Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Pearce, Richard, 1590-1666, Brings Lots of New Cousins into My Life–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #38


King John,_Magna_Carta, commons.wikimedia.org

King John of England signs the Magna Carta–source– commons.wikimedia.org


Genealogical research is always amazing and enlightening to me! I’ve been pursuing it for about four years, and it has been one of the most rewarding, challenging hobbies I have ever had. Adding my dna testing to my research just opened the doors to incredible new discoveries! One thing that has amazed me, is that as I expand my tree and search my dna matches on ancestry.com, I have discovered that I am related to almost everyone I know! LOL  I live on a cul-de-sac, and am related to at least four other families who live on this same street! Some kinships have come through DNA, some just through expanding my family tree. When you come across names of neighbors and friends like Vorhees and Hollingsworth, you know you just have to check it out! Sure enough, I am kin to those neighbors! Not necessarily close kin, LOL We can prove it by dna and written records! Can you believe it! ? It blows me away as well! I recently met a nineteenth cousin! I have gotten so that 5th and 6th cousins seem like close kin!  LOL 

Recently, I’ve been helping a friend Sharon research her family tree. She is a Pierce by birth, and we have enjoyed researching and filling out her tree together! I had no idea where our exercise would lead! In her tree we ran across a Baird, then a couple other names that I thought I recognized, and sure enough, they were in my own tree. We learned we were related, but weren’t sure exactly how.

As I studied her Pierce/Pearce line further, I realized I had seen some of the names before.  I had helped another friend complete some of his family tree, and yes, he had this same line of Pearces in his tree–Thomas Clayton from Greensboro, NC! We had already learned that through his Pearces, he was kin to our mechanic and friend, Jack Strickland! On ancestry.com, I got an email from a man named Donnie Bunn whose Pearce line matched Thomas Clayton’s exactly! Not only did we now have four people knowing each other and kin to each other, but Donnie ‘s family was part of the family who founded a small town near me, the town of Bunn, North Carolina. How very interesting to learn that the Bunns and the Pearces were part of the same family! I soon learned there were many Pearces in the area, and even a Pearce’s Church Road nearby! But wait, through ancestry.com, I met another Pearce researcher, one Tony Pearce, again the same line, and lo and behold, he was a friend of my friend Sharon! What a small world, they had no idea they were related! Sharon is from Pennsylvania by the way, the others are from this area, or at least North Carolina. So, now there were how many? Five I believe who all were cousins with the same Pearce line, although some of the lines didn’t  join each other until 1590! LOL  Richard Pearce, born 1590, came to America from England in 1647 settling in Rhode Island. While Sharon comes down from his son, Capt. Michael Pearce, Thomas comes down from his son Richard, as do Donnie, Tony, and Jack. What a small world! 

But the piece de resistance for me, the ultimate shock and joyful surprise, was when I finally realized I had never checked my dna to see if I was related to the Pearce family–this line of Pearces, and my dna said I was! It took quite a bit of research for me to prove that indeed, this was the very same line of Pearce’s from which Sharon and the others also descended. To be quite honest, it blew me away! So, what–that makes 6 of us who have the same Pearce line that I know, and makes cousins out of us all! Thomas and I have been friends since college–about 47 years!  Now we discover we are cousins! LOL And Sharon–we are neighbors, gardeners, and became friends ten years ago over our mutual love of daylillies! The others are newer friends and acquaintances, now cousins!

 I had approximately 300 dna matches to the spelling Pierce, and  150 to Pearce, many of which were the same match for both spellings. But one match immediately caught my eye, because it was francielou! Francielou is the owner of a tree on ancestry.com–my ONE and ONLY dna match to my Italian Bottos! My Italian Bottos were kin to the Pearces! –along with my Rosas, Devotos, Brignardellos, and more! LOL My friends had some Italian ancestry  also! Not only that, Francielou had taken the Pierce/Pearce line, the exact line as Sharon’s, and extended it all the way back to the 1100’s, including many Royals in the line. Now we were kin to King Henry II and III Plantagenet through the Pearces and through my Italian  family! Awesome!  Her Royal Highness Mary of Lancaster Plantagenet, 1320, was in the line, and King John Lackland Plantagenet, King of England who signed the Magna Carta was now a grandfather of all of us–Sharon’s and my 21st! Now that was a find! All in a day’s work, okay, several days work–but it is so much fun, and so rewarding! 

Here’s wishing you similar adventures in exploring your family tree! Let it open new doors for you and introduce you to many delightful new people! 


source: linealarboretum.blogspot.com




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Andreas Holtzhousen, 1741-1810, brings the Holshousers to North Carolina—52 Ancestors in 52 weeks, #21


Last week I told you about Casper Haulzhaufen, my husband’s 5th great grandfather coming to America aboard ship, and landing in Philadelphia in 1731. Casper married Margaretha Bingham, and had five children, three sons and two daughters: Johannes Jacob Holtzhauser, b.1732; Anna Margaretha Holtzhauser, b. 1737; Andreas (Andrew) Holtzhauser, b. 1741; Michael Holtzhauser, 1743; and Catharina Holtzhauser, b.1745.

Andrew was the first of this immediate family to move to North Carolina. He married Anna Maria Wiand while in Pennsylvania and had twelve children in all. Andrew and three of his siblings and their families joined other German settlers in leaving Pennsylvania. They traveled arduously down the main highway back then. It was honed from an Indian trail, called the Wagon Road, or Staunton Road. In fact, Andreas, or Andrew as he became known, was a wagoner who became well-known for his craftsmanship in making Conestoga Wagons. From the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, we learn that “in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries-long before the era of tractor trailers, and before the development of a railroad system-Conestoga wagons were the primary vehicles for hauling freight. These wagons carried flour and other farm products from the hinterland to the cities, and they brought back commodities needed by the farmers and their families. This was especially true during the period from about 1750 to 1855, particularly in Pennsylvania and the neighboring states of Maryland, Virginia, and Ohio.

 Skilled workers were needed to build these wagons. And around 1770, Lancaster included among its craftsmen five wheelwright, thirteen blacksmiths, seven turners, and twenty woodworkers.” Among those skilled craftsmen, one stood out– Andreas Holshouser! In fact, we are truly blessed to have one of his Conestoga Wagons still here in North Carolina today! It is displayed in the N.C. Museum of Transportation in Spencer, NC. We can hardly wait to take our grandchildren to see this wonderfully designed invention! In fact, the design of the wagon is so intricate and interesting, I am going to include the link for this article from the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission about the building of the Conestoga for my woodworking family and friends so that they might enjoy reading the specifics of how this hard-working but artistically designed vehicle was made.


In those wagons the settlers hauled their household and farm equipment  down the trail, herding their animals before them. The trail passed through the wilderness from Pennsylvania to Georgia, through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, along the Blue Ridge, following the Staunton River southward across the Dan River to the Yadkin River and Rowan County, North Carolina which at that time stretched from mid state to the Mississippi river.

From land records and censuses, it looks like Casper stayed in Pennsylvania along with his son Jacob. In his will in 1785, Casper stated his intention to move to North Carolina with his other children, but he never had the opportunity to do that.

We don’t know exactly when Andrew arrived in North Carolina, but we see his name on a property deed in 1774 when he bought 200 acres of land from Christopher Rendleman on “the north fork of Dutch Second Creek”. At least six of his twelve children would have been born by then, can you imagine traveling with six little children in a covered wagon from Pennsylvania to North Carolina?- with no air conditioning? -No bed? Hostile Indians in the area? Over the next twenty years, Andrew added over 400 acres to his farm. The area Andrew settled was part of a larger community of settlers of German descent, with names that included Miller, Meisenheimer, Clutts (Klutz), Lintzs, Yost and others who became good friends and intermarried over the years. These families were descended from Palatinate Germans also and lived up to their reputations of intelligence and industriousness. The Holshousers are credited with helping establish up to four churches in the area.

Of Andrew’s twelve children, John moved to Texas and others moved to Illinois. Many of the Holshouser families stayed in North Carolina however. Andrew’s son Casper became the most well-known when he married Sarah Sally Barger and had ten children of his own. Casper’s son Charles is my husband’s second great-grandfather, and his son James moved to Blowing Rock, NC with his family—pushing and pulling those wagons up the narrow mountain roads! While Blowing Rock is one of the premiere tourist attractions in North Carolina today, the Holshouser family was responsible for paving the streets and establishing two stores and a lovely home which helped create the beautiful little mountain town. James’s great grandson, James Eubert Holshouser, Jr., became the Governor of North Carolina in 1972.

Every year in the Spring in North Carolina we have a Holshouser reunion of the families of Max’s grandfather, John Calvin Holshouser, his wife Ila Victoria Sides, and his ten children and their families. We lost the last of the ten children in 2011, and it was very hard to see that whole generation go. We “children” are now the old folks who have to keep the reunion going until our own “children”, the middle agers, take over.  Each year we meet at Grace Lower Stone Church in Rockwell, NC, a church where the land was given by the Holshousers and the Lingles, cousins who moved to Illinois.  We were there just last week and I had the opportunity to tour the graveyard with my grandchildren. What a wonderful experience that was, seeing it through the eyes of a child. My six-year-old grandson Liam tried to count all the Holshouser stones, but gave out long before he reached the almost 100 Holshouser stones there out of the almost 700 total. It did not feel dark and spooky, just the opposite, it felt peaceful and as if it were a safe place– embracing the children and me in family history. I noticed the other stones were full of family names like Klutz, Meisenheimer, and the other families of German ancestry who moved to the area along with our Holshousers over 200 years ago! It is such an incredible feeling to walk where your ancestors have trod.

Grace Lower Stone Church

Grace Lower Stone Church, Rockwell, NC

I am especially indebted for some of this information to our original family researchers and authors: Dr. Grace Duff in her A Casper “Holtzhauser” Holshouser Genealogy,  and Patricia Beck who shared much of the family history she had painstakingly collected with me. How blessed I feel to have been part of this family for almost 43 years now and to have helped raise two Holshouser daughters and grandchildren. Thanks for sharing this journey with me, I look forward to hearing from you. Helen



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William Langhorne,1721-1797, Aide de Camp to Marquis de Lafayette, 52 ancestors in 52 weeks #19

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Marquis de Lafayette

This is a story about our fifth great-grandfather William Langhorne that I actually found on ancestry.com, unfortunately without an author identified! I have blogged about him before, but not for this challenge. I personally think having a grandfather who served with Lafayette, is simply amazing!

“The younger son of Capt. John Langhorne, Maj. William Langhorne (1721-1797) held possession of the Warwick County, Virginia, estates and became the most prominent of the sons. He married Elizabeth Cary Scarsbrook, a cousin of George Washington and Thomas Nelson, and daughter of the wealthy Yorktown merchant Col. Henry Scarsbrook and his wife Martha Cary (of the illustrious Cary family, for which the town of Cary, North Carolina is named). Henry Scarsbrook was the great-grandson of Capt. Nicholas Martiau, the man whose plantation was later turned into Yorktown.

Like his father, William Langhorne served as a Sheriff, Justice of the Peace, and as a Burgess. He was also a magistrate for forty years. During the Revolutionary War, William Langhorne served as aide-de-camp to Marquis de Lafayette, was a member of the Committee of Safety, and was the only representative of Warwick County for the first four out of five Revolutionary Conventions. His service has been commemorated on a memorial in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Just what is an “aide-de-camp”? According to this article in Wikipedia, “An aide-de-camp (French for field assistant) is a personal assistant, secretary, or adjutant to a person of high rank, usually a senior military officer or a head of state. The first aide-de-camp is typically the foremost personal aide.

In some countries, the aide-de-camp is considered to be a title of honor (which confers the post-nominal letters ADC or A de C), and participates at ceremonial functions.The badge of office for an aide-de-camp is usually the aiguillette, a braided cord in gold or other colors, worn on the shoulder of a uniform. Whether it is worn on the left or the right shoulder is dictated by protocol.”

Of William Langhorne’s nine children, two sons were the most prominent. Maj. John Scarsbrook Langhorne (1760-1797) married Elizabeth Langhorne, daughter of his Uncle Maj. Maurice Langhorne of Cumberland, thus uniting two lines of family inheritance. Marrying of cousins, a common practice among the wealthy families of Virginia and other colonies likewise, helped to keep money in the family. John Scarsbrook Langhorne’s younger brother, another Maurice Langhorne (1769-1818) married Martha Holladay of “Indian Fields”, and their grandson Maurice Finney Langhorne married Lillian Isabelle Blair Polk, a close relative of President James K. Polk, a native of North Carolina..” (source unknown)

My husband and daughter Annie are native North Carolinians, my older daughter Ali has three children born in North Carolina. and although Virginia will always be home to me, I have now lived in North Carolina longer than I lived in Virginia and am proud of my family’s North Carolina heritage. Having these connections certainly makes history come alive. Below i show my descendancy chart from William Langhorne. It’s just astounding to me what you find when you start digging around in your family tree!

Maj. William Langhorne (1721 – 1797)
is your 5th great grandfather
son of Maj. William Langhorne
son of Maj. John Scarsbrook Langhorne
son of Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne
daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne
daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse


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Charles Wesley Wagner, 98 years in North Carolina! –52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge


Charlie Wagner was 91 when I met him–my husband’s adored Granddaddy! I only had the privilege of knowing him 7 years before his death at age 98, but was always amazed by him! When I knew him, Charlie was a walker! He would walk all over the rural community in which they lived– Richfield, NC , about an hour north of Charlotte, NC.  He walked to church, walked all over his 150 acre farm, and to his daughters’ and grandchildren’s houses nearby! Most of that area had once been owned by him as he gave land for his children to build their homes upon. By the time I joined the family in 1971, there was a small community of relatives there. Until I began working on our family trees, I didn’t even realize that Charlie had grown up just a mile or so down the road! You can see his parents, William Alexander Wagner and Martha Scronia Culp  and their eight children in the picture below, as well as the lovely frame home that Charlie  lived in as a child.  When he married and raised his own family, he built the charming rock house there on his farm.  I have also included his pedigree family tree, and his family page for your information.  You can see that he came from a long line of North Carolinians–some of whom fought in the Civil War and the Revolutionary War! The Wagners originally came to America from Germany, but I have not yet found their actual immigration information. You might like to know that while this family spelled their name Wagner, it can be found in general and in other family members spelled Wagoner, Waggoner, and other variations, often the same family.

Charlie openly loved and adored his first wife Mary Lou Rogers, with whom he had six children, five living to maturity. Of those five, only two were living at his death! Growing old is a blessing for sure, but outliving most of your children and your wife, …that’s a lot of sadness to bear.  Mary Lou Rogers died in 1947, at the age of  67, a long life for many of us. Still, her husband lived for 30 more years! Sometime in his early 80’s, Charlie remarried!  He married a  woman his age named Juanita Hough, called Nita, and they took a train trip to Las Vegas for their honeymoon! I always thought that was awesome and so adventurous! I don’t think you can imagine a friendlier man than Charlie Wagner. He always had a kind word for everyone, and knew the names of all the adults and children in his community. Since his church, New Mt.Tabor United Methodist, where my husband grew up attending also, was only a quarter to half mile down the road, Charlie could often be seen heading that way for one reason to serve, or another.

Screenshot 2014-02-23 11.27.49    Screenshot 2014-02-23 11.29.04

Charlie’s father was a farmer, and so was Charlie most of his young life. One of his  grandsons, Wayne Fraley remembers watching him plow and drill the fields for long hours with two mules! He says Charlie mainly grew corn, and small grains–oats and wheat. He remembers seeing Charlie walking behind the two mules pulling the reaper also! Talk about hard work! They’d cut and bale the hay, separating the seeds from the straw. In his later  years, Charlie liked to haul the product to market himself. Wayne sometimes rode with him to deliver grain to the Davis Milling Company in Highpoint, NC  Wayne says they always stopped in Charlie’s favorite place to take a break and every time, Charlie would buy a Dr.Pepper to drink, along with a bag of peanuts, which he placed into the Dr.Pepper. Charlie said that was his favorite drink!

Fraley , Wayne

Wayne Fraley

Wayne Fraley relates a story that tells us a lot about Charlie Wagner’s character: “When I was in 8th or 9th grade, a buddy of mine said come on with me and we’ll go down in the woods and smoke one of these, my Daddy’s  cigarettes! First I said no…but then I tagged along with him down to where a big old tree had fallen over.  We climbed up into the very top of that old tree,, leaned back against a limb, and both of us started to smoke!  I leaned over to  flick my ashes off, looked down, and there stood Mother! (His Mother was Charlie’s daughter Onnie. Tragically, Wayne’s father had died  when Wayne was only one years old. ) Wayne remembers that she whipped him all the way home! Then however, she brought out the big guns by saying–‘I’m going to tell Granddaddy.’ Oh, I was upset! I didn’t want her to do that! Granddaddy had a way of talking to you that was worse than a whippin’! Charlie waited two days.  I was dying! Finally, he called me over and said he wanted to talk with me. I hung my head in shame as we talked. Finally he said, ‘I want you to wait until you are 21 years old before you ever smoke again, then you can smoke as much as you want to!’  Why 21? I asked.  ‘I figure by the time you are 21, you’ll know right from wrong, and then you can make your own choices.’ This from a man who hadn’t even finished highschool. He was very wise. ”

Max Holshouser, 2013

Max Holshouser

Charlie was also an artisan and handed down his woodworking talents to his grandson Max Holshouser (Son of Charlie’s daughter -Helen Wagner Holshouser, and my husband). They are both extraordinary woodworkers! We still use a cedar armoire and dresser made by Charlie Wagner about 1910, or earlier, at least over 100 years old! We are currently using it for clothes again, but it has served us well in  our kitchen, family room and bedrooms over  the 42 years we’ve been married! There is a dresser that goes with it, and a cedar chest that matches it,made by Max’s Dad. One of  Max’s greatest treasures is the tool box he owns which used to belong to his granddaddy.  I’ve included some pictures below. Another time, I’ll write a blog post and show you some of the extraordinary things Max has made. It’s in the DNA I tell you!

Hope you have an wonderful week and have fun  finding your own family stories! Helen

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It takes a Village — Mental Health Services, #mhblogday.

I'm Blogging for Mental Health.

May is mental health month, a subject near and dear to my heart. I grew up in an abusive home which I’ve written about before. Living amid anger and tension as one of the younger children, and an observer, I grew up interested in why people acted the way they did and what could be done about it! Early on I decided to teach emotionally disturbed children, having a firm belief that behavior modification and a positive environment could/would turn them around and allow them to live a happier, more productive life. After seven years in the classroom however, I realized much more was needed and decided to become a family therapist, as I truly believed that was where the interventions would be most valuable in correcting unacceptable behavior. 

I had the opportunity to work with adults and children in my role as psycholtherapist, for twenty years! What did I learn? I learned it takes a village! By that I mean that mental health issues can’t be solved, or even controlled, with only a one prong approach. Our brains and our social milieus are complex, and it takes a myriad of services to make a difference. This is one of the issues that frustrates me most in 2013, in North Carolina. Our State took a huge step backwards in its treatment of the mentally ill in the year 2000. I know, because I was working in a large public mental health center that closed its doors, moving to “privatization”. I’ve come to realize that I was somewhat fortunate to have become disabled and no longer able to work in 1999, because I would have been out of a job anyway!

Without access to a large public mental health center, treatment is mostly available to people with good insurance to help pay for services, or to the wealthy. Many middle class and lower middle class, forget those millions on medicaid, cannot afford the care of a private clinician! Not only that, the team approach that was used in a center–being able to use a psychiatrist, a therapist, a coach and a case manager offered a more  complete care systerm to help an individual get back into the life they wanted to live. And that’s what mental health treatment is all about–getting back into your life.Being happy, having good relationships, productive work, not being paralyzed by depression, anxiety, or some other malady.

We call this “mental health” and of course, it is, and we know much of what goes wrong is centered in the brain. Schizophrenia and bipolar are proven to be chemical imbalances, as is depression. Medicine can make all the difference in a life well lived! Why then do we continue to distinguish these diseases from other physical illnesses? Why do we as a public and professionals not demand that they be categorized as such so that our insurance companies have to pay more than 50% for services?! Why do we make people suffer so, not with diabetes, they can get treatment, but with depression and anxiety? hmmm…maybe..hush, hush, don’t tell anyone still seems to apply! That is crazy! We have let the shame and stigma of mental health issues guide us for much too long! I love Mental Health Month and Mental Health Blog day, because it gives us a forum to stand up and say, “Be mentally healthy!” Talk about it. Get help. Demand our legislatures fund help for us and require insurance companites to help as well.


It takes a village, we must advocate for ourselves and our loved ones to get the help they need to be physically and mentally at their best!

Mental Health Month Blog Day – Links Round Up 2013 – http://www.yourmindyourbody.org/apamental-health-month-blog-day-links-round-up-2013/

Helen Y. Holshouser, M.A. Clinical Psychology