Friday, March 28, 2014

Sibling Saturday: Joel E. Ridgell's Kids

          Joel E. Ridgell is my 4th great grandfather.  He was born in March of 1800 in Orangeburg County, South Carolina and died December 28, 1870 in Lexington County, South Carolina.  I am convinced that Joel is largely responsible for the number of Ridgells that can be found in Lexington County today (and his father helped the Ridgells of SC grow with his own 10 children in the Marion County, South Carolina area). I may be wrong, but I do not think this idea is completely out of the realm of possibility considering the fact that Joel E. Ridgell fathered 18 children in the early to mid 1800s.  Joel had two wives. Rebecca Norris and Susanna Fox.  Rebecca and Joel had 26 years together, marrying when he was just 19 years old.  She is the mother of 12 of his children:
Mark P. Ridgell (b: 16 Jan 1821)
Camella E. Ridgell (b: 16 Jun 1825, d: 18 Jun 1846)
Mary Rebecca Ridgell (b: 29 Sept 1826, d: 20 Dec 1861)
Unknown Male Ridgell (b: between 1825 and 1830)
Susannah Ridgell (b: 13 Dec 1828, d: 18 Jul 1931)
Martha C. Ridgell (b: 13 Dec 1828, d: 28 Jun 1831)
Joel P. Ridgell (b: 07 Nov 1830)
Julia Ridgell (b: 27 May 1832)
John B. Ridgell (b: 06 Jun 1835, d: 04 Aug 1890)
William Ridgell (b: 01 Mar 1837, d: 18 Jul 1869)
Flora Ann Ridgell (b: 13 Apr 1839)
Tudor Ridgell (b: 25 Jun 1841, d: 1865)

          Rebecca died in November of 1841, leaving Joel with 11 living children, the youngest being 5 months old.  In 1845, Joel remarried a woman 23 years younger than he was (which means she was 4 years old at the time of his first marriage).  At the age of 22, Susanna Fox became the stepmother of 12 children, 11 of which may have been living, ranging in age from 4 to 24.  I have always wondered how her older stepchildren felt about her, including the oldest child (a male and older than she was) and her stepdaughter with the same name that was only 5 years years younger than she was.  I wonder what made Joel decide to marry someone around the same age as his son when he had not married yet.  I may never know......
          Susanna and Joel had 6 children:

Felix Ridgell (b: about 1846, d: 1865 in Adams County, Pennsylvania?)
Daniel Ridgell (b: 1848, d: about 1870)
Rosaline Ridgell (b: 23 Mar 1849, d: 1937)
Franklin Ridgell (b: 1852)
Paulina "Lina" Ridgell (b: 03 Sept 1857, d: 21 Aug 1916)
Edgar Clifton Ridgell (b: 06 Nov 1859, d: 23 Aug 1935)

          My 3rd great grandmother is Paulina "Lina" Ridgell.  She married Frank Clayton Aldridge, Sr.and they had 8 children.  LOTS of siblings floating around, which should mean lots of cousins, and I know absolutely NO cousins resulting from these two/three generations (i.e. 3rd - 5th cousins).  How is that possible?  Maybe this post will help...... 
          Ironically, my family lived in Batesburg, South Carolina for about 7 years (my elementary school years) without knowing much of anything about the Batesburg and Lexington County connections.  It wasn't until a few years ago that I connected all of the dots.  It was pretty amazing to realize that the cemetery that many of my family are buried in is close enough to walk to from my childhood home.
          Here is another wild discovery: I taught in Lexington District 2 for 3 years (great district, by the way!) and took my students to the Lexington County Museum each year as part of our 3rd grade SC History study.  I loved the place but had no connections to it other than it was part of Lexington County's History and I taught in Lexington County.  A few years ago, while connecting the dots, I typed in Joel Ridgell's name into the Google search engine.  His name came up on the Lexington County Museum page and this is what I found.....
The kitchen at the Lexington County Museum, along with several other outbuildings, was originally located in Batesburg, SC and was owned by Joel Ridgell (my great-great-great-great grandfather), who was the brother-in-law of John Fox.
"The kitchen at the Lexington County Museum, along with several other outbuildings, was originally located in Batesburg, SC and was owned by Joel Ridgell."

The Lexington County Museum’s smokehouse was another outbuilding from Joel Ridgell’s (my great-great-great-great grandfather's) plantation in Batesburg.
"Some of Joel Ridgell's belongings, including a smoke house, large oven, chicken coop and privy are on display at the Lexington County Museum along with The Fox house." (my great-great-great-great uncle's house)

Yet another family story that shows just how small South Carolina can be.  Everywhere I go seems to land me "back home".  Which makes me ask the question one more time - how have I not found more family? My hope is that this "Sibling Saturday" post will help me find long lost relatives that can help me complete my story!

Our Line of Ridgells:
Lake Hawthorne Barrett
Ronald Hawthorne Barrett - Jenna Elizabeth Aldridge (mother)
Marion Douglas Aldridge (grandfather) - Sarah Marguerite Craig
Edmund Carlton Aldridge, Jr. (great grandfather) - Lina Allene Hipps
Edmund Carlton Aldridge, Sr. (2nd great grandfather) - Georgia Louise Martin
Carlton William Aldridge, Sr. (3rd great grandfather) - Lucy Taylor Hitt
Frank Clayton Aldridge, Sr. - Lina Paulina RIDGELL (4th great grandmother)
Joel E. RIDGELL (5th great grandfather) - Susanna Fox
Joel RIDGELL (6th great grandfather) - Martha Sweeny

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mystery Monday - George Lake Barrett

         My son is named after his 2nd great grandfather, George Lake Barrett.  When I began doing genealogy, the Barrett line stopped with George.  That was extremely disappointing since it is the surname my son will carry on.  I started looking at censuses and they showed a lot of possibilities, but no good leads.  I felt like Lake had to be a maiden name and hoped that it might help me out - it didn't seem like the kind of name someone would have pulled out of the hat randomly but I knew nothing for sure.  Then I located, through a complete fluke, his death certificate!  I don't remember what I did to get it to come up - I have tried since then and it appears to be hidden well.  Thank goodness I remembered to save it!
I finally knew his parents and immediately went to find them in other trees to see if I could get any new information.  That is when the mystery began.  George was not listed as one of John and Frances Lake Barrett's kids on ANY of the other family trees I found.  Why?  Why weren't they acknowledging him as a son?  Then I started looking at their evidence and discovered quickly what had happened.  George Lake Barrett was born in 1876, so he was, obviously, not listed in the 1870 census that was taken for the family.
None of them had the 1880 Census listed.  The 1890 Census is no more (ho, hum), so there is no way to see him with the family in that one!  By 1900, he was married, which meant he was no longer listed with the family.
And there you have it - no wonder the rest of the family knows nothing about him!  Where is the 1880 Census?????  I cannot locate it anywhere.  I have even tried looking through some censuses page by page, but am not 100% what all I have looked through.  I now understand why people keep track of every document they go through, although I have yet to figure out the best way to do it.

So - the mystery continues.  Where do I look?  What do I do?  If you have any ideas, I would love any suggestions you might have.

Our Line of Barretts:

Lake Hawthorne Barrett
Ronald Hawthorne BARRETT (father) - Jenna Aldridge Barrett
Ronald Alan BARRETT (grandfather) - Nancy Susan Beskid
Walter John BARRETT (great grandfather) - Rodgers Elizabeth Dantzler
George Lake BARRETT (2nd great grandfather) - Jeannette Van Zandt/Van Hecke
John BARRETT (3rd great grandfather) - Frances Lake
Walter BARRETT (4th great grandfather) - Hariett Boardman

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sentimental Sunday - My Childhood Town

          When I was about 3 years old, my family moved to Batesburg, South Carolina (located a little over an hour away from Columbia).  My dad was the pastor of First Baptist Church in Batesburg, and my mom taught math and science at Batesburg-Leesville Middle School.  I spent the majority of my elementary childhood there.  Looking back, I realize that I was able to experience life in a way that very few people my age were ever able to.  I never had to dial all 6 numbers to make a phone call, locking doors was completely optional, and riding bikes without helmets out of the neighborhood to the corner store to get a glass bottle of coke was completely acceptable.  I grew up around the corner from a family that had multiple acres of land with a small farm on it.  I called them Nana and Papa, climbed hay stacks with their grandchildren, played with puppies that were born there and picked peaches from their trees.  I ate from the 3 pecan trees and 2 plum trees in my backyard without needing to wash off pesticides.  I remember my mom making plum jelly and eating it year round.  I remember going to the store on Main Street with her to pick out my adoption doll.  I remember walking to school with my Dad when I was in Kindergarten.  I remember fishing with him in Mr. Cohn's pond.  I remember lying on my back in the backyard at night and seeing so many stars - WAY more than I could ever imagine seeing in my backyard now!  I loved the people there, especially from my neighborhood and church!  They were like family, and although I rarely have the chance to see them, I treasure every chance I have.
          Today, however, my elementary school is no longer used as a school, my childhood house burned down and another, more modern house, was built in its place, and some of my church family and neighbors have passed away.  I don't have many chances to go back, maybe (if i'm lucky), once a year, but I go back whenever I can.  I drive through my old neighborhood.  I drive by the schools.  I drive by the church.  I visit the cemetery.  All the while, I remember - remember a town that has given me memories that I will treasure forever, and I thank God for the time He gave me there.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday's Obituary: William Green Austin

This is the obituary for my husband's great-great grandfather, William Green Austin:

The State Newspaper (Columbia, South Carolina)
25 Jan 1910
Page 5, Column 2

William Green Austin
Special to The State.
Greenwood, Jan. 24 -- The burial of Capt. William Green Austin was held here yesterday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock at the old Methodist cemetery on East Cambridge street. His pastor, Rev. J. W. Kilgo, conducted the burial exercises.  Members of Camp D. Wyatt Aiken, U. C. V., and Robert A. Waller chapter, U. D. C., took part in the last rites.  The death of Capt. Austin occurred Saturday morning at 2 o'clock.  His wife was away at the bedside of a daughter, who was quite ill in Chester.  Captain Austin for seven or eight years has been judicial magistrate at Greenwood.  He moved to Greenwood from Chester County 15 years ago.  He was a man of strictest integrity and high character and commanded the respect of all who knew him.  He was 65 years old.  He served with distinction in the War Between the States as a member of Company K, in the Fifth South Carolina regiment. He is survived by his wife, who was a Mrs. Carter before their marriage, and three children:  Mrs. A. P. Aldrich, Greenwood; James D. Austin, Abbeville, and Wade H. Austin.

That is it.  This is all I know about him.  I do not know who his parents are, but hope that some of the clues in this obituary, including Chester County, will give me some good leads.  If you know anything about his family, I would LOVE to hear from you!!!

Our Line of Austins:

Lake Hawthorne Barrett
Ronald Hawthorne Barrett (father) - Jenna Elizabeth Aldridge
Ronald Alan Barrett - Nancy Susan Beskid (grandmother)
Charles Joseph Beskid - Nancy Hawthorne AUSTIN (great grandmother)
James Hawthorne AUSTIN (2nd great grandfather) - Eliza Livingston Mabry
William Green AUSTIN (3rd great grandfather) - Nancy Elizabeth Hawthorne

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday's Child: "Baby Andrew"

While I am on the topic of Sarah Wallace, I thought I would share one of my favorite "ah-hah" moments.  Before I begin, let me start off by saying that my husband and I joined Washington Street United Methodist Church (WSUMC) in Columbia, South Carolina 11 years before this story takes place.  We had no family connections at the church, but felt (and still feel) as if it was where we were supposed to be.

One cold Sunday morning after the choir had finished practicing, I dressed in my robe to wait for the service to begin.  The choir room was very warm, so I decided to cool off by walking around the small courtyard right outside, reading some of the names on the grave headstones.  If you have ever been to Columbia, you will realize that there is no such thing as 6 degrees of separation - you will be lucky to get to 3 degrees!  There are many family names that tend to pop up all over the place (just like being in a small, old town!).  Because of this, reading headstones is always fun for me!  While reading the names, I turned to a smaller headstone that was located right next to the stairs and read "Sacred to the memory of Andrew, the infant son of Andrew and Sarah Wallace who departed this life May 26, 1830, aged 7 months."
I FROZE!  My 4th great-grandfather's name was Andrew Wallace and my grandmother's name was Sarah.  My wheels started turning..... how many people named Andrew Wallace could there have been in Columbia in the early 1800s?  I immediately took a picture of the headstone (gotta love smartphones!!!!!) and went back inside.  The second I got home I went straight to my genealogy file and looked up Andrew's information.  There, RIGHT THERE, was Andrew and Sarah's 8th child, a little boy named Andrew, that died May 26, 1830.  HOLY COW!!!  I had located his long lost grave!  And then my mind REALLY began to go 100 miles a minute - Why was he buried there?  Why wasn't he buried with the rest of the family? Why would they have buried him there if it wasn't their church home?  Wait - their church home!  Could this have been their church home?  I was about to POP at this point!  The only problem was that our church was burned by Sherman when he came through Columbia during the Civil War (LONG story - they thought it was First Baptist) and so all of our church records were gone.  My heart sank.  The only hope I had to a possible answer was a church history book that had been written in 1975 called Tried By Fire by Archie Vernon Huff, Junior.  And really - what was the likelihood that MY great-great-great-great grandfather would be mentioned in it?  He wasn't a pastor or associate pastor and I had never heard or read his name before at the church and there are names of people all over the church.  

So, just to say I had done all I could, the next Sunday I went looking for and found a copy of the book.  (I will never forget the generosity of Arlette and Alex Raley for giving me a copy of the book to keep!  It was a gift that meant more than they will ever know!)  I turned to the index and hunted for the "W" section..... Walker, Walker, WALLACE!!!!!!!   There, in print, was Andrew Wallace's name.  Not only was his name listed, but it had 4 different entries (pages 11-12, 26-27, 31, and 90).  I turned to the first entry and read...... 

"Prominent among the leaders of the Washington Street congregation, and somewhat typical of them, was Andrew Wallace, a native of Scotland, who left his homeland 'on the deliberate conclusion that it was no place for one to rise in the world without capital or influential friends.' He migrated to Charleston, and seeking his fortune in the upcountry, he hired himself out to a wagon train belonging to Colonel Thomas Taylor and headed for Columbia.  Described by a younger contemporary as 'canny, cautious, clear-headed, painstaking, honest, and thrifty,' Wallace opened a mercantile business.  It grew into a 'large dry goods, grocery, and cotton house' on Richardson (later Main) Street, which Wallace owned in partnership with a fellow Scotsman, MacFie.  They soon amassed a large fortune, but MacFie's speculative nature was too adventurous for the cautious Wallace, and he dissolved the partnership.  At one time Wallace led the formation of the Columbia insurance Company but sold his interest when it proved 'too hazardous to suite his taste.'  He married Sarah Patrick, the daughter of a wealthy Richland planter, reared a large family, and devoted his time in his later years to watching his large investments in 'banks, railroads, and other corporations.'  Like members of the low country aristocracy, he spent his summers in the mountains, at a home south of Ashville.  From the early years of the nineteenth century until his death in 1863, Andrew Wallace was a faithful and highly esteemed member of Washington Street Church.  He kept up a friendly rivalry in church financial matters with Mrs. Elizabeth McGowen, who operated McGowen's Ferry across the Broad River Bridge.  When funds were needed for the church, one or the other would say: 'Well, if Sister McGowen can go a hundred, I reckon I can; or if Brother Wallace will put up fifty dollars, I will.'" 

I know the dates and locations for many of my ancestors, but I know very little about who they were and fear that unfortunately, that will be the norm rather than the exception.  BUT..... with this one entry, not only did I now know that my family had been members of my church long ago, but I knew what "Gramps" was like.  I was floating on cloud nine!  The author did a great job of showing where he got all of his information, and I can't wait to go hunt down those books to see if there is anything else I can learn about Andrew.  

Andrew Wallace's grave, along with the graves of most of the other family members, were moved to Elmwood Memorial Gardens when the church built a new building, but the extended family chose to leave "Baby Andrew's" grave at the church.  The part of the family that made the decision to leave him by himself at the church had their reasons, I am sure, but I will forever be grateful, for that one decision has given me a gift I will treasure forever.  I love each Sunday morning that I walk through the breezeway to the choir room.  I smile as I look at the church that my family helped build and say "Good Morning, Baby Andrew"  knowing that he is no longer alone.  Our family has come back to worship where we belong.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mystery Monday: Sarah Clifton Patrick's Family

There are a number of mysteries and holes in my family research that I need to explore, but questions about Sarah's family  have come up recently, so I have decided to write about her today while it is fresh in my mind.  
My fourth great-grandmother was Sarah Clifton Patrick.  She was born, from what I can gather, in Virginia (although I have one source that states that she was the "daughter of a wealthy Richland planter" - Tried by Fire by Archie Vernon Huff, Jr. page 12). I have seen 2 different Virginia county possibilities, Richmond and Southampton, but have no proof for either.  I do know that she married Andrew Muir Wallace and raised her children in Columbia, South Carolina.  I know nothing about Sarah's parents, siblings, or possible aunts/uncles/cousins and have no ideas about where anyone else could have settled if and when they left Virginia. BUT....... I have come across a possible clue and am pulling my hair out trying to see if it could help me find out more about her family.

Background/Quick note: Sarah and Andrew Wallace were members of the church that my husband, son, and I are now members of (Washington Street United Methodist Church in Columbia, SC).  She and Andrew, along with some other family members, were originally buried at Washington Street in the church cemetery, but when the church built a new building "that was to be erected in the churchyard, the church agreed to move graves for families which made the request...... Among the graves moved were those of the Andrew Wallace.....families." (Tried by Fire by Archie Vernon Huff, Jr. page 90)

One Sunday, while I was waiting for the church service to begin, I walked through one of the small courtyards located next to the choir room/back entrance to the sanctuary.  I pulled out my iPhone (gotta love technology!) and began to take pictures of the headstones in that area so that I could upload them to later.  While I was uploading the photos, I realized one of the graves was for a Claiborne Clifton, born in Virginia.

This Claiborne was buried within 8 graves of Sarah Clifton Patrick Wallace's original grave sight.  What were the chances of finding a "Clifton," born in Virginia, buried that close to her?  I have no idea of how he could be related to her, but I feel like there has to be a connection.  I have searched and have found plenty of information on Claiborne and his family.  He does have a sister named "Sarah Clifton," although it does not appear that any of his sisters married a "Patrick."  Could he have been a cousin of her mother's, though, or is this a complete fluke?  I feel as if there has got to be some connection, but what is it?????  If only I had that magic wand to summon the information I need.

If you are reading this and know ANYTHING about the Clifton or Patrick families from Virginia or South Carolina, I would love to hear from you!  OR if you have any ideas about where I could begin searching, I am all ears!

Our Line of Patricks:

Lake Hawthorne Barrett
Ronald Hawthorne Barrett - Jenna Elizabeth Aldridge (mother)
Marion Douglas Aldridge - Sarah Marguerite Craig (mother)
William Rhett Craig, Jr. (grandfather) - Elizabeth Ann Barnes
William Rhett Craig, Sr. - Sarah Lou Wallace (2nd great grandmother)
John Witherspoon Wallace (3rd great grandfather) - Joella Septimer Milner
John Wallace (4th great grandfather) - Rebecca Elizabeth Witherspoon
Andrew Muir Wallace - Sarah Clifton PATRICK (5th great grandmother)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Going Digital!

OK - I am already off to a pretty pitiful start, but trying to begin a new blog in May when I teach was probably not the smartest thing to do.  Live and learn!

So.... today's topic:  making things digital!  Let me begin by saying that I am a little OCD - well, actually more, CDO.  It is like OCD except that the letters are in order, as they should be! (I can't remember where I heard that one, but it continues to be one of my favorites!)  I digress.....  As I was saying.  I began doing my research by printing out the census forms and family sheets provided by and writing in the information on the sheets to keep track of what I had found.  I then tried to keep it all organized in notebooks.

Problem #1:  I kept messing up what I was supposed to be writing and it drove me crazy, but using pencils with erasers was not really an option because pencil marks can smear and rub away over time.

Problem #2:  To say that many lines of my family (as well as my husband's) have been in specific parts of South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia for a very long time would be an understatement.  Because of this, I was finding many different family members living near each other in a number of censuses.  I wanted to note this, but then found myself trying to figure out where to file the censuses?  I wanted to store each one with all of the families listed (I have a notebook/file for each surname), but then that meant writing it a second time (or third, fourth, etc.), and then what happens if I realize there are more people on the page that have a connection to the family - how can I keep up with making sure I add all of the new information to all of the copies I have made.

That is where making things digital entered into the equation!  I spent A LOT of time making a word document copy of each of the .pdf census files that Ancestry provides for us to print and use.  All of that time was completely worth it, though!  I now have a file for each census year in my dropbox account and whenever I am researching a census, I open up the blank file, type in the information I need to have, save the information as a new file listing the state, county, city and page numbers and voila!  I have a digital copy of everything I want and can print it as many times as I need.  I now only have to type things once, and can make as many copies as I want for as many surname notebooks as I need.  Saving them into my dropbox account also allows me to have access to them when I go do research, without carrying 3-4 bags of notebooks, which is what I was doing before.

Now here is my gift to you (for reading this LONG entry!).......  I am attaching the files I have made for you to use, that is, if you want them.  I am completely new to this, so if for some reason you are not able to open the files, feel free to email me at and I will gladly send them to you via email.  Also - I have not finished all of the census forms, so I will continue to update this post as I complete the last couple.

One note that will help you when using the forms:  If a name/number you have to type in is too long, try shrinking the font size for that box.  This should work. If it doesn't, feel free to email me and I will be happy to help you figure out how to make it work.