Thursday, November 20, 2014

The adventures Of Rose And Bill: Fried Chicken Was The Plan



Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded. Sometimes we all just need a good laugh. Laughter is good for  the soul...


Rose and William "Bill" Doyle abt.1917
When I think of my grandmother, a picture of her laughing comes to mind...She always had a story to tell. Funny stories, quirky little sayings, events that happened in her childhood. There was always another story to tell, she always had something to talk about. One of my favorites is the story of  Bill, Rose and the Chicken. I think part of why I am fond of this story is because it reminds me of how simple life was in her time..and every time grandma told it, she would be almost on the floor laughing.

Rose and Bill were my grandmother's older sibling's. Rose, born in 1910 was the oldest of all the children. Bill was the second child, born in 1913.  According to grandma, Rose and Bill were always getting into trouble. And so we begin..

"Most of the time, they fought like cats and dogs, arguing and calling each other names..they drove my mother crazy!  Rose being the oldest, usually bossed us around..One day when Mama and Papa left the house to go into town. Rose decided that she would fry some chicken. We watched out the window as Mama and Papa drove away..back in those days Papa drove a horse drawn wagon. Well, Rose told Bill to go out to the coop and get a Chicken. While Bill did as Rose told him to do and went out to catch a chicken, Rose got busy preparing the stove. In those days we had a little stove that you had to add coal to to keep the fire going. Rose got the skillet out and melted the lard. They were so exited, laughing and talking about how they were going to have them some good ole' fried chicken today!  Bill got the chicken, rung it's neck and brought it in to Rose. She started plucking the feathers off the chicken. Before she could get it cooked, here comes Mama and Papa up the road! You should have seen them scramble and jump!. All of a sudden, Bill grabbed the coal bucket and shoved the chicken in the bucket attempting to hide it under the coal! Rose grabbed the skillet with the hot grease, opened the back door and threw it out the door. It was so funny!  I laughed so hard! they knew that they didn't ask permission to kill that chicken and they also knew that they would be in big trouble if Mama found out!  They never did get fried chicken that day. The chicken went to waste. That was a terrible thing, it's a sin to waste food". I don't know if Mama ever did find out what Bill and Rose did that day".

.

How times have changed..



Denise

© 2014 Denise Muhammad and They came from Virginia

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I Recieved A Very Nice Surprise ~ "One Lovely Blog Award"

Last week I received a very nice surprise. I was so excited!  I was nominated for the
"One Lovely Blog Award" by Bernita Allen of " Voices Inside My Head".   http://alhupartu.blogspot.com/

Thank you Bernita. I am truly honored and humbled to be nominated by you. Bernita has an Awesomel blog! I enjoy reading her posts.



Here are the rules for this award:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to that blog
  2. Share Seven things about yourself
  3. Nominate 15 bloggers you admire (or as many as you can think of!)
  4. Contact your bloggers to let them know that you’ve tagged them for the One Lovely Blog Award
  

Seven Things About Me:

1. I found a Sister through Ancestry.com. We met for the first time a few years ago.
2. I have two older brothers and three younger sisters.
3. I love DIY projects. I put in my bathroom floors and a new sink all by myself.
4. I enjoy gardening. Every summer I plant two large vegetable gardens. One in my backyard and one in my community.
5. I have three grown children and three grandchildren.
6. I am a Seamstress. Many of my ancestors were Seamstresses' also.  
7. A few years ago, out of curiosity. I researched the previous owners of my home. It took me back to 1852 with the first person who owned the land before the homes in my neighborhood were built. Her name was Rhoda Bean.



It was difficult to choose, there are so many great blogs out there. Here are 15 Bloggers that I Admire:

1. Finding Eliza by Kristin Cleage
2. Notes To Myself by True Lewis
3. Our Alabama Roots by Luckie Daniels
4. Railroads and Cotton by Nia Jai
5. How Did I Get Here?  by Andrea Kelleher
6. The Ancestors Have Spoken by Yvette Porter Moore
7. RootStories and More  by Tiffany Neal
8. Rooted In You by Delores Summons
9. Breaking Down The Walls by Monique Crippen-Hopkins
10.Tracing My Peters Ancestry by Angelo Andrews
11.Our Alabama and Georgia Ancestors by Dante Eubanks
12. Tracey's Tree  by Tracy Hughes
13. Jewells In Dem Kentucky Hills  by Mary E. Bright-Jewell
14. Answering The Ancestors' Call  by  M Dawn Terrell
15.Tracing Gardner's Footprints  by Ressie Luck




For those on my list, if you have already been nominated I'm pretty certain that you don't have to nominate a group. There are so many more wonderful bloggers out there whose work I admire. I have learned so much from the more experienced members of the genealogy community. I enjoy our interactions and appreciate their support.    

Contact Bloggers
I will be contacting the 15 bloggers on my list, unless they see this post and contact me first.  Thank you Bernita for nominating my blog for the "One Lovely Blog Award".  I am honored to be included in your list of nominees.


Denise

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Following The Voices In The Picture

My Paternal Great-Grandparents James & Barbara Fowler (Conaway)

Lately I've been wondering when or if I would get my spark back for genealogy. That extreme, almost 24/7 passion that has kept me up many nights pondering over the life of my ancestors. Over the past six months, work, family and just busy living life have taken over and I've struggled to keep up with my ancestors. I felt uncomfortable at first, almost like I was letting them down by not penning a blog post, not researching, barely giving them a thought. I knew that the story must continue to be told, there was so much more to share. How could I stop? as I tried to fight the feeling, I suddenly remembered something that Luckie Daniels once told me. She said,  "Just Go With The Flow". Sometimes their voice speaks loud and clear, sometimes they barely whisper and sometimes you don't hear them at all. Whatever it is, it's alright. Just when I began to let go and make peace with myself and this new hiatus, a package in the mail found me and the voices of my ancestors were no longer silent.


Several months ago, my cousin Darren told me about an up coming family reunion in Missouri this summer. I couldn't wait to meet the cousins that I had connected with online. Finally I would get to meet my Paternal Grandmother's side of the family. For months I made plans to make the trip..Imagine my  disappointment when I wasn't able to attend. A few weeks later my cousin Elizabeth, whom I've yet to meet, sent me items from the reunion. A Family reunion book, full of pictures, names, dates, kinship reports along with T-shirts and a DVD. I nearly fell off my chair when I opened the package! Smack dead on the front of the book was a picture of my Paternal Great Grandparents, James & Barbara Fowler! I had wondered for so many years what they looked like. It's such a good feeling when you connect with cousins through genealogy and they embrace you  as mine have. I've never met any of them, yet we are family. Looking at their faces, I see my father, my grandmother..I see me.


Pictures really do speak a thousand words. They capture moments in time in the lives of our loved ones and serve as inspiration and encouragement to continue to find ancestors and share their story. I hear them saying "Get up Girl! there's more to find!". I am dedicated to finding my ancestors and sharing their stories, however, the lesson that I'm learning in this journey is that it's alright to take a break from time to time...even our ancestors stopped to rest on their journey.

Following the spirit of the ancestors and going with the Flow..


Cousins at the family reunion 2014






Denise



© 2014 Denise Muhammad



Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Mothers Children: The Sweet Souls In Buxton, Iowa

My Grandmother, Margaret Doyle (standing left) with her mother Mary Belle Carr and siblings, Bill, Johnny and Edythe. 1930

While looking further into the past of the men on my maternal side of the family, who worked as Coalminers in Buxton and Enterprise, Iowa. It was my Great-Grandmother, Mary Belle Carr, who caught my attention and sent my thoughts in another direction. So here I am, going with the flow of my ancestors...

When my grandma Margaret, talked about her mother. She never failed to mention what a hard life that her mother had. When I asked her why, she said that her mother worked so hard, and had suffered through the heartache of losing many children at a young age. From all that I know about my great-grandmother, I think that she must of  been very strong. I wondered what life was like for a woman 100 years ago. The infant mortality rate was pretty high. Unlike today, most women gave birth to their children at home. Many women lost children due to stillbirths, illness, inadequate medical care, and accidents of the time.

Great Grandma Mary was just a teenager when she married her husband Peter Doyle. On their marriage record it states that she was 19. Born in May of 1886, she was actually 16. She came from Virginia to Iowa and married Peter in 1903. She started her family life there in the Coal Mining town of Buxton, becoming a mother to his three young daughters from his previous marriage, Hattie, Mattie and Letha.

My Grandmother, who was born in 1916 always said that she was the ninth child born to her mother. She had two older siblings, Rose and Bill. Rose, who was the oldest of all the children. Was born in 1910. William was born in 1913. Between 1903 and 1907, Grandma Mary lost babies, one right after another. All stillborn. In 1908, she gave birth to a baby boy named Louie. He was the first child born alive. He lived for just two months before his passing in January of 1909. My Grandma used to say that she remembered hearing her parents talk about the baby boy who lived the longest. She never could remember his name exactly, she said she thought his name was Lonnie???,.. or something like that,..she wasn't quite sure..I have since come across Louie's death record and realized that he was the baby that grandma tried so hard to remember. There was another baby, named Eliza. She was born and died in March 1907. She was most likely named after Peter's sister Eliza.

Mary went on to have seven children that survived past infancy. I'm told that she thirteen in total. Years later she lost two more children. Her youngest child, Little Esther, died in 1931 at age 3 after eating poison berries while playing in the yard. Her son John was just 20 years old when he died in 1945 during WWII in France.

I've always been told that Grandma Mary was a spiritual woman of faith. She put her trust in the Lord and prayed continuously. Eventually becoming an Evangelist. I'm sure that her faith is what helped her through the most difficult times in her life. ♥



Denise






© 2014 Denise Muhammad and They Came From Virginia

Sources: Interview with Margaret D. James
Monroe county Marriage record
Buxton Iowa Cemetery Records
Polk County Iowa Death Records









Friday, April 18, 2014

Remembering Uncle Mike

Henry Wilmer Bannarn "Mike"
For as long as I can remember. I've heard my mother and grandmother talk about "Uncle Mike". I never met him, but I sure felt like I did. He was like a celebrity in my family. They were obviously very proud of him. Mom always said that my oldest brother, who was and still is very artistic, got his talent from uncle Mike. Growing up, I remember that he could draw anything. Mom always said that artistic expression ran in the BANNARN family and that many relatives were talented in one way or another. I knew that Uncle Mike was the brother of my mother's father, Anthony BANNARN. I also knew that he was an artist. But It wasn't until I got older, and became more curious about my family history, that I began to ask questions about the man called "Uncle Mike". Curious me..I always wanted to know more.

Grandma always had so much to say, and never seemed to mind my questions. Especially when she was in the mood to talk. I knew that she knew the Bannarn's well, I also knew that she had been best friend's with Grandpa Tony and Uncle Mike's cousin, Cleola Bannarn...Grandma was just the right person to talk to.
Cleola Bannarn Davis & Margaret Doyle Bannarn 1939-Minneapolis


Grandma Margaret's memories of Uncle Mike:

Henry Wilmer Bannarn, known as " Mike" to many, was an Artist and Sculptor. He was born July 1910 in Wetumka, Oklahoma to parents, Dee Bannarn and Hassie Thompson. His family came to Minnesota a few years after he was born.

"Mike was one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet". He was very good looking, of course all the Bannarn boys were. He was very sweet, a real good guy". I think that grandma admired how good he was to his mother because she mentioned it quite often in our talks, she always said that he came home from school and took care of her. She said that Mike was extremely talented and could always draw well. She remembers him going to art school. He later went off to the war and moved to New York. She remembers his wife Mayola and always talked about how beautiful she was. Together they had three children.

Growing up I never payed much attention to the sculptures that my grandmother had sitting in her home. It wasn't until many years later that she told me that Uncle Mike made them. His sculptures and artwork remain throughout my family today.

I never did ask my grandmother, but I now wonder if she knew all those years ago that he would be so popular one day, his works so great. Mom used to say that she always told them to hang on to his sculptures, they were something to treasure. I wouldn't be surprised if grandma knew after all..

Henry Wilmer Bannarn

Wikipedia has a pretty cool description about Uncle Mike and his work.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Bannarn





Denise


© 2014 Denise Muhammad, They Came From Virgina


Source: Interview with Margaret Doyle James




Sunday, April 13, 2014

Digging In Franklin County: The Search For Mariah Hall Conaway


Growing up, I remember my conversations with my grandma Luella, my father's mother. As a teenager, I was already curious about my family history and wanted to know more. The day that she told me about her family, I quickly grabbed my yellow notebook and began writing as she talked. Grandma began to rattle off names of her parents, sisters and brothers..and then she began to talk about her grandmother.. Mariah. She said that her grandmother looked like a white woman and could have easily passed for that. Even though she looked white, she was made a slave. I still remember the tone in her voice that day, she said it like she was surprised, she just couldn't believe that she was a slave. I remember having the feeling that Grandma wanted me to know. I was 16 at the time and little did I know that this would be the last time that I spoke with my grandma Luella. I still have that yellow notebook, the one that I wrote in as she spoke to me. Over the years I have referred back to this notebook often, searching for clues to find the woman named Mariah.

I found that Mariah Hall Connaway, was born in or around Franklin county, Missouri in about 1839 to MYRA and Abraham HALL. She married Curry CONWAY around 1865. Together they had children; Joseph, Daniel, Maggie, Sarah, Frank, Louis, Benjamin, Barbara. I descend from Barbara who was grandma Luella's mother. I have found CONWAY spelled at least six different ways. I'm not sure what the original spelling was, perhaps Conway turned into Connaway, Connoway, etc. As a result of how the name sounded to the census taker. Mariah and Curry lived their life in Franklin county, Missouri with most of their family members. Looking into my father's family I found that their roots run deep in Missouri. My search for Mariah led me to find her mother MYRA HALL as well as some of Mariah's siblings; Rufus, Sedonia and Wesley Hall. Aunt Frankie, my father's sister, remembered Mariah, her mother Myra and Mariah's daughter, Barbara all being light skinned with long brown hair. Being that I've yet to find any photos of Mariah, Myra or Barbara, I really enjoyed hearing about what they looked like. Mariah died in 1928 and is buried in the Old City cemetery in Washington, Missouri along with her husband Curry and several other family members. Sadly, there are no headstones for any of them.

Researching slave ancestry has been challenging to say the least. Spending hours searching slave documents trying to find ancestors is painful. Although I have yet to find the owners of Mariah and her mother Myra, I have not given up the search. The ancestors are calling, and they have a story to tell.






Denise

© 2014 Denise Muhammad

Sources: Interviews with Luella Pryor
and Frankie Taylor

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Friend Of Friends: Lessons From The Underground Railroad #TALIAFERRO

       

By sjtaliaferro

One night during the holidays I watched one of my favorite movies, Roots: The Gift. The movie stars LeVar Burton and Louis Gossett, Jr., in their roles as Kunta Kinte and Fiddler from the television series Roots. In this movie, Kunta and Fiddler accompany their owner to another plantation at Christmas time for a party, and become involved in a plan to help some runaway slaves escape via the Underground Railroad to freedom. A simple, yet powerful story. There are many messages and lessons to be learned from Roots: The Gift.
In one of my favorite scenes, Fiddler and Kunta are helping the group of runaway slaves get to the river where they are to meet a boat that will take them further on their journey to freedom. Along the way they make a stop to pick up other “passengers” on the Underground Railroad. When they come to a farmhouse, Kunta approaches and knocks. The man asks…”who goes”? Kunta responds “Friend of Friends”…in acknowledgment, the man replies “Friend of Friends”. A group of “passengers” exit the house. Kunta, Fiddler, and the group continue their journey.
This year, I was particularly moved by the Underground Railroad scene, and even more so by the phrase uttered by Kunta- Friend of Friends. The phrase, and variations of it, was used along the Underground Railroad as a password or signal to those assisting runaway slaves on their journey North…to freedom. The traditional response to the “who goes there” password is said to have been “A Friend of a Friend”.
A Friend of Friends. Say it… A Friend of Friends, again…A Friend of Friends. It evokes such a comforting, welcoming feeling. A feeling of trust, of sharing, of caring, of kindness, and of friendship, however brief. At the same time, it is transient…adjusting and changing with the circumstances. I’m A Friend of Friends….you don’t know me, but I require assistance…I need your help, and guidance…some information to aid me on my journey…then I’ll be moving on…to the next stop along the way.
The phrase, and the underlying concept, seems particularly appropriate and relevant for those of us in the genealogy community; aren’t we all on some level really just A Friend of Friends? Strangers helping strangers. Friends of friends with a common bond that ties us all together….the desire to know our ancestors, and to tell their stories. A common goal, with different methods, different paths that cross and intersect along the journey. As we travel this road to uncovering our ancestors and their stories we should all embrace the concept…we should be A Friend of Friends. Don’t be afraid or reluctant to share, to care, to guide, or to assist your fellow researcher along their journey.
As an African American researcher my task is two-fold; I research my family, but inevitably I must also research the family of my ancestor’s slave holders if I want to know more about my roots. Often we must seek information (assistance) from those that we do not know to aid us on our journey. It is an unavoidable truth – the descendants of our ancestor’s slave holding families may hold the key to our enslaved ancestor’s past. Slavery is an ugly truth of our shared history. I am not angry with you because your ancestor held my ancestor as a slave; don’t be angry with me because I seek those records that may shed more light on the lives of my people, and help me to tell their story more completely. Some who were members of slave holding families assisted passengers along the Underground Railroad. I challenge you to be A Friend of Friends.
We, as researchers of our African American ancestry, must also remember to share, to care, to guide, and to assist our fellow researchers; reach out, take time….no, make time. Can you request and expect the assistance of others, yet not expect the same of yourself? I urge you to stop being selfish with your research. Don’t miss out on a connection or a long lost cousin because of fear or uncertainty. Post It, Blog It, Share It, and Publish It. Many who were passengers along the Underground Railroad returned to assist others on their journey to freedom. I challenge you to be A Friend of Friends.
True genealogists know all of this, and understand the necessity of it. Indeed, the concept is nothing new in the genealogy community. Random, and not so random, acts of kindness occur every day. So, consider this a wake-up call, my challenge to you. When a fellow researcher comes calling…for info…for guidance…for knowledge…for support – be there – to share, to care, to guide, and to assist.
KNOCK, KNOCK!?!
WHO GOES THERE?
A FRIEND OF FRIENDS
  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The family History Project: An Interview With Grandma Margaret


Grandma Margaret 14 yrs old.with siblings, baby Esther, Edythe (Pie) and Johnny.

Many years ago,  my oldest daughter came home from school and told me that her class was doing a  family history project and she had to interview an older relative that had lived during the depression of the 1930's. She chose to interview her great-grandmother, my grandma Margaret. I was beyond excited! At the time she was 12 years old and was so excited. She is now 32 and has no interest what so ever in family history. Sad to say, neither do my other two children. I keep hoping that maybe it just hasn't manifested itself in them yet. Only time will tell.

When I told Grandma that her young great-granddaughter wanted to interview her, she was excited. She loved to talk, and talking about her history was even better. I started the kettle that day before she came in the door. My grandma was a die hard tea drinker. She loved a good cup of hot tea. When she came to visit, you would be wise to have the tea kettle on because that would be one of the first things she'd asked for. She would always ask. " Do you have any tea Honey? "   Makes me chuckle just thinking about that.



My daughter began by asking her when and where she was born?  What was it like when you were growing up and during the depression?

Grandma replied:

I was born on February 4,1916 in Danville, Illinois. Life was not easy. Papa and Mama worked so hard. My Papa was a Coal Miner. When I was very little, we lived in the coal mining camps. Sometimes we would move to different towns in Iowa. Before we had a car, Papa drove a wagon pulled by mules.We had to wash clothes by hand. Mama had a great big tub that she put on the fire outside to boil water in to wash the clothes. When I got older, It was my job to help with the laundry and look after my sisters and brother's. We washed the clothes outside in the warmer months. I always had to wash the diapers, which was a terrible mess! I scrubbed them on a wash board and then beat them with a rock.After that they were layed in the sun to dry. In the winter, they were still hung outside. The clothes would be hard as a brick. Eventually Mama got a winger washer, which made washing a little easier. Saturday night was bath night, everyone took a bath and got ready for church the next morning. Some mornings, my papa sent me to the butcher on the corner to get a slab of bacon. When the depression came, it was hard. Many people lost their jobs. Papa no longer worked in the mining camps, many had shut down. He did odd jobs and hauled things for people with his truck. Food was rationed. I don't remember us ever going hungry. We always had enough food to eat. Mama had a big vegetable garden. She would can vegetables, spiced peaches, apples and jam. The jars would look so pretty lined up on the shelf. She baked her own bread. There was no money for fabric. So mama made our dresses out of flour sacks. She used scraps here and there to make quilts. We had chickens in our yard. Papa would slaughter the chicken and mama would fry it up. Sometimes she made gravy and biscuits with it. My papa would  help the neighbors that needed food. He would take a box and pack up some vegetables, bread, a slab of bacon, what ever  he could spare and take it to them. My papa was a good man."


Grandma's father, Peter Doyle, siblings, Johnny and Edythe. Mary Doyle (in Car)

What did you do for fun?

"We didn't have Television back then. For fun we would have Taffy pulls, Pop popcorn, make fudge, We would play the piano and sing . In the summertime, we had picnics".

What was the cost of rent?

"Well, when I first got married and came to Minneapolis,MN we lived in what they called "Cold Water Flats" they called them that because there was no hot running water, only cold. You had to boil the water to take a bath. Rent was  $10 a month. That was about 1936. Bread was .10 cents a loaf. A good dress was $3.00. I would put my dress on Lay-A-Way. Every week I would walk downtown to pay .50 cents on it until it was paid off". Life was very different back then. People don't realize how easy they have it now compared to the old days.

My daughter put her project together. It came out beautiful. She had to read it to her class. That day she brought home an A!


Grandma and my daughter, Aiesha in 2006.




Denise


© 2014 Denise Muhammad