Faces Lost to Time…almost

As an historian and genealogist, one of the saddest things for me is to find a box of old photo in an antique store with no name written on the backs of the photographs to identify the person or persons pictured.  The photos were possibly left in a drawer or an album at a time when everyone in the household knew the identities of these people and no one felt a need to document who they were. Then overtime, everyone who knew who they were, dies or is too young to remember them.

If I find a box of old photos in an antique shop, and I usually do, I will flip through them and imagine who each person was, what they did, where they lived, and what life was like for them.  And if I’m lucky, I’ll find some with names on them. Sometimes the shop will have a $5-$10 price tag on each photo, but most of the time, they will let them go for no more than a dollar each. Just ask.

That’s when the detective work begins.  If the handwritten name can be read and if the back of the photo has the photographer’s location, and many of them do, those two facts can be searched together online. For some of the people I can not find an adequate record, but for others, I am able to give these people their story.

My hope is that when ancestors search their name, they will be able to find them here.

Meet a few of the people whose stories I have recovered:

Nettie Adele Troop

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IMG_3992This is Nettie Adele Troop (or Throop) from Pittsfield, NY.  She was born in early 1869 and she had one brother, Eugene, who was ten at the time.  Her father, George Troop was a carpenter and joiner and her mother, Martha, kept house. The large age difference between her and her brother was due to her father enlisting in the Union Army in 1864 during the Civil War.

By the time Nettie was eleven, her family had moved to New Berlin, NY where this photograph was taken.

Nettie later married William B. Lent around the age of 20 and they had one son, Walter Eugene Lent in 1890. They moved to Kings, NY where her husband worked with the railroad as a conductor.

Unfortunately on November 23, 1894, Nettie passed away at the age of 25. Her husband and young son moved in with his parents in Cortlandt, NY until at least 1905.

Sometime after that he married a young woman named May, before 1910. May must have passed away within the next several years because by 1918 he has married again, to Eva, and they have one daughter named Eva Lent who was born in 1919.

Nettie and William’s son Walter Eugene Lent married in 1915 when he was 25 and followed in his father’s footsteps and worked as an electrician for the railroad in New York City. He and his wife had two sons and they named one son George, for Walter’s grandfather, George Troop.


 

Alice Burrows

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Meet Miss Alice Burrows, the school teacher.  Born in 1871 in Sanford, Broome Co., New York, to William and Sarah Burrows, she was their third child. She graduated in 1889 from Binghamton Central High School and became a teacher. In fact, this photograph was taken the year she graduated.IMG_3994 (1)

At age 20 she taught at the Helen St. School and made $320 that year. She lived in a boarding house at 43 Seminary Av. with other women who had similar occupations.

Over the years she lived in many different dwellings, but always stayed within the local vicinity of Binghamton, New York as she moved to teach at different schools.

In 1899, she was a boarder at 42 Murray St.  In 1900, at age 29, she moved to another boarding house at 103 Oak Street across from the present high school in Binghamton .  It is not known if this school was there when she lived there or whether she taught there.

A couple of doors down the street lived a widower in another boarding house.  They evidently got to know each other well at that time because by the end of the next year they were to be married.

But before they married she moved to 16 1/2 Arthur Street and taught at the No. 15 school on St. John Street.

At the end of 1901 she and Mr. Herrick J. McCormick, a widower aged 52, were wed. Her teaching days and her moving days were over (as far as I can tell). He was an insurance adjuster in Binghamton and they moved to the house that became the last dwelling in which she would live, 180 West End Street.

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Wayne Lawrence McCormick  (photo found on Ancestry.com)

In 1906, they had their first child, a son Wayne Lawrence.  Two years later their daughter Marian was born.

Lawrence became a clerk and a chauffeur in Binghamton.  He married and had a son who served in the Navy in WWII.

Alice and Herrick McCormick were married for over 40 years until Mr. McCormick passed away in 1942. He was almost 93.

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Herrick McCormick (photo found on Ancestry.com)

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Alice Burrows McCormick and grandson (photo found on Ancestry.com)


 

Samuel Seitz

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Reverse side of above photo.

I researched what I believe to be documents pertaining to Mr. Samuel Seitz, given his age and location, realizing that there are other Seitz families in Ohio and many are Amish or Mennonite and have many of the same biblical names.  But I believe the information I recovered proves to be his.

Mr. Samuel Seitz reaped the sorrow of his times. He was born Oct. 30, 1841 to Peter and Rebecca Seitz. He had at least eight brothers and sisters, five of which died before he turned twenty-one.

He registered for the Civil War draft relatively late, by June of 1863, but two of his young adult siblings had died since the Civil War had begun so I believe that is what caused a delay in his signing up for the draft.

He married Phebe Darringer on Valentines Day in 1864 and enlisted ten days later on February 24, 1864 with the 21st Ohio Infantry, Co. G.  By the time he joined them, they had already helped to take Vicksburg and then participated in the Battle of Chattanooga and the Chickamauga Campaign.  The 21st Ohio would later join Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in his “March to the Sea” burning everything and leaving a trail of destruction through Georgia from Atlanta to Savannah.

After he returned home, he and Phebe moved to Perrysburg south of Toledo where he worked in manufacturing. They had three daughters, Coradelle, Rebecca, and Ida.  But in July of 1879, Phebe died. In 1880 we find him widowed and living with eight year old Ida in Blanchard, east of Ottawa, Ohio. Coradelle and Rebecca were 14 and 12 in 1880, but I could not find where they were living.

He married again in August of 1880 to Elizabeth Crist and moved to Leipsic, Ohio. They lived there till at least 1900. But the 1910 census shows him renting as a boarder and divorced.  Elizabeth died in February 1910 in Homer, Michigan.

The last ten years of his life must have been full of sorrow and depression because we find him in January 1920 renting a house in Leipsic, OH living with a boarder.  By July, he had died of cirrhosis of the liver.  Alcohol is the most common cause of cirrhosis although it can be caused by hepatitis as well. Either way, he died a slow death.

Did he become an alcoholic? If so, did he drink in excess to cope with all of the loss in his life or to deal with post traumatic stress disorder from serving in the Civil War? Could alcoholism have contributed to his divorce? We may never know for sure, but his face in the photograph looks rather weary.


 

– Unknown – 

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Then there are individuals like this man who really are lost to time.  No name, no place. Just sitting in a box.  I picked up this photo and bought it only because he looked like he had an interesting story.

I wonder what it is?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“I am the only Primitive Naive Acadian Artist.”

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Mrs. Mary Anne Pecot DeBoisblanc

“I am the only Primitive Naive Acadian Artist,” she would always tell me.  Mrs. Mary Anne Pecot De Boisblanc was indeed the only known Primitive Naive Acadian Artist designated as such. Her art is classified as “primitive” because of its simplistic ethnic content. It is noted as “naive” due to the style in which this simple ethnicity is painted.  Naive painting is childlike to the beholder, but is often a style used by very accomplished artists.  In this case the ethnic group portrayed in her paintings was her personal people group, the Acadians, or “Cajuns.”

But it is with great saddness that I share that she passed away in December of 2015 at the age of 90. What a wonderful, authentic individual she was!

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I learned of Mrs. Mary Anne after I saw her paintings in a book at the Acadian Memorial in St. Martinville, LA several years ago.  I saw that her paintings depicted the lifestyle and customs of my Acadian ancestors, so I sought permission to post some of the paintings in a family story I was writing for this blog, “Bonfires on the Bayou .”

After I posted that article, I received a message from her granddaughter who encouraged me to contact Mrs. Mary Anne. Little did I know at the time, but she and I were distant cousins. We share the same great grandmother who was one of the original Acadians to settle in Louisiana.

I decided to call her and we had a delightful conversation, talking for most of an hour — all the while she was drawing a new pencil sketch.

It just so happened that I was planning to go to St. Martinville the next day for the annual Acadian Festival.  I thought I should ask Mrs. Mary Anne if she would like to go with me even though we had just met. Through our conversation, she seemed to know that she could trust me and told me that she could tell I was “good people.” So she decided to go. Having difficulty getting around, she made arrangements for her home care person to go with us.

I visited with her for a while the next morning at her home in Metairie. She showed me stacks of history books, drawings, paintings and a curious tall can of assortedphoto walking canes.  And much to my surprise, she gave me the pencil drawing that she had been drawing during our phone conversation the day before!  I was thrilled!

I drove and she talked.  It was mid-March in south Louisiana so azaleas were in full bloom everywhere and the weather was gorgeous! As we drove through swamps and lowlands and passed near Raceland, Houma, and Morgan City, she told me all about her childhood growing up in Labadieville and all of her Acadian ancestors. I then told her about my ancestors from the area.  At one point she began searching through papers in her lap and pulled out a printed story about her Acadian grandmother, the one that we discovered we shared. She said the story was very good, but she didn’t know who wrote it.  When she started reading it to me, I realized it was the “Bonfires on the Bayou” story I had written.  I told her that the author was me.  She looked so surprised and excited to find that out! From that point on, we were forging a beautiful friendship.

I call that first meeting my DeBoisblanc Day.  We visited the Acadian Memorial, which included her being able to see some old friends, and then we went around the countryside seeing old ancestral homes of mine and some of hers.

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Mrs. Mary Anne walking to the Acadian Memorial in St. Martinville, LA

Acadian Memorial in St. Martinville, LA

Friends at the Acadian Memorial (Mrs. DeBoisblanc is seated second from right, I am standing in the back with the purple shirt.)

Walking through the courtyard of the Acadian Memorial and on to the Evangeline Oak.

When we visited Charenton, LA, she showed me where the old drug store used to be and the family’s old home place. We visited a couple of cemeteries and then we stopped by a friend of hers to visit for a little while.  As we walked through the home, paintings of hers could be seen hanging on the walls. She was obviously generous and wanted to share her work with those she considered friends.

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Viewing one of my ancestor’s homes.  She told me that my branch of the family was the “rich cousins” and that she was from the side of the “poor cousins.”

After seeing many sights and visiting with treasured friends our day ended, but our friendship did not.

During our many conversations that day, she told me that many of her paintings and drawings were on display at the Louisiana State Archives in Baton Rouge. I told her that I would love to go see them, to which she replied, “Let’s make plans to do that soon!”  So we did.

The next week, we met in Baton Rouge and this time my daughter and my father who are also her cousins, came with me to meet this charming lady and to see her unique artwork.

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Mrs. Mary Anne describing the scenes in her paintings for my father and me

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Gallery at the Louisiana State Archives in Baton Rouge

Later, we went upstairs and visited with State Archivist and Director, Florent “Pon” Hardy, Jr.  He was instrumental in having her art displayed for the public at the Archives.

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Visiting with State Archivist Florent Hardy, Jr.

Many times that I was down in the New Orleans area, I would go by for a visit and we would talk history and genealogy, share family stories, and look at more of her art work.

One time, soon after our Archives visit, she called me and told me I needed to come down when I could, that she had something for me. I made my way down there in the next day or so and when I got there, she handed me a painting very similar to the drawing she gave me.  But it was special because on this one she painted parts of it metallic gold — the umbrella, the road, and a group of eggs at the man’s feet.  To her the gold symbolized new life, family, and  happiness. The thought of her wanting to give me that painting is so precious to me, because she was accepting me as part of her family.

I have framed both of them and they hang together in my home along with one of her canes from her collection. She had told me to choose whichever cane I wanted.  Many were colorful and fancy, but I chose one that is simple, sleek, and to me looks like one she probably used many times.

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Painting and Drawing by Mary Anne Pecot DeBoisblanc in the home of Melinda Holloway

She and her art are beloved by many.  At one time even a regional college was interested in possibly displaying her art in a permanent display. They traveled down to New Orleans just to visit with her and discuss this proposal.  In the end, it wasn’t to be, but they recognized the value of her art and the contribution it has made to the understanding of this iconic culture of Louisiana.

Mrs. Mary Anne DeBoisblanc conferring with officials from Louisiana College

Much love to you, Mrs. Mary Anne. You will be sorely missed. Your art and your memory will live on and bring joy to many!

Melinda Holloway and Mary Anne Pecot DeBoisblanc in New Orleans - Dec 2013

Melinda Holloway and Mary Anne Pecot DeBoisblanc in New Orleans – Dec 2013

 

 

Veteran Voices Project

The Veteran Voices Project is something that has been in my heart for many years now, but has finally come to fruition.  This project consists of interviewing veterans about their service and making a public space where these stories can be told.  So I have created a new blog called Veteran Voices. (www.vetvoices.wordpress.com)  I hope you will check it out and see how it’s taking shape! Below is a copy of my introductory post: Veterans' Voices-002I have a deep respect for veterans. I’m not sure if my sense of respect and patriotism is inborn or taught by my parents, but I get choked up whenever I see our country’s flag displayed on a home, or when the “Stars and Stripes Forever” is played, or while attending a Memorial Day celebration honoring our fallen veterans. But seeing someone in military dress is what affects me most. It’s not so much the uniform as it is the ideal for which the uniform stands, and the commitment the person has made to that ideal.

This project was birthed because I believe each veteran has a story to tell — whether that person served in frontline combat or in a stateside desk job. The contribution of every veteran in every position and rank made an impact to the cause and it is my desire to help tell their stories. I intend to publish interviews on this new site from veterans from all conflicts, but interviews with World War II veterans will take priority. Even the youngest veterans of this war are in their late eighties and early nineties and will not be with us for many more years.

Each of these interviews needs to be published so that others may glean information, but also solidify their patriotism for our country.  Those who read these stories will realize the cost of the freedoms we enjoy, as well as gain more respect for veterans and the sacrifices that have been made in service to our country.

If you know a WWII veteran who would like to be interviewed, please respond to this post. If the veteran lives in the Louisiana/Mississippi region I would like to interview them personally.  If the veteran lives elsewhere I can send a questionnaire that can be filled out by the veteran or a friend of the veteran. Copies of current photos and service photos of the veteran submitted with the completed interview are greatly appreciated. Transcripts of their interviews will be submitted to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, LA to be archived for research by future historians.

Every veteran has a story, and every story should be told.

The Guice Box

SONY DSCI have been in possession of the Guice Box for several years now. It is a well-built, sturdy, varnished box emblazoned with the Guice family crest on top and trimmed out with brass handles and latch. I came to acquire it in a roundabout way.

In 2008 my mother and I traveled with other members of my family to attend our first Guice Family Reunion held yearly near McNair, Mississippi.

My mother was so excited to go.  She had never known any of her Guice relatives beyond her father, since he had died when she was seven.  And his mother and father died before my mother’s parents were married.  So to meet other Guice “faces” and to see the family resemblance was a dream come true for her.

Sitting in folding chairs in the shade of trees in the grassy yard of the family home of a Guice relative, family members caught up on news from the previous year.  After partaking of some scrumptious family reunion food — you know the kind — my mother was chosen by a drawing to receive a small treasure chest-like box that was part of a Guice Family Reunion tradition.  The recipient was to take it home for one year and bring it back to the next reunion.  During that year, the holder of the box was to contribute a family treasure — be it a photo, recipe, Guice family story, etc.

Since I am our immediate family’s historian, my mother gave me the box so that I could add a “family treasure” and be the holder of the box it until the next reunion.

As a genealogist and historian, I had fun going through the box’s contents. There were photos, family histories, articles, and obituaries.  It was like Christmas morning discovering more Guice family history!SONY DSC

In the months to come, I worked diligently to self-publish a book about our branch of the Guice family, then I added it to the box.  I was excited to show the other Guice family members our contribution at the next reunion, but the reunion in 2009 was cancelled. We would have to wait another year.  So I put the box safely away in my genealogy cabinet.

CCI02012013_0002But before the next reunion could be held in 2010, my mother passed away. I’m not even sure that it was held that year.  I’m so sad that she was never able to attend another reunion, but I am glad that she was able to attend at least one.

Because she was the contact person for the reunion, I have not seen another invitation to attend one. There is a contact name and address under the lid of the Guice box, but I was hesitant to send the box in the mail for fear it may be lost — it, nor its contents can be replaced.  I tried to contact another Guice family member that I remembered meeting that day, leaving my information with them to let me know of the next reunion, but I have not been notified.

I hope that by posting this page, someone from the Mississippi/Louisiana Guice family will see it and contact me about the next reunion so I can return the box and the tradition can continue.  I will write a letter to the address in the box in hopes that I will get a response about the reunion.  Until then if you are a member of the Guice Family, please contact me through this blog and know that the Guice box has been well taken care of. I will come to the next reunion bearing it in one hand and food in the other!

Always Remember…

DSC_0414As I write this post on the anniversary of the D-Day invasion, we in the United States are celebrating our annual stream of patriotic holidays — Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veteran’s Day. Ceremonies are conducted.  Flags are flown.

I am more than glad to take part in ceremonies that help remind us of the sacrifices made by so many people on our behalf.  Their sacrifices have allowed me to live and raise my family in a country that tenaciously guards freedom for all.

Twice each year our local American Legion puts on a small, yet meaningful remembrance service at one of our town cemeteries — once on Memorial Day and again on Veterans’ Day.  These ceremonies are complete with patriotic readings, prayer, the playing of Taps, a three-gun salute, an American flag risen on the flag pole then lowered to half-mast, and a red, white, and blue floral wreath placed at the base of the flag pole all in honor of the fallen.  Most of the people in attendance are older members of the post, their spouses and a few people from the community.DSC_0388DSC_0372I always try to attend.  And I bring my children.   By attending they will learn to care about things that matter like respect, honor, and patriotism. DSC_0416At these memorial celebrations they witness these qualities in action.  These services not only help bring us together as a community and connect us to our past, but celebrating them with our families will assure that our children will continue to remember the sacrifices that have been made for them. They will learn that the good life we experience today, due to the service and sacrifice of so many veterans, should never be taken for granted.

We’ve learned from the past that a threat can come from anywhere at anytime so our soldiers are on guard around the world to make sure our safety and freedom is protected.  Just yesterday, the body of a young soldier, from my community, Christopher Drake, 20, was flown home from Afghanistan after he served there for only five months. He was killed in the line of duty.DSC_0383

I don’t think recent generations in America can have any idea of what it truly means to have freedom threatened.  I know we have experienced isolated terrorist attacks, but we don’t know what it would be like to have an enemy army come barreling into our towns and cities and across our countryside bombing our buildings and homes, shooting civilians, and committing other brutal atrocities in order to take over our country.

All of this happened in Europe only a generation ago and it threatened to cross the oceans and engulf the United States.  Americans genuinely had to accept the reality that the enemy may actually engage in fighting on our own soil and in our coastal waters.  In fact, in World War II the enemy made attacks on our territories and sunk ships in our own waters.

In her diary from 1941 before the United States entered the war, Louisiana resident Bea Denham expressed these very real fears many times through the year as she listened to the war unfold in Europe.  Here are some poignant excerpts:

April 7th – “...they are openly saying now that our country is practically in the War,…Oh, what a dreadful thing to happen!  … we can’t survive in Hitler’s world.”  

April 9th –  “Things never looked blacker to me. Oh, war is too horrible!  Nobody can foresee where all this will end, but there can’t be any easy solution and settlement for us.

April 13th – “The war news is worse than ever.  It seems all the world is against democratic government.  We are bound to go to war soon, it seems to me.  Horrible thought.”

May 2nd – “The war news is worse each day that passes. … It is generally predicted that very few more months of peace are left to us.”

May 27th – “We listened to Roosevelt, and I could only feel that war is ever so much nearer.  This little endangered peace we are enjoying now will be our last, I’m afraid.  Our world after war won’t be the same.  We are watching the dying of an age, and only God knows what will come out of it.  We will never see the end, or know carefree happy days again.  There have been very few for our generation anyway.”

May 28th – “…the shadows ahead are so thick and heavy, with certain suffering and heartache, bitter want for the whole world after this orgy of bloodshed and waste.”

June 21st – “This war seems destined to envelope the globe.”

July 24th – “…I am afraid the war is nearer to us than we think. …Japan is definitely off the fence she has tried to straddle so long and is in the German camp.”

October 27th – “… it looks like Hitler will acquire world domination much sooner than anybody could have expected unless we decide to go all out for his defeat, and quit this everlasting stalling.”

November 4th – Germany has torpedoed another boat…Just anything can happen now, and it seems to me we are going to have to fight in the Atlantic and Pacific simultaneously.  This war keeps one’s spirits at the lowest ebb constantly.

November 18th  “…Japan is blustering, and will probably do more than that before it’s all over.  This world certainly seems to be in a mess.”

December 7th – I thought of the beautiful music we often have on Sunday afternoon, and turned on the radio to hear, “Japan has bombed the Philippines and Hawaiian Islands,” – such a rude awakening to cold reality.  Its WAR now, to the death.  This is no longer an oasis in a world of war, its total, and there’s no telling where it will end.  I could cry my eyes out.

December 8th –  “Somehow I only feel numb, and as if I were having a nightmare, and will soon awake.  We are entering on very dark days and perhaps years.”

December 20th – “I’m so scared.  They passed Selective Service – 20 to 45 – this week, and what would I do if Earl had to leave me?”

It was the men and women of America who fought and won against seemingly invincible Germany and Japan. Many fought and died.  Today soldiers are still fighting and dying in service to our country.  So the next time you meet a veteran express your gratitude.  Or if your community conducts a patriotic ceremony, take time out from your busy day and attend to show your respect and patriotism.DSC_0393

A Picture is Worth More Than a Thousand Words (Pt. 2)

I am blowing the dust off of these old images of the Broome family and allied family members to reveal the identities and likenesses of those individuals who may never have been seen by their descendants.  I hope that by posting these images and names that some of their descendents will have the joy of discovering more about their ancestors. (The John Thomas Broome family images are seen in the previous post.)

It is also fascinating to see how people lived and what was important to them, so these images are interesting in their own right to be viewed by everyone.  I hope you enjoy them!

Mr. and Mr. Walter Hurt

Mr. and Mr. Walter Hurt (taken in Memphis, TN)

Walter Hurt was appointed the Postmaster in Winona, Mississippi in 1893 and was the City Editor of the Meridian Dispatch in Meridian, Mississippi according to the 1913 Meridian City Directory.

Mrs. Addie Harvey Hurt - wife of Walter Hurt

Mrs. Addie Harvey Hurt – wife of Walter Hurt

Harvey Hurt - son of Addie and Walter Hurt

Harvey Hurt – son of Addie and Walter Hurt

Harvey and Eldridge Hurt - children of Addie and Walter Hurt

W. Harvey and Eldridge Hurt – children of Addie and Walter Hurt

W. Harvey Hurt would grow up to run a newspaper in Waynesboro, Mississippi (like father, like son).  He was also instrumental in bringing a hospital to the Waynesboro area.

Samuel Harvey - possible brother of Addie Harvey Hurt

Sam Harvey – brother of Addie Harvey Hurt (also pictured with his grandparents John and Aletris Broome in the previous post)

Mercy Broome Harvey

Mercy Broome Harvey

Mercy Broome Harvey

Mercy Broome Harvey

Mercy Broome Harvey was the mother of Addie Harvey and Sam Harvey.  She was the sister of John Thomas Broome (from the previous post).

A party at the mouth of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky

A party at the mouth of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky – 1882

Catherine B. Morgan - sister of Aletris (from the previous post)

Catherine B. Morgan – sister of Aletris (from the previous post)

Kate B. Morgan Clary Walsh

Kate B. Morgan Clary Walsh

Kate B. Morgan Clary

Kate B. Morgan Clary

A tribute to a lost loved one.  I with I knew who he was...

A tribute to a lost loved one. I wish I knew who he was. The letters on the back look like MB.  It could possibly be a tribute to Willie who died when he was seven.

A Picture is Worth More Than a Thousand Words

SONY DSCImages of our ancestors are the golden nuggets of family history.  Often we are not able to find an image of an ancestor, but when we do, even when the image is small and faded, it gives life to their name and dates.  When you look into the eyes of people who lived so long ago, who are your own flesh and blood, it is an ethereal experience that connects you to your past.

SONY DSCOne set of pictures I have in my collection of family images is in an old, red, velvet-covered album of the Broom(e) family.  Besides my loved ones, this album is one thing I would grab in case of a fire.  Most of the photos in this album are from 1880-1900, but some daguerreotypes are from before the Civil War. All except a few are labeled, which is invaluable!  Also in my family history collection I have the Broome Family Bible listing many of  their important dates and events.

John Thomas Broom

John Thomas Broom

Aletris Ellen Morgan Broome

Aletris Ellen Morgan Broom

The patriarch of this family is John Thomas Broom who was a farmer from Utica, Mississippi.  (The “e” was added to the family name around the turn of the century according to Bible records.)   The year before the Civil War began he married his young sweetheart Aletris Ellen Morgan on October 7, 1860.  He was 24 and she was 13.  They married in Richmond, Louisiana (near Tallulah, LA) which was burned completely by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant before the siege of Vicksburg, MS in 1863.

Born in 1836 John Thomas was the prime age of 26 for military service in the Civil War. John served for more than one year in the Confederate Army as part of the 36th Mississippi Infantry.  He enlisted in March 1862 for 12 months of service, but in April 1862 a Confederate conscription act, or draft order, went into effect that forced men ages 18-35 to serve for at least three years.  In September of 1862 the conscription age was increased to 45.  But a year and two months after his enlistment date, when the 36th Mississippi was ordered to leave Snyder’s Bluff north of Vicksburg and take up defenses in Vicksburg, John deserted and went home.  Maybe he sensed the inevitable defeat by the Union Army because of the advances they were making around Mississippi.  But there were other reasons why many Confederate soldiers deserted their army around this time in the war.

One was the enactment of  the conscription acts which they felt infringed on their rights by their government — which was why they were fighting this war against the Union in the first place.  In addition to this was the 20 slave exemption added to the conscription acts in October of 1862.  This exemption meant that those who owned 20 slaves could go home to help prevent possible slave uprisings.  The slave-owner could then hire someone to fight in his stead. Any man who could afford the $300 price could hire a substitute to fight for them. Therefore the war in the Confederacy by this time had become known as “a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.”

John Thomas and Aletris had their first child on August 30, 1861, a few months after the start of the war.  They named him Thomas Sanders Broom after Aletris’ father Thomas Sanders Morgan.  After John Thomas returned home from the war he and Aletris had 9 more children, six of whom lived to adulthood.

Thomas Sanders Broome

Thomas Sanders Broom

Thomas Sanders Broom, Ella Anderson Broom and their children

Thomas Sanders Broom and his wife Ella Anderson Broom with their children

When Thomas grew up, he converted from his family’s Protestant faith to Mormonism.  His father then disowned him.

Eva May Broom

Eva May Broom

John Thomas Broom returned home by August of 1863 and the following spring on May 30, 1864, Eva May Broom was born. She grew up and married Craven P. Fairchild on the 10th of December 1884.

The Broom’s second daughter Louisa Broom, died the day she was born on September 11, 1866.

Catherine Octavia Broom was born in Jan of 1869 and died at the age of three.

Their next child was a son, Willy.

John William "Willy" Brooome

John William “Willy” Broome

John William “Willy” Broom was born in December of 1870.  Sadly at the age of 7, he was killed when he was hit by a wagon.

The Broom’s third son Andrew Jackson Broom, born May 3, 1872, was named after Alestris’ brother Andrew Jackson Morgan (who was killed in the Battle of Seven Pines at the age of 16).  He moved to Llano, Texas where he was a border patrol agent.

Andrew Jackson Broom

Andrew Jackson Broom

Andrew Jackson Broome

Andrew Jackson Broom

Andrew Jackson Broome's family

Andrew Jackson Broom and his wife Lily Mayo Broom and their children

Annie Theodosia Broom was born January 27, 1876.  She married Andrew J. Harvey on the 4th of July 1899.

Annie Theodosia Broom

Annie Theodosia Broom

Luther Dudley “Dutchy” Broom was their eighth child and fourth son who was born on June 16, 1877.  He was my great grandfather.

Luther Dudley Broom

Luther Dudley Broom

Luther Dudley Broom

Luther Dudley Broome

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Anna Daisy Jacob Broome

He married Anna Daisy Jacob from Reserve on the German Coast in south Louisiana.  They were married in Baton Rouge on 28 Dec 1904.  He was Baptist and she was Catholic, so they were married by a Methodist minister.  He worked for Standard Oil Company (now Exxon) in Baton Rouge.

Clarence Franklin Broom

Clarence Franklin Broom

Clarence Franklin Broome

Clarence Franklin Broome

Albia Jones Broome

Albia Jones Broome

Clarence Franklin Broom was born April 25, 1879.  He married Albia Jones December 23, 1903.

Mary Jane Broome

Mary Jane Broom

Aletris Broom had their last child when she was 42 years old.  She had a girl born September 13, 1881 whom they named Mary Jane Broom. Something happened to Mary Jane causing her to pass away at the age of 7.  All that is written in the family Bible is the date she died and the time of day: “quarter to four P.M. Sunday eve”.

The old Broom family album contains many more interesting photos of members of Aletris’ family and John Thomas’ families.  But those photos will appear in a future post.

John Thomas and Aletris lived a rich life full of joy, hardship, happiness, and sadness.  Most of the handwriting in the family Bible appears to be hers.  But on the day she died, at age 58, in a shaky handwriting typical of old age, John inscribes her death information in the old Bible: “Aletris E. Broome the wife of J. T. Broome.  Died on the 19 of April 1905 about 8 in the eaving was born 11 of March 1847”.  All other dates after her death were written by him until he died.

john_thomas_broome Aletris Ellen Morgan Broome

John Thomas Broome Aletris Morgan Broome025

John Thomas and Aletris with a grandchild

John Thomas and Aletris with grandchild Sammy Harvey

John Thomas Broome with Luther Dudley's children (L to R) Marcia (my grandmother), John Denis, and Katie (taken about 1913)

John Thomas Broome with Luther Dudley Broome’s children (L to R) Marcia (my grandmother), John Denis, and Katie (taken about 1913)