Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Three Faces Of Fear

For some strange reason,  I thought it would be a good idea to ride a roller coaster on Tuesday.  Actually, it turned out to be a couple of roller coasters. I mean really I should know better. I am not 19 or even 29 anymore. I am 41...almost 42 and my body doesn't respond as well to certain things as it once did. Well with all that being said, I survived and had a wonderfully exhausting time at the Astrodome at Circus Circus in Las Vegas.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

52 Ancestors: #21 -- Amy Brown Harris Paid Her Taxes

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

 The Daily Journal, April 6, 1889, Page 4

If anything, I know that my maternal 3rd great grandmother, Amy Brown Harris, paid her taxes. The newspaper article highlighted above has her name misspelled, but nonetheless it is her. She paid them again in 1891.

New Berne Weekly Journal, April 9, 1891, Page 2

Amy/Amey Brown was born around 1830 in Jones County, NC based on information found on the U. S. Census and her daughter, Sarah Jane Harris Whitney's death certificate.  I wish I could say I knew more about the circumstances of her birth, but sadly I do not. She died before 1900, so there's no death certificate I can refer to to determine who her parents were. I was hoping that I might be able to find an obituary for her in one of the New Bern newspapers of the time, but so far no such luck. Besides these newspaper clippings, I have found her noted on the 1870 and 1880 census.

Source Information: 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: New Berne Ward 6, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1132; Page: 418A; 
Image: 289; Family History Library Film: 552631.

Here she is in 1870 with her husband Bristow/Brister Harris and two children, Sarah (my 2nd great grandmother) and Lemuel. It is interesting to note that she and her children were listed as mulatto. This makes me wonder more about her background. Who were her parents? Was her father white and mother a slave? Or perhaps her white ancestor was a little further back on the family tree? Only two children were shown living with her. I can't help but think that there must have been others. How many? Oh if I only knew.

Source Information: and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: New Berne, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: 959; Family History Film: 1254959; Page: 292C; Enumeration District: 043; Image: 0753.

The Harris family lived on the "Alley With No Name" in 1880. I believe that this may in fact be a reference to what would be later named 10 Brown's Alley.  This is the same property that was referred to "as that certain parcel of land in the city of New Bern, known as lot No. 100" in a deed made out to Annie Harris (Amy), Sarah Jane Harris, and Sarah's then fiance Samuel Whitney on July 10, 1883. To view the whole deed, take a look at my post, Samuel Whitney Makes a Puchase.  Amy had a life estate, with her interest in the property ending with her death.

I imagine that Amy probably contributed whatever she could towards the funds necessary to make this purchase. Perhaps this was Amy's way to ensure her daughter would have a roof over her head when she was gone. 

Was it a coincidence that the street was called Brown's Alley? Lots of questions and not so many answers.

Brown's Alley is now referred to as Hatties Lane in the city of New Bern.

I am participating in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge put forth by Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small. If you aren't familiar with the challenge be sure to check out her blog.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Listen to the Love, Not the Lies

Like a lot of you out there, I am still in a bit of daze over hearing about the death of Robin Williams. Once I heard that it was a suicide, I thought of a poem that I wrote back when I was in high school. 

No one can know the depths of the pain he felt except for him.
If there is anyone out there on the verge of the darkness, please step back from the edge and listen. Listen to the love, not the lies.
Listen to the words of encouragement from friends and family.
Listen to the voices of your children, especially their laughter.
Listen to the strength of your own heart beating. 
Just stop and listen and wait. 
Pick up the phone, go visit someone.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. 

Don't listen to the lies.
Don't listen to the voices in your head that tell you that you're not good enough.
That you are not worthy.
That you are alone.
You're never alone. 
Pray, ask for guidance.
Listen to the love, not the lies.

Rest in peace Robin Williams.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Book Of Me: Prompt 45 --Comics and Annuals

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

This week's prompt is - Comics and Annuals

Like many children I whiled away hours reading comics and looking forward to the Christmas annuals that "Santa" bought with a degree of regularity.

So this week a trip down memory lane.
Share the names of the comics and annuals - your favorites, special characters, memories
Pop along to a popular on-line auction site and see what the annuals and comics of yesteryear sell for!

I would say that fairly early on I fell in love with reading the Peanuts comic strip. When I was little, it would be the first thing I would read when the Sunday paper arrived. I think I imprinted early on Snoopy because one of the first stuffed animals I ever received was a Snoopy doll.

See the Snoopy doll? Yeah I was brainwashed. :)

I think another thing that sealed the deal on me loving Peanuts was one of the souvenirs I took back home with me when my family and I visited Washington, D.C.  I must have been about 4 years old and I remember we visited the Smithsonian and somewhere along the way we came across a book store. That's when I saw this. 

Charlie Brown's Super Book of Questions and Answers About All Kinds of Animals by Charles M. Schulz

This book made quite the impression on me. I quickly blew through it and was bugging my parents for the next one in the series. Then I started asking for compilation books of the Peanuts comics just like the ones my older brother had. Of course there were the coloring books too. Yeah, you could say I was a bit obsessed.

On occasion I would receive an Archie comic book. I enjoyed them more when they had Betty and Veronica in the story line. Still, I loved my Peanuts more.

Monday, August 4, 2014

52 Ancestors: #20 --Mary Jane Williams Harrison

I am still participating in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge put forth by Amy Johnson Crow of the blog No Story Too Small. If you aren't familiar with the challenge be sure to check out her blog. I am a bit behind on this prompt but I figure, I will just keep doing the best I can about getting these posts out there.

I wish I knew as much about my 2nd great grandmother, Mary Jane Williams Harrison, as I know about her husband Thomas Duke Harrison. Someone out there in the cyber-universe may know something so that's why I wrote this post. Maybe my words might find them.

First, let me tell you I had a bit of  luck with Mary, when the 1940 Federal Census was released. My ancestor was one of the people chosen to answer the supplementary questions. Here's a copy of the form:

Source Information: 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. Source Citation: Year: 1940; Census Place: New Bern, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: T627_2894; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 25-20.

Items of interest from this section:

Name:  Mary Harrison
Father:  John Williams
Mother Bettsie Smith
Age at first marriage:  16

The data from this section corroborated some of the information the death certificate for Mary Williams Harrison.  Her death certificate listed her parents as a John and Elizabeth Williams both of Wilmington, NC. The informant on Mary's death certificate was her eldest daughter Elizabeth Harrison Reynolds so I had a pretty good feeling about the validity of the information. Usually oldest children know a little bit more about their parents than subsequent siblings. Still, Elizabeth didn't know her grandmother's maiden name. Also, was her own mother's place of birth correctly listed as Wilmington, NC on the death certificate or was it something else? 

Source Information: North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1975 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: North Carolina State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. North Carolina Death Certificates. Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Again the 1940 Federal Census was a blessing because it provided another clue.

She was born in Sampson County, NC! Thank you 1940 census.

So with that piece of information, I think am now able to trace her movement from Sampson County to Wilmington, and then finally to New Bern.

I believe she was born on or around  May 10, 1870 in Clinton, Sampson County, NC and I think this may be her listed on the 1870 census with her mother.

 Source Information: 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Clinton, Sampson, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1159; Page: 192A; Image: 388; Family History Library Film: 552658.

Mary's mother, Betsey/Elizabeth was listed working as a cook for the family of Nathan and Julia Bell. It was noted that little Mary was born in May 1870. With no sign of John Williams listed in the census pages before and after Betsey, it brought to mind the question, "Was John Williams really Mary's father? Hmm.

This may be John and Betsy Williams on the 1880 Federal census in Wilmington, NC. Where's Mary? Could Mary have been living with another relative or perhaps with someone she worked for?

Source Information: and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Wilmington, New Hanover, North Carolina; Roll: 974; Family History Film: 1254974; Page: 145A; Enumeration District: 146; Image: 0527.

Mary Jane Williams married the Rev Thomas Duke Harrison on June 14, 1887. Their marriage license you can view on my post, Amanuensis Monday On Tuesday: Thomas Duke Harrison and Mary J. Williams Marriage Certificate. On the license it was noted that Mary's parents were a John and Betsy Williams and that they were deceased.  Were they really deceased at the time?  I had found some of the information on the marriage license to be incorrect. For example, it was written that T. D. Harrison's father went by the same name as his son. Thomas's father was actually a Simon Harrison. On the license it was also noted that parents of Mary J. Williams were deceased. The reason why I think that this may be incorrect is shown on the 1900 Federal census. Who's living next to the Harrisons in Wilmington in 1900?

Source Information: 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004. Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Wilmington Ward 5, New Hanover, North Carolina; Roll: 1208; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0078; FHL microfilm: 1241208.

It's hard to see but it shows a John Williams and a Bettie Williams enumerated just after T. D. Harrison and his wife Mary. Grandparents do have a tendency to want to be near their grandchildren. I am just saying. :)

In any event this is where the trail for John and Betsy/Elizabeth Williams runs cold. I have a feeling my 3rd great grandparents died sometime between 1900 and 1919 because their daughter made the move to New Bern by 1919.

Mary Williams Harrison would go on to have 9 children with T. D. Harrison. They were Elizabeth, Mary Ellen, John Thomas, Charlie Lee, Sophia, Lilian,William Arthur, Edward, and Varina.

The family resided in an area of the city called Duffyfield. The original address was 37 Lincoln Street but when addresses were eventually updated in New Bern, the street number was changed to 1510. 

Image courtesy of Google Earth

1510 Lincoln St, New Bern, NC

Mary Jane Williams Harrison died December 28, 1943. She was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in New Bern, NC.