Posted in Green, Hartley, Hollar, Puett

Adventurous spirit takes John Franklin Puett from the Spanish-American War to the Klondike Gold Rush.

John Franklin Puett
John Franklin Puett

Sometimes people don’t understand how I can have a connection to someone who passed away so many years ago.  I think my feeling of being connected stems from what I feel for my own parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  For instance, when I think about my GGgrandfather John Franklin Puett, I think about my Great-Grandmother Carrie Ellen Puett Hollar and how Frank is her father.  He was obviously important to her, so his story is important to me as well.

John Franklin Puett was born in Caldwell County, NC on Apr 13th, 1878 to parents Joseph Pinkney Puett and Mary Jane Hartley.  He was the second youngest of 5 siblings.  His mother passed away when he was just 3 years old and John was moved out of the house by the time his father remarried to Mary Carrie Dula.

In August of 1898, Frank was headed to the Caribbean as part of the Spanish-American

The Puett Siblings
Uncle Gus and Frank are in the middle with their sisters.


“He told me about it so many times”, said his daughter, Carrie Ellen Puett Hollar. “He told me about getting sick and hanging over the rails of the ship, vomitting. They started on the ship but they never did get there because the War ended while they were on their way.”

Frank also traveled with his brother Gus (Robert Augustus Puett) to Alaska in search of

Uncle Gus, Nonnie, Thelma, and Baby Darlene in Oregon
A picture of Uncle Gus, Nonnie, Thelma, and Baby Darlene where they settled in Medford, Oregon.

gold. I’m not sure if they went before the War or not. The major Klondike Gold Rush happened before the Spanish-American War and I think Frank might have been a little too young to do that.  They never found the fortune they were seeking in Alaska and wound up working in the timber industry, but Frank found enough gold to make a ring.

In 1910, Frank was living in Everett, Washington with friends from Caldwell County, NC (William H. Benfield and Horry Austin). His occupation was listed as a “woodsman” at the timber camp.

He came back to Lenoir, NC and married my GGgrandmother, Malissa Etta Green, on Oct 20th, 1913. Frank registered for the WWI draft in Lenoir Sep 9th, 1918 but his employer was listed as Willard Storage Battery Co. in Cleveland, OH. My great-grandmother never once mentioned that they lived in Ohio but they were living in Cleveland in 1920. He was a Sealer at the Willard Storage Battery Company which, at the time,  supplied automobile batteries to 85% of the U.S. automobile market.

In 1930 the Puett family was living back in the Lower Creek area of Caldwell County, NC and Frank was working at Caldwell Furniture. He died of Pneumonia October 10th, 1974 in Lenoir, NC. At the time, he was the oldest surviving veteran of the Spanish-American War in Caldwell County. He is buried at the Blue Ridge Park cemetery.

John Franklin Puett with his chickens.
John Franklin Puett with his chickens.

Frank and Melissa had the following children:

Carrie Ellen Puett 1915 – 2006 m. Albert Pender Hollar
Frankie Lucille Puett 1921 –
Joseph Elbert Puett 1923 – 1983
Pinky May Puett 1925 –
Daisy L Puett 1928 –
Betty Sue Puett 1931 –
June Camella Puett

Previous Post: Surviving the Civil War in an unusual way.

Next Post: An ad still set in Stone. Pioneering Puett family fed Bend one loaf at a time, and descendants found the bakery sign to prove it.

Posted in Hollar, Puett, Research Tips & Tricks, Surnames

Why young people should start researching their family tree today.

…and some helpful tips on how you can get started.

I started researching my genealogy almost 10 years ago.  I am now 27 years old and am still the youngest genealogy researcher I know.  I’m not sure why I am such an oddity, but I am used to it.  When I moved to Whiteville, NC a few years ago I started attending meetings of the Southeastern NC Genealogical Society. I’m usually the only one there not drawing social security.

The best time to get interested in your family history is not when you reach retirement, but TODAY.  Why? Because you should start while your family is still alive to tell their stories. It is easy to take your parents, grand-parents, great-aunts and uncles for granted, but one day, when they are gone you don’t want to look back and say to yourself, “I wish I would have asked grandma how her and grandpa met.”

Many times young people have told me that they had a great-aunt that did their genealogy going way back.  That’s kind of a poor excuse to me considering they never seem to have a copy of Aunt Betsy’s research, so what good is she? That and Aunt Betsy likely only did research on the side of the family that they are related to her through. Since each new generation has about twice the amount of ancestors as the previous one (unless your from Caldwell County and your tree rarely forks) there is still a lot of research to be done for you. Besides we are from the Internet generation and poor Aunt Betsy’s research can be seriously beefed up with access to today’s genealogical Internet databases.

Here are a few tips to help you start collecting information from your relatives:

1) Create an ancestral chart.

Print off a few copies of an ancestry chart (you can find one free here: and get help from your relatives to fill it out.  You are going to want to collect full names, birth dates & places, death dates & places, marriage dates & places  and the names of siblings.  This information will help you later when you try to search online databases so try to be as thorough as possible.

2) Invest in a tape recorder.

Consider buying a cheap digital audio recorder so that you can record family stories from grandma, that you will cherish forever. I interviewed my Great-Grandmother, Carrie Puett Hollar, a few months before she died and I was able to give each of my family members a CD of the interview the day of the funeral. allows you to attach audio recordings to specific people in your tree or you can transcribe the recordings for your written history.

3) Scan Photos.

Anyone who has ever been in my house knows that I am addicted to collecting old family photos.  Pictures really bring your research to life. When I go see family to talk genealogy I like to bring along my laptop and scanner. I then go to Walgreen’s and make reproductions and I also use them to make my tree more visual. I’ve noticed that many of the old pictures I come across do not have names on the back.  Just another crucial reason why you should start doing this today while someone is still living to help you with identification.

4) Create a tree on

I’ve used many different types of genealogy software over the years, but my research is now 100% web-based. is better than any desktop software I have ever used and it makes collaborating with other researchers a breeze.  I subscribe to their Annual U.S. Deluxe for $5.95/month. They have a World Deluxe option but there is too much research to be done on “this side of the pond” for me to warrant upgrading.

Genealogy research gets a lot more in depth than this, but this will certainly give you a great start.  If you are interested in getting started and have any questions along the way, please leave a comment below!