28 September 2016

Rose Hill Cemetery Landscape II (Wordless Wednesday)

25 September 2016

Wife's Name is Incorrect in the Obituary for John E. Jones

JonesobitsKeeping up with the Joneses is indeed a hard thing to do.  Especially genealogically speaking.  But the following obituaries for Mr. and Mrs. John E. Jones did go a long way in providing me some names and family connections – with one glaring mistake.

Col. John E. Jones was the first to pass away.  His wife would follow just a few months later.

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
3 May 1891 -- pg. 3 [via GenealogyBank]



One of Macon's Oldest and Most Respected Residents Called to His Last Long Home -- A Short Sketch of His Life

At 10:30 o'clock last night Col. J. E. Jones, one of Macon's best and oldest citizens, breathed his last.

While his illness had not been of long duration, the end was not unexpected, as the doctors had given up all hope for several hours before.

John Edwin Jones, the deceased, was the son of John Jones and Sarah Wimberly -- was born in Houston county, Ga., and was in his 64th year at the time of his death.

Col. Jones married Miss Henrietta Dean, daughter of James Dean of Macon.

At about the age of 20 he entered into copartnership with his father in the cotton warehouse business in Macon and Savannah under the firm name of John Jones & Son.  He attended to the business of the firm in Savannah and resided there about two years.  On returning to Macon he became the agent of the Bank of Savannah, and retained that position till the beginning of the Confederate war or thereabout.  He was not in the regular Confederate army, but saw service in what was known as Joe Brown's militia, and was present in the siege of Savannah.

After the war, about '68, he became the agent of the Macon cotton factory.  In 1869 he established the Central Georgia Bank in Macon, became its president and continued so till three years ago, when he resigned on account of declining health.

After the death of Gen. W. S. Holt, Col. Jones became the president of the Southwestern Railway Company, and retained that high position till his death.

Recently he became president of the Covington and Macon railroad, and so remained until the road went into the hands of a receiver.

He has been president of the bond commission of the city of Macon ever since the commission was established.

The deceased had five grown daughters, three married, of whom two of the married are yet living, one married daughter died, two died unmarried and one daughter, living, is single.

The married daughters now living are Mrs. Claude Estes and Mrs. W. R. Cox.

Mrs. Jones, wife of the deceased, is the sister of Mrs. L. Q. C. Lamar.

On Tuesday night, April 28, Mr. Jones was taken sick, but did not send for a physician till next day, April 29, when Drs. H. H. Mettauer and James Etheridge were called.  But this disease, intususception [sic] of the bowels, proved to be beyond their skill.

When I first read this obituary, I thought I had the wrong John E. Jones.  But, nope, this is the right guy.  Henrietta Dean, however, was NOT his wife's name.  The correct name is Miss Arabella Dean, a sister of Henrietta's.  The line toward the end, "Mrs. Jones, wife of the deceased, is the sister of Mrs. L. Q. C. Lamar," is correct.  Henrietta first married W. S. Holt, then L. Q. C. Lamar.

According to the Georgia Marriages, 1808-1967 database at FamilySearch.org, John E. Jones married "Annabella" O. Dean 28 November 1848 in Bibb County.  John and Arabella are memorialized on the same stone at Rose Hill Cemetery.

Original images by James Allen.  This mashup by S. Lincecum.

The part of Mr. Jones's obituary that describes his children is also a bit confusing.  The number given is "five daughters," but the paragraph further describes six.  Though it doesn't help with her maiden name, Mrs. Jones's obituary did help me with all the daughters.

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
11 August 1891, pg. 6 [via GenealogyBank]


Passed Away at Her Home Early Yesterday Morning.
Mrs. John E. Jones, widow of the late Col. John E. Jones, died at her home on Georgia avenue yesterday morning at 4 o'clock.

She had been ill for about ten days with bilious fever, but a fatal termination was not expected until Sunday, when she began to sink rapidly.

Mrs. Jones was a native of Macon and was about 61 years of age.  She was a lady of gentle and lovable character.

She leaves three daughters:  Mrs. W. R. Cox, Mrs. Claud Estes and Miss Eva Jones.  The late Mrs. W. W. Collins was also her daughter.

The funeral will be held from the family residence on Georgia avenue at 10 o'clock this morning.

Using tombstones and obituaries, here are the daughters as I know them:

  • Laura Jones (d. 5 October 1855)
  • Florence Jones (1856-1884)
  • Eva Blanche Jones (1858-1933)
  • Nannie Jones Estes (1865-1935)
  • Mrs. W. R. Cox
  • Mrs. W. W. Collins (d. bef. 1891)

Good luck keeping up with the Joneses!

24 September 2016

The Flowers of Rhetoric are Ill-Suited to the Draperies of the Tomb: Death of Miss Florence Jones

FlorenceJonesobitFlorence was born 10 November 1856 to Col. John E. and Arabella O. Jones.  According to a death notice that appeared in the 26 March 1884 Macon Telegraph (Georgia),
In early life she was bright and cheerful, and the future looked brilliant with hope and happiness, but for many years she had been the child of affliction and suffering, which in their turn wrought in her the peaceable fruits of happiness.
Miss Florence died "On Sunday, March 23d, 1884, at a quarter before 10 o'clock a.m." Her beautifully written obituary follows:

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
25 March 1884 -- pg. 5 [via GenealogyBank]
Death of Miss Florence Jones.
After a lingering illness, Miss Florence Jones, daughter of Colonel John E. Jones, died at her home Saturday evening.  The simple announcement of the death of a loved one, the bare record of a fate that robs the family circle of a cherished ornament, is under any circumstances a dismal duty; but more peculiarly sad and touching does it become when the victim is one of such sweet character and gentle demeanor as was the young lady in this instance.  We know how vain it is to gild a grief with words.  The sorrow of the heart cannot be diminished or otherwise affected by either the elegance or eloquence of love's obituaries.  The flowers of rhetoric are ill-suited to the draperies of the tomb.  But in this instance the many friends of the young lady and the family unite in extending to the stricken ones all the sympathy at their command.  Her death will be regretted and her presence missed by a large circle of acquaintances who rejoiced to name her as a friend.

Her funeral took place yesterday afternoon from the residence of Colonel Jones, on the Hill…
Florence Jones (1856-1884). Original image by James Allen.

Patient in suffering and firm in faith,
she has entered into the peace of God,
which passeth understanding.

23 September 2016

Catherine Russell Left a Large Number of Descendants

100_4442Catherine Follendor was born 1824-1828 in Germany.  In the early 1840's, she married Jacob Russell in (likely) Bibb County, Georgia.  From what I can gather, the couple had nine children – seven daughters and two sons.

Catherine died 18 January 1895 in Macon.  Her obituary tells a bit about her journey from Germany to middle Georgia.

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
20 January 1895, pg. 6 [via Georgia Historic Newspapers]


A Good Woman and Old Citizen Passes Away.

The death of Mrs. Jacob Russell, which occurred at the home of Mrs. L. Vannucci, on Mulberry street, yesterday morning at 4 o'clock, will carry deep regret to the hearts of many people, as she was a woman loved by all who knew her, and her long residence in Macon had endeared her to the hearts of many people.

Mrs. Russell's last illness was of short duration.  She came to Macon from Florida, where she has been making her home for some time past, to attend the funeral of her daughter, Mrs. P. J. Duffy, several weeks ago, and although apparently in good health at the time, she soon became ill and gradually grew worse until death came.

Mrs. Russell was born at Strasburg, Germany in 1824 and came to America fifty-eight years ago.  She landed at Savannah and came to Macon by way of the Ocmulgee river on a boat under command of Capt. [Bone?].  When 18 years of age she was married to Jacob Russell of Macon, who was one of the city's most progressive citizens.  He started the first brewery known in the state of Georgia, and for many years ran the largest brewery in the South.  The old buildings still stand on the Vineville branch, in the northern part of the city.  Mr. Russell was also alderman for several years.

Mrs. Russell leaves a sister, Mrs. William Abel, six daughters, Mrs. J. H. Otto, Mrs. Peter Hertel, Mrs. Louis Vannucci, Mrs. Louis Nelson, Mrs. H. M. Taylor, Mrs. Charles Ball, and one son, Mr. Jacob Russell.  She also leaves twenty-eight grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

The funeral will take place at 2:30 from the Catholic church this afternoon.

A son not mentioned in the obituary was C. H. Russell.

And, by the way, Mrs. Russell had a bit of money when she passed away.

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
23 January 1895, pg. 5 [via Georgia Historic Newspapers]

MRS. RUSSELL'S WILL. -- Ordinary Wiley yesterday probated the will of Mrs. Catherine Russell, widow of Jacob Russell and mother-in-law of Mr. Louis Vanucci.  The amount of the will is about $18,000.

The statue atop the tombstone for Catharine Russell could be of the Virtue of Hope.  She is holding an anchor in her left hand.


22 September 2016

William Wylie Didn't Survive the Mardi Gras Trip

100_4441William Wylie was born in Houston County, Georgia 26 June 1845.  He served the Confederacy during the Civil War, and afterward became a police officer in Bibb County.  William married at least twice.  First, I believe, to a woman named Mary.  This union produced at least three children:  Ella, Laura, and Thomas.

On 22 November 1877 in Bibb County, Georgia, W. A. Wylie married again to Mrs. Jane E. Stephens.  She brought along two children, Edna and Jimmie, and the couple together had a son named Warren.  The former Mrs. Stephens was born Mary Ella Jane Ray, daughter of John H. and Sarah Ray.

At 8:15 on a mid-February 1890 morning, the not yet 45 year old William Wylie left Macon with his wife and stepson Jimmie.  They were on their way to New Orleans, Louisiana to participate in the Mardi Gras celebration.  Unfortunately, Mr. Wylie would not survive the trip.

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
16 February 1890, pg. 2 [via GenealogyBank]


Stricken With Paralysis in New Orleans Yesterday, He Dies Suddenly.
Ex-Lieutenant Wm. A. Wylie is dead.

The news will come as a shock to the hundreds of friends of the ex-officer, who, with his rough address, but great big warm heart for the poor and needy made friends everywhere.

Thursday, Mr. Wylie accompanied by his wife and step son, left Macon to witness Mardi Gras and visit New Orleans.  Yesterday morning, while at his boarding house on St. Charles street, he was stricken with paralysis.  Physicians were called in, but he sank rapidly, becoming unconscious during the afternoon and dying at 7:30 o'clock last night.

The remains will leave New Orleans this morning and will reach the city tomorrow night, when the funeral arrangements will be completed.

Mr. Wylie was born in Houston county about 1845.  He went to the war and fought gallantly, returning with fifty men, the fragment of his regiment.  Years ago he went on the police force.  He rose, after hard and constant duty, to a lieutenancy, and in that position served the city several years, until with the new administration, in 1889, he was relieved.  He then went into the liquor business, and was a member of the firm of Wylie & Stembridge.  He leaves a wife and two children by a former wife and two step-children to mourn his death.  He was a member of the Knights of Pythias, Order of Tonti and other orders, and had an insurance of about $20,000 on his life, distributed among them.

His generous nature was more apparent to those whom he knew well.  To them he was all that a friend could be, and they will sincerely mourn his death.  All of the orders will attend the funeral.


Two days after his death, the remains of Mr. W. A. Wylie arrived by train in Macon, Georgia.  Several members of the community were at the depot to take charge of the body.  He was laid to rest in Rose Hill Cemetery the next day.

Ella Ray Wylie survived her husband by another 25 years.  Upon her death, 2 August 1915 in Montgomery, Alabama, Ella was finally laid to rest next to William.

21 September 2016

Father & Son Ray: Railroad Engineer & Conductor

John Henry Ray was born 1831-1835 in Greene County, Georgia.  He married Sarah Barksdale about 1855, and by 1870 was a railroad engineer based out of Milledgeville, Baldwin County.  John Henry moved his family to Macon, Bibb County about 1873, and that is where he died in the summer of 1895.

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
27 June 1895, pg. 6 [via Georgia Historic Newspapers]


He Was the Oldest Engineer on the Central Railroad.

Mr. J. H. Ray died at his home, 715 Pine street, last night at 7 o'clock, after an illness of one year, the last four months of which he was confined to his bed.

Mr. Ray was the oldest engineer on the Central railroad and remained on the active list up to the time of the beginning of his last illness.  He was 60 years of age and had been a resident of Macon for the past twenty-two years, having moved here from Milledgeville.  He was one of the best known and most popular locomotive engineers in the state, and was a noble, generous, conscientious man.  For many years he was an active Mason and a member of Macon Lodge No. 5.

Mr. Ray leaves an aged wife to mourn his loss.  He also leaves a brother, Mr. Doc. Ray, and two children -- Mrs. E. J. Wylie and Mr. Walter Ray.  He will be buried from his late residence this afternoon at 4 o'clock.


John Henry Ray and Sarah had two children:  Mary and John Walter.  Mary married a Mr. Wylie, and John Walter followed in his father's footsteps.

According to his obituary, available at GenealogyBank, and information gleaned from his death certificate, John Walter Ray was occupied as a railway conductor.  When he was employed by Southern Railway, John Walter and family moved to St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida.  That city is where he died, 18 October 1938.  His body was returned to Macon and laid to rest near that of his father in Rose Hill Cemetery. 

John Walter Ray and his wife, Sarah Smith, had two children:  Mervin and Orville.

John Henry and John Walter had another thing in common – they were both Masons.

20 September 2016

Free Talker, John B. Giles, Victim of a Cowhiding

I just love it when I come across an anecdotal story about a research subject.  Especially when it makes me chuckle.  (And this one did.) More importantly, tales such as these put more flesh on those buried bones.

First, for those that don't know, the definition of cowhide / cowhiding.  A cowhide (other than being the hide of a cow) is "A strong heavy flexible whip, usually made of braided leather." [The Free Dictionary] Cowhiding is "to beat" with such a whip…Now here's a little story about John B. Giles:

The Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
8 March 1891, pg. 6 [via GenealogyBank]


A Scene of Striking Interest in South Macon Yesterday.
A decided sensation was caused yesterday in South Macon by the cowhiding of a prominent citizen by a woman of that section.  The TELEGRAPH'S informant gives the following account of it:

Mr. John B. Giles of Gilesville drove up to one of the South Macon stores in a buggy and alighted.  Hardly had he set his foot on the sidewalk when he was rapidly approached by Mrs. O. F. Lagerquist.

Before the astonished old gentleman could raise his hand in defense Mrs. Lagerquist struck him several times with a cowhide, and after breaking it attacked him with her fists.

Mr. Giles as soon as possible mounted his buggy and drove away safely out of the clutches of his assailant.

The cause of this vigorous onslaught is variously stated.  Mr. Giles has long been noted for his freedom in expressing his opinions on anything that attracted his attention.  As to the exact nature of the remarks or observations made by Mr. Giles on this occasion there exists a great diversity in opinion.

Those who saw the affair yesterday agree that Mr. Giles took his castigation with fortitude under the most trying circumstances.  Only those who have been in a like embarrassing predicament can justly realize what it means to keep "hands off" and preserve an attitude of calm courtesy in the midst of it all…

100_4438According to his broken (as of October 2013) tombstone in Rose Hill Cemetery, Mr. Giles was born 22 July 1830.  I've seen a few names of women that could have been attached to Mr. Giles in marriage, but the only one I'm confident in reporting at this time is Temperance R. Farrar.  She was listed as his wife in the 1880 Bibb County, Georgia Federal census.

Mr. Giles was a railroad conductor, a county commissioner, and a pioneer citizen of a town named after him.  Unfortunately, the town no longer exists under that name.

Mr. Giles died at his home 4 June 1891, just a few short months after his "embarrassing predicament."

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
5 June 1891, pg. 6 [via GenealogyBank]


The Pioneer of Gilesville Passes Away at His Old Home.
Mr. John B. Giles of South Macon, one of the best known men in the city, died at 4:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon.

He had been in ill health for several weeks from dropsy, and his death was not unexpected.

Mr. Giles was in his 70th year, and was born in Washington county.  About 40 years ago he was employed as a conductor on the Southwestern railroad.  Later, he was engaged in the farming business and also became the owner of considerable property.

In 1880 Mr. Giles was elected a member of the board of Bibb county commissioners and served two terms, retiring in 1888.

He died in the house which had been his home for many years.  He was one of the first residents of that vicinity, which was until recently called Gilesville, after him.

Mr. Giles was a man of vigorous mind and strongly marked traits of character, and his death is regretted by many.  His wife survives him, also a grown son.

10 September 2016

Statue of Bertha Wolff

The tombstone for Bertha Wolff is a bit different.  There's no birth date or death date.  There's only Bertha.  A statue of her, "upon a Grecian pedestal," towering over the silent city that surrounds her.


100_4431Bertha was the wife of William Wolff, namesake of this section of Rose Hill Cemetery.  She was born about 1852-1854 in Europe, and died 15 September 1904.  Bertha's obituary ran in the Macon Telegraph the day after her death [via GenealogyBank]:


Wife of Mr. William Wolff Expired Suddenly at Residence.
Mrs. Bertha Wolff, wife of William Wolff, died at the family residence yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock rather unexpectedly.  Mrs. Wolff had been in poor health for several months but her sudden demise was not expected.  She was up and out on the front veranda of the residence yesterday morning and expressed herself as feeling much betetr [sic].  Death was due to heart disease.

Mrs. Wolff was the wife of William Wolff who was at one time prominent in the wholesale dry goods business of this city.  She was born in Prussia and was married to Mr. Wolff in Macon 31 years ago and was 50 years old at the time of death, coming to this country when quite young.

She has no children and only her husband survives with two brothers, Felix and William Russak of New York city.

The funeral services will occur at the residence 315 New street this afternoon at 4 o'clock.  Rabbi Witt will conduct funeral services.  The interment will take place in the William Wolff cemetery which her husband donated to the congregation Beth-Israel.

Bertha's statue is also significant because of who sculpted it – John Walz of Savannah, Georgia.  He is responsible for many works of art around the city of Savannah, as well as several examples of mortuary art found in the famed Bonaventure Cemetery.

100_4434I was a bit skeptical when I first saw the signature on Bertha's statue, so I did some more research and found this article from the 24 March 1907 Macon Telegraph [again, via GenealogyBank]:



Upon a Grecian pedestal, embellished with symbolic ornaments, stands the statue of Mrs. William Wolff, in meek repose, holding a bunch of lilies, symbolic of purity, and dropping one with the right hand as if placing it on the grave, while in the freize [sic] below is to be seen the anthem, denoting the chorus of angels.  And further down to the right and left are festoons of immortels [sic] and the beautiful flower poppy with buds and leaves symbolic of sleep.

The epitaph is chaste like the inscription on the monument.  The name "Bertha" is in raised letters of German Type, with a beautiful sentiment expressed in the following words below:

"The heart's keen anguish only those can tell
Who have bid the dearest and the loved farewell."

The originator and sculptor of this magnificent piece had a difficult task to produce the statue never having seen Mrs. Wolff, and had only photos to give him an idea of facial contour and expression.  But by comparing one with the other, the artist finally succeeded in getting the likeness.

Macon has in this monument a work of art only equated by those in Savannah, where the sculptor placed the first one over the grave of Mrs. McMillan in Bonaventure cemetery, about two years ago.

This beautiful monument to Mrs. Wolff, in Wolff cemetery, is the work of Sculptor John Walz, of Savannah, Ga., 407-9 Liberty street East.  He was a pupil of the great French master, Aime Millet, and Victor Tilgner, of Vienna, Austria.  The monument was placed yesterday, and as a work of art has no superior in the burial grounds of this city.

Here's a short video about John Walz, and his meaning to Savannah and Bonaventure Cemetery:

For more images, from my personal archive, of the mortuary art of John Walz, visit this post at the Southern Graves blog.

09 September 2016

Benjamin Michael was a Member of the Largest Jewish Service Organization in the World

100_4428Benjamin Michael was born in Prussia 15 September 1834.  He immigrated to the United States about 1848 and became a naturalized citizen.  Possibly around 1862 is when Benjamin married Hannah.  She too, was an immigrant from Europe.  The couple had four children:  Isaac, Theresa, Estella, and Joseph.

On 20 July 1861, Benjamin Michael enlisted as a private in Company G, 16th Georgia Infantry.  He was transferred to Company C, 18th Georgia Infantry a couple of months later.  The rest of 1861 and 1862 appears to have gone as "normal" as possible for this Confederate soldier.  The summer of 1863, however, brought with it the dreaded disease of scurvy (or, Scorbutus).  Benjamin battled the disease in Virginia hospitals for a couple of months before returning to duty the middle of September.  The next summer (1864), Benjamin was captured at Mine Run, Virginia and made a prisoner of war.  He was sent to Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island.  He would spend 7 to 10 months there, before being exchanged in March of 1865.  Benjamin was captured again two months later in Athens, Georgia (on his way home?), but was quickly paroled. [Sources include Confederate Service File at Fold3.]


Search Military Records - Fold3

By 1880, Benjamin was working as a drayman in Bibb County, Georgia.  By 1900, he was a retired grocery merchant.

I think Benjamin was proud of his military service, but I'm more confident he was proud of his Jewish heritage and faith.  When he died 8 May 1908, such was alluded to in his obituary located in the 9 May 1908 issue of the Macon Telegraph [via GenealogyBank]:

Deaths and Funerals: MICHAEL
After a long illness, Mr. Benjamin Michael died yesterday at his residence, 367 Walnut street.

Mr. Michael was 72 years of age.  He was an old citizen of Macon, and was beloved by those who knew him for his many sterling qualities.  He made a good soldier during the Civil War, being a member of the Eighteenth Georgia Regiment.  He was a member of Macon Lodge F. A. M., of Malachi Lodge I. O. B. B. and of the Order B'Rith.

At the meeting of Camp Macon, held last night, action was taken as to his death, and his old comrades of the camp will follow his remains to the grave at the funeral, which takes place tomorrow afternoon at 3 o'clock from his late residence.  Rev. Harry Weiss will officiate.

Mr. Michael is survived by two sons, Joseph and Isaac, and two daughters, Mrs. L. Green and Theresa Michael, and his wife.

The Independent Order of B'nai B'rith is the oldest Jewish service organization in the world, per Wikipedia.  It was founded in 1843.  See http://www.bnaibrith.org/.

Benjamin rests in the William Wolff Cemetery section of Rose Hill.  This section was purchased by Mr. Wolff in 1879 for the Temple Beth Israel congregation when it had become clear the "old" Hebrew site was filled.


08 September 2016

Obituary for Former Slave, Primus Moore

Primus MooreAccording to his obituary, Primus Moore was born about 1829.  Upon his death in 1904, he was laid to rest in Oak Ridge Cemetery.  This land adjacent to Rose Hill Cemetery (and considered to be part of) was originally planned by Simi Rose to be a burial space for slaves.

The Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
Friday Morning, 16 September 1904 [Georgia Historic Newspapers]


Primus Moore One of the Oldest Colored Citizens of This City Died at His Home Yesterday -- Was Highly Esteemed by Everybody.

Primus Moore, one of the oldest colored citizens of Macon and a contractor and brick layer of wide reputation, died at his residence, 122 Spring street yesterday afternoon at 3:30 o'clock.

He was about 75 years old and belonged in the time of slavery to James Ayers a contractor who taught him his trade.  Primus Moore was one of the most highly respected colored citizens of Macon and this section.  He was one of the oldest subscribers to the Telegraph.

He has a son who is a physician, one a pharmacist, one a brick layer and one a carrier in the postal service.  These were educated in the best colored educational institutions of the country and brought up as highly respected citizens.

Primus Moore had many friends among the white citizens of Macon, and was regarded as one of the best colored citizens of this section.  He has labored for nearly all of the older inhabitants of Macon and always won the respect of every one on account of his fairness, honesty and industry.

Many of his friends among both races inquired about his condition at the residence yesterday and regretted to learn of his death last night.

The funeral will occur this afternoon at 3 o'clock at the residence.


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