Saturday, December 24, 2011

Season's Greetings from Jenny Lind York, 1931

This Christmas card was sent to James Henderson Moran IV in 1931 from Jenny Lind York of Memphis, Tennessee.  
Season's Greetings to All of You
From The Moran's of West Tennessee
December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dresden TN, ca 1920's photographs

These stamps were found among the papers of James Henderson Moran IV. We believe they date from the  mid 1920's to the mid 1930's.

The Weakley County Court House was built in 1858 and was lost to a fire in 1948.  For more information about the courthouse and the fire read the article that appeared in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

West Side of the Public Square in Dresden TN

East Side of the Public Square in Dresden TN

Methodist Church S., Dresden Tennessee.
The first Church was built in 1833.  The Moran family were members and helped in many ways.  In the 1800's, Mrs. Sophia Riley Gunn Moran, along with Mrs. C.W. Cottrell, aided in selecting new pulpit furniture.  Both ladies donated one chair each.  Mr. John Williamson Moran planted the trees and cared for them for many years.

Residence of D.C. Bower, Dresden, Tennessee.

Dresden Tennessee Fair Grounds.

1908 Letter, Doubtless You will be Surprised...

Even in 1908 people were interested in genealogy.  This letter is from Willie W. Moran of Boswell, Oklahoma.  He was the Assistant Cashier at the First National Bank in Boswell, the identical position that Charles Harrell Moran held at the Dresden Bank in Dresden, TN.  Willie came across Charles name in the bank directory and thought they might be related.  I haven't done extensive research but what I've found seems to indicate these two Moran's may share a last name but they don't share the same family line.  There is an extensive genealogy page devoted to Willie Moran's line if you are interested.  

Willie's grandfather was Madison Moran and he was the son of James Edwin Moran and Mattie C. Brown.  He was "borned" close to Water Valley, Mississippi in 1868.  Interestingly enough some of his family ended up in Lonoke County Arkansas which is where many of my Billings relatives lived.  As a matter of fact, according to the 1920 Census these Morans were on page 17 and the Billings were on page 32.  There's a good chance that they knew each other.  Later Willie and his family moved to Honey Grove Texas.  When he was about 37 they moved to Boswell, Oklahoma.  He doesn't mention having a wife or children and he makes no reference to being a preacher which according to the history of his family he was married three times, to sister, and he was a preacher.

May 4th 1908

Mr C.H. Moran,
Dresden, Tenn.
Dear Sir:-
Doubtless you will be surprise to get this letter form me, but looking through the Bank Directory, I found your name as Ass't. Cashier, of the Dresden Bank, and as you xxx spell your name same as mine thought I would write and see if we were related.
My grandfathers name was Madison Moran, and would be something over 90 years old if he was living.  He died when he was about 60 years old.  I know one of his brothers name but never did see him, his name was John.  He died close to Arkadelphia Ark.  Grand Pa died close to Little Rock Ark.  Grand Pa mooved from near Water Valley Miss. when he came to Arkansaw.  My Fathers name is Edwin Moran, and is living now close to where Grand Pa died.  I was borned close to Water Valley Miss., and we mooved to Arkansaw when I was five years old and I lived there till I was 23 years old and went from there to xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Honey Grove, Texas, where I lived for nearly fifteen years and then came from there to this place and have been here nearly three years.I was 40 years old this past January,and, my Father, was 62 loast month.  I am the Ass't. Cashier, of the First National Bank, of this place as you will see from the heading of this letter.  I have been with these people little over one year xxx.Business is very quiet here now as we made a complete failure on cotton last year.  Corn was good.  The prospect is very gloomey for the time of year for a crop.  The timber business is quite an item with us in this country.  Trusting to hear from you soon, I remain, 
Yours very truly,
Willie W. Moran

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Judge and Mrs Joseph E. Jones and the Night Rider Trials, 1908 Tennessee

Today I came across the obituary and death certificate for Mrs. Jones.  She was born March 21, 1866 in Camden, Tennessee.  Her parents were William Hill of Virginia and Mahuldah Perry of Tennessee.  Mrs. Jones died December 7, 1938 in Dresden, Tennessee.  Her husband, Judge Joseph E. Jones, was born October 29 1857 in Carroll County Tennessee and he died August 8, 1922 in Dresden, Tennessee.

Mrs. Joseph E. Jones
Widow of Prominent Dresden
  Judge Dies of Heart Attack
DRESDEN, Tenn, Dec. 7 -- Mrs.
Joseph E. Jones, a resident of Dresden
since 1902, died of a heart attack
at her home here tonight at 7 o'clock.
  Mrs. Jones was a native of Benton
County.  Her husband, the late
Judge J.E. Jones, presided in 1908
at the famous night-riding cases in
Union city.  A son, Herbert Jones,
was the first casualty in France
from Weakley County during
the World War.
  She was a member of the Methodist
Church and active in church work.
  She leaves two sons, H.E. Jones
and Arthur Jones of Dresden.
  Funeral services, conducted by
the Rev. W.E. Mischke, will be
held at the Dresden Methodist Church
at 1030 o'clock tomorrow morning.
Burial will be in Dresden cemetery.

Read more about the Night Rider Trials at the Tennessee State Library Archives.

Historical Newspapers- MORRIS - CURLIN - GIBBS - RANKIN - HOGG - LONG - JONES
1909-01-03-AUGUSTA CHRONICLE-Georgia
Conscience-Stricken She Tells the Truth
Mrs. Morris On being Recalled Said Husband Was not at Home-Hurried From County Under Guard
Union City, Tenn, Jan 2 - The defense rested its case in the night rider trials this afternoon and the state began its rebuttal testimony which will be concluded Monday.  The grand jury likewise made its final return, including several indictments, and was discharges. When court adjourned until Monday Mrs. Wade Morris, whose sensation confession of perjury today was the star feature of the trial accompanied by her husband and baby, under the protection of six soldiers left for Dresden, Weakley county where she will live in the future
She was in such terror of her life that she did not even wait to get her other two children or her personal effects.  The state put but one witness on the stand before adjourning.  Bob Curlin, driver of the hack which plies between Union city and Walnut Log, on the Lake.  Curlin drove some of the defense's witnesses to Walnut Log the night the fish docks were burned and saw them leave his conveyance to join the night riders.  On cross examination he said he took two quarts of whiskey with him on the drive and at the end of it had a little less than a quart left.  Asked if this had not made him "feel his oats," he grew indignant and replied:
"What, drunk on a quart in an hour's drive?  Why, I can prove by Uncle Bill Gibbs that I drink a quart before breakfast and never feel it"  Asserting that on the witness stand yesterday that she had deliberately perjured herself for the defense and conscience-stricken, desired to tell the truth, Mrs. Morris, wife of one of the eight alleged night riders, asked to be recalled today.  

Wade Morris swore he was present the night Captain Rankin was killed and recognized some of the defendants.  Mrs Morris, his wife, on the stand yesterday, swore that her husband was home that night.  She left the stand pale and trembling and sent for the attorney general "I have done a great wrong," she said.  "I have told a lie.  My husband was not at home that night.  He was with the riders.  I was forced by my relatives to testify as I did.  I want to see my husband "Her brother-in-law tried to get her to leave the city
with him but the attorney general ordered him away and took Mrs. Morris to her husband.  The meeting of the young husband and wife, separated since October 30, was silent but pathetic.  After alibi witnesses had been called today the attorney general asked that Mrs. Morris be permitted to correct her testimony.  She took the stand and said "I was persuaded to tell a lie yesterday on the stand.  I was told by Joe Hogg and Jack Long that unless I swore that my husband was at home that night the soldiers would hang him.  They also threatened me and I was afraid, so I told this lie.  Now I want to tell the truth.  "The witness bore the taunts and innuendoes of the defendant's attorneys and the glares of the indicted men patiently but she was badly frightened, and often seemed on the point of collapsing.  She declared the attorney general refused to listen to her until she summoned some of her relatives to advise her.  The defense attempted to show that some of theaccused men were Odd Fellows.  Judge Jones sharply shut out the testimony with the remark, "Odd Fellows must be tried the same as anyone else in this court."

Annie L. Lewis, Oct 1882, Knoxville, Tennessee

Annie L. Lewis
Oct 1882
The subject of this picture is Annie L. Lewis.  It was taken in October, 1882.  We know this because she was very thoughtful and wrote not only her name on the back of the picture but the city, Knoxville, TN and the month and year, Oct. 1882.  In addition she noted the photograph was "for Sweet Sophie".   The Sophie she is talking about is Sophia Riley Gunn Moran, the wife of John Williamson Moran.  
I don't know if Annie was a distant relative of Sophia's or if she was just one of her many friends.  Census records indicate that there was an Annie Laurie Lewis who was born in 1863 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  Her parents were Joseph Flavius John Lewis and Laura Mitchell.  Annie died December 6, 1948 in Knoxville.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ladies Club, Dresden TN, ca. 1890's

Socializing with friends and family was an important part of Victorian life.  One form of socializing was the club.  Clubs were formed around things such as books, music and philanthropy.  People with common interests came together to talk about and share information as well as to see and be seen.  Clubs and churches were good places to find like minded people and sometimes even life partners.

Here is a group photo of one of the local ladies clubs in Dresden Tennessee.  Most likely it was taken sometime in the mid-late 1890's.  I haven't been able to make out the name of the club even though it is written on the back of the photo, along with the names of the people in the photograph.  Ida Moran is listed as a member and many of the other names that are listed were her relatives or later they became her relatives through marriages such as Mrs. George Jeter, Mrs. James Irvine and Miss Mary Gray Little.

I've done some research and have included the maiden names and other information of the women listed if available. The names in red are relatives of the Morans, either blood or by marriage.

"??" Club
Mrs George Jeter (Maud Little)- President
Miss Lula Jeter (Maud's sister-in-law)- Vice
Mrs. Joseph E. Jones (Ella Hill) - Her husband wrote an article for the Dresden Enterprise on the death of John Williamson Moran, they were nextdoor neighbors
Mrs. Shobe Smith (Mattie D. Wooldridge)
Mrs. Frank Hall
Mrs James Irvine (Marie Rogers)
Mrs R.E. Maiden 
Mrs Ida Basta (SP?)
Mrs. L.E. Holliday
Mrs Lula Woods (Lula Reavis married a Woods. After he died she married Thomas M. Little who was the brother of Maud and Mary Gray Little)
Mrs R.T. Lewis
Miss Mary Gray Little 
Mrs Charles Ferguson (Sophia A. Irvine)
Ida Moran

My Dear Brother Charlie...Apr, 1897

This letter was written in April, 1897, by 13 year old Marion Moran to her brother Charles Harrell Moran who was away in Nashville.  I can imagine her sense of loneliness at being in the huge Victorian that the Moran's called home.  J.W. Moran had it built for his wife Sophia but she died in 1895 before the house was completed.  Marion mentions the "old house" which was on the same lot and was being moved.  Fannie had gone to Union City and Teatot (Ida) was in Jackson TN.  Quite possibly, Jimmie, the eldest Moran child, was away at college in Virginia.  So the young Marion was left at home with her 57 year old father and a few servants.  

Dresden, Tenn
April 29, 1897

My Dear Brother Charlie,
Sister went to Union city this morning and to night I am here alone, no one here but Papa.  I am very lone-some, so lone-some that I thought I would write to you, although you never answer my letters.  Mr. Webb is going to put a water closet in the down-stairs bath-room to-morrow. Sister will come back to-morrow morning.  I don't

remember if I ever told you that little Jessie Gibbs has been sick for a long time.  Mr Gibbs is up but not well by a long means.  Shelah Paschal has a cycle and Annie Neal has ordered one, but I do not want one, but I do want a pretty little cart and harness.  Mr. Esman has commenced to move the old house.  I have planted me a little garden, and the things in it will soon be ready to eat. In a day or to I will have radishes to eat and I can say "These came out of my garden."  Mrs. McCutchen's son has been about to dye die but is getting better, so the paper said today. Give my love to Teatot when you see her, and keep some your self.  I will tell you good night.  I am your little "Sis"  


Marion Moran

Monday, December 19, 2011

Brief History, CSA 31st Reg. Tenn. Volunteers Battle Flag

John Williamson Moran served in the Civil War and was a 1st Lieutenant, 31st Reg. Tenn Volunteers.  The following is what appears to be the draft version (including strikethroughs and mispellings) of a letter written by him to an unknown person at the Capital in Nashville.  The letter is undated but we do know it was written sometime between 1900 and 1912.  The letterhead is from the Dresden Bank which was owned by the Moran family.

"I see in the last Veteran an account of the Casing of the Confederate flags at the Capital under your supervision.  I am very much interested in one I saw on the left wing of A.P. Stewart's Brigade at Perryville when the bearer and every guard was shot down and half the regiment killed and wounded but it was carried billowing against the 2nd Ohio and the 24th Illinois driving them from the field capturing the flag of the latter regiment.  I saw it again under Stewart at Murfreesboro when it was first to pass through the guns of a federal battery.  I saw it again at Missionary Ridge under Brig Genl Strahl on the right wing waving proudly as ever and again at Missionary Ridge when it was"

"the last regiment to leave the ridge on the left wing of the army calling forth the remark from Genl Stewart to Genl Bragg as he looked upon it "my old brigade is yet intact".  It always waved in the front from Resaca to Jonesboro.

I again saw it in battle for the last time as it disappeared in the smoke over the breast works by that brave Sergeant William Belew who was made prisoner there but he tore the flag from its staff and concealed it in his bosom for six months in prison.  This flag belonged to the 31st Tenn Reg and was commanded by Col F.E.P. Stafford a"

"braver and truer man never lived. He fell in the ditch with Strahl at Franklin.  He was standing in the ditch dead with his men around him.   He was killed at Franklin in the ditch near where Genl Strahl fell.  He was standing dead with his brave boys piled around him.

This flag is now in the custody of G.W. Nowlin of Greenfield Tenn who will write you in regard to placing it in the Capital.

J.W. Moran"

The letter was prompted by an article he read in the Confederate Veteran regarding the preservation (casing) of Confederate flags in Nashville.  In the letter he talks about his recollections of the war and most specifically about the battle flag of his unit, the 31st..  He mentions the battles of Perryville, Missionary Ridge, Resaca and Franklin.  He talks about the bravery of the men who fought and died for the South and of William Belew who saved the flag from being captured and/or surrendered though Belew himself became a prisoner.  At the end of the letter he says the battle flag was in the custody of G.W. Nowlin of Greenfield, Tennessee.  According to J.W. Moran, Mr. Nowlin was going to contact the recipient of the draft letter in regards to placing the battle flag of the 31st in the Capital with the other flags.  That never happened.

In 2006, Heritage Auctions put up Lot 25479, The Confederate Battle Flag of the 31st Tennessee Volunteers, "The Western Stars".  It was listed under the 2006 December Signature Civil War Auction #642. The flag, which should have been placed in the care of the Tennessee State Archives, was sold for $119,500.00 to a private collector,  forever removing it from the public.

History belongs to us all, or it should.   The Confederacy lost the war, but the Battle Flag of the 31st Tennessee Infantry won its place in history and it deserves to be housed where people can view it, the Tennessee State Archives.

Here is the description from the Heritage Auctions page linked above:
The Confederate Battle Flag of the 31st Tennessee Volunteers, "The Western Stars". A Confederate battle flag that was never surrendered or captured is a rare find indeed.  This flag is just such a rarity.  An Army of Tennessee pattern, it was probably delivered to Company A of the 31st Tennessee Infantry when the regiment wintered in Dalton, Georgia from 1863 to 1864 since this pattern is known to have been issued at the Dalton Depot.  Ensign William BELLEW daringly carried this flag through every battle until the ill-fated Battle of Nashville in December 1864 where he was captured by federal troops.  BELLEW stripped the flag from its staff before the Union forces could take it from him, concealing it inside his coat under the cover darkness.  Taken to Camp Chase, Ohio as a prisoner of war, he quickly quilted the flag into the lining of his coat.  Released in June 1865, he returned home to Gibson County, Tennessee with the flag still secretly sewn inside his coat.

BELLEW's mother is responsible for the flag being transferred out of the family's hands.  When Dr. George W. NOWLIN, a medical doctor who had been the hospital steward of the 31st during the war found out that Mrs. BELLEW had been flying the flag in her garden to scare off marauding birds, he sent for the flag to keep it secure.  The flag has descended to its present owner throught the NOWLIN family.

Measuring 35" on the staff and 51" on its fly, the flag is made of hand-sewn red wood traversed by a 5.25" wide dark blue bunting St. Andrew's cross edged on each side with a 2 " wide strip of white cotton.  The cross bears thirteen white cotton e.25" diameter five-pointed stars set at 8" intervals from the center star.  Accompanying the flag is a 24" cotton strip stenciled with the words "Co. A 31 Reg. Tenn. Vol.".

Company A, called the "Western Stars" of the 31st Tennessee regiment of the Confederate Infantry was formed out of Weakley County, Tennessee and organized with the regiment in Gibson county at Camp Trenton in September 1861.  Under the command of General J.P. McCown, the regiment moved to Columbus, Kentucky and on to Fort Pillow and by April 1862 was in Corinth, Mississippi.  Passing through Tupelo and Chattanooga, the regiment saw action at the Battle of Perryville where it lost 100 men.  A contemporary account by a Federal soldier at the battle stated that the 31st Tennessee attacked "with death-defying steadiness, uttering wild yells until staggered by the sweeping crossfire of our artillery..." And the regiment would suffer for their bravery, the casualties only multiplying throughout the rest of the war; 250 at Chickamauga, 300 at Franklin in one day, 600 dead within fifty yards of them.  Just two weeks later William BELLEW would carry the same flag that he waved in these actions into the Battle of Nashville.  His quick thinking on the battlefield combined with the wisdon of Dr. NOWLIN and his descendants have preserved this unique treasure from the Civil War.

Noted conservator Fonda Thompson has framed the flag with archival quality which comes with the accompanying research volume.  Renowned author and Civil War expert Howard Madaus has authenticated the flag and a copy of his research is provided as well.  A 500-page leather bound volume along with a photograph album tracing the 31st and their path during the war is included with the banner, documenting the history of the regiment and the flag.  This historic flag has been the subject of much press coverage and is used in many academic texts as an example of rare Civil War flags, unique in every way.

Updated April 3, 2013
The following information is published here with permission.  It was originally posted on the Moran Place Facebook page by Roland Reid.

I just found your blog while researching the CSA 31st Reg. Tn. Infantry.  I was disheartened to learn the fate of their flag.  85 members of the regiment, including F.E.P. Stafford, came from a community my family has called home for the last 187 years, Providence, in NW Madison County. These 85 men organized as the "Knights of the Forked Deer" on Sept. 19, 1861 at Providence Church.  The church property was given by my great-great grandfather, Beverly M. Williamson.  After a bounteous dinner the men traveled to nearby "Jones Station" where they boarded the train for Trenton.  The next day they joined the Confederacy.  In a clipping from R.T. Chambers (Dyer, Tn. March 6th 1917), he stated only 10 members of the original 85 remained at the time of surrender April 26th, 1865 in Greensboro, N.C.. I have the names, as best he could remember, of the original men and survivors.  The names of the survivors are R.D. Williamson, B.W. Dougan, W.J. Shaw, J.C. Paisley, W.D. Fletcher, R.E. Crutchfield, J.J. Rooks, J.B. Tassel, Joe Chambers, and B.T. Chambers.

Thank you Roland for adding more information about the 31st!