|Posted By:||Susan Z|
|Subject:||John Guill, father of Ethel Brown b 1887 Pittsylvania Co VA|
|Post Date:||September 20, 2011 at 06:00:16|
|Forum:||Pittsylvania County, VA Genealogy Forum|
I seek information about my maternal great grandfather, possibly a man named John Guill. I want to tell my mother about him while she is still alive, and I want to know more about my Virginia roots. I am not finding any documentation, so I ask for the help of those who research ancestors in south central Virginia.
My grandmother's married name was Ethel Mae Siepman. She was born Ethel Mae Brown (aka Ethel Mae Ferrell) on January 26, 1887 in Pittsylvannia County, Virginia. Her mother was Martha Brown(aka Martha Ferrell,1862 -1935), who is buried in Kenbridge, VA, next to her twin sister, Mary. Martha's death certificate lists her parents as Henry and Elizabeth Brown.
Census reports show that Martha had several children, but no census lists a man as head of household. According to my mother, Miriam (Siepman) Hamilton (b. 1923 in Lynchburg), her mother Ethel's father was not the same man who fathered some of Martha's other children. The story:
Ethel's father was John Guill, a white man who was possibly a blacksmith and livery stable owner in south central Virginia (South Boston or Danville?). He might have been called "Blackie." He is said to have also fathered Martha's oldest child, daughter Hattie (Brown) Powell (b 1881, d 1970 Danville VA). He must have been a man of some means, for when Ethel was a teenager Guill took her out of her mother Martha's home. He hired Callie "Cal" Hackney (b 1879 in Halifax VA) to take care of Ethel, and he sent Ethel to a private school. A deed shows that In 1908 Callie purchased a home at 315 Brook Street in Lynchburg, VA., and the 1910 census shows Cal and Ethel living together there. Later Cal Hackney Wecks and her husband William lived next to Ethel and her family at a house in the 300 block of Wadsworth Street in Lynchburg.
Ethel married George Siepman in 1912. She had told him that she was illegitimate and would understand if he would not marry her. After they married in Virginia, they traveled by train to where George's family lived in Indiana. At the Lynchburg station Cal pointed to a man and told George, "That's Ethel's father." That was the only time my grandfather saw Guill.
After Ethel's marriage, Guill continued to help her financially. My mother remembers going to a bank on Main Street in Lynchburg with her mother to get a check from a trust fund monthly. George later told someone in the family that Ethel received $50 a month until 1955.
Ethel never talked about her birth father. She would visit her mother, Martha, but never took her children to meet her. My mother has always wanted to know more about her maternal grandparents. She now has some dementia, so I'm elevating my efforts to solve this family mystery. Any help would be appreciated!