Charles McClendon was born in Odessadale, Georgia, a little town in Meriwether County, Georgia on the 8 of June 1888. His mother, was Sylvia Martin who married Cornelius McClendon. Sylvia was the younger sister of my great grandmother, Josephine Martin that married Wiley Woodard in 1868. Sylvia and Cornelius married in 1879, had eight children and the two families grew up in the small community of Odessa. Charles/Charlie McClendon and John Henry Woodard grew close as first cousins while growing up and that relationship continued through their moves working as coalminers, marriages and raising their children. Charlie and John Henry's companionship went on until the death of John Henry in January 1932 with Charlie being the informant on John's death certificate. Charlie maintained close to John's children after his death. I remember my mother who was born in 1932 talking about him. She spoke of a picture of Charlie in a white suit that I wish that I could find.
Cousin Charlie was the fourth child of Cornelius and Sylvia. His siblings were Lula Belle (1870), Leanah (1880), Cornelius Jr. (1882), Mattie (1891), Savannah (1893), Jermiah (1894) and Tobe (1898). This information was found in the 1900 US Census for Odessadale, Meriwether County, Georgia. This family was also found in the same area in 1910. I visited the area in 1990 and met a 92 year old, Ida Strozier who was very familiar with the McClendon and Woodard families that lived in the area. She particularly recalled Sylvia and that Cornelius had died before Sylvia. Two census records, a local cemetery without well marked headstones and the word of a senior member of the community were excellent resources on my search.
The challenge of not finding either cousin Charlie or grandfather, John Henry Woodard in the 1920 Census to date still stands. John's sister, Hannah Woodard Rosser and her husband, Henry Rosser moved to Etowah, Alabama and I believe influenced Charlie and John Henry move to Alabama. John Henry met and married his wife in Jefferson County. Records show they married in 1913 and so it is pretty safe to say the move took place after 1910. On 5 June 1917, cousin Charles registered in the World War I Draft Card files. He was working as a coal miner, had a wife with two children, was tall with medium built and registered in Marvel, Alabama. While I couldn't locate him in the 1920 Alabama Census by the 1930 Census he was living in Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia. Three of his six children were born in Alabama from 1920-1926, he registered for the draft in 1917 so these fact pretty much place him in the area. Now his other three children born between 1914-1919 were recorded as being born in Georgia. This leads me to believe, he married his wife Sarah in Georgia; left Georgia for Alabama to work as a miner and moved his family to Alabama later. It appears that since John Henry Woodard married Susie Mae Young in Jefferson County in 1913, they may not have moved at the same time to Alabama. Interesting the census record show cousin Charlie and his wife, Sara, married when they were twenty-eight years old so it was about 1916 and perhaps in Georgia. Sara's maiden name may have been Ludon and she may have been born in Terrell County Georgia. More research is needed on Sara.
By the 1930 US Census, Charlie and his family along with his cousin, John Henry Woodard and family all lived in Fairmont, Marion County, West Virginia working as coalminers. Charlie and Sarah lived at 1221 Field Street and own their own home. Five of their children, Ann D., Mabel, Theodore, Charles Jr. and Earl R. were living with them by the 1940 US Census in Fairmont.
Charlie registered for WWII Draft in Marion on 27 April 1942. He is listed as working for Kingston Pacs in Hemphill, West Virginia. The card describes him as about 5'11" tall, medium built and weighting about 174 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He signed the form.
The last I remembering hearing was Charlie lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and so did several of his children. The Social Security Death Index records his death as 1 June 1966. It always excites me when the records and verbal history fits well. The records reveal a great deal of information yet I would love to sit on a bench with him to discuss his experience. More to be found on cousin, Charlie McClendon and I can't wait to continue my journey.