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It is Oct. 31, 2008, and here we are at the end of the road … the last page of the final chapter … the final "Finding Your Folks" genealogy column. I'm giving you the date because one of the biggest problems with our website when it changed back in 2005 was that there were no dates on the "blog" type stories. The old website, which can only be accessed through a special link, featured a date with each story, making it easer to reference them. However, you can estimate the dates by going back a week for each one. They were published each Friday on the Web.
I messed up last week when I said that was the next to last column. Actually, this one is. I also promised you an explanation. I have already received a couple of concerned but kind-hearted phone calls and several emails and I will be happy to explain why we are discontinuing the columns.
I was delighted to hear from an old high school classmate this week. Neal Cobb of Rabun Gap who attended Russell High with me back in the 1950s, is looking for his Crawford family who lived in the Line Creek area back in the 1800s.
I was a little disappointed in myself last week when I couldn't find any more information on Lewis Brandenburg to share with you, although there was quite a bit of Brandenburg family history.
One of the families mentioned in conjunction with the recent Kempson reunion at Mt. Carmel Methodist Church in Meriwether County was the Brandenburg family. Two sons of Lewis and Ann Hatton Brandenburg married daughters of Peter and Mary Ursula Long Kempson, thereby making their children descendants of Harmon Kempson and members of the reunion family.
Since we're already here and this family was part of last week's Kempson reunion at Mt. Carmel UMC, I thought I'd just give a little light research on them since we haven't done them before. Next week, we'll discuss the Brandenburgs, another family recognized at the reunion and one which we haven't done before. The other two reunion families, Kempsons and Grays, were covered in previous column series.
I usually don't use the column to announce family reunions but these families were so prominent on the south side I'm going to make an exception.
Last week we ran part one of Anne Westbrook Green's excellent story of old Campbell county and its merger into Fulton in 1932. Some of Anne's information came from an old newspaper article, possibly from The Atlanta Journal or The Atlanta Constitution, date unknown, written by Winifred Lee Moore entitled "Memories of Old Campbellton," referring to the first county seat which was replaced by Fairburn in 1870. Anne continues with information from the article, with a warning that she can't vouch for the accuracy of statements made therein, saying …
Several times over the years I have mentioned that part of Fayette and Coweta's adjacent neighbor county to the north, Fulton County, was once known as Campbell County. In doing the genealogy columns, I always refer to this area as Campbell, since the name wasn't changed until 1932. Our study of families usually involves those who were in Georgia in the late 1700s and those who settled our immediate area and were here from the beginning, or in the early 1800s.
I'm going to stay with the McWhorters this week since I recently got involved in a volley of messages on the McWhorter email list. This Allen M. McWhorter was a relative of Laura McWhorter Thompson Stowers of last week's article since he was the much younger half-brother of Laura's grandfather, Moses McWhorter and, therefore, the uncle of Laura's father, Leroy McWhorter. However, since Allen was the child of a second marriage, he (b. 1795) and his nephew, Leroy (b. 1797,) were close to the same age.
I was so excited last week after receiving a reply to a message I had left on Rootsweb back in 2001 about my McWhorter family.
Some of you may know that I have this huge, sprawling family tree (nearly 20,000 people) on Rootsweb's WorldConnect Project and, by default, on Ancestry's World Tree. Many people in it are relatives and some are not. We call these semi-related and non-related families "collateral" and "allied" families because they are either related through marriage or connected through other means.
Most people who write to the column are looking for their ancestors who died long ago. But this week we're looking for living descendants so we can have a proper tombstone dedication.
I'm going to pick up on a family from last week - James and Mary Herndon Norris, a member of the Norris family of Walton, Gwinnett, Fayette, Campbell, Douglas and Cobb counties. When I mentioned them a couple of weeks ago I had no idea that someone would pick up on this particular couple. I was thrilled. I had very little myself. But Pat Vermeer wrote and gave us a little more information for which I am very grateful. Let me give you a little of what I have, then I'll tell you some of what Pat said.
I hope to be able to wrap up these family stories this week, concluding with their move from Campbell County to Hightower, Ala., just across the Georgia State line near Carroll County.
We're continuing this week with the twisting connections of these families, with two more added … my Fowlers who had moved from Gwinnett County to the Fayette-Campbell area sometime after 1860, and the Walker family who made the trek to Cleburne and became an integral part of that community.
I'm sort of cheating this week. The deal here has always been, "… if you don't write me about your families, then you have to hear about mine." Well, nobody sent anything on his or her families so here we go on mine.
This week's story was written by Sandra Moody of Sharpsburg. Because of space limitations, I had to edit some of her details. If you will write to Sandra, she can send you the full, unedited version. Sandra writes:
I do apologize for the interruption in the genealogy columns but it was unavoidable. Most of you are aware that last March I was diagnosed with breast cancer and, after talking with several experts, decided on surgery to get rid of it once and for all. The surgery was done on June 3 and I am happy to report that all is well. Recuperation will take a while but all the cancer is gone (along with a goodly portion of me). My granddaughter, Jadie, came down from Covington to stay with me as she did after the open heart surgery a couple of years ago, and I couldn't have come back so fast without her. She is an amazing young lady.
We continue this week with the Terry family of Coweta and Campbell counties, written and submitted by Nancy Jones Cornell of Fairburn. Nancy is president of the Old Campbell County Historical Society (OCCHS).
Again, we're going in a different direction this week with a story on the Terry family written and submitted by Nancy Jones Cornell of Fairburn. Nancy is president of the Old Campbell County Historical Society based in Fairburn and her roots go deep into Campbell County, a county no longer on the Georgia map but now the southern part of Fulton County. Campbell merged with Fulton in 1932, as did Milton County, on the north side.
There's a couple more Owen and Cole families I want to cover but several emails have come in and I need to get them out there so you guys can help these folks, if you can. It's also time to give the link again for the really old columns going back to 2001 that no longer come up on a search. The Riggins letter came from one of those old columns, although I don't know how the writer found it.
Just as I thought it was safe to move on … I received first some information from Frances Hanson Arnold on her Jesse Cole and second a letter from Ken Arnold which gave further information on this same Jesse. Because of the area they lived in, I would bet dollars to doughnuts these Coles are related to our other Jesse (son of Robert Cole and Elizabeth Fambrough) and even maybe to Marcus Cole of Butts County from last week's column. That is what really drove me to include this Jesse of Frances and Ken's. This Jesse, like Marcus, had a daughter named "Aletha" or "Eletha" Cole. Now, that is not your usual, run-of-the-mill female name and I thought it was worth mentioning.
We're going to pick up where we left off last week with information from documents generously contributed by Tex Dix of Spalding County, a descendant of Emily Jane Cole and John Singley. The problem we had in the beginning was identifying the names of all the children of Jesse Cole (son of Robert Cole and Elizabeth Fambrough) and his first wife, Elizabeth Crawford. Elizabeth died before 1836, Jesse remarried, and all the "first" children were grown by the time the 1850 census was taken naming all his "new" children. We knew of only two sons for sure, Robert S. and William Thomas Cole, and that was only because someone had written stories about them in "Memoirs of Georgia" in 1895 and in "Coweta Chronicles" in 1928.
We're going to jump back to another Cole family this week because I sort of left them hanging out there in left field a few weeks ago. If you will go back to the "Chasing Jesse Cole …" story you will see that I had only two children from his first family with Elizabeth Crawford - Robert S. and William Thomas Cole - when the census indicated more.
Well, I sure found out who the heck Richard Cole was, didn't I? I heard from many of you about Richard and his family, did some checking on the Internet, and did a lot of research at the Coweta Courthouse(s) and have pretty much exhausted my local resources on this family.
I have come across some errors in the official records that I feel need to be addressed before we go any farther on the Cole family we've been researching for the past few weeks. I had given you some deed information on Richard Cole, the earliest ancestor we have found so far for one Cole family, who purchased land in Coweta in 1829 and 1832. The first record was accurate except possibly for the county of residence of the seller, Lazarus Tilman. The second deed contained a serious error in location.
We're going to temporarily suspend our study of the Cole families in Coweta and Meriwether to announce an upcoming event in Fayette some of you may wish to attend.
Last week's column on Richard Cole brought a response all the way from California. Bob Johnston, who has contributed many interesting tidbits of information to the column over the years, did not have anything on Richard's parents but did have information on his children.
This column is going to have both questions and miscellaneous facts since I'm curious, myself, about this Richard Cole. He appears in Coweta very early (1829) and I am trying to find out whether he is connected to the other Coles who were here … descendants of Robert Cole and Elizabeth Fambrough, or perhaps related to that Robert Cole somehow. Frankly, I have no idea at this point and I'm hoping someone out there can fill in the blanks. From Coweta court records, I know he was married to Susan Vance but I don't know where the marriage took place.