Tuesday, June 5, 2012
52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 21
This is published several weeks after the assigned dates - I'm playing catch-up!
Week 21: Ancestor Tales of Hardship: In genealogy, there are plenty of clouds in the form of sad stories and hardships faced by our ancestors. These tales should not be forgotten because descendants can learn from them. Share with us a particular ancestor’s hardship story. How did these events impact your life?
My ggg grandmother Rebekah Poindexter (Jones) Brown survived the Civil War and lived to be 89 years old, dying in 1912. Rebekah married before her 14th birthday. She gave birth to 15 children, but buried six of them as infants or toddlers. The Brown family lived in southwest Missouri and the War really began there with guerrilla attacks as early as 1860 and didn't end for a number of years afterwards. This was truly an area of neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother. Her first born son was shot off his horse on the way to the corn mill and died on his 20th birthday in July of 1860, leaving a new bride and unborn daughter. In the summer of 1863, Rebekah's husband and 15-year-old son were in the wagon on the way to the blacksmith shop and a neighbor (and Union-sympathizer) shot both in the back. The killer went to her home and told her she could go bury her dead and he would be back to burn her out. She took her older children, and they buried their two loved ones in a common grave. The remaining neighbors were too frightened to help. Rebekah then loaded the children in the wagon and left for Texas - her youngest child was barely a year old. Two of the teen-age daughters died the summer of 1864 while the family was in Texas - probably of typhoid. After the War, Rebekah returned and rebuilt her house on the foundation of her burned-out home. Rebekah and her husband had been giving each child 40 acres of farmland as they married, and she went back to the plan. She had actually taken her original deeds with her to Texas and was able to have them re-registered at the new courthouse - the old one had been burned twice during the War. She continued farming until she was aged and then she rotated living several months at a time with her children's families. Only two of her children outlived her.
Nothing in my life has ever compared with what Rebekah went through. What a strong woman she was. I, too, have lost a spouse - but he wasn't murdered in the prime of his life. My children and grandchildren are all living productive and happy lives. I can't worry about life's small disappointments when I stop and think this woman was my ancestor and her blood runs through my veins.