Friday, January 19, 2018

52 Ancestors - The Long Life of Leland Frazier

The theme of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is “Longevity.” Leland Hardin Frazier (or was it Leland Hardin Shiflett?) does not hold the record for being my longest-lived ancestor but he lived long enough to qualify for this week’s challenge. Born about 1805, he died probably in 1892 having reached the ripe old age of 87.

Leland is one of my more colorful ancestors, but it has nothing to do with his age other than having lived long enough to become “colorful.” As mentioned in the post about his mother Lucy Shiflett Frazier, Leland was probably NOT a Frazier by birth but instead the product of an earlier marriage. His middle name “Hardin” might have been his mother’s maiden name. Nevertheless, Leland went through life as both Leland Frazier AND Leland Shiflett.

Little is known of his early years growing up in a section of Orange County, Virginia that later formed Greene County where he lived throughout his adult life. In 1827, he married Ann Smith Mallory. At that time, he used the named Leland Frazier. They had only one confirmed child but probably many others.  Their son Joseph H. Frazier was born in 1828 and moved to Missouri in 1853. There he put himself through school to become a doctor.
Dr. Joseph Hardin Frazier
I wonder if this is what Leland
looked like too.
Ann Frazier did not live long. She died in 1833 at the age of 27, and that same year Leland found a new wife: America Mallory. On their marriage record, he used the name Leland Shiflett. Their four children went by Frazier.

America died in 1854, only 44 years old. Two years later Leland married again, this time to Artemissa Shiflett. Leland married under the name Leland Shiflett. (Shiflett is a popular name in the area with some families more closely related than others and plenty of marriages between cousins). However, Artemissa’s father’s will refers to them as Fraziers.

The name thing must have been as confusing to the children as to all the descendants!

Perhaps the name game can explain why Leland was absent from both the 1850 and 1870 census. Or maybe his name is just indexed incorrectly as in the 1840 census in which he is listed as “Selma Feagess.”

The 1860 census indicates Leland was a cooper by trade. His real estate was worth $25 and personal estate $50. Next door was his niece Lucy Jollett and husband James Franklin Jollett (my 2X great-grandparents); next to them was Lucy’s mother and Leland’s half-sister Nancy Elizabeth Frazier Shiflett and husband Burton Shiflett.

That was the last census Leland’s brother-in-law Burton Shiflett would be listed in. Why? Because Leland killed him. Yes, killed him. Imagine having to face your sister after that.

Ironically, just twenty years before that in 1840 Leland was a member of the Committee of Vigilance for Greene County. The purpose of such groups of private citizens was to maintain law and order particularly where local government was inadequate, which seems to have been the case in Greene which had been established for only two years. Yet twenty years later, Leland stood indicted for the murder of his brother-in-law, Burton Shiflett. He pleaded “Not Guilty.” 

Based on the testimony of Thornton Mooney and others, the Jury found Leland guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter in the stabbing death of Burton Shiflett.

From the Greene County Circuit Court Law Book, pp. 116-117
 “We the Jury find the prisoner is guilty of Voluntary Manslaughter, and fixed his term of imprisonment to four years in the penitentiary house, Nov. 20, 1860.” And thereupon it being demanded of him, if anything for himself he had or knew to say why the Court should not now proceed to pronounce judgment against him according to law, and nothing being offered or alleged in delay of judgment, It is considered by the Court, that the said Leland Shiflett commonly called Leland Frazier be imprisoned in the public jail and penitentiary house of this Commonwealth for the space of four years, the period of the Jurors in their verdict ascertained. And the prisoner is remanded to jail.”

Voluntary Manslaughter suggests Leland killed his sister’s husband in the heat of the moment, that there had been no premeditation. A crime of passion. Something happened to provoke him. Maybe Leland caught Burton with his wife (this is NOT something I found in research -- I’m calling on my vast knowledge of motives gleaned from years of watching “Law & Order” and “Blue Bloods”). Maybe Burton was beating his wife Nancy, and Leland stepped in to defend his sister (more “Law & Order” and “Blue Bloods” thinking). Maybe Burton caught Leland doing something he shouldn't have been doing. Or maybe they just got into a fight that escalated out of control. Whatever the reason, it cost Leland four years in the state penitentiary. 

Apparently the children were not ashamed of their father as the name “Leland” AND “Hardin” were bestowed on descendants for several generations to come.

Leland Frazier line:
Leland Hardin Shiflett/Frazier (ca 1805 - ca 1892 Greene Co, VA) & m1) Ann Smith Mallory (1806 - 1833 Orange Co, VA) m. 17 May 1827 Orange Co, VA ; m2) America Mallory (1810 - 1854 Greene Co, VA) m. 14 Nov 1833 Albemarle Co, VA ; m3) Artemissa Shiflett (1813 - 1890 Greene Co, VA) m. 5 Nov 1856 Greene Co, VA

Leland Shiflett/Frazier and Ann Smith Mallory:
1. Dr. Joseph Hardin Frazier (23 Apr 1828 Orange Co, VA - 1 Jun 1892 Randolph Co, MO) & Deniza Emmaline Epperly (4 Jan 1847 Randolph Co, MO - 7 Dec 1918) m. 14 Feb 1864 Randolph Co, MO
  • Joseph Frazier (8 Dec 1864 Randolph, MO - 13 Mar 1926 Lovelock, NV) and Mable Claire Bagby (24 Jul 1873 Howard, MO - 26 Apr 1958 Howard, MO) m. 24 Jul 1891
  • Susan Margaret Frazier (22 Feb 1868 Randolph, MO - 31 May 1962 Montgomery, AL) and William Lowry Beard (13 Jan 1853 Randolph, MO - 17 Mar 1945 Mukogee, OK) m. 22 May 1892 Randolph, MO
  • Bessie Frazier (8 Jan 1871 Randolph, MO - 8 Jan 1871 Randolph, MO)
  • Mary Berry Frazier (27 Jan 1872 Randolph, MO - 19 May 1982 Randolph, MO) and James Fount Harlan (27 Mar 1871 Randolph, MO - 11 Nov 1971 Randolph, MO) m. 6 Jan 1897 Randolph, MO
  • Theresa Deniza Rosa Frazier (23 Oct 1874 Randolph, MO - 29 Apr 1963 Randolph, MO) and Milton F. Goodding (8 May 1869 Randolph, MO - 11 Jan 1937 Randolph, MO) m. 15 Nov 1900 Randolph, MO
  • William L. Frazier (4 May 1877 Randolph, MO - 22 Sep 1961 Los Angeles, CA) and Mary Stella Walsh (29 Mar 1879 Saline, MO - 11 Aug 1960 Los Angeles, CA) m. 22 Jun 1908 Boone, MO
  • Leland Frazier (5 Jun 1879 Randolph, MO - 15 Feb 1935 Burley, ID) and m1) Claudia Mildred Rutledge (22 Mar 1882 Missouri - 12 Jan 1910 Marceline, MO) m. 24 Jun 1906 Chariton, MO ; m2) Troy Hope Cadenhead (Oct 1887 Texas - after 1931) m. 1915 Texas
  • Oliver B. Frazier (23 Jun 1882 Randolph, MO - 15 Jul 1922 St. Paul, MN) and Dewitt Cleary (28 Apr 1887 Missouri - Apr 1987 St. Louis, MO)
  • Aubrey C. Frazier (6 Feb 1885 Randolph, MO - 5 Sep 1962 Twin Falls, ID) and Nell Lansden REA (27 Sep 1886 Saline, MO - 16 Jun 1964 Twin Falls, ID) m. 27 Jun 1912 Saline, MO
  • Ione Frazier (9 Oct 1888 Randolph, MO - 21 Dec 1978 Manatee, FL) and Roy Nelson King (2 Oct 1888 Randolph, MO - 17 Nov 1964 Miller, MO) m. 26 Mar 1911 Boone, MO
  • Robert Bruce Frazier (4 Apr 1891 Randolph, MO - 4 Mar 1892 Randolph, MO)
 2. Missing Children

Leland Shiflett/Frazier and America Mallory:
1. Huly Frazier (1836 - )
2. Lou Frazier (1838 - )
3. Thomas J. Frazier (15 Dec 1838 Greene Co, VA - 28 Jul 1919 Greene Co, VA) and m1) Julia Ann Frazier (1845 Greene Co, VA - ca 1900 Greene Co, VA) m. 4 Jul 1864; m2) Jennie Frazier (1877 Greene Co, VA - 22 Jan 1961) m. 12 Jun 1900 Greene Co, VA ; had children with Elizabeth Herrin Shiflett but never married  (Thomas Frazier reportedly had 32 children, both legitimate and not.)
  • Issue with Julia Ann Frazier
  1. Thomas Frazier (1862 - ?) and Elizabeth Garrison (Mar 1861 - after 1907)
  2. Mahulda Jane Frazier (22 Mar 1866 Albemarle Co, VA - 4 Jan 1947 Harrisonburg, VA) and m1) John W. L. Shiflett (1866 Rockingham Co, VA - ) m. 3 Mar 1913 Rockingham Co, VA ; had children with Francis Marion “Dosh” Garrison
  • Issue with Jennie/Ginny Frazier
  1. Thomas Walker Frazier (1896 Greene Co, VA - ) and m1) Betty F. McAlister (1895 - ) 12 Jun 1919 Albemarle Co, VA ; m2) Rosa Shaver (1904 - ) m. 27 Jun 1925 Greene Co, VA
  2. Kesia Josephine Frazier (1898 Greene Co, VA - )
  3. Lilly A. Frazier (1900 Greene Co, VA - )
  4. George W. Frazier (14 Oct 1901 Greene Co, VA - 23 Jun 1912 Greene Co, VA)
  5. Lew Frazier (22 Dec 1903 Greene Co, VA - 29 Mar 1966 Albemarle Co, VA) and Ollie Shiflett (30 Apr 1892 Greene Co, VA - 7 Apr 1979 Newport News, VA)
  6. Lila M. Frazier (15 Apr 1905 Greene Co, VA - 29 Jan 1991 Yorktown, VA) and Talbott Bailey
  7. Hattie Frazier (1909 Greene Co, VA - 11 May 1939 Albemarle Co, VA) and James Knight
  8. Thomas Jefferson Frazier (20 Jun 1910 Greene Co, VA - 12 Apr 1975 Richmond, VA)
  9. Reva Virginia Frazier (9 Nov 1911 Greene Co, VA - 7 Sep 1993 Albemarle Co, VA) and George M. Knight
  10. George Washington Frazier (15 Sep 1913 Greene Co, VA - 31 Jul 1972 Albemarle Co, VA) and Marie Wood
  • Issue with Elizabeth Herrin
  1. Louisa Josephine Frazier (1868 Greene Co, VA - 12 Mar 1959 Harrisonburg, VA) and McClellan Shiflett (20 Jun 1865 Rockingham Co, VA - 1951) m. 5 Dec 1886 Greene Co, VA
  2. William Absolom “Little Tommy” Frazier (1871 Greene Co, VA - May 1893 Greene Co, VA) and Gernie Florence Coleman (3 Jun 1871 Greene Co, VA - 18 Aug 1954 Harriston, Augusta Co, VA) m. 30 Nov 1889 
4. Barbara Frazier (2 May 1843 Greene Co, VA - 3 Aug 1910 Greene Co, VA) and Anfield Shiflett (7 May 1837 Albemarle Co, VA - 31 Aug 1906 Albemarle Co, VA) m. 9 Nov 1858 Greene Co, VA
  • Joseph Nathanel Shiflett (1859 Albemarle Co, VA - 13 Mar 1860 Albemarle Co, VA)
  • Thomas Nathan Shiflett (18 Jun 1861 Albemarle Co, VA - 20 Oct 1918 Randolph Co, MO) and Louellen Frazier (13 Sep 1872 Randolph Co, MO - 29 Jan 1940 Randolph Co, MO)
  • George Turner Shiflett (7 Jan 1866 Albemarle Co, VA - 30 Aug 1945 Randolph Co, MO) and Emma Margaret Lamb (14 Nov 1871 Albemarle Co, VA - 8 Nov 1936 Randolph Co, MO) m. 28 Feb 1888 Greene Co, VA
  • Fernanda Jane Shiflett (4 Jan 1868 Albemarle Co, VA - 12 Oct 1883 Albemarle Co, VA)
  • Sarah Kathern Shiflett (7 Mar 1870 Albemarle Co, VA - 28 Dec 1954 Pocahontas, WV) and Robert Lee Shiflett (Dec 870 Albemarle Co, VA - 26 Jan 1952 Pocahontas, WV) m. 31 Dec 1891 Albemarle Co, VA
  • Bernard Hawkins Shiflett (6 May 1872 Albemarle Co, VA - 5 Apr 1962 Randolph Co, MO) and Octavia Agnes White (27 Apr 1880 Edina, MO - 20 May 1940 Randolph Co, MO) m. 6 Jan 1901 Randolph Co, MO
  • Walter Jard Shiflett (20 Jun 1875 Albemarle Co, VA - 27 Jun 1962 Randolph Co, MO) and Mary Helen Burton (4 Mar 1879 Randolph Co, MO - 27 May 1945 Randolph Co, MO) m. 5 Jun 1901 Randolph Co, MO
  • Robert Lee Shiflett (24 Mar 1878 Albemarle Co, VA - 18 Jan 1959 Randolph Co, MO) and Delta Kevitt (4 May 1887 Boone, MO - 7 Sep 1974 Randolph Co, MO) m. 9 Nov 1904 Howard Co, MO
  • Deniza Moor Shiflett (29 Apr 1882 Albemarle Co, VA - 29 Oct 1969 Albemarle Co, VA) and William Edward Shiflett (7 May 1872 Albemarle Co, VA - 17 Oct 1942 Albemarle Co, VA)
  • Anfield H. Shiflett Jr. (28 Apr 1884 Albemarle Co, VA - 6 Mar 1958 Middletown, OH) and Mattie Belle Kirkpatrick (21 May 1883 Rockbridge Co, VA - 22 Nov 1957 Richland, OH) m. 17 Jun 1906 Rockbridge Co, VA
Leland Shiflett/Frazier and  Artemissa Shiflett:
1. A. Columbia Frazier (1857 Greene Co, VA - Nov 1884 Greene Co, VA) and Elvis Sturdivant Shiflett (ca 1862 Albemarle Co, VA - Before 1900 Greene Co, VA) m. 7 Apr 1881 Greene Co, VA

© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Sepia Saturday: Men in the Wood Pile

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt is a busy street scene that offers any number of interpretations. However, the men in the bottom right corner looking at a pile of stuff inspired me to take another look at this photo:

Unknowns in album of Velma Davis Woodring perhaps Jake Hockman or Paul Hockman

The photo is in a scrapbook that belonged to my grandaunt Velma Davis Woodring. I assumed these were friends and that the photo was taken probably between 1921 and 1928. But who were these men? What was this place? It might have been some place in Harrisonburg where Velma was studying at Harrisonburg Teachers College (now James Madison University - Go DUKES!), or it might have been a building in her hometown of Shenandoah, Virginia.

And was this place under construction? Undergoing demolition? Or was it a storage place? Where are the doors? And what is that thing under the tarp? At first I thought it was a small cannon, but that makes no sense. Is it a spool? A speaker? A handle to that thing behind it?

Eh ~ never mind. Back to my original question: Who were these men? The one on the left seemed familiar, and then it came to me. He looks like a younger version of this man on the right:
Wysong and Jacob P. Hockman about 1927
Frank Wysong and Jacob Hockman
scanned from Shenandoah: A History of Our Town
and Its People
The bow tie, the tilt of the hat, the air of authority. If my suspicions are correct, the man in the wood pile was Jacob Hockman, the neighbor and good friend of my great-grandparents Walter and Mary Frances Jollett Davis. The families lived on the same side of Sixth Street in Shenandoah, Virginia. Their daughters were best friends.

Jacob “Jake” Hockman and his wife Attie started the Home Fuel and Supply Co, Inc. in 1918 dealing in both building supplies and coal.

In 1927 Jake Hockman was featured in the Shenandoah Magazine as part of a series on local businessmen. He was praised for his business philosophy which was to provide “proven material that must stand the test of time and wear.”

The Hockmans started small but over the years Jake expanded his business to include a warehouse, lumber house, lumber yard, and coal yard. Its location with the railroad on one side and highway on the other made it easy to supply local contractors with cement, plaster, lime, paint, varnish, and, of course, lumber and coal. As the magazine noted, Jake “spared no effort to make it a progressive and successful business, and, in so doing, he has gained the confidence and approval of those who have known him.”

The building and STUFF look more like a salvage yard than a one-stop-shop for fresh building supplies, but there is a kinship in the two.

Probably one of Jake’s best customers was my great grandfather Walter Davis. He was a carpenter and house builder who built not only his own home on Sixth Street but also many of the houses in Shenandoah, quite a few of them right there on Sixth Street. 

I have thought maybe the man on the right of the first photo was Walter. The hat is his style. 

Walter Davis and his car
Walter Davis and his car

However, most of the photos of Walter Davis are from the late 1920s when he was in his late 50s-early 60s.

With that realization, I am now doubting that the other man is Jake Hockman. Perhaps it is his son Paul who in 1930 was the manager of the coal and lumber yard.

The bottom line - I’m back to where I started. Who were these men? What was this place?

See how others were inspired at Sepia Saturday.

© 2018, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

52 Ancestors: Favorite Photos - (not) Lucy Frazier

The theme for this week’s 52 Ancestors challenge is favorite photo. While this photo of Nancy Frances Shiflett Morris is NOT REALLY my favorite, 

Nancy Frances Shiflett Morris
Nancy Frances Shiflett Morris
photo courtesy of Olen Morris
it is the one photo that might possibly reveal what the subject of this week’s post might have looked like. Nancy Frances was a granddaughter of Lucy Frazier, wife of last week’s subject, John Frazier. Did Lucy have that wide mouth and thin lips like Nancy Frances? Did she have a wide forehead too? Did she need glasses? There is no way to know exactly which parts of Lucy’s DNA shook out into Nancy Frances, but when I try to visualize my 4X great-grandmother, I have no choice but to see her granddaughter.

Lucy’s appearance is just one of a million things I do not know about her. When and where was she born? When did she die? Who were her parents? Did she dote on her children? Was she a good cook? Lucy appeared by name in only one census: 1850 Greene County, Virginia. 

from 1850 Greene County, VA Federal Census

At that time she was a widow and head of household. She claimed to be 72, putting her year of birth at about 1778. She was born in Virginia. She could neither read nor write. The value of her property was $150. In her household were one son and one grandson. Since she did not appear in the 1860 census, she probably died after 1850 and before 1860.

A marriage record confirms that Lucy Shiflett (or Shiplett as spelled in a transcription) and John Frazier married 20 January 1811 in Albemarle County, Virginia. But was this a first, second, or even third marriage for Lucy?

There are two reasons to think Lucy had been married before. First, her oldest child Leland was born about 1805, at least five years ahead of that marriage record. While family researchers are accustomed to errors in dates as well as errors in ancestors’ judgment, there is the matter of the second reason to suspect Lucy had married previously. Son Leland throughout his life flip-flopped going by the names Leland Frazier and Leland Shiflett.

My theory is that “Shiflett” was a first husband and father of Leland. But who was Lucy before then? I believe she was Lucy Hardin. Why? Because Leland’s middle name was Hardin. He was known as Leland Hardin Shiflett OR Leland Hardin Frazier, depending on how he introduced himself on any given day.

There is no evidence to support my theory, but I am not alone in my thinking. Family trees on also show Lucy with the maiden name Hardin. Some even name a father:  Isaac Hardin. Most offer no documentation. Those that offer “proof” point to documentation that actually negates the argument that the Lucy who married John Frazier was daughter of Isaac Hardin of Albemarle County.

Marriage record for Lucy Hardin and William Scott
A red flag went up when I saw that some researchers say Lucy was married to William Scott, but I recognized that it was possible she had been married 3 times. A marriage record confirms that Lucy Hardin married William Scott in 1808 in Albemarle County. It had to have been a short marriage though for her to then marry someone named Shiflett and then John Frazier in 1811.

Scouting around the internet further, I found a will for Isaac Hardin. He spelled out his desires for which children got what. To his daughter “Lucinda Scott” he left all the slaves that he had already loaned her, and he further stipulated that at her death, the slaves and their increase should be divided among Lucy’s heirs. The problem with this will, however, is that it is dated 1820. Obviously a different Lucy Hardin. By 1820, Lucy had been married to John Frazier 9 years and had 7 little Fraziers to care for, and not a slave in sight.

The Fraziers:
John FRAZIER (ca 1770 - before 1850 Greene Co, VA) and LUCY SHIFLETT (ca 1778 - before 1860 Greene Co, VA)
  1. Leland Hardin Shiflett/Frazier (ca 1805 - about 1892 Greene Co, VA) & m1) Ann Smith Mallory (1806 - 1833 Orange Co, VA) ; m2) America Mallory (1810 - 1854 Greene Co, VA) ; m3) Artemissa Shiflett (1813 - 1890 Greene Co, VA)
  2. Nancy Elizabeth Frazier (14 Feb 1811 Albemarle Co, VA - 22 Jan 1895 Rockingham Co, VA) & Burton Shiflett (1814 Orange Co, VA - 6 Sep 1860 Greene Co, VA) m. 1 Dec 1834 Albemarle Co, VA
  3. Keziah Frazier (1812 Albemarle Co, VA - 8 Oct 1855 Greene Co, VA) & Lively Morris (1812 - ca 1890 Greene Co, VA) m. 27 Nov 1838 Greene Co, VA
  4. Michael “Miley” Frazier (1814 - before 1910 Albemarle Co, VA) & Virenda Jane Shiflett (1821 Orange Co, VA - before 1900 Greene Co, VA) m. 14 Jul 1844 Greene Co, VA
  5. John Harris Frazier (1815 - after 1880) & Mary J. Morris (1817 - before 1860) m. 5 Apr 1836 Albemarle Co, VA
  6. William Thomas Frazier (1817 - 16 Dec 1860 Page Co, VA) & Ardena Morris (26 Jan 1817 Orange Co, VA - after 1880 Page Co, VA) m. 1 Jan 1841 Greene Co, VA
  7. Shadrack Frazier (1820 - after 1880 Page Co, VA) & Naomi Deane (1828 - 24 Oct 1860 Page Co, VA) m. 13 Sep 1847 Albemarle Co, VA
  8. Susan Frances Frazier (1824 Albemarle Co, VA - 1880 Page Co, VA) & Pleasant Morris (1823 - 1865 Page Co, VA) m. 2 Dec 1845 Greene Co, VA
  9. Merry / Murrey Walker Frazier (1827 Albemarle Co, VA - Aug 1887 Greene Co, VA) & Mariah Keaton (1845 Albemarle Co, VA - May 1890 Greene Co, VA) m. 31 Oct 1881 Greene Co, VA

© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

52 Ancestors: START with Frazier

Amy Johnson Crow has presented another challenge for 2018 – to research and write about 1 ancestor each week, 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. This year she has included a weekly theme or prompt. Week 1 is appropriately titled “START.” So let’s START with one of my lines that has been neglected for quite some time: Frazier.

My oldest known Frazier is my 4X great-grandfather John Frazier of Albemarle and Greene counties in Virginia. Census records suggest he was born in Virginia about 1770 and died before 1850. So far Frazier researchers have not been able to pin down any specifics on those important dates, nor have they been able to prove conclusively, absolutely, without doubt and once and for all who his parents were and from where the Fraziers of Virginia came.

Like many folks, I enjoy checking the family trees on Ancestry and FamilySearch to see what others have found in their research. I use the information and MISinformation for clues. Genealogy nerds will find the Frazier research to be very amusing. In reality, though, it is not funny because innocent novices will be fooled into taking the family trees as gospel.
Sample of Frazier Trees on Ancestry

Take for example the trees naming John Frazier’s parents as Thomas Frazier and Agnes Johnston. According to those “family historians” (and I use that term loosely), John Frazier was from Inverness, Scotland and was naturalized in 1807 in South Carolina where he worked as a merchant. The father Thomas was supposedly born in either the Netherlands or Scott County, Virginia. He married Agnes Johnston in 1770 in Guilford, North Carolina and then married her again in 1799 in Patrick County, Virginia. Makes perfect sense – Thomas and Agnes were so in love, they married twice. And they were so in love, they took a honeymoon trip to Scotland were little baby John was born before zipping back home to North Carolina or Virginia or South Carolina or wherever. Yeah, that’s a good story. Totally believable – NOT!

Or maybe other researchers got it right when they claimed John was son of Thomas N. Frazier and Sarah Joyce. These researchers follow Thomas’s line back to Robert Frazier of Ireland who sailed from home to Philadelphia and then on to Orange County, Virginia where he took the Oath of Allegiance in 1740. He married Clara Frances Graham and together they had 9 or more children. Sons Thomas, William, and Micajah left enough paper trail to place them in the geographic vicinity that makes sense, Orange and Albemarle Counties, but eventually they all moved to Campbell County. Micajah went on to Amherst County. Some of them wound up in Kentucky and Missouri. Therefore, there are still many question marks with this family constellation even though it feels like we are close to determining the STARTing point for my Fraziers.

One Frazier cousin whose research I admire is Kevin who grew up in Page County surrounded by his Frazier family who could trace their roots to John Frazier of Greene County without question. Like me, Kevin cannot push back further with any certainty, but he has the good sense to post his tree with parents “unknown.” 

Kevin’s family lore includes a story that the early Fraziers came to Virginia from debtor’s prison in England. They supposedly participated in Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 before moving westward into Orange County.

If that story is true, it puts our family here in Virginia well ahead of the big influx of Scotch-Irish around 1730 when Governor Gooch was freely doling out land in the Shenandoah Valley.

Reconstructed Irish farm at Frontier Culture Museum
Staunton, Augusta Co, VA
(image from flickr under Creative Commons license)
It is certainly possible that our John Frazier descends from one of those early Scotch-Irish settlers. There is a will for a John Frazier in Rockingham County dated 1788, not Kevin’s and my John Frazier but maybe a relative. Since he was a man with land, farm equipment, clothing, and rifles to divide among his heirs, he was not a young man, but likely born in the early 1700s. He mentioned a wife Jennet but no children. He named brothers Joseph, George, and William, and a sister Mary Galloway. Maybe our John was son of one of them.

An 1809 will in nearby Augusta County offers another possible link. In this one, John Frazier apparently did not marry or did not have children because he left his sizeable plantation and mansion to a brother James and to 2 nephews named Samuel Frazier and John W. Frazier. I have never seen MY John Frazier with a middle initial, so this is probably a different John Frazier.  

This is not to say I believe John’s father was also named John. The vast number of Frazier trees say his father was Thomas, and although the research is very shaky, Thomas is a good bet as suggested by the many descendants named Thomas.

John Frazier was such a common name that efforts to push back another generation have been difficult, even for the most astute and dedicated researcher. Maybe one of these days a family bible or colonial record will surface like the Rosetta Stone to reveal the history of the Fraziers in Virginia.

© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Year in Review

Gracious mercy me. I blogged less in all of 2017 than I did in 2011 when I started my blog in AUGUST! What can I say?  A number of home improvement projects and travel certainly took up a lot of time, but the worst offender was completing my Jollett book. What a peculiar paradox - a genealogy project taking me away from genealogy. Still there are some good things to celebrate. Let’s look back.

Top 5 Blog Posts
When I went through my stats, I was SHOCKED to see the high numbers on some of my blogs. It would be nice to think my little stories were attracting interested readers, but I suspect the high number of page views is not from legitimate traffic but instead a sign of bot or spider behavior. Oh well, here they are nonetheless:

Top 5 Personal Connections
  1. My dad’s side of the family rose to the top this year. My sister and I enjoyed a lovely lunch with our second cousin Gayle, daughter of one of Daddy’s cousins. We had met many years ago but were never close; in fact, we probably could not recognize each other in the grocery store. Apparently Gayle and her daughter Jacquie have been reading my blog and finally decided to get in touch. It was fun comparing notes on the Sheehan-Killeen-Walsh lines. They shared stories we had never heard and we told ones they had not heard. The best part of the visit is that through sharing what mysteries we would love to solve, we might have actually solved one. However, since people involved are still living, I’ll save that story for another time.
  2. My dad’s sister gave me a photo of Aunt Helen Parker’s husband Herbert as a young boy with his father. On the back was written “Ephraim Dick Parker and Herbert.” Captain Dick! Photos of “Captain Dick” and letters making reference to “Captain Dick” had always been a mystery. Who was Captain Dick? Now we knew. But we still wanted to know the story behind the nickname. I like to check the family trees on Ancestry for the family member who seems most knowledgeable about a particular line. I found Joe Parker of Maryland who is the self-proclaimed expert on all Parkers of Portsmouth. While he was quite familiar with Ephraim Parker and family, Joe had never heard the nickname. In multiple emails, we shared quite a bit of information, but the mystery behind the nickname remains just that - a mystery.
  3. When I stopped by the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County Historical Society to donate a copy of my Jollett book, I was greeted by the volunteer. He looked at the title and said, “Oh, Wendy Mathias has written another book.” What? Did he actually remember the first one? Then he asked if I were “Wendy Mathias.” OK, so I had to confess, yes, I am. He introduced himself: Kevin Frazier. We had never met but have emailed one another for years and collaborated on Frazier research.  Our 4X great-grandfather was John Frazier of Greene County, Virginia. It was a thrill to meet in person. Kevin gave me the grand tour, introduced me to the head genealogist of the historical society, and introduced me to a couple other volunteers who told me they follow my blog. Please, don’t make me blush. (I guess they are the REAL readers, not those bots and spiders skewing my page views.)
  4. Two more interesting connections are both women who were adopted. Sadly, one has been rejected by her new-found family, so she is searching for more information through my blog. The other was given information by her birth-grandfather, and she too is comparing her information with what I have.

Top 5 Genealogy-Related Activities
  1. I completed a project for Greene County Historical Society in which I transcribed and indexed 4 volumes of Joseph Hamm’s day books dated from 1856-1871. He was a tailor. It was a thrill when I came across one of my family members placing an order.
  2. I participated in several Photo-a-Day Challenges on Instagram (but I ran out of steam when I got busy with other things). I hope to be a better participant in 2018 because the challenges are fun and visiting others has been as well.
  3. When GeneaBloggers Tribe stepped in to fill the void when Thomas MacEntee shut down GeneaBloggers, I assisted with the transition. Along with the others who comprised the former “May I Introduce to You” team, I helped update the roster of blogs.
  4. As Registrar of my DAR chapter, I have stayed busy assisting women with their applications for membership. That means I often conduct research to prove their lineage.
  5. I finished my book, Jollett Reunion, a collection of stories and photos about the children and families of my great-great grandfather James Franklin Jollett. I donated copies to several historical societies and libraries.

Top 5 Discoveries
  1. While working on my Jollett book, I took the time to update information, fill in missing dates, and generally just scout around the internet to see if there was anything new. My GenealogyBank subscription paid for itself when a simple search for “Jollett” in the state of Virginia resulted in learning that Charles M. Jollett had a wife and child BEFORE the wife and children I knew about. The first wife was Eliza Watson.
  2. Learning about Eliza Watson lead me to their child Mary Alice. That was my saddest discovery ever. Mary Alice was institutionalized as a child. She lived the rest of her life in a place that began with noble intentions but deteriorated over time.
  3. One of my paternal grandmother’s cousins became a nun. I used photos of Sadie Byrnes in her habit to learn more about her life but I did not make much headway until I found her obituary. It was just a snippet; if I wanted to read the whole thing, I would have to buy a subscription to the Journal News of White Plains, New York. Not wanting to pay the $60, I turned to the New York City Genealogy group on Facebook to ask if there were another way to see the obituary. In minutes a genie angel posted the full obituary which included details of her teaching career in the Dominican order.
  4. A Sepia Saturday photo prompt made me take a closer look at my granduncle Woody Woodring. He played professional baseball in the early years of professional baseball, but he had a card. I noticed the word “Portland” printed below his name. That did not fit with what I knew of his career in Shenandoah and Martinsburg. My newspaper subscriptions paid off again with a few articles about his strength as a catcher for the Portland Beavers, a farm team for the Philadelphia Athletics. 
  5. An email requesting more information about Fannie Jollett prompted me to look again at a chancery cause that I had saved years ago but did not read fully. Fannie was being sued for non-payment on property she bought near McGaheysville in Rockingham County, Virginia. Included in the file were depositions of both Fannie and her cousin Columbia King Marsh. What a thrill to read their very own words. 

Top 5 Best Money Spent
  • Fold3
  • Ancestry
  • Newspaper Archive
  • GenealogyBank
  • Blurb for my book, Jollett Reunion

2017 kicked my derriere. Come on, 2018, be nice to me!

© 2017, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Sepia Saturday: Christmas Greetings

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

I wish all my fellow HomoSepians, blogging buddies, family and followers the Merriest Christmas!

Wendy Slade Mathias Christmas 2017

Find more holiday greetings at Sepia Saturday.

© 2017, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Blog Caroling: "Mary, Did You Know?"

Apparently there are many family historians who want to have a little fun, especially here at Christmastime.  So I’m joining FootnoteMaven and others for a little Blog Caroling. 

One of my favorite songs is “Mary, Did You Know?” by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene. There are over 400 recordings of the song, so if you don’t love the acapella performance by Pentatonix, head on over to YouTube and pick out another one. Peter Hollens does a beautiful version with himself as backup. 

The lyrics grew out of a monologue Mark Lowry wrote for his church Christmas play in 1984. He wanted to put into words the very things we can’t understand about the birth of Jesus. He began thinking of questions he would like to ask Mary if he could sit down and have coffee with her. Lowry knew the words would become a song one day, but it took seven years before he found the right music. Ironically, Buddy Greene came up with a winning tune in just 30 minutes.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?

This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.

What is YOUR favorite carol? 

Merry Christmas!

© 2017, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.