A to Z – C is for Captain Charles Windham

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A to Z

C is for Captain Charles Windham,

His Majesty’s Commander

 

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Seeman the younger, Enoch, c.1694-1745; Captain Charles Windham of Earsham (d.1747)Birth 1709 Virginia

Death 20 Aug 1771 South Carolina

My 6th great grandfather

Photo credit: National Trust

The Windham family is on my father’s side. A female Windham married a Mercer, and a granddaughter from that union married a Crane.

 

 

 

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wymondham signCharles’s Windham /Wymondham /Wyndham line is traced back to Sir John De Wymondham in 1320 Wymondham, Norfolk, England.

Three hundred years later, in the early 1600s, Charles’s great grandfather was also born in Norfolk. Apparently the family didn’t get around much. Grandpa  was a judge and military advisor. He migrated to America in 1634 on the ship “John and Dorothy.” After hundreds of years in the same town, I wonder what the family thought of him going to America. I would imagine they weren’t very pleased.

The family settled in Virginia for a couple generations, then Charles moved south to South Carolina. Charles married Mary around 1730 and had at least five children in South Carolina before her death around 1750, including my 5th great grandfather Major Amos Windham who served in the American Revolution in South Carolina.

From Virginia Colonial Records:

Public Record Office, London

Book of Letters Vol. 5

4 Feb 1737. Encloses report of threatened attack by Spanish on Georgia and South Carolina. Has asked Capt. Windham for help. Windham was send to Virginia.

29 Mar 1737. Capt. Windham has ordered Capt. Compton at Virginia to join him quickly.

In the early 1730s, King George II established Georgia as a colony. His main reasoning was to keep the Spanish who were occupying Florida and the Native Indians from attacking South Carolina. Georgia was nothing but a buffer, but King George dumped time, money, and settlers into the colony, helping it to grow and prosper. Wonder where he got the name from? 🙂

The best part of the story is while the King was sending over settlers to build up the colony and munitions to fight off invaders, the Princess of Wales gave birth to a son who would later become King George III. This is the same King the colonists would declare their independence from in 1776. They would never have been able to do so if George II hadn’t supplied them with weapons. Hmmm.

 

A to Z – B is for Benjamin Berry Pickett

a2z-h-smallA to Z Blog Challenge

B is for Benjamin Berry Pickett

Ben was born November 15, 1893 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. He was the second of six children born to Joseph Lawson Pickett and Caledonia “Callie” Fisher. Five boys and one girl. Joseph died in 1910, leaving Callie with young children between the ages of 6 and 13. There wasn’t much money. Their home had no ceiling, only the Cyprus shingles above their heads. The floors had cracks in the wood where one could see the chickens running under the house. They were, in a word, poor.

moonshineIn 1919, the entire nation had gone dry when prohibition was passed, and the boys needed a way to make money. There was no better way in that south than by making moonshine.

All of the boys, Robert Elbert “Ebb”, Ben, Joe Jr, Mark, and Clyde had moonshine stills. By this time, the three older boys had their own homes and families but came back to the family farm to run their stills.

On July 10, 1924, a Federal Prohibition agent with an itchy trigger finger, Dan Cleveland, bought some ammo at a local store and said to the clerk, “I’m going to start me a Pickett cemetery.” He blackmailed one of the local boys who had been running moonshine for the Picketts to show him the locations of the stills.

That morning, all of the boys except Mark were there. Fifteen-year-old Clyde had a pistol and twenty-year-old Ben had a shotgun. The others were unarmed. When the revenuer approached the scene, he aimed at Ben and yelled, “Put your guns down!” After that, it was mayhem.

At the end of the bloody gunfight, Cleveland was dead, Ben was shot in the shoulder, and the boys high-tailed it out of there in Ben’s Packard.

It had been raining all day and the tire tracks were easy to follow. By nightfall, the boys were taken into custody and placed in the local jail.

parchman-1200x695During the trial, witnesses testified that Cleveland was heard to say he was going out to kill Picketts, and that he had no intention of going out to simply shut down stills. Ben also testified that Cleveland shot first. The State didn’t waiver. Both Ben and Clyde were sentenced to life in Parchman Penitentiary. Ebb and Joe were convicted of distilling and both received short sentences. They resumed moon-shining upon their release.

In October of 1928, Joe was hauling some pure alcohol up from New Orleans and ran into a Mississippi police barricade. His car was riddle with bullets and he died at the scene.

In Spring of 1933, Ben and Clyde were released on good behavior.

Ben was my great grandfather. He was married to Eula Keene. Read her story here.

ben and eula

April AtoZ American Revolution

a2z-h-smallApril AtoZ Challenge

I’m late, but I’m here. I’ll get caught up the next couple days!

A is for American Revolution

IMG_20180403_184649654I’m a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution under my grandfather Joseph Culpepper, who fought in the state of Georgia.

I am also descended from the following patriots, whose supplemental memberships I have not applied for as yet. The more I research, the more expensive my membership gets. Ouch. The following are my 5th, 6th, and sometimes 7th great grandfathers:

  • William Crane (Crain)

William served in Pennsylvania. He was born in Ulster, Ireland in 1704 and came to America in 1732. He and his wife Jean are buried in old Hanover Presbyterian Church cemetery in Pennsylvania.

  • Isaac Weldon Sr

Isaac was born in 1745 in North Carolina and served in Richmond County, Georgia. His family was originally from Nottinghamshire, England and came to America in the early 1600s. At the time of the revolution, he was a 5th generation American.

  • Amos C Windham

Amos was born in 1741 in South Carolina. He served as a lieutenant, captain, and major in South Carolina. I’ve traced the Windhams back to Virginia in the early 1600s, but am not sure where they came from. I suspect England.

  • Robert Farish

Robert was born in 1738 in Virginia. His grandfather migrated to America in 1714 from Cumberland, England. He served in Virginia.

  • Samuel Truss

Sam was born in 1735 in North Carolina and served in the North Carolina Militia. His grandfather was from Oxfordshire, England.

  • George Williamson

George served in Pennsylvania. He was born in 1748 in Pennsylvania, and his father was an immigrant from Armagh, Ireland.

  • Thomas Hambrick

Thomas served in Virginia. He was just a young boy at the time, born in Virginia around 1765.

  • Reuben Dollar

Reuben served in South Carolina. He was born in South Wales in 1755. His father died there in 1770, which may be the reason he ended up in America.

  • John Clearman

John was born in 1736 in Germany and arrived on the shores of NY in 1761. He served in NY and is buried in New Jersey.

  • John Swearingen

John was born in 1745 in South Carolina and served there. He died at the very beginning of the war at the age of 30.

  • Joseph Culpepper (my official patriot for the DAR)

Joseph was born in 1765 in Anson, North Carolina. He enlisted as a private in the 3rd South Carolina Rangers Regiment. He died in 1816 in Georgia.

  • William Henry Blanks

William was born in Virginia in 1755 and served there. He died at the age of 68 in Georgia.

  • John Hill

John was born in North Carolina in 1750 and served there. He died in Georgia in 1817 at the age of 67.

  • Thomas Young

Thomas was born in Virginia in 1747. He served in North Carolina.

  • John B Rice

John was born in Bute County, North Carolina in 1755. He served for fifteen months as a Private and enlisted again for another three months as a Lieutenant in the North Carolina troops. He died in Nash, North Carolina at the age of 81.

  • James Rodgers

James was born in 1732 and grew up in Virginia. By the time of the war, he was living in Tennessee but there are records of some children being born in Virginia. He was in his mid-forties when the war began and I understand that he assisted the troops with shelter and food. I don’t believe he took part in being a soldier, but he is recognized as a patriot of the revolution, none the less.

  • Captain James Scott

James was born in Virginia around 1728. He served in Virginia. He died about age 71 in South Carolina. With a name like Scott, he’s probably from, oh, I don’t know, Scotland maybe.

  • William Howington

William was born in 1750 in North Carolina and served there. He died in Edgecombe, North Carolina around 1828 in his late 70s.

There are so many more I haven’t had the time to research, along with numerous uncles. I guess that makes me about as American as apple pie, with a little German shortbread, and a big shot of Irish whiskey.

07-9103AThank you, gentlemen, and may you rest in peace. ♥

 

Dante Cicchetti 1924-2017

I usually write about my own blood family, but today is a special day. Today I am attending the memorial service of my husband’s grandfather.

dante cicchetti with great grandson alex jackDante Cicchetti (pronounced Seh-KEH-tee) was born 7 Dec 1920 in Italy. He was the third child of Nicholos Cicchetti and Maria Leonarda Scarlato. He had an older sister and an older brother. Following him was a girl born in June of 1924, and 11 Oct of the same year, the family landed on the shores of America in New York.

Through the early 1900s, many Italians were not treated well in Italy. I won’t go into the gory details, but they were used, starved, women were raped, men suffered, and most were desperate to escape. They did anything they could to scrape up enough money to book passage to America. America was in the middle of an industrial boom and needed laborers. Hardworking, desperate Italians fit this bill.

Not all were happy about the Italian boom. In the 1911 Dillingham report, propaganda reigned supreme, and most of the crime was blamed on Italians. This led to the Immigration Act of 1924 which barred most Italians from entering the country. I’m not sure how the Cicchetti family even got into the country, but standing by my husband’s side at his grandfather’s mass, I’m glad they did.

Following their arrival, the family found their way to Michigan and took up residence in the Detroit area. This is where Dante’s youngest sister was born in 1927.

In 1940, Dante served in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. He spent time in the Philippines and in Bermuda, among other places. I remember looking through the old photographs that line the walls at the Royal Naval Dockyard Museum in Bermuda, searching for his face, but I wouldn’t know a 20-year-old grandpa if I saw him.

bettylee joyce stewart and dante cicchettiDante married Bettylee Joyce Stewart 19 Sep 1942 and had five daughters and one son. The following decades saw his family expand to a host of in-laws, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Dante and Bettylee traveled the world, they wintered in Florida, and they were by each other’s side for 66 years.

 

In 2008, he lost his bride and he was never the same. He missed her deeply and kept himself busy taking care of his home. Until the last few months of his life, he lived alone in his house, shoveling his snow, tending his garden, cutting his grass, and cleaning his gutters. Imagine the frustration of family members arriving at his house and finding 92-year-old grandpa on the ladder again.

He was an entertaining gent with tons of stories of his Italian family, raising his children, and traveling around the world.

He died 31 Dec 2017 following complications of surgery while repairing his broken hip. I’m surprised he didn’t break it many times before while climbing ladders.

Rest in peace, Grandpa. We love you.

cicchetti dante dog tag usn

Grand Opening of Rooms Adorned

The countdown begins!

facebookprofileAs if I don’t have enough to do between working a day job, playing music on the weekends, and writing novels, I’ve decided to open an Etsy Shop. I’ve created all of the artwork in every house I’ve owned for years and years. I’ve painted, quilted, tiled, and carved my way through a half dozen houses in two states. I enjoy doing it, but I’ve run out of space in my house, unless I want to change from Country Chic to something else. My trophy husband might kill me. We bought our current house Dec 2016 and I’ve already remodeled the kitchen twice. It’s not my fault. I didn’t like it the first time.

So, to save my marriage, I have decided to open an Etsy Shop. I love creating one-of-a-kind art, and I hope other’s enjoy it in their homes as much as I enjoy making it. None of the items are vinyl cut-outs; they’re all handmade, hand painted.

My shop, Rooms Adorned, is opening April 1st! Please take a look at all the stuff and pass it around. Hashtag it, share it, copy it, paste it. Thank you for your support.

Below are some items that’ll be available at the grand opening. There are also some more photos if you click here.

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On This Day in 1852

A quiet life. An almost uneventful life. A nondescript life.

On this day in 1852, Martha Jane “Mattie” Mercer was born to Amos Windham Mercer and Amanda Sylvester. She was somewhere in the middle of a dozen kids, 8 boys and 4 girls. Her father was 52 years of age when she was born. Her mother was 23. Hmmm. The family made their home in Clarke County, Mississippi, and Mattie lived her entire life there.

At the age of 21, she married Andrew Jackson “Jack” Crane on 4 Dec 1873 and had three children: Ella Jane 1874, Minnie Lee 1878, and my great grandpa Amos Bolivar 1881.

There is nothing outstanding in the genealogy records – no loss of large numbers of family members due to war or disease, no records of still-born infants, no legal records of incarceration, no newspaper clippings, no higher education, nothing out of the ordinary. It seems she lived a quiet life in the same small town she was born into.

After 32 years of marriage, her husband died in 1905 at the age of 53. The subsequent census records show she lived with her daughter Ella, where she remained for the rest of her life. She never remarried. She died at the age of 93 on 28 Nov 1945.

She is laid to rest at McGowan Chapel Cemetery in Clarke County, Mississippi, just down the road from her home. Even her tombstone is nondescript, only referring to her at Mrs. A. J. Crane.

Rest in peace, Grandma Mattie.

mercer martha jane mattie mercer

This story brought to you by On This Day: A Perpetual Calendar for Family Genealogy

On This Day in 1899

On This Day in 1899, this cute little girl was born to Thomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene and Sarah Elizabeth “Bettie” Brown. I’ve written about her before as she was one of my favorite people in the whole world. She was my great grandmother, and I had her in my life until I was eighteen years old.

Earl Vandorn and Eula KeeneEula Ouida (WEE-duh) Keene Pickett was born in Lauderdale County, Mississippi and lived there her whole life. She had an older 1/2 sister from her mother’s first marriage and two older biological sisters. She also had two older brothers and one younger brother (shown in the photo), and she had a brother who died as an infant before she was born.

At the age of 17, she married Benjamin Berry Pickett. The Pickett clan was a wild bunch, caught up in moonshine stills, run-ins with local law enforcement, as well as a shoot-out with a revenuer (tax collector) over a moonshine still that landed her husband in jail for a time.

 

 

I didn’t know much about her life when she was alive – the Keenes didn’t speak much of the past – more on that later – but as I started looking at that side of the family through ancestry research, I found her to be quite fascinating. She had a son at the age of 18 and a daughter at the age of 19 (my grandmother). Life seemed to be going along as expected.

At the age of 22, things began to turn sour.

In September of 1921, he father died. She was six months pregnant with her third child. In December she gave birth to a daughter and named the child Fleta Clarice after her 1/2 sister. Though fourteen years apart, the two sisters must have had a great relationship, as a few months before, Fleta had a daughter and named her Eula.

Seventeen months later, Fleta Clarice died of pneumonia. They held the funeral in their living room.

pickett fleta clarise headstoneThe Meridian Star, May 8, 1923

 Fleta Marie (Clarice) Pickett Born: December 1, 1921 in Lauderdale County, MS 

Died: May 8, 1923 in Lauderdale County, MS 

Fleta Marie (Clarice) Pickett Fleta Marie Pickett, 17-month-old daughter of Ben Berry and Eula Keene Pickett, who reside near Zero, MS., passed away this morning at 4 o’clock. Funeral services will be held from the residence Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock. Interment is to follow in Fisher Cemetery. 

A month later, Eula’s sister Fleta died at the age of 38.

This was just before the bloody shoot-out with the revenuer which landed Ben in jail from 1924 to somewhere around 1933. I’m glad Eula didn’t endure those tragedies without her husband by her side, but he certainly wasn’t home in 1926 when Eula’s mother passed away.

These tragedies helped me to understand why she was such a woman of faith. Sometimes you just don’t have anything else to hang on to.

Okay, I promised some family background on the Keenes. In 1859, her father was the last born to Green Keene and Sarah Tabitha. He had an older brother and three older sisters. In the 1860 census, the Keens also had grandpa Gilbert Keene and aunt Elizabeth Keene living with them. By the 1870 census, Thomas was eleven and living with his aunt Elizabeth and two of his sisters. Somewhere between the 1860 and 1870 censuses, his parents and his grandfather had died. In the 1880 census, he was living with his married sister Martha, her husband, and their three children, as aunt Elizabeth had died. In 1887, his sister Martha died. I always found it interesting the Keenes didn’t discuss the past, but in Thomas’s case, he may have been too young to remember his parents or his grandfather. It seems every adult who took care of him died, so maybe he didn’t see any point in dwelling on the past or the sadness. I’m thinking Eula inherited that trait from her father.

In September of 1936, she received the phone call every parent dreads. Her son had been involved in an automobile accident and on the verge of death. He was nineteen.

Eula Keene Pickett with Howard and AzaleaThe Meridian Star, September 5, 1936

Howard Benjamin Pickett 

Born: November 19, 1917 in Lauderdale County, MS 

Died: September 3, 1936 in Newton, MS 

Howard Benjamin Pickett, 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Berry Pickett of Meridian, who was injured in an automobile crash near Newton on Highway 80, died in a Newton hospital late Thursday. Miss Hazel Brasfield, 15, also of Meridian, remained in a critical condition Friday morning. Pickett, who was said to have been driving the automobile when it crashed at 5 a.m., received internal injuries. He never regained consciousness. Miss Brasfield is suffering from a crushed thigh. Other occupants of the machine were Jim Edwards, Billy White, Neva Ezell, Jack Ward, and Geneva Burt, all of Meridian. All were slightly injured but were able to return to Meridian soon after the accident. Pickett is said to have rented the automobile from a 630 taxi driver at 7 a.m. Wednesday, stating he intended to go to Jackson. The crash occurred when a tire blew out, causing the machine to leave the highway, overturning several times before striking a stump. Funeral services will be held at 4 p.m. Friday from the Eight Avenue Baptist Church. Surviving are his parents: Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Berry Pickett and one sister, Azelea Pickett, all of Meridian. The Rev. Ed Grayson and Rev. Blanding Vaughan will officiate at the funeral. Interment will follow in Fisher Cemetery.

While Eula’s family grew to include a son-in-law, two grandchildren, and eventually six great grandchildren, over the years, she lost everyone from her youth. Her brothers died in 1939, 1947, and 1960. Her sisters died in 1964 and March of 1981. Her husband died in 1973.

She died 3 Oct 1981 and is laid to rest in the Fisher family cemetery in Zero, Mississippi with her husband and her children.

Happy birthday, Grandma! ♥

Pickett Ben and Eula Pickett

This post brought to you by On This Day: A Perpetual Calendar for Family Genealogy