My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Some of the Original Steel Magnolias

My Great-Great-Grandmother, Rosa Ward was the mother of (at least) 11 children - not all survived to adulthood. She is buried in the cemetery of the Presbyterian Church in Lincolnton, Georgia (in the Eastern part of Georgia).

Her son, Charles Pelham Ward was my grandmother's father. Grandma was born in 1923 so she never knew her paternal grandmother.

Great-Grandfather Ward-  "Pelham"-as he was known to family- was a doctor in Atlanta with an office in the Flatiron Building. He married Leta Dallas and had two children - Charles and Cynthia. After Leta Dallas passed away, he married my Great-Grandmother, Sarah Bulloch Ward and together they had three girls: Leta, Bette and Jane.  (yes, he named my grandmother after his first wife).   He passed away in 1939 when my grandmother was 15. He is buried in the Historic Westview Cemetery in Atlanta.

Great-Granddaddy Ward's sister, Amelia Lavilla Bertha Pauline Ward was born after ten boys (by my count) so they used up all the names they had been saving for a little girl. Aunt Lavilla never married and was what we would consider a career woman. I suppose, back in those days, she may have been considered a Spinster Schoolteacher. She was a teacher of deaf children and ultimately was Head of Schools in Wisconsin. She offered to help educate all of the children in the family and had a fund to match whatever they were able to put up for their college tuition.

Great-Grandmother Ward took in all the various family strays - random unmarried cousins and such- despite being the widowed mom to three teenage girls. Can you imagine? My Great-Grandmother raised three teenagers on her own during the 40's. My Grandmother raised three teenagers on her own in the 60's. And I raised three teenagers on MY OWN! Although, ultimately, I would have to quickly confess that I was never alone and I know that Grandmother would say the same (because I've heard her say so). It's interesting to me to realize how much we've struggled over the generations... but it's also amazing to see how beautifully God has provided.

 Grandma is 88 and still quite the trooper. She used her walking stick while on uneven ground in the cemetery but mostly, she walks fairly steady. She and I watched the NCAA Basketball Final game in our hotel room on Monday night and she even remembered which team to cheer for (Kentucky, of course).

I learned a lot about our family during our trip to Lincolnton. I haven't even started yet on Cousin Nan... she deserves an entire chapter of her own! I would never consider myself a feminist but I am proud of the fact that I come from a long line of resourceful, colorful, strong women on both sides of the family. I think as young people (ok, middle aged people) we are so busy with our lives that we forget how much wisdom lies in the past. Sometimes we are forced to relive the mistakes of the past because we don't stop long enough to listen - and heed the stories - of previous generations. I'm so glad that I had the time to sit across the table from my elders and really soak up our family history.

Hope you are all having an awesome week!


Adirondackcountrygal said...

I love hearing about peoples ancestory. I really don't know anything about my ancestors except for a 4X great grandfather who was drafted into the army during the Revolutionary War and ran away! He eventually settled and was one of the first settlers in Clarksfield, Ohio! I would like to travel out there maybe even this summer and visit the historic society and look into my family some more.