California Ross Letter

Donna is the granddaughter of Fanny Elizabeth Ross (married Phibbs).  This is my Great Grandfather’s sister.  Quite an interesting find.  Amanda and I were planning on going to out see Howard Ross in Bluefield, West Virginia.  Howard thought after the shootings at Blacksburg we better wait since Montgomery County would be too busy to go sightseeing and visiting.  But prior to going I e-mailed his nephew John Ross who is a doctor in Beckley, West Virginia.  I told him we were coming out and I would like to see him.  I knew Howard Ross had given John all his research papers and I was very interested in a copy of them.  John is a busy Dr and said he would just mail them to me.  So I received a stack of papers about 6 inches high of research letters, notes, and other various things.  This letter was in that stack.  Most of the stack is on Howard’s Adams lines which doesn’t interest me.  So some of the stack is quick moving.  I am glad when I find those things related to my bloodline.

PO Box 1894
Burney, Ca  96013
Aug. 13, 1985

Dear Howard,

Your letter arrived in the mail yesterday.  I have also wondered about Nancy Adeline’s life but it is very hard to understand from our perspective.  It’s hard for us to really understand  the hard life they had.  I find people today do not very often understand what I tell of my life as a child in a small town farming community in Idaho.  And that was only 50 years ago and I’m still here to tell about it.  We lived on a small two acre place with no running water and we had an outhouse.  All drinking water had to be carried from the neighboring farm where they had a well.  And all water for washing or bathing was carried from an irrigation ditch that ran along one side and down one portion of another side before it went through a culvert under a road to the farm across the road.  We did have electricity and we had electrically run appliances such as a wringer type washing machine and a refrigerator.  Also, living here in Burney which is about 250 miles from San Francisco I find people who think of San Francisco as “Sin City”, but I grew up there and love it.  There are somethings I don’t like about the city and it is always changing, but I have many good friends who still live there and also many cherished memories of my life there.  There are murders and drugs and everything that I abhor and do not want in my life right here in this small remote mountain town of Burney.

I say all this as I think its very hard to put ourselves into the scene or time and place that Nancy Adeline lived.  My mother’s father’s mother was
also born out of wedlock in Carroll County Virginia.  Her maiden name was BOLT and I had heard she was born out of wedlock before from her own son.  I didn’t think to question him I knew him to be a good man and honest.  He had served as a Missionary for the church and prior to that when I was about twelve years old had lived with us in San Francisco.  He was divorced from his first wife who came to our home and raised a ruckus one night while he was there.  After he came home from his Mission he married again.  This time to the divorced wife of his own brother.  His brother had a problem with drinking.  Aunt Bertie’s children, and she had fifteen, can’t seem to accept her decision.  I was told when we were visiting Carroll County in 1972 the following “The Bold women were beautiful blue eyed blonde women and considered the most beautiful women in the area.”  I was also told my great grandmothers mother was never married.  But the census records indicate she had four children.  She also had at least one or two sisters who never married but had some children.  I recently asked John Perry Alderman, is a Federal Judge at Roanoke.  But he was District Attorney of Carroll County and had his law offices with his father also John Alderman when we were visiting there in 1972.

Life certainly can get complicated can’t it?  While someone in the future may be able to construct some of my life from a few legal documents I know they would not be able to know all about me.  My life has been full of things that are not written down.  It’s also true of the Bible and that is
why there are so many religions with each on interpreting according to their own interpretation right?  I hope all this makes sense to you.  At any rate I cannot judge Nancy Adeline (SHEPHERD) ROSS nor can I judge my other great grat grandmother Adeline BOLT.  I understand you are a little closer to the situation than I am in that Nancy was your father’s mother.  And your family name hinges on the truth.  I really have no answers except the few legal documents that we uncover.  I have no knowledge as to who is the older, your father or my great grandfather.  I only saw James Thomas Ross Meredith on the one occassion a few months before he died in Fresno, California in 1951. His mind was very clear and he told us a little about his life.  Such as he had been born out of wedlock and that his real father was James Meredith who had adopted him when he was about 4-6 years old.  He also said the courts gave him the name James Thomas Ross Meredith.  He said he was raised by his real father.  I do not recall his telling anything about his brother or even knowing that he had one until years later.  When he went to the temple for his Endowment and had an Endowment done for Damey Catherine Graham he gave his birthplace as Snowville.  The Temple Index Bureau tells me there was no sealing done.  He did tell us that he reverted to the name Ross in order to save his mother from embarrassment with the Missionaries.

When he was married his name was listed as J.R. Mearideth and his death certificate shows James Meredith with his father as James T Meredith.  But all of his children were brought up as Ross and his sons brought their children up as Ross.  He didn’t go back to the name Meredith until years
later.  Damey Catherine’s death certificate gives her last name as Ross and she died in 1933.  So it was after that time.  Evidently, Nancy Adeline also lived with James and Damey for sometime while they were living in West Virginia as my great uncle John Phibbs whose mind was also very clear when I interviewed him about 1958 remembered James Rosses mother.  Uncle John was a friend to the Ross boys Uncles Bob and John Ross in particular and said he lived with the Ross family for a time.  He thought she was about 90 years old and that couldn’t have been, but then many young people believe old people to be much older than they actually are, right?  He said she was a strong old lady and could carry heavy sacks of coal and or potatoes slung over her shoulders.  I’m convinced most of us are weaklings compared to our ancestors even if we are much larger in general.

Mrs. Clarita Morgan said, she believes Nancy had an incredibly hard life. She said women were put in jail for having children out of wedlock.  She
also said James was taken away from Nancy when he was bound out to James Meredith.  She got this from the Count Orders Book of Pulaski County.  She just stated that Nancy was in the poorhouse at that time.  Mrs. Morgan’s husband became critically ill last spring and she has promised me as soon as she can to get back into the records for me.  She has seen the original will of Frederick Shepherd and said while it mentioned his wife Elizabeth there was no mention of any children.  I have recently sent her more information regarding the marriages out of her own book showing the marriage of John Shepherd to Levica Martin naming his parents as Felty and Elizabeth Shepherd, as well as telling her that we believe that John was a brother to our William Shepherd as well as Levica Martin being a sister to Nancy Martin Shepherd.  I also sent her the copy of the records from the Tennessee Civil War Veterans on Calvin Sheppard.  You will note that it is copyrighted and not to be reproduced.  But it gives a good description of his family that we would find hard to get anywhere else.  I spoke to Mrs. Morgan after that and she said “Why that Shepherd/Sheppard Family is a very old one here”.  She then said “It is hard to imagine that he treated Nancy like he did.  Meaning that he took her son but didn’t marry her.”  She also told me she has some more information for me but has not gotten back into the records yet.

Nancy Martin Shepherd, could have been married to her daughter Charlotte’s father Jackson Bryant.  Those records would evidently be in North Carolina. I’m trying to check the 1850 Census for Surrey County at least I have it on order.  I’m wondering if I can find William and Polly (Bayes) Martin there. Do you know?  I recall you also had Nancy Adeline as possibly born in Ashe County North Carolina.  Until I find them and a  marriage record for William Shepherd to Nancy Martin or Bryant, I don’t know too much.  It appears from earlier records that William was married in the 1840 Census with a family. But who can tell for sure perhaps they were both married before they married each other.  William Shepherd is listed in Pulaski Co., in 1850 with wife Nancy and two children older than our Nancy Adeline.  They are William Shepherd and Charlotte also listed as a Shepherd.  But we find from Charlotte’s marriage record while Nancy Shepherd was her mother her father was Jackson Bryant.  But William Shepherd the son disappears and we don’t know if he is also Nancy’s son or if he is William’s son from a former marriage.  Until we can find more evidence that remains a mystery.  But it is great that we have Calvin’s record telling us who his parents are and also mentioning his grandfather William Martin.  And it is apparent from that record that William Martin was married before he married Polly Bayes.
None of this is unusual there were some divorces in those days but lots of people died much younger and of all kinds of diseases in those days that we don’t have now.  And many people remarried.

I also believe that the Census Takers were not qualified to always know whether a person was “Idiotic or wahter.”  I have two adopted children and both have Cerebral Palsy.  People as well as Doctors have labeled them. Cerebral Palsy, therefore mentally retarded for years.  It isn’t necessarily so.  David will be 20 years old in October and he walks with a limp and is called Moderate Cerebral Palsy.  Since he was in an institution for mentally retarded from 3 years until 12 and 1/2 years he picked up some traits which appear to be those of a mentally retarded person.  Had he been in a home with a loving family all those years he would probably not have had those characteristics.  I’ve had a young woman who has Cerebral Palsy and lived with her family who was married and had a child and worked for the Cerebral Palsy Office in Oakland, California tell me, “Oh yes people always think we are mentally retarded.”  It’s obvious to me that is not so.  My daughter Noel (pronounced as Noelle) is called Mild Cerebral Palsy and it is not apparent to most people that she has any anything.  I think it is between that person and the Lord.  I am not angry at you for any of your thoughts and I understand it is normal to wonder about all of these people.  But it is also FASCINATING to find whatever information we may be able to find regarding our ancestors.

Charlotte’s last name was shown as Martin though and that does lead one to believe she was born out of wedlock.

The John Perry Alderman that I mentioned before has done a wonderful job of research spending over 25 years and is publishing books on the Carroll County people.  I have his book called, CARROLL 1765-1815 THE SETTLEMENTS. I have found several of my early lines in there the
SHOCKLEY’S-BOLT’S-FRANKLIN’S-WORRALL’S and the NEWMAN’S.  He did it from the Deed Books the Will Books the Census the Marriage records as well as documented information that has come to him from descendent sources.  It is all well documented.  My PHIBBS FAMILY didn’t come into Carroll until the 1840’s from Guilford County North Carolina and he doesn’t know much about them.  But I have some Guilford records on them and I belong to the Guilford County Genealogical Society.  In addition to all of this I am gathering information on my fathers lines.  His father’s is in Central Pennsylvania and his mother’s is a Vermont and New England Family.  As well as doing research on my hunsband’s family.  His Perry family came from Ohio after 1855 to Iowa from there to Kansas after 1882 to California by 1910.  His Warrren line from somewhere in Virginia (wife born Germany) to Ohio to Missouri to Washington to California.  Another Vliet from Virginia to Illinois to Kansa to Washington Territory, Mrs. Vliet’s – Wheeler Family, her father came from South Carolina and mother from North Carolina their older children were born in Tennessee but their daugher Louisa my husband’s children were born in Tennessee but their daughter Louisa my husband’s 2nd great grandmother was born in Illinois where she and Garrett Vliet married. And on his mothers side her father came from Sweden and luckily some
relatives over there have sent quite a lot of that information.  Then his mothers mothers line Beard came from New Jersey to Pennsylvania to  Ohio to Indiana to Iowa to Missouri and finally to California before 1880.  His third great grandfather Beard was born in Sept. 1799 in Pennsylvania and died in the 1890’s near Fresno California.  He is buried in an old Pioneer Cemetery at a place there called Academy, there had been a school there that was the Academy.  He also has ancestors who were married in Santa Clara County California in 1856, the husband was born in Ohio in the late 1820’s and his bride in Iowa in the 1830’s.  Well enough of that, but I am working on all of these lines.  Plus helping a few friends here and there.  That story you told me of the woman who killed her baby.  I have heard that before and the story was told by Grayson and Laura (Adams) Graham.  They said it was Mary (Graham) Deane.  I would have to do some digging to be sure of her married name.  It may have been Dean (this is correct).  They said she overlaid or rolled over her child in the night and it died.  That was a fairly common occurance, with babies sleeping in the same beds with their mothers.  Mary was a sister to Grayson and my great grandmother Damey Catherine Graham.  It was a tragic incident.

I hope this is of some help to you.  It appears Nancy Adeline was never married to anyone but Harve D. Ross.  I agree the marriage was undoubtedly commsumated.  After all they were listed as living together with her parents in 1860.  Obviously, Nancy was capable of having dhileren and could have born them.  Perhaps the trouble lies with Harve unless he is actually your father’s father and anything is possible including that not everyone gets pregnant right away.  It is possible Nancy Adeline worked as a domestic in the Meredith home and was forced into an uncompromising position.  Women were treated like chattel in those days and I don’t know if her parents were still living at that time or if they had left Pulaski County.  She was listed as you said with her Aunt Levica and what had become of John Shepherd.  Were these men in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.  It is said that Damey Catherine Graham’s father William Addison Graham was enlisted at age fifteen three days before the War ended.  I can find no record of him through the National Archives but then they can’t tell me about William’s father Robert A Graham either who also served from Pulaski County.  Mrs. Morgan says she has records of those from Pulaski County.  I have also checked with Richmond as they may have been in the local militia.

The National Archives also had nothing on Calvin Shepherd/Sheppard.  The problems which resulted in the Civil War was going on for years before and the effects lasted years after.

I lived in San Francisco during World War II and even though I was 11-15 years old I was aware of much of what was going on around me.  We moved from the small farming community in Twin Falls County Idaho (a dry state) to San Francisco California in early 1942.  I had spent two weeks in California in July of 1941 before I turned eleven.  I was aware alcohol was sold everywhere.  I had never seen anyone drunk until I came to California.

Talk about CULTURE SHOCK.  At any rate it was quite an experience and I will never forget it.  I had a very straight laced grandmother who had never smoked or drank in her life.  But I found out many years later she had been about six months pregnant when she was married.  I don’t love her anyless, she was special to me.  My grandfather her husband like to go to a place called the pool hall.  No respectable woman would be caught dead there. When we arrived in California and the first evening (this being July 1941 and I was 10 years old) and I heard my own grandmother (mother’s mother) Fannie Elizabeth (Ross) Phibbs, day she would go with them to buy liquor.  I was shocked!!!  Many of the family on that side consider me a snob to this day.  It was just CULTURE SHOCK.  My grandmother Fannie and two of her daughters died of Cirrhosis of the liver or alcohol related deaths.  Another who was only six months older than I committed suicide by shooting herself through the head as her father my grandfather did.  She had had an injury and was given some drug by prescription for it but she also drank some and as we know they don’t mix.  Aunt Florence as you will remember is the oldest and she turned 78 in June of this year and she looks better than my 73 year old mother and both of them are very clear.  Mother needs hearing aids for both ears (she was just checked out last week), but we have been aware that
she needs them for a while.  She fought the idea I think it was more the expense than anything.  They have one other sister who is younger who is
still living and she is in good health.  She is Viola and she just turned 67 last month.  There are three brothers also living Bill will be 65 in October
and he is okay.  He had some problems which resulted in his not being able to use sugar and it was not diabetes.  They said he was bad until they found what the problem was.  He dosn’t smoke or drink at all and hasn’t for years.

Then there is Orval, he is about 62/3 years of age, he is dying of cancer of the lung.  I haven’t seen him for years another brother Arthur died of
cancer of the lung two years ago he was only 57 year old at the time.  The youngest brother is Rick and he will be 58 on Dec. 25th, and he is not in
very good shape he is rather crippled up I don’t know what from.  Again I haven’t seen him for years.  But he writes every Christmas and sends a card to me.  The only other brother they had died in 1977 and he Jimmy was the eldest of the boys, he was born in 1916 and he died of the disease that the Baseball Player Lou Gehrig died of.  He was sick for quite a few years, he drank quite a lot and smoked besides.

I’m glad we have the principal of repentance and forgiveness or I’m sure none of us would ever make it.  We have all made mistakes and I’m told by church authorities once we make the proper repentance if need by through our Bishop, we don’t owe anyone an explanation.  It is between ourselves and our Heavenly Father.  So if the Lord can be that gracious to me or any other person who makes a mistke I’m sure he understands Nancy Adeline (Shepherd) Rosses and Adaline Bold’s and my grandmother Dorothy Ketcham (Balis) Beachell’s and my grandmother Fannie Elizabeth (Ross) Phibbs and anyone elses problems and I am glad to leave it up to him to decide since each case is different and individual.

When James Thomas Ross went to the temple in Salt Lake City to be endowed it was June 20, 1935.  He gave his name as James Thomas Ross, born 22 Sept. 1870 at Snowsville, Pulaski, Virginia.  Father was given as James Thomas Ross and mother as Nancy Shepard.  He also gave his baptism date as 17 Apr 1898 and Damie Catherine Graham as born 25 Nov. 1873 born Pulaski Va. died 3 Feb 1933.  Father Wm. Addison Graham mother Elizabeth Miles.  He didn’t give a marriage date but said she had been married to him.  He gave her baptism date as about 1897.  When my grandmother was sealed they took down her information as follows: Name in full Fanny Ross born 18 Nov. 1893 at Radford, Radford, Va.  Father Jas. F. Ross mother Damy C. Graham.  She was endowed 20 June 1923 and her baptism is given as 5 Jul 1906.  I have understood she and her brother James Thomas Ross were baptized the same day at Welch, McDowell, W. Va.  This brother was called Tom Ross, but I have his death certificate and it says James Thomas Meredith aka (also known as) James Thomas Ross born Oct 19, 1895 in Virginia died July 16, 1964 at Los
Angeles County General Hospital.  My grandmother was baptized the same year she was married.  She was married in Dec of 1906.  I have talked to someone in Salt Lake at the Genealogical Society and they said I should write it all down and send it in.  He probably didn’t realize in 1935 how important it would all be to be so accurate ect.  In a book of records kept by my grandfather he gives my grandmothers birthplace as Reed Island, Virginia.

I’ve also worked in hospitals doing nursing ect and I have personally seen people die of Cirrhosis of the Liver and know it isn’t any too pleasant,
I’ve often said I have no illusions.

I’ve certainly written a long letter here.  I hope it is of some help to you.  I’m waiting to hear from Mrs. Morgan again and I hope it won’t be too
long.  And I hope we will be able to gain further knowledge regarding these families.  Mrs. Morgan lives behind a Phibbs relative of mine in Pulaski
City.  They are good friends and she told me to come and stay with her if I get back there.  She also said you are going to write a book aren’t you?  I haven’t gotten to that point yet.  Anyway I had better stop here and get my family fed.

Happy Hunting,
Your Cousin
Donna (Beachell) Perry

Christmas Greetings

A quick Christmas update for everyone out there. 

Christmas went very well. I can say I am one spoiled boy! I have a wonderful wife with wonderful family. I am fortunate enough to have a comfortable home and a job to provide income. Who could ask for more? I have clothes to cover me, and gained more this Christmas. I have food to fill my belly (that of course does not include all the tasty junk food that comes this time of year).

The weather was in the upper 60’s with an almost continual rainfall all day. It was pretty. It was a nice relaxed day.

I phoned and talked to all my immediate family that I could. It was good to visit with them.

Dad is doing very well. He said for the first time in the last 10 or so years, he does not have swollen ankles. Something the doctors attribute to
the liver and gallbladder problems. He said he is still sore in the tummy, but the water weight is falling off him. In the last week he has squeezed
in his belt 3 notches. He says his breathing capacity is back up to what it was in about 2000. Another thing attributed to his liver and gallbladder.

Andra is happy and doesn’t have any complaints. She had a Merry Christmas and was looking forward to going out to Dad’s place for the evening. I wonder what she thought of her present.

Amanda’s family continues to do well. They rehearsed all the presents and how their morning had gone. It sounds like Christmas was good for them.

I visited with Rose Byrom from Runcorn for at least an hour over the two days. Who would have thought the housewife of 7 years ago would now be a lecturer at John Moore University and Halton/Riverside University? Neither she nor I would have believed you. She should have her Master’s by the end of 2007. Life changes quickly.

I sat down and did some family history. Ended up with a serious road bump in some of my research. I found the Confederate Record for James A
Meredith. In the 1880 Census my James Thomas Meredith is living with an old man, James Meredith. That old man claimed little James was his son. That just seems implausible. How did he marry Nancy Graham if he was still married? Oh his wife is living with a sick daughter in that same census. So, knowing Nancy married a James Meredith, we always assumed it was old man James’ son, James Jr who was the father of James Thomas Meredith. Well, I found the Confederate record for James’ service. He was killed in Lexington, Virginia in a battle in 1864. Well, that makes it pretty difficult for him to be the father of a boy born 4 years later. Everything points that this confederate soldier, James Anderson Meredith is the same James A Meredith, son of James and Sarah Meredith. Their birth years, even the A for a middle name, and the soldier joined the Confederate Army in Pulaski County. The missing James A Meredith did not add any more children to his family, and his wife is alone and head of household in 1870. So, it all pieces together. So now back to the drawing board. Is old man Meredith really the father of James Thomas? Is that the real reason why he and his wife are living apart, or is it really as the census says, she is ill? Why did Nancy let the boy go to live with the father/grandfather? Where is the marriage record? That is what I really need to verify she married a James. Oh, another piece of evidence, old man James’ history tells he lost two sons in the war. Daniel, and another not named. This could certainly be the James A I have been seeking for such a long time.

On a good note, I found the father my Edith (Edie) Boothe. His name was Daniel Boothe and had quite the family. It took me a good hour just to get everything in relation to his children and wives situated. I also pursued some more on the Martin lines hoping to find something, but nothing yet. Will Virginia yield her secrets to me? I sure hope so.

Tomorrow we are headed back up to Washington. Taylor Duncan’s wedding is at 1:00 and we are planning on attending the temple while we are there. It will be great to see Paul and Kathy again, along with the rest of the family. I wonder who else of the family will be coming out. I have some new temple names to print up while we are there. Should be a good day.

Meredith’s revealing some secrets

Yesterday turned out to be a good day in relation to finding some roots.

In teaching the family history class, I feel like I need to know what I am doing before hand. On top of that, family history is never completed, so I was searching out some new lines. I thought I would have another go at the Meredith line.

Up to this point I have been able to find several families of the Meredith line. Legend and family lore goes that my James Thomas Meredith’s father was James Meredith. That is all we know. He apparently was raised by his grandfather, but I still don’t know why he took the Ross name to become James Thomas Meredith Ross. He married as a Meredith, but gave all his children the Ross name.  (I have since written more about this with more information here.)

In the 1880 Census we find James Thomas Meredith Ross with James Ross who is 70, little James is 9. Now, little James was born in 1868, but where the census takes your age at time of the census, then he may have had his birthday soon, or who knows. Plus James the older was probably giving the information and may have just rambled off the latest number. Whatever the reason for the age issue, the real problem is he told the census taker that little James was his son. For what reason, I have no idea. (I could easily look up his age and the day of the census, but that would take getting off onto the other computer, which I don’t want to do.) If I remember right, Nancy is over in the next county working as a servant for her Aunt Lavincia, I think. I know that Nancy was poor, so that may have been why little James was with his father/grandfather.

I don’t have the actual marriage record yet, but somewhere I have been given a date for their marriage and a place. I am hoping that record will tell me James’ father’s information.

The interesting thing is that James the old man was born in 1805 or about there. His wife was Sarah J Bell. James and Sarah had a son named James who was only a few years older than Nancy. So it is very feasible that James, the son of James and Sarah was the real father.

The problem is multiplied. If old James was not the father, which I have my doubts, then I must ask who was the James Meredith’s in the area. Well, there turn out to be about 10 James Meredith’s within about 10 years of Nancy’s birth. So far I can account for most of them when Nancy had her son James. They were married, dead, or enough distance to probably be safely not the father of my James Thomas Meredith Ross.

However, there are three James Meredith’s which I cannot account for. I found old man James’ wife, Sarah J Bell Meredith in the 1870 census. Which means she was still alive, so in all likeliness old man James did not marry Nancy Adeline Sheperd (married before, Ross) in 1867. That casts a whole bunch more doubt on his father being the father. I guess he could have been, but I assume the actual James Meredith is the father.

As I said, there are three James Merediths that I cannot count for. This is where it gets hairy. One is the son of James and Sarah J Meredith. The other is the son of Hugh and Katherine Meredith and roughly the same age. Then there is the son of William and Octavia Meredith, also roughly the same age. All three of them just fall off the planet. I can find no records of anything of their lives. Death, nothing. I hope to find at least one of them died in the Civil War or something, but nothing as of yet. Just out of interest though, I thought I would pursue each of these three families. James, Hugh, and William were all born within about 5 years and roughly in the same area. So I started to wonder if they were related as well. I then found a history of Hugh Meredith saying his father was Hugh and Nancy Meredith. I then found Hugh Sr and Hugh Jr living side by side in the 1840 census. So following Hugh Sr back another 10 years, he had the right number of sons who were the right ages to be Hugh, James, and William. Going back into the census clear to 1820 he had about 8 children. Three boys were within about 5 years of each other, which is very likely to be these three boys. What is more, you get back into the 1830’s and 1840’s, these were the only Meredith’s in the area. When you get back to find these three men as boys, the numbers really shrink. So I am very sure these were brothers.

To top it off, Hugh and James Meredith both married women whose last names were Bell. Which narrows it down even more. Sadly, I doubt Katherine and Sarah were sisters, for if they were, their mother was 50 when she gave birth to Sarah, which is not likely. Plus all other family accounts have Katherine as the last child, not another one 8 years later. I have more hunting to do. Regardless, these are my ancestors, aunts and uncles. Old Man James is my relative, whether father or grandfather of James Meredith. Even if it is one of the other James’ in the mix, he is now an uncle. But why would the child go to live with James if he was not father or grandfather. Remember, we pretty much ruled him out as father. I am confident he is the grandfather.  (I have since been given information that Sarah was a sibling of Katherine born in 1806, not 1809.)

So linking these families together, and pulling together histories, I added another 4 generations to the family history. The Bell history, through Hugh’s wife added 4 generations. I am sure my Sarah is at least a neice to Katherine’s Bell family. So that line goes back to about 1705. Katherine’s mother, who was a Farmer, whose history takes me back into the late 1600’s. So I was thrilled to make these discoveries. I need to find some more information to tie it together more firmly. But the Bell and Farmer lines have wills and more for the lines I connected myself into.

It is the Meredith line now that is curious to me. Hugh Sr disappears mysteriously from the 1810, 1800, and 1790 census. Now it is possible that it was early enough to have missed Hugh in Southwest Virginia. However, I did find there are records from the area. What is more, Hugh was about 20 years older than his wife. So he just appears on the scene with Nancy Smallwood in Blacksburg, Virginia. But, in 1810, 1800, and 1790 there is a Hugh (1800 has David Hugh) Meredith living in Pennsylvania.  Which interestingly, is where all the other Meredith families live I keep contacting.  None of them can link to the Southwest Virginia Meredith’s.  However, if Hugh is a key, then perhaps…

One of the questions is Hugh has some older children in the 1820 census which means he could have brought some more with him.  The only problem with the American census before 1850 is they only listed the head of the household and then the other members of the house according to age group and sex.  So quite honestly, those could all be white servants (blacks or slaves were tallied under a separate area.  He didn’t have any).

My hypothesis thus far is that Hugh was married in Pennsylvania and raised a family there.  His wife died or something and he went to Virginia.  I don’t know where Nancy Smallwood comes into it as there is not any Smallwood families in the Southwest Virginia area.  So she could have come with him.  Perhaps they married in Pennsylvania and then moved to Virginia with his new wife and existing family.

I have to go back now and research all those old Meredith histories to see if I can find a Hugh in their histories.  I have always searched for James, Hugh Sr’s son.  If I can find a Hugh Meredith (Merideth in 1810, 1800, and 1790 census) born in 1767 up there, they may have something about his family.  Then he would disappear about the right time frame from their history.  Perhaps….  I will have to see what I can find.

Anyhow, I keep searching.  I am finding I am much more linked in revolutionary America than I ever thought.

Monticello and Vernal

This weekend was a great trip.  I don’t know if I have written this, but Amanda and I made a goal to hit all the Utah Temples before we move away.  We made this goal in Jan or Feb and have been working on it since.  Monticello and Vernal both posed a problem for achieving that part of what we wanted to do.  Why not knock them both out at once?  So we did.  We took this past weekend, drove down to Monticello on Friday and stayed the night.  We stayed at, and highly recommend the Monticello Inn (in the phone book as Triangle H) especially if you are LDS.  They were more than wonderful with us.  She even called the temple to make our reservation for the 8:00 session for the next morning.  We attended the 8:00 session and when we came out, got our photo (we are taking a photo with us and each temple as well, Amanda’s idea!) and headed out.  We drove back up through Moab, over to Fruita, Colorado, up through Rangely, Colorado and into Vernal.  It was a beautiful day for a drive.

Vernal turns out to be one of our favorite temples.  There is something about it.  It has more character than some, and it seemed more like home to me.  We were sitting in the chapel waiting to go on the next session when I kept looking at the only other couple in the room.  I was sure it looked like the parents of a friend from high school.  She looked younger though, and he had some chops, so I had my doubts.  Finally, I just had to know, walked up to them, and sure enough, it was Scott and Anita Jensen from Paul, Idaho.  Anita was a cub scout leader for me for a few years.  Bryan, their son, helped me secure a ring at a great price for Amanda last year.  We chatted, and were one of only a few couples on the session.  I will tell you what, there is something that is inspiring when the rays of the sun are coming through the veil when they lift the curtain before being introduced.  It just lit up the room and I loved it.

On the session was also a Shane Mayberry.  Afterward, I visited with him and asked if he knew a Carma Preece.  He said he went to school with her son.  I asked about her, and found out she only lived a block of two from the temple.  Before we left, by asking others, he had her address and phone number for me.  So, we are close, why not visit.  I gave her a phone call, she was home, and we were invited to stop.

She is the first person I have ever met who is related to me through the Ross line.  In fact, her maiden name is Ross and her father is the brother to my Great Grandfather.  It was interesting to look at her characteristics and physical makeup.  She must have barely have been over 5 foot.  Similar to most of my closer Ross relatives, other than my Dad, who inherited his height from the Donaldson side.  Amanda snapped a picture of a portrait of her parents.  Giving me the first copy of a photo I have of any of the other Ross siblings.  I have a rough, vague, damaged photo of my Great Grandparents, and nothing of them together.  My Great Grandmother died in 1925 after giving birth.  The baby also passed away with her.  For some reason or another, the Sharp line did not like my Great Grandfather, John William Ross.  So he was run off, and my Grandfather’s family farmed out to members of the Sharp family.  My Grandpa to the Ed Sharp family, Uncle Harold to the Delwin Sharp family, and Paul Ross to Fred and Vic (Sharp) Hunt.  The only thing we really know is that he moved to California.

He died in the Veterans Hospital in Livermore, Alameda, California.  As far as we can tell, all of his siblings ended up in California as well.  John had a sister named Fanny, who married a Calvin Dickerson Phibbs, who was the judge in Rupert, Idaho for a time.  Calvin’s father and some other family members are buried in Rupert.  But the Phibbs went to California as well.  Then there was a Robert Leonard Ross, and his life is very sketchy.  Have very little idea of him.  He was married to a Minnie Belle Hambrick, Rose Ann Clawson, and Ruby Leaster Hall.  The only one of these I could confirm was Rose Ann Clawson, who had been married to a Sanders, but he married her in Burley, Idaho.  Then there was Carma’s father, James Thomas Ross who settled in the Vernal area.  Apparently he was the one who went to Utah so his children could marry LDS.  They missed Virginia so much, they named their first child after their old home.  So, Carma’s older sister is named Vesta Virginia.

It seems to me that somehow they caught wind of the opening of the Sugar Factory in Paul, Idaho, so they moved there from Virginia.  I know the Phibbs were there before the Ross family was.  Fanny and Calvin were married in Virginia in 1906.  The Phibbs all moved to Idaho and then Fanny probably invited her other siblings to go.  Fanny arrived there sometime between 1912 and 1914 as children changed their birth locations.  My Grandpa has a half brother, Hobart Day, born in 1911 in West Virginia.  My Great Grandparents were married in Fort Logan, Colorado.  How that ever happened I will never know.  My Great Grandmother was married to a Mark Lewis Streeter, who gave another half sibling to my Grandpa, June Streeter.  Great Grandma went with Mr. Streeter and they operated a confectionery in Paul, Idaho named Streeter’s Confectionery.  There doesn’t seem to be records of this in Paul, other than a Hall’s Confectionery which according to my Grandfather would have been in the same location.  Whatever happened, my Great Grandmother divorced her Streeter husband in 1919.  My Grandpa is the oldest, born in Plain City.  Paul was born in Paul, John Harold in Burley, and Ernest Jackson in Plain City, who died.  So that pretty well breaks down the time in Idaho for my family.  My Great grandmother married Streeter in 1917 or so as June was born in June 1918.  Fanny and Calvin were there until after 1930, when their last child was born in Rupert that year.

James Thomas had only one child born in Idaho at Rupert.  She is a middle child, and the rest were born in the Vernal area.  That child, Sydney Bea was born in 1922.  As for Robert Leonard, he married the one wife in 1919 at Burley, but that is about all that is set in stone for him.

I do not know what the draw was to California.  All of them seemed to have died there.  I don’t know where Robert died, but I know it was in 1944 and everyone says it was California.  Nobody seems to know where, and I have not found a record.  My John William died in Livermore in 1948.  He remarried a Zane Coffey in Rock Springs, Wyoming.  We don’t know what happened to her, if they stayed together.  Fanny died in 1943 in San Francisco.  James died in Los Angeles in 1964.  California had such a draw that both of their parents, James Thomas Meredith (legally, but went by James Thomas Ross) and Damey Catherine Graham both moved to California and died in 1951 and 1933 in Fresno and Marysville respectively.  I do not know if my Great Great Grandparents ever came to Idaho, or spent any time in Utah.  Carma told me that she met her grandparents in California, so that makes it seem that while she has memory, they were not in the Vernal area.  Who knows for sure.  I seem to remember somewhere that James Thomas Meredith/Ross was a Bishop in California at one time, indicating he spent some time there, long enough to become acquainted and be called.  I don’t remember for sure if it was him or someone else who was called as Bishop.

Anyhow, it was interesting to visit with Carma.  She told me of a couple of visits to Grandpa and Grandma’s place.  She told me how impressed she was with how tender they were with Judy.  They have not visited Plain City since the early 1970’s.  She told me of a time that Grandpa came to visit them in Vernal.  She said they took them around and introduced them to the family and showed them the area.  The one comment that was interesting was that Grandpa used to swear up a storm.  According to her, every other word was a swear word.  I have never known him like that.  The only time I ever heard him swear was when the emphasis was needed, or another word sometimes just did not seem to fit.  She was surprised to learn that Grandpa and Grandma had become active.  I thought that was interesting.  She was even more surprised to learn that they both worked in the Ogden Temple for a few years.  Carma now works in the Vernal Temple.

It was good to sit and visit with her.  She loaned me a book that was given to her just the month before with all the descendents of James Thomas Ross (Jr).  I was excited about that.  It looks like we will have to call on Carma on the way to Denver at the end of this month.  To return the book and perhaps to glean some other memories from her mind.  She is 81 now, and who knows how much longer she could be around.  Getting into those ages, things change so quickly.  However, I hope she will still be around when we come to visit Utah again, and that we can pay her another visit.  Funny how things happen.

We had a great visit and we snapped a picture of Carma and me together.  I enjoy visiting family.  There are always more stories to hear.  I have many more, I record of all my visits in my regular journal.  Sorry you don’t get to read of some of those adventures.  Perhaps someday I will reiterate some of them here.