, I would appreciate it. 

I have a photo of James Friddle in his marriage photo with Dora Heck and I have a photo that was probably taken about six years later and a later one that was probably taken during the mid-teens.  It is hard to believe that this is the same man – for you can easily see the aging and wear and tear of life on his face.  I don’t think we will ever know what really happened to James Blaine Fridddles – but I do know that when he died my great grandfather suffered the loss of two brothers in less than a week, because his older brother Albert died on 5 Oct 1928 just days after James died.  Grandpa Friddle might have gotten the news on the same day.  Julia Friddles Prestwood died a few years later in 1932.  My great grandfather lived to 4 Jan 1955.  He was relatively young 66 years of age, but he had outlived his entire family by many years.
James Friddles and Dora Heck - 1901
Friddle family - about 1904 - Standing in the back is James Friddles and Callia Friddles, in front,
the older woman is Mattie Brown Friddle, then Dora holding Jessie Friddle and unknown man - possibly husband of Calia.

Probably taken about 1915 or so - James Friddles with his children
Left to Right - Martha, Bessie, James holding James Howard, Jessie, and Walter