Week 34: August 23, 2014
Narcissa C. Meadows Sharp
Another one of my many “brick walls” is – Who was Rosie (Sharp 1869-1902) McKinley’s mother? My mother knew who Rosie’s father was, (Joseph T. Sharp) as she told me stories about him living with daughter Rosie and Edgar Lawson McKinley. But no one had ever mentioned or knew the name of Rosie’s mother – so I had to put on my detective hat to discover who she was.
I was lucky enough that Rosie was born during the census years where she could be found listed with her parents. My search began with the 1880 census where I found Joseph T. Sharp (Feb. 17, 1835) with “no wife” in Taliafarro County, GA, but children of Edwin, age 15; Emma, age 16; Rossa (my Rosie), age 11; William, age 7. Their brother James T. was missing here, but he was of age, married and out of the household now.
By 1880, I now know Narcissa C. (Meadows) Sharp was deceased as Joseph was listed as a widower and now raising the children alone. He continued raising the children and eventually went to live with his daughter Rosie L. (Sharp) McKinley until he died. Joseph outlived his daughter Rosie as she died in 1902, just two months after her son Lonnie died. We assume he continued to live with his son-in-law until his death, which I’m believing to be abt. 1906/1907. No gravestone records have been found for Joseph or Narcissa Sharp (1838 – bef. 1870/80) at this time. I feel they were buried in Taliafarro County, Ga. but I have yet to find any records. There are a couple of Joseph’s brothers and family in the same Powelton Cemetery where Rosie is buried. I have not checked local church records as of yet, so that might be a future search.
Census year 1870 puzzled me as Joseph should have been there with his children except for one – and with a wife – but neither are found. I searched every way that my imagination allowed, but to no avail! My great grandmother, their daughter, Rosie L. Sharp was born Nov. 16, 1869 – right before the 1870 census was taken. There were Sharp’s in Taliafarro County, Georgia – his two brothers James T. and Edwin were there, but what happened to Joseph and his elusive wife? This also could have been a county where all the census wasn’t gathered, or partially lost. I may never know!
I continued my search to census year 1860 and bingo – here was my Joseph T. Sharp with wife Narcissa C. and one son, James T. Sharp – eight months old. Their family was started but what happened to them during 1870? I’ll probably never know, but I do know that this will gnaw at me! I did peek into several Sharp families on the 1870 census for Taliafarro County, hoping to find that maybe they were living with them – for whatever reason.
Finally having her name, I searched for marriage records – Bingo! Joseph and Narcissa Meadows were married December 8, 1858 in Taliafarro County, Georgia. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy time for them as there was a war brewing and on April 12, 1861 war began when Confederate warships bombarded Union soldiers at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Within four months, Joseph left Narcissa home with one child – he went to war. Did she return home to live with her parents? She was now a single parent – how did she survive alone?
Joseph T. Sharp enlisted August 1861 at Crawfordville, Hancock Co., GA. in the Confederate 7th Calvary, Co. R., NS. and was discharged from duty in 1865. He is listed in the Confederate Pension index as J. T. Sharp from Hancock Co., GA. – J. T. Sharp states on Pension Application he was born Feb. 17, 1835 in Taliaferro County, GA. and from the 1900 Pension Application he served 3 years in Co. E., 7th Confederate Calvary. He would have been returning home to Narcissa in 1865 – but where were they calling home? The war was still raging even upon his return; war finally ended April 9, 1865 when Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. (I also need to take another look at the reconstructed census for those years as there were many lost census records for the Southern states; I did take a quick peek before finalizing this story and found nothing.
Also I’d like to add that in looking at the 1910 Census for Joseph and Narcissa’s son Edwin L. Sharp – to my surprise I found my Joseph T. Sharp, age 75, living in his household in Augusta, Ga. He must have went there after daughter Rossie Askew McKinley died in 1907. I am shocked! I thought he died around the same time, oh well! Now this will gnaw at me – and keep me awake even longer at night!)
I figured that as long as I was on a roll in finding my elusive great-great grandmother Narcissa, maybe I could find her parents and add yet another female great-great-great grandmother to my line. I know Narcissa was born in 1838 in Georgia so I began in the first census year to list additional family members by name – the 1850 census. It was a quick search as she immediately showed – there was my Narcissa C. Meadows with parents of William and Serena Meadows in Taliafarro County, Ga. She was there along with four, possibly five siblings as it seems one daughter was listed with another last name (Saxon) in household with her three children. (I found a marriage record for Lucinda Meadows to a James Saxon on April 14, 1841 in Taliaferro Co., Ga. which proves Lucinda also to be a daughter of William Meadows.)
A big age difference showed on census between Narcissa’s parents – her father was 72 here in 1850 while the mother was only 54. William and Serena (Kittrell) were also listed in the 1840 Taliafarro County census; nothing for 1830 but I did find him in the 1820 Greene County census. William and Serena were married Nov. 30, 1823 in Warren County, Georgia.
I do feel as if I’ve broken through a couple more brick walls – adding more pieces to the puzzle. Family history is never found in a day – it comes through years of work and years of diligent patience in searching. You know those nights when you wake up in the middle of the night and your mind is racing with questions – and you’d really like to jump out of bed and go online to make that search you just thought of – or find that piece of paper you remembered scribbling a date on. Then reality sinks in – your husband will really think your nuts – again searching for dead people… so you roll over and go back to sleep, hoping you’ll remember that thought in the morning!
The information below was written to me in the comments section by my cousin Lynn Smith – as it was full of family history I have chosen to include it here at the end of my story.