Week 41: October 11, 2014
Rosa L. Sharp (Sharpe) McKinley (1869-1902)
Rosa L. Sharp was my great grandmother – and has always been a mystery to me as I grew up seeing photographs of her at my grandfather’s house. I have a vivid memory of this huge picture I found rolled up in a closet there – and as curious as I was – I pulled it out and opened – it was Rosa! It must have been in a very large frame at one time; later removed and stored away. It sadly disappeared over time but we do have smaller photos of this very picture, which is featured here in this story.
Rosa L. Sharp (Sharpe) was born November 16, 1869 in Taliaferro County, Georgia to parents Joseph Thomas Sharp and Narcissa C. Meadows.
It took much searching to discover Rosa’s mothers name of Narcissa Meadows; the family talked about her father but no one knew anything about her mother. In searching for Rosa’s mother, I first began with the 1880 Hancock Census – she was not there. The children were listed with only their father Joseph T. Sharp. I searched again in 1870 and could not find the family at all. It was only when I searched in 1860 did I finally find Joseph with a wife and one child. Not finding them nowhere in 1870 still haunts me…
(I believe Rosa’s last name to be spelled Sharp, but also find it spelled Sharpe – could the “e” be written by the person writing the name or the original name be Sharpe and they later dropped the “e”? I have found it spelled Sharpe on some of her siblings gravestones.
I’ve found Rosa listed with many first name variations – Rosa, Rossie, Rosie – I guess it depended on what spelling the census taker wrote. Her marriage record used Rosa and it was spelled as such on the 1880 census, so that is how I believe it to be spelled; although it’s spelled Rossie on her gravestone – go figure! But the middle initial of “L” is a mystery – and I hate mysteries. I think it’s going to be many sleepless nights for me on this one! I’m thinking it was possibly Lee – as her son, my grandfather, gave his first child, the name of Leeroy – that could have been for his mother. My grandfather, Edgar T. McKinley was only six years old when his mother died.
Rosa was the fourth of five children born to Joseph T. and Narcissa C. (Meadows) Sharp. Her siblings were James T. (1859), Edwin L. (1864), Emma (1896) and William (1872).
Source: “M” Index: Georgia Virtual Vault; Taliaferro County Marriage Book, 1870 – 1888: Georgia Virtual Vault, Taliaferro County Marriage Book, 1870 – 1888, page 176
Rosa married Edgar Lawson McKinley on September 30, 1885. I believe this photo to be the earliest photo of them – possible wedding photo?
Transcription of text in marriage document: State of Georgia: To any minister of the gospel, judge, JP or any person authorized to celebrate. Taliaferro County These are to authorize and permit you to join in the honorable State of Matrimony Edgar L McKinley of the one part and Miss Rosa L Sharpe of the other part according to the rites of your church provided there be no lawful cause to obstruct the same and this shall be your authority for so doing. Given unto my hand and as ordinary for the County aforesaid this September 28th 1885 Signed: Charles A Beazley, Ordinary I hereby certify that Edgar L McKinley and Rosa L Sharpe were joined together in the Holy Bonds of Matrimony by me on the 30th day of September 1885. Signed: William W Andrews (?) N.P. Justice of the Peace – Recorded October 17th 1885.
There were eight children born to Edgar Lawson and Rosa L. McKinley: Lena 1886-1969; Cora 1888-1910; Emma 1892-1955; Joseph L. 1892-1955; Richard E. 1896-1994; Edgar T. 1896-1972; Nevilla C. 1899-1902; Lonnie 1901-1902.
I haven’t found a record of what her youngest son, Lonnie, died from at one year of age; very sad to know that she lost a child just turning one. There are no death certificates from that time frame so we can only assume it was sickness or disease. Just one year later on July 8, 1902, Rosa died and was buried next to her son in the Powelton Community Cemetery, Hancock, Georgia. (I have been to this cemetery and walked the graves – no other McKinley’s are there; there are some Sharp’s, who I have now found to be her father’s brothers, but her parents grave-sites have yet to be found.) Rosa’s husband remarried and is buried with his second wife in the Baptist Church Cemetery in White Plains, Greene Co.
There are still a few items on my “bucket list” for Narcissa. What does her middle initial “L” stand for? When did her mother die and where was she buried? Possibly one day I’ll be able to add those to make Rosa’s story complete.
Family Week Stories that tie into this story can be found at:
Week 3: January 18, 2014: Joseph Thomas Sharp https://jinsalacoblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/week-3-jan-18-2014/
Week 8: February 22, 2014: Edgar Thomas McKinley https://jinsalacoblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/116/
Week 25: June 21, 2014: Edgar “Lawson” McKinley https://jinsalacoblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/52-week-52-ancester-challenge/
Week 34: August 23, 2014: Narcissa C. Meadows Sharp https://jinsalacoblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/week-34-august-23-2014-52-ancestor-52-week-blog-narcissa-c-meadows-sharp/
Location of Powelton Community Cemetery: From the Hancock County Court House, go 2.6 miles northeast on Hwy 22/15 to the split and then go right on Hwy 22 for another 9.9 miles to the cemetery. The cemetery will be on the left side of Hwy 22.