Sunday, December 2, 2018

Witt Photo Found

Normally I would post this on my family blog (, but this one has an interesting backstory about how it was discovered.

Martha Ann Rachel Witt-Hill (1846-1934) is my 3rd cousin, 5x removed. She married a Francis Patterson Hill in Alabama in 1865. She is buried in the Old Perry Cemetery in Moody, McLennan County, Texas (Find A Grave 33566368). Her obituary is a wonderful work of prose about her life. I have seen others like it during that same era. It reads:

Mrs. F.P. Hill Passes Away At Her Home in Hamilton.

On Thursday morning, November 22, at ten o'clock impressive rites were said at First Baptist church in Hamilton for Mrs. Rachel Hill, who passed away at the family home there on Wednesday morning at 11:30 o'clock. Services were conducted by Rev. Vernon Shaw, her pastor. Rev. John D. West, Rev M. Phelan of Hamilton and assisted by Rev. Odell Jameson, pastor of the First Baptist Church of this city. A great company of sorrowing relatives and friends passed by the bier at the alter following the services to bid farewell to this lovely aged woman, whose influence on earth, ever lifting the hearts of others to the Great Creator, Who she worshipped in thought, word and deed.

Grandsons of Mrs. Hill were privileged to act as pallbearers/ They were W/ Oscar Lewis, Emmett F. Hill, Roy Lewis, Frank Monroe, Ray McCauley, Truett Allen, Bill Hill and Hill Monroe.
Masses of beautiful flowers banked the altar and covered the casket, creating a fit setting for the sweet, frail form that slept so peacefully in the calm and rest of death. The flower bearers were Miss Lois Allen, Miss Roberta Allen, Mrs. Emmett Hill, Mrs. Oscar Lewis, granddaughters of Mrs. Hill; Mrs. Lillian Grimm, Miss Mae Harris.

Following the funeral services there the cortege left the church and proceded here where internment was made in Old Perry Cemetery, with rev. West and Moody friends in charge.
Mrs. Rachel Hill had made her home in Hamilton with her daughter, Mrs. Cleveland H. Martin, and husband since 1919.

Rachel Witt, aged 88 years, 16 days, was born in Randolph county, Alabama, November 5, 1846, and was converted in early life and joined the Missionary Baptist Church living true to the faith to the day of her death.

Mrs. Hill was the daughter and granddaughter of Baptist ministers who were pioneers of Christianity in Texas, Her father, Rev. W.C. Witt had part in the organization of what is now the First Baptist Church of Temple.

She, with her husband, F.P. Hill who met an accidental death in 1913 were charter members of Stampede Baptist Church, contributing libera;;y to the building and support of that church as long as they lived in that community. In her native state she was married to Francis P. Hill on Nov. 2, 1865. Seven years later the family moved to Texas and settled in Cass county, where they changed their residence to Bell county. Mr. Hill was summoned to his reward in 1913, and in 1919 Mrs. Hill moved to Hamilton to reside. Mrs. Hill was the mother of eleven children, ten of whom lived to maturity. The nine surviving children are J.F. Hill, Hamilton; W.F. Hill, Eddy; E.I. Hill; Tahoks; Dr. J.A. Hill, Canyon; Mrs. Belle Allen, Waco; Mrs. C.H. Martin, Hamilton; Mrs. E.R. McCauley, Moody; Miss Mary Hill, Alpine; Mrs. S.J. Munroe, Hamilton, all of whom, except Dr. J.A. Hill, of Canyon, were at the bedside when the end came. She is mourned by twenty-six grandchildren, also a brother and sister, W.C. Witt, of Bailey county, Texas, and Mrs. John Womack, of Ontario, California.

Out-of-town people besides near relatives here for the funeral were Rev. Shaw, Mr. Williams, Paul Colson, Misses Mae Harris and Katie Kinseym Hamilton, Mr. and Mrs. Cleve Amsler, Mrs. Marion Witt, Mcgregorl Dr. J.R. Knight, Miss Kathryn Knight, Wayne Bateman, Eddy.

"May we, upon whom her mantle falls, hold high the banner of Christ that we too may have an abundant entrance to that House not made of hands, eternal in the Heavens".

Beautiful obit for sure. Now for the really neat part. While adding some additional information on this family, I stumbled across the Ancestry tree of  Patrinka51 in Sheffield, AL. 
She had this absolutely fabulous picture taken of Martha. The back story of how it was found is even more interesting. "Photo found by Beth Garland at Mary's Flea Market, Midwest City, Oklahoma."

A flea market in Oklahoma? Unbelievable! It pays sometimes to dig around other folks trees and it places you would not normally look for family heirlooms and photographs.

My best advice is to leave no family stone unturned. You never know what family treasures you will uncover.  Oh, yea, and the picture. It speaks for itself.