For the last few years I have been immersed in my grandmother’s history.  Jessie Latham Perkins (her married name) is my grandmother on my Mother’s side and was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1894, in the house pictured below. She had an older brother Frank, whom she always called Bud, and a younger brother Swayne. Around 1981 Jessie (my grandmother) made tape recordings of herself retelling and recalling our family history in and around Memphis, Tennessee. I transcribed these for my siblings, and then began reading her diaries, written from 1909-1924. Her last entry  was written in Chicago while on her honeymoon.  After he begged her late one night in the hotel, she let Percy, her new beloved husband, read her diary… Well, now it wasn’t private anymore and she made no more entries.  I am sorry, because I would have loved to have known more about Percy and more about my grandmother as a grown and married woman. The creation of this site is inspired by and dedicated to my grandmother Jessie. I plan to enter her diaries, and to take inspiration from them for my postings. Primarily this website is for my siblings and my children, in the hopes that I can add a little more information to our family history. I hope you enjoy it!  ~  Jenny

Jessie Latham & Family

This is Jessie’s family around 1909 at their home in Memphis. L to R: Swayne, Grandmother Swayne, Father F.S. Latham, Mother Jessie, Jessie, and a pasted on picture of the oldest brother Frank (Bud), who is away at college.


Jessie Latham

This is the full photograph under the title “100 Years Ago in Memphis.”  Jessie is the smiling girl  in white on the right. Her mother Jessie sits next to her, also in white.  Her younger brother Swayne is below her, and F.S. Latham (Jessie’s father) is the third man standing from the right.  I think this photo was actually taken in Denver. In the summer of 1909, Jessie and her family traveled to Colorado. The back of this photo, which is a post card, says Denver Omnibus & Cab Co.

14 thoughts on “Welcome”

  1. SOO wonderful, and as Grandmama would have said, Grand!!! I love reading it and connecting the pictures!!! Thank you for all your hard work providing this for all of us!!! I love hers!!! xoxoxo

  2. Thank you for ALL your hard work!! I love seeing all the pictures with the excerpts from her diary! You are doing a “fine” job! Love you!

  3. Jenny – Peggy McClure sent me the link and I’m just getting a look tonight. This is just wonderful that you’ve put this together. I’ve gotten pretty absorbed by ancestry.com in the past couple of years and I’m so pleased that you have so many of Jessie’s mementos and photos. I will definitely go through this line by line. Still living in Denver – send me a note and maybe we can catch up. Best wishes – Jim M.

    1. Hi Jim. How great to hear from you! I hope you enjoy the site. I’m still learning how to put it together, but it is truly a labor of love! I have so much of Grandmother’s stuff, including these diaries, that I felt I had to do something with it. Best wishes to you and yours! Jenny

  4. Really nice tribute to your grandmother. I enjoyed reading it and it was lovely to see you and Brad last week. Hugs, Claudia

  5. Hey Jenny! Thank you so much for doing this. Do you know this morning I stumbled on a box of old newspaper clippings, photos, and letters that she had saved from World War I and World War II? You really need to see these. They even include photos of Frank’s plane after it crashed and touching letters from the front from my grandfather to your grandmother, Please let me know if you would like to see them.

    1. Hi Tim. Jessie does mention Raleigh quite a few times in her diary, usually in describing a direction they drove while out for a ride in the auto, or in describing a ride on the Raleigh Springs car (trolley). One trip Jessie described on June 19, 1913 sounds lovely: “We went out to Raleigh Springs in the machine this afternoon. Leon R. (Mig), Billy D. & Swayne spent the time fishing and swimming while mother & I read. We gathered wild plums – had a lovely trip…” In a September 17, 1914 entry Jessie describes a horrible accident involving a Raleigh Springs car and a train that killed 11 people: “Soon after dinner we heard of a terrible accident, so we all got in Babe’s car and went to it. A J.C. freight train ran into a Raleigh Springs car and killed 11 people and injured every-one that was on the trailer. ‘Twas terrible! The box cars were piled three high over the crossing and the trailer was almost a block away from the track, the big engine in the ditch. How my heart aches for those who lost loved ones!” My grandmother Jessie had a serious boyfriend who really wanted to marry her, but Jessie did not want to live in the country, otherwise she may have married Wiley. In December 6, 1915 Wiley took her to see the cottage he had built: “Wiley and I took a trip out to the country this afternoon. He is building a bungalow out there and took me out to see it. We had to walk about a million miles after we got off the Raleigh Springs car, but Wiley is such good company that I enjoyed it immensely. The little bungalow is awfully cute. Wiley said “isn’t that a hot shack.” I’m just now transcribing the diary for 1917. Thanks for reading.

      1. Dear Jenny,
        my husband and I read every post of your beautiful blog about Jessie. It is extremely rare to find diary records about that time. Please, keep posting new articles. I love you and Jessie!
        PS. Waiting very much for the pics of Jessie’s wedding dress.

        1. Thank you so much for your comments, Ella. It means a lot to me that someone other than family is reading the blog, and I am so happy that you are enjoying it!

  6. Thank you, Jenny! Loved reading that about Jessie Swayne and Frank! I know they must have been so close with each other! I love you! Karen❤️

  7. Her entry on Dec 23, 1921, F. D. and Miriam came over. I believe she is talking about my Grandparents. They were married January 17, 1923. Like your Granmother, my Grandmother made her debut in 1923. I am sure our Grandmothers knew each other, either by being debutantes or through my Grandfather. Email me and I can fill you in about Douglas.

    1. Thank you for your comment Mimi. How exciting to meet you,F.D.’s granddaughter! I’ll email you!

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