Alice Talmadge Robertson Kennerly

(1874-1941)

James WT Robertson, our great-grandfather and Esther A., his first wife, had three children – all daughters. Alice T. was the third, born 6 November 1874. Alice’s mother died when she was a year and a half old.

Alice Talmadge Robertson Kennerly gravestone

As we have said before, women are harder to research – they seldom get their names in the paper, own property, build wells, or even make wills. And, in general, following a person through census records can sometimes be deadly dull. But in Alice’s case, census records tell an interesting and somewhat sad story.

Alice’s life through the lens of the census

1880 Census

Alice is 6 years old in her census debut. Her dad, James W.T., has married Caroline Catlin (our great-grandmother). Caroline has given birth to Carlton Edward (1878) and Esther Caroline (1880), and Alice’s 2 other sisters, Carrie (10 years) and Eva (8 years) are there as well. The Robertsons at this time are raising five children.

1900 Census

By 1900 things have changed even more. Caroline Catlin has passed away and Mary Priscilla, James’ 3rd wife, is there, along with her five children. Alice (25 years old), Carlton and Esther Caroline are also still at home – and the Robertsons are now a family of eight. Both Carrie and Eva were married by this time, and out of the house.

1910 Census

James’ 3rd wife, Mary Priscilla, has also died and he is living on his own with five grown (or almost grown) children. Alice, at 33 years, is the oldest and still at home.

On 29 April 1912 Alice married Henry Ward Kennerley in Clara, MD. He is the son of William R. Kennerly and Elizabeth Esther Ward. Henry was 40 years old; Alice was 38.

Marriage – a brief census interlude

The Trinity Church register of marriages shows Henry Ward Kennerly of Nanticoke, and Alice T. Robertson of Whitehaven were married “at the Bride’s home” with the bride’s family as witnesses. The officiant was Rev. W. C. Poole. This register confirms that Alice was Henry’s second wife. In one of our resources there is a fragment of a will quoted that says, “To wife, and Hal B. Kennerly (brother) half of estate for my son, Rollison Kennerly to be used for his care, maintenance and education until he is 21 years old.” We have found no other record of a child for Henry.

The 1900 Census shows Henry Kennerley, age 27 of Virginia, living with Mary A., whom we assume is his first wife. She was 24 years old. Henry’s occupation is given as oysterman. By the 1910 Census Henry is a widower and back living with his parents, William and Lizzie. Also present in this household are two brothers, a sister-in-law and a 6 year old child named William K. It is impossible to tell, by this census, who the child belongs to. Henry is listed here as a fisherman, and the census does indicate that he can neither read nor write.

I entitled this section a “brief interlude” because Henry dies less that one year after his marriage to Alice, on 13 April 1913 in Nanticoke, MD. He was 41. Alice and Henry didn’t even get to celebrate their first anniversary.

We can find no record of what happened to Alice immediately after his death, but by the next census we can take up her story again….

1920 Census

Alice has moved to Camden, NJ and is a teacher, living on her own (she is listed as a “lodger” along with 4 other people who are not related). She is a 45-year-old widow.

1930 Census

Alice, at 56, is teaching in public school and still a “lodger.”

1940 Census

Alice is now 65 years old, listed as “head of household” and is living in Philadelphia, PA. She has no occupation listed – so maybe she has retired.

Alice Robertson Kennerly died on 30 September 1941 in Salisbury, MD. Whether she had moved back home after retirement, or she went home because she was ill, we have no way of knowing. She is buried in the Robertson Family Cemetery near her family.

Carlton and Mattie – Part 2

Carlton Edward Robertson (1878-1945) ~ Mattie White Hughes (1883-1934)

About Mattie

Mattie White Hughes is our grandmother, and I was named for her. (Her actual name may have been Martha, but it seems she was always called “Mattie” and my true name is Mattie – not short for anything.)

Mattie was the eldest child of Charles Venables Hughes (1859-1930) and Mary Amelia Rider Fletcher (see The Hughes family, circa 1896). Mattie was born on 27 April 1883 in Maryland. . Mattie’s brothers – our Uncles Verner, Charlie and Claude were active in shipping, transport, and produce in Salisbury. We remember all three of them and their wives – Aunt Mary, Polly, and Eva.

The census data has a story to tell

1900 Census

Mary W. Hughes (Mattie’s mother) is listed as the head of the Hughes household, with an occupation as farmer, age 39. Her husband, listed as such, Charles V., is 40 years old and listed as a “sailor.” Mattie W. appears as the 18-year-old daughter and the eldest; Claude (13), Verner (9), Lillian (7), Charles (5) and Elsie (2) are also listed as sons and daughters. Mary and Charles and the six children would constitute the completed Hughes family.

1910 Census

Charles V. has become the head of household and is listed, at age 57, as a Captain of “bay vessels.” He is self-employed. Mary has gone back to being listed as a wife with no trade. Charles and Mary’s older sons, Claude V. (23) and Verner V. (19) are listed as farmers, doing general farming work.

Here’s the story we like to tell ourselves:

In 1900 Charles was a sailor on various bay-going sailing vessels and often out on said vessels earning his living on the Chesapeake. Mary, who was home, had to take charge and run the farm. We are assuming the children helped a bit – but the oldest was only 13 – so help from that quarter was limited.

By 1910 Charles had risen to the rank of Captain – perhaps of his own bay vessel? – and was perhaps not out at sea as much as his younger counterpart. Mary has “retired” from farming to be a wife, and her two older sons are in charge of the farm – or at the least the work of farming. I tend to think Mary did not simply bow out and leave the running of the farm to the boys. Her birth and death dates have her living until the ripe old age of 90 – and if those dates are true, she strikes me as a strong, persevering kind of woman and no softy.

By 1910 of course, Mattie, our grandmother, had been married for 4 years, with a 1 year old baby to care for.

We know even less about Mattie than we do about Carleton – with no real family stories to help us get to know her better. She died when she was 51, in 1934. Her son, our father, was 16 at the time. Our aunts, Pauline and Carolyn, were 25 and 11 respectively. From what we have gleaned from family stories and lore, several of the aunts – daughters of JWT Robertson’s first and second wives – must have helped out with the kids. We heard stories about Aunt Ruby, Aunt Rachel and Aunt Dula, among others, who were around and must have helped Grandfather Carleton with raising the young ones.

Carleton was 56 at the time of her death, and never remarried.

Update: It is very hard to find anything personal and meaningful about women during this time period. They are so very often, only a footnote or parenthesis. So we were thrilled to find the following poem – written by “A Friend” – in tribute to our grandmother.

In Memoriam
In memory of Mattie Hughes Robertson, wife of Carlton Robertson, who passed away May 10th at her home in Rockawalking, MD.

We knew her first a school girl bright,
In days gone by when hearts were light,
Here cheerful face no shadow knew,
Her loving smile was ever true.

The years passed quickly then away,
A lovely bride she was one day,
A home she made for loved ones true,
And many friends oft came there too.

Two daughters fair, and a bright boy,
Were added to that home of joy,
A loving mother she became,
In word and deed as well as name.

When need and trouble to others came,
Her helping hand was e’er the same.
The world a better place was made,
By all she did and sought to aid.

Her home although her joy and pride,
She ne’er forgot her church betide,
And many years amid the throng,
We heard her voice in praise and song.

The roses bloom, the roses fade,
Within the garden she loved and made,
But friends some day we’ll meet above
Where all is life and all is Love.

Mattie is buried in the Robertson Family Cemetery and Carleton is there next to her.

Mary Robertson Robertson

Mary Priscilla Robertson (1864-1901)

Mary Priscilla was JWT’s third wife and the sister of wife number one, Esther Adeline. Mary P. was born on 11 June 1864 and her mom and dad were Washington H. Robertson and Priscilla Ann Matilda June (or Jane?) Evans. The family lived in Tyaskin, Maryland for most of their lives.

The Continuing Saga of James WT’s Three Wives

Mary Priscilla makes her first appearance in the federal census in 1870. The whole family is listed under Robinson. Washington’s wife, Priscilla, is there, along with 2 sons, Oscar, John R., and daughter, Mary P., who is 6 years old. Her oldest sister, Esther, was married to James WT, when Mary was 5.

Washington Robertson passes away in 1875, so in the 1880 census it seems as though the eldest son, Washington Ryland, has taken over working the farm; his wife, Orlinda, is listed as the primary housekeeper. Priscilla, 56 years old, is listed at the same address as “mother.” Mary Priscilla is 16 years old and living at home.

James WT’s second wife, Caroline Lawson, died in August of 1880, 3 months after the birth of their daughter, Esther Caroline, but James doesn’t marry Mary Priscilla until December of 1882. It must have been difficult running a farm and caring for five children from 2 to 10, but he seems to have waited a bit.

James Washington Thomas Robertson, seated, with Mary Priscilla Robertson
JWT Robertson and Mary Robertson

They married 27 December 1882. Mary was 18, James was 33. James and Mary had five children: Dula Gardner, Ruby Pauline, Chester Harmon, Nellie Oscarena, and Rachel Randall. (We actually have some vague memories of Aunt Dula, Aunt Ruby and Aunt Rachel.) Mary Priscilla died in 1901. She was 37. She is buried in the Robertson Family Cemetery next to both James WT and Esther A.

Mary’s gravestone

Esther Robertson Robertson

Esther Adeline Robertson (1850-1876)

James Washington Thomas Robertson had three wives. This is the story of his first wife, Esther. She was the daughter of JWT’s uncle, so they were first cousins and her maiden name was Robertson. Her father, Washington Hughes was brother to George Washington Henry (qv). Her mother was Priscilla Evans.

Esther was their first offspring to survive past childhood. She first appears in the 1850 census as Hester, age 3/12. She was born in 22 April and the date of this enumeration is August so that puts her age at about 3 months. Washington and Priscilla are the only other family members listed.

In the 1860 census Esther is 9. Her younger brothers are listed — Washington 7, Oscar 5, Sydney 3, and a baby sister Lily or Sally. Sydney and Lily will both die in Sept. 1866. Esther and JWT Robertson were married in 1869, so she doesn’t appear with her parents after this.

As with so many of our female ancestors, Esther is largely hidden, and even more so because she died so young. James and Esther were married 12 May 1869. She had just turned 19 and he was 20. As of the 1870 census, she is again listed as “Hester.” At 20 years old she is “keeping house” for the head of house, JWT who is a “sailor.” No children yet.

Within 7 years, Esther gave birth to 3 daughters. First was Carrie Roberta in 1870 followed by Eva Blanch in 1872 and Alice Talmage in 1874. Esther died 13 April 1876, one week short of 26. Her three babies were 6, 4 and 2. Esther’s death led to founding the Robertson Cemetery.

Esther A. Robertson, 1850-1876

Esther’s gravestone

The Hughes family, circa 1896

Lots of time on our hands these days, so I’ve been going through more old photos. This came from a box from Cousin Jill.

It shows the Hughes family — Charles Venables and Mary Amelia Rider Fletcher, our great-grandparents, and 5 of their 6 children, about 1896 or 1897. Looks like it was published in a newspaper and someone cut it out and mounted it on cardboard. Someone, bless them, has labeled it on the back.

Mattie, our father’s mother, would have been about 14 here. She is on the far right holding the cat. She was the oldest of the family. Aunt Elsie was the youngest and was born in 1898. She is not in the picture which helps us to date it. Uncle Charlie was born in 1895 and he looks to be about 1-ish here.

This picture is colorized using the My Heritage colorization function. The process doesn’t affect the original, which is heavily sepia-toned.

The Hughes family at their farmhouse, about 1896 The Hughese, left to right: Claude Venables, Charles Venables, Verner Vane, Lillian Gale, Charles Fletcher, Mary Amelia Fletcher, Mattie White

Carlton and Mattie

Carlton Edward Robertson (1878-1945) ~ Mattie White Hughes (1883-1934)

About Carlton

We never knew either of our paternal grandparents. Our grandmother, Mattie White Hughes, died in 1934 at age 51. Our grandfather, Carlton came from a long line of farmers and folks who worked with their hands. And even though they are just two generations back, aside from official documents we have been able to locate (census, marriage license, draft registration, etc.) we know very little of a personal nature about either of them.

Carlton Through Census Documents

1880 Census

Carlton E. is first mentioned in the 1880 census as the next-to-the-youngest member of the James W. T. Robertson household (see James Washington Thomas Robertson). The 1880 census also lists Caroline Robertson as 1/12 years old, which I take to mean 1 month. The child’s name was actually Esther Caroline, but our southern family had a habit of calling people by their second name, so maybe that was the case here. We knew her as Aunt Esther. These were the only two children that James W. T. Robertson and Caroline Lawson Catlin would have together.

In 1880 James W. T. was still married to Caroline (listed as Caroline L.) but she would die that same year, 3 months after the birth of Esther Caroline.

1890 Census

Most of the records for the 1890 U.S. Census were destroyed by fire.

1900 Census

The 1900 census has James W. and the whole family listed as Robinson. (This spelling alteration continues to be the bane of our existence.)

Carlton is here, age 21, and his sister is listed as Esther C., age 20. At this point, James is married to his third wife, Mary Priscilla (Robertson) his first cousin. At the time of the 1900 census, James is 50 years old; Mary is 35.

Marriage and Children

Carlton and Mattie married on the day after Christmas, December 26, 1906. Carlton was 28 years old; Mattie was 23. Below is their official Marriage License. It may have been signed by Ernest Toadvine, which was a relatively common name in the area. At any rate – that’s what it looks like.

carlton-mattie-marriage-lic-2

We also have the Trinity Church Marriage Register (official church record) that lists Carlton E. Robertson of White Haven, MD and Mattie W. Hughes of Rockawalking, MD, married on December 26, 1906 in the home of the bride’s parents in Rockawalking, with a “few friends” as witnesses.

Carlton was a farmer, so we presume Mattie went to live on the farm and became a farmer’s wife. They had their first child, Helen Pauline, on 20 March 1909.

They had two more children together: James Edward (our Dad) on 18 July 1918 and Elsie Carolyn on 14 February 1923. In typical Southern manner, Helen Pauline went by her middle name, Pauline  (although she was always Aunt “C” to us and wedon’t know why); Elsie Carolyn was called Carolyn; my dad was always Edward.

The Census Resumed

The rest of the census information we have for them both is fairly straightforward:
1910 – Carlton and Mattie are married, with daughter Helen P. Carlton’s trade is always listed as “farmer” and the nature of his business is “general farming.”

1920 – Carlton E. and Martha W. are listed, along with Helen P., 10-11 years old, and James E. at 1 1/2 or 2 – can’t quite read it.

1930 – Carlton and Maddie [sic] are listed. Edward is their 11 1/2 year old son; Carolyn is there now at 7 1/2 years old. Helen Pauline seems to have disappeared – which is curious, because she did not get married until 1938. She would have been 21 years old in 1930.

Mattie died on 8 May 1934. Dad was only 16 years old; Carolyn was 11. Carlton never remarried, so as we understand it, a whole host of aunts stepped in to help raise the children.

We think of grandfather Robertson as an upstanding southern Christian gentleman. We heard that there was never alcohol in the house, they being serious Methodists. According to our father’s memories, Carlton would till the fields singing In the Garden – a fine old Methodist hymn, swinging his scythe to the beat of

And he walks with me, and he talks with me,
And he tells me I am his own.”

Ta (everyone’s nickname for Carolyn) told a slightly different story – her memory included the same action but a different song – “O’ if I had the wings of an angel, Over these prison walls I would fly. Tra-dee-all, tra-dee-all, tra-dee-all…..”  Either way, he sounds like a hard-working, farmer and devoted father.

We still have a bright red whatnot shelf Dad made in high school. He said he milled the wooden planks with his father (Carlton) because they were extra wide and had to be specially cut. The realization dawned that our Dad’s childhood really was right out of The Waltons.

Miscellaneous Life Events

Carlton registered for the draft prior to both world wars.

Details from World War I registration

  • 12 Sept 1918 – he was 40 years old
  • Registration was with the Local Board for the County of Wicomico – State of Maryland
  • He is described as of medium height, slender build, grey eyes and brown hair. He is a self-employed farmer, and Mattie is listed as his nearest relative.

Details from World War II registration

  • 27 April 1942 – Carlton was 62
  • Registration was with the Local Board No. 1, Baltimore County
  • He is described here are 5’8” tall, 151 pounds, brown eyes and grey hair. He is of light complexion. His place of residence is Route 2, Salisbury MD.
  • He was born in Clara, MD on 9 July 1879. (They got it wrong – he was born in 1878.)
  • The “person who will always know your address” is listed as Glen Messick, the husband of his half-sister, Dad’s Aunt Ruby. By this time, Mattie was deceased.

Saying Good-bye

Carlton died on 16 April 1945, from a heart attack. His obituary says he died at home, “on the Quantico Road.”

[picture of newspaper obituary?]

I love that it says he was survived by “a son, Lieut (jg) Edward Robertson, somewhere in the Pacific.”

Funeral services, as with his marriage, were held in his home and officiated over by 2 (I am assuming, Methodist) clergy – Rev. Frank Brockley and Rev. James Cloyer. Our Mom and Dad had been married for just 16 months when Carlton passed away. The story is that Madeline – home while Dad was away serving his country in World War II  – traveled to Salisbury all alone to meet Dad’s family (for the first time?) and attend funeral services.

Carlton Edward Robertson, our grandfather, was buried in the Robertson Family Cemetery next to his wife, Mattie.

See also Carlton and Mattie, Part 2

Culling Through Old Photos.

Update on Leah Wainwright

Previous Post
Our Elusive Great-great-Grandmother

Using the aforementioned Emerson Roberts’s Wainwright and Related Families –[Roberts, Emerson B.. Wainwright and related families. Wilkinsburg, Pa.: unknown, 1942. https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=26034], namely this reference

Joshua’s will of 1850 is recorded at Princess Anne in Liber S.W.J. #2, folio 247. The administration by his son Jesse is dated September 16, 1850 (S.W.J. #2, folio 247, Princess Anne.)

I finally found a citing of Joshua Wainwright’s will administration. From the Maryland Register of Wills, Somerset County page on Family Search, the correct SWJ #2, page 247. And there it was — an acknowledgement that Joshua Wainwright was, in fact, Leah’s father. He leaves one eighth of his assets to each of his children, including

To his daughter Leah Robertson, wife of George W. Robertson, the one eighth

It doesn’t take much, but for this I did the happy dance!

So the next questions are

  • When did Leah die?
    from what?
    where was she buried?
  • And moving back, Is Joshua Wainwright the offspring of Cannon Wainwright (1745-1820)?

 

George Washington Henry Robertson

gwh robertson 3(1822-1897)

George Washington Henry Robertson was born in Maryland on 22 November 1822. His father was Samuel Andrew Robertson, Sr., who was 52 years old at the time of his eighth child’s birth. George’s mother was Emily Nellie Larramore, who was 42 at the time of his birth.  Samuel and “Nellie” were married in 1803.

George W. H. Robertson was 20 years old when he married who we think might have been his first wife, Charlotte.  A marriage between a George W. Robertson and Charlotte J. White of Somerset County, MD is recorded in the Maryland Compiled Marriages 1655-1850, and dated 3 January 1843.  We are assuming Charlotte died rather quickly after the 1843 marriage.  They had no children that we know of.

George marries Leah Wainwright on 20 February 1844.  George is now 21;  Leah is 19.  Leah was born in 1825, in Somerset County, and is the daughter of Joshua Wainwright and Mary Street.  (See Our Elusive Great-Great-Grandmother.)

George and Leah had 6 children, including our great grandfather, James Washington Thomas Robertson (born 29 November 1849).  George and Leah’s children are

  • George Henry (1845-1896)
  • William Edward (1848-1860)
  • James Washington Thomas (1849-1932)
  • Laura F. (1852-1912)
  • Charlotte Ellen (1854-1943)
  • Martha Jane (1860-1920)

Ten years after the birth of George and Leah’s last child, Martha Jane in 1860, Leah must have died.  She is listed in the 1870 census, 10 June, but must have died shortly after that.  We have not been able to find a record of her death or a gravestone.

George marries a third wife, Ellen Larmore, and their first child, Elmer Harry, is born 29 November 1872, according to Elmer’s 1918 draft registration.  George and Ellen’s three children are

  • Elmer Harry (1872 —)
  • Nora Ellen (1874-1898)
  • Vernon Whidley (1879 —)

On 13 March 1895, George wrote a last will and testament, leaving various parcels of land to his younger children and his wife, Ellen.  His oldest sons, George Henry and James W. T., received nothing in this will, as George had made “ample provision” for them before this time.

We are thinking that George was an upstanding citizen and a man of his times.

  • He registered for the Federal draft on August 31, 1863.  Maryland was a border state in the Civil War, and we assume George, who was 41 in 1863. would have fought for the Union?  As far as we know, he saw no action.
  • He was active in the leadership of the Prohibition Party of Maryland.  The July 4, 1891 issue of the Salisbury Advertiser has him nominated as Clerk of the Circuit Court for that Party.
  • His name appears on the Tax Rolls for the State of Maryland in 1863 – as a Retail Dealer.
  • We have several deeds that mention GWH Robertson as buyer and/or seller.  We’ll be sharing that information later.

On 13 April 1876, James W. T.’s first wife, Esther A. Robertson, died at the age of 26.  It was then that George and James set aside some land on their property for a Robertson Family Cemetery.  Esther was the first interee.

George Henry, George’s first son, died on 21 March 1896, and he was also buried in the newly established cemetery.  George himself died on 9 Jan 1897, and he is buried beside his oldest son.  George Washington Henry was 74 years old at the time of his death.

White-Smith-Fields Cemetery

From Paul J. Willing Wicomico Cemeteries Project

Located on the west side of Sharps Point Rd., just south of Riverside Dr., NW of Fruitland in the Trappe District. A couple of the markers have fallen over, but this graveyard is in pretty good shape. Thanks to Joyce Fields Crouch and Rosalie Fields for their help in completing this listing!

http://www.mdgenweb.org/wicomico/wcp/whitesmf.htm

We found this one using Google satellite view. It’s a little collection of graves by the side of the road in Fruitland. In general, this gravesite is not in bad condition, but the stones themselves are very hard to read.

I’ve since learned that some species of lichen might be protected so you have to be careful what you remove.

Henry and Sallie were our 3x-great grandparents.

Henry WHITE b. Dec. 20, 1807 initiated a member of Newton Lodge I.O.O.F. Feb. 28, 1849 d. Feb. 24, 1850

Sally WHITE, wife of Capt. Henry White, b. Sep. 25, 1804 d. Jul. 13, 1864

Rockawalkin United Methodist Church

(corner of Rockawalkin Road and Crooked Oak Lane)

On the way out the next day we drove by and had to stop at the Rockawalkin United Methodist Church, our dad’s childhood and young adult place of worship.

This was mostly a memory trip. The church’s function hall, above center, is where Uncle Verner Hughes had his 80th birthday party that we all attended in 1970, I think.