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I have had my great grandmother’s death certificate for a while now, but had not had the chance to look it over and research it.  Her death certificate was able to answer some of my questions, but at the same time, left me with even more unanswered questions.

Bessie Lee Tillman died in rural Monroe, Walton County, Georgia.  The home address recorded on the certificate is simply Rt. 1, Monroe, Georgia.  In present day Monroe, Rt. 1 is now known as Old Athens Highway.

Her father’s name is recorded as Sammie L. Carter, also born in Monroe, Georgia.  Her mother’s name is not listed.  Per oral history from my grandmother, Bessie Lee was not quite two years old when Ceily Thompson, her mother, passed away.  Shortly after Ceily’s death, Sam Carter gave Bessie Lee and her brother Harry to Ceily’s sister, Anna Thompson, to raise.  With Bessie Lee not knowing and/or remembering her mother, it’s highly likely that she considered her Aunt Anna to be her mother.

The death certificate reports that Bessie Lee was dead on arrival due to a hemorrhage as the primary cause of death and childbirth being a contributory cause.  Her date of death was February 18, 1946 with an estimated time of death of 9 PM.

W.H. Williams on 118 Spring Street in Monroe, Georgia tended to her body.  The funeral home no longer exists, but the original building still stands and now functions as Free Spirit Baptist Church.  W.H. Williams buried her on February 22, 1946 in Prospect AME Church’s cemetery in Monroe, Georgia.

The red building on the corner is 118 Spring St, now Free Spirit Baptist Church.

The death certificate also shows that Bessie Lee Tillman did domestic work for a living.