Loyalists Cause Havoc in North Carolina

This little scrap of paper with info written by my Aunt Dorothy Ann Miller Oropeza is the brief beginning of our family research.

It starts with James Miller born in South Carolina in 1824.

CCI_000010 (2)

Here’s a transcript.

Great Great- Grandpa (these indicate the relationship to my dad and his sister)
James Miller, born April 27 1824 in So. Carolina
Married March 20, 185? To Honoria Q (Quary) Mills
Born  Feb. 8, 1830 in So. Carolina
Son was:
Great Grandpa
James Whyte Miller
Born Feb. 19, 1858 in So. Carolina
James Whyte Miller Jr.,
Born June 30, 1895
Died Oct. 8, 1935
Married to
Kathryn Elizabeth McKay on June 29, 1927
Don’t know anything about the first James Miller – where born etc.
Honoria Q Mills; grandfather was Rev. Dr, Thomas Mills
Born in England, an Episcopal Minister

This is the earliest picture I have of these ancestors, Honoria Q. Mills Miller. Based on the style of clothes, I think this was about 1860.

Honoria Q. Mills on American Saga

And here is my dad’s grandpa.  He was one of the first sheriffs of Osceola County, Florida.

On the white horse is my grandpa, my dad’s dad who died in 1936. The girl holding the puppy is Aunt Corrie. The woman inside the fence is Effie Bass Miller, my great grandmother, and the man on the black horse is Sheriff James W. Miller, my great grandpa. There was another daughter in the family, Honora Jane, born in 1897, she died in 1899 at the age of two.

Sheriff James Miller and Family.

The house was in Kissimmee, Florida. This picture would have been taken about 1900 or shortly afterwards. My grandpa was born in 1895, and his mother Effie died in 1904.

Effie Bass was born in Florida in 1867. Her family migrated from Georgia about 1849. The Bases were previously from North Carolina, and Effie’s great grandfather was born in 1766. He was too young to fight in the Revolutionary War, but evidently he and some of his cousins and brothers were Loyalists and were arrested multiple times for raising a ruckus and causing havoc around the countryside in an effort to aid the British war effort.

In history I learned those loyal to the crown after the war went to Canada or back to England. Evidently there were many who stayed in place and created problems during and shortly after the war. I don’t know when the Basses moved from North Carolina to Georgia, but maybe it was an attempt to avoid the law.

Going back further, I think these Basses were at Jamestown shortly after the settlement was established. That is a story for another day.


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Posted by on July 17, 2017 in Miller


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A Day at the Beach, circa 1910

I knew my Oklahoma great-grandparents. Both sets were alive and kicking until I was in high school so they were real people to me. My Florida great-grandparents, however seem so long ago. They were older than my Oklahoma great-grandparents, they died before I was born, but I think more importantly, that side of the family is in Florida. I didn’t grow up hearing stories about them. To me they are just names on a family tree. So here they are. Olive Mae Wink and Donald Graham McKay.

Olive and Donald McKay, on AmericanSaga

Ollie and Donald McKay about 1910

Both were born in Whiteside County, Illinois. Donald in 1869 and Ollie, as she was known, in 1870.  They married in 1890, about the time my other great-grandparents were born. According to the History of Whiteside County, Illinois, Donald previously taught school and had been in the life insurance business. In 1908, however, he had purchased land and was farming.

He didn’t stay a farmer long. He made some trips to Florida and soon he packed everyone into the Model T and moved. He was in real estate now.

By this time they had five kids: known to me as Aunt Iva, b. 1892; Aunt Mildred, b. 1896; Aunt Gertie, 1899; Uncle Donald, b. 1902; and Grandma, Kathryn, called Kat, b. 1905.

McKay 4

Couple at far right: Donald & Ollie McKay, at the beach with friends. About 1910, Florida.

I think they were in Jacksonville for a short time, but very soon they were homesteading in Kissimmee.

McKay 3

Donald & Ollie Wink McKay homestead in Florida. McKay family gathered in the front yard.

I wonder if they made the move in one of those cars. My brother said Aunt Gertie told him during the trip–that must have taken forever–they stayed for a while in Georgia to make adjustments to the car. Adjustments as in they had to get new axles made?!!

Roads in the south were the width of the wagons that hauled a bale of cotton. Which was not the same width as roads in the north. But they weren’t roads as we know them, for the most part they were ruts in the dirt. So the wheels of the car had to fit in those ruts or it was very rough traveling, if you could use the road at all.

The McKays moved from Kissimmee to Orlando between 1921, when Aunt Gertie married there and 1927 when Grandma married in Orlando. Donald was ahead of the Florida real estate boom of the 1920s, but unfortunately he couldn’t get out before it crashed. At one time he owned the land that Disney World now occupies. In 1926 real estate prices crashed in Florida. Donald was going broke. And then the stock market crashed in 1929 which must have compounded whatever trouble he was having.

Donald G. McKay died in a hunting accident in September 10, 1930. He was 61 years old. The story is he was climbing through a fence and the gun went off. Hunting accident is the official cause of death listed on his death certificate, but the family generally believed it to be a suicide.

In high school I learned there were many suicides due to the 1929 stock market crash, but I had no idea there was likely one in my family.


P.S. While I have no idea who the photographer was, the photos came from descendants of one of Olive’s older sisters, Axaphia Wink Kennedy. Her son DeWitt was friends with his McKay cousins, Aunt Gertie in particular and they stayed in touch for a while after the move. He went to Florida to visit about 1911. Years later, his daughter Jayne came across the pictures and assembled them into an album. She emailed me a copy and these are the only images I have of my great grandparents, Ollie and Donald McKay. Thanks, Jayne!


Posted by on July 13, 2017 in McKay


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Happy Birthday, Dad!

James White Miller VI

Here’s my dad just as he was about to graduate from Orlando High School in 1949. This is a page from his senior Memory Book.

James W Miller HighSchool

Look at those saddle oxfords! And the cuffs on those short sleeves. Signs of the times.

JamesW Miller Memory Book (2)

He was born July 10, 1930 in Kissimmee, Florida. He died April 14, 1989 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The first James White Miller was born April 27, 1824, on a plantation on the Catawba River in Lancaster County, South Carolina. I think Belair was the name of the family home which was established by his father, James Miller who married Sarah White.

James Miller 1825 home site The Millers went from South Carolina to Kissimmee, Florida where they remained until my dad joined the Air Force. He was stationed in Wichita Falls, Texas, and during a weekend pass he and a few buddies decided to see how far it was to Oklahoma City.

While cruising downtown the four guys ran into four girls who were on their way to the bus stop after a movie. My mom was one of those girls and that’s how my little branch of the Miller tree ended up in Oklahoma.

Happy Birthday Dad. I’m so glad you made that random trip to meet my mom.


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Posted by on July 10, 2017 in Miller


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Happy Birthday to Me

My birthday, March 21,  was earlier this week so I thought I’d share my birthday party with you. That’s my little brother Jimmy with his fingers in his mouth. I got a doctor’s kit for my birthday and I remember he couldn’t keep his hands out of it.

My second cousin, Debbie Scott, is on the right, and Brenda, my friend, has her back to the camera.

Birthday Party on

That little kid-size card table and chairs is red and white. I got it for Christmas that year. I still have the table somewhere. By the way, there are four cupcakes with candles in front of me, and this picture was taken 60 years ago.

My straight hair was not the style, so those little pin curls are compliments of one of my annual permanents. I slept on bobby pins to get that look.

Anybody else out there sleep in bobby pins? Or maybe you remember Spoolies that came along a few years later. They were these little pink rubber spools that took the place of bobby pins. A strand of hair was wrapped around the stem and the top of it snapped over the hair to hold it in place.

Avery Albert Scott and Caldona Scott were known as Poppy and Mommy to Debbie and me. They were our great grandparents. My grandmother was Lela Scott Rose, and her baby brother, my Uncle Mac, was Debbie’s grandpa. Uncle Mac’s real name was Raymond Rayford Scott.

I think the “Mac” nickname was because he liked to sing Old MacDonald Had a Farm, although I don’t remember where I saw that.

What about your early birthday parties? Do you have memories of gifts or guests?




Posted by on March 23, 2017 in Rememberies, Scott


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Avery Albert Scott and James Avery Lambert

One reason my Scott line is so challenging for all of us to research is for two or three generations they all had a LOT of kids — ten, twelve or more — and grandpas, dads, uncles and cousins would have the same name. And I don’t know how many of them married someone named Elizabeth or Mary confusing the issue even more. It’s tricky to be sure the John or you’re looking at is really your grandpa and not your uncle or maybe even a second cousin.

Poindexter and Melinda Scott on

Poindexter and Malinda Scott

There are a few exceptions. Until I started doing my family research the only Poindexter I knew of was Archie’s brainy classmate in the Archie comic books. But pretty quickly I found I have a third uncle named Poindexter. No telling how his name might be spelled, but in the right place at the right time it’s easy to know who he is.  He’s the next younger brother of my 3x great grandpa Frank, who was named Jeremiah Franklin.

My great grandpa, Avery Albert Scott is also pretty easy to identify when I’m looking at old reports and records. I always wondered where the name Avery came from. It sounded like a girl’s name to me.  And now there are lots of little girls named Avery, including one of my great nieces.

Avery Albert Scott on

Avery Albert Scott     1889 – 1976

Just recently I found another Avery in the family tree. James Avery Lambert was Jeremiah Franklin’s first cousin. His mother is Isabella Scott Lambert, John Scott sister. They were both born in North Carolina with two more brothers, James Bartlett Scott, the oldest, born in 1795 and William Thomas Scott the youngest, born in 1804. John was born 1800 and Isabella in 1802.

Just recently one of Isabella’s descendant’s got in touch with me and we’re comparing notes. She was looking for information about Isabella and found this blog. She lives in Ashville, North Carolina, which is just a stone’s throw from where these ancestors were born, wherever that is exactly. She’s in the right place to do some hands-on research.

It took forever, well…  not quite forever, to find my dad’s line due to five generations of James White Miller. When a distant Miller cousin got in touch and said we were related to Mary Chestnut, (Mary Boykin Miller Chestnut) who kept a diary during the Civil War, I was able to come at the Miller line sideways and find the original James White Miller was born in 1824. His parents were James Miller and Sarah White. Ta da!  Finally I found the source of James White.My grandmother would be proud.

How about you? Are there a lot of duplicate names in your family? Have you been able to make your way around them to fill in your family tree?



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Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Miller, Scott


What’s with all the “Washes”?

I have counted eleven George Washingtons in my incomplete family tree. They have eight different surnames, come from five different states, and were born from 1827 to 1880.

From what i can tell all of them used the name Washington and went by the nickname, “Wash.”  I saw a few GWs on some documents and a couple of headstones, but I never saw anything to suggest they went by the name George.

The surnames are Crouch (2), Green, Broyles, Haynes, Laird, Rose (2), Scott (2), and Bass. They were born in Indiana, Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina, and Georgia. Here’s George Washington Crouch, my great great grandpa, born in Arkansas in 1848.

GW Crouch

George Washington Crouch

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Posted by on August 31, 2015 in Random Observations


Howww-deeeee! From Cousin Minnie Pearl

I have a scrap of paper with notes in my grandmother’s handwriting. It says:

Mrs. Henry Cannon

Sarah Ophelia

         Centerville, Tenn.

(Minnie Pearl)

Scott relation her mother & Grandpa Scott  William Charlie Scott

Grandma, Lela Mae Scott Rose, always said we were related to Minnie Pearl but I was too young to remember if she ever told us how we were connected and this scrap of paper is all we about it in writing.

Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon as Minnie Pearl in 1965

Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon, Minnie Pearl, 1965

She was born October 25, 1912 in Centerville, Hickman County, Tennessee. According to this Minnie Pearl Geni page she is daughter of Thomas Kelly Colley and Fannie Tate Colley.

My Scott line goes back to John Scott, b. 1800 in Buncombe County, North Carolina. Sometime around the 1820s John and his siblings, two brothers and a sister, moved west. The oldest brother, James Bartlett, b. 1797, eventually settled in Maury County, Tennessee while the others, John; Isabelle, b. 1802; and William Thomas, b. 1804, ended up in Lauderdale County, Alabama.

In 1854 and 1858 Hickman County gained some area from Maury County. Hickman County is where Sarah was born. Grandmother’s note indicates the relationship is through Sarah’s mother and it’s my guess that she descends from James Bartlett Scott.

My  direct line from John Scott goes through his son Jeremiah Franklin (Frank), b. 1830, then to William Charlie Scott, b. 1860, who moved to Oklahoma with his family which included Avery Albert Scott, b. 1889. Avery married Caldona Crouch and Lela Mae, my grandmother, was their first daughter.

John Scott is my grandmother’s 2x great grandpa and she was born in 1911. Sarah was born in 1912, so it’s possible James Bartlett is her 2x great grandfather, which would make them fourth cousins.

Fannie Tate Colley is Sarah’s mother, according to the page, so I’m on a search for more information about her and who she comes from.

I’ve done very little research on James Bartlett, I have plenty of my own direct ancestors to keep me busy, but this Minnie Pearl link has me looking into him. Somewhere I found seven kids for James Bartlett so I’m looking for records to confirm that and then I’ll research their descendants which is a gigantic job. I don’t know if I’ll be looking for daughters or sons.

If I can find more about Fannie Tate Colley that will be the easier direction to search.

Sarah married Henry Cannon in 1937, but they didn’t have any children so I’ll be looking nieces and nephews to help me make the match.

Anyone out there have a great aunt Sarah, who was known as Minnie Pearl? I’d like to make the link to confirm what my grandmother knew.


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Posted by on August 8, 2015 in Scott


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