Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How One Thing Leads to Another

I've been posting headstones on Find-A-Grave for a few years now, and I really enjoy doing it. I've gotten so much help, been pointed in the right direction and solved a few mysteries with the help of FAG. So, when I take photos, when they get linked in my database, they get loaded on to FAG.

Occasionally, you get really lucky and someone contacts you because of your post. Such was the case recently, when I was contacted by Sherry W. who was looking for more information on the Woolfolk family whose headstones I posted. It seems that Sherry W. connects directly to these Woolfolk lines. It's wonderful when you find someone more directly connected to a line you are researching.

Sherry W. asked me if I knew that Sallie B Woolfolk, daughter of Sowyel Woolfolk and Sallie Bowman (Sallie Bowman is a daughter of my great-great-great-great grandfather, Colonel Abraham Bowman, so Sallie B. Woolfolk is his granddaughter) had perished in the Sultana disaster. Sallie was the widow of Dudley Mitchum Woolfolk, her first cousin. For Sallie B. Woolfolk's Find-a-Grave record go here.

Well, I had heard of the Sultana disaster, years ago while reading one of my dad's Civil War Times. It is to date the largest maritime disaster in the United States. More information on it can be found here. And there is a blurb on the anniversary of it here.

With many thanks to Sherry W., this is Sallie's obituary from the Lexington Observer & Reporter, May 20, 1865:

On the 27th day of April 1865, Mrs. Sallie B., relict of Major D. M. Woolfolk, dec’d.

The deceased was a passenger on board the ill-fated Sultana, which exploded on the Mississippi river a few miles above Memphis, and was one of the victims of the disaster.  Her remains were recovered, and her bereaved relatives have the sad consolation of receiving them unmarred by the violence of the explosion, and of venting their sorry in the last sad offices in which affection may pay its tribute to the dead.

A large circle of attached friends will sympathize with the bereaved mourners in the sudden stroke which has removed one so tenderly beloved.  In her were admirably blended the graces which charm the social circle, and the virtues which cheer the home.  Her genial manners inspired a cordiality which, ripened into esteem, as more intimate acquaintance revealed the qualities of mind and heart which endeared her to all.  Though death came in a manner so unexpected and startling, they who mourn are sustained by the hope that the stroke found her not unprepared, and that their loss is her eternal gain.  A member of the Christian Church since early girlhood, her consistent walk illustrated her profession, and crowned her life with the fruits of the faith which cheered and guided her in prosperity, and afforded strength and consolation in affliction.

“After life’s fitful fever, she sleeps well.”
I love it when I can tie a person or family to a historical event. Isn't that what family history is all about? However, in researching newspapers following this event, there is not a great deal of in depth reporting on the Sultana. This event was less than two weeks after the assassination of Lincoln, and the country was caught up in that drama.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. You might want to avoid the acronym for Find-A-Grave. Just a suggestion...

  2. Been using that FAG acronym for quite a while. I think it's funny.

  3. Doncha just luv it, when all the pieces come together ---- I just keep on waitin' for that to happen to me. Til then I just keep on reachin' out.