Monday, January 31, 2011

Conway Sawyer Campaign Ad - Amanuensis Monday

Thanks to John at Transylvanian Dutch for providing a framework (and nudge) for transcribing family records, news clippings and other treasures.

To The People of Morristown and Hamblen County

This is to remind everyone that I am running for the office of 


for Hamblen County

     I have already contacted many of you personally and hope to see many more in the coming weeks. However if I have not yet seen you, I take this means of telling you something about myself and asking for your support
     I have lived in Morristown for the past eighteen years and enjoyed it because here I have met some of the friendliest and best people it has ever been my privilege to know. I am married to the former Flavia Tweed of Greeneville. Our home is at 210 East Main Street. We belong to the First Presbyterian Church.
     For many years I operated a small grocery store on the corner of Daisy and 2nd South. Many of you young people will recall eating hot dogs at my place during your junior high and high school days, and I am taking this means of asking all of you young voters to remember your old "Soggy Dog" friend by registering and voting for me in the coming election. (Don't forget that July 3 is the deadline for registering).
     About twenty-seven years ago I developed arthritis, but my case has been arrested many years and would not handicap me in any way in filling the duties of the office I seek.
     I earnestly solicit your vote and influence in the August election and promise if elected to fulfill the duties of the office honestly and faithfully.


Conway Sawyer
Paid Pol. Adv.


Conway Sawyer was my great-uncle. He was the 4th son and 8th child of Jehu Stokely (Gee) and Catherine Conway Sawyer. He was born 11 Jan. 1904 at home in Warrensburg (Greene), TN and died 19 Oct. 1989 in Morristown (Hamblen), TN. He was survived by his wife Flavia. They had no children. 

The clipping was found in an address book belonging to his younger sister Kathryn Sawyer McKenzie. I don't know when Conway was first elected but my earliest memories of him are in the mid-1960s when he was serving as the County Registrar. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

DNA and me

Well the results are in (or at least beginning to come in).  I found I was unable to resist the year-end promotions at 23andMe and ordered test kits for myself, my father and my husband. One of us was more prompt than the others (I'll leave you to guess) and I am now poring over information.

What is immediately clear is that I have a lot to learn. My reading to date has been along the lines of Genetic DNA for Dummies - and I haven't fully absorbed that. Time to up my intake levels.

I've been given some good pointers for places to explore. My weekend reading is starting with Blaine Bettinger's ebook "I Have the Results of Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What?" which can be downloaded from his The Genetic Genalogist website. I have joined the DNA forums at Genetic Genealogy Digest and posted my first query. Joan Miller pointed me to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy website. 23andMe has forums and information, though I have found it difficult to navigate so far.  Several of us have banded together on Facebook for moral support with a 23andMe Newbie group. Please join us if you wish.

Lots to absorb. I am, however, truly interested in the results so far. I have little expectation of actually connecting with relatives on my father's side, but there are some potential matches that I have started communicating with. What has most interested me is my paternal Carpatho-Rusyn grandmother's haplogroup result - H2a5. My admittedly novice reading of the results suggests that this group is restricted to the Basque region of Spain - definitely NOT what I expected.
H2a5 and the Basques
One branch of H2 is much more localized. In fact, H2a5 is found only among one group of people: the Basques of northern Spain. The Basques are an isolated ethnic group that mostly reside in the Pyrenees Mountains that separate Spain from France. They speak a language that is distinct from every other on Earth, and many scientists have speculated that their linguistic uniqueness may mirror an equally unusual genetic history. In fact, some have argued that the Basque represent the descendants of some of the earliest human inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula. Although Haplogroup H2 is found among many Europeans, H2a5 is found only among the Basque, at levels of about 6%. H2a5 likely arose about 15,000 years ago, just after the glaciers began to recede from Europe after the Last Ice Age. People carrying H2a5 expanded into the Pyrenees, where their descendants still reside today. (From 23andMe's website)
There are other non-Basques with the same haplogroup, though most seem to be Norwegian. Curious and curiouser.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Roger's Men's Clothing Store - Wordless Wednesday

Roger's Men's Clothing Store, Morristown, TN c. 1962.  

My grandfather, Bob Sawyer, is pictured in the upper right in front of the hat display.  Athletic shirts were on sale, 3 for $2.00.  Getting a gumball from the machine next to the cash register was a huge treat for us. 

Roger's Men's Clothing Store, Morristown, TN, undated. Digital Image. Privately held by Nolichucky Roots [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], 1999.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Status updates from the past or how Grandmother beat Zuckerberg to the punch

I've just realized that my grandmother was way, way ahead of her time. Were she living today she'd be one of Facebook's biggest fans. Mark me with a little gobsmacked emoticon. She always seemed pretty Victorian to me. But no...

I was looking for articles about my grandfather for a short biographical sketch. While checking east Tennessee newspapers for baseball stories or clothing ads (found both) I found a clipping about my mother in the Kingsport News announcing her hiring as a science teacher at Rogersville High School. I knew she'd taught there briefly, always maintaining that even that brief stint had been punishment enough for the students.

Ever thorough, I decided to do a quick check to see if there were any other mentions of her. I should have known. She was, after all, from the same family that announced a 12 year old's birthday party in the local paper. Let it be clear that Mother was not sending out monthly press releases of her activities. That honor belonged to her mother, Iva Williams Sawyer.

I found this ...

And then the earth shaking news she spent Christmas at home...
Her students likely went into mourning...
I'm certain she was thrilled to have her bout with mono published...
Then there was this...

She was a jetsetter (prop setter more likely)..
And finally, this...


Mother did not return to Rogersville in the fall and vanished from the pages of the Kingsport Times & Times News. I suspect, however, were I to review the Morristown papers she was featured there on a regular basis until she escaped to Washington, DC. Anonymity must have been bliss.

I ought, I'm sure, to be proud that Iva was so forward thinking. Privacy, shmivacy - the social network reigned supreme. Move over Zuckerberg. Iva was there first.

Sources: The Kingsport Times (Kingsport, Tennessee) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.
Original data: The Kingsport Times. Kingsport, TN, USA. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper. Kingsport Times News (Kingsport, Tennessee) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.
Original data: Kingsport Times News. Kingsport, Tennessee, United States Of America. Database created from microfilm copies of the newspaper.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In search of Rachel's Hamptons - Surname Saturday

My fourth great-grandmother Rachel was the wife of Isaac Mulkey. I've always been told her last name was Hampton. I hope it is, because that's the only thing I have to go on!

Rachel was born about 1794 in what became Tennessee. She married Isaac Mulkey, a son of Rev. Jonathan Mulkey, about 1809. No marriage record has been found, though there are Washington County records from that time period. They had at least ten children. Isaac Mulkey died in 1855. Rachel lived until after the 1880 census when she was enumerated living with her daughter Rachel and son-in-law Joseph Campbell.

Issac and/or Rachel were enumerated in each Washington County census from 1830 through 1880. Rachel appears to have been in ill health the last years of her life. She is listed as an invalid in 1870. She could not write, but may have been able to read. The 1880 census listed her mother’s birthplace as Virginia, but left her father’s birthplace blank.

Rachel’s parentage is unproven. Indeed, as I mentioned before, her name is unproven. Family tradition names the wife of Isaac Mulkey as Rachel Hampton, daughter of Andrew who is the son of James Hampton of Stokes County. This information was written down by Ella Mulkey Range in her self-pubished, undated pamphlet The Life of Reverend Philip Mulkey, His Ancestors and Descendants, 1650 – 1950. It is more than a little suspect.

Range cites "Hampton and Mulkey D.A.R. records" to support her statements regarding Rachel’s ancestry. She names Andrew Hampton who died in White County, TN as Rachel’s father and names his children – Jonathan, Susannah, Andrew, John, Elizabeth, Nancy, Benjamin, Alice, Rachel, Mary, Adam, Mitchell and Catherine. She states he gave his daughters slaves upon their marriages (Range, p. 11).

Range, born in 1879 in Kansas, was a great-granddaughter of Isaac and Rachel Mulkey and may have met Rachel before she died. If so, it was as an extremely young child and very late in Rachel's life. What family sourced information she had about Rachel most likely came from her father James Duncan Mulkey, born 1836, who lived in Washington County near his grandparents until the Civil War.

There are a myriad of problems with her statements.

  • The Andrew Hampton will naming the children she listed was written and recorded in Rutherford County, NC in 1805 (see Caroline Heath Davis’s Rutherford County, North Carolina, Abstracts of Wills, 1779-1822). 
  • That Andrew’s daughter Rachel was born about 1777 and married Samuel Thomas in Rutherford County in 1794. 
  • There is no evidence to date that Isaac Mulkey ever owned slaves. 

According to Karl Hampton, who has spent years researching two different Andrew Hamptons (termed Granville and Anson/Rutherford Andrews for the NC counties where they were recorded), two Andrews did live in White County, TN. One was the son of the Andrew dying in Rutherford County, NC in 1805 and the other was his grandson. But I have never seen an iota of evidence linking either of them to Rachel, the wife of Isaac Mulkey.

Assuming Hampton is Rachel’s surname, who are her Hamptons? Was her father named Andrew? I shall be examining potential Hampton families in the following weeks, but next will come an outline of Rachel’s children.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sisters - Wordless Wednesday

Sawyer Sisters c. 1932

The next generation c. 1961

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Swapping tales

Like many families we assembled a scrapbook for my grandparents Bob and Iva Williams Sawyer's 50th wedding anniversary celebration in 1975. I have posted some photographs and a newspaper clipping from the scrapbook recently and will be posting more.

Bob and Iva Williams Sawyer

Most of the letters and notes included in the book are full of the warm memories, love and congratulations due a couple celebrating such a milestone. But my grandfather's niece by marriage, Connie Haun, included a couple of the stories that we knew so well and always associated with a Sawyer gathering.

The Sawyers and my grandfather, in particular, were a garrulous bunch given to to laughter, teasing and many, many stories. He loved to tell tales on himself, and provided ample fodder over the years for those tales. Those small, silly stories are as much a part of my grandfather as any other trait. They don't come through in the pictures or the dates and facts in my database.

Here are Connie's stories.

One night, years ago, Bob had retired a little early probably due to overexertion and Iva went to bed at her usual time; after a few hours had elapsed, Iva thought she heard Bob talking in his sleep so she punched him and said, "Bob, Bob you are talking in your sleep - just saying everything. He responded with a grunting "no, no" and slept on! Minutes later Iva retorted: "yes, Bob, you are too."
"Whats my name?" she inquired emphatically.
"Mud," replied Bob and turned over!

It's true! To be read on Sept. 27, 1975 by family!!
Years ago, Bob and Bill Carver drove over to Cincinnati to attend a ball game.
The next week when the "gang" got together to swap tales, Blair Reams inquired about the trip with the following question before the whole group.
"Bill did you have a good time on your recent trip?"
Bill Carver replied, 
",Yes, I got to say un-huh," when we got back to Bean Station."
Note:  Bob and Iva's 50th wedding anniversary was 1 October 1975 but the family celebrated on Saturday night, 27 September 1975.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Death of an Estimable Citizen - Amanuensis Monday

Thanks to John at Transylvanian Dutch for providing a framework (and nudge) for transcribing family records, news clippings and other treasures.

This obituary for Thomas Meredith appeared in The Baltimore Sun on page 1, 21 Dec 1853.

Death of an Estimable Citizen, --- It is a painful task to announce the death of another of our most estimable and distinguished merchants. Thos. Meredith, Esq., the president of the Commercial and Farmers' Bank, and the head of one of our leading dry goods houses, died yesterday morning at two o'clock, after a short illness. He was about seventy years of age, and a man filled with the charity of human kindness, manifested in all his acts, and was beloved by all who knew him. His death is a loss to the city, and the announcement of it will carry deep regret to the hearts of an extended circle of friends, who, knowing him well, will most properly appreciate the many excellencies of his character.


Thomas Meredith was my husband's third great uncle. Originally from Lancaster County, VA, he settled in Baltimore and became a wealthy merchant. According to Archbishop Kenrick of Baltimore Meredith left almost $50,000 to charity upon his death.

The Sun (1837-1985); Dec 21, 1853; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Baltimore Sun (1837-1985) pg. 1

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kamikaze Computing

I am  s l o w l y  climbing out of the hole I threw myself into after my hard drive crashed earlier this month. Thanks to repeated warnings about backing up data I lost nothing but almost two weeks of my time.  I have an old iMac desktop and just installed the automated backup program Time Machine in December (a huge thanks to Shelley whose post prodded me into action). All my data and media files are backed up online through Mozy. So I knew it was all there - just not here where I needed it.

I am a self taught, give it a go kind of gal when it comes to computers. It has served me well, but there are times I would have benefited from a better teacher. This was one of them. My Mac & I did many things well.  I repaired the disk after a few failed attempts and got the Time Machine backup reinstalled. It is an amazing program - a couple hours and everything was just as it was before the crash. Then I installed the updates (cue the shark music) waiting. This is where things fell apart the first time. And the second time. I still don't know if it's the ITunes, AirPort, Remote desktop Client, or OS X update that is killing me, but my days of installing all "recommended" updates  in bulk are over. Another day and I had things back up. Then I got cocky (the kindest adjective that comes to mind).

My photographs (49.5 GB worth) are on the 1 TB external drive that I use for the Time Machine backups. I had no local backups for most of them, only the online backup. I decided to partition the drive so the backups would only take up half the space. Great idea in theory. I read, reread and reread the directions. It seemed clear that you could partition a drive with data on it. It still seems to read that way. Whatever I did, however, erased all the data on the drive. I had two lovely, empty external drives. My dogs heard an entirely new vocabulary that day. My husband hunkered down and stayed out of the way other than keeping me supplied with chocolate, Cheez-its and the beverages of my choice.

At some point I need to figure out what I did wrong (beyond getting out of bed). But my first priority has been restoring the photographs. I quickly backed up the main computer through Time Machine and the logged onto Mozy to download the photos.That was more than a week ago. Between our buggy and medium speed internet connection and their eponymous restore service it  has taken FOREVER to restore the photos. I'm almost there - fewer than 4 GB to go. Then I'll have to do another full backup which will slow the system down for days.

So was this a teachable moment for me?  Oh yeah. Next time I will stop being so cheap and stubborn and buy the damn dvds. It may be possible to restore large amounts of data via download, but it's not worth it. Next time I'll have a local back up of any files residing on a disk I'm working on (new external drive is on the shopping list this week).

I'm still operating off a netbook with no access yet to my database beyond what I have online. I need to figure out a way to make this more useful. I bought it with Linux installed and ended up installing Windows so I could more easily use familiar software.  I have to rethink this. In theory it has the ability to run programs off jump drives but I haven't had much success.

On the positive side of the ledger I have made progress clearing space for a central sorting and storage spot for all the family papers I am determined to cull through this year. Another day moving some furniture around and I'll have a spot with a door that I can leave set up while I work for the next few months. And the RV show is in town. My favorite solution to is to simply leave all this, hop in some rolling home and head off to see the world. Look out Carol, we may be joining you!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

McAdams Reunion, c. 1940 - Wordless Wednesday



The writing on the back (in Iva Sawyer's handwriting) reads:
Left t_____
Argil Bryson Williams
Guy D. Williams
Ulysses Dakota McAdams
Iva Williams Sawyer
Isaac Judson McAdams
picture made at 415 W Maple St.,
Johnson City, Tennessee, about

Argil, Guy and Iva were the surviving children of Flora McAdams Williams, sister of Dakota and Judson McAdams. Flora lived at 415 W. Maple St. in Johnson City.  The picture would have been taken when Guy was home visiting from California.

McAdams Family, c. 1940. Digital Image. Privately held by Nolichucky Roots [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], 1999.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Portland, Oregon Marriage Licenses - Amanuensis Monday

Thanks to John at Transylvanian Dutch for providing a framework (and nudge) for transcribing family records, news clippings and other treasures.

This news clipping was in an album assembled for the 50th wedding anniversary of Bob and Iva Sawyer. It is undated, but must have appeared in a Portland, Oregon newspaper after September 10, 1925 and before their wedding there on October 1, 1925. 


Paul T. Stout, 21, 1329 E. 22d street, and Thelma Dellinger, 18, Kent, Or.
Normal Strite, 36 Milwaukie, Or., and Inez Tupper, 29, 215 N. 23rd street.
Donald Hargrove, 45, Seattle, Wash., and Cora V. Shannon, 36, Seattle, Wash.
Paul Devouno, 36, 206 Meade street, and Rosie Vigna, 28, 1258 E. Yamhill street.
WEBSTER -- To Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Webster, No. 635 Everett st., September 10, a son.
MAGGETTI -- To Mr. and Mrs. L. Maggetti, No. 72 West Alberta st. September 10, ___ daughter.
Homer Green, 23, Nehelem Or., and Cecelie M. David, 20, Nehelem, Or.
Robert C. Davis, 27, Shedd, Or., and Evalina Calvert, 29, 274 N. 21st.
Verner Bylander, 23, Warren, Or., and Marie Hedwall, 19, Warren, Or.
Henry Livingston, legal, 275 E. 75th street and Eunice O. Smith, legal, 294 E. 76th ___
Charles B. Watson, 30, Cazadero, Or., and Annette McBain, 17, Cazadero, Or.
Robert P. Sawyer, 27, West Cat Court, and Iva B. Williams, 24, Johnson City, Tenn.
Joseph Battaglia, 23, 730 E. Oak st., and Olive Longenecker, 32, 5905 41st st.
Harry O. Bennett, 24, 609 Umatilla ave., and Loretta Schmitz, 27l, 2693 E. 17th st.
Leonard Johnson, 44, Astoria, Or., and Randi Gagnil, 36, Astoria, Or.

Notes: Bob's address of West Cat Court does not appear on Google Maps today. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Baseball's in our Blood - Sports Saturday

My grandfather Bob Sawyer and great-uncle Phil Sawyer played minor league baseball in the 1920s. Uncle Phil was pretty good, far better than Granddaddy, by all accounts.

When I posted Uncle Phil's obituary Jack Morris commented with a link to a great website Baseball that had statistics on Uncle Phil's career. I searched for Granddaddy's stats which confirmed that Phil had a better minor league career than his big brother. Phil was a right-handed pitcher for six seasons, playing two seasons of class D ball with the Greeneville Burley Cubs, part of one season in with the Class A Birmingham Barons and the three seasons with the Class B Knoxville Smokies. Granddaddy never made it out of Class D, playing one year for Greeneville and two years for the Johnson City Soldiers.  He had his best year in 1924, hitting .334 and pitching in 19 games (11 wins, 8 losses). He hung up his cleats after that season and began his career as a salesman. He did marry a Johnson City girl in 1925, so the baseball career had some long term benefits. 

According to the Baseball website Bob and Phil played one season together in 1921 for the Greeneville Burley Cubs only a few miles from their father's home in Warrensburg, TN.  The site does not have any information for the 1922 team beyond the fact that it existed so it is possible they also played that season. This photograph was found in an album put together for Bob's 50th wedding anniversary. Phil is the third from left in the back row. Bob is the third from the right in the back row. The photograph was taken by J. M. Stanfield, Photographer (Cleveland, TN). 

Greeneville Burley Cubs, Photograph, c. 1921. Digital Image. Privately held by Nolichucky Roots [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], 1999.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lincoln (B)logs! - Follow Friday

AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by Tinker*Tailor
Well, not really.  But Richard Wightman Fox and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum have a superb blog - From Out of the Top Hat. Now I would read almost anything written about Honest Abe, but Fox really does a wonderful job. Check out Was Lincoln Ugly? or When Grieving Went Global for examples of his work. Riveting stuff from my perspective.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tech Tuesday: Navy Goes High Tech

In the 1950s my mother, Carolyn Sawyer, worked for the Department of the Navy in Washington, DC. This publicity photo is the only picture I have of her career days since she stopped working (yeah, right) once I was born. She and her coworkers are gazing in admiration at their office's new technological wonder - a microfiche reader.

To the left of the reader, tucked in front of Mother, is a reel of microfilm on what appears to be a rewinder. I suspect I've spent far more time with this equipment than she did. 

Department of the Navy publicity shot, undated. Digital Image. Privately held by Nolichucky Roots [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], 1999.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: A Civil War Record

Thanks to John at Transylvanian Dutch for providing a framework (and nudge) for transcribing family records, news clippings and other treasures.

This is another transcription of a document from the papers of Maria Lee Palmer Smith (1844-1931), my husband's great-grandmother. It is a handwritten account of her brother's Civil War Service. She labeled it "Account of my brother's service in Confederate Army." The note is written on letterhead from the Virginia Club, Norfolk (VA). It is undated. Punctuation, format and spelling are retained from the original, though line breaks have been altered.

Left College, last of June - 1864 and temporarlly joined Genl Bradley T. Johnson's command, in Genl Earlys Army. Went on towards Washington, D.C. with Cavalry (1st Md Reg. I think) after the fight at Mon___y Junction. In a fight near Rockville had my horse shot through the mouth. We then crossed the Potomac and I left the Maryland Reg. and went home. In fall of 1864, joined Co. D. 9th Va Reg. and took part in all engagements until the surrender in Apr. 1865. My horse gave out and I walked home from Appomattox.

John Armstead Palmer, Maria Lee's younger brother, was born at Clifton near Kilmarnock (VA) 21 Jan 1846 and died there on 7 Dec 1929.  He was a student at Mount St. Mary's in Maryland when he left to fight. He received a Confederate Disability Pension payment of $35 in 1924 and is listed on a Company D roster of the 9th Virginia Cavalry compiled by Robert Krick. Both the Roster and Pension payment indicate that no official documents recorded Palmer's service, but sworn statements from fellow soldiers and United Daughters of the Confederacy rosters supported his service.

General Johnson's 1st Maryland fought at Monocacy Junction in June, 1864. They fought at Rockville on 13 July 1864 and crossed the Potomac the next day.  The 9th Virginia Cavalry fought in and around Petersburg (VA) during the fall of 1864 and spring of 1865.  They fought at Dinwiddie Courthouse on 31 March 1865 and surrendered at Appomattox on 9 April 1865.