52 Ancestors Week 34 – B.H. Hatcher, Officer Down

Burdine H. HATCHER, known as B.H., was the son of Rev. Simeon J. HATCHER (1828-1894) and Mary Jane GRANT HATCHER (1844-1920). Mary Jane was the sister of my 2nd great grandfather, Daniel B. GRANT, which makes B.H. my first cousin, thrice removed.

Rural Ohio Farm


Farming in the Carolinas

B.H. was born 14 Mar 1882 and raised in Smithville, Marlboro County, South Carolina.  He worked as a farm laborer. Also, B.H. could read and write.

In 1907, when he was about 25, B.H. married Sara Frances BRIGMAN, who went by Frances.

In 1910, B.H. and Frances were living and farming in Wolf Pit, Richmond County, North Carolina which is close to Marlboro County.  Two of their seven children had been born already.

By 1917, the family was back in Smithville and still farming according to B.H.’s World War 1 draft registration.  The registration also noted that B.H. was tall and stout.Police badge

Working for the Law

B.H. became a rural police officer for the Marlboro County Sheriff’s office.  I don’t know if this was full time work or on an as-needed basis, and I don’t know for sure when it happened.

On May 17, 1924, B.H. and fellow office J.H. DAUGHERTY encountered a dangerous situation that ended tragically.

HATCHER Burdine H circa 1920

B.H. Hatcher, believed to have been taken when he took the oath to become a rural policeman. Early 1920’s.

From The Gaffney Ledger newspaper:  B.H. and fellow office J.H. Daugherty went to the home of Tom Dupre ‘on a search for contraband liquor,  according to Mr. Daugherty. On being told of the officer’s business, Dupre secured a rifle and cracking the door fired upon the officers, one bullet slightly wounding Mr. Daugherty and another mortally wounding Mr. Hatcher.’

The Rest of the Story

B.H. was 42 years old at the time of his death.  He left Frances and their seven children, the youngest of which was only 4.

He was buried at Oak Grove United Methodist Church Cemetery in Wallace, Marlboro County, South Carolina.  A few years later, Frances went on to marry B.H.’s much older brother, Jimmy.  She had two children with him.

Tom Dupre was captured half a mile from his home about a week after the shooting. He was tried and found guilty and give a sentence of life in prison.  In 1926, Dupre was released because on appeal the search of his home was determined to have been illegal.



52 Ancestors Week 33 – Ed Grant, Statesman

Ed Grant, Ed's wife, Doug Grant, Doug's wife, 1956

L to R Ed Grant, his wife Anna, Doug Grant (Ed’s brother) and Doug’s wife

Edmund Griffin GRANT, who went by Ed, was the son of Jesse Lee GRANT (1873-1931) AND Mattie Lee PEELE GRANT (1886-1960). Ed had two older sisters, Mabel and Ella, and a younger brother named Doug.  Ed and my grandmother, Florrie THOMAS MARTIN, were first cousins making him my first cousin twice removed.

Ed was born in Chesterfield County, South Carolina on 2 Jan 1909. He spent his growing up years in McFarlan in Anson County, North Carolina, and in Darlington, South Carolina.Welcome to NC sign

In 1931, Ed married Anna Wilkinson BRUNSIN. He was 22 years old. Soon after he went to work as a salesman for the Franklin National Life Insurance Company.

In 1940, Ed and Anna and their two children, Adelyn and John, were living at 313 Augusta Street, West Columbia, Lexington County, South Carolina. Ed was still selling insurance.  Here is a link to the Augusta Street neighborhood where they lived.  Same houses, I’m sure.

According to the Columbia city directory, Ed and his family lived in Columbia through the 1940’s and 1950’s. They lived in several locations but eventually settled in a home on Lake Shore Drive in Columbia. Here is a link to Lake Shore Drive to give you an idea of where he and Anna lived.

Ed was promoted to state manager of sales for the Kansas City Life Insurance Company. I don’t know when he went to work for them.

In 1958, when Ed was 49, he was elected to represent Richland County in the South Carolina House of Representatives as a Democrat. He was re-elected six times and served a total of 14 years. He was a vocal member of the House and was named in the paper again and again concerning legislation he worked on.

The Aiken Standard reported in 1972 that Ed wouldn’t seek re-election because he wanted to devote more time to his family, especially his grandchildren. Ed was 63 years old.

Mattie Grant Lyles,Zack Grant,Arthur Grant,Jesse Grant,Margaret Ann Grant Thomas, sitting Flora Ann Griffin Grant

L to R Siblings Mattie Grant Lyles, Zack Grant, Arthur Grant, Jesse Grant (father of Ed and Doug), Margaret Grant Thomas (my great grandmother). Seated Flora Griffin Grant (mother of these siblings and my 2nd great grandmother)

Ed didn’t get much time with his grandchildren, though, because be passed away the next year on 9 Feb 1973. I couldn’t locate a death certificate for him, so I don’t know what he died from. I suspect it was either a heart attack or a stroke based on other deaths in the family.

I never met Ed, but I did meet his brother, Doug, when Doug was an old man. Doug was tall, probably 6′ 4″. I’m told by another relative who knew them both the Ed was taller than Doug. In the photo I posted with the two of them and their wives, Ed looks to be quite a bit taller than Doug. Their father, Jesse, was much taller than his siblings in the only photo I have of Jessie with his siblings, so Ed and Doug must have gotten that from him.


What to ask the older generation

This is a good set of questions I linked to below, and I like that Sharon Huneycutt Harris distinguishes that the list is for the older generation.  Society and families have changed so much that generic questions don’t work for all generations now.

Click here—>50 Questions You Can Ask The Older Generation In Your Family 



52 Ancestors Week 32 – T. J. Martin: Native Mississippian

Thomas Jefferson MARTIN, my first cousin 4th times removed, was one of the 20 or so children born to James MARTIN (1789-1851). James was married at least twice, maybe even 4 times. Thomas’ mother was Mary GILL (ca. 1800-1829).

Thomas was born in Brookhaven, Lincoln County, Mississippi on 7 Jan 1823. He married Feriby Ann BRISTER in 1845. As was common in those days, Thomas was a farmer, a prosperous one according to his obituary.Barn and farm equipment

33rd Mississippi Infantry Battle Flag

33rd Mississippi Infantry Battle Flag. Click on flag for more info about the 33rd.

He and Feriby have seven children before the Civil War began. Thomas enlisted in April 1862. He was a member of the 33rd regiment Mississippi infantry, Co. C. He enlisted for 3 years and was a lieutenant upon his enlistment.

Thomas was promoted to captain in July 1862. About a year later, in July 1863, Thomas deserted the army according to his service record. He’d participated in the Vicksburg Campaign, the Jackson Siege and other battles at this point.  Perhaps he was worn out and couldn’t do it anymore.

He and Feriby had no more children in July 1866, so it appears he didn’t go home until after the war ended.

Once back home, Thomas went back to farming and two children were born (1868 and 1869), bringing the total to 10.

In the 1870 and 1880 census, Thomas and family were living in the same area of Mississippi as he had lived all his life. In fact, except for the war years, and perhaps the time after he deserted the army, he appears to have lived and farmed his entire life within 15 miles of where he was born.

MARTIN Thomas Jefferson gravestone

Click on photo for find-a-grave listing for him

In the early 1880’s Thomas became ill. According to his obituary in the Early Brookhaven Newspaper, ‘He had been in bad health for a long time and was confined to his bed at the time.’ There is no mention of what he was ill with, but it was believed to have affected him mind.

The obituary said that on 30 July 1882, Thomas was missing from his room. A ‘search was made, and he was found a short distance in the woods, lying across a log with his throat cut from ear to ear.’ Thomas was buried at the Pleasant Hill Church Cemetery in Bogue Chitto, Mississippi. He was 57 years old.52ancestors-2015

52 Ancestors Week 31-Lottie Pyles, socialite

Lotta V. PYLES, called Lottie, was the daughter of R. T. PYLES (1832-1889) and Frances Ellen (Fannie) HAWKINS PYLES (1847-1919). She was also my 1st cousin, thrice removed. I wrote about R. T. last week. You can read it here if you missed it: R. T. Pyles.

Lottie was born on 19 Nov 1879 in Montgomery County, Maryland. She was the fourth child born of the five children her parents had together. Her father had two other children with his first wife, Fannie’s older sister, Laura.

Daughter of a successful man

Lottie’s father was a successful store owner in Barnesville, Maryland, and his family enjoyed the fruits of his labor. Lottie was only 10 when he passed away, but her mother continued running the successful store and the family continued to live as part of ‘society’ in Frederick, Maryland and northwestern Montgomery County, Maryland.

I found many newspaper clippings about Lottie visiting friends and family in Frederick and in Baltimore during her teens and twenties. She chummed around especially with two girls, Lillie TYSON and Grace CASTLE, both of Frederick. She also vacationed in Atlantic City one summer.


Atlantic City Boardwalk, present-day

In the 1900 and 1910 census records, Lottie lived at home with her mother and older brother Percy Lee PYLES. The family had a cook and servants. No occupation was listed for Lottie in either of these census years even though she was 21 and 31 in those census years.

Finally gets a job

In 1914, Lottie became a postmaster, probably at the family store. She was 35 years old. In 1918, her brother Percy was living in Baltimore and working as a conductor on a railroad instead of working at the store. I’m not sure who was running the store at this point.post-office-mail-box-antique-2

Fannie, Lottie’s mother, passed away in 1919 when Lottie was 40. In 1920 Lottie was living with her sister, Annie Estelle PYLES WHITE (1861-1926) and Annie’s family. Lottie was still the postmaster at the store as well.

Living large in Baltimore

By the mid-1930’s Lottie was living in Baltimore with a widowed friend named Gabrielle GAMBRILL. In 1940, when Lottie was 61, she was still living with Gabrielle. I don’t really know what brought her to Baltimore or when she actually moved there. Perhaps it was the death of her sister in 1926. Also, Percy was living in Baltimore so she had family there.City of Baltimore sign

Lottie seemed to have inherited a handsome sum since her home in Baltimore was the Northway Apartments, ‘one of the cities’ most stylish and pedigreed addresses’.

In a 1994 article from the Baltimore Sun, the Northway apartment building was described as having a grand and spacious lobby, elevators with hands that move in a half circle, art deco light fixtures, and plaster motifs in the public restrooms. See full article here. Here is a link to the googlemaps street view: Northway. Take a look. It’s still beautiful.

Lottie passes away

Lottie died 10 July 1956 at 77 years of age. She is buried in Moncacy Cemetery in Montgomery County, Maryland, along with many other members of the Pyles family.

Juliette and the Monday ManDates: a review

Juliette and the Monday ManDates by Becky Doughty is the first in a series about the four Gustafson sisters, Juliette being the oldest.  As the story begins, Juliette has recently broken up with a long term boyfriend who she expected to marry.  Her sisters insist she start dating again and set her up with a different guy each Monday night.Heart candies

Juliette goes along with it to appease her sisters.  The story goes from there with mistaken assumptions, expected and unexpected scenes, and more that kept this story interesting.

In a few places it felt like information was being dumped and that slowed down the pace of my reading.  Also, one of the sisters was stereotyped in the beginning but as the story developed she grew out of that stereotype.

The dialogue of each sister was distinctive, and it was easy to keep them apart as I was reading.  I like that when there are several characters in play in a scene.

The story is about more than Juliette and her ManDates.  It’s also about what happens to a family when tragedy strikes and how different people react.  It is about being supportive in the present and still honoring those who passed before us.  Each sister carries her own baggage, and I expect the other books will deal with each one separately.

The setting is contemporary, and it is a Christian romance. And there is plenty of romance, too!  I enjoyed Juliette and the Monday ManDates, and I intend to read the next in the series, Renata and the Fall from Grace.

52 Ancestors Week 30 – R. T. Pyles, Businessman and Community Leader

Richard Thomas PYLES was my 2nd great grand uncle. He was the brother of my 2nd great grandfather, Wallace PYLES, who I wrote about here.

Richard was the eldest child of John PYLES (1802-1870) and Rebecca Poole JONES PYLES (1800-1890). He was born 16 Jan 1832 in Poolesville, Maryland, which is in Montgomery County.Maryland sign

A farmer, then not

Richard started his adult life as a farmer like his father, but in 1860 he was a dry goods merchant in Barnesville, Maryland, also in Montgomery County. His real estate and personal property holdings were valued at $2100.

In Feb 1859, Richard had married Laura Virginia HAWKINS. They had two children together – Clagett born in 1859 and Annie Estelle (Nannie) born in 1861. Laura died in 1865 for reasons I don’t know. Two years later, Richard married Laura’s younger sister, Frances Ellen (Fannie) HAWKINS.fabric2_mf

In the 1870 census, Richard was still a merchant in Barnesville and the value of his real and personal property was $7000. He was 38 years old in 1870.

During the 1870’s Richard was a warden of the St. Peter’s Parish Church. The original church edifice stood on what is now Monocacy Cemetery in Montgomery County. He was also a freemason, belonging to a lodge in Rockville, Maryland.Masonic symbol

Living the good life

Life and business was good for Richard and his family during the 1870’s. Besides being a merchant, Richard worked as a district tax collector and as a postmaster. The post office was probably in his store. Nevertheless, he was the postmaster and was well paid by the government for that position.post-office-mail-box-antique-2

Richard and Fannie had four children in the 1870’s, and on the 1880 census the family has a children’s nurse living with them. Sounds like a nanny or mother’s helper to me, a luxury not everyone could afford then or now. In 1885, a fifth child was born.

Richard becomes ill

In March 1888, when Richard was 56, he ‘was stricken with paralysis, falling senseless to the floor’ while he was conducting business in his store. This was reported in The News, a Frederick, Maryland newspaper. He recovered enough from the stroke to be named one of the first commissioners of the town of Barnesville when it incorporated in May 1888.

Sadly, one year later on 13 May 1889, Richard suffered another stroke and died. He was buried at Monocacy Cemetery.

Richard left his family in good standing financially. Fannie continued to run the store. And some of the children went on to have interesting lives which I will write about in a few weeks.52ancestors-2015

3 movies/3 books about World War 1

Did you know World War 1 was called ‘The war that would end all wars’?  Did you know that the outbreak of the war (the straw that broke the camel’s back) was caused by the assassination of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife Sophie? War drawing

Last week I wrote about World War 1 veteran Harry Heiser. For a long time, I knew little about WW1. It’s always been overshadowed by the Great Depression and WW2 when studying history in school.


I learned about WW1 by watching a few movies and reading real books (as opposed to dry history textbooks).World War 1 newspaper


Here’s what I watched:

Sergeant York (Amazon instant video)

The African Queen (Amazon instant video and DVD from Netflix)

Lawrence of Arabia (Amazon instant video)Toy soldiers-1


And here’s what I read:

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Marie Remarque

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo


What WW1 books or movies have you read or watched?

52 Ancestors Week 29 – Harry Heiser, Veteran supporter

Harry Ellsworth HEISER was the oldest son and child of James E. HEISER and Katie BALDWIN HEISER. I wrote about James here and about Harry’s sister, Ruth, here.

Harry was born 16 Sept 1897 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. He was raised in Lebanon where he graduated from high school, and soon after he entered World War 1 in 1917.Saluting statue A large group of young men from Lebanon went overseas together. They were part of the Machine Gun Battalion in France.

Wounded in the war

In September 1918, Katie received word that Harry had been gassed and wounded. He reported in a letter to his mother that he was in three gas attacks and was gassed to a certain extent. He said, ‘My lungs are not as they should be since I was in the hospital before. I hope they do not find anything else the matter with me.’

He also told about being wounded. ‘I had a narrow escape the afternoon before I left the company. One of the German’s favorite shells (a 9-inch high explosive) landed about five feet to my left and the force of the explosion knocked me across the street…I was knocked out for about a half hour, but not wounded.’ He was reported as wounded to his mother, though, by the War Department.

Harry returns and gets on with life

Harry returned home in May of 1919 and found work as an iron worker like his father. I guess Harry didn’t care for iron work since he went to school for accounting. By 1927 he was married to Dorothy A. BOETTNER, living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and working as an accountant. He likely met Dorothy at the Pennsylvania Business College in Lancaster. Their only child, Gloria, was born in 1927.Old Office Supply

Harry became a mail carrier in the mid 1930’s, a job he stayed in until retirement. Perhaps he was tired of working inside all the time. Or perhaps he tired of numbers all the time. Or perhaps the business he worked for went under during the Depression.

Dedicated to veterans

HEISER Harry scan from 1944

Harry at a Purple Heart event honoring a wounded WW2 soldier 1944

Harry’s time in the military influenced how he spent his non-working hours. As early as 1921, Harry was volunteering his time to honor veterans as part of a gun salute at a military funeral.

Once married, Harry and Dorothy were both active in veterans organizations in Lancaster – American Legion, VFW, Military Order of the Purple Hearts, Disabled Veterans, and more. Harry was a life member of the Military Order of the Purple Hearts and served as a national commander and state commander in that organization.

Still active in retirement

Harry and his family lived in several locations in Lancaster through the years, renting each time. But around 1950 they settled at 504 W. Chestnut Street in Lancaster. Here’s a link to the house: 504 W. Chestnut Street

HEISER Harry scan from 1964

Harry at a convention of the Order of the Purple Heart. He is on the left. I can see a lot of resemblance between him and my father, who is a Heiser.

Harry retired from work in 1964, but he didn’t retire from life. As he had done most of his adult life, he continued to support veterans in his state and community.

In 1984, Harry passed away at his residence after a lengthy illness. He was 86 years old.





Short stories and rough drafts

Lots of people have ideas of how to become a better writer. Ray Bradbury said to write a new short story every week, that at the end of the year you’d have 52 stories, and they couldn’t be all bad.

A blogger, whose name and blogpost I have misplaced, said to read a short story every day. It’s a great way to learn story structure and more.Journal and coffee

I have proof that’s true from my years of homeschooling my kids. I had them good literature so they would learn to write well. It worked.

I started doing both the reading and writing on July 1. I grabbed an old copy of 52 Great American Short Stories off the bookshelf in the living room, and started with that.

Last night, I finished the rough of short story #1 called St. Pete, and today I started the rough of short story #2, tentatively called She Won’t Swing.

I’m looking for suggestions for short stories to read. Got any?