Thursday, May 2, 2013

W.J. Sedberry, West TN Photographer

Moran Place was home to many things including a lot of photographs.  Most of the people in the photographs will probably remain unknown to us.  Truth be told, it's usually easier to find out who the photographer's were, when there's a photographers mark, than to find out the subject of the photo.  That's the case with this charming picture.

On the back someone penciled in "Sydney and her faithful friend Mack."  I don't know who Sydney might be.  So far the only Sidney in the Moran tree is John Sidney Irvine and this is not him!

We have a few other photographs by Sedberry so I decided to see what I might dig up about him.  A brief line appears in the Dresden Enterprise dated April 14, 1893, "W.J. Sedberry, the photographer, invites you to call."

William J. Sedberry was born November 13, 1860 in Lyon County Kentucky.  His parents were James Sedberry of North Carolina or Virginia depending on the source and Mary Parmenter.   Census sources indicate his wife's name was Nora Belle.  When I found the death certificate for "Nora" her name was listed as Clara Belle Scates.  Was Nora a nickname or is the death certificate incorrect which happened a lot more than one might think!  Her parents were listed as W.F. Scates and Ray Scates, both of Tennessee.  I have seen the mother's name listed several ways:  Martha Ann Wray, Monica Ann Ray, Mariah Ann Ray, Ann Roy.

In the 1900 Census William and Nora were living in McKenzie, Carroll County TN. It also indicated that Nora had given birth to six children, three were living:
Eric E. b. Oct 1887, 12 years old
Fred C. b. Aug. 1896, 3 years old
Ray (daughter), b. Feb 1900, 3 months old.

And that wraps up what I know at this time about William James Sedberry.


  1. I have found that JW Sedberry died on December 26th, 1916. He is buried in MT Owen.

    Some places have a Clara Belle NORA Scates married to a JW Sidberry. (with an I instead of an E). Clara Belle (Nora) died on October 7th, 1930 of coronary disease, and is buried in MT Olivet.

    I have also found that the daughter of JW Sedberry's full name is Anna Ray Sedberry and also as Annie or Amie R Sidberry. (showing JW Sedberry as father and Nora Belle as mother). She died in McKenzie in January of 1939 of lobar pneumonia. She is buried in Mt. Olivet cemetery. Her sister Fannie was the informant of the death.

    They had twin girls named are Fannie Fern Sedberry. and Clara (Clarrah) Belle Sedberry. They were born November 14th, 1904. It shows their address as 128 Mag. St. McKenzie, Tenn. I also found a Clara Belle Sedberry married to a Samuel Monroe Alexander on May 30th, 1941 in Obion County. Fannie married name was Carver, but I have not found any information on the marriage or husband.

    I figured out the reason for a lot of name changes is handwriting. On a census Annie does look like Amie. It was also showing Nora Belle as Bell W, but when you look at the actual census it looks to me as Bell N. A lot of the E's in Sedberry do look like I's.

  2. Thanks for writing. W.J. Sedberry is in Mt Olivet rather than Mt Owen. I know on family search whoever transcribed the death certificate did so as Mt Owen but if you look closely you can see it's Mt Olivet I had entered all of the family I could find on Findagrave in April but forgot to link them from this post to findagrave. I've taken care of that now.