Friday, August 15, 2008

Joseph A. Vass & Almeta R. Wyatt Vass of Hanover & Richmond

Joseph A. Vass was the son of Henry Vass and Lucy Jackson Hailey[1]. He was born on 06 Jan 1845 in Caroline, Virginia, USA [1, 2]. He died on 08 Jan 1888 [2]. Burial in Ashland, Hanover, Virginia, USA (Woodland Cemetery) [2].

Joseph was the youngest of his siblings. He was born in Caroline County but spent a lot of his youth in Hanover. It does not appear that Joseph had any formal education. His father died while Joseph was a teenager and Joseph's older brother, James Philip Vass, stepped up as a father figure. These Vass brothers took up farming and rented land near Beaver Dam for several years, for the sole purpose of raising crops for profit. Joseph served as their overseer while James was the main farmer.

During the Civil War, Joseph enlisted as a private in Co. E, 15th Virginia Infantry, known as the "Ashland Grays." He immediately took sick and spent time at Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond. He suffered from catarrh, an oral discharge caused by inflammation of the mucus membranes, likely brought on by a cold or other infection. He probably never saw action, went missing during Christmas of 1864, and signed an oath of allegiance to the United States on April 20, 1865.

After his stint in the military, Joseph married Almeta Wyatt. Their ceremony was performed by Rev. Newton Short, a minister of the Disciples of Christ at Slash Church which had an inter-twined relationship with St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church. Joseph was a trustee for St. Paul's in 1873. It took several years for them to have their first child but four were born in all: Florence L. Vass married and divorced Peyton C. Hundley, Alexzenia "Ena" married Charles Williams, Andrew Loving Vass and Josephine "Jossie" T. Vass married James Washington "Wash" Gibbons.

Joseph died in his early forties and is one of the oldest recorded burials in Woodland Cemetery according to its former caretaker, William "Billy" Flowers. Joseph's grave is located in the bottom, right-hand corner of the cemetery, beneath an old tree. His tombstone reads, "None knew him but to love him."

Almeta R. Wyatt was the daughter of Alexander Wyatt and Elizabeth Kidd[1]. She was born on 22 Sep 1858 in Hanover, Virginia, USA [3, 4]. Her death on 01 Mar 1919 in Richmond, Virginia, USA (233 South Laurel Street) [4]. Burial on 04 Mar 1919 in Richmond, Virginia, USA (Riverview Cemetery; plat M, section 88, division 5, grave 1) [4]. Cause of Death was cardiac decompensation, chronic endocarditis; hypertrophic flair [4].

Almeta was born in either King William or, most likely, Hanover County. Her middle name was probably Richardson, after her aunt Almeda Richardson Gwaltney Wyatt. Our Almeta, known as Meta, attended formal school as a child. She married early, possibly as young as 13, and was a widow by the age of thirty 30.

After the death of her husband, Almeta moved her children to Richmond. She settled into a rental home at 233 S. Laurel Street and lived there until her death. The house contained 2,560 square feet, 22 rooms and sat on a .11 acre lot. Her funeral was held at this home after her untimely death at the age of 60.

Almeta wanted to be buried in Ashland with her husband but her children disobeyed her wishes. She was probably a member of Pine Street Baptist Church at the time of her death.

Joseph A. Vass and Almeta R. Wyatt. They were married on 02 Jun 1872 in Hanover, Virginia, USA [1].

  1. Hanover County, Virginia Marriage Register 1, 1863-1898, Vass-Wyatt entry,1872, p. 30, ln. 22.
  2. Woodland Cemetery, Ashland, Hanover County, Virginia, Joseph A. Vass tombstone.
  3. Hanover County, Virginia Marriage Register, Vass-Wyatt entry, 1872, ln. 6.
  4. Commonwealth of Virginia certificate of death (Bureau of Vital Statistics), Almaita R. Vass, 1919, 455-8667.

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