Edward William Sharp

I thought I would write about Edward William Sharp today, known to the family as Uncle Ed.  He has a tender, yet thorny, position in the family.

Ed Sharp and Bob (?) 17 February 1949

Ed Sharp and Bob (?) 17 February 1949

Edward William Sharp was born 25 October 1887 in Plain City, Weber, Utah, the seventh child to Milo and Lilly Sharp.  My Great Grandmother, Ethel, was Ed’s younger sister, number 11 in line.  I have written more of Ethel’s marriage to Jack Ross.  Ed Sharp comes into the family line more closely when Ethel died in 1925.  She left behind five children, namely: June, Milo, Paul, Harold, and Earnest.  The four children were taken back to Paul, Minidoka, Idaho in 1925 to be raised by their Ross grandparents, James and Catherine Ross, while Jack got back on his feet.  As winter came and progressed the family struggled.  Earnest passed away the fall of 1925 in Rupert, Idaho.  Jack was gone for unknown reasons and James and Catherine called Ethel’s family to come get the four children.  Starting that winter of 1925-26, Milo Ross was raised by his Uncle Ed.  June went to live with her paternal grandparents, the Streeters in Ogden.  Paul and Harold were raised by Ed’s siblings, Vic Hunt and Del Sharp respectively.  Sadly, Paul fell from a loft in a barn in 1932 and broke his arm and suffered a concussion that would take his life in 1932.

Edward Sharp met and married Lillie Elva East 13 May 1909 in Plain City.  She was born 16 February 1888 in nearby Warren, Weber, Utah.  Together they had 10 children.

Edna Louise Sharp born 11 January 1910 in Plain City.

Florence Evelyn Sharp born 30 June 1911 in Plain City.

Marjorie Lillian Sharp born 23 June 1913 in Plain City.

Ethel Sharp born 8 July 1917 in Plain City.

Elmer George Sharp born 15 June 1919 in Plain City.

Ruby Elaine Sharp born 13 February 1922 in Plain City.

Ruby Sharp

Ruby Sharp

Milo Riley Sharp born 27 November 1927 in Ogden.

Milo Riley Sharp (1924 - 1955)

Milo Riley Sharp (1924 – 1955)

Josephine Sharp born 18 March 1927 in Ogden.

Edward Junior Sharp born 24 January 1930 in Ogden.

Dean Sharp born 28 April 1935 in Ogden.

As a reminder, Grandpa, Milo Ross, was born in 1921 in Plain City.  He falls right in the middle of the entire family and became one of the siblings.  To tell the difference between Milo Ross and Milo Sharp, I will use their last name.

Milo James Ross

Milo James Ross

Unfortunately, things were not quite that easy.  Ed farmed a nice little farm in Plain City.  He also had some cows, pigs, and other animals.  The family grew up in the Depression with all the anxieties and difficulties that came with it.  Fortunately the farm was mostly paid for and the farm provided for itself and the family.

Despite technically being blood to Ed, Milo Ross was treated differently than the other children.  Milo Ross was not allowed to eat with the rest of the family.  When the family was done with the meal, then Milo Ross could eat.  Often alone.  Milo Ross was expected to work longer than the rest of the family, into the time while the rest of them ate.  Milo Ross was also expected to arise earlier and get things in order for the day before the rest of the family.  He did not often get to eat with the rest of the family for breakfast and only got some bread and milk.  He was also given some of the more undesirable jobs around the farm.  For example, it was his job to tend the onions which often left him smelling of the onions.

L-R: Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp, Howard Hunt, Milo Sharp, Ruby Sharp

L-R: Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp, Howard Hunt, Milo Sharp, Ruby Sharp

Ed also had some drinking issues and had a certain temper.  Of course his family saw the issues that arose as part of the alcohol, but it was Milo Ross who felt it.  He was the one who suffered the wrath of Ed’s drinking bouts at the end of a belt or sometimes worse.  While Milo Ross loved his cousin-siblings, the relationship was not as kindred with Ed.

On Horse l-r: Harold Ross, Howard Hunt, Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp (arm only), Janelle England, Eddie Sharp.  In front l-r: Ruby Sharp, Lucille Maw, and Milo Riley Sharp.

On Horse l-r: Harold Ross, Howard Hunt, Milo Ross, Josephine Sharp (arm only), Janelle England, Eddie Sharp. In front l-r: Ruby Sharp, Lucille Maw, and Milo Riley Sharp.

Ruby Sharp, Lois Robbins, Milo Ross, Milo Sharp

Ruby Sharp, Lois Robbins, Milo Ross, Milo Sharp

Milo Ross was only one year in age from Ruby who he ran around the countryside with.  They were close enough that they would hold hands when nobody else was around.  They did quite a bit together.  He was also close to Milo Sharp, but he was still three years behind him in age.  The older siblings, Edna (who went by Louise), Florence, and Ethel were good to him, but were close to each other and did mostly their own thing.  Ed kept Milo Ross busy that he did not get as much time with the younger children but he grew close with Josephine and Edward (known as Eddie in the family).  Dean was young enough that he was around him some, but did not have as close of a relationship.

L-R: Ruby Sharp, Harold Ross, Milo Sharp, Milo Ross, Paul Ross, Ethel Sharp, and Bob Martin.

L-R: Ruby Sharp, Harold Ross, Milo Sharp, Milo Ross, Paul Ross, Ethel Sharp, and Bob Martin.

As I mentioned in the story of Ed’s grandparents William & Mary Ann Sharp, the Sharp and Stoker families came to Utah as converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  A number of issues arose in Plain City and families left the church.  Ed’s parents followed that suit remaining with the Episcopalian faith.  Ed and Lillie did as well, but were not very active.  The Mormons continued to work on bringing the families back to the church.  The Sharp family started to work through Delwin’s family first and the faith spread through Ed’s nieces and nephews and into his own family.  Only one of Ed’s siblings joined the LDS faith while alive, and that was Vic in 1975.

Edward Sharp, Delwin & Vilate Sharp, 13 August 1957

Edward Sharp, Delwin & Violet Sharp, 13 August 1957

Marjorie, Ethel, and Ruby all joined through the waters of baptism on 12 May 1939.  Milo Ross joined 2 July 1939 (only after 18 as Ed would not give consent otherwise).  Louise, Florence, Milo Sharp, Josephine, and Eddie all joined 3 January 1943.  Dean was the last on 31 October 1932, he was not 8 in January to join with the remainder of his siblings.

As soon as Milo was of age, he looked for opportunities to get out.  He eventually married, moved in with his in-laws, and then the impending war took his services abroad.

Lillie East Sharp died 4 September 1942 while separated from her husband.  She had started divorce proceedings but died before they completed.  She was buried in Plain City.

Ed died 24 August 1962 in Othello, Adams, Washington.  The family brought him home and buried him in Plain City too.

James & Damey Ross

I came upon this photo of James & Damey Ross and thought I would share.  It is pixellated and I hope I can get a better copy in the future.  I have an e-mail sent to the person who made it available on FamilySearch.

I have written a bit more on James & Damey at this link.  I even added this photo to that post.  I find it interesting how much resemblance exists between Damey and their daughter Fanny.

I look forward to sharing this photo with Grandpa.  He knew his grandparents pretty well and only lived blocks from them in Paul, Minidoka, Idaho.  After his mother passed away, he lived with them through the winter of 1925-26.  He speaks fondly of them.

James & Damey Ross

James & Damey Ross

Graham – Miles Wedding

William and Lucy Miles are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Mary Elizabeth to William Addison, son of Robert and Edie Graham.  The newly weds were married 27 November 1867 in Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia.

William Addison and Mary Elizabeth Miles Graham about 1918 in West Virginia.

Mary Elizabeth Miles was one of at least four children born to Lucinda H Bailey and William Miles on 10 June 1850 in Pulaski County, Virginia.  William was a farmer in the Pulaski County area on the 1850 Census.  1860 just lists him as a laborer, not a farmer (like his neighbors).  It appears he had a farm on the 1850 Census but not for the 1860 Census.  The 1840 shows four individuals in the house, which confirms what we have, there could have been children who died.  There is a ten year gap between children, which probably shows there were some lost.  Mary Elizabeth is the last child we have any record of, which may not be accurate since her mother would only have been around 38 at the time.  We just know so very little about this family.  We don’t know where her parents were born or even where they died.  It seems her parents moved from Pulaski County to an unknown location.

William Addison Graham was the first of at least nine children born to Edith Booth and Robert A Graham 11 April 1849 in Newbern, Pulaski, Virginia.  The Graham family is a massive Western Virginia (which includes the present West Virginia) family that seems pretty well documented.  Robert was a farmer in Pulaski County.  After Edith passed away, he moved to work in the mines of McDowell County, West Virginia and passed away there.

William and Mary were born and raised in Pulaski County and would remain there until after the turn of the twentieth century when they would relocate to McDowell County in West Virginia.  All the censuses for these years 1850 to 1900 were in an area called Wassie, Highwassie, and now mapped as Hiwassie.  Hiwassie is small enough that information is given relating to the town of Draper, which appears to be the nearest town of worthy notable size.  This family is the opposite of the Miles family (lack of information) in that you have to spend time weeding through all the Graham relatives to make sure you have your right person.

Since there are so many Graham’s in the area, I believe that William and Mary’s family have become commingled with another family, or else Mary was very prolific at bearing children.  I hope someone can provide some more information to clarify this, but from the records as I have been able to make out, William and Mary had SEVENTEEN children.  While not impossible, the chances of that many seem unlikely, especially with some of the dates between the children.  But I will lay it out there and let someone hopefully correct me.

Lucy Bell Graham born 7 April 1870 in Newbern and died in 1917 in Welch, McDowell, West Virginia.  She married a W L Dunford in 1891 and James Matthew “Max” Crowder later.

Andrew John Graham born 17 August 1871 in Snowville, Pulaski, Virginia and died 8 March 1912 in Patterson, Wythe, Virginia.  He married Luemma Adeline Dean in 1892.

John William Graham born in 1872 in Pulaski County.

Damey Catherine Graham born 25 November 1874 in Pulaski and died 3 February 1933 in Marysville, Yuba, California.  She married James Thomas Meredith (also known with the last name of Ross) in 1887.

Robert Graham born 1875 in Pulaski County and died 1884.

James Alexander Graham born 20 August 1875 (a twin?) in Pulaski County.  He married Laura Jane Dean in 1892 and Theodocia Elizabeth Flinchum in 1912.

James Alexander and Theodocia Elizabeth Flinchum Graham

Mary Elizabeth Graham born 31 October 1878 in Pulaski County and died 3 September 1947 in Welch, West Virginia.  She married William Harrison Dean in 1895.

Leander Graham born 25 September 1881 in Hiwassie and died 12 January 1970 in Pulaski County.  He married Florida Gunter in 1902.

Ellen Graham born 20 May 1882 in Pulaski County and died as a child.

Emma Jane Graham born January 1883 in Pulaski County and died as a child.

Baby Boy Graham born 15 August 1883 in Pulaski County.  I assume he died as a child, but have no other record.

Nerva Graham born March 1884 in Hiwassie and died in 1964 or 1965 in McDowell County, West Virginia.  She married Ed Gaultney.

Emmet Dewit Graham born 23 August 1884 (another short period between births, maybe a year off?) in Hiwassie and died in 1945.  He married Mary Agnes Bryant.

John Perry Graham born 9 June 1887 in Draper and died 18 February 1965 in Cucumber, McDowell, West Virginia.  He married Florence Collins.

Richard Graham born 20 February 1889 in Pulaski County.  We don’t know if he lived to maturity or anything else.

Nora Graham born 22 May 1891 in Pulaski and died 22 October 1963 in Welch.  She married Floyd Claude Richardson.

Grayson Thurman Graham born 24 February 1895 in Pulaski County and died 29 September 1981 in Bishop, Tazewell, Virginia.  He married Lora Elizabeth Adams in 1913.

Lora Elizabeth Adams and Grayson Thurman Graham

Between 1900 and 1910 William and Mary moved to Adkin (part of Elbert), McDowell, West Virginia.  I assume the move was to work in the mines as both the 1910 and 1920 censuses show him as a coal miner.

In the 1920 Census the two had Grayson and Perry, and their families, living with them for a total of eleven living in the home.  It was during this time that the picture at the beginning of this post was snapped with these last two photos.

William Addison Graham

Mary Elizabeth Miles Graham

William died 19 December 1921 in Gary, McDowell, West Virginia.  I assume this means he died at work in the mines since he walked to Gary to the mines.  We do not know where he is buried.

Mary died 16 May 1925 in Elbert, McDowell, West Virginia.  Her death certificate indicates she died of paralysis.  She was buried the next day at the Murphy Cemetery in Elbert.

Meredith – Graham Wedding

William and Mary Graham are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter Damey Catherine Graham to James Thomas Ross, son of James Meredith and Nancy Shepherd.  James and Damey were married 9 August 1887 in Snowville, Pulaski, Virginia.

I am stepping into a bit of a minefield in writing this biography because there is such a wide variety of opinions on the history of this family.  The stories I have were handed down and cannot be verified.  Some claim to have documents but I have been unable to obtain copies of these documents for various reasons.  These purported documents are family records and the public records I cannot find.  Therefore, hopefully documentation will come forward and this post will be altered as that information presents itself.  Poor Damey, not much conversation is available about her because there is so little controversy.

The picture above is of James Ross Meredith, or I assume he was called that at that time.  James Thomas Meredith was born to Nancy Adeline Shepherd 22 September 1869 in Snowville, Virginia.

In 1951, a few months before his death, James was interviewed by his granddaughter, Donna Beachell.  She indicated his mind was very clear.  He indicated to Donna that he was born out of wedlock and that his real father was James Meredith.  He said he was born in Snowville, Virginia.   He also said this James Meredith adopted him when he was about 4 years old and raised him.  He said the courts gave him the name James Thomas Ross Meredith.

The records of Pulaski County indicate this:

“Order Book 5, page 25
September 2, 1873
On the motion of Anderson Linkous, Overseer of the Poor for High Wassie Township for an order to bind James Ross aged 3 years son of Nancy Ross who has become a county charge and it appearing to the Court that said James Ross is now a county charge.  It is ordered that said Overseer of the Poor bind out according to Law to James Meredith the said James Ross son of Nancy Ross aged 3 years until he attains the age of 21 years and besides teaching him reading, writing and arithmetic said Meredith shall be required to pay the said James Ross upon his attaining the age of 21 years the sum of 100 dollars.”

The courts recognized him as James Ross, probably after his mother’s married name.  I have been unable to locate a birth record for him under either name.

He was almost 5 years old when Nancy Ross went into the poorhouse, or at least when the county gave little James to old James Meredith.  I am not sure why they thought he was 3.  Although some records have him born in 1869, and if this was correct, he was just shy of his 4th birthday.  But I will stick with the birthday that he gave during his life.

The county placed James Ross into the charge of James Meredith until he was 21 years of age.  Unfortunately, nobody seemed to ask when this James Meredith was born.  We also do not know when this old James Meredith died, or if he raised him until he was 21 (and paid the $100).  After James and Damey married, John Phibbs (brother-in-law to Fanny Ross) remembered visiting the family in West Virginia and that James’ mother, Nancy lived with her son and daughter-in-law, James and Damey, for much of the time the family lived in West Virginia.    Apparently Nancy was strong enough to carry in heavy sacks of coal and potatoes by herself.  This probably would have been the turn of the 20th century since they were in West Virginia.  No mention is made of old James Meredith who was the father and supposedly raised him.  Nancy must have kept contact through the years, lived close enough, or even got little James back.   We have so many holes to fill with information that we will likely never have.

Clarita Morgan, a researcher in Pulaski County in the 1970′s wrote to Donna and told her it was not uncommon for ladies to be placed in the poorhouse for having a child out of wedlock.  These women were considered a menace and a burden to the community.  At any rate, Nancy Shepherd Ross lived an especially hard life.  It is hard to put ourselves into their scene or time without many more facts.

When James married Damey, the marriage certificate has J. R. Mearideth.  Yet, when all the children were born, James and Damey gave them each the Ross name (or so it seems).  Damey died under the Ross name and no records indicate she ever went by the Meredith name.  James is listed as a farmer.

When James went to the LDS temple on 20 June 1935, he gave his name as James Thomas Ross born 22 September at Snowville, Pulaski, Virginia.  He gave his father as James Thomas Ross and mother as Nancy Shepard.  He also gave his baptismal date as 17 April 1898.  Nothing in any of the records provide any evidence of a James Thomas Ross to be his father, and either the recorder at the Temple put the wrong last name, or James made a mistake because he seems to have clearly known his father was James Meredith (was his father’s middle name really Thomas?).  When Fanny went to the LDS temple on 20 June 1923 she said her parents were James F Ross (misread?) and Damy C Graham.

Now, having said all that, one of the difficulties is that there are tons of James Merediths who lived in Pulaski County, Virginia.  In the 1880 Census, little James Meredith is living with elder James Meredith who was born in 1804 and the family lived in Hiwassie.  It is not uncommon for a 65 year old man to have a child.  However, elder James Meredith has a family of 10 children with his wife.  In that census, only elder and little James are shown as living together.  Elder James’ wife, Sarah (Sallie) Jane Bell Meredith, is “ill” and living with their daughter Sarah Jane Meredith Elkins.  I want to speculate but will not.

For years it was thought that James and Sarah Meredith’s son, James Anderson Meredith, was the father of our James Thomas Meredith.  But this was easily resolved in that James Anderson Meredith died in 1864 in a battle at Lexington, Lexington, Virginia, four or five years before little James Meredith was born.  Others thought that James Meredith, the son of Hugh Meredith Jr elder James Meredith’s brother, was the father.  He is four years older than Nancy and their ages seem more conducive to a relationship.  But, we are unable to track him down and prove anything for certain.  But one thing is sure, elder James Meredith told the census taker in 1880 that little James Meredith was his son.  I guess we have to move forward with that record as the basis for our assumptions.  Would the Uncle (elder James Meredith) of James Meredith (Hugh Jr’s son) ruin his good name by claiming little James Meredith as his own to save the name of his nephew?  I just do not know, but the census gives documentation of a relationship (we all know how terrible the census records are for accuracy other than names of family members and location of living).  (Some of my original research and ruminating on these issues can be found here.)

This begs the question of why 27 year old Nancy would have intimate relations with 65 year old and married elder James.  Ms. Morgan above said it was not uncommon for servants living in the home to be taken advantage of by the homeowner.  But we have no evidence that Nancy was a servant in their home.  If he did this and kicked her out, it could account for her being in the poorhouse and his reclaiming the child in court.  But we have nothing to support the notion Ms. Morgan suggests.

Well, if this is not enough to confuse the matter, lets jump back in time before James was born to where Nancy married Harvy D Ross 7 June 1860 in Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia.  She married Harvy at 19 years old. On 9 September 1861, Harvy enlisted in Company F, 54th Infantry Regiment Virginia for the Confederacy.  He left for military service and we have few details of when he returned.  She bore James Meredith in 1868 and as far as we know, Harvy had not yet returned from the war.   By 1870 Harvy was back living in Alum Ridge, Floyd, Virginia after the Civil War. We do not know when he left Virginia for the “west”.  William Andrew Ross was born on 10 October 1873 in Snowville.  The birth index for Pulaski County lists William as a bastard, but his death certificate lists Harvy Ross as the father!  (Death certificates are highly unreliable for parental information.)  But why they were not back living together in 1870, we do not know.  He was back in the area and could very well be the father of William.  I just wish we had more information.  He supposedly moved to Tennessee or Kentucky and passed away there, never having anything to do with his son William, if he really is the father.  William was raised by Nancy and was told by her that Harvy was his father.  William never had a memory of meeting his father.

Now that I have given more history of Nancy Adeline Shepherd in this biography of her son and daughter-in-law, we can move on.  Our documentation is weak of who little James Meredith’s father is and where he was until he married Damey.  Although, I should mention that a cousin who claims he is in possession of the journals of James Meredith (or Ross) indicates that he was raised by elder James Meredith to believe that elder James was actually his father.  Well, rephrased, he never had any doubt elder James Meredith was his father.  Therefore, we move forward on that assumption even though I have only hearsay from a cousin (as I cannot get a copy of the book) and an 1880 census record.

Damey Catherine Graham was born 25 November 1874 in Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia to William and Mary Graham.  William, her father, was a laborer on farms who moved to the mines.  As a miner he moved where the best paying jobs for mining were located.  In Virginia, the family worked in the iron mines.  Damey met James and probably knew him and his family growing up.  Hiwassie appears to be a very small town, even today.  I cannot imagine that James and Damey did not know each other growing up.    The two married in 1887 and began to raise their family.  All four children were born in Virginia.

Robert Leonard Ross was born 25 April 1888 in Draper, Pulaski, Virginia.

John “Jack” William Ross was born 2 September 1890 in Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia.  Read more about John at this link: Ross-Sharp Wedding

Fanny Elizabeth Ross was born 18 November 1893 in Reed Island, Pulaski, Virginia.  Read more about Fanny at this link: Calvin and Fanny Phibbs

James Thomas Ross was born 19 October 1895 in Radford, Montgomery, Virginia.

Damey chose to be baptized into the LDS faith 27 February 1898 (a few months before James).  Family tradition holds it was in West Virginia but does not seem to hold up with the rest of the story.  James and Damey were supposed to have followed her family to West Virginia to the mines.  James and Damey do not seem to appear on the 1900 Census but Damey’s family were still in Hiwassie on the 15 June 1900.  Damey’s family moved shortly after 1900 to West Virginia to work in the coal mines of McDowell County.  James and Damey (and James’ brother, William) followed and were living in McDowell County, West Virginia for sure in 1906 when Fanny married Calvin Dickerson Phibbs in Welch, McDowell, West Virginia.  The first three children all married in McDowell County.  James Jr returned to Mayberry, Carroll, Virginia in 1913 to marry his wife.  On 10 May 1910, James and Damey were living in Big Creek, McDowell, West Virginia.

James and Damey Ross left Pulaski County about 1913 or 1914 and headed to settle in Rupert, Minidoka, Idaho.  James confirmed his brother a member of the LDS church 26 October 1913, so it had to be after that date.  As mentioned above, Fanny had married Calvin Phibbs and most of the Phibbs family of Virginia had moved out to Rupert in 1912.  The opening of the new farm land in Minidoka and Cassia Counties, a new sugar factory at Burley, Cassia, Idaho, and an economic downturn in McDowell County propelled the move for both families. Robert, John, and James Jr followed later as it does not appear any of the children went with James and Damey when they left.

James & Damey Ross

James & Damey Ross

James and Damey set up house in Rupert for a time probably living with Calvin and Fanny until they could find and afford a suitable place to live.  We do not know exactly where James and Damey lived for much of their time in Idaho because they appear to have rented.  Robert listed his parents as living in Idahome, Cassia, Idaho when he registered for the World War I draft in 1918.  That fall, James and Damey apparently moved to Paul, Minidoka, Idaho to work on the first sugar beet campaign of the newly built sugar factory in Paul.  They remained there until about 1926.  Robert married Rose Sanders (nee Clawson?) in Burley, Cassia, Idaho in 1919.  John met Ethel Sharp Streeter in Paul while visiting his parents in 1919 and married her in early 1920.  James and Damey somehow fail to appear on the 1920 Census, or their names are transcribed incorrectly.  James settled in Vernal, Uintah, Utah and attempted a short move to Rupert in 1922-23 to be closer to family before moving back to Vernal.  Milo Ross, James and Damey’s grandson, remembers his grandparents living on the north side of the tracks in Paul when he lived there 1925-1926.

In 1925, James and Damey’s daughter-in-law, Ethel Sharp Ross passed away.  John, their son, sought work and James and Damey took in all four of the children of Ethel.  The baby, Earnest Jackson Ross, died in September in Rupert, where he was being tended by the Phibbs.  By the spring of 1926, James and Damey were impoverished enough that they asked Ethel’s family to come get the children from Paul.  Apparently shortly after, the family moved again.

By 2 April1930, James and Damey had moved to Bend, Deschutes, Oregon.  Robert apparently lived in the area and Robert’s son, Orson Lee Ross, was also living with James and Damey.  Robert is in Portland but appears to not live there, so this home in Bend may have been Robert’s or James and Damey were tending Orson, who was 9.  Robert later died in Bend in 1944.

James’ journals indicate they lived in Merced, Merced, California for most of the 1930′s.  Damey passed away in Marysville, Yuba, California 3 February 1933 of colon cancer.  Her death notice in Rupert indicates she died after an operation for cancer of the stomach.  She had been in the hospital for five months previous to that.  The obituary also mentions that John lived in Manteca, San Joaquin, California, James in Lapoint, Uintah, Utah, and Robert in Marysville.  Fanny was still living in Rupert.

James returned to Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah and on 20 June 1935 he was endowed, saw Damey’s proxy ordinance work was completed, and was sealed to her.

By about 1936, James was back visiting family in the east.  He spoke at a Conference of the LDS church that had met in Grundy County, Tennessee.  James spoke that morning to the assembled crowd.  That same day, James’ nephew, Howard Ross was baptized.  These conferences were a big deal because it was an all day event for James’ brother’s family to travel all the way from Gary, West Virginia to Tennessee, spend the day in meetings, and then go home.  Howard remembers meeting “Uncle Jim” for the first time that day.  Many people enjoyed the sermon he gave and came up to give their commendation to William and Sarah on his fine speech.  William’s wife, Sarah, had to set them right, that it was William’s brother, James who delivered the sermon.  Howard did not hear the sermon because in those days unbaptized children were not allowed into the meetings and even though he was to be baptized that day, he was not baptized yet.

“Uncle Jim” returned with the family to West Virginia and stayed for a couple of weeks.  James was so disappointed that the family did not have a cow for milk that he went out and purchased one for the family while he was there.  When James left, he took and sold the cow too.  The family recalled how rare it was for them to have milk, and it was many years before they would have it again.  James was also noted by the family for his girth and the sheer capacity to each large amounts of food.  Howard thought he must have pushed to near 300 pounds.  Howard also remembers that Uncle Jim was missing a finger and upon asking, James indicated that he had been bit by a spider and that the Dr. took off the finger to save his life because the finger had started to rot.

The story goes that James married while he was visiting the family in West Virginia.  Family history records have James marrying Etta on 6 June 1936 in Snowville, Virginia.  However, later information indicates this was Henrietta Fountain who was born in Sacramento, Sacramento, California and died in Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona.  How she met James and why they would have married in Virginia does not add up, especially where she was from the west.  A cousin has the marriage in Sacramento which seems much more accurate.  A death certificate at some point will rest the case.  Her full maiden name was Henrietta Fountain and she was a widow of Charles Henry Lowell in 1925.  She died in 1946 according to the memories of Milo Ross and he is accurate.

James and Etta relocated to Lakeport, Lake, California after their marriage.  Lakeport was a town for the wealthy and Ms. Etta must have brought the money into the marriage.  It was here that James applied for Social Security 4 November 1937.  Due to the requirements he use his legal name, James went by James Ross Meredith the remainder of his life.  He began receiving his benefits 6 January 1938.  On 21 April 1938 he received a letter indicating he would have to have been a resident of California 15 years to receive the payments and no further payments were made.

James then married a widow by the name of Nora Brewer.  Her full maiden name was Martha Elnora Cackler and her late husband, Daniel Gordon Brewer, had passed away in 1943.  James and Martha were married in Fresno, Fresno, California 14 July 1947.  She had been born in 1877 in Iowa and died in Fresno in 1974, just short of 100 years old.

James lived until 13 April 1951 when he passed away in Fresno.  He was buried in Belmont Memorial in Fresno.  The last few years of his life, he took back the Meredith name.  Milo Ross, his grandson, indicates this was for Social Security benefits which had to be claimed under the birth name.  Either way, his tombstone reads James R Meredith.  His last letter to Donna Beachell was signed James Ross Meredith.

When he passed away in 1951, he was living at 344 Theta Street in Fresno the home of his widow.  One last thing, apparently while living in Fresno, he served as a Bishop of the LDS church.  We do not know when or where, but several lines of the family were all aware of this.  More information will be needed to share more.  The fact he was called upon to speak at a conference of the church in Tennessee seems to show he held some position but we don’t know anything more.

Calvin and Fanny Phibbs

Calvin and Fanny Phibbs with (l-r) Evelyn, Florence, and Catherine in Idaho in 1912.

I had heard a rumor a couple of years ago that Calvin Phibbs had committed suicide but could not confirm the story.  Now that I am back in Idaho, I stopped by the Rupert Library to see if they had some old newspapers.  Sure enough, I found the following obituary which reads more like the local gossip column.  I will include some of the family history after the obituary.

“Judge Phibbs Ends Life; Ill Health Cause
“Well Known Rupert Attorney Meets Instant Death By Own Hand at Home Thursday.
“Four months of sleeplessness, a body racked with pain and mind grown despondent through belief of the utter hopelessness of physical recovery, led to the tragic, but carefully planned suicide of Judge C. D. Phibbs, well known Rupert attorney who ended his life at his home Thursday.
Seated before a mirror in his bedroom at three o’clock in the afternoon, when no one was in the house but his wife and himself, the distraught man placed the muzzle of a 22-caliber hammerless revolver to his right temple, and with a firm unswerving hand sent a bullet through his brain, death being instantaneous.  The leaden missile passed through the head and lodged in the wall, near the ceiling.
“Startled by the sharp explosion of the gun, Mrs. Phibbs rushed in from an adjoining room to find her husband’s body crumpled on the floor with his life extinct.
“That the rash act was premeditated and carried out as planned is shown by excerpts from a letter written the previous Saturday, addressed to his wife and left where she could not fail to find it.
“I do not feel that I can get well.  I have suffered for four months.  So much that I cannot endure it.  If anything happens to me, know that I love you and have never loved anyone but you.  Tell the children to be good children, as it is best for them.  It is the only way to be happy.  I have failed to do as much for them as I wanted to but have not been able.”
“Following the introductory explanation foreshadowing the tragedy that was to take place, the letter continued with detailed instructions of what to do in regard to business that would arise, told where his life insurance policies were, how to plan the funeral, left words of encouragement to the children to continue their education and even advised about planting a garden.
“After a farewell sent the children and the brief words of assurance for their future, the final paragraph concludes: “God bless you all till we meet again.  I do not believe God will blame me for what I am doing for there is no other way.”
“The letter was found by Mrs. Phibbs soon after the tragic shooting occurred.  It was dated March 20.  Although she knew he suffered much from stomach trouble for many weeks and was discouraged over his health, no hint of self-destruction was ever suggested by her husband, she said, and in the past week it seemed to be somewhat improved, and had been to his office only a few days before the appalling act.  He had suffered intensely from stomach trouble and it is thought he believed himself a victim of cancer.
“When a youth of 13 years, while in the mountains of Virginia, at Fancy Gap, Carroll county where he was reared, in 1899 Calvin D. Phibbs, whose father worked in the mines there, hopped on a coal car and received injury to his left leg that later caused infection, making amputation necessary and left him crippled for life.
“In 1906 when twenty years of age he married Fanny Elizabeth Ross in Welch, West Virginia, and on March 21, 1913, they came to Idaho and to Rupert, making there (sic) home here since then.
“Although he had little opportunity for attending school, he received his education by private study.  Securing books and texts of the International Correspondence school he studied law and was admitted to the Idaho state bar in 1919.
“For ten years he held the position of probate judge of Minidoka county, being elected on the Republican ticket and served in that capacity until four years ago.  He served also as justice of the peace for two years and in 1918 was city clerk of Rupert.
“His friends and business associates, of whom he had many, were shocked and grieved at his tragic act.  He had a kindly disposition and a cheerfulness of manner that in no way can be reconciled with his fatal deed.  At the time of his death he was engaged in the practice of law but since last November had been unable to be in his office much of the time.
“Besides his grief-stricken wife he is survived by eleven children, five boys and six girls, their father being the first of the family to pass away.  The children in order of their ages are Mrs. Florence Biles, 23, of Gridley, California; Mrs. Evelyn Collier, Rupert; Mrs. Catherine Beachel, of Filer, Idaho; Virginia, James, Viola, William, Orville, Arthur, Albert and Phyllis, the youngest, age three, all of whom live at home.
Three brothers, Frank Phibbs of Twin Falls, Robert of Oakland, California, and John of Salt Lake City, and twin sisters, Mrs. Ardena Christensen, San Francisco and Mrs. Mary Hiatt of Paul, also survive.
“Largely attended funeral service were conducted Monday at one o’clock in the Second ward L.D.S. church with Albert Harrison, first counselor to Bishop O. J. Bateman in charge.
“Speakers included David J Borup, former bishop of the Second ward, who came from Boise where he now resides to be present at the funeral.  Judge Hugh A. Baker, an attorney friend, and David Hyde and A. H. Jensen, churchmen and friends of the deceased.
“Music was rendered by a chorus of nine voices under direction of Arthur Humphries, singing three selections “I Need Thee Every Hour,” “Sometime We’ll Understand” and “Oh, My Father.”
“Prayers were offered by L.D. Hyde and R.C. May.  Interment was in Rupert cemetery with Goodman Mortuary in charge.

Here is a biography of Judge Phibbs from an old Idaho directory of prominent people.

“Judge Calvin Dickerson Phibbs. since 1912 a resident of Rupert, where in 1918 he was elected judge of the probate court of Minidoka county, was born at Hillsville, Virginia, June 12, 1886, a son of James and Elizabeth (Bolt) Phibbs. The parents are also natives of the Old Dominion, where they were reared and educated. Subsequent to his marriage the father there followed farming and stock raising and during his early life also engaged in the profession of teaching. In 1910 he removed westward to Rupert, Idaho, and purchased a farm northeast of the town, becoming owner of eighty acres. At times he has owned various farms, but his holdings at the present time embrace just eighty acres. He and his wife have become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in his political views Mr. Phibbs is a republican.

“Calvin D. Phibbs spent his boyhood in his native state and pursued his education in Fairview Academy. He was reared to the occupation of farming, early becoming familiar with the best methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops. Later he took up electrical engineering and worked along that line until he came to Rupert, Idaho, in 1912. Here he entered the real estate field and after a time he was called upon for public service, being made city clerk of Rupert, which position he filled for a brief period. In 1918 he was elected to the office of probate judge of Minidoka county, which position he is now acceptably filling, being most careful, prompt, systematic and accurate in the discharge of his official duties. On the 15th of December, 1919, he was admitted as an attorney at law in the supreme court of the state of Idaho.

“In 1907 Judge Phibbs was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Ross, a native of Pulaski, Virginia, and a daughter of J. T. and Catherine (Graham) Ross, the former a farmer and stockman. Judge and Mrs. Phibbs have become parents of six children: Florence, Evelyn, Catherine, Virginia, James and Viola. The religious belief of the family is that of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and in politics Judge Phibbs is a stalwart republican, giving unfaltering allegiance to the party and its principles. He stands for advancement and improvement in all things that have to do with citizenship and is among that class who are putting forth every effort to spread the principles of true democracy and make one hundred per cent Americanism the rule of this land.

I do not usually place that much quoted material in my histories, but there is so much extra information I probably would not otherwise include, I thought I better just leave them how they were printed.

Calvin Dickerson Phibbs was born 12 June 1886 in Hillsville, Carroll, Virginia.  He died 30 March 1933 in Rupert, Minidoka, Idaho.  He was buried 4 days later on 3 April 1933 in the Rupert Cemetery.

Now that I have given so much on Calvin, I probably should fill out the life of Fanny a little more, my Great Great Aunt.

Fanny Elizabeth Ross was born 18 November 1893 in Reed Island, Pulaski, Virginia to James Thomas and Damey Catherine Graham Ross.  Read more about here parents and family here.  She married Calvin Phibbs 22 December 1906 in Welch, McDowell, West Virginia.  As mentioned 11 children were born to the marriage.  I believe she moved fairly quickly to California after Calvin’s death.  While in Rupert, the Phibbs family lived at 96 B Street (unless the streets have been renumbered, this home does not exist any more.  Grandpa, Milo Ross, visited her in Salt Lake City before World War II.  I do not know if she was living there or just visiting, he does not remember either.  She died 23 January 1943 in Daly City, San Francisco, California.  She is buried at Cypress Law in Colma, San Francisco, California in an unmarked grave.

Calvin and Fanny’s children are as follows, without spouses.

Florence Geneva Phibbs born 21 June 1907 in Gary, McDowell, West Virginia and died 9 February 1987 in Gridley, Butte, California.

Evelyn Adaway Phibbs born 8 October 1909 in Eckman, McDowell, West Virginia and died 7 January 1961 in San Francisco, San Francisco, California.

Catherine Elizabeth Phibbs born 1 January 1912 in Thorpe, McDowell, West Virginia and died 7 September 1989 in Fall River Mills, Shasta, California.

Virginia Ardena Phibbs born 3 March 1914 in Rupert and died 25 September 1969 in San Francisco County, California.

James Calvin Phibbs born 22 April 1916 in Rupert and died 10 July 1977 in San Francisco.

Viola Belle Phibbs born 21 July 1918 in Rupert and died 11 June 2008.

William Robert Phibbs born 3 October 1920 in Rupert and died 16 September 2010 in Redding, Shasta, California.

Orville Leonard Phibbs born 20 October 1922 in Rupert and died 25 December 1985 in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, California.

Arthur Lee Phibbs born 15 October 1925 in Rupert and died 22 June 1983 in San Francisco.

Richard Albert Phibbs born 25 December 1927 in Rupert and died 27 January 1983 in Clearlake, Lake, California.

Phyllis Elaine Phibbs born 24 February 1930 in Rupert and died 6 July 1972 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.

Of course I am always looking for more information on the family since we do not have contact with any of the descendants.

Redeeming presses forward, even today!

In the Spirit of the Fast, with it being Fast and Testimony day, I thought I would do the same online with regards to my latest manifestation.
Here are two quotes with relation to family history work.  Particularly, after you have done your homework and gone to the limit of your capacity, the door will be opened and a little more revealed.  Sometimes, the floods even fall into your lap.
“It is your duty now to rise up, all of you, and trace your genealogies, and begin to exercise the powers which belong to saviors of men, and when you do this in earnest, you will begin to comprehend how widespread, how numerous your ancestors are for whom Temple work has to be performed, in order that they may be brought into the fold; and when you get stopped, the Lord will reveal further information to you;” (George Q Cannon, JD 22:130)

“That same God who has ordained baptism for the dead, and who has commanded the believers in this generation to be baptized for them, will in due time, when we have done all we can in searching out our genealogies, reveal to us the chain so that we shall find our fathers, no matter how many generations…(Orson Pratt, JD 16:300)

While in Virginia, I spent a considerable amount of time in the Family History Library.  I taught my classes there, helped people do research, and spent many, many days pouring through books for familiar names and information.  Often I would borrow a book from the library for the week and through the week go through the entire book pulling out information on possible relatives.  In doing so, I really opened up a number of families for which I found nothing on the internet or anywhere else.
However, in doing so, I ended up with a whole host of what I call floaters.  Those individuals who I was pretty sure linked into the families I already had in the file, but I had no real information to tie them in.  For example, going through a marriage registry book gives only the names of the couple, and typically the father of the bride who gave bond.  I had a whole host of couple’s floating.  In about a dozen couples, the bride’s father’s name was Joseph Martin.  I had more than 30 Joseph Martin’s in my file and to try and link them to one was nearly impossible without more help.
Since I knew my time was limited in Virginia and the resources of the library, I would often take any individual with a relative’s name.  For example, every Graham, Martin, Meredith, and other families I ran across their information went into my file.  While this was highly successful with the Meredith line in tying the families together, it was much less so with the Martin’s due to their sheer number.  Martinsville, Virginia, obviously founded by Martin’s has at least 3 major Martin families who in all branch throughout Virginia and North Carolina.
Just this past month I was wondering how in the world I was going to connect these floaters in my file.  It just happened to be that I received a couple of e-mails that led to my receiving a packet in the mail.  The history report for an 8th grader on Revolutionary Soldier and founder of Martinsville, Joseph Martin.  Who would have ever known an 8th grader would write such a concise and researched document.  I tied my 30+ Joseph Martin’s together in such a way that I am down to 10!  All of those floaters whose father’s name was Joseph Martin are gone.  In my mind, it is a miracle.
The mere fact that information which so perfectly fit my scenario is in my hands is the work of the Lord.  As I connected link after link, that is what was running through my mind.  “This is the hand of the Lord which has brought this to pass.”
Surely, the hand of the Lord is over this work.  This I surely know, and only witnessed to again through this manifestation.  There are an endless host of such experiences.  If it were not for the Spirit witnessing this fact to me, just the mere coincidence of so many genealogical research puzzle pieces coming together in my life is near impossible.
I know the work is alive and vibrant.  It all depends on how much we wish to be engaged in it.  The more engaged, the greater the blessings for us and those who we also serve.  It is an endless circle.

Ross Family Album

I was finally able to upload the Ross Family Album.  I ran out of monthly space and then just got busy.  Finally, I have posted the photos related to the Ross’ in their own album.  I have not uploaded my own family yet.  This is just what I have under the Ross files on my computer.  This includes mostly photos of my Grandpa and Grandma Ross’ family, my Aunt Caroline’s family, and a few other random photos of related Ross people.  There are a couple of my half-siblings when they were younger.

Here are some of the family groups.

James Thomas Meredith Ross

Born Ross, raised and adopted Meredith, legally Meredith, married Ross, baptized Ross, children named Ross, endowed Ross, married again Meredith, died Meredith.

22 Sep 1868 – Snowville, Pulaski, Virginia

13 Apr1951 – Fresno, Fresno, California

Married

9 Aug 1887 – Snowville, Pulaski, Virginia

Damey Catherine Graham

25 Nov 1874 – Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia

3 Feb 1933 – Marysville, Yuba, California

Children

Robert Leonard Ross

25 Apr 1888 – Draper, Pulaski, Virginia

John William Ross

2 Sep 1890 – Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia

Fanny Elizabeth Ross (married Phibbs)

18 Nov 1893 – Reed Island, Pulaski, Virginia

James Thomas Ross Jr

19 Oct 1895 – Radford, Montgomery, Virginia

Married again

? – ?

Etta

Married again

14 Jul 1947 – Fresno, Fresno, California

Martha Elnora Cackler (married before to Brewer)

3 Oct 1877 – Otter Creek, Lucas, Iowa

31 Jul 1974 – Fresno, Fresno, California

John William Ross

2 Sep 1890 – Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia

13 Jun 1948 – Livermore, Alameda, California

Married (Divorced)

6 Jul 1910 – Squire Jim, McDowell, West Virginia

Nannie May Day

6 May 1892 – Pulaski, Pulaski, Virginia

19 Jan 1971 – Bluefield, Tazewell, Virginia

Children

Hobart Day

1 Jul 1911 – ,, West Virginia

Apr 1983 – Fairlawn, Radford, Virginia

Married again

12 Jan 1920 – Fort Logan, Arapahoe, Colorado

Ethel Sharp (I have written more about this marriage at this link: Ross-Sharp Wedding.)

9 Apr 1898 – Plain City, Weber, Utah

6 Aug 1925 – Plain City, Weber, Utah

Children

Milo James Ross

4 Feb 1921 – Plain City, Weber, Utah

Paul Ross

14 Feb 1922 – Paul, Minidoka, Idaho

John Harold Ross

7 Nov 1923 – Burley, Cassia, Idaho

Ernest Jackson Ross

16 Jul 1925 – Plain City, Weber, Utah

Married again

29 Nov 1926 – Rock Springs, Sweetwater, Wyoming

Zana Cogdill (Married before to Coffey)

7 Nov 1892 – Dixon, Carbon, Wyoming

2 Oct 1966 – San Diego, San Diego, California

Milo James Ross

4 Feb 1921 – Plain City, Weber, Utah

Married

4 Apr 1942 – Plain City, Weber, Utah

Gladys Maxine Donaldson

20 Sep 1921 – Ogden, Weber, Utah

25 Aug 2004 – Ogden, Weber, Utah

Children

Milo Paul Ross

Judy Ethel Ross

Caroline Ross

John Harold Ross

7 Nov 1923 – Burley, Cassia, Idaho

24 Oct 2004 – Syracuse, Davis, Utah

Married

19 Nov 1946 – Evanston, Uinta, Wyoming

Colleen Fowers Hancock

2 Oct 1929 – West Weber, Weber, Utah

12 Aug 1969 – Ogden, Weber, Utah

Children

Terry Jay Ross

3 Oct 1947 – Ogden, Weber, Utah

Married again

2 Dec 1974 – West Weber, Weber, Utah

JoAnn Payne

5 Jan 1934 – Ogden, Weber, Utah

Children

Jody Valate Ross

Caroline Ross

Married (Divorced)

Lynn J Taylor

Children

Kristy Lynn Taylor

Cindy Lou Taylor

Lonny J Taylor

Married again

Abe Maxamilia Gallegos

Milo Paul Ross

Married (Divorced)

Victoria K Feldtman

Children

Scott James Ross

Jeffrey Paul Ross

Becky Collette Ross

Married again (Divorced)

Sandra Jonas

Children

Paul Norwood Jonas Ross

Andra Ross

Married again

Janice Faye Higley (Married before to Osterhout)