Martha Ann Whitehead was born 23 August 1835 in Amherst Co., VA. She was the daughter of John Cary and Sarah Catherine (Taliaferro) Whitehead; grand-daughter of John and Martha (Baker) Whitehead; and great-grand-daughter of John and Sarah (Burcher) Whitehead, all of Amherst Co.
Martha married Thomas Hite Booz, Sr. of Harrisonburg, Rockingham Co., VA on 26 July 1855 in Amherst. He was the son of Henry Booz and Matilda Hite. Matilda’s parents were John and Cordelia (Reagan) Hite, Jr. Jans Jost Hite and Anna Maria Merckle were her great-grandparents. Thomas was born 8 October 1832 in Rockingham Co.
A few years after they married, the decision was made to come to Georgia where land was abundant and there was the opportunity to plant more cotton. Coming with them was John Cary and his family. According to the 1860 census for Barker’s District in Floyd Co., Georgia, Tom and Martha were listed with three children who had been born in Amherst Co., Virginia. They were Mildred Catherine (b. 29 August 1856; d. 5 September 1942); John Henry (b. 16 April 1858; d. 25 February 1940) and James Waller (b. September 1859; d. 26 August 1916).
Their home was in a community known as “Boozeville” in Lindale, Floyd Co., Georgia. They acquired 432 acres here as well as 160 acres in Cave Spring which was part of Floyd Co. They paid $4000 for the 432 acres ($9.25/acre) and $2000 for 160 acres ($12.50/acre). John Cary and his family lived close by.
Nellie Booz was born 18 August 1861 but died on 28 May 1862. Five more children were born in the Booz House in Lindale: Benjamin Taliaferro (b. 17 March 1863; d. 3 April 1947); William Erasmus (b. 1 December 1864; d. 27 December 1939); Elizabeth Lee (b. 8 June 1868; d. 8 November 1935); Lillian Dale (b. 10 August 1872; d. 13 July 1960). Thomas Hite Booz, Jr., my grandfather, was also born in the Booz House on 24 August 1866 as was his son, my father, Thomas Evans Booz. Thomas Jr. died 26 August 1950 in Hopewell, Virginia at the home of his son, Harry.
Thomas Sr. and his family moved to Cedartown, Polk Co., Georgia and built a boarding house known as the “Booz House.” The following description is taken from an article in a booklet entitled Cherokee Georgia. No date is given for the article. “Nothing adds so much to a town as a popular hotel such as Cedartown has in the Booz House, which has been running seven years. There is none better in Georgia. Without pretending to the grandeur of marble floors, elevators and electric light, in it the stranger can at once make himself comfortable. At the table he finds everything well cooked and carefully served. The office and parlor are cheerful, betraying the general excellence of the establishment. The beds have the best springs and mattresses. The furniture and carpeting is new. It is conducted by a lady (woman’s sphere being clearly the household, of which the hotel is but an enlargement.) and is a model Mrs. M. A. Booz, the owner, gives all her time to the hotel, which reflects much credit on her management and is ably assisted by her family and polite colored help. The building is two-story, and well adapted to its requirements. Traveling men make for here Sunday. A free bus is run to all trains.”
The Booz House changed hands on November 15, 1894 when Mrs. Booz rented the hotel property to Miss Sallie J. Price of Alabama. Martha and her daughter, Elizabeth Booz left the end of November, 1894 for Atlanta where they joined Kate and Lillian Booz. After traveling to Cedartown in December to wind up business affairs, Mrs. Booz returned to her new address in Atlanta, No. 35 Auburn Avenue, where she ran a handsome 30 room boarding house. She returned to Cedartown in 1902 where she resumed charge of the hotel.
Tom, pleasantly known to the traveling public throughout North Georgia, died in 1909, leaving Martha a widow. She continued to run the hotel with her daughters, Kate and Elizabeth. Martha died 8 January 1920 in Cedartown. She and Tom, along with their children, are buried in the Booz Lot in Greenwood Cemetery in Cedartown. Her obituary appeared in the Cedartown Standard:
Venerable Lady Dies
Eighty-four years ago, Martha Ann Whitehead was born in Virginia. In her young womanhood, she married Mr. Thos. H. Booz, and a few years later they moved to Georgia, where both spent the remainder of their lives. Coming to Cedartown, they built the Booz House, which Mrs. Booz ran successfully as long as her health permitted, her husband looking after other interests. Major Booz died about ten years ago.
Mrs. Booz, after years of ill health, in which she patiently bore the infirmities of age, passed away in the early morning hours of Thursday morning, and her remains were laid to rest Saturday afternoon in the city cemetery, funeral services being conducted by Rev. C. P. Willcox.
Surviving are four sons, Messrs. Henry Booz of Parkman, Wyo., B. T. Booz of Chicago, Thos. Booz of Rome, W. E. Booz of Cedartown; and three daughters, Mrs. A. Willis Evans of Sandersville, Misses Kate and Lizzie Booz of Cedartown. Another son, Mr. J. W. Booz, passed away three years ago.
Mrs. Booz was a member of the Presbyterian church, and was a woman of strong character. Her long life has been one of active usefulness, and to her death has come as a sweet sleep after life’s labors. Coming from a distance to attend her funeral were Hon. and Mrs. A. Willis Evans of Sandersville, Mr. and Mrs. B. T. Booz of Chicago, and Mr. T. H. Booz and family of Rome.
Sources: Cedartown Standard Newspaper; “Cherokee Georgia”; “An American Family” by Ruth Whitehead Dabroe; Polk Co., GA Court House records; Amherst County Marriage Records; family papers.
Submitted by Jane Booz Thompson, great-granddaughter of Martha and Thomas, Sr.