Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rome Martin and His Family

The year before his father died, Kent put his life and studies at UT Martin on hold to spend as much time as possible with his dad. Definitely time well spent! They would shoot the breeze and talk about whatever took their fancy and they probably drank a beer, or two.  But one of the things they did together was  go through some of the photographs and identify the people in them.  

Center: Rome Martin
Taken in front of Moran Place ca 1920
Which brings me to this photo of three boys. Bub Moran identified the center boy as Rome Martin.  We think the other two boys might be Bub and his older brother Jimmy but we aren't positive.  Based on research Rome was born about 1904.  If the picture includes Bub Moran, the young one on the left, then it would have to be taken in 1920 or a year or so later which would put Rome at age 16 here.  I guess that's possible but he looks more like 12 or 13 to me.  So for now the only thing we can say for sure is that the photo was clearly taken in front of Moran Place and includes Rome Martin.

Who was Rome?  He first appears in the 1910 Census for Weakley County with his family.

Father: Dan Martin, age 56, married for 25 years. He was born in Tennessee and his parents place of birth are both listed as Tennessee.  He was a laborer who did odd jobs and had been unemployed for 4 weeks during 1910. He couldn't read or write.

Mother: Joanna, age 40, number of births 13 number of living children 10.  She and her parents all listed as born in Tennessee. Joanna was a cook and had not been unemployed at all during 1910.  She couldn't read or write. 

Daughter: Etta, age 17, single.  She was a washerwoman and had been unemployed 8 weeks during 1910. She could read and write.

Son: Vester, age 14, single.  Like his dad Vester was a laborer who worked odd jobs.  He was unemployed 12 weeks during 1910.  He could read and write.

Son: Alec, age 12, single, attended school, could read and write.

Daughter: Kittie, age 9, single, attended school, could read and write.

Son: Rome, age 6, single, attended school, could read and write.

Marriage Document for
Dan Martin and Josie Cook
Rome's parents, Daniel Martin and Josie/Joanna Cook were married in Weakley County on August 29 1887.  His wife's name would appear in various forms: Jo, Joe, Josie, Joanna.

In the 1920 Census Joanna is listed as a widow.  I found a death certificate for Daniel Martin who died May 19 1918 in Dresden Tennessee.  His estimated birth year was 1856, born in Martin TN, and his age "about 62."  He was married and his occupation was coal mining.  His father was "Dinnes Martin", Virginia, mother was Harriet Martin of Virginia.  The informant was D.E. Martin.  He died of Sarcoma of Inferior Maxillary bone.   He was interred at Ralston Cemetery.  It's possible that this is Rome's father.  

In 1920 Joanna is at home with her children Etta, Alec (Alexander), Jimmie, Kittie and Rome.  Joanna's occupation is "cook, private family"  Etta's occupation was "none".  Alec was a laborer at a saw mill.  Jimmie was a "house boy, private home."  Kittie and Rome were listed as "none."  I'm wondering if Joanna and Jimmie were employed by the Moran family?  

Joanna Cook Martin disappears after the 1920 Census.  

On March 30 1926 Rome's brother Vester died in Memphis at the Veteran's Hospital.  Information from the death certificate says he was born October 18, 1895 in Tennessee.  He was married and worked in a tobacco factory.  His parents were Dan Martin and Joe Cook.  He died of tuberculosis, pulmonary, chronic, far advanced, active.  The certificate indicated it was possible he contracted the disease during his time in the military.  His body was returned to Dresden for burial.   I found Vester's WWI Registration.  The only thing I noticed was the different birth date, January 15 1896.  His wife remains a mystery.

In 1930 Rome is out on his own, age 25 and married.  His wife is Vivian, maiden name unknown.  Vivian's age at the time of the 1930 Census was 16.  They had a daughter named Shirley M. Martin, one year old. This is the last reference I find regarding Rome and his family.

Kittie has also left home and has her own household in 1930.  She was 28 years old, and married.  She was
Kittie/Kitty Martin with
Dottie and Jimmie Moran
Family Reunion 1945
19 at the time of her marriage, per Census Data.  She had a daughter named Joanna, age 7, and a son named James W., age 4.  Like her mother, Kittie was a cook in a private family home.  My thought is that her mother Joanna was the cook at Moran Place and after her death Kittie became the cook.  I was not able to locate marriage information for Kittie and she didn't show up in any searches for the 1940 Census.  But I know she was still in Dresden because she was still employed by the Moran's and appears in pictures from the family reunion of 1945.

Rome's sister Etta died February 7, 1939, Dresden TN.  The death certificate revealed that she was divorced from Sam Fuller. Her birth date was October 26 1890 and the informant was Jimmie Martin, maybe her brother? Bowlin and Riggs were the undertakers and burial was at "Hill Cemetery." I confirmed with Bowlin Funeral Home in Dresden TN that Sunrise Cemetery has been known as various names in the past including variations of Hill and Hill Top Cemetery. Using the information from the death certificate I was able to locate Etta and Sam Fuller in the 1930 Census in Henry County TN.  Sam was 29 years old, born in Georgia.  They had been married about a year.  He was a loader working on the highway.  Etta was 30 years old and no occupation was listed.  I don't know if they had any children.

I found a Jimmie Martin that I believe is Rome's brother. He appears in the 1930 Census for Dresden, age 32 and married.  He was a laborer at a filling station.  His wife was Cozette Gleason, age 27.  She was a laundress and worked out of the home.  Their daughter was Ruby M, age 8.  Jimmie was living just one house from Rome in 1930. According to the Tennessee State Marriage database Jimmie and Cozette were married on March 10, 1923.

Jimmie appears again in the 1940 Census for Dresden.  This time he's listed as James Martin, age 38.  He's an attendant at the O.K. Chevrolet Company.  Cozette is 35 and a cook in a private home.  Daughter Ruby is 18 and is also a cook for a family.  In addition, Ruby is now married to Richard Edmondson.  Richard is 18 and a farmer.  Cozette's mother is also in the household.  Lizzie Gleason, age 42, widow. She has a position as cook in a private home as well.  Other data for Cozette and her her family is listed later.

Because I research as I write I often come across information I didn't see before.  That's the case here.  I was trying to locate Alexander Martin and came across the 1900 Census for the family.  I'm now able to include the following children of Daniel and Joanna Martin:  "Hue" (sic), age 14, born Feb 1886. Hugh was a porter at a hotel.  The next child is Charly, a daughter, age 7 born Nov. 1892.  In addition to the children Joanna's father is living with them.  His name is Lewis Cook, born march 1824, age 76. He was born in Kentucky.

I have not been able to locate anything past the 1920 Census regarding Alex.  His name appears in various forms: Alec, Alex, Elick,  Elic, and Alexander.

Additional information:
Data for Joanna Cook's family
Joanna Cook was the daughter of Lewis/Louis Cook and his wife Caroline.
From the 1870 Census Weakley County:
Cook, Louis, age 42, Farmer, value of real estate $400, value of personal estate $200, born in Kentucky
-----Caroline, age 37, keeping house, born in TN
-----Elzira, age 17, at home, born in TN (Married Napoleon Gardner Weakley County July 18, 1885)
-----Rachel, age 14, at home, born in TN (Married Mike Eskridge Weakley county Jan 8 1874)
-----John W., age 12, at home, born in TN
-----Joannah, age 8, at home, born in TN
-----Louis A., age 6, at home, born in TN
-----Mary M. M. C., age 4, at home, born in TN
-----Mary C, age 2, at home, born in TN

1880 Census Weakley County
Cook, Louis, age 53, Farmer
-----Caroline, age 46, keeping house
-----Clementine, age 14, daughter 
-----Mager M., age 6, son

Data for Cozett Alliev Gleason's family:
Information from her delayed Certificate of Birth, State of Tennessee.
Name: Cozett Alliev Gleason
Date of Birth: Apr 23, 1901
Birthplace: Dresden, Weakley Co. Tenn
Father: Wiley Gleason, Tenn
Mother: Lizzie Sylvertooth, Tenn
Signed by Cozett Martin and dated Feb 19, 1960
Abstract of supporting evidence:  Census Records, April 15, 1910
Photostatic copy of Social Sec app.
Affidavit of relative
Affidavit of non-relative

1910 Census for Dresden
Gleason, Wiley, age 40, born in Tennessee.  House Carpenter, can read and write
-----Pearl, daughter, age 16, single.  No occupation listed.  Could read and write.
-----Charley, son, age 14, single..  House boy, private home.  Could read and write.
-----Sara, daughter, age 16, single. Could read and write
-----Cozette, daughter, age 9. Could read and write.
-----Maggie Lee, daughter, age 6
-----Harvy, son, age 4

1920 Census for Dresden
Gleason, Wilie, 
-----Lizzie, wife, age 38
-----Pearl, daughter age 26, cook in hotel
-----Charlie, son, age 24, taxi driver
-----Sarah, daughter, age 21, no occupation.  Married Cephas Thompson Aug 26 1922, Weakley County. Died Nov. 24 1941 in Nashville.  Buried at Hill Top Cemetery (now known as Sunrise) Dresden TN
-----Maggie Lee, daughter, age 18, cook for private family
-----Harvey, son, age 16, shoe shiner, barber shop
Wade, Ama/Ema, sister-in-law, age 34 single, cook for private family
-----Sidney, brother-in-law, age 30 widow

Information from the death certificate of Wiley J. Gleason
Date of Birth: March 15 1872
Occupation Day Laborer
Birthplace: Weakley County TN
Father: Billy Gleason, Weakley Co. Tennessee
Mother: Ann Gleason, Weakley co. Tenn.
Informant and wife: Lizzie Gleason
Cause of Death: Dropsy of ? accompanied with dropping blood pressure
Burial: Dresden Cemetery (Sunrise Cem?)
Undertaker: Winstead and Bowlin Bros.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

1853 Odd Fellow of the Day J.C. Stanley

I don't know who J.C. Stanley was but he made an impression on the Odd Fellow lodge back in 1853!  He was expelled and publicly branded as a Villain as can be seen in the IOOF Ledger.  If I'm interpreting the ledger correctly he stole $19.10 from the lodge.  The ledger note for Dec 10, 1853 reads "Lost by the Villain 19.10"

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Special Court House Edition, February 17 1950

On the morning of February 19, 1948 the citizens of Dresden Tennessee awoke to find the 90 year old court house in flames.  Although the building couldn't be saved, volunteers worked hard to get most of the records out of the burning building.  Two years later, on February 17 1950, a Special Court House Edition of the Dresden Enterprise & Sharon Tribune was released in anticipation of the opening of the new court house. I've posted selected articles, photographs and advertisements from that very special edition of the newspaper.

New Court House Near Completion
Representing many months of Labor, new building will be
monument to present and gift to generations of the future

Historical Notes About Weakley Court Houses
First was Log Cabin, built in 1827
Discussions incident to the burning of Weakley's old Court House and the building of the new have brought to light some interesting facts about the organization of the county and its Court Houses.

According to old records, the organization of the county was completed in 1825; Dresden was platted and the first court house, a log building, was erected in April, 1827.

The first session of the county court was held in this building in April, 1828.

Previous to this the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions was held at the homes of John Terrell and Benjamin Bondurant in Dresden.  Some of the members of the bar practicing before this pioneer court were A.G. Bondurant, H.A. Sample, John A. Gardner, S.A. Warner, John Grundy (son of Senator Felix Grundy) and, history relates, Dresden was the home of Emerson Ethridge, lawyer, orator and statesman.  The original court house was replaced in 1858 by a new structure, which was a part of the building pictured on this page, which was destroyed by fire.  Additions were made to this structure in 1911.

Weakley county was originally formed in 1823, and named for a pioneer settler, Col. Robert Weakley.  The first settlers of the area are said to have been Reuben Edmonston and John Bradshaw, his brother-in-law, who settled on Mud Creek in the year 1819.

It has been told that in 1822, when Alexander Paschall settled in the north part of the county, he invited neighbors to help erect a house, he could find only 31 helpers in a radius of 12 miles, evidencing that the county was sparsely settled at that time.

The first preaching in the county was done by a negro evangelist, whose name has not been recorded in history.

The first Cabin was built in the county by John Bradshaw.

Weakley, one of the oldest counties in West Tennessee, is located directly along the famous Natchez Trace, along which the Indians traveled in their annual pilgrimages to the "happy hunting grounds" of East Tennessee.

One of the points of interest in early Weakley county was the health giving running springs of northeast Weakley, at what is now Austin Springs, to which people from all sections of the nation flocked to partake of the remedial waters. The famous springs finally played out, but the community there still bears the name.

And today another chapter is added to the history of grand old Weakley County, which in 123 years has developed from a new and sparsely settled area with a log cabin court house to one of the leading counties in the state, with a magnificent Temple of Justice to better serve the needs of its more than 30,000 people.

Construction Men Did wonderful Job
Two men who had the responsibility of seeing that the new court house was built according to the specifications, and who in complete charge of the project for Seth E. Giem & Associates locally, are L.O. Cooper, general superintendent of construction, and W.W. (Bill) Rogers, construction foreman.

These two men went quietly about their direction of this $720,000 project, and even more quietly fitted themselves into this community while doing their job.

They employed many local men, as well as experts in construction work from other places.

They are to be commended not only for the fine job of construction, but also for their conduct and that of their co-workers during their stay in Dresden.
We Are Proud of the new court House....of the Progress the County has made.......and Proud of the Progress that our Business has made and wish to exttend (sic) Congratulations to all of Weakley County in this Fine Achievement and also to add that we are proud of being a business firm in such a progressive county as Weakley.

Frozen Food Locker, James Pritchett, Manager, Dresden, Tennessee

Here, for the first time in 90 years, is a veiw (sic) looking north across the courtyard from a point near the Weakley county Bank.  This picture was taken after the yard was cleared of bricks, etc., and was the only time the north side could look across to the south side of the square, and vice-versa, in 90 years.  Photo by Virginia Brooks.

Like Thousands of Others We are Proud of the NEW COURT HOUSE.  A Real Monument to Progress When Grandpa Was a Boy his mother struggled and slaved over hot wood cokk stoves.  later came the "wood or coal" cook stoves...then ice refrigerators and no convenient sinks with handy hot water.  these are things to be pointed out hesitantly, and something modern women know nothing of, thanks to the progress of the twentieth century, which has brought along with modern buildings such as the new Court house, all types of Home Appliances for Mother's convenience to make life easier and more leisurely.  To use the words of a lady recently, "I have all kinds of time now, with everything electrical, and can enjoy living."  (quoted from Memphis Commercial Appeal)

Hotpoint Ranges...Refrigerators...Washers...Water heaters and other modern day conveniences  Brings all the modern comfort and convenience to the home with an entire family of appliances to make life worth living.
Make Yours a HOTPOINT Family--Throughout
Refrigeration Service
Dresden, Tenn.

Old Building Burned Just Two Years Ago
It is coincidental that the completion of the new Court House, and the publication of this special issue, is almost two years to the day after the disastrous fire that swept through the old building.  It was on a thursday morning--February 19, 1948--that the old Court house was discovered to be on fire, a disastrous blaze that defied efforts of some five companies, with Demon Fire coming out victorious and consuming the historic 90-year-old temple of justice.

That day remains a memory in the minds of most people, and with the old building went fond recollections of much history that was made through the passing years beneath its roof and around the spacious lawn under the copious shade of its trees.

Now, with the entrance to the new building, comparisons can be made as to the efficiency of the present and the inefficiency of the former building.

We Are Also Proud of Our Contribution To The Construction of THE NEW COURT HOUSE---Having
done the WELDING
which, like all work done by us, will last indefinitely and stand out with the rest of the splendid work on this building as a monument to the present generation.

Demonstrating that we are in position to come to your job, no matter where it is, we offer the fact that OUR WELDING EQUIPMENT WAS USED ALL OVER THE NEW COURT HOUSE, FROM TOP TO BOTTOM--AND EVEN HOISTED TO THE VERY ROOF-TOP FOR QUITE A LOT OF WELDING.

When in need of WELDING, call us--the job doesn't get too difficult, too high or too low.

Moran & Brooks
Phone 3311

Estate of Sara Emmah Holt, late of Weakley County, Tenn.  Notice is hereby given that on the 2nd day of Fegruary, 1950, letters testamentary, of administration, in respect to the estate of Sara Emma Holt, deceased, were issued to the undersigned by the County Court of Weakley County, Tennessee, on the 2nd day of February, 1950.

All persons, resident and non-resident, having claims, matured or unmatured, against her estate, are required to file the same with the Clerk of the above named Court withing nine months from the date of the first publication of this notice, other-wise their claim will be forever barred.

All persons indebted to the above estate must come forward and make proper settlement with the undersigned at once.

This 2nd day of February, 1950.

J.T. Holt, Executor
Estate of Sara Emma Holt
by Cayce L. Pentecost, Atty.

After Fire Took Its Toll
This is the scene of desolation a day or two after fire-gutted the 90 year old court building.  All that stands is blackened walls, the wood and plaster interior crumbling because of the terrific heat and powerful streams of water poured into the structure in an heroic effort to save the old landmark.  Photo by Virginia Brooks.

Directory of Offices in New Building
In order that the public may know just where to find the desired official, office, court room, etc., we herewith print a directory of the new Court House:
Basement: Janitor room, furnace room, fuel room, sheriff's office, county highway office, AAA office, two storage rooms, county agent's space, and, of course, rest rooms for both white and colored men and women.

First Floor: Register's office, register's records, county judge, public service room, county court room, county court clerk, clerk records, one unassigned room, storage room, private office, and trustee.

Second floor: Circuit court room, circuit judge's office, jury room, three witness rooms, attorney general's office, grand jury room, circuit court clerk, chancery court, clerk and master's office, and an office for lawyers.

Third floor: Soil conservation office, farm replacement office, central library, book rooms, lunch room, supervisor's office, county superintendent's office, veterans service office, Red Cross headquarters, and tax assessor's office.

Plaque In new Building Honors Court Members and Commission
A beautiful plaque that will adorn the walls of the new Weakley County Court house will be emblazoned with the names of all members of the Quarterly Court as well as those of the five-member Court House Commission.  the latter are: Esq. Dean Grooms, who is chairman, Esp. John Hatler, Esq. J. martin Adams, Allen J. Strawbridge and R.A. Nants.

The late Judge R.A. Elkins will be remembered as being very instrumental in getting construction started on the new building, being the first chairman of the Commission, his untiring efforts in this endeavor being cut short by his death.

When Grandma Was A Girl
Grandpa took her courtin' in a buggy.  they lived in a gas lit house with pumpwater supply.  this was in keeping with the times, when people traveled to and from the antiquated court house in wagons, buggies and horseback.

The present new Court House is in keeping with the march of progress of the Twentieth Century--the Golden Fifties, and it is coincidental that the new building should be built and occupied at the turn of the century.

Our firm can boast of the fact that it has been located within sight of the Weakley County Court House for many years, watching the crowds attendant to such a place, and it is with pride that we can point across the street to this newest accomplishment and we want to congratulate Weakley County upon this great step of progress.

E.T. Reavis & Son

Congratulations TO ALL THE PEOPLE
It has been my pleasure to work with the magistrates of the county, as well as with members of the court house commission, in the construction of the new Court House; and, as we are advised by the supervising architect that this new and modern building will soon be completed, I take this opportunity to commend to all the people of Weakley County, the untiring efforts and genuine cooperation of every justice of the peace, all members of the court house commission, the finance committee, all county officials, and so far as I am advised, every progressive and public spirited citizen in the county, in planning and building our new court house.  Perfect and unanimous agreement, from the naming of Judge Elkins as chairman, to the writing of this message, and in the expenditure of every dollar going into this building, has prevailed.  Every action of the Quarterly Court has been directed by a majority vote, and only on two occasions have there been two or more magistrates who registered their objections.  I believe I can truthfully speak for every person who has had anything to do in planning, building and furnishing our new Court house--and I assure you that they did the very best they were capable of doing.  I do not believe there is a county in Tennessee that has a better informed, a more representative and patriotic group of magistrates than we have in Weakley county, and they are to be congratulated, along with the court house commissioners, for their untiring efforts in replacing the ninety-four-year-old court house with this new one.

Congratulations to all our people, including the architects, the contractors, the superintendents, the inspectors, the furnishers, and every workman, for a job well done.


Greenfield Monument works
The Best in Memorials
Large Displays-Prices Right
No Agents--Dependable
Come to our yard
17 years in this Business
J.B. MANESS, Owner
Phone 69                 Greenfield, Tenn

A Disastrous Fire on February 19 1948, destroyed the Weakley county Court house here in Dresden.  Fortunately nearly all the important records were saved.  The county Court in its wisdom decided to rebuild and very wisely arranged for a handsome and substantial structure.  Ample room was provided with additional space for growth.  The building now nearing completion is modern in every respect, fire-proof and air conditioned.  Weakley County moves forward in spite of temporary setbacks.

The position of this bank is somewhat similar.  The Maloan Building on the north side of court square next to the Post Office was purchased for a home for this bank.  Here again a fire occurred and very shortly the bank plans to remodel for occupancy.  This institution takes its place along with other business concerns as part and parcel of Weakley County.  Here you will find a strong institution eager and willing to assist in financial matters.