Monday, February 28, 2011

Pictures are like that.

Granny Ewen's mom was Lura Mahala (Haly) Howel, born 29 July, 1871. She was the second wife of Cordillis Morton. The last post shows their children 1911. The picture to the right shows Granny Ewen's uncle on the Howel side of the family tree.

James Howel was born 11 December 1860. His wife's name is yet unknown. His father was Thomas Jefferson Howel, born 17 February 1840. His mother was Mary Ann Lamerson, born 1 April 1836. These dates are taken from the page of a family Bible which Granny Ewen had kept with her throughout her life. A picture of this page is shown at the post called "A small piece of history", 30 August, 2010. I still do not know if they had any children, these Howels? But, the picture kept by Granny shows their life. Pictures are like that.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Granny Ewen's Growing

A previous post titled "Granny Ewen's Childhood" shows a picture of the Morton family fairly early in their childhood. [18 January 2001] The picture to the right shows Granny's Morton family growing up! This picture has in Granny's hand writing on the back, "Made in year of 1911". Just imagine, a picture of the family 100 years ago!

Here stands left to right, Myrtle Morton (b.1901); my Granny, Stella Morton (b. 1899); "Mama" Morton [Mahala] (b.1871); Bruce Morton (b. 1907); Lemon Morton (b. 1896); and Mose Morton (b.1905). Let's see, that would be 10 years old (Myrtle); 12 years old (Granny); 41 years old (Mahala); 5 years old (Bruce); 15 years old (Lemon); and 7 years old (Mose). Life as it look for my Morton family 100 years ago.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Breath of Life

To take that first breath of life is an important step for all of us in the human race. It usually starts with a cry, for having been a family physician for more than a quarter of a century, I have been present at many first breath experiences. [more than 800!] That breath fills the lungs, changes the blood flow through the heart, and moves us from a watery existence to the land side of life. Hearing that cry, the mother gets the first sounds of this new life that has been hidden in her womb for some 9 months, give or take a few weeks. All that morning sickness... long nights twisting and turning, trying to get comfortable from that kicking and movement...that big, big belly, and swelling in hands and feet...that reflux, those hemorrhoids, those stretch marks...all this to get to hear that first breath of life.

The picture to the right shows my wife holding our first daughter. Her arms did most of the holding and hugging. In spite of having delivered more than 800 babies, I can say that there is nothing like having your own! But, after 40 years of marriage, I have come to realize that it is the mothers that give the breath of life.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Life not Lived

The death of a child leaves a hole in the heart that is never filled. Life goes on but memories remain. May Millicent Ewen was born 7 December 1920, and died 25 December 1926. The picture to the right is of May Millicent, taken early in her childhood. It may be the only picture that the family has of her life. Granny Ewen and Granddad Ewen lost three children early in their married life. Their first child, Minnie Thelma Clay Ewen born, 24 March 1919, and died 11 March 1920. Their second child, May Millicent shown to the right. A third child named Susan Christina Ewen, born 7 April 1932, and died 25 July 1934. Lives not lived. What did we miss by not meeting or getting to know them. We will never know.

Say hello, May Millicent. What stories would you have told to your family? Those dark eyes, looking forward. You have the Ewen eyes and that Ewen round head! She is buried between her two sisters at Nada, just outside the front of the "Sunday Go to Meeting" church pictured in a previous post. Her grandfather and grandmother are buried just above. Forever part of the family...we certainly missed you.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Social Roles

Griffin Jones, Sr. made his appearance in history 13 August 1736. [My eighth-generation

grandfather.] He was found in the legal records of Caroline Co., Virginia, causing all kinds of trouble. What to make of all this? The society that surrounded Griffin at this time was pretty much fixed. He was expected to fit into the culture that produced the environment in which he lived. The legal system was one way to stand up for yourself and your family.

The drawing to the right is a summary table of the "male" social system that was in place around this time in history. From birth , until a male was considered an "adult", was clearly defined. England defined its social structure by rank, and you were born into a class. You were born into this class, and expected to follow what society had structured.

Infancy was considered from birth to around 5 years of age. The immediate family was responsible for your care and upbringing. If born "poor" you became wards of the parish church.

Primary education began around 5-6 years of age. You were usually sent to a school in the surrounding community, or a community close by. For the poor or lower classes, as early as age 10, one could be placed as an apprentice. This involved leaving the home and moving into another family's home. You became a workman for this family and learned the trade that was being practiced. The title "bonded" or "servant" was applied.

Secondary education began around 14-15 years of age for those in the upper classes. Oxford and Cambridge were the schools of choice for the upper crust. This often involved at least one year in the legal system, called the "Inns of Court". It was at age 14 that an individual could select their own guardian. This secondary education could take 5-7 years, and a male was considered ready for the adult community around age 21. This may be as long as age 27 in certain families.

Farm and field was the place viewed acceptable for many. A trade and profession for others was the norm. Church, the legal courts, and the military for the younger brothers were often the goals for those freeman and above.

The court of the monarchy was for the knight and peerage.

So, there you have a big picture of the social structure of male society. Griffin, Sr. would have gone through this system. This would suggest that he was at least 21 years of age in 1736. Understanding this social system can be used to begin to set dates around many "brick walls"!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Countenance of an Angel

The ground around my house has been covered in snow most of these winter months. Cold, ice, salt, poor roads, and housebound for many days, makes one look out the window and hope for the spring.

Outside my study is a well that was place some 176 years ago. I guess it has seen its share of Kentucky snow and ice. It is part of a cistern system that runs underground collecting the runoff from the snow and ice. Capturing this melting snow, it provided a source of water for the continuation of life around this place. Of course, it no longer operates as a source of water, for time has replaced it with pipes and faucets, and a water bill!

Over this well is placed a fountain. Central to this fountain is an angel statue which looks toward our house. On a sunny day, between the snow and ice, the sun reflected off our angel, and left hope for the spring. The picture to the right is the angel, and I thought it might help those who are still facing the snow and ice. The countenance of an angel...spring is on the way!

Monday, February 7, 2011

My mitochrondial DNA (mtDNA)

The Y-chromosome seems to get most of the attention, at least for the male of the species. The mtDNA often gets lost in the tree branches along the way, as the family grows for generations. Interesting that it was the mtDNA that opened the doors to the world of genetic genealogy and the study of our DNA existence upon this planet. Not surprising that it is the females who often keep the family's stories, and pass them on to later generations. This was especially true in my family.

The picture to the right shows my immediate mtDNA. Mom standing with her Mom. It must have been a bright and sunny summer day. Summer dresses, sun glasses, sandals, and oh yes, another picture to be taken. Granny has her arm around Mom, holding her left shoulder. My mtDNA to you, my dear, it seems to say. Granny squinting her eyes against the sun's bright rays. I can not tell if Mom is wearing her wedding ring yet, but I guess this picture would have been taken in the mid-to-late 1940s. Granny has a flower placed in her dress, and I know how much she loved flowers and plants. Their shadows are cast almost directly backward. Yes, my Y-chromosome gets most of the attention in these posts, but it is this mtDNA that takes up half.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gunter's Chain

When the first surveyor arrived in Virginia, early 1620s, he brought with him the latest scientific invention called "Gunter's Chain". Invented in 1620 by a mathematician Edmund Gunther, it was the most advanced instrument of its time. It became the surveyor's tool, and was used to mark off the land of Virginia. It was 22yards long (20 meters), and was divided into 100 links. This would make each link 6 foot, 6 inches long. Each link was a solid bar, carried on horseback, and hooked together to make various links. One link by 10 links square made 1 acre. [An area of 10 square chains.] In essence, 22 yards long = 66 feet = 4 perches = 1/10 furlong. [It actually was 20.1168 meters, but .1168 of a meter made little difference.] One mile was 5,280 feet = 80 chains. A square mile enclosed 640 acres.

Another measurement was the "rod". One rod = 16.5 feet = 5.5 yards = 5.0292 meters.
A "pole" was 1 square rod. This would be 16.5 feet x 16.5 feet.

These terms are frequently used in the surveys made in colonial Virginia. Now you know!

1 Rod = 16.5 feet = 5.5 yards = 5.0292 meters.

1 Pole = 1 square rod.

1 acre = 160 square rods = 10 square chains.

1 mile = 5,280 feet.

1 square mile = 640 acres.

A Gunter's Chain was 22 yards long (20 meters) and divided into 100 links.

22 yards = 66 feet = 4 perches = 1/10 furlong.

1 link = 6 foot 6 inches long.