From the Scrapbook of Shirley Sorrell, Part 10

by Glenn N. Holliman

As observed in early posts, the majority of the 20th Century  descendants of Isaac (1822-1864) and Caroline Greer Wilson (1828-1911), left family farms and pursued occupations in the communities and cities usually far from ancestral roots in Sutherland, Ashe County, North Carolina. 

In the United States, the number of persons employed in agriculture fell constantly from the Civil War to 1950 as agricultural mechanization and specialization increased, and as jobs in the growing industrial and manufacturing sectors proved more lucrative and attractive than subsistence farming.  Such was the case with the ancestors of Shirley Sorrell who kindly shares these photographs.

Above at the Wilson-Greer and Families Seminar in 2014 in Boone, North Carolina, left Shirley Sorrell and right, distant cousin Jeanette Suggs.
The lineage of Shirley Sorrell

Her parents:   Deronda (1918-1966) and Barbara McCall Donnelly (1922-1965)

Her parental grandparents:   Thomas Earl (1892-1964)  and Mayme Wilson Donnelly (1892-1975)

Her great grandparents:  John (1855-1928) and  Rebecca Wilson Wilson (1862-1954)

Her great great grandparents:  Isaac and Caroline Greer Wilson (the same as this writer)

Below, Shirley's father, Ronda Donnelly who served in India and Panama during World War II.  Ronda and wife, Barbara McCall, lived in Boone, North Carolina (where Shirley was born) and later moved to Richmond, Virginia.    Shirley's mother also served in World War II.  She joined the WACs as a secretary during the war and lived in Washington, DC when in Army.  Sadly, both Shirley's parents died young.

Below, left to right in the 1940s, Roger Donnelly, his mother, Mayme Donnelly, John Sutherland and his wife, Mayme's daughter, Becky Donnelly Sutherland. 

Roger (1928-2011) moved to West Virginia, married Pauline Wilson Roark, who had one son from a previous marriage.  Later, Roger worked in coal mines and road construction in Tennessee and owned a place in Shady Valley, Tennessee. He served in the Korean War.

John Thomas Sutherland of Sutherland was a descendant of the family that founded the community along the North Fork of the New River in Ashe County.  Neighbors married neighbors.   John (1918-1991) moved to Raleigh when he and Becky Donnelly wed, and drove a Greyhound bus until his retirement.  Becky graduated from Appalachian College in Boone and taught school a few years before marriage.

                                         The Grandchilden and Great Grandchildren 
                                             of Rebecca Wilson Wilson, 1940 ca

Extreme back: Verd Wilson

Back row: Marie Wilson Marsh, Boyd Wilson, Don Wilson in hat, Roger Donnelly, Argus Wilson

2nd row: ?, Shirley Marsh, Virginia Hurt, Becky Donnelly, Ernest Wilson, Meredith Duncan, Shirley Hurt, Joe Donnelly

Front row: Bill Wilson, Marie Wilson, Rebecca Wilson, Robert Wilson, (in chair) Anna Bell Wilson, Becky Wilson, Becky Hurt, Betty Wilson

Readers are invited to help with identification of persons in this picture, and please send along any memories or information on any relatives.

All are invited to join in building the family tree at Wilson-Greer-Osborne-Forrester-Donnelly and Associated Families of Western NC at Ancestry.com.  Just write to glennhistory@gmail.com for an invitation or to provide information on the reunion photograph.  Thanks!


A Forrester Trip

by Glenn N. Holliman

In what has become an annual excursion, descendants of Isaac and Caroline Wilson Greer, my Civil War great, great grandparents, have taken to visiting ancestral sites in southeastern Virginia, western North Carolina and upper eastern Tennessee.  I was not able to make this summer's trip, but am happy to produce the following article written by family historian, Clinton Getzinger.  Clinton deserves a tip of the hat for organizing the 2015 gathering and for his continuing research! - GNH

The Forrester-Wilson Family Tour, 2015   
by Clinton Getzinger
"On Saturday morning, May 23, 2015, nine descendants of Martha Wilson Forrester and one descendant of John Wilburn Wilson gathered in the Pine Branch Community of Grayson County, Virginia. They toured the former property of Martha Wilson Forrester (1857-1904) and her husband Andrew Johnson Forrester (1866-1938). 
Martha Evaline Wilson Forrester was the fifth child and last daughter of Isaac Wilson (1822-1864) and Caroline Nancy Greer Wilson (1828-1911) of Wilson Branch, Sutherland, Ashe County, NC. 

In 1898, Andrew and Martha and four of their children traveled by covered wagon to Grayson County, Virginia to make a new home. At this writing, we are not certain why they moved away, but two of Martha’s adult children lived in the Pine Branch Community on Kendrick Mountain and that is where they built their home.
As they built a new farm, it was necessary to plant an apple orchard and a maple tree to provide apples for desserts and syrup to sweeten their stack cakes. Martha’s sister, Jane Wilson Proffit (1852-1937), had used a slight bit of molasses or maple syrup to sweeten her cornbread, so the Forresters may have done the same. Their Grandma Frankie Brown Greer (1810-1905) also grew a maple to provide syrup on her North Carolina farm.  Although Hurricane Hugo destroyed most of the maples, one maple still exists to this day.

On the Forrester farm was a barn for the horses and other outbuildings such as a corn crib. The barn no longer stands, but some of the other outbuildings do.

Home of the Forrester Family built circa 1898
The tour began early in the morning at Mouth of Wilson. Ten Wilson descendants drove on to the Pine Branch Community that began at the Roger Cole Family Farm.

Our gracious hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Roger Cole, took us up to the former Forrester farm that is still a part of their land. We went inside the house and toured the inside and tried to imagine the Forresters living inside of the various rooms. 

Immediately after we took a family photo in front of the house, we drove on to see the cemetery where Martha and her daughter Lelia Wilson Hash are buried, as well as Martha’s youngest daughter, Callie Forrester Anderson. After we explored the cemetery, we went to tour the inside of the present Pine Branch Baptist Church where we discovered a pew with a memorial plaque dedicated to Lee and Lelia Wilson Hash.

Before we left the Cole Farm, Mrs. Cole presented this author with several jars of homemade apple butter made from the Forrester apple tree. Each Wilson descendant took home a jar of apple butter.

The tour ended at Ciro’s Restaurant in Independence where two more family members met this group for lunch. All family members had a great time and discussed getting together again in the near future." - Clinton Getzinger

Back row: Bina Gray, Betty Ankers, Connie Burns and Alexis Lilly.
Front left to right: Sandy Gentry, Clinton Getzinger, Phyllis Watt, Shirley Sorrell, Vickie Stamper and Phillip Marcus

Clinton also runs two family pages on Facebook that are of interest to Wilson-Greer-Osborne-Forrester and associated families.  Write him at these addresses and he will warmly welcome you to these sites:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/606867212667403/ for display of photographs of unknown relatives, and a link to the site of KNOWN family photos: www.picturetrail.com/andersontrimble .

All are invited to join in building the family tree at Wilson-Greer-Osborne-Forrester-Donnelly and Associated Families of Western NC at Ancestry.com.  Just write to glennhistory@gmail.com for an invitation.


From the Scrapbook of Shirley Sorrell, Part 9

by Glenn N. Holliman  

 One of the delights of the Internet has been to discover distant cousins and relatives of my grand and great grandparents; stories that would have been lost otherwise.  Thanks to cousin Shirley Sorrell, an avid family historian, we are able to continue to post photographs and biographical data about shared relatives.

Shirley and I are both great great grandchildren of Isaac and Caroline Greer Wilson, whose Civil War stories reverberate through our various family branches.  Shirley's ancestor was John Wilson, a son of Isaac and Caroline.  My great grandmother was Frances Caroline Wilson Osborne, a sister of John.  

So Shirley's grandmother, Mayme Wilson Donnelly (1892-1975), was a first cousin to my grandmother, ironically of the same first name, Mayme Torrence Osborne Stansbery (1896-1943).

As with my branch of the Greer/Wilson/Osborne families, Shirley's moved from rural areas to the technology employment opportunities of urban centers.  My great uncles, at least three sons and son-in-laws of Frankie and G.W. Osborne, also left family farms and in their careers, became automobile mechanics and salesmen in the early 20th Century.

Below in the late 1930s, Rebekah Sue Donnelly Sutherland (September 28, 1921 - August 8, 1999) , Mayme Wilson Donnelly and Roger Gus Donnelly at their home in Sutherland, North Carolina. Becky was Shirley's aunt, and Roger, her uncle. Mayme's other child, Deronda Donnelly, the father of Shirley, is not in these first photographs.

Below perhaps a decade older, are the same three persons, same home in Sutherland.

Below, at the same house in Sutherland, Becky holds Nancy, her only child.  Right is Barbara McCall Donnelly, another daughter-in-law of Mayme Wilson Donnelly, and wife of Deronda Donnelly,  Shirley Sorrell's father.  Barbara is holding young Shirley.  The date is approximately 1951.

Above, Deronda Donnelly, Shirley Sorrell's father and husband of Barbara McCall.  This picture was taken at Lee McCrae College in the 1930s, when 'Ronda' was a student in Banner Elk, North Carolina.

Below, Becky Donnelly, obviously on a special occasion!  She married John Thomas Sutherland (April 25, 1918- July 9, 1991) on November 20, 1942.  They had one daughter, Nancy Leigh Sutherland Broyles.  Becky graduated from Appalachian State College and taught school before her marriage to John, a Greyhound Bus driver.  The family moved from the North Carolina highlands, which their ancestors had settled in the late 1700s to Raleigh, North Carolina in the mid 20th Century.   

The lives of Becky and John illustrate the increasing education levels of the family, and the need to relocate to a major city for employment opportunities.  Families were leaving the mountains and migrating to urban areas.  And if Becky is an example, also becoming snappy dressers!

Later, more from Shirley Sorrell's Scrapbook, a 20th Century family in transition....

 All are invited to join in building the family tree at Wilson-Greer-Osborne-Forrester-Donnelly and Associated Families of Western NC at Ancestry.com.  Just write to glennhistory@gmail.com for an invitation.