The Under____ & The Banker's Daughter's

AtoZ Challenge...Letter U's fiction from forgotten fotos

My Daddy owned a bank. His idea of a suitable husband came with a Trust Fund, Certificates of Deposit, and at least a VP at the end of his name with assurance that the next abbreviation would be Mr. My Father-in-law Died' and left me in charge as PRES.

Somehow I felt I would disappoint him in my choice of a husband.  Even though I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth and never wanted for anything, I felt there was something missing in my life.  Call it a sense of purpose other than stitching samplers, setting a proper table and attending high-falutin' social events. 

I shouldn't complain, afterall, I did meet my future husband at one of those social events sponsored by  Daddy's Bank.  I can honestly say it was love at first sight for me, but I resisted the immediate attraction I felt when we were introduced.

"Miss Fannie Mae may I present Mr. Freddy Mack."  As our hands touched in greeting, my ears started ringing, but I heard... "he is an Under___"...the buzzing grew louder as I looked into those deep blue eyes....the introduction continued..."Freddy is associated with the Certificate of D___buzzzz Registry buzzzz in the Fun____BUZZZZ _____BUZZZ_____Home______BUZZZZZZZtttt."  It was not until our handshake ended that the buzzzzzzing stopped and I heard Freddy ask if he could get me some punch.  It seemed he took my non-speaking and slack jaw as needing something to wet my whistle.

For several months Freddy and I carried on a discreet relationship...meeting at resturants, movie houses and under the guise of double dating.  He didn't seem to fully understand my reluctance in his meeting my father, but didn't push the issue until he insisted on asking Daddy for my hand in marriage.  I was thrilled and terrified at the same time.

"Daddy, I would like you to meet my beau Fre_____".  "FREDDY my BOY....about time Fannie brought you home."

I was flabbergasted as they shook hands and patted each other the back like they had known each other for years.  "FATHER", I squeaked, "you know Freddy?  You knew we were seeing each other?"

"Why of course I know Freddy.  He is Vice President and Chief  Underwriter of Certificates of Deposit in the Funding and Financial Department of my Banks Home Office."  Of course I knew you were seeing each other.  I introduced you.  What took you so long?"

I was stunned by his answer.  My mouth went dry and the buzzing in my ears became a ROAR. 

When I came to on the settee, I looked into Freddy's deep blue eyes and said,
"I thought you were an Undertaker
with the Certificate of Death Registry at a Funeral Home".


Gone But Not Forgotten Tamarisk Tombstone

AtoZ Challenge...Letter T's fiction from forgotten photos

Not My Kin...just folks I find...whose Stones I photograph...whose stories I tell...who sometimes are 'Kin Connected'.
Mary Springen was born in Norway on November 20, 1853 and immigrated to America in 1860 at age 7...according to the 1900 Census from Ward County, Texas.

I will begin her Texas story in September 1897 when Mary and her brother Ole Springen bought property  in Grandfalls, Ward County, Texas on the SW corner, of Ave D and 2nd Street.  Here they erected Grandfalls first Hotel, a two story building with wide porches and railings on both levels.

Ole and Mary were part of what was called the 'Scandinavian Invasion' in Ward County with many immigrant families seeking land and opportunities in what was being touted as the 'Finest Climate In The World' by developers of the Grandfalls Irrigation Company.  Besides the Hotel, Ole Springen ran a Freight Wagon business between Grandfalls and Monahans, and farmed along with his wife Lena.  Mary, it seems was the primary InnKeeper as was noted in the 1900 Census. 
The circumstances of Mary's death on May 11, 1905 are not known. 
Her gravesite and tombstone are the only records of her death with a possible clue
as to the cause of death with the inscription.
No Pain No Grief No Anxious Fear
Can Reach Our Loved One Sleeping Here
Tamarisk Cemetery...Grandfalls, Ward County, Texas
Sometime after Mary's death, her brother Ole and his family left Grandfalls and Ward County.  Ole's name appears in the Pecos Valley Irrigationist newspaper dated Thursday, March 27, 1913 as a new subscriber from Boumont, California.

In the 1910 Census Ole and his family of wife Lena and three children reside in San Fernando, Los Angeles, California where Ole owned and operated a Blacksmith Shop.

Ole Springen's application for US Citizenship in 1917 reveals more of his and his sister Mary's family background.  Ole and Mary were born in Flesberg, Norway, emigrated to the US from Windsor, Canada on unknown vessel and arrived in the port of Detroit, Michigan in 1857.  Their family name in Norway was Oleson, and declared as Ole Springen on the Declaration of Intention.  His wife Lena was a natural born citizen of Marshall, Wisconsin.  In 1920 Ole, Lena and family are in San Gorgonio, Riverside, California where Ole is working as a farm laborer.  Ten years later in 1930,  Ole, Lena and son Oscar are living on owned farm and listed as Hay Farmers. 
Ole Oleson Springer died in 1937 at age 83.  His wife Lena died in 1948.
They are buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Beaumont, Riverside County, California.
 Mary and Ole are Not My Kin. 
 I photographed Mary's Headstone near the Pittman Family Plot in Tamarisk Cemetery.
We are Not Kin...but...We are Connected.
A Grandfalls cowboy.  Ott's Blacksmith Shop. C. Hale's Meat Market, and Grandfalls Hotel.
Photo from Ward County History 1887-1977 pg.181
 Original Photo found in my Great Grandmother Martha Jane Marley Carroll's Album.
The Cowboy is thought to be Bob Olfield... Martha Jane's second husband.
I'm pretty sure Mary and Ole Springen knew not only Bob Olfield, but my Great Grandfather George Washington Pittman and wife Nancy who arrived in Grandfalls about the same time as the Scandinavians Invaded.  Great Grandmother Nancy who died in 1918 is buried not far from Mary Springen. 
It's a small cemetery and a 'Small World Afterall'.


Chester Shear's Stump

AtoZ Challenge...Letters S's  fiction from forgotten fotos

Chester and Carl Shear were born on the very day General John Hunt Morgan led his troops into Kentucky...July 2, 1863. Two days later Morgan engaged Union forces at Tebb's Bend, a bridge crossing the Green River near Campbellsville in the Civil War torn state of Kentucky.

  The new born infants of German immigrants began life in a state with divided loyalty's to the Confederacy and the Union with strong ties to Kentucky born President Abraham Lincoln. At the age of 19, Chester and Carl made their way to Texas.

In the late 1890's Chester was a Pharmacist at a drug store located in a small West Texas town. Carl continued on South to a larger populated area to study medicine.  It was during this time Chester became acquainted with Dr. Abel Bergman and his four daughters.   Dr. Bergman, a Swedish physician from New York, came to America in 1889.  He and his wife Hilda were persuaded to come to Texas with the promise of 80 acres which included a Sanitarium.

After several years as the Sanitarium Director,  Dr. Bergman became concerned his now of age charming daughters would become involved with the rough and rowdy men of West Texas.  The Bergmans packed up their belongings and four daughters and boarded a train heading South.  Before they traveled twenty miles, the train was boarded by four masked men who grabbed the four beautiful daughters, who happily rode off on horseback.

Twenty year old Gretchen Bergman became the bride of Chester Shear, 34 year old pharmacist in 1899.  A few years later Chester and Gretchen moved to Arizona, for Chester's health...he suffered from consumption (tuberculosis).

 As a common malady of the time, TB was often the reason for moving to the drier climate and sanitariums of Arizona.  Chester and Gretchen returned to Texas before 1905 when their son Harold was born. Chester died the next year leaving his young widow and son alone and destitute. 

Gretchen and five year old Harold are next found in the 1910 Census living in San Antonio, Texas in a doctors private home where she was employed as a live in servant.  Ten years later in the 1920 Census, they are listed as living with, Gretchen's father who is now widowed and a practicing physician. Also listed is Gretchen's new husband, Dr. Carl Shear.


Researching Your Roots...A Repository of Rules & Records

AtoZ Challenge...Letter R's fiction from forgotten fotos

*'Follow the rules of the records repository without protest, even if they have changed since a previous visit or differ from those of another facility.'

I have always been a 'Rule Follower'...raised in the 50's and 60's when parents, teachers, and 'Robert's Rules' ruled. 

I still respect and abide by 'The Rules', but when it comes to 'Researching My Roots', I've become a Repository and Rule Protestor...of sorts.

For example...Cemeteries
The cemetery where my Georgia ancestors are buried does not have perpetual care, has no office, is accessible only by a muddy road, has snakes, tall grass, and lots of bugs...and many of the old gravestones are in broken pieces, stacked in a corner under a pile of dirt.

Still, I strive to follow the Rules of Headstone Recording by deciphering the dates without disturbing the dirt, pulling weeds or messing with the snakes.  The bugs get Off'ed.

Photo courtesy of a cousin once removed...rule of credit due...check.  You know the cousin rule...right...'once removed, they may not return.  (sorry, I couldn't resist)
Courthouse Repository Research Reveals
~Locating the county where your ancestor lived is the first step in finding records...like the time he was hauled into court for shooting his neighbor's dog, threatened the census taker with a shotgun, or arrested for making illegal corn whiskey behind the barn.
~When in the courthouse miles from home, you will always find the breakthrough court record at 4:55 pm on Friday afternoon.
~Your ancestor moved frequently and sold all of his property to his children before he died to avoid probate.
~Research in one county courthouse that leads you to information in another county will only be revealed on the last day of your vacation.
~Your ancestor is featured in the county history because he was the first prisoner in the new jail.
Birth and Death Certificates
~A Social Security form SS-5 is better than a birth certificate because few people had anything to do with the information on their own birth certificate.
~The application for a death certificate you want insists that you provide the maiden name of the deceased's mother...which is exactly what you don't know and is the reason for wanting the death certificate.
~Death Certificates are rarely filled in by the person who died.
Stuff You Should Know...Before Researching Your Roots
~Always interview brothers and sisters together in the same room.  Since they can't agree on anything about the family tree, it makes for a lively free-for-all.
~Work from the known to the unknown.  In other words, just because your name is Washington doesn't mean you are related to George.
~When you contact your home state's vital statistics office and ask if they are "online" and they respond..."on what?"...you may have a problem.
*Guidelines for Using Records Repositories and Libraries...Link
Parts of this Post Referenced from...Dollarhide's Genealogy Rules...Link


Traces of a Queens Genes

AtoZ Challenge...Letter Q's fiction from forgotten fotos

Who Do You Think You Are?

Really!!!  Isn't it considered rude to answer a question with a question, I thought to myself as I looked the 'Professional Genealogist' in the eye and said....

"I think I am the 17th Great Granddaughter of the Queen of Scotland." 

Her pupils dilated, she bit her lip and her eye began twitching as she replied, "Uh huh, and I am descended from a Pope".

OMG!!!  She thinks I'm some kind of nut job, I thought as my heart raced and my left eye twitched.   I bit my lip, furled my eyebrows, peered over the rims of my specs, and retorted...

"When Pigs Fly".
She handed me a Kleenex and said, "Here wipe your eyes, and let's get started tracing your Queen Genes".

Another gale of laughter and uncontrollable flow of tears streamed down both of our faces, as I took the tissue, dabbed my eyes and handed her the photo of my Great Great Grandfather Rene.  "I thought his given name Rene was unusual for a man from the deep South and after ruling out his paternal namesakes, I found another Rene on his mother's side of the family.  He was named after his mothers grandfather".

After sharing the rest of my confirmed research which ended at Plymouth Rock, I left the 'ProGenealogist' a 'cheek swab' and a down payment toward the search and confirmation of my 'Queen Genes'.

Two weeks later a package arrived with this book and accompanying note....

Dear Sue...just a quick note to let you know that your 'Queen Genes' may be so, although grave digging through Scottish Royalty is a bit tricky.  Seems you're ancestors may have suffered from GVD....an inherited disease.

Genealogicus Vulgaris Disease...A chronic mental disorder usually contracted in mid and late adulthood, though  occasionally found in teenagers.  Disorder is characterized by a strong desire to conclusively identify every member of a family. 

Sufferers enjoy reading obituary columns and frequent trips to cemeteries.  Physical symptoms include:  an involuntary twitch when the word "ahnentafel"* is mentioned in casual conversation, dilated pupils and increased heart rate when passing local libraries or state archives, sweaty palms in the presence of a microfiche.

Only known cure is death, which must be proven with the appropriate certificate.

*ahnentafel...genealogical numbering system for listing a person's direct ancestors in a fixed sequence of ascent.  Wikipedia link.


The Child Prodigy

AtoZ Challenge...Letter P's fiction from forgotten fotos
...continued from Letters N-O...Naturalization Papers and the Orphaned Boy

"Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the conductor for this evenings performance of La Boheme, Henry Schurtz Thorensen".

As our son turned to the audience and acknowledged the introduction, I turned to his mother and said, "Look, Hilda, our Henry has fulfilled his destiny." 

Henry raised his baton and with a subtle motion to the 'Strings', the violins opening chords filled the Metropolitan Opera House.  Tears filled my eyes and I was transported back to the time I first heard these opening strains of La Boheme....

....he stood on the chair, violin tucked under his chin and drew the bow across the strings.  The Missionary Office was packed with displaced immigrants seeking their way to become a part of America's promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Every man, woman and child stood in awe of the child on the chair as he performed the opera.  I was among them.  I was to be this childs father.

After weeks of searching, no relatives were found and no one came forward to claim the Orphaned Boy.  For days after discovering his dead mother in my Naturalization Office, I could not get the boy out of my mind, or the idea that we had missed some identifying clue on his papers.  The overlooked number on his citizenship papers was finally traced to his mother's application which revealed his last name and her immigration history.

The immigrant crowd burst into applause as the music came to an end.  I took Henry by the hand and we walked away as father and son.  Through the years, Henry continued to perform a repertoire of operatic music beyond the grasp of a child. 

It was after his use of English improved we learned that his grandfather from the old country had given him the violin. "Mama's papa made violins.  My Papa played the violin at a big concert house". 

It was not until Henry entered Julliard, that his violin was taken to a violin specialist for tuning.  It was there that Henry's natural parents and grandparents gifts and legacy were fully understood.

The 'Old Violin' found in his Mama's bag...the one tucked beneath a small boy's chin...the one that brought crowds of people to tears...the one played by a small boy standing in a chair...was a...


Naturalization Papers, and the Orphaned Boy

AtoZ Challenge...Letters N and O's fiction from forgotten fotos

It had been a long day of hearing oaths in so many different accents that the Naturalization Officer hardly recognized the 'Oath of Allegiance' anymore.  As he stamped and certified the last oath taker, he called for the next person in line.  A small boy stepped forward and handed him his papers.

"Where is your Mother, young man", he asked as he looked around the now empty room.  The boy pointed to a chair in the far corner of the room and began to cry.  "Mama, Mama", he sobbed.  The Officer came from behind the counter and approached the woman who appeared to be sleeping.  He placed his hand on her shoulder, and spoke softly to her, "Madam, it is your turn". 

"Mama, wake up", cried the boy as he attempted to climb in her lap.  As he did so, the woman slumped forward and fell to the floor with her sobbing child holding her in his arms. 

In the minutes and hours that followed, the Officer sent for the immigration/morgue authorities, searched the woman's bag for identification papers and comforted the boy, who between sobs, had revealed his name as being Henry.   The search for the woman's identification yielded only the papers the boy had given the Officer, which proved that his name was indeed Henry, but the last name was unreadable.

With no other alternatives left for identifying the child and finding his next of kin, an Immigration Missionary Representative was notified.  The Missionary organization provided assistance to those immigrants who needed temporary shelter and protection especially, to women and children. 

The Naturalization Officer knew that young Henry would be in good hands and receive the care and attention he would need as an Immigrant Orphan.   He gave the Missionary Representative Henry's mother's oversized bag with the old violin, and the citizenship papers, such as they were, in hopes that they would contain a clue to Henry's identity. 

Little did he know that he held the key to Henry's identity the whole time.
And never would he have guessed the part he would play in Henry's future fame and fortune. 
To be continued with Letter P's fiction from forgotten fotos
The Child Prodigy


Mrs M's Mink and Mable's Perm Machine

AtoZ Challenge...Letter M's fiction from forgotten fotos

Her name was Maggie.  I'll never forget the day she bolted into my Beauty Parlor with two dead weasels draped around her neck and a towel wrapped around her head.

The driver gave her the all clear before she stepped out on the curb and dashed into my shop.  As soon as the door was pulled closed, she started giving orders to close the shades and lock the door...like SHE owned the place.

My girls jumped to it as if a machine gun was in Maggie's hand instead of her purse.  Satisfied the shop was locked down and the threat of becoming the Chicago Tribune's next days headline, Mrs. 'M' jerked off the turbaned towel and began to wail, "Just look at my hair!!!  That Butcher Beauty Operator has ruined it."

You could hear the 'GASP' of all three of us Beauty Operators as we stood in the semi-darkened, locked, beauty shop in a stunned state as we stared at her neon orange stripped and spiked head of hair.  I quickly slipped the scissors I was holding in my pocket.

By now, she was in a state of sobbing snot and smeared mascara.  With all the compassion and care I could muster, I slipped the 'Mobster Mink' from her shoulders and seated her in a chair facing away from the mirrored wall.  Then assured her we could restore her color and fix the 'Butchers Botched Bob'.

Soon the flaming stripes were covered with 'Mary T Goldman's Hair Restorer' and Maggie's botched bob was clipped and layered for the latest  and stylish 'Wave'.  "Now, Mrs. 'M' the very best thing for your new style is a perm, I said as I guided her over to the 'Perm Machine'.
"I don't know Mable, it looks kinda scary".  You sure it's safe? 
One threat of electrocution in the family these days is enough."


Letters Written by Lamp Light

AtoZ Challenge....Letter L's fiction from forgotten fotos
August 5, 1861 
My Dear Brother Jessie,
      It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that our Mother has joined her heavenly father in the promise land.  Praise be, she is free of the pain and suffering that has long been her burden to bear.
      In her final hours, Jessie, her thoughts and prayers were for you.  Tears of love and sorrow filled her eyes as she prayed to Our Lord and Savior to comfort you with his healing touch on your wounds and heart. 
'Sweet Jessie, we will be together in the Glory of Heaven." 
With those last words, she went peacefully to The Glory.

Your devoted sister,
Mary Amanda

August 20, 1861

 My Dear Brothers George and John,
      It is with a greater sadness than you will ever know that I write to you of the death of our beloved Mother. I do so at this later date than her passing to include the Obituary from the Jacksonville News.
      As I write this letter and think of Mother's last days, I am reminded to tell you of her concerns for her three sons as you fight in this terrible war.  Her prayers were constant for her sons so far from home in Tennessee and Texas.
      Days before her passing, we recieved a letter from Jessie.  It was penned by another, but were his words of news that he was mortally wounded and lying in the hospital at Camp Bristow, Tennessee.  Jessie passed from this earth one day after Mother on August 6, 1861.  Her faith and close conversation with The Lord opened her heart and soul to a vision of the Glory of Heaven.  In my minds eye I see her inside the Golden Gates, her loving arms reaching out for Jessie as he walks the golden path to comfort and love of his Mother and the Lord they so love.
     I pray, my Brothers, that Mothers vision and words are prophetic for the safety and well being of you both.  It has been many months since you left Alabama for Texas, and the lack of news from you gives us concern.  We continue to pray for you both and for news of your safety and well being. 
Your loving Sister,
Mary Amanda
Obituary - The Jacksonville Republican News, Jacksonville, Alabama - December 12, 1861
Agnes Susan Castelberry Leatherwood departed this life August the 5th, 1861, aged 52 years, on month and 15 days.  The deceased was a native of South Carolina, then moved to Benton County (now Calhoun) Alabama where she remained until her death.  She had been affected for some time, and the latter part of her afflictions was very severe and yet she bore the same without murmur.
The deceased lived a member of the Baptist church and adorned her profession by a godly walk and close conversation;  but her seat is now vacant in the church house, and also in the family circle;  but in the language of Revelation, "blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, from hence forth, yea saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works, do follow them." 
Her Christian walk will still live in the memory of those with whom she associated.  She was a warm and devoted friend, and generous and forgiving to her enemies - a good and generous neighbor - a kind and affectionate wife and mother.  She has left a husband, 10 or 11 children, and many relatives and friends to mourn her loss, but their loss is her eternal gain.  We sympathize with the family in their bereavement, and may the Lord give them grace to sustain them in their heavy bereavement.
Letters Written by Lamp Light is a fictionalized account based on true facts, dates and names from my Leatherwood Family Tree.  Agnes Susan Castelberry Leatherwood  was my 4XGreat Grandmother.  Her oldest son John Moore was a Confederate Soldier in the 20th Regiment Texas Volunteer Infantry. He survived to become my 3XGreat Grandfather, but his brother George died of wounds inflicted on a battlefield in Texas.


Kinfolk from King Williams County

AtoZ Challenge...Letter K's fiction from forgotten fotos
"According to these documents, your 6th great grandfather was a Chancellor to King William and established the colony now known as King Williams County."

Finally, a small scrap of information explaining, what for generations, has been called the family's 'Royal Curse'. 

I thanked the Antiquity Records Librarian for her help in tracing the recently discovered maiden name of my fathers great great grandmother whose ancestors hailed from King William County.

My quest for answers to an affliction that has plagued the men in my family for many generations began with this question asked of my father...

 "Pa, why do you not own a straight razor?"

Little did I know then as his youngest girl child, that his answer would lead me to my life's work.  Not to mention the discovery of a Royal Family's secret that lead to my own tainted Royal Blood Line.

"Daughter, I have no need of a straight razor, for I am cursed...as was my father and his father before me.  For as long as we know, the men of our line do not shave for fear of bleeding to death.  For some unknown reason, it has been called our family's 'Royal Curse'."

In conclusion:
~The Chancellor was King Williams illegitimate son and carrier of the 'Royal Disease'.
~The Chancellor's son, my father's grandfather, bled to death from a musket ball wound to the leg on the battlefield of the Revolutionary War.
~Chancellor Kingston, my father's father, died of old age having never shaved or owned a musket.
~My father, Chance Kingston, lived a long life with the knowledge that the 'Royal Disease' he was cursed with ended with his death...he was the last of the male heirs of King William's illegitimate son.

Signed:  Dr. Chauncey Kingston, M.D. of Hematology
 Director of Haemophilia Research
King Williams County
~Photos in this story from CollectInTexas Gal's OldPhoto©Collection...representatives of the periods and not meant to be taken as persons named in this story.
~All Family names are fictious and used to enhance the story's Alpha theme of the Letter K.
~This author's 5xGreat Grandfather was born in King Willliam County, Virginia, and was a decendant of Royalty with no known or documented 'Royal Disease' in lineage.


'Ordinary Court' Judge's Greenback Judgement

AtoZ Letter J's...fiction from forgotten fotos

"All rise for the Honorable Daniel Pittman".  At the command of the bailiff, the buzz of conversation turned into a combination of noise from chairs scraping on the wood floor and the rustle created by the standing of a packed courtroom.

The Honorable Judge rapped the gavel and declared, "This Court of the Ordinary will come to order and remain orderly throughout the 'Declaration of Judgment' in the case of the Fulton County Greenback Party versus the Congressional Resumption Act of 1875."

At the mention of the Congress, the courtroom burst into a shouting of slurs, fist pounding, and foot stomping....Damn Yankee Bankers...Crooked Money Changers.  After a good bit of gavel pounding and threatening to clear the courtroom, order was restored and the Judge continued, "Before I declare the courts Judgment in this case I offer this 'communication' recently published in the *Macon Weekly Telegraph, April 2, 1878."  (for brevity, the following is in parts from the original article sourced from GenealogyBank.com)

~The talk of too many greenbacks is all bosh, suggested by the bondholders to mislead and deceive the people. 
~Look at the wide and undeveloped West and southwest, which is waiting for money even as the ripened wheat fields of Ohio and Illinois yearn for the mowers and reapers to save the golden grain in July.
~Look at the natural increase of the population of this country from births and immigration.
~Above all, look at the ruin;  degradation, starvation and bankrupts which have all been caused by the contraction of the currency and the creation of the non-taxable bonds, and then tell me if there is danger of too many greenbacks.

We are quite sure if the people could be made to understand aright, they would never consent to the restoration of the old banking system which flooded the country with a deluge of bills, not one in five of which could be redeemed......in gold or silver.  What is needed, is all the gold and silver that can possibly be utilized as a circulating medium, supplemented by an additional issue of greenbacks to supply the wants of trade, guaranteed by the United States government, and made receivable for taxes and all other dues not inconsistent with previous contracts. 

Then we would have a uniform currency and be in no danger from spurious wildcat money. 
by Mr. Daniel Pittman of Atlanta, Georgia for the Atlanta Constitution.
The courtroom burst into appreciative and courteous applause as all stood and quieted as Judge Daniel Pittman stated the courts judgment....
"I find in Favor for the People of Fulton County, Georgia in declaring the
Congressional Resumption Act of 1875 unfair and unacceptable."
Court Adjourned!
~The Honorable Daniel Pittman was my 1st Cousin 4XRemoved.  The photo is a representation of the period and not to be taken as Daniel Pittman or any person named in this story.
~The courtroom scene and court case is fictional, but the historical events and Daniel Pittman's writings are authentic and sourced via the links included.
~* Macon Weekly Telegraph, Macon Georgia Vol.LIII, Issue 13, pg.4...copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society, 2004
~One dollar Greenback of 1862...The Color of Money   ~  The History of the Greenback Dollar


The School Teachers Improvised Identity

AtoZ Challenge...Letter I's 'fiction from forgotten fotos'

Geo. W. Crossley was the name signed on the application being considered by Carter Malone.  Mr. Malone was a widowed rancher with six school age children.  It had not been easy, fulfilling his wife's deathbed wish of rebuilding the school and hiring an Eastern Educated School Master.  It was about to become a reality.

None to soon too...to his way of thinking, as he studied the 'Dandy' in the photo from the only application received from the ad placed in the New York newspaper.  He would have to do...the school was finished and the town was ready for their children to resume their studies after the untimely and sudden death of their teacher and the mother of his children.

Under the signature was a well penned postscript...Arriving April 10 by train.  Ready to assume teaching position.  Self assured 'Dandy'...not waiting for a confirmation, thought the rancher as he continued to study the photo.

The next day the entire town turned out to welcome the new School Master with a 'Welcome Mr. Crossley' banner.  As the train conductor helped the first of the travelers down the steps, Carter pulled the photo from his jacket pocket.  Not one of the disembarking passengers looked like the Dandy School Master.  A hush fell over the crowd of anxious children and their parents as the last passenger stepped off the train, looked out over the crowd and spoke...

"Thank-you for the warm welcome. It's wonderful to be here after such a long journey."  At that moment, the conductor, escorting two men carrying a makeshift pine box asked, "Where should we put this box?"

Suddenly everyone started talking at once.  The children were crying.  The train whistle was blowing and steam poured from the smoke stack as it stoked up for departing the station.  Finally, Mr. Malone directed the assumed pall bearers to his wagon noting how easily they bore the weight as they practically tossed it onto the wagon. 

Turning his back to the crowd, he came face to face with a pair of familiar eyes.  Still holding the photo, he held it aloft near the New Yorkers cheek confirming his suspicion.  He felt as if he had been punched in the gut.  He took the travel worn satchel, nodded toward the pine box and asked, "Is this all of your baggage?"

Georgina W. Crossley, affirmed with a nod of her head that the satchel and pine box was all of her baggage...for now.


Here Ye, Here Ye...Headlines From The Big House

AtoZ Challenge...Letter H's 'fiction from forgotten fotos'
...continued from Letter G...

The newspapers had a 'Headline Hay Day'...
Laude, Laude! VP's Girl A Lawyer
Needless to say our ritual breakfast following 'The Suffrage Hike on DC' and my incarceration were a bit strained.  Father's headline ranting could be heard from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other.
Mother, bless her heart, tolerated his outbursts with a practiced ease.  "Hannah, tell your daughter, that I refuse to pay another cent toward her bogus law degree", was his reaction to the revealing of the 'First Woman Law School Graduate' from his Alma Mater.
"Yes, dear.  I suppose that means you will decline having the new Law Library named after you", mother said as she turned to me and continued..."Georgina, you must know how betrayed your Father feels knowing that you deceived him in the pursuit of a Law Degree rather than a Doctorate in the Arts."
At that, Father slammed the offending headline down on the table and proceeded to the next daily newspaper with a dramatic gesture of unfolding the front page.  Mother calmly reached for the 'Laude, Laude' article and began clipping it from the front page as she leaned closer and whispered, "Don't worry, dear, I will continue to pay your tuition.  I'm so proud of you."
VP's Daughter In Holding Tank
VP Suffers Over Suffragette In Slammer 
"OUTRAGEOUS!!!  I can not believe that my own flesh and blood has put me in this position.  Women's Right to Vote!!!  Never happen!!! Mark my words, young lady!  Hannah, tell your daughter how sensible women like you have no business messing in politics or a say in who runs this country", Father ranted as he again slammed the paper on the table and stormed out of the room.
Mother rolled her eyes, picked up the papers and her scissors and said, "Now, Georgiana, as soon as you see 'General Jones', assure her that I have procured the space and staff we talked about.
My, my, we are so close to fulfilling our Law School Pact. 
 I wish I could be more public in my support.  


The Graduate and General Jones

AtoZ Challenge...Letter G's "fiction from forgotten fotos"

Father was just finishing his morning coffee and ranting over the headlines when I sat down for our ritual breakfast.  "Ridiculous", he shouted as he backhanded the offending headline...General Jones and Troops Prepare March on Washington

"What's that Father?" I asked, knowing full well what set him off. 

"Nothing to worry your pretty little head over, Georgina.  Just a bunch of trouble making women making fools of themselves over the absurd notion of women's right to vote. 

I'm ever so thankful you have such a sensible head on your shoulders and have chosen to study Art.  With your talent and cultural upbringing you will have no trouble marrying well."

"Yes, Father, of course.  Speaking of studies, I must be on my way.  I am running a bit late. Oh, and remember I will be away for the next two weeks on the Watercolor Retreat."

By then he had retrieved the slap-torn paper and was engrossed in an article announcing his Alma Mater Law School Graduation and it's first woman graduate who requested to remain anonymous until Commencement Ceremonies. 

"Ridiculous", he shouted again and threw down the paper as I quickly grabbed my hat and bag.  General Jones was adamant about being on time, and as the 'Legal Counsel' for 'The Suffrage Hike on DC', being late would not serve well for my position as her 'attache' to the Press.

 I met 'General Jones' at Mrs. Wilson's Capital Charity Ball.  As a wealthy Senator's wife, she was a sought after attendee at political fund raisers and socialite events.  Her involvement in the 'Suffrage Movement' and the little known fact that she held a Law Degree was the catalyst of our fast friendship.  She became my mentor and I...her right hand woman.

Two weeks later, that is where I found myself...right beside 'General Jones' in the 'Slammer' as the Washington Post headlines read.   Somehow, the DC police were not impressed with my Summa Cum Laude almost Law Degree, but were quite taken aback by my 'Headliner Last Name'.

I knew from all the clamor that Father had arrived....
"Yes, Sir, your daughter was arrested right along with the other 'Suffragette Demonstrators'.  Yes, Sir, on the steps of the Capitol Building.   No, Sir, she has not been arraigned or her name released to the Press."

"Here she is, Mr. Vice President!"
To be continued with Letter H...


Flora's Fight for Texas State Flower

AtoZ Challenge...Letter F's 'fiction from forgotten fotos'
'The Dames', congregated on the steps of the State Capital carrying baskets of bluebonnets.  "Ladies, let's make our entrance into the Legislative Chamber one they will never forget". 

At that 'The Colonial Dames of Texas' stampeded through the massive double doors of the chamber and marched down the center isle tossing bluebonnets right and left. 

The pandemonium that followed was a sight to behold, and certainly achieved the unforgettable entrance my Great Aunt Flora was after.

I first heard this story from my Aunts...Bea and Irene as they stitched on their Mother, Flora's Bluebonnet quilt block.

"Sister and I pieced this top years ago.  How many was it, Bea?", Irene asked.

 Beatrice paused with her needle stabbed in a blue floral hexagon, and answered Irene, "Well, now let me think....I believe it was right after Mama decided she wanted Bluebonnets in her flower garden."

 "That's right, I remember now", Irene said and launched into the Bluebonnet story.
Mama was a member of the Colonial Dames of America In Texas who were instrumental in getting the Bluebonnet named as the State Flower.   Remember Sister, when she told us about speaking before the Texas Legislature to convince them to pick the Bluebonnet over the Cactus? 

There she was debating the merits of a flower that only blooms in the spring, lasts for only a couple of months and is difficult to grow from seed, against *Cactus Jack.  He certainly had the upper hand, being a known politician and promoting a plant that was found from Brownsville to Amarillo and from Texarkanna to El Paso. 

Whereas the Bluebonnet grows mostly in Southern and Central Texas.  Beatrice piped in with, "I loved it when Mama told about how she whipped the *Vice President of the United States on the floor of the Texas Legislature with a Lil Ole Blue Flower.

  After Flora's passionate speech on the floor of the Texas Legislature in 1901, the 'Lupinus subcarnosus', sandy land bluebonnet or buffalo clover became the only species of bluebonnet recognized as the state flower of Texas.  Wikipedia

Great Aunt Flora and her sisters owned and operated 'The Wall Flower Shop' in Wall, Texas.  The four sisters...Flora, Fern, Fauna and Fuschia were founding and charter members of 'The Dames'.  Their shop became known as 'The Great Wall Flower Shop' and the Bluebonnet their ©Trademark.

You may be on the plains or the mountains or down where the sea breezes blow, but bluebonnets are one of the prime factors that make the state the most beautiful land that we know."  W.Lee O'Daniel, 34th Govenor of Texas 1939-1941
*Cactus Jack, aka  John Nance Garner, Vice President of the United States 1931-1933

PS...Great Great Uncle Fesscue and Aunt Ferna Flowers certainly did have a sense of humor when naming their four daughters. 


The Enumerators Error

AtoZ Challenge...Letter E's 'fiction from forgotten fotos'
Department of the Interior, Central Office
Washington, D.C. May 1, 1900
  Attention Enumerator:   enumeration must be completed within two weeks from June 1.
Particular Attention to Details in following Sections:  Name and Relationship Section-Column 3-4, #108 through #125...Personal Description-Columns 4-6.
June 15, 1900
Good Afternoon, Mrs. Carroll.  I am Mrs. Jenkins the Census Taker.  I apologize for the interruption of your evening meal, but I am down to the last day allowed by the Department of the Interior and your household is the last family on my schedule.  Is your husband home?
My Great Grandmother had just settled her children at the table for their supper. She offered the Census Taker a glass of tea and explained that her husband and brother were in the field and would not be in for at least another hour. 
While Mrs. Jenkins made ready to fill in the Census Form,  Janie filled the children's plates then sat down with her glass of tea and provided her husbands name as....Head of Household....Stephen Carroll, white male, birthdate..Nov 1872, married, 3 years, Farmer, born in Tennessee.  She was just finishing with the last person in the household, John her brother, when her oldest reached across the table for the basket of bread, and in the process knocked over the Enumerators glass of tea.

The Enumerator quickly picked up the completed Census Form and began shaking off the tea which had a few rivulets of tea and black ink spotting the page.  Janie had dashed to the kitchen for a cloth which helped to blot the now blurred letters of her children's 'Personal Description-Columns 4-6'. 
My Great Grandmother apologized as she dried tears and hushed bawling children.  Mrs. Jenkins packed up her papers and prepared to leave as quickly as possible.  It had been a long day.
Later that evening she envisioned the children as she had seen them at the table and attempted to repair the blurred lines of their names and relationship.  The oldest one was wearing a dress, and I can just make out O t h e l l, so the last letter is 'a', she thought to herself.  Then she completed that childs line with daughter in column 4 and F for Female in column 6.  A few months later, the Stephen Carroll Family sat for this portrait. 
Standing next to their father are sons Merritt Douglas and Othello Elisha. 
In Great Grandmother Janie's lap is my Grandmother Stella.
April 2010
One hundred and ten years later when this photo was found in Janie's Photo Album their identities were not known, and I tagged it  "couple and three daughters".  Through a lot of 'Photo/USCensus Research' including Mrs. Jenkins 1900 Census report,  I was able to determine that the couple was indeed Stephen B. and Martha J. Carroll and their three children.  Mrs. Jenkins in her haste, left Stella off completely, and mistakenly put an 'a' at the end of the name O t h e l l  instead of an 'o'.
One look at him in that skirt, and I'd have made the same Enumerator Error!


The Dowager of Dower Pond

AtoZ Challenge...Letter D's 'fiction from forgotten fotos'

"Get out of my house...you no good *Jackleg Lawyer!"

"But, madam, you must sign this *'Dower Release' in order for the property to be sold."

"Yes, I know," replied my great great grandmother.  "Now, my daughter will show you to the door, and you can tell my husband to go jump in the property's pond."

Those words echo in my head as I sit here with pen in hand contemplating the 'Dower Release' before me. The two generations of women before me faced this same piece of paper.  Had they signed, I wouldn't be in this position today.  Yet, I must consider the times...

Great Great Grandmother was known as the Dowager of Dower Pond long before she became a widow.  And, no her husband did not 'go jump in the pond' and drown, although he probably contemplated it more than once after years of wheeling, dealing and gambling with the 'Pond Property'.  The Dowager stood firm in her refusal to sign as did her daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter.

That was then...and even through all the 'Wheeling and Dealing' the family home remained intact.  The Dowagers house was home to generations of daughters who refused to sign and threw out the Dower Release paper pusher Jackleg Lawyers.  This is now, and times have changed.  The family properties have been divided and divided again with each Dowager Daughters daughters. 

I am the last Dowager Daughter, and as I stand here looking out over 'Dower Pond', as it has been called since the first 'Dower Release' refusal, I hear the first Dowager's words in my head...."Get out of my house...you no good Jackleg Lawyer".
As this latest Dower Release is falling in tiny pieces around my feet, I am thinking...
To Hell with it! 
My Jackleg Lawyer soon to be Ex-husband can...'Go Jump in Dower Pond'...
right beside his Beloved Boat!
*Jackleg Lawyer...characterized by unscrupulousness, dishonesty, or lack of professional standards. Merriam-Webster
*Dower Release...A married man in many U.S. locations could not, by law, sell land unless his wife consented.  She was interviewed apart from her husband and swore she was under no compulsion or duress from her husband regarding the sale.  She then swore and signed a 'Dower Release'.  pg 246 How To Do Everything Genealogy
~Photo from My Great Grandmother's Album...Unidentified, but possibly my Great Grandfather's Mother and Sisters from Tennessee.


The Confused Clergyman

AtoZ Challenge...Letter C's 'fiction from forgotten fotos'

"Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to witness and celebrate the holy matrimony of three sisters and three brothers." As the witness/guests gasp and snickered in unison, the clergyman realized how his introduction of the 'Triple Wedding' participants sounded and quickly cleared his throat and said, "What I meant to say was these three Sister Brides and their three Brother Grooms".

This time, the guests broke into gales of knee slapping laughter, the mother of the brides fainted and the father of the grooms nervously pulled at his overly tight bowtie. By now the Sister Brides were rolling their eyes and the Brother Grooms were jabbing each other's sides.  The clergyman, aware that his first wedding ceremony was not going according to the 'Good Book's Plan', decided to simply start over.  He raised his hand, and as the crowd once again grew quiet, he stammered out the opening lines...

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to witness and celebrate the union of  these Three Sisters and Daughters of...a nod and open hand gesture to the parents on the left...and these Three Brothers and Sons of...a nod and open hand gesture to the parents on the right.  The now recovered mother of the brides was whiter than her three daughters virginal wedding dresses, and the father of the grooms was as red as the Rose Boutonniere on his lapel.
The Clergyman, now feeling in control found his place in the 'Good Book' and continued with, "Please join hands and repeat after me Sister Constance and Brother Clyde".  Constance and Clyde repeated their vows, said their I Do's, kissed and stepped back.  Constance took both of her twin sisters bouquets and stood behind them to serve as their maid of honor.  Clyde in turn stood behind his brothers to serve as their Best Man.

The Clergyman motioned for the two couples to move together and join hands, and began the recitation of the vows.  As was traditional and stated during Constance and Clyde's vows, the question of "can any man show just cause why they may not be lawfully joined" went unanswered.  Relieved beyond belief, the Clergyman smiled at the Twin Sister Brides and their Brother Grooms, "I now pronounce you....."

At that moment before the final words were declared, the Mother of the Brides rushed to the podium and between sobs said...
"They cannot marry.  They ARE Sisters and Brothers".
The Confused Clergyman snapped shut 'The Good Book' and threw up his hands!
The Mother of the Grooms...slapped the Rose Red Faced Father of the Brides and Grooms!
Constance handed her shocked sisters their Rose Bouquets, hugged her new brothers-in-law and...
...marched down the isle with her new husband waving the Marriage Certificate signed by
The Confused Clergyman...
who was scratching his head trying to remember if he ever got to say...
I now pronounce you man and wife!


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