Friday, November 16, 2007

Julia Ann of the broken heart

Julia Ann, about 1880 I think

She was born in Jasper county, Georgia (red dot below), just before the government did a snatch and grab on the Cherokee land (in gray) that lead to the Trail of Tears.

Jasper county had been Creek Indian territory up until about 30 years earlier, but by the time she was born, even the Creeks in west Georgia had been gone for five years.1

She was the 6th child, born to parents who had emigrated from North Carolina. Her family had been in America since her 13-year-old immigrant ancestor came from England to Virginia in 1660.

She married William at age 20 (he was 27), and nine years later (in 1860), she was living in Atlanta's Fifth ward (purple area below) with her husband and two children. I believe she had already lost two other children, either in childbirth or from illness at a young age.

Atlanta was booming, with a population of 10,000. There were "3,800 homes, iron foundries, mills, warehouses, carriage and wheelwright shops, tanneries, banks and various small manufacturing and retail shops."2

Whitehall Street, Pre-war Atlanta (near Julia's home)3

Her husband was a carpenter, and their neighbors included a clerk, a printer, other carpenters, a shoemaker, several blacksmiths, a wheelwright, and an attorney. (Lawyers must not have been paid quite so well back then.)

Then came the war. Four years later, "...only 400 structures were left standing. Atlanta was a ghost town of rubble and ashes."2

I don't know how or when the family left Atlanta. I can't find any record of her husband during the war, though he would have been of fighting age (35).

On the next census, in 1870, the family was in DeKalb county, just to the east. Her husband is now a miller, and they have four children. Among them is my great-great-grandmother Martha, age 15. They live just down the street from her future husband, Turner, who's 17.

By 1880 William had become a farmer, and he and Julia live next door to Martha and Turner, who have two children of their own already.

Sadly, the 1890 Federal census was destroyed by fire.

By 1900 everyone had moved to Chattooga county, living in the charmingly named Dirt Town4. Julia and William were living with their son and his family. They've celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Julia reports to the census-taker that she has given birth to six children, four of whom lived to adulthood. This is the last paper record I have of her, seven years before she died at age 75.

The Tragedy, February 1907
Written by Kate, who was born in 1901.
"When I was 6, we were eating supper one night and my Grandmother Julia had just set the coffee pot down by her chair when my younger sister, Bertha [age 2], tripped over it, scalding herself very badly. The next day she died. Grandmother Julia died that night also."

1It was Georgia's governor who forced them out, not the federal government (this time).

2 History of Atlanta

3Now Peachtree Street

4A.k.a. Dirttown, not in existance today. Right near Dirt Seller Mountain... It's no wonder they also had a Broomtown nearby.

P.S. You might have noticed, I've gotten interested in genealogy again.

Georgia county formation maps - extremely cool.


. . . Dallas Meow . . . . >^^< . . . said...

best thing I have read all day -
thank you

Lin B said...

Our folks may have been neighbors: some of mine lived near Broomtown in Chatooga County. They migrated there from North Carolina in the 1830s, no doubt to settle on land taken from the Cherokees. Alman was the last name. Some were still living there after the Civil War.

Shady Gardener said...

Very interesting. It has to be fun to have found all the personal information!

You've been memed. Check out my site.

Rurality said...

Thanks, yeah it does make it a lot more interesting to me if I can find stories about the people - it seems to make them more real to me. Unfortunately it's usually a sad story that someone remembers, or a tale of somebody misbehaving.

Lin, that is Twilight-Zine freaky! I was JUST looking at some Owen(s) in the area and some of them were living with (and next to) Allmans. I'm not sure if those Owens are related to me though - I've been trying to sort them all out. A lot of my family comes from that county.

SG, I have several memes that I've been tagged for lately but haven't done yet - feel free to remind me if I don't respond in a timely manner.

Woody said...

Cool post. We have been digging through old photos and family stories lately. My Aunt just passed, Dads youngest sister. I think it sucks that it takes a death to get our family talking and trading information of our past. There are some awesome tales that are being told of life in southern Missouri during the civil war. It sounds as if this area was a very torn and extremely violent area during the war. Keep up the good work. I really enjoy ed this post.


robin andrea said...

What a great post, karen. It is really cool to be able to piece together such a lengthy history with so much detail. In the 1870s my great-grandfather was on a ship coming to America from eastern Europe. Some of my family hunted down ship logs to find his name. It was very exciting.

Annie in Austin said...

You told Julia's story so beautifully, Rurality. She sure had her share of tragedy, but how unusual for Julia and William to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary! [At least such a number is unusual in the records I've seen.]

That missing 1890 census is a roadblock for my research.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Floridacracker said...

No, wait ... fascinating. Love the way you made it personal.

cyndy said...

Wonderful photograph of Julia Ann.

Great post, you are fortunate to have so much information....

Rurality said...

Thanks everybody. I was really lucky on this one to have so much information. Normally you don't, especially this far back. I would encourage everyone, no matter what age, to talk to your oldest relatives and gather stories. I have a few, but I really wish I'd done this more. Oh, and LABEL YOUR PICTURES!

Island Rider said...

Found your post on FC's site. I enjoyed this. I am a historian so am always glad when folks do excellent research like this.

Rurality said...

Thanks very much!

We were in GA over the weekend and went by the cemetery where they were buried. Julia and her granddaughter are right next to each other.

mountainmelody said...

I love this kind of stuff! Want to finish doing mine for me? ;)

Rurality said...

MM, sure, right after I finish mine... it might only take another 20 years or so. :)

Cathy said...

That account of Bertha's death and apparently Grandma Julia's as a result - is shattering. Have you found death dates to corroborate this? I assume Kate means Julia literally died or was she using metaphor?

Strawberry Lane said...

Fascinating, sad story. I've been into Genealogy for 35 years.

Reading about other families is so very interesting.

Thanks for the story and glad I found your site.

Rurality said...

Cathy, yes I've seen their tombstones - they died on the same day and they're buried next to each other.

Thanks SL. It's an addicting hobby, that's for sure!

fletch said...

Great research. My folks could have been neighbors also (and to Lin b too). We have roots way back in Chattooga County, last name being Fletcher of course.

Rurality said...

Fletch, I will keep an eye out for your relatives in my research!

I realized something when corresponding with a relative, and wanted to clear it up here. When Kate wrote, "Grandmother Julia died that night also," she meant the night of the incident. Not the next day, when Bertha died.