Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Book Of Me: Prompt 42 --Handwriting

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

This week's prompt is - Handwriting

Add to your Book of Me an example of your handwriting.
Share some examples of your ancestors - parents, Grandparents, etc
Has your handwriting changed over time?
Perhaps include some samples of younger generations?
In this digital age our descendants will marvel at our handwriting for very different reasons when compared to us marvelling at our ancestors handwriting. We take for granted that we can probably write. That in the past was not a given right.

Here's a sample of my handwriting from when I was a kid.  It's from a card I made for my paternal grandmother. 

And yes my handwriting has changed a bit from then. It's now messier. Only kidding :)

Here are some handwriting samples from a few of my ancestors.

Samuel H Whitney
Maternal 2nd great grandfather.

Augustus Whitney
Maternal 2nd great grand uncle (Samuel Whitney's brother)

Harold Murrell 
Paternal grandfather

John Harrison
Maternal great grandfather

Rev. T. D. Harrison
Maternal 2nd great grandfather (father to John Harrison)

Frank L. Bryant
Maternal great grandfather

I am still trying to play catch up so I am going to keep this post brief. On to prompt 43!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flashback Friday: Pictures From A Vacation Past.

Something made me take a trip down memory lane last night and I reviewed through tons of pictures I have saved to Dropbox. I had forgotten I had taken these pictures a couple of years ago when the family and I visited Pass A Grille, Florida. We have lots of good memories of that trip. It's nice be able travel back to that place and time through pictures. 

Perhaps I'll dig up old pictures and post them on Fridays. Maybe I'll make this a regular theme. We'll see. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Not So Wordless Wednesday: Another Great Google Find!

A couple of months back and on a whim I did a Google search on one of my maternal grandmother's sisters, Loris Bryant Gwyn Helton. She grew up in Morehead City, NC but subsequently married and moved to the city of Mt Airy, the birthplace of her first husband Luther Lee Gwyn. I remember my Aunt Loris well from my childhood. She would come to visit New York in the summertime and stayed with her sister/my aunt Rosa Bryant Sanders. I loved going over to see her and would always greet her with a hug and a kiss after she'd ask me "to give her some sugar."

Anyway, I struck gold after putting in the search terms "Loris Gwyn" and "Mt Airy"on Google. After scanning through the results that popped up, here's what I found and yes you know I quickly went to Amazon and purchased a copy of the book right afterwards. (Smile)

Image courtesy of the book, Around Surry County, by Evelyn Scales Thompson, PhD, page 87.

And this lovely lady pictured on the far right in the first row is my Aunt Loris!

Image courtesy of the book, Around Surry County, by Evelyn Scales Thompson, PhD, page 87.

I vaguely recalled my mother mentioning at some point during one of our many conversations about family, that Aunt Loris had become a teacher just like her mother Ophelia Bryant.  Seeing this picture of Aunt Loris in her youth and in her profession is just wonderful to me. Now I have an image that goes along with that conversation my mother and I had. Thank you Google!

I decided to post this now because I have recently connected with a cousin, who's mother was supposed to have been named after my Aunt Loris. The story goes that when my cousin's mother was born someone at the hospital heard Lois instead of Loris and so her mom's name was actually Lois. Anyway, the above pictures are a shout out to my cousin Lisa. Here's the lady, your mom was named after. :)

On a side note, something cool happened last night while I was putting together this post. I sat down with my laptop and the book Around Surry County to begin work. When I flipped open the book it opened up to a page which had this picture on it. 

Robert and Ida McCarther

This excerpt is from page 34.

This picture was taken in 1945 for their youngest son, Nathaniel, who was serving in the military in Calcutta, India. Robert McCarther and Ida Frazier married and began their life together in Chestnut Ridge c. 1899. They developed a 93-acre farm. Their descendants celebrated the home and farmland as a historical site in 2003. (Courtesy Nathanie McArthur)

What makes this interesting is that my Aunt Loris's daughter, Melba Gwyn, married a grandson of this couple. Perhaps it wasn't so random that the book opened up to this page. Hmm. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Book Of Me: Prompt 41 --Blood Group

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

This week's prompt is - Blood Group

Do you know your blood group? Many people don't.
In fact here in the UK many General Practitioners (family doctors) do not even know or have it on record.
A simple and yet important snippet of information.
Do you have a popular blood group?
What about other members of your family?

I am O+. I found out what type I was when I was a teenager and there was a blood drive held at the high school I attended. I've donated blood a few times over the years but not recently. That's something I should look into doing again soon. 

I've included a link to the American Red Cross website which does a great job explaining the differences in blood types:
I found especially interesting how blood type percentages varied among people of different ethnicities.

I think I might be able to knock out two of these prompts today. Woohoo! Wish me luck. We'll see. (Smile)

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Book Of Me: Prompt 40 --Where Do You Think?

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

This week's prompt is - Where do you think?

How do you record those thoughts?
Or don't you?
Does thinking happen when you are in the bath, on the settee?
Where do you go or what do you do when you need to seriously think of something?

This prompt goes perfectly with the last one. I associate quiet and focus with thinking and as I mentioned in my post, The Book Of Me: Prompt 39 --A Safe Place, I do a lot of thinking usually in my bedroom. What has become a wonderful place for me to do thinking in recently is my bathroom. We just completed renovating it and now I get to enjoy a space that has a very tranquil beach theme to it. The room has the perfect shade of blue on the walls with white washed porcelain tile on the floor and a counter-top the color of sand. Before the renovation, I would run in the bathroom and out as quickly as possible because I just didn't want to look at the decay. It is so calming just to be in this space now and I find myself letting my mind wonder while I get ready in the morning. 

When I'm thinking to myself, it may turn into a brainstorming session about what to blog about next or what ancestor I feel like researching next. Sometimes, I let my mind wander off to try and recall memories of my childhood. I'll close my eyes and be inside my paternal grandparents house, walking to the kitchen to get an afternoon snack. Another time I might be recalling what my childhood home in Cambria Heights looked like during Christmastime. The house would be filled with tons of relatives and our tree in the center of it all looking like a shrunken down Rockefeller Center. I want to try and keep these memories alive. They are my visits to the past and my ties to my kin who have crossed over.

Some of these thoughts may get recorded, some may not. Sometimes I just enjoy living in my head. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Book Of Me: Prompt 39 --A Safe Place

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

This week read the prompt and record what you immediately thought of.

This week’s prompt is – Do you have a safe place?

This can be somewhere that you gravitate to, to make decisions or reflect
Somewhere you go to think
Somewhere you go to take time out
Somewhere you keep things you must not loose or do you have more than one safe place?
Having looked at the prompt hints have you changed that immediate thought?

My bedroom is my safe place and no this is not my bedroom. I have chosen to keep what my bedroom looks like private but I liked the look of this image. My bed is where I will curl up with a good book or write sometimes on my laptop. It's also the place I gravitate toward if I need a timeout from the daily noise of a busy household. I am an introvert and I need time during the day to just have some silence around me. This seems to be the quietest place in my house so it has become my natural retreat. If I have a tough decision, I will sometimes hug a couple of pillows and lay on my stomach and just try to think things through. 

Well, I have a lot of catching up to do so I am going to keep this post short. On to prompt 40!

Friday, July 4, 2014

What Did Mortimer Mitchell See?

So after having a lovely beach day with the family, I decided to be random and just start doing some searches through some old newspapers from New Bern, NC. My 3rd great grandfather Mortimer Mitchell popped into my head and so I entered the simplest search criteria of his name and North Carolina and I came across some interesting information. This information adds another layer to the story of how Mortimer Mitchell came by his land.

Let me set this up. Back in December 2011, I wrote a post called A Tragedy For One...Leads To An Opportunity For Another. That blog post gave some background on the sad circumstances surrounding the land Mortimer Mitchell eventually purchased from a woman named Elizabeth Williams in Riverdale, NC. In that post, I shared portions of an article I had found on-line that was transcribed by a Gloria Smith Taylor. The article was from the newspaper New Bern Weekly Journal Commerce dated December 18, 1866. Well I believe I came across the entire article but I believe it was from the December 25th, 1866 issue.

Images from Newbern Weekly Journal of Commerce, December 25, 1866, Page 1.

      Just before the train came Mortimer Mitchell, a colored man, saw three negroes and a white man lying in a ditch near Tolson's house. They saw Mitchell and they cocked their guns, upon which he ran off, and reported to Vine Allen Tolson , who thereupon left McCrellis and ran home. The men then got up from the ditch and disappeared.

Elizabeth Hardison Williams who sold the land to my 3rd great grandfather was born Elizabeth Tolson. I have done some cursory research on the Tolsons and it appears that she was the niece of Vine Allen Tolson. I still have to follow up on this. I am waiting for a book called The Heritage of Craven County, North Carolina  to arrive in the mail to confirm the relationship. Anyway, it looks like Mortimer knew something was up and did the right thing and notified his neighbor.

This reminded me that Mortimer Mitchell was a part of this Riverdale community and not just some ancestor floating around in isolation. Take a look at this page from the 1870 Federal Census which shows the household for Mortimer Mitchell. 

Source Information: 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Township 6, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1132; Page: 295B; Image: 42; Family History Library Film: 552631.

Vine Allen Tolson who Mortimer ran to notify about the men lying in the ditch near the Tolson property, was listed living on land next to where the Mitchells resided in 1870

Source Information:  1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. 
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

This is the page prior to the last census page. On it I have placed an arrow marking where Robert Williams was enumerated. He would go on to marry Elizabeth Tolson Hardison less than two years later on February 15, 1872. 

Now when I look at my 3rd great grandfather's deed things are so much clearer on how and why Mortimer came by this land and how he was connected to this community. 

Here's a portion of Mortimer Mitchell's deed.

This Indenture made the first day of January in the year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and Seventy Eight between Elizabeth W Williams of the County of Craven and state of North Carolina of the first part, and Mortimer Mitchell of the County Craven and State of North Carolina of the Second part. Witneseth that the said parties of the first part in Consideration of the sum of two hundred dollars paid by the said party of the Second part the receipt Whereof is acknowledged do grant bargain and sell unto the party of the second part a certain parcel of land situate in the and bounded and described as follows lying on the North West side of the Meeting house Branch Beginning Where the Main Road (crosses) said branch thence down the branch to the great branch and With the great branch to the said Vine A Tolsons Corner to a marked bay. Thence the said Tolsons live to the Main Road thence with said to the Beginning. In the above tract of land those six acres to be Excepted for the use of the Church and School house the Remainder the said part of the second parties.