22 November 2017

The Naturalization of Foraj (a.k.a. Joe or Fred) Fallos

Foraj Fallos, sailing from Beirut, came to the United States in 1907.  Even though I "should" be able to find him in census records from 1910 through 1940, I have been unable to do so.  Not a single one.  It's been rather frustrating.

That doesn't mean I know nothing of Mr. Fallos, however.  Other records have helped to shed a bit of light on his life and time in the United States.

jfallaswwidraftWorld War I Draft Registration

According to his World War I draft registration dated 5 June 1917, Joe Fallas was born 15 February 1892 in "Syria, Turkey." He was noted as being a naturalized citizen of the United States, but also a "citizen or subject" of Turkey.  His race was given as Turkish Jew.  Joe was living in Atlanta, Georgia and working as a clerk in a European grocery store.

In September of 1918, while still living in Atlanta and working as a fruit merchant, Joe was ordered to report to the local board for military duty.  He was inducted into service the last day of the month, and sent to Fort Thomas in Kentucky for training.  Joe was honorably discharged about 10 weeks later.

Naturalization Records

On the same day he registered for the draft, "Joe Fallos (Foraj Fallos)" officially declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States of America.  He again recounted his birthdate was 15 February 1892, but was more specific with his birthplace:  "Lepa, Syria, Turkey."


I must admit this confused me a bit, given my little knowledge of the history of this area of the world.  I understood Syria and Turkey to be part of the Ottoman Empire, and Aleppo's relatively close proximity to Turkey, but failed to recognize a couple of things:  (1) The Ottoman Empire was also called the Turkish Empire and/or Ottoman Turkey – ugh, probably should have known that, and (2) the tumult of the time.  Though the Turkish War of Independence was a couple of years off, I think the following from Wikipedia provides a basic explanation of how Aleppo figured into the relationship between Syria and Turkey:

At the end of World War I, the Treaty of Sèvres made most of the Province of Aleppo part of the newly established nation of Syria, while Cilicia was promised by France to become an Armenian state. However, Kemal Atatürk annexed most of the Province of Aleppo as well as Cilicia to Turkey in his War of Independence.

According to the Declaration of Intention pictured above, Joe renounced "forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, and particularly to Mehmed V Emperor of the Ottomans." He also signed off on not being an anarchist nor a polygamist.

Joe Fallos received his Certificate of Naturalization four years later, in June of 1921.

jfallaspassportappUnited States Passport Application

The pictures always make these a fabulous find, don't they? About a year after receiving his Certificate of Naturalization, Joe decided to take a trip that required a passport.  On his May 1922 application, he once again reiterated his birth date and place – 15 February 1892 at Aleppo, Syria.  Joe, a "naturalized and loyal citizen of the United States," also provided his father's name was Abraham Fallas, deceased.  Quoting from the document,

I emigrated to the United States, sailing from Beirut about April 20th, 1907, that I resided 14 years, uninterruptedly, in the United States, from 1907 to 1922 at N.Y., Baltimore, Texas, Ga.; that I was naturalized as a citizen of the United States before the Federal Court of N. District of Ga. at Atlanta, on June 27th, 1921, as shown by the Certificate of Naturalization presented herewith...

And therein lies a reason for failing to find him in the census records! He sure did move around a lot.  At this point in time, Joe was living in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia and working in a delicatessen.  He was planning to visit Syria (Damascus and Aleppo), Egypt, France, and Italy "for pleasure," leaving from the port of N.Y. later in May.

Marriage Record

I'm not able to see a scan of the original marriage record for Joe Fallas, but the extracted information is from the New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940 database at FamilySearch.  He, aged 40, married Alton Matut, aged 25, on 11 November 1932 at Manhattan, NY.  Both members of this couple were born in Syria, Turkey.  The names of each of their parents were also included in the record:  Joe's being Joseph Fallas and Mary Cohen, and Alton's being Nathan Matut and Esther Rofe.

maconcitydirectory1955City Directories

It appears Joe brought his new bride back to Macon, Georgia after the wedding.  They can be found in the 1934 Macon city directory, living at 124 Bay Street.  Joe was a grocer, and Alton was now going by the name of Alice.  The 1948 directory for the same city shows Alice living at 2438 Napier Avenue.  Her husband is still a grocer, but is now going by the name of Fred Fallas.  The next year, though still in Macon, Fred and Alice have moved again to 1610 Telfair Street.  The couple remained at that address in 1950.

I should also note that 1610 Telfair Street was also the grocery business address.  Fred and Alice were residing in the rear of the building, so presumably their business was in the front.  Is this how they avoided the census taker?

The 1953 through 1956 city directories for Macon, Georgia each contains the Fallas couple, still residing and working at 1610 Telfair Street.  Alice is also specifically noted as being a clerk at "Fred J. Fallas Grocery."

pvtjfallasDeath Record and Tombstone

According to the Georgia Death Index, Fred Fallas died 5 November 1956 at Bibb County, Georgia.

As you might imagine, the order in which I placed each of the sources in this post is not the order in which they were found.  What started me on the trail to uncover information about Joe Fallas was his tombstone, located in the Congregation Sherah Israel section of Rose Hill Cemetery.

Joe's military issue tombstone was produced at the Georgia Marble Company of Tate, Georgia, and bears the Star of David along with the following inscription:

Joe Fallas
Pvt 31 Rct Co
Gen Svc Inf
World War I
February 15, 1892
November 5, 1956


17 November 2017

The Death of a Child! - Rebecca Heartwell Tarver

[Originally posted at the Southern Graves blog.]

DIED, in Dougherty county, on the 15th day of May, REBECCA HEARTWELL, infant daughter of Mr. Paul E. Tarver and Mrs. Cinderilla Tarver, aged 9 months and 13 days.

The death of a child! How little does the world mark such an incident! Society feels no shock. It is scarcely felt in the narrow circle of relatives and friends. The arrow flies swiftly through the air to its victim, its trace is lost and all is tranquil. Yet how often does such an event crush the hopes and destroy the happiness of families.

Our heart bleeds in tender sympathy with the parents of the bright little being whose death we chronicle. She was indeed a precious bud, whose leaves had not yet opened to the day.

"A vision of beauty! fair as brief!"

If the tender affection of parents, or the innocence and beauty of childhood, could have been a defence from the grave, we could not be making this sad memorial of little Rebecca.

"Yet thou art fled ere guilt had power
To stain thy cherub soul and form.
Closed is the soft ephemeral flower,
That never felt a storm!"

Above from the Macon Weekly Telegraph (Georgia) - 8 June 1858.

Rebecca was the daughter of Paul E. Tarver and Cinderella Crocker Solomon. All are resting in Rose Hill Cemetery at Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.

Photo © 2011 S. Lincecum

10 November 2017

Caroline Bivins Holmes Williford (d. 1892)

Caroline E. Bivins was born about 1815 in Milledgeville, Baldwin County, Georgia.  Her parents were William Bivins (d. 1850) of Delaware and Eliza W. Harris (1788-1846), and two of her siblings were James M. (d. 1876) and Sarah (1821-1898).

100_0765Caroline married John Holmes, son of James Holmes and Mary Kell, 17 October 1833 in Bibb County, Georgia.  The couple had two sons – John C. Holmes and Edward Bivins Holmes – before the elder John died on 26 September 1835 at the age of 27 years.

When her boys were teenagers, Caroline married again to William S. Williford on 2 December 1849 in Bibb County.  This marriage was also short lived as the couple was parted by William's death on 28 March 1858.

John C. Holmes married into a well-known family when he wed Ann Eliza, a daughter of Abner Flewellyn Holt.  This young couple had at least five children.  Since John died in the 1860s, and Ann died about 1878, matriarch Caroline Williford was housing four of her living grandchildren by the taking of the 1880 Macon, Bibb County, Georgia federal census:

  • Caroline E. "Carrie" Holmes (1858-1935)
  • Victoria Holmes (1859-1934)
  • Lannie Holt Holmes Jemison (1861-1938)
  • John Champneys Holmes (1864-1930)

Caroline's other son, Edward Bivins Holt, also married and had children.  That immediate family went West to California in the early 1860s.

Caroline's parents and both of her husbands were buried in Rose Hill Cemetery.  Her son John was buried there, and the four grandchildren who remained in Macon were also buried there.  I think it is highly probable Caroline was also laid to rest in Rose Hill Cemetery after her death in the summer of 1892, but I am still looking for confirmation.

A Note About the Burial of John Holmes

As mentioned above, Caroline's husband John died in 1835.  This was five years before Rose Hill Cemetery was open for business.  So I wonder if John was originally buried in Macon's Old City Cemetery, then later moved to Rose Hill.


According to RoseHillCemetery.org, John rests in lot 137 of block 1 of the Central Avenue Division of Rose Hill Cemetery.  Cemetery records note the purchaser of that lot as "Isaac & John Holmes," though a purchase date is not included.  I have to wonder if that is entirely accurate.  Could the lot have been purchased, more specifically, by their estates? The city of Macon? Or maybe even the State of Georgia?

John's brother Isaac was once mayor of the City of Macon.  He resigned from that position to captain the Macon Volunteers in the Mexican War.  Isaac died in that service near camp in Monterey, Mexico, December 1846.  Inscribed on his tombstone is the following:

The state of Georgia erects this monument in honor
of his service to his country.  The city & citizens
of Macon, the Macon Volunteers & Masonic Fraternity
uniting in the testimonial.

Whether John was moved to Rose Hill Cemetery from his original burial place, then Isaac laid beside him, or if the sequence of events were the opposite, I don't know.  It does appear there was enough room for Caroline to be placed there in 1892, though.

Caroline's son John C. Holmes, as well as each of his children, were buried in a lot (also in the Central Avenue Division) purchased by the "Estate of Dr. Abner F. Holt."

Obituary for Caroline E. Bivins Holmes Williford

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
Monday, 4 July 1892 -- pg. 6 [via GenealogyBank]


Mrs. Caroline E. Williford Died Yesterday Afternoon.
Mrs. Caroline E. Williford died in this city yesterday afternoon at 5 o'clock.

The death of Mrs. Williford breaks another link between the present and the past.  Though born in Milledgeville, for seventy-seven years she has been a resident of Macon, and has seen it grow from a frontier village to its present importance.  She was twice married, first to Mr. John Holmes, and a few years after his death to the late W. S. Williford.  She leaves one son, Capt. Edward B. Holmes of San Francisco, Cal., and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Among the grandchildren are Mr. John C. Holmes, Miss Carrie E. Holmes, Miss Victoria Holmes and Mrs. R. W. Jemison of this city.

Though confined to her own home by reason of her age, for a number of years, she has not passed from the lives of her friends, but her home has been the centre of a large circle who have been wont to gather there and enjoy the cheer and comfort that has ever been shed about by her pure Christian character.

She has literally gone about on this earth doing good unto her fellowman, and it may be said of her with absolute certainty that "None knew her but to love her."

Surely a mother in Israel has fallen, but the consolation is left to those to whom she was most dear, that her deeds will live after her and her "works will follow her."

Her life has been a part of the history of Macon, and as one of the oldest residents she will be sincerely mourned.

The funeral will take place from the residence of Mr. John C. Holmes, No. 221 Forsyth street, this afternoon at 5 o'clock.

07 November 2017

Little Jimmie Stetson: "It is Well with the Boy" (Tombstone Tuesday)

Originally posted at the Southern Graves blog.

Our first born
Son of J. D. & E. S. Stetson
Born May 25, 1873
Died Sep 10, 1885

"It is well with the boy."

Rose Hill Cemetery
Macon, Georgia

Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum
Young Jimmie Stetson's tombstone is fashioned after a broken column. This often represents a life cut short. Dying at the young age of twelve years, as did Jimmie, would be an example of just that. A poignant Our first born is inscribed above Jimmie's name on the scroll that bears his epitaph, and at the base of the broken column is "It is well with the boy."

I took this latter phrase as a play on "It is well with my soul," a hymn written by Horatio Spafford about 1873.

...No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
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