27 December 2012

Found: Ethel Henson's Autograph Book

     I found this "School-Day Autobiography"autograph book in an antique store in Snellville, Georgia. I liked it because the book contained names, locations and dates, so I thought I'd be able to identify the owner in census records. I picked it up for $7.50.

     The book belonged to a girl named Ethel Henson and was signed by her school friends and teachers. In order to identify Ethel, I first located the places mentioned in the book: Rydal, Pine Log and Fairmount, Georgia.  These are cities in Bartow and Gordon Counties.

    The dates in the book were from 1934, so I checked the 1930 and 1940 Census records for Ethel Henson. From the signatures in the book, I also knew that she had a sister named Frances. With this information, I very quickly found Ethel and her family in Pine Log, Bartow County, Georgia.

    From the two census records, I see that Ethel was born about 1918 in Georgia, the daughter of William L Henson and Ethel Mae Maxwell. She had two brothers, George Everett and William, and a sister named Frances.  The 1940 census shows that she had completed three years of high school.

     I was also curious about the other names in Ethel's book. It was signed by the following in the classmates section:
  • Beatrice Ellen; Pine Log, GA
  • Bertha Atkins; Pine Log, GA
  • Idalee Hendricks; Rydal, GA
  • Blanche Garland; Fairmount, GA, rt 3
  • Lucile Smith; Rydal, GA
  • Maxie Smith; Pine Log, GA
  • Lorena Fowler; Fairmount, GA, rt 2
  • Odessa Edwards; Rydal GA, rt 2
  • Joe Shellhorse; Fairmount, GA, rt 3
  • Bonnie Edwards; Rydal, GA, rt 2

    Aside from this list of names and address, others signed notes and poems for Ethel.  Other names in the books were:
  • Christine Maxwell
  • Nelle
  • Frances Linn
  • Corky / Wane
  • Dymple Dodd
  • Claudelle

     There are also a few notes from her teachers. They were:
  • Mary Dorroh Vaughn
  • Mollie A Bozeman

     I'm curious about what school Ethel and her fiends attended.  Both teachers, Mary and Mollie, are listed in the 1930 census for Pine Log, Georgia, only three houses from each other. Both were listed as teachers at the Public School.  The book, "Bartow County, Georgia" by Michele Rodgers and part of the Images of America series, has a 1910 photo of the Pine Log community school (pg 70).  This is very likely the school Ethel and her classmates attended.

     I did a search for family trees that contained Ethel and her family. There were only a few, and only one that appeared to have Ethel as an ancestor and not a distant by-marriage relative. I contacted the created of the tree but haven't heard back yet. If I don't hear back in a year, I might see if there's a genealogy society interested in the book. Or I might see if one of the families of the other children or teachers might be interested in the book. Hopefully someone will be interested in owning this piece of history.

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