Friday, April 29, 2016

Foto Friday- All Dressed Up

Photos without names trouble me. Their faces seem to haunt me, to call to me, asking me to give them a name and tell their stories. My hope is that by sharing this un-named photo that someone will recognize the children, help me identify them and hopefully I can then find and tell their story.

I have absolutely no idea who these children are but their picture was in my Grandma Ganus' little suitcase. Two little children all dressed up to have their picture taken. By their features, I am guessing that at least the oldest one is a boy and they were living in the era when boys wore dresses up to a certain age. What do you think? Are they boys or girls?

Whoever they are, I would love to be able to save their name with their picture and better yet, learn a little about their story.



Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lillie's Love

Walker County Alabama, Charlie Fletcher Gurganus, Fletcher, Fletch, Lillie Powell, Gurganus, ancestry, descendants, genealogy
Charlie Fletcher Gurganus
On March 22, 2016, I wrote about Lillie Powell Gurganus and her beautiful long hair. Much of what I learned about her was shared by a descendant, Betty Wedgeworth. You can find Lillie's story HERE.

Betty indicated that after Lillie's passing, her family discovered among her personal treasures handmade Valentines, cards and birthday messages from her sweetheart and husband, Charlie Fletcher Gurganus. I couldn't help but wonder what kind of man took the time to create such expressions of his love? Knowing that both Fletcher and Lillie had grown up in a small farming community in Alabama during a time when few in the area were educated much beyond 8th grade, I was intrigued by a man who would express his love for his wife through the written word.

As I've learned about Fletcher's life from descendants, I discovered a theme woven through his life and that was his loyalty and love for God, family and music.

Born the 25th of August 1893 to John Gurganus and Amanda Evans,  Fletcher or Fletch as he was often called, was the youngest in a large family and lovingly spoiled by both his parents and his older siblings.  He grew up in the Northwest part of Alabama, about 22 miles from Birmingham in the green hills of Walker County, Alabama. Rich with hills, hollows, dense trees, rivers and lakes, Walker County provided many opportunities for hunting and fishing and was in many ways, the perfect playground for little boys.

Late in the 19th century, coal and lumber provided additional opportunities for men living in Walker County to support their families, yet many continued to rely on traditional farming. Such was the case for the Gurganus family. Fletcher's father, John, farmed and his mother, Mandy, had her hands full raising Fletcher and his eight siblings.

It was there in Walker County that young Fletcher won the heart of Lillie Powell. They courted, fell in love and were married on the 13 December 1914.  Fletcher followed in his father's footsteps and farmed out of necessity, but he was only too glad to have his children take over when they were old enough. He and Lillie had five children; Ova, Iva, John, Glenn and Doston.







Like many of the Gurganuses, Charlie Fletcher was musically gifted and loved to share his gift with others. Several of his songs were published in church songbooks. A devoted Christian, he could be found leading the singing at church and spent many summers traveling around the South, teaching music at Church of Christ singing schools. He would spend a week at one church before moving onto the next.

Although he willingly shared his talent with many in the community, Fletcher seemed to be the happiest when he spent time with his family. He loved to gather his family and have them sing while he played the organ.


Family Picture taken about 1930
Children from eldest to youngest:
Ova, Iva, John, Glen and Doston

On March 10, 1975, the love of his life, Lillie, passed away leaving Fletcher alone.  He lived another seventeen years, but never remarried. During his final years, he divided his time between his daughters. In Memphis, Tennessee on the 15th of October, 1991, ninety-nine year old Fletcher passed away peacefully in his sleep.


Fletcher playing his organ. Organ is now in the possession of
his grandson. 
I was delighted to be introduced to Charlie Fletcher Gurganus, a man who not only took the time to tenderly pen love notes to his beloved Lillie, but a man devoted to God, family and music, who willingly shared his love and talents with others throughout his life.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

Friday, April 22, 2016

Foto Friday- What Is the Message?

Photos without names trouble me. Their faces seem to haunt me, to call to me, asking me to give them a name and tell their stories. My hope is that by sharing this un-named photos that someone will recognize the couple, help me identify them and hopefully I can then find and tell their story.

This picture intrigues me. Although I can't be for sure,  I suspect it is from my Grandma Ganus's family, so possibly a Mickelsen or Cornum??

It is an interesting background and I wonder what the pattern is on the right side. It almost looks like it is suppose to be a plant, yet so little of it shows in the picture, so what's the point of it?

The real question is, just what is the significance of the lady holding the album open? (And where is that album now???!!!)  Maybe I've watched too many movies, but I almost feel like she is trying to tell me something.

Whoever they are, I would love to be able to save their name with their picture and better yet, learn a little about their story. Do you know them?


Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved