18 June 2018

Iverson Fowler Holt (1847-1927) and wife Katie G. Stevens

holt19323phIverson F. was born June 1847 in Georgia (likely Houston County) to Fowler and Martha Compton (b. abt 1815) Holt. After the death of his father in 1855, it seems Iverson spent at least some time with his uncle Milton Holt (b. abt 1798) in White Sulphur Springs, Meriwether County, Georgia. They were together there for the taking of the 1860 census. And it's from Meriwether County that Iverson enlisted in the Confederate States Army, about a month before his sixteenth birthday.

Rumor has it Iverson was "...Wounded at Hatcher's Run, VA Apr. 5, 1865. Sent to Richmond, VA hospital. Pension records show he was sent home on wounded furlough Apr. 9, 1865." [FindAGrave Memorial Bio]

It was also recorded in Robert S. Davis's Georgia Black Book that an Iverson F. Holt of Bibb County was admitted to the Georgia Lunatic Asylum some time between 1853 and 1870. I wonder if his admittance has more to do with his Civil War wounds than him truly being a "lunatic."

holt1267nphI have yet to locate Iverson in census records for 1870 or 1880, but a marriage record shows he married Katherine "Katie" Grimes Stevens 29 January 1879 at Bibb County. Katie, born 25 March 1858 in Georgia, was a daughter of Miles G. Stevens and wife Letitia.

According to the 1910 Macon, Bibb County, Georgia Federal census, Catherine had six children. Only three were living at the time, and it seems those were the only three to make it to adulthood:

  • Mildred L. Holt was born 29 September 1883 in Georgia. She married Clarence D. Williams about 1907, and they had at least three children. Mildred died 15 June 1972 at Duval County, Florida, and was buried in Oakland Cemetery at Tallahassee, Leon County.
  • Miles Fowler Holt was born 18 May 1886 in Georgia. He married Esther Sutton (1888-1973) about 1910, and they had at least three children. Miles died 30 April 1967 in Bibb County, and was buried in Macon Memorial Park.
  • Albert Sharp Holt was born September 1890 in Macon. He married Maybelle (1892-1967) about 1917, and they had at least one son. Albert died 18 June 1970 at Bibb County, and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery at Griffin, Spalding County.

By 1910, Iverson was working as a clerk for the railroad. He likely followed this same (or similar) occupation until retirement. Iverson's last address was 1716 Second Street, Macon. He died there 4 September 1927, and Katie lived on for almost twenty-one more years. They both were buried in Rose Hill Cemetery's Central Avenue Division.

An obituary for Iverson ran in the 5 September 1927 Macon Telegraph under the headline, Veteran Dies After Illness: I. F. Holt, Long in Bad Health Succumbs at Home.

Also buried in Rose Hill is Iverson's sister, Mary Chandler Holt. She died in 1870 at the age of twenty, and was buried in a lot purchased by her and Iverson's uncle, Pulaski S. Holt.


See also >> "Pulaski S. Holt Outlived Them All"

16 June 2018

James R. Butts and Steamboat Navigation on the Ocmulgee

butts2656nphJames Rogers Butts was born August 1802 in Connecticut, a son of Elijah Butts. A biography of James's son-in-law, W. H. Atwood, in Memoirs of Georgia (Southern Historical Association, 1895) states James "was the great-grandson of Josiah and Elizabeth Butts, who were the parents of fourteen children. At one period of the revolutionary war they had seven sons and eight grandsons in the patriot army."

By the late 1830s, James was settled in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. He remained there until his death – due to "congestion of the brain" – in 1869. James was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery, in a family lot he purchased in 1855.

[For more detailed information about James's wife and their seven children, go to >> Louisa Polhill Butts (d. 1892).]

While researching the life of James, I uncovered a short item in the 19 March 1839 Macon Weekly Telegraph. It was referencing an informal dinner –

…given by the citizens of Macon in honor of their enterprising fellow-citizen JAMES R. BUTTS, proprietor of the new Steamboat Sam Jones, which had just arrived. No one individual, perhaps, has contributed more to advance the prosperity of this city than Mr. B. He may almost be said to be the father of Steamboat Navigation on the Ocmulgee. The class of Boats, with stern wheels, were invented and first put into successful operation on our River by him…

For a little background, I offer this excerpt from an article about the Ocmulgee River by Keith Hulett for the New Georgia Encyclopedia

…Because the river was frequently narrow and winding, and unnavigably shallow in the dry months, however, it had never been particularly well suited to commercial boat traffic. The best that steamboats could do in the 1820s was to make the trip partway from the coast and transfer their goods to poleboats, which could be pushed the rest of the way to Macon by slaves. The first steamboat reached Macon in 1829, and the first commercial steamboat to make the full Darien-to-Macon run arrived in 1833. In late 1835 three steamboat companies operated on the river, and by the end of the decade there was a steady flow of traffic transporting cotton and lumber to the markets of Savannah and Darien from the wharves of Macon, Hawkinsville, Abbeville, Jacksonville, and Lumber City, and from the river landings of prosperous Ocmulgee River plantations.

DailyConstitutionalist28Jul1869-ButtsWhen James died, several Georgia newspapers printed death notices. He was described as being involved "with the commerce and business enterprise of Macon" for more than thirty years. It was also noted, "He was a man of very active, original mind and considerable inventive power." Full obituary follows:

Macon Weekly Telegraph (Georgia)
Friday, 30 July 1869 - pg. 4 [via GenealogyBank]

JAMES R. BUTTS, ESQ. -- The memory of this old and prominent citizen of Macon, demands more at our hands than the brief announcement of his death. His public services to the State, his exemplary life, his indomitable energy and perseverance in all his undertakings, would furnish the material for a most interesting biography; but we must leave that work for some one more familiar with the subject, and confine ourselves to a brief review of some of the leading features of his career.

James R. Butts was born in the State of Connecticut, on the 22d day of August, 1802, and died in Macon on the 26th day of July, 1869 -- aged sixty-six years, eleven months and four days. He was the oldest son of Dr. Elijah Butts, of Connecticut, and when quite a young man he left the State of his birth and became a citizen of Twiggs county, Ga., where he soon afterwards entered into the mercantile and boating business -- running his boats to Macon, where he soon after located.

About the year 1830, he conceived the idea of adapting steamboats to the navigation of the Ocmulgee river, and constructed the steamer "Pioneer" -- the forerunner of a line of steamers called the "Pioneer Line," extending from Macon to Darien, Savannah and Charleston. To the success of this enterprise Macon owes much of its prosperity. During this interval he was associated in business, first with Mr. Coats, and son afterwards with our esteemed citizen, Mr. Charles Day.

The building of the Central Railroad from Savannah to Macon, changed the route of trade from the river, when Mr. Butts extended his enterprise to the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers.

In 1850, Mr. Butts was elected Surveyor General of the State, which office he filled with marked distinction during Gov. Town's administration. In 1856 he returned to Macon, and in 1857 compiled an authentic map of the State, which to this day is an admirable and accurate work for reference to the geographical student.

In 1862 he was captured at St. Mark's, Florida -- whither he had gone to establish Salt Works -- by a party of Federal cruisers, and was incarcerated for nine months in the prison at Fort  Lafayette, with the distinguished Dr. Ould, of Ohio, and others. On being released from his long imprisonment, he immediately returned to his adopted State and family, and was known as a most zealous and undeviating friend of the South and her brave defenders in the field.

Since the war he was the senior partner in the real estate firm of Butts & Brother, of this city, and whilst conducting the business of the office he conceived the plan of throwing into the markets of the world, by means of floating saw-mills, the magnificent timber resources of the State which line the banks of the Ocmulgee River.  Through his efforts, the Georgia White Oak Lumber Company was organized, of which he was the President, and during last year he built at our city wharf the "Tallulah," a substantial and admirably constructed boat, for getting out ship-knees, pipe and barrel staves; but which, for some cause not yet clearly defined, met with a disaster soon after it arrived at the field of operations, which checked and stopped the further prosecution of an enterprise which will yet be carried out, and confirm the views of Mr. Butts, as often expressed to the writer, that from the timber along the banks of the Ocmulgee, vast fortunes would some day be hewed out, by public spirited and enterprising men.

Up to within a short time of his death, Mr. Butts was in the enjoyment of good health, for one of his years; but when disease, at last, came, his enfeebled frame could not withstand the shock, and it broke suddenly as the dried reed. He was seized about 9 o'clock, on Saturday night last, with an attack of bilious cholic, which terminated in congestion of the bowels, and he expired on Monday afternoon, at 5 P.M., calmly and quietly, "like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams."

15 June 2018

Louisa Polhill Butts (d. 1892) & the Georgia Lunatic Asylum

Louisa Mary Polhill was born about 1822 in either North Carolina or Georgia. According to the granite marker placed at her burial site in Rose Hill Cemetery – likely added some years after her death – Louisa was a daughter of Harriet Allen Taylor and John Goldwire Polhill, a judge of the Superior Court of Georgia. (Harriet was also buried in Rose Hill upon her death in 1873.)


Louisa married James Rogers Butts (1802-1869) on 7 July 1841 at Baldwin County, Georgia. This couple had at least seven children:

  • Catharine G. Butts Atwood (d. 1870)
  • Tallulah Ellen Butts Atwood (d. 1909)
  • Harriett Laura Butts (1854-1855)
  • Elijah Polhill Butts (d. 1892)
  • Jessie C. Butts (1859-1953)
  • James Albert Butts (d. 1930)
  • John G. Polhill Butts (d. 1913)

James and Louisa settled in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia after their marriage. Per the 1860 census, James owned real estate valued at $90,000. He worked as a land agent and surveyor until his death in July of 1869, and the 1870 mortality schedule of the US Federal census provided James died of "Congestion of the Brain."


It's possible Louisa did not handle the death of her husband well. Her name – Mrs. Louisa Butts of Bibb County – appears on a list of Georgia Lunatic Asylum Patients in Robert Davis's Georgia Black Book: Morbid, Macabre, & Sometimes Disgusting Records of Genealogical Value, admitted between the years of 1853 and 1870. Louisa is a head of household in Macon for the July 1870 census, so it's possible she was admitted to the Milledgeville hospital shortly thereafter.


1937 view of front, Milledgeville State Hospital. Parts of central building date back to Civil War.
Photographer L. D. Andrew, public domain.

According to the 1880 Baldwin County, Georgia Federal census, Louisa was still a patient at the "State Lunatic Asylum," and noted specifically as "insane." I presume Louisa was a patient at the asylum until her death in 1892. Though I have not come across a specific record that states as much, her obituary noted she died at Milledgeville.

For that same year census, Louisa's three youngest children (Jessie, James, and John) were residing with their oldest living sister, Tallulah Butts Atwood, in McIntosh County, Georgia.

Louisa's Legacy: Notes on Her Children

  • Catharine Butts Atwood at Rose Hill CemeteryCatharine G. Butts was born 10 September 1843 in Georgia. She married William Henry Atwood, son of Henry Skilton Atwood and Ann McIntosh, 16 August 1867 at Bibb County, Georgia. They had one child, Louise M. Atwood, before Catharine died 8 October 1870. She was buried in the James R. Butts lot at Rose Hill Cemetery. (Image of her tombstone at right.)
  • Tallulah Ellen Butts was born 5 October 1850 in Georgia. Tallulah, after the death of her sister Catharine, also married William Henry Atwood on 17 October 1871 in Fulton County, Georgia. This couple had at least six children: Henry G., Maud A. (1875-1957), James R., Jane C., Elliott McIntosh, and Sibyl Jessie (1890-1919). Tallulah died 1 November 1909, and was buried at the Atwood Family Cemetery in McIntosh County.
  • Harriett Laura Butts was less than a year old when she died 17 January 1855. Hers was the first burial in the family lot at Rose Hill Cemetery, James purchasing the lot the day after her death.
  • Elijah Polhill Butts was born in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia about 1856-1857. He married Ada Creswell after 1880, and they had at least four children: Carolee J., Adrienne C. (1887-1950), Julia P., and Catharine Isle (b. 1891). Elijah met an accidental death 11 January 1892 while working as the "Resident Engineer" on a reconstruction project on the Burlington Bridge in Des Moines County, Iowa. He "was struck on the head by a stone, receiving a fracture of the skull which proved fatal. No one saw the accident, but he was found unconscious under [a] pier."
  • Artist unknown - Mary Baker Eddy, "Rudimental Divine Science," first published in the United States 1891, courtesy of Project Gutenberg, Public DomainJessie C. Butts was born 22 May 1859 in Macon. By the early 1900s, it seems she had devoted herself to the Christian Science belief. In a 1903 Christian Science Journal, Jessie was noted as a "first reader" for services at the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Terre Haute, Indiana. The 1910 McIntosh County, Georgia Federal census gave her an occupation of "Doctor, Scientist," and her 1953 death certificate stated her usual occupation as "C. S. Practitioner." Jessie, who never married, died at "Mrs. Della Anderson's Rest Home" in Austin, Travis County, Texas.
  • James Albert Butts was born 12 August 1861 at Macon. Some time after reaching adulthood, James made his way West. I'm not certain how he spent his time between 1880 and 1910, though I should note his death certificate gave him the occupation of miner dating prior to 1903. – For the 1910 Maricopa County, Arizona Territory census, James was an inmate at the "Territorial Insane Asylum." He was at the same institution in April 1930, then called the Arizona State Hospital for the Insane. James died 8 months later. His death certificate noted he had been a resident of the institution for 27+ years. Cause of death was chronic myocarditis, with a contributory factor noted as psychosis.
  • John G. Polhill Butts was born in Macon just before Christmas in either 1886 or 1887. He became a civil engineer for the railroad, and maintained a residence in Macon. On 11 April 1906, John married Sara Wright Flournoy in Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky. This was noted as his second marriage. John contracted pulmonary tuberculosis, and died at a sanitarium in El Paso, Texas 8 December 1913. Per his death certificate, John had been at the Homan Sanatorium 10 days; in the state of Texas 6 months. The disease was contracted at Macon, Georgia, and the same location was noted to be his usual residence. Burial was at Evergreen Cemetery in El Paso.

04 May 2018

Adolph, Emilie, and Levy Bernd

lberndLevy Bernd was born 21 April 1788 in Prussia. In the fall of 1835, he and wife Fredrica brought nine children to the United States, arriving in New York on 13 October.  Those children were Johanette, Bertha, Henrietta, Adolph, Ferdinand, Gustav, Lisette, Julius, and Emilie.

Less than a month later, Levy signed a Declaration of Intention to become a United States citizen.  By September 1850, Levy and family were residing in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.  He was occupied as a merchant.

After spending some time in St. Louis, Missouri, Levy's final settlement would be at Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.  He died there August 1868.  At the time, the local newspaper denoted Levy the "oldest German in Macon." His final resting place was in the old Hebrew Burial Ground at Rose Hill Cemetery.  [Image at right credit: Evening Blues (2004) via FindAGrave.  Permission for use granted in bio.]

Adolphus (Adolph) Bernd was born 7 December 1821, likely a son of Levy and Fredrica.  His tombstone provides a birthplace of Hohensolms, Germany.  My limited knowledge suggests this locale was more specifically part of the Kingdom of Prussia at the time of Adolph's birth.  [Later it would be part of the North German Confederation, then the German Empire, and finally the Federal Republic of Germany.]

Adolph signed a Declaration of Intention to become a United States citizen while at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in October 1848.  He was in Levy's household for the 1850 Federal census (same locale), also occupied as a merchant.

Directories for the city of St. Louis, Missouri show Adolph was there at least from 1864 to 1866.  He was partnered in business with his brother Ferdinand. The Bernd Brothers company was involved in "wholesale and retail wines and liquors," located at 26 Market street.

Since Levy died in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia the summer of 1868, I think it's likely Adolph was there by then, too.  He was definitely there for the taking of the July 1870 Federal census, as well as the 1871 Bibb County, Georgia Tax Digest.  During this time, Adolph was partnered with another brother, Gustav, in the business of saddle and harness manufacturing.

I have found no evidence to suggest Adolph ever married.  For the June 1880 Macon, Bibb County, Georgia Federal census, he was a single man living at 108 Plum Street.

Though I read in a report about the Jewish community history of Macon that the partners of A. & G. Bernd Co. parted ways some years later, it appears Adolph remained engaged in the same harness making business until his death at Macon the last of January 1891.

Mr. Adolph Bernd's funeral notice stated he was to be buried "in the Beth Israel cemetery." This was the old Hebrew Burial Ground at Rose Hill.


(Image by James Allen)


Emilie Dellevie Bernd was born 26 April 1832 in Germany / Prussia, possibly a daughter of Levy and Fredrica.  Emilie was just three years old when she arrived in New York in 1835.  She was in Levy's household for the 1850 Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania Federal census, and Adolph's household for the 1870 Macon, Bibb County, Georgia Federal census.

edberndAccording to her tombstone, Emilie died 28 June 1875.  Like Levy and Adolph, she was buried in the old Hebrew Burial Ground at Rose Hill Cemetery.  A portion of her epitaph follows:

Her great aim was the pursuit
of knowledge, in the possession
of which she made no ostentations
show.  Her delight was to make those
dear to her happy, not forgetting
the comforts of others, nursing
the sick and relieving the needy.
She walked in the way of righteousness
and truth, the reverse was repugnant
to her soul.

[Image at right credit: Evening Blues (2004) via FindAGrave.  Permission for use granted in bio.]



08 March 2018

R. E. Church Buried 2 Wives Before His Own Death at Age 32

100_4059In the Eglantine Square section of Rose Hill Cemetery stands a tombstone placed for R. E. and Maria N. Church.  According to cemetery records, this tombstone is in a family lot purchased by Lewis P. Strong on 1 August 1840.

Since Maria's death date is listed as 25 October 1839, and R. E.'s is 11 February 1840, one has to wonder if they were initially buried elsewhere and later moved to Rose Hill.

Rodman Ebenezer Church was born in Bethlehem, Litchfield County, Connecticut 5 June 1807 to Rollin and Sally Church.  He married Maria N. Strong 13 September 1831 in Middletown, Middlesex County, CT.  Even though they were both young, this was not Rodman's first marriage.  Two years prior, he had wed Lydia Maria Dean.  She died about nine months later, on 11 July 1830, at age 22.

When second wife Maria died in 1839, she was only 21 years old.

Rodman lived only a few months after the death of his second wife. The epitaph on their shared tombstone says, in part, "They were lovely in their lives.  In their deaths they were not divided."

Upon Rodman's death in 1840, the following was published in the 18 February edition of the Macon Weekly Telegraph (Georgia, pg. 3):

In this city, on the night of the 10th inst. of the consumption, Mr. RODMAN E. CHURCH, aged 32 years. He was formerly of Durham, in the State of Connecticut, but had resided here since the early settlement of the place. He was justly esteemed by all who knew him, as an honest and upright man -- whose integrity was never questioned -- and in whom no guile was ever known. He had for 8 years been a member of the Presbyterian Church, and his walk was exemplary before the world, and in his death, gave convincing evidence that he had not made a vain profession.

He was buried on the 11th by the Macon Volunteers, of which Company he had for many years been a good and prompt soldier; and it is believed that the seeds of the disease of which he died, were contracted during the hardships and exposure of the Florida Campaign in 1836.

Lewis P. Strong, who purchased the family burial lot at Rose Hill, was likely Maria's brother.  He and wife Lurane were also buried there.


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