Friday, December 21, 2012

The books. Oh, wow. The books.

Included in the many boxes of Letha's collection was an impressive selection of books. I add them here for those who may be interested in what she had as well as for other researchers to offer up lookups in them. I have attached links to these books on several websites like the Library of Congress, (find the book in a library, hopefully, near you!), and Google Books. If there are digital versions of the book, I will note that as well. I have so many that in order to keep this manageable, this is the list of books just based on Family Histories.

Family Books 

The Bowyers of Old Virginia 1607- 1979 Maryetta Frances Bowyer, 1979 (Library of CongressWorldCatGoogle Books, signed by the Author) - I also have a printed index for this book by Mata Bowyer Stevenson

Leaves and Branches from Bowyer Roots- A Supplement to 'The Bowyers of Old Virginia 1607-1979' Maryetta Frances Bowyer, 1986 (WorldCatGoogle Books, signed by the Author) - I also have a printed index for this book by Mata Bowyer Stevenson

The Claypoole Family in America  - Volumes I (1986), II (1988), III (1973), V (1982) compiled by Evelyn Claypool Bracken (Volume III is listed in the Library of CongressVolume I and Volume III are available to read online at, WorldCat has Volume IIVolume III, and possibly Volume IV)

Gwinn Family Reunion Program 32nd Annual 1983, 33rd Annual 1984, 34th Annual 1985 (These are very interesting, and thick, programs with a schedule of events, family information, photos, memorials, and advertisements... it reminds me a lot of the sports programs available at high school football games, very cool little books!)

Three Hull Brothers Eugene F. Hall, 1986 (ISBN 0-87012-480-3, Library of CongressWorldCatGoogle Books)

Kincaid-Claypool Descendants - Mountain Tom Kincaid's Second Family of Central West Virginia and 34 Other States William Harold Kincaid, 1991 ("ISBN Application Pending," Library of CongressWorldCatGoogle Books, this copy is signed "To Letha Thanks so much for your help! Bill Kincaid")

History of the Descendants of John Koontz Lowell L. Koontz, 1979 (ISBN 0-87012-338-6, Library of CongressWorldCatGoogle Books)

Legg Family History compiled by Nawasa Wheatly (This is a very nicely done self-published compilation of the descendants of Hazel William Legg and his wife Matilda Caroline Crookshanks, with some general Legg family history as well. I can only assume from a note in Letha's writing attached to the front page the name of the author, it is not clear on the printing date, but there are entries dated up to the end of 1992)

Billy Hance: The Wit and Wisdom of William Hance Ramsey compiled by Richard L. McGraw, 1992 (Library of CongressWorldCat)

Shucks, Fleshmans, Sydenstrickers & Other Families Larry G. Shuck, 1986 (Library of Congress,, Google Books

Our Families - Shuck, Sydenstricker, Smith, Lewis, Kincaid, Keister, et. al., of West Virginia Larry G. Shuck, 1995 (Library of Congress, WorldCat)

Royalty Among Us - The History of the Skaggs, Foster and Allied Families of the Western Frontier Shirley Greene Ulaki, 2000 (**This is a self-published book from my own collection, not Letha's, but it may tie in at some point due to location** Shirley Greene Ulaki's website)

The Spade Family Tree, The Spade Family Photo Album, The Spade Family Tree and Photos compiled by Davida R. Farley, 2010 (This is another self-published family genealogy that is from my collection, once again, may tie in somewhere due the locales of these families.)

Thomas Family History J. Montgomery Seaver, 1929 American Historical - Genealogical Society (original copyright, this is a 1972 reprint, Library of Congress, WorldCat)

If you are interested in any more information regarding these books, please contact me. I will gladly do lookups (as time permits), scan pages and email them, etc.  Happy Holidays and Happy Ancestor Hunting in 2013!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

First Binder Finished!

Just a quick little post to make note that I have now added all of the information found in Letha's THOMAS binder. That is pretty huge for me, so motivating to keep moving! There are nearly 20 binders in all (and countless folders and books!) and I hope that I can be a little bit quicker about each of the subsequent binders to follow.

Just as a reminder, I only put up very minimal information pertaining to the living (and in some cases, possibly still living) for privacy reasons. This  THOMAS family binder was slow going, in part, due to that.

So who is next? I am thinking the Bowyers, or maybe the Callisons... come back soon to see who it will be!

Also, Tina Sanford, if you are still reading along, I hope you will contact me, there are too many "Tina Sanford" options on facebook to just start sending random messages to!      

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

...starts with the Thomas Family: Mary Emma Thomas

The 11th child of Edward Gilmer Thomas and Sarah Lucas was Mary Emma, also known as Emer. Mary Emma Thomas was born 3 June 1877 in Rupert, Greenbrier County, West Virginia, according to the Thomas Bible (there is no record of Mary Emma's birth currently on the WVCulture site). Mary Emma married Charles Wallace Crotty on 14 Aug 1901 (entry 91) in Talcott, Summers County, West Virginia, by none other than her sister Lucy's (future) husband, Reverend Abraham M. Frantz. Charles Crotty was born in February 1878 (the date is unclear in Letha's records as she has two, either the 2nd or the 16th, the 2nd is noted as provided by granddaughter Marie) to Charles P and Nancy Eagle Crotty (marriage record, line 90).

Charles Wallace and Mary Emma had 3 known children, all daughters.

  1. Hattie Mae, born 21 May 1902 (according to Letha and also by death certificate), married W. A. Briniger/Brinager on 27 April 1921 in Summers County (marriage record, line 59). Hattie left this world on 2 Jul 1925 in Secoma, Summers, West Virginia. Her cause of death is listed as "Eclampsia, due to child birth," she is buried at Layland Cemetery (Fayette County), but is not currently listed on FindAgrave's internments there. Death recorded here. I cannot find anything on the fate of the pregnancy/child, and Letha does not note this information. 
  2. Morene Fay, born 29 Jun 1904 (according to Letha and also by death certificate), married Charles Fitzpatrick on 4 Apr 1923 in Fayetteville, Fayette County, West Virginia (marriage record), he was a 27 year old miner, she was 19. His parents are listed simply as John and A. M. Fitzpatrick. Sadly, Morene shared the same fate of death in childbirth, her death certificate also listing "Eclampsia." BUT, their child, Marie, lived to be raised by her maternal grandparents, Charles Wallace and Mary Emma Crotty. 
  3. Pearl Grace, born 2 Feb 1910 (birth recorded here), married Clarence Fletcher Cochran on 29 Aug 1931 (right side page) in Rupert, Greenbrier County, West Virginia, he was 24, she 21. His parents are listed as Raymond and Bessie Cochran.
Mary Emma Thomas Crotty passed away on 30 Mar 1953 at her home in Charmco, Greenbrier County, West Virginia, from a cerebral hemorhage and clot, along with suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (death certificatedeath record). Mary Emma Crotty is listed as buried in the Ben McClung Cemetery, Rupert, Greenbrier County, West Virginia, according to her death certificate, as is her brother Joseph Andrew Thomas. Charles Wallace is listed by Letha as having passed in 1954. There is a death certificate on WVCulture's website for a 76 year old Wallace Crotty that I believe is him, the dates match the headstone, but since the informant was the hospital, there is little background information on him.  Here is the death record (bottom of the right side page).

I find it incredibly sad to see that 2 of their 3 daughters died due to or during childbirth. Pearl and her husband, Clarence, went on to have a fairly large family of 5 children. Though they did lose an infant, he is buried at the End of the Trail Cemetery in God's Flower Garden section, in Clintonville, WV. 

The photo below is horrible, I should have taken the time to clear the headstone off, but this cemetery is so extremely overgrown I was trying to get what pictures I could and get out without too much trouble!
Ben McClung Cemetery, Rupert, WV - headstone of Charles Wallace and Mary Emma Thomas Crotty

starts with the Thomas Family: Lucy Ellen Thomas

The 10th child of Edward Gilmer Thomas and Sarah Amanda Lucas was Lucy Ellen Thomas.

Lucy was born on 7 Feb 1873, Letha does not list a list a specific location, but presumably she was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia as the family moved to Greenbrier County in 1877. Lucy passed from this world on 17 Jul 1963, having succumbed to carcinoma of the liver (death record). Letha lists her final resting place at the End of the Trail Cemetery in Clintonville, West Virginia. Lucy married Rev. Abraham Michael Frantz on 9 May 1939 at the age of 66, together they had no children, Abraham was a 79 year old widower. 

Abraham was a Minister of the Baptist Church of the Brethren in the Greenbrier County area. He presided over several marriages in Lucy's family, including that of her niece Maggie Sanford, daughter of Edward Preston Sanford and Sarah "Mandy" Thomas, to McKinley Osborne in 1918. Abraham was the son of David Frantz and Sarah Gillispie, and was born on 29 Oct 1859 in Franklin County, Virginia; he passed of cardiovascular renal disease on 24 Oct 1942 in Meadow Bluff, Greenbrier County, WV, all according to his death certificate. His burial is listed as the Frantz Cemetery in Vale, West Virginia. FindAGrave lists Frantz Cemetery in Dawson, West Virginia. Here is Abraham's entry on FindAGrave

I have come across two small biographical sketches of Abraham Michael Frantz in the book Greenbrier County West Virginia Heritage - 1997 by S. Grose on Google Books (what a wonderful resource!). The sections of interest are "Abraham Frantz" and "Sarah Minnie Frantz" both on page 70, Sarah's story continues on to page 71. It should be noted that neither sketch includes Abraham's marriage to Lucy.

Abraham Michael Frantz and Lucy Ellen Thomas Frantz

Saturday, October 6, 2012

... starts with the Thomas Family - William Alexander Thomas - UPDATED!

A Holiday postcard from William Alexander Thomas to his brother Joe Thomas & his wife Ellen Callison.
I especially love how he "hid" the gifts for them in the ends of the tobacco!
William Alexander Thomas, son of Edward G Thomas and Sarah A Lucas, was born 5 Dec 1852 and died 30 Jan 1934 at the age of 82. He was married (1) to Emma Puckett (line77) on 10 Oct 1878 in Greenbrier County and (2) to Ida Smith (have not found a marriage record for them, but according to the 1910 census they were married 5 months as of May 1910). Once again, the sources include a scrapbook of Mary McNamee, and also "Nellie & Juanita." I have updated this section considerably as I found some mistakes on this Family Group Sheet!

William and Emma had 4 known children:
  1. Mamie, b 3 Jan 1882 in Dennis, Greenbrier, WV; d 15 Mar 1971 in Monroe Co, WV, married Frank Rodney Upton (d 1956) on 18 Dec 1901 in Monroe County, WV. Marriage License  Marriage Register 
  2. May, b 16 Aug 1879 in Greenbrier County, WV; d 28 Mar 1980 in Peterstown, Monroe, WV; married Oscar A Still on 22 Oct 1902 in Alderson,  "Oscar (died) age 82 Upton Cem, Alderson, WVa" Marriage LicenseMarriage Register line 74 
  3. Rev Cary Houston, b 15 Aug 1894 in Alderson, Monroe, WV (see Delayed Certificate of Birth); d 17 Apr 1976 in Denver, Denver, Colorado; married Florence Gertrude Lair on 20 Jul 1921 in Cabell County, WV (see line 8 *Clary H Thomas*); was in the Army (according to Delayed BC, he was "Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Army on 26 Jul 1918."). Cary and Florence can be found in the 1930 census in Chapman, Merrick, Nebraska and in the 1940 in Bridgeport, Morrill, Nebraska.
  4. Irene, b 20 Jul 1891 in Dennis, Greenbrier, WV; d 20 Mar 1980 in the Masonic Home, Jefferson County, Kentucky; married John Robert Ray on 8 Sep 1920 in Monroe County, WV Marriage Register, Line 50 Marriage License
Wiliam and Ida had 1 known child together: 
  1. Willie Watts Thomas (daughter!), b about 1912 (the WVCulture collection currently has birth information for most counties up to 1911, hopefully 1912 will be included next year), I would guess her birth location to be somewhere in the Wolf Creek, Monroe, WV vicinity as that is where William is living for the 1910, 1920, and 1930 census. Willie married Frank Benjamin Foster on 18 Dec 1929 in Lewisburg, Greenbrier, WV.

Buried at Upton Cemetery in Alderson, Monroe, WV are: W A and Emma Puckett Thomas, Frank and Mamie Thomas Upton, and some of their children (Emma Lucille, Fred Roy). As well as Mae and her husband Oscar Still

On the next page is the FGS of Mamie Thomas and Frank Upton. Frank is listed with a death date of 1956, buried at Upton Cemetery, Alderson. (No death record listed on WVCulture as of 26 May 2012, but I have found another researcher who lists Frank's death date as 18 May 1947 with a citation of OBIT, and quite a bit more information on this family). Here is Frank's memorial on 

Children of Frank and Mamie Thomas Upton:

  • Noka Fanstine, b 17 Nov 1902 d 22 Mar 1996, married Walter Henry Schmidt 2 Jun 1930 in Alderson, Monroe, WV
  • Ruth, married Harry Valma Holliday 14 Jun 1926 in Union, Monroe, WV
  • Fred Roy, b 10 Sep 1905 d 10 Nov 1956, married Vivian Wikel
  • Hubert Orville, b 16 Jul 1907 d Dec 1979
  • Glenn R, b 30 Mar 1909 d Sep 1982
  • Emma Lucille, b 10 May 1911 d 10 May 2005, OBIT - Emma Lucille Upton
  • Haven Hersey, b 10 Jan 1913 d 25 Aug 1990
  • Elizabeth S,  married J W Propes 16 Jul 1942 in Hinton, Summers, WV
  • Frank Melvin (not listed by Letha, but his OBIT clearly puts him in this family as well) b 6 Jan 1917 in Monroe County, WV d 29 May 2003 in Gaffney, Cherokee, South Carolina.
  • Charles H, b 7 Nov 1918 d 19 Mar 1992
  • Rosalie (Rosa Lee), b 27 Dec 1920 d 20 May 2009, married Harold Stennett OBIT - Rosalie Upton Stennett
How strange for a single card to have survived, but no photo of William or his family for the collection? I hope that one day photos and stories can be added to the skeletons of dates... 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

...starts with the Thomas Family: Adam Henry Thomas

Back to the last few children of Edward Gilmer Thomas and Sarah Amanda Lucas...

Adam Henry Thomas was the ninth child of Edward and Sarah. He was born 14 Sep 1870 at Walkers Creek, Rockbridge County, Virginia. He married Ida Vermont Hinkle on 13 Sep 1899 in Fayette County, West Virginia, he was 28 and she was 17. Ida was born 13 Mar 1883 (100 years to the day of my brother's birthday), her parents are listed as David Crawford Hinkle and Sue Faulkner Hinkle.

Adam Henry and Ida had 6 known children:

  1. Susan Beatrice - born 17 Nov 1900 in Rupert, Greenbrier County, WV; married William E Plumb on 17 Jan 1917 in Erskine, Fayette County, WV; died 14 May 1928 in Thurmond, Fayette County, WV; she is buried at Hilltop Cemetery in Oak Hill, Fayette County. (This death date is listed in the Family Group Sheet, but I have found no records, yet, to back it up.) I do not know if they had any children, there are none listed in the 1920 census with the couple. 
  2. Ethel Mabel - born 3 Dec 1902 in Stone Cliff, Fayette County; married 1) Homer E Kirk on 4 Dec 1923 in Fayetteville, Fayette County, Homer is listed as divorced, and 2) Harry R Lilly on 22 Jan 1925 (80 years to the day of my own wedding) in Beckley, Raleigh County, and 3) Henry R Robinson; Ethel is listed as having passed on 5 Dec 1995 in Charleston, WV; she is buried at High Lawn Cemetery in Oak Hill.
  3. Cora Gladys - born 16 Jun 1905 (according to the FGS, no record currently on WVCulture) in Stone Cliff, Fayette County; married 1) Herbert F Duncombe on 1 Jan 1924 in Mt Hope, Fayette County; they had 1 child, and Herbert passed away soon after from pneumonia (death certificate and death record) (Herbert's FindAGrave Memorial), 2) Mark Cotton.
  4. Albert Haven - born 18 May 1909 in Newlyn, Fayette County; married Nellie Taylor (no marriage record found yet, but they are living with her parents in the 1940 census); Albert died at almost 32 years old of "anemia - muscular miositis" on 15 Apr 1941; he is buried at Oak Hill.
  5. Rubena Vermont - born 22 Jul 1911 in Stone Cliff, Fayette County; married 1) Oscar Wood on 7 May 1928 in Mt Hope, Fayette County. Had several children. 2) Mike Kozma on 21 Apr 1949 in Mt Hope. Fayette County; Reubena passed away on 19 Feb 1990 in Bridgeton, Cumberland County, New Jersey.
  6. Carrie Deilis - born on 16 Oct 1916 (no birth record on WVCulture, yet) in Erskine, Fayette County; married Clarence W Parrish on 15 Nov 1936 in Mt Hope, Fayette County; she passed away on 17 Jan 1996 in Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia, and is buried at Big Chimney Cemetery in Kanawha County. 
Adam Henry Thomas passed away on 13 Feb 1926 in Weewin, Fayette County, and is buried at Oddfellows Cemetery in Oak Hill, Fayette County, as is his wife, Ida, who passed away on 18 Jul 1967 in Oak Hill. Ida remarried after Adam Henry's death, she married a John W McClure (who passed away in 1960).

Ida's Obituary from the Beckley Post Herald on 19 Jul 1967.

The children of Joseph Andrew Thomas and Mary Ellen Callison

 More photos of the children of Joseph Andrew Thomas and Mary Ellen Callison.

back: Carl Vernon, James Elzie
front: Earl Gilmer, Lester Robert "Lec,"
Joseph Berton "Bert"

Earl, Lec, Carl, Bert, and Elzie

Sep 1958, Earl, Bert, Lec, Bess, Elzie, and Carl Thomas. Unknown child.

This photo is from a family reunion in 1966 - Elzie, Lec, Bess, Bert, and Earl

 Not sure on a date for this one, but I assume after the 1966 reunion and 
before Carl's stroke in 1970 which confined him to a wheelchair. 
Back: Elzie, Bess, Bert, Earl
Front: Carl and Lec

Friday, September 28, 2012

... starts with the Thomas Family: Carl Vernon Thomas

Of all the people I have come across in this Thomas Family binder, Carl Vernon Thomas is the most intriguing to me. I would love to have known him, or had 5 minutes to speak with the man he was, especially in the 1940s. 

Carl Vernon Thomas was the youngest child of Joseph Andrew Thomas and Mary Ellen Callison. Carl's birth certificate (which Letha has in the binder) lists his birth date as 10 Oct 1913 in Springdale, West Virginia, the back side of the certificate states that "The original of this certificate was not filed until Jan. 3, 1941." His birth record is not currently available through the WVCulture website, as Fayette County births are only available for the years 1852, 1861-1911 (as of this writing 28 Sep 2012). 
James Elzie Thomas (kneeling with dog) and
Carl Vernon Thomas (boy with cap)

Carl had an unfortunate accident as a child that left him with a handicap, his right arm was left a stump (at what I believe was) just above the elbow. I've heard that it was possibly from a fall out of a tree, but I'm not entirely certain. Despite the disability, Carl went to school at the West Virginia Business College (does anyone know where this college is/was?). 

Carl Vernon Thomas, back row on the far left.
Due to his handicap, Carl was unable to participate in World War II, but he aided the United States military as a civilian. In Letha's binder are 3 letters that speak volumes to Carl's hard work, loyalty, and character. The first is dated 1 October 1945, written by none other than the Major General of the Office of the Air Surgeon, David N. W. Grant (wikipedia entry with photo).

The second, dated 27 July 1947, written by Lt. Colonel William H. Perkins:

The last, 14 November 1947, written by Major General Malcom C. Grow (who would become the first Surgeon General of the United States in 1949, wikipedia entry).

These letters are, to me, priceless. They tell the story of Carl in ways that I may never have heard otherwise. The story ends sadly with the loss of his position (due to it being given to a government employee with "veteran's preference"), but the absolutely glowing recommendations and the image I am  left with of Carl are truly awesome. I wonder how Carl felt... he had served the office, according to the letters, since at least 1943. After he left the Office of the Air Surgeon, Carl worked for a catering service. I am so very pleased to have these letters available to me, and to be able to share them.  

Carl lived with Letha (his niece) and her husband Jim Osborne, so it is no wonder that she saved these important documents for us to know Carl. He passed away on 29 Nov 1986 in Indialantic, Brevard, Florida. Further evidence of the character and life of Carl Vernon Thomas is in the eulogy that Letha saved (written by Rev. James Allen). 

Obituaries of Carl Vernon Thomas (1913-1986)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

... starts with the Thomas Family: Bessie Jane Thomas

Bess, circa 1934

The  sixth child of Joseph Andrew Thomas and Mary Ellen Callison, and the only daughter, was Bessie Jane, or simply Bess. Bess was born 19 Nov 1907 either in Smoot (as seen here on line 34), or in Dawson (as submitted by L. H. McClung, Physician), both being in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. These communities are extremely small, and are only about 5 miles apart.

Bess married a man by the name of Seymour Stickler on 11 Nov 1936 in Maplewood, Fayette, West Virginia. According to their Marriage Record, Seymour was 33 years old, a widower (his first wife died in 1933), a miner, and was born to W. L. and Delphia Stickler in Lockbridge, Summers County, WV. Bess is listed as 29 years of age at her marriage.

Seymour's first marriage, on 17 Sep 1927 in Fayetteville, WV, was to a Dorothy Spade, daughter of Letcher Esco Spae and Vernie Lee Sanner, born about Feb 1908. She is listed in the Friday, Nov 3, 1933, Charleston Daily Mail (page 5 - found on
Funeral Services were held Monday for Mrs. Seymour Stickler, 23 years old, of Lockbridge, who died Saturday en route to a Hinton hospital.
Upon further investigation, her death certificate is on the WVCulture website. Her cause of death is listed as "Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy."

My heart hurts for her, Seymour, and their entire families.

Bess and Seymour's marriage was not a long one, and it would appear that they divorced before 1941.  Seymour is listed (as D for divorced) marrying a Martha Rorke (age 32, born in Pocahontas County, WV) on 18 Oct 1941 in Summers County, West Virginia. Seymour and Martha had at least six children together, one dying in infancy.

Gene Stickler and his mother, Bess Thomas Stickler
Bess passed away on 17 Jan 1996, at the age of 89. She is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, in Wadsworth, Medina County, Ohio. There is a memorial on for her.  Seymour died in Aug 1975, in Lockbridge, Summers County, West Virginia. I've posted his Obit (below) from the Beckley Post-Herald on 18 Aug 1975.

Bess and Seymour had one child, Gene Thomas Stickler. He also has a memorial on, which can be seen here.

Writing and learning about Bess, and even more about her husband Seymour, is intriguing to me. As it turns out, I was somehow destined to have a connection to Seymour. In a strange set of coincidences, Dorothy Spade, Seymour's first wife, was my Great Grand Aunt as she was my Paternal Great Grandfather's sister. Bess Thomas, Seymour's second wife, was ALSO my Great Grand Aunt being my other Paternal Great Grandfather's sister. This blog follows the research of my Paternal Grandmother's family by my Grand Aunt (my Paternal Grandmother's sister). Does that make any sense? Here's another way to explain it... My Paternal grandparents were Oather Spade and Glenna Thomas. Dorothy Spade was my Grandfather Oather Spade's Aunt. So Seymour was my Grandfather Oather's uncle by marriage. Bess was my Grandmother Glenna's Aunt, so Seymour was also my Grandmother's uncle by marriage. 

Weird enough yet?


Well, you're in luck! Because, while the details are still sketchy, my MOTHER's brother married a Stickler. In Northwest Ohio. My Aunt by marriage is indeed also related in some way to Seymour Stickler.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

...starts with the Thomas family: James Elzie Thomas

On to James Elzie Thomas's family... I discussed he and his twin brother's birth on this post, so on to Elzie's life, what little I know of it.

Elzie was first married to Anna Mae Bowyer, my great grandmother, on 27 Feb 1929 in Fayetteville, Fayette County, West Virginia. He was 23, she 18. Elzie was a coal miner (someone was kind enough to keep and share some of his papers with me) and Letha lists his church affiliation as Methodist. Together the couple had nine children between 1929 and 1947. Letha was the second child, first daughter.  Elzie and Anna Mae divorced 24 Apr 1951. Elzie passed away on 18 Sep 1980 at McPhearson Hospital in Howell, Livingston, Michigan. He was buried on 22 Sep at Wallace Memorial Cemetery in Clintonville, Greenbrier, WV.

Anna Mae will be portrayed at greater length on a future post, but here is what is written on their Family Group Sheet: Anna Mae was born 27 Jan 1911 in Danese, Fayette County, WV to Ernest Russell Bowyer and Ruby Stella Legg. She passed on 14 Aug 1996 at her home in Brighton, Livingston County, Michigan. She was buried 17 Aug 1996 at Brighton Hills Cemetery in Brighton.

Elzie and Anna Mae
It grieves me greatly to read, and subsequently type, this information. I was 14 years old when Anna Mae passed. I have no memories of this woman, and certainly should remember my great grandmother's funeral. My parents divorced when I was 3, so my ties to my extended family, on either side, was tenuous at best, but far weaker on my father's side due to custody, visitation, and geography. 

Both Elzie and Anna Mae moved on to other relationships. Elzie's second marriage was to a widow named Iva Mae Sanford Bowyer. Yes, Bowyer. Strangely enough, it appears he married his ex-wife's widowed Aunt (Anna Mae's father's brother, Ora L Bowyer's wife). They married on 1 Jan 1961 in East Rainelle, Fayette, WV. Iva was born 8 Apr 1909 in Greenbrier County, WV. She passed on 26 Feb 1963 in Fayette County, WV.

Anna Mae had 3 had more children, so the siblings are 12 in total, several have passed on, but for privacy, I will leave it at that.

...starts with the Thomas Family: Thomas twins, Olney and Elzie

The Twin sons of Joseph Andrew Thomas and Mary Ellen Callison were Olney and James Elzie Thomas. Elzie was my great grandfather. Sadly, he passed away not long before I was born. What I know of him is sparse, mostly the data that is in Letha's files, and thankfully some photos. I wonder if any of my aunts, uncles, or cousins might help shed light on who he was as a grandfather, father, person in general...

James Elzie Thomas, better known as Elzie, was born on 25 Sep 1905. He was a twin, unfortunately the other baby, Olney, is listed as passing away on 25 Oct 1905 on Letha's information (no death record matches that on WVCulture website as of today, 9 Aug 2012). I'm not sure where Olney is buried. There are two records on WVCulture that record the birth(s) of these Thomas children. It gets a little confusing...

This record (click to enlarge), entry 104, records the birth of Twin Males, children 4 & 5, born to Mary E. Callison Thomas and J. A. Thomas on 25 Sep 1905 in Dawson, Greenbrier, WV. The record was returned on 1 Oct 1905 and lists the Medical Attendant as L. H. McClung of Dawson. Neither of the boys' names are listed, just Thomas.
Line 25 of this record lists an Eliza Thomas, female, born 26 Sep 1905  to J. A. Thomas and  Mary E. Thomas. The birth place is blank with a line through the box. The box after Mary E Thomas's name is "How Many At A Birth" which is listed as one...  
My thought is that the child that survived (James "Elzie") is the child referred to in the second birth record listed above. I believe that the person recording the information put in Eliza (instead of Elzie) and therefore listed the child as a girl... The first record lists only childs 4 & 5, not 4, 5 & 6 for the couple, so I am not sold on the thought that there was somehow a triplet birth that, having been recorded 6 days later, they would have misreported. Its hard to determine when the information for the "Eliza" record was submitted, either. If it was after Olney's death in October, it would make sense. What do you think?

There is a death record that I found on the WVCulture site that I cannot get out of my head... is it the death record of our Olney? Is there any way to be certain, either yes or no?
See Line 49 on this record.
Thomas, Jem (Jim?), death recorded on 30 Oct 1905. Date of death is listed as 27 Oct 1905 (letha lists Olney's death date as the 25th. His age is listed at 27 years (which quite obviously does not match our Olney, who would have been around 1 month old, 31 days old on 27 Oct 1905). His place of death is listed as Smoot (an area that our Thomas' were known to be living). He was buried in Smoot on 28 Oct 1905. The Physician returning the certificate is L.H. McClung of Dawson, the medical attendant from the Thomas twins' birth, not abnormal for a small rural area. His cause of death is listed as Cholera Infantum... would a 27 year old man have died from this? Wouldn't it just be listed as cholera? So therein lies the crux... which is right? The age or the cause of death? Is it possible the recorder simply put the 27 in the wrong column? Is there still an original form provided by L.H. McClung that might be available?

I've only seen the baby's name listed as Olney, but all the rest of the children have two names, a few of them known by their middle names. What was Olney's full name?

My heart aches for Joe Andy and Ellen's loss for their infant son.

...starts with the Thomas Family: Joseph Berton "Bert" Thomas

The third child of Joseph Andrew Thomas and Mary Ellen Callison was Joseph Berton "Bert" Thomas.

Joseph Berton (center) with two of his brothers,  Lester Robert (left) and James Elzie (right)
- does anyone know where Bert was headed off to in this picture?
Bert was born on 25 Jan 1904 in Dawson, Greenbrier, West Virginia, his birth record has no name attached, and Joseph's name is incorrect (listed as Jacob Thomas), but all else points to this entry being Bert's birth record. Bert died in Mar 1974 in Danese, Fayette, WV. He is buried at Wallace Memorial Cemetery in Clintonville, Greenbrier, WV.

Brothers, James Elzie Thomas and Joseph Berton Thomas
Bert married Nancy Evelyn "Nannie" Shuck on 20 Jun 1941 (according to Letha's notes, I have been unable to confirm this through the WVCulture site's marriage records, or searches on The couple is listed as having no children.  Nannie was born 16 May 1913 in Fayette County, WV (according to the Social Securty Death Index (SSDI)) to Henry Madison "Matt" Shuck and his wife Rebecca A Shuck. The Shuck family plays heavily in Letha's research, as we also have Shuck roots. So I'm sure I will be referencing this post when I get to the many pieces of Shuck info included in the Legacy (books, binders, folders, letters, etc...). Because of this, Letha has also noted Nannie's lineage in the notes on this Family Group Sheet.
Rebecca A Shuck - daughter of Mose II and Liz Shuck
Nannie - descendant of Mose I -> George -> Perry A -> Henry Madison -> Nannie 

Nannie remarried in 1976 to a Harry Wolford. Their marriage license is mentioned on page 7 of the Beckley Post-Herald, Beckley, WV from 22 Jun 1976:
FAYETTE MARRIAGE LICENSES ISSUED - ... Harry Oscar Wolford, 71, of Danese, son of Henry Wolford and Mary Susan Flanagan, and Nannie Evelyn Thomas, 63, of Danese, daughter of Henry M. Shuck and Rebecca Shuck.
 Nannie passed away on 5 Jan 1981 and is also buried at Wallace Memorial Cemetery.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

... starts with the Thomas Family: Lester Robert "Lec" Thomas

The next child of Joseph Andrew and Mary Ellen Callison Thomas was Lester Robert "Lec" Thomas.

Lec was born on 26 May 1902 in Little Sewell, Greenbrier County, WV (see line 180/384, also here on line 19). He passed away on 1 Jul 1978 at the Beckley Hospital in Raleigh County, WV and is buried at Sewell Valley Church Cemetery in Rainelle, Greenbrier County, WV. Lec married Mary Susan "Sudie" Puckett on Christmas Day, 25 Dec 1931 in E. Rainelle, Fayette County, WV. Sudie's parents were William Austin Puckett and Dorcas Crookshanks, Letha lists her as born on 17 Dec 1906. Lec was employed as a woodsman in the marriage record. Sudie died on 15 Apr 1988, and is also buried at Sewell Valley Church Cemetery.
Lec and Sudie

Their children:

  • William Andy (1932-2004)
  • Evelyn June
  • Lester Eugene (1935-2007)  
    • L. Eugene Thomas, 72, of Danese died Dec. 2, 2007. Service will be 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home, Rainelle. Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. Burial will be in Wallace Memorial Cemetery, Clintonville. 

L. Eugene Thomas
Eugene Thomas, 72, of Danese, passed away Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007, at Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital in Beckley, following a short illness.
Born Nov. 7, 1935, at Oswald, W.Va., he was the son of the late 
Lester Robert and Mary Susan “Sudie” Puckett Thomas.
Thomas was a precision sheet metal assembler in a manufacturing plant.
Other than his parents, he was preceded in death by a stillborn son, Merlin 
Thomas; and a brother, William “Bill” Thomas.
Survivors include two sons, Marvin 
Thomas of Monrovia, Md., and Melvin Thomas of Hagerstown, Md.; two sisters, Evelyn McComb of Danese, and Frances Simms of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio; and two grandsons, Jason and Russell.
Service will be 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at Wallace & Wallace Chapel in Rainelle with Pastor Allen Whitt officiating. Burial will follow at Wallace Memorial Cemetery, Clintonville.
Friends may call 6 to 8 p.m. Friday evening at the funeral home.
Arrangements by Wallace & Wallace of Rainelle.

  • Frances Ellen 

Thomas Brothers - Lester Robert, Joseph Berton, and James Elzie -
wonder where "Bert" was headed off to all dressed up and packed... 
Lester Robert "Lec" Thomas

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

... starts with the Thomas Family: Earl Gilmer Thomas

The eldest child of Joseph Andrew and Mary Ellen Callison Thomas was Earl Gilmer Thomas.

Earl was born 28 Nov 1900 in Crawley (Letha lists Smoot but the birth record states Crawley, line 102), Greenbrier, WV. He died on 23 Jun 1972 at his home in Danese, Fayette County, WV. Earl married Cora May Hoke on 3 Jul 1923 in Lewisburg, Greenbrier County. Cora May was born 21 Feb 1901 in Tincher, Greenbrier County to a W.F. and Sephronia Hoke, and died 19 Jan 1994. They are both buried at Sewell Valley Church Cemetery in Rainelle, Greenbrier County.

Their children* were: 

  • Mae Lucille (24 Jan 1924 - 13 Nov 1970, buried at Sewell Valley Church Cemetery), married Raymond Thompson in 1952, they had no children.
  • Elmer Roy (1925 - 1999)
  • Howard Gilmer 
  • Murline Catherine (remember the little girl on the Thomas Home's porch?)
  • Robert Earl Thomas (26 May 1932 - 26 Dec 1952, buried at Sewell Valley Church Cemetery) "Crushed to death in car accident" noted on death certificate. Letha's notes say: "Car wreck at Danese, Earl Jr driving, Ellis Wells also killed, Jay Small and Eddie Narren were unhurt." Ellis' death certificate notes that the impression was that the "car missed bridge, hit a large stone." Ellis was taken to Raleigh General Hospital where he passed from a severe contusion of the brain due to a fracture at the base of his skull.

Earl Gilmer Thomas

Earl, Lester, and Elzie Thomas
Howard Gilmer Thomas and May Lucille Thomas (Earl's children). 

*For privacy, unless the child is now deceased, I will only give names.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Photos of Mary Ellen Callison Thomas

I am blessed with some wonderful photos of Ellen. She looks like someone who experienced a lot in her 80 years, I just wish I could ask her all about it. I especially love the photo with her smiling, and the one with her fancy coat and hat, but with the apron still peeking out underneath. 

The family of Joseph Andrew Thomas and Mary Ellen Callison circa 1906. Joe Andy's mother, Sarah Amanda Lucas Thomas on  the far right. Children, left-right: Joseph Berton, Lester Robert, James Elzie, Earl Gilmer.
Ellen with an unidentified child - anyone know?

Joe Andy and Mary Ellen Callison Thomas, before 1938.
Close-up of "Granny Thomas" and 3 grandchildren: James Russell Thomas, Glenna Thomas (the baby - my grandmother), and Letha Thomas, compiler of the Legacy. Photo taken at the Thomas farm in Danese, WV.

Doesn't everyone have a photo of their Granny with chickens?
The back says "Taken when lived on Claremont Mtn."

Same photo as above, full view.

Ellen with grandchildren, unidentified on this photo - anyone know?

Ellen in the center, the little boy on the right side of the photo is a  grandson, Gene Stickler.
All dressed up for an outing? Note that she's  still sporting her apron.  

Love this photo and her smile! The woman on the right is a friend, Mrs. Kate Helmick

Kate Helmick, Ellen, Gene Stickler, Sonny Helmick, and Lowell Thomas. Gene and Lowell are both grandchildren of Ellen and Joe Andy's.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Photos of Joseph Andrew Thomas

I have no tales to go along with these photos, but I feel compelled to share them. Enjoy!
Joe Andy Thomas 

Logging Camp possibly Greenbrier County, or possibly Fayette County, close-ups below.

Another Logging Camp photo, no one identified in this photo, close-up below.

The family of Joseph Andrew Thomas and Mary Ellen Callison. Joe Andy's mother, Sarah Amanda Lucas Thomas on  the far right. Children, left-right: Joseph Berton, Lester Robert, James Elzie, Earl Gilmer.
I wonder who made the quilt? Is it still around somewhere?