My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Sunday, October 23, 2011

SATURDAY'S STRUCTURE - Myrtle Hill Cemetery, Rome, Georgia

Myrtle Hill Cemetery
Rome, Georgia

Myrtle Hills: One of Rome's Seven
"For over 100 years, Myrtle Hill has served as a guardian overlooking the city of Rome. Located at the confluence of the Etowah and Oostanaula Rivers where the mighty Coosa is formed, Myrtle Hill has seen many significant dates in history.

"Before Rome was an incorporated town, Myrtle Hill had no name but was the site of the Battle of Etowah. In September of 1793, General John Seiver descended upon Cherokee, Georgia from Tennessee chasing Indians who had scalped and killed thirteen people at Cavett's Station near Knoxville. Sevier and his men caught up to the Indians at present day Myrtle Hill and the battle in sued. Many Indians were slain including Chief King Fisher. In 1901, the Xavier Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a monument in honor of General Sevier. The marker is located in the southwest corner of the cemetery.

"With Civil War battles happening in Rome, Myrtle Hill, known as Fort Stovall, was very instrumental in the Siege of Rome. A Confederate monument atop Myrtle Hill erected by the Women of Rome stands as a memorial to the soldiers from Floyd County who gave their lives in defense of the Confederate States of America. At Confederate Park is a monument erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to the memory of General Nathan Forest for his bravery and valor in protecting the city from a siege by Yankee marauders. A Confederate Cemetery section holds 377 soldiers - both from the north and the south who lost their lives while here or were originally from Rome.

"Other points of interest at Myrtle Hill include the grave of Ellen Axon Wilson, wife of President Woodrow Wilson. Mrs. Wilson was from Rome and is the only wife of a United States President buried in Georgia. Her grave is located to the right of the main entrance of Myrtle Hill off Myrtle Street.

"A portion of the cemetery has been designated as a memorial park for World War I Veterans, and includes the final resting place of America's Known Solider, Charles Graves. In this park are thirty-four magnolia trees planted in a grove to honor the 34 Floyd Countians who fell during the war." [from]

Flemming Family Lot
Myrtle Hill Cemetery, Rome, Georgia

Flemming Family Lot
[For more specific information about the individuals, please see post: "Hometown Tuesday - Rome, Georgia" October 11, 2011]
Grave of James B. and Sarah Linza Flemming
Myrtle Hill Cemetery
The Flemming Family lot is located off the main entrance of the cemetery. My 3x-great-grandparents James Benjamin Flemming (1827-1907) and Sarah Linza Jackson (1837-1902) are buried in the center of the lot. Next to them, in an unmarked grave is their second child, John W. Flemming (1858-1863). John is the younger brother of Charles Clinton Flemming (1854-1932), my great-great-grandfather; he was only 4 when he died, most likely while his father was away serving the Confederacy in the Civil War. He was no doubt moved from his original burial site.

Also buried nearby are Sarah's parents, my 4x-great-grandparents, William Jackson (1800-1879) and Elizabeth Jackson (1802-1870). They had followed their daughter and her young family from South Carolina.
Graves of Elizabeth (l) and William Jackson (r)

All but two of James and Sarah's children are buried in the family plot, including:
  • Thomas J. Flemming (1860-1914),
  • Oscar Eugene Flemming (1866-1935),
  • Walter Edward Flemming (1869-1907),
  • James B. Flemming (1876-1878).
My great-great-grandfather Charles and the youngest of his siblings, Minnie Flemming Blake (1879-1963) are buried elsewhere.

Also buried here is Willie May Flemming (1898-1898), only 4 months old. She is listed in the family Bible as a daughter of Charles and his wife Lizzie. A notation in the Myrtle Hill Internment Book brings some doubt as to who her parents actually are.

McCaffrey Family Lot
Myrtle Hill Cemetery, Rome, Georgia

McCaffrey Family Lot

Grave of Charlotte McCluskey McCaffrey
The McCaffrey Family lot is also located off the main entrance of the cemetery, just a few lots away from the Flemming Family lot. Here lies my 3x-great-grandparents Thomas Joseph McCaffrey (1832-1896) and Charlotte Elizabeth McCluskey (1838-1917).

Also buried here are several of their children, my 3x-great-aunts and -uncles, including:
  • James Michael McCaffrey (1871-1895),
  • William George McCaffrey (1877-1897),
  • Marie McCaffrey (1882-1882).
At least two grandchildren of Thomas and Charlotte are buried here. Minnie Agnes "Mamie" Flemming (1880-1881) was the third child of Charles Clinton Flemming and Elizabeth Agnes McCaffrey (1858-1922), my great-great-grandparents. She was the younger sister of my great-grandfather Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955). She was just 14 months old when she died. She was buried in the McCaffrey family lot. Another of Charlie and Lizzie's babies is buried here, without a marker. Listed only as "infant of C.C. Fleming (sic)", the baby had one date listed - November 25, 1882. Their family later moved to Birmingham, Alabama; their parents and most of their siblings are buried there.

Grave of Thomas Joseph McCaffrey

Thursday, October 20, 2011

THURSDAY'S TREASURE - Odalie Fortier Horst's 19th Century Lacework

Odalie Felice Fortier was born August 31, 1857 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was the seventh child of eleven born to Jacques Omer Fortier (1813-1867) and Augustine Melanie Laperle DeGruy (1822-1872), my 3x-great-grandparents. By the time she was fifteen she had suffered the death of both of her parents. Odalie moved with her young siblings to Mobile, Alabama to be cared for by her maternal aunt Julia Elodie DeGruy Mendoza (1828-1914). Odalie is my great-great-grandmother.

Here Odalie met and married Charles Frederick Horst (1856-1912). Odalie and Charles, my great-great-grandparents, eventually settled in Birmingham, Alabama. Together they had five children including my great-grandmother Pearl Alphonsine Horst (1884-1961).

Odalie was very talented in the art of tatting. She used her talent to create the Flemming Family's Baptismal gown in 1884 for her first child. Several of her lace pieces have been passed down through the family. I know of four pieces that have been framed and hang on relatives' walls. Here is one of Odalie's lace collars.

Never heard of tatting before?

Tatting and Its History
"Tatting is a technique for handcrafting a particularly durable lace constructed by a series of knots and loops. Tatting can be used to make lace edging, as well as doilies, collars, and other decorative pieces. The lace is formed by a pattern of rings and chains formed from a series of cow-hitch, or half-hitch knots, called double stitches, over a core thread. Gaps can be left between the stitches to form picots, which are used for practical construction as well as decorative effect." [from]

It is believed that tatting may have developed from netting and the ropework done by sailors and fishers, often made into gifts for their wives and girlfriends. Knotting, as it was then known, would be reworked and become the art of tatting. The French call it frivolite; the Italians call it occhi; the German word for the craft is schiffchenarbeit; the Swedish call it frivolitet.

"At the start of the nineteenth century tatting was a popular English occupation and in 1843 the Ladies Handbook of Millinery, Dressmaking and Tatting was published. This was to be the start of many books on the subject. Up to this time tatting patterns were passed down from tatter to tatter by word of mouth or simply copying other pieces of work. Shortly after this, in 1850, the woman regarded as the 'mother' of modern tatting appeared on the scene. She was Mademoiselle Eleonore Riego de la Branchardiere, a half-Irish, half-French woman who had a 'fancy warehouse' in London and supplied lace-making and embroidery materials. Between 1850 and 1868 Mlle Riego (as she liked to be known)
published eleven little pattern books showing mainly borders and insertions in tatting. Mlle Riego used picots to join the rings together but she used a needle to do it at first and not a shuttle, as it wasn't until 1851 that an unknown writer published instructions on how to join with a shuttle and so improved the method of tatting.
"Probably the main authority on tatting after Mlle Riego was Mlle Therese de Dillmont, a French woman who wrote what is considered by many to be the needlework bible - her Encyclopedia of Needlework published in 1886 and still available and selling well today. In the chapter on tatting Mlle de Dillmont covers many types of edgings and braids as well as projects such as bedspreads combining tatting and crochet.
"In fashionable society a lady never sat empty-handed and idle. She used either her fan or her knotting
shuttle to show off her hands and to make her look composed and graceful as well as industrious.
" [from]
from Tatting, or Frivolite, by Cornelia Mee
London 1862

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY'S PHOTO - 1927 St. Paul's Graduation Class

1927 Graduation Class, St. Paul's School
Birmingham, Alabama

Susan Elizabeth Flemming, my grandmother, was born on August 23, 1909, in Birmingham, Alabama. She was the second child of eight born to Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955) and Pearl Alphonsine Horst (1884-1961). Susie and her family were members of Our Lady of Sorrow's Catholic Church, located in Homewood,  and had attended Our Lady of Sorrow's School up until the middle of her senior year. At some point that year Susie found out that the boys in her class were being allowed to graduate early, as they would need to prepare for college - the girls were not allowed to do the same. Susie left school that day, walked home, and told her parents to enroll her in another school as she would not go back to Our Lady of Sorrows again. And she didn't. She was enrolled at St. Paul's School, where she graduated in May 1927.

In March of 1977 Susie and the others in the 1927 Graduation Class held a 50th High School Reunion in Birmingham. They had 100% of the graduation class in attendance, as well as both of their teachers from that year. Quite a feat, 50 years later. Their pictures, from 1927 and 1977, as well as a write-up of the gathering appeared in The Birmingham News.

Updated 1927 Graduation Class
March 1977
To 1927 graduate year's big event was Lindbergh's flight
[from The Birmingham News, March 4, 1977; page 24]

     "'We were at the Alabama Theatre that night. They shut the projector off and announced that he'd done it. Lindbergh had flown across the ocean and landed in Paris. I never will forget that.
     'Come to think of it, it's probably the only important thing I do remember from that time.'
     'That time' was May, 1927. Graduation month.
     Mrs. Huber O'Donnell, who was Susan Flemming then, was recalling it this week while getting ready for weekend visitors. The entire graduating class - 10 of them, counting herself - of St. Paul's School from 50 years ago.
     The reunion has been in the planning stages since October. The actual 50th anniversary of graduation won't be until May, but as Mrs. O'Donnell explains, tongue-in-cheek, ' We're all still alive and in good shape now, but we didn't want to press our luck.'
     Five of the class members have scattered to addresses all the way from Florida to Maine, but the others still live here - as do two of their teachers who joined the festivities, Sister Mary Francesca, still at St. Paul's and Winifred Gallagher, the first lay teacher in the diocese.
St. Paul's School
Birmingham, Alabama
     Margaret Colgan, Frances Rohling, Nellie Moore, and Carrie Woods came (they live in town) as well as William Jackson of Baltimore, Md., Raymond McPherson, Easton, Md., Lucille O'Leary, Briarwood, N.Y., Mary Quinlan Smith, Madison, and Emma Rule, Ormand Beach, Fla.
     'From what I understand, all of us are still in good health,' Mrs. O'Donnell says, 'But I imagine most are like me, they wake up with a new ache or pain every morning.'
     When it comes to replaying memories of the day-to-day life of a high schooler in 1927, Mrs. O'Donnell finds she comes up lacking.
     'After 50 years, there's not much left,' she says, 'Lindberg's (sic) the only big thing. All the rest is just . . .'
     'I remember riding streetcars, and I remember that Lucile and Mary Quinlan lived over the mountain then - their families had for a long time.'
     'But nothing really important.'
     She has a high school yearbook, which was ready for some heavy thumbing when the old friends got together.
     Their class picture is in it.
     Of it, Mrs. O'Donnell only shakes her head and says:
     'Look at us. Aren't we floozies!'"
"Pro Deo. Pro Patria. Initium Sapientiae Est Timor Domini. Prov. IX.10"
"For God. For Country. The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

HOMETOWN TUESDAY - Rome, Floyd County, Georgia 1880-1881

Rome, Georgia  ca.1873
An Historical Sketch of Rome, Georgia
[Taken from the first Rome City Directory, 1880-1881]

          "As there has never been a history written it is a difficult matter to give a correct historical sketch of Rome. For the following, we are indebted to the Hon. Judge J. W. H. Underwood, whose father was among the earliest settlers: The court house was first located at Livingston, twelve miles from Rome, on the Coosa river, and through the influence of Daniel R. Mitchell, William Smith, Genubeth Wynn, Zachariah B. Hargrove and Phillip W. Hemphill an act of the Legislature was secured authorizing the removal of the county seat to Rome. By the choice of the people, the election was held and carried. The treaty was made with the Cherokee Indians on the 29th of December 1834, five miles northwest of Calhoun, and was bitterly opposed by their Chief, John Ross. By this treaty, the Indians were removed on the 22nd day of May, 1838, to the Indian settlement west of the Mississippi river. From the year 1838 the town has improved rapidly. In the year 1840 the Rome railroad was completed between Rome and Kingston, which connects with the State road at the latter point. The Selma, Rome & Dalton road was completed in the year 1873; the first steamers were built in 1849 - The Georgia and Alabama - under the auspicious of Wade S. Cothran, and plied their busy wheels between Rome and Greensport, the distance of 175 miles. For many years after its foundation the town of Rome grew slowly and surely, and the people realized the necessity of building up a town and trade for themselves. There are no startling events, no fabulous advances, no thrilling incidents connected with a history of the town. Its history is only that of a quiet village, whose trade for many years was almost entirely local, and which was very little connected with the outside world. The present prosperity of the town is due solely to its commercial enterprise, which, with a healthful situation, a delightful climate, good schools and a brisk trade, there seems no drawback to check its advancement. But Rome's golden days are just ahead when manufactories shall be introduced. The large and beautiful rivers on the outskirts of the town supply sufficient water power to run the largest factories in the State - such as paper mills, flouring mills, and especially cotton factories. What town for its size and population has such receipts of cotton (the receipts last year amounting to about 85,000 bales)? and as soon as this is done the town of Rome will grow to be the town of Georgia, and we feel assured that enterprises of this kind would be encouraged by the citizens of the place.
5th Avenue & Broad Street ca.1870
          The population of the county and various small towns on our railroads is increasing rapidly. Our farmers are beginning to use improved implements; they are also learning that they mnake a permanent investment by enriching their lands; they show great hospitality to strangers. Whether an immigrant ccomes from the North or South, he receives a warm welcome by his neighbors. While our people are taking on much of the enterprise and progress of the age, they do not forget old-fashioned kindness and hospitality.

         Heretofore our town has felt very much the need of a hall for entertainments or public meetings of any kind. Just now, however, a very handsome opera house is being completed by his Honor, the Mayor, M. A. Nevin, solely on his own account, which has very much improved the appearance of our rapidly growing town. The next step required will be street railways, and doubtless in a very few years the town will be able to support this improvement.
Broad Street ca.1890
          The town of Rome is growing rapidly. In the last twelve months many beautiful private residences have been erected, nany of them being stylish and handsome. This is the distributing point for heavy groceries, dry goods and tobacco for several counties, not only in our State, but Alabama; in these articles our merchants do a fine trace. The outlook is very encouraging, and with a few more years of political rest and honest State government, with fair crops, our prosperity will be largely increased. Our county is leading all the counties of the State in the way of good schools, and churches of some sort are in the reach of every family. We believe the watchword of the "Mountain city" is "onward and upward."

Flemming Family in Rome
In the early 1860's James Benjamin Flemming (1827-1907), my 3x-great-grandfather, along with his wife Sarah Linza Jackson (1837-1902) and the first three of their children - Charles Clinton, born June 23, 1854 (my great-great-grandfather); John W., born March 5, 1858 (he died two weeks shy of his 5th birthday, on February 20, 1863) and Thomas J., born July 1860 - relocated from their home in Cassville, Georgia to the nearby town of Rome, in Floyd County, after it was burned to the ground by General Sherman and his Union troops at the end of the Civil War. They had left their hometown of Darlington, South Carolina around 1859, over 330 miles away, traveling west through Columbia, South Carolina, on through Atlanta, to set up house in Cassville. Rome, another twenty miles further west, took in many of the burned out residents of Cassville. James and Sarah had four more children, who would call Rome their hometown - Oscar Eugene, born October 1866; Walter Edward, born July 4, 1869; James Benjamin, born January 4, 1876 (he died at 15-months old on April 19, 1878); and Minnie E., born April 1879. James owned one of the two saddle & harness-making businesses in Rome, located on the main street in town at 314 Broad Street. Sarah died on December 20, 1902; James died December 6, 1907. They are buried together, next to their young sons John and James, in historic Myrtle Hill Cemetery.

Jackson Family in Rome
William Jackson (1800-1879) and his wife Elizabeth (1802-1870) followed their daughter Sarah Jackson Flemming, her husband James and their young family from their hometown of Darlington, South Carolina, to Rome, Georgia. They arrived in the city sometime after 1860. William worked as a tailor. After his wife's death on February 2, 1870, he moved into his daughter's home, where he lived until his own death nine-years later, on February 5, 1879. William and Elizabeth are my 4x-great-grandparents. They are buried side-by-side at Myrtle Hill Cemetery.

McCaffrey Family in Rome
Thomas Joseph McCaffrey (1832-1896) and his wife Charlotte Elizabeth McCluskey (1838-1917), my 3x-great-grandparents, moved to Rome, Georgia, from their home in Shelby County, Alabama, after the end of the Civil War. Thomas, born in Boston, Massachusetts, and Charlotte, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had left their home in Baltimore, Maryland at the start of the war to support the Confederacy. Thomas, who moved south alone, worked as a moulder in the development of ironworks for the war at Brierfield and Tannehill. Charlotte had given birth to five children before the start of the war - only two lived past the age of six:
  • Thomas Joseph, born May 14, 1854, in Philadelphia;
  • Susan "Susie", born March 3, 1856, in Baltimore; she died in Philadelphia on May 28, 1861, from Scarlet Fever, at the age of 5;
  • Elizabeth Agnes "Lizzie", born December 23, 1858, in Philadelphia - she is my great-great-grandmother;
  • Mary Frances, born March 13, 1860, in Washington, D.C.; she died at the age of 7 months on November 7, 1860;
  • John Beauregard, born November 10, 1861 in Baltimore; he died on June 23, 1863, only 19 months old.
At some point after 1863, and the death of son John, Charlotte and her two children followed Thomas to Alabama, after being forced out of Baltimore by Union control of the city. While living in Alabama, in the cities of Selma and Columbiana, Charlotte gave birth to three more children:
  • Charles Andrew "Davis", born May 2, 1865, in Selma, Alabama;
  • Joseph William "Joe", born January 28, 1867, in Brierfield, Alabama;
  • James Michael "Jim", born February 13, 1876, in Columbiana, Alabama.
 They arrived in Rome in 1872, prior to the birth of baby number nine in December of that year. Five of their children were born in their new hometown:
  • Margaret Loretta "Maggie", born December 18, 1872;
  • Charlotte Teresa "Lottie", born April 5, 1875;
  • William George "Will", born May 31, 1877;
  • Agnes Gertrude, born September 26, 1879; and
  • Marie, born June 21, 1882; she died one month later, on July 18, 1882.
Thomas continued to work as a moulder in Rome, and assisted in the development of the city's water works. Thomas died on May 21, 1896. After his death Charlotte moved to Birmingham, Alabama, to live with daughter Agnes, her husband Edward Joseph O'Brien (1867-1922) and their five children. Charlotte died in Birmingham on June 12, 1917. Thomas and Charlotte are buried at Myrtle Hill Cemetery. They were survived by thirty grandchildren, 17 who called Rome their birthplace.

 The Charles C. Flemming Family in Rome
Charles Clinton, "Charlie" Flemming, oldest son of James & Sarah Flemming, met and married Elizabeth Agnes "Lizzie" McCaffrey, oldest daughter of Thomas & Charlotte McCaffrey, in Rome on April 9, 1877 at the newly built St. Mary's Catholic Church. They are my great-great-grandparents. While in Rome they had five of their ten children:
  • Harry Clinton, born January 12, 1878 - my great-grandfather;
  • Susie Elizabeth, born November 17, 1879;
  • Minnie Agnes "Mamie", born August 12, 1880 (she died October 24, 1881, just 14 months old);
  • Charles Clinton, born September 30, 1884; and
  • Elizabeth Imogene "Imo", born September 28, 1886.
After the birth of Imo, Charles and Lizzie moved to Birmingham, following the railroad as it was being built in the new city. Here they had the last of their family:
  • James Benjamin, born September 27, 1889;
  • Charlotte Teresa "Lottie", born September 3, 1891;
  • Sarah Marie, born December 17, 1893;
  • Thomas Joseph, born January 3, 1896; and
  • Willie May, born January 25, 1898 (she died less than 6 months later, on June 19, 1898).
Charlie and Lizzie died in Birmingham and are buried there at Elmwood Cemetery. Daughters Mamie and Willie May are buried in the family plots at Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Rome.

Monday, October 10, 2011

MONDAY'S MOTHERS - Bridget Kennedy O'Donnell, 1838-1893

Bridget Kennedy was born July 25, 1838, in County Tipperary, Ireland. Her parents were James Kennedy (1818-UNK) and Mary Maguire (UNK-1893) - they are my 3x-great-grandparents. Bridget's father had died in Ireland before the family- including her mother, seven siblings and she - came to America. On June 27, 1856 Bridget married Patrick O'Donnell (1823-1911), also an immigrant from Ireland. He was 33, she was 18. They are my great-great-grandparents.

Bridget and Patrick O'Donnell settled in the town of Jericho, Henry County, Kentucky. He worked initially for the railroad that was being laid in the area, eventually working his way up to Supervisor. Not long after their wedding they started their family. They would have seven children, six daughters and one son:
  • Margaret, who was called "Maggie", was born June 12, 1858;
  • Mary Ann, called "Mollie", was born December 8, 1859;
  • Alice L. was born April 2, 1860;
  • Frances, called "Fannie", was born about 1863;
  • Josephine Rose, called "Josie", was born January 11, 1864;
  • John Martin, my great-grandfather, was called "Martin", born November 7, 1865; and
  • Ella Agnes was born December 7, 1869.
On February 18, 1893, Bridget died at the age of 54 years. The cause of death - heart failure. She was survived by her husband Pat, their seven children, ages 13-24, six grandchildren and three more due within months of her death. She was buried at the St. Louis Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky. Her large tombstone was no doubt a testament of the love her family had for her.

Bridget and Pat were Irish Catholics and had continued practicing their faith after they came to America. The only Catholic church in Henry County wasn't built until the 1880's; before that time Masses were celebrated in the homes of Catholic families. The O'Donnell family may have attended Mass in nearby Louisville, which had its first church built in 1811.  At Bridget's funeral Father Walsh, the parish priest, read this poem he had written in Bridget's honor:

Seven Sorrowing Children Piously Cherish Her Memory
Graves of Bridget and Josie O'Donnell
(Patrick O'Donnell's grave unmarked)
St. Louis Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky
"Today I stand by mother's grave and weep -
But ah! She speaks not from the silent tomb
As oft she lulled my childish grief to sleep,
And as I weep I feel the mystic gloom
that shrouds my life, since death one year ago
Laid his chill hand upon her tender heart,
And hushed the music of her voice so low,
Is but a veil that keeps our souls apart.

I kneel at mother's grave, and memories come
Of all her countless acts of patient care,
Her tireless love, which filled our humble home
With joy and peace; in mingled ha'o fair
The light around her, gifted with a voice
Echoed sweet music from each gentle say,
To charm the heart to virtue's path by choice.
Is memory all that's left of this? Ah, nay!
My mother's gentle spirit is not dead;
Beyond the grave a higher life than this
Awaits us, thence her loving soul has fled,
To live eternally a life of bliss.
And while I plod life's pathway here below,
Unbroken bonds still bind us soul to soul,
The fondest hope my heart can ever know
Writes mother's name and mine on heaven's scroll.

However, dearly linked is heart to heart,
As through life's devious windings here we tread,
Like ocean sands, in time we drift apart,
And other ties are briefly formed instead.
And yet we look beyond the passing years,
For a reunion with the loved ones gone;
Fond memories mingle without blinding tears,
While every pulse throbs with an undertone
That speaks of changless immortality,
As if those lying still beneath the sod
Whispered to us from their eternity,
'Meet us again and dwell with us in God.'
          - Father Walsh

Saturday, October 8, 2011

SATURDAY'S STRUCTURES - Frascati Park, Mobile, Alabama

Frascati Park, on the western shore of Mobile Bay, was the major attraction for white Mobilians for many years after the end of the Civil War. Henry Nabring, who owned the famed Battle House hotel in Mobile, started the park in 1867. Martin Horst (1830-1878), my great-great-great-grandfather, purchased the park from him and it was Horst who developed it into a major entertainment park.
Advertisement for Frascati
Mobile Register
July 5, 1876

The park was situated at the end of the Old Shell Road. A drive down this beautiful road alone was considered an enjoyable Sunday outing.
"Toll at Frascati" Vintage Postcard
(writing dated 1905)
Frascati had a hotel on the grounds for many years, as well as a restaurant. The park featured light opera, performances by militia drill teams, open air concerts, Labor Day demonstrations and other amusements, and was popular for picnics and other social gatherings. It was also the sight of encampments of the Alabama National Guard. Apparently it appealed more to the upper classes of Mobile society.

In an interview in the Mobile Register in 1977 with then 95-year-old Mrs. John Marston, she remembered Frascati:
 "It was about two acres, most of it along the bay. Mrs. Marston remembers that there were benches, and that summer theatre was presented there. Light opera companies presented the Mikado and similar fare, and that Frascati had an open air restaurant with latticework.
There were swings and seesaws for amusement, as well as something called a 'Flying Jenny,' Mrs. Marston said. 'It had about a 12-foot board hitched to a post in the middle of the board. People would get on each side, and somebody would get in the middle and push. Then when it was going he'd sneak out on all fours." [Mobile Register, July 10, 1977; page 18]
Horst Summer Home at Frascati (built about 1840)
[photograph taken by WPA 1937]

Family Summer Residence (left) & Park Restaurant
 Two story structure now torn down
The Horst summer home, a large frame house put together entirely with wooden pegs, was located on the Frascati grounds facing Mobile Bay. Many happy days were spent there by the family in the summers. Frascati was located at the western end of Franklin Street, at what is now called Choctaw Point.

On July 4, 1876, the date of America's 100th birthday, cities and towns across the country organized and held grand celebrations. Mobile, too, celebrated throughout the city, including a large all day event at Frascati Park. [Read article below]
Centennial Celebration in Mobile
from Mobile Register
July 5, 1876

After Martin Horst's death in 1878 Edward (1858-1901), his second son, managed Frascati. By 1888, the property had been sold to R.C. Kennedy who continued to run it as before.

In June 1882, Oscar Wilde, the famed Irish writer and poet, lectured on 'Decorative Art' at Frascatti's Summer Theatre during his tour through the South, still recovering from the War. In a retrospective published 1978, the Mobile Register recalled the days leading up to his visit:
"In Mobile 96 years ago, June was a hot month especially the last week in June. Mobilians who could do so forsook the nearly 100-degree weather for cooler surroundings while those who remained made the best of it by going, whenever possible, to the bay.
An especially popular spot on the bay was Frascati near Choctaw Point. Here one could enjoy the beach, sip something refreshing at the bar, attend a program at the Summer Theatre, or just lounge under the live oaks swaying in the gentle breezes.
On the last Sunday of the month the crowd of bathers were treated to an additional and very uncommon amusement: two men came onto the beach and, after undressing themselves, entered the water where they frolicked for some 15 minutes. The shocked crowd scattered in all directions. Later, at Recorder's Court, the judge whose notions of proper ways to beat the heat did not include this one fined the men $5 each. All a bit sensational, and later in the week occurred another exhibition that was not much less so." [Mobile Register; August 20, 1978; page 108]

On October 2, 1893, Mobile was hit by the severest storm ever recorded there at the time. Southeast gale winds of 72 miles an hour hit the area and waters from the bay overflowed into downtown. There was a record-breaking rain and many of the cities old live oak trees fell. The storm completely destroyed Frascati and the Old Shell Road. Frascati was not reconstructed.

After the park was destroyed, Monroe Park was opened (where Brookley Field is now located) and it reportedly catered to a "more democratic clientele . . . of middle and working class people".

The entertainment park Mobile's citizens once enjoyed is now part of the industrial area around Mobile's Port Authority property. "Frascati Shops", a railroad car service company, was still using the original 1800's building attached to the right side of the Horst family's summer residence for its tools and equipment, as late as 2009. Alabama Port Authority Bids for the building were announced in 2009 - its fate is currently unknown.

Monday, October 3, 2011

SUNDAY'S OBITUARY - Elizabeth Agnes McCaffrey Flemming (1858-1922)

Elizabeth Agnes McCaffrey Flemming
Elizabeth Agnes McCaffrey was the third of thirteen children born to Thomas Joseph McCaffrey (1832-1896) and Charlotte Elizabeth McCluskey (1838-1917). Lizzie, as she was called, was born December 23, 1858 in Baltimore, Maryland. Lizzie is my great-great-grandmother.

Lizzie's father, a pipe moulder by trade, left his family in Maryland to move south at the start of the Civil War to support the Confederacy. He worked at the ironworks at Brierfield and Tannehill in Shelby County, Alabama. After the war, the whole family moved south, first to Shelby County, then later to Rome, Georgia. It was in Rome that Lizzie met her future husband, Charles Clinton Flemming (1854-1932). Born in Darlington, South Carlina, he, too, had moved with his family to Rome in the 1860's.

Lizzie and Charlie were married on April 9, 1877 at St. Mary's Catholic Church, a small wooden church built in Rome in 1874 by the 30 Catholics in the city. Although Charlie's family were Baptists, he had converted to Catholicism as a young man. It was here in Rome, where her parents and siblings, and his parents and siblings lived, that they started their own family. Five children were born here in the city. For a while Charlie worked  as a clerk in a local store. By 1891 the family had relocated to Birmingham, where Charlie worked for the Great Southern Railroad. By 1900 he was the Yardmaster. In 1902 he retired from the railroad and started Charlie's Transfer Company. [See "Saturday's Structure - Charlie's Transfer Company", September 18, 2011]

Lizzie and Charlie went on to have a large family, ten children, with eight surviving to adulthood. Their children born in  Rome were: my great-grandfather Harry Clinton (1878-1955), Susie Elizabeth (1879-1908), Minnie Agnes "Mamie" (1880-1881), Charles Clinton (1884-1935), and Elizabeth Imogene "Imo" (1886-1919). After moving to Birmingham they had the other half of their family: James Benjamin (1889-1932), Charlotte Teresa "Lottie" (1891-1937), Sarah Marie (1893-1963), Thomas Joseph (1896-1918) and Willie Mae (1898-1898). Many of their sons went to work with Charlie in his successful company.

On July 17, 1922, at 2:00 AM, Lizzie died at home, 1115 St. Charles Street.. She was 63 years old. Her death certificate listed "acute cardiac dilation" as the cause of death. Her funeral took place the following day. The Birmingham News  reported her funeral on the front page of the paper on Wednesday, July 19th.

from The Birmingham News
July 19, 1922; page 1

Body of Well Known Local Woman Buried in Elmwood
"Funeral services for Mrs. Elizabeth Agnes Flemming were held Tuesday morning at 9:30 o'clock from St. Paul's Catholic Church. Following impressive services at the church burial took place in Elmwood Cemetery, with Lige Loy in charge.
Mrs. Flemming is survived by her husband, C. C. Flemming, three sons, C. C. Flemming, Jr., J. B. Flemming and H. C. Flemming, and two daughters, Mrs. J. B. Thomas and Mrs. L.  McMurray, all of Birmingham. Pallbearers were A. H. Geohegan, John McGeever, Bart Harris, Ryan Mullane, H. J. Kribbs and W. E. Frawley.
Mrs. Flemming was 65 years of age and had lived in Birmingham for many years. She was widely known and had a host of friends who join the family in mourning the loss of a dutiful mother and companion.
The funeral was largely attended and many beautiful floral tributes were sent." (Birmingham News, July 19, 1922; page 1]

Gravestone of Lizzie McCaffrey Flemming
Elmwood Cemetery, Birmingham, Alabama