Monday, May 14, 2018

Grizel Carey Fletcher

There is something that is interesting about the name Grizel...perhaps it reminds me of one of Cinderella's stepsisters, Grizelda.  Whatever the case, it isn't the usual name.  I haven't even seen it much in the early colonial times.  So I was interested when I came across her name.

Elizabeth Baldwin would have been my 6th great grandmother.  She married Jesse Swan on the 24 Nov 1766 in Stonington, New London Co., CT.  My line to her is as follows:

Nathaniel Swan m. Harriett Shutter
Cynthia Swan m. Potter Gage
Gilbert Gage m. Phoebe Allen
Orlando Gage m. Edith Phoebe Gallup
Ora Silas Gage m. Florence Christine Shawver
Helen Marian Gage m. Frank Stewart Johnson (my grandparents)

I have found the Swan family line to be a very interesting line to pursue.  I have found a lot of interesting tidbits through the years.  From all the research that I have done through the years, I have the realization that an awful lot of my family comes from New England.  I have family living in Connecticut and Massachusetts from the mid 1600's to the late 1700's.  With that small of a geographic area there is a high likelihood that there are a lot of tangled family connections...and that is certainly the case.

Elizabeth's parents were John Baldwin and Eunice Spaulding and she was born in 1745 in New London Co., CT and died in 1803 Berne Co., NY.  Elizabeth and her husband Jesse Swan migrated to NY probably in the late 1790's.  I have a few other more family lines who moved about the same time.  Anyway, you take Elizabeth's family back a few more generations you end up with Grizel Fletcher.

John Baldwin m. Eunice Spaulding
Thomas Spaulding m. Mary/Mercy Welch
Joseph Spaulding m. Mercy Jewell
Thomas Jewell m. Grizel Fletcher

Thomas Jewell was born about 1607 in England, immigrated to Massachusetts in 1635 and married Grizel Fletcher around 1640.  Grizel was born about 1618 in Chelmsford, Essex, England.  Her father was Robert Fletcher and her mother is unknown.  I have seen Robert's second wife Sarah Hartwell listed, but since they didn't married to 1631, I find that doubtful.  Thomas and Grizel were the parents of the following children:

Thomas Jewell b. 1639
Joseph Jewell b. 1642
Hannah Jewell b. 1643
Nathaniel Jewell b. 1648
Grizzell b.1651
Mercy b. 1653 (My 9th great grandmother)

Thomas Jewell dies on 21 Jul 1654 in Braintree, Norfolk Co., MA.  I don't know if women were in a shortage or if Grizel needed protection and help, but Grizel marries about six months later on 9 Jan 1655 to Humphrey Griggs.  (He was b. 1610 and d. 1657)  He must have died before 8 Aug 1657, because Grizel marries Henry Kibbee on that date.   Henry passes away on 10 Aug 1661.  They have three children:

Edward b. 1659
Sherebiah b. 1659
Joshua b. 1661

Then, on 12 Nov 1661, Grizel marries John Gerney.    I don't have any birth and death dates, but I would make the assumption that he died before 1667, because that is when Grizel marries John Burge on 3 Jul 1667.  Grizel dies herself on 9 Jul 1669 in Chelmsford, Middlesex Co., MA. 

There is no judgement on my part as to the many marriages.  It would have had to be very difficult to support young children as a woman.  The husband's all had young children and they needed wives to provide food and care for them as well.  Grizel was the mother of nine children by two different husbands and also married two more times.  Grizel was about 21 when her first child was born in 1639 and about 43 when she had her ninth child.  When she died  in 1669, she was 51 years of age.  She left behind 5 children below the age of 16.  I am fairly sure those children were absorbed into other family members families.  My 9th great grandmother (Mercy Jewell) married on 9 Dec 1670 to Joseph Spaulding. 

If the data I have found is correct, it doesn't paint a very pretty picture.  It does paint a picture of woman who was a survivor and did whatever she could to keep hearth and home together.  How difficult it must have been to face the death of three husbands and have nine children to look after and make sure they were clothed and fed.  I am not sure how anyone could call that period of history the "good old days!" 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Gravestone Pics - George William Shawver & Elizabeth Matilda Legg









My great great grandfather moved to Iowa and later Nebraska in the late 1800's.  He likely wasn't there when his parents both died in 1900.  When he visited West Virginia in 1930, he took this photo of his parent's gravestone and it is in a photo album of photos taken during that trip back to West Virginia.

Neither one of these photos is all that cheerful.  I suspect that no one likes to see a picture of a gravestone unless you are interested in genealogy.  However, if you are interested in genealogy, there are two things missing as far as I am concerned.  Those two things are the maiden name of the woman and full dates on the gravestone.  Doesn't seem that important to most...but sometimes it is very difficult to figure out what the maiden name is for a particular ancestor.  Perhaps there wasn't a marriage record available, or no one had a Bible record.  It makes it so much easier to have the maiden name already on the stone.  This caused quite a discussion for my mother and I many years ago.  We decided that women should always have their maiden name on their gravestones because it not only acknowledges the family they were born into but also their own family history.  Plus it would make it so much easier on later generations.  So, when my mother passed away - her maiden name was on her gravestone.

This couple would be my 3rd great grandparents.  The handwriting on the photo is from my great grandmother, Florence Shawver Gage.  The typewritten description also comes from her.  She decided to redo some of her photo albums once upon a time, taught herself to type and typed up the descriptions.  You might call her an early "scrapbooker!"

George William Shawver was born 15 Nov 1824 at Mill Creek Mountain, Greenbrier Co., WV (It was still VA when he was born) and he died 9 Mar 1900 in Prosperity, Raleigh Co., WV.  He was married to Elizabeth Matilda Legg on 02 Nov 1848 in Fayette Co., WV (VA).  She was born 16 May 1830 in Leander, Fayette Co., VA (WV) and she died just a few weeks before her husband on 12 Feb 1900 in Prosperity, Raleigh Co., WV.  He was the son of Robert Shawver and Mary Jane Callison and she was the daughter of Thomas Henderson Legg and Elizabeth Nutter.

I don't know when the photo was taken, but I suspect it was around 1890 or so.  My younger relations have commented that he looks friendly enough but she looks rather sour.  Have to remind the younger generations that she probably didn't have many teeth left...and they probably had to sat there for a few minuted to take a photo.  She couldn't really hide behind the beard!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Kelley Maze and the Researcher Who Helped Me Find My Way!

John Ward Kelley & Melvina Robertson - My 3rd Great Grandparents

I have been doing genealogical research for over 20 years now.  Hard to believe that I have been doing it that long…but really I have been doing it most of my life.  I learned at an early age to ask a lot of questions and listen to the stories that many of my older relations enjoyed sharing.  There have been a lot of people who have helped me and taught me through the years.  I learned that one of those people passed away this past summer. 

I think that I met “Lucy” through another researcher.  I don’t think that she ever got online.  She was old school and did everything through letters and phone calls.  I learned so much through those phone calls.  She had grown up on the farm that my great great great grandfather was born on back at Sexton’s Creek, Clay Co., KY.  It is one of those amazing things about genealogy when the young and the old get together.  There is a mix of generations that shouldn’t fit.  Lucy’s father died when she was quite young and she lived with her grandparents, Francis Marion Kelly and Fannie Jane Sparks.  Francis Marion Kelly was the younger brother of my 3rd great grandfather, John Ward Kelly.  (Their parents, William Kelly and Ailey Allen were the parents of eleven children.)  So, I was talking with someone who had memories with her grandfather who was my 3rd great grandfather’s brother and lived on the home-place that William Kelly and Ailey Allen had lived on in Clay Co., KY.

It is my observation that there is a special kind of “crazy” for anyone who decides to dive in on families lines in Kentucky or West Virginia.  I know it occurs in other areas, but in my experience, these areas are some of the most difficult to get the information correct.  I am not only talking about names, dates, and places but connecting them to the correct families.  There are so many intermarriages, similar names and places.  I have some experience doing this…so I know what it is like to go down in that deep hole.  I have always tried to add siblings of my ancestors and once you go down that road, it has endless branches that seem to interconnect.  This is especially true if you are looking in a relatively small geographic area.  You might wonder why I characterize West Virginia and Kentucky in this category…mostly because I have gone into the maze many times and sometimes it is weeks before I get out.  Having said that, it was an enjoyable experience to get lost in that maze with someone like Lucy.  She knew the area, families and connections like no one else, mostly because she had lived there and could personally share the experience.

Lucy and I spent several years pursuing both independently and together the connection between Adoniram Allen and Ethan Allen.  We had both heard the story and wanted to find proof of the connection.  It was surprising when we both came to the same conclusion almost at the same time.  The connection wasn’t through Adoniram and Ethan’s father,s but rather through their mother’s.  They were sisters with the last name of Baker.

Lucy had heard stories from her grandfather who told her that his father had traveled with his parents from the Clinch mountains by wagon out to Kentucky as a young man.  She was also the one who found documentation about the Hammer family traveling from Pennsylvania through the Cumberland Gap to Knob Creek, Washington Co., TN.  While we never found documented proof that our “Kinchen Kelly” and the one that came from Knob Creek were one and the same – we had pretty good circumstantial proof.  I hope that I can give someone else guidance that is as valuable as what Lucy gave me.  I haven’t been able to talk to my friend for some time because she hadn’t been well.  I will miss her and treasure the knowledge that she gave me and will try to pay it forward.  Writing this family reminds me that I need to dig back into this family.  I am sure is more info to add that wasn't available the last time I went researched the family!

This is the family of William Kelly and Ailey Allen that Lucy and I shared.

William Kelly b. 1818 TN d. 9 Jun 1899 Clay Co., KY
 m. Ailey Allen b. 12 Apr 1823 Clay Co., KY d. 05 Apr 1890 Clay Co., KY
  • Rachel Kelly b. 1842 d. aft 1880 m John R Banks m2 Granville Bishop
  • Susan Laura Jane Kelly b. 25 apr 1843 d. 26 Aug 1928 m. Granville Bishop (Yes it is the same one)
  • Drucilla Kelly b. 30 Oct 1845 d. 7 Oct 1884 m. Lunsford Banks
  • James Kelly b. 01 Oct 1847 d. 01 Oct 1923 m. Sarah Ann Bishop
  • John Ward Kelly b. 08 Aug 1849 d. 20 Feb 1910 m. Melvina Robertson m2 Laura
  • George W. Kelly b. Jun 1851 d. aft 1910 m. Elizabeth North
  • Joseph Matherly Kelley b. 16 May 1853 d. 4 Sept 1929 m. Drucilla Alice Morgan
  • Francis Marion Kelly b. 13 Nov 1855 d. 6 Dec 1939 m. Fannie Jane Sparks
  • Kinchen Kelley b. 30 Apr 1858 d. 1930 m. Julia A Sparks
  • Henry Kelly b. 1 May 1861 d. 1 May 1913 m. Nancy Napier
  • Jobe Kelly b. 20 Feb 1864 d. 14 Dec 1941 m. Martha Lucinda Edwards


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Happy Birthday Granddad Gage

It is hard to believe that it has been 28 years since my great grandfather died. I was so lucky that I had him until I was 23 years old.  It is funny because one of my dearest memories of him happened on a spring break back when I was probably about 6 or so.  My family had gone to the Oregon coast to see the ocean...and to visit Grandma and Grandpa Gage.  Somehow or another, I fell into a tidal pool and as was normal - it was cold and rainy during spring break.  I was taken back to my great grandparents home, dried off and changed clothes.  Then I sat on my Grandpa's lap, leaned against his chest and fell asleep.  I didn't know it at the time, but that was probably one of Granddad Gage's favorite things to do - have one of his many grandchildren on his lap.

One of his younger photos back in Iowa in the 1920's
Granddad Gage was born on 5 Apr 1892 in Esperance, NY to Orlando Gage and Edith Gallup.  He had had an older brother who had died as a toddler.  He had been in a walker and had scooted under a table and stood up.  He was killed by a nail poking through on the table.  (Granddad always reminded everyone of that when he saw a child in a walker.)  Orlando Gage had been a widower with another family before he married Edith Gallup. 
Granddad was the oldest of the four living children.  His name was Ora Silas, then the twins Pete & Phebe and his youngest sister, Alice.  In 1908, they lost their parents within 8 days of each other.  Their mother died of pneumonia and father had gotten sick and had died 8 days after their mother.  Granddad brought his siblings to Nebraska to live with their maternal Grandmother,  (Phebe Montanye Gallup) and then promptly left to off by himself and find a job at 15 years of age.  He worked as postman for a while, was in the army and then got work as a hired hand at a farm.  The story goes that he went up to a farmer who was advertising and asked what the pay was.  The farm said something like $5 a day...and Granddad replied that he was worth more than that.  Granddad said that he would work for him for two weeks and if the farmer didn't agree that he was worth $10 a day, he would move on with no pay.  After the first few days, the farmer didn't only agree he was worth the extra money, he paid him to make sure he kept him.  Granddad and Lou Brenner (the farmer) became lifelong friends.

Grandma Gage's 93rd birthday.  Granddad was 98.  This was the last time I saw him!  June, 1990
No one could accuse Granddad of being stupid or lazy.  While Granddad didn't have a lot of formal schooling, he was probably one of the better informed and well read people I have known.  I remember watching him read Herman Wouk's War & Remembrance in his early 90's.  He might have been reading with magnifying glasses, but he was reading it.  Part of that was an innate curiosity about life and a love of learning...perhaps part of was also being married to a schoolteacher.  The last time I saw Granddad Gage was my great grandmother's birthday in June of 1990.  They were still discussing what was going on in the world.  They were also still competing at answering the questions first while watching Jeopardy on TV.

 I have so many wonderful memories of Granddad.  It always reminds me how lucky I truly was.  When I think of a grandfather...I think of him, and he was my great grandfather.  Here are a few blogs that I have written about him through the years.
 

Grandpa Gage's School Picture 
Bib Overalls
They Lived their Faith
A Lifelong Love Story
A Job Well Done






Friday, January 19, 2018

Cemetery Tales - Star Gap/Acre Field Cemetery

It was 2001 and my first trip to Mountain City, TN.  I was staying over in Ashe Co., NC with a Dollar cousin who loaned me her Ford Explorer.  She didn't want me taking the back road over and wanted me to drive through Boone, NC to get to Johnson Co., TN.  It was funny to me because I had driven more than my share of back roads...but she didn't know it.  I have to admit it was one of my favorite genealogy adventures.

Knowing that the my first stop should be the library, I wandered around the town streets of Mountain City.  I had a general idea of where the library was and this wasn't a big town.  I parked the car and walked into the library, set my stuff down and began to look around some of the books.  I picked a few up and walked back to the table.  Across from me was another woman looking through her own books...and naturally we started a conversation.  We began talking about the family lines that we were looking at (this is a great conversation starter for anyone research genealogy).  She told me her families and I told her mine...and when I mentioned Dollar and Friddle - she told me that I needed to contact Carmen Johnson.  I looked at her and pretty much said "That wouldn't be hard...as I am Carmen Johnson."  She then told me her "handle" on the Johnson Co., TN newslist (Back in 2001 - genealogy information availability on the internet and email contact was still in its infancy.  Genealogy newslists were a great way to make contact and get information.) and I immediately recognized her.  I didn't know her real name because I either hadn't paid attention or she hadn't mentioned it.  I learned that her name was Jenny and ironically she lived in Spokane, WA and here we were in Johnson Co., TN sitting in a library when our home towns were only 2 hours apart.

Jenny was actually a native of Johnson Co., TN and was just visiting family.  I decided to take advantage of her knowledge of the area and asked her if she knew where the Star Gap cemetery was.  I think the answer was no...but we got directions and we were on our way.  I will never forget going to that cemetery.  We turned off the road to go to Star Gap cemetery and it was probably a little more of a back road than my Dollar cousin wanted me to travel on.  It was a narrow dirt road but to me it seemed just fine...after all it wasn't on the side of hill climbing a steep road.  This was pretty simple compared to the Idaho dirt roads I was used to.  It seemed like we had been traveling for quite a while and it seemed as if the trees were closing in on us as the road was narrow and the vegetation was thick.  While I am not worried about dirt roads...there is one thing I don't like...when another car is coming from the opposite direction.  I had to back up about 20 or 30 feet to find a spot where I could pull over and let the other car pass.  I did roll down the window and ask how much further we need to go and was advised that it was in another few hundred feet.  It was really rather remarkable...we traveled on this narrow road surrounded by trees and it suddenly opened up in rather lovely meadow with a cemetery just off to the left.  We got out and walked around the cemetery and while I found a lot of familiar names, I didn't find the gravestone I was looking for which was my great grandmother's little brother, Charles Frederick Dollar.  I should have looked further because it was there - see FAG # 74609427 .

Bessie Friddles Cress - Phillipi Cemetery, Johnson Co., TN
Jenny and I then made our way to the Phllipi Cemetery where I was able to find my great grandfather's niece and her husband's grave quite easily (See above).  It was right along the road.  I think Jenny even remembered her.  I have at some point visited with her daughter.  She told me that when she was a baby, my great grandmother have traveled back to Tennessee and had stopped by to see her mother.  The cousin (Lois) was a baby at the time or at least quite young.  Lois said that her parents didn't have a lot of money and she was mostly dressed in hand-me-down clothes.  My great grandmother, knowing this, went and bought a few outfits to take along on her visit for the little girl.  I think Lois told me that they were still in her cedar chest and had always been treasured.  Just goes to show that one person's simple act of kindness can be remembered for a lifetime.

Moses Friddles - Hawkins Cemetery, Johnson Co., TN
We then attempted to find the cemetery where my great great grandfather was buried.  It was located at Hawkins Cemetery.  I know from what my Dollar cousin said that it was quite a trek to get there and was located across a field full of cows.  She had already gotten a picture (see above) Jenny and I never quite got that far...after a lot of driving we decided to give up as we couldn't find it and Jenny and I both had to make our way back to our respective "temporary" homes.

That few hours was over 16 years ago.  Neither one of us has ever forgotten that day and we never hesitate to remind each other of our adventure.  Life may never give us the opportunity to spend any other time together (I hope that isn't the case) but neither one will ever forget that meeting.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cousin Lowell

I received word last night that a cousin had passed away January 8, 2018.  I first “met” Lowell Johnson on the phone almost 20 years ago.  Back then we were using Family Tree Maker for our genealogy program and they had CD’s that what they called “World Family Tree” which was a collection of family trees that were shared by other members.  I found Lowell’s tree and was quite pleased to find a lot of similar information to my own.  This might seem shocking today, but they these files had the users’s name, address, and phone number on them.  I waited until after five o’clock (we did that then; long distance rates were cheaper) and called Lowell.  I still remember his deep voice as he answered the phone.  I explained who I was and who my parents and grandparents were.  We had quite a close connection as my great grandfather and his grandfather were brothers. 

My mother had gotten most of our information on the Johnson family on a long-ago conversation with my grandfather.  He had been pleased to share what he knew of his famly history.  I am not sure he thought there wasn’t anything terribly interesting about his family and he relayed much of the information that Lowell had, including an “unknown Johnson” who had married Nancy Mayfield.  It was just a few months before I made that phone call that a fellow researcher had sent to my mother the name of that “Unknown Johnson” …Moses Johnson.  I was delighted to spring that little piece of information on him and he was very happy to have that name.

Grace & Marian holding their sons
Lowell and Eugene - 1940.
During the next several years, emails and many phone conversations, we got a chance to know Lowell and his wife, Bonnie very well as fellow researchers.  We also found out that we had a lovely picture of my Dad and Lowell as babies being held by their mothers.  Lowell was three weeks older than Dad and was the closest in age to Dad of any of his cousins.  We also found out that Lowell had a bad heart.


In 2004, we decided that we wanted to go to North Dakota and meet a few of these cousins that we had met through phone and email.  We met up with some cousins from my Dad’s mother’s family (Pope) in Washburn, ND and then we traveled to the small town of Wahpeton to meet Lowell and Bonnie.  This was a big trip for my Mom.  She had had a lobe of her lung removed the previous year for lung cancer and was still on Oxygen.  Going over the continental divide was a bit hard on her as they had to turn up her Oxygen and Mom and Dad had to make arrangements along the way to fill her Oxygen tank.  Mom was determined to make the trip, and I am so glad she did.  Since they had to take more time than I did, I drove over a few days later to meet them.  The whole trip was so much fun for us as we were learning so much about Dad’s family and I am sure my Grandpa Frank was smiling down.  We then went over to Wahpeton and we finally got to meet Lowell and Bonnie.  Lowell had been outfitted with an LVAD (left-ventricular assist device).  Essentially Lowell was walking around with battery pack on his back to keep his heart going while waiting for a heart transplant.  For several hours, we set there sharing pictures and stories.  Mom with her Oxygen tank and Lowell with his battery pack.  We then went to dinner and shared a lovely meal. There was a bond between my Dad and Lowell and a definite family likeness. 
Dad and Lowell - 2004

Dad & Lowell - 2012

Several months later around Christmas, we learned that Lowell had gotten his heart transplant.  What wonderful news!  We lost Mom the next year (26 Dec 2005) to lung cancer.  Dad made another trip back to North Dakota on his own and he and I went back in 2012.  Dad and his girlfriend also saw them a few years ago.  In all this time, Lowell did very well.  His new heart had given him the gift of years.  Lowell still had health problems…but he and Bonnie were able to enjoy a little over 13 more years together.  Lowell was able to enjoy his children and his grandchildren.  He had been living on borrowed time for so many years, and when he received the gift of a new heart, he went about living to the best he could.

I will always be grateful to the family who donated their loved one’s organs.  They gave Lowell and his family the gift of life and time which is priceless.  I am so grateful that I and my parents had a chance to get to know the lovely man that was my cousin. 


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I've Never Had Green Bean Casserole


Thanksgiving at the Johnson household - circa 1969
I know it is a shocking statement to many: "I've never had green bean casserole" and really it doesn't really bother me.  It doesn't look all that appetizing and I certainly wouldn't want to give up any of our current Thanksgiving favorites.

I never remember a time where I didn't spend Thanksgiving with family.  I realize that I am very lucky and that it might not always be the case.  They are multi generational events with grandparents sharing the table along with aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews.  I can remember during my childhood listening to stories at the feet of my great grandmother's (Sophia Dollar Friddle & Nettie Moody Shearer) and Aunty Jones (my mother's godmother - Glenthora Stranahan Jones).  The three ladies were all of an age.  Mom Friddle (Sophia Dollar Friddle) was born in 1894, Granny (Nettie Moody Shearer) was born in 1890 and Aunty Jones was born in 1889.  They talked about riding the stagecoach to Waha, ID.  Granny lived down by the Snake River on the Joseph plains.  It was a two day trip to Winchester (this drive today takes about 35 minutes) and then another two days to where Granny lived.  Darn near a week to travel between home and the nearest larger town.  Their stories helped me gain a love for history and for family history.  They had memories that stretched back to the 19th century which seemed quite amazing to a little girl in the late 1970's.  The last time I really visited Granny was on Thanksgiving 1979.  Mom Friddle had died earlier that year and it was the first time that Grandma Cappy had her new home in Clarkston.  We spent Thanksgiving at her house that year.  Grandma Cappy was worried about her mother-in-law, Granny, getting too tired.  She insisted that Granny lie down for a nap.  I think Granny probably gave her equivalent of an eye roll...but she gave in and told me to come with her.  I think I was 12 years old.  I laid on the bed with Granny and held her hand.  She called me her "little Betty," because she said I reminded her of my mother when she was a little girl.  I wish I remembered more specific memories of that moment...but it is a sweet memory - laying on that bed and holding her hand while she told me stories and asked me about her life.

I think we only had a few holiday dinners at Grandma Cappy's but everything switched back to our house for Thanksgiving.  My mother (Betty Tannahill Johnson) never went easy on herself or us.  We were all put into action, peeling potatoes, cutting vegetables, doing dishes and setting the table.  Everything had to be just so...Mom didn't want to leave anything to chance.  My grandmother would bring the pies and after they arrived, my grandfather would adjourn to the living room for the easy chair, peanuts and football.  Grandma would sit at the chair at the bar and visit with my mother while she and the rest of us flew around to do her bidding or hide out so she couldn't see us.  That certainly didn't last long :) It wasn't too much longer, in fact the last years Grandma was alive when Mom took the pie duties back because it was too much for Grandma.  Mom did it on her own that first year, but by the next year, she involved me and the year after Grandma died, the pies became my job!  I was 18 years old!

The last year we had Thanksgiving with Mom was just about a month before she died.  We went over to my brother's house and had a lovely Thanksgiving.  Mom insisted that we do our own turkey the next day, so everyone came over to the house for a second Thanksgiving...Mom said that she wanted to the leftovers.  That was the first time I had ever attempted to do that large of a meal on my own.  Usually, I had had Mom's involvement and guidance - but her health simply wouldn't allow her to do too much.  It is funny, I think of that day with a smile...it has taken time to change that memory from sad to bittersweet!

We now gather at my brother's house.  My sister in law should have been my mother's daughter.  I see a lot of my Mom in her., especially on the days of these big holiday dinners.  I contribute the pies - the job I have done since I was 18 as well as family salads like Eggnog, Grandpa's Crappy Salad, and the candied sweet potatoes.  The Eggnog is a jelled salad that is a bit boozy and definitely not low fat.  My niece christened what I used to call Dad's salad, Grandpa's Crappy Salad.  It is lemon jello, whipped up with cream cheese and small diced celery.  It is not a family favorite...mostly my Dad - but he deserves a little spoiling.

It is funny, I have seen people list Green Bean Casserole as a staple at their Thanksgiving table...I have never had it.  I have had my share of the canned cranberry sauce...but I usually make it.  It tastes better.  So on this Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I will bake the pies like I have done for 30 years.  I will make the Eggnog that are special to my siblings and I, as well as the salad that my Dad loves.  I suppose you could say that those our Thanksgiving food traditions.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.  I think there are some family spirits who are with us and enjoying the sharing of memories, food, and family togetherness!
Aunty Jones (Glenthora Stranahan Jones) and my sister.  Probably around 1982 or so.
My guess is that was at one of our first holiday dinners at our house.  Granny is sitting on the end.  Dad is holding me with Chris and Bub sitting between.  Grandpa Gwen is at the end.
Dad and Grandpa most likely watching football.  Usually a container with nuts in a container between them.  They were comfortable companions.
I have a lot of pictures of my great grandmother - but not so many of the way I remembered her.  This was taken in the early 70's with her children. 
Claude on the left, Mom Friddle, Jack and the Grandma Cappy on the end.