Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Spotlight on: Vera V. Mark Ballard

Vera Victoria Mark Ballard 

27 Jul 1905 OH - 8 Jun 1995 FL

Daughter of Thomas K. Mark & N. Regina Gruissy

Wife of Robert E. Ballard

Sister of my paternal grandmother, Ivy Mark Brown

My great aunt

Vera was the second child of Thomas and Regina Mark.[1]In 1920 their family was living on 

Prospect Street in Seville, Ohio.  Vera was just 14 at the time and attending school.[2]

On 26 May 1933 Vera Mark married Robert E. Ballard.[3]  According to Vera’s nephew, Delbert K. Brown, Robert Ballard was a millionaire at one time.  He lost his money in the stock market crash of 1929. In later years, he had a concession stand at Chippewa Lake, Ohio.  He ran speed boats at the Resort.  He took his nephew, Del, all around the lake for free.  Delbert was 9 or 10 years old at the time.[4]

            Robert and Vera (Mark) Ballard had one child, Vera E. (Ballard) Bowling, who was born 30 May 1940 in Wadsworth, Ohio. Their daughter was often called ‘Little Vera’ to differentiate her from her mother.  Vera married Butch Bowling.[5],[6]

            Vera and Robert moved from Seville, Ohio to Tennessee. According to her sister, Wava (Mark) Braun, there was a big sand storm in Tennessee. They packed up overnight and moved to Florida.[7]

            Vera was a registered nurse.  At one time she lived on 4th Avenue North, St. Petersburg.

            A 1987 Florida newspaper article tells us about Vera and her career as a nurse: 


“Lakeland – Vera Ballard was mending a coat for one of Watson Clinic’s employees when clinic manager Tom Blinn came to pick her up for a retirement party in her honor. She kept him waiting until she finished. That incident tells a lot about the 82 – year – old registered nurse, who retired this week after 60 years in nursing. Forty – two were with the clinic. She belongs to the traditional school of nurses who wore their white caps proudly, went on house calls (with or without doctors) at all hours and were taught to put their calling before personal pleasure.

‘She’s a very efficient person, very dedicated, and very interested in doing the right thing,’ says Bob Hockman, director of facilities and materials for Watson Clinic. But she won’t tolerate swearing. Ballard got another nurse to replace her when a doctor at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital swore during surgery.  When a Watson Clinic physician used bad language during an operation, she started pulling off her gloves.  The doctor stopped swearing and kept his language clean in her presence from then on.

‘I don’t mind working overtime, but I do demand a little respect, ’Ballard said Thursday during an interview at the clinic.  Her co-workers provide both respect and affection. The purchasing department has given her birthday dinners for three years.  A nursing seminar will be named after her. ‘This is like family to me. I’ve been here so long,’ she said. ‘It’s marvelous working in a place where you can talk to people and they’ll talk to you, not just give orders.’

The admiration goes beyond her workplace.  Ballard is among 73 semifinalists in a state program to recognize older workers.  It’s sponsored by the Department of Labor and Employment Security and private corporations. Lakeland was a ‘little country town’ when Ballard, her husband Robley and daughter Vera Elizabeth arrived in the mid – 1940s.

Ballard, a graduate of the second section of Henry Ford Hospital’s first nursing class, had early experience in the hospital and in a rural area of Ohio. When her husband’s illness necessitated a move to Florida, she wanted to work for a registered diagnostic clinic.  The American Medical Association told her that Watson was the only one nearby.  ‘When I went in to find six doctors, I was flabbergasted,’ she recalls.  She accepted a job with Dr. W. P. Logan and Dr. Herman Watson.  They made house calls in the morning and again at night.  Ballard still makes them, to give several older patients their shots.

In addition to standard health checks, the doctors and their nurse were responsible for electrocardiograms.  The EKG machine came with a 50 – pound battery that had to be carried to homes and the hospital. Watson Clinic was in the Marble Arcade when Ballard began work there on June 1, 1946.  The clinic moved into an annex of the Thelma Hotel across the street a few years later, and then to its current location on Lakeland Hills Boulevard, Ballard said. Now there are more than 100 doctors, satellite clinics and plans for more growth. Those numbers don’t faze her, Ballard said, because the hospital where she trained had 250 doctors.

Ballard has been responsible since the early 1960s for linens, some sewing, magazine subscriptions, housekeeping of the lobbies and other chores that make the clinic run smoothly.  She preserves numerous photo albums, which she began filling more that 30 years ago, that show the clinic’s history.[8]



    Vera (Mark) Ballard died in on 8 June 1995 in Tampa, Florida where she had been in a nursing home for a long time.  She was 89 years old.  She is buried in Florida.[9]

[1]Record of Birth for Vera Victoria Mark, 27 July 1905, Probate Court for Medina County, Ohio. 

[2]1920 U. S. Census, Medina County, Ohio; Volume 147, ED 67, Sheet 5, Line 37, Family History Center Microfilm # 1821417: Thomas K. Mark, Head of Household.

[3]Marriage Certificate for Vera Mark and Robert E. Ballard, 26 May 1933, Certificate # 40, Medina County Probate Court, Medina, Ohio.

[4]“Interviews with Delbert K. Brown.”

[5]“Interviews with Wava Mark Braun”.

[6]“Interviews with Harold Jay Nee.”

[7]“Interviews with Wava Mark Braun”.

[8]The Ledger (Florida) c. 1987, newspaper clipping, photocopy in possession of Colleen G. Brown Pasquale.  “Registered Nurse. Vera Ballard proud of her profession, puts calling before pleasure.”

[9]Certificate of Death for Vera V. Ballard, 8 June 1995, Certificate #69832, State of Florida, Office of Vital Statistics, Florida.

The above story of Vera was taken from my book,

The Mark Family Story.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Forget Me Not: Ferman Esco Fortenberry, 1952 GA




Ferman Esco Fortenberry

18 June 1886 MS – 9 June 1952 GA

Son of William Jackson Fortenberry & Canolia A. Simmons

Husband of Nellie Mae Simmons

My second cousin, 3x removed

Forman Fortenberry, Pike Native, Passes in Clarkston, Ga. Funeral services were held Tuesday in Clarkston, Ga., for Forman Fortenberry who died there Monday night after a lingering illness. Burial was in the cemetery there. 


He was born and reared in the Silver Springs church community, a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. W. Jack Fortenberry, and spent most of his life in Pike County as a useful citizen.


For the past 15 years, he had lived in Clarkston, near Atlanta, where he and five of his sons had developed a large building and contracting business.


He is survived by his widow, who was Miss May Simmons of the Progress community, and by six sons, Everette of Canton, Miss., and Adrian, Jack, Elmo, Donald and Clyde, all of Clarkston.


In the large family of brothers and sisters, only four now remain, Dr. Andrew Fortenberry of Morgan City, La.; Mrs. Myrtis Dodds, Meadville, Miss.; Glenn Fortenberry of Progress; and Mrs. Wanzie Tuttle, Chattanooga, Tenn.



Source: Forman Fortenberry, Pike Native, Passes in Clarkston, Ga. (McComb, MS: Enterprise-Journal, 11 June 1952) 7; digital image, accessed June 2020).

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Valentine Day Wedding, 1839 LA

What could be more romantic than a 

St. Valentine’s Day wedding? 

How about having a bride named Cinderella?


John Wilson Brumfield

30 Jun 1811 LA - 19 Jun 1889

Son of John Brumfield & Margaret Kelly

My 4th great uncle




Cinderella Lanier

Circa 1817 LA - 30 Dec 1884



14 February 1839 LA

They were married for 45 years.


Parents of:

Frances Jane Brumfield

Melissa L. Brumfield

John Zekiel Brumfield

William C. Brumfield

Louisiana Brumfield

Candacia Brumfield

Claretta M. Brumfield

Uriah V. Brumfield

Samantha V. Brumfield

Rosa Edna Brumfield

Milton Tynes Brumfield


John & Cinderella. Photo from Ancestry 


      They lived in Washington Parish, Louisiana where John was a farmer. In 1850 John was 39 years old. Cinderella was 33 years old and already the mother of seven children.[i]In 1860 ten children lived at home.[ii]In 1870 seven children remained at home[iii]and in 1880 only their youngest son was still living with John and Cinderella.[iv]

            John and Cinderella belonged to the Magee’s Creek Baptist Church. Cinderella died 30 December 1884.


Cinderella Brumfield was born in Washington parish, La., about the year 1820; she died Dec. 30, 1884, aged about 65 years. She was married to J. W. Brumfield Feb. 14, 1839. She was baptized into the fellowship of Mt. Pisgah Church in July 1861 and moved her membership to Bethany church and remained there a few years, when again she moved her membership to Mt. Pisgah Church. She remained a faithful member there until her death. She was a true Christian, a good companion, and loved by all those around her. She leaves a husband and eight children.[v]


            John Wilson Brumfield died 19 June 1889. His obituary follows:


John W. Brumfield died June 19, 1889 - - aged 77 years, 11 months and 19 days, was born in Washington parish, La., June 30, 1811, was married to Cinderella Lamer, Feb. 14, 1839. Three sons and five daughters survived him to mourn their loss. He joined Bethany church and was baptized July 24, 1869 - - moved his membership to Mt. Pisgah church, June 14, 1884 where he remained a consistent member until his death. Bro. Brumfield’s last illness was very severe and of long duration, but was borne with patience and humble submission to Him who rules all things. The funeral services were conducted by Elders F. M. Easley and J. N. Fortenberry.[vi]


[i]1850 US Census, LA, Washington; digital image, Ancestry( accessed June 2017) John Bromfield.

[ii]1860 US Census, LA, Washington; digital image, Ancestry( accessed June 2017) John W. Brumfield.

[iii]1870 US Census, LA, Washington, Ward 2; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed November 2017). John Brumfield.

[iv]1880 US Census, LA, Washington, David Magee Mill; digital image, Ancestry( accessed November 2017) John W Brumfield.

[v]Williams, E. Russ. Abstracts of Obituaries from the Minutes of the Magee's Creek Baptist Association (Mississippi and Louisiana), 1882 – 1924(Monroe, Louisiana: Privately printed, 1978) 8.

[vi]Williams, E. Russ. Abstracts of Obituaries from the Minutes of the Magee's Creek Baptist Association (Mississippi and Louisiana), 1882 – 1924(Monroe, Louisiana: Privately printed, 1978) 18.



Sunday, February 7, 2021

Brown/Patrick Farmers in 1850 Michigan

Thanks to the Non-Population Schedule for 1850 we have details of the farms of these relatives living in Jefferson, Cass County, Michigan. I find it very interesting to read about the livestock and crops that were grown.



Amanda (Brown) Patrick


Nancy P. (Brown) Patrick

Daughters of 

Moses Brown, 1777 NC – 1838 OH and

Nancy Chandler Perkins, 1787 SC – 1870 MI [2ndwife]


My Half-Grand Aunts


Samuel A. Patrick, husband of Amanda Brown


50 acres of improved land

70 acres of unimproved land

$1,000 value of farm

$50 value of machinery

2 horses

3 milch cows

3 other cattle

25 sheep

8 swine

$185 value of livestock

200 bushels of wheat

300 bushels of Indian corn


Source: 1850 US Selected Non-Population Schedule, Agriculture, Michigan, Cass, Jefferson; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed Dec. 2020) Samuel Patrick.



Johnson Patrick, husband of Nancy P. Brown


30 acres of improved land

130 acres of unimproved land

$1,200 value of farm

$75 value of machinery

3 horses

3 milch cows

3 other cattle

22 sheep

18 swine

$250 value of livestock

60 bushels of wheat

$400 bushels of Indian corn


Source: 1850 US Selected Non-Population Schedule, Agriculture, Michigan, Cass, Jefferson; digital image, Ancestry ( accessed Dec. 2020) Johnson Patrick.






Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Forget Me Not: William David Fortenberry, 1930 MS

William David Fortenberry

c 1856 MS – 1930 MS
Son of Isaac Edward Fortenberry & Elizabeth Langston
My 2nd cousin, 3x removed

Fortenberry Funeral at Old Silver Creek

Monticello. Feb. 13 – The funeral of W. D. Frtenberry aged seventy-four, who died at his home in the old Silver Creek community, was held at Old Silver Creek church, interment taking place in the cemetery near by.

The funeral was conducted by Rev. Tom Dale and Rev. J. D. Williams.

Mr. Fortenberry was well known in Lawrence county as a leader in his church, and community. He had served as a deacon in the Silver Creek Baptist church for many years.

He is survived by eleven children, three sisters and a number of grandchildren. The sons and daughters are:

Rex and
Ray all of Silver Creek;
Mrs. E. L. Bourne, and
Mrs. J. I. Herrington, both of Arm;
Mrs. Julia Sherman of Shivers;
Misses Annie and
Rheba Fortenberry of Silver Creek.

The sisters are
Mrs. Z. Carter o Jacksoon;
Mrs. H. H. Herrington of Arm, and
Mrs. Ellis Broome of Florence.

Source: Fortenberry Funeral at Old Silver Creek (Jackson, MS: Clarion-Ledger, 14 Feb 1930) 8; digital image, accessed August 2020.