The past is the present for future generations who do not know their history

Posts tagged “Riley Vandiver

Hood Cemetery, where are you?

Looking down Union Avenue. Memphis, TN

English: Looking down Union Avenue. Memphis, Tennessee. Lange, Dorothea, photographer. CREATED/PUBLISHED 1937 June. NOTES Title and other information from caption card.

This was the question on my mind for a number of decades. I knew some of my Vandiver family had been buried in Hood Cemetery and had spent considerable time researching for it. I had the information that included Hood Cemetery, near Warren. It was quite the goose chase.

I finally found it when I asked Aunt Gene Murray Slaton where her grandparents were buried. She was a little over ninety years of age at the time. She was alert and sassy. She still drove and she liked speed. I admired her. Aunt Gene died in April of 2008 at the age of 98.

Alrighty then, it was Hood Cemetery also known as Feathers Chapel Cemetery, near Warren. But this Warren was in Tennessee.

Tyree Glass and Mary Vandiver Glass moved to Somerville, Tennessee as he was a railroad man and he went there to work at the railway station or on the railroad trains. He had worked at the Tuscumbia railway station and then at the Decatur railway station before moving to Somerville to work on the railway station in Memphis. You just must read the article about Tyree Glass and his first wife; a link to this article is at the end of this writing. It is a fascinating read. Mary Vandiver was his second wife.

They took my great-great-grandparents on my father’s side with them. The family had lived at Stouts and Saints Crossroads in what was Franklin County but is now Colbert County for almost forever. Ryland O’Bannon Vandiver was known as Riley Vandiver and his name is sometimes given as Ryland Bannon Vandiver.  Matilda Clementine Allen Vandiver was called Clemmie. Along with the Glasses came Riley and Clemmie Vandiver’s  youngest daughter Walker Vandiver. They resided in Somerville, Fayette County, Tennessee, not far from Memphis where the railroad was located.

I had always felt a lonley twinge in my heart about Miss Walker Vandiver and Miss Evaline Casey. Walker Vandiver was on my paternal side of the family and Evaline Casey was on my maternal side. Neither ever married, and that would seem to make for a very lonely life. Neither have a marked grave. Neither have much to document that they ever lived and breathed the air God provides to everyone.

There were three daughters born to Riley and Clemmie Vandiver. There was daughter Mary E Vandiver who married Robert TYREE Glass as his second wife. There was daughter Minnie E Vandiver who married Sidney NEWT Hunter.  [Newt Hunter’s father Ambrose D Hunter served in Co K of the 35th Alabama Regiment during the War Between the States] And there was Lou Ella Vandiver, beautiful Lou Ella Vandiver who married Levi Murray. They were my paternal great-grandparents.

There is one photo of Evaline Casey and mother gave me a good description of her before she left us in 2007. But no one ever shared any information about Miss Walker Vandiver. Walker Riley Vandiver, the youngest daughter of Riley and Clemmie Vandiver lived with her parents all her life and removed to Somerville, Tennessee with them and her sister and brother-in-law. There she lived. There she died. It was just this day that I discovered a tidbit of information about her.

That information came in the form of her death certificate. A copy will follow below. It gave her whole name as Walker Riley Vandiver. It could be supposed that they gave her the Riley name after her father and that there were no sons, but there is no way to know where the Walker name originated. There was a mistake on the death certificate as it states that her mother was Matilda Hurst. Well, it is just a little mistaken since that was not her maiden name. Her maiden name was Matilda Clementine Allen. Her first marriage was to a Hurst. It has not been ascertained what his first name may have been as there are several who could fit in that spot as far as the little information goes to date. It is believed that he was killed during the War Between the States or died shortly after. She had two sons by the Hurst husband, John H Hurst and Arthur Hurst. Matilda or Clemmie as family called her, secondly married to Riley Vandiver.

Rest in peace Miss Walker Riley Vandiver. She died in Somerville, Tennessee and lies at rest at the head of the gravemarker for her parents at the Feathers Chapel Cemetery near Warren in Fayette County, Tennessee. The cemetery is just a pleasant drive from the Shoals area. There is not even a bump now where her body was placed. It is like she never existed.  No pictures. No stories. No memories except for those like me who are willing to turn over heaven and earth to know their family. But, wait, the saddest part will come at the end with the photos of Riley and Clemmie Vandiver’s gravemarkers that are the only thing that would indicate where Miss Walker Riley Vandiver is buried.

Miss Walker Riley Vandiver's death record.

Miss Walker Riley Vandiver’s death record.

Walker Vandiver was born in Franklin, now Colbert County, Alabama in the Saints Crossroads community in January of 1880. She moved with her parents and sister’s family to Somerville, Fayette County, Tennessee after 1910. She never married. She died 9 April 1946 in the community of Warren in Fayette County, Tennessee. She is buried on the ‘Vandiver” side of her parents’ gravemarker in Hood Cemetery in the Feathers Chapel community of Fayette County, Tennessee. She lies in an unmarked grave.The following photos are of the gravemarkers for Riley and Clemmie Vandiver at Feathers Chapel aka Hood Cemetery near Warren, Tennessee. The first time I visited there was with my aunt Alice Murray Thompson and Sue Murray Burden. The markers were in very bad shape at that time. The material they were made from was  not granite as it may have been sold as, and was crumbling from the bottom in the elements. The second time I visited there and took these photos, the deterioration was even more concerning. Chunks of the gravemarkers were gone. And all those who would have cared and taken care of repair or replacement are gone now. Sad. Sigh.

Photo of gravemarker for Riley and Clemmie Vandiver 76799175_131649593514

Miss Walker Riley Vandiver who died 9 April 1946 is buried on this side of her parents’ gravemarker in an unmarked grave.

Related articles: A tragedy, a tragedy… https://rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/a-tragedy-a-tragedy/


A picture is worth a thousand…

or whatever you wish to charge, just as soon as you say what bank you want that check written on. This photo is priceless. This is a photo of my great-great-grandparents on my father’s side.

Aunt Gene, Daddy’s Aunt Imogene Slaton, was telling us about the family before she died at almost one hundred years of age. She stated that her grandfather, Riley Vandiver, had built all the children a bedroom suite. She stated that it was not just a bed, but a complete suite of furniture. That is him with the white mustache. He undoubtedly was quite a skilled cabinet-maker.

She stated that  her grandmother Clemmie’s mother, Mary Anna Yocum Allen, was so small that they had to cut the legs off a straightback chair so she could sit comfortably with her feet on the floor. There is a straightback chair on the porch in the photo. The chair was in the family for years, but no one knows what went with it. When I envision my g-g-g-grandmammy Yocum, I see her as a Mammy Yocum figure. I am afraid she would find that unflattering, but I always admired Mammy Yocum’s spunk.

Also pictured are Riley and Clemmie’s daughter, Mary Vandiver. I wonder where daughter Walker Vandiver was; daughter Lou Ella was likely home with her family. Left to right in the photo are pictured: Tye Glass, Lila Glass, Mary Vandiver, Riley Vandiver, Clemmie Vandiver, and the children are Tye and Lila’s sons Earl and Raymond Glass. Tye and Lila also had two daughters but Mattie O Glass died young. Daughter Dessie M Glass is not in the photo. Earl Petty Glass was born in 1902, Raymond M Glass was born 1904, Dessie Mae Glass was born 1905. The daughter that died very young was Mattie O Glass. She was born 1897 and died in 1910. Some researchers give the child who died as Clyde H Glass born 1901 and died 3 March 1901. The child who died is also noted as Robert Tyree Glass, Jr.

Lila’s father John H Hurst also died a violent death. In 1902, Mr. Glass was working for L & N Railroad. This tragedy was in a  news article that listed Tye Glass’  father-in-law,  John Hurst, being killed when hit by a train on 7 Jan 1902. Both worked for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad line at the Decatur station.

After Lila was killed at gunpoint in 1910, Tye and Mary Vandiver later married. They had one son, Carter Woodrow Glass and one daughter, Helen Glass but who was called Billie by her family and friends. Tye Glass worked for the railyard, first in Tuscumbia in Colbert County, Alabama; then in Decatur in Morgan County, Alabama; then in Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee. Riley and Clemmie moved to the Memphis area with Tye and Mary Glass and there they died.

Riley and Clemmie Vandiver and some family

ca 1909


I so wish I could fix this…

grave marker. I wish I could place markers on all the unmarked graves I have found of ancestors and even more recent family members. I wish…

This is the grave marker for my great-great grandparents on my father’s side. Riley and Clemmie Vandiver were loved by family throughout the generations.

Matilda Clementine Allen was born and raised in Franklin County. She was the daughter of John Wesley Allen and Mary Ann Yocum Allen of then Franklin County. Her first marriage was to a Hurst. She was enumerated on the 1860 census in her father’s household. She was next enumerated on the 1870 census as Matilda Hurst with two young sons, John H Hurst and Arthur P Hurst. So, it is presumed that her first husband was killed during the War of Northern Aggression or died shortly afterward. No documentation of the marriage has been found to date. She married a second time to Ryland B Vandiver. Clemmie must have been a very special person to the family because she was the namesake of many descendants.

Riley Vandiver’s name has been listed over the years as Riley, Riland B Vandiver, Ryland B Vandiver. Vandiver has been spelled and misspelled every which way throughout what documentation exists. His name was Ryland O’Bannon Vandiver/Vandever. It got shortened to Riley Bannon Vandiver somehow. He was born in Alabama and was living at Factory, Lauderdale County, Alabama on the 1860 Federal Census record. I have always wondered just where this Factory community was located because I had one other ancestor from another family line that lived there as well.

I learned about Clemmie and Riley Vandiver from my Daddy’s Aunt Gene before she died at age of about 97. She said that Granpa Riley was a very skilled woodworker or cabinet-maker. She stated that he made each child a whole bedroom suite of furniture. She emphasized, suite, not just a bed and chest but a whole suite of bedroom furniture. I asked what happened to the bedroom suites and she said she didn’t know. If only a photo of the furniture remained…sigh.

Riley and Clemmie moved to around Memphis, along with Tyree and Mary Vandiver Glass or vice versa, after the death of Clemmie’s granddaughter which is a tragic story to be told another day. Her granddaughter Lila Ann Hurst was married to Robert Tyree Glass. Tyree Glass worked for the railroad, first in Tuscumbia and then in Decatur. Lila and Tye had four children but only three were living at the time of the murder of Lila 17 May 1910. Their children were Earl Petty Glass, Raymond Glass and Bessie M Glass. I believe that their fourth child was Mattie O Glass who is buried at LaGrange Cemetery in Colbert County but that is not a certainty. Mary and Tye had Carter Woodrow Glass and possibly a daughter or two (I am working on that line right now). Tye died in Louisiana and evidently Mary Vandiver Glass died near Memphis. Riley and Clemmie are buried at Hood Cemetery (I won’t bother you with how many years, no decades, I searched everywhere on God’s green earth for that cemetery) which is in a community named Warren in Fayette County, Tennessee. Their daughter Walker Vandiver is buried at the head of their marker in an unmarked grave. She never married. All that exists of Walker Vandiver is a little piece of paper called an obituary somewhere in a library and her name on census records. I have never seen or heard of a photo of her.

After the death of Lila, Tyree married Clemmie’s daughter, Mary Vandiver. Mary must have been a very good mother to those children of Tye and Lila as one of them reported back to family that Mary was the only grandmother he had ever known.

Three of us visited Hood Cemetery some years ago. The tombstone was crumbling from the bottom at that time. There were bits and pieces of it on the ground. I brought a piece home as a keepsake of Riley and Clemmie. Then in a visit in October 2009 the condition of the tombstone is as you see in the photos below. And that makes me want to cry.