Newspapers can be fascinating sources when looking for information about ancestors. Some of my ancestors lived in Edgefield, South Carolina and at the beginning of the 20th century the local newspaper, The Edgefield Advertiser, reported on the social activity of the town’s citizens, as well as local news and politics. I’ve been able to take a deeper look at the life of my great-grandparents, Martha Lake Carmichael and Henry Townes Medlock, as I’ve analyzed the articles that mention them.
This week’s topic for 52 Ancestors is 12. For this topic, I will look at the articles published in The Edgefield Advertiser that mention Martha or Henry in 1912. That year there were six articles.
In 1912, my great-grandparents knew each other, but were not yet married. While it’s unknown how they first met, they were writing letters to each other as early as 1910. While Martha lived with her parents in or near Edgefield, Henry resided about 25 miles away in Meriwether, South Carolina, near the Georgia border, but seems to have visited Edgefield regularly.
On March 20th, it’s reported that Henry was in Edgefield for the week assisting the county treasurer to close his year’s work. The paper says, “Mr. Medlock is very popular in Edgefield.”
Henry is listed again on May 1st among a list of individuals that will be representing Meriwether at the biennial democratic county convention. It is also noted that Henry was a member of the executive committee. The convention was scheduled for the following Monday, May 6th, at the county courthouse. The paper anticipated it would be heavily attended.
The first mention of Martha that year is a notice of a visit from Miss Rosa Hill on June 5th. Rosa, who lived in North Augusta, was visiting Martha and other relatives. Rosa was Martha’s mother’s first cousin, but Rosa was seven years younger than Martha.
The next mention of Henry is July 31st in an article titled, “County Campaign: First Meeting Held at Republican [Baptist] Church, Good Speeches, Ideal Order, Sumptuous Dinner.” Henry was the chairman of the meeting. He conducted the meeting and introduced the candidates.
Mattie is mentioned again in an article titled, “Parade Will Be Formed in Evans Grove” on November 6th. The parade was part of the county fair that happened the following week. Martha is listed with Emily Strother under floats and rigs.
The last mention for the year is on December 4th. Martha attended a bridal shower for Miss Mattie Mims. The description of the gathering, food, party favors, and gifts paints a pretty picture of the event. For example:
Promptly at the hour stated, the guests assembled. Miss Maria Hill welcomed the guests, showing them into the drawing room where Miss Nicholson and Miss Mims [received them]…a huge silver waiter literally loaded with gifts that were showered on the bride, linen, dainty hand embroidered lingerie, hand-painted china, and cut glass composing the array of pretty remembrances.
The shower was given by Sara Nicholson at Cedar Grove, the former home of John and Mary Bones, ancestors to Sara, Martha, and the groom. Further, the bride and Henry were cousins. Martha was a bridesmaid at the wedding on 26 December. It also seems likely Henry would have attended the wedding given his relationship to the bride. The January 1, 1913 issue does say that Henry was in town for the holidays.
While the newspaper doesn’t describe any interaction between Martha and Henry in 1912, it provides a fascinating glimpse into their interconnected social, community, and professional lives.
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