Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Grandmother: Josie Oakley Loveday

Josie (Oakley) Loveday always seemed to me to be a very quiet woman. When we would visit her home after my grandfather died, I would wait for as long as I felt was just long enough to be respectful, and then I would ask if we could go for a walk in the woods.

There my grandmother would show me the wildflowers, plants, and trees, and tell me their names and their uses. She would break the twigs, crush the leaves, pull up the roots and have me taste, feel or smell them accordingly. What wondrous things things she knew! I wish I could remember now all she said and showed me.

My cousin Guy Merritt talks about what a great dominoes player she was and the deep conversations he would have with her. I missed all that, but I have no doubt about her intelligence and wisdom. I believe it was those intimate woods experiences that partly helped shape my own love for nature.

Mamaw is shown here at about age 29 with her daughter Alma, Guy's mother.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Place to Live

Speaking of houses, here's a great photo of my grandparents, Margaret Jane (Hopson) and George Washington Kitts, with her sister Eliza Jane and her parents, William and Mary (Rucker) Hopson. Again, I love to see the details, like the mailbox and the front gate.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Reigning Rucker

I love this photo. This is my mother's Aunt Mary Rucker, wife of Dewitt Rucker. I think she looks very regal, like a queen in her porch rocker. However, my favorite part of the picture is the fan, made of what appears to be turkey feathers. (Thanks, Cousin Tony White, for the clarification from the other side of the family!)

By the look of the rocker and the house details, Mary and Dewitt seem to have lived comfortably.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Just like my mother's family, my father's family had two children who died in childhood. This beautiful little baby is Jesse and Josie Loveday's daughter Ewla. The other one's name was Edith. One died when the family lived at Wilton Springs (above Newport in Cocke County), and the other one is buried in Lockhart, SC, where my grandmother Josie worked for just a few days in a factory.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sarah and Jim Whited

My great grandmother Sarah (Webb) Oakley's second marriage was to Jim Whited. They are shown here with Sarah's daughter (my grandmother) Josie, who is on the far right, and Sarah's son Earnest, who stands at the back. The little ones are three of the children that Sarah and Jim had together: Oscar, Lu, and baby Verna. They later had Esta and Shirley Mae.

Jim and Sarah lived on Jones Cove Road, and she served as the postmaster for that area. Jim's parents were Ben and Mary Whited; Mary's parents were George W. and Catherine Hurst. The Whited name is also spelled Whitted and Whitehead.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fond Memories

Another strength we had as a family was for food and fellowship! This photo reminds me of so many wonderful times together, when we would gather for a holiday or just to hand crank a few freezers of ice cream (complete with fresh fruit toppings!) or cut several watermelons. Both my parents grew up among 9 siblings, which means I have dozens of cousins on both sides. At either gathering, we always had enough folks for at least two teams to play ball, as well as red rover, tag, hide and seek, etc. Once darkness fell, we played hide and seek by flashlight or we competed catching lightning bugs. If we were confined to the house, we played Rotten Egg and other quieter games for which I can't even remember names.

For Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, my immediate family divided its time between my two sets of grandparents' homes (Kitts and Loveday). At each place, we would have tables and counter tops laden with food, fresh from the kitchens of wonderful cooks. After filling our plates, we would find or make seats throughout the house, spilling out onto the porches and into the yard if the weather was good. Even if the weather wasn't good, the food was! And the memories are precious!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Family Talent

I suppose because I didn't inherit any of it, I am amazed by the abilities of family members who could play musical instruments with ease, even though they never had any lessons with their instruments of choice. My grandfather George Washington Kitts was like that, able to play a song on the piano after simply hearing it. At least two of his daughters were like that as well, and possibly even a son or two. They played the piano, the guitar, and the banjo and maybe even other instruments.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Searching for Edward Loveday

Years ago when I first began my quest for family history, Jerry Loveday, now retired Gatlinburg postmaster, told me about a small, forgotten cemetery off Jones Cove Road where an Edward Loveday was buried. The place is called Mt. Pleasant, and the sunken graves there are overgrown with weeds and vines. I got permission from the landowner first, and it's a snaky place I wouldn't have gone without my father with me! At least a couple of the markers there are for Civil War veterans, and many graves are marked with simple field stones. This Edward might be the husband of the Minerva (Houk) Loveday, buried in the Fairgarden Cemetery.

Personally, I believe he is and that this Edward is one of the nine children of Jobe and Sarah "Sally" (Thomas) Loveday and the grandson of the Sevier County Loveday progenitor, Edward. My theory seems to be supported specifically by the 1850 census, though the general year of his birth seems to vary from census to census.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Crockettsville School

Because my paternal lines lived for generations off of Jones Cove Road in Sevier County, TN, most of them attended Bethany Baptist Church and Crockettsville School. My grandparents, Jesse and Josie (Oakley) Loveday were sweethearts at Crockettsville, where they played on the playground together as children. My grandmother told of how she and Jesse shared a seat on the see-saw.

When my father attended there, he and his friends would ride home-made "bulger wagons" down the hill. He said they also had to cross the hill over to Wilhite Road to fetch water at the spring.

The school still stands but is now a private residence, as pictured here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Having a Home: The G. W. Kitts Family

My maternal grandfather, George Washington Kitts, worked in the quarries and held different jobs during the Great Depression, and he moved his family from Luttrell in Union County to Knox County, where he eventually worked at Lay Packing Company. They lived for a while in a little house off Roberts Road in Corryton, near the railroad tracks, and also at Marbledale, off Kennedy Road. (That's where my parents met as neighbors!) Mamaw and Papaw lived in a house in the field behind where would eventually become their home.

Among their many interests and activities, they owned a store at the corner of Wayland Road and Strawberry Plains Pike, and they eventually bought the Osborne Road house. At one time, Mamaw had shelves built into their dining room wall, so that the young people of the community would have a "library" where they could get books.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beginning a Family: My Kitts Grandparents

My maternal grandparents, George Washington and Margaret Jane (Hopson) Kitts first lived with Dr. Atkins, (Adkins?) and his wife for a few months, but Mamaw didn’t like that Mrs. Atkins wanted to tell her how to cook, so she told Papaw she wanted a place of their own! Eventually, Dr. Atkins provided a house for them. Their family began a year later, and a little one was born about every two years or so... until 11 children had been born! In the summertime, their children would cross Clinch Mountain (which has a peak called Kitts Point) to enjoy Lees Lake.

One son, Elmer, died at the age of one, “after eating too many cherries.” The next one, Willis, died the same day he was born, and both are buried in unmarked graves near one of the cedar trees in the Luttrell Cemetery shown here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Callie's Bethany Baptist Church Obituary

As was the custom of the time in that area, when Callie (Spurgeon) Loveday passed away, her fellow church members at Bethany Baptist wrote her obituary:

"On March 13, 1918, the death Angel, whispering in a calm voice to sister Callie, 'Thy work is done,' and she fell asleep in the arms of our Savior who doeth all things well. Sister Callie was 51 years, 3 months, 18 days old.

She professed faith in Christ at an early age, joined the baptist church and lived a faithful Christian until her death. Her maiden name was Miss Callie Spurgeon, and in early life was married to Brother Eli Loveday. To their union was born 9 children, all of whom are living.

When the Angel of death come for Mother alone, murmuring and said, 'home sweet home, farewell to all. I can see into the portals of heaven,' the children stood back and said 'Farewell to Mother; you are not yet gone but yet oh sleeping to live again in bliss for Ages.'

She leaves 9 children to mourn her loss. God through his mysterious wisdom, saw fit to call her from her earthly home to that Beautiful City of the redeemed. We mourn her loss when we see her vacant seat at church which can never be filled. That seat at home is still vacant. Oh Mother, love and tender care has left our home and heartaches here. God in his infinite wisdom, called from our midst Sister Callie; earth has been made poorer, heaven made richer; our loss is her gain.

Our dear father and mother have crossed over the tide and landed on heaven's bright shore to dwell with angels and Jesus our King, the one whom we love and adore; they are looking for us to come and meet them above the skies, there to dwell with them forevermore, where cometh no sad goodbyes.

Be it therefore resolved that we bow in humble submission to the will of him who doeth all things well, while our church has lost one of our most esteemed members, another jewel is added to that mighty host.

That we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved family.

That a place be set apart on our church book and these resolutions be spread thereon and that a copy of these resolutions be furnished to the family of the deceased, if called for."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Eli Loveday and his Bible

Eli Loveday (born October 17, 1861; died August 1917) and his wife Callie (Spurgeon) farmed in what was known as Loveday Hollow (now called Hagg Hollow) off Jones Cove Road in Sevier County, TN. Both were very active in their church, Bethany Baptist, and when one young man felt called to preach, Eli taught him how to read. Eli had dark skin and a handlebar mustache. (Look at that pipe!)

In his later years Eli became blind in one eye from the cancer that eventually took his life. Callie "grieved herself to death" within the year. If our dates are correct, they had been married since they were 13 and 14 years old!

Shown here is Eli (back row, left) with his nephew Tally Breeden and "Sprig" Williams (who married Eli's niece), along with Eli's daughters Etter and Dicey and his Uncle David Loveday.

Eli's 1909 Bible records the family births and deaths, and I was able to have it photographed for the Daughters of the American Revolution Bible Project, as well as for the Sevier County Library.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Familiar faces: Callie (Spurgeon) Loveday

My father's paternal grandmother, Teressa Caldonia (Spurgeon) Loveday, was born on November 25, 1861. Her father was John Spurgeon, and the family called her "Callie." She married Eli Loveday on June 30, 1878, and they had at least nine children. She died on March 13, 1918, and is buried in the Mize-Thomas Cemetery of Bethany Baptist Church, off of Wilhite Road in Sevier County, Tennessee.

She is shown seated here with several of her children (back row: Jesse, Etter, Dicey; front row: Sally, Winnie, Lloyd, and Georgia) and a couple of nephews (back row right: Luther & Britton). Also pictured here is my oldest cousin Lois (Loveday) Chesney, who I think bears a close resemblance to our pretty great-grandmother Callie. Lois has accompanied me on some interesting cemetery adventures!

Many years ago, I was told that I looked like Aunt Ada. I always thought they meant my father's sister Ada, but I didn't see the resemblance. Then one day I saw a photo of who I think is my grandfather's sister Ada (Loveday) Hurst as a child, and I realized she was the one everyone had meant all along. Here's who I believe is that Ada, along with a young me. What do you think?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Collins line and the Melungeon connection

My mother's paternal grandmother was Nellie Lucinda Collins. She was born February 2, 1872 to Aaron and Elizabeth (Vandergriff) Collins, who are pictured here. Aaron served the Union during the Civil War in Company B of the 2nd Tennessee cavalry.

Aaron Collins' parents were Freeling and Hannah (Stephens) Collins. Freeling was born on March 16, 1816, in Tennessee and died May 19, 1888. Oral family history tells that Hannah (born August 18, 1821; died August 19 1896) was tortured during the Civil War to learn where someone was hiding. Aaron and Hannah are buried in Clapps Cemetery, Cracker's Neck, Grainger County, TN.

Freeling's parents were Amos and Muriel (also spelled Meriel, Mariel, Marie, Mayvilla) Collins, who moved from Tennessee and lived in Kentucky near Big Creek in Clay County. Amos' children and their families were sometimes variously listed in the census records as Free Persons of Color or Mulatto, as so many of the Melungeons were often listed.

What's in a name? Joe Wheeler Kitts

My mother's paternal grandfather was Joe Wheeler Kitts (lovingly called "Grandpa" in her story copied in my Melungeon Roots post). When I see a name that seems to reflect someone else's last name as well, I immediately wonder what the connection or affinity is. Surprisingly, this great-grandfather of mine, born in 1867 to Joseph and Elizabeth (Boles) Kitts, was named for Confederate General "Fighting Joe" Wheeler, although most other family lines seem to have held Union sympathies.

Wheeler commanded all of the Army of Tennessee's cavalry and was recognized for his fighting in the battles of Shiloh, Perryville, La Vergne, Chicamauga, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Bentonville, Ringold, and Atlanta, where he helped stand against Sherman. General Robert E. Lee considered him one of the two outstanding Confederate cavalry leaders.

Joseph Wheeler Kitts married Nellie Loucinda Collins, the daughter of Aaron and Elizabeth (Vandergriff) Collins. He is shown here with his son, George Washington Kitts, my grandfather. Joe had eight children and was widowed and married more than once.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Maryland Loveday Legacy

Although the Loveday lines in Maryland have dwindled since the days of the Revolutionary War, their name is remembered in local landmarks.

Cecilius Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, was the first Proprietary of the Province of Maryland. He named Talbot County, established in 1661 along the Eastern Shore, for his sister Grace Talbot, wife of Sir Robert Talbot. Initially, Talbot County stretched to include all territory between the head waters of the Choptank and Chester Rivers and eastward to the Delaware border. Later, portions of Talbot were divided among the counties of Queen Anne’s, Caroline, and Kent. In 1706, the boundaries of Talbot County were clearly defined to include Sharps Island, Choptank Island, Poplar Island, and Bruffs Island, as well as all the land north of the Great Choptank River up to the Tuckahoe Bridge and over to Sweatman’s Mill, then down the south side of the Wye River to the bay.

When colonists came to the Eastern Shore area of Maryland, they divided the settlement into “hundreds,” like those established by the Angles and Saxons a thousand years earlier when they first arrived in old England. The old English custom divided the lands among ten families, estimating that each family and its servants numbered ten people, totaling a hundred people in each area. Although the Maryland divisions of hundreds were originally just geographic divisions, they were later used as election districts. The Lovedays owned land in the Tuckahoe Hundred, as well as others.

Their original holdings dated back to the 1600s and over the years included several hundreds of acres and parcels named Friendship, Upper Range, Jordan's Hill, Middle Spring, Matthew's Chance, Francis Plains, Swine Yard, Parker's Farm, Dudley, Middle Neck, Hampton, Bloomsberry, Baildon, Bennetts Freshes, Crooked Lane, Frankford, St. Michaels, Hatton, Knave Stand Off, Holland's Spring, Loveday's Hope, Loveday's Purchase, and Loveday's Lot.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Revolutionary War Repercussions

So what happened to those Maryland Lovedays and their wealth? After reading much about the history of Talbot County and looking at its records, I personally believe that the situation was similar to what happened in Sevier County during and after the Civil War. The people of Talbot County were divided in their loyalties, many of them being Quakers who were pacifists, while others were passionate colonists fighting for independence. Although the Loveday men fought in the Revolution, they were also closely associated with their Quaker neighbors, even attending many of their meetings. During the war itself, their area was ravaged by the burning and looting of plantations and the pirating of the waters, and the cost of the war itself took its toll.

Details may be found in Oswald Tilghman's book, History of Talbot County Maryland, 1661-1861, Vols. I & II, published in Baltimore by Williams & Wilkins Company in 1915.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Edward Loveday's Birth State: Maryland

One of the most exciting adventures I've had in my genealogical research involved a trip to Maryland, Sevier County progenitor Edward Loveday's birth state. Although we've not been able to determine which of the Maryland Loveday sons was Edward's father, we do know a lot about them.

Prior to the Revolutionary War, they were great landholders, owning several tracts in Talbot County and even some in other counties as well. Imagine the thrill I had as my husband and I drove through the county and began to see roads that bore names similar to the lands those Lovedays once held. Amazingly, I discovered that the Loveday home established in the 1600s was still there! What an incredible experience to introduce myself to the owner and be given a tour of the house and grounds, seeing the cellar, the footprint (an impression in the back yard that reveals a brick floor) of what was probably an early detached kitchen, the household tools and implements found in the walls during remodeling, the shards of kitchenware found in the dirt, and a lonely grave, which is all that remains of a cemetery on the property (located at the tree on the right of the field in the photo). Our lovely host generously gave me one of the original bricks, and I in turn gave her a piece of pottery I created, which now sits in her window sill, holding some of those broken treasures from the past. It was a wonderful connection to the Lovedays of the past with a Loveday from the present.