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.

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.

Pulaski Roots

Speaking of roots, I had a dental appointment on Friday.  Due to Measles as a baby, I have ameliogenesis imperfecta with several of my teeth.  Basically, some of my teeth have deformities.  One of which is that the nerve in one tooth reaches quite a bit higher than normal.  Also linked with the deformity of the drugs (legal!) I took in the early 80′s, those teeth are weaker and more susceptible to problems.  Many, many years ago I had a filling put in the tooth that touched on that high reaching nerve.  Over the years that nerve touching the filling, in addition to a slight tapping from the tooth having moved (from squash racket trauma about 2000), and just normal advancement of time that root has decided to pass away.  Yes, I am the owner of a slowly dying tooth.  I have been placed on antibiotics to keep the nerve from getting infected as it decays.  In the next few weeks I will experience my first root canal. 

On an interesting note, once Dr. Spitzer saw my x-ray of the teeth he quickly noted how long the roots are on my teeth.  Amanda confirmed to me later that during the freak show discussion that ensued my teeth roots were measured at 25 mm long.  Amanda tells me that the normal individual has roots approximately 15 mm long.  The dentist commented how he may have to order some longer tools to work on the tooth.  Whether it was in jest or not, I have come to appreciate how different I really am.  Deep down inside I always knew I was special.  Now I know it is a good 10 mm deeper why I am special.
So we have frantically tried to figure out how we would pay for what a root canal and crown would cost without insurance.  When in the mail today I received an invitation to join the insurance for my work.  As generous as they are, I will now have dental insurance.  Now I just have to find how long of a waiting period I will have with a tooth that has become highly sensitive to hot and cold with slight throbbing from time to time.
Anyhow, on to the story of Pulaski County, Virginia.  My Ross line left Pulaski County about 1912 and headed to settle in Rupert, Idaho.  The daughter, Fannie had married a Phibbs from Pulaski and Carroll County and moved out previously.  Her husband was the Minidoka County Judge in Rupert.  With the opening of the new Sugar Factory at Paul, the rapid expansion of irrigateable farm land, and an economic downturn in Pulaski it was time to move.  James Thomas Meredith Ross who I have written about before followed his daughter Fannie.  His other three children would follow to the west.  James would later settle in the Vernal area.  The Phibbs would eventually end up north of Sacramento, California.  John would roam for many years marrying in West Virginia, Colorado, and Wyoming.  He would die in Alameda County, California.  Robert we don’t really know what happened to other than he died in California about 1944.
While I have written about all of that previously, James Thomas Meredith Ross would leave behind his half brother William Andrew Ross.  William would marry and move to West Virginia.  He lived in Gary, WV most of his life and raised his family there.  He worked in the mines coal mines.  He and Sarah (Sallie) had 12 children.  The youngest of which is Howard Ross born in 1925.
It was Howard we went to visit this weekend.
Howard is the only remaining individual of his family.  He was born in Thorpe, West Virginia and moved to Bluefield, West Virginia many years ago.  He lives in a home perched on the side of a hill on Essex St.  He had 3 children, and a step child he helped raised.  He worked in or with the mines all his life.  His wife past away a few years back and he lives in the home with his grandson and future granddaughter-in-law.
I knew of Howard because he had spent so much of his life pursuing family history.  Grandpa gave me a copy of one of his books he had written about 1972 on the Ross family.  That is how I knew who he was and that he was related.  By the time I came home from my mission I did not expect him to be alive anymore until one day in Twin Falls I was visiting with a missionary who had served in the West Virginia Mission.  I told him of Howard (I knew he was LDS) and the missionary not only knew of Howard, he had his address and phone number.  He gave it to me and I called Howard.
I have looked forward to meeting Howard for several years and of visiting the famous Pulaski County.  The valleys surrounding Pulaski County had already been home to the Graham and other families for over a hundred years by the time Pulaski County was formed in 1839.  There Meredith, Martin, Booth, Shepherd, and other families were well entrenched.  But my main interest was in going to the area where my family left before heading west.
Friday we drove out to Pulaski County and arrived after dark.  We spent the night in a hotel at Claytor Lake just over the border into the county.  The next morning we drove into Pulaski and just got a feel for the town and then headed for the hour and half drive to Bluefield to see Howard.
Bluefield turned out to be what you would imagine a town 50 years ago.  The little streets, little yards, flags on every house, and a good percentage of people sitting on their porch.  It was a lazy, hazy, day in summer.  We wound through the streets of Bluefield following our directions to Essex St.  Wow, as if we were not impressed.  One side of the street was wood and the other side of the street were homes perched on the side of a hill probably 75 to 100 feet up.  This hillside was probably at a 45 degree angle.  We found the home and climbed the steep stairs to the rickety old porch.
I don’t mean to sound negative, but we had entered what you joke about with rednecks.  These homes sat precariously sitting on the side of this hill and had not had any care in the last 40 years.  There was a hand made 2X4 railing up this terribly steep hike and at the top the porch wood buckled with every step.  Howard met us in the open door and invited us in.  We sat there in a relic of the 1930′s with only the television and sofa to remind us we were actually not in the mid 20th century.
Howard sat there talking with us in a most happy manner with his eye patch and asking for us to repeat often what we said.  Moreover, he spoke with that thick gentleman manner which so permeates the old confederate ideal.  His joking ways were jovial and we had quite the good conversation.
I took him with my computer through all the descendants of William Andrew Ross and he updated quite a bit of my information.  We also showed him a number of pictures I thought he would be interested in from my side of the family.  He then told us a few stories.
Uncle Jim (my great great grandfather who went west) had come to visit in the 1930′s where they lived in Gary, West Virginia.  It was the late 1930′s because the family had all gone to attend a Conference of the church in Grundy County, Tennessee.  One of the speakers that morning was Jim Ross, Howard’s Uncle.  The children did not attend but afterward all these people kept coming to his mother and commenting about how powerful Mr. Ross had been in his preaching.  Howard’s mother had to set them all straight that it was not her husband but her brother-in-law.  Howard remembers the day because it was the day he was baptized.  They would meet for the morning meetings and then have a big meal and baptisms in the middle, and go back to conference in the afternoon.
They went back home after the conference and Uncle Jim came and stayed for a spell.  Howard remembers Uncle Jim taking the wash basin out to the fields and coming back with a huge amount of corn.  He then told Howard’s mother to cook all the corn and they would eat it for dinner.  When Uncle Jim found out they did not have any milk, he went out and purchased a milk cow and brought it back for them to have milk.  (This isn’t necessarily all the same night).  Howard remembers that he was so thoroughly struck by how much Uncle Jim could eat.  Howard swears Uncle Jim must have pushed near 300 pounds and that man could eat.  Howard laughs and laughs about how when Uncle Jim left he went and sold the cow and they didn’t have milk for years afterward.
Howard remembers Uncle Jim was missing a finger.  He doesn’t remember which one, but he did ask how he lost it.  Apparently he had been bitten by a spider and as the finger started to rot and decay he finally just cut it off.  The Dr. apparently told him he had saved his life by taking the finger off.
That was about all he remembered of Uncle Jim.  He knew he moved to California after Idaho and Oregon.  While in Fresno he served as a Bishop of an LDS ward for quite a few years.  Uncle Jim was always a Ross to him even though he took the Meredith name back after moving to California.  The timeline in relation to the name I have told previously.
John Ross, or Jack as he was known, also made a trip out to West Virginia to visit.  He came out after his second wife had passed away (my great grandmother) and tried to convince his first wife to marry him again.  She wasn’t having any of that and Jack left empty handed.  Howard never met Hobart Day, Jack’s oldest child with his first wife.
Howard doesn’t remember ever meeting any of the rest of the family.  Donna Phibbs Beachell came out to visit in the 1970′s and spent quite a bit of time with Howard.  They wrote often over the years, some of which letters I mentioned were sent to me in the papers of Howard from John Ross.
Howard was very interested in what I had found out on the Meredith family and I told him what I was pretty sure to be correct.  He related to me more of the stories of what he believed happened to his grandfather but until further information comes out to prove the James Meredith story of the Harvy Ross story, we still really don’t know for sure.  I think mine is pinpointed quite a bit more firmly than his.
Howard then gave us a bit of the history of the LDS church in West Virginia.  He had us drive him down to the Bluefield Ward Building over the border in Bluefield, Tazewell County, Virginia.  He gave us a tour of the building.  We met the Bishop and a few other people.
We went back to the house and he asked that I give a blessing to his daughter, Sarah who lives next door.  She has MS and various other problems that come with smoking, MS, and the redneck lifestyle.  I will tell you now, I was alarmed that 82 year old Howard regularly climbs and descends those stairs out front.  They were so steep I didn’t feel safe especially with an old man struggling up them.  I gave a blessing to a woman who didn’t want it but whose father insisted.  Talk about a little awkward of a position.  We then went next door where he asked I give his future granddaughter-in-law a blessing.  Not only did he want a blessing for her, but the unborn child as well.  That was my first experience I remember blessing a baby in the womb.  Both turned out to be special events.  I enjoyed them and Howard became choked up after the second of the two.  My oil holder had become cracked and did not stay together any more and so we had to make due with a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a small glass bowl.  Under the circumstances it was the best we could do and we were richly blessed on the occasion.
Interestingly, the kitchen is exactly how you would have found it in the 1940′s.  The sink, the ironator, cupboards, and more were all of proper vintage.  Sadly, that was probably the last time they were cleaned.  It was quite humbling to see the faith of this man in such humble circumstances.
We left with my promising to do the ordinance work for his son and him after he had passed away.  He joked, part seriously, that through family history he had prepared the way for hundreds to enter heaven despite his own lack of achieving the same goal.
Amanda and I left and wound our way back to Pulaski County.  There we wound our way through the desolate parts of county roads trying to cross the New River.  We found our way across and went through the little towns of Allisonia, Hiwassie, and Snowville.  All towns of which were heavily populated by those of my ancestry.  It was interesting to drive along and recognize names on mailboxes and say to Amanda, “They are probably related.”
We drove back across the river up to Newbern, past Dublin, and back to Pulaski.  There we enjoyed our dinner, as we had our breakfast, at the Sonic Drive-In with gift cards that had been given to us for helping a lady move into the ward.
Afterward we hit the road to try and make Tennessee for some souvenirs and then across Southern Virginia to other ancestral locations.  We realized we were too far from Tennessee too late in the day to make it so at Rural Retreat (how is that for a name?) we turned and headed east.  We drove through Independence (Grayson County) and crashed for the night in Galax (Carroll County).  Both counties are heavily tied to me as well.  Sunday morning we awoke and made our way to Hillsville (Carroll County Seat), Martinsville (home of the Martins of which I am related), over to Danville, north to Keysville and Farmville, and home to Richmond.
It was a long weekend but very worthwhile.  I really enjoyed getting to see Allisonia, Hiwassie, and Snowville.  Maybe someday we will get to go back.  Maybe Howard will be around when it comes time for us to head back west in a year.

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)

In the poorhouse now

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 little boy is my great great grandfather.  My great great great grandmother was literally in the poorhouse.