My great grandmother Sophia Dollar Friddle, was born 119 years ago today…at least that was what she thought. She was never quite sure whether she was born on the 27th or 28th of January. She was born near midnight – who knows if it occurred before midnight or after midnight…I suspect no one was looking at the clock, when my great grandmother was born.I’m not sure birthdays were all that important to my great grandmother but the story came out when my brother was born on the 27th of January. After some close questioning from my mother, Mom discovered that there was really no one who could be sure about the date. Mom Friddle’s step grandmother was a midwife who delivered several of new families newborns. I know that Mom Friddle’s aunt came over from Ashe Co., NC to have at least her youngest child, and I suspect some of her other children as well. Mom Friddle had a special and close relationship with her step grandmother. Her own mother died when Mom Friddle was only a few months old. I’ve never hears was Buena Vista Bailey Dollar died of…perhaps the result of a difficult child birth or possibly an infection of some type. So, Mom Friddle was raised by her step grandmother…and her step grandmother, Lulu, never had children of her own…so Mom Friddle was the nearest she had to a child. Sarah Rebecca Pearce Dollar aka Lulu was only 19 years old when she married the 47 years old Alexander Monroe Dollar and she was 26 when Mom Friddle was born. Lulu raised Mom Friddle and when her husband died and Mom Friddle’s father was making noises about Mom Friddle moving in with her parents, Lulu strongly encouraged the 14 year old Sophie to get married, the she herself married a widower and moved to Ashe Co., NC.
There aren’t that many concrete details from my great grandmother’s early life. Even the day of her birth is a bit mysterious. I never heard her talk about the grandfather who raised her and have only heard how she went back to NC and TN to visit family. Perhaps one of her early visits back was to visit Lulu before her death in 1955. Mom Friddle’s mother died when she was only a few months old and the only thing she probably ever saw or knew about her mother was on a memorial board that listed the year of her birth and the date of her death. I don’t think Mom Friddle even had the company of her brother and sister except on rare occasions. They lived with her father and his new wife, while Mom Friddle stated with her grandfather and his young wife. In some ways, what I know about my great grandmother really starts when she married David Carl Friddle and moved out west in 1910 with her young son. Mom Friddle went back a few times to visit her childhood home. I’m sure she saw her step grandmother, as many of her cousins who still lived, but mostly she was there to see her sister, Bessie.So, today I think of the great grandmother who I only knew as an old woman. I can remember being enthralled at listening to her tell stories, I wish I could go back in time and ask her all the questions that I have. Even with all I have found out about her…I still feel like there is so much to learn.