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Mid-Century Style

No matter what’s going on in my life, when February 16 pops up on my computer screen or date book I think of  Grandma and Grandpa. It’s their birthday today. Grandma would be 104 and grandpa would be 106. I’m talking about  Thomas Edwin “Ed” Rose  and Lela Mae Scott Rose.

Ed and Lela Rose and Me

This was Easter Sunday and I was just a few weeks past my first  birthday. Grandma was 43 and Grandpa was 45.

I love grandpa’s double-breasted suit. According to mom he was quite the dandy. As a construction worker he wore dungarees, similar to, but not quite jeans, and  chambray or flannel work shirts; but on Sundays he was always in a suit and tie. I never thought of President Eisenhower as a trendsetter, but here in the midst of the “Eisenhower Years” that military-style jacket Grandma is wearing has to be influenced by the General. There’s something very practical about the waistband at the bottom of the jacket. In a military uniform it would keep the tail of your jacket out of the way of your sidearm. The matching shirt cuffs tie the look together. On the battlefield the flapped pockets protected military orders and maps, but here thy add an element of style. The jacket looks perfect with  the slim a-line skirt. High-heeled pumps would look out of place with this suit, so grandma completes the look with fashionably updated oxfords.

And then there’s me, with my cute little dress coat over my Easter dress.

So Happy Birthday to my Grandma and Grandpa!

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2015 in Rose, Scott

 

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The James Miller Plantation on the Catawba River

When I first started looking for family on Ancestry.com I wanted to find where my dad’s family came from before Florida. We knew it was South Carolina, but that was all we knew. My search wasn’t easy because my dad was the fifth James Miller in the line, and it’s a common name, so there are James Millers all over the place.

I finally tracked them down to Lancaster County, South Carolina until 1870 when they were in York County. While looking for more details over the weekend I found an 1825 map of Lancaster County.  It was excellent quality and high-resolution and when I zoomed in on the details I realized it included the names of families who lived there.

I recognized many names I from the U.S. Census reports I’d been studying. And then I was amazed to find my family! “Jas Millers” was labeled on the east side of the Catawba River, just north of Twelve Mile Creek.

JasMillerMap

Lancaster County is south of Charlotte, North Carolina along the South Carolina/North Carolina state line. The county was named for Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Both counties are populated with Scots-Irish immigrants. Stephen Miller was born in the area in 1740. He was the first of four generations of Millers born in Lancaster County.

After General Tecumseh Sherman’s “scorched earth” policy scorched through Lancaster County at the end of the Civil War circumstances were pretty bleak. The family owned $1700 of real estate in 1870 but they were counted in neighboring York County not Lancaster County where they’d previously lived.

My next search will be for land and tax records. Until I find something to the contrary, it’s my guess the family home was destroyed during the war but they still owned the land. I don’t know if they lost the land because they couldn’t pay the taxes, or if they simply abandoned it because they couldn’t make a living on it anymore, but for one reason or the other they left South Carolina for a better opportunity. Soon after 1870 the family moved south to the area that would become Kissimmee, Florida.

James Miller, born on the Catawba River in 1824 died in Florida in 1875. He was just 51 years old. He is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Kissimmee, Florida.

There’s much more to this story, but I don’t have time to tell it now. I’m moving. After the dust settles and the boxes have been recycled I’ll write more with more pictures and details.

Jan

PS – Yes, that’s President Andrew Jackson’s birthplace just a few miles east of the Miller Plantation. He was born in 1767 and in 1825 he’d just lost a 1824 bid for president. He would win in 1828.

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2015 in Miller

 

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Two Working Oxen

In 1860 John Scott–my 4x great grandpa–farmed 90 acres and owned another 300 acres of unimproved land along Bumpass Creek in Lauderdale County, Alabama. His farm was worth $1,600. He owned another $200 worth of farm equipment.  He owned 6 horses, 4 “asses and mules”; 5 “milch cows”; 2 working oxen; 20 other cattle; 15 sheep; and 35 swine. The livestock was valued at $1750 on Schedule 4—Productions of Agriculture in the Western Division of Lauderdale County, Alabama.

Scott-etc-1866-nonPopSchedule copy

The previous year his farm produced 45 bushels of wheat; 1000 bushels of Indian corn; 35 pounds of wool; 16 bushels of Irish potatoes; 30 bushels of sweet potatoes; 50 pounds of butter; 4 tons of hay; and 70 gallons of molasses. The value of his homemade manufacturing was $10 and the value of his slaughtered animals was $170.

John at age 59, had a personal estate valued at $4500 in addition to the $1,600 real estate. His wife Harriet had a personal estate of $700 with $600 of real estate. She and John had four children. Mary Ann was the first, born in 1845 and she died at the age of five. The other children were listed on the 1860 census: Thomas, age 12; Camille, age 9 and Robert, age 5.

Scotts on 1860 census

1860 census includes John Scott Jr, his wife and kids; Frank, my 3x great grandpa, Jeremiah Franklin with his wife and son; Harriet Scott and five of her children; her son George Thompson and his family; James Scott who was incorrectly identified as “Thompson” with the ditto marks the census taker continued down the page. The last entry is John Scott Sr., also incorrectly identified as Thompson.

 

Harriet Thompson Scott, John’s second wife, had an 80-acre farm of her own which she inherited from her first husband. Her farm was worth $600 with $100 worth of farm equipment. She had 3 horses, 1 milk cow, 2 oxen, 5 other cattle, 15 sheep, and 20 swine with a total value of $400. Her farm produced 12 bushels of wheat, 475 bushels of Indian corn, 35 pounds of wool, 25 bushels of Irish potatoes, 50 pounds of butter, one ton of hay, $25 worth of homemade goods, and slaughtered livestock valued at $135.

1860 Ag Census

This detail lists sons John Jr. and  Frank (Jeremiah Franklin); Harriet, his second wife; son James; John Scott Sr., and another son, William Scott. Next is John Lamb Sr. and his son John Lamb Jr.; then another Scott son, Poindexter, who married a daughter of John Lamb; Spencer Lard or Lord, who has no farm, but $15 in farm equipment. I haven’t placed him yet, but it seems he might live on the farm of one of the Scotts. Next is Weatherly Haines, and William Scott, a brother of John Scott Sr.

Further down the page I found John’s sister, Isabella Scott Lambert. Her husband Abner, has died leaving her the farm.

I included the columns for Improved acres, Unimproved acres, Value of farm, Value of farm Implements.

 

Isabella Scott Lambert farm

The page included other familiar names, Black and a couple of Webbs..

John’s youngest son Rufus, 22, was a newlywed. He and his wife Elizabeth, 18, were listed in the same household with his father.

John’s youngest daughter, Elizabeth married John W. Haines (Weatherly). When she died he married her sister Catherine Tennessee, Tennie, Scott.

John’s first wife was probably Mary Carson and Jobe Carson is also listed further down the page. At 40-years-old he might be a nephew if there’s any connection at all.

I know there are other relatives I’ll find when I take time to look at more pages of this census. I’m fascinated with the details of their lives on the brink of the Civil War.

Jan

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Scott

 

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Christmas 1962

When I was a kid we’d first see what Santa brought us and then we were off to my great grandmother’s for Christmas dinner with the extended family. We called her Mommy, but her name was Caldona Della Kathryn Crouch Scott. She had five kids and here she is with her daughters, daughters-in-law, my mom and me.

Four Generations of Scotts

Four Generations of Scotts

From left, Mommy, my great-grandmother Caldona Della Kathryn Crouch Scott; my mom, Darlene Rose Miller; Aunt Dorothy, Dorothy Clark Scott, Uncle Mac’s wife; me, Jan Miller Stratton; Aunt Syble, Syble Scott Sherrman; Aunt Dessie, Dessie Blackburn Scott, Uncle Luke’s wife; Aunt Bill, Dorine Scott Taylor; and my Grandma, Lela Scott Rose.

We’re more likely to have a bright Christmas instead of a white Christmas here in Oklahoma.

The photo was stamped “1963” so it would have been taken Christmas Day 1962. I was in fifth grade. I remember that dress. It was a sleeveless shirtwaist dress with a gathered skirt. I liked that little jacket (maybe it’s called a weskit?) with the big button closure set off to the side. I don’t remember if the collar was attached to the jacket or the dress, but I remember it was green to match the big green buttons. The sleeves came down to the elbows.

I think my Grandma Hamilton made the dress for me. Kathryn McKay Miller Hamilton, my dad’s mom, lived in Key West, Florida. Every summer we didn’t go to Florida for vacation mom would take my measurements and we would go to the fabric store and pick out a few patterns we liked and send the numbers to Grandma. When we went to Florida, Grandma did the measuring, but either way, about the time school started I would get a box in the mail crammed full of school clothes and a cozy flannel nightgown. Getting that box in the mail was almost as fun as Christmas.

Hope you have some happy Christmas memories from years gone by.

Jan

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2014 in Scott, Uncategorized

 

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Agnes Laird, Her Widow’s Pension

Laird-Nat-30Nathaniel Laird, 1755–1832, my 5th great-grandfather, was also my Laird immigrant ancestor. I’m not sure if he came from Scotland or Ireland, but I hope to nail that down soon.

He was 20 when the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, just the right age to sign up to fight in the Revolution. He was a private in the 4th Regiment, Infantry, of the Pennsylvania Line in the Continental Army.

In 1781 he married Agnes Scott in Rowan County, North Carolina where they established a home after the war. In 1789 Iredell County was formed out of the western part of Rowan County and that is where Nathaniel and his family were counted in the 1790 US Census. His five children were all born in North Carolina, the youngest in 1802. Sometime after 1802 and before 1820 the family moved to middle Tennessee and settled in the Maury/Bedford County area.

It was confusing to find him in two different counties at different times on different records. I thought there must be another Nathaniel Laird until I looked at the historical county maps and then found this land record.

On June 21, 1828, Nathaniel Laird received a grant of 75 acres, at the rate of one cent per acre, signed by Sam Houston, governor of Tennessee. (Yes, the same Sam Houston that turned up in Texas.) It was paid into the office of “entry-taker of Maury & Bedford countys;…” Maury and Bedford county lie side-by-side with Maury to the east and Bedford to the west. The land description says: “lying in said county, on the waters of flat creek and bounded as follows to wit, beginning in Maury county, …”

Later records list Nathaniel in Bedford County. Seems the county line moved west, putting all 75 acres in that county. If I can find a more specific description of the location—…north 40 poles to a cedar the NW corner… 40 poles to a dogwood, then south 40 poles to a hickory in a field… while colorful, isn’t enough—I’ll match it to the county maps and see if that’s the case.

Nathaniel died Feb. 27, 1832 and subsequently his wife, Agnes (Scott) Laird applied for a Revolutionary War Widows Pension to continue the pension previously received by her husband. He’d been getting $8 per month since August 1826. Her application was accepted and she received $40 per year starting Dec. 1843, I don’t know if she got “back pay” from when her husband died eleven years earlier or not. But, I came across a simple note that reads:

Agnes Laird
Tennessee

Suspended
let 16 dec 39

Act of 7 July 1838

Evidently there was a LOT of fraud going on in the Revolutionary War Pension system so a couple of times Congress had to revise the program to get rid of the dead beats who shouldn’t be getting a pension. Pensioners reapplied and were accepted or rejected under the new requirements.

Agnes Laird’s application includes her husband’s original statement of his military service dated Dec. 12, 1825; dozen of letters, reports and witness statements documenting his service; statements indicating she was his wife and had not remarried since his death. As soon as I translate more of the colonial penmanship (everything from elaborate calligraphy to  scrawled cursive, many pages splattered and smeared with ink) we’ll get a glimpse of his life as a patriot soldier.

And as to Agnes Scott.  I wonder if she’s part of my grandmother’s Scott line which dead ends with John Scott born in 1800 in Buncombe County, NC. Agnes was born in Rowan County in 1761. Chronologically she could be an aunt, or maybe a cousin to my  4x great-grandfather, John Scott. I hope it’s a mystery I’ll solve.

Jan

Me > my Mom > Grandma Lela Scott Rose (1911, Pottawatome County, OK) > Avery Albert Scott (1887, Lauderdale County, AL) > Judia Isabell Lard Scott (1867, Lauderdale County, AL) > Jim Lard (1830, Hardin County, TN) > James Lard (1789, Rowan County, NC) > Nathaniel Laird (1755, Scotland or Ireland)

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2014 in Scott

 

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Thanks For Your Service

Even though you wouldn’t describe us as a “military family” there are a lot of servicemen in my family tree. Beginning with dozens of Patriot ancestors who fought for our independence I’ve found relatives who stepped up to the challenge in almost every conflict our country has endured. My genealogy research is not organized enough to list them all, but here are a few I want to call out.

My great Uncle Wes, my grandpa’s brother, answered the call to fight the Nazis in World War II.  Seventy years ago this month he was fighting across Germany with Patton’s 3rd Army, 314th Infantry, 79th Division.

Sometime in November, 1944 he was MIA, lost behind enemy lines for about eleven days. He returned to his unit on Nov. 27 and three days later, Nov. 30, 1944, he was killed. Just weeks later his unit played a part in repelling the Germans in the decisive Battle of the Bulge.

Grandma Louisa Belew and grandsons Ed, left, and John Wesley Rose

Here’s Uncle Wes on the right with his brother Ed (my grandpa) and their grandmother Louisa Belew just before he shipped out.

My dad’s dad, James W. Miller served during The Great War (WWI).

Sgt. James W. Miller, 1918

More recently my dad, Sgt. James W. Miller, served in the Air Force during the Korean Conflict. He was an airplane mechanic and taught mechanics at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas.

My brother David Kent Miller (DK) went to the US Naval Academy and was a pilot on the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier. His son, Josh chose the Air Force for his service and is about to complete a stint in Korea.

Thanks to everyone who serves and special thanks from me to the servicemen in my family.

 

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2014 in Miller, Rose

 

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My Family Moves to Florida

My dad’s birthday was yesterday. He was James White Miller V and was born July 10, 1932 in Kissimmee, Florida. He liked to tell people he was from Kiss-a-me, and then he’d pucker up. He died in 1989 and thinking about him this week inspired this post about my Florida ancestors.

In 1842 the US Congress enacted the Armed Occupation Act with the purpose of populating and protecting the eastern shore of the Florida peninsula. It was like the Homestead Act that settled the plains that we learned about in U. S. history. Someone occupies and defends 160 acres of land, builds a dwelling, cultivates the land and after five years they own the land free and clear. The act was only in effect nine months and less than 1,200 permits were granted. As far as I can tell no one in my family took advantage of it but it was part of the process that encouraged settlement in Florida.

Ask me about Oklahoma history and I can rattle off all kinds of facts and figures and trivia, but Florida not so much. My dad was born there, so I know a little as it pertained to his life, but not much about the really olden days. Turns out bunches of the early pioneers to Florida came from Georgia, which makes sense, since it’s the closest state. Some of my ancestors were in that mass of Georgians who moved south.

My grandmother Kathryn McKay was born in Illinois in 1905 and her family moved to Florida just after 1910—as near as I can figure—but my Miller and Bass great grandparents came much earlier. The Millers came from York County, South Carolina between 1870 and 1875. Census records show they were quite the land holders (and slave owners) in Lancaster County, South Carolina for decades leading up to the Civil War. One of my ancestors, Stephen Miller—born in 1740—died at Belaire, Lancaster, South Carolina. I can’t find any town or city by that name, but when I googled it, the name Belair turned up a lot in the Lancaster area. I wonder if Bellaire was the name of their plantation. A few generations later, census records suggest the Millers lost the family home during or after the war. In the 1870 census, six years after the war ended, the James Miller family was counted at Ft. Mill, South Carolina in York County. And five years later, in 1875, my great great grandpa, James Miller, died and was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Kissimmee, Florida. He was just 51. His son, James White Miller II would marry Honoria Quary Mills and become an early sheriff of Osceola County.

As to my other Florida great grandparents Quinn Bass married Jane Richards in Sumter, Georgia in 1845.Their son William, the first of 13 kids (I think), was born in Florida in 1848 according to the 1860 US Census.That year the family was counted in Brevard County which had a total population of 246. U.S. Census records show Quinn and Jane were counted in Brevard County in 1860, Orange County in 1870, and in Osceola County in 1900. At first I wondered why they moved around so much during those years. They were living on the frontier so new arrivals had to build a house from scratch—probably a log cabin—to live in. It was not an easy thing to “move” unless there was a very good reason for it so I started doing some digging.

I’ve found a wonderful website, part of the Newberry Library in Chicago that has an Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. I use that page frequently. There is a map of the United States and after you click on one of the states you’ll get a state map and when you click on “View Interactive Map” you’ll get a map of the state with the date the territory was established and counties in place at the time. You can change the date to show how the counties changed through the years. Here’s what Florida looked like in 1825.

Did you know most of the east coast of Florida was part of Mosquito County? As accurate as that is, it’s probably a good idea they dropped the name as more counties were created.

Anyway.

As I clicked through the years and looked at the county boundaries I found there is a little sliver at the top of present day Osceola County—a sliver that includes Kissimmee—that was first part of Brevard County, then part of Orange County, and finally ended up in Osceola County. I tend to think Quinn and Jane Bass set up housekeeping somewhere along that sliver in the vicinity of Kissimmee and the future St. Cloud and were in the same general area all those years. In 1867 their daughter Effie, my great-grandmother, was born there.

Effie Bass married James White Miller II in 1885 when she was 18 years old. They had three children, Corrie Elizabeth (Aunt Corrie to my dad), James White III (my grandpa) and Honora Jane, who died when she was two years old. The baby was named after her two grandmothers: Honoria Quary Mills Miller and Jane Richards Bass. She died in 1899 and so far I haven’t found anything that tells me why or how she died. Five years later, in 1904, Effie died at the age of 37.I don’t know how she died either.

Sheriff Miller married again, to Marion Miller Butler (yes, her maiden name was Miller), who was born in Vicksburg in 1863 in the midst of the Civil War. Union soldiers quartered at her house during the war and called her “Little Reb.” In fact, her middle name was Rebella. Grandma Miller, as we would know her, lived to the ripe old age of 101. She received a birthday card from President Kennedy when she turned 100. He would be assassinated later that same year.

The McKays were the last of my grandparents to arrive in Florida coming shortly after 1910. After the previous generation settled Whiteside County, Illinois, Donald Graham McKay (his father was born in Nova Scotia) decided to take his family to Florida. He was anticipating, and hoping to take advantage of, the land boom which continued into the 1920s.

The McKays were the first of my ancestors to arrive in Florida by car, traveling from Illinois in a Model T. My brother remembers hearing they had to spend some time in Georgia (Atlanta or Macon I think) to have the axles rebuilt to fit the ruts that formed the roads in the south. Evidently the width of a bale of cotton and the wagon that carried it dictated the width of the ruts of roads in the south. I don’t know what determined the width of roads in the north, but it wasn’t a cotton wagon.

In the 1930 the kids were all grown, and Donald and Olive McKay lived on Poinsettia Avenue in Orlando. Their home was valued at $20,000 on the 1930 census, easily the most affluent home in the area. They lived just around the corner from their daughter Gertrude and her family. Robert Dyer, his wife—we called her Aunt Gertie—and their five kids lived around the corner on Sheridan Avenue. The house on Sheridan was always our first stop when Dad took us home to Florida for vacations.

So that’s how my family got to Florida. They started arriving in the 1840s and my dad left when he joined the Air Force after he graduated from Orlando High School in 1949. He met my mom while he was in the service. That is a story—totally romantic—for another day.

Do you know how your family got to where they are now? I’d love to hear your stories.

Jan

xo to you Dad! :-)

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2014 in McKay, Miller

 

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