Showing posts with label Davis Carrie Melinda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Davis Carrie Melinda. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Gift of Time

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Time.  From the time we are born until the time we die, our life is broken up into increments of time.  While we are all given 24 hours a day, the total time that we spend on this earth and how we spend it, varies tremendously.  For each of us, the time to which we are born and live creates the stage for our life and determines much of what we experience. The way we spend our time creates who we are.

Recently, one of Roderick Monroe Ganus’ descendants shared with me pictures of Roderick's pocket watch that he had inherited.  As I looked at the pictures of the beautiful old timepiece, I wondered what filled the minutes of Roderick's life?  How did he spend his time?

Born on 23 June 1863 in Calhoun, Alabama to John Monroe Ganus and Olivia Rainwater, Roderick, was the fifth child of eight born to the union, although only five sons actually survived to adulthood.

For the first few years of his life, Roderick’s family lived in Calhoun County, Alabama before moving to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where they lived for about three years.  By 1870, John and Olivia returned to their home state of Georgia, with their four sons, William Franklin, John Thackason, Roderick Monroe and Newton Lafayette.  Soon after their move back to Georgia, their last son, Robert Lee, was born. There in Haralson County, Georgia,  Roderick grew up with a house full of brothers, worked on the farm, learned to hunt and enjoyed the close proximity to aunts, uncles and cousins.  While they did the best they could with what they had, life following the Civil War was a difficult  time of  "Reconstruction"  for those in Georgia and  the Ganus family was no exception.

In November of 1886, at the age of 23, Roderick, along with his parents, siblings and their families, boarded a steam locomotive bound for Colorado where they would remain for the next ten years. Then in about 1896, Roderick accompanied his parents and siblings in a move to Oklahoma where they would all live for the remainder of the lives.

I wish that I knew the story behind Roderick's watch.  Did Roderick buy the watch for himself or was it a gift?  imageAs I studied the pictures and thought about what the watch might have meant to Roderick, I was glad that this precious possession had been preserved and had made its way into the hands of a beloved great grandson.  I am equally grateful that he generously shared pictures of the watch with me and others.

Curious about how old the watch might be,  I checked a database for pocket watches to see what information might be available. Based on the make and serial number, the estimated production year for the watch was 1909.  I knew that in 1909, Roderick was 46 years old and had been married to Carrie Melinda Davis for 4 years. (Carrie was the subject of posts here and here.)  By 1909, Roderick and Carrie were living in Okmulgee, Oklahoma and had  two children, John William and Bertha Mae. 

Wanting to know more about Roderick during that time period,  I looked for him on the 1910 census.  As I pulled up the image on Ancestry and saw  Roderick’s household, tears immediately filled my eyes and began to slide down my cheeks.  Along with Roderick and Carrie were their children John W. and Bertha, but in addition,  listed in their household was my grandpa, then nine year old Heber, his twin Orson and Roderick’s thirty-eight year old brother, Newton.  (I shared Newton’s sad story in this post.) 

The finding confirmed what my grandfather had written in his life history.  After the death of his mother in 1909, which followed just three short years after his father's death, it was Roderick that had taken him into his home. Years ago, when I shared that story with one of Roderick’s descendants,  he indicated that Roderick had never had very much in material goods and had always struggled to make ends meet.  He didn’t know how Roderick could have fed another mouth, so I was shocked to learn that Roderick didn’t feed just one extra mouth, but he had fed three!  He had taken in two energetic young boys, who likely had bottomless pits for stomachs, and Roderick's adult brother.  The census was taken in April of 1910,  which was a little over a year after the death of Heber and Orson’s mother, meaning this had not been a short visit for them.

As I pondered Roderick’s life in terms of time, finding that he had taken in his two nephews, Orson and Heber, and his thirty eight year old, mentally ill brother, Newton, spoke volumes about Roderick's use of his time.  Fast forward to 1930 and from that census I learned that at the age of sixty-six, in addition to providing for his wife and four children, Roderick had taken in his daughter-in-law, Thelma, and grandson, Carl.  Truly Roderick made time and space in his life, in his heart and in his home for those in need at many stages of his life. 

I’ve always felt drawn to Roderick.  When I look at the only known picture of him, I see a tenderness and a kindness in his face.  Roderick’s life and experiences spanned from the raging brutality of the Civil War in the the South to the harshness shown by Mother Nature in the days of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl.  Yet from all indications,  rather than allowing the struggles of life to harden him, Roderick seemed to instead be more sensitive to the vulnerability and delicateness of the human condition, ever willing to give of  his time to alleviate the sufferings of others.

As shared in his obituary:
[Roderick] was an upright and worthy citizen and loved and respected by those who knew him.  His being translated into the new life will leave a vacant place not only in the hearts of loved ones but in his wide circle of friends and neighbors . . . “
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While I do not know the story behind Roderick's pocket watch, I am grateful that his great grandson shared pictures of it with me.  Doing so caused me to take the time to look at Roderick's life a little closer and in the process I was able to see evidence of his generosity and kindness and the way in which Roderick used his time to lift and bless others in their need.  It seems only fitting that a pocket watch has been passed down through generations as truly his use of his time ultimately defined him.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2013



Pictures of Roderick's watch and headstone generously shared by Great Grandson, Lloyd Ganus.

Obituary shared with me by descendants, but source not recorded.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

What Are You Crying Fer?

It was a blessed time back in the day when extended families lived in close proximity to each other.  Families were able to be part of each other's daily lives--- casually dropping in and out during the day, supporting and helping as needed.   Not only were children able to learn some of life's most valuable lessons from their parents, but also from those that loved them most, specifically aunts, uncles and grandparents. Over time people have become more mobile and so for many, gone are the days when grandparents lived just down the road.

Carrie Melinda Davis Ganus, Emmett Ganus
Carrie Melinda Davis Ganus and
son Emmett Ganus
Sometimes the "older folks" provided a very direct lesson in the form of  "a talking to"---but other times, children learned a great deal from observing their nonsensical approach to life.  Either way, those lessons often influenced many aspects of their lives by teaching morals, shaping attitudes and teaching skills to help them cope and deal with the day to day events.  If shared with others, those lessons can continue to bless and shape future generations today .


Phoebe Johnson was among those blessed to have lived near some of her extended Ganus family.  While she never knew her grandfather, Roderick Monroe Ganus who had passed away in 1932, she did know his wife, her Grandma Carrie Melinda Davis.  Carrie was born 19 August 1886 in Hanceville, Alabama and was the daughter of Rolen Lee Davis and Mary Ann Watson.  Roderick's brother, Bobby had married Stella May Montgomery, who was born 21 Jul 1879 in Missouri and  was the daughter of Joshua Montgomery and Nancy Jane Woods. After the deaths of their husbands, Grandma Carrie and  "Aunt" Stella  lived in a duplex next door to each other.

I am grateful for the following story that Phoebe recently shared with me. Not only has it greatly impacted her life and her children's lives, but I believe that sharing it will impact all who read it.  Thank you Phoebe!


Hazel Mickelsen Ganus, Stella May Montgomery Ganus, Heber Monroe Ganus
Hazel Mickelsen Ganus, Stella May Montgomery Ganus
and Heber Monroe Ganus 
"I remember the first lesson that I learned about death I learned from the death of Bobby's wife, Stella (whom I LOVED).  Aunt Stella lived in a duplex along side Carrie. Aunt Stella was everything I wanted my Grandmother to be... patient, caring, touching and hugging.  She was very loving. Then she died. 


Robert Lee Ganus, Stella May Montgomery
Robert L. Ganus &
Stella M. Montgomery
I was visiting my Grandma, Carrie and I asked to go next door to say hello to Aunt Stella and she told me that she had died.  It was probably the first time that I had realized loss through death and I was devastated. So I went out on the common back porch that they had shared and peeked in the windows of Stella's old house. Then I sat down on the porch and cried. Grandmother Carrie came outside and sat down by me and said in an exasperated manner "what are you crying fer?" I told her I missed Aunt Stella. She sat there for a moment and then replied "Well. Is that gonna bring her back?" I answered no and she said "then get up and find something to do". As a youngster, the logic of that appealed to me and has stood me in good stead for a good amount of time. The "Get up and find something to do and stop feeling sorry for yourself" theme is one I carry on today and my family knows that particular phrase well. Carrie was a no-nonsense gal and a little girl that had drama queen tendencies was no match for her. I am sure that being practical had its place in the days and times when my Grandparents were growing up and I cannot imagine the hardships they endured just to survive."

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2012


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lemon Pie and Carrie

I've been thinking a lot lately about the subtle ways in which our ancestors' lives influence our own. There are many small things that trickle down through the generations, influencing our traditions, family activities and foods, often without us even realizing it. Our lifestyle, religion, and career choices, as well as our foods and recreational activities can all be influenced by those that lived generations before and similarly our choices will influence the generations that follow. Sometimes by evaluating our traditions, we can find clues about our heritage.

When I met and married my husband, it was interesting to see the differences in our food preferences. While he and I liked a lot of the same foods, there were foods that I liked and considered practically a staple that he had not eaten much, if at all.  Although I grew up in the west, some of my family's favorites are actually more commonly found in other areas of the U.S.  My family liked nothing better than a meal of fried chicken, cole slaw, and biscuits.  While my mother-in-law was and is a good cook,  I don't know that she has ever fried a chicken or fixed biscuits. My family loved soft, flakey biscuits and had them frequently with meals.  Mom always fried up the chicken crisp and golden in a black cast iron skillet.  Consequently, when my husband and I married, a cast iron skillet seemed like an essential item for our gift registry.  My husband didn't quite see the need but went along with the idea anyway.  I had always loved a wonderful corn pone pie (casserole) that my mom made. My sweet husband wanted to know exactly what was a corn pone anyway?  How could he not know?  We really did not have a meeting of the minds when it came to what constituted a "special breakfast" either.  He had always been a waffles and syrup kind of guy.  I had always loved ham, biscuits and gravy for breakfast more than any other breakfast.  He could not imagine having biscuits and gravy for breakfast and I could not imagine why it seemed so strange to him. It was not until I began to do family history research that things began to fall into place and I began to understand.  You see, both of my parents have family lines with southern roots.  Between my parents, I have ancestors that lived in Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas.   Looking back, it is evident that without even realizing it,  our ancestry influenced the foods my family ate and loved.


Roderick Monroe Ganus 
Some things are handed down so subtly that no one seems to know their origins, while other things have been passed down with a story . My Grandma's lemon pie came with a bit of a story although I didn't know it as a kid.  But oh how I loved my Grandma Ganus's lemon pie. Her pie was the perfect balance of sweet and tart.  I've been told that Grandma's lemon pie recipe actually came from my Grandpa's Aunt Carrie and I just happen to know that his Aunt Carrie held a special place in his heart so it makes that pie recipe extra special. Carrie Melinda Davis married Roderick Monroe Ganus on 27 January 1905 in Oklmulgee, Oklahoma. They lived in Oklahoma for their entire married life and raised their family there.  I have very tender feelings for Roderick and Carrie because they were the ones that took in my Grandpa Heber Ganus when he was orphaned at the sweet young age of 8.  Grandpa Heber's father William "Frank" Ganus died in 1906 and  just three years later in 1909, his mother Sally Faucett Ganus died, leaving her three sons, Earnest, Orson and Heber all alone.  Court records indicate that the oldest brother, Ernest, who was only 16 at the time,  requested that his father's brother Uncle Roderick Ganus be appointed as Administrator of their mother's meager estate. In the court proceedings, Earnest appeared with his two younger brothers Orson and Heber.  In my mind, I can see the three young boys in court feeling so lost and alone, mourning the loss of their parents and wondering who would care for them. The thought breaks my heart.  In his life history, my Grandpa Heber indicated that Roderick took him in and that his Uncle Robert took in his twin brother, Orson . Grandpa didn't say where the oldest brother, Earnest went to live. The young twins, Orson and Heber lived in Oklahoma with their father's brothers  for a year before going to Colorado to live with their mother's brothers to fulfil their mother's (Sally Faucett Ganus)  death bed request.  In his history, Grandpa said of Roderick and Carrie, "These people didn't have much money, but they were good providers and made a good living for their families."  The reality was, times were hard for those Oklahoma Ganus families and so I know it was a huge sacrifice for them to have another mouth to feed.  I feel such gratitude for Roderick and Carrie because they took in my grandpa when he so needed their loving care. It's always amazing to me that I can feel such love for people I've never met.

Carrie Melinda Davis Ganus
and Emmett
I can't help but think of the goodness of Roderick and Carrie when I fix Grandma's lemon pie. What foods do you eat that might have been influenced by your ancestry?  How will your choices influence future generations?


         Carrie's Lemon Pie Filling 

2 Tbsp Corn Starch
1 1/4 c. warm water
Juice of 1 lemon
1 c. sugar
1 Tbsp butter
small amount of shredded rind. 
3 eggs (save white for meringue)

Cook in double boiler until thick.  Pour into baked pie shell.  Top with meringue.