Monday, September 27, 2010

Amanuensis Monday Letter to Esther

I really like this blogging theme. As I look for letters to transcribe, my ancestors' own words tell their stories. Many of the letters and postcards that I share came to me all at once. While I read many of them during the early days of my research, I am now better able to put the people and places mentioned in context.

Today I am sharing another letter to Esther Richardson Talbott. She received it from her friend Nannie Lee Farson in December of 1916. Esther and Bossy Talbott had been married a little over a year and were living in Jeffress, VA.

Ringgold, VA
Dec. 12. 1916

My dear Esther:

This very night I am going to write to you. Guess you wondered what has become of me. I am still living. Hope you are well.

It has been the busiest Fall I ever saw. I believe the worse is over now.

Are you ready for Xmas? It is not very long off is it. There will be lot of marrying I recon around and about but "poor me" will be left out. I haven't even a beau don't I have bad luck or good luck one. I certainly would be glad to see you, also your husband. You all come up Xmas. Be glad to have you I would be the gladess to come to see you but it cost right smart I guess. You spoke of taking so many trips this summer, wish I could been with you. But dear me, we had so much company it didn't give us much chance to go looks like people we never have seen came. Didn't any of them stay long most of them were automobile folks I believe most every body nearly has a Ford we have not.

Mrs Yeaman, Bryan and Ora spent one night this summer with us, came on buggy. I never was so suprise. They asked lots about you it was a little while after I got your last letter. Ora wanted to read it but I never did get it for her. The next week after that Edna and Myrtle came on the train. They spent on night. We promised them we was coming to see them soon but haven't yet.

I went over to Chatham this Fall and stayed several days. Lucie went and stayed about 10 days.

Lucie and her beau will soon get off I think.

George got so many girls I don't know which he likes the best.

Listen- Big Nannie Wilson was aiming to marry today. It was announced in the paper to Mr Mose Abbott. I don't believe I will give up, yet any way.

Esther you ought to see us now, we have some good lights. Have two Aladdin mantle lamps. They give white lights. You know Mamma and Papa and the others are great readers.

Mamma has sold 14 1/2 doz of the eggs in the last two weeks 40 cents a doz. I think that did right well for her. George carried them to Danville for her. Carried 7 doz today. Papa made a good crop of corn.

They are most through selling tobacco, the last curring ready to carry off. We have ahd pretty weather all the fall to do such work.

How is Mrs. Richardson and the children getting on. Looks like we never will see any of you all any more. Tell Katie she must send us a card and let us hear from them all.

Mamma says tell you she would be glad to see you and your mother and the others also.

Janie's family have moved up to Mr. Will Lewis. Miss Fannie and Mable Lewis come down realy often.

Say, it will be a Xmas tree at Church Xmas Day at 12 o'clock. We have preaching over there now on the third Sat and Sun. It don't look right not to be on the second Sun.

T Ryland Sandford from Chatham is our preacher. He also preachers at Kentuck Sec and Fourth Sundays. So we hear him at both places.

Mrs John McCormick was buried on the 4th of this month. Mr Will Blankership's family have moved in the neighborhood up where Andrew B lived.

Say, every body thinks Howard Roberts will marry. He is going with a Grass widow and Bryant going with her daughter ha, ha. They live where Will B moved from. I am giving all the news. But think I will have to stop for to night.

You be sure to answer soon and five me all the news from down there. Excuse bad writing, answer real soon. For I would love to heard from you. With much love, I remain as ever

A true friend
Nannie Lee F.

Eshter, I do lots of chrocheting. Lucie says she certainly do want to see you. Write soon

This is a great letter from an historian's point of view. Nannie mentions many events, people and places in her letter. If any readers are researching in the Ringgold area of Pittsylvania County, VA, you may find clues to your ancestry here as well. Some of the people Nannie mentions I know the identity, but others I do not. For those I know, I'll list them below:

*Esther's husband was Boss Henry (Bossy) Talbott. (He was born Johnnie Hodias Talbott.)
*The Yeaman family mentioned were neighbors of Nannie Lee Farson's family.
*Mrs Yeaman is Eliza Ann Richardson, sister of Daniel T. Richardson and aunt to Esther.
*Bryan and Ora are two of Eliza Richardson Yeaman's children and cousins to Esther.
*Edna and Mrytle are two more children of Eliza Yeaman's and cousins to Esther.
*Lucie and George likely were Nannie's siblings.
*Mrs. Richardson was Esther's mother Harriet Elliott Richardson.
*Katie was Esther's younger sister.

The other names mentioned were neighbors living in the Ringgold area. Unfortunately, I have no further information on them.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nannie Lee Farson - Maybe?

This is the photo mentioned in yesterday's post. Hattie (Harriet) Elliott Richardson is standing in back. Esther Richardson is sitting on the left. Based on other photos I have, I believe that is Nannie Lee Farson on the right. There is no date on the photo, however, Nannie is wearing a wedding band on her left hand. The two women look to be participating in one of their favorite pastimes: letter writing!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Amanuensis Monday

I am participating in a new blogging theme sponsored by An amanuensis is a person who writes what another person dictates or copies what someone else has written. I will use the Amanuensis Monday theme to transcribe documents and letters from my family history collection. I hope you will join me on Mondays as I share more about my ancestors through their own words.

What follows is a letter dated 31 Oct 1913 sent to Miss Esther Richardson of News Ferry, VA. The envelope is postmarked from Ringgold, VA where Esther lived prior to moving to News Ferry, VA.

Oct 31, 1913
Friday Morning

Esther, I thought Lucie was going to write some, but she is very busy sewing now for Mrs. Wall's little girl.

You spoke of doing so much enbording, you must like it better than I do, for I worked my under skirt this fall. I don't want any more work on hand in a long time, so you know that finished my suit of underware. I have a brown silk waist to make. I don't know how to make it.

Howard M was down here last night. You must write and tell me about your beans. Lucie says tell you she certainly do want to see you. So come soon.

N. L. F.

I believe that N. L. F. was Esther's friend Nannie Lee Farson of Ringgold. Interestingly, I received a photo recently with three women in it: Esther Richardson, Hattie Richardson [Esther's mother], and a third woman I believe was Nannie Lee Farson.

The Howard and Lucie that are mentioned in the letter are mentioned in other letters of Esther's that I have. I am unsure if they are cousins or just good friends. Esther had plenty of both! I have a plethora of letters and photos of Esther's that I continue to sort (and re-sort) as I untangle the Pittsylvania and Halifax County family lines.

Readers, if there are any of you who research in the Pittsylvania County, VA area, I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Her First Airplane

On my recent visit with my paternal grandmother, she told me the story of seeing her first airplane. Her grandfather Haley (William H Haley) grew tobacco as so many Virginian farmers did. Grandmom and her cousins would earn money by de-worming the tobacco in the fields. I have never worked in a tobacco field, but I cannot imagine that de-worming tobacco is easy work! On this occasion Grandmom earned 50 cents. She used her earnings to pay for the gas in the car to travel to Green's Folly to see her first airplane. Every time she tells this story, she still shakes her head in amazement at what she saw that day.

Note: Green's Folly is a historic house/estate located in Halifax County, VA. Over the years it has been an estate, a courthouse, and a racetrack. Currently it is a golf course.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

You Did Not Cuss Around My Grandma Carr

My great-grandmother Winnie Haley Carr was a devote Episcopalian. According to my grandmother, one did not cuss or say anything that might resemble a cuss word around her. So, her husband Baker Carr was often heard to say "Ding-it-all-to-grass!" in place of "darn" (or something else!).

This brought all kinds of laughter and giggles around the room and especially to the younger generations when my grandmother shared this.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Grandpa Carr

Winnie and Baker Carr with Baby Lawrence

Silas Baker Carr was my great-grandfather. He was born 17 Oct 1878 to Robert T Carr and Elizabeth Canada of Halifax County, VA. He died when I was three years old 24 Jun 1968 in South Boston, VA. As I have studied individuals in my family history over the last several years, I formed impressions about what that person was like. Grandpa Carr was no different. In visiting with my grandmother, his youngest daughter, I learned a few more things about him.

Grandpa Carr went by his middle name Baker. He was engaged to another woman before he married Grandma Carr. I'm not clear on whether he broke his engagement before or after he met Winnie Haley. I do know that Baker and Winnie married across the border in NC on 26 Sep 1909. (That was news to my grandmother.) I can't help but wonder if they eloped! I have gotten the vague impression that Winnie was not fond of her in-laws. I don't think she called Elizabeth "Betsy" Carr, her mother-in-law, "old Miss Betts" as a term of endearment. There's a story there I would really like to learn one day.

Over the years I have asked different family members what Baker was like. The answer was almost always the same. He was very quiet and didn't talk much. He sat and read his newspaper. In fact that's the main memory of his grandchildren. Even his photos show what appears to be a stoic man. Others remember that he was a very smart man. He was especially gifted with numbers. He did various jobs including being a postman and running a sawmill. He was frequently gone during the week while working and returning home on the weekends.

He also danced! Now that memory from my grandmother did not fit in with everything else I'd been hearing. His wife's family (the Haleys) were very musical and loved to get together on the weekends to sing, play instruments and dance. In the evening, the adults would put the children to bed and continue with the music and dancing. According to my grandmother Baker was quite a good dancer.

The other memory that relatives mention is that Baker was short. He was only about 5'4". Mmmm.....that might explain the lack of height in my family!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

An Update on the Occupations of My Ancestors

I posted on the labor of my ancestors on Labor Day. Since that post I have received some great e-mails from readers who shared the occupations of their ancestors. Included in the list were laborer, miller, merchant, iron worker, overseer, sheriff, ferry operator, and tanners. Thanks for sharing, everyone!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Photo Identified

I had a wonderful visit with my paternal grandmother this weekend. She told me more family stories and helped identify the above photo. The woman in front is Harriet Elliott Richardson (1871-1932) of Pittsylvania County, VA. She was the wife of Daniel Thomas Richardson (1858-1912) and mother of Esther Lee Richardson (1896-1923).

The identity of the woman behind Harriett remains uncertain. There is a strong family resemblance and I wonder if she is Harriett's only sister Cynthia Elliott. I have not researched the Elliott family extensively, but some day soon, I need to look closer at this family.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Labor of My Ancestors

With Labor Day upon us, I began thinking about the type of work my ancestors did. I thought it might be fun to make a list of the occupations they did. So I started with my paternal side of the family:


Okay, this might be a very short list! My grandfather Crafton Talbott was the first of the family to leave the family farm. He was very gifted mechanically and worked in maunfacturing eventually retiring from JP Stevens.

I moved onto my maternal side of the family.

*Farmer (I'm seeing a trend here.)
*Maker of turpentine
*Sawmill owner - I think they made lumber from the pine trees they cut down to make turpentine.
*Construction worker

Okay, cousins....let me know what other occupations our ancestors did.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

One Last Look at the Cluster Springs Yearbook

I confess as I was looking through the Cluster Springs High School yearbook of 1951, I was mostly looking at the people and names. Then I came across the ads in the back of the book. I realized what a treasure trove of information these pages held all by themselves. The ads gave me a glimpse into the business community of this little community of Halifax County, VA. I even found an O L Talbot who owned a general merchandise store. I'm not sure who O L Talbot was, but I'm sure he's related somehow. So, I encourage you to look at more than just the photos in yearbooks. You never know what you might find.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cluster Springs High School Candids

I really loved these candid photos of the Cluster Springs High School students of 1951.

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