05 November 2015

Metta Cubbedge: the Fair Flower has Been Rudely Broken

Original photo by James Allen.
Slightly enhanced image above by Stephanie Lincecum.
...And Rose Hill had another fair sleeper awaiting the end of all things...

Metta Cubbedge was born 26 April 1861 in Georgia to Richard W. and Anna M. Cubbedge. The beginning of 1877 saw Metta as a bright scholar of the junior class at Macon, Georgia's Wesleyan College. She was described, in reference to her role as a student, as "faithful to every duty, never by word or action, disobeying her preceptors."

Metta also had an active extracurricular life. She was President of a secret literary society (it was only allowed to maintain a member number of 30) at Wesleyan known as the Philomathean* Society. She also seemed to enjoy singing. Newspaper articles included her name when describing performances by Macon's Baptist Church choir, as well as Wesleyan's Philomathean Society. Miss Metta Cubbedge was often singled out as a soloist. She was described as having a "sweet modest voice." And her rendition of a song called "The Old Arm Chair" was noted as having a "tender pathos and sweet, sad music."

But before the summer of 1877 ended, Metta was dead. The young 16 year old was struck down by typhoid fever. An illness that lasted a mere 10 days.

Before I share a couple of articles about Metta's death and funeral, I'd like to pose a question: Was Metta's death forseshadowed? If I read an article about her funeral correctly (it's transcribed below), a "dying companion" told Metta she would either die young, die soon, or something of the sort. Please comment with any thoughts you might have on this, especially if you think I'm way off base.

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
1 September 1877, pg. 4
Death of Miss Metta Cubbedge.
The sad intelligence of the death of this young lady reached the city yesterday and threw over her large circle of friends and acquaintances a profound feeling of sadness.

She is a daughter of Mr. R. W. Cubbedge, a prominent banker of this city, and had been spending the summer at Griffin, Georgia, with friends, where she had won by her gentle deportment a host of ardent admirers.

About ten days ago she was taken ill with fever, which rapidly developed into typhoid, and ended her young life yesterday at ten and a half o'clock.

A telegram Friday evening announcing that all the symptoms of the disease were better, deterred Mr. Cubbedge from going up with his family physician, Dr. Boone. Another yesterday morning brough[t] the sad intelligence that she was sinking, and in a few hours after she died.

The remains were brought down on the Central railroad yesterday evening and the funeral will take place from Mr. Cubbedge's residence, on College street, this morning.

All who knew Miss Metta Cubbedge loved her for her many traits of character. She was a member of the junior class at the Wesleyan College this past year and all her companions were devotedly attached to her. Her rendition of the "old arm chair" will never be forgotten by those who heard it for its tender pathos and sweet, sad music. She was just verging into womanhood, but the fair flower has been rudely broken by the hand of death. We tender our sincerest sympathies to the bereaved parents in this sad hour of their mysterious affliction.
Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
2 September 1877, pg. 4
Funeral of Miss Metta Cubbedge.
...The badges of the members of the Philomathean Society, of which she was President, were draped with mourning...

The services were conducted at the grave, and Rose Hill had another fair sleeper awaiting the end of all things. A strange presentiment has, it seems, taken possession of the young lady, that she would soon die in verification of a remark made by a dying companion some two years since, and, during her sickness, she spoke frequently of death and expected the coming of the grim messenger.
*It's also interesting to note another role Metta played in history. The Philomathean Society, founded at Wesleyan College in 1852, and of which Metta Cubbedge was President for a time, later changed its name to Phi Mu. The sorority is active today with more than 228 chapters and is considered to be the second oldest secret organization for women.

29 August 2015

Ellen Washington Bellamy: Strong and Faithful

Middle Georgia has an awesome genealogy and history record source in the Washington Memorial Library, located in Macon. It's situated on Washington Avenue, at the site of the old James H. R. Washington home place. The benefactor behind the library was James' daughter Ellen. And the genealogical and historical room, specifically, was founded by the Mary Hammond Washington Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Mary Hammond Washington being Ellen's mother.

Ellen Clayton Washington was born 12 April 1842 in Macon.  Her father was at one time mayor of each Milledgeville and Macon, in addition to being a banker and a planter, so as you might imagine Ellen was a well-off and well-educated young lady.

If you'll permit me to jump ahead to the end of Ellen's life for a bit:  she rests in the Washington family lot, Central Avenue Division of Rose Hill Cemetery.  Here is an image of a portion of her ledger marker grave stone --

Enhanced image.  Original by James Allen.

After seeing that, I'm sure you'll understand my surprise in discovering Ellen was actually married for a time. As I began researching her life, I quickly started seeing the name "Ellen Washington Bellamy" come up. It didn't take too long to convince me these two individuals (at first blush) were one and the same.

Finding the first name of Ellen Washington's husband was a bit more difficult, until I located an 8 May 1923 Macon Telegraph news article entitled "Watches Macon Grow From Village To City Of Over 60,000." In the article Mrs. Bellamy was quoted as saying, "Soon after I returned to Macon [about 1861] I married Major Burton Bellamy, a Florida planter and a member of the General Assembly of Florida. In one year I returned to my family, widowed, and I have resided here continually since." -- Well that explains a lot.  [Note:  image at top of post accompanied this article.]

Getting back to the library, it was actually donated to the city of Macon in the name of Ellen's brother, Hugh Vernon Washington. "New Public Library is Given to Macon" in the 30 December 1916 Augusta Chronicle (Georgia) states:
Fifty thousand dollars in cash and deeds for the site of a new public library were today turned over to a board of trustees by Mrs. Ellen Washington Bellamy of this city, the only consideration being that the library be erected as a memorial to her brother, the late Hugh Vernon Washington, said to be a descendant of the famous family of which George Washington was a member.

Negotiations were nearly closed with the Carnegie corporation of New York by which the city was to receive $50,000 for a Carnegie library. Mrs. Bellamy had given the site and asked that a nameplate bearing her brother's name be placed inside the building. This is said to have been objected to by the Carnegie corporation, so Mrs. Bellamy, who is an invalid, decided not only to give the site but money with which to build a "Washington library" and "cut loose" from the Carnegie fund...
It was Mrs. Bellamy's wish to have her funeral conducted within the walls of the library she helped bring to Macon. She passed away the morning of 12 January 1925. Her body lie in state at a local funeral chapel from 5 pm the evening of her death until 10:00 the next morning. It was then moved to Washington Memorial Library.  An article on the front page of the 14 January 1925 Macon Telegraph tells it this way:
Funeral services for Mrs. Bellamy, whose death occurred early Monday morning at the Macon Hospital, after a prolonged illness, were conducted at noon yesterday from the Washington Memorial Library, which she built and donated to the City of Macon as a memorial to her brother, Hugh Vernon Washington.

The funeral service, which was simple in every respect, was attended by hundreds of persons from every walk of life. The last rites were conducted by the Rev. Charles H. Lee, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Interment was in Rose Hill Cemetery.

The body lay in state at Burghard's Chapel from 5 o'clock Monday afternoon until 10 o'clock yesterday morning, where it was viewed by hundreds of persons.

The body was removed in simple procession from Washington Memorial Library to Rose Hill Cemetery...
The bottom of Ellen Clayton Washington Bellamy's ledger marker reads, "Forti Et Fideli. In the end, thou shalt be all in all & I in thee forever." Forti Et Fideli translates to Strong and Faithful.

06 August 2015

Col. James H. R. Washington is No More: Obituary and List of Children

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
22 November 1866, pg. 2 (Via GenealogyBank.)
We regret to announce the death of Col. James H. R. Washington, Postmaster of Macon, which occurred at his residence in this city, at an early hour yesterday morning, after a brief illness -- He was at his office on Monday, attending to his business as usual, but got wet during the day and took a chill soon after returning to his home. From this he rapidly declined, and passed away at the hour already stated.

Col. Washington was, we believe, a native of South Carolina, though he has resided in this city from his early manhood. He was a gentleman of fine intelligence, imbued with much public spirit, and held many public trusts which he managed with ability and good faith. He was for many years agent for the Bank of the State of Georgia, was once or twice an incumbent of the Mayoralty, several times a Representative in the State Legislature, and finally Postmaster, to which office he was appointed at the close of the war. He was a man of decided opinions and ardent temperament, never yielding his convictions to any amount of opposition, or stooping to make a friend. In an acquaintance with Col. Washington that ran through a decade we ever found him a sensible, upright and courteous gentleman. He leaves a wife and several children, all of whom, we believe, have attained their majority, though the loss of his care and counsel will prove a great bereavement to them in these troublous times. They have our sympathy in the deep sorrow that has come upon them.
A monument standing for Col. Washington and his wife Mary A. Hammond Washington lists their children --

Sons: Samuel Hammond, James Henry, LeRoy Hammond, Robert Porter, Hugh Vernon.

Daughters: Ellen Clayton, Mary Elizabeth, Annie Tefft.

James H. R. Washington
Born Wilkes County, Ga. July 19, 1809
Died Macon, Ga. Nov 21, 1866

Mayor of Milledgeville, 1844
Mayor of Macon, 1851

Banker, Planter, Legislator

He Fulfilled Every Duty
With Courage And Fidelity

"Ever green be his memory."

31 July 2015

More NAPIER Stuff: Junior and Senior Die Just Days Apart

In April 1919, a father and son from a prominent Macon family died just days apart. Hendley Varner Napier, Sr. died 1 April 1919 at the age of 73 years. And Hendley Varner Napier, Jr. died 6 April 1919 at the age of 42 years. Here's the story from a local newspaper:

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
2 April 1919, pg. 14


Hendley V. Napier, Sr., died last night at the Williams Sanitorium at 6 o'clock from injuries sustained in an accident about a week ago.

He is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Willie Mae Edwards, Edwardsburg, Idaho, and one son, Hendley V. Napier, Jr., of Macon. Also seven grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held from Burghard's chapel, 718 Cherry street, this (Wednesday) afternoon at 5 o'clock, Rev. J. P. Wardlaw, officiating. Interment in Rose Hill cemetery.
Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
5 April 1919, pg. 12
Town In Tabloid
H. V. NAPIER, well known Macon lawyer, is in a critical condition at his home on Napier avenue with meningitis. Yesterday he was conscious only at intervals.
Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
7 April 1919, pg. 1

Eagles, Odd Fellows
[a]nd Lawyers to Attend the Funeral -- Leaves Wife and Four Children.

Hendley Varner Napier, well-known Macon lawyer, senior member of the law firm of Napier & Maynard, died at 7:50 o'clock last night at his home, No. 200 Napier avenue, after an illness of several days. He was 43 years of age.

Cerebro spinal meningitis, contracted shortly after the death of his father, H. V. Napier, Sr., a few days ago, caused his death. Because of the nature of the disease the funeral services this afternoon will be held at the grave in Rose Hill cemetery...

The funeral will take place at 5 o'clock.

Odd Fellows to Attend.
Franklin Lodge of Odd Fellows will turn out in a body to attend the service at the grave and there will be a delegation from the Macon Bar Association also to attend...

Mr. Napier was born in Macon county, Alabama, on October 15, 1876, and came to Macon, the old Napier home, in 1881. He studied law at Georgetown and Macon and has been in active practice here for several years.

He was a son of the late Hendley Varner Napier, Sr., and Virginia Blackmon Napier. Besides his wife, Viola Ross Napier, he is survived by four children: Marion, John Blackmon, Viola Ross and Hendley Varner Napier.
All articles were transcribed from images of originals available at GenealogyBank.

Once again, I am without photos for this one. Both gentlemen rest under ledger markers in Rose Hill Cemetery, and they each have FindAGrave memorials.

08 May 2015

John Powell: a Blackmon or a Napier?

© S. Lincecum
If you follow this blog much, you'll likely know I don't usually post without a photo relating directly to the subject. I'm afraid I don't have one this time, but I feel the information is too valuable for genealogists not to share.

Name changes in a family's history is not all that uncommon, but I dare say finding "proof" of one might be. The following newspaper article actually explains a change of this sort within the NAPIER family of Macon, Georgia. An article following that corrects a mistake in the first. Don't you just love newspapers for genealogy? [Note: GenealogyBank is my go to site for historical newspapers! See ad in sidebar.]

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
11 October 1907, pg. 3


Mr. J. P. Blackmon, aged 33 years, and the son of Mr. and Mrs. Hendley V. Napier, of this city, died Thursday from the effects of an operation for appendicitis at the hospital at El Rino [sic], Oklahoma.

Mr. Blackmon is survived by his parents of this city, by his wife, Mrs. Emma Methina Blackmon, two children, Hendley Napier Blackmon and Dorothy Virginia Blackmon, a brother, Hendley V. Napier, Jr., and two sisters, Mrs. W. A. Edwards, of Logan, Idaho, and Miss Ida Page Napier, of this city.

Mr. Blackmon changed his name many years ago from Napier to Blackmon, the name of his mother's family, in order to preserve it.

He was well known and liked in Macon as he was raised here from boyhood and was a first honor graduate of Gresham High School several years ago.

From Macon he went to Washington to take a departmental position and from there he was sent West, where he was in charge of the Kiowa Indian agency at Abundarke, Oklahoma. This position he has since held and and his work at the agency [has] been highly commended in the Government reports by his superiors in the Department of the Interior at Washington.

The news of his death will be received with sorrow by many friends as he was very popular in Macon. The funeral and interment will occur at Anndarke [sic], Okla.
The Macon Daily Telegraph (Georgia)
15 October 1907
The funeral of Mr. John Powell Blackmon occurred at the residence of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hendley V. Napier, yesterday at 12:30 o'clock. The Rev. John M. Northrop, of St. Paul's Episcopal Church officiated. Interment was in Rose Hill cemetery. The following gentlemen acted as pall bearers: Messrs. J. P. Holmes, Louis Juhon, C. P. Roberts Jr., and J. W. Blount, Dr. Holmes Mason, and Prof. C. B. Chapman.
I hope this information is helpful to someone!

23 April 2015

John William Burke, Bibliophile and Methodist Preacher

John William Burke was the founder of J. W. Burke Co., touted in 1933 as "one of Macon's oldest businesses and one of the oldest publishing houses in the state."

John William Burke and wife Caroline A.
Photo by James Allen.

Columbus Daily Enquirer (Georgia)
22 August 1897, pg. 2
Head of the Firm of J. W. Burke & Co., Publishers, of Macon

MACON, Aug. 22 -- Rev. John W. Burke died at 2 a.m. He had been sinking all day and his death was not unexpected. He had been in poor health quite a while. He was at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Walter R. Holmes.

Rev. Mr. Burke was born in Clarke county about 70 years ago, but lived in Macon many years, where he conducted a large bookstore and publishing house. He was at one time state printer. He was a Methodist preacher. He leaves a wife and five children, Mrs. N. E. Harris, Mrs. B. H. Sasnett, Mrs. W. R. Holmes, Edward Burke and Rev. W. B. Burke, who is missionary to China.

10 April 2015

John W. Burke Struck Down at 24

Enhanced Photo. Click for
original photo by James Allen.
John W. Burke, born 18 June 1869, was the youngest son of Rev. J. W. Burke. He graduated from Emory College (Oxford) about 1890, and in the summer of 1893, young John was a corporal of a local military company (the Macon Volunteers). While at an encampment on Cumberland Island, during a heavy thunderstorm, Corporal John W. Burke was struck by lightning and died instantly.

Macon Weekly Telegraph (Georgia)
24 July 1893, pg. 1
Via GenealogyBank.

Awful Calamity at Cumberland Island During Yesterday's Heavy Thunder Storm.


Alone in His Tent When the Bolt Fell. Death Was Instantaneous -- The Remains Arrived in Macon This Morning.

From the Telegraph, July 17.
Brunswick, July 16 (Special) -- At Cumberland Island about 2 o'clock, while the Macon Volunteers were preparing for dinner, a pretty hard thunder storm came up. Most of the members had left their tents and gone to the hotel. Mr. J. W. Burke, Jr. was among those left behind. A blast of lightning struck a tree in the midst of the tents. A few moments after a negro porter passed by the tent occupied by Mr. Burke and saw his head lying on the outside of the tent.

Death was Instantaneous.
He notified the members of the company and several physicians on the island were called in. They pronounced death instantaneous.

An examination showed that the lightning had struck him, coming up through the ground, tearing a shoe off one foot. Every hair on the body was singed and it has the appearance of being that of a much older man.

The Company Grief Stricken
The company is grief-stricken over the death of their comrade and accompanied the body to Brunswick, where Undertaker Moore prepared it for shipment on the 8:10 East Tennessee train. It is supposed that the lightning struck the centre pole of the tent and then passed through his body from the ground.

A gun in the next tent was torn literally to pieces...
John's funeral took place at the Mulberry Street Methodist Church. "The church was filled until the aisles and vestibule were crowded with the friends of the deceased..." [Most Solemn Obsequies, Macon Telegraph (Georgia), 18 July 1893, pg. 6 - via GenealogyBank.] He rests in the Burke lot, Central Avenue Division, Rose Hill Cemetery. A granite obelisk marking the spot is not far from the entrance to the cemetery.

(Photo by James Allen.)

John W. Burke, Jr.
June 18, 1869
July 16, 1893

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