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Saturday, November 27, 2010

100th CoG :: Aunt Mary and Uncle Bill

There's One in Every Family . . . somewhere in the family tree, every family has at least one . . . that extra-special aunt or uncle . . . the childless aunt who raised her sister's fatherless child . . . the uncle who made the merry-go-round that is still a favorite part of childhood memories . . . the unmarried aunt who stayed home to care for her widowed mother . . . the newly married uncle who assumed guardianship for his orphaned younger sisters . . . 

And 150 years ago in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi . . . as this country teetered on the edge of a deep chasm that would someday be referred to as the Civil War . . . 8-year-old Mary Annie "Mollie" West was on the verge of becoming dependent on a very special aunt and uncle for her very safety and well-being . . .

On the 27th day of November in the year 1860 . . . Mollie's Aunt Mary and Uncle Bill were observing the 26th anniversary of the date when a then 20-year-old Mary became the bride of a 33-year-old widower by the name of William Noel Valentine (aka Uncle Bill) . . . 

Aunt Mary . . . aka Mary F. Valentine nee Carter . . . was an older sister to little Mollie's (widowed?) Mother, Sarah West nee Carter . . . and and on the 1860 census for Starkville, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi, Mollie (i.e., Mary) and her family are near-neighbors to this Aunt Mary and Uncle Bill . . .

During the years of the war between the states, Mollie's immediate family members often sought shelter with this Aunt Mary and Uncle Bill, who lived in a home of six rooms, a long wide hall, two large porches and a portico in front of Mary's room. Mollie said she spent many pleasant hours in their well-stocked library, where losing herself in books allowed her to briefly escape from the harsh realities of those years.

In later years, Mollie would say of this safe-haven that, "There was also a large cellar under the house with two huge boxes in it that held apples from the orchard across the road from the house. I can see and smell those blossoms yet when Spring comes each year! The house was surrounded by a picket fence that enclosed a large yard. The walk from the front yard gate to the house was lined with jonquils, daffodils and snowdrops. The house itself was white, set on brick pillars. So it was a pleasure to be there out of our little cramped home."

The following links will take you to more information on these and other families in and around Oktibbeha County, Mississippi during the years of the war between the states :-

This blogpost was prepared in honor of all of those special aunts and uncles in the family tree . . . and in celebration the 100th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy over at Creative Gene . . . where the geneablogger known as Jasia just recently celebrated her 5th Anniversary as the Keeper of that blog. Thanks for being a part of our geneablogging world, Jasia!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Great American Poems :: Whitman Writes About Texas

One hundred eighty-nine years ago . . . in November of 1821 . . . in the extended branches of our family tree . . . a young man by the name of James F. WALKER had just recently resigned from the the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York. He had been raised in Georgia by his maternal grandpa -- James W. WALKER -- and he would now return to the state of his birth. Here he would become a merchant, and would marry Miss Minerva FORT, with whom he would have two daughters. 

In the autumn of 1834 this man and his family removed to Velasco, Texas, where he would become a planter and managing partner in a slave-trading syndicate. By now, he is using the surname (FANNIN) of his deceased birth-father -- Isham Saffold FANNIN (1778-1817) -- who in 1809 (when James was 5 years of age) had married my 4th great-grand-aunt, Margaret PORTER (1791-1830).

According to The Texans from the Old West Series published by Time-Life Books . . . 

FANNIN was 32, a tall, gangling Georgian who had arrived in Texas in 1834 and quickly built up a profitable business in land speculations and slave-trading. He had performed well as a volunteer in the fighting around San Antonio, and Houston had offered him a colonelcy in the regular army he was organizing. FANNIN boldly requested a brigadier's commission, which he said he could handle "better than any officer." HOUSTON had made him settle for the colonelcy. . . .

By November of 1835, this young man is a mere four months away from the day of his murder . . . several communications during this time period (those written to, from and / or about him) can be read at . . . Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas.


Almost four months later . . . on Palm Sunday . . . the 27th day of March . . . in the year 1836 . . . Col. James Walker FANNIN is one of more than 300 men who are massacred at Goliad . . .

Another twenty years later . . . in November of 1855 . . . and reviewers of Leaves of Grass are declaring Walt WHITMAN's "own version of unrhymed, long-lined poetry" as "indecent, bold, curious, lawless, obscene" . . . WHITMAN (1819-1892) begins this collection of words as follows . . .

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. . . .
About half-way through this self-published Poem of Walt Whitman (1856) this native of Rhode Island tells a tale of a land called Texas . . . from 1836 . . .

Now I tell what I knew in Texas in my early youth;
I tell not the fall of Alamo . . . . Not one escaped to tell the fall of Alamo,
The hundred and fifty are dumb yet at Alamo.

Hear now the tale of a jetblack sunrise,
Hear of the murder in cold blood of four hundred and twelve young men.

Retreating, they had formed in a hollow square with their baggage for breastworks,
Nine hundred lives out of the surrounding enemy’s nine times their number was the price they took in advance,
Their colonel was wounded and their ammunition gone,
They treated for an honorable capitulation, received writing and seal, gave up their arms, and marched back prisoners of war.

They were the glory of the race of rangers,
Matchless with horse, a rifle, a song, a supper or a courtship,
Large, turbulent, generous, handsome, proud and affectionate,
Bearded, sunburnt, dressed in the free costume of hunters,
Not a single one over thirty years of age.

The second Sunday morning they were brought out in squads and massacred . . . . it was beautiful early summer,
The work commenced about five o’clock, and was over by eight.

None obeyed the command to kneel,
Some made a mad and helpless rush . . . . some stood stark and straight,
A few fell at once, shot in the temple or heart . . . . the living and dead lay together.

The maimed and mangled dug in the dirt . . . . the new-comers saw them there;
Some half-killed attempted to crawl away,
These were dispatched with bayonets or battered with the blunts of muskets;

A youth not seventeen years old seized his assassin till two more came to release him,
The three were all torn, and covered with the boy’s blood.

At eleven o’clock began the burning of the bodies;
And that is the tale of the murder of the four hundred and twelve young men,
And that was a jetblack sunrise. . . .


Whitman closes this Song of Myself (1881) as follows . . .

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop some where waiting for you.

It was with great delight that I read the notice that Bill West would once again be hosting his Great American Local Poem & Song Genealogy Challenge . . . and that this year (2010) he is dedicating it to the memory of Terry Thornton (1939-2010) . . . a geneablogger, and a fellow lover of local poetry and folklore. . . . for you, Terry . . .

In the white moonlight,
where the willow waves,
He halfway gallops
among the graves --
A tiny ghost
in the gloom and gleam,
Content to dwell
where the dead men dream . . .

Saturday, November 13, 2010

SNGF :: Photo Effects

Randy's challenge for SNGF this week is to have fun playing with the free photo effects provided by . . .

The subject of this wanted poster is a blossom on a Fairy Rose bush . . . which is an antique rose (1932) that my Mom planted at my father's grave in the Hugh Wilson Cemetery in Tanglewood, Lee County, Texas . . . these tiny roses are a pleasure to view . . . and they are perfect for drying for use in tearbottles . . .

This is the same photo . . . given the jigsaw puzzle treatment . . .

And this is the jigsaw puzzle image . . . once again given the wanted poster treatment . . .

This was fun, Randy . . . thanks for sharing!

Sympathy Saturday :: Milford Henry

On this date in our family history . . . the 13th day of November . . . in the year 2010 . . . Milford Barton Henry was laid to rest at the Forest Grove Cemetery in Milam County, Texas.

Milford was my 1st cousin once removed, and was born 14th June 1924 in Norton, Runnels County, Texas to Milton E. Henry (1902-1975) and Edna Gladys Henry nee Caswell (1902-1973). They left Norton around 1939, and Milford had made his home in Rockdale, Milam County, Texas since that time. He was a 1942 graduate of Rockdale High School.

On June 2, 1946, he and Dorris Spence were married in Rockdale. To this union two children were born. Milford worked as a Shop Foreman with Texas Utilities. He retired from I.G.C. after 30+ years. He was a Veteran of World War II serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was a founder and charter member of Rockdale Christian Church where he was a former board member and Elder Emeritus.

Milford passed away Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at his home with his family. The date of his passing was the anniversary of the birth of his paternal grandma, Berta Mary Henry nee Sharp (1873-1955) . . . and it was also Forget-Me-Not Day. Milford had reached the age of 86, and was preceded in death by his parents and two adult brothers, Marlyn Edward Henry (1930-1995) and Charles Eugene Henry (1940-1973) as well as three infant siblings.

For we have this moment to hold in our hands,
And to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand;
Yesterday's gone, and tomorrow may never come,
But we have this moment, today.

Monday, November 01, 2010

1254 :: Eleanor marries Edward in Spain

On or about this date in our family history . . . the 1st day of November . . . in the year 1254 . . . at the Monastery of Las Huelgas in Burgos, Spain . . . Princess Eleanor de Castile becomes the bride of Sir Edward I of England.
This Eleanor and Edward are currently believed to be ancestors of . . . George H.W. Bush . . . Walt Disney (1901-1966) . . . Stanley Ann Obama Soetoro nee Dunham (1942-1995) . . . as well as 22nd and 23rd and 24th and 25th great-grandparents of the Keeper of this family history blog. . . . 

The Dictionary of national biography,
Volume 6
Leslie Stephen, Sidney Lee,
Robert Blake, Christine Stephanie Nicholls

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