Fannie Lela Culpepper

Female, #10051, (10 May 1875 - 29 Jun 1967)
Father*Alexander Hamilton Stephens Culpepper M.D. (1 Apr 1852 - 12 Oct 1926)
Mother*Virginia Louise Riviere (Oct 1852 - 12 Sep 1884)
Birth*10 May 1875 Fannie was born at Warren Co., Georgia, on 10 May 1875.1 
Death of Mother12 Sep 1884 Her mother Virginia Louise Riviere died on 12 Sep 1884 at Atlanta, Fulton Co., Georgia.2 
Marriage*27 Jan 1901 She married Thomas Jolly at Fulton Co., Georgia, on 27 Jan 1901 at age 25.3 
Married Name27 Jan 1901  As of 27 Jan 1901, her married name was Jolly. 
Birth of Soncirca 1907 Her son Lawson Elmer Jolly was born circa 1907 at Clarkston, DeKalb Co., Georgia.4,5 
1910 Census15 Apr 1910 Fannie was listed as Thomas Jolly's wife on the 1910 Census at Clarkston, DeKalb Co., Georgia.4 
1920 Census1 Jan 1920 Fannie was listed as Thomas Jolly's wife on the 1920 Census at Clarkston, DeKalb Co., Georgia.6 
Death of Father12 Oct 1926 Her father Alexander Hamilton Stephens Culpepper M.D. died on 12 Oct 1926 at Homerville, Clinch Co., Georgia.7,8 
Photographed*1927 She was photographed in 1927 at Clarkston, DeKalb Co., Georgia.9
Fannie Lela (Culpepper) Jolly
Death of Spouse7 Mar 1956 Her husband Thomas Jolly died on 7 Mar 1956 at DeKalb Co., Georgia.10 
Death*29 Jun 1967 She died at Clarkston, DeKalb Co., Georgia, on 29 Jun 1967 at age 92.1 
Biography* The writer and origin of the following text is unknown. It was found in family papers in the 1980's and furnished by Judy and Lawson Jolly to Warren Culpepper for publication at Culpepper Connections! in October 2003:

Mrs. Tom Jolly was born May 1876 and died June 1967, leaving a heritage of 91 years of dedicated service to others.

As Fannie Culpepper she was born in May of 1876 near the town of Warrenton in Warren County, Georgia.

Her father was a member of the state legislation and the family moved to Atlanta where she graduated from Girls High School.

After completing her formal education, she moved to Nickajack, Georgia, near Austell, to teach in an elementary school for three years. She then moved to the Clarkston area to live with a Carter family. This family was much impressed with her background and qualifications and availed themselves of her services to live in their home and tutor the children in the household.

Fannie Culpepper enjoyed her years in the Clarkston community. She like the homey attitude of the people. She became very active in church and community programs. She made her presence felt by her accomplishments.

Miss Fannie, as everyone called her, met and married Mr. Tom Jolly, whose family operated a grocery store in Clarkston for three generations. They were married in 1901 and lived together until his death in 1956. They were so fortunate to have been able to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary.

The first Campfire Girls organization in the State of Georgia was organized by Mrs. Jolly. She also organized and met with a group of local young children who were aptly named The Bluebirds. They received many hours of instruction during their nature walks while Mrs. Jolly spoke to them of the history of Georgia.

At the age of 72, Mrs. Jolly received her Girl Scout Leader's Badge. How joyous she was of this accomplishment. So again, at this age, she undertook to train young girls in active community work.

The Clarkston community was fortunate to have someone of Mrs. Jolly's ilk in their midst--she was a doer. She was a gentle person, soft-spoken and kind. One was not in her presence long, however, before one realized that she had an iron will where education was concerned. Her eyes would snap and she literally breathed fire when any plans for improving education were at a stalemate. Action was her byword--if it wasn't forthcoming quickly she organized groups to get the ball rolling again. To reach an impasse was unthinkable -- action is what she wanted -- and action is what she got.

Mrs. Jolly helped to organize the first Clarkston Parent-Teacher Association. She was named first president in 1920 and served in this capacity until 1927. Mrs. Jolly and her co-workers persevered in their idea to have a high school in the Clarkston area, and finally DeKalb County agreed to permit the Clarkston area to create its own school district. They were also given the authority to issue bonds.

A Mr. Eright, Mr. Bryan, Mr. Jackson, Mr. McLendon, and Mrs. Jolly forded the committee that solicited the community's assistance in raising the money for the proposed high school; these same five people then purchased the land on which-the school would be built. A total of $25,000 was raised in the community; $18,000 was allocated for the construction of the building and $1,000 was used for equipment and supplies, including a chemistry laboratory.

This building is still standing and now houses many of the facilities of the DeKalb County Board of Education at 3703 College Avenue in Clarkston.

During a financial crisis when DeKalb County declared bankruptcy in 1925, Mrs. Jolly and her PTA workers raised $278.25 to pay the teachers' salaries for a month.

Progress is measured in terms of development and accomplishment. Only the highlights in the life of this remarkable woman ore given here.

Mrs. Jolly instilled in the minds of the children she taught, the desire to learn and to teach. Teaching others, she felt was not enough. It was necessary, she believed, to import knowledge in such a glowing manner that the recipient would in turn wish to teach others. This desire was so strongly taught by Mrs. Jolly that it will pass from one generation to another.

She taught others to strive for a feeling of pride in achievement. She constantly sought to ever work toward what might have seemed en impossible goal. Her philosophy seemed to be simply--Try and you will find a way.

She often quoted lines by James J. Metcalfe, particularly: YOU HAVE TO ACT

Ambition is a noble thing--if you are aiming high
But action is your only way--to penetrate the sky.
You cannot sit around and dream---with all your fierce desire.
You have to gather logs and strike--the match that starts the fire.
You have to fan the flames until---they blend into a bless.
You hove to keep campaigning through---the weary nights and days.
There must be every effort end---that unrelenting action,
Before ambition can achieve---a worthy satisfaction
Regardless of your stature as---a giant or an elf
If you would move the world, then first---You have to move yourself.

Mrs. Jolly's philosophy has been passed on to her children, grandchildren, and great-grand-children and to all' whom she taught in one way or another. She was an avid student of Georgia history and never lost an opportunity to extol the wonders of her state. 


Thomas Jolly (circa 1873 - 7 Mar 1956)
Marriage*27 Jan 1901 She married Thomas Jolly at Fulton Co., Georgia, on 27 Jan 1901 at age 25.3 
ChartsBenjamin (son of Robert) Culpepper of Edgecombe Co., NC: Descendant Chart
Last Edited22 May 2004


  1. U.S. Social Security Administration, compiler, Social Security Death Index (SSDI), Online database at
  2. E-mail written 2003-2007 to Warren L. Culpepper from Judith Richbourg "Judy" Jolly (#57835), Pensacola, FL, e-mail address.
    "A rediscovery of Fannie's small Bible last week gave more detail about Jennie Culpepper. She was born October 1852 and died 12 September 1884. She was buried 14 September 1884 in the James T. Carter (husband of Jennie's sister, Emma Reviere) family plot at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta.'
  3. Fulton Co. GA Court of the Ordinary, Fulton Co. GA Marriage Index, A-K, Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1965, Repository: LDS Family History Library - Salt Lake City, Call # US/CAN Film #404,269
    Fannie Culpepper and Tom Jolly, W, 27 Jan 1901, Fulton Co., GA, Book K-352.
  4. 1910 Federal Census, United States.
    ED 30, Page 212B, Family 102, Img 14, Indian ??? Road, Clarkston, DeKalb Co., GA
    Tom Jolly, Head, M, 36, Md1-9 yrs, GA/GA/GA, Farmer
    Fannie L. Jolly, Wife, F, 33, md1-9 yrs, ch 2/2, GA/GA/GA
    Virginia L. Jolly, Dau, F, 6, Sng, GA/GA/GA
    Lawson E. Jolly, Son, M, 2, Sng, GA/GA/GA
    Erma O. Culpepper, Sister-in-law, F, 30, Sng, GA/GA/GA.
  5. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta, GA.
    Obituary of Lawson E. Jolly, published 14 Dec 2007.
  6. 1920 Federal Census, United States.
    ED 23, page 7A, Lines 7-14, img 13, Decatur Rd, Clarkston, DeKalb Co., GA
    Tom Jolly, Head, M, 46, Md, GA/GA/GA, Grocery Salesman
    Fannie L. Jolly, Wife, F, 42, md, GA/GA/GA, Bookkeeper
    Virginia L. Jolly, Dau, F, 16, Sng, GA/GA/GA
    Lawson E. Jolly, Son, M, 12, Sng, GA/GA/GA
    Lucile A. Jolly, Dau, F, 8, Sng, GA/GA/GA
    K. S. Culpepper, Brother-in-law, M, 37, Sng, GA/GA/GA, Occ?
    Erma D. Culpepper, Sister-in-law, F, 30, Sng, GA/GA/GA, Saleslady
    Waller W. Culpepper, Brother-in-law, M, 25, Sng, GA/GA/GA, Occ?
  7. E-mail written 1998-2008 to Lew Griffin & Warren Culpepper from William Randle 'Bill' Culpepper (#10088), e-mail address.
  8. Georgia Health Department / Office of Vital Records, compiler, Georgia Deaths, 1919-1998, Online database at, 1998.
    Alexander H. Culpepper, d. 12 Oct 1926 in Clinch Co., GA, 23648-H.
  9. E-mail written 2003-2007 to Warren L. Culpepper from Judith Richbourg "Judy" Jolly (#57835), Pensacola, FL, e-mail address.
  10. Georgia Health Department / Office of Vital Records, compiler, Georgia Deaths, 1919-1998, Online database at, 1998.