Monday, June 29, 2015

So That's Where They Were Married! But Why?




So since I was writing about the Bryant family home recently, it made me go back and review what I knew about my great grandfather Frank Bryant.

He was married twice in his lifetime. First, to my great grandmother Ophelia Jones. After Ophelia passed away in 1939, he remained single for a couple of years until he met and married a Sylvia Sheppard of Portsmouth, VA.

Frank and Ophelia were married in Carteret County, NC on November 4, 1911. I was able to obtain a copy of their marriage license from  the North Carolina State Archives some time ago. You can view a copy of it here. I couldn't find the marriage license for Frank and Sylvia however until just now.

It turns out they were married in Florida! Who knew? I made the assumption that they would have been married in either North Carolina or Virginia. Nope. It was Duval County, Florida.


Source Information:  Ancestry.com. Florida Marriage Collection, 1822-1875 and 1927-2001 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.

On June 2, 1943 Frank Bryant and Sylvia Sheppard were married in Jacksonville. Their residence was listed as 620 W. Church St on the marriage license. 

Image courtesy of Google Maps
620 West Church St, Jacksonville, FL

Why Jacksonville? My great grandfather worked as a chauffeur for Charles Slover Wallace. Charles S. Wallace was a prominent Morehead City businessman who built Wallace Fisheries. He was at one time mayor of Morehead as well. You can read more about him here.

In 1943, it just so happens that Charles Wallace was residing in Jacksonville, Florida according to a city directory from that year. 


Source Information:  Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011

Charles and his wife Nina were residing at the Windsor Hotel in Jacksonville. The Windsor Hotel was considered one of Jacksonville's most premier hotels during the early part of the twentieth century. 


Now here's a map showing where my great grandfather Frank Bryant was staying in relation to Charles Wallace. Frank was a chauffeur so it would make sense that he would reside near his employer.

Image courtesy of Google Maps



Saturday, June 27, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #25 The Bryant Family Home

Amy Johnson Crow, the author of the blog No Story Too Small, is the host of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Prompt series. If you are not familiar with the project please click on the following link:  Announcing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition.

Week 25 (June 18-24) – The Old Homestead: Have you visited an ancestral home? Do you have photos of an old family house? Do you have homesteading ancestors?

I have visited and been inside the home that belonged to my maternal great grandparents, Frank and Ophelia Bryant. The house is located at 1400 Fisher St in Morehead City, NC. The land was initially purchased by Ophelia's parents Alexander Hamilton Jones and Rosa Mitchell Jones in the early 1900's. Ophelia and Frank married in 1911 and by 1920 were able to build the house they would raise 7 children in. This is that house.

1400 Fisher St, Morehead City, NC

Bryant Siblings 

There is something special about being in the spaces our ancestors once lived. It provides another level of connection to those who came before us. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Channeling My Inner Warrior Princess Again

As I mentioned in my post, Something About Me Saturday: I Went To A Fencing Class This Week, I finally took a stab (pun intended) at getting back into the sport. I fenced while I attended Binghamton University from Fall of 1990 through 1994 but stopped once I graduated. What I loved about the sport then and still do now is how it makes me feel. When I fence it allows my inner warrior princess to come out and do battle. There had been something missing in my life that I couldn't quite figure out what it was until now. It's the feeling of being strong, independent, fierce. Perhaps I will go so far as to say, a bit bad ass! 

Well, this warrior princess fenced again last night and as a result, today I'm not feeling so bad ass. (Smile) 


That's okay. Today I rest to fight another day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #24 Grandmother Mary Horton's China

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition:  Grandmother Mary Horton's China --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Mary Horton's China

Amy Johnson Crow, the author of the blog No Story Too Small, is the host of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Prompt series. If you are not familiar with the project please click on the following link:   Announcing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition.


Week 24 (June 11-17) – Heirloom: What heirloom do you treasure? Who gave it to you? What heirloom do you wish you had?

Pictured above are pieces from a set of china I received upon my grandmother Mary Bryant Harrison Horton's passing.

I love this set! It is decorated with beautiful pink carnations and gold trim. If I am having a family gathering, I try to use this set. It's a way for us to share the occasion with my sweet grandma. 

Another heirloom I treasure that once stood atop the piano at grandma Mary's house is a statue of two hands holding a dove. I featured a picture of it on this blog before in this post, Sentimental Sunday: These Artifacts Are My Time Machines. In the same post, I also wrote about two cat figurines that used to belong to my grandmother Ethel Smith Murrell .

Thursday, June 18, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015 Edition: #23 James Edward Harrison --Married, Divorced, And Married Again, All In 7 Months!


Amy Johnson Crow, the author of the blog No Story Too Small, is the host of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Blog Prompt series. If you are not familiar with the project please click on the following link: Announcing 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition.

Week 23 (June 4-10) – Wedding: June is time for weddings. Write about a June bride in your family or highlight a favorite wedding photo. Maybe there’s a serial marry-er in the family — that could be a fun post!

So of course I still haven't quite caught up.(Sigh) Oh well, I'll just keep doing the best I can. June thus far has been a crazy busy whirlwind of activities for my kids. I am so proud of them both. My daughter is in the process of moving up a level in gymnastics, which means this mom's taxiing her to an additional practice each week. My son just had his spring concert. He plays the viola and it was just wonderful to see how much he had improved from the beginning of the school year. You can see a picture of our handsome young man here. There's been field trips and just the general rush to get all class work completed before Summer's arrival. There I go rambling again. Anyway, back to this week's ancestor.

James Edward Harrison was one of my paternal grandfather Lemuel Harrison's brothers. I believe he was born in 1938 in New Bern, NC based on an entry found in the Whitney/Harrison family bible. Here's that entry.


Page from the Whitney/Harrison family bible.


The page shows two different birth dates for my grand uncle. What appears to be the original entry says, "Oct 24, 1938." Then that date was crossed out in pen and "April 2, 1938" was written in. When I checked the Craven County Register of Deeds online site, they did in fact show his birth year to be 1938. The specific month and day I still have to determine.

Well up until recently, the only things I knew about James were that he was close to his youngest brother Robert (Bobby), that he died in 1991, and  prior to his death he was living in Baltimore, MD.

Then came the release of Virginia Vital Records on Ancestry.com and then I was able to learn a bit more about James Edward Harrison.


Image courtesy of Ancestry.com
Source Information: Ancestry.com. Virginia, Marriage Records, 1936-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.Original data: Virginia, Marriages, 1936-2014. Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia.
Things learned:  

James married Edna Ruth Dees on December 17, 1960 in Portsmouth, VA.  It was for both parties, their first marriage.

Age: 22 --This corraborates information found in the family diary that James was born in 1938.

James was a Navy man. His occupation listed here was MM-2.
Of course I didn't know what that meant so I googled it. MM-2 is the abbreviation for machinist mate 2nd class. You can read more about the duties of a machinist mate here.


Ahh...young love. How sweet. Edna and James. James and Edna. They married and were about to begin living "happily ever after." Then there was this.


Image courtesy of Ancestry.com
Source Information Ancestry.com. Virginia, Divorce Records, 1918-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.Original data: Virginia Open Divorce Records, 1918–2014. Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia.




Wow! 7 months. That marriage was certainly short. It looks like my grand uncle was granted a divorce due to his wife's adultery. At least that's what I'm guessing since James Harrison was the plaintiff.

Edna Ruth Dees Harrison wed a Robert Gorman McCoy in Portsmouth, VA on June 4th 1962.  Edna's divorce from James Harrison was finalized on July 13, 1961. In less than a year she was married again. Perhaps this is the man she had a relationship with while married to James? That's just me speculating though. Love can happen when you least expect it right? It just seems to me that Edna remarrying happened rather quickly. 

Edna wasn't the only one who moved fast though.

Source Information Ancestry.com. Virginia, Marriage Records, 1936-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Virginia, Marriages, 1936-2014. Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia.

James was divorced on July 13, 1961 from Edna and then married on July 27, 1961 Martha Lee Lassiter. Two weeks! Hmm. Looks like to me that James Harrison was guilty of something while married to his first wife. In any event, I have gained quite a few clues here, that can help me find more information about the life of James Edward Harrison. Thank you Virginia Vital Records. :)
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