Monday, October 1, 2012

Finding William A. Vaden: Part Two Confirmation

My heart is full.  In all the family research I've done, this has been the most fulfilling.  A 96 year old mystery has been solved.  All the time, effort and research I've done from afar definitely pointed me in the right direction.  

We got to Maury Cemetery fairly late in the day on Saturday, September 29, 2012.  We had about 2 hours of daylight to find what we were looking for.  The front office wasn't open to offer any assistance.   With over 11,000 people buried in the cemetery, we had our work cut out for us.   I had a picture of  W. A. Vaden's grave and a partial picture of the plot he was in so we did have some guidance.   We split up to better make us of our short time.  

I knew that my Great Grandmother, Eunice Conway's parents were also buried in Maury Cemetery.  I had found a picture of their grave online as well.  We frantically paced up and down the rows of tombstones looking for the right markers for about 30 minutes before Melanie yelled out " I think I've found him."  I rushed over with excitement.  The biggest question on my mind was "is he by himself?"  I got to the plot owned by Mrs. W. A. Vaden.  

Plot owned by Mrs. W. A. Vaden

There were two stones in the plot.   My heart sunk in my chest.  As I cleared off the first marker, it hit me.  The other headstone in the plot belonged to Lily Gray Conway and Samuel Henry Conway.   These were my Great Grandmother's parents! 

My Great Great Grandparents

Tucked away in the back left corner of the plot was W. A. Vaden.   I was instantly overcome with emotion.   I had found him!  I could now tell my mother, aunt and cousin who their real grandfather was with no doubt whatsoever. 

My Great Grandfather

W. A. Vaden died in 1916.   He was 31 years old.  My Great Grandmother was a 20 year old widow with 2 small children.  She married Leon Elwood Lewis sometime before 1920.   The 1920 Federal Census lists Leon Ellwood Lewis married to Eunice M. Lewis with Robert W. Lewis and Dorothy L. Lewis as their children.  My grandfather and his sister both legally changed their last name from Vaden to Lewis to honor the man that raised them. 

Grave of  William A. Vaden

W. A. Vaden brings some pretty strong Civil War ties to my family.   I've speculated that he was my Great Grandfather since August.  I've already done a fair bit of research on him.  His father, George Patterson Vaden served in the Richmond Fayette Artillery, which was a part of the Virginia 38th Infantry Regiment.  His two uncles also served.   James A. Vaden served in the Manchester Light Artillery, which was part of the Virginia 6th Infantry Regiment and was killed in action in 1862.   His namesake, William A. Vaden rode with the Virginia 4th Cavalry.  Each will be featured in forthcoming entries. 

My Grandfather, Robert William Lewis

I guess it's quite fitting that my Grandfather, Robert William Lewis (Vaden) was an Artillery Gunner on the USS Colorado in the 1930's.  He came from a long line of Artillery men. His mother, Eunice Conway's grandfather, Samuel Conway served in the Courtney Henrico Artillery in the Civil War. 

R. W. Lewis on board the USS Colorado
Busy at work

Here's my now positive relation to William A. Vaden:

William A. Vaden (1885 - 1916)
is your great grandfather
Robert William Lewis/Vaden (1913 - 1990)
Son of William A.
Joyce Elaine Lewis (1948 - )
Daughter of Robert William
Chip Stokes
You are the son of Joyce

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Chip ~ I don't know whether you have seen my post about Virginia (Harris) Vaden at