Covering genealogy, family history, historical events and places, and anything else related!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 4 "I'd Like to Meet": Gertrude Tarkington

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been a cat person. The photo of my great-grandmother Gertrude Tarkington holding a cat gives me a good feeling about her. She looks like a nice woman, and I get the feeling that I would have liked her.

Although my father knew her, he didn't see her that often, since she lived in New York when he was growing up. She must have been a good mother; there was a history of violence and abuse on my great-grandfather's side of the family, but my grandfather was a good man. Clearly she raised him right.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 3 "Unusual Name": Astyanax

Hector's last visit to his family before his duel with Achilles: Astyanax, on Andromache's knees, stretches to touch his father's helmet. Apulian red-figure column-crater, ca. 370–360 BC. From Ruvo. Stored in the Museo Nazionale of the Palazzo Jatta in Ruvo di Puglia (Bari). Jastrow, 2006. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

One of the unusual names I have come across in my family tree is Astyanax. In Greek mythology, Astyanax was the son of the Trojan prince Hector and his wife Andromache.

The first Astyanax I have come across is Astyanax Mills, the son of  Archibald Ewing Mills and Nancy Hardgrave (sister of my 5th-great-grandmother Hannah Hardgrave.) He was born in Kentucky and was a child when his father died around 1814. He may have died young. However, the name continued in the family.

Astyanax Mills Douglass (10 September 1838 - 1 March 1908) was the son of James S. Douglass and Caroline Mills (half-sister/half-first cousin of Astyanax Mills; daughter of Nancy Hardgrave and her second husband John F. Mills, the half-brother of Archibald Ewing Mills.) He was a physician, Confederate officer, and Texas state representative. He was born and raised in Sumner County, Tennessee. He studied medicine in Nashville and earned his medical degree in 1861. He served in Company I of the Sixth Mississippi Infantry Regiment and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant after the Battle of Shiloh. After he was wounded in 1862, he went to Bowling Green, Kentucky and served as assistant surgeon. He returned to the Sixth Mississippi Infantry Regiment in 1863. After the war, he returned to Sumner County, Tennessee and practiced medicine, then moved to Covington, Hill County, Texas. He served in the Texas State Legislature from 13 January 1874-18 April 1876; 18 April 1876-14 January 1879; and 14 January 1879-11 January 1881, and served in the Texas State Senate from 10 January 1893-10 January 1895 and 13 January 1903-10 January 1905. He was chairman of the Texas State Board of Health and president of the Medical and Surgical Association of Hill County, the Medical Examining Board of the Eighteenth Judicial District, and the Confederate Veterans and Old Settlers Association of Hill County. He was profiled on the blog The Strangest Names in American Political History.

Astyanax Mills Douglass had a son, Astyanax Saunders Douglass (24 September 1871-27 April 1897), who had a son also named Astyanax Saunders Douglass (19 September 1897-26 January 1975.) This Astyanax was a Major League Baseball catcher. He played for the Cincinnati Reds in 1921 and 1925. He was a veteran of World War I. He was a coach at Amarillo High School in Amarillo, Texas, and named the team the Golden Sandstorms. He later founded Furniture Warehouse Stores of El Paso, Texas.

Elizabeth L. Mills, daughter of John F. Mills and his first wife Frances Thurmond, and stepsister/half-first cousin of Astyanax Mills, had a son named Astyanax Mills Duncan (6 February 1833-5 September 1921). He lived in and near Sumner County, Tennessee.

The name Astyanax was also used as a middle name in the family. Ann Hardgrave Mills, the daughter of Nancy Hardgrave and John F. Mills, had a son named Dero Astyanax Saunders (13 June 1858-28 June 1913). He lived in Mississippi. He had a son who was also named Dero Astyanax Saunders (9 March 1900-15 October 1961), who fathered a third Dero Astyanax Saunders (13 September 1931-15 March 1969.)

Bork, June, comp. Wayne County, Kentucky Deed Book B (1811-1818). San Diego, CA: June Bork, 1993. Deed abstracts: Joel Coffey & Patsy his wife to the heirs of Arch. E. Mills, dec'd, 24 Nov 1814; Joshua Jones Sr. & Hannah his wife to Nancy Mills, widow of Archibald Mills, et al., 9 Mar 1816.
Miller, Aragorn Storm. Douglass, Astyanax M. Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association.
A. M. Douglass. Texas Legislators: Past and Present. Legislative Reference Library of Texas.
Find A Grave, Astyanax S Douglass
Astyanax Douglass - Wikipedia
Astyanax Douglass. Baseball Reference.
Astyanax Douglass - "A Horned Frog Makes Good"
Death notice, A. S. Douglass. El Paso Herald-Post, 27 Jan 1975, p. C-7.
"Concerning Names." El Paso Herald-Post, 1 Feb 1975, p. B-1.
Find A Grave, Astynas Mills Duncan
Find A Grave, Dero Astyanax Saunders
Find A Grave, Dero Astanyax Saunders
Find A Grave, Dero Astyanax Saunders, Jr.

Monday, January 14, 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 2 "Challenge": Mary Nevins

I have not been able to identify any relatives of my 3rd-great-grandmother Mary Nevins, other than her husband and children. I know that she was born in Ireland in the 1830s and was in the Davidson County, Tennessee by January 1855, when she married my 3rd-great-grandfather William Dow Gatlin.

I don't know whether she immigrated to the United States with other family members. I searched for others in the Nashville area with the surname Nevins, and found Robert F. Nevins, a grocer. He turned out to have been born in Tennessee about 1830. He couldn't have been Mary's brother.

I found a death certificate for Alexander Nevins, son of Joseph Nevins and Mary Haley born 21 December 1832 in Ireland. He died in Nashville on 8 April 1922 at the Little Sisters of the Poor home. However, he had previously been in the National Soldiers Home in Washington County, Tennessee. He had previously lived in North Carolina. He had initially enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1857 in Boston Massachusetts. I have not found any evidence that he and Mary were related.

The names of Mary's sons may provide clues. My 2nd-great-grandfather was named John William Morton Gatlin (but was usually known just as William Morton Gatlin or William M. Gatlin.) His paternal grandfather was John McNairy Gatlin. His father was William Dow Gatlin and his great-grandfather (his paternal grandmother's father) was William Gower. Perhaps the name Morton came from Mary's side of the family. Another son was named Clarence Bateman Gatlin. I do not know of anyone (family, friends, or famous people) that he could have been named after. These names also may have come from Mary's side of the family.

Mary died on 9 September 1888. Her death was recorded in the Davidson County, Tennessee death register, but parents' names were not recorded then. Researching Mary has definitely been a challenge. Hopefully I will eventually break down this brick wall.

Monday, January 7, 2019

52 Ancestors: Week 1 "First": Godfrey Spruill

My 9th-great-grandfather Godfrey Spruill was the first doctor in North Carolina. He was born about 1650, and received a land patent in James City County, Virginia on 31 October 1684. By 1694, he was living in North Carolina, and he was practicing medicine in Edenton by 1702.

Dillard, Richard. "Some Early Physicians of the Albemarle." The North Carolina Booklet, pp. 17-18. North Carolina Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, July 1911.

Godfrey and his wife Joanna had the following children:
  • Samuel (my 8th-great-grandfather), who married (1) Elizabeth Swain (my 8th-great-grandmother) and (2) Mary
  • Godfrey
  • Joseph
  • Susannah, who married Cuthbert Phelps
  • Anna Margaritta, who married (1) James Stuart and (2) Samuel Boutwell
  • Mary

Godfrey Spruill - Wikipedia
Godfrey Spruill -
Godfrey Spruill, 1694 NC
Re: Godfrey Spruill, 1694 NC
The North Carolina Booklet