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How I Met My Great-Great-Great Grandparents

I have 32 great-great-great grandparents.

Four of them are Virginia natives, and two of them are Essex County, Virginia natives.

I had seen that birthplaces for Henry Temple and Sarah Jones Temple were in Essex County, Virginia.

My great-great-great grandfather Henry Waring Latane Temple was rector in South Farnham Parish and at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Miller’s Tavern, Virginia for 20 years.

Ahead of the trip, I read a book that my cousin Ellen Temple referred me to – by E. Lee Shepherd called A History of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Jonathan Gerland, historian and Executive Director at The History Center of Diboll, referred me to this 1863 map of Essex, King and Queen, and King William Counties in Virginia that is labeled with family names representing farms they owned.

I used Photoshop to overlay the 1863 map onto a modern Google Map. Because many roads have changed in 160 years, to calibrate the two maps, I set the opacity of the 1863 map to 50%, and then I took a screenshot of the Miller’s Tavern area on Google Maps. Next, I fit the two maps together by aligning the definitive shape of the Rappahannock River – that was the only thing that matched between both maps! (Note the spilled ink on the scanned image of the 1863 map).

So now I could drive on a highway map annotated with 1863 landmarks – knowing where family farms were compared to modern landmarks.

Here is a zoom in on the area near Miller’s Tavern.

Finally, I read a volume of letters that my grandfather Latane Temple found in a trunk at “Wayland” in 1965 that he had recovered from the old building and preserved. They were transcribed by Carolyn Alevra and annotated by Lucy Temple Fish.

My Old Virginia Home

7-year-old Latane and I saw a window of opportunity to go together, and we drove from Austin, Texas to Colonial Williamsburg. We took 3 days to make the trip, staying overnight in Texarkana and Knoxville.

We first spent a few days in Colonial Williamsburg. We stayed in a very small colonial-era house (a kitchen, actually) converted to lodging and Latane visited the House of Burgesses, wigmakers, shoemakers, and learned the process of making a sword (what else?) from the blacksmith.

Next we visited Jamestown Settlement, Miller’s Tavern, Tappahannock, Walkertown, and King and Queen County. 

Navigating down Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg

After two days in Williamsburg, we drove down the Colonial Parkway south to visit the nearby Jamestown Settlement. Lat walked on and below deck of reproductions of the 1606 expedition ships and he talked to a 17th Century surgeon about every one of the tools in his case. He asked to see the saw used for amputations twice.

New (Old) Family Friends

Ahead of traveling, I had sent an email saying hello to Patricia Haile and she and John invited us to an event in Tappahannock – the annual reading of the Historic Essex County Colonial Resolutions –  and to visit them on their farm.

John and Patricia’s grandchildren were at the farm also, tending their sheep and pigs in preparation for the state fair livestock show, so it was a good chance to continue the multi-generation tradition of Haile/Temple friendship. The Hailes were incredibly kind and helpful for orienting us to the land where the Temples lived. They showed us as much of “Wayland” (the homeplace of Henry and Susan Temple and later the Lewis Family) as they could and told us great stories about their ancestors and the Temples, the Latanes, the Jones, and the Lewises.

The vicinity of Wayland, the Temple Family ancestral home near Minor, Virginia

Meeting Susan and Henry Face-to-Face

The Hailes had a great surprise for us.

The ancestral home of the Jones Family – including Susan Jones – called “Retreat” – was just south of “Elton” – the Haile Family home. The Haile Family acquired Retreat more than 80 years ago, and in the attic, they found a portrait of Susan Jones, my great X 3 grandmother, who married Henry Waring Latane Temple. The portrait is in great condition. I scanned a high-resolution image of it using Google PhotoScan.

Susan Jones Temple

We went to services on Sunday at St. Paul’s.

There we met Dr. Augustine Lewis (3rd cousin 1x removed, descended from Rev. Henry W. L. Temple’s daughter Mary) and Jerry Walker (5th cousin, 1x removed, descended from Colonel Joseph Temple III).

I also found a history display case in the parish hall that had portraits of St. Paul’s rectors from the early days of the church – Rev. Henry W L Temple & Rev. John McGuire. 

I was very excited to find great-great-great grandfather Henry’s portrait. I scanned a high-resolution image of it.

Rev. Henry Waring Latane Temple

The Latane / Temple Family Bible

The next day, Dr. Lewis invited us to his home near Bruington to see the 250-year-old Latane / Temple Family bible.

A.W. Lewis III with the Latane / Temple Family Bible

The first entry was the marriage of William Latane and Anne Waring, July 5, 1776! I took photos of every page of family records.

Needless to say, it was a wonderful trip.

I organized the subset of edited, high-resolution photos and other gathered documents that are relevant to Henry Waring Latane Temple and his wife Susan Jones Temple. Some items are from our Texarkana trip earlier this year.

Here is a Dropbox link to unedited photos and scanned documents that I hope will be a helpful addition to the History Center’s collection.

https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/l6jtpe4u692bsvswfolgf/h?dl=0&rlkey=vronwr21cid8ii9lo2wlj79hg

The 5 photos (below) are not in the submission, but too fun not to share:

Dr. John Haile at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Patricia Haile with prize-winning zucchini from Elton

Jellybean the pig, the Haile’s granddaughter, and Latane

Picking blackberries near Walkerton

At the commemorative annual reading of Essex County Proclamations