08 March 2018

R. E. Church Buried 2 Wives Before His Own Death at Age 32

100_4059In the Eglantine Square section of Rose Hill Cemetery stands a tombstone placed for R. E. and Maria N. Church.  According to cemetery records, this tombstone is in a family lot purchased by Lewis P. Strong on 1 August 1840.

Since Maria's death date is listed as 25 October 1839, and R. E.'s is 11 February 1840, one has to wonder if they were initially buried elsewhere and later moved to Rose Hill.

Rodman Ebenezer Church was born in Bethlehem, Litchfield County, Connecticut 5 June 1807 to Rollin and Sally Church.  He married Maria N. Strong 13 September 1831 in Middletown, Middlesex County, CT.  Even though they were both young, this was not Rodman's first marriage.  Two years prior, he had wed Lydia Maria Dean.  She died about nine months later, on 11 July 1830, at age 22.

When second wife Maria died in 1839, she was only 21 years old.

Rodman lived only a few months after the death of his second wife. The epitaph on their shared tombstone says, in part, "They were lovely in their lives.  In their deaths they were not divided."

Upon Rodman's death in 1840, the following was published in the 18 February edition of the Macon Weekly Telegraph (Georgia, pg. 3):

In this city, on the night of the 10th inst. of the consumption, Mr. RODMAN E. CHURCH, aged 32 years. He was formerly of Durham, in the State of Connecticut, but had resided here since the early settlement of the place. He was justly esteemed by all who knew him, as an honest and upright man -- whose integrity was never questioned -- and in whom no guile was ever known. He had for 8 years been a member of the Presbyterian Church, and his walk was exemplary before the world, and in his death, gave convincing evidence that he had not made a vain profession.

He was buried on the 11th by the Macon Volunteers, of which Company he had for many years been a good and prompt soldier; and it is believed that the seeds of the disease of which he died, were contracted during the hardships and exposure of the Florida Campaign in 1836.

Lewis P. Strong, who purchased the family burial lot at Rose Hill, was likely Maria's brother.  He and wife Lurane were also buried there.


22 November 2017

The Naturalization of Foraj (a.k.a. Joe or Fred) Fallos

Foraj Fallos, sailing from Beirut, came to the United States in 1907.  Even though I "should" be able to find him in census records from 1910 through 1940, I have been unable to do so.  Not a single one.  It's been rather frustrating.

That doesn't mean I know nothing of Mr. Fallos, however.  Other records have helped to shed a bit of light on his life and time in the United States.

jfallaswwidraftWorld War I Draft Registration

According to his World War I draft registration dated 5 June 1917, Joe Fallas was born 15 February 1892 in "Syria, Turkey." He was noted as being a naturalized citizen of the United States, but also a "citizen or subject" of Turkey.  His race was given as Turkish Jew.  Joe was living in Atlanta, Georgia and working as a clerk in a European grocery store.

In September of 1918, while still living in Atlanta and working as a fruit merchant, Joe was ordered to report to the local board for military duty.  He was inducted into service the last day of the month, and sent to Fort Thomas in Kentucky for training.  Joe was honorably discharged about 10 weeks later.

Naturalization Records

On the same day he registered for the draft, "Joe Fallos (Foraj Fallos)" officially declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States of America.  He again recounted his birthdate was 15 February 1892, but was more specific with his birthplace:  "Lepa, Syria, Turkey."


I must admit this confused me a bit, given my little knowledge of the history of this area of the world.  I understood Syria and Turkey to be part of the Ottoman Empire, and Aleppo's relatively close proximity to Turkey, but failed to recognize a couple of things:  (1) The Ottoman Empire was also called the Turkish Empire and/or Ottoman Turkey – ugh, probably should have known that, and (2) the tumult of the time.  Though the Turkish War of Independence was a couple of years off, I think the following from Wikipedia provides a basic explanation of how Aleppo figured into the relationship between Syria and Turkey:

At the end of World War I, the Treaty of Sèvres made most of the Province of Aleppo part of the newly established nation of Syria, while Cilicia was promised by France to become an Armenian state. However, Kemal Atatürk annexed most of the Province of Aleppo as well as Cilicia to Turkey in his War of Independence.

According to the Declaration of Intention pictured above, Joe renounced "forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, and particularly to Mehmed V Emperor of the Ottomans." He also signed off on not being an anarchist nor a polygamist.

Joe Fallos received his Certificate of Naturalization four years later, in June of 1921.

jfallaspassportappUnited States Passport Application

The pictures always make these a fabulous find, don't they? About a year after receiving his Certificate of Naturalization, Joe decided to take a trip that required a passport.  On his May 1922 application, he once again reiterated his birth date and place – 15 February 1892 at Aleppo, Syria.  Joe, a "naturalized and loyal citizen of the United States," also provided his father's name was Abraham Fallas, deceased.  Quoting from the document,

I emigrated to the United States, sailing from Beirut about April 20th, 1907, that I resided 14 years, uninterruptedly, in the United States, from 1907 to 1922 at N.Y., Baltimore, Texas, Ga.; that I was naturalized as a citizen of the United States before the Federal Court of N. District of Ga. at Atlanta, on June 27th, 1921, as shown by the Certificate of Naturalization presented herewith...

And therein lies a reason for failing to find him in the census records! He sure did move around a lot.  At this point in time, Joe was living in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia and working in a delicatessen.  He was planning to visit Syria (Damascus and Aleppo), Egypt, France, and Italy "for pleasure," leaving from the port of N.Y. later in May.

Marriage Record

I'm not able to see a scan of the original marriage record for Joe Fallas, but the extracted information is from the New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940 database at FamilySearch.  He, aged 40, married Alton Matut, aged 25, on 11 November 1932 at Manhattan, NY.  Both members of this couple were born in Syria, Turkey.  The names of each of their parents were also included in the record:  Joe's being Joseph Fallas and Mary Cohen, and Alton's being Nathan Matut and Esther Rofe.

maconcitydirectory1955City Directories

It appears Joe brought his new bride back to Macon, Georgia after the wedding.  They can be found in the 1934 Macon city directory, living at 124 Bay Street.  Joe was a grocer, and Alton was now going by the name of Alice.  The 1948 directory for the same city shows Alice living at 2438 Napier Avenue.  Her husband is still a grocer, but is now going by the name of Fred Fallas.  The next year, though still in Macon, Fred and Alice have moved again to 1610 Telfair Street.  The couple remained at that address in 1950.

I should also note that 1610 Telfair Street was also the grocery business address.  Fred and Alice were residing in the rear of the building, so presumably their business was in the front.  Is this how they avoided the census taker?

The 1953 through 1956 city directories for Macon, Georgia each contains the Fallas couple, still residing and working at 1610 Telfair Street.  Alice is also specifically noted as being a clerk at "Fred J. Fallas Grocery."

pvtjfallasDeath Record and Tombstone

According to the Georgia Death Index, Fred Fallas died 5 November 1956 at Bibb County, Georgia.

As you might imagine, the order in which I placed each of the sources in this post is not the order in which they were found.  What started me on the trail to uncover information about Joe Fallas was his tombstone, located in the Congregation Sherah Israel section of Rose Hill Cemetery.

Joe's military issue tombstone was produced at the Georgia Marble Company of Tate, Georgia, and bears the Star of David along with the following inscription:

Joe Fallas
Pvt 31 Rct Co
Gen Svc Inf
World War I
February 15, 1892
November 5, 1956


17 November 2017

The Death of a Child! - Rebecca Heartwell Tarver

[Originally posted at the Southern Graves blog.]

DIED, in Dougherty county, on the 15th day of May, REBECCA HEARTWELL, infant daughter of Mr. Paul E. Tarver and Mrs. Cinderilla Tarver, aged 9 months and 13 days.

The death of a child! How little does the world mark such an incident! Society feels no shock. It is scarcely felt in the narrow circle of relatives and friends. The arrow flies swiftly through the air to its victim, its trace is lost and all is tranquil. Yet how often does such an event crush the hopes and destroy the happiness of families.

Our heart bleeds in tender sympathy with the parents of the bright little being whose death we chronicle. She was indeed a precious bud, whose leaves had not yet opened to the day.

"A vision of beauty! fair as brief!"

If the tender affection of parents, or the innocence and beauty of childhood, could have been a defence from the grave, we could not be making this sad memorial of little Rebecca.

"Yet thou art fled ere guilt had power
To stain thy cherub soul and form.
Closed is the soft ephemeral flower,
That never felt a storm!"

Above from the Macon Weekly Telegraph (Georgia) - 8 June 1858.

Rebecca was the daughter of Paul E. Tarver and Cinderella Crocker Solomon. All are resting in Rose Hill Cemetery at Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.

Photo © 2011 S. Lincecum

10 November 2017

Caroline Bivins Holmes Williford (d. 1892)

Caroline E. Bivins was born about 1815 in Milledgeville, Baldwin County, Georgia.  Her parents were William Bivins (d. 1850) of Delaware and Eliza W. Harris (1788-1846), and two of her siblings were James M. (d. 1876) and Sarah (1821-1898).

100_0765Caroline married John Holmes, son of James Holmes and Mary Kell, 17 October 1833 in Bibb County, Georgia.  The couple had two sons – John C. Holmes and Edward Bivins Holmes – before the elder John died on 26 September 1835 at the age of 27 years.

When her boys were teenagers, Caroline married again to William S. Williford on 2 December 1849 in Bibb County.  This marriage was also short lived as the couple was parted by William's death on 28 March 1858.

John C. Holmes married into a well-known family when he wed Ann Eliza, a daughter of Abner Flewellyn Holt.  This young couple had at least five children.  Since John died in the 1860s, and Ann died about 1878, matriarch Caroline Williford was housing four of her living grandchildren by the taking of the 1880 Macon, Bibb County, Georgia federal census:

  • Caroline E. "Carrie" Holmes (1858-1935)
  • Victoria Holmes (1859-1934)
  • Lannie Holt Holmes Jemison (1861-1938)
  • John Champneys Holmes (1864-1930)

Caroline's other son, Edward Bivins Holt, also married and had children.  That immediate family went West to California in the early 1860s.

Caroline's parents and both of her husbands were buried in Rose Hill Cemetery.  Her son John was buried there, and the four grandchildren who remained in Macon were also buried there.  I think it is highly probable Caroline was also laid to rest in Rose Hill Cemetery after her death in the summer of 1892, but I am still looking for confirmation.

A Note About the Burial of John Holmes

As mentioned above, Caroline's husband John died in 1835.  This was five years before Rose Hill Cemetery was open for business.  So I wonder if John was originally buried in Macon's Old City Cemetery, then later moved to Rose Hill.


According to RoseHillCemetery.org, John rests in lot 137 of block 1 of the Central Avenue Division of Rose Hill Cemetery.  Cemetery records note the purchaser of that lot as "Isaac & John Holmes," though a purchase date is not included.  I have to wonder if that is entirely accurate.  Could the lot have been purchased, more specifically, by their estates? The city of Macon? Or maybe even the State of Georgia?

John's brother Isaac was once mayor of the City of Macon.  He resigned from that position to captain the Macon Volunteers in the Mexican War.  Isaac died in that service near camp in Monterey, Mexico, December 1846.  Inscribed on his tombstone is the following:

The state of Georgia erects this monument in honor
of his service to his country.  The city & citizens
of Macon, the Macon Volunteers & Masonic Fraternity
uniting in the testimonial.

Whether John was moved to Rose Hill Cemetery from his original burial place, then Isaac laid beside him, or if the sequence of events were the opposite, I don't know.  It does appear there was enough room for Caroline to be placed there in 1892, though.

Caroline's son John C. Holmes, as well as each of his children, were buried in a lot (also in the Central Avenue Division) purchased by the "Estate of Dr. Abner F. Holt."

Obituary for Caroline E. Bivins Holmes Williford

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
Monday, 4 July 1892 -- pg. 6 [via GenealogyBank]


Mrs. Caroline E. Williford Died Yesterday Afternoon.
Mrs. Caroline E. Williford died in this city yesterday afternoon at 5 o'clock.

The death of Mrs. Williford breaks another link between the present and the past.  Though born in Milledgeville, for seventy-seven years she has been a resident of Macon, and has seen it grow from a frontier village to its present importance.  She was twice married, first to Mr. John Holmes, and a few years after his death to the late W. S. Williford.  She leaves one son, Capt. Edward B. Holmes of San Francisco, Cal., and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Among the grandchildren are Mr. John C. Holmes, Miss Carrie E. Holmes, Miss Victoria Holmes and Mrs. R. W. Jemison of this city.

Though confined to her own home by reason of her age, for a number of years, she has not passed from the lives of her friends, but her home has been the centre of a large circle who have been wont to gather there and enjoy the cheer and comfort that has ever been shed about by her pure Christian character.

She has literally gone about on this earth doing good unto her fellowman, and it may be said of her with absolute certainty that "None knew her but to love her."

Surely a mother in Israel has fallen, but the consolation is left to those to whom she was most dear, that her deeds will live after her and her "works will follow her."

Her life has been a part of the history of Macon, and as one of the oldest residents she will be sincerely mourned.

The funeral will take place from the residence of Mr. John C. Holmes, No. 221 Forsyth street, this afternoon at 5 o'clock.

07 November 2017

Little Jimmie Stetson: "It is Well with the Boy" (Tombstone Tuesday)

Originally posted at the Southern Graves blog.

Our first born
Son of J. D. & E. S. Stetson
Born May 25, 1873
Died Sep 10, 1885

"It is well with the boy."

Rose Hill Cemetery
Macon, Georgia

Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum
Young Jimmie Stetson's tombstone is fashioned after a broken column. This often represents a life cut short. Dying at the young age of twelve years, as did Jimmie, would be an example of just that. A poignant Our first born is inscribed above Jimmie's name on the scroll that bears his epitaph, and at the base of the broken column is "It is well with the boy."

I took this latter phrase as a play on "It is well with my soul," a hymn written by Horatio Spafford about 1873.

...No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

31 October 2017

Thurman A. & Ellen S. Calvert (Tombstones Tuesday)

(Part of the Descendants of Henry Abel series.)

Rose Hill - J Allen-006

Ellen Elizabeth Stephan was born 18 April 1915 in Georgia.  She was the daughter of William George Stephan (1873-1933) and Laura Elizabeth Abel (1876-1939), and the great-granddaughter of Henry Abel.

A week before the Halloween of 1936, Ellen shared a double wedding ceremony with her younger sister.  Mary Doris Stephan (1917-2012) married James Harold Hitchcock (d. 2000), and Ellen married Thurman Asia Calvert.  Thurman was a son of Francis Marion "Frank" Calvert (1871-1937) and Mary Kirkpatrick (1882-1975).


According to his World War II draft registration card, Thurman stood 6'3" tall and weighed 140 lbs. He also had blue eyes, blonde hair, and a freckled complexion.

About 1940, both Thurman and Ellen were working at a cotton mill.  He was a hauler, and she was a winder hand.  The couple had several children, one being William Frank "Bill" Calvert (1941-2016).

Thurman and Ellen rest in the Honeysuckle Ridge Section (block 5, lot 12) of Rose Hill Cemetery.

30 October 2017

Fred DeIvey, Lion Tamer

I haven't located him in any Rose Hill Cemetery database, but there is reason to believe Fred DeIvey is there.


It hasn't been easy tracking down someone who lived the Circus Star life, but what follows is what I've been able to find so far.

Fred DeIvey, according to his entry in the Social Security Applications and Claims Index, was born 21 June 1860 in Dayton, Marengo County, Alabama to John F. DeIvey and Susan Tarrant.  Other sources offer Fred's birth as being four to six years later.  I have precious little information about his early years in life, but an obituary suggests Fred joined the circus about the age of 15.

Fred was into his 30s before I find reference of him with an act providing entertainment at a Retail Grocers' Association picnic held the summer of 1896 in St. Louis, Missouri.  He was part of a "trapeze performance by the three Nonpareils – Mr. Fred De Ivey, Miss Blanche De Ivey and Sig. Frisco."

After a gap of about seven years, I find Fred had joined the staff of the Great Pan-American Shows.  According to the official route book of 1903 transcribed at CircusHistory.org, Fred was a superintendent of the cookhouse.  No doubt he was an entertainer, as well.  On May 19th of that year, at an evening performance in Logansport, Indiana, "Fred De Ivey fell from his stilts receiving a painful injury to one of his hands, which was dressed by a local physician."

Some time over the next five years, Fred began traveling with Haag's Mighty Shows.  He was advertised as a "Haag's Hustler" in the 5 December 1908 Billboard [from Google Books] -


I find Fred next in Jewella, Caddo Parish, Louisiana for the 1910 U.S. census, though I wonder if his and his lodger's occupations should be reversed:

DeIvey, Fred (hoh) age 44 / widowed / KY-US-US / Farmer, General
Davenport, I. (lodger) age 55 / widowed / Ireland x 3 / Trainer, Wild Animals

By January of 1915, Fred was still performing with The Mighty Haag Shows.  The outfit had been "playing Louisiana" since the prior November.  After breaking for the winter, The Mighty Haag Show opened their new season on March 10th, with Fred as side show manager.  According to the 17 July 1915 Billboard, "Fred DeIvey, who has seen service with the Barnum Show, Gollmar Bros., Lemen Bros., and other shows, [is?] ringmaster, announcer and superintendent of stock with the Haag Shows." Two months later, Fred had "severed his connection with the Haag Shows."

Fred must have left the Haag Shows to join the Metropolitan Shows.  A 26 November 1916 Pensacola Journal (Florida) newspaper article speaks to this operation closing its season and going into winter quarters.  It further stated, "Many features are planned for the stay here and Fred Deivey the French tamer promises the training of a new lion."

In 1920, Fred was stationary long enough to be counted in the North Augusta, Aiken County, South Carolina U.S. Federal census.  He was one of at least seventeen individuals with the occupation industry of "show business." It's possible, maybe even likely, Fred was in another winter headquarters.

A Greensboro Daily (North Carolina) newspaper article dated 10 April 1921 put Fred with the J. F. Murphy Shows, providing entertainment for a carnival hosted by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks:

The Murphy Shows will present a very large and diversified line of entertainments, all of which are said to be strictly high class, moral and refined:  featured among which are Capt. De Ivey's Trained Wild Animals...

Another decade went by in Fred's life, and I presume he was traveling around performing with one entertainment group or another.  Then, finally, I find Fred DeIvey in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.

An article by Joseph Bradbury written in 1976 for the Bandwagon periodical (vol. 20, no. 1) provided information about the 1930 and 1931 seasons of the Downie Bros. Wild Animal Circus: The Largest Motor Circus in the World.  Fred DeIvey was on the staff roster for 1931, but not as an entertainer.  Instead, he was now "boss carpenter."  In the spring, "final news before the opening said that the new cages turned out of the shops by Fred De Ivey had been elaborately decorated as had all parade vehicles."

Citing the 26 December 1931 Billboard, Mr. Bradbury included a description of the Downie winter headquarters in Central City Park at Macon:

"Upon entering the park one first comes to the office building and here can be found Charles Sparks, Clint Shuford, secy-treas; Charles Katz, asst. manager, also supt. of quarters. In rear are wardrobe rooms in charge of Mrs. Sparks. Next to the office are modern living quarters for the men. It has twenty 14 x 14 outside rooms which are completely furnished. In these quarters is a radio with loud speaker. Cookhouse and dining room are under personal direction of Jack Fitzgerald and meals are of the best. Dining room seats 48 at one time and meals are served hotel style. Next is horse barn, in charge of Melvin Arnold. It contains 20 head of trained horses and ring stock, 10 head of ponies, and 2 mules each in separate box stalls.

Main ring barn is an all brick building, 70 ft. in diameter, with no posts or obstructions. Merritt Belew has a regulation ring in the center where he spends 6 hours each day, improving the old and breaking in new stock. Domestic animal ring barn is 50 x 100 ft. with 2 rings, in charge of Jerome O'Hanlon. Elephant barn, 70 x 50, one ring, is in charge of Larry Davis. At present he is breaking the herd of 5 in a new routine.

Animal house, 60 x 50, is in charge of George Palmer. There are comfortable permanent cages. Paint shop, 100 x 50, is in charge of Irving Goseh. Mechanical dept., 100 x 75, in charge of Mr. McNeil, is a busy place, as every motor with the show is thoroughly overhauled and tested before opening of the season.

Fred Delvey has charge of building and repair shop and during the winter will build a number of large dens and grand stand. Blacksmith shop is in charge of Joe (Scotty) Nobel; carpenter and wagon shop, George Ingolls. At this writing 2 cages and 2 semitrailers are being built. Teddie Premont is supt. of the electrical department."

Fred DeIvey died at the Macon Hospital 17 May 1939.  His death was due to "myocardial degeneration and pulmonary congestion." His death certificate, which included information based on hospital records, showed Fred's address as "Central City Park," his occupation as "Retired Lion Tamer," and burial at Rose Hill Cemetery.


Two obituaries were published for Fred in the local newspaper, the Macon Telegraph.  The first appeared the day after his death, and incorrectly named him Fred B. Ivey.  The second article, published the day after his burial at Rose Hill, had a headline of Last Rites Held for Fred DeIvey: Former Circus Star and Lion Tamer Buried.  This article confirmed Fred was indeed laid to rest at Rose Hill.  Furthermore, it read (in part):

After 60 years in the circus business Mrs. [sic] DeIvey declined in health when he lost an arm in an encounter with a lion.  He had lived here in comparative obscurity for some time.

During the last 10 years he had devoted his time to construction of animal cages and other circus equipment.  For nine years he had charge of construction at winter quarters here for Downie Brothers Circus.

He left the show last summer to join the Barfield Cosmopolitan troupe with which he was traveling in Kentucky when he suffered a heart attack.

Mr. DeIvey returned to Macon several months ago…He had no near relatives and his scattered friends did not know his whereabouts.  He was saved from a pauper's grave by the generosity of his former employe[r] Charles Sparks, for several years owner of the Downie show…

Fred DeIvey possibly lost his arm during or after his time with the J. F. Murphy Shows described above.  And though Fred was granted a "proper" burial due to the generosity of his former employer, it appears no headstone was included.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin