Loyd came to live with us after the death of my grandmother and he would reside with us until his death in 1994. I recall that on numerous occasions, when people would ask him about his mother’s family, he would always declare that his mother’s name was Maud Ervin. He would then go on to explain that it was spelled with an “E” and not an “I”. His Ervins were proud of that spelling and any Ervin who spelled their name that way was related.
The only information I ever received about Maud’s family of Ervins was that her father was Joseph Newton Ervin and that Maud’s mother was Laura Adelaide Cathcart. Addy Ervin had died when Maud was still young and Joseph got remarried and had several more children.
I had always wondered about whether or not my Ervins were the same Ervin family from which Robert Ervin Howard (REH) was related. Over the years doing genealogical research I had never been able to discover anything about either mine or REH’s Ervins.
It wasn’t until I found an entry on the Find A Grave website that I even considered it a strong possibility. The entry listed my great grandfather as being a brother to a Robert Newton Ervin. Those not familiar with the various comments made by REH concerning his Ervin forebears will be filled in later, but this Robert would be the second cousin of Hester Jane Ervin, REH’s mother.
It was at this time that I decided to dig a little deeper and try to unravel these Ervin families.
One of Loyd’s younger siblings was his sister Mag. She lived well into her 90’s and she gave my mother a document to give to me because she knew I was doing genealogical research on the Brantley and Ervin families. This document turned out to be a very important key in me being able to prove that Joseph Newton Ervin’s father was James William Ervin – not Robert Ervin; and thus, Joseph is not a brother of Robert’s son Robert Newton Ervin.
The document was a remembrance written by Eula Erin Ervin, a daughter of Joseph Newton Ervin by his second wife, Samantha Elizabeth Smith. This would be Maud Ervin’s younger step-sister. Eula died in 2014 and left this document for her grandchildren.
Here is what Eula knew about her father:
- “When I was born our family included Mama, Papa, Maud (married with three children), Buddy (was gone to war), Gordon, and L.D.; Kenneth came two years later.”
- “Maud Ervin and Buddy Ervin were my daddy’s children by a former wife. He and my mother married when they were small. I think she died when Buddy was born and he and my Mama married when they were like two and four. They never knew any mother but mine and no difference was ever made in all of us.”
- “My father’s full name was Joseph Newton Ervin. He died December 25th, 1943. He was born in America (I think) on September 23rd, 1861.”
- “Father has been said to resemble the Dutch people and Irish people because he was of Dutch/Irish descent. He had clear complexion, blue/green eyes and wore a heavy mustache, and his hair was snow white when I was born. He was 53 the year Mama was 39.”
- “They raised four of their own and lost four by death [not counting Maud Ervin and James Larkin ‘Buddy’ Ervin]. Douglas Cobern lived to be a toddler, and three little girls were stillborn and never named. One of them was a twin to me.”
- “For a living my father farmed and sawmilled or hauled logs for and with his brother-in-law. I was small but I remember Uncle Joe Sanders. But I never remembered Aunt Ellen. She was my daddy’s half-sister, and he had a half-brother, too, Uncle Frank Sims. I knew his family well. I saw two of Uncle Frank’s grandsons at Mars Hill at the homecoming this year (1993). They were born and still are all in Georgia (Rockmart).”
It was the last item that gave me the information which resulted in finding a family tree online that finally answered the question of who Joseph Newton Ervin’s family was. Joseph Newton appears as just Newton under the first child of Joseph and Eleanor Sanders: