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.

Colleen Mary Andra Jonas Lloyd

For my Grandmother’s birthday today, I thought I would put together a picture history of her life from the photos I have.  I don’t think I will write a whole lot, just share photos of her life in chronological order, as much as I can.  I hope you enjoy it.

Colleen Mary Andra was born 27 May 1928 in Preston, Franklin, Idaho to Mary Louise Wanner and William Fredrick Andra.  The fifth child to her parents.  She married Wilburn Norwood Jonas 27 September 1946 in Elko, Elko, Nevada.  Three children were born to her and Norwood; Douglas in 1952, Sandra in 1954, and Jackie in 1960.  After he died in 1975, she remarried Evan Kay Elliott 9 April 1976 in Idaho Falls, Bonneville, Idaho.  After their divorce around 1987, she married Ivan “Bud” Walter Lloyd 31 January 1998 in Dingle, Bear Lake, Idaho.  She died in Boise, Ada, Idaho 14 November 1999 and was buried in Dingle on the 18th.

Enjoy!!

About 1940.

High school, about 1943.

Andra siblings Colleen, Larry, Ross, Dale, Sergene, about 1945.

Graduation from Preston High School, 1946.

Yearbook picture from Preston High School, 1945.

Teacher Training Certificate from the Deseret Sunday School Union Board, 1946.

Norwood and Colleen Portrait, about 1947.

Andra Family Portrait, 1947; back (l-r): Bill, Golden; middle: Sergene, Millie, Colleen, June; front: Don, Larry, Bill, Dale, Mary, Ross.

June, Millie, Mary, Colleen, Sergene, about 1956.

Norwood, Colleen, Doug, Sandy at Jonas Reunion, about 1957.

1959 Andra Reunion, Phyllis (Don), Utahna (Golden), Sergene, Mary, Colleen, Millie, Edith (Bill).

Colleen, Sandy, and Doug Jonas, about 1959.

Notice her signature, 1962.

Colleen holding Jackie, Jonas Reunion, 1962.

June, Millie, Colleen, Sergene mid 1960's

June, Millie, Colleen, Sergene mid 1960′s

 

Portrait, late 1970′s.

Portrait, middle 1960′s.

Ross Andra Wedding in 1965: (l-r) Bill and Mary Andra, Norwood and Sandy Jonas, Ross and Adelaide Andra, Phyllis Merrill, Edith Andra, Phyllis Andra, Millie Beck, Colleen.

Andra Reunion, 1967, Sergene, Colleen, Millie, June, Mary.

Broken Arm, early 1970′s

Colleen with lamp, early 1970′s

Middle 1970′s smile.

Evan and Colleen Elliott, Andra Reunion, 1976.

Colleen, Millie, June, Sergene, 1977.

Idaho Women’s Bowling Champions, 1977.

Evan, grandson Brook Jonas, and Colleen, 1977.

Side profile with grandson Paul Ross, 1979.

Colleen, Jackie, Sandy about 1980.

Colleen and her grandson, Paul Ross around 1981.

Millie, Colleen, Sergene

Millie, Colleen, Sergene

 

About 1982 Andra Reunion; (l-r) Brook, Doug, and Linda Jonas, Evan and Colleen Elliott, Jackie Jonas (kneeling), Sandy, Andra (baby), Milo, and Paul Ross (hanging).

Water-skiing about 1983.

Andra Reunion at Minidoka Dam, 28 July 1984, (l-r) Siblings Ross, Colleen, June, Millie, Bill, Golden, Don, Larry.

Evan and Colleen Elliott, about 1982.

Jonas Reunion, 1986, with Paul and Andra Ross, grandchildren.

Colleen with her mother, Mary Andra, 1986.

Jackie Jonas Wedding in 1987; back: Milo Ross, Willie Melycher, Doug Jonas, Brook Jonas; middle: Sandy Ross, Jackie Melycher, Colleen Jonas; front: Paul and Andra Ross.

Colleen Elliott, Milo and Sandy Ross at Scott Ross’ wedding, 1987.

4 Generations, Mary, Jackie, Colleen, holding May. About 1989.

Picture taken the same day as the 4 generation picture, 1989. Her beloved 1976 Mercury Marquis in the background. Notice also her famed turquoise.

Portrait, 1990.

Sisters at Bert Sorenson’s funeral, 9 March 1991, Burley, Idaho, Colleen Jonas, Sergene Sorenson, June Johnson, Millie Beck.

Sergene and Colleen in San Diego

Sergene and Colleen in San Diego

Colleen and Jim Merrill, about 1992.

Portrait, 1993.

Sworn in as Burley Does President, 2 April 1994.

Bud and Colleen at Jackson Hole, 1994.

President of the Burley Does and Delegate to the Does National Convention, 1995.

Combined Insurance Business Card, about 1995.

(l-r) Judy’s daughter holding Jesse Melycher, Jackie Melycher, Sandy Ross with May Melycher in front, ?, Judy Jonas, Doug Jonas, Colleen Jonas, Fred Thrall in Chugiak, Anchorage, Alaska, 1996.

Jackson Hole, 1997.

1998 Andra Reunion, Milie and Vance Beck, Sergene Jensen, Colleen Lloyd.

Colleen and Bud Lloyd, 24 July 1998 at Deer Cliff in, Mapleton, Franklin, Idaho.

Sharp Family Reunion

Back (l-r): Mae Poppleton, Ernest Sharp, Nelda Miller, Ed Howard, Ed Poppleton, Martha Howard, Violet Sharp, Vic Maw, ? (behind Vic), Mary Richardson, Mary Kley, ?, ?, Emma Howard, Eli Howard, ?, Vic Hunt, Ray Sharp, ?, Os Richardson.  Middle: Opal Stolberg, Carma Mercer, Lilly Sharp, Aus Sharp, Lewis Kley, Martha Howard, Del Sharp, Fred Hunt.  Front: ?, ?, Ruby Sharp, ?, Harold Ross, Howard Kley, Ruth Kley, Verla Kley, Elda Kley, ?, ?.

Here is a photo from a Sharp/Howard family reunion in about 1933.  If anyone can name more, I would be happy to update the names and information.

Back (l-r):

Evelyn Mae Sharp (1911-1977), wife of Ed Poppleton, daughter of Del and Violet Sharp.

Ernest Sharp (1886-1967), son of Milo and Lilly Sharp.

Nelda Sharp (1914-1985), daughter of Austin and Martha Sharp.

Ed Howard,

Edward Castle Poppleton (1904 – 1975), husband of Evelyn May Sharp.

Martha Hazel Howard (1886-1965), wife of Austin Sharp, daughter of John and Martha Howard.

Violet Grieve (1891-1964), wife of Delwin Sharp.

Victorine Mary Sharp (1862-1945), sister to Milo Riley Sharp.

? (behind Vic),

Mary Irene Sharp (1892-1990), wife of Oscar Richardson, daughter of Milo and Lilly Sharp.

Mary Susan Howard (1896-1964), wife of Lewis Kley, daughter of John and Martha Howard.

Melva Ladean Howard (1926-2009), daughter of Eli and Emma Howard.

?,

Emma Dean Allred (1902-1992), wife of Eli Howard.

Jesse Eli Howard (1902-1985), wife of Emma Allred, son of John and Martha Howard.

?,

Victorine Sharp (1889-1987), wife of Fred Hunt, daughter of Milo and Lilly Sharp.

Milo Ray Sharp(1880-1946), son of Milo and Lilly Sharp.

?,

Oscar Child Richardson (1889-1971), husband of Mary Sharp.

Middle:

Opal Adaline Sharp (1909-1995), daughter of Austin and Martha Sharp.

Carma Lillian Sharp (1912-1981), daughter of Austin and Martha Sharp.

Lillian “Lilly” Musgrave or Mary Ann Stoker (1861-1935), husband of Milo Riley Sharp, I have written of them previously.

Austin Sharp (1886-1956), son of Milo and Lilly Sharp.

Lewis William Kley (1891-1963), husband of Mary Susan Howard.

Martha Adaline Graviet (1869-1941), wife of John George Howard.

Delwin Sharp (1884-1969), son of Milo and Lilly Sharp.

Fredrick Lawrence Hunt (1887-1967), husband of Vic Sharp.

Front:

?,

?,

Ruby A Sharp (1922-Alive), daughter of Edward and Lilly Sharp.

?,

John Harold Ross (1923-2004), raised by Del and Violet Sharp, their nephew.

Howard John Kley (1920-2001), son of Lewis and Mary Kley.

Ruth Delone Kley (1926-2004), daughter of Lewis and Mary Kley.

Verla Adaline Kley (1919-1989), daughter of Lewis and Mary Kley.

Elda Mary Kley (1924-2005), daughter of Lewis and Mary Kley.

?,

?.

My Darling Mother

For my Mother’s birthday, I thought I would share a few thoughts about her.  I know she is pretty maligned by some, praised by others, and many more just do not know what to be in relation to her.  Therefore, I thought I would talk about her with that title, Mother.

The above photo came to me in 2010.  This photo was given to my Great Grandmother, Lillian Coley Jonas Bowcutt (1898-1987), probably not long after it was taken.  I am guessing before 1960.  From my understanding, it hung on the wall of my Great Grandmother in Richmond, Cache, Utah until she had to move in with her daughter, Lillian Jonas Talbot (1930-2009), in Layton, Davis, Utah the mid 1980′s.  It still has its original heavy paper frame and original glass.  I took the picture out of the frame to scan it and imagined that it was the photographer who placed it there in the late 1950′s, or more likely, one of my grandparents.  I can imagine the photo carefully located on Great Grandma’s wall and the love that swelled in her breast as she viewed my Mother and my Uncle Doug.  I am sure the scores of other grandchildren hung on the same wall, but these were grandchildren that also lived in Richmond and paid regular visits so there was a personal love as well as that motherly love.

When Great Grandma Lillian moved to Layton, all her photo albums and pictures went with her.  When she passed away in 1987, they fell into the possession of her daughter, Lillian.  It was almost 20 years later when I knocked on the door and wanted to see photographs.  I found the goldmine when she pulled out these albums.  I scanned the photo above in 2006, but after Aunt Lillian passed away in 2009, the family thought to give me this actual photograph.

A copy of this same photograph hung in my Grandmother’s house in Paul, Minidoka, Idaho.  It sat on a cedar chest in one of the bedrooms.  I do not know what happened to that photo when my Grandmother died, but I have this image in my mind of that photo being in my Grandparent’s possession from the late 1950′s as well.  Tended, loved, and on the wall overlooking the family as they grew through the years.  I know I probably romanticize it as any child does to ignore the pain of their childhood for the faults and inadequacies of their parents.  I know my mother romanticizes her childhood and the relationship with her parents.  I see in this picture a happy smirk and a couple of contented children.  What did my Grandparent’s see in their children?  What did my Great Grandmother see in this picture?  I will not likely know while I am alive.

As I now have a child of my own and feel great love in the features and form of the child, not to mention the personality, I know how I feel looking at pictures of my daughter.  I assume my Grandparents felt the same for their children.  I look at this photo with new eyes, especially where I can sense so many similar features between my daughter Aliza and her Grandmother Sandy (and even a few with her Grand Uncle Doug).

Here is another picture of Mom and Uncle Doug outside their home in Richmond.  Again, I see two cold, but happy, kids playing in the snow outside the home my Grandpa Jonas lovingly built for the family in the late 1940′s.

Here is another photo of Doug and Mom outside the Richmond home near the front sidewalk.

This photo does not look quite so happy.  Mom looks like she is in the same sweater as she was in the first picture above.  My Mom had a pretty mangled right-handed ring finger that had not been removed by this point.  I imagine  she is holding her right hand to hide the the bandages and injury to that finger.  That seems to expand my sympathy for her and the somber look she has on her face.  No three- year-old should have that type of injury and then keep a mangled finger for 5 years when it finally has to be removed due to doctor negligence and improper care.  I think she would have lost it anyway, but the doctor certainly sped things up.

How did my Grandparents view this little girl who was injured?  I am sure they loved her dearly.  I remember one time after asking my Grandma how she felt about my Mom as a little girl and she referred to her as “her little darling girl.”  I am sure it was with heartbreak that this little darling girl now had to live with the pain of a lawnmower almost removing a finger.  I am sure a sigh of relief that only one finger was lost rather than all of them.

Here is another picture.  This was also taken in 1957, the same year that Mom would suffer the severe trauma to her finger.  She still has it in full glory at this point.  This picture was from the Andra Reunion which I believe was held in Preston, Franklin, Idaho.

Again, I feel for the family.  I sense a contented nature in this picture.  Grandpa did not have his life increasingly taken over by alcohol by this point.  He looks like a good healthy, strong man.  I love the classic late 1950′s clothing they all sport.  Doug’s ironed shorts, the patterns in Grandma’s pants, the shirt Grandpa wears with the sleeves rolled, and the one piece jumper Mom wears with its pattern.

(l-r): Sandy Jonas, Lola Bruderer, Jane Robinson

Here is a picture of Mom playing with some friends.  This picture was taken or developed in August 1958, at least that is what the side of the photograph said.  Classic wallpaper, carpet, and clothes of the late 1950′s.  I especially love the Crayola crayons box on the table.  I wonder where these other two ladies are now and what their impressions of the photo and others are?

Last picture of the childhood of my Mom.  This one is probably my favorite.

This photo is also classic of the time with its painted colors.  This is obviously a couple of years later, probably even into the 1960′s.  Too bad it is slightly blurred, but at least I have it.  Oddly enough, the same photo appeared in black in white just this year with this accompanying side shot.

A happy child lovingly tended to and cared for.  The years fly by until we hit about 1966.  The family’s time in Richmond was slowly drawing to a close.

Although by this time a younger sibling, Jackie, has joined the children.  Here is another picture from about 1968, probably shortly before the move to Burley, Cassia, Idaho.  Sally (1955-2010) was Mom’s best friend growing up.  Dee is Mom’s first cousin.

Dee Jonas, Sally Johnson, and Sandy Jonas

The family moved to Burley in 1968 when Grandpa secured work on the construction of the new Del Monte plant.  I know Mom was not at all excited about the move.  At this point, I think I will leave Mom’s time in Idaho for another time.  But I have at least documented some of her life from 1954 through 1968.  One last picture of Mom and me around 1980.

Mom with me on Jack

Happy Birthday Mom.

Tricycle 1947

Mary Donaldson (left), Dena Donaldson, and Milo Ross in 1947

This is a fun photo of my father, Milo Paul Ross, in 1947.  Since I often see a similar facial expression in my own daughter and nephew, I thought I would post this picture now.  I have already written of Mary Williams Donaldson Stoker and Dena Donaldson previously.  I have also written of Dad’s parents.  This picture was taken in Ogden, Weber, Utah.

Miss Holmes 2nd Grade Class

Back (l-r): ? Holmes, Carl Hudson, Kenneth Taylor, Paul Ross, Howard Singleton, June Etherington, Una Cottle, Hugh Taylor, Rex McEntire, Lyman Skeen, ?.  Middle: Marguerite Maw, Lucille Maw, Ruth Hipwell, Frank Hadley, Kent Jenkins, ?, Golda Illum, Ruby Sharp, Lloyd Olsen.  Front: Atholeen England, Alice Maw, Lucille Hadley, Myrine McFarland, Verla Lund, Ruth Carver, ?, Rae Knight.

Here is a class photo from what is believed to be a 2nd Grade Class taken outside the old Plain City School in Plain City, Weber, Utah.  I have at least two family members in the photo, Paul Ross and Ruby Sharp.  Ruby is still alive and provided much of the information for this photo but could not name all the individuals.  I have added family history to the individuals below, question marks either denote an unknown person or dates (which probably means the person is still alive).

? Holmes (?-?)

Carl Hudson (?-?)

Kenneth Paul Taylor (1922-1996)

Paul Ross (1922-1932)

Howard Bullock Singleton (1922-1997)

Margaret June Etherington (1922-1957)

Una Cottle (1922-1982)

Hugh Grieve Taylor (1922-1994)

Rex Lee McEntire (1922-2003)

Lyman Maw Skeen (1922-2008)

?

Marguerite Della Maw (1921-2009)

Lucille Maw (1922-1994)

Ruth Hipwell (1922-2013)

Frank Howard Hadley (1921-2008)

Ryan Kent Jenkins (1922-2002)

?

Golda Lucinda Illum (1921-2000)

Ruby Elaine Sharp (1922-Alive)

Lloyd Christian Olsen (1921-2000)

Atholeen Jane England (1922-1986)

Alice Maw (1922-2004)

Lucille Hadley (1922-2010)

Myrene McFarland (1922-1997)

Verla Lund (1922-1933)

Ruth Carver (1922-2007)

?

Rae Knight (1922-2006)

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.