Friday, September 28, 2012

A Mystery Solved!

I received a question from a reader that I thought I would share with you. She asked if I knew who the people were that worked at The James County Times. She believed that her ancestor, William Oscar Watts moved to Ooltewah from Floyd County, Georgia to work for the paper. They say he worked for the Atlas Powder Mill  in 1900 per the United States Census for that period. He became a merchant, attended law school, and later became a member of the Hamilton County Court. But where did the newspaper come into play?

As far as I know, there are only 6 dates of the newspaper that are known to exist.
Jan 18, 1912 the Editor was Jno. N. Clements
Dec  2, 1914
Aug13, 1913, The James County Times Booster Edition
Jan 13, 1915
Mar 20, 1916 the Editor was Ellsworth Wilson for this and the above 3 dates
Feb 23, 1917 the Editor was W.B. Cleage

The puzzle pieces are all here, we just have to put them together.

Prior to 1912, W. O. Watts, along with Eli Scoggins had a store which carried various items from dry goods and general merchandise to plows and wire fencing.  In 1912, Scoggins sold his interest in the store to Watts who continued in the mercantile business.  He became one of the leaders of the community.

The James County Times Booster Edition was published in August of 1913 by Editor, Ellsworth Wilson, with the assistance of several county leaders. It was an effort to attract investors to the James County Area.

In 1913, there was an Ooltewah Board of Trade that met every Monday night. The officers were Ed Robinson, President; Samuel Newton, Past President; P. M. Cate, Vice-President; and J.K. Lewis, Secretary and Treasurer. The Executive Committee included: Samuel Newton, Hunter Furches, H.L.  Guille, W.O. Watts and J.D. Thatcher. One activity of the club was to assist in publishing The James County Times Booster Edition that very same year.

Hallelujah!  There it is!  He may not have moved here to work for the paper, but he definitely did help publish the Booster Edition with other county leaders to help promote James County. At this time, James County was struggling to stay afloat. They needed businesses to move to the county to help with the tax base. However, this Booster Edition was not enough. Six short years later, James County dissolved and joined with Hamilton County.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Welcoming Committee

"The James County Times"  Wednesday, January 13, 1915

New Residents
The property belonging to Mrs. W. F. Wells has been put into the hands of a contractor for complete repairing; the house is to be painted white and papered and painted throughout. With the beautiful lawn, it will make one of the prettiest little homes in Ooltewah. As soon as the repairing is completed, Mr. and Mrs. Aston will occupy the property. The young couple were in Chattanooga last Saturday purchasing furniture for their home, including a lovely Packard piano. Ooltewah citizens are much pleased to have Mr. and Mrs. Aston among us and extend wishes for a life of happiness and prosperity here.
There is just something about this that gives me the "warm-fuzzies". Here is a young couple moving into a new home, in a new town. They probably were a little anxious, maybe even a little terrified at such a new endeavor. However, a new home, the beginning of new traditions can be an exciting and exhilarating experience.They obviously were lucky and had neighbors who were excited to get to know them.  No matter which end of the emotional spectrum they found themselves at, I am sure it was bound to be a positive experience.
This reminds me of when I was young. We moved around alot. It was always a new town and a new school. Us kids would come home from our new school and my mother was there with a big basket of fun things. The Welcome Wagon had come by and introduced themselves and welcomed us to the neighborhood. Their were coupons, a nice home cooked meal and invitations to societies, bridge games, etc. It didn't take long to become entrenched into the community. Before you knew it, they were playing bridge, golf, had lunch dates, etc. It was as if they had been there their whole life.

 I believe that Mr and Mrs Aston did not stay in Ooltewah very long. Five years later, by the 1920 census, they are no longer in James County or Hamilton County. If you know of this couple and where they are located in 1920, please notify me and I will let the readers know of their whereabouts.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Delta Genealogy September Meeting

The workshop last month presented by Delta Genealogical Society and the Signal Mountain Genealogical Society welcomed many new people to our hobby. There were many of you that asked for information about the meetings of these other local societies.  I thought that I would make it a practice to notify you of all of the local meetings and activities, as well as, our James County meeting.

Delta Genealogy is meeting this Tuesday evening, September 11th at 7pm. The meeting is held at the Rossville Public Library, 504 McFarland Avenue, Rossville, Georgia. This is just off of Rossville Blvd. We will be discussing some of the issues that are needed to bring the society into the 21st century.

As I have stated before, this is a growing topic among all societies today. We, as James County Historical Society, have already taken the first steps to upgrade our society to a new technological community. The Facebook page and this blog are used to keep our members abreast of all activities and inform others about James County. I also went to Birmingham last month to take classes on these very same topics. You can read all about it here. Please come to Delta's meeting and share what you would like to see from a society. What kind of speakers would you like to hear, what kind of technology classes would you likely be interested in learning about, or what community projects would you like to be involved in? What does it take to be an active society with an active membership in today's world?  Many of these same questions will need to be addressed at a later date during one of our meetings, as well.

Delta members whole-heartily invite you to the meeting and want to hear what your ideas are.

My thoughts would be for all of the local genealogy and historical societies to work together to be one large community. A community that had one goal: to assist in the advancement of all genealogical and historical pursuits. Everyone working together in projects, presentations, and educational advancement. We have the ability to do this. What do you think? If you can't make the meeting, but would like to participate in the discussion, please leave a comment below or email me directly and I will pass your comments on.

And in the spirit of this larger community, I will always give you notice of any upcoming activities, workshops, speaking engagements, projects, etc that involve the genealogy and history fields within our local area. Please put any upcoming dates on your calender so that you may attend and become involved!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Neither Rain, Sleet, Snow or HURRICANE?

Well, here I am in Birmingham. There was nothing that was going to stop me from coming to this conference. No way, not a holiday or even a hurricane!

Here’s how my first day went.

We received our blogger beads from Thomas MacEntee, courtesy of Dear Myrtle. Thank You Pat! It is definitely the best conversation starter. Some people just stare and wonder; but most stop and ask what the beads represent. It is awesome to talk to all of these people that we may not have had the opportunity to talk with. Good Going! Thank you again Dear Myrtle for making our experience more pleasant. Someone had said to me that the "beaded ones" were obviously special. Now we are known as the "Beaded Ones." How cute is that!

Tuesday night, there was a wonderful dinner for the blogging world sponsored by Family Search. Before I go any further, I want to thank Family Search for their wonderful generosity. They really know how to make a person feel special. Family Search talked to us about the amazing consortium that was able to digitize and index the entire 1940 United States Census in just over 4 months.  WOW! Then they previewed their upcoming major projects. They are working on digitizing and indexing The US Immigration and Naturalization records and the Italian Ancestors Project. Hey folks, they need indexers very badly. This is a huge undertaking and since we are the end-users, maybe we, as a society, need to get together and index some of these records. Wouldn't that be wonderful to give back to our genealogical and historical community. It's not as hard as you may think. Here's how it's done.

Create and sign in with a Family Search ID, sign up to index and then follow the instructions. Within minutes you can be looking at the copies of the original documents and then filling in the form for it to be indexed. If you have questions about your accuracy, no need to worry. Two other persons are doing the same document and then a moderator will determine the accuracy before it goes on line. There are even instructions and helpful hints along the way. What could go wrong! Let's talk about this at our next meeting. I will be more specific and walk you through this, later. If we did this together, we could make a difference.

Then I went and listened to D. Joshua Taylor give the keynote speech. It was titled "Transforming Your Society into a Dynamic 21st Century Destination." Oh my goodness, this was so relevant to what is happening in our society and nearly all societies around the country. He did an excellent job discussing how to integrate new technologies, a new group of genealogists, and new developments into societies that want to survive and thrive in today's world. I have ordered an audio copy of the speech. If anyone is interested in listening to it, please contact me.

Afterwards, the classes began. My first class was a discussion of the cemetery preservation efforts in Alabama and how genealogical societies and their members can participate. Lee Ann Woffard, Martha Armstrong, and Joyce Nicoll tag-teamed this presentation. Joyce has recently moved to Chattanooga from Montgomery. Her and I will get together and talk about some possible projects for the future. I am looking forward to seeing what we can come up with.

Then I moved on. I took a class that reviewed a society that had nearly failed. Its process from near extinction to a vibrant and active society was the case study. It dealt with rising costs, declining membership, changing member demographics and the technological advances. These are the same challenges that most societies are dealing with today. Thank you Diane Richard for this eye-opening example.

Next, Daine VanSkiver Gagel talked about the preservation of society records. It covered the important aspect of preserving the records that deal with the society meetings. If these are handled properly, the next generation of officers will be able to follow the proper path. Societies are also recipients of other peoples research. There are many ways to handle this and they were discussed in-depth. I hope to talk to you about this and put some of these ideas into practice.

Lastly, I took a two hour workshop about publicizing. Paula Stuart-Warren, through group analysis, hands on exercises and class discussion went into detail about the publication of newsletters, brochures, pamphlets, etc. Wow! It was a Great class. Thanks Paula. She also shared her ticket to the Opening Social that night. It was amazing. I would not have been there if it was not for her generosity. Thank You Again Paula!

As soon as the day's classes were over, we hopped on a bus and went down a couple of blocks to the iconic Alabama Theater. It, along with a few others like The Tivoli in Chattanooga, are the only remaining true, Hollywood-Style Movie Palaces, left in the United States. We were treated to the entertainment of Bobby Horton. He combined music, history and comedy into an entertaining evening.

What a wonderful way to end a very long and educational day!