Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I'm Very Thankful for My Ancestors

I'm very thankful for my ancestors, some of whom are shown in the chart above. Without each one of them (and the ones who came before), I wouldn't exist today. I send out my thanks and my love to each, and I truly wish that it were possible to have known them all. Yet through my family history research and the facts and details I've discovered, that wish has almost been attainable. (Click on the chart to see the details.)
@2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Friday, November 22, 2013

That Magic Decade

As the 1960s came roaring in, I was tumbling into my teenage years. I turned thirteen on the 5th of June in 1960, and the hormonal changes within me seemed to coincide with the impending turbulence of those years. Life was full of optimism and hope for one entering her teens. How would I turn out? What would I become? Would I ever find true love? Would I marry that true love and have children? It was a time full of magic, hope and wonderment for me.

Always a huge reader and even at that young age a complete “news junkie,” I was avidly interested in the Presidential election of 1960. My family had been solid FDR Democrats who had quickly become Eisenhower Republicans in the 1950s. My first memories of any Presidential election are of the “I Like Ike” slogan. Quite naturally, in the 1960 campaign my family was eager to see his successor, Richard Nixon, elected President.

Although I kept it quiet from my family, I really liked Jack Kennedy. He was handsome and distinguished, but more importantly, I loved Jackie. Jack and Jackie - what a pair! She was a classic beauty, always impeccable in her appearance - and she was so very young. I adored her, in much the same way that I did some of the movie stars of the day. I mean, after all, what was more important to me at that time than how I looked? And she always looked great. The most critical aspects of my life were twofold: were the clothes I was wearing the appropriate “in” thing, and would my hair ever do what I wanted it to? 

When the Kennedys were elected (and yes, I still think of them as a pair), it’s an understatement to say that many people in the South were upset. But in a democracy, most people understood that a new election would always be just down the road and the opportunity for change would always be inevitable. Life went on as usual, and my focus became more intense - I mean on how I looked and what I wore. Naturally.

Suddenly I found myself in high school and was hearing about something called the Bay of Pigs. It was a frightening time, and people were upset with the failure to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba. Would Communism really take over the world? It seemed that President Kennedy had let us down. But he would soon redeem himself when the Russians sent those missiles to Cuba.

Talk about frightening. I remember sitting in class, looking around at all the students who seemed to be going on with life as if we were not in danger of imminent attack. How could they act so normal? I was scared to death. After all, hadn’t we been told that Memphis would definitely be a target of one of those missiles? Of course, I tried not to act frightened when I was around other people. I let myself appear normal, too, so maybe many of them felt the same way I did.

When the crisis ended, the relief was enormous and the President’s popularity rose. I remember being tremendously sad when Jackie lost her baby. Patrick Kennedy. I even remember what they named him because I knew (even then) that Patrick was an Irish name and would have fit well within the Kennedy family.

Friday, November 22, 1963, began as a normal school day. Thanksgiving would be the next week and a holiday was a welcome thought for everyone. By the end of the day, our lives and the lives of the entire nation had changed forever. A “magic bullet” had ended a magic decade before it had even gotten very far along.

For days, the three channels that we had on our television (NBC, ABC, and CBS) were devoted entirely to the assassination. There were no other programs shown – only reporting and coverage of every single detail of the event and the people involved. This was the first time that would ever happen, but unfortunately not the last.

“News junkie” that I was, I was glued, as they say, to the television every waking minute. And so it was that I actually saw Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald. It was unreal - but it was real - and I will never forget that moment and how it made me feel.

Once again, life did go on - but nothing was ever the same. The Civil Rights Movement, which had already begun before JFK’s assassination, had a huge impact on the area where I lived. By the time I graduated from high school in 1965 (with my hair still doing its own thing), there was turmoil and unrest everywhere around us.

All of that paled, though, in comparison to the turmoil and unrest in my love life. My high school sweetheart broke up with me at the end of our freshman year in college, and I was pretty sure that life was over. I signed up to join the Peace Corps because I just knew that would be the cure for my woes. However, I backed out before going too far with the application because I was a complete “Mama’s Girl.” I knew I couldn’t be that far away from her for such a long period of time. (Oh, how I’ve wondered over the years how different my life would have been had I not been such a faint-hearted little girl!)

And life, indeed, wasn’t over for me. By 1968, I was a 21-year-old married lady looking forward to that life full of children, true love and yes, magic.

As wonderful as my own life was going, 1968 has ended up being the worst year in my memory, even though it should have been the best. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in April of that year in my very own city. The National Guard was sent to Memphis, a curfew was imposed, and I clearly remember seeing military jeeps and even tanks roll down the streets of my hometown. It was like seeing a bad B-rated movie, but it was all seen out of the window of my midtown apartment. Once again, I was sure that life as we knew it was over.

But again, it wasn’t. There was worse to come. Robert Francis Kennedy chose to run for President that year, and his assassination was a shock coming on the heels of Martin Luther King’s death. It seemed as though assassination would become a way of life for anyone who didn’t like what someone else believed. Was this what we had to look forward to in our future? What was happening to us as a nation?

Many of the Baby Boomers were already rebelling in their own way. The “counter-culture” had exploded and Hippies, the Vietnam War (with the resulting often-violent protests) and the Kent State killings would take us into the next decade where groups such as the Black Panthers and the Symbionese Liberation Army would constantly be in the news. As bad as the Watergate Affair was, it somehow didn’t seem quite so abnormal in comparison to everything else that had happened before.  Unrest and upheaval had become the norm.

By 1970, I was the mother of a young child dealing with my own problems, and the magic and wonderment that I felt at the beginning of the tumultuous 60s had ebbed enormously. Nevertheless, I’ve always been a complete cockeyed optimist and still had hopeful anticipation for the future.

My life was most certainly affected and even, to some extent, formed by the incredible events of the 1960s. But the birth of my first child and the landing on the moon in 1969 managed to bring back just a tiny bit of that longed-for magic that I had dreamed of in 1960.

Hope and wonderment do not fade away easily.

@2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Susan Smiley Wallace

Tombstone of Susan Smiley Wallace (1828 - 1861), wife of Samuel Wallace. My 2nd great grandmother.
She was only 32 years old and the mother of five children when she passed away.
She is buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Poseyville, Posey Co., IN.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sentimental Sunday: Celebrating Cousins

Four of my cousins have passed away this year. I’m not really sure, but I think that may be a record of some kind. Probably not, but it doesn’t really matter. The loss was hard with each one, and the last one was like a total knock-down.

The first cousin to leave this world was my second cousin on my Mother’s side, Stacy Sanford Harrell (1953 – 5 Feb 2013). Stacy was younger than I; a precious soul who managed to live life “her way.” She was a rebel at heart, giving her children unconventional names and home-schooling her youngest child, even though both of her parents had been public school teachers. She had the soul of an artist and accepted life as it came – even the knowledge of her own impending death. Although I didn’t really get to see her often throughout our lives, the times that we did visit and the talks that we had brought us closer together and cemented that blood tie that cousins have. Knowing Stacy brought out the “flower child” in me.

The second cousin to leave us was my Father’s first cousin on his Mother’s side, Evelyn Clare Akers Wimmer (15 Oct 1921 – 8 Apr 2013). Because of the nature of my parents’ divorce so many years ago, I only had the pleasure of knowing Evelyn for the last twenty years. I’m so grateful that we found each other. Known as “The Purple Lady,” Evelyn was a truly colorful character whose wit and humor made her the life of any party or gathering. She played the ukulele and once led a group of people dancing and singing down Beale Street while she played that famous uke. Oh, how I wish I had known her then and had seen that delightful event! She enjoyed people and lived life to the fullest. All of her clothes and almost everything that she owned were in shades of purple, and her love of that color even extended to the ownership of a lavender colored car! Knowing Evelyn brought out all of the color in my life.

Sally Wallace Hooks (6 Sep 1919 – 7 Jul 2013) was the next to go. She was also my Father’s first cousin, but on his Dad’s side of the family. The youngest child of nine children, she lost her Mother at a very young age - a fact that I believe contributed to the development of her strong character and would become the very essence of the way she lived her life. Her love of her family was enormous, and her charm and her wit revealed itself in every conversation. She was another cousin whom I only knew for the last twenty years. Nonetheless, we bonded quickly, and she took me into her life with all of the immense love that she had for her whole family. We discovered so many common interests and had such similar tastes and styles that there was never a doubt that we were related. One of her nieces always called her “Aunt Sassy,” and although she was not my aunt, I’ll admit that I often thought of her that way. Knowing Sally brought out the “sassy” in me.

The last cousin to depart this life was my Mother’s first cousin, Louis Orlando Sanford, Sr.(28 Dec 1928 - 28 Oct 2013). He was the cousin I knew the best because I’d known him all my life and had visited with him often over the years. Even though I’d not been able to see him the last few years, I would talk to him at least once a year or so, mostly at Christmastime – when family is always so important. Louie was the best and finest man I’ve ever known. He raised four children in a house full of laughter and love, but sadly lost his oldest daughter, Stacy, just a few months before he passed away. He was a teacher, a coach, and a principal, and his life left a positive imprint on generations of people. Whenever I saw or talked to him, I could hear the laughter in his voice – a trait which many of us on that particular side of the family refer to as “the Sanford Humor.” Knowing Louie brought out the laughter in my life.

Each of these cousins left an enormous impression on me, and I would never be able to write enough about each of them. I will, however, cherish their memories and try to fulfill the legacy that each left to me: flower child, colorful, sassy, and a life full of laughter….all part of my genes, too.


@2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Benjamin Dale Akers - a Photographic Tribute

Below are just two of the very few photos I have of my great grandfather, Benjamin Dale Akers.

Benjamin Dale Akers about 30 years old
Dale Akers with his grandson, Richard Love (my Father) in his lap.
(Taken after July and before December of 1914)

@2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thriller Thursday: Murder in MY Family?

I found out a few years ago that there was actually a murder in my family. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that anything like that would have happened to anyone I knew, much less to someone to whom I was related. Nevertheless, it’s true. Of course it happened on my Father’s side of the family, and since I never really knew much about that line, I’d never heard the story - and it happened to my Dad’s own Grandfather!

Now I want to know more. And why haven’t I tried to find out more before now? I, who love murder mysteries with the best of them, have failed to find out the “who, what, where, when, how, and why” of it all. Where has my mind been?

I just happened to run across the article copied below a few years ago, and that’s how I found out how my great grandfather died. At the time, one of my Father’s first cousins was still alive, and she verified the story.  However, she had only been eight years old when it happened and was rather vague on the details. This article is from the Nevada County, AR Depot Museum files and is all I know so far:

Wounds Received in Attempted Holdup Prove Fatal.

Benjamin D. Akers 65 died at his home at 12:30 a.m. He is survived by his wife, 2 sons, F. M. Akers of Cheyenne, WY and J. H. Akers of Memphis, TN.; 1 daughter, Mrs. M. E. Love of Memphis, TN; 1 step-daughter, Mrs. Charles Taylor of Terre Haute, IN; 1 brother, J. W. Akers of Vancover, D.C.; 1 sister, Mrs. Emma McRae of Prescott. Funeral will be at the home on West Walnut St. tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock. Interment in DeAnn Cemetery.

The Nevada News dated 9-24-1931
Not much detail there, so the research begins. And of course, I begin with what I do know:

Benjamin Dale Akers was born in Indiana in May of 1866. He married Nancy Emeline Gardner Pounds on 25 Feb 1887 in Vigo Co., IN. It was a second marriage for them both. Both had sadly endured the loss of a spouse who died.

Sometime after he and his family were listed in the June 1900 Vigo Co., IN census, Dale Akers (the name he most often used) moved his family to Memphis, Shelby Co., TN. He was listed in the 1900 Memphis City Directory (R. L. Polk and Company's Memphis City Directory 1900, p.109) as working for “James & Graham Wagon Co.”

The 1905 version of the same directory listed him as a driver for the Pure Milk Company (p. 115), and the 1910 Memphis, Shelby Co., TN census stated that he was an Inspector for the Street Railway Company.

My cousin told me that Dale left Memphis with my great grandmother, and moved to Prescott, AR where his sister lived. This is proven by the details given in the 1920 Prescott, Nevada Co., AR census, which has Dale listed as 53 years old and working as a chauffeur for a service car company. He was obviously doing fairly well because he owned his own home.

Evidently, at some point he stopped working for others and opened a hamburger stand. I have no knowledge of where this was located, but I certainly plan to find out because that is where the event that took his life occurred, according to my cousin.

The newspaper article indicates that he died at home.  Did they take him home and not to a hospital? Or did the hospital send him home to die? I have so many questions and so much research to do.

My Father would have been seventeen years old when this happened. I can’t even imagine how this affected him. I know that in the 1930 Federal Census of Memphis, Shelby Co., TN, my Dad was listed as fifteen years old. The census was taken on 9 April 1930, and he wouldn’t turn sixteen until July. He was a student at Tech High School here in Memphis at the time. The tragic loss of his Grandfather took place nearly a year and a half after that census.

By 1935, my Dad’s parents divorced. So he lost the stability of his home life (at least he was not a small child), as well as a beloved Grandfather, within a matter of a very few years. Those two major life events must have been very hard for him. In the short time that I knew my Father, who died when I was ten years old, I never heard him mention either of those things.

I want to know more and fully intend to find out. The research begins; the hunt is on. I’ll keep you posted whenever I do know more.

Agatha Christie – move over!


 @2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Census Sunday – Say What?

The 1850 federal census shown on this page is probably one of my all-time favorites for my Love family line. It’s a record of two of my 2nd great-grand uncles, three of my 2nd great-grand aunts, my great-grand aunt who was obviously staying with her aunts and uncles that summer, and my 3rd great-grand uncle, Thomas Dixon (1790 – aft 1850), who was listed as 60 years old in that census.
Of the six children born to my 3rd great grandparents, Charles Jones Love (1773 – 1837) and Frances Peyton Dixon Love (1785 – 1833), four of them were all living together as adults at the family home (“Mansfield”) in Nashville, Davidson County, TN that year. They ranged in age from 21 years old to 34 years old. What were they doing still in the family home?

I know for certain that only nine-year-old Fanny (Frances Peyton Love: 1841 - 1881) would be the only one living in that house that summer who would ever marry. Her uncle, Samuel T. Love (1821 – 1862), would lose his life after being wounded at the Battle of Shiloh. The others never married as far as I know.
When I first accessed the record years ago, I noticed a word out to the side of Thomas Dixon’s name, but I couldn’t read it. I put it aside and forgot about it, as we often do. Thomas was the brother of my 3rd great grandmother, Frances Peyton Dixon Love.

One day a couple of years ago, I happened to come across the census again and decided to really look at that word.  I almost wish I hadn’t!  Upon closer inspection, the word became disturbingly clear. It says…wait for it….yes, that’s right; it says, “Insane.” 
Now I understand everything!

SOURCE Information for census record found at: 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch
@2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Remembering My Brother

Richard Enloe Love, III
(23 Sep 1944 – 14 Dec 2008)
As a teenager in high school

As a young adult
Brother & Sister - 1970s

@2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland



Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Funny - Apartment Nine

One of our family’s many “legendary family stories” includes one about my Mother teaching my older brother how to memorize his address when he was very young.  This all happened before I was born, but my Mother told it many times over the years. I was (luckily) not a first-hand witness to this challenge.

At the time this incident occurred, my family lived in Memphis at 1167 Madison, Apartment Nine. My brother was a very bright young lad, but exhibited a stubborn and willful nature even at the early age of three. My Mother spent an entire day saying the address to him over and over and asking him to repeat it to her.

“I live at 1167 Madison, Apartment Nine,” she’d say to him. He’d dutifully repeat, “I live at 1167 Madison.” But that was it. That’s all he would say. Where in the world was Apartment Nine?  He simply refused to add that part in spite of numerous attempts on her part to get him to say the entire address. Frustrated, discouraged, and quite frankly mad, my Mother finally gave up.

That night as my brother kneeled at his bedside to say his nightly prayers (a practice we both continued throughout our childhood), he began his ritual prayer. 

“Now I lay me down to sleep…in Apartment Nine.”
@2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Today we proudly celebrate the 237th anniversary of the birth of our nation. As we all know by now (or should know), the actual signing of that glorious document of independence took place two days earlier on July 2nd by most of the colonial representatives. But the Continental Congress moved to adopt the text of the declaration on July 4, 1776, making that the date we celebrate as the day those thirteen colonies became one nation.

Anniversaries are wonderful. We remember and often celebrate so many things that happened in our past: the birth of our nation, the beginnings and ends of certain wars and even particular battles, our own birthdays and the birthdays of our loved ones, our wedding day; and the list goes on.
I had the pleasure last weekend to attend an open house to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of one of my cousins and his wife. It was a delightful event, filled with family and dear friends. I took great pleasure in reminding them that when they got married, I had just turned sixteen years old and was preparing to enter the tenth grade. I’m very sure that they appreciated my saying that! However, one of my greatest regrets is that I didn’t even know them back in 1963.I know that I would have loved going to their wedding.
Since my still-happy, anniversary-celebrating cousins are also in the process of moving from their home of many years, the open house took place at the house of some very close friends. A great number of people flowed in and out of the house, first signing a large, special “Anniversary Card” for the couple and then tasting some of the delicious food that had been carefully prepared and beautifully displayed.
Knowing how hard it is to move and downsize, I was enchanted at one of the clever ideas that was used to accomplish that reduction. Each attendee at the open house reached into a fish bowl as they entered the house and pulled out a small slip of paper with a number on it. Before leaving, that person was led to the staircase where a considerable number of books were set up with corresponding numbers sticking out of each one. Most of these books were cookbooks that had been published over the years by my cousins’ family publishing house. What a collection there was!
My number was 23. I was hoping for a seven, which is my favorite number. Seeing the number I drew, I was pretty sure I’d get a book that I would eventually have to “downsize” myself. Furthermore, I knew that I didn’t need any more cookbooks to add to my own not-so-small collection. (Not that I’m a cook, you understand, but I have got the books!)
As the person in the family who has been proclaimed the “family historian,” imagine my surprise to see the title of the book that I had picked.  This book will never be downsized - as you will most certainly understand.
Serendipity? Perhaps so. But it was definitely an extraordinary “anniversary” present for me!
@2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Monday, May 27, 2013

Military Monday - a Memorial Day Tribute

My family has a proud military history:

My Father, Richard Enloe Love, Jr. (1914 – 1957) – Served as a U.S. Marine from 1937 to 1945. Served in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1938; served and taught at Parris Island, SC and at Quantico, VA; was a Master Tech Sergeant, 5th Engineers, 'E' Company on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Buried in National Cemetery, Memphis, Shelby Co., TN.

My Grandfather, Baxter H. Wallace (1895 – 1958) – Served in the U.S. Army during World War I; Company 'E' of the 101st Infantry; gassed at Verdun, but went back to Europe after treatment. Rejoined the Army from 1924 to 1931 and was stationed in California and in the Philippines. Buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Mateo Co., CA.

My Father-in-law, John D. Maitland (1919 – 1997) – Served in the U.S. Army during World War II; was a Tech Sergeant in the 103rd “Cactus Division.” He was with the element of his division that liberated Kaufering Concentration Camp, a sub-camp of Dachau. He is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Humboldt, Gibson Co., TN

There are not enough words to express our thanks to each of these men for their outstanding service…or to the millions of others who also served.

@2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Miss Libbie

I’ve often wondered what her thoughts were as she sprinkled water on the floor and swept it out with a sagebrush broom. It was her first home with her husband - a sod house that must have been a very different experience for her after a relatively easy life with her parents. The year was 1889, and the place was Sheridan County, Kansas.
The person I’m referring to is Elizabeth Dorothy Zeigler, who was born in June of 1872 in Novinger, Adair County, MO and was my great grandmother. Her family and friends called her “Libbie.” My Mother called her “her grandma with the big lap!” My Mother often talked about her grandmother with such love and affection that I’ve wanted to know more about her and have so often wished that she had still been alive when I was born.

'Miss Libbie' Zeigler, sometime before 1889

My great aunt, Marguerite Tickell Sanford, was the person who told me the story of her mother-in-law’s first home. According to Aunt Marguerite, the newly-married couple burned buffalo chips for warmth and fuel. I cannot even imagine how primitive that must have seemed to Miss Libbie, as I often think of her.

Libbie married a "traveling sign painter," Alonzo Orlando Sanford, on February 17, 1889, in Hill City, Graham Co., KS, which was near her parent’s home in Hoxie, Sheridan Co., KS. Her parents were James Lawson Zeigler (1840 – 1920) and Margaret Elizabeth Turner Zeigler (1841 – 1911). They married in Novinger, MO, on December 29, 1861. Although James Zeigler was born in Ohio, his father, Harrison Ziegler (1813 – 1893), moved his family to Novinger before 1860, where the family was shown in the 1860 census as living two houses away from the Turner family. I don’t think I even need to ‘speculate’ as to how James and Margaret met!

After serving as a corporal in the 27th Missouri Infantry during the Civil War, James returned to his wife and three children and became the first postmaster at Zig, Missouri, which was named for the Zeigler family. He also owned and operated a general store that he named very simply “James L. Zeigler’s.”

James and Margaret would ultimately have nine children, all of whom were born in Adair County. Libbie was the sixth child born to the couple. I believe that they had a good and fairly prosperous life in Adair County. In fact, all of James’ brothers and sisters remained there until their deaths. However, sometime between 1886 and 1888, James moved his family to 160 acres of land in the flat plains of Sheridan County, KS. That must have been quite an emotional and cultural shock for the young teenaged Libbie.

The “family story” about Libbie’s marriage to Lon Sanford was passed along to me by my Mother’s first cousin, Carl, for whom I was named. Keeping in mind that “family stories” are not always accurate, I was saddened to learn that Libbie was not really in love with Lon when she first met him. She had been in love with someone else. But her father didn’t approve of that young man, and since she was still under the age of consent at the time, she had to break off the relationship. Not too long afterwards, she met Lon Sanford (that "traveling sign painter") who was very taken with her. She agreed to run off with him, mainly because she was mad at her father, but also because she had turned sixteen (the age of consent in Kansas at that time) the previous June.

Since she was only sixteen years old when she married my great grandfather, I have to question if she truly understood what ‘love’ really meant.  I’ve also wondered if she might have been just a tad spoiled and was truly furious that she hadn’t gotten her way regarding her first suitor. Add to that notion the fact that she had so recently been uprooted from the only home she had ever known, and you just might have a highly volatile teenager who didn’t really know what she wanted. Those are all theoretical thoughts, of course, but I can truly envision the two ideas as realities.

Although I’ll never really know the truth about her marriage, I do know that the couple remained steadfastly together until Lon’s death in 1925. They raised a family of five children, and the family was a very close-knit and loving group. Libbie and Lon had the first of their children, Ruby Beulah Sanford, in January of 1890 in Sheridan County, KS, so I know that they remained in Kansas for at least a year or more before moving to the South, which was Lon’s home.

After referring to Polk’s City Directory of 1893, I learned that Lon had at some point before that year moved his young family to Memphis, Shelby Co., TN. He and his brother, Charles Sanford, were listed as ‘painters’ in that directory. His mother and sisters were in Memphis as well.

Evidently Libbie encountered another ‘culture shock’ when they moved to Memphis. Aunt Marguerite informed me that Libbie had never before seen a non-white person and had never seen anyone use snuff before moving to the South! She was probably even more surprised at life in the South when they moved to Coldwater, Tate Co., MS, which they did sometime before their second child (my Grandmother, Lorena Grace Sanford) was born there on August 3, 1896. Coldwater is a small (then mostly rural) town located about 35 miles south of Memphis.

The family must have moved back to Memphis by 1898, since their third child, Emile Francis Sanford, was born in Memphis that year and Polk’s City Directory of 1899/1900 confirmed that Lon was working there during that time period.

But that term ‘traveling sign painter’ must have accurately described my great grandfather because the family was back in Coldwater, MS for the 1900 federal census. The fourth child, James Alonzo “Lonnie” Sanford, was born in Memphis in 1902, and the ‘baby’ of the family, Elizabeth Virginia “Bobbie” Sanford, was born in 1907 in Meridian, Lauderdale Co., MS. By the time the 1910 and 1920 census records were taken, Libbie and Lon had ‘settled’ in St. Frances Township (near Helena), in Phillips Co., AR. But the travels didn’t end for Libbie and Lon because they were living in Vicksburg, Warren Co., MS when Alonzo Orlando Sanford succumbed to an illness and passed away. I have no idea why they were there except that it was probably due to his profession as a painter.

Libbie may not have truly loved Lon when she married him, but the “family story” goes on to say that she grew to love him very much, and I think that her unwavering devotion to him was proven by her willingness to move so often and make a loving home wherever they landed. I know that she carefully passed along a number of skills that she had learned growing up to her daughters, including the art of cooking delicious German foods, a few ‘select’ German phrases (which I remember hearing my Grandmother use when I was a child!), and the delightful practice of ‘hiding a coin’ in every birthday cake, making sure that the ‘birthday child’ got that exact piece of cake with the coin in it. The coin was a dime when I was a child, and it took me many years to figure out how my Grandmother made sure that I always got the right piece of cake. (I’ve always been a little slow!)

Most of their children were already adults and living elsewhere by the time Libbie and Lon had moved to Vicksburg.  I believe that probably the only child still with them in Vicksburg might have been Aunt Bobbie, since she was only 18 at the time. I have no proof of that, however. But I do know that Libbie moved back to Memphis after the death of her husband. She and three of her children, Bobbie, Lonnie, and my own Grandmother (along with her daughter, my Mother), were all living together at 805 Adams Avenue in Memphis at the time of the 1930 census.  

Libbie was living at 45 S. Diana St. in Memphis at the time of her death on March 11, 1938, at age 65. She had been the ‘rock’ of the family, keeping her children close to her, as well as her sisters and parents Even though she had eloped, her relationship with her parents and siblings remained loving, as evidenced by copies of letters and postcards I have between them and photos I have of them taken long after that rather reckless act.

A lifelong Christian, her faith must have kept her strong as she experienced the death of her oldest daughter, Ruby Sanford Cunningham, in 1931. I cannot even begin to conceive of the anguish she must have gone through at that time. Although I know that she had been raised as a Christian, I don’t yet know what denomination she belonged to over the years. That is something that I still need to research – as are so many other facts about her that I want to learn. I do know that she was eventually baptized in February of 1936 at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis. Quite naturally, her two remaining daughters and both of her sons and their children (including me) all became and/or were raised as members of the Southern Baptist Church. I raised my two oldest sons in that church and remained a Baptist until my late 30s. Libbie had indeed been a powerful influence on her family.

Did Libbie really ‘run away’ to marry?  I honestly don’t know. I do know that I have in my possession the very fragile (and sadly falling apart) copy of their exquisite marriage certificate that actually has photos of them both on the cardboard-type material and also includes a flawless and beautiful handwriting that fills in the formation on them both. The two witnesses were not members of the Zeigler family, so the “family story” could very well be true. (And, yes, I do plan to have that document restored!)

Having gathered all of this information about my great grandmother, I can say without question that I know that the lovely young teenager, Miss Libbie, became a loving wife, mother and grandmother – the “grandma with the big lap.” And I know that the relationship she had with her children was so close that her youngest daughter, my precious Aunt Bobbie, arranged to be buried in the same grave with her at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis.


Libbie Zeigler Sanford, sometime
around 1900.

Oh, how I wish I could have sat in that lap and experienced the tremendous love of Miss Libbie.

@2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland 



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Wallace, Love, Sanford & Werkhoven

This is me on April 3, 2010, at Memphis Memory Gardens, standing
at the gravesites of my Mother and Grandparents.
Marker for my Grandmother, Lorena Grace Sanford and her 2nd husband,
my step-grandfather, Robert Roy Werkhoven.  Photo taken on
April 3, 2010, at Memphis Memory Gardens.
Marker for my Mother, Evelyne Frances Wallace Love.
Photo taken on April 3, 2010, at Memphis Memory Gardens

@2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday's Obituary: James Lawson Zeigler

Judge James Lawson Zeigler
Photo taken in early 1900s.

The following is a verbatim copy of the newspaper obituary I have that was written about James Lawson Zeigler, my great-great grandfather. I have kept the punctuation and other grammar as it appeared. It’s dated Jan 15, 1920, and appeared in the “Hoxie Sentinel,” the local newspaper for Hoxie, Sheridan Co., KS. For many years I believed that he was born in Columbus, Ohio because of the information given in this obituary. However, I’ve since found out that he was born in Columbiana County, Ohio. Just goes to show that you really have to double check all sources!

Last Thursday, Judge Zeigler as he was familiarly known, stepped out beyond the border land of this life and peacefully joined that "innumerable caravan which moves to that mysterious realm" which we call death and he approached it "like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams." He has finished his earthly mission and has left many interesting chapters in the book of life. He was a man of exceptional talents and more than the ordinary brain. Even with the meager school advantages offered in his day he became a successful school teacher and always carried a high grade certificate. While serving this county in an official capacity he left some splendid records which will long remain as a fitting testimonial of his scholarship and efficiency. 
In the years before his affliction he was active in the affairs of the community, always jolly and full of vim and energy, shedding a radiant halo of hopefulness and good feeling around all his associates which they will not soon forget. Peace be to his soul.

James L. Zeigler was born in Colombus, Ohio, March 15, 1840 and died at his home in this city, Thursday, January 8, aged 79 years, 9 months and 24 days.

When three years of age he moved with his parents to Adair County, Missouri, where he grew to man’s estate. In 1860 he was married to Miss Margaret Turner, and to this union nine children were born, five of whom survive him, M. C., of this city; E. B., Cabinet, Idaho; J. W., Peace Valley, Canada; Mrs. Lavina Swisher, Green Castle, Missouri and Mrs. Elizabeth Sanford, Helena, Arkansas. Besides the children he is survived by four brothers, one sister, twenty-two grandchildren and thirty-two great grand-children.
In 1885 he came to Sheridan county where he took up a homestead and endured all the hardships of the life of a pioneer always playing a leading role in the life of his community.

He was honored several times with public office and was acting as probate judge at the time when he was stricken with paralysis, some years ago.

He was a soldier in the Civil War being a member of the 27th Missouri Infantry. 

Funeral services were held here at the home of his son, M.C. Zeigler, Friday. In charge of services was Rev. Adolph Haberly, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, and interment was made in the Hoxie Cemetery.


I also have a copy of the following note that appeared in the “Hoxie Sentinel,” but the date was not included in the clipping.
We wish to thank all your neighbors and friends for their help and sympathy in our late bereavement:
  •  Mr. and Mrs. M. C. Zeigler
  • Mr. Arthur Brown
  • Miss Wilma Brown
  • Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Andregg
I am descended from Judge Zeigler through his daughter Elizabeth Zeigler Sanford, who was my great grandmother. My Mother, who was only one year and five days old when he died, was one of his "thirty-two great-grandchildren." I'm very proud to have such a talented, hard-working and seemingly beloved gentleman as my ancestor.
@2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Oh, the Places We Can Go…to Find Treasures and More!

If you are reading this blog, then you’re probably interested in family history research in some way. If so, then you are most likely used to scouring different places to find the resources and proofs needed to confirm your theories of “who was who," plus, when, how and where they lived. Even more importantly, you want to know what that person you are researching was really like. You want, and maybe even yearn for, more information about the kinds of things they did and even their thoughts and feelings. If you’re like me, many of those “proofs, facts and descriptions” are somewhere in the huge backlog of files that you’ve accumulated over the years.

About a week ago, my Number 2 Son called to ask me if I could fax a copy of his birth certificate to him. At this point, let me be clear: I often refer to my three sons as Number 1 Son, Number 2 Son, and Number 3 Son, completely in the mode of Charlie Chan, one of my all-time favorite fictional detectives. Also at this point, let me be clear that I never say that to their faces. They don’t like it, and I can’t blame them. (They don’t really understand Charlie Chan.) I just can’t help it; ol’ Charlie had it right, especially for those of us who have problems saying the right name to the right person. I have often laughed about the fact that I grew up thinking my name was “Ri-Carla,” since my Mother always called out my brother Ricky’s name first. It’s not a question of not knowing which child is which, it’s a question of…well, I don’t really know. But I do know that others have assured me that they do the same thing, which is quite a relief to me!

But let’s get back to my Number 2 Son. (I have chosen not to name those three sons here in order to protect the names of the “not-so-innocent!”)  I knew right where his birth certificate was because it’s in “his” file. Yes, I keep a file on each of my children. Don’t you? Each file contains a few samples of their elementary school work, their report cards, their birth certificates, awards, and other things that they achieved and collected over the years. Each child also has some of his birthday cards and other ephemera that is specifically related to him. 
Nevertheless, I keep those files in a small cabinet that has a few file crates of family history "stuff" in front of it, so I had to do some digging around to get to that drawer. Sound familiar? At least I did know which drawer they are in, so I didn’t have to go frantically searching for them as I often do for other files. (Oh, how I need to get more organized!) 
After finding his file, I realized that I had hit a true treasure trove of memories as I went through it. I laughed and cried as I travelled down the years of his life. I saw the wonderful “straight A” report cards that he received as an elementary school student; grades that changed just a tad in high school. I went over each and every award he had received, and I read the newspaper articles that described him when he was the first place winner of a local “fishing rodeo.”  
I also saw a couple of Student Suspension forms; one for tardiness to classes (yes, that word is plural - I think he was very busy socializing!) and one for skipping school. I laughed at the last one because of the wonderful memory it brought with it. 
That’s right, I did say the words laughed and wonderful. During his senior year, he and several of his fellow seniors decided to leave campus and go to the local Taco Bell for lunch. After all, they were seniors…right?  So, off to the Taco Bell they went, full of confidence and pride. What they didn’t know was that the manager of that Taco Bell knew exactly who they were, called the Principal of the high school and locked the doors until he could get there! How wonderful was that? We live in a big city, and that was over twenty years ago. I’m not so sure something like that would happen these days. I like to think that it would. 
The greatest treasure of all, however, was found as soon as I opened the file. In fact, when I saw it, I slammed the file shut and started crying. It was a letter from my Mother - I had recognized her handwriting immediately. When I re-opened the file, I didn’t even look at it until I had gone through everything and finally found the birth certificate at the very back of the file. 
When I was able to, I returned to the letter. It was written to him by my Mother on his 18th birthday and revealed many things that I had forgotten. In her beautiful handwriting, she told him how much she loved him, how special he was, and shared some of her own memories of him. She reminded him that when he was a very little boy, people who lived in her apartment building sometimes thought he was a girl because he was so pretty!  She wrote that he was the grandson that always made her smile when she thought of him because he never walked anywhere – he either skipped, danced or ran! She recalled that he was the one who would always stay up with her on New Year’s Eve whenever she babysat my two oldest sons on that night. She said he would “watch the ball drop” with her while his older brother slept on the couch. 
At one point in our lives (before my second marriage), she moved in with us in order to help out. She was retired, and I was working full time trying to raise two sons on my own. She mentioned in her letter the name of the street we lived on, and how much she had loved watching him dance through the house and hearing him sing in the shower. She also told him how proud she was of him. She revealed her feelings about him in such a special, personal way. I learned more about who she was by reading those words. 
The letter was dated December 15, 1990.  My Mother passed away three months and three days later on March 18, 1991. What a true treasure that letter is.

Look for those special treasures anywhere and everywhere.  You never know where you’ll find them.

Partial copy of letter sent to my son from my Mother on his 18th birthday.

Date of letter

© 2013 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland