differently? For instance, heered, skeered, kivers and such. And words you heard older generations speak like much obliged, pshaw and the like? Well, it just could be that the modern world bypassed all us Appalachians and Ozarkians. Below is a reprint of an article from White River Valley Historical Magazine that just above kivers it all:
Volume 1, Number 11 – Spring 1964
THE ELIZABETHAN INFLUENCE ON THE OZARK DIALECT
By Steve McDonald
At the beginning of the seventeenth century, after her victories over Spain, England was becoming greatly overcrowded. With returning soldiers and the hard times of the working classes, people began to look for opportunities elsewhere. So there began a big migration to the new world. At this time, there was very little communication between England and her colonies, and the conditions in the colonies for literary development were very poor. They fell behind in the growth of the English language. One critic reported that the Harvard college library in 1723 had “nothing of Addison, Steele, Bolingbroke, Dryden, Pope, and Swift” and had only recently obtained copies of Milton and Shakespeare.
Therefore, although the English language was changing rapidly during this time, very little of it affected the American usage. By the end of the eighteenth century it was already being pointed out that many Americanisms were just survivals of old or provincial English. Since that time, how ever, American English has started more or less imitating the current English spoken and, as the western states followed the eastern, English began to catch up everywhere.
But when the great tides of immigration swept westward, the backhills section of the Ozarks was passed by. Here there was no melting pot. The people retained their original purity, and remained that way for some time before the outside world began to influence this part of the country.
It is not surprising, then, that people from the cities are often struck by the frequent uses of archaic words and phrases used by the hill folk. Many enthusiasts have called the Ozarks speech “Chaucerian”, and made references to “Shakespeare’s America” and “our contemporary ancestors.” I am inclined to think that this is a bit of an exaggeration. Thomas Hart Benton once said, “The Ozarks people do use a lot of Elizabethan expressions, but the general effect is not Elizabethan because their speech is mixed with modern slang and wisecracks.” This, too, may not tell the whole story. The old usages have drifted out, but there is no denying that the pure Ozark dialect is a survival of older English usage–what basically was once the common country and village speech of old England.
So many of the archaic words and phra-
ses, as well as many of the tall tales and folklore and even folksongs, are the same as those used and heard in England that it is quite surprising.
Living instances keep pouring in. Many Ozarkers still tarry awhile to spend an opinion as Hamlet did. Our common word varmint, for example, is derived from vermin, and preserves an older English pronunciation. Surely the hillman’s pronunciation of wrestle—he makes it sound like wrastle– is very near Chaucer’s wrastelying and wrasteleth in his Canterbury Tales. The word dare, often pronounced dar is standard in England and also was used in the Canterbury Tales spelled dar.
The word et, which is considered bad English but which is often heard in Ozark speech, is a pronunciation still common among Englishmen, and is defended by the Oxford Dictionary, which gives the pronunciation as et. In the hillsman’s speech, one almost always hears the participle et instead of eaten, and it has been in good use for centuries as found in the literature of Shakespeare, Pope, Dickens, Tennyson, and many others.
Chew is almost always chaw to the Ozarker as it was to seventeenth century England; poor is pore as it was to old England; slick was used for sleek by Beaumont and Fletcher as it is used in the Ozarks today. Both heerd and deef are common pronunciations today as they were, and still are, in some county dialects in Eng land.
The words boil and join are often pronounced bile and jine as Shakespeare used them, and the same vowel substitution occurs in point–p’int and disapp’int; also in poison which was commonly p’ison in old England. And it is said that English noblemen almost always pronounced yellow as yaller.
The Ozarker will often use an “l” sound instead of the “n” in chimney so that it sounds likechimley or chimbley. This is an old pronunciation, for Sir Walter Scott in Rob Roy refers to a “kirk with a chimley in it.”
The noun gal, replacing girl, is still used in some parts of England. Where most Americans use “anyway”, an Ozarker uses the adverbial genitive anyways, and is soundly condemned by many grammar books. Yet the Book of Common Prayer published in England in 1560 has: “All those who are anyways afflicted… in body, mind, or estate.”
The Ozarker has a tendency to use weak verbs rather than strong ones, and from this comes such words as beared, ketched, drinked, throwed, and many others. The same thing can be seen in the Canterbury Tales with growed; in Wyclif’s Office of Curates with costed; in Caxton’s Sons of Aymon with hurted; in The Tempest with
shaked, becomed, blowed; and in Milton’s Paradise Lost with catched.
In Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, we find: “Let your highness lay a more noble thought upon mine honor, than for to think I would leave it here.” In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: “…the holy blissful martir for to seek”, and “. . .well loved he for to drink strong wyn.” And in the Bible in Luke 7:24, we read, “What went ye out…for to see?” Often we hear this use by the hillsman, as in “Why for did you come?”
The Ozarks verb doesn’t always agree with its subject in number, but a like disagreement is often found in Elizabethan English. Spenser said in Faerie Queene, referring to people “…whose names is hard to read.” In Shakespeare we find such sentences as “…here comes the townsmen”, “…his tears runs down his beard”, and “… my old bones aches”.
Other uses of words can be found in Shakespeare’s writings which are often used by Ozarkians. Mind in the sense of intend, misdoubt and disremember; the use of ruinate for ruin; and the word which is often given as ary is the pronunciation of e’er a as in “Has the old man e’er a son?” So it is with nary, a corruption of ne’er a.
Shakespeare’s works are full of such adjective forms as worser, more hotter, more unkindest, more worst, certainer, as well as others which are common with the Ozarker.
And so one can go on for several volumes of likenesses between the speech of the Ozarks and old England. You can find in the Ozark hills, among its true natives, some of the most beautiful and most true-to-life tales and stories to be heard. It has been said that the true Ozark storyteller puts across his tale with a song of words which have the quality of oaths at times, and at other times the quality of tears.
“Ozarkers Speak English” by Nancy Clemens, Esquire, April 1937; John S. Kenyon’s American Pronunciation 1942; The American Spirit in Literature by Perry Bliss, 1918; Randolph Vance’s The Devil’s Pretty Daughter, 1955; Down in the Holler by Randolph Vane and George P. Wilson, 1953; A History of the United States, Vol. 1, by R. G. Thwaiter and C. N. Kendall, 1922; Charles Morrow Wilson’s The Bodacious Ozarks, 1959.
The following is a pdf file with an article from the White River Valley Historical Quartlery in the issued dated Spring 1964. It traces our Abner Casey’s lineage from the Tyrone County, Ireland to Taney County, Missouri. Some photos are included of those lines. Enjoy. Click on the hyperlink below to access the article.
for information on your family history. And you may not find what or who you are looking for currently, but sometimes you find something else of equal importance. Take for instance I was researching for an article I am in the process of writing on one of my female Peebles ancestors in Lincoln County, Tennessee when I came across this piece of information that I thought might never have been found. This was verification of the death of my fourth great-grandmother on my Peebles side of the family.
Luncinda Menefee was born circa 1788 in Lincoln County, Kentucky. She was a daughter of William Menefee and Elizabeth Vardeman Menefee. I penned an article on Wiliam Menefee some time back. Her death was indicated on the Giles County, Tennessee Mortality Schedule for the year ending 31 May 1880. In the first column her family number is given, looks like 293, but I could be wrong because it is hard to decipher.
Her name is given as Lucinda Laughlin. Her age at death was 101 and she died in August of 1879. She had lived in the county for seventy years which meant she came to the county in 1809. That would make her and her father’s family one of the first settlers. She was aged 101 years at her death and had been under the care of a Dr Sumpter. She died from pneumonia. She had lived with her daughter after her husband died, The daughter was Priscilla M Peebles Upshaw who had married Louis Green Upshaw. The Upshaw family seemed to be a family of means as their income on census records indicates such.
Below is the mortality schedule that shows her death.
he and his partner have already won. Everybody else can go home now.
Noah Galloway and his partner Sharna Burgess have won this season’s Dancing With the Stars. If there was any remaining doubt, tonight’s performance puts that doubt to rest. Noah is an Alabama boy, a handsome and brave Alabama boy, who lost both limbs on his right side during the current wars. He is brave beyond belief and he gives an account of his story in this episode of DWTS.
Why the judges only gave scores of 8 is mindblowing to me, other than to maybe give the other contestants a little morale boost. They deserved scores of 20, at least. If you are an Alabamian, if you are an American,if you are a veteran, if you know a veteran, if you love veteran, if you are a patriot, if you have had a wound to your body or a wound to your soul, if you applaud this soldier’s determination and willpower, if you applaud his partner Sharna Burgess’ ability to work around his disabilities, if you have half a heart, then you will support this patriot with your vote on DWTS. Nothing less will suffice. They have already won….they just need your votes to make them the final winner on this show and for America.
Stand up, Alabama.
Stand up, America.
Testify with your vote.
And share his story with your kids, as they can conquer their fears and hard knocks just like this real southern born and cornbread fed Alabama boy has…and with aplomb.
Old Photograph Contest. I am working on the details as we speak.
This is a photograph submitted for consideration in an old photograph contest by a newspaper. It is an outstanding photo of an annual reunion of the Peebles Family. Unfortunately, this Peebles family descends from Robert Peebles of Ulster, Ireland. That Robert Peebles was of Scot descent, but many Scots were remanded or left for Ireland and left their Scotland home behind; these are the some of the Scot-Irish that would come to America. The Ulster Peebles are not kindred of Captain David Peebles, or so well respected researchers state. Nonetheless, it is a piece of history and should be valued.
are treasures that some families get to savor and keep over the centuries.
Here is a first hand account at the Battle of Shiloh by Chaplain J W. Collum as documented within the eyewitness series in mid-Tennessee during the War Between the States:
Cullom, Chaplain J.W.; 24th Tennessee, Cleburne’s brigade, Hardee’s corps
“Pastoral Sketches 1857-1907,” by J.W. Cullom; Williamson County Historical Journal, No. 27, 1996
Notes: 24th Tennessee organized at Murfreesboro in summer of 1861. Cullom was the chaplain; he resigned as chaplain after almost two years of service.
“On the night before the battle of Shiloh (Lt.) Colonel (Thomas H.) Peebles and I raked up a pile of dry leaves, spread our blankets over them, and lay down to sleep. We were in easy hearing of the enemy. … We listened to their brass bands and songs till a late hour.
“Awhile before day an order came to detail three men from each company to go down under the hill and make some coffee for the boys, but before their task was done an order came to march forward in line of battle.
“I ran down to where the boys were cooking and caught up two big army coffee boilers that held about half a bushel apiece, and as I ran along the line of battle the men held out their cups and drank. When the vessels were empty, we threw them down and fell into line.
“While the officers were placing their men, I said to Colonel Peebles that I would step over a little to the left and look for the enemy.
“I found them. The woods were blue with them, and they rose up from their ambush and poured a volley into us that was frightful.
“The men were ordered to lie down. …
“Gen. W.B. Bate, with his crack regiment, was held in reserve on the hill behind us, and Colonel Peebles called out to him in his stentorian voice to sustain our left wing.
“And so the Second Tennessee came charging into the fray and took me into their ranks about twenty men deep.
“Bate charged and fell back two or three times, and of course I went and came as they did. I was by the side of Captain Hemp Cheney. …
“General Bate was wounded and his horse killed. Major Doak and his horse were both killed at the same moment and rolled over down the hill within a dozen feet of me.
“It was frightful. The swish of the Minie balls seemed to be in our very hair, the dust knocked up at our feet, the shrubs cut down, and the cannon balls cutting off the limbs and dropping them among us….
“On the second day of the battle I was with the hospital. … From the amputation room I carried … out several times an armful of limbs and laid them in an old garden.
“One poor fellow was shot through the head, and his brain was oozing out; but he was still alive and seemed conscious of only one thing – his wish for water; but there as none to give him, as the old well had been dipped dry.
“The army that night fell back toward Corinth, and awhile after dark, the rain pouring down, I hitched my horse to an old peach tree in a little hamlet where a division of the army had camped.
“I first went into what seemed to be an empty tent, but stumbled over a sleeping man and lay down in my wet blanket.
“In a little while, however, the men to whom the tent belonged came in from the battlefield and pushed me out. I stood a minute or two in the drenching rain, looked at my shivering horse hitched to a limb, and it was the saddest moment that ever came over me.
“A few steps away was an old frame house in which there was a light. Looking at the door revealed … the floor was covered with wounded men, and a sentinel was sitting at the door with his gun across his lap; but he was fast asleep. Cautiously stepping over his knees, I picked my way over the wounded men to the fireplace and lay down at the edge of the ashes.
“It was late next morning when I awoke and was glad to find my horse still where he had been left.
“On my back to Corinth the straggling soldiers were picking their way over the streams. …
“I overtook … (Lt. Dick) Herbert, and he got up behind me and we rode double into camp.
“Colonel Peebles had heard that I was killed, and I had heard that he had been left dead on the battlefield. … When I walked up to him he looked at me a moment in mute astonishment, then threw his arms around me and wept like a child.”
An account of the regiment follows:
24th TENNESSEE INFANTRY REGIMENT
Organized August 6, 1861; Confederate service August 24, 1861; reorganized May 2, 1862; formed Company “F”, 3rd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment April 9, 1865; paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865.
- Colonel-R. D. Allison, H. L. W. Bratton, John A. Wilson.
- Lieutenant Colonels-Thomas H. Peebles, J. J. Williams, H. L. W. Bratton, John A. Wilson, S. E. Shannon.
- Majors-J. J. Williams, H. L. W. Bratton, S. E. Shannon, William C. Fielding.
- John C. Jackson, F. M. Jackson, Co. “A”. Men from Rutherford County.
- Thomas H. Peebles, Samuel E. Shannon, Richard N. Herbert, Co. “B”. Men from. Williamson County.
- John M. Uhls, I. W. Burrow, Co. “C”. Men from Macon County.
- John A. Wilson, Nicholas H. Lamb, Co. “D”. Men from Williamson County.
- John A. Baskerville, Jesse Gwinn, H. M. Austin, Co. “E”. Men from Sumner County.
- R. D. Allison, William C. Fielding, H. P. Dowell, W. H. Lincoln, Co. “F”. Men from Alexandria, DeKaib County
- James M. Billington, 1st Co. “G”. Consolidated with “B” May 2, 1862. Men from Maury County.
- William W. May, Isa
ac T. Roberts, W. M. Bennett, 2nd Co. “C” formerly “L”. Men from Hillsboro, Coffee County.
- Charles Wesley Beale, H. C. Campbell, 1st Co. “H”. Consolidated with “I”, May 2, 1862. Men from Hickman County.
- Henry W. Hart, Erastus S. Hance, 2nd Co. “H” formerly “M”. Organized June 22, 1861 at Nashville, Tennessee. Men from Smith County. Attached to regiment early in 1862, prior to the Battle of Shiloh.
- John I. Williams, Edward W. Easley, I. A. Holmes, Co. “I”. Men from Hickman County.
- T. C. Goodner, Henry C. McBroom, Thomas H. Ragsdale, Co. “K”. Men from Manchester, Coffee County. Some from Wilson County.
Of the field officers, Colonel Allison resigned in July, 1862 and organized a squadron of cavalry. Colonel Bratton was killed January 4, 1863. Lieutenant Colonel Peebles resigned in May, 1862; Lieutenant Colonel Williams declined re-election. Major William C. Fielding died May 10, 1864.
The regiment was originally composed of 11 companies which had been organized in June, July and August 1861. They assembled at Camp Trousdale, where they were organized into a regiment, and mustered into Confederate service. Company “M”, which had formerly been an independent company was not attached until early 1862, making twelve companies, which, upon reorganization, were consolidated into ten.
Soon after organization the regiment moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky. On October 23, 1861, Major General William J. Hardee reported the troops then on the line subject to his command were Hindman’s, Hanson’s, Hawthorn’s and Allison’s Infantry Regiments, two battalions of cavalry, and one battery, Hanson’s was a Kentucky regiment, Hindman’s and Hawthorn’s were Arkansas regiments. On January 31, 1862 the regiment was reported in Colonel Patrick H. Cleburne’s Brigade along with the 15th Arkansas, 6th Mississippi, 23rd, 24th, and 35th (also called 5th) Tennessee Infantry Regiments. The regiment left Bowling Green February 13, 1862 and on February 23 was reported at Murfreesboro, where in Cleburne’s Brigade, the 1st Arkansas had replaced the 15th Arkansas Infantry Regiment, and the Watson Battery had been added.
It arrived at Corinth February 27, and was engaged at the Battle of Shiloh, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Peebles, as part of Cleburne’s Brigade, Hardee’s Corps.
The brigade in this battle was composed of the 15th Arkansas, 2nd (Bate’s), 23rd, 24th and 35th Tennessee, and 6th Mississippi Infantry Regiments, Shoup’s Artillery Battalion, and the Watson Battery. The regiment re-entered the battle with 406 effectives, and was commended by Cleburne for steadfast valor; he also commented that Lieutenant Colonel Peebles possessed all qualifications necessary for a commander of troops in the field. No itemized record of casualties by regiments was found, but the brigade reported 1032 casualties out of 2750 engaged.
In May, 1862 the 6th Mississippi had been replaced by the 48th Tennessee Regiment in Cleburne’s Brigade. In Cleburne’s report of an engagement outside of Corinth on the Farmington Road on May 28, 1862, he severely criticized Colonel Allison, but commended Major Bratton for his handling of troops.
On July 8, 1862 the regiment was placed in Major General Benjamin F. Cheatham’s Division, Brigadier General Alexander P. Stewart’s Brigade, composed of the 4th, 5th, 24th, 31st, 33rd Tennessee Infantry Regiments, and Stanford’s Mississippi Battery. These five regiments remained together for the duration of the war. This 5th Tennessee Regiment was commanded by Colonel Calvin J. Venable, and was not the same regiment with which the 24th had been associated in Cleburne’s Brigade which was commanded by Colonel Benjamin Hill, and was early called the 5th, although its official designation was the 35th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. As part of this brigade the regiment participated in General Bragg’s invasion of Kentucky, and was engaged at the Battle of Perryville October 8, 1862, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel H. L. W. Bratton. Here it suffered 68 casualties.
The regiment was next engaged at the Battle of Murfreesboro, December 31, 1862, where the 19th Tennessee Infantry Regiment was included in Stewart’s Brigade. Here the regiment suffered 79 casualties out of 344 engaged. Colonel Bratton was mortally wounded, Lieutenant Colonel Wilson was wounded, and Major S. E. Shannon took command of the regiment.
By April 1, 1863, Stewart had been promoted to Major General in command of a division, and Colonel (later brigadier general) O. F. Strahl was given command of the brigade, composed of the same units. The brigade remained unchanged until after the Battle of Franklin, where Strahi was killed. At Chickamauga, September 19-20, under the command of Colonel John A. Wilson, the regiment suffered 43 casualties.
On November 12, 1863, Strahrs Brigade was placed in Stewart’s Division, moved to Sweetwater, Tennessee, for a short time, but returned in time to be engaged at Missionary Ridge November 25, 1863, where the 24th suffered 45 casualties.
On February 20, 1864, the brigade was returned to Cheatham’s Division, where it remained until the end. The 24th was part of a force which was dispatched to Mississippi to re-enforce General Polk, but was ordered back to Dalton, Georgia, when it had reached Demopolis, Alabama. This expedition was the latter part of February. As part of the brigade, it was actively engaged in the Atlanta Campaign under General Joseph E. Johnston, and the return to Tennessee under General John B. Hood. On June 30, 1864, Colonel J. A. Wilson was reported in command of the regiment, but on July 31, August 31 and September 20 the commanding officer was shown as Lieutenant Colonel Samuel E. Shannon.
On December 10, 1864, Strahl’s Brigade, commanded by Colonel James D. Tillman was composed of the 4th/Sth/3lst/33rd/3Sth and the l9th/24th/4lst Tennessee Infantry Regiments with the l9th/24th/4lst commanded by Captain Daniel A. Kennedy. As such, the brigade was engaged at Nashville in the Granny White Pike area, and formed part of the force under General Walthall which covered the retreat of the army to Corinth, Mississippi.
Then came the move to North Carolina to join General Joseph E. Johnston’s forces, where, in the order of battle at Smithfield, North Carolina March 31, 1865, Strahl’s Brigade, commanded by Colonel James D. Tillman, was still composed of the same regiments. In the final reorganization of Johnston’s Army April 9, 1865, the 4th, 5th, 19th, 24th, 31st, 33rd, 35th, 38th, and 41st Tennessee Regiments, commanded by Colonel James D. Tillman, formed the 3rd Consolidated Tennessee Infantry Regiment in Brigadier General Joseph B. Palmer’s Brigade. The 24th Tennessee Regiment formed Company “F” of this regiment, and, as such, was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina May 1, 1865.
This unit history was extracted from Tennesseans in the Civil War, Vol 1. Copyrighted © 1964 by the “Civil War Centennial Commission of Tennessee”
Thomas H. Peebles, the Lieutenant Colonel of the 24th, was from near Spring Hill, at which place and Franklin he had achieved great success as a teacher. He made up Company B in the southern part of Williamson County, and was elected its Captain. After Allison was chosen Colonel of the 24th, Peebles was given the next highest office, and Sam C. Shannon became Captain of Company B.
Col. Peebles commanded the regiment at Shiloh, and was highly complimented by Cleburne in his official report for the excellent manner in which he handled the men. Almost at the first fire his horse was killed under him. And he fought on foot throughout the rest of the battle, escaping unhurt, although his coat was pierced by three minie balls. Just after the battle he resigned and accepted a position with Cleburne and was not actively connected with the regiment afterwards.
Daring Work as a Spy.
A year or two later he was detailed on a hazardous secret mission into Middle Tennessee, then occupied by the Federals. He had accomplished the object of his trip, but just before reaching the Confederate lines was captured by a roaming squad of Federal cavalry. As they were proceeding to search him, he recognized one of these soldiers as having been a former member of his old Company, who, having deserted, had joined the enemy. The renegade prevailed on his comrades to desist, and treat the Colonel with more consideration. At the first convenient moment, Col. Peebles took the information he had been at so much pains to collect, and which, if discovered, would have hung him, and slipping the paper in his mouth, chewed it up. He was sent as a prisoner to Camp Chase, but was soon exchanged and returned to service. Col. Peebles was killed near Spring Hill in an unfortunate personal encounter in November 1870 on the very day on which he had been elected State Senator.
to document them all, but I try. William Henry Peebles 1871-1947, son of George Henry Peebles and Catherine “Kate” Rebecca Jane Terry Peebles and brother to our Robert Duncan Peebles, was married twice. His wives were Sally C Alexander and Eliza Holland Graham.
By his first wife William Henry Peebles had two known children: Maggie Peebles and Katie Peebles. Maggie Peebles married Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Terry and had a large number of children that included: Leonard R Terry born 1910, Clarence Terry born 1915, Bessie Terry 1919-1924, Cleveland Henry Terry 1922-1992, William Terry born 1923, and Bruce M Terry born 1928. They were all born in Lawrence County, Alabama. Daughter Katie Peebles married Isaac “Ike” Terry 1887-1963 as his first wife. They had three children: Willie L Terry 1911-1988, Katie F Terry 28 April 1913-19 Dec 1987, and John Henry Terry 1 Aug 1915-19 Feb 1992. John Henry Terry owned Terry’s grocery store in Decatur; and had worked as a carpenter helper in his younger years. Isaac “Ike” Terry was the son of George Washington Terry, Jr and Sarah V “Sallie” Watson, his third wife. Ike Terry had eighteen known children by his three wives.
William Henry Peebles married a second time to Eliza Holland Graham 1880-1939. They had the following known children: Ida Peebles born 1896, James Walter “Jim” Peebles 1898-1927, Lura Segalia Peebles 1899-1973, Nan Marie Peebles Maness 1903-1976, Velma Eren Peebles 1904-1990, Fannie Lavenia Peebles 1906-1971, William Henry “Will” Peebles 1908-1966, Elbert Lee Peebles 1910-1961, Buford May (Cook )Peebles 1912-1926, Robert McKinely Peebles 1914-1986, Houston Coleman “Buddy” Peebles 1919-1969. There are interesting histories with all but especially for Eliza Graham Peebles and Lura Segalia Peebles.
Elibert Lee Peebles married Naomi Lee Jinks born 9 January 1908 in Haskell County, Texas and died 14 December 1989 in Lawrence County, Alabama. Her parents were Allen Jinks and Lockie V A V Edwards. Elbert Lee Peebles was born 29 September 1910 in Lawrence County, Alabama and died 3 February 1961 in Morgan County, Alabama. Their children are: Annie Ruth Peebles who married an Evans, then an Adkins, Peggy Peebles who married a Chapman, Mildred Peebles 1938-2011 who married George L Madison, Pfc Elbert Lee Peebles 24 January 1929- 27 December 1949, James Alford Peebles 16 February 1931-22 August 1994, FREDrick Eugene Peebles 19 February 1933- 5 November 2010, Mildred Peebles 1938-2011, Wendell Houston Peebles 10 Mar 1941- 2 December 2002 (died in Georgia), Carl PRESTON Peebles 25 February 1943- 5 January 2011, Charles Russell Peebles and Shirley Jane Peebles 1948-1991 who married Jerry DeWayne Skipworth Jr. Shirley Peebles Skipworth’s eulogy was presented by Rev Houston Peebles; her middle name in her obituary states June, but is likely Jane.
Charles Russell Peebles, son of Elbert and Naomi Jinks Peebles, married Linda Christine Parker. He worked at Otasco and was lauded as a top salesman. They have two children: Angie Peebles Watson and Amanda Peebles.
and there are some prominent figures among them. As part of my goal to place as many markers on unmarked graves as possible, especially for ancestors, I purchased a chronicle marker for Capt. Godfrey Daniel Isbell who is likely buried in the oldest cemetery in Madison County, Maple Hill.
There are other cousins of the Isbell family who have done a lot of documentation of the family, most notably Ray Isbell who is a descendant of John Birdwell who married Sarah H Isbell and his documentation is appreciated and some of it incorporated here. Captain Godfrey Daniel Isbell was one of our family heroes. He and other family members secured our nation’s independence from the rule of a king.
Captain Godfrey Daniel Isbell
1750 Lunenburg County, Virginia
1812 Madison County, Mississippi Territory, now Alabama
Godfrey Isbell served as a Captain in the Revolutionary War in the North Carolina Militia. He performed admirably in battle and participated in the Battle of King’s Mountain and the Battle of Musgrove’s Mill. He provided patriotic service and civil service during the war.
Godfrey Isbell was the son of Henry Isbell Jr. and Hannah Isbell of Virginia.
His exact grave site remains unknown but thought to be buried at Maple HIll, reputedly the oldest cemetery in Huntsville. Although formally established by deed recorded in 1822, the oldest intact gravemarker appears to be that of Mary Frances Atwood who died in 1820. And his burial would have been even earlier than that in 1812.
Some list his wife as Martha Milton, others give the wife’s name as Hannah Clark. He may have married twice or more. Some notes that reference Godfrey Isbell that are documented follow:
1771 in Charlotte, Albermarle County, Virginia:
Godfrey Isbell, Thomas Isbell, and Pendleton Isbell posted a bond of 50,000.00 lbs for Godfrey’s appearance in court to answer to the charge that he did beat and ill treat David Gordon. (ref., John Carlton of Orange County and Albemarle County, Virginia by George H. Caldwell)
March 19, 1780: Godfrey Isbell served in the Washington County, North Carolina (Tennessee) Militia
Feb. 21, 1782: Godfrey Isbell was bondsman for his first cousin Thomas Isbell when he married Discretion Howard in Wilkes County, North Carolina. This couple is described as Presbyterian by descendant Zella Armstrong but they are buried at Grandin Baptist Church, Caldwell County, North Carolina.
This Thomas Isbell is not to be confused with Godfrey Isbell’s son Thomas Isbell who had four wives.
Thomas Isbell was also a soldier of the Revolutionary War and has a multitude of descendants still. From his Sons of the American Revolution application file is excerpted the following:
From family Bible in possession of the family “Thomas Isbell enlisted at the age of 18 and served two years.” A pension was allowed Discretion [nee Howard]Isbell, widow of Thoams Isbell, in 1843 for the actual serivce of her husband in the Virginia troops. See certificate of Bureau of Pensions under date of September 15, 1897 which verifies the above statement and is attached hereto. (apparently lost, as it is no longer attached.”
August 10, 1783: Wilkes County, North Carolina : warrant issued in death of John Anderson, killed in a fight in December according to the Anderson family history.
1793: in South Carolina
1799-1800: in Cumberland County, Kentucky
1801-04: in Wayne County, Kentucky
1808: Godfrey was living in Warren County, Tennessee, where he was a member of the first Warren County Court. His land adjoined the land of James Gailey.
March 19, 1811: Minutes of Cumberland Presbytery: At Big Spring, Wilson County, Tennessee: Godfrey Isbell, was a representative from Liberty Congregation.
The obituary of Godfrey’s son Jabez’ daughter Lucinda Isbell Bookman states that she joined Cumberland Presbytery “early in life,” so a reasonable deduction is that Jabez was Prebyterian also.
The First Presbyterian Church of Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama was not established until 1818.
1811: Godfrey Isbell sold land in Warren County, Tennessee, when he moved to Alabama. In 1813, his widow Hannah Isbell was listed on the tax lists for Madison County, Alabama.
1815: Hannah and Jeptha Vining Isbell were on the tax list for Madison County.
November 1816: Jabez Isbell was issued letters of administration on the estate of Godfrey Isbell at the Orphans Court of Madison County, Alabama. Hannah may have died by this time.
1816: The estate of Godfrey Isbell was inventoried by John Birdwell, one of the founders of Enon Baptist Church and First Baptist Church of Huntsville (1809). Two of John Birdwell’s daughters married granddaughters of Capt. Godfrey Isbell’s first cousin, Zachariah Isbell Jr. Those daughters are mine and Ray Isbell’s ancestors as is John Birdwell.
John Birdwell, who inventoried Godfrey Isbell’s estate, was one of the founders of Enon Baptist Church (First Baptist of Huntsville), which in 1810 was located a few hundred yards north of the present terminal of the North Huntsville Executive Airport. The small building, exact location unknown, was “close to the river bank…affording a convenient place for baptismal services. For some reason, perhaps a shortage of funds, construction was halted short of completion. Almost two years later, 6 Feb 1813, a new committee was named…to complete the work, and while there was apparently no fanfare to herald its conclusion, the structure was finished and in 1815 did accommodate the second annual meeting of the Flint River Association.” Of note is that Godfrey Isbell was NOT shown in the membership records of that Baptist Church.
Documentation may be found in the following sources:
Annals of Tennessee (1853) by James G.M. Ramsey, p.212
History of Cumberland County (1947) by J.W. Wells, p.35
Tennessee Cousins by Worth S. Ray
The King’s Mountain Men by Katherine White, page 192
The Overmountain Men (1986) by Pat Alderman, p.59
The Patriots at King’s Mountain (1990) by Bobby Gilmer Moss
History of Tennessee by Goodspeed, p. 455
Revolutionary Virginia: The Road to Independence by Brent Tartar, p. 357Service Source:NC ARCH MILITIA ROSTER OF WOMACK’S FORT RAMSAY: ANNALS OF TN P 212; ASHER,WILKES CO CT MIN VOL I P 29; NC ARMY ACT BK A PT 12,P 1650
Service Description:1) ALSO SOL CAPT JACOB WOMACK; COL JOHN SEVIER,GRAND JUROR.
2) WILKES CO 1781; FURNISHED SUPPLIES
Some documentation for the relatives of the Captain will be noted here. A wife of Godfrey Daniel Isbell was Hannah Clark who died in 1816. Godfrey’s children include sons: Thomas Isbell 1784-1862, James Milton Isbell 1784 – 1814, and Jeptha Vining Isbell 1787-1836. A brief of Dr Isbell’s life and family follows:
Dr Jeptha Vining Isbell
Dr Isbell was a state legislator, and was among the founders of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Dr. Jeptha Vining Isbell lived in Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama, where his father, Godfrey Isbell, died about 1812.Jeptha moved to Tuscaloosa about 1816, because he is on numerous records there and is considered among the founders of that city. He served in the state legislature at various times as well as (per one reference) in the State Senate. He probably went to St. Stephens and Cahaba during 1817-21 or traveled there when the house and senate were in session.He was a member of the House of Representatives, Second session begun and held at the town of Cahawha, on the first Monday of Nov 1820 (ref., MSS. History of Tuskaloosa, by Hon. W. Moody).He purchased property as a Homestead entry on 9 July 1823 in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. The homestead entry for eighty acres was located here: 1 W½SE HUNTSVILLE No 21S 9W 24.Tuscaloosa became the state capitol in 1826, and Jeptha V. Isbell was already living there. The book PIONEERS OF TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, ALABAMA PRIOR TO 1830 has several pages containing references to Dr. Jeptha V. Isbell.Jeptha Vining Isbell served during the War of 1812. U.S., War of 1812 Service Records, 1812-1815 provided the following information about Jepthah V Isbell and his service: Name: Jepthah V Isbell Company: DYER’S REG’T, CAVALRY AND MTD. GUNMEN, TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS. Rank – Induction: PRIVATE Rank – Discharge: PRIVATE Roll Box: 108 Microfilm Publication:He married first to Asbury Cash (born 1787), daughter of James Cash and Margaret Dozier Cash. After her death, he married her sister Margaret Dozier Thomas (born 1783), widow of James Thomas, and had one daughter, Hypasia Ann Isbell.The widow Margaret Dozier Thomas Isbell married Daniel Wright 9 Jan 1827 in Lawrence County, Alabama, marriage performed by Manoah Hampton, Justice of the Peace. Manoah Hampton was a person of great historical value, but that is another story.Hypasia Ann Isbell, daughter of Jeptha V. Isbell and Margaret Dozier Thomas Isbell Wright, married Judge Andrew M. Wright, her stepfather’s son by his first wife.
Son of Godfrey Isbell, Thomas Isbell was a very interesting character.
Monticello (Wayne County)
|From the strongest evidence, Thomas Isbell was the son of Capt. Godfrey Isbell in that he witnessed Godfrey’s consent for his daughter Nancy’s marriage.By his four wives (Leah Francis, Sarah McBeath, Sophia McLain, and Sarah J. Calhoun) he fathered 21 children.Thomas Isbell’s name first appeared in Wayne County, Kentucky, records, 5 March 1804, when he signed a marriage bond for James Brooks and Nancy Isbell [who was born in Virginia]. A note was included with the bond which states:
(1)”To Godrey [sic] Isbell- Sir as it is necessary for me to have your permission from under your hand therefore send by William Simpson.”
(2)” This may certify you that I have given consent for my daughter Nancy to James by Godfrey Isbell- witnessed by Thomas Isbell and Samuel Forbes.”
Thomas Isbell’s relationship to Nancy and Godfrey Isbell is not stated, but brother and son is probable as it was customarily an older brother who served as bondsman for a younger sister’s wedding. “However, it is to be noted that none of Thomas’ children were given the Christian name
of Godfrey.” (ref., June Baldwin Bork, Wayne County, Kentucky Marriages, 1801-1860, 1972. Vol.I, A-J,p. 153).Wayne County, Kentucky Marriages,1801-1860, (1972) by June Baldwin Bork, Vol.I, A-J,p. 153 and p.176: The Isbell Cemetery is located across the road from the old Isbell house (supposedly haunted) and on Ray Ellers farm in Wayne County. The reason for no Isbell stones is, according to tradition, that Thomas Isbell was superstitious about them. In an unidentified report, this home was described as having been built in the late 1700s, made of hewn logs with two floors and two huge fireplaces. The kitchen was as large as the main room. There was a front and back porch and was located on what is now Highway 167- the road from Monticello to Cooper in Wayne County.His wives were Leah Francis Isbell 1785-1833 and Sarah Jane Calhoun Isbell 1825-1890. He is buried in the Isbell Cemetery in Wayne County, Kentucky.
Another son of Godfrey Isbell was James Milton Isbell. There are probably other children as well.
James Milton Isbell
|His state of birth is not known, but could have been Lincoln County, Kentucky or Pendleton County, South Carolina. Researchers state different birth states.There are discrepancies in the reported death place; some also give his date and place of death as 1812-13 in Wayne County, Kentucky, and others say Warren County, Tennessee and yet others, like me give it as Walker County, Alabama. There seems to be no documented burial.Some give his mother’s name as Martha Milton, but since he married Hannah Clark in the year 1795 in Lincoln County, Kentucky and she did not die until 1816, Hannah Clark Isbell is deemed his likely mother.James Milton Isbell married Sarah Jane Wallace, who was born in 1784 in Kentucky. And though her death date is not known, her burial place is given as Lawrence County, Alabama. There were at least two children born to this couple: Barbabas Wallace Isbell who was called Barney by family and friends. He was born 1809 and died 1853 and Godfrey Jefferson Isbell who was born 1811 and died 1877. At the present date that is all the information about James Milton Isbell and his family.|
Yet to be explored are these siblings and their families. From the list of those of the Isbell surname who served in the War o f1812, it begs to question whether our Godfrey Daniel Isbell who was a Captain in the Revolutionary War who one of the Godfrey’s who served in the Virginia Militia during the War of 1812. This question arises in my mind with his death date. And if not our Godfrey, then who are these Godfrey Isbells as that was not a common name in our family lineage.
Isbells who served in the War of 1812:
Godfry – Pvt 1 Reg’t (Clarke’s) Virginia Militia
Godfrey – Pvt/Corpl 7 Reg’t (Gray’s) Virginia Militia
Godfrey – Pvt 8 Reg’t (Wall’s) Virginia Militia
James – Pvt 5 Reg’t Virginia Militia
James T. – Pvt 7 Reg’t (Gray’s) Virginia Militia
John – Pvt 41 Reg’t (Trueheart’s) Virginia Militia
John W. – Pvt Flying Camp (McDowell’s) Virginia Militia
Lewis M. – Pvt 1 Corps D’Elite (Randolph’s) Virginia Militia
Robert S. – Pvt 7 Reg’t (Gray’s) Virginia Militia
William – Pvt 64 Regiment Virginia Militia
William I. – Ensign 8 Reg’t (Wall’s) Virginia Militia
Jabas – Pvt Dyer’s Reg’t Cavalry and Mounted Gunmen, Tennessee Vol.
Jepthah V. – Pvt Dyer’s Cavalry and Mounted Gunmen, Tennessee Vol.
Miller – Pvt 3 Reg’t (Johnson’s) East Tennessee Militia
Temple – 2 Lieut. Bunch’s Reg’t (1814) East Tennessee Militia
Thomas – Corpl. Bunch’s Reg’t Mounted (1813-1814) East Tennessee Militia
Thomas – Corpl. 5 Reg’t (Booth’s) East Tennessee Militia
Thomas (Isabell) – Pvt 2 Reg’t (Cheatham’s) West Tennessee Militia
Daniel – Pvt Nash’s Regiment South Carolina Volunteers
Jabas – Pvt 16 Reg’t (Burrus’) Mississippi Militia
Levingston – Pvt 3 Reg’t (Miller’s) Kentucky Militia
Littleton – Pvt 5 Reg’t (Atkinson’s) North Carolina Militia
and that is as true for the George family of Barton, Colbert County, Alabama as is for everyone. If you have not researched your family history, you may not even know how many heroes that you carry around a little bit of them in your dna today. It is important for children to know their roots, and then it is up to their parents to give them wings. Jennifer George asked about her George lineage. And just a short intense study of the family provides a lot of ground work for Jennifer and her family to add to; photos are especially important in family history in my estimation and only the family can provide those, except maybe for grave marker photos. Jennifer George’s parents are Lloyd George and Cheryl Ussery George. Floyd’s parents were Wilmer and Jessie Pearl Johnson George. Wilmer’s full name was Velma G but was called Wilmer, or perhaps that was a middle name. Jessie Pearl Johnson’ parents were John William Johnson or perhaps John Thomas Johnson; researchers have given both names for her father. Wilmer George and Jessie Pearl Johnson George had three known children: Clarice George Holt, Wilmer J George and Lloyd Douglas George. The following is gleaned from Lloyd George’s obituary:
|Lloyd Douglas George, 48, Colbert Heights, died Nov. 9, 2001.The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, 2001, at Morrison Funeral Home chapel, Tuscumbia, with burial in Tuscumbia Oakwood Cemetery. Officiating will be Tommy Heaps and Charles Richey. Mr. George was a native of Sheffield. He was the former owner of Georges Wrecker Service. He was a member of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church. Mr. George was preceded in death by his father, W.G. George; brother, W.J. George; and sister, Clarice Holt. He loved deer hunting, arrowhead hunting and fishing. Above all, he loved Courtney (Pawpaws girl).He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Cheryl Ussery George, Colbert Heights; mother, Jessie George, Tuscumbia; daughter, Jennifer George Wilkinson, Colbert Heights; grandchild, Courtney Wilkinson, Colbert Heights; nieces, nephews and many friends. Pallbearers will David Koon, Randy Jackson, Don Southall, Gilbert Borden, Mark Handley, James Bingham, Benji Dunn and Terril Chapman. Published in Florence Times Daily on November 11, 2001|
With a cursory review of the military records, I do not find any record that a Velma or Wilmer George served during WWII, but that alone does not mean that he did not serve. Velma “Wilmer” George’s obituary which is shown here names his three children and states that he leaves five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. All his known siblings were still living except one, David Allen George who was born 1923 and apparently died in 1932.
Velma “Wilmer” George’s parents were David Keylon or Kellan George and Sarah Anna Moody George (1890-1987 ). They had three known sons and three known daughters. Their children were: Velma G Wilmer George (1910 – 1992), Martha Ida George Patrick (1913-1997), Odell Elizabeth George Patrick (1915-2010), David Allen George (1917-1991). Charlie George (1923-1932), John William George (1926-1998) and daughter Frances George Pate born 22 August 1932.
David George’s 5 June 1917 registration card for WWI provides the following information: he was 30 years of age, he had a wife and three dependent children, he farms for self, he is tall, has blue eyes and light hair, and is not bald, and he signed the document with his mark. It also gave his name as David Kellan George and his birth date as 18 December 1888 (whereas grave marker give birth as 19 December 1888) and states he was born in Lincoln County, Tennessee. David and Sarah Anna Moody married 23 Jun 1906 in Cherokee, Alabama. David died 17 March 1965 in Colbert County, Alabama. He like most of the family named George are buried at Barton Cemetery.
David George’s parents were William Alexander George and Martha Catherine “Mattie” Harbin George who was born 30 November 1873 in Lincoln County, Tennessee and died in 1962. William Alexander George was born in 1853 in Lincoln County, Tennessee and died in June o f 1921 in Colbert County, Alabama. He reportedly died from the effects of contracting Typhoid Fever. Their children were: Mahaley George Oliver (1870-1937, Nancy George Bolden (1876-1966), Sarah Minnie Lee George Lindsey (1884-1967), David Keylon George (1888-1965), Robert B George (1890-1951), John Thomas George (1891-1967), Oscar George (1894-1929), and Arthur George (1894-1927).
If this is the same William and Martha (sometimes listed as Margaret) who were in Rhome, Wise County, Texas in 1920,1930, and 1940, there may have been more children. A daughter named Nona is listed on those census records.
William Alexander George’s parents were named William and Nancy Perry George. William Alexander George first wife and family were: wife Nancy Marilda Fanning (1824-1850) and children Benjamin George, Elizabeth D George and Mahaley Marilda George who may have married Pleasant D Reynolds.
William George was born 1810 in Tennessee likely in either Franklin or Lincoln County and died 1896 in Smithfield, Lincoln County, Tennessee. His burial site is unknown at this date. He was called Billy by family and friends.
It would seem that William George may have had a second family as well: wife Elisabeth R Clifton and children Ira Barker George born 1834, Nancy M George (1837-1900), Reuben W George born 1839, William George born 1841, Sarah E George born 1842, Catherine Olive George born 1844, Mary Elizabeth George born 1847, and Isabella George. This needs more research to disprove or prove it, but seems possible since one of the sons was named Reuben. It appears that this Mrs George removed to Texas.
William George married again to Nancy Perry (1824-1897). Nancy Perry was the daughter of James Perry and Mary Polly Oliver Perry. William George and Nancy Perry married 6 May 1847 in Lincoln County, Tennessee. They had the following children: James M George (1848-1899), Sarah Jane George (1850-1880), Samuel Jefferson George (1852-1910), William Alexander George (1854-1921), Felix Philander George (1858-1939) who was called Dock, and M C George (1861-1870).
William and Nancy Marilda Fanning George’s son, Benjamin was killed in action during the War Between the States. Son, Samuel Jefferson George married Mary Elizabeth Fowler and he was born and died in Lincoln County, Tennesse. Samuel Jefferson George was a farmer. He was born on the 4th of July 1846 and died 18 September 1933. His burial was in Fanning Cemetery in Lincoln County. Samuel J George and Mary Elizabeth Fowler George had the following children: Aldar George Mearse (1893-1963), Hannah George Pruitt (1898-1985), Mary Louella George Taylor (1900-1958), and Louellar George Taylor (1920-1921). It is possible that other William George’s sons also served during the War Between the States, but the scope of this limited research does not cover whether they served.
William George’s parents were: Reuben George and Nancy Hodges George. Reuben George was born 31 Jul 1776 in Bedford, TN or Virginia and died in Aug 1854 in Coffee County, Tennessee. No burial site has been located. Reuben was married first to Ann Handley, or so it would seem, but the dates are not adding up. Their son was Jacob Handley if indeed his wife was Ann Handley. Further research is required for this to be a certainty.
Reuben and Nancy Hodges George were married 13 June 1798 in Jefferson County, Tennessee. They had the following children: Eleanor Ellen George born 1799, Rebecca Elizabeth George (1804-1882), Edmond George (1807-1887), William George (circa 1808-1876), Susan George born circa 1809, Travis George (1810-1860), Daniel George born 1816, Nancy E George born 1820,Mary Ann George born 1822, Louisa George born 1824, and Mariah George born 1829. There may also have been a son named Charles.
Reuben George (Junior’s) father was also named Reuben George born 25 Nov 1749 in Culpepper, Virginia and died 16 Jan 1832 in Pendleton, Virginia. His mother was Mildred Rogers George 1733-1788. She was buried in Stokes County, North Carolina. There seems to have been a large family of children of born to Reuben and Mildred Rogers George. The names listed are not verified as accurate, but listed just for reference in future research: Phillip George, Anna George, Mary Molly George, Rebecca George, Lucy George, Byrd George, Joseph George, Travis George, Jesse George, Joseph George, Anne George, John George, Presley George, William George, and James George. If I counted correctly that is fifteen children; seems like too many for one mother, but it is believed possible.
Reuben George pension application for service during the Revolutionary War number i s S395567 as accessed from the “U. S. Revolutionary War Pensions and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, 1800-1900.” Reuben served as a Private from Pendleton County Virginia, under the command of Col. Edward Stevens of the Virginia Line for a term of war for three years. He was inscribed on the Roll of Virginia at the rate of 8 dollars per month to commence on the 4 of December 1818 with the Certificate of pension issued the 13 of Mary 1819? and sent to Hugh Holmes, Esq. in Winchester, Virginia. His Survivors Pension Application archive # M804. The Archive Roll number is 1062 and there are a total of 18 pages.
At the age of 68 when he made application he stated that he was enlisted at Pendleton County, Virginia in (the spring) of 1777 in Culpepper County, Virginia. He seemed to have lived in Pendleton County, Virginia at the time. He served in a company commanded by Captain John Elison, 10 Virginia Regiment and served until __ day of November 1783 when discharged at Hackensack, New York. He took part int he battles at Germantown, Brandywine, and White Marsh.
There are George family papers, 1718–1936. 163 items. Mss1G2937a and are likely housed in Virginia.
This collection concerns four generations of the George family primarily of Fairford, Thornberry, and White Chimneys, Caroline County. Included is correspondence of Lewis George (1779–1847) with Elliott M. Burruss discusses the hiring of slaves (folder 1). There are papers of John Dudley George (1758–1781) including a copy of his will dated 17 March 1780 giving directions for the division of his slaves among beneficiaries (folder 5). Reuben George’s will written 16 May 1799 provides for the bequest of named slaves (folder 6). And there are papers of Henry Hortensius George (1824–1902) include an undated list of slaves divided into lots and with monetary evaluations provided (folder 8).
There are certain to be errors in this research, as there always seem to be when you can not have in your hand the primary documentation for each and every record. Corrections will be needed and other information added by the family. Hopefully this gives them a sound foundation on which to build their family history.
With just a day and night devoted to intense research, the George family can now know with certainty that they have heroes within their family. You can not get much higher in hero status than being a soldier of the Revolution.
ought to be easy, right? You would think so, and the further back you go the easier it gets because all the variations in spelling seem to dissolve into one – Narramore.
My great-grandmother was Mollie Normour or Naremore or Narmor or Narramore. I started researching her in earnest any number of times, but each time was more frustrating than the last.
Actually there are other misspellings of the surname, but I forget the others. Listen, my children, for you are going to hear (or read) of the tragedy visited upon six of the most helpless of them all. And, it relates to the Narmore (and variant spellings of the same name) descendants everywhere.
I was researching the family of Narramore which connected to my Narmore lineage. Every minute since I discovered this unthinkable event, I have worried over these six little ones. Your line of Narmore’s may not even be connected with this line, but the story is a tear jerker at any rate. Get a tissue, you will wad it up, I promise you.
First, let us target the only happy part of the tragedy. In 2002, August 4th to be exact, a granite memorial marker was placed and dedicated to the six Narramore children in the Riverside Cemetery in Barre, Massachusetts. The ceremony was attended by approximately three dozen. In the audience was the town historian, members of the Barre Historical Society, local politicians, and the Massachusetts Secretary of State. The six precious souls were laid to rest in pauper’s graves without even a gravemarker. The group gathered to remember the six slain children . The crowd dignified the existence of these six little souls with the gathering and placed a fitting memorial marker to document their short little lives. Two musicians played a flute duet for the occasion.
On 21 March 1901 in Coldbrook Springs, sometime in the early afternoon, Lizzie Naramore killed her six children one by one. She began with the oldest and proceeded one by one to the youngest child. One by one she banged and chopped these precious souls to an unrecognizable condition using a club and an ax in the kitchen of the family home. She then, took a knife to slice her throat, but the cut was not severe enough to cause death.
Elizabeth Ann “Lizzie” Craig Narramore made a plea of guilty in Worcester Superior Court to the murder of her eldest child, daughter Ethel Marion Narramore, age 9. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Mrs. Narramore was sentenced to life in the state hospital in Worcester. After serving a short five year sentence in the asylum, on 30 November 1906, she was decreed to be sane and released.
I have done considerable research on this family and their forebears. Elizabeth Craig Naramore was a native of St. Andrews, New Brunswick, which is in Canada. Promotions for the area say that “everything about our town is special, including our status as a National Historic District, one of the oldest and loveliest in the Maritimes. St. Andrews is a treasure trove of beautiful architecture, unparalleled scenery and rich marine life; and our streets remain steeped in turn-of-the-century charm”. St. Andrews sounds like a place one would hesitate to leave.
At the age of 19 she met and married Frank Lucius Narramore, born in Winchester, New Hampshire, but of Baldwinville, Massachusetts. It appears her friends and family were opposed to the match. Frank and Lizzie married 25 Oct 1890 in Templeton, Massachusetts. The couple removed to Coldbrook Springs, near the town of Barre in central Massachusetts.
Mrs. Naramore was described as a hard worker and a loving mother. Husband Frank Narramore, who worked at the nearby Parker Lumber Company, was a well paid worker but also dependably undependable, abusive, and a womanizer. While Frank wasted the money he earned, Lizzie and their six children lived in poverty.
The children were young. These angels’ names were:
Ethel Marion Narramore, age 9;
Charles Edward Narramore, age 7;
Walter Craig Narramore, age 5;
Chester Irving Narramore, age 4;
Elizabeth Narramore, age 3; and
Lena Blanche Narramore, age 12 months.
A little distant in time, but before the massacre, Lizzie reached out to the Overseers of the Poor in Baldwinville for assistance. When the overseers visited the Narramore home they determined that the Narramore’s situation was dire to the extreme. Because of the dilapidated condition of the home and the absence of food for the children or family, the decision was made to take the children away from the parents. Five of the children were to be placed with foster families and the youngest, an infant, would be sheltered at a poorhouse in Holden, Massachusetts.
Before the authorities were able to take her children away Lizzie made preparations and then killed them one by one and then tried to kill herself. She survived the suicide attempt though there was a cut to her throat. Lizzie Narramore made a plea guilty to the murder of her oldest child Ethel Marion Narramore. There was never a trial for the murders of the other children.
Elizabeth Naramore was committed to the state mental asylum. After her release she left central Massachusetts to work as a clerk in a Boston department store, returning once in 1907 to visit the graves of her children. Frank Naramore left Barre after the children’s funeral and the subsequent trial of his wife. There are reports that he was never heard from again; and for sure the townspeople likely never wanted to hear from him again. In hindsight, he was in plain sight. In 1930 he was a roomer, at age 67, in the household of Charles H Voller with Voller’s wife, and two daughters. They lived on the last house on Congress Street in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1931 he was in the city directory in Worcester and listed as a carpenter. He died in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1936, but no grave-site has been found.
At the funeral for the children, the Reverend Charles Talmage, pastor of the Barre Congregational Church, gave an impassioned speech which placed the blame for the situation squarely on Frank Narramore as an abusive father and the community at large for turning a blind eye to all but criminal home situation for those six precious souls. I don’t know, but I do fairly believe that I would have taken an ax and a club to a no good for nothing husband rather than my precious kids.
Below is the newspaper article about it in the Arizona Republic; published 22 March 1921.
Arizona Republic, Article: “An Insane Mother Sacrifices Her Offspring”, daily newspaper, front page, 22 March 1921.
Bradford L. Miner. (2002, June 30). A final tribute ; Six slain children will be forgotten no longer. Telegram & Gazette,p. A1. Retrieved 18 July 2014, from Massachusetts Newsstand. (Document ID: 130795151).
Bradford L. Miner. (2002, August 5). A town bears witness ; Barre memorial honors six slain children: Telegram & Gazette,p. B1. Retrieved 18 July 2014, from Massachusetts Newsstand. (Document ID: 146878981).