Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Came Next?

As Frances approached the end of her life, what life events did she reflect on?  What stood out
among her memories? 

Blooming Grove Church, Polk County, Georgia
Blooming Grove Church
Polk County, Georgia
Photo:  Regina Dawson Shuman
(used with permission)
Growing up in the evolving state of Georgia, and a daughter of a War of 1812 soldier, many of the historical events that we only read about had been part of her life and her heritage.  How did those things shape Frances?  Was she even aware of the impact they had on who she became, or like most of us,  in the process of accepting and dealing with each situation that presented itself, was she focused just on getting through the day, unaware of the impact those events had on who she became?

Her birth came during a very tumultuous time in Georgia history as tensions flared between the influx of new citizens and  Native Americans.  She was a little more than a year old as the Trail of Tears commenced not far from where she lived.  How much was her family aware of the event and how did it impact their lives?

Frances sent her husband off to fight in the Civil War and then alone faced the difficult dark days that followed.  Her husband never returned and she became a widow at the age of 26 with a small daughter to care for.

Following her marriage to Robert Bailey in 1866, her life appears to settle down and fall into a relatively predictable pattern.  I think it is safe to assume that she faced typical day-to-day challenges, but her life was also full of many good things.

I wish I had more insight into Frances herself.  I wish I knew what she enjoyed doing.  Was she a good cook?  Did she have a sense of humor? Was she thoughtful, sensitive, stubborn, light hearted? I have nothing that helps me to know Frances, the woman.  In addition, no photos have surfaced of Frances or either of her husbands.

I do know that Frances was a daughter, a wife and a mother.  She was a farmer's wife and she bore six children, raising five to adulthood.  Her children grew up, married and then Frances was blessed with a crew of at least 28 grandchildren.

Blooming Grove Cemetery, Polk County, Georgia
Blooming Grove Cemetery
Polk County, Georgia
Photo: Tim Hite
(used with permission)
As I consulted census records to learn more about Frances and Robert,  the 1900 Census (1)   shed a  slightly different light on Robert because rather than showing "farmer" for his occupation as both earlier and later census show, Robert is listed as a U.S. Deputy Marshall.  Surely there is a story in there, if only I knew it.

On the 1910 US  Census (2), when Robert was 65 and Francis was 74, they took in a boarder who is listed as a peddler and a traveling salesman. His name was William Henderson and he was from Georgia.  Did they know him or was he simply a source of income?

Frances Rainwater Bailey, Blooming Grove Cemetery, Polk County, Georgia
Frances Rainwater Bailey
Blooming Grove Cemetery
Photo:  Tim Hite
(used with permission)

In 1913,  at the age of 77, Frances passed from this life while living in Polk County, Georgia, where she and Robert had reared their family.  She was buried in Blooming Grove Cemetery.  Since Robert was ten years younger, it is not surprising that he survived her.

In 1917, just four years after Frances' death, Robert passed away in Jefferson County, Alabama at the age of 70.   His death certificate indicates that he had resided in Jefferson County for one year. With both his son Abner and his daughter Laura Frances living in Jefferson County, I assume that he was likely living with one of them at the time of his death. He is buried in the Shades Mountain Cemetery.


While Frances had some sad twists and turns in life, I like to think that overall she had a good life. And while she never lived a life of wealth or ease, she was blessed with a large posterity and for many, that is what matters most.  I hope that as she reached the end of her life, her thoughts were of the good things in her life.



Frances's husbands and children

Frances L. Rainwater (b. Jul 1837 Cedartown, Polk, GA  d. 1913 Polk County, GA)
Reuben Ayers b. 3 Mar 1838 GA  d. 5 Jul 1862 Richmond, VA, marr. 24 Jan 1856 Polk Co., GA
  •         Mary Ann b. 1857

Frances L Rainwater
Robert Anderson Bailey  b. Jan 1847, Alabama  d. 24 Mar 1917 Oxmoor, Jefferson Co., AL, marr. 1866, Georgia
  •        Elizabeth Baily b. abt 1866
  •        John W. Bailey b. 1869
  •        Abner Joshua Bailey b. 1871
  •         Robert Linfield Bailey b. 1876
  •         Frances Laura Bailey b. 1877
     

(1)  1900 US. Federal Census, Blooming Grove, Polk, Georgia,  Roll: 217 Page 13B; ED 0088; microfilm 1240217,  accessed on Ancestry.com 21 October 2014

(2) 1910 US Federal Census,  Blooming Grove, Polk, Georgia, Roll T624_208 Page 2A; ED 0134; microfilm 1374221, accessed on Ancestry.com 21 October 2014

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

6 comments:

  1. Frances's story could be the story of most of my ancestors too. Most of them were just ordinary people who didn't experience any big highs or big lows (although becoming a war widow is pretty low), certainly nothing to brag about on Facebook or Twitter. Still they matter. I like to think that Frances was proud of her family because they took care of their father.

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    Replies
    1. I think most of my folk fall in that category as well Wendy.

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  2. It sounds like Frances went on to live a full and happy life after the death of her first husband.

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  3. I so often wish to be able to learn more about my ancestors, especially my foremothers. What did they think? What did they like? Did they have leisure time and, if so, what did they do with it? We seem to be left with the generic and our imaginations to fill in details about their lives.

    You may be able to learn more about your U.S. Asst. Deputy Marshall if you know the location where he lived AND there are local newspapers online with OCR search ability. Law enforcement people were often involved in events that were news-worthy.

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  4. That's a good idea Nancy. I will check out the newspapers.

    And yes, I see many similarities in the feelings you express on your blog and the feelings that I have. Neither of us had enough to left to us to satisfy our need to know about our ancestors.

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