A Long, Full Life

52 years ago today, my great-grandfather passed away. The date was 2 Jan 1964. He was 90 years old, being born on 16 Nov 1873, in Talladega County, Alabama.

I was a child at the time of his death, and have only one memory of him. He was sitting in a chair in his front yard, much like the photo here, which could have taken at the time of my memory.

O L

Oscar L Gaither

Oscar L. Gaither had six sons and one daughter with his wife, Percilla Adline Gurley, whom he married in 1896 in Clay Co, Alabama.

Oscar was the oldest of eight children, and his family was a close one. By 1900, he had bought a farm, and lived next to his parents and his five youngest siblings. His other two brothers were also married, and lived next to the rest of the family.

Although he is listed on most census reports, Oscar, and most of his brothers managed to hide during the census taker visits in 1910. He is listed on the Clay County tax lists, so I know that is where he lived during that time. In 1920, he is still in Clay County farming for a living.

At some point in his adult life, he started a dairy farm. I haven’t found any records on it yet, but I have been told they exist. As further proof of this endeavor, the information is recorded for all posterity on the 1930 census for Talladega County. In 1940, he is listed as being a farmer, but his son, Francis (aka Bud), who lives with him, is listed as working on a dairy farm, so I suspect Oscar is the owner.

Although Oscar never served in the military, he did register for the WWI ‘old man draft’. He was 44 at the time, and his name is listed as Oscar Lafayette Gaither. Apparently, the person who filled out the form had never heard the name Levert, and wrote what they wanted to. The signature on his card is a different handwriting, so I know Oscar did not fill out the card. In 1945, he requested a duplicate of his Social Security Card, and filled out the card, himself. He printed, using capital, block letters, and with one exception, all his ‘N’s’ were written backward. He listed his name as simply Oscar L. Gaither.

scan0059

4 generations of Gaithers                                                   l to r: L.T., J.L., W.L., and O.L.

There was a huge snow storm across the country two days before his death, and I don’t think the local newspaper was published for a day or two during that time. I did manage to find an obit in the neighboring newspaper, though. It stated that he ‘died Thursday morning at Citizens Hospital, after a long illness’, which his death certificate lists as pneumonia.

Oscar and his wife are buried in Providence Baptist Church Cemetery, Guntertown, Clay Co, AL.

Oscar & Cilla

Oscar and Percilla

Since starting genealogy, I have found out quite a bit about this man, although I wish I knew more.

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