The Cousin with the Hat, the Chicken and the Exhausted Wife!

by Glenn N. Holliman

After the publication of the last blog on the Wilson and Osborne Cemeteries in Ashe County, North Carolina, I received a photograph from distant cousin Gary Paisley. He kindly granted permission to reproduce pictures and relay some information on a grandson of Isaac and Caroline Greer Wilson.  Below is Charles Smith Wilson wearing a bowler hat and feeding a chicken perhaps in Grayson County, Virginia.  Why is he sitting in a chicken yard in his Sunday best?!

From Gary Paisley

"In case you don't already have it, I am forwarding a photo of Charles Smith Wilson (1884-1923), who was, I believe, the nephew of Frankie Wilson (this writer's great grandmother).  His mother was Martha Evaline Wilson (who is buried at Pine Branch, 1857-1904)).   

Below, Andrew Johnson and Martha Eva Wilson Forrester (Courtesy of Shirley Sorrell and Clington Getzinger)

I think his father was Richard Franklin Osborne (he was).  Martha later married Andy Forrester.  

Charles Smith Wilson taught school at Pine Branch, then married Ruth Lee Paisley (later in life she called herself Louise rather than Lee, 1896-1981), and they later moved to Washington.  I think he died in Waitsburg, WA in 1923, but I am pretty sure there are living descendants."

Gary sent along his amazing photograph of Ruth (Louise) Lee Paisley Wilson.  Taken during a not inexpensive trip to a photographer's studio, this woman is posing in an exhausted position, and her stare shouts that she does not care what the camera is catching.  Any clues to the reasons for Ruth's depression?

"Someone from out in Washington sent the picture of Charles to me several years ago.  They were wanting information on Ruth Lee Paisley's ancestry - her parents. 

Walter Edward and Martha Ida Porter Paisley were part of the same diaspora to Waitsburg, Washington.  She was a grand daughter of James Monroe Paisley who owned a department store in Troutdale, Virginia during the boom years.  Ruth Lee married twice more after Charlie Wilson died.  So I am not even sure the folks who contacted me were descended from Charlie.

Below, Gary Paisley

Ruth Lee would have been my 3rd cousin, once removed.  I collect info on all the Paisleys of the Upper NRV (New River Valley) and their relations.  I believe the Charles Wilson photo was taken near Pine Branch, just north of Fox in Grayson County, Virginia.  

The land around Waitsburg does not look like the picture - more of a grassland climate with few trees.  The photo could possibly be taken at the old Lee Fielding Hash place.  you probably know he married Charlie Wilson's sister, Lelia Bina Wilson (1878-1935).  Lee F. Hash's sister, Alice married Noah Anderson, and Noah's sister, Celie married James Monroe Paisley which is how they were all connected.  

Charlie and Ruth Lee moved to Waitsburg about 1915.  Their eldest, Charles, Jr., was born near Fox in 1914 while the other 3 children, Robert Earl, Wade Carver, and Virginia Martha (who died as an infant) were born in Washington.  All three sons are now deceased but at least 2 of them had children."

All are invited to join in building a 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.  Saving our family history one ancestor at a time.  Thanks!


Research from the Center for Appalachian Studies

by Glenn N. Holliman

Notes from a Crowded Computer....

While on a recent cruise, I spent time in my cabin cleaning out computer files and rearranging my very confused notes.  Several years ago, I spent an afternoon in the Center for Appalachian Studies at the State University in Boone, North Carolina, and took numerous notes from just a few of the many volumes on local and family histories.  Here are a few items I saved.

One volume in which I explored was Ashe County, N.C. Cemetery Records by Russell Hamilton, published 1999.  This is only a partial list of my Wilson and Osborne ancestors buried in two Ashe County grave yards.

 Above, my son, Christopher S. Holliman takes a picture of my grand daughter, Camille Elizabeth Holliman, standing by the grave of her 4th great grandmother, Caroline Greer Wilson (1828-1911).  This photograph was taken in summer 2013 at the Wilson Cemetery on Oscar Wilson Road in Sutherland, North Carolina.  One generation hands down to the next the stories of family.
When I was a boy in the 1950s, I remember on a thundery day in East Tennessee my mother, the late Geraldine Stansbery Holliman Feick, telling me of her grandmother, Frances (Frankie) Wilson Osborne who was terribly afraid of thunder storms and used to hide under her bed.  Right, Frankie in old age at her home in Bristol, Tennessee, 1930s.

Mother also told me of the bushwhacking of her great grandfather, Isaac who was Frankie's father.  Frankie was with him when he was shot in June 1864 during the Civil War while hoeing corn.  Decades later the memoirs of The Rev. William A. Wilson, Frankie's brother, told of the event in detail.  These writings have now been published in the work, Neighbor to Neighbor by Appalachian State University's Center for Appalachian Studies.

Below is a partial list of those in Wilson Cemetery.  Many reading this posting have been to this cemetery where my generation's great, great grandparents, Isaac and Caroline Greer Wilson, are resting. Birth and death dates are given.  Perhaps this list will help some who are filling in Ancestry.com profiles.  If you see any errors, please let me know.

1.Nancy Emeline Wilson, 25 Feb 1850 – 4 Dec 1919
2. Caroline Greer Wilson, 10 Dec 1828 - 8 Sep 1911, w of Isaac Wilson
3. L. Boyd Wilson, 8 Dec 1885 - 24 Dec 1885, s/John W & Rebecca Wilson
4. Isaac Wilson, 16 Dec 1822 – 17 June 1864, CSA NC Co. E, 37th Reg.
5. Mary McClellan Wilson, 10 Mar 1868 – 14 May 1949, w. of W.A. Wilson, Sr.
6. Oscar Thomas Wilson, 24 Feb. 1889 – 29 Aug 1985, s/Robert B. and Sarah Wilson
7. Rebecca Wilson, 21 Sep 1862 – 19 Aug 1954, wife of John Wilson, D/Jacob & Eliza Wilson
8. Robert Boyd Wilson, 4 Jan 1860 – 17 Feb 1949, s/Isaac and Caroline Greer
9. Robert McClellan Wilson, 23 Dec 1897 – 17 Sep 1904, S/Wm. A and Mary McClellan
10. Sarah Ellen Wilson, 6 Mar 1866 – 1 Mar 1952, W/Robert B.; D/Jacob and Eliza Wilson
11. William Albert Sr.,  20 Dec 1861 – 18 Feb 1951, S/Isaac and Caroline Greer Wilson
12. William Albert, Jr., 17 Aug 1894 – 19 Nov 1983, S/W.A. Wilson, Sr. and Mary McClellan Wilson

Right is a view of Wilson Cove, the large farm that Isaac and Caroline Greer Wilson acquired after their marriage in 1849, and which was divided among their children after his death.  Today, there are numerous owners of plots in the cove, not related to each other.  The elevation of the farm is at 3,200 feet.  The Wilson Cemetery is out of the picture at the upper left.

Another cemetery Mr. Hamilton studied is the Osborne Cemetery in Ashe County not too far from the Wilson Cemetery.  Here another pair of my great, great grandparents George Washington and Mary Baldwin Osborne, are buried.

This cemetery is located at Map Coordinates C07; on the south side of NC-88, o.55 mile north of West Peak Road, SR-1119, across the New River on a hill 4000’ from the road, chain link fence, 60’ by 75’. It has 22 graves at this North Fork Township location and was in good condition in the 1990s.

1.      George Washington Osborne, Sr. 28 Apr 1803 – 18 Apr 1882, S/Jonathan Osborne and Agnes Wells
2.     Mary Baldwin, 11 Feb 1803 – 21 Jan 1895, W/George W. Osborne, Sr.
3.     Clem W. Osborne, 26 Feb. 1835 – 23 Jan 1902, S/Geo. W. and Mary Baldwin.
4.     Effie A. Lewis, 1873 – 1954, W/Walter R. Osborne.
5.     Esther S. Osborne, 16 Aug 1910 – 14 Aug 1985, D/Walt R. Osborne & Effie Lewis.
6.     Ruby Hill Osborne, 28 Oct – 13 May 1935, D/Walt R. and Effie Lewis Osborne

All are invited to join in building a 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.  Saving our family history one ancestor at a time.  Thanks!


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!