This week here in Alabama has really been rough. Only today I was able to find out that my sister-in-law and her extended family are all well after the storms this week in Alabama. Luckily, only their power has been out and her son and his family escaped harm even tho trees are down around their home. My heart goes out to all those families that have lost loved ones in Alabama and the other states also from the tornadoes. It looks like a war zone here in Alabama. Over 200 are confirmed dead in Alabama alone. Town after town has been flattened and there is no telling when and how we can rebuild as a state. Not only have lives been lost but to a lot of survivors, their family history, mementos, photographs, and heirlooms are forever destroyed and gone. The help that has come from other areas I know are truly appreciated. Still, prayers and help are still needed and I know without a doubt these will be provided in some form or fashion. Hopefully by this weekend, I can get back on track and become faithful once again on my daily blogs. In the meantime, I am going to go spend some cherished time with my children and mother tonight. Have fun all, and I will be back later tonight or in the morning one!!! Happy blogging!
Monthly Archives: April 2011
The past few weeks I have ben trying to find out about one of my grandmother’s whose name was Charity Baker. She was married to Josiah Eley but the marriage said she was a Denby soooooo without checking it years ago when I found her listed as Denby married to Josiah here I went looking for the Denby’s. Then lo and behold I found out last week she was a Baker and not a Denby and James Denby was NOT a grandfather lol. He was only appointed as her guardian to protect her interests because the wife of William Baker had contested the will. I couldn’t understand why wasn’t her husband appointed her guardian instead of Denby, then things started coming to light and now I believe the reason was more than likely Josiah was somehow related to this Mary Baker, Charity’s step-mother. For some time during that period of trying to settle William Baker’s estate and all, Mary was appointed guardian over several children and their last names were Eley, the same as Josiah. Could it be that Denby, being the executor of William’s will, that he did not trust Josiah because of family relations or was it because of something else? Will I ever find out? In the process of finding this out, I also found out that the county these people were in, no longer exists. I went to Florence Lauderdale Public Library in Alabama, who has a great genealogy section and found a book about the counties of North Carolina. Below you will find an excerpt from this book, Formation of North Carolina Counties 1663-1943by David Leroy Corbitt, on Bute County, North Carolina.
Bute County was formed in 1764 from Granville. The act was to become effective June 10, 1764. It was named in honor of John Stewart, Earl of Bute, one of the principal secretaries of state, and first Lord of the Treasury under George III, over whom he exerted a dominant influence. The Earl of Bute became very unpopular with the Americans, and in 1779 the General Assembly abolished Bute dividing its territory into the counties of Warren and Franklin which were named for the Revolutionary patriots, Joseph Warren and Benjamin Franklin. It was in the northeastern section of the colony. The act ordered the court to be held on Jethro Sumner’s land at a place called Buffalo Race Path.”
William Baker died just three years before this county was abolished in 1776.
I am sitting here thinking back over everything that happened Saturday and feel so blessed to be a part of my family. I did not get to post anything yesterday because Mother, Dad, my daughter, and I took a little trip to Iuka/Burnsville area, Tishomingo County, Mississippi for the annual Easter egg hunt my second cousin has each year for the young children at her old home place. Earlier, in my blog, I had posted a picture of her father, Leander Kennedy standing in front of his car. I was told last night when She and I talked, that in 2016, the home place will be 100 years old. I can remember going there when I was young, and the first thing Aunt Ocie would try to do would be to give me a kitten once all the hello hugs were given out. I was young and very impressed during those times that my precious aunt would entrust me with such a sweet little furball of life and then reality would slap me in the face when I would find out the kitten I had just adopted from her could not come home with me. Mama’s “NO” was the checkmate in that game!
When you stepped upon the wooden front porch that had chairs to sit in and a swing on one end of the porch, one could go thru the breezeway or as southerners called it, the dog trot. The parlor was on the right of the breezeway and the bedrooms and kitchen were to the left of the “dog trot”. The rusty tin roof that is currently on the old homeplace brings back memories of when you could hear raindrops falling and hitting the tin and one would swear up and down that during that time….”Best sleeping weather ever!” Behind the house was the smokehouse and down the hill just a little ways was the barn. The quiet peaceful life of growing your own vegetables, smoking your own meat and living a life close to the land is very evident here. I don’t remember how many acres of land he had but I do remember that it seemed the “piney woods” would go on forever and ever when I visited there as a child.
It was such a delight to see my cousin and her husband, Faye and O.L., cousin Gail and her husband, James, her daughter Amy and Amy’s four boys, Stone, Ethan, Drake, and Branson. I also got to meet another cousin, Hannah and Brandon, and their two children from Uncle Willard Kennedy’s line along with some family friends that came to enjoy the fun. It was so good to sit and reminisce and visit with loved ones as we watched the young children play, hunt easter eggs, and choose their prizes. I heard quite a few good stories on the Leander family along with Uncle Willard’s family; some funny, some heartfelt, and some of the sentimental stories that literally pulled at your heartstrings. So many years, lives, and stories have passed in this family; some rooted deep within our hearts and soul as well as some that has been forgotten until the mind is triggered by some look, word, or action and the wonderful tale is once again shared among family members. My desire is to see these stories recorded down in some form or fashion for our descendents to be able to look back to see what a crazy, loving family they came from, recognizing some of their own great personality traits, convictions, and morals in their ancestors they currently possess. As Edmund Burke once said, “People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.”
I don’t know how my mother came up with this, but most of the time we had a new recipe to try at least once a week, sometimes more. It all depended on if she had time to look thru all of her cookbooks or not. We knew we were totally doomed if she happened to run across a new recipe book at the store and that book somehow would end up in our grocery bags mysteriously. We were not the typical family where the children had a dilemma of “not liking those yucky vegetables”. Our thing was, “”Uh Oh, it’s “new recipe day…AGAIN! What have we gotta eat now?” When Dad came home from work, he never knew what to expect and we learned a long time ago to say how good it was even when we didn’t like it, to keep from hurting mama’s feelings and to not get that ‘You better not say a word!” look from Dad. She was always very proud of her accomplishments and it was hard to hurt her feelings and tell her we didn’t like what she had spent hours cooking. That is why I must tell about the cantaloupes. Mother had planted a garden this particular year and of course one of the crops was the infamous cantaloupes. Every time we turned around, someone was bringing in a ripe cantaloupe. There was so many cantaloupes piling up on the counter in the kitchen and she needed to do something with them to keep them from spoiling. What does she do? Pull out the dreaded cookbooks and spends hours looking for a recipe that she thought would be “scrumpi-delicious and totally irresistable to the eye and palate”. Cantaloupe pie!! Did I say cantaloupe pie? Of course, I did….one of the cookbooks she bought had that recipe in there!!! She proceeded to get her ingredients together and made several pies. They looked so pretty when they were pulled out of the oven and you could see Mama glowing with pride. Did I mention that looks can be deceiving? If that is one lesson you have never learned, pay heed to it now for future references, should anyone ever offer you a slice of cantaloupe pie! The first bite was just okay and by the time you were able to get the third bite down, you were looking for a place to spit it out. It didn’t matter who you were, if you were unlucky enough to come by the house, you were served…..Cantaloupe Pie! For once, we could not disguise the “Oh Lawdy!!! That stuff ain’t passin’ my lips!” look. Even to this day, she still laughs about how horrible those pies were and admits that was one of her “bloopers in cooking”!
Below is a recipe that she made famous at our family reunions. It was easy to make and served a lot of people and once family members tried it, it was expected of her to bring the dish. Hope you enjoy it because we sure do!
3 lbs Ground Chuck
1 large onion chopped
3 sm cans tomato sauce
3 cans of mexican style corn, undrained
3 tsp marjoram
3 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp rosemary leaves, crushed
1 dozen corn tortillas
2 lbs (approximately) cheddar cheese, shredded
Brown the meat and drain. Chop one large onion cook it with the meat after draining the fat off. Cook until onion is tender. In a bowl, mix tomato sauce, mexican style corn, marjoram, cumin, and rosemary leaves. Pour half of the sauce mixture into the meat and onion mixture and simmer for 5 minutes. Line a very large casserole dish, or two 9×13 casserole dishes with corn tortillas. Pour and spread meat mixture evenly over the top of the tortillas. Layer with cheese, another layer of corn tortillas, rest of the sauce mix, and then top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with salad or chips and salsa.
Martha Jane South, my 2nd great grandmother, was born 1838 in Wayne, Tennessee. She married John Gibson Kennedy who was born 16 Mar 1831 in Alabama. They settled in Iuka, Tishomingo County, Mississippi. They had 9 children: Newell J Kennedy 1859-1924; Louisa J Kennedy 1862-1910; Hannah Jane Kennedy 1863-1941; Mary Ann Kennedy 1864-1865; John Henry Kennedy 1866-1945; Samuel Robert Kennedy 1869-1935; Jesse Kennedy 1871 – ; Taylor G Kennedy 1877- ; Caleb G Kennedy 1885-1959. Her son Samuel Robert Kennedy is my great grandfather.
Well, well, well….(I know…don’t remind me…mighty deep subject for such a shallow mind) I solved one mystery this weekend for myself but lawdy have mercy did it ever create more!! I kept wondering why things did not tally out on my 5th great-grandmother, Charity Baker, born 1757, Franklin, North Carolina, married Josiah Eley and died in 1803. She listed herself as Charity Denby when she married Josiah in 1771 but according to court documents it wasn’t until Feb 1771 that James Denby was given guardianship over Charity. If that, being the case, it means she married at 14 and at age 19 James Denby was listed as her guardian. Her biological father died in 1776. She is listed in James Denby’s will but not individually as his children were. Josiah, her husband was also one of James executors of his will. So many trees on different sites has James Denby listed as her father and Patience Norfleet, his wife listed as her mother, which according to the documents are wrong, unless they are accepting them as her adoptive parents.
The following questions now arise – Why was James Denby given guardianship of Charity at age 19 when she was already married? Who is William Baker and where did he come from. Who is Charity’s biological mother? Does this mean I no longer have to search out the James Denby and Patience Norfleet lines but get on the trail of Baker? And last but not least….how the sam thunder do I list all this in my tree in order for it to be correct? Scratches head and sighs……I need a blame time machine to go back in time and be a fly on the wall during Charity’s life!!!
When you walked into the back door of Mammaw’s house that she and my Pappaw lived in before they died, the T.V. was right next to the back door and across the room were two big comfy wooden chairs with cushions. The armrests on these chairs were also wooden and wide enough that you could set a cup of coffee, glass of tea, even your dinner plate if you needed to. Many times when we would all pile in on Mammaw and Pappaw, Mammaw would fix her plate at mealtime and sit in her chair to eat while everyone else was around the table. I often thought the reason she did that was to be kind and courteous to the family, allowing everybody to squeeze in around the table to eat and be together, at her table. But in actuality, I now realize what it was. My Mammaw was smart! Those chairs were much more comfortable than the ones around the table! Not only was she close enough to not miss anything in the conversations flying around the kitchen table, but she had the softest seat in the house at the moment! When, and if she decided to sit at the table, an aunt would claim one of the chairs. This aunt would get her tea and plate, sit down in the chair, tea glass on the arm rest and used her belly for her table for the plate of food( prays furiously this Aunt doesn’t come back and haunt me for telling this on her). It didn’t matter if any of the grands were sitting in those chairs watching T.V. either, when it came time that Mammaw wanted to sit we were shoo’d out of ‘em so she could rest for a bit. My Dad, can also remember that it didn’t matter what was going on around the home, Mammaw would always have a cup of coffee waiting on the armrest of one of the chairs for him and she would be sitting in the other chair with her cup of coffee. I am sure, they talked about many things over the years that has now long been forgotten and the conversations that has been remembered are cherished. I can also remember the weekend we were visiting, not sure if it was during the family reunion weekend or if it was just one of those weekends we were able to go visit, since we lived so far away, that Uncle Buddy brought in a game for people to play. Now you have to also know why this game is significant. Mammaw didn’t allow cards or dice in her home. “That was the Devil’s work” and nothing of the sort was gonna’ darken her doorstep! You see, my grandmother was a preacher for a pentecostal style church called The Church of God of Prophecy and she didn’t let anything in her home that she thought was of the Devil. This game consisted of a board, marbles, and dice and was called Wahoo. Uncle Buddy sat her down in her chair and showed her how it was just a game and not gambling and from then on she was hooked!! She would play for hours on end, ready to play “just one more game”, when everyone else were about to drop, begging to go to bed, and using toothpicks to hold their eyelids open! For the longest, cards were not allowed into the house, but those dice and that game board was always welcomed! On the day that wrestling was on T.V., that was where you could find Pappaw sitting, jerking his legs or arms trying to help his favourite wrestler win his match.
I have no idea where these chairs came from nor how long my Mammaw had them but I can remember them always being there in the end of the kitchen waiting patiently for someone to sit and enjoy a time of rest. I still get to see and sit in one of the chairs when I go to my parent’s house. In fact, just the other day I walked into the house and they were eating and the first place I grabbed was my Mammaw’s chair sitting next to the kitchen table. And guess what! There’s a T.V. in front of the chair just like at my Mammaw’s kitchen! The cushions, of course, has been changed and covered many times over the years, but still the same chair. I have never thought about it until now in writing about these chairs that my mother has carried on a family tradition by having the chair next to the table with a T.V. in the kitchen. We all often say when we pass an old deserted farmhouse that is falling down, “If those walls could just talk…what secrets would they tell us” I say, “If these two chairs could just talk…what family stories would I hear?”. These two chairs will always hold many memories in our family history with some memories readily remembered with joy and laughter and then some memories never spoken of but rooted deep within our hearts, while protecting the family with promised silence as one sits enfolded in the arms of the chairs, taking comfort within the cushions.
This post will be to remind myself that I am thankful my mother decided to marry my dad. When she was in a little shop looking for a dress to get married in, she overheard two little old ladies that ran the shop, yackin’ about someone they knew. One proceeded to say, “Yano? When a blonde headed and black headed person marries, their children will be red-headed.” My mother was horrified!! She’s blonde and my Dad has black hair(Well, he did until he turned grey.) She almost backed out of getting married! Why she didn’t want a red-headed child, I don’t know if I ever will find out, but I keep my grey hairs covered up with red hair dye just to remind her (not really lol) of that incident. She married and had 4 kids and none were red-headed except for hints of red in my hair before I decided to go a medium auburn. She was a Kennedy and her mother was a Johnson and that is the name I will talk about today – the Johnson surname.
After the Norman conquest of 1066, a lot of people started using the surname Johnson. Johnson means son of John and this name could possibly go all the way back to John the Baptist in the Bible. The Johnson clan became involved in a war with the Maxwells over land rights near the border of Scotland and Britain and soon British military disbanded both clans. The Johnsons were continually trying to protect and defend their lands, but as losses came here and there, they would have to move to another area and once again start over defending what they had obtained building strong fortresses wherever they were at. in hopes of it withstanding attacks