Newt Ward and Rachel Johnson: Tombstone Tuesday

Newton Coleman Ward and Rachel Louisa Johnson were my great-grandparents.  Newt was born 24 Oct 1890 in Fannin County, Georgia1 and died 01 Aug 1974 in Whitfield County, Georgia.2  Rachel was born 09 Aug 1892 and died 16 Feb 19803 in Murray County, Georgia.4  They were married in 1909.5  They had eight children – seven girls and a boy.

Newt was a farmer6 when their children were young and he also made moonshine.  According to my grandmother, he spent some time as a streetcar conductor in Birmingham, Alabama, but I haven’t found any documentation of that yet.  After their son, Worth, died, Newt and Rachel moved to Murray County, where he worked in the Cohutta Talc Mine.7

Rachel was a midwife – my grandmother tells stories of her mother being called out in all kinds of weather to deliver babies.  After they moved to Murray County, Rachel cooked lunch every day at the mine where  Newt worked.  According to my grandmother, “everyone” from town came to eat because the food was so good (no doubt this is where my grandmother got her cooking skills from).  In later years, Rachel made and sold quilts.  I loved to visit her when I was little, because she always let me play with the quilt scraps and piece together little squares.  She left me her quilting machine when she died.

Newt and Rachel are buried in Johnson Cemetery in Fannin County, alongside their son and her parents and family.8

  1. “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database and images, ( : accessed 12 Oct 2009), Newton Coleman Ward, serial no. 880, order no. 11, Draft Board 0, Fannin County, Georgia; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, NARA microfilm publication M1509.
  2. “Georgia Deaths, 1919-98,” database, ( : accessed 31 Dec 2007), entry for Newton C. Ward (1 Aug 1974); citing State of Georgia. Indexes of Vital Records for Georgia: Deaths, 1919-1998. Georgia, USA: Georgia Health Department, Office of Vital Records.
  3. Johnson Cemetery (Fannin County, Georgia; Latitude: 34.72170, Longitude: -84.24670; across the road from Fellowship Baptist Church), Rachel and Newton C. Ward monumental inscription, personally photographed, 19 Jul 2009.
  4. “Georgia Deaths, 1919-98,” database entry for Rachel L. Ward (16 Feb 1980).
  5. 1910 U.S. census, Fannin County, Georgia population schedule, Stock Hill, enumeration district (ED) 28, sheet 9B, dwelling 63, family 63, Newton C.  and Rachael Ward; digital images, ( : accessed 28 Dec 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 182.
  6. 1910 U.S. census, Fannin County, Georgia pop. sch., Stock Hill, ED 28, sheet 9B, dwell. 63, fam. 63, Newton C. Ward.
  7. Early 1940’s mining crew at the Cohutta Talc Mine. Photograph, circa 1940; digital image, privately held by Tonia Kendrick . 2007.
  8. Johnson Cemetery (Fannin County, Georgia), Rachel and Newton C. Ward marker.

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  1. Joan Hill says

    Tonis, A nicely told and documented story of your great grandparents. I also liked your collage header — I am envious as I have not as yet mastered these fine points of making my posts attractive. Thanks for sharing.

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