Christmas 1954 with Nana and Poppa

When my sister Jane and I were little, Nana (Martha Penny Derickson Bringhurst) and Poppa (Frederick R. Bringhurst) used to sit in the car outside our house, waiting for us to wake up so they could enjoy Christmas morning with us.

This Christmas was special since it was the first Christmas for our sister Barbara. She is the two month old baby in the back being held by her grandmother, Lois Budd Naff (Wowie to us). And Poppa died two weeks later at the age of 81. Mom looking very young is peaking out beside Nana.

We loved Christmas, grandparents and our great grandparents.

There really was a Montezuma Ragan

Daddy always claimed we had a relative named Montezuma Ragan who was part Indian. The Indian part is doubtful (though according to Bill Patterson, there were Indians mingled with the Shelnutts). However, Montezuma Ragan was real and my great, great grandmother.

If you would like to meet her……………..

“On November 14, 1888, the day I was twenty-five, Zuma Alice Ragan and myself were married at her home, at Jersey Ga. by J. A. 0. Radford, a Methodist preacher – a very good man and his family throughout. She was the only daughter of V.B. and Mrs. M. A. Brown Ragan, of good families and that put her in line of good blood. She was nineteen January, 1889. She has one brother, A. H, a good old honest church-going farmer, a big title to hang to any man’s name.

She had common school advantages, but used them well. She was well trained-had exceedingly good manners and strictly obedient to parents. Small in size and neat in figure—clean, neat in her dressing, fresh looking and pretty as a pink. Had one of the prettiest necks I ever saw. It was well made and fit her head and shoulders perfectly. She was a good, neat house-keeper, and a number one in the kitchen. She had a mechanical and an artistical mind – she was trained to do things and knew how – and did things: hard to discourage with any difficult task. Loved flowers, enjoyed labor, and like to watch the birds, butterflies, and smiling flowers – ate no idle bread. Her little hands were busy hands. She was a heavenly treasure in an earthly vessel. A good mother and watched carefully all interest of her children. She had two girls, and then two boys. The first boy died at the age of 11 months, named Marvin Lamar-a bright, beautiful, blue-eyed boy. The next boy was a bright blue-eyed baby, named J. B., Jr., now thirty-five years of age–married and has three children. Bertha Adel is the oldest daughter, has black eyes -now Mrs. J. B. Hammond-no children. Myrtie Estelle has black eyes-now Mrs. R. I. Rooks, one daughter.

Mother loved her church and was faithful to its teaching. Died May 19, 1932. John H. Wood, W. B. McDonald and T. Z. B. Eventon in charge of the funeral service. E. L. Almond undertaker.

God cares for her, up yonder.
God cares for us, down here.
We live, in different lands,
But live, in the same hands.

Page 26-28, Christian Living, J.B. Shelnutt, Sr., 1935

E-Bay can be a friend to genealogists too

While doing a quick search on Google, I came up with an amazing discovery, a book written and privately published in 1935 by J.B. Shelnutt, Sr., Daddy’s grandfather and my great grandfather. “Christian Living” is 220 pages long and focuses on the Bible and Christian Living, but there are some small glimpses of the family.

James Birket (or sometimes Burket) Shelnutt, Sr. was born in 1863, during the Civil War, to a family of farmers and, from 1909 to 1921 was Clerk of the Supreme Court of Walton County. I’ll write about his philosophy and religious feelings later, but his book illuminated someone of the women in the family who are often harder to uncover.

Budds, Springers and Old Swedes Church

Budd Bailey is the keeper of the Budd family genealogy and recently came to Willmington to see Old Swedes Church. It may be that both sides of the family are related to the Swedes through the Springers. His quest to find his Swedish ancestors was written up by the News Journal – Backstory with photos. In addition, he wrote about his visit to Wilmington and with Mom on the Backstory Blog – Budd Bailey

Budd’s extensive genealogy pages featuring Budds and Baileys can be found here. To find out more about Old Swedes Church where I was married and many relatives were buried check their web page . It is the oldest church in continous use in the United States.

Bitten by the Genealogy Bug – discovering the Shelnutts

Like many before me, I have been bitten by the genealogy bug, all of which started with a quest to find out who the people were in an 1858 letter written to Sarah Derickson Harvey about getting “Derry’s no top wagon” and “expediting the African”. This is clearly a reference to the Ground Railroad which was very active in Wilmington, Delaware.

As it turns out, there is an overwhelming amount of historical and genealogical information on the web and I started to look at other sections of the family. The Shelnutts proved to be fairly easy to track down. My research really took off when I discovered Bill Patterson’s web site (now longer in existence) which had not only has pedigree charts but also good historical notes on the family. Unfortunately, Bill is no longer with us.

In addition to census and other documents found on, the family was respectable enough to rate mentions in the Atlanta Constitution for social and political activities providing more insight to their times and issues. Most importantly are 2 key sources, J.B. Shelnutt, Sr’s 1935 book, Christian Living and A Pioneer Church in the Oconee Territory which helped bring people to life more than the census forms can.

From Quaker to Mormon – William Bringhurst

We had always heard that one of the Bringhursts had gone out to Utah with Brigham Young. I don’t know how he is related to Papa (Frederick Bringhurst), but William Bringhurst is the one. See The First 100 Persons Who Shaped Southern Nevada for a photo and some details.

His father was Joseph Bringhurst and his mother was Elizabeth Evans. Presumably they were all originally Quakers. However, in looking at where people were buried, it seems as though William brought his mother out west along with his sisters and some brothers.

I’m sure that there is an interesting story behind it all.

Merry Christmas at 18th & Market – Another Card from Nana and Poppa

An earlier card from Nana and Poppa Bringhurst. We lived here (Barbara was just a baby) for 2 years before moving to Woodlawn Avenue. It was an absolutely fabulous house with 2 back stair cases, pocket doors in the 2 front parlors so we do plays, and big thick stone walls that made in cool in summer. It was built about 1771. I have a newspaper article about the house I will post sometime later.