Thursday, June 20, 2013

Treasure Among the so-called Trash

The condition of Moran Place had deteriorated, no denying that and what some people thought was trash we thought might contain treasure.  Not treasure in the sense that it's going to bring us monetary wealth but treasure in the sense that it had belonged to ancestors and perhaps the items might contain clues about the past if only one were inclined to seek them out.  We were so inclined.

Which brings me to this ratty, torn, beat up music book.  The Emerald, A book of Songs, Hymns, Anthems etc. It was published in Nashville in 1873 and has spent the better part of 100 years in the attic of Moran Place in a steamer trunk.

Appropriately named The Emerald, what's left of this tattered book
holds clues to Moran ancestors if you only bother to look.

The front cover is missing and the spine, you might say what spine is down to the stitching but what caught my attention was the writing across the top of the torn first page: no it is not mine but Mama's.

no it is not mine but Mama's

My first thought?  It must have belonged to Sophia Gunn Moran.  She was a music teacher, it came out a trunk in the attic of Moran Place and she had children.  But I was wrong.  The next bit of writing appeared a few pages later:  Josie Gardner & Sid Irvine

Josie Gardner & Sid Irvine


Josie Lee Gardner

Sid Irvine
Josie Gardner was the daughter of Agnes Hunter Cowardin Gardner and John Almus Gardner.  She was born in 1864.  This is the only picture we have, that I know of, of Josie.  



Sid Irvine was John Sidney Irvine, the son of Benjamin Dabney Irvine and Agnes Moran.  He was born in 1862.   Sid plays a significant role so I thought I'd include this photo of him as a young man.


The next bit of writing introduces another character into Josie's romantic thoughts:  Cousin Sid and Cousin Jimmie....Me and Sid is it Sid or Jimmie.  At first I thought she meant Jimmie Moran but there was no Jimmy Moran that would've been a contemporary of Josie's.  I noticed the name of the song she chose to write on, The Two Sons.  Sid had a brother named James A Irvine and he was born the same year as Josie!

Cousin Sid and Cousin Jimmie....me and Sid is it Sid, Jimmie.
Flip over to page 96 and the song Plenty of Work has been penciled over with Mr Jimmie's Song

Mr Jimmie's Song, Plenty of Work

Flipping to page 104 it says Maggie Jones & Sid Irvine.  The penmanship look like it was written by someone older than the previous writer.  I don't know who Maggie Jones is but I know there were Jones' living in Weakley County and a Jones family lived next door to Moran Place.  I sense another research project.

Maggie Jones & Sid Irvine

But it was the back inside cover that made my heart leap when I saw the name Allie B. Hunter and Annie L Lewis.  I've been trying to figure out Agnes Hunter Cowardin Gardner's ancestors with no luck.  And here is another Hunter, another clue.  The surname Lewis has also presented research problems and so Annie L Lewis is a potential lead.  

Allie B. Hunter, Mr. Sid Irvine and Miss Annie L. Lewis
I can tell you already I have been able to locate Allie B. Hunter in the 1880 Census living in St Louis with her parents William and Alzira Wade in addition to the following siblings: George Hunter, Maggie Hunter and Collin Hunter.  At this point I'm assuming that William Wade is Alzira's second husband since her children all have Hunter as a last name.  In the same household are the following nephews: Percy Whitehead Gardner and Almus Gardner, the sons of Agnes Hunter Cowardin Gardner.  

This ugly little book that might have been thrown away or sold is getting me one step closer to solving the mystery regarding Agnes Hunter Coward Gardner.

Oh and in case you're wondering what happened to Josie, she moved to Texas and married James T. Edwards of "Edwards the Live Druggist" fame.

Sid Irvine also moved to Texas and married Blanche Boulware.  But before that he and his brother Tom Irvine got into some trouble.  Tom killed a man, fled the scene leaving Sid behind to take the rap.  Over the course of four years there were four different trials regarding Sid's part in the crime.  The  first jury found him guilty of second degree murder.  He appealed.  The second jury said he was guilty of manslaughter.  He appealed.  The third trial resulted in a hung jury.  The fourth jury found him not guilty.

Jimmie Irvine stayed in Dresden and married Mary/Marie Boyd Rogers and remained close friends with the Moran family.

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