Robert Grantham and Mary Winifred "Marie" Arwood Oakes
Robert GranthamOakes was born July 30, 1912, in Issaquena County, MS, near Harworth, MS, a sawmill town along the Yazoo River. The town no longer exist, a casualty of too frequent flooding, clear cutting and the depression. He was the son of Charles Franklin and Sophie Dose Oakes. His siblings included Frederick Franklin, John Christian, Laura Annis and William Warren. Two sidblings, Milton Elliot and Ruth Dean died young. Four of the children are shown with their parents in the picture below. The family life centered around farming, fishing, hunting and trapping. Life was difficult, little opportunity to accumulate any wealth. Loans were necessary to survive. Most of the family eventually moved to Vicksburg and left their farm to be confiscated for failure to pay taxes. Fred left in 1922 at the age of 19 and found work with the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad and a workman in their repair shop on Levee Street in Vicksburg. John Christian left not too much later and found work as an air brake mechanic at the Y&MV, likely as a result of his brother, Fred's recommendation. Charles Franklin and wife Sophie took Grantham and moved to Vicksburg not long after Fred and Chris. Charles found work at the Y&MV carpenter shop. Robert Grantham married Marie Arwood, August 3, 1939. He had met her at Southern Missionary College in Collegedale, TN. Grantham and his brother Warren, both Seventh Day Adventist, were studying there.
Grantham and Marie had two children, Carolyn Marie and Robert Grantham Jr..
Marie Arwood was born January 1, 1918 in Mascot, TN. She was the youngest of five children. She was trained as a nurse. She and Grantham kept foster children. Grantham was a salesman for most of his life.
Her love of family shined brightly throughout her life.
We are only a few months short of the second anniversary of Carolyn’s death. I thought I would try to write a tribute to her and her work. Carolyn was born in Norton, VA, to Robert Grantham and Mary Winifred (Marie) Arwood Oakes. She was their first child; eight years later her much loved brother, Robert Grantham (Bobby), was born. Carolyn trained as a nurse. She helped her mother care for foster children. She married Jimmie Ray Sears in Jellico, Tennessee on October 8, 1962. They later divorced with no children.
Carolyn was devoted to her family’s genealogy and became the recognized expert on Elliot H. Oakes and his wife Hulda Louisa Jane Lineberry. As stated in the Oakes Family Genealogy Book, “All the research about “Jane” Lineberry comes from Carolyn Sears Oakes, a direct descendant.” Jane Oakes who is a leader in the work on the Virginia Oakeses said in a letter to me on hearing of her death, “I will always be grateful because she opened up an Oakes line that we knew existed, but knew absolutely nothing about. We lost a good one!”
Carolyn traveled extensively collecting first hand information about the family, especially in North Carolina and Virginia. She stayed in contact with the older generation and collected their reminiscences. When I had family questions she was my first resource. Her knowledge was encyclopedic. She generously shared information and files with me. I wish I had started my genealogy work much earlier thereby enabling me to learn more from her.
Carolyn was devoted to her mother and lived many years with her. She provided much support and comfort during Marie’s last days. She never got over the pain of her loss.
One of my last conversations with Carolyn was about a trip to Paris with her boyfriend. She liked the sights but “missed the simple foods of the South.“ She developed a heart problem and, like me, received a pacemaker. Unfortunately despite the optimism in our last phone call the device failed to prevent her all too early demise. Most members of the Oakes-Dose Family knew Carolyn and still mourn her loss. She leaves a big hole which can not be covered over, we can only work around it.
Left to Right, Fredrick Franklin Oakes, Laura Annis Oakes, Charles Franklin Oakes, Sophie Dose Oakes, Robert Grantham Oakes and John Christian Oakes, Home in Harworth, MS ca 1913.