Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Is that you, Sallie?

Wordless Wednesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks family historians to create a post in which the main focus is a photograph or image.

Sallie Jollett Clift wedding picture 1891 Greene County, Virginia

I wanted desperately for this photo to be of Lucy Ann Shiflett Jollett. However, all the clues for dating the photo say otherwise. The sleeves in particular point to the 1890s, not the late 1850s that would have applied to Lucy.

The woman looks most like Sallie Catherine Jollett. The flowers in her bodice suggest this might be a wedding portrait, thus dating this photo to 1891.

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Sallie Clift

Tombstone Tuesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks bloggers to include an image of a gravestone of one or more ancestors along with a brief description of the image or the ancestor.

Even though Sallie Jollett Clift lived with her children in Washington D.C. at the end of her life, they brought her back to Shenandoah where she had lived for over 50 years. She is buried at the Coverstone Cemetery (formerly EUB Church Cemetery) where her first two children and most of her sisters and brothers are as well.

dau of
Geo T and Sallie
died Apr 8, 1897
Aged 3 yrs 6 mos and 8 days
Suffer the little children to come 
unto me and forbid them not 
for to such is the kingdom of heaven.
son of
Geo T and Sallie
Died Mar 30, 1897
Aged 5 yrs 0 mos and 15 days
The LORD gave and the LORD
has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Monday, July 25, 2016

James Franklin Jollett's Kids: Sallie Clift

As part of my “Genealogy Do-Over” efforts AND to force myself to get crackin’ on my James Franklin Jollett book, Jollett Reunion, I will be researching and writing brief biographies of James Franklin, his wives, and his children.

Sallie Jollett
Sallie Jollett
In May 11, 1872, James Franklin and Lucy Ann Jollett welcomed their sixth child, another girl, and named her Sallie Catherine. She attended school near Swift Run and learned to read and write.

At age 19, she married George Thomas Clift of Page County and moved to Shenandoah where George worked for the Norfolk & Western Railroad. They started a family right away. Within two years, they were the perfect American family with a little boy and a little girl. In five years, though, their perfect life was no more. Their two precious children died due to injuries from a house fire. Little Vernon died just 2 weeks after his 5th birthday, and Daisey followed a week later.

George and Sallie Clift, Vernon Clift, Daisey Clift
George and Sallie Clift
Vernon and Daisey
about 1894 or 1895

Although Sallie and George had 3 more children, their marriage was never the same. George’s work with the railroad required quite a bit of travel allowing him to explore a number of relationships with other women over a period of many years. In 1913, Sallie discovered love letters hidden in various places around their house and property.

There was no reason for Sallie to whimper and beg George to remain faithful. There was no reason to profess her love anymore. His treatment of her had become abusive over time, both verbally and physically. When Sallie found the letters, she also found some inner strength to take action.

Sallie tracked down the latest girlfriend and knocked on her door. Sallie demanded she hand over George’s love letters or she would tell the girl’s parents.

Over 35 letters and postcards were entered into evidence in the divorce case of Sallie C. Clift vs. George T. Clift. All Sallie wanted was sole custody of their three children and money to help take care of them. Although George tried to blame Sallie, claiming SHE was the abusive one, SHE was the one who lost interest in their marriage, SHE was the one who abandoned him by refusing to cook his meals, the Court sided with her, granted a divorce, and awarded her $7 in monthly alimony.

The two younger children had nothing to do with George Clift after that, but the oldest son and his wife kept in contact, perhaps out of pity or obligation.
Sallie Jollett Clift about 1942 or 1943
Sallie Clift about 1942 or 1943
used by permission of great-grandchildren
The children obviously understood what their mother had endured for so many years, and they sympathized with her plight. They appreciated all she had done to take care of them. After she died, her daughter Alda and Alda’s daughters wrote poems for the newspaper in memory of Sallie.

Sallie Catherine JOLLETT (11 May 1872 Greene Co, VA – 7 Jul 1944 Washington D.C.) and George Thomas CLIFT (Sep 1865 Page Co, VA - ?) married 30 Mar 1891 Luray, Page Co, VA
  1. Vernon F. CLIFT (15 Mar 1892 Shenandoah, VA – 30 Mar 1897 Shenandoah, VA)
  2. Daisey L. CLIFT (8 Aug 1893 Shenandoah, VA – 8 Apr 1897 Shenandoah, VA)
  3. Leonard Jennings CLIFT (29 May 1899 Shenandoah, VA – 18 Dec 1977 Calvert Co, MD) and Lena Mae SECRIST (8 Mar 1900 Roanoke, VA – 3 Jan 1980 Prince Georges, MD) married 31 Aug 1918 Hagerstown, MD
  4. Raymond Bertram CLIFT (27 Sep 1900 Shenandoah, VA – 14 Jun 1985 Arlington, VA) and Jessie Rebecca Oliver LLOYD (26 Aug 1908 Augusta Co, VA – 19 Mar 1991 Alexandria, VA) married 21 May 1927 Baltimore, MD
  5. Alda Beatrice CLIFT (5 Jun 1905 Shenandoah, VA – Jun 1982 Prince Georges, MD) and 1) Leon Dewey Monger (25 Jul 1899 Page Co, VA – 15 Apr 1953 Norfolk, VA) married 15 Jan 1920 Hagerstown, MD; 2) Wilson SUITE (1905 St Marys Co, MD – Jul 1960 Washington D. C.)  married after 1930

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: Mary Frances and Walter

Sunday’s Obituary is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers asking us to post obituaries along with other information about that person.

Mrs. Davis Dies;
Funeral Friday

Mrs. Mary Frances Davis, widow of Walter Beriah Davis and a resident of Harrisonburg for the past 13 years, died Wednesday afternoon at three o’clock at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Violetta Ryan, 473 South Mason Street.

Mrs. Davis suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on October 6 and was for three weeks a patient at the Rockingham Memorial Hospital.  She returned to her residence on October 27 and seemed to be improving until three weeks ago when her condition became critical.

A daughter of the [sic.] James F. and Lucy Ann Jollett, she was born in Greene County, where she spent the early part of her life and attended public schools.
Following her marriage on February 11, 1890 to Walter Beriah Davis, Mr. and Mrs. Davis resided at Shenandoah for forty years.  For the past 13 years, Mrs. Davis has been making her home with her daughter in Harrisonburg.

Mrs. Davis was a quiet, unassuming person with many fine qualities.  Her cheerful disposition and lovable nature endeared herself to all with whom she came in contact.

Mrs. Davis united with the church in early life and was a faithful member of the Evangelical United Brethren Church in Shenandoah where she had taken an active part in its various organizations.

The last surviving member of a family of nine children, Mrs. Davis is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Velma Woodring, Martinsburg, W. Va., and Mrs. Violetta Ryan, Harrisonburg; two sons, Millard M. Davis, Shenandoah and Orvin O. Davis, Portsmouth; two grandchildren Orvin O. Davis, Jr., Shenandoah, and Miss Mary Eleanor Davis, a student at Madison College; two great grandchildren Glenn Edward Davis and Miss Barbara Ann Davis, both of Shenandoah.  Her husband, a well known building contractor, preceded her in death on October 31, 1934.

Funeral services will be held Friday afternoon at two o’clock from the Shenandoah Evangelical United Brethren Church, with her pastor, the Rev. P. W. Fisher, in charge of the services assisted by Dr. E. E. Miller.  Burial will be in the family lot in the United Brethren Cemetery in Shenandoah.  Nephews will serve as active pallbearers.

The body now rests at the Lindsey Funeral Home on South Main Street where it will remain until twelve o’clock Friday when it will be taken to the church to lie in state from one o’clock until the hour of the services.  Relatives are asked to meet at the home of her son, Millard M. Davis, 407 Sixth Street in Shenandoah, Friday afternoon at one-forty.


Walter B. Davis, aged 66, died at his home in Shenandoah on Thursday night after several years of declining health. The immediate cause of his death was Bright Disease and heart trouble. He is survived by his wife, who before marriage was a Miss Jollett and four children: Millard M. Davis, of Norfolk, Va.; O. O. Davis of Shenandoah; Miss Violetta Davis of Harrisonburg and Mrs. Velma Woodring of Martinsburg, W.Va., and several brothers and sisters. The deceased is a native of Greene County though has been living in Shenandoah for the past forty years. For many years, he followed the carpenter trade and later operated a grocery store in Shenandoah now run by his son O. O. Davis. Mr. Davis was quiet and unobtrusive and had many friends who regret to hear of his passing. The burial will take place Saturday at 2 p.m. preceded by short services at the U. B. Church by Rev. Lee E. Sheaffer.

from the Richmond Times Dispatch Nov 4, 1934

Shenandoah, Nov. 3 – Funeral services were held today for Walter Davis, 67, well-known Shenandoah merchant. Services were conducted by the Rev. Lee E. Sheaffer. Mr. Davis is survived by his widow and four children: Orvin Davis, Shenandoah; Miss Violeta Davis of the State Teachers’ College, Harrisonburg; Mrs. Woodring, Martinsburg, W.Va., and Millard Davis, Norfolk. The following brothers and sisters also survive: Mrs. Marshall, Mrs. Morris, and Lorenzo Davis, Washington, and Mrs. Bruce Davis McGaheysville.

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Sepia Saturday: Hotels and Motels

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt features a lovely 1930s hotel room outfitted in the popular Art deco style. The two beds, seemingly a requirement in most hotels, immediately grabbed my attention because of this photo in my collection:
Unknown woman Courtesy Court Motel St. Augustine, Florida
two double beds
The identity of this lovely woman stretched out across one of the chenille-covered beds is not known, but I know where she was and when.

It was June 25, 1941. She was in the Courtesy Court Motel located on Route 1 in St. Augustine, Florida. It says so right on the back. (Couldn’t she have included her name?)

Postcard Courtesy Court Motel
St. Augustine, Florida

There are numerous postcards for sale on eBay featuring St. Augustine’s Courtesy Court. Like most motels of its era, it was a one-story building of connecting rooms all opening onto the parking lot. There was a manager’s office and swimming pool surrounded by picnic tables and Adirondack chairs.

The postcards from the 1960s boast of such amenities as a telephone, television, and air conditioning. In 1941, however, there was a small fan sharing real estate with a lamp on the table between the beds. What do you want to bet that there was a Gideon bible in the drawer?

Postcard Courtesy Court Motel
St. Augustine, Florida
Since my great-grandmother Sudie Rucker enjoyed her annual trips to Florida, it has occurred to me that maybe this unidentified woman accompanied her or was someone Sudie visited.

Whoever she was, this mystery guest of the Courtesy Court did some touring in St. Augustine. She went to the Hotel Alcazar, which today houses the Lightner Museum. However, the nature and extent of her visit leaves a question mark. The hotel, built in 1887 to appeal to wealthy tourists, closed in 1932. It did not become a museum until 1947. Perhaps the Spanish Renaissance Revival architecture simply attracted visitors even if there was nothing going on there.
Unidentified woman Hotel Alcazar in St. Augustine, Florida
at the Hotel Alcazar June 25, 1941
St. Augustine, Florida

I doubt the Alcazar had chenille bedspreads.

Hop out of bed and take a tour of Sepia Saturday to see how my friends have been inspired by the prompt photo.

© 2016, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Davis Babies

Wordless Wednesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks family historians to create a post in which the main focus is a photograph or image.

Unidentified Baby in album of Mary Frances Jollett Davis

Unidentified Baby in album of Mary Frances Jollett Davis

These photos of babies are in the album belonging to Mary Frances Jollett Davis. Possibly they are her sons Millard and Orvin. But I also wonder if one could be Elsworth O., the baby who died in 1893.

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: The Davis Plot

Tombstone Tuesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks bloggers to include an image of a gravestone of one or more ancestors along with a brief description of the image or the ancestor.

at Coverstone Cemetery, Shenandoah, VA
Mary Frances Jollett and Walter Davis are buried in a family plot in the Coverstone Cemetery in Shenandoah, Virginia. For many years it was known as the Evangelical United Brethren Church Cemetery.

All of their children are there as well, except perhaps for Elsworth whose place of burial is unknown.

My grandparents Orvin and Lucille Rucker Davis

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.