Oldest ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks ~ Week #40

I have always felt out of place when my friends and I have talked about Genealogy. We would share about our parents and in most cases, I would discover that my parents were older than most of theirs. As an example, when I was 10 years old my Dad was 50 years old and my mother was 46 years old.

When I started researching my family tree, I discovered a shocking fact. All of my Grandparents were way older than any of my friends Grandparents were. Here is the break down of both my maternal and paternal Grandparents and their ages.

John Pleasant Smith

On my maternal side my Grandfather is John Pleasant Smith. He was born on September 8, 1882. That made him 73 years old when I was born, and he was 86 when he died in 1967. My Grandmother is Ella McGowan. She was born on November 6, 1888. She was just 33 years old when she died in 1921. That means she died 34 years before I was born.

Charley and Virginia

On my paternal side my Grandmother is Virginia Belle Hayes. She was born on March 18, 1880. She died in 1951 at the age of 71. She died 4 years before I was born. My Grandfather is Charles “Charley” Hughes. He is my biggest dilemma. I do not have a definite date of birth for him. His Headstone says he was born in 1868, his death certificate says 1865, my Aunt Margaret’s hand-written genealogy says 1864, the page from the Hughes Family Bible says 1861 and the family tree in my baby book says he was born in 1867. So depending on which date is correct he was born between 87 and 94 years before I was born. He died in 1944.

Because of the ages of all my Grandparents, their children were born between 1900 and 1919. I have no living Aunts nor Uncles. The last one died 34 years ago. I have one living first cousin on my maternal side and 2 on my paternal side that are still alive. All 3 male cousins are much older than I. That is just 3 of the over 50 first cousins that I had.

I know that there is probably a lot of people who can say their Grandparents were much older than most of their peers Grandparents. I just find it fascinating that all of my Grandparents were so much older than the norm!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Unforgettable ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks ~ Week #35

Gpa and Gma Hughes older fixedCharles “Charley” Hughes was the first person I thought of when I saw the prompt for this week’s 52 Ancestors. I spent time trying to come up with another ancestor I could write about, but I always came back to my paternal Grandfather. This is why I feel he is unforgettable.

I never got to meet my Grandfather as he died 11 years before I was born. However, I have heard so many great things about him. Every person who ever met my Dad loved him. They only had good things to say about him. Over the last 23 years, I have discovered that he got that trait from his Dad. Every person I have talked to only had good things to say about Charley, and they say “Everyone loved him”.

Charley Hughes has left me with 2 unsolved mysteries. The first, is Charley Hughes Headstone“when was he born”? I have not found a birth certificate for him, even though I have spent years searching. I know he was born in Benton County, Missouri in the 1860s. His Headstone says he was born in 1868, his death certificate says 1865, my Aunt’s written genealogy says 1864, a page from the Hughes Family Bible says 1861 and my Baby Book family tree says he was born in 1867. The second mystery is, “was he married more than twice”? He first married Clara Hester Braden on March 25, 1900, at the age of 31. It seems odd to me that he would have Gpa & Gmawaited so long to get married and begin a family. When Clara died during childbirth in 1903, he married my Grandmother, Virginia Belle Hayes within months of her death. Granted, he had two young children under the age of 3 to take care of, but that was still fairly soon. I think the thought of him having another wife and possibly having other children out there is just too intriguing.

Charley loved farming and raising horses, and he excelled at both. He helped his mother with his much older brother, Benjamin Douglas, who became blind because of Scarlet Fever when he was 5 years old. He took over complete care of him after his mother died in 1913. Benjamin died on August 18, 1915, the same day that my Dad was born. Charley named my Dad after his brother.

Grandpa raised prize-winning horses. He also raised enough foodGpa & horses during the great depression to not only feed his family of 11 children, but he also made sure his neighbors had enough to eat. In 1930 when one of his daughters’ husband was murdered on his way into Lexington, Missouri, he stormed the courthouse to try to administer his own kind of justice to the man who killed his son-in-law. When he couldn’t get inside, he tried to break through the wall of the building to get in. He was so well thought of in the county that the sheriff just loaded him in the squad car and drove him home.

He did so much in his long life that there is no way I could write it all in one blog. I have been writing the stories I have heard about him, and I am putting them in a book I am writing. I want to make sure that those who come after me will discover how unforgettable their ancestor was.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Picture Perfect Saturday #5 ~ Hughes Family 1937

Picture Perfect logoI am currently working on my Family Genealogy Group page for Facebook. In doing so I realized I have a tremendous amount of photos. I decided to feature one a week. No, not everyone is “perfect” however, they are to me!

hughes family 1937

The fifth photo I am showcasing is of my Hughes Family taken in Lexington, Missouri in 1937. It includes my Grandparents, Charley and Jennie, and my Dad and his first wife. My Aunt Leola had died 5 years earlier but her husband is there. 2 of my Uncles died as toddlers so this photo has all 8 of my Grandparents’ 11 children that survived.

Left to right: Grandpa Charley Hughes, Winford Winningham (Aunt Leola’s husband) holding their son Charles, Aunt Margaret, behind her is Uncle Orville holding his son James and next to him is Aunt Meadie his wife, In front of Meadie is Jackie, Aunt Hazels daughter and in front of her is Irene, Aunt Leola’s daughter. Next is my Dad Douglas, and in front of him is his first wife, Mildred, behind my dad is Uncle James Raymond, then Aunt Hazel and in front of Hazel is her son Charles. Behind Hazel is Uncle Leonard, then Aunt Nellie, behind her is Aunt Cornelia (Uncle Leonard’s wife) holding their daughter Lucille. Next is Uncle Mitchell Willard (Aunt Ellie’s husband), then Aunt Ellie, and on the end is Grandma Jennie Hughes holding Jerry Lee, Aunt Nellie’s son. The two young boys on the right front row are Mitchell Lee, Aunt Ellie’s son and the other one is Carl, Aunt Hazels’ son.

I know the above is a bit confusing but I feel the need to acknowledge each one of these people. They have all passed away and I can honor their lives in this way.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Picture Perfect Saturday #1

Picture Perfect logoI am currently working on my Family Genealogy Group page for Facebook. In doing so I realized I have a tremendous amount of photos. I decided to feature one a week. No, not everyone is “perfect” however, they are to me!

 

Elvira & Gma

The first photo I am showcasing is of my Great Grandmother Elvira Register (Hayes) who was born on March 4, 1861, in Leavenworth, Leavenworth County, Kansas, and died on November 14, 1936, in Lexington, Lafayette County, Missouri.

The little girl is my paternal Grandmother Virginia Belle “Jennie” Hayes (Hughes). She was born on March 18, 1880, in Pleasant Hill, Cass County, Missouri, and died on December 15, 1951, in Lexington, Lafayette County, Missouri.

Jennie is about 4 years old in this photo so that this was probably taken in 1884. I love the look on her face. In those days it could take up to 5 minutes to take a photo once you began to pose. I think she just wanted to get out of there. She definitely looks cute with the ringlets in her hair and what looks like a new dress.

Elvira looks very prim and proper. She is about 23 years old here and pregnant with her 3rd child. From stories that I have heard about her, she was a jokester and prankster.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

A “Wedding” and a Country Shivaree ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks ~ #23

Wedding 52 ancestors picMy Grandfather, Charles Hughes (1868-1844) first got married to Clara Hester Braden on March 25, 1900, in Morgan, Benton County, Missouri, Over the next 3 years Charles and Clara had 2 children. Clara died during childbirth on April 19, 1903, leaving Charles to raise the 2 children by himself. After losing his wife he moved his small family to Cole Camp, Missouri to be closer to his family. Here he met Virginia Belle “Jennie” Hayes (1880-1981) who was 13 years his junior. In the early 1900s most marriages where a matter of convenience or necessity. Charles had 2 young children who needed a mother and Jennie was considered a spinster because at the age of 23 she was still unmarried. This was a horrible stigma for a young woman to bear. I, however, want to believe that they fell in love!

Both Charles and Jennie came from large families. Charlie had 6 brothers and 4 sisters and his soon to be bride had 4 brothers and 4 sisters. With 18 siblings between them, and each one being married and having children, they had the makings for a really big wedding. Most country weddings in the early 1900s took place in the home. A preacher would come to the home to perform the wedding. Even if people were not churchgoers, the preacher would “marry and bury.” At the wedding ceremony, someone, usually a couple, would stand up as witnesses for the couple being married. Charles asked his slightly older brother Fielding and his wife Ida May to be the best man and matron of honor for the ceremony. In rural communities like Cole Camp, most young women just wore their best dress to get married in. Jennie was lucky in that she received a beautiful wedding dress that her mother had worn.

On January 28, 1904, Charles hitched up the wagon and went to pick up Jennie. They Grandparents Hthen rode into town and headed straight for the courthouse. There they got the license that allowed them to get married. They then made the trip back out to Charles’ farm to prepare for the ceremony. When they arrived, the house was buzzing with excitement. Jennies and Charles’ 8 sisters were decorating the house with paper flowers (It was snowing so no real flowers) and cooking food for after the wedding. Jennies’ mother Elvira and the grooms’ mother, Martha, were making final alterations on the dress. The guest began to arrive by mid-afternoon and the Reverend A.B. Breedlove of the Cole Camp Baptist Church was among them. After the ceremony, the guests and newlyweds gathered in the barn to eat and dance.

shivaree croppedOne tradition in the rural Mid-west communities was the time-honored Shivaree. A Shivaree was a post-wedding noisy party for the community where the newlyweds were forced into service as hosts. A few days after the wedding people from the town came walking or riding in wagons up to the Hughes farm. Everyone, from the youngest to the oldest were banging on pots and pans or using noisemakers. Once they arrived, they all gathered outside and sang songs and it was the newlyweds’ responsibility to provide all of them with refreshments. Then some of the visitors would take turns politely mocking and making jokes about the couple.

Supposedly, the Shivaree was spontaneous and clandestine. However, it was an organized spontaneous that wasn’t really a secret. Since the newlyweds were expected to provide the refreshments for their own roast, they had to know where to be and what time to be there. Community members organized it by word-of-mouth instructions. Everyone in the community had plenty of advance notice for this ‘spontaneous’ post-wedding party and looked forward to the fun. The newlyweds looked forward to the noisy event as well, and they would have been insulted at not being forced to host the Shivaree.

Gpa and Gma Hughes older fixed

Regardless of the reason for their marriage, I know that they loved each other. They went on to have 9 children of their own and Jennie never once made a distinction between them and her 2 stepchildren. They had been married for almost 41 years when Charles died in 1944.

 

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.