Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nearly Wordless Wednesday—The Roberts Sisters


Front Row: my maternal grandmother Leona (Roberts) Redles, Margaret (Roberts) Graham, and Maie Dell (Roberts) Covington. Back Row: Mary Remer (Roberts) Parramore, Kathleen (Roberts) Winn, and Stella (Roberts) Pendleton.

Another one of the photos from my grandmother’s desk (at my mom’s house) that I scanned during my visit this past March This was taken on the front steps of the J. T. Roberts house in Valdosta, Georgia, maybe ca. early 1950s (my grandmother passed away in 1955). One sister, Edwina Roberts, is missing from the photo as she was an invalid and would not have been able to come outside. I love that this family took so many photos!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday—John Taylor Roberts


This is the headstone at the grave of my maternal great grandfather John Taylor Roberts in Sunset Hill Cemetery in Valdosta, Georgia. He was born on July 18, 1850, in Berrien County, Georgia. He died on January 18, 1920, in Valdosta, Georgia.

JT Roberts burial

The above photo was taken on January 20, 1920, at the grave of John Taylor Roberts in Sunset Hill Cemetery in Valdosta, Georgia.


Here’s the Roberts family cemetery plot today. The two headstones in the middle of the photo are my maternal great grandparents John Taylor Roberts (on the left) and Catherine (Young) Roberts (on the right).


Friday, May 25, 2012

The J. T. Roberts Family—A Group Photo ca. 1936

This is one of my favorite photographs of the Roberts clan, my maternal grandmother’s (Leona Roberts Redles) family. It’s one of many that I scanned this past March when I was visiting my family in Valdosta, Georgia. This was taken at the J. T. (John Taylor) Roberts house on Wells Street. We called it the Big House. This was taken on the side porch on the south elevation. I’m guessing it was taken around 1936 or so. My Aunt Catherine (Redles) looks to be about four or five years old and my mom looks about ten or so. Click on the photo to enlarge it. I resorted to numbering everyone since the folks on the steps aren’t sitting in straight rows.

Most of the folks in the photograph are descendants of John Taylor (J. T.) and Catherine (Young) Roberts, my great grandparents. Some are spouses of the descendants. I’ve included the nicknames that my mom wrote on the back, but I’ve added their “real” names. One of my dad’s friends once said that if you want to talk about someone in this family but don’t want anyone to know to whom you are referring, just use their real names, because no one (outside of the family) knew what their real names were! I had to look up some of them myself when I was labeling the photo! Get ready. It’s a long caption. (Nicknames and maiden names are in parentheses.)

SCAN1168 copy

Left to Right—Front Row: 1-John Roberts (John Bobs) Covington, 2-John Winn 3-Minnie Roberts, 4-Anita (Doodle) Roberts, 5-Edwina (Bootsie) Roberts, 6-Edith Roberts, 7-Redden (Bo) Parramore, Jr., 8-Mary Remer Parramore, 9-Lilla Kate Parramore. Second Row: 10-John T. (Johnnie) Roberts, 11-Kathleen (Sister) (Auntie) (Roberts) Winn, 12-Abial Winn, 13-John Young Roberts (by banister), 14-Catherine Young (Snookie) Graham, 15-Margaret (Roberts) Graham, 16-Warren (Brother) Graham, 17-Catherine Redles (my mom’s sister, nearly hidden holding the doll), 18-Kathleen (Koota) (Winn) Knight, 19-baby Jimmy Knight, 20-James (Jimmy) Knight. Third row: 21-Mary (Converse) Roberts (wearing glasses), 22-Leona (Roberts) Redles (my grandmother), 23-Gertrude (Jones) Roberts, 24-Leona (Lonie) Redles (my mom, holding doll). Fourth Row: 25-Stella (Roberts) Pendleton, 26-William Leland (Big Bubba) Roberts, 27-Mary Remer (Dinah) (Roberts) Parramore, 28-Redden Parramore, Sr. Top Row: 29-Edmund Pendleton, 30-Maie Dell (Roberts) Covington, 31-Edwina (Midge) Roberts, 32-Henry Covington. The handsome young men standing on the right side of the photo are (back to front) 33-Henry Covington, 34-Roberts (Hunkie) Pendleton, and 35-Edmund Pendleton (Yes, a Roberts married a Pendleton. I have double cousins. And this isn’t the only instance of someone in my mom’s family marrying someone in my dad’s!)

What a handsome family! A lot of them are very familiar to me as I knew them when I was a kid growing up in the 50s and 60s. Some of the youngsters in this photo now have grandchildren and great grandchildren. I wonder what a Roberts family photo would look like now!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday—Frances J. Dekle


This is the headstone of Frances J. Dekle in Sunset Hill Cemetery, Valdosta, Georgia, in Section C203, Block 54, Lot 1. She was born November 22, 1903, and she died November 19, 1993. She’s buried next to her parents, Elmer E. and Frances T. Dekle. Miss Dekle was my first grade teacher at Sallas Mahone Elementary School in Valdosta (the old one that used to be on the corner of Patterson Street and Woodrow Wilson Drive, not the new Sallas Mahone). I happened to pass by her grave when I was visiting the cemetery this past March. 


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday—Francis Key Pendleton


This is the gravestone of my paternal great uncle Francis Key Pendleton. He was born on May 30, 1891, and he died July 5, 1911. He is buried in Section B219, Lot 11 in Sunset Hill Cemetery in Valdosta, Georgia, next to his parents Alexander Shaw and Susan Dasher (Parramore) Pendleton.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Jane Eliza Myers—A California Gold Rush “Widow” (Update)

SCAN0996While I was visiting my family in Valdosta, Georgia, this past March, I rummaged through my maternal grandmother’s desk at my mom’s house. It’s something I’ve done since I was a kid. The desk is filled with old family photos of my mom’s side of the family, mostly the Roberts side and some on the Redles side. I spent several days scanning all of the photographs and some pages out of a couple of college yearbooks that belonged to my grandmother Leona Roberts. Tucked into one of the drawers of this old desk are a journal and a scrapbook that belonged to my maternal second great grandmother, Jane Eliza Myers. I don’t remember seeing these before, but then, whenever I poked around in the drawers over the years, I was only interested in looking at photographs.
Jane Eliza Myers was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 14, 1818. She was married to my maternal second great grandfather John Adam Redles (1817-1880). Their son George Albert Redles (1843-1912) is my great grandfather. When I showed the scrapbook and journal to my mom, she told me that John Redles went to California during the gold rush. I had no idea! Some of Jane’s writings in these two books are about her longing for his safe passage and return home.

Jane used an old business ledger that belonged to her husband John as her scrapbook. On several of the pages, she pasted articles out of newspapers, but on some she wrote a few passages. In her journal, Jane wrote some poetry. The photograph at the beginning of this post is her signature, “Jane E. Redles,” written inside of one of the books.

When John left for the California gold rush in 1849, Jane was 31 years old with four small children at home—including my great grandfather George—all under the age of ten. Below are some of her writings from the journal and scrapbook. I’ve added punctuation to the transcriptions for readability. Also, she was in the habit of leaving off the apostrophe “s” on “husband.”


Above are some entries that she made soon after his departure. The top of the page says 1849. The first entry is January 18: “My dear Husband [sic] departure for California. I feel that God will spare him to come home. May I realize it.” On January 19, she writes: “I trust God will support me in this hour of trial. I feel my faith streangthen [sic] that I shall see him.” On January 20, she was feeling better: “I feel much more comfortable in body and mind. Paid for deed-----.” The rest of this page is missing.


The above entry is dated Sunday evening, February 18, 1849. It says, “Just one month since my Husband [sic] departure for California. I trust God will spare him to return Home to his little family.”

At the top of the page below is a poem that Jane wrote during John’s absence:


Below is my attempt at a transcription of the poem, but I had some trouble reading her handwriting:
Love without hope! it cannot be
There is a vessel in your sea,
Becalmed and sailness[?] as Despair,
and know—‘tis hopeless Love floats there.
J. E. Redles April 20th 1/49 [1849]. Friday morning
The passage below the poem in the above photo reads: “Father, governeth it for thee[?] hast made a way in the sea, and a safe path in the waves; Blessed be the Lord, because he has heard of my supplication.”
I don’t know how long John was in California. I don’t know how he traveled to California. Based on Jane’s writings above, I wonder if he went by sea. I looked for a passenger record on but couldn’t find one. According to an article on, thousands of people, mostly men, flocked to California during the 1849 gold rush, arriving by land and by sea. They either sailed to Panama or around Cape Horn. The gold rush peaked by 1852.


The passage above is dated July 30 and mentions John coming home, but there is no year recorded. I suspect he returned the same year, in 1849. [Update: one of my Redles cousins noted that the length of the voyage—three to four months—would not have made it possible to return so soon, and that it’s more likely that John didn’t return until around 1851.] Here is a transcription of first entry: “I feel encouraged this day still to trust in Providence, I feel in a short time I shall welcome My dear Husband [sic] return home. Should I be disappointed, May my Heavenly father still continue his protection and comfort me.”

I called Jane a gold rush “widow” in the title of this post, meaning something like a “football widow.” There are a few things I’d like to know. How did Jane manage while John was gone? She seems upset and worried at first. Did she feel this way the whole time he was gone? Did she have help with the children and household during this time? Was family nearby? Did she move in with family while he was gone? I don’t know anything about her family or even who her parents were.

John made it home from California safe and sound. They had a few more children after he came back. John and Jane both died in Philadelphia—John on October 5, 1880, and Jane on November 14, 1885 [1]. They are both buried at the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes) Church in Philadelphia [2].

[1] Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915, for John Redles and Jane Redles, accessed on
[2] See footnote above.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friend of Friends Friday

One of the daily blogging prompts on Geneabloggers is Friend of Friends Friday. This is a way to share “records of enslaved ancestors, whether they are your own ancestors or not…”

I love reading old newspapers, but when I’m researching, I try to stay focused and have eyes for what I’m looking for. Otherwise time will fly, and I’ll forget about what I started out doing! I can’t help myself—my eyes sometimes stray around the page. While recently looking up one of my ancestors in historic Savannah, Georgia, newspapers on Genealogy Bank, I happened to glance over to the right on one of the pages of the August 14, 1830, issue of the Georgian. There I saw ads for the sale of slaves and for the capture of runaway slaves. Here are transcriptions of these ads:


On the first Tuesday in September next, Will be sold before the Court House in the City of Savannah between the usual hours of sale, the following property:--

--A mulatto man named Billy, alias Bill Black, levied on as the property of S. D. Pearce, to satisfy sundry executions in favor of John Rawls, M. Hopkins, Jas. Anderson and others—levy made and returned to me by a constable.

One negro man named Bob, levied on as the property of Gustavus A. Cop, to satisfy an execution in favor of Edmund Richardson, property pointed out by the plaintiff.

Fifty Dollars Reward

Runaway from my plantation 12 miles from Savannah, in the beginning of February last, my negro fellow named Quash, aged about 35 years, slender made, stoops when walking—stutters when spoke to—the said fellow was bought from the estate of  Neufville; and is supposed to be lurking or concealed in Savannah, where he [h]as a wife, or in the neighborhood of Coosawatchie, where he came from. The above reward will be paid for his apprehension and delivery either at my plantation, to my manager, or at the Jail in Savannah or Coosawatchie. James M. Wayne. July 22.

Ten Dollars Reward

Runaway from the subscriber about May last, a negro man named JOE, commonly called Joe Leion, an African by birth, speaks slow, about six feet high, slender made, and a down look when he speaks—he is well known in the city having for several years been in the habit of working as a porter, and formerly belonged to the late Alexander Hunter, Esq. deceased, he has also a wife in the city, named Mary, the property of Hannah Leion, by whom there is little doubt, he is harbored. The above reward will be paid on his being lodged in Jail, by JOHN H. MOREL. Aug 7.

I imagine that both living this kind of life or running away from it took a lot of courage. I hope your descendants find you.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday—John C. Waldhauer

Waldhauer John C

This is the gravestone for John C. Waldhauer in Sunset Hill Cemetery in Valdosta, Georgia. John was the brother of my paternal second great grandmother Elizabeth (Waldhauer) Dasher. He’s buried in Section C308, Lot 12 near Elizabeth and her husband Christian Herman Dasher, and he is next to his and Elizabeth’s brother Israel Waldhauer. The date on the gravestone is hard to read but it looks like 1861. It can’t be any earlier as Sunset Hill Cemetery wasn’t established until 1861, and this is the year of the first burial. Below that, it looks like it says John died when he was 76 years and 14 days old which would make his birth year 1785. I have it as 1787 in my family tree, but I haven’t been able to verify it.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Unknown Slaves Memorial, Valdosta, Georgia

Standing in Sunset Hill Cemetery in Valdosta, Georgia, is a memorial dedicated to the slaves of Valdosta who are buried there in unmarked graves. Begun in 1995, the memorial was made possible by a group of Valdostans, led by Rev. Willie Wade, who raised money for the memorial [1]. The slave cemetery was “rediscovered” in 1956 when frequent cemetery visitor Belle Hunt Finley told cemetery employee Melvin Nelson that slaves were buried at the location where he was about to build the cemetery’s compost pile, and she requested that the area be marked off and preserved[2].


The granite arch in the above photograph reads, “A memorial to the unknown slaves of Valdosta in recognition of their sacrifices and contributions to our community.”


The granite marker (see above) behind the arch quotes Exodus 21:16, “And he that stealeth a man and selleth him of if he be found in his hand, he shall sorely be put to death.”

After the Civil War, Valdosta was occupied by Union soldiers, including the 103rd Colored Infantry who was stationed in Valdosta in 1865 [3, 4]. They were garrisoned on the corner of West Hill Avenue and South Patterson Street.[5] Some of the soldiers came back to Valdosta to live and are buried in Sunset Hill Cemetery [6]. Behind the memorial are markers dedicated to four of these African American soldiers who are also buried in the cemetery in unmarked graves. According to a February 24, 1995, Valdosta Daily Times article, there are six African American soldiers buried here, and plans were to have a total of six markers as soon as funding was available [7].


The markers read (left to right):
  • Federal, Pvt. Ray Edward, 8th Inf., Co. F, USCT, Died Feb. 20th, Wound received in action at Olustee, Prisoner of War;
  • Pvt. J. Fry Otterbrien, 21st PA. Cav., Co. L, Died May 6, 1903;
  • Pvt. George Hendrick, Died Nov. 2, 1865, Occupation of Valdosta, GA. 1865-1866;
  • Pvt. Jim Wade, 103rd Inf., Co. G, USCT, Died May 17, 1865, Occupation of Valdosta, GA. 1865-1866.
In 2011, the Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences at Valdosta State University used Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to look for possible graves immediately west of the Unknown Slaves Memorial (click here for details of the study). Several large, rectangular features were found that are likely some of the graves.

To visit the Unknown Slaves Memorial at Sunset Hill Cemetery, enter the main cemetery entrance off of Oak Street (see lower right on the map below) and follow the right fork until you reach the road labeled West Street on the map. The memorial is just beyond this intersection (labeled Slave Cemetery just below Section P on the map below).


[1] Dean Poling, “Slaves to be honored,” The Valdosta Daily Times, February 24, 1996.
[2] Rex Gambill, “Slaves honored Sunday,” The Valdosta Daily Times, February 26, 1996.
[3] See footnote 2 above.
[4] Lowell Vickers Jr., “Memorial service to honor slaves,” The Valdosta Daily Times, February 24, 1995.
[5] Albert S. Pendleton, Jr. and Susan McKey Thomas. In Search of the Hollidays: The Story of Doc Holliday and His Holliday and McKey Families. Line drawings by Earle Sinclair McKey, III (Valdosta, Georgia: Little River Press, 1973.), 33. (This book was reprinted by Lowndes County Historical Society [LCHS], Valdosta, Georgia, in 2008 and is available at the LCHS museum at 305 W. Central Ave.]
[6] See footnote 4 above.
[7] See footnote 4 above.