Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Happy Birthday, Mom Friddle!

Sophia Dollar and David Carl Friddle
 m. 22 Dec 1908 - Johnson Co., TN 
My memories of my great grandmother are a bit hazy.  She died the day before I turned 12 years old...and there are some memories that I think that remember clearly.  Usually they had to do with her telling me stories that I am relatively sure now were not altogether accurate - but they made a good a story.

Today would have been her birthday, and as these anniversaries pass year by year, I always think about her.  When I hear the saying "They don't make em like they used to!"  Mom Friddle is who I think of...she was a pioneer woman when she came out west at 16 with a 1 year old to live up on Grouse Flats in Wallowa Co., OR.

You might wonder why I refer to her as "Mom Friddle."  It was what my mother always called her.  She and her sister Joan were Mom Friddle's first grandchildren.  Mom Friddle didn't really consider herself old enough to be a grandmother, so therefore she didn't want to be called Grandma.  So, the name stuck and my mother always called her Mom Friddle and called her own mother "Momma!"  I never heard her call either one any differently.

I now know so much more about Mom Friddle.  I have seen the place that she was born, photos of her siblings and of her parents.  I even have a photograph of her as a young child.  I know where her family came from and even have a picture of her maternal grandfather.
Taken about 1895 - Left to Right - Claude Elmer Dollar, John Dula Dollar holding Sophia Vestelle Dollar
& Bessie Margaret Elizabeth Dozier Dollar
However, so much of what I know was told to me by someone else or something I researched.  The few precious memories that I have of her that I know are mine are still very important.  Perhaps the most important one for me personally, was the afternoon I spent down at her house after riding my bike from house down to hers.  This was a big mother trusted me to ride my bike by myself.  I think there was a couple of miles between our houses.  You probably wouldn't let a kid do that today without adult supervision, but it was a different time back then.  I remember walking into her house and Mom Friddle sitting on the couch with her hankie in her hand.  Mom Friddle's head was always shaking - I think it was Parkinson's disease.  It never really bothered me because she had never really looked any differently.  She was wearing her dark glasses and I can't really say I ever saw her eyes. I knew I was welcomed and what followed was an hour or so of stories.  I now know that most of those stories weren't true...because I tried to research the facts.  Her grandfather wasn't a local sheriff and she didn't likely spend a night in jail cell as a child.  (This wasn't because she was in any trouble - she was staying with her grandfather)  Mom Friddle also didn't probably see a body hanging from a tree reflected on the wall in the cell in the moonlight...but it was a darn good story that definitely impressed me...and creeped me out.
Left to Right - Claude Friddle, Sophia Dollar Friddle, Jack Friddle, Capitola Friddle Shearer

So, today it is her birthday.  It has never been hard to remember as it was a day after my brother's. It would have been her 121st birthday...she died not that long after her 85th birthday, rather close to my own yet another date that isn't hard to remember.  So, here are a few links to blogs that I have written about Mom Friddle that you might enjoy!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Before the Beginning...

I began genealogy research back around 1996 with my mother.  We both began with installing Family Tree Maker and putting in everything that we knew.  We started hitting the local library to see what we could learn and even took my Dad down to Salt Lake City to experience the Family History Library.  It is easy to say that we began our research on that date, but truthfully it started much earlier than that.

Betty (Mom) lower left with her sister, Joan and mother Capitola. - at 1949
My mother spent a lot of her early years around her grandmother and grandfather and had the opportunity to learn family stories first hand.  She was always interested and involved with her grandparents and was fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time with them.  They helped make my mother the person she became.  So essentially, Mom became a storehouse of information and that process didn't stop.  When she married my father, Mom quickly became an important member of Dad's family  I remember her telling me of a visit by her father in law (Frank Johnson) at one point where it was just the two of them.  She said that they sat at the kitchen table and talked about his family.  Mom got out a piece of paper and wrote down what he told her.  That piece of paper became the foundation of most of what we knew about my Grandpa Frank's family.  Mom remembered Grandpa thinking that his family history didn't quite measure up to Grandma Marian's family, so he felt surprised when Mom asked him.  We soon found out that his family was just as impressive as Grandma Marian's, but that would have taken us much longer to find out without the groundwork that my mother had done.
Dad with Grandma Marian and Grandpa Frank - abt 1957

Like my mother, I spent a lot of time listening to the stories of my family members.  I can remember as a child, sitting at the feet of my great grandmothers (Mom Friddle and Granny Shearer) and my mother's godmother (Aunty Jones).  These three ladies were born 1894, 1890, & 1889 respectively. Their stories about riding the stagecoach during their youth in the Lewiston area always stuck in y mind.  It was rather astonishing that it took a full day of travel to travel the same distance that took us 25 minutes in the car.  Later as a junior in high school, I remember getting the opportunity to ask my Grandma Cappy and Grandpa Gwen about their lives during the depression.  As Mom and I began researching, it was my turn to question my mother about the family stories that she had heard as a child.  For several years, we had my great uncle to question as well.  He always said that he didn't know that much, but he knew much more than he thought.

I had my Grandma Marian up until a few years ago and learned a wealth of family stories from her. She took a lot of joy out of the information that Mom and I found and later the information that I found...and participated in our research as well.

So now I have become the storehouse of family stories. Mom passed away almost 10 years ago, all of my grandparents are gone and many of the older family members are no longer with us  There are still a few living and I still try to take the opportunity to learn from them.  However, much of what we have found has been dependent on a lifelong interest in our family stories...and if Mom and I had never sat down and listened to the stories of our older family members, perhaps we wouldn't have the wealth of family history that we now have.  Even though my mother is no longer here, I still think of the genealogy research as "ours" because Mom and I began the journey together.  Before we began that research, we had several lifetimes of stories to start that journey!