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Cora Pickens Ellis

  Cora - Photo by Bill Giles

Original photo by Bill Giles


Individual Information
Name: Cora Pickens ELLIS
Sex: F
Father: Charles David ELLIS (1853-1886)
Mother: Mary HAGGARD (1853-1909)
Birth: 29 Jan 1881 -Rockwood Landing, Roane County, Tennessee
Death: 23 Mar 1961 - Harriman, Roane County, Tennessee
Burial: 26 Mar 1961 - Harriman Cemetery, Harriman, Roane County, Tennessee

Spouses and Children

Spouse: William Morgan GILES (19 Feb 1870 - 6 Mar 1953)
Marriage: 22 May 1898 - Roane County,

1. William "Bill" Houston GILES (9 Apr1899 - 12 May 1958)
2. Smith GILES (Abt 1899 - Deceased)
3. Mzee  Allen "May" GILES (30 Mar 1901- 21 Nov 1984)
4. Hugh GILES (25 Nov 1902 - 27 Oct 1973)  
5. Robert Haggard "Haggard" GILES (4Oct 1904 - 26 Jun 1905)
6. Sudie Ellis GILES (12 Sep 1906 - 17Apr 1979)
7. Henry GILES (17 Apr 1909 - 12 Jul1964)
8. Rhea Lee GILES (Abt 1912 - 4 Jan1961)
9. Hobbs GILES (18 Feb 1914 - 10 Oct1943)
10. Charles Calvin GILES (2 May 1917 -2 Jul 1980)
11. LIVING [as of 12 May 2004]


Cora Giles, 1948

Cora had not been born when the 1880 census was conducted. At that time, her parents were living right by the river in Roane County, close to Rockwood Landing, near her paternal grandparents, Monroe and Lucy Ellis. From about 1875 to 1878, her parents had lived in Arkansas, and not too long after Cora and her sister Zee's birth, they moved back. Her father Charlie was shot and killed there by a neighbor when Cora was five, and Cora's mother Mary immediately returned to Roane County with her children. When Cora was eight, her mother married James Harvey Keylon, a widower who'd had nine children of his own. Mary and Jim Keylon had a huge farm south of Kingston, in the Ten Mile area, with several tenant farmers. Among those was one of Will Giles' sisters and her family. When Cora and Will eloped, Cora was sixteen and he was twenty-seven. Her family was very upset, not just over the age difference, it seems, but family lore has it that many of them thought she had "married beneath her." Growing up, I heard that they wouldn't speak to her for several years.
Anyone who knew Cora would find it hard to believe that anyone could stay angry at her no matter what the reason might be. Her children and grandchildren adored her and loved visiting. One granddaughter recently told me that when she was growing up, it was nothing for her to see Cora out in her front yard on Clifty Street, down on her knees in a housedress, scissors in hand, snipping away at the grass on the tiny lawn. Cora was a popular hostess, and she and Will frequently entertained. Visitors, sometimes including local lawmakers or politicians often dropped in, adding to the general hubbub of her busy days but always giving her large family something to talk about or ponder, so they were warmly welcomed.
Her devotion to Will was mutual and quite obvious. A cousin once wrote about this in a letter to one of my sisters:

Text from Jerry to Bilimac

Census Reports

1. 1900: She is found on the 10th Civil District, Decatur PO, Meigs County, Tennessee census - enumerated on 18 Jun 1900. Cora and Will are living just south of Roane County for this census. Will is now 30. Their son, Bill, is a year old, born, the census says, Apr 1899. The 19 year-old Cora, it's reported, has had two children, one of whom is living. Arithmetic makes me fairly certain that the infant who has died (Smith Ellis GILES) was born after her son Bill. (For further analysis, see below.) By the 1880 cenus, Cora and Will have been married two years and not quite a month. Will is farming, but he rents his home.
2. 1910: The 1910 census indicates that Cora and Will still don't own their own home. Cora is 29 now, and Will 40. They've been married 12 years and have had seven children, five of whom are still living. Will is working in Spring City as a salesman (sales clerk) in a general merchandise store. May, Sudie, and Henry are enumerated in the household with their parents for this census.
3. 1920: Cora and Will appear on the District 1, Harriman census on 2 Jan 1920 in Roane County, Tennessee.
Harriman, Roane Co, TN
Civil District 1
Enumerator: M.F.D. Wallin
Orig sheet 1 A
Clifty Street
2 Jan 1920
Line 6 ff
GILES, William M, head, 0, f, m, w, 49, m, - yes, yes, tn, tn, tn, yes, Bookeeper [sic], oil works, w
**Cora, wife, f, w, 38, m, - yes, yes, tn, tn , tn, yes, none
Will H, son, m, w, 20, s, no, yes, yes, yes, tn, tn, tn, yes, none
[Is this Hugh Giles, or was Bill Giles enumerated twice? William Houston Giles - "Bill" - is head of his own household for this census -- same district in Harriman, on Trenton Street, with his wife Grace. Hugh, however, was barely 17 in 1920. Bill Giles was 20 years old (20 and 8 plus months. If Bill was counted twice, where is Hugh for this census? I know that he served in the military for a time. Could that be where he was for this census? Research is needed.]
Susie, daughter, f, w, 13, s, yes, yes, yes, tn, tn, tn, yes, none
Henry, son, m, w, 10, s, yes, yes, tn, tn, tn, tn, yes, none
Rhea, son, m, w, 8, s, yes, [line through "yes"], [lined through "yes"], tn , tn, tn, -, none
Hobbs, son, m, w, 5, s, yes, [do], [do], tn, tn, tn, -, none
Charles, son, m, w, 2, s, - - -, tn, tn, tn, -, none
Margaret, dau, f, w, 2 [or3?]/12, s, - - -, tn, tn, tn, -, none
4. 1930: The last published census shows Cora and Will still in Harriman. She appeared on the District 1, Harriman census on 7-8 Apr 1930 in Roane County, Tennessee.
418 Clifty St
Dist 1
Roane Co, TN
7 April 1930
Orig Sheet 8 A
Oliver D French [?], enumerator
Fam 151/188
line 47 ff
GILES, William G. [sic] , head, 0, 2000, no, m, w, 60, m, 28, no, yes, TN TN NC - 81 - - - - yes manager, grocery store, 9x91, w, yes - no - -
**Cora P, , wife-h, - - - check, f, w, 49, m, 17, no, yes, TN TN TN , -81, yes, none [all else blanks]
Sudie E, daughter, - - - checkmark, f, w, 23, d - no, yes, TN TN TN-81, yes, none [all else blanks]
Hobbs, son, - - - , checkmark, w, 16, s, - no, yes, TN TN TN - 81, yes, none [all else blanks]
The family continues on the next census sheet (the date is now 8 Apr 1930):
line 51ff
GILES, Charles C, son - - - , no, m, w, 12 s, yes, yes, TN TN TN - 81 -- - - yes none [all else blanks]
...Margaret A., daughter, - - - checkmark, f, w, 10, s, yes, yes, TN TN TN - 81 - - - - yes none [all else blanks]
HUNLEY, Mildred F, granddaughter, - - - checkmark, f, w, 9, s, yes -, KY West VA TN- 81 - - - - - none [all else blanks]
Will and Cora's oldest son, Bill, is next door to his parents:
420 Clifty St
Family 152/187
GILES, William H. Head, 0, 2000, r, no, m, w, 30, m, 20, no, yes, TN TN TN, - 81 - - - - yes, printer, news paper 0749 w, yes - no - -
...Mary G. [Grace], wife - h, - - - - f, w, 35, m, 25, no, yes, TN TN TN - 81 - - - - yes none [all else blanks]
...Edward, son, - - - checkmark, m, w, 16, s,yes yes TN TN TN - 81 - -- - yes Drug Store 4590, w, yes [all else blanks]
...Louise, daughter, - - - checkmark, f, w, 14, s, yes, yes, TN TN TN -81 - - - - yes none [all else blanks]
...Lina J.daughter, - - - checkmark, f, w, 6, s, yes, -, TN TN TN - 81 - - - - - none [all else blanks]
...James M., son, - - - checkmark, m, w, 3 11/12, s, no, -, TN TN TN -81 - - - - yes none [all else blanks]


From The Harriman Record:
[Photo with caption beneath:]
Judge and Mrs. W.M. Giles celebrated their Golden Wedding [missing text] ersary at their home on Clifty Street, Sunday, with a family dinner and ' open house' in the afternoon for their friends. Full transcript:

Judge and Mrs. Giles celebrate 50th wedding anniversary (trancript)


Cora's obituary was published in March 1953 in The Harriman Record in Harriman, Roane Co, Tennessee:
  Obituary of Cora Giles



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