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
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.
Donna (Beachell) Perry