This week’s prompt is – Toys & Games Can you remember your first toy, or game? Do you still have it? Who did you play with? Did you play board games? Have you inherited any of your family games & toys? Share some pictures if you would like to!
1) Can you remember your first toy or game? My very first toy was a Snoopy doll that I received when I was a little baby. Now this original doll, I don't know what happened to it. I'll have to check in with my mom about that. I have a feeling it may have suffered the fate of many a well loved doll, with torn off appendages and various stains who's final resting place may have been the garbage can. The good news is that I received another one at some point and that Snoopy doll I had with me for most of my childhood. I loved that thing so much. In fact, I loved stuffed animals period. I had a whole family of them that I would cook for, dress, and clean up after. On weekends I would host weddings. Usually, it would be the same wedding. I would marry off Snoopy to my absolute favorite stuffed animal of my youth, Helen the Hippopotamus. They would marry and have two kids, a boy and a girl and live happily ever after.
Me and my stuffed animals.
This picture shows Helen the Hippopotamus and the second Snoopy doll I had and their two children.
2) Do you still have it?
No sadly, Snoopy has gone on to that great toy heap in the sky. 3) Who did you play with? I often played with my brother when we were growing up. I am sure this must have been hard on him at times since there's a six year age gap between us. I am sure he at times may have been wanting to do other things. 4) Did you play board games? Oh we played some board games! My brother and I were and still are super competitive so we were all about the board games. Our two favorites were Monopoly and The Game of Life and with The Game of Life, I am talking about the pre--1991 version of the game. After that year they added "Life" tiles, changed some of the rules and changed the way the money looked. It just isn't the same experience playing the newer version. I bought on Ebay last year the version of the game that I used to play as a child and now I play it with my kids. 5) Have you inherited any of your family games and toys?
No. At least I don't recall inheriting any.
The"Life" game I purchased off of Ebay that my family and I play.
I am a bit late coming to the party but I've decided to join in the fun of the "52 Ancestors Weeks Challenge" created by Amy Johnson Crow, author of the blog No Story Too Small. The Challenge: Have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.
My Bryant family has been on my mind as of late since completing my recent post, A Little Boy's Story. It felt right to begin with someone associated with this line. This ancestor of mine was born an Ellison but most definietly died a Bryant. I think of her as "the heart" of my Bryant family who lived in Morehead City. Carolyn Ellison Bryant was my 3rd great grandmother.
This is what I know of her life thus far. She was born in Beaufort County, North Carolina on August 4, 1844 to a Benjamin and Rosetta Ellison. From the research I've done, I've learned that Caroline's father, Benjamin, was a slave of William John Ellison of a place called Tranters Creek, just outside of Washington, North Carolina. I believe that Caroline was more than likely a slave of Benjamin's as well or one of the other related Ellison families of the area. The Ellison Family group included Parents --Benjamin (born about 1826--died between 1898--1900) and Rosetta Ellison (born ? --died 1864) Children --Irvin Ellison (b.1841--d.1927) Allen Ellison (born about 1850--d.1917) George Ellison (b. 1856-- died ?) James Ellison (b.1848--died between 1910 and 1920) John Ellison (born ?--died before 1869) Harvey Ellison (b.1861--d.1925) Ada Ellison (b. 1849-- died ?) Sarah Ellison(born --died before1869) Mosella Ellison(born--died before 1869) Patience Ellison Blount (b.1841--d.1880) Caroline Ellison Bryant --my 3rd great grandmother. The Civil War brought major changes to the city of Washington, NC. The Battle of Washington took place March 30 to April 19, 1863. The Union occupied the town until they were forced to withdraw at the end of April 1864. William John Ellison, Benjamin's owner, died in March of 1862. These two events I think led to the family being split up during this time period. Some moved to Snow Hill, Greene County, NC, and others fled to Carteret, and Craven Counties. Yet a few remained in or around Washington, NC after the Civil War.
Caroline Ellison made her way to the town of Beaufort in Carteret County, NC as evidenced by the registration of her marriage to Henry Bryan(t) on July 31, 1864.
Source Information: Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Collection, 1741-2004 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
Image courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Caroline may have known her husband prior to coming to Carteret County. Perhaps when Washington, NC fell back into the hands of the Confederates, she made the move with Henry to somewhere they felt safe, Union occupied Beaufort. By 1870, Henry and Caroline had two children residing in their household with them, Sidney and Jonas, my 2nd great grandmother (Jonas was incorrectly noted as being a boy.)
Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.
These for sure were not their first children. Henry was 39 and Caroline 23. How many children had they been separated from during the years they were enslaved? I think of a young Caroline still a child herself probably giving birth to her first at what 16, 15, or 14 years of age or worse younger. How much time did she get to spend with those babies? Who lived? Who was sold away? How often did she get to whisper to them the sort of wisdom a mother must share with her child? My heart breaks when I think of these questions. I can't imagine what it must have felt like to bear the yoke of all that heartache. Now, this family was a new chance. A fresh start. A time when she could see her babies grow up and have lives of their own. The void left from losing the others could be filled in just a little. Perhaps?
Image courtesy of africa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When the 1880 Federal census came about, there were the additions to the family of Rose, Henry and John noted. Caroline had more love to pass out, more guidance to give and a busy household to keep up with. This was the last census Henry Bryant Sr. was listed on and the only one I could find Rose on. A husband and child would die before 1900.
Source Information: Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.
Caroline persevered on. She went from being a renter in 1900 to a property owner by 1910. She maintained her status of head of the household, guiding her daughter Jonas and her grandchildren William, Mamie (Mary) and Frank (my great grandfather.) Perhaps the private family she was working for in 1910 was the family of Charles Slover Wallace. My great grandfather Frank was employed as a butler for him in 1917 and later in life became his chauffeur. For more on who was Charles Slover Wallace, take a look at this post: Military Monday: Frank Bryant's World War I Draft Registration Card Provided An Interesting Find!
Souce Information: Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
I believe that Caroline was a woman of faith and it was her faith in God and her faith in her family that I believe sustained her during the hardest times. I recently found a newspaper article mentioning her and from it I learned she was also a member of St Stephen's AME Zion Church like many of my other Morehead City ancestors.
The Daily Journal
(New Bern, North Carolina)
24 July 1907 • Page 3
First and foremost, I think Caroline was a mother. A mother to those who needed guidance. She was a mother to her grandson William Bryant since his mother, Rose, died sometime before 1900. She was there for her daughter Jonas and sometimes filling the role of mother with her grandson Frank when Jonas wasn't able to be there. At least that's how I see it. I get a sense of how things were when I look at certain records such as her grandson Frank's marriage certificate.
Image courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina.
**Note Caroline Bryan(t) was listed as the mother of Frank L Bryan(t) on this certificate. Perhaps Caroline was the one who actually raised Frank and not his mother Jonas Bryant? Jonas made the move to Prince George, Virginia between 1910 and 1920. It must have been Caroline that Frank turned to for advice during the early years of his marriage since his mother was so far away.
Caroline Ellison Bryant lived the rest of her life in Morehead City, NC. She died on August 1, 1920 just 3 days shy of her 76th birthday.
Caroline Ellison Bryant
August 4, 1844--August 1, 1920
Bayview Cemetery, Morehead City NC.
My 3rd great great grandmother's grave-site
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: http://www.anglers-rest.net/book-of-me-written-by-you.html This week’s prompt is – Message in a Bottle If you were to physically write or virtually write a message to place into a bottle what would you write? Do you live by the sea and are able to potentially throw into the Ocean? Or perhaps a river Do you feel strongly that you would not "litter" in this way - in which case you may complete the task virtually What would you like to happen with the message? Do you hope it is picked up somewhere, miles from home? Are you going to create a secret email account in case it is picked up and someone emails you Or would you like to write an anonymous note to someone that you know Or write a message to a deceased loved one? If I were to write a message in a bottle, I don't think I would put my contact information in the message. I would like to remain anonymous and just pass on some kind words of encouragement. These are a list of things I tell myself to keep my sanity. The finder of my message might find them helpful as well. 1) Take time to be still, listen to your breath and think of nothing. 2) Take time and be still and think of the ones you love. 3) Pray 4) Dream 5) Have Faith 6) Look to the sun for the answers that may guide your soul. 7) Never give up, but you may need to take a break every once in a while.
I imagine that somewhere out on the other side of the world, someone may need a message of hope to uplift them. I love the prose of Rumi, so I think I would include some of his words as well. These are a few of his quotes I really appreciate. If light is in your heart, you will find your way home. As you live deeper in the heart, the mirror gets clearer and cleaner. Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come? I do travel once a year to Cape Cod, so I would probably release my message in the bottle into the sea then. Ocean currents are crazy, so who knows where it might wind up? I think I would also include a few words on how genealogy has influenced my life for the positive. I would strongly encourage whoever received my letter to check into their own family history, if they haven't already done so.
The other night, I stumbled upon a little boy's story. Now that I think about it, it really is a story about how a family dealt with a terrible tragedy. I think it also is a story of how this little boy did not wish to be forgotten. He snuck up on me late at night. I wasn't looking for him but he found me. Well, I had found his name on the census before and a death certificate, but he was really wasn't a person yet to me. He was just a name with some vague bits of information attached to it. He was a Hester. Specifically, his name was Cecil Ruth Hester. He was the son of Mott Hester Sr. and my 2nd great grand aunt, Sidney Bryant Hester of Morehead City, NC. Sidney Bryant Hester was one of my 2nd great grandmother Jonas Bryant's sisters.
Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
**Note on the 1910 census my Jonas Bryant was noted as Joanna and Jonas and Sidney's mother were living next door to the Hesters. Listed last, was little Cecil Hester who was just 3 years old at the time.
Source Information: Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1975 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
When I initially found his death certificate a couple of years ago, I was shocked to see his cause of death was a "gun shot wound in the head" and labeled an "accidental homicide." I wondered what happened but quickly was pulled into another direction with my research. So little Cecil waited quietly for me take notice of him again. Now back to what I was doing the other night. I've been working on learning as much as I can about the communities of Morehead City and Riverdale, North Carolina, specifically what these places were like from after the Civil War up through the 1940's. I've been looking through old newspapers and finding out some interesting bits and pieces on the website Newspapers.com. This particular night I was doing a generalized search, using the terms "Hester," "Morehead City,"and "Colored." I started to scroll down the list of results and pretty quickly something caught my attention.
The New Bern Sun (New Bern, North Carolina)
May 20, 1911, Page 1
I said to myself, "Mart Hester, this has got to be Mott Hester." Then I zoomed in on the name James Henry Bryant. Could he have been a relation of Mott's wife Sidney? Sure enough, he was. James Henry Bryant was her nephew, the son of Sidney's brother, Henry B Bryant (b. 1876--d.1937). Now it became apparent how incredibly sad this whole situation was. A mother losing a child at the hands of her brother's son. What about James Henry? This for sure had to be an accident. Boys will be boys and are often curious to explore things that are marked as forbidden. Was James trying to show off to his cousin how he could handle a gun? These are the questions that swirl through my mind.
I would hope this was an accident. I'm inclined to think of the best in people even though the worst may be lurking nearby in the shadows waiting for a chance to sneak out. Only God, James Henry Bryant and Cecil Hester could really know what truly happened that day. My mind goes drifting back towards that little boy's mother and father, Mott and Sidney. Gosh, how does one bear such a loss. Was this the first time they had lost a child? I referred to the 1900 census for a clue.
Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
**It was noted on this census that Sidney was the mother of 5 children with 4 still living. So this wasn't the first time that Mott and Sidney Hester had endured a loss such as this. Having had this prior experience and a family still to raise, they just did what they knew they had to do and just went on.
Mott Hester Sr.
This picture is from a book called "Tales of the Atlantic Hotel 1880--1933"
by Virginia Pou Doughton
Sidney Bryant Hester
The thoughts in my head shifted towards James Henry Bryant. After all he was only eleven years old...a child himself when he accidentally shot his cousin. How did his life play out after such a terrible event. I looked again to the census for some answers.
Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.
Nine years after Cecil's death, the Hesters and Bryants were still living on Avery St, just across the street from one another.
Image courtesy of Google Maps
**The Bryant's home was located at 1200 Avery St which is noted in red on the left and the Hester home-place was at 1112 Avery across the street.
It appears that James Henry followed in the footsteps of his father, Henry B. Bryant, and found work in the fishing industry. He was still doing this work in 1930 and according to the census of that year, was working on a Menhaden fishing boat and still residing at 1200 Avery St. After that, his trail went cold for me. I know that four of James's sisters and his father Henry all died from pulmonary tuberculosis in the period from 1926--1937. Perhaps he shared that same fate? I will have to keep looking to find out the answer. If Cecil Ruth Hester had lived, what would he have grown up to be? A fisherman like his own father and brothers? A dreamer? Or perhaps a story teller?
I am still playing catch up on The Book Of Me, Written By You. Someday..someday soon I'll get there. :) 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: http://www.anglers-rest.net/book-of-me-written-by-you.html This week’s prompt is – Snow! Do you live in area where you routinely have snow? How old were you when you first saw snow? Do you remember it? Did you make snowmen? Throw Snowballs Sledge Rides What is the image that first came to mind when you read snow? What does snow feel like, smell like how do you see snow 1) Do you live in an area where you routinely have snow? Ha! I live in upstate NY. Snow is something we do very well here. 2) How old were you when you first saw snow? Do you remember it? I don't know when was the first time I saw snow but a memory that stands out in my mind was a blizzard that took place in either 1976 or 1977. My family and I were living in Cambria Heights, NY. The houses in our neighborhood were very close together with basically a driveway that separated each house from the next. I was amazed at the sight of seeing the family car covered with snow in the driveway. My parents had to shovel out an area to get the driver's side door open. Crazy! I was so small it just looked so completely surreal to me. Anyway. I remember walking with my brother and my dad I think to get a newspaper or something and then we came back home.
3) Did you make snowmen? Throw snowballs? Sledge rides? I attempted to make snowmen when I was little with not much success. I don't recall my brother and I playing in the back yard of our house in Cambria Heights but I do remember a few times trying to make snowmen at my paternal grandparents house. I thought it would be easy since it seemed that way from what I had seen on TV shows. Oh well. I still tried and had fun trying. My favorite memory of snow is from when my family lived in Lake Ronkonkoma. I think it was the winter of 1982 or 1983 and during one storm we received over a foot of snow. Oh what fun my brother and I had. We built snow forts and had snow ball fights. We didn't going sledding and I don't ever recall going on a sleigh ride. 4) What is the image that first comes to mind when you read snow? I think of cool crisp fresh air and seeing my own breath in front of me. I think of how quiet it is when a snowfall occurs. I hear my own thoughts more clearly and completely. I see pine trees with snow covered branches and frozen water on a pond or a lake somewhere. I see an image in my mind that somehow represents clarity.
5) What does snow feel like? Smell like? I would say that snow feels like cold powdery sugar to me. No scent really, perhaps just clean. 6) How do you see snow? When it snows, I think it's a great time for introspection or meditation. It's a time for me to regain my center.
It's so lovely to see you move so effortlessly between the roles of older brother and uncle. Thanks for always being there for me from when I was little and all the years since. You are still my big brother and yet at the same time you are such a dear sweet uncle to my kids. Just thought you should know :)
Happy New Year again! I thought it might be a good time to take a look back at some of my favorite posts from the past year. Over the holidays, I hope that all of my readers had time to make a memory or two with those they hold to special to their hearts. So without further ado, here's a look at my favorite 12 of 2013. These first two posts are special to me because they are a reminder that something that presents itself randomly may not in fact be random at all. I am a believer that sometimes the ancestors may give you a little nudge from the other side.
7) Sunday's Obituary: Dr. Oscar Dunn Jones --This one is special because it led to my cousin Jane finding me on-line. This obituary was for her grandfather. Just reminds me, you never know who's looking for the information you know. Share it. Get it out there. It may lead to amazing connections.
10) Reveling In This Moment --A post that talks about how finding information about your ancestors is comparable to putting together a jigsaw puzzle. 11)Thankful For These Moments With My Kids --This one features pictures of my kids at one of there favorite places. I realize how quickly they are growing up on me so I am trying to savor these moments now. 12) Thankful Thursday: Friends On Facebook Are Extremely Helpful --Kind folks that I met via Facebook shared information about my great grandfather. From this event, I was able to connect with his next door neighbor. To be honest, it was hard to pick a few out of the bunch. Last year I completed a total of 183 posts. Now for 2014, I don't know if I will be able to keep up with that pace, but we will see what happens. On a final note make sure you check out the AAGSAR Blog Fest 2014. It was created by Luckie Daniels of the blog Our Georgia Roots. Over 25 new African American Genealogy blogs were launched. Click on the link to Our Georgia Roots and you will see the list. Please lend your support to these new blogs. Leave a comment or words of encouragement. Spread the word!
For details about The Book Of Me, Written By You project created by Julie Goucher, of the Anglers Rest blog, please refer to this link: http://www.anglers-rest.net/book-of-me-written-by-you.html This week’s prompt is – Special People and is a follow on from last week. If you had to hold a dinner party and could invite a maximum of 12 special people who would you invite? You CAN include family in this time. Perhaps they are ancestors you have never met or people that you know/knew What meals would you serve and why. Perhaps include the recipe or a photo if you decided to actually cook the items!
Okay, so now that I can invite family to this dinner party, it is on! Let's start with Bryant family line. I would invite my maternal grandmother's brothers since I never knew them. I grew up with my grandmother's sisters and saw them often as a child. I loved watching the interaction that would take place when they all were in the same room.
Loris, my grandmother Mary, Rosa, and Eloise
I have often wondered if that same magic existed between my grandmother Mary's brothers.
Ray, Linwood, and Frank
It was probably a different dynamic between them since Frank grew up in the house next door with their grandmother. He referred to my great great grandmother Rosa Jones as "Momma." I would love for their mother, my great grandmother Ophelia Jones Bryant to attend this dinner. After all, her picture is what inspired me to begin this genealogy journey in the first place.
My maternal great grandmother Ophelia Jones Bryant
with my grandmother Mary in her lap.
Ophelia Jones Bryant (b. 1894--d.1939)
I would invite Ophelia's mother Rosa Mitchell Jones too. I would want to see the mannerisms of these two ladies in the flesh. What was the relationship like between them?
My great great grandmother Rosa Mitchell Jones
That brings me to Rosa's parents Mortimer Mitchell and Annie Taylor Mitchell. This is where the trail ends with my Mitchell family branch. I would like to know what my 3rd great grandparents looked like of course. I know that they settled in Riverdale, NC after the Civil War and that they lived out the rest of their lives there. What did they know of those who came before them?
With Rosa Mitchell Jones coming to the party then I would think it would only be fair to include her husband Alexander Hamilton Jones. This way I could see what facial features their daughter Ophelia received from each parent.
There's a couple more from my mother's side of the family that I would invite and it is for the same reasons that I invited Mortimer and Annie Mitchell. I want to know more about those who came before them.
Thomas Whitney and Margaret Merritt Whitney of Lake Comfort, Hyde, NC would be attending.They were the grandparents of my great grandmother Carrie Whitney Harrison.
Up to eight so far. The other four would definitely be from my father's side of the family.
I would invite my paternal great grandmother Ella Carr/Smith/Dixon or whatever her true name was. She was the mother of my grandmother Ethel Smith Murrell. So many questions I would have for her because I don't know much about her at all. Most importantly, what became of her. When did she die and where she was layed to rest? Was she running away from something or someone? Or perhaps it was her own demons? We would have a big chat me and her.
So with three invites left I think I would choose my grandfather Harold Murrell and his parents, Frederica Augusta Inniss and George Murrell. My grandfather and his family were from St. Philip Parish, Barbados, so access to records has not been easy. As a child, I never asked my grandfather what it was like growing up in Marley Vale, the little area in which his family resided. Oh how I have regretted that so much as the years have gone by but you know how it is. Children weren't suppose to ask questions such as that to their elders. Plus, to be honest it wasn't in my head at the time. I was much more interested in playing checkers with grandpa or showing him the pictures I had just drawn. Those things too were important so I won't beat myself up too much.
Harold Murrell --my paternal grandfather.
Some of the questions I would ask:
1) What's your earliest memory?
2) What's your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
3) What's your happiest memory? Saddest?
4) How would you describe your parents?
5) How would you answer the question, "Who are you?"
For the meal, I would like to cook something with Ophelia and Rosa. What a kick that would be to work side by side with my great great grandmother and my great grandmother. They could pick their favorites and I would gladly take direction from them.