It's No Fun To Be Sane

Benjamin Jefferson Teal


My great grandfather, Benjamin Jefferson Teal was born in Wadesboro, Anson County, North Carolina on 18 October 1846. He was the fourth child and fourth son of Judith Marshall Porter and William Teal. The family of six moved to Georgia sometime between his birth and the birth of the fifth child Ann Elizabeth Teal on 3 July 1849. Ann Elizabeth was born in Georgia. Why they moved to Georgia is not known.

Benjamin Jefferson Teal

Benjamin Jefferson Teal

The 1850 census shows that they lived in Campbell County, Georgia. Sometime between 1850 and May 1864 the family moved to Cobb County, Georgia. The three older sons Lovette, Thomas, and William Furman enlisted in the Confederate Army from Campbell County. Lovette and Thomas enlisted in 1861 and William Furman in 1862.  Lovette married Ann Childs in October 1859 and were found in the 1860 census living in Campbell County. The 1860 census shows Thomas and William Furman living with their parents in Cobb County. Benjamin Jefferson didn’t enlist for service and stayed with the family.

The third born son, William Furman, died in Chattanooga, Hamilton County, Tennessee around 1862. He died from the mumps and it’s been told in the family that he never saw combat. On the death of his son William Teal took his wagon to Chattanooga to pick up his son’s body. He brought him back and buried him near Lithia Springs, Cobb County, Georgia. So the family was probably in Cobb County in 1862.

Because of the War Between the States (I call it this because there wasn’t anything civil about it.) the family moved from Cobb County back to Campbell County near Fairburn. They thought they’d be safer there and away from the fighting.

According to Furman Teal, Ben’s son, his father was driving the wagon from Cobb County with a load of furniture and belongings. He was taking them to their home in Campbell County. While driving the wagon a man stopped him and told him he needed to turn back, because soldiers were fighting in the area and it wasn’t safe. Ben decided to continue on. While he was driving he heard a battle going on, but he never saw it and he was never stopped on the road by soldiers. Later he found out that the battle he heard was the Battle of New Hope Church (Dallas, Paulding County, Georgia). This battle was part of the Atlanta Campaign and happened on 25-26 May 1864. The Yankees lost this battle. The Confederates lost 350 men and the Yankees lost 1665. A total of 2015 Americans lives were gone in two days in just one battle.

In the 1870 census Ben Teal was still living with his parents, but now they are in Carroll County, Georgia. Under occupation he is listed as working on the farm. At some point after this census was taken Ben moved to the community of Cool Springs in Douglas County, Georgia. We know from the writings of his sons Olin Alison and Furman Teal, that their father was a master carpenter and a blacksmith. So he probably was living in Douglas County earning his living as a carpenter. While in Cool Springs he lived in a boarding house. This is where he met a school teacher from Coweta County, Georgia. Her name was Susan Emily Moseley and she was also a lodger at the boarding house. Susan and Ben married in 1871 and eventually moved to a 400 acre farm in Carroll County near the community of Sand Hill. They had seven children in fourteen years. They were: William Moseley, Olin Alison, Edna Earle, Charles Benjamin, Florence Bernice, Furman, and Jessie Emily. The first five children were born in a log cabin and the last two in a nearby frame house. Both homes were built by Ben Teal.

Susan Emily Moseley Teal and sister Georgia Kansas Moseley Brown

Susan Emily Moseley Teal and sister Georgia Kansas Moseley Brown

He supervised and helped with the construction of a school in Sand Hill, and the construction of Macedonia Baptist Church when they went from a log cabin to a frame building.

They moved six miles north to the town of Villa Rica, Carroll County, Georgia around 1904 where he opened a mercantile store. They lived for about a year on Beecher’s Hill while their house was being built. In 1905 they moved into their home on Peachtree Street and remained there till they died.

Teal Home on Peachtree Street

Teal Home on Peachtree Street

Susan Emily Mosely died at their home on Peachtree Street in 1917. Ben remarried around 1922 and he died at the Peachtree Street house in 1925. Both are buried at Hillcrest Cemetery in Villa Rica, Carroll County, Georgia.

The frame house is still standing and being lived in. It’s located on South Highway 61. The house on Peachtree Street has only had three owners – Ben Teal, Frank and Molly Cleghorn, and the present owner Verrill Ray.


My great uncle, Furman Teal, was one of the most interesting people I’ve ever known. He told me stories about himself and the family. A few I still remember, many I have forgotten. I think it bothered him that he only got to the eighth grade, before he quit. But for someone with only an eighth grade education he did a lot in his lifetime.

Furman was the sixth of seven children born to Susan Emily Moseley and Benjamin Jefferson Teal. He was born in a frame house in Carroll County, Georgia on 13 March 1884. His three older brothers, and two older sisters were born in a nearby log cabin. They lived in a community known as Sand Hill. His father was a farmer, carpenter, blacksmith and Justice of the Peace. The family moved six miles north to the town of Villa Rica in 1905, where his father opened a mercantile store.

From letters and things he told me I know he had a good childhood. As a child he rode and was thrown from bull yearlings and he loved to ride horses and mules and swim in the nearby swimming hole. He worked the farm along side of his father and brothers. At that time you didn’t go to the Doctor for minor things like cuts. Doctors were expensive and not very close. One day Furman stepped on a piece of rusted barbed wire. His mother washed out the wound with turpentine. He said it hurt when she poured the turpentine on his foot, but he suffered no ill effects from it and the wound never got infected and healed properly.

At the age of 17 he left Villa Rica and followed his brothers Will and Olin to Texas. They worked for Hardy Duke, their aunt’s husband, in his chain of five and dime stores in Dallas. I believe Furman may have worked with them for a little while. He did work as a roustabout in the Texas oilfields. By the time he was in his 30’s he made it to Los Angeles, California. What job or jobs he had in California I don’t know. I do know that he enlisted in the army while living in Los Angeles.

Uncle Furman was a World War I Dough Boy. Dough Boy was the term used for U. S. Infantrymen during World War i. He was part of General Black Jack Pershing’s famous Rainbow Division. When he enlisted he lied about his age. He told them he was younger than what he was, because he didn’t want to be known as the “old man”. From his pictures at this time there was no way anyone would have thought he was in his 30’s. He looked more like a teenager.

Somewhere in France 1918 Furman Teal

Somewhere in France 1918
Furman Teal

In July 1918 he was part of the Second Battle of the Marne and was wounded at the Battle of Chateau-Thierry, which was part of that offensive. In a letter to his brother Olin Alison Teal he mentions his wound and talks about the fighting.

I was slightly wounded a week ago and so am resting easy away back of the lines in a base hospital. I will be going back to my company in a few days. It seems good to sleep on a real bed once more, where the thundering peal of artillery does not keep you awake.

We still have the Boche on the run and expect to keep them going. They leave all kinds of equipment. I have a few helmets and a rifle now, but do not know how long I can keep them. I wish I could keep lots of the things I find, but we cannot carry them. We have captured a lot of prisoners. Got a bunch of high officers the before I left – a general and his staff. The boys got a German doctor and put him to work on the American wounded, and they say he did fine work and willingly. One night a captain crawled to our lines and gave himself up, saying that he knew they were losing out and that he didn’t care to fight any more.

Some of my best friends have been killed lately, but in a great drive like this some are bound to fall.

The Red Cross is doing a great work over here and you cannot do too much for it.

The Germans started this great drive on July 14th, but they did not catch us napping. We were expecting it every moment, and they never gained an inch in our sector, and I think we have them on the run on a fifty-mile front.

I cannot begin to describe it. Aeroplanes were swarming above us like a swarm of bees-both German and allied. A great many were brought down; one of them near the place I was standing. The pilot had one arm shot off, but managed to land it safely. I have some parts of the machine that I will send you, if I get to a place where I can.

We have taken about 20,000 prisoners. That is pretty good for a week’ work. They say our artillery, together with that of the French, threw steel and lead into them in solid sheets; that our cannon sounded like machine guns they shot so fast. You can hardly imagine so many guns, both large and small, and it looks like it would be impossible for an army to get through. The famous French 75’s are a three-inch gun and we are using them. The Germans fear them worse than all. We have a great many six-inch and some sixteen-inch. You surely know when an eight-inch battery opens up, for they have some “kick” to them.

The artillery fire looks pretty at night with hundreds of big guns spitting fire as far as you can see. It makes you think of “Dante’s Inferno!

Uncle Furman received a Purple Heart for his wound and meritorious service. Purple Hearts were not given out to World War I soldiers until 1932. When Uncle Furman was in his 90’s he gave my brother Teal his Purple Heart and his campaign medals and ribbons. They were given to him because he had the family name – Teal. Years later my Mama gave him Uncle Furman’s World War I Eagle discharge to go with the medals.

After his discharge from the Army, Furman took the Civil Service exam. Because he was a veteran 10 points were added to his score. Those extra 10 points gave him a passing grade.

His first after war job was as a Border Patrolman. With this job he worked in New Orleans, Louisiana; the U.S. Mexican border between San Diego, California and El Paso, Texas; and Florida. On 22 July 1927 he and two other Border Patrolman captured illegal aliens on Sanibel Island, Florida.

Furman Teal is the officer on the right front. He's with captured illegal aliens on Sanibel Island, Florida.

Furman Teal is the officer on the right front. He’s with captured illegal aliens on Sanibel Island, Florida.

He left the U.S. Border Patrol to work on Ellis Island in New York as an Immigration Officer. He retired when they closed Ellis Island in 1954. I don’t know when he started this job.

Ellis Island

Ellis Island

Furman retired to Saint Petersburg, Florida. My parents drove him there when he retired. In retirement he kept an active social and retirement schedule. He was always going to dances and traveling by bus or train to see his brothers in Texas or his sisters in Villa Rica, Georgia. I remember him telling me that he never married, because he liked too many women and it wouldn’t be fair to them to marry just one.

When he was in his 70’s he bought himself a flute and taught himself to play it. He would bring it with him when we visited him at my grandmother’s. I can still see him sitting in her living room and playing his flute. He was very good.

He liked females of all ages. Mama always said that was because they always made on over him. I remember I was going on a trip and he sent me a little “pin” money. He might give me $10 and give my brothers $5 a piece just, because I was a girl and girls needed a little more. At Christmas I remember Mama making sugar cookies and carefully packing them to send to Uncle Furman.

In the late ’70’s he became ill and my cousin Charles brought him back to Georgia. He went to live in a nursing home in Winder, Georgia. Uncle Furman recovered, but he stayed in the nursing home, quickly becoming a favorite of the staff and other residents. He died on 19 March 1979 at the age of 95. I was living in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina when he died and was unable to make it back to Georgia for the funeral.

He’s buried with his parents, his sisters Edna and Bernice, and Bernice’s son Gaston Carnes in Hillcrest Cemetery in Villa Rica, Georgia.

Every year I make sure there is a flag on his grave on Memorial Day. He’s someone I will never forget and will always love.

The Masters


Augusta National Golf Club opened in Augusta, Georgia in 1933. It was the dream and brain child of the legendary golfer Bobby Jones. In 1934 the first Masters golf tournament was held and was won by Horton Smith. This was the start of what has become the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. It has always been an invitation only golf tournament.

Grave Site Of Bobby Jones Historic Oakland Cemetery - Atlanta, Georgia

Grave Site Of Bobby Jones
Historic Oakland Cemetery – Atlanta, Georgia

Before it was Augusta National it was an indigo plantation and then a nursery. Each hole is named for a plant, shrub, or tree that will be in bloom during the Masters Tournament. 1-Tea Olive; 2- Pink Dogwood;3-Flowering Peach;4-Flowering Crab Apple;5-Magnolia;6-Juniper;7-Pampas;8-Yellow Jasmine;9-Carolina Cherry;10-Camellia;11-White Dogwood;12-Golden Bell;13-Azalea;14-Chinese Fir;15-Firethorn;16-Redbud;17-Nandina;18-Holly.

Mark Twain said that “golf was a good walk spoiled”. He never walked Augusta National. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Even non-golfers want to go to Augusta just to see its beauty.

I bring up The Masters, because it starts next week (10-13 April 2014). You might also wonder what golf has to do with genealogy. It is part of my heritage. Masters tickets have been in my family for over 40 years. Before Daddy got season tickets we would go the day of the tournament and get a paper ticket to watch that day’s round of golf. I still have one of the round paper tickets that admitted us to the game. Now you can only get tickets by being a season ticket holder and it is the hardest ticket in sports to obtain. And I still have a number of the tickets that the family and friends used to get into the game.

A Few Master Tickets

A Few Master Tickets


Next week my brother and his wife, and my nephew and his wife will continue with the family tradition by going to the Masters.

Golf has always been part of my life and the life of my family. During the depression my Daddy, William D. Taylor, would caddy to earn money for the family. It’s during this time that he learned to play. It was because of golf that the family was able to bury my granddaddy, Eugene Smith Taylor, in 1938. At one time Daddy caddied for an insurance salesman and he took out a small life insurance policy on Granddaddy Gene without telling anyone. Granddaddy Gene lost his job on the L&N railroad during the depression. He never had a steady job after that, so times were hard for the family. In 1938 he went to Evansville, Indiana to get a job with the railroad. He was staying with his sister Daisy Taylor Chandler and her family. Granddaddy Gene got the job and wrote to his wife Norma that they would be moving to Evansville. The next day he was in the bathroom shaving and getting ready to go to work and he had a heart attack and died. The family was able to afford the funeral in Erin, Tennessee, because my Daddy had taken out that small life insurance policy on him years earlier.

As a child I would occassionally caddy for Daddy on a Saturday or Sunday. He’d play golf at the Highland Country Club in Conyers, Georgia. I’d pull the cart that held his bag through 18 holes of golf. I got paid 50 cents and whatever I wanted to eat at the club house. I also remember him playing  on a golf course in Milstead, Georgia that had sand greens. That’s the only golf course I’ve seen that ever had them.

Daddy thought that you could learn things outside of a classroom setting and would let us skip school to attend a golf tournament. I’m so thankful that he did.

One year he took me to the Atlanta Golf Classic in Atlanta, Georgia. It was a Wednesday and was Pro-Am Day. It’s a day I will never forget. Because it was Pro-Am Day I was able to take a camera into the tournament. That day I got to see celebrities, well known pro golfers and young up and coming golfers. I was able to talk to them, ask for an autograph and if I could take their pictures. This was in 1968.

I met Reverend Billy Graham, Jets quarterback Joe Namath, Coach Bear Bryant, Phil Harris (voice of Belew in the Jungle Book), Pat Boone, Chuck Connors.

Danny Thomas

Danny Thomas

When I asked to take a picture and get an autograph of Danny Thomas he joked with me. He wanted to know why I wanted a picture of him and his autograph, because his daughter Marlo was the famous person in the family. My brother Teal was one of the few people to get an autograph from Mickey Mantle. He also got Rocky Marciano’s (heavyweight fight champion). Marciano died the next year in an airplane crash. I’ll always remember the surprised look on a young golfer’s face when Teal asked him for his autograph. In 1975 I watched this same golfer birdie 7 straight holes at the Masters. He came close to winning the tournament that year. His name was Johnny Miller.

Golfers 1

Pat Boone, Phil Harris, Rev. Billy Graham, Arnold Palmer


Then there were the professional golfers: Gardner Dickinson, Gay Brewer, Tommy Jacobs, Bob Charles, Tony Jacklin, Bruce Crampton, Doug Sanders,Tommy Aaron, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, George Archer just to name a few. But my all time favorite is Chi Chi Rodriguez.

Chi Chi Rodriguez

Chi Chi Rodriguez

Chi Chi stopped in the fairway to come over and sign my piece of paper, let me take a picture and talk to me. I was wearing a coolie hat Daddy had brought to me from Viet Nam. He teased me about my hat – calling it a Palmer Hat and saying we should trade hats so he could have a Palmer Hat. He kept up a running conversation with me all the way down the fairway.  I will always remember the kindness he showed a 16 year old girl

The biggest surprise came the next day when I went to school. A couple of my friends knew where I was going on Wednesday, but I didn’t let a whole lot of people know. Several people I hadn’t told came up to me before school started and said we know where you were yesterday, because your picture was in the paper. I didn’t know what they were talking about, so I went to the school library and went through the sports section of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  Yes my picture was in the paper and I was in the picture with Joe Namath!

Joe Namath

Joe Namath

Although, the Pro Am tournaments were fun my heart will always belong to Augusta National and The Masters. It’s there that I will always see Daddy and my brother Gene walking down the fairway talking to Gene Sarazen. It’s there that I was part of Arnie’s Army when I was a child and being amazed at seeing people standing 12 deep around the green, beside the fairway, and around  the tee box just to watch this man play. And years later I was there to see Arnie play his last round as a competitor. It’s there that I sat in Amen Corner and watched a young up and coming golfer named Tiger Woods. I’ve been to the tournament when it was so cold that you had to wear a heavy coat and gloves, and when it was so hot you wish you were in a bathing suit. It was at Augusta where I  for the first time saw my Daddy (a non drinker) ask my college friend if he wanted a beer and my friend accepted. It’s there where people become friends for a day, share their homemade peanut butter fudge or put suntan lotion on your arms and shoulders so you won’t burn, and where people will be leaving and will give you their spot, because it’s a better vantage point to view the game. And it was there that I’ve seen golfers’ dreams die  on the 17th, because of the Eisenhower Tree. Sadly the Eisenhower Tree was lost this year to an ice storm. The landscape of Augusta will never be the same.

You can learn many things from watching golf at a place like Augusta National. You learn there is a time to talk and a time to be quiet; you learn to obey rules; you learn to concentrate on what’s happening around you; you learn to enjoy the walk and the beauty that’s around you; but most of all you learn respect for others and for your surroundings.

So if you get the opportunity to go to the Masters take it. Even if you don’t like golf you will end up loving Augusta National.

The Elusive Mary Jane

Mary Jane Vann (Van) is another mystery in my family. The story goes that she was walking down the railroad tracks in South Tunnel, Sumner Co., Tennessee. She had a toddler with her. The toddler was her son William. They were found by George Overton Taylor and he took them in. Mary Jane became his housekeeper and she and George eventually married. Mary Jane and George married on 18 February 1860 in Sumner Co., Tennessee. They had 5 children: John Albert, Henry Dulin, Mary, Josephine, and Augusta. Also Mary Jane is supposed to be Cherokee.

I have some partial handwritten notes. Who wrote them and how I came by them I don’t know anymore. The notes verified the story about George finding Mary Jane and William walking down the railroad tracks. The notes also indicate that Vann was Mary Jane’s married name. They also say that her husband was a Cherokee Chief and that they lived on the North Carolina-Tennessee border. Her husband sent her and her son away from their home just before the Trail of Tears migration. Apparently her husband was killed.

The problem with family stories is that through time they get distorted and these notes are a product of distortion. The Cherokee removal happened in 1838 and according to the 1870 census Mary Jane reported being born in 1825. She would have been 13 at the time of the removal and would have had her son William anywhere between the ages of 10 and 11, so I doubt that she came to South Tunnel, Tennessee at the time of The Trail of Tears. George Taylor probably didn’t even make it to the area until around 1851, when the tunnels were starting to be built. Mary Jane’s son William’s birth year is listed as 1851. Mary Jane would have been 26 when he was born. The two of them probably came to South Tunnel in 1853 or 1854. Now I do believe that George did come across Mary Jane and William walking down the railroad tracks, but it is unclear whether her maiden name or married name was Vann when they met.

George and Mary Jane don’t appear in any census records until 1870. This census shows that all 6 children are living with them and also George’s younger brother W.L. Taylor. The 1880 census shows Mary Jane and George in the household along with sons Henry age 15 and Robert age 8. Robert is listed as a son, but no one in the family knows anything about him. This is the only census record he appears in. This is also the last census record for Mary Jane and George. They could have appeared in the 1890 census, but since that census doesn’t exist anymore, no one will ever know.

The mystery deepens when looking at the funeral home/death records for Mary Jane’s son William. It lists George Overton Taylor as his father and his mother as Mary Jane Doss and that they were both from Virginia. The information was provided by William’s daughter Mary Jane Taylor Hughes.

Did Mary Jane Vann marry someone named Doss after her husband George died? Was Doss the real maiden name of Mary Jane Vann? Was Mary Jane Doss and not Mary Jane Vann the real mother of William?

Until I read these records the name Doss had never come up in the family history. As I did some research on Ancestry I found that people were listing Mary Jane Doss as William’s mother and that she was buried in Cannon County, Tennessee. This Mary Jane died in 1899. I believe that this particular Mary Jane Doss is not William’s mother or the mother of the other 5 children. She would have been too young to have had any of them. Also Mary Jane lists her birthplace as Tennessee and not Virginia in the census records.

Not long ago a cousin mentioned that George had 2 wives. This was the 1st I’d ever heard of that. It is possible that he had married twice and that both women were named Mary Jane. But I have only found one marriage record for George and that was to Mary Jane Vann. There is the possibility that George never married William’s mother. If that’s the case then there wouldn’t be a marriage license. Then there is the son John Albert Taylor (my great grandfather). He was born in 1858 – two years prior to the wedding of Mary Jane Vann and George Overton Taylor. That brings into possibility that George and William’s mother had John prior to their marriage, then she died and he remarried and then the other 4 children are by his 2nd wife. Or the better possibility is that Mary Jane Vann and George had John prior to their marriage and that Mary Jane Vann is the mother to all the children. The last possibility is that George was married to Mary Jane Doss in Virginia and that William was his son and that this Mary Jane died after they moved to Tennessee. Then the woman George found walking on the railroad tracks was Mary Jane Vann and the child with her was John Albert and not William.

According to my late cousin Frances Taylor Gregory, William always went by the last name of Taylor and he knew that wasn’t his real last name and that George Overton Taylor wasn’t his father. She knew William and he was always called Billy. She also said that Mary Jane Vann was buried in South Tunnel, on top of Ft. Hill, in an unmarked grave. The cemetery is where they buried the Blacks, the Indians, and those who died working on the railroad. George Overton Taylor is supposedly buried in the Bush Chapel church cemetery. If he is then his grave is unmarked too. Maybe he’s buried with Mary Jane. No one will ever know for sure. To my knowledge there are no known pictures of Mary Jane and at this time I haven’t found any living descendants of William.

It looks like Mary Jane is always going to be one of the elusive ancestors and that her true story will never be known.

Left to right: William Taylor, John Albert Taylor, Henry Dulin Taylor

Left to right: William Taylor, John Albert Taylor, Henry Dulin Taylor

Bubba and Big Daddy were my grandparents.

Jessie Emily Teal

Jessie Emily Teal

My grandmother was Jessie Emily Teal. She was born in Carroll County, Georgia in 1886. She was the youngest of 7 children born to Susan Emily Moseley and Benjamin Jefferson Teal. When born she was not given a middle name and eventually gave herself the middle name Emily. Her son Russell Olin Cleghorn is the one that gave her the nickname Bubba. When young Uncle Russell tried to say Mother and it would come out Bubba. Big Daddy came into this life with the name of Russell Emory Cleghorn. He was born in Hall County, Georgia in 1880. His parents were Shady Anne Mahalia Pirkle and Zachary Taylor Cleghorn. He was named Russell for a Judge Russell. Judge Russell was the father of Richard B. Russell who was a well-known U.S. Senator from Georgia. When my cousin Joe Cleghorn Pittman was young he started referring to our grandfather as his Big Daddy. Russell Cleghorn was 6” 1” tall and must have looked like a giant to a small boy.

Russ, Ruby, and Emmy Cleghorn

Russ, Ruby, and Emmy Cleghorn

Big Daddy moved from Hall County, Georgia with his wife Emmaline Orr and their two young daughters Ruby and Inez to Villa Rica, Carroll County, Georgia  in 1906 . He and his brother Frank Cleghorn had taken jobs with G. W. Strickland. They made harnesses, horse collars, and other leather goods for him. When Mr. Strickland went out of business in 1908 the brothers bought his stock and started their own business. It was known as Cleghorn Brothers. They started out making harnesses and selling buggies. When the automobile started replacing the horse and buggy they converted their business to a hardware store and lumber yard. Some years later they ran an undertaking business out of the hardware store. In 1940 the undertaking business was sold to J. C. Whitely of Douglasville, Douglas County, Georgia. A third brother, Rascha Cleghorn, also worked with them. When he came into the business I don’t know. Cleghorn Brothers closed in 1965.

Cleghorn Brothers Store Frank and Russ Cleghorn

Cleghorn Brothers Store
Frank and Russ Cleghorn

Bubba moved from the country into Villa Rica in 1905. Her father was a farmer until he opened a mercantile business in town. When the business started and how long it operated is not known.

In 1909 Big Daddy’s wife Emmaline died at the age of 25 from scarlet fever. His mother Shady came to live with him and helped him take care of his two daughters.

Exactly when, where, and how Bubba and Big Daddy met and fell in love was never known to anyone in the family that I’m aware of. The house that Bubba lived in with her parents was on Peachtree Street. The back of the house faced the railroad tracks. Across the tracks was Main Street. Every work day Big Daddy would go home for lunch and he would pass by the back of Bubba’s home. At lunch Bubba would stand on her back porch and wait for Big Daddy to pass by. As he would ride by on his bicycle she would wave to him.

Horse Collar 2 (2)

Minature Horse Collar

When they were courting Big Daddy made a miniature horse collar and gave it to Bubba. My mother still has it. He also wrote her letters even though they lived in the same town and not far from each other. Six of these letters have survived and are all from 1911 – the year that they married. The letters are 103 years old and are in remarkable condition for their age. I’m fortunate that I was able to scan them andthat I’m able to read them whenever I want. The letters give a small look into their lives. 

 From these letters we know that they went to church on Sundays and prayer meetings on Wednesday nights. One letter mentions  him visiting her at her home and that he was afraid that he had stayed too long. 

The first letter I have is dated 6 February 1911 and is the first time he professed his love for her. At the end of his letter of 12 April 1911 he tells her, “And if I should not get there Friday evening at seven don’t go off in a room and cry, for I will sure come a little later.” 

My favorite letter is the last one dated 22 May 1911. It was written 9 days before they married. They married on 31 May 1911.  In one line of the letter he says, “Say I told Mother yesterday. She was just tickled to death to think I was going to get the one she thought so much of.” 

Then later he says, “I will tell you something as I know you want give me away will you? Annie Mae and Edd is going to run away Wednesday night and get married. Wish he would wait a week and we would go together.” The letter was signed lover, Russell.

Bubba accepted Ruby and Inez as her daughters when she and Big Daddy married. Three more children were added to their family with the births of Russell Olin, Edna Elizabeth and Susan Anne. My grandparents were together for 59 years. And it was obvious that they were still in love when Bubba died in June of 1970 at the age of 84. Big Daddy died six years later at the age of 96.  Not many people these days can say they have a love like Bubba and Big Daddy’s.



























































































































































































































































































































Rolling On The River

I’ve always loved trains and ships, especially the paddle wheeler, stern wheeler. It’s a love that I come by naturally. My grandfather, great grandfather, and great, great grandfather worked for the L&N Railroad.

Then there’s my grandmother’s side of the family. My grandmother, Norma Vaughn, had an uncle named Christopher Columbus Walker. Uncle Lum worked on the packet steamer Evansville. The Evansville would travel up and down the Green River of Kentucky. Through the years the family had been told he was the captain of the Evansville.  I always wanted to know if he really was a captain.

In the 1980’s I went on a trip with my parents to Kentucky. Daddy wanted to show me the different places he’d lived as a child and wanted to show me where his mother and her sisters had grown up. Norma was born in a place called Skilesville, Kentucky. Skilesville went underwater when Lock & Dam Number 3 was put in on the Green River. Although she was born in Skilesville she lived in the next door town of Rochester. Rochester is still there. It’s a little town with no industry on the Green River and is also in the coal country of Kentucky.

While in Rochester we visited a lady whose husband had published a book called Evening on the Green. It was a small book that talked about the river and the packet steamers. When I was looking at her copy of the book I noticed she had tucked a newspaper clipping inside the front cover. It was a picture of the Evansville with a caption saying that it had burned at the docks in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I made a note of the newspaper that the clipping came from. This book didn’t mention Uncle Lum.

Once I returned home I sent a letter to the newspaper, asking if I could get a copy of the picture and any articles they had about the Evansville burning. I explained that Uncle Lum and possibly my great grandfather Creed Vaughn may have worked on the Evansville and that I was looking for any information I could find on the ship and these two men. Once the letter was mailed I forgot about it.

Some weeks later I received a letter in the mail from a gentleman that had worked on the river for 50 years and remembered Lum Walker. The letter came as a surprise since I didn’t know the gentleman and had never written to him.  Then I found a small newspaper clipping in the envelope. The newspaper had taken my letter and put it in the newspaper as a letter to the editor and this man had seen it.

He told me that he remembered Lum Walker’s voice. Uncle Lum apparently had a big booming voice. The man couldn’t remember exactly what position he held on the ship and he didn’t remember my grandfather at all. He talked about how hard Lum worked and how nice he was.

In the next few weeks I received letters. One person sent me a poem about steam ships. She thought I might like it since it was riverboat connected. Another suggested I read the book Steamships on the Green. It was a book of stories about the people that worked on the packet steamers. I purchased a copy of the book, but again Lum Walker was not mentioned. I wrote to the library at Western Kentucky University about The Evansville and the packet steam companies. They sent me a packet of information that gave a history of the steamers. The packet also included pictures of Evansville and other packet steamers that went up and down the Green River. Then I got a letter from Mrs. Hines.

Mrs. Hines suggested that I write to her father-in-law, because his grandparents had owned the Evansville and he should know about the people that worked on the ship. I promptly wrote to Mr. Hines and received a very nice letter from him.

Mr. Hines said he vaguely remembered Creed Vaughn and he believed that he may have worked in the ship’s store at one time. Then he told me that he remembered Lum Walker and that he had a big booming voice! He also let me know that Uncle Lum was not the captain of the Evansville – he was the 1st mate. As 1st mate he was 2nd in command on the ship and was in charge when the captain wasn’t around. It was nice to find out Uncle Lum’s connection to the Evansville.

In the summer of 1996 I was able to fulfill a riverboat dream. While visiting Boulder Dam I had the opportunity to pilot the sternwheeler Desert Princess on Lake Meade and the captain even let me dock her! It was a small, but nice way to pay homage to my family’s riverboat past. Now I just need to find someone that will let me be an engineer on an old L&N train!

The Evansville Burned in 1930 in Bowling Green, Kentucky

The Evansville
Burned in 1930 in Bowling Green, Kentucky

Kentucky Tornado

John Marshall Vaughn Jr. was born in 1814 or 1815 in Cumberland County, Kentucky. He was married to Louisa Richardson prior to 1840. Louisa Richardson was born 25 March 1819 in Kentucky. They were my great, great grandparents.  They had 13 children. Louisa died sometime between the birth of her youngest child John Alexander in 1862 and prior to 17 January 1870.

Family lore says that John Marshall Vaughn Jr. was living in Morgantown, Kentucky with his children when he and one of his sons died in a tornado.  The family slept in two rooms of their home. All the females slept in one room and all the men in one.  The men would sleep in one or two beds together and the women would do the same in their room. My great grandfather Creed Edbert Vaughn was sleeping in the middle of the bed on this particular night. There were either 3 to 4 people in the bed. When the tornado came through a tree fell onto their home and into the bedroom. It killed the two males that were sleeping on the left and right hand side of the bed leaving the one or two in the middle unharmed. I knew that the father Thomas Marshall Vaughn Jr. had been killed, but didn’t know the name of the son that had been killed.  By process of elimination I knew that it had to be James, Asa P. Sumpwell, William Watson, David or Fayette that died in the tornado. None of the females were hurt.  In my early research I didn’t find where there had been a tornado in that area of Kentucky.

Recently I decided to delve deeper into the story and see what I could find. I did an internet search for all tornadoes that happened in Kentucky instead of just limiting myself to the Morgantown area.   I found a newspaper article with the title Cave City, KY Tornado Demolishes Most of Town, Jan 1870. The article ran in the Cincinnati Gazette on 18 January 1870. One of the sub headlines mentioned eleven persons killed and many wounded and that houses were blown away like wisps of straw.

The tornado demolished approximately one-third of the small town. One gentleman reported that he put his clothing on a chair before going to bed. After the tornado his pants were found on a stake a half mile west of the house, his vest was two miles west of the house, and his coat three-fourths of a mile east of the house. This gentleman – Professor Williams – and his family were some of the lucky ones. They only lost possessions and their home.   Eleven lost their lives and a number were injured.

The newspaper article listed those that died. They were: George W. Pynter, his wife and child; Margaret Sterrett, Andrew J. Davidson, John S. McCown and child; Mrs. Juel Y. Wilson; Mr. Fite’s child; two persons named Vaughan. When I saw the last entry I knew that I had found them.

Now that I had a date of the tornado, 17 January 1870, I could search other records to see if I could find Thomas Jr. and the name of his son and I did. I found death records that listed Thomas Vaughn Jr. and William Watson Vaughn as dying on the same day (17 January 1870) and the cause of death was negligence due to tornado.

Even though it was such a tragic event, I was happy that it was a big enough event for a correspondent from the Cincinnati Gazette to cover and that he decided to list the names of the dead.

Cave City, KY Tornado Demolishes Most Of Town, Jan 1870

Cave City, KY Tornado Demolishes Most Of Town, Jan 1870

Last entry says Two Men Named Vaughn

Last entry says Two Men Named Vaughn

List Of Wounded

List Of Wounded

A Girl’s Postcards

I’ve always loved postcards. Every trip I’d take since I was young I’d buy postcards to send to family and friends and I’d also get a few to keep for myself. Postcards are cheap souvenirs and easy to transport. My collection contains postcards from states, towns, countries. They are of well-known historical sites, some are humorous, and I even have some that have recipes on them. Each postcard contains its own special memory for me. Friends and family will even bring me postcards from the places they’ve been.

My newest postcard I received in December from my nephew. He’s in the Air Force and his current duty station is in Qatar. It has a special place on my wall next to my computer. I look at it every day and think of him and smile and say a small prayer for his safety.



Recently my mother was given 12 postcards that had belonged to her mother Jessie Emily Teal (Cleghorn). These are such priceless treasures. Two of them had no messages on them and were probably given to her by a visiting relative. Nine were sent to her by family members or friends and one she had sent to her mother, Susan Emily Moseley (Teal)

The earliest postcard is dated 1906. It was sent from Jessie to her mother Susan from Chattanooga, Tennessee. It’s a picture of a place called Lulu Falls located on Lookout Mountain. Jessie was born in 1886 and was 20 years old when she sent the card.

Lulu Falls, Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Lulu Falls, Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, Tennessee

One of the blank cards was from California. It may have been given to her by her brother Furman, who was in California as late as 1918 when he enlisted in World War I. The other blank card is from Texas and she could have picked it up when she went to visit relatives. There’s no way to date them.

Picking Oranges - California

Picking Oranges – California

Waco, Texas - Young Ladies Boarding Hall - Baylor University

Waco, Texas – Young Ladies Boarding Hall – Baylor University

There is a 1907 postcard sent to Jessie from her Aunt Nannie from San Antonio, Texas. 

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Her real name was Nancy Florence Moseley and she was married to Hardie Duke at the time the card was written. Nannie was the sister of Susan Emily Teal (Cleghorn).

Two postcards came from Milledgeville, Georgia in 1909. One is of the First Presbyterian Church and there was no signature. The other is a pennant with GNIC written across it. GNIC stands for Georgia Normal and Industrial College. . GNIC is still in existence today. The name has changed to Georgia College and State University. It’s the college that Jessie went to for a short time. Her daddy let her leave school when she got homesick.  The card was sent by a friend named Bertha Smith. I wonder if she kept up with her college friends later in life?

First Presbyterian Church - Milledgeville, Georgia

First Presbyterian Church – Milledgeville, Georgia

Georgia Normal and Industrial College - Milledgeville, Georgia

Georgia Normal and Industrial College – Milledgeville, Georgia

Three more cards were dated 1909 and came from Era, Addie,   and Allie.  The one from Era is a view of Peachtree and Broad Streets in Atlanta, Georgia. Allie sent her one from Washington DC and Addie’s was from San Antonio, Texas.

Peachtree and Broad Streets - Atlanta, Georgia

Peachtree and Broad Streets – Atlanta, Georgia

The Spinning Room - Mt. Vernon

The Spinning Room – Mt. Vernon

Mission San Juan - San Antonio, Texas

Mission San Juan – San Antonio, Texas

In 1908 Guy Maxwell sent her a postcard that has lavender flowers on the front with Best Wishes imprinted on it. I’ve always wondered if Guy Maxwell was a beau of Jessie’s.

Best Wishes

Best Wishes

Another 1908 card she received from Dallas, Texas and it was written by her brother William Moseley Teal.

Oak Lawn Park - Dallas, Texas

Oak Lawn Park – Dallas, Texas

Then there is my favorite postcard. It was sent to Jessie from her sister Edna Earle Teal. On the front in fancy letters it says To My Sweet Fluffy Ruffles. It was also sent in 1909.

My Sweet Fluffy Ruffles

My Sweet Fluffy Ruffles

It’s nice to know that these inexpensive, colorful pieces of cardboard kept her in touch with so many people. The cards show me that she traveled, had friends that thought a lot of her, and that she was loved by her family.

The Baby Bonnet

I’m fortunate in that my family has heirlooms from our ancestors. To me these things are priceless and a connection to our past.  It’s always thrilling to me to read a letter, hold an object that someone in the family owned, or look at a painting that one of them painted.

In 2008 I came into possession of a baby bonnet. My aunt Edna Cleghorn Pittman owned it and after she died her children gifted it to me. When Aunt Edna came into ownership of it is not known. It was given to her by her Mother – Jessie Emily Teal Cleghorn or by her aunt – Edna Earle Teal.

The bonnet was folded and placed inside a small rectangular box that had at one time held hosiery or handkerchiefs.   There was a handwritten note on the top of the box.


This is Mother’s little brother’s bonnet made by her Mother. It is about eighty years old.

Edna E. Teal


The box that the baby bonnet was found in.

The box that the baby bonnet was found in.

It’s wonderful that Edna Teal documented when it was given to her. It gave me a date and from that date I could determine who it had belonged to. Susan Emily Moseley was Edna Teal’s mother and Mary Ann Amanda Stamps was Susan’s mother.

Susan Emily Moseley was the oldest daughter and oldest child of Mary Ann Amanda Stamps and William Spivey Moseley. The other children were Nancy, Eliza, Georgia Kansas, Charles Benjamin, and Joseph Kendrick. Here is where I encountered the problem. Charles was born 25 December 1858 and Joseph was born 7 May 1866. Charles is 16 years off the date of 1842 and Joseph is off the date by 24 years.

There is the possibility that Susan was wrong about the age of the bonnet or for who it was initially made for. Susan died on 13 May 1917, which is 5 years before the note was written by her daughter Edna. At the time of her mother’s death Edna Teal was living in China and was unable to make the funeral.  Now there are two possibilities when Edna received the bonnet. It could have been given to her by Susan when Edna was home on furlough from China and Edna wrote the note on the box at a later date. Or the more plausible possibility is that it was given to her by her father Benjamin Jefferson Teal in 1922.  Ben Teal died 28 December 1925. I don’t know if Edna knew about the bonnet before it was given to her. If it was given to her by Ben then he could have gotten the age of the bonnet wrong.

In documenting the bonnet I’ve considered many scenarios. There is the possibility that the bonnet could have been made for one of Mary Ann Amanda’s brothers by their mother Sarah Freeman (Stamps). 

Sarah Freeman Stamps and Moses Witt Stamps had 9 children. Mary Ann Amanda was the oldest. Her siblings were Nancy, Eliza, Sarah, Georgia, Charity, Martha, Christopher, and William.

Christopher Columbus Stamps was born on 20 May 1841 and William Thomas was born 17 March 1848. So Christopher’s birth comes closest to the 1842 date. If it was made for Christopher then it’s 173 years old and if it was made for Thomas it’s 166 years old.

Then of course you have the possibility that if Ben gave the bonnet to his eldest daughter Edna he could have been saying that it was his grandmother that made it for his mother. Edna could have misinterpreted it as it being her mother Susan.

I have little information on Ben’s mother Judith Marshall Porter at this time. I know she was born in North Carolina on 14 February 1820 and died in Carroll County, Georgia on 9 February 1905. I don’t know if she had brothers or sisters

If the bonnet was made by Mary Ann Amanda Stamps (Moseley) then it would be 156 years old if made for Charles or 148 years old if made for Joseph.  

In my heart I feel it had to belong to Charles Benjamin Moseley or Joseph Kendrick Moseley. No matter who it was originally made for I’m happy that it has survived.

This bonnet was probably made by Mary Ann Amanda Stamps Moseley for her son Charles Benjamin Moseley or her son Joseph Kendrick Moseley.

This bonnet was probably made by Mary Ann Amanda Stamps Moseley for her son Charles Benjamin Moseley or her son Joseph Kendrick Moseley.


The Night Riders Of Kentucky

One of the dark periods of Kentucky history took place from 1904 to 1911. During this period of time Western Kentucky and parts of Northern Kentucky experienced the Black Patch Tobacco Wars.

The American Tobacco Company (ATC), led by James B. Duke, formed a monopoly on the tobacco industry.  They would pay Kentucky tobacco farmers less per crop than it cost the farmers to produce the tobacco. The tobacco farmers formed the Dark Tobacco Planters Protective Association (PPA) in hopes of breaking the monopoly.

The farmers would sell to PPA instead of ATC and then the PPA would sell their tobacco at a higher price than what ATC would give them. Not all farmers wanted to be part of the PPA.

The PPA gave birth to the Night Riders. This group of men would at night burn the ATC warehouses and also destroy the crops of those farmers that didn’t want to be part of the PPA. Intimidation, whippings, and murder was all part of the Night Riders mission to end the tobacco monopoly.

In 1908/1909 my grandmother Norma Vaughn was working for the telephone company as a telephone operator in or near Bowling  Green, Warren County, Kentucky. I’m not sure of the name of the company she worked for.

One evening she went to work. The building she worked in had two floors and you had to have a key to enter it. The telephone exchange was on the second floor. The lady getting off work left the building as she entered it. She locked the door behind her and went up the steps to work.

Norma hadn’t been at her switchboard long when a masked man came up behind her and told her that she wouldn’t be answering or sending out any calls that night. The man was a Night Rider and of course this scared my grandmother!  When the burnings started he didn’t want her to alert the authorities. From the window near where she sat she could see fires in the distance. The Night Rider told her that if she tried to call anyone after he left she would be harmed. My grandmother told him that he didn’t know her or anything about her. The man said he did and to prove it he would send her a box of chocolates the next day. The next day a box of chocolates with her name on it was delivered to where she lived.

How did he get into the locked building? There’s a possibility that the other woman knew him and let him in and he hid until Norma was alone. Or he might have been able to slip in behind her when she entered the building.  No one ever found out.

Since the man wore a mask Norma didn’t have any idea of who this man was, but she did notice that he wore a large unusual ring (possibly large with a blue stone) on one of his hands. From that day on every time a man passed her in the street or in a store, etc. she would look at their hands to see if they were wearing the ring. She never did see anyone wearing the ring.

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