Eleanor Herring Culpepper

Female, #35108, (14 Oct 1908 - 13 Apr 2009)
Father*Homer Lee Culpepper (3 Nov 1871 - 5 Jun 1951)
Mother*Esther Theodora Herring (2 Apr 1872 - 3 Jun 1959)
Birth*14 Oct 1908 Eleanor was born at Lone Oak, Meriwether Co., Georgia, on 14 Oct 1908.1 
1910 Census15 Apr 1910 Margaret and Eleanor was listed as a daughter in Homer Lee Culpepper's household on the 1910 Census at Lone Oak, Meriwether Co., Georgia.2 
1920 Census1 Jan 1920 Margaret and Eleanor was listed as a daughter in Homer Lee Culpepper's household on the 1920 Census at Lone Oak, Meriwether Co., Georgia.3 
Photographed*say 1923 She was photographed say 1923 at Meriwether Co., Georgia.
Eleanor Herring Culpepper
1930 Census1 Apr 1930 Margaret and Eleanor was listed as a daughter in Homer Lee Culpepper's household on the 1930 Census at Lone Oak, Meriwether Co., Georgia.4 
1930 Census*1 Apr 1930 Eleanor was listed as a boarder on the 1930 Census at Metter, Candler Co., Georgia.5 
Married Name19 Feb 1945  As of 19 Feb 1945, her married name was Willingham.1 
Marriage*19 Feb 1945 She married Albert Marvin Willingham at Coweta Co., Georgia, on 19 Feb 1945 at age 36.1 
Death of Father5 Jun 1951 Her father Homer Lee Culpepper died on 5 Jun 1951 at Lone Oak, Meriwether Co., Georgia.6,7 
Death of Mother3 Jun 1959 Her mother Esther Theodora Herring died on 3 Jun 1959 at LaGrange, Troup Co., Georgia.8,9 
Death of Spouse19 Sep 1971 Her husband Albert Marvin Willingham died on 19 Sep 1971 at Lone Oak, Meriwether Co., Georgia
Photographedsay 1996 She was photographed say 1996 at Lone Oak, Meriwether Co., Georgia.10
Eleanor Herring Culpepper
Eleanor (Culpepper) Willingham home
Biography* The following is from pp. vi-vii of History of Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church (formerly Old Prospect Methodist Church) Lone Oak, Georgia 1844-1985 By Eleanor (Culpepper) Willingham: Eleanor Herring Culpepper was born in Lone Oak on October 14, 1908. She is the daughter of the late Theodora Herring Culpepper and the late Homer L. Culpepper. She married Albert M. Willingham of Lone Oak on February 19, 1945. After twenty-six years of marriage, he died on September 19, 1971. They had no children. Her early school days were spent in Lone Oak which afforded only ten grades. She graduated from Grantville High School as valedictorian of her class in 1925. She received an A. B. Degree in Education from Georgia State Teachers' College in Athens in 1929. The graduates of this college are now considered alumnae of the University of Georgia. During her senior year she was editor-in-chief of The Crystal, the college year book. She also studied at the University of Virginia, specializing in Library Science. On September 30, 1970, Mrs. Willingham retired after thirty-nine years of continuous employmnet with the State of Georgia. This period included six years of teaching in various high schools in Georgia and thirty-three years with the Department of Family and Childrens' Services. During these years she served as Caseworker, Casework Supervisor, and Director. She joined Prospect Church (now Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church) at an early age. She has given years of dedicated service to various programs in the church and has always responded cheerfully whenever and wherever she was needed. Mrs. Willingham takes an active part in all community affairs. A quotation from an article in the Newnan-Times Herald of October 8, 1970, when she retired, is as follows: "Eleanor Culpepper Willingham will never retire". Her love for church, community and family is reflected in her efforts to preserve, collect, compile and publish the history of Allen-Lee-Memorial United Methodist Church.
      On p. 343 of The Story of Georgia, Eleanor is listed as a "graduate of the local schools [a photograph which appeared on p. 3B of The Newnan Times-Herald for 2 May 1991 showed the 10 students, including Eleanor, that constituted the 10th grade class of Grantville High School in 1924] and the University of Georgia, where she majored in mathematics. She is now teaching school in Grantville."
      The following appeared on 19 Jul 1937 in an unknown newspaper: Miss Culpepper Accepts Position In Dade County Miss Eleanor Culpepper, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Culpepper, of Lone Oak, has been named as welfare director for Dade county and left this week for Trenton to take charge of the office. She is a pretty and talented young lady, an A. B. graduate of the State University and has taught mathematics in several high schools of Georgia. She has had more than a year's experience in FERA office at LaGrange, took a course in social work, worked several months with the WPA and is eminently qualified for the position. Meriwether is proud of her.
      In the early 1940's, Eleanor Culpepper's work was noted, apparently in the Dalton Citizen: Carnation Award Made To Welfare Head This Week This week the editor of the Dalton Citizen Awards The Carnation of the Week to Miss Eleanor Culpepper, one of Dalton's most civic minded women and a person who is always hard at work in an effort to relieve as much suffering as possible. As head of the Whitfield County Welfare Office it has been her duty to administer the use of all funds turned over to her department by the Community Chest Fund and so well has she done this job that only praise has followed her efforts. Miss Culpepper tempers justice with sympathy in her many dealings with the people who are given care and comfort by her department.
She does not hesitate to ferret out any case no matter where it may be located and in what condition the people may be. Thus for her diligent and purposeful attention in the duties of her position the Citizen's editor awards this week's carnation to Miss Eleanor Culpepper of the Welfare Office. Barrett's Flower Shop, please deliver The Carnation of The Week to Miss Culpepper or if the gas situation makes this impractical please phone her to call by for it at your shop.
      The following wedding announcement is from an unknown source: CULPEPPER-WILLINGHAM Mr. and Mrs. Homer Culpepper of Lone Oak announce the marriage of their daughter, Miss Eleanor Herring Culpepper to Cpl. Albert M. Willingham, on February 19[, 1945]. The ceremony was performed at the Methodist parsonage at Moreland, with the Rev. O. F. Withron, officiating. Mrs. Willingham is director of the Whitfield County Department of Public Welfare at Dalton, where she had been located for the past five years...
      The Georgia County Welfare Association News Letter noted Mrs. Willingham's retirement: COWETA COUNTY Mrs. Eleanor Willingham, Casework Supervisor II, who had 39 years of service with the State, the last five of which were in Coweta County Department of Family and Children Services, retired September 30th. The Staff gave her a beautiful luncheon here in our beautiful new building. Each staff member brought one or two lovely dishes and a good time was had by all at the luncheon. Mrs. Willingham received a good many flowers from the different members of the staff during the day, one of which was a corsage. The Director then presented her with a lovely silver pitcher, from the whole staff. The pitcher was engraved showing years of service. Mrs. Willingham is an asset for anybody's Department and she left 27 staff members with a heavy heart.
      Mrs. Willingham's retirement was noted in the Troup County Herald on 21 Oct 1970: Mrs. Willingham of Lone Oak Retires Mrs. Eleanor C. (Albert) Willingham of Lone Oak retired Oct. 1, 1970, after 39 years of employment with the State of Georgia, 33 years of which included continuous service with the Department of Family and Children Services. She has witnessed many changes in this department, including a change of name from Department of Public Welfare to Department of Family and Children Services. Mrs. Willingham, the former Eleanor Culpepper, received her A. B. Degree from Georgia State Teachers College, Athens, Georgia, in May, 1929. She also studied at the University of Virginia. Following her graduation she taught in various high schools of Georgia for six years. In July, 1937, Mrs. Willingham became Director of Dade County Department of Public Welfare in Trenton. In July, 1940 she transferred to Dalton as Director of Whitfield County Welfare Department, in which capacity she served until April 1946. After her marriage to Albert M. Willingham of Lone Oak, she transferred to Troup County Department of Public Welfare in LaGrange. She served as a worker for 17 years when she was promoted to Casework Supervisor. In September, 1965, she joined the staff of Coweta County Department of Family and Children Services as Casework Supervisor. It was from this position that she retired on October 1, of this year. Upon her retirement Mrs. Willingham was presented with a beautiful silver pitcher by the Staff of Coweta County Department of Children Services. Mrs. Willingham is well known in Hogansville and this area of Troup County as a public welfare worker while employed in Troup County Department of Family and Children Services. Her many friends wish her much happiness in the years ahead.
      A similar article appeared in the Meriwether Vindicator on 25 Oct 1970 under the headline "39 Years in Welfare Ends With Retirement."
      The following article appeared on pages 1 and 5 of the Today, Section B, of The Newnan Times-Herald Thursday, 8 Oct 1970: Full Days Ahead ONE OF THOSE enthusiastic persons who always has a project or two waiting is Mrs. Albert Willingham. These projects, more often than not, concern making other people's lives more pleasant. When she is spending some time for herself there is usually an antique involved for herein lies her favorite hobby. And she doesn't want just any old antique, she wants to know its history. This dear lady is of a happy disposition and the bright red geraniums growing on each side of her front steps introduce a note of cheerfulness that prevails within. This is a home where every visitor receives a warm welcome and is an honored guest. Tradition Speaks When the front door is opened, one steps into an inviting room, carpeted in a soft gold color and tastefully furnished with meaningful antiques. Most of these furnishings are connected with the families of Mr. and Mrs. Willingham, better known to their many friends as Eleanor and Albert. Even the bricks of the mantle have a history dating back to the early 1800's when they were used to build up the graves of Mrs. Willingham's paternal great grandparents in the Providence cemetery near Luthersville. When these bricks were removed to be replaced by new markers the Willinghams had them cleaned and used them for their mantle. On one end of this mantle is a clock over a hundred years old which softly chimes on the hour and the half hour. It belonged to the father of her mother, the former Dora Herring and the numbers on its face are raised due to the fact that Mr. Herring was blind. An object of special interest is a maple spool cabinet, refinished and mounted on legs. This cabinet once used in a store belonged to her father, the late Homer Culpepper. It is placed beside a handsome hand-carved antique sofa, upholstered in dark green velvet. Across the room from this is a chest from the Willingham family. It is a beautiful piece of furniture made with simple lines. A cut-glass lamp, wired for electricity and a bowl and pitcher which belonged to an elderly aunt, are on this chest. The oil painting above it as well as others in the room, have been handed down from members of the family. An antique platform rocker, upholstered in deep red velvet, and other antique chairs add to the warmth of the room. The dining room which is entered from the living room, is furnished with an antique oak group featuring an oblong pedestal table, a sideboard of unusual design, a China cabinet and caned chairs. Treasured handpainted china and crystal add much to the decor of this room. One of the pieces Mrs. Willingham loves best is a handblown glass pitcher given to her by a mountain lady whom she befriended in Dade county some 40 years ago when she began work with the Welfare Department. A well polished brass bed in the guest room is used with an antique bureau and a satin smooth pine blanket chest. Interesting accessories are the caned rocking chair and a kerosene lamp, still ready to use. Attractive original Godey prints on the wall enhance the atmosphere of yesteryear. One could not begin to tell of all of the antiques of priceless sentimental value in this home which was built after Mr. Willingham returned from World War II in 1949. It is across the road from the home where Mrs. Willingham was born. Though it is not pretentious it is filled with tradition that bespeaks a genteel heritage. Something New Nor could we fail to mention that our friend deviates from the antique trend in one area of her home. That is the kitchen, which is all-electric and up to the minute in every detail. This is where she exercises another hobby and shows her friends that the "proof is in the puddin'." This beloved Lone Oak resident is noted for her culinary abilities and shares them generously. Deep Roots Strong family ties with by-gone eras were quickly observed inside the home itself as soon as we entered. Yet, before we had the opportunity to pursue some of the details of tradition related above, we found that community traditions were also deeply implanted in the lives of this couple who are so closely connected with every phase of community life. There was mention of the first name of the little community, Grab All. This was changed as it grew, to Lone Oak, because of the single strong oak tree at the crossroads. Lone Oak was incorporated into a town in 1902. We were told of the gold mine shafts in this community where prospectors at one time mined a little gold. Focal Points As the Willinghams talked, the conversation came to rest on their special community interests -- Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church and the Community Club, which is housed in the old school building. Mrs. Willingham was born into this church which was established in 1844 as Prospect Methodist. Both of her parents and all of her grandparents were outstanding members as evidenced by memorial windows for each couple. One of the pews in the present church completed in 1939 bears a dedicatory plate to her parents. She pointed out the glass case in the vestibule which held mementos relating to the church. She showed the more recent renovation in the sanctuary which included an oil painting, carpeting, beautiful lighting fixtures and cushioned pews. This is a lovely little church where she serves on the Board of Trustees, the Administrative Board and as teacher of the Young Adult Class for the past 12 years. She and her husband are in charge of keeping the premises and she answers to "sexton," a name by which she is affectionately called. Then, there is the Community Club across the road from the church which is another source of great pleasure to the Willinghams. Since its organization in 1951, this couple has missed only one of the regular first Tuesday night covered dish suppers which, during the years, have drawn so many prominent speakers. Our friend was the second president of the club and instrumental in getting the old schoolhouse renovated for the Club House. Retire -- Never After completing her education some forty-odd years ago, Mrs. Willingham taught school for three years. She then launched into government work in Troup county during the FERA days. Later, she has worked as Director of Welfare, Caseworker, and Casework Supervisor in Dade, Whitfield, Troup and Coweta counties. She has worked with many people in these forty years and gained scores of friends wherever her duties have taken her. It is to Lone Oak community which is so dear to her heart and among people who are so devoted to her that she will now spend her days since leaving her desk at Coweta Department of Family and Children Services. It will not be to retire and grow old but to keep doing many interesting things and thus stay young. Indeed, Eleanor Culpepper Willingham will never retire.
      Mrs. Willingham wrote in an 11 Sep 1978 letter that "a Mr. Taylor from UPI came through here and someone sent him to me. I had no idea of pictures etc. I let him read the Lone Oak History, Church history etc. I just happened to mention the calaboose. He was more interested in that than anything else." The following article resulted and was seen by the Downs family in Fayetteville, NC and sent to Bill Lowry who forwarded it to Eleanor: Lone Oak Stays Just As It Was By CHARLES S. TAYLOR LONE OAK, Ga. (UPI) -- There are no main highways in Lone Oak and no post office. Neither is there a railroad, stop light, shopping center, liquor store, or barber shop. The oak tree that gave the town its name is gone, along with many of its young people. The Allen-Lee Memorial Methodist Church is the biggest and most imposing structure in town. Mrs. Albert Willingham has a key to the church and to the Lone Oak Community Center just down the road. On a hot summer day, as Lone Oak and its denizens were dozing in the late morning sun, Mrs. Willingham took a visitor on a tour of the area. She is the unofficial historian of this tiny village tucked away in the northwest corner of Meriwether County, where only an occasional car is seen moving past the town's one general store. "This town used to be called Grab All," she said, searching through a pile of old records to prove her statement. "I guess they called it that because some of them tried to grab all from the others." About a 100 yards from the crossroads stands the calaboose -- one of the oldest, but probably the most useless public buildings -- in the town. Mrs. Willingham says the wooden structure, measuring eight by 10 feet and standing about 15 feet high, was constructed near the turn of the century of thick oak boards. A tin roof increased the temperature inside by many degrees. Iron bars, rusty but still sturdy, covered the two small windows of the calaboose, now abandoned and standing next to the home of Mrs. Patry Massey. "History records the fact," said Mrs. Willingham, "that on one occasion the marshal locked up a town resident who insisted that his mule be locked up with him, also. And the marshal obliged." Lone Oak's 125-150 residents were given the two-room school house when consolidation of several schools was carried out. They converted it into an attractive community center where town meetings are held. The most popular event in the town, she says, is the once-a-month get-together when the residents converge on the center, each with a "covered dish" of food. Mrs. Willingham, who keeps many records pertaining to the town's past history in her home produced one document which said the origin of the name Lone Oak was due to one lone post oak tree which stood where the roads crossed. There followed a poem: "The lone oak tree has long since gone, uprooted by a passing storm. But no tree ever achieved such fame, or lived to perpetuate its name. Long past and gone though it may be, it's still held sacred in memory." The Allen-Lee Memorial Methodist Church, named for two famed Methodist ministers, has a small congregation and many more pews than it can fill. Mrs. Willingham says church attendance is considered good if as many as 25 show up for the services conducted twice monthly by a circuit-riding minister....
      Mrs. Willingham is the author of the book History of Allen-Lee Memorial Church (formerly Old Prospect Methodist Church) Lone Oak, GA 1844-1985. which was published by Family Tree, Martha S. Anderson & Associates, 109 Bull Street, LaGrange, GA 30240, Phone 404/882-1538. The Library of Congress Catalog Number is 86-83081 and it has a 1987 copyright. The following review of the book appeared in the LaGrange Daily News for Wednesday, 5 Aug 1987 in a column entitled "History and Your Family" by Shirley Bowen: One of their first efforts, after the erection of shelter, made by those stalwart pioneers who settled this country, was the establishment of their churches. Early church records were often meticulously kept and may offer the genealogist a wealth of information. However, these records are often difficult to get to since they are sometimes in the hands of many different people. For this reason, published histories of our early churches are much sought after. A recent, very well-done church history is the "History of Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church (formerly Old Prospect Methodist Church) Lone Oak, Georgia 1844-1985." Compiled by Eleanor Culpepper Willingham, this 140 page, fully indexed history contains many names of early members and a well balanced portion of pictures. Material for the book was obtained from old church records including membership records and quarterly conference records. There is no record documenting the establishment date of the church. However, the list of pastors beginEleanor Herring Culpepper with Rev. J.W. Yarbrough in 1844. Materials were also obtained from newspaper clippings preserved by the late Mrs. Louise D. Harring [read Herring] who was the Lone Oak correspondent for the Newman Herald and Adviser. The "Table of Contents" is impressive and includes sections on the building of the church, the Old Prospect members, colored members of Old Prospect, old handwriting and translating, officers, letters, the cemetery, Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery, memorial windows, register of baptisms, recognitions of members, homecomings, membership rolls from 1888 to 1947 and a register of marriages. Cost of the book is $15 for softbound and $20 for hardcover. It may be ordered from Eleanor Culpepper Willingham, Route 1, Box 170, Grantville, Georgia 30220 or from the publisher, Family Tree at 109 Bull Street in LaGrange.
      In an 8 Dec 1977 letter, Eleanor wrote "I am now trying to collect material for book on my mother's family - Herring's and Ellises. Have found that my grandmother's grandfather was a minute man in Keene, N.H. in 1790s. All very interesting.... P.S. one of our Herring ancestors was Mayor of Memphis at one time. We do not have census records etc., only from cemetery records. One marker shows Jas Stokes Herring, born Lunnenberg Co., Va. moved to LaGrange, Ga."
      Eleanor wrote, 9 Jan 1989, that "I have had no trouble since the surgery 2 yrs ago. In fact I feel better than I have in a number of years." In an 11 Jan 1991 letter, Eleanor mentioned "I have arthritis or a circulatory problem in my right hand and this affects my writing."
      In a 9 Jan 1995 letter Eleanor wrote: We celebrated 150 years in our church on Sept. 18, 1993. I worked several months on historical part. We secured pictures of older citizens and I had old records when the present church was built. We had a very good group on the committee. We considered it a success. The Bishop of our church was the speaker. We now have a room in the church basement which we call the History Room. We already had a good display in the vestibule and our recent display will be permanent. About 200 - 250 people attended. 

By Eleanor Culpepper Willingham
Written for her 100th birthday
October 14, 2008

Edited by Nancy Grace Johnson Gray


1.     Introduction to Model T Days in Lone Oak
2.     Tricks played on Eleanor
3.     Description of Meals
4.     School Days


1.      Church Affiliations
2.      Christmas Dinner
3.      Digging for Indian Relics
4.      Swimming Pool
5.      Visits with our Uncle Edgar at his home
6.      Story telling by Homer Culpepper
7.      The Buzzard Story
8.      Visit from Santa Claus
9.      Playing with dolls
10.      Pets
11.      Games we played
12.      Cooking on a wood stove
13.      Radios
14.      Telephone line
15.      Joy ride by Margaret and Florence
16.      A trip to Florida


Model T Days in Lone Oak

Lone Oak is located in the northwest corner of Meriwether County. It was incorporated November 15, 1901.

This record will include facts about growing up in Lone Oak. The main characters are three people, two sisters and one first cousin, Margaret 1906, Florence 1907, and Eleanor 1908. They lived in Lone Oak on opposite sides of the road. They played together and often had meals together.

Margaret and Eleanor were daughters of Dora and Homer Culpepper and Florence was the daughter of Grace and George Culpepper. Also living in the Homer Culpepper household were Dora’s parents, Louise D. Ellis Herring and James Stokes Herring. Louise Herring was very well educated and had taught French at LaGrange College. She had a great influence on both households. Her husband was blind.

Homer’s first automobile was a Maxwell. During the years he had two other Ford automobiles. The last one had a canvas top and in case of rain curtains could be attached at the sides. Sometimes he had to heat water and pour on the manifold to be able to crank it by hand. This was in cold weather. My sister would sit in the front seat to work the levers to help start it when it sounded like it might start.

Uncle George owned a large dark horse named Dock. He always kept a good buggy . Homer owned a smaller Bay mare named Kate which was a saddle horse. These animals played a big part in our daily lives. We learned to hitch the horse to the buggy.

Both families had cows and churned the milk to make butter. Hogs were also a part of the farm animals. We learned to milk the cows. Chickens furnished food and eggs for home use and for sale.

At the first of the week we never knew what our activities would be during the week.

For breakfast we would have scrambled eggs, ham or sausage and hot biscuits. Our grandmother has a “Special” dish she used for making “soft toast” from toasted biscuits. We drank what we called “hot water tea”. This was mostly sweet milk with hot wate

Description of Meals

We had meals prepared from vegetables grown in the garden for dinner. Since there was no refrigeration, supper was composed of leftovers from dinner. Food was left on the table and covered with a cheese cloth. Our drink was usually buttermilk. Sometimes on the week end we had ice tea. We would go to the store and buy a chunk of ice and bury it in cotton seed hulls at the barn until we used it.

Meals were cooked on a wood stove. My mother was a wonderful cook and made delicious cakes. When electricity came to Lone Oak, she changed to an electric range. Her days were spent preparing for the family. In her spare time she made certain that we had good books to read and encouraged us to speak correctly.

Our families had wonderful gardens with all types of vegetables. This was an asset to the food supply. Fruit trees were bountiful and afforded enough for eating and canning.

Our mother taught us to do general house cleaning, how to make beds and leave the covers spread up neatly. We helped in the kitchen by washing and drying dishes. At meal time she taught us how to set the table, (we always used cloth napkins beside the plates). We helped in preparing vegetables for cooking and she instructed us in the methods of cooking and seasoning foods.

We swept the yards outdoors. No grass grew in the yards and we swept with “brush brooms” made from switches cut from fine limbs of trees. Since we had a wood stove, we carried in stove wood and picked up chips at the woodpile to help with the fire in the fireplace.

Tricks Played on Eleanor

Growing up as the youngest of three was not easy. Margaret and Florence were full of foolishness and liked good clean fun. I tried to cooperate and do everything they asked me to do.

In growing up a teenager did not rate unless she owned a pair of black bloomers. I was so proud of mine. One day we were playing in the pasture and Margaret and Florence took me by the hand and started to run down a sloping hill. I fell down and since this was a cow pasture, the rest of the story was that my black bloomers were ruined as I was dragged along.

They put me in a chicken coop and mashed my little toe. When I cried out Mama came to my rescue.

Florence’s Mother had a beautiful plant of cayenne pepper which was loaded with red and green pods. They each took a pod of red pepper and put it in their mouths pretending to chew it. Of course, I took one and chewed it with drastic results.

In the stream below the house they made a pond about one foot deep and put me in an oval shaped tub to sail down the stream. Naturally it turned over and I crawled out.

Each of us had bicycles. Margaret and Florence had new ones. Mine was second-hand. We took rides around the house and on the sidewalk, but not in the road. My bicycle was not running well and sometimes it would just stop and the wheels spin and I could not keep up with them. I cried for them to wait for me.

They put me in a wicker baby carriage and placed it on an incline and pushed it down. Fortunately it hit an obstacle and stopped.

The next item was fun for all. Whenever a hard rain came with no thunder and lightening, we put on old dresses and had a grand time getting soaked by the rain.

In playing in the pasture, there was a ditch about 5 feet wide which we called the big gully. Margaret and Florence could jump across with little effort. They told me that I could do it if I would get a running start from a slight hillside. I ran up the hill to get started and when I got to the edge of the ditch coming down I stopped. I fell in the ditch which was full of trash, briars, and possibly snakes, of course was very funny to them after they pulled me out of this gully.

Church Affiliations

All characters mentioned were members of Old Prospect Church (now Allen Lee Memorial UMC). Homer Culpepper was Superintendent of the Sunday school. Louise D. Herring taught the primary class. There were other good teachers for all classes. All family members attended Sunday school and Church Services. We had new dresses for special occasions. Our Mother remained at home with our grandfather due to the fact that he was blind. We children asked our father for a penny to put in the Sunday School Collection. Aunt Grace and Uncle George Culpepper were faithful members. She taught a class of young men. They drove old Dock to church and hitched him to a tree near the church. Florence happened to look out the window and saw that he had gotten loose from the tree. She left her seat in church and went out and brought him back to the tree.

Christmas Dinner

It was the custom for the whole family to go to Greenville for Christmas dinner at the home of Ellen and Simeon Culpepper, our grandparents. We started out in the old Ford and when we were about half way, the car broke down. Our dad knew a reliable black man who had a good mule and buggy. He borrowed the mule and buggy and we returned home to a Christmas dinner of cold sweet potatoes. My sister and I were so dressed up with new hair bows and clasps that we wanted the family to see.

During the summer months, we enjoyed exchanging visits for a few days a week with our cousins. They lived in Greenville and it was a treat to be in Town.

Digging for Indian Relics

In wandering over the farm we found many arrow heads. We had the idea that Indians had occupied the territory near our house.

We had a family of black people on the place that had two good size boys. We employed them to dig for relics. They dug deep holes which resembled a gully, but we never found anything. An older man on the place told us where some additional graves were located, but we discarded the idea of any further digging. The holes we dug are still open on Nancy Gray’s grounds.

Swimming Pool

In the 1930’s, a swimming pool was built on the property of my father, Homer L. Culpepper, under the supervision of Sanford Prickett and other interested individuals. The walls of the pool were made from planks of green lumber, thus preserving the walls. The pool was filled by water from a wonderful fresh water spring. A tenant house was used for a bath house. We built a hammock from barrel staves held together by wire. This lasted for several years giving much pleasure to young and middle age people.

Visits With Our Uncle Edgar At His Home

Our favorite uncle Edgar Culpepper, who was confined to his home with arthritis, lived next door. We three children visited with him and played Set Back. He could handle the cards and it helped to pass the time for him. Frequently two of us would get irritated with each other and he would say, “hear me, hear me, if you all don’t quiet down you can go home.” In other words we listened to him because we liked to play at his house. He was very cheerful in spite of his health problems. He sat on his front porch and we enjoyed playing around in the yard.

Story Telling by Homer Culpepper

Our dad was a good story teller. He often entertained us in this way. One year he had planted some corn and later discovered it was planted too thick. He carried the three of us to the field to help him thin the corn. As soon as we undertook the task, he began to tell us tales. As we were going along at the job a black runner came out of the weeds in front of Florence. He continued telling tales and told us the snake would run from us. We continued our task until the patch was clean. He made a good crop.

On other occasions, he looked after the farm a few miles from home. He always went in the buggy and my sister and I went with him. I always had to sit in the foot of the buggy, facing my dad and sister (back to the horse). On day the grass was green and the horse had been grazing the green grass. All of a sudden I cried out “my back is wet”. They almost wanted to make me walk back home. When we arrived I was almost in tears because they had laughed at me so much. Mama wanted to know what the trouble was and of course provided clean clothes for me.

The Buzzard Story

Whenever either household had a chicken to die, they threw them in a nearby ditch. We decided that we wanted to get close and look at a buzzard, when it came to devour the chickens. We found just the place to watch under some low limbs of a pine tree. We called our cousin, Thomas Culpepper, who was visiting our Uncle and Aunt next door. All were well hidden under the limbs. After a while, the buzzard came on the scene. The conversation went something like this, “now Eleanor you be sure and be quiet”. About the time the buzzard got on the ground, I hollered “SHOO”. We never got a good look at him and of course I was blamed for failure of the plan.

Christmas With Santa Claus

At Christmas time we hung up our mother’s everyday black stocking. Santa put nuts, oranges, dried raisins on the stem and candy. Then he brought us big dolls with real hair and eyes that would close. My doll was named Sara, Margaret’s was named Mary and Florence’s was named Lucile.

One Christmas, Santa brought us the book Pollyanna. In the front of the book the following was written. To: Margaret and Eleanor, From: Santa Claus. We recognized our mother’s handwriting.

Playing With Dolls
We made play houses in a tenant house on our place and after playing a few months moved upstairs to Florence’s house. There was no electricity but we even tied some discarded light bulbs from the ceiling to pretend we had electricity. At intervals Santa brought doll beds, chairs, doll carriages, tea sets and other household items. We moved back and forth to the tenant house every few weeks.


We had grown dogs and puppies. We always had a little house dog and cats and kittens. We liked to watch the kittens play and their mothers take care of them.     We also had a calf which made a good pet. We had a pet crow which we tamed with a whistle. He liked to play with the kittens. He remained with us for about a year. He finally heard the call of the wild.

Uncle George, Florence’s father, made a halter for our pet calf so that we could lead him around. We had a small wagon, but the hind wheels had been taken off or lost. We hitched the calf to this wagon and when we tried to drive him, the body of the wagon began to strike his legs. We turned him loose and a handy man who helped around the farm caught him. Our pasture joined a neighbor’s pasture. In the runaway deal the mule in the pasture brayed and the cow mooed. Everyone hollered except Johnnie, the handy man.

Games We Played

We played hopscotch, jackstones, marbles, mumble peg, jump rope, played ball and hide and seek. In the pasture below the house a good stream of water afforded wading and at times we built a dam to make a pond about knee deep. In the branch we learned about tadpoles and how they became frogs. When we found a good patch of sand, we poured water on it and barefoot made frog houses by covering up our feet and pulling them out leaving holes for the doors.

In the dry sand we had a little verse to make a doodle bug come out “Doodle, Doodle come out of your hole and I will give you a lump of sugar.” We tied a thread to the leg of June bugs to see them fly around.

We took long walks in the woods, under the supervision of our Aunt Margaret who taught us lots about nature. We climbed trees and had an acting pole about three feet from the ground. When fruit was ripe, we climbed the fruit trees and ate all we wanted. We had, peaches, pears, apple and plum trees. I had gained weight and Uncle Edgar nick named me “Chunk”.

Cooking on a wood stove

Before electricity came to Lone Oak, my mother cooked on a wood stove. She made delicious cakes. Her days were spent in preparing things for the family. In her spare time she made certain that we had good books to read and encouraged us to speak correctly.

The First Radio

The first radio we had was operated by batteries. Later we had one operated by electricity.

Telephone Line

Citizens of Lone Oak invested in a telephone line. This covered the territory occupied by the citizens. We were able to make calls to town. Whenever the phone was out of order, someone would check it and find wires crossed. This was usually the cause for trouble. The telephones were mounted on the wall in a convenient location. People really visited over the phone. Each family had a different ring. At our house our ring was three shorts.

Joy Ride by Margaret and Florence

Margaret and Florence wanted to visit a cousin several miles away. Uncle George hitched up old Dock to the buggy. They had to go through the middle of Lone Oak, where Mr. Burrell Wise, who had a store, had a little motor he used to charge batteries for lights. When they started home and reached the middle of Lone Oak, Mr. Wise started up the motor and old Dock put his tail in the air and started to gallop toward home. Florence had the lines and was trying to calm him and Margaret was saying “Hold him in the road Florence, hold him in the road,” repeating every breath. When they reached the corner at driveway he turned (almost on two wheels) and carried them to the barn. Uncle George took charge.

A Trip to Florida

This item involves my mother, Uncle Albert, Florence, Margaret and Eleanor. My Aunt Margaret, who married late in life to an old flame had moved to New York. They bought a few acres in Florida, and built a small house. He returned to New York and left Auntie in Florida.

We started out in a Model T Ford. We had trouble about 40 miles on the way, but finally reached our destination. Florence did most of the driving and Mama sat on the front seat with her. Uncle Albert sat with us on the back seat. He loved his chewing tobacco. Such a sprinkling we did get as we drove along. He had carried a small bottle of liquor along in case of snake bite he said. He was not a drinking man.

On the way back we had a flat tire. A man in a truck stopped and repaired it. Uncle Albert offered to pay him, but he refused the pay. Uncle Albert gave him the bottle of liquor, saying you are a “good fellow”.

School Days

The school building was located near the cross roads in Lone Oak. It was about one half mile from our homes. We walked to school every day and carried a lunch. Some of the pupils had lunch boxes. Our dogs followed us to school almost every day. We were very much amused when “Old Sager” stole a pupil’s lunch box and carried it home.

The building consisted of two rooms. One was smaller and we called it the little room and the other one the big room. Pupils sat in double desks. Girls sat on one side of the room and boys sat on the other side. Only ten grades were offered (five in each room). Pupils were called to the front to sit on a recitation bench for the lesson.

We had good teachers. A couple, man and wife, and some younger teacher and a good principal. They taught us songs as well as studies in the book.

We played various games at recess and lunch time. We had 30 minutes for recess, morning and afternoon, and one hour for lunch. At intervals we recited poems which we had learned in class for afternoon program. If a shower came up at closing time, we were glad to see Florence’s mother driving old “Dock” to take us home with hoods. Our mothers had bought us raincoats with hoods and of course, we were glad to try them out along with the leather lap robe to keep rain off.

We were allowed to visit with our friends after school for a short time, but we knew we had to get home, and after eating supper, get to the kitchen table and study for tomorrow by a kerosene lamp.

As we got to be teenagers, we were allowed to go to Hogansville to the movies under supervision. We had friends to come in and play cards. We got to be very good bridge players. All in all growing up was a very rewarding experience.

The old Ford is ready to be retired to the shelter. Toot, Toot.

After we began to think about completing high school beyond the 10 grades offered in Lone Oak, Margaret and Florence, along with several friends entered State Normal School at Athens, Georgia after finishing high school they went on to enter college. All graduated and went into the teaching profession. I entered Grantville High School and graduated with first honor in 1925.11

Photographed14 Oct 2008 She was photographed on 14 Oct 2008 at Meriwether Co., Georgia, at age 100.12
Residence*2009 Eleanor resided at Lone Oak, Meriwether Co., Georgia, in 2009. 
Will* She made a will.

Eleanor left the "Culpepper family scrapbooks and all other extra folders pertaining to the Culpepper family" to Josephine Culpepper Holt.13 
Death*13 Apr 2009 She died at LaGrange, Troup Co., Georgia, on 13 Apr 2009 at age 100.14 
Obituary*14 Apr 2009 Mrs. Eleanor Culpepper Willingham, age 100, of the Lone Oak Community of Meriwether County, died Monday, April 13, 2009, at Hospice LaGrange.

Mrs. Willingham was born October 14, 1908, in Lone Oak, daughter of the late Homer and Theodora Herring Culpepper. She received an AB degree in Education from the University of Georgia, studied further at the University of Virginia, and taught mathematics in various high schools in Georgia for several years. In 1937, she became an employee of the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services, serving as director in Dade and Whitfield Counties, later transferring to serve as casework supervisor in Troup County and retiring in 1970 from Coweta County.

A charter member of Lone Oak Community Club when it was organized in 1951, Mrs. Willingham took an active part in all activities and was instrumental in securing historical documents pertaining to Lone Oak and the surrounding area. She was the oldest member of Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, which she joined in August, 1919, and served wherever she was needed. She wrote the History of Allen-Lee Memorial Church in 1987, served as church historian, and took an active part in the Sesquicentennial Celebration in 1994. Along with Rosalind Johnson Edmondson, she co-authored History of Lone Oak.

In 1998, Mrs. Willingham was presented a Community Service Award by the General Daniel Newnan Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She was very much interested in genealogy and generously aided many people in their research.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Albert M. Willingham, and is survived by several cousins, nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be conducted at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, at Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church. The Rev. Melanie Stanley-Soulen will officiate and interment will be in the church cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Allen-Lee Cemetery Fund, 6885 Forrest Rd., Grantville, GA 30220.

The family will receive friends tonight from 6 until 8 at Claude A. McKibben and Sons Funeral Home.

Condolences may be expressed at www.mckibbenfuneralhome.com.15 
Burial*15 Apr 2009 Her body was interred on 15 Apr 2009 at Allen-Lee Cemetery, Lone Oak, Meriwether Co., Georgia. From Betty Daniel: I am attaching a write up for Eleanor by our Pastor:

Life Lessons Modeled by Eleanor

Honor God by being your real self
Don’t let anyone else decide who you are
Know that you are God’s creation – good and full of potential
Write letters to the people you love
Brag on what other people have accomplished
Love your family
If you don’t have your own kids, love other people’s kids, grandkids & great-grandkids
Collect things that are special to you; don’t get rid of them even if someone tells you to
Don’t wear your good bloomers if you’re
going to play outside
Learn all you can; love all you can; give all you can
Always have candy in your bowl
Dress up for Halloween
Tell at least one joke a day
Write down your family history
Make the person you’re with at any given moment
feel special
Love and take care of God’s creatures – especially cats
Take care of yourself as well and as long as you can
Say “thank you” and “you’re welcome” a lot
and mean it when you say it
Read, read, read
Write, write, write.14,12 


Albert Marvin Willingham (8 Sep 1907 - 19 Sep 1971)
Marriage*19 Feb 1945 She married Albert Marvin Willingham at Coweta Co., Georgia, on 19 Feb 1945 at age 36.1 
ChartsJohn Culpepper of Randolph Co, AL: Descendant Chart
Last Edited9 Jul 2009


  1. Eleanor Herring Culpepper, History of Allen-Lee Memorial Methodist Church, LaGrange, GA: Family Tree, 1987.
    p. vi.
  2. 1910 Federal Census, United States.
    ED 89, Page 1B, Lines 71-76, Greenville Rd, Lone Oak, Meriwether Co., GA
    Homer L. Culpepper, Head, M, 39, md1-7 yrs, GA/GA/GA, Life Insurance Agent
    E. Theodora Culpepper, Wife, F, 38, md1-7 yrs, ch 2/2, GA/GA/GA
    Margaret L. Culpepper, Daughter, F, 3, Sng, GA/GA/GA
    Eleanor Culpepper, Daughter, F, 1 6/12, Sng, GA/GA/GA.
  3. 1920 Federal Census, United States.
    ED 93, Page 2A, Lines 22-26, Luthersville Rd, Lone Oak, Meriwether Co., GA
    Homer L. Culpepper, Head, M, 49, md, GA/GA/GA
    Dora H. Culpepper, Wife, F, 46, md, GA/GA/GA
    Margaret Culpepper, Daughter, F, 14, Sng, GA/GA/GA
    Eleanor Culpepper, Daughter, F, 12, Sng, GA/GA/GA
    J. Stoks Herring, Father-in-law, M, 88, wd, GA/GA/GA.
  4. 1930 Federal Census, United States.
    ED 24, Page 1B, Niceville Road, Lone Oak, Meriwether Co., GA
    Owns Home, Radio=N, Farm=Y
    Homer L. Culpepper, Head, M, 59, M, md @ 25, GA/GA/GA, Tax Collector
    Theodora Culpepper, Wife, F, 57, M, md @ 23, GA/GA/GA
    Margaret Culpepper, Dau, F, 23, S, GA/GA/GA, Public School Teacher
    Eleanor Culpepper, Dau, F, 22, S, GA/GA/GA, Public School Teacher.
  5. 1930 Federal Census, United States.
    ED 1, page 3B, 280 S. Kennedy Street, Metter, Candler Co., GA
    Boarder in HH of Joseph E. Durant (Eleanor Herring Culpepper Willingham, ID: 35108)
    Elnor Culpepper, Boarder, F, 21, S, GA/GA/GA, School Teacher.
  6. Georgia Health Department / Office of Vital Records, compiler, Georgia Deaths, 1919-1998, Online database at Ancestry.com, 1998.
    Homer L. Culpepper, d. 5 Jun 1951 at 79 years in Meriwether Co., GA; Res. in Meriwether Co., GA.
  7. Priscilla Turner, compiler, Meriwether Co., GA Cemeteries, Spartanburg, SC: , 1993, Repository: LDS Family History Library - Salt Lake City, Call No. US/CAN Book: 975.8455 V39.
    Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church Cemetery, near Lone Oak, Meriwether Co., GA
    + Homer Lee Culpepper, 3 Nov 1871 – 5 Jun 1951.
  8. Georgia Health Department / Office of Vital Records, compiler, Georgia Deaths, 1919-1998, Online database at Ancestry.com, 1998.
    Theodora Culpepper, d. 3 Jun 1959 at 87 years in Troup Co., GA; Res. in Meriwether Co., GA.
  9. Priscilla Turner, compiler, Meriwether Co., GA Cemeteries, Spartanburg, SC: , 1993, Repository: LDS Family History Library - Salt Lake City, Call No. US/CAN Book: 975.8455 V39.
    Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church Cemetery, near Lone Oak, Meriwether Co., GA
    + Theodora Herring Culpepper, 2 Apr 1872 – 3 Jun 1959.
  10. Correspondence from Eleanor Herring Culpepper (Mrs. Albert Marvin Willingham), Grantville, GA, to Lew Griffin, 1976-2004.
  11. Correspondence from Eleanor Herring Culpepper (Mrs. Albert Marvin Willingham), Grantville, GA, to Lew Griffin, 1976-2004.
    courtesy of Nancy Grace (Johnson) Gray, editor, and Betty Daniel, transcriber.
  12. E-mail written May 2009 to Lew Griffin from Betty Daniel, e-mail address.
  13. Lewis W. Griffin Jr. (#47), e-mail address.
    whose address is 116 Hopeton Lane, Eatonton, GA 31024.
  14. E-mail written Apr 2009 to Lew Griffin from Rosalind Edmundson, Hogansville, GA, Phone 706-637-8965, e-mail address.
  15. LaGrange Daily News Online, 14 April 2009.