Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Henry and Eudora Coleman

Henry Coleman b. 1877, d. 1957, and his wife Eudora "Dora" Markham b. 1877, d. 1948

Dora was my mother's aunt. Dora was the oldest daughter of 15 children and was known by her youngest siblings as Sister Dora.
Photograph given to me from Cousin Jessie Mae Markham.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sentimental Sunday
Long Awaited Grandchildren

Grandma Gertrude was 60 years of age when she first became a grandmother, and she would be a grandmother to just one set of grands. She would have to wait for her fifth of six children to grant her wish.

On each of our birthdays, Grandma would call us to her room and give us pieces of money according to our age. If you were five, you would get five different pieces of money and so on. Her gift was mostly coins but we all looked forward to her counting the pieces of money into our small hands.

Grandma had her first heart attack when she was about 65 years of age, shortly after the death of my grandfather. She left her rural home and moved to the big city, living next door to a daughter Alice, and another daughter Rosie lived on the same street. Grandma lived in a small shotgun apartment with her oldest son Uncle Jr., and my father would leave my mother and three children to live with Grandma while he pursued other interests.

Although grandma was sickly, she often encouraged her grandchildren and would admonish our father to do the right thing. She died at age of 72 years after another heart attack and strokes.

I am two nickles of age and not a grandmother. A recently married daughter has ensured me that I will beat my grandmother's record but it will be real close, and I hope to continue the tradition of counting money into their birthday hands.
The photograph was taken in my grandparents' yard in Hazlehurst, Copiah County, Mississippi in 1957. Standing is the author, Grandma Gertrude Overton Durr and on her lap, author's brother Richard. Photograph is part of the author's collection.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas - 1932

Brothers John and Andre Wise are dressed in the outfits Santa delivered. I love the cowboy assemble. The gentleman worked for the Wise family whose name is no longer remembered. He has his gift in his hand and I wonder what Santa left for him under the tree.

The photograph, taken in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, is from the personal collection of Georgia Wise.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent Calendar - Day 15 - Wedding Anniversary

Hubby and I married 31 Years

December Events
Grandma Gert died Dec 01
Husband's Birthday Dec 04
Sister-in-law Rosemary's Birthday Dec 07
Our Wedding Anniversary Dec 15
Sister-in-law Susan's Birthday Dec 25
Niece Hope's Birthday Dec 31
Sister Shirley's Birthday Jan 01

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Advent Calendar - Day 11 - Other Traditions

Uncle Scott's Christmas tradition was unusual because he was and is the only person I knew who did this during the holiday season. When he came to visit, before he knocked on the door he would call out Christmas gift in a loud voice. I don't remember him or anyone explaining the why he did this. A light bulb moment occurred while reading slave narratives. This tradition may have originated during slavery.

"At Christmas time the slave children all trouped to "de big house" and stood outside crying "Christmas gift" to their master and mistress." Amanda McCray of Florida

"If we could manage to say "Christmas gift" to any of the Master's family on Christmas morning before they spoke to us, they would have to give us a gift of some kind." Malinda Discus of Missouri

"De fust one what said Christmas gift ter anybody else got a gif', so of cou'se we all try ter ketch de marster." Charlie Barbour of North Carolina
Ernest Scott was born in 1897. He married my Dad's sister Rosie Lee Durr.
The photograph, taken in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, is from the personal collection of Georgia Wise. The lady in the photograph is unknown.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday (almost) - Alex Adams Family

Alex Adams with his wife, children and grandchildren in front of the home he built in Hazlehurst, Copiah County, Mississippi.
Back Row: Naomi, Beulah, Clark, Letha
Front Row: Alex Adams b. 1859, grandson George (Letha's son), Alice Washington Adams b. 1857, sitting on Alice's lap, granddaughter Lillie (Beulah's daughter)

Naomi's daughter, Hazel Marie Pierce, married my mother's 2nd cousin Paul Scott.
Naomi's son, Julius Virgil Pierce, married my mother's 1st cousin once removed Earnestine Coleman.
Letha's daughter, Estella Williams, married my mother's 1st cousin Emmitt Coleman.
Adams family photograph from the collection of Veronica Ramsey Swift, direct descendant of Alex and Alice. The photograph is dated November 13, 1908. Thank you Karen E. Pierce for sharing.
Naomi Adams Pierce and her husband Henry Pierce
Photograph Courtesy of Nathaniel Thomas

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Mary Bailey

In Memory of Mrs. Mary Bailey
Born 1847
Died Dec 8 1944
Age 97
Gone But Not Forgotton(sp)
Its Our Lost And Heaven Gain

Hickory Block Cemetery
Jefferson County, Mississippi

Daughter of James and Emily Earls
Wife of Wallace Bailey
Mother of: Wallace, Jr., William, Vina, Josephine, Flora, Horace, Greely, Richardson, Pearly, Quitman, Roseanna, Mamie, Willie, Mary, and Emily

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Advent Calendar - Christmas Cards - Day 4

My family loved sending Christmas cards when I was a child. My mother would spend several minutes looking over cards at the local grocery, carefully choosing her three or four cards. Grandma Gert would have her daughter Rosie Lee to buy her a box of assorted cards. My mother would address her own cards and also Grandma's.

I loved when they would place the cards on the table deciding who would get which cards. Grandma would be sure to send all of the same cards from her assortment because she wanted to be sure she didn't send the same card to the same person the next year. Any cards left from a set would be given to us children to give to teachers.

Going to the mailbox this time of year was a pleasure. We would argue about which one of us would go get the mail. My mother would need to finish a chore, wipe her hands before she would sit to open her cards. Grandma would open hers immediately. The cards were so pretty: candy canes, Santa, nativity scenes, Mary and the baby, Christmas trees. Some cards had a note and some had money instructing my Mom to buy us children something special.

I enjoy sending cards and like grandma I usually buy a box of assortments, following her ritual of making sure I use all of a set. This year I broke my tradition and purchased a box with one design. My Christmas card list is declining. I will mail about a dozen this year, mostly to older cousins and friends I have lost contact with over the years.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Hope Trunk

For the 100th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, I decided to write about a family heirloom, my grandmother’s trunk.

Second great grandmother Alice Demyers Overton Usher raised many of her grandchildren including my grandmother, Gertrude Overton Durr. A forced sexual encounter resulted in pregnancy for Grandma Gert and if the family stories are true, Grandma Gert probably suffered with depression after the birth of her first child with no husband. Grandma Alice told her she couldn’t stay shut up in the house and that the first man to come along who wanted her, she would marry him.

Grandma Alice presented her granddaughter Gertrude with this trunk. It was a hope trunk, a hope in marriage. I never knew what was in my grandmother’s trunk when she married my Grandfather Mike Durr in September 1919. I would guess there was a quilt, bible, flour sack towels, pretty embroider pillow cases, a cup or two, and whatever they could gather for a new household.

When Grandma Gert died in 1967, her daughters decided that her oldest granddaughter would receive her trunk, that granddaughter was me. I hope to someday pass it on to a granddaughter