For Emily, Katie, and Emma Grace...
My grandmother Maude Chollita Fulton Mashburn named both of her sons Benjamin. The oldest son was Benjamin Ezburn and the youngest was George Benjamin (G.B.). Both sons were named after grandfathers - Benjamin Fulton and George Walton Mashburn. I can't imagine being my age and trying to address two of my sons with the same name. I have a hard enough time when their names are different...I generally call them every son's name until I get the right one.
A more uncomfortable fact is that both sons attempted suicide. My daddy (G.B.) shot himself in the temple when he was 16 after his mother died. The oldest son Ben Ezburn's attempt succeeded. This is my Uncle Ben's story.
My daddy's family was originally from the Forsyth County, Georgia, area. My Mashburns were the black sheep and branched off and moved to Adairsville, Bartow County, Georgia. In 1983, I found Mrs. Edna Simpson, one of the earliest Mashburn genealogists; she asked me where we'd been. She had been looking for us! Because my Mashburns were poor tenant farmers, they moved where the work was and from Adairsville to a tiny south Georgia community called Hatley, in Crisp County near Cordele. They were enumerated here in 1920.
Ben married Eunice Fountain 5 April 1925, in Dooly County, Georgia. Tom Baggett married Ben's aunt Leila Fulton and they lived in Bryomville, Georgia, and grew peaches on the farm they owned. My daddy lived with his aunt Leila and uncle Tom after his suicide attempt. I met them once just before my daddy died and later visited aunt Leila in Byromville. They were loving, hardworking people.
By 1930, Ben and Eunice had moved to Silverton, Upson County, Georgia, with their son Thomas. Eunice's family also lived in Upson County. Both were employed as twisters at the cotton mill near Thomaston. They moved to Bartow County about 1933 and began working in the Goodyear mill in ATCO with other family members. In 1940, they remained cotton mill workers and lived on 4 Church Street, which has now been renamed Parmenter Street. Thomas would have been enrolled at the ATCO school.
By early 1945, something in Ben's and Eunice's marriage had gone awry. On the evening of Tuesday 22 May 1945, aunt Katie had dinner with Ben and Eunice in their home. Ben worked the second shift at the mill from 4:00 pm until 12:00 midnight but had not gone to work that evening. Aunt Katie said that they were congenial and seemed to be in good spirits. The next morning Thomas who was 16 years old, went to town in Cartersville and Eunice went to work. When Thomas returned home, he discovered his daddy had shot himself in the head with a .22 caliper rifle. Thomas told the Coroner's Jury that uncle Ben had not been drinking and seemed fine when he left. If Eunice knew the reason, she never told anyone I know. Aunt Katie confirmed this was uncle Ben's handwriting.
His suicide note read:
"Eunice, this is the
only way that I
know of to make you
happy. This is Good
Uncle Ben is buried at Oothcalooga Baptist Church Cemetery in Adairsville, Bartow County, Georgia, with Eunice, his mother, daddy, and aunt Katie.
For additional evidence, please contact me using the contact form on this site.
This is the beginning of a series of stories I'm writing, because my older granddaughters gave me a journal years ago, and I've neglected writing in it. Recently I asked the oldest Emily if I should just write about the good. She said they want it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly. This blog will become that neglected journal.