Tag Archives: wyatt paul gillespie

“Wisdom Wednesday: It is what it is, it aint what it aint

As I dig into my family history I’ve run into things that have made me uncomfortable. I have at least six direct ancestors that fought for the Confederacy.  As my niece exclaimed when I told her of this fact: “But that is the wrong side!”

And there is more: the Jim Crow south, attitudes toward women, slavery,  just to name a few. It would be lovely if I could sanitize history and ignore these things.  But the more I dig into the history of the times my ancestors lived in and begin to write it up, well, it is just not all pretty. It is not all comfortable. But I have to write about what was.

But I want to put my ancestors in the context of the time they lived in.  I can’t know what they thought, but I can do my best to understand the events that shaped their lives and indirectly mine.

As we say in my family: It is what it is, it ain’t what it ain’t.

Here is my first draft of my grandfather in the 1910’s and 1920’s.

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Gilbert Gillespie in his early teens

Gilbert was born on March 20, 1914 in Lexington, Virginia.  His father, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, was almost 49 years old and his mother, Laura Cecile DONALD, was 37 years old.  He had six older brothers and sisters when he was born, the oldest, Minnie was 17 years old.1

In 1914, Woodrow Wilson was president and WWI was on the horizon.   The family had purchased a lot at 108 Houston Street in 1907 and I imagine by the time Gilbert was born, they were living in the house that Wyatt had built. The address of the house was listed as either 22 and 108 Houston Street.2

By 1920, WWI was over.  On January 17th of that year, prohibition had begun.   Women were granted the right to vote in 1920 by the Federal Government, but Virginia did not ratify the law until 1952; women had been voting  and holding elected office in Virginia since 1920.3

By 1930, The eighth and final child had arrived in the Gillespie household; Helen Mae was born on November 1st, 1918. Wyatt, 54, and Laura, 43, were living with all of their children: Minnie, Ashby, Eva, Clinton, Louise, Fred, Gilbert and Ellen.  Also living with them was Harriet, Wyatt’s older sister who was 69.  Eva, Clinton, Louise and Fred all attended school.4

In 1923, Warren G Harding, died of a Heart Attack in San Francisco, California. Calvin Coolidge assumed the presidency until 1929, when Herbert Hoover became president. In October of 1929, the US Stock Market had crashed. By March of 1930, 3.2 million people were unemployed.5

I know my grandfather completed four years of high school, he probably attended Lexington High School.

Morgan Riley, “Image of the Old Lexington High School” (http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LexingtonVA_HighSchool.JPG, accessed : 10 Jul 2012), Creative Commons Attribution

In 1930, They owned the farm they were living on, and Wyatt worked as both a Carpenter building houses and as a farmer on presumably his own farm.  Wyatt also employed two other people.  Minnie was a Saleslady in a Dry Goods Store and Ashby was an Electrician in a Power Plant.  They lived in a neighborhood where most people earned their living working for local merchants.6

Gilbert was known to say that jobs were hard to find, you should hang on to them. And I imagine that the family was glad to have 3 family members employed in 1930.


Footnotes

1. 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Rockbridge County, Virginia, population schedule, Lexington, p. 133, (stamped),enumeration district (ED) 121, sheet 1-A, dwelling 6, family 6, Gilbert M Gillespie; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed : 3 Jul 2012 ); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 1906.
2. Rockbridge County, Virginia, photo copy, J A and Nora F Champe to W P Gillespie, 14 Nov 1907, Lexington; copy privately held by Anne Mitchell inherited from father, Gilbert McClung Gillespie; the family story that has been handed down is that Wyatt built the house the family lived in and given that Wyatt was a carpenter I have no reason to doubt this.
3. Encyclopedia Virginia, (http://http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/woman_suffrage_in_virginia : accessed 8 Jul 2012), “Woman Suffrage in Virginia.”
4. 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Rockbridge County, Virginia, population schedule, Lexington, p. 68,(stamped),enumeration district (ED) 82-6, sheet 10-A, dwelling 208, family 251, Gilbert M Gillespie; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed : 3 Jul 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2458.
5. American Experience, (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/timeline/rails-timeline/ : accessed 8 Jul 2012), “Timeline of the Great Depression.”
6. 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Rockbridge Co., Va., Lexington, p. 68,(stamped),ED 82-6, sheet 10-A, dwell. 208, fam. 251, Gilbert M Gillespie; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed : 3 Jul 2012).

Amanuensis Monday — The House on 108 Houston Street

In 1907, my Great Grandfather, Wyatt Paul Gillespie,  bought what I thought was a house at 108 Houston Street in Lexington, Virginia, but now that I reread the document, it appears that he bought the land, which lends credence to the family legend that he built the house.

I’m posting this so I can refer to in what I know will be many blog posts. Someone in the family lived here for most of the 1900’s.

Deed for 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia 1

Transcription

This deed made this the 14 day of November in the year 1907, between
J A Champe, and Nora F Champe his wife, parties of the first part,
and W. P. Gillispie, part of the second part, all of the county of
Rockbridge VA.,
WITNESSETH: –
That in consideration of $115.00 cash in hand paid, the receipt whereof
is hereby acknowledged, and the four bonds drawn by the W.P,
Gillispie, bearing date Oct 1st 1906, and payable to J. A. Champ, for the
sum of $100.00 each, payable in 1- 2- 3- and 4 years from date, said
bonds bearing interest from date, ( the interest being paid up to
Oct, 1 1907) the said parties of the first part doth grant and convey
unto the said part of the second part, with general warranty of title.,
a certain lot or parcel of land, situatied on Houston Street in the twon
of Lexington, Va, fronting on said street 141 feet, and running back the
full length of the lot owned by the sad J. A Champe, to 139 feet wide
in the rear. The lot conveyed adjoins a lot of John Sheridans,
on th eNorth west and J. A. Manspile on, on the sout east.
The said parties of the first part, hereby expressly retains a Vendor’s
lien on the said land hereby conveyed, as ultimate securety for the pay-
ment of the four bonds mentioned in this deed aggregating the sum of
Four hundred dollars, with all interest that may acrue thereon.
The said parties of the first part covenants, that they have the right
to convey the said lot, and have done nothing to encumber the same.
Witness the following signatures and seals.
J. A. Champe (signature) (seal)
Nora F Champe (signature) (seal)

 

Footnote

1. Rockbridge County, Virginia, photo copy, J A and Nora F Champe to W P Gillespie, 14 Nov 1907, Lexington; copy privately held by Anne Mitchell inherieted from father, Gilbert McClung Gillespie.

Sorting Saturday: Starting a Narrative Lineage

I am prepping for my first CG attempt, which I hope to start sometime this year.  One of the requirements is to write Narrative Lineage.  I’m going to practice writing one for my paternal paternal line.

Today, I’m going to write some informative paragraphs and a intro and end.  I’m quite sure I’ll rewrite them but it’s time to start. I’ve got a lot more detail to fill in the middle here. but what I am realizing is how much of this is what I know I do not have sources.  I need my grandfather’s birth certificate and marriage certificate, at the very least

So here goes.

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Gilbert McClung Gillespie (1914 – 2003)

My paternal grandfather, Gilbert McClung GILLESPIE, was born on March 20, 1914 in Lexington, Virginia.1  He was the seventh of eight children born to Wyatt Paul GILLESPIE and Laura Cecile DONALD2 His father was born at the end of the Civil War in 1865 3; his mother was the daughter of veteran of the Stonewall Brigade.4 Lexington, his hometown, was the burial place of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E Lee.   He is buried in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia.

Over his lifetime he lived through WWI and II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. The Civil Rights movement and 9/11.  He raised 4 children and lived to see all 8 of his grandchildren. He had 12 great grandchildren, but he died in 2003 before most of them were born.

Family Photo of Wyatt Paul and Laura Cecile Donald Gillespie’s family

He died on November 21, 2003 at the age of 89 in Huddleston, Bedford, Virginia.  His youngest son, Paul, was with him when he died.  He was buried next to his wife, Ann Irene FEAZELL who had died twenty years earlier. 5

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Footnotes

1. Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 Jul 2012), entry for Gilbert M Gillespie, SS no. 224-03-0395.
2. I need my grandfather’s birth certificate to document this.
3. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 6 Aug 2010), memorial page for Wyatt Paul Gillespie (1865 – 1941), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56048050, citing Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia; the tombstone is for Wyatt Paul Gillespie and his wife Laura Cecile Donald.
4. This is actually a complicated footnote; leaving for later.
5. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 6 Aug 2010), memorial page for Gilbert McClung Gillespie (1914 – 2003), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56069420, citing Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia; the tombstone is for Gilbert McClung and his wife Ann Irene Feazell.

Sunday’s Obituary: Maiden Aunts and Bachelor Uncles — Minnie Maude Gillespie

Every generation has their own maiden aunts and bachelor uncles who leave behind no children and often there  is no one left to tell their story.  They truly become forgotten stories.  I will devote Sunday to those Aunts and Uncles.

Minnie Maude Gillespie was the oldest child of Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald and the oldest sister of my grandfather Gilbert M Gillespie. She was born on January 29th 1897 and died at the age of 61 on April 5th, 1958.  She was outlived by her seven brothers and sisters and her mother.

This is the only picture I have of Minnie.  Hopefully one of my cousins can supply me with a better one someday.  Minnie is sitting on the right on the first row.

Family of Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald Gillespie 1

She suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis most of her life.  Working at Adair-Hutton’s dry goods store as a clerk was such a struggle having to stand all day.  My father remembered her coming home to the house on 108 Houston Street and have to soak her feet.

Adair’s ad in the Lexington, Virginia Directory in 1923.2

She was  born in Lexington, Virgina, and moved with her parents to 108 Houston Street were she lived the rest of her life.  She finished 4 years of high school.  She was a member of the Trinity Methodist Church.

She was buried in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery which more or less in the backyard of her home.  She is buried near her parents, many of her sisters and brothers and other generations of the family.

I have two obituaries for Minnie Maude Gillespie. And I am truly sad I don’t more about her.

Obituaries for Minnie Maude Gillespie3

Footnotes

1. Family of Wyatt Paul and Laura Cecile Donald Gillespie, digital image ca. 1925, photocopy privately held by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]. Minnie Maude is in the lower right corner; Minnie would have been around 28 years old. My father, Gilbert Gillespie, had the original at one time, current location is unknown.
2. The City Directory of Lexington, Virgina (A.D. Smith, Inc., 1922), 80; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 Jul 2012)
3. “Ms. Minnie M Gillespie”, undated clipping, ca. 1958, from unidentified newspaper; privately held by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE]. Inherited from my father Gilbert Gillespie.

Returned not used: How I Almost Wasn’t

Wyatt Paul GILLESPIE was born at the end of the Civil War; his wife to be, Laura Cecile DONALD was born 11 years later.  He grew up during Reconstruction and they lived their married life in Lexington, Virginia in the Jim Crow south. In 1907, for $400, they bought a home at 108 Houston Street from which you could see Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery and they were buried there, Wyatt in 1941 and Laura in 1964.

My father’s paternal grandparents were married on January 24th, 1894 in Lexington, Virginia.

Wyatt was 28, single, born in Amherst County, Virginia, son of Jerry (Jeremiah) and Mary E GILLESPIE. (Jeremiah and Mary E were first cousins. My family tree twists twice.  Don’t judge. 1)

Laura was 17, single, born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, daughter of James Calvin DONALD and Elizabeth WALLACE.2

Two people, single, get married and lived, happily or some variation of that, ever after. But, and isn’t there always a but, those who are truly experienced in the art of genealogy know to do an exhaustive search to find the entire story.  Wyatt actually has two marriage licenses.  One was used, one was not.

The mystery of Lillian M Hatcher

On January 16, 1893, in Buena Vista, Virginia which is an independent city in Virginia right outside of Lexington, Wyatt and Lillian M Hatcher, ages 27 and 21, respectively, he born in Amherst Co, she born in Bedford Co., applied for a marriage license.  It is marked as being returned on January 16, 1893.   But way over there on the right hand side of the page, it states “Returned not used.”  Why?  I will probably never know.3

Marriage application for Wyatt Gillespie and Lillian Hatcher; Returned not used.

Lillian gets married on November 7, 1898 in Bedford County, Virginia to Paul G Tankersley who was a widower. 4 So there was no tragic accident that prevented Lillian from marrying Wyatt. Why they didn’t marry is probably a mystery for the ages.

But what I do know is this, if Wyatt had married Lillian, he wouldn’t have married Laura. And then there would not have been a Gilbert Gillespie to marry Ann Feazell and my father would not have been born. And I would not be.

So whatever happened, I have to say I’m glad it did. And now we know another forgotten story.

Footnotes

1. Eva Gillespie, daughter of Wyatt Paul and Laura Cecile Donald Gillespie, deceased, interview by Gilbert Gillespie, 2000; notes privately held by Anne Gillespie [address withheld], California, 2009.
2. Rockbridge County, Virginia, page 364, line 10 (1894), Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecile Donald; Virginia Department of Health, Richmond.
3. Buena Vista, Virginia, Register of Marriages (1939), p. 6-A (penned), Wyatt P Gillespie; “Marriage register v. 1-2 1854-1909”, FHL, microfilm 30597.
4. “Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XRJ1-GG4 : accessed 14 June 2012), Lillie Maude Hatcher, 1898.