Saturday, August 9, 2014

Lloyd Charles Harless 1921-1944

I look through a lot of records, some are quite boring if I'm perfectly honest, but most are interesting or informative and once in a while one makes me smile. Today I smiled. It wasn't a happy subject. I was searching through military headstone applications on, which right away tells you the subject matter is pretty gloomy.

The record that brought a smile to my face was that for Lloyd Charles Harless. On 29 December 1939, just 8 days after his 18th birthday, Lloyd enlisted in the United States Army.

World War 2 had begun, but the United States was not militarily involved and the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 was not yet instituted. This meant that Lloyd had not been required to register for the draft and so by all accounts his enlistment in the army was a voluntary one.

As the oldest son, perhaps he felt it was his duty, or perhaps he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. Lloyd's father, Lissus H. Harless, had served in World War 1 when he too was just a teenager.

I don't know much about Lloyd's military service. I do know that in 1940 he was stationed at Fort Preble in Maine and that he served in the 439th Anti-Aircaft Artillery Battalion.

On 31 July 1944 Lloyd Charles Harless was killed in action. He was 22 years old.

I have not searched the Graves Registration Records as yet, but from his unit information it appears he was killed in Italy fighting in the Rome-Arno Campaign when the 439th was temporarily converted to infantry duty in Task Force 45.

From the headstone application made by his father and shown here, we know that his body was returned to his family for burial in the US.

I know you are wondering how any of this could have made me smile.

I smiled because I checked the reverse of the card. How many times do we forget to do that? We've seen the front, we have the information we were looking for, on the back we expect to see nothing more than an address or a few date stamps, but when I checked the back of Lissus H. Harless's application for a military headstone for his hero son, I saw his pride.

I saw his pride and that made me smile.

"We don't need this permit. Beech Grove is the Harless Cemetery for 5 generations given by Lloyds grand parents for that purpose." Lissus Harless 'Father'

I hope it made you smile too.

Here is where I found the record, there are several more Harless soldiers in the collection.
U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Harless's Store

The Tennessee Valley Authority, Family Removal and Population Readjustment Case Files, 1934-1953 on make for emotional reading - all of those people, families, house, farms and communities relocated. So many people had lived in the same place for their whole life, relocation was going to be hard.

I'm sure the workers meant well, but it is heartbreaking to read the descriptions - were the people educated? Were they proud housekeepers? Were they healthy? The most important questions were also asked - how do you feel about relocation and where will you go?

If there were any wealthy people relocated I haven't found them yet.

I'm still searching and putting the pieces together, but I had to share the one item I found that made my day - a photograph of Harless's Store!

Harless's Store in the Friendship Community of Sullivan County, Tennessee was owned by Martin Alexander Harless and it was in the way of the reservoir.

Martin Alexander Harless was the great-grandson of Abraham Harless who in turn is the 4th great-grandfather of my husband and the reason I began this whole project in the first place.

I do not know if Martin moved the store "to land just outside the reservoir" as he planned, but in 1950 he had reportedly "removed his house intact to land which he owned and which TVA did not acquire, located above pool level on Sharp's Creek, in the Friendship community." Hopefully he was also able to remove the store.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Heirs of Joel Tillman Harless, Madison County, Alabama

On 8 September 1847, Joel Tillman Harless, along with his wife, Sarah, sold 80 acres of land in two parcels to Benjamin R. Harris and his wife, Caroline. Unfortunately for Benjamin, the deed was written incorrectly and he needed to have it corrected. I do not know when he first noticed the error, but by the time he got around to getting it put right, Joel T. Harless had died. Benjamin's misfortune is our good fortune, because now he had to bring suit against the heirs of Joel T. Harless and his own children (as the error in the deed had made the property over to them).

On 6 November 1854, Benjamin R. Harris and his wife, Caroline A. E. Harris (nee Vann), brought a bill of complaint against: Thomas Harless, John W. Harless, Charles Harless, Tib Allison, and his wife, Matilda, formerly Matilda Harless, Thomas Harris, Martha S. Harris, Nancy Harris, and Rosaline Harris [the 4 children of Benjamin and Caroline], of the county of Madison, State of Alabama, Andrew J. Middleton and his wife Rebecca, formerly Rebecca Harless, of the county of Jackson in said state, Sarah S. Harless of the county of Marshall in said state, and David Harless of the county of Marengo in said state.

The complaint goes on to explain how the errors with the deed came about and why it has not been corrected:

"...since the making of the conveyance, the said Joel T. Harless has departed this life, intestate, leaving the following named persons, his heirs at law, viz: Thomas Harless, David Harless, John W. Harless, Charles Harless, Matilda Allison formerly Harless, Rebecca Middleton, formerly Harless. The said Matilda has intermarried with and is not the wife of one Tib Allison, and the said Rebecca has intermarried with and is not the wide of one Andrew J. Middleton. The said Joel T., also left surviving him, a widow, one Sarah T. Harless."

The heirs at law listed for Joel Tillman Harless are his siblings and, as mentioned, his widow. In my records, I have that Sarah gave birth to a posthumous son of Joel and remarried a year or so later. BUT I believe that an unborn child would have been entitled to a share of the estate (if they lived). Eldrid Harless is listed in the 1850 Census in the household of Sarah and her second husband, Willis Kirkland, showing that if he was the son of Joel he had indeed survived and would be the lawful heir. Unfortunately for us there is nothing in the chancery case to show whether or not Benjamin R. Harris was mistaken in his listing of heirs.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Live By The Sword... or gun

The newspaper headline was tantalizing - "Twists of Fate. Man Slew Ex-husband First Wife; Slain Himself" and the article didn't disappoint, but it left me confused.
Birmingham, Ala. Jan. 21. (UP) -
The first time Charlie C. Graham, 45, married a divorcee, he killed her former husband.
He went to prison on a life sentence, but was paroled and married another divorcee.
Friday night the second husband killed Graham.
Eleven years ago Graham walked up to the automobile in which Glenn Harless was seated and shot Harless after an argument.
Friday night Graham walked up to the automobile where J.B. Rylant, 45, was seated, got into an argument, and Rylant killed him. They had been friends since boyhood.
Coroner __ M. Evans reconstructed the shooting today, and ordered Rylant held under $2,500 bond in a murder charge.
I was unsure who had married whom and when. All I really knew was that Charlie seemed to argue a lot and he was killed in circumstances very similar to those in which he had killed Glenn Harless. This is what I found out.

The murdered Glenn Harless was, in fact, Glen George Harless, son of Benjamin Franklin Harless and Sarah Fannie Leonard. Glen was born in Calera, Shelby County, Alabama on 28 November 1890. On 13 June 1915, he married Cory May Smith, it would prove to be his undoing. The marriage lasted until at least 1920, but on 31 May 1928, Cora married Charles Crisp Graham in Blount County, Alabama. Her name is given in the record as Miss Cora May Harliss, but the newspaper article calls her a divorcee. I wonder if Charles was aware of this prior to the marriage, but he certainly knew it afterwards. Just five months after the marriage, Charles Crisp Graham shot and killed Glenn George Harless. Charles was sentenced to a life term and he can be found in the 1930 Census in Kilby Prison. I do not know when he was released.

In 1934 Cora and Charles were divorced and on 23 December 1938 Charles married Bessie L. Haley in Anniston, Calhoun County, Alabama. Bessie had been married twice previously. Her latest marriage, to J. B. Rylant had ended in divorce in 1938.

On 20 January 1939, Rylant killed Charles Crisp Graham in Birmingham, Alabama.

I do not know what happened to Cora or Bessie, or even Rylant, but Glen George Harless did not appear to have had any children with Cora.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Emiline Niday Re-Visited!

Genealogy is only as good as the next record you find! I was reminded of this all too clearly today when Pamela McCunn kindly shared a copy of the death record for Sarah Nida. Although there were several Sarah Nida's, this record clearly stated that this Sarah was the daughter of Ferdinand and F. Harless.

Sarah Nida died 20 Apil 1859 in Roane District, Roane County, West Virginia. Cause of death was fever and ague. Her age was 65 years. Her parents, as noted, Ferdinand & F Harless. She was born in Giles Co., Va. The person giving the information of death was Emaline Stump, and if that wasn't clear enough, in the column for designation of informant we are told Emaline was her daughter. The column for "consort of, or unmarried" was left blank, indicating her husband had predeceased her.

I began this series wondering if Emiline Niday was the daughter of John Nida or Jacob Nida and that mystery is not resolved. If she was the daughter of Jacob, was this the Jacob Nighdy who took out a bond in Giles County, Virginia to marry Salley Kessinger on 16 March 1812? Or was she the daughter of the John Nida/Nidah/Niday who took out a bond to marry Sarah Harless on 23 October 1818 in Giles County, Virginia?

In the first instance we have a Jacob Nida marrying Sarah, but not as Sarah Harless - was she previously married? In the second instance we have a Sarah Harless but not a Jacob Nida.

For now I am going with Sarah Kessinger being one and the same as Sarah Harless daughter of Ferdinand and Frankie, but I am desperately hoping to find the next record!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Emiline Niday Wrap Up

A few days ago I was questioning the identity of the Emiline Niday who intended to marry Greenberry Stump in Giles County, Virginia in 1847. The marriage bond named her father as John Nida and I believed that to be the John Nida who married Sarah Harless. Could I prove that, I asked. The answer is no, I can't. Does this mean I believe the marriage records were wrong and that she was the daughter of Jacob Nida? No. I found no evidence to support that either. I'm disappointed, but I have removed Emiline and her descendants from the Harless family tree until I find strong evidence that that is where they belong. Now to check out the other Emaline Nida who really may be a daughter of John and Sarah Harless Nida.