Deason & Padgett Family History Trip
Savannah, Georgia
December 5-6, 2015
Greg and Lisa Porter

Please note that a companion site to this is the interview with Barbara Padgett Huish that Lisa and I enjoyed a week prior to this trip. She was a wealth of information. Many thanks to Aunt Barbara.

James Tell Deason and Maggie E Parker were the parents of Mamie Ruby Deason. Ruby married Orson Padgett and Mary Padgett was their 3rd daughter, after Carolyn and Barbara. Mary was born in Savannah on February 10, 1938 and lived there until moving to Mesa, Arizona with her parents and sisters, Carolyn and Barbara, in June of 1948. Mary married Donald Lucian Schnepf and they had 5 children, with Lisa being the second oldest.

Lisa and I took a vacation trip to Orlando - Lisa's first trip to Florida. We took 2 days off from the Orlando trip to visit Savannah, where we had never been. We hope that the research we did beforehand and the photos we took will be helpful for Lisa's posterity to learn a little bit about where and how their Padgett and Deason ancestors lived, so that they may better appreciate the rich heritage they enjoy. We have structured this web page to hopefully simplify a future trip for anyone who has the opportunity to be there in person as we were.

On Saturday, December 5th, 2015 we drove from Orlando to Savannah, spent the day and a hotel night there, then on the 6th we drove 1.5 hours to the birthplace of Ruby and her siblings in Rocky Ford (Thomasboro), Georgia and then back to Savannah to visit the waterfront before driving back to Orlando late that afternoon.

Chronological Family History
1882 James Tell Deason (d.1954 age 72) born in Georgia to Wiliam H and Laura E Brauda, who were both born in South Carolina
1884 Maggie E Parker (d.1947 age 63) born in Thomasboro, Screven County, Georgia to James G Parker and Mary Ellen Moore who were both born in Georgia, with James born in Screven County
1900 Census: James Tell Deason, single, 18 yrs old and living with his parent’s family in “Militia District 1444, Screven Co, GA"
1904 James Tell Deason and Maggie E Parker were married in Thomasboro, Screven County, GA
1905-1922 Nine children were born to James and Maggie, all in Thomasboro, Screven County, GA
1905-1967 age 61 James Edward Deason (spouse Edna Buck 1908-1987 age 79)
1907-1964 age 57 John Herman Deason (spouse Louise Edwards 1905-1998 age 93)
1910-1996 age 86 Mamie Ruby Deason (spouse Orson Clinton Padgett 1902-1978 age 76)
1911-1975 age 64 Bernard Hiram Deason (spouse Helena Gertude Kiene 1914-1997 age 83)
1914-1992 age 78 Leona Brunell “Nell” Deason (spouse Frederick Martin Grotheer 1909-1999 age 90)
1916-1981 age 65 Wiliam “Epton” Epton Deason (spouse Marion Devocheck 1921-1998 age 77)
1918-1998 age 80 Thelma Louise Deason (spouse William Clifford Thomas 1917-1997 age 60)
1920-1997 age 77 Talmadge “Tal” Lamar Deason (spouse Martha Hortense Hodges was living in Evans, GA as of December 2015)
1922-1923 age 1   Unnamed male Deason (Unnamed per Ruby’s journal entry)
1920 Census: James, Maggie and 7 children own a farm in Rocky Ford, Screven Co, GA which is within 4 miles of Thomasboro.
Mid 1920's - James and Maggie move their family to Savannah. First record I found was that in 1927 James and Maggie are listed in the Savannah GA City Directory as living at 409 W Charlston, Savannah along with other adult family members: James T (45) is a painter, James E a fireman, John H a mechanic, Ruby a salesman at Silver’s 5 & 10, Bernard works at Wilder Drug Co.

Ages of Family Members at Various Years


Places to see...

I put pins in Google Earth for each of the numbered locations below. Here is a link to the KMZ file that will populate your Google Earth with the same pins. Just doubleclick on the KMZ file after downloading it to your hard drive (assuming you have Google Earth installed). Alternatively, here are two screenshots of where the pins are placed in Google Earth
 

1. Deason Family gravesite, Greenwich Cemetery - 330 Greenwich Rd, Savannah, GA
    a. Section 10, Block O, Lot 24
    b. An online burial record search is available at Savannah, GA - Official Website - Burial Records


2. Leona Brunell “Nell” Deason Grotheer gravesite “Brunell Deason Grotheer” at Bonaventure Cemetery - 330 Bonaventure Rd.


3. James E Deason - Edna Buck Deason gravesite at Corinth Baptist Church Cemetery at 290 Corinth Church Road, Springfield, GA
    a. Lisa and I didn't have time to go by there. The headstone photo was found at Findagrave.com


4. Bernard H Deason - Helena Kiene Deason gravesite at Hillcrest Abbey East Cemetery at 1600 Wheaton Street, Savannah, GA 912-234-3458
    a. Sec H, Lot 10, Spaces 1&2


5. We drove 1.5 hours from Savannah to visit the Rocky Ford cemetery in Rocky Ford, GA to see if the unnamed Deason boy is buried there who died in 1923 or so. No Deason descendants we have talked with are aware of where this youngest Deason boy was buried.  Lisa and I searched this small cemetery. We found no Deason headstones, but did find some Cail family members. I believe Maggie Parker may have been related to the Cail family since an Ethel Parker Cail is buried in the Deason plot in Savannah. More to research, so we'll keep the images here to help with future family history work.


    a. We saw some beautiful country as we drove into Screven County, where Ruby and all her siblings were born. Lisa had always seen Screven County noted on geneology records, and was excited to actually be there. We saw beautiful spanish moss, farmland, and cotton fields. Lisa brought some Georgia cotton home. We even found a country store that was modern on the outside but very country on the inside.


    b. We found Thomasboro, which is just comprised of a couple of street corners amidst the farmland. We found an old house that was from the Deason period, and we found the two story wooden Thomasboro gas station, which is in remarkable shape, kept up by the folks whose property it resides on. I am sure it was a familiar location to the Deason family in the 1910's and 20's. The location of their home is unknown. They were working a farm and lost it all and then moved to Savannah. It would be interesting to go through the land deeds and find where their land was. We certainly drove past it in that small area. Lisa was happy to find a few buildings still intact from the period when her family lived there.


6. Deason Family Residences and Work Places Per Census and City Directory Records

    a. 1927. Per the City Directory James T, Maggie, Bernard, James E, John H, and Ruby all lived at 409 W Charlton, Savannah, GA. This is the first recorded place I can find where the Deasons were living after moving to Savannah from Thomasboro (aka Rocky Ford). Orson and Ruby were married in July of this year, 1927. The intriguing thing here is that the Deasons were living at 409 W Charlton in 1927. I can't find where Orson was living in 1927, but amazingly Orson is shown as living at 407 W Charlton just 2 years before, in 1925. He was right next door. Both 407 and 409 are gone now, replaced by the building to the left of the red brick building (411). Lisa is leaning against the discolored brick that shows where the orginal brick from 409 was. The metal doors on the left would have been about where 407 was. Pretty neat that Ruby and Orson both lived at this location before they were married. Barbara notes that they did not meet as a result of living here. She notes in her interview with Lisa and I, that Orson met her in Silvers five and dime, which, as a historic building, is still in use today downtown as pictured in 6.b below.


    b. 1927. Per the City directory, Ruby age 17, was a saleswoman at “Silver’s”, a 5c 10c store at 201 W Broughton. Lisa and I drove by it, but didn't take a photo since this image from Google Earth's street view is accurate. It was here that Orson began courting Ruby, including following her home on the bus after work just to learn where she lived, which was 409 W Charlton, noted in 6a above. The full account of Orson courting Ruby is recorded in the interview Lisa and I had with Barbara Huish.


    c. 1928. Deason Family (less Ruby, who got married in 1927) per city directory were living at 1315 Barnard (now a parking lot)

    d. 1930 census and 1930 City directory (Ruby, Orson, and Caroline age 2 were living with Ruby’s parents) - 305 W 31st St, Savannah, GA. Barbara Padgett Huish strongly disagreed with this census record. She noted that Orson and Ruby were not allowed to even visit James and Maggie (because Ruby married a mormon) until Barbara was a little girl, which was a few years after 1930. Perhaps Maggie, sympathetic to Ruby's plight, fudged when the census taker came around, just to be sure her daughter was included in the census somehow.


    e. 1932. Deason Family residence, per the city directory, was at 1805 Whitaker, Savannah, GA (James T, Maggie, Bernard, Epton, Nell). It's the yellow half of the structure.


    f. 1932. John H Deason and his spouse Louise, per the City Directory, were living at 518 E Duffy St., Savannah, GA


    g. 1934. Deason Family residence, per the city directory, was at 314 E 36th St., Savannah, GA (James T and Maggie, James E and Edna, John H and Louise, Thelma, Talmadge, Nell - unfortunately gone now, replaced by modern buildings)

    h. 1940 Deason Family residence per 1940 census 314 E 36th St, Savannah, GA (looks built over now per google maps)

    i. 1951 James T Deason (69yrs) per city directory 1227 E 38th St, Savannah, GA (Maggie died in 1947, James would pass in 1954). Lisa and I didn't have time to drive past this residence.

    j. 1951 John H Deason spouse Louise per city directory 1321 Seiler Ave, Savannah, GA (44 yrs - 2yrs older than Ruby, John died 1964, Louise in 1998 - They ran Deason Tire and Battery)


    k. 1951 Deason Tire and Battery per city directory 348 Whitaker, Savannah, GA (owned by John and Louise, Ruby’s younger brother William b1916 worked there too, age 34). Barbara Huish said that her Uncle John and Aunt Louise were wonderful and would 'spoil them rotten' with soda and candy when they would frequently visit this Tire and Battery store. She said they made a very good living at it, and that unfortunately they were not able to have children. The photo of Lisa and the tree and beautiful street is just downd the sidewalk to the right of the Deason building. Really a beautiful street and homes.


    l. 1951. William E Deason and spouse Marion per the city directory were living at 10 Park Row, Savannah, GA (I couldn't find the this street nor the 312 1st Ave address they were living at per the 1954 city directory)

    m. 1954. Talmadge Deason and spouse Martha H, per the city directory, were living at 131 Hibiscus Ave, Savannah, GA (Talmadge b1921 was 43yrs in 1954. Died 1997, Martha is alive in 2015 living near her daughter Ann Deason Hill in Evans, GA). It was getting dark and I couldn't tell which of these two was 131, but Ann Deason Hill verified to me later that it was the duplex on the right.


    n. 1954 Bernard Deason spouse Helena per city directory 1302 32nd St., Savannah, GA (Bernard was shown as being a maintenance man)


    o. 194?-195?. This is the Thelma Deason Thomas home where the birthday picture of Mary on the porch along with others at cousin Jimmy Thomas’ party 2124 E 39th St., Savannah, GA


7. Padgett Residences

    a. 1925 Orson C Padgett residence 407 W Charlton, Savannah, GA (Orson was a Meter Reader for Savannah Electric and Power while living here at age 23. He married Ruby 3 July 1927. The intriguing thing here is that the Deasons were living at 409 W Charlton in 1927. I can't find where Orson was living in 1927, but amazingly Orson is shown as living at 407 W Charlton just 2 years before, in 1925. He was right next door. Both 407 and 409 are gone now, replaced by the building to the left of the red brick building (411). Lisa is leaning against the discolored brick that shows where the orginal brick from 409 was. The metal doors on the left would have been about where 407 was. Pretty neat that Ruby and Orson both lived at this location before they were married. Barbara notes that they did not meet as a result of living here. She notes in her interview with Lisa and I, that Orson met her in Silvers five and dime, which, as a historic building, is still in use today downtown as pictured in 6.b above.


    b. 1928 Orson and Ruby residence per city directory 412 Montgomery, Savannah, GA (They were married in July of 1927 - House is gone, now a freeway offramp)

    c. 1930 Orson and Ruby residence per city directory 305 W 31st St, Savannah, GA (living with Deason’s) Barbara Padgett Huish strongly disagreed with this census record. She noted that Orson and Ruby were not allowed to even visit James and Maggie (because Ruby married a mormon) until Barbara was a little girl, which was a few years after 1930. Perhaps Maggie, sympathetic to Ruby's plight, fudged when the census taker came around, just to be sure her daughter was included in the census somehow.


    d. 1932 and 1934 Orson and Ruby residence per city directory 116 E 39th St., Savannah, GA (empty lot between homes in 2015). Barbara Padgett Huish said recounted in her interview with Lisa and I that her little boyfriend, Charlie, lived next door and she has a picture somewhere of her and him on the steps of his home, shown in the image as the home to the right of the now empty lot where the Padgett home was.



8. Orson, Ruby, Caroline, Barbara and Mary Padgett home at 646 E 35th St., Savannah, GA. Many photos were taken here at this home during the 1940's.
 

9. Mary’s 37th street elementary school is on the NW corner of 37th St and Habersham. All these elementary pictures were taken while she attended there.


10. We vistied the the first LDS church building location, a home purchased in 1929 (refurbished by another faith since then), and where Orson, Ruby, Mary, and the other girls attended at 1325 E. 31st St., Savannah, GA (It was used from 1929 until 1961 when the church on Montgomery Crossroad was completed). The church today doesn't look anything like it did when the Padgett's attended there.  It has been widened and covered with red brick. The names on some of the images below were provided by Barbara Padgett Huish during her interview with Lisa and I.


11. The current church (no family attended there) built in 1961: 613 Montgomery Crossroad, Savannah, GA. (Lisa and I didn't go by there)

12. Daffin Park 1235 Washington Ave, Savannah, GA where Ruby Padgett noted in her journal “We were married July 3, 1927 in the LDS chapel or home where they held the LDS meetings at Daffin Park…" (note that the home used as the LDS church at 1325 E 31st wasn’t purchased until 1929). Lisa and I intended to get by Daffin Park but it got lost in the shuffle.

13. Deason and Grotheer family apartments on SE corner of Habersham and 36th St. See the Barbara Padgett Huish interview for details. Jim and Maggie lived in building on right, upstairs, when Tal was still home with them, then when Tal moved out they moved to the building on the corner and moved in with Nell (Deason) and Fred Grotheer upstairs, which was the 2nd door from the left, to share the rent. When Fred and Nell eventually moved out, Jim and Maggie stayed. Mary noted in a conversation with me that she remembers the stairs shown in the picture at the rear of the apartment. She recalls being here many times as a child, visiting her Deason grandparent. We are fortunate that Barbara is so familiar with this structure and the history, since I could find no record of this address for the Deason family during the 1940's.

 
14. “Old Telfair Hospital” at 29 E Park Ave, where Mary and Barbara were born. What a beautiful structure.


15. The Padgett children played in Forsyth Park many times and they held mormon bar-b-cues and functions there as well. The photo of Ruby and the 3 girls was taken, per Barbara, with Drayton street in the background, which runs along Forsythe Park. Unfortunately, the home behind them is no longer there. Also a picture of the Candler Hospital, which was in use when the Deason's lived there. It has an interesting history as noted in the plaque photo.


Other Things we Saw

Chippewa Square - Lisa wanted to see where the Forrest Gump bench was where he sat with the old lady in the movie waiting for a bus. It was located where Lisa is standing with her arms outstretched. Next to the park is the tallest church steeple in Savannah. I snapped a pic of Lisa snapping a pic of it!


Savannah Riverfront Shops - Lisa wanted to browse the shops. Beautiful old stone and brick structures, cobblestone streets, and old cement walkways with seashells in the concrete. And a couple of shots of tree lined streets. Fun.


Greg Porter
gpwrinkled@hotmail.com