The Bricking of Virginia Fuller Willis | 52 Ancestors – Week 15

I met my great-grandmother Virginia FULLER Willis when I was a small child. My recollection of Virginia is that she was very old and dressed in an ankle length black dress. It was summer and suffocatingly hotter than blue blazes in Mobile, Alabama. Great-grandmother Virginia was drinking clear liquid from a glass and I was a very thirsty little girl. When no one was looking, I sneaked over to her side table, picked up the glass and drank what I thought was water. It tasted horrible and great-grandmother Virginia laughed and laughed when she saw the expression on my face. She said that it served me right for drinking from someone’s glass without permission. Needless to say, my mother was embarrassed by my poor manners and not at all amused.

I have been able to track Virginia “Jennie” Fuller in Mobile Alabama from the late 1880s to her 1960 death.

The first record I have for her is when Jennie Fuller married Anderson J. Williams on 1 April 1885 in Mobile, Alabama. It was not a long marriage because on 15 October 1888 Jennie Williams “Widow” married John H. Willis in Mobile, Alabama.

According to the 1900 U.S. Census, Jennie was born May 1864 in Alabama. In the 1910 U.S. Census, Jennie’s place of birth is given as Louisiana. This place of birth remains consistent in the 1920, 1930 and 1940 U.S. Censuses.

Per their listing in the 1924 Mobile City Directory, Virginia and her husband John Willis were living at 408 Selma [Street], Mobile, Alabama. In 1926 John H. Willis died and in the 1927 Mobile City Directory, Virginia Willis is at the same address and working as a domestic. According to her listing in the 1928 Mobile City Directory, Virginia moved to 752 Augusta St., Mobile, Alabama; the address of her daughter, Carrie, and son-in-law, Onie Cook. The 1930 and 1940 U.S. Census as well as her listings in the 1949 and 1958 Mobile City Directory confirms that Virginia remained in the household of her daughter and son-in-law until her death in 1960.

The death certificate of Virginia FULLER Willis lists her date of birth as “5-10-1875”, her father as “Amos Fuller”, her mother as “Frances ?”, and her birthplace as “New Orleans, La”. Onie Cook, the son-in-law of Virginia Fuller Willis, was the informant on the death certificate.

My initial goal was to locate documentation of Virginia “Jennie” Fuller prior to her first marriage.

I searched the 1880 U.S. Census and found an Amos Fuller enumerated in Mobile, Alabama with his wife, Laura Fuller, age 22, and a niece Jennie Nicholas, age 13. The niece Jennie Nicholas was born in Louisiana.

Working under the hypothesis that Jennie Nicholas could be Jennie Fuller, I looked for more information on Amos and Laura Fuller. I found an 1873 marriage certificate for Henry A. Fuller and Laura V. Goff “maiden 16 years” in the Mobile County marriage records. The age is in the same ballpark as Laura Fuller in the 1880 U.S. Census, so it is within the realm of possibility that this could be the same Amos and Laura Fuller. If so, this makes Virginia Fuller Willis a new brick wall in my research.

Consequently, I have reset my goals. My new goals are to confirm the parents of Virginia Fuller and resolve the eleven year discrepancy with her date of birth.

“Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200”

Monopoly was the game of choice in our household.   I’m sure that everyone has played Monopoly. The rules I recall are as follows:

Each player chose a token as their game piece and moved around the board according to rolling the dice.  My father had the car, my mother the thimble and I preferred the boot.  The board had color-coded properties, railroads, and utilities that could be purchased.   When a player landed on an owned property, they had to pay rent.  Once you owned all the property in a certain color, you could purchase houses and then hotels to place on your property and generate additional rent.  There were also Chance or Community Chest spaces where you had to draw a card and follow the instructions.  The best one to get was a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

We all had our different strategies.  My father was a real estate mogul, improving the value of his properties by building houses and hotels.  My mother was a robber baron and was “in it to win it”.  She wanted to collect as much money as she could and then bankrupt the other players. I usually played defense and wanted to own as many squares on the board as possible;  I hardly ever developed my properties.

When I was in high school, we had an unusually long nasty drawn out battle that lasted for hours.  After that ordeal we had to set a time limit.  According to the new rules, at the end of the time limit, the bank would cash in all properties and whoever had the most money was the winner. 

Google Maps of an Ancestral Home

After Googling several ancestral home addresses and finding commercial buildings, modern homes or vacant lots, I had to punt and go with my maternal grandmother’s home in Mobile, Alabama. 

Arnita HARRIS Willis Jackson (1889-1980) and her second husband, Augustus Jackson (1886-1967), purchased the property known as 1174 and 1174-1/2 Texas Street in 1944.  My mother and her cousin Fred (who was brought up by his grandaunt Arnita) contributed to the down payment for the property.

Google Satellite View
Google Map View
Google Street View

The following is a photo circa 1956 of my first cousin, Aline, standing on the steps of 1174 Texas Street dressed in her debutante ball gown.

Music | 52 Ancestors-Week 13

When I saw this week’s topic was “Music”, my mind immediately went to my father.  He loved music, especially classical music.  When I was very young, my father purchased two RCA Readers Digest box sets:

Festival of Light Classical Music- 10 record LP set

Music of the World’s Great Composers – 12 record LP set

These LPs were played on a portable suitcase record player at a speed of  33 1/3.  The automatic turntable had a long spindle where several LPs could be stacked, enabling my father to relax and listen to classical music for hours. 

The process of placing the records onto the player was an art all to itself.  The object was to handle the record without touching the vinyl.  As I recall, first the LP was removed from the cardboard outer album cover, then it was extracted from the paper inner sleeve.  Using both hands the record was held by the edges and carefully placed on the spindle.   It was a ritual that only my father could perform with his beloved classical LPs. 

I don’t know who fostered a love of classical music in my father, but I am eternally grateful that he passed on a love of music on to me.

Thanks to my father, Daniel R. Salter (2 Dec 1920 – 1 Apr 2013). Requiescat in pace

My First Known Ancestor Was Born In….

The following are my first born known ancestors. Information in the 1870 US Census is the basis for their birthplaces and estimated year of birth.

For Alabama my first ancestor born is my maternal 2nd great-grandfather, Stephen H. Senar (1810-????). Per the 1880 US Census his father (name unknown) was born in Delaware and his mother (name unknown) was born in North Carolina.

For Georgia, my first ancestor born is my paternal 2nd great-grandfather, Mingo Bryant (1823-????). Per the 1880 US Census his mother (name unknown) was born in Virginia.

For North Carolina, my first ancestor born is my paternal 3rd great-grandfather, Edmund Salter (1816-????). Per the 1880 US Census both of his parents (names unknown) were born in North Carolina.

For South Carolina, my first ancestor born is my maternal 2nd great-grandmother, Sophie (1811-est. 1879), wife of Stephen H. Senar.

For Virginia, my first ancestor born is my paternal 3rd great-grandmother, Frances (1814-????), wife of Edmund Salter. Per the 1880 US Census both of her parents (names unknown) were also born in Virginia.

Loss | 52 Ancestors-Week 12

I have an emotional connection with the ancestors and collateral families that I research. They are not abstract names of strangers scribbled on a census sheet or noted in a document. It is especially poignant to discover the loss of kindred at a young age. The following is a remembrance of some family members, who died before the age of 21.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

My Family Tree

J. C. Salter (19 Aug 1919-21 Sep 1920) and W. C. Salter (19 Aug 1919-4 Oct 1920), twin sons of paternal grandparents Frank SALTER and Anna RIDLEY Salter.

 Vernon Harold Willis (1909-1910) and Bernice Willis (29 Mar-6 Dec 1912), children of maternal grandparents, John Henry WILLIS and Arnita HARRIS Willis.

Johnnie Lee SALTER Blair (1915 – 1930), daughter of great-grandparents John SALTER and Roxanne BRYANT Salter.

Fred Harris, Jr. (1905-1919), son of granduncle Frederick HARRIS and spouse Annie Landrum Harris

Louis Harris, Jr. (1907-1926), son of granduncle Louis HARRIS and spouse Ella Alexander Harris

Lewis Senar (1889-1910), son of great-granduncle John A. SENAR and spouse Martile Audrie Senar

Luther Gordon (1897-1916), son of great-grandaunt Cecilia SENAR Gordon and spouse Charles Gordon

Mary Ann Willis (12 Oct 1967-13 Oct 1967) <private>

My Husband’s Family Tree

Mytice Valerie Guice (Apr-May 1923) and Aaron Arnold Guice, Jr. 1922-1943), children of maternal grandparents Aaron GUICE and Ola Mae SCOVIL Guice.

Elizabeth A. Henry (1919-1939) and “Baby” Henry (8 Sep-12 Sep 1927), children of great-grandaunt Elizabeth GUICE Henry and spouse Bryant Henry.

Hodie May Kidd (1918-1920), daughter of 1st cousin once removed Pearl BYERS Kidd and spouse Jesse Kidd.

Conceata Hudson (Jul-Dec 1952), Darrelnetta Hudson (1953-1957) and “Baby Girl” Hudson (13 Feb-14 Feb 1958), daughters of 2nd cousin Louise KEENER Hudson and spouse Alfred Hudson.

A Prayer for the Forgotten Dead
O merciful God,
take pity on those souls
who have no particular friends and intercessors
to recommend them to Thee, who,
either through the negligence of those who are alive,
or through length of time are forgotten
by their friends and by all.
Spare them, O Lord,
and remember Thine own mercy,
when others forget to appeal to it.
Let not the souls which Thou hast created
be parted from thee, their Creator.

May the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Amanuensis Monday——1866 Marriage Record of Aaron Guice and Charlotte Williams

This is a transcription of the 1866 marriage record of Aaron Guice and Charlotte Williams of Mount Andrew, Barbour County, Alabama. The marriage is recorded in Marriage Record 4-A Oct. 1866 thru April 1869, Barbour County.


Aaron Guice to Charlotte Williams
The State of Alabama} To any Judge minister or Justice lawfully
Barbour County } qualified to solomize marriage greeting
You are hereby authorized to join together in the holy state of matrimony
Aaron Guice freedman and Charlotte Williams freedwoman
which being done you will make return to my office within thirty days.
Given under my hand at – office this 11th day of December 1866
J.S. Williams Judge of Probate
I hereby certify that the above named persons were duly married by
me on the 23rd day of Dec 1866 at____________in the county of
Barbour and State of Alabama R E Brown J.P.

Source citation:

Barbour County, Alabama, Marriage Record, 4-A: 219, Aaron Guice and Charlotte Williams, 1866; Probate Judge’s Office, Eufaula; imaged in “Alabama County Marriages, 1809-1950”, database with images, FamilySearch ( accessed 21 March 2019) > 1289483 (4539223) > Image 347 of 713.

Aaron and Charlotte (Williams) Guice are my husband’s 2nd-great-grandparents through their son Chapel E. Guice (1870-1951), grandson Aaron A. Guice, Sr. (1899-1972) and great-granddaughter Valencia V. GUICE Byers (1927-2002).

Serendipity – A series of fortunate events | 52 Ancestors—Week 11

My father was a county agricultural agent and loved to attend the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) annual meeting which were held in different locations around the country, usually on the campus of a land-grant college. It was my parent’s way of seeing the USA (but not in a Chevrolet). In 1981 the NACCA conference was held at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Road tripping with my parents seemed like an excellent way to spend my two-week vacation from work that year. I offered myself and my car, a Mercury Zephyr, for the trip and being their favorite (and only) child, they accepted.

Half the fun of road trips for my father would be meticulously planning the route. He would sit with a Rand McNally atlas, AAA TripTik map, ruler and graph paper to plan each step of a trip. My father was not one of those “marathon” drivers. He would create a paper spreadsheet to organize distance/time between the start and finish points for each eight-hour day. Our trip schedule would include an hour for lunch and also time for any interesting side trips.

On the first leg of our journey, we spent Saturday night somewhere in Virginia. The next morning while putting the overnight bags in the trunk, the car keys were locked in the trunk. The car doors were also locked. Unfortunately, Zephyr door lock knobs were straight so they could not be hooked and pulled up by a coat hanger. Since it was a Sunday, and blue laws were in effect, it looked like we were stuck there until Monday. When we explained the situation to the hotel front desk clerk and requested to keep the room until the next day, she called a friend who was a locksmith and he agreed to come out to help us.

When the locksmith arrived, he told us that a slim-jim wouldn’t work on the Zephyr, but a car dealer might have a key code for the trunk lock. The locksmith called the home of his friend who was a Mercury car dealer to see if there was a key code for the trunk lock. The Mercury dealer in Virginia didn’t have the key code, but it turned out he was a friend of the Mercury dealer in Alabama who sold us the car. So, the Mercury dealer called his friend and fellow Mercury dealer’s home in Alabama and explained our predicament. Upon being contacted, our car dealer called the hotel and spoke to my father to verify the situation. Our Mercury car dealer was able to give the trunk key code to the locksmith, who in turn was immediately able to cut a new trunk key. All of this took about 90 minutes to accomplish!

Thanks to the kindness of strangers, a series of fortunate events on a Sunday morning and several degrees of serendipity involving a “friend of a friend of a friend”, our trip was back on schedule.

My High School Years—10 Questions

  1. What was your high school’s full name, where was it, and what year did you graduate?  Deshler High School in Tuscumbia, Alabama, 1973.
  2. What was the school team nickname, and what are/were your school’s colors?  Tigers;  school colors were red and white.
  3. What was the name of your school song, and can you still sing it?  I have no idea of the words or tune to the Alma Mater!  Our fight song music was “Notre Dame Victory March”.
  4. Did you have a car? How did you get to and from school?   I had a gold Ford Pinto.
  5. Did you date someone from your high school? Or marry someone from your high school? Were you considered a flirt?  No, No and No.
  6. What social group were you in?  College prep
  7. Who were your favorite teachers?  Ms. Jo Willis (history), Mrs. Sallie Graham (Spanish), Mrs. Betsy Johnson (English).  All of them were innovative and inspiring.
  8. What did you do on Friday nights?  I was in the marching band, so football games during fall.  In the winter probably basketball games.
  9. Did you go to and have fun at the Senior Prom?  My class didn’t have a Junior or a Senior Prom.
  10. Have you been to reunions, and are you planning on going to the next reunion?  I missed the 10-year reunion because I had just moved to Dallas TX.  I did attend my 20th and 30th reunions with my husband (he had met some of my high school classmates while we were in college).  When the 40th reunion rolled around it was like, been there—done that, so I did not attend and do not plan to go to any more reunions.

Amanuensis Monday—1896 Quit Claim Deed by heirs of Stephen Senar

This is a transcription of a Quit Claim Deed by the heirs of Stephen H. Senar (est. 1810-1880). The deed was recorded 13 June 1896 in Deed Book 79, pages 508-509 of the Probate Court of Mobile County, Alabama.

Mack Senar etal
F. E. Overall ­­­­­­­­­­

Received in Office for Record June 13, 1896
Know all men by these Presents, that we John Senar and Marteal his wife; Juninus Senar Mack Senar and Minnie Senar his wife Eveline Harris widow, and Cela Senar unmarried, heirs of Stephen Senar (or Cenar) deceased, of the County of Mobile State of Alabama, in consideration of One dollar hereby acknowledged to have been paid to us by Frank E. Overall, do herby revise, release and forever quit-claim unto the said Frank E. Overall, all our right, title and interest in or to that certain parcel of land, situated near Mobile in the County of Mobile State of Alabama, and described as follows Viz:  Beginning on Houston street seventy-five feet northwardly of the north-east corner of Houston and Dublin streets in Section 28, Township X South Range 1 West, thence running northwardly on the East side of Houston street seventy-five feet to the south-West corner of lot 31 as numbered on a map by D. M N. Ross recorded in deed Book 67 ns page 160 thence running eastwardly along the South line of said lot to its South east corner thence Southwardly along the east line of lots 32 and 33 to the centre of the east line of lot 33, and thence Westwardly to the place of beginning, all measurements more or less.    This deed being with one of ever date from said Overall and wife to the grantors being in full [illegible] of the claim of said Stephen Cenar to what is now lots 32, 33 and 34 and 3X (derived under a deed to him from J. H. Daughdrill of October 12, 1877, re=corded, in deed Book 39 ns page 329) it being now settled by division of the land so that said Senar heirs take the Southern and said Overall the Northern half thereof.    To Have and to hold the said released premises unto the said Overall his heirs and assigns forever.    Witness our hands and seals this 30th day of May as 1896. Signed, sealed and delivered 
In the presence of
P. J. Hamilton          

{Mack Senar            (seal)                                
{By Jno Senar atty in fact                                  
{Minnie Senar        (seal)  
By Jno Senar atty in fact    
Eveline Harris  (seal)       
by Jno Senar Atty in fact
Cela Senar (seal)
By Jno Senar atty in fact
Junious Senar (seal)
by Jno Senar atty in fact
John Senar (seal)
Marteal Senar (seal)                                                  
    The State of Alabama     {      Mobile County                                              I Peter J. Hamilton a notary public in and for said State and County hereby certify that John Senar and Marteal Senar his wife whose names are signed to the foregoing conveyance and who are know to me, acknowledge before us on this day that being informed of the contents of the said conveyance they executed the same voluntarily on the day the same bears date Said John Senar also acknowledging his execution thereof in the name of and in behalf of Junius Senar, Mack Senar, Minnie Senar, Eveline Harris, and Cela Senar.   
Given under my hand and official seal this 30th day of May 1896                                                             
Peter J. Hamilton                                                    N.P.M.C.  

Stephen H. Senar and his wife Sophia (abt. 1811-1879) had nine children. The deed names five of the children:

*Junius Senar (1844-1922)
*Eveline Senar (1849-1911)
*Celia A. Senar (1856-1926)
*Mack Senar Sr. (1858-1918) married Minnie McCree (1870-1927) in 1888
*John A. Senar (1862-1915) married Martile Audrie (1863-1949) in 1889

I am descended from Stephen H. Senar through his daughter Eveline Senar (1849-1911) who married Willis Harris (1844-????) in 1867 in Mobile, Alabama.