Carl Fricks, Mary Alice Ellison, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Family History, Genealogy, FaucettAs I shared on a previous blog post, on the back of a picture in my grandma’s collection were the words “Carl Fricks and wife.” Initially I had no idea who Carl was, but thanks to a DNA test, I was able to find not only Carl, but a new modern day cousin to help with the search.

With both my new found cousin and I knowing very little, we combined what we did know and then launched into a search to find more about Emma (Martha Ann Emmeline Faucett) and her husband Ramsey Fricks.  My cousin indicated that her records showed that Ramsey and Emma had a son named Carl. Knowing that both Ramsey and Emma’s families had lived in Walker County Georgia, we started there.

Sure enough, the 1880 US Federal Census showed Ramsey and Emma Fricks in Walker County, Georgia. At the time they were newlyweds and so only Ramsey and Emma were living in Pond Spring, Walker County, Georgia. [1]

Located in the northwest corner of Georgia, Walker County is nestled up against both the Alabama and Tennessee borders. From there it is about 30 miles to Chattanooga and a little over a 100 miles to Atlanta. With densely treed mountains, rivers, lakes and waterfalls, Walker County was and is beautiful.

It was there that Ramsey and Emma settled down and began their family. Soon the kids began to come and by 1900 Ramsey and Emma had six children living with them, the oldest was 14 and the youngest was 4. [2]  I had hoped to find Carl among those children, but sadly he was not listed in the household. But luckily the census did indicate that Emma had had seven children, so maybe Carl was a part of that family after all. 

While no Carl Fricks could be found on the 1900 census anywhere, according to a 1903 Chattanooga City Directory, a Carl Fricks was living just across the border in Alton Park, Tennessee and working for Chattanooga Bottle & Glass Manufacturing Company.[3] 

A year later, back in Walker County, Georgia, Carl Fricks married his bride Mary Alice Ellison on 2 January 1904.[4] Although they tied the knot in Georgia, by 1910, Carl and Mary were living in Marion, Tennessee, just outside of Chattanooga, along with their two little girls Lela and Geneva (Hassel), and a son, Robert. Carl tried his hand at farming and Emma was busy “keeping house.” [5]

Whether Carl tired of farming or simply had other aspirations, he turned to carpentry work in the years that followed and continued in that work throughout his life. Apparently Tennessee agreed with Carl and Alice because they remained there all of their married life. 

On January 28th, 1918, just 20 days after their 14th wedding anniversary, Alice died of heart failure, leaving Carl with their 3 small children.[6]  At the time, Lela was twelve, Robert was eight and Hassel was only six. The following month Carl registered for the draft and from that application we learn that he was of medium height, medium build with brown eyes and brown hair. [7] I can’t help but wonder about his emotions as he registered. Was registering such a standard procedure for all men of his age that he registered without thinking much of it, or did he feel a tug at his heart at the thoughts of possibly having to leave his kids? 

The following year, on the 20th of April 1919, Carl, a thirty-nine years old widower, married Edith Coffee (formerly Holtzclaw) [8] and together they created a blended family consisting of Lela, Hassel, Robert E. and her two sons Walter and Willie.  

Once again Carl married in Walker County, but settled down in Tennessee. Always renting, Carl and his family had a tendency to move about somewhat, but always remained in the same general area of Chattanooga. In 1920, thirty-nine year old Carl, forty-two year old Edith along with children Lela, Hassle, Ed and Walter were living in St. Elmo.[9]  By 1930 Carl, Edith and Carl’s twenty-four year old daughter, Lela, were living in Chattanooga. [10]

On the 6th of June, 1936 Carl passed from this life due to cardio vascular renal disease. [11] Once again, just as he had done for his marriages, Carl returned to Georgia, this time to be buried.

His obituary reads:

FRICKS, CARL C., 56 passed away at his residence, 5704 Dixie Avenue, Saturday afternoon. Besides his widow he is survived by one son, Edward Fricks of San Diego, Cal; two stepsons, Willie and Walter Coffey of Chattanooga; two daughters Hassel Fricks and Leila Fricks, of Chattanooga; three sisters, Mrs. E. F. Morrell, of Philadelphia, Pa; Mrs Gussie Brummit of Chattanooga; Mrs. E. W. Warren, of Chattanooga;  two brothers, Jack and Merl, of Chattanoga.  Funeral services, conducted by Rev. H. Frank Ziegler, of the South Elmo Baptist church Monday afternoon at 1:30 o’clock. Interment in Singletery Cemetery, near Cooper Heights, GA. Arrangements by the National Funeral Home. [12]

Carl’s death certificate confirms his father was Ramsey Fricks and indicates his date of birth was 18 July 1880. With the 1880 census taken in Walker County just one month prior to his birth, Carl did not appear on the 1880 census with his parents and by the following census in 1900, he was 20 and by all appearances had ventured out on his own. 

My search began with the picture, with the words “Carl Fricks and wife,” on the back. Since I first acquired the picture, I’ve come a long way in learning about Carl’s life. As it turned out, this mystery man was in fact my first cousin, twice removed. But there is one question that remains unanswered;  Just who was “and wife?”  

Although I can’t say for sure, by her appearance and considering her age, I suspect it was Carl’s first wife, Mary Alice Ellison. Carl and Alice married when she was 24, but Carl married his second wife Edith when she was 42. In addition, looking at the styles of hats women wore in 1904, when Carl married Alice as compared to the styles in 1919, when Carl and Edith married, the woman’s hat in the picture seems more consistent with the styles of the early 1900’s. In either case, I would love a photo of either of these women to help confirm the identity of “and wife.”

Going through the DNA matches on can sometimes be overwhelming. The vast number of matches without the benefit of attached trees is disheartening, the quality of the some of the attached trees and other issues can make the task of finding common ancestors daunting if not down right depressing.That said, sometimes things fall into place and when they do, the effort to do a DNA test is worth every drop of spit and dollar spent to help us find those cousins, both living and dead.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved


1.  1880 United States Federal Census, Pond Spring, Walker, Georgia; Roll 169; Family History Film: 1254169; Page: 334B, ED 184, Image 0476.  Accessed on Ancestry. com

2.  1880 United States Federal Census, Pond Spring, Walker, Georgia, Roll: 169; Family History Film: 1254169; Page: 334B, ED: 184; Image 0476.  Accessed on

3.  U.S. City Directories, 1822-1989[database on-line]. Accessed on

4.  Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978. Accessed on

5.  1910 United States Federal Census: Civil District 3, Marion, Tennessee; Roll: T624_1512; Page: 11A; ED 0123; FHL microfilm: 1375525. Accessed on

6.   State of Tennessee, Tennessee Death Records 1914-1955 for Mary Alice Fricks. Accessed on

7.  U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Registration State: Tennessee; Registration County; Hamilton; Roll 1852989; Draft Board 2. Accessed on,

8.  Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978, accessed on

9.  1920 United States Federal Census,  St Elmo, Hamilton, Tennessee; Roll: T625_1743; Page: 22B; ED 201; Image 778

10.  1930 United States Federal Census; Chattanooga, Hamilton, Tennessee; Roll: 2252; Page: 20B, ED 00061; Image 718.0; FHL microfilm 2341986. Accessed on

11.  Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1958, Tennessee State Library and Archives; Nashville, Tennessee; Tennessee Death Records, 1908-1959; Roll #5.  Accessed on

12.  Chattanooga Times, 7 June, 1936 p 7. Obituary obtained from The Chattanooga Public Library.

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6 thoughts on “Worth Every Drop of Spit–Carl Fricks Pt 2

  1. Missing people just drive me nuts. I think maybe the name was transcribed wrong, so I try to imagine what an indexer might have read. I think maybe the person went by a middle name so I go looking that way. I wonder if the enumerator simply spelled the name wrong. I try searching by the person's family members' names. Sometimes the entire family is missing. Just gone. Wiped off the face of the earth. At least Carl showed up again. Yes, so worth the spit.

  2. Oh I definitely pulled out my bag of tricks when it came to finding Carl on the census. From using the * and ?, first name only + location, name name + location…family members etc. Nothing—nada—no a sign. I did find his brother Merl living with their grandfather who is shown on the 1903 Chattanooga City Directory living near him. My best guess is he was living on his own and missed because he wasn't around and no one knew him, or he was living with someone who failed to mention it (or truthfully one of the hundred other reasons people are occasionally missed.)

  3. Michelle, how encouraging to see how you and your newfound cousin were able to figure this out from the few clues available. Yes, it does seem an overwhelming challenge to deal with so many matches–I'm at nearly 950 and counting!–but it's so helpful when you run across another potential cousin with as much interest in research as you have. Each of us can add a piece to the collective puzzle, and it sounds like that was the case with you and this cousin. The good news is, each puzzle piece accurately identified can become a tool to help isolate others belonging to that same branch of the family.

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