03 JAN 1905 - Washington D.C.
19 JAN 2000 - Henrico, VA

"Meme" Thelma Frances Barnes

Show Family Line Thelma Barnes >> Frances Franklin >> Mark Dameron

Meme was born in Washington, DC but grew up in Westmoreland. She was a member of Totuskey Church and played the organ for many years.

Thelma Frances Barnes was born January 3rd, 1905 in Washington D.C., the first child of John Edward Barnes and Elizabeth Catherine Allen.

Thelma first appears in the 1910 census with her parents and brother William “Billy Boy” living in Westmoreland on the main road between Hague and Cole’s Point. Her father listed his profession as a sailor.

By the 1920 census Thelma’s two younger siblings had been born. Thelma, William and Lester are all noted as having attended school in the last year. Eddie is still listed working as a sailor.

At age 17 Thelma ran off and married Everett Harding Branson. They were wed August 15th, 1922 in Leonardtown, St. Mary's, MD. St. Mary's county was a popular spot for young couples in the Northern Neck to go and get married because there was no required waiting period for a marriage license and no parental consent was needed. Everett was 20 years older than Thelma, but gave his age on the marriage license as 25. According to family lore, Everett had some wealth and his sisters were angry that he was marrying a younger woman who would inherit his money. Everett died on September 13th, 1922. Thelma's mother had taken her on an out of town shopping trip for new clothing as a wedding gift. When she returned she found Everett dead from a gunshot. His death certificate gave his cause of death as “suicide by shooting" and the newspaper reported his death as a suicide. However, Thelma always thought that he was shot by his jealous sisters. He is buried in Carmel United Methodist Church Cemetery.


Thelma met George Edward Franklin a short time later when he was working in a bank in Hague. They were married October 2nd, 1926 at the Baptist parsonage of Reverend Ogden in Kinsale. The 1930 census shows Thelma and George renting a home in Hague and having a 2 year old son, George Edward Franklin, Jr. George's profession was given as bank cashier. On December 12th, 1935 Frances Catherine Franklin was born.

In the 1940 census it shows that the family moved from Hague in Westmoreland to Haynesville in Richmond County. George is now working as a jeweler in a retail and repair jewelry business. Goerge was shown as completing 2 years of college, Thelma as completing 3 years of high school, George finishing 4th grade, and Frances has not yet starting school.

During WWII Thelma volunteered for the Civilian Air Warning Service. She took shifts in a lookout tower in Haynesville and reported on any airplane sightings. The Air Warning Service operated from May of 1941 to May of 1944 and relied on a network of citizen spotters to provide early alerts for enemy planes entering US airspace. The Haynesville observation tower is no longer standing.


George continued his jewelry business in Warsaw for many years until the building was destroyed in a fire and then operated from a small building he built in their yard in Haynesville. The couple were active members at Totuskey Baptist Church and Thelma played the organ.

In the late 1980's Thelma and George moved from their house in Haynesville and retired to the Masonic Home in Richmond City.

Thelma passed away on January 19th, 2000. She was buried on the 22nd at Totuskey Baptist Church by Reverend Frank Dunn.


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More Memories:

I have only vague memories of visiting Meme and Popee in Haynesville and playing on the floor with a plastic set of Jesus and the disciples, one of which had the feet broken off and could not stand. I remember more about visiting them at the Masonic Home in Richmond. Whenever we visited there Meme always had a Whitman’s Sampler of chocolates that we could choose from. When their health allowed it they usually visited Gramps and Granny’s house for Christmas Eve. They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary at the Masonic Home and had a big family gathering. I also remember the wedding their granddaughter Barbara Franklin held at the chapel on the grounds of the Masonic Home. One time she told Catherine that she was looking “good and fat.” Meme thought it was a compliment but it really upset Catherine. A regular family story was that Popee chewed each mouthful of food 100 times and some said it was because Meme was not a very good cook. Also Meme used to try to get people, even her grandchildren when they were very young, to smoke a pipe when they came to visit because she liked the smell.

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Sources:

  • Year: 1910; Census Place: Cople, Westmoreland, Virginia; Roll: T624_1651; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0121; FHL microfilm: 1375664
  • Year: 1920; Census Place: Cople, Westmoreland, Virginia; Roll: T625_1918; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 156; Image: 53
  • Year: 1930; Census Place: Cople, Westmoreland, Virginia; Roll: 2464; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0001; Image: 207.0; FHL microfilm: 2342198
  • Year: 1940; Census Place: Washington, Richmond, Virginia; Roll: T627_4288; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 80-6
  • U.S. Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 2
  • U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
  • Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014

Parents:


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Siblings:

  • William Parker Barnes
    • 1906-1951
  • James Lester Barnes
    • 1912-1970
  • Elizabeth Catherine Barnes
    • 1914-1999

Last Updated: 9/29/2019