Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Big House Wedding, October 15, 1953—Update

Among the many, old family photographs in my grandmother’s (Martha Leona Roberts) desk at my mom’s house, I found a few of my parents’ wedding. When I was a kid, I loved looking at these photos and thought how beautiful my mom looked in her wedding dress and how handsome my dad looked in his suit! My parents, Albert Sidney Pendleton, Jr. and Leona Roberts Redles, were married on October 15, 1953, at the house where my mom grew up and where my dad proposed, the J. T. Roberts house—otherwise known as the Big House—in Valdosta, Georgia. Here are a few of those photos.

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In the above photograph are my mom and her sister Catherine getting ready for the ceremony. They’re in the upstairs bedroom that they shared with their mother. [Update: they are actually in their Aunt Margaret Roberts Graham’s room.] (As I noted in a previous post, several of the children of John Taylor Roberts and Catherine Margaret Young lived in the Big House with their families.)

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Uncle Big Bubba (William Leland Roberts), my grandmother Leona’s oldest brother, walked my mom down the aisle. (My mom’s father, William Liming Redles, died nearly 20 years earlier in 1932 in Washington, D.C. My grandmother packed up her two young daughters and moved back to Valdosta.) The ceremony took place in the parlor.




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My parents smooching. From left to right: Catherine Redles (my mom’s sister and maid of honor), my mom and dad (of course), my dad’s brother (his best man) William Frederick Pendleton, and bridesmaids Laurie White (my mom’s friend) and our cousin Mary Remer Parramore (daughter of Redden and Mary Remer “Dinah” Roberts Parramore).

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How ‘bout this dress! Beautiful! My mom's wedding dress was a Dior ordered from New York, and then it was trimmed in embroidery cut from a roll of silk that her father brought back to the U. S. from his sojourn in Japan several decades before. Update: My mom’s sister Catherine’s dress (the bridesmaid) was made from a bolt of silk that their father brought back from Japan.

Wedding photos to be continued….


Related Post:

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Billie Redles aka Leona Redles

Leona Redles as baby copy

This is another photograph that I scanned from my grandmother Leona’s desk at my mom’s house this past March while I was visiting. At first I wasn’t sure who the baby was in this photograph. It sure looks like my mother, but written on the back is “Billie Redles” in what looks like my grandmother Leona’s handwriting. Who was Billie Redles? My grandfather William Redles didn’t have any sons, and he had no nephews with the last name Redles. Was the baby a cousin? When I showed it to my mom, she said, “That’s me!” Of course. “Billie” after her father William. What a cute nickname and one I’d never heard her called before. I wonder why they didn’t stick with it. Her nickname ended up being Lonie (pronounced with a long “o”) which is the same nickname as her mother’s. I think nearly everyone at the Big House had a nickname (or rather, nearly everyone in the Roberts family, as not all of them lived in the Big House). Here are a few: Doodle, Big Bubber, Little Bubber, Punkum, Brother, Bo, Koota, Midge, Snookie, Dinah, Bootsie, and Auntie. (In fact, I didn’t even know their real names when I was growing up.)

Here’s what’s written on the back of the above photo:

Leona Redles as baby obverse



“Miss Billie Redles age 6 mo. In my box I use in the car.”



I’m glad babies don’t ride around in boxes in cars anymore (at least, I hope they don’t).


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Martha Leona (Mattie) Roberts

Below is a photograph of my maternal great, great aunt Martha Leona (Mattie) Roberts. She was the next to the youngest sister of my great grandfather John Taylor Roberts. This is one of the many family photographs that I scanned from my grandmother Leona’s desk at my mom’s house when I was visiting this past March. This aunt is my grandmother Leona’s namesake.

Mattie Roberts cropped

Below is what my grandmother wrote on the back (click the photos to enlarge them):
Mattie Roberts label cropped

Transcription of the above: Leona Roberts Strickland – (Mrs. C. C. [C. S.] Strickland) Aunt Lonie – The aunt I was named for. My fathers sister (“Lonie” – pronounced with a long “o”— is also my grandmother’s and my mother’s nickname.)

Mattie Roberts was born during the Civil War on January 17, 1864, in Berrien County, Georgia [1, 2]. Her parents were William and Margaret (DeVane) Roberts. She married Colquitt Strickland (1857-1924) in Berrien County on January 31, 1883 [3]. Below is a copy of their marriage license on page 299 of the Berrien County marriage book available on Georgia’s Virtual Vault.

Mattie Roberts marriage lic pg 299 cropped

Mattie and Colquitt had three children: Charles, William, and Luelle [4]. Around the time that the 1900 census was taken, Mattie died on August 10, 1900, at the age of 36 [5]. At the time of Mattie’s death, her children were 16, 12, and 6 years old [6]. I noticed on the 1900 census that Mattie’s sister Beulah (Margaret) Roberts was living with them (See census record below starting at line 27. Click to enlarge). I figured she must have been there to take care of her sister Mattie and help with the household and the children. I also figured that Colquitt married again after Mattie died. I was right. He married Beulah [7].

1900 census Mattie Roberts

While I was scrolling though the Strickland burials on the Sunset Hill Cemetery interactive map, I noticed “INF. DTR STRICKLAND.” According to the description, the marker says “Infant Daughter of C. and M. L. Strickland.” There is also a link to the photograph of the marker. There are no birth and death dates. This indicates that Mattie and Colquitt had at least four children instead of three. On the 1900 census, Mattie is recorded has having had three children and all three were living (See census record above). Did this child die when Mattie died? I don’t have a copy of their death records.

Martha Leona (Mattie) Roberts Strickland is buried in Sunset Hill Cemetery in Valdosta, Georgia, in Section 313, Block 13, Lot 004, Space 19.

[1] findagrave memorial for Martha Leona Roberts Strickland.
[2] Ancestry.com 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Valdosta, Lowndes, Georgia, Roll 209, Page 45A, Enumeration District 70.
[3] Ancestry.com Georgia Marriages, 1851-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2000.
[4] See footnote 2 above
[5] See footnote 1 above
[6] See footnote 2 above
[7] Lowndes County marriage book, page 532. Marriage license for C. Strickland and Beulah Roberts. Date of marriage 22 April 1902. Georgia’s Virtual Vault.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Who Was The Roberts Family Nurse?

Nurse copy

This is another one of the photographs that I scanned at my mom’s house from the desk that belonged to my maternal grandmother Leona (Roberts) Redles. Even though this was taken before my mom’s time, I asked her if she happened to know the nurse’s name, but she didn’t.

The back of the photo simply says “Nurse” (see image below) in what looks like my grandmother’s handwriting. The photograph was taken by photographer D. S. Wilson of Valdosta, Georgia.

I don’t know much about clothing styles through the centuries, so any help dating this photograph based on her dress style is welcome. Her dress looks like it might be made of silk, and she has a silk ribbon around her waist. There is an intricate pattern printed on the fabric. The dress has a high collar and tight, straight sleeves with a puff at each shoulder. The bodice appears to have pleats down the front, and it looks like it’s trimmed with the same ruffle as the collar and sleeves. The dress does not touch the floor. Joan L. Severa, in Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900 (The Kent State Press, Kent, Ohio, 1995), dates this dress style to the 1890s. Is that a crease down the front or seam? If you look to the right of that (toward her left), there appears to be another seam. It looks like there’s a crease going across the dress, maybe where it was folded. She’s holding what looks like a small billfold or booklet that is closed with a clasp, and she’s possibly wearing a bracelet around her right wrist. What a tiny, corseted waist she has! She’s standing next to a wicker chair, and it looks like another wicker chair is behind her.

Nurse obverse

If I only had Roberts family history to go on, I would guesstimate that this photograph was taken in the late 19th century or the very early 1900s. John Taylor Roberts married Catherine Margaret Young in 1883. (They lived in the Big House.) Their first child (William Leland Roberts) was born in 1884. Their last child (Mary Remer “Dinah” Roberts) was born in 1900. There were nine children in all. They would have needed a nurse for quite some time. I remember my mom saying that, with her own five children, she had at least one baby in diapers and on a bottle for 10 years straight. This nurse could be one of several that the Roberts family had over the years.

I tried to find a date range as to when this photography studio was in business. I found a couple of other photographs on the internet taken by D. S. Wilson. One was taken in 1895 and the other one (on the Digital Library of Georgia website) was taken in 1901. I looked in the two Lowndes County history books that I have but neither one mention this photography studio.

I checked the 1900 and 1910 census records (1890 is not available) to see if there was a live-in nurse in the Roberts household, but only the Roberts family members are listed. I searched the 1900 census on ancestry.com using “nurse” as a keyword just to see what would come up. There were a lot of nurses in Valdosta, Georgia, in 1900.

I was also curious about the nurse herself. She was probably of modest means, yet she is elegantly and stylishly dressed. Plus, she paid to have a full-length photograph taken. Was the photograph for a special occasion or was the dress a special dress? Ms. Severa notes, after describing a circa 1890-1891 photograph of a woman similarly stylishly dressed who worked as a domestic, that people of the working and lower-middle classes did make the effort to dress well, even though they did not have much money [1].

What else does the photograph say about her?



[1] Joan L. Severa. Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900 (The Kent State Press, Kent, Ohio, 1995).