Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Notes from the past.

The past is past
The future nigh

Where was I when
Time went by?

Living life and
Dreaming dreams..

Going nowhere
So it seems..

This is a picture of my grandmother and my mother and aunts. Above this is a picture of  one of the notes I have. I am trying to piece together a history from this and I am having to try and decipher it. Not being able to place some of the words in context and not knowing what some of the activities she is refering to are is making it difficult for me.

I was reading a post about handwritten notes today. I had not thought about how rare these were until today,or how lucky I am to have several hand written notes from my mother,grandmother and greatgrandmother.
 My mothers side of the family were pioneers and it seems that the women were educated enough to keep some handwritten accounts of their lives. Our Family had a homestead on the Windriver in WY. It had been in our family since the late 1800's. Most of the land was sold off when my Greatgrandpa died because of multiple heirs. The original buildings and 30 acres with the best riverfrontage were kept in the family and my Aunt and Uncle took care of it until their deaths last year. The ranch was sold,again because of multiple heirs.

 Being one of the heirs I received a box full of stuff from their estate. I was lucky enough to get the box with old photos and a handwritten history of the family. I also found a notebook my greatgrandmother kept. I am still deciphering the stories she wrote down (bad handwriting).I would like to share some of these stories and photos as these people were true "homesteaders" and had real American spirit. They suffered hardships we can only imagine just to try and provide a living for their families and keep them safe.

I thought I would start with one of the first entries these are my great grandmothers writings :

  "I will start with my family history as I heard and remember it. My grandfather Ben was born March 26 1822. He was from Ohio and was pretty well educated for that time. He was of Welch,English and Irish ancestry as was Martha his wife. Martha was born April 6, 1823. They were Married Nov. 21, 1844 and moved from Ohio to South central Iowa near Indinolla.They settled on the river bottom on the South River. They had to clear the land of timber and built a cabin with the logs. They built a cabin 14 x 16 and another in back of it roofing the space between for storage and washing clothes, and any other chores to be done outside. Martha was a small plump woman with dark hair and blue eyes. She was a very good manager, housekeeper and an excellent cook. They made almost everything they used even spinning and weaving a lot of the fabric and linens. They tanned hides to make their own leather for shoes. Martha as talented as she was, could not read or write. They had 5 girls my mother being the fourth. Sophia the first daughter married a man by the name of starbuck, she died a year after she was married of pneumonia, no children. Belle married and bore two boys and two girls and died soon after. Anne married Diff a real nice man. They had two boys and five girls. Anne also died after bearing the children. Myself, Grace ,I had 5 girls. Celestine who married and had 4 boys and 4 girls. Martha helped raise the children of the dead daughters in her own home..

Imagine raising 5 children in a 14x16 space. I also couldn't imagine loosing 3 of my 5 children. I seems to be common.


Jennifer said...

I came across your blog from a friend of mine. I too am working on scrap books of ALL my grandmothers photos.. My grandmother has alzheimers and no longer remembers anyone (including photos) and no one else in my family knows who all these babies, people or buildings are of. I have come to the conclusion that I may just have to frame them and start giving these pictures my own story... HA! I hope you have more luck than I do. Heck, maybe we are related... :)

berryvine said...

You never know Jennifer we are all related at some point. I at least have my grandmothers and greatgrandmothers writings. We need an historian in each family. We have lots of pictures we will never identify. Too bad they didn't think to label them.