|Lillie Powell at the age of 16|
Lillie Powell Gurganus never cut her hair throughout her entire life. Brushing her hair was among her grand-daughters' favorite things to do with their grandmother. Sitting in a chair, her long thick hair reached down to the floor in her later years. As a young girl she often wore it down, evidence of how long it really was, but in her later years it was carefully braided and then pinned around her head.
Lillie was born on the 17th of June 1895 to Charlie Snow Powell and Rebecca Jane Holley in Walker County, Alabama. She was their oldest daughter and the third child in a large family. Growing up in Walker County, the Powell family lived in relatively close proximity to the large Gurganus family, so it's not too surprising that Lillie and Charles Fletcher Gurganus had the opportunity to meet. Fletcher and Lillie began the process of courting at a young age and it soon led to their marriage on a winter's day, the 13th of December 1914.
There in Walker County, replete with rolling hills, rivers and forests and living near extended family members, Fletcher farmed and Lillie took care of the household chores and their five children.
Her grandchildren remember Lillie as soft spoken and for her sense of industry. A firm believer that an idle mind was the devil's workshop, she constantly busied about, doing something productive with her time. If by chance you found her sitting, she was not idle, but generally busy at the lost art of mending, darning or meticulously piecing together a quilt top. As her children grew and married, they returned to Lillie and Fletcher's home for cherished family dinners where Lillie constantly bustled about, tending to the needs of each of her precious visitors.
In Walker county on the tenth of March, 1975, at the age of 80, Lillie Powell passed from this life. Among the things she left behind were treasured remembrances such as handmade Valentines, cards and birthday messages from her husband, evidence of their love for each other. But in the hearts of her grandchildren, she left cherished memories of time spent together at family gatherings as well as those uniquely special moments when she unpinned her long braids for them, and they had the privilege of brushing her beautiful long hair. They truly prize the memories of Grandma Lillie letting down her hair.
A special thanks to Betty Wedgeworth for sharing a few memories and the picture of her grandmother Lillie Powell Gurganus.
For those curious about our connection, Charlie Fletcher Gurganus was my third cousin, twice removed.
Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved