Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Our Ancestors Suffered from High Infant Mortality

Our Ancestors Suffered  High Infant Mortality

In Georgia very few death certificates were issued before 1915.  Georgia Virtual Vault shows that many of the first death certificates were those of children.  We can search these files by last names, counties or dates.
 Having a copy of a person’s death certificate  gives researchers so much information. The death certificate on the right is for the Grandchild of Stephen T. Spruill. His daughter, Izora and her child, died when she went into labor in her 3rd trimester.  There is a death certificate online for Izora, also. 
As you can see{left click on pictures to make larger} the death certificate tells us when (6/22/1922), where (Atlanta, Fulton Co., GA) how and why she died (heart failure of the Mother).  It will tell us who the parents were ( A. Z. & Izora Spruill Eidson), where they lived, how long Izora was attended by a physician(Jan 1 – June 29, 1922) and where they were buried(Sandy Springs, GA).
When we cannot find a death certificate, we have to rely on other resources:  grave markers, available obituaries, relative’s memories, and of course the Family Bible.  As an example of the importance of having several sources, we will refer back to the Spruill Family Bible.

The documentation in the Spruill Family Bible is very important for Naomi’s third son, Milton E Spruill, because the headstone information is incorrect.   The birth date on the stone is their daughter, Millie’s, birth (see the birth page on my previous posts).  The person ordering the head stone knew how long Milton lived, but since they were using Millie’s birth year the dates are incorrect. Usually the documented date closest to the “event or birth” is the most correct and considered a primary source.
Nancy E. Spruill, also a child of T.F. and Naomi Spruill, has the wrong birth date on her stone.  The Bible documents her birth in 1882, but the headstone has 1883.  As mentioned earlier, the documentation that is prepared closest to the event (the birth written in the Bible) is correct, especially when comparing them with information on grave markers which may have been installed 20 years after the fact.  The headstones in the family plot were probably prepared after T. F. passed away in 1920.  All the markers look about the same age.
On the Spruill Bible “death” page, Naomi wrote the 1st four entries.  Grandma Margaret Spruill Reeves wrote the entry for her Mother, Naomi’s, death.  My Mother, Vera Reeves Moore, wrote the next four entries, and I wrote the entry for Uncle Stephen Spruill’s death many years ago. 
Below is a list of birth, marriage and death dates for this family.

Thomas F. Spruill                       Married Jul. 15, 1866                        Naomi Ann Martin
b.May 2, 1846 DeKalb Co. GA               burried                                    b.19 Nov 1844 DekalbCo.GA
d.14 Nov 14, 1920 Milton Co.GA    StephenMartin Cem.            d.06 Jan 1914 MiltonCo.GA
      (married 2nd wife 02  Jun 1914 Mary Ingram(no children)
                The Children listed in the Bible of T.F. & Naomi Martin Spruill (DeKalb Co., GA)
(1)   Alameda H. Spruill                                          (2) Margaret Elizabeth Spruill
b. 18 Mar 1867                                                          b. 18 or 19 Dec. 1868
m. William Morton                                               m. Moses Barto Reeves 30 Jan 1883
d. 09 Dec 1949 Milton  Co. GA                            d. 30 May 1942 Milton Co., GA 
(3) Stephen Thomas Spruill                          (4) Ada (Ader) Spruill
    b. 12 Aug 1870                                                             b. 13 Oct 1872
   m. Mollie Lee Carter CA1889                              m. Jim T. Reeves 22Aug1888
    d. 10 Jun 1967 DeKalb Co., GA                             d. 25 Aug 1924

    (5)  Millie Jane Spruill                                                     (6) Naoma (Oma) Spruill
    b. 12 Aug 1874                                                                     b. 04 Mar 1876
    m. Thomas W. Ferrell 23 Dec 1884                 m. Pierce Beaty (2nd) Marion Donohue
    d. 03 Jan 1961                                                                    d. 04 Sep 1964

    (6)  James Andrew Spruell                                            (8) Milton E. Spruill
    b. 25 May 1878                                                                    b. 18 Nov 1880
    m. Clara Fields 11 Mar 1896                                      d. 22 May 1882
    d. 27 Oct 1958

    (9)  Nancy E. Spruill                                                     (10) Charlie M. Spruill
    b. 16 Aug. 1882                                                                    b. 5 May 1885
    d. 14 Mar 1900                                                                      m. Pearl Long
                                                                                                           d. 12 Mar 1966
  (11) Eta M. Spruill
         b. 05 Dec 1887
        m. George Fields   
        d. 08 Jul 1975

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Twins Run In The Family

I want to continue talking about the Spruill Family Bible. This Bible has been such a great source in my genealogy research because there were no birth, and very few death, certificates during this time. I am so grateful to have a list of births, deaths, and marriages of the children of T. F. & Naomi Martin Spruill, written in her own hand. 
The events documented in this Bible took place between 1866 and 1920. Unfortunately, some of the births were not recorded in the bible because the children died soon after they were born. Back in those days parents did not always name their children as soon as they were born. Infant mortality was high and a new baby was born almost every year. I have been able to use other sources like grave markers and census reports to add some of the missing information.
On the 1900 census, Naomi "Oma" reported she had 13 children with 9 living. I have found grave markers for two of these children who were not listed in the bible. Pictures of all the headstones are posted at Find A Grave. You can view this cemetery and all the graves at the link below. 
T.F. & Naoma Martin Spruill Grave Plot
Find A Grave "Stephen Martin Cemetery" 

 One of these small headstones is inscribed as, "Infant Son of TF & NA Spruill Mar. 13 - Mar. 27, 1867." This headstone shows that he and his sister Almedia were twins. According to Almedia's tombstone she was born on Mar. 13, 1867, also. Great Grandma Naoma Spruill wrote the wrong birthdate down in the Bible for her first child, Almedia H. Spruill, born Mar. 18th 1867.  I'm sure she was grieving for her son, Almedia's twin, who survived only a few days. 

Family Bible of Thomas Franklin & Naomi Martin Spruill including theirs and their children's birth records

As I have researched the Spruill family genealogy, I have found several sets of twins. I had always heard that twins ran in Mother's family.  Since my maternal great-grandmother (Naomi Spruill) had fraternal twins, her children inherited a gene which increased their chance of having twins, also. Two of Naomi's children did have twins who lived for many years.  Below is a picture of their son's twins. I found this picture in the Spruell Family genealogy files at the Alpharetta Historical Society.  I did not know this side of the Spruell Family, but have become better acquainted with them through this...see link:
  Alpharetta Historical Society Family Histories

Twins:  Jesse T. & Jason A. Spruell

  Naomi's second daughter, my Grandmother Margaret E. Spruill Reeves, also had a set of twins. Her twin daughters were named Ola and Eula Reeves.  I do not know which one was the oldest. I think it may have been Aunt Ola because whenever Mother called both of their names she said my sisters, "Ola and Eula".

Ola and Eula Reeves with their Mother on the Right and their Aunt Ada S. Reeves on Left
This picture cropped out W.F.M. Reeves Family Group Picture.
Grandma Reeves and her sister, Ada, married brothers, Mose and Jim Reeves.  They purchased a farm together in Grogan's district, and must have been very close.   Aunt Ola and Aunt Eula were very close, also.  Although, they were not identical twins, they had identical twin little toes.  I remember as a child how fascinated I was by this, and would get Aunt Ola to show me her toes when we would visit.  She had a great sense of humor and would honor my request. I did not get to visit Aunt Eula very often, and she passed away when I was very young.
The twin sisters looked so much alike, even as they aged through the years. Both of them had 3 children (2 boys and 1 girl), but the inheritance of "twins" ended with their generation.

Eula Reeves Waits CA 1920

Ola Reeves Morgan CA 1922

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grandma Reeves and the Family Bibles

   My Mother always told me that when she passed away, I was to have Grandma's Family Bible...not the antique clock, bowl & pitcher, or furniture, but an old Bible.  I used to think, why would I want an old Bible when I had a brand new, white leather Bible in a gold zipped case.  Well, when my Mother passed away in 2003, I started looking at all her old Bibles.  Only then did I realize what a treasure Mama had left me, because they have helped me discover our family history. At the end of this story is a picture of my Mother when she was 7 years old.  She probally did not think to much about Bibles then, either, but she would grow to cherish her inheritance, just as I have.
   The Spruill Family Bible was the most precious thing in our household.  Several times our house was in danger of catching afire, either from a brush fire or the chimney soot catching on fire.  Mama would go to her big trunk and grab this Bible, then grab me, and run outside. I think Grandma Reeves also treasured this Bible, and I know she treasured God's word. She was not the oldest daughter as the label below says, but the 2nd daughter.  I will post the contents of the bible later, because here I want to tell how and when it came to our family.

   On the first blank page inside the Bible, Grandma Reeves wrote her name, the date she inherited the Bible, and also when they moved to Alpharetta from Grogan's District.  

   Grandma moved to Alpharetta after her Father, Great Grandpa T.F. Spruill, passed away.  Grandma's brother, Great Uncle Stephen Spruill, owned this farm on Rockmill Rd as shown by the deeds and plat map below. Grandpa Reeves was selling his farm in Grogran's district, and may have planned to buy this farm, but never did.   
Stephen T. Sprewell (Spruill) bought almost 40 A. in LL 653 in 1908, and then purchased 39 A. in LL 653 in 1912.  Milton County, Georgia Deed Abstracts  The red LL # 653 indicates where Mama lived from 1921 until 1935.  The Yellow Star indicates where my Daddy lived at the other end of Rockmill Rd and Kimball Bridge Rd. When they married, they moved with Grandma Reeves to a small log cabin near the McGinnis Family on Rockmill Rd.

                               Georgia Virtual Vault Milton Co. Land Lot Map

 This picture below was taken on the front steps of their new home in Alpharetta.  I have always wondered if it was on Aunt Ola and Uncle Eldon's wedding day, since he is so dressed up. Some of Mother's pictures did not have names on them, but this one from the early 1920's have family members who are easily identified.  This appears to be one of the first pictures taken of Mama's life at what she always called their "old homeplace".  Mama lived here until after her Father died, and she later married my Father in 1935.  As a matter of fact, this is the youngest picture I have of Mama, and the first picture we have of Grandma Reeves since 1904 when Aunt Ola & Eula were babies. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Reeves Family Get Their First Car

I became interested in our family history and genealogy after my Mother passed away in 2003.  For several years I have wanted to write about the interesting information I have found concerning our family history.   I also want to share wonderful old pictures which tell a story by themselves.  Hopefully, this blog will provide a way to share these stories with my family and friends.

Mama had always kept her important papers in a large black trunk, and when I was going through it I found 3 boxes of old pictures.  Upon examination I found she had the pictures separated according to different families.  Mother's maiden name was Vera Magnolia Reeves, and one of the boxes contained pictures of her Reeves family: which included her as a young girl and Grandpa Moses Barto & Grandma Margaret E. Spurill Reeves. The Spruill Pictures were in another box, and my Father's family in another box. Most of the pictures dated back to the early 1900's, and every one of them had a story to tell.  Mama was the youngest child, born May 21, 1913.   Below is a picture of Mama's family which was probably taken shortly after they got their first car, about 1924. Before that they had used a horse and wagon or buggy in order to go to church or town.

Mama (Vera Magnolia Reeves 1913-2003) was the youngest of 7 children.
                          Her siblings are listed below:

  Minnie Lou Reeves  1901-1920        Eula Reeves Waits 1903-1966
 Ola Reeves Morgan 1903-1991    Hattie Reeves Nichols 1906-1943
 Ruth N. Reeves 1907-1991            Moses Bartoe Jr. 1911-1988


Mama and Grandma Reeves look like they are saying they are going to learn to drive this car.  But to my knowledge none of the Reeves women ever learned to drive. Daddy had always driven everywhere we needed to go when he was alive, but after he passed away I was old enough to drive us.   I tried to teach Mama to drive when she was about 57 years old because I was getting married and not going to be around to drive for her.  We had driven over to Newtown, where traffic was not so bad, in 1971.  Mama was doing really good, until she made a left turn into Aunt Ola's road.  It was a gravel road and when the tires hit the gravel..Mama hit the "foot feed"(accelerator) instead of the brake and down into the pine thicket we went.  Uncle Eldon had to bring the tractor up there and pull us out. Thankfully nobody was hurt, except our feelings and my 1961 Ford Comet.  Mama did not try to drive anymore, and in a couple of years she moved near us and we took her where she needed to go.
Below is a receipt where Grandpa Reeves bought parts to repair the car in 1927. It is amazing how cheep the parts were.  I'm sure he fixed it himself, because that was the way it was back then. 

The house in the background was at the corner of Rockmill and Maxwell Rd. When Grandma & Grandpa moved there is was known as North Farm and owned by Grandma's brother Stephen Spruill. When I was growing up Mr. Blanchard lived there, but after Uncle Stephen passed away the sharecropper farms were done away with.  In the 1970's a new road was built very near the house.  The road was GA 400, and brought "civilization" to the rural towns of Alpharetta, Cumming, Dawsonville, and on toward Dahlonega.  Thousands of people moved from Atlanta to the "country" and were able to commute to their jobs via GA 400.  All the old farm houses along Rockmill Rd were eventually torn down and the road names changed. Rockmill Rd became Westside Parkway, and the access road, Encore Pkwy, allows traffic to get to North Point Parkway.  The intersection of Westside Pkwy and Encore Pkwy is where the home was.  The Maxwell Cemetery was very close to Grandma Reeves home and I have used it as a location point.   In the future I want to write more about this home place, and post other documents and pictures about the Reeves and Spruill Families.