Saturday, November 26, 2016

Surname Saturday

Looking for the Meadows

Ten children! Can you imagine feeding and providing for a family of twelve today with the cost of goods with today’s prices? John Calvin Meadows and his wife Sarah Ann had ten children from 1842 to 1864. John was a farmer and Sarah Ann kept the house. The children worked on the farm when they became of age. Families helped each other in those days. Neighbors helping neighbors; and witnesses at weddings; and family members were witnesses on wills or probate records when needed. Families lived nearby unlike today where families are miles apart. John and Sarah Ann moved their children to Tallapoosa County between 1851 and 1853. Each of these family members have a story, and the story gives a glimpse into their lives.

Using the information for each ancestor from the censuses and writing their stories gives a glimpse of their lives; their stories are a vital part of history. They weren’t governors, or trailblazers or world changers, but they were family and their stories needs to be told. John Calvin had a son John Calvin, Jr. his namesake and he was the middle child. John Calvin Meadows Jr. was born in Georgia in 1851. He probably was born in Troup County.

Tracking John C. Meadows, Jr. through the censuses from 1860 to 1930 was easy since they stayed in the same area. The 1860 census gives a snapshot of the population prior to the Civil War. He was living with his parents and siblings in 1860. The Meadows family lived in the New Site, Western Division of Tallapoosa County, Alabama. Seven of John C.’s siblings are living at home with him and his parents.



The 1870 census adds a little more information for the residents to provide about themselves. The 1870 census was the first census after the Civil War and slavery ended. It was the first census to list all persons; however, not included are the relationships to head, including former slaves as individuals. In 1870 John Calvin Meadows Sr. and family are living in Daviston Beat in Tallapoosa County, and John C. Jr. is fourteen years old, and can’t read or write. There are seven siblings still living at home and a ten-year-old Edwin, a black child, and he was born in Alabama. The census enumerator only provided a surname to the head of this family. Therefore, Edwin had no surname listed. Edwin may have been the son of a worker; or a child of former slave who was deceased; or he could be their child; or the enumerator could have made a mistake when recording race. His relationship to the family wasn’t stated therefore the relationship to the family is unknown. By 1880 John Calvin, Jr. is married and a father of a two-year-old.



John Calvin Meadows Jr. married Martha Priscilla Spates 10 September 1876 in Tallapoosa County, Alabama. John C. Meadows Jr. and Jordan Spates applied for the marriage bond on 2 September 1876 in Tallapoosa County, and it was signed, sealed and delivered by Allen D. Sturdivant. Who is Jordan Spates? He is the brother of Martha Priscilla Spates. Their parents were William Spates and Zady Priscilla Lee Spates. Zady is the daughter of Jordan and Lydia Lee. John Calvin’s sister Emma married William Alfred Lee, Jordan and Lydia’s grandson.




Marriage record for John C. Meadows Jr. and Martha Spates from FamilySearch.org database. 


By 1880 John Calvin, Jr. is married and a father of a two-year-old. The 1880 census has more information about a resident had been added and the relationship to head of the household was a valuable feature to the census. There was more personal information about an individual added. The resident’s location was an added feature. So, with the information that was added a profile of an individual may be developed. In 1880 John and his wife Martha are living in District 142, Newsite Beat 5, Tallapoosa County, Alabama. They had been married a year. John is a farmer and his wife Martha’s occupation is keeping house. In 1880 John is twenty-six years old and still can’t read or write. Martha is twenty-two years old They have a daughter Lizzie who is two years old.


There is a twenty-year span to the next census so a lot of changes can take place. On the 1900 census the name of each person in the household is named, their relationship to the head of household, and a personal description of the residents are important features of this census. John is fifty years old on the 1900 census and Martha is forty. Lizzie is no longer living with the family. She would be about twenty years old so she is old enough to be married. Martha is the mother of nine children with seven living. Therefore, Lizzy was only two in 1880 so she probably died young, and another child was born and died in the twenty-year span between censuses. There are six additional children in the family. There is James who is nineteen; Mattie is sixteen; Alice is ten; Jody is eight; Carrie R. is five; and Vera is one year old in 1900. The Meadows family are still living in Newsite Beat 5, Tallapoosa County in District 70. John and Martha have been married twenty-four years.


The 1910 census allows the resident to give home data such as owning their home or if they are renting, if they own their home that is stated, and the head of house’s spouse was named, and on this census, was Martha Meadows. He was still farming and owns his home, is free of mortgage, and has a farm. He hadn’t been out of work in 1909, and he is his own employer. The residents can also give a more personal description of themselves. John and Martha had been married thirty-three years. John was sixty-one years old and Martha was fifty years old. They had four children living at home. Martha was the mother of ten children with seven living. Another child died. Alice was ten years old on the 1900 census, but is missing from this census with her siblings.

Another added feature of the census in 1910 is the family can add information about their education, place of birth, their parents place of birth, if they were employed, and if they were a survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy. James W. was twenty-nine years old and living at home and is single. Why would a twenty-nine-year-old still be living at home with his parents? It looks as though he has some disabilities and unable to work, he could read and write so he attended school. However, his father, John Calvin, never learned to read and write. In 1910 John and Martha had three other children living at home. Jodie his seventeen-year-old son, Carrie his daughter who is fifteen, and Vera an eleven-year-old daughter. John and Martha had only been married one time.



The Meadows family has gotten smaller by 1920 and there is only one child living at home, Carrie O. age twenty-three and single. She wasn’t working, but she could read and write. Why is she still living at home? The information on the 1920 census doesn’t provide that information. It provides the relationship to the head of the house John C. Meadows. Carrie is their next to the last child born to Martha. John owns his home and his farm. They are still living in Newsite, Tallapoosa County in District 167. He was sixty-seven years old and Martha was sixty-six. Where is John C. and Martha son James W.? Did he marry? Is he living on his own? Did he die between censuses?



The 1930 Newsite, Tallapoosa County census provides some information about this family. They are living in Precinct 5, District 10. Residents for the 1930 census could provide more personal information such as home data. If they owned a radio set, they could provide that information. John and Martha didn’t own a radio. If they owned or rented their home, the resident could provide that personal information. They owned their home, and lived on a farm. They could give a personal description such as age at last birth, marital condition, age at first marriage, and another added feature was if they attended school or college any time since Sept 1, 1929. John was twenty-four years old at his first and only marriage. He was seventy-four years old. Martha was sixteen years old at her first and only marriage. She was seventy-three years old in 1930 when this census was taken. John Calvin never learned to read and write.


John and Martha had many years together and had ten children. They were married fifty-nine years. They lived in the same area throughout their married lives. John Calvin Meadows Jr. died 21 May 1935 in Rural Road Route 1 in Wadley, Tallapoosa County, Alabama. He was born into a family of farmers and died a farmer. He was eighty years old when he died.


Martha Priscilla Spates Meadows died 30 January 1946 in Wadley, Tallapoosa County, Alabama. She was eighty-six years old when she died. They are both buried in Newsite in the Harmony Cemetery. Martha’s son James Washington Meadows died the same year she died. He died 13 December 1946 in Wadley. He was sixty-six years old when he died. A death record for Carrie O. Meadows hasn’t been found; however, a marriage record that is an odd record. It has Carrie married Feb. 1947 however, the groom isn’t named. More research on this record to prove this information.



John Calvin Meadows and his wife of many years lived a laborious life farming and raisin seven of the ten children. They are both at peace now and their memories will live on.

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