Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Where is My Peach Pie?

One of the thrills of family history is connecting with the living. I love the new found relationships with cousins and I love the additional insight they can provide about their direct line ancestors. 

I am sharing the following story about Benjamin Powell Gurganus "Dock" and Trannie J. Cain exactly as it was shared with me by Betty Wedgeworth. It is a delightful story that left me feeling like I knew them both. Benjamin Powell Gurganus was my third cousin twice removed and descends from John Wesley Gurganus, brother to my 3rd Great Grandfather, James Gurganus (Ganus). Thank you, Betty, for sharing! 

genealogy, ancestry, Gurganus, Benjamin Powell Gurganus, Dock Gurganus, Trannie J. Cain, Alabama, Baptist
Charlie Snow Powell and Rebecca Holley Powell's 50th Anniversary.
Trannie is standing directly behind the woman holding a crying baby
"Trannie was born in 1879 in rural Walker County, Alabama. Sometimes in larger families the parents assumed one of the daughters would remain unmarried to take care of them as they aged. Unfortunately for Trannie, she was the designated one. Unfortunately for her parents, she did not agree. She fell in love with Benjamin Powell Gurganus, known as “Dock,” when she was eighteen. When she told her parents of her plans, they refused to accept her decision. At bedtime, they took her clothes and shoes so she could not leave during the night. But they should have known Trannie better than that. She sent word by a friend for Dock to meet her at the county line on a certain August night. The county line was 4 miles from her house, but Trannie had made up her mind and was not to be deterred. She walked through the woods, barefoot in her night clothes, to the designated spot. Dock was waiting in a buggy with the justice of the peace. After he married them they took him home and then spent the night with a friend. When Dock took her home the next day to get her clothes and personal items, her parents reluctantly welcomed him into the family.

"Dock was tall, dark and handsome, with thick black hair and a dry wit. He spoke slowly and calmly as if he deliberated over each word before speaking. Trannie was just the opposite. She was quite plain and spoke quickly with a high-pitched shrill voice. Some may have wondered what attracted her to him but what they did not understand was her wonderful, sweet, trusting heart. She was honest to a fault. You always knew what she was thinking because she did not worry about what others thought or how her words would be perceived.

"Trannie was the definition of eccentric. She did things her way, which was usually far from the norm. One could never foresee how she would react to any circumstance. Dock came home one afternoon to find that she had painted everything in the house with ugly, Army-green paint. And everything included the bed frame, night stand, picture frames, kitchen cabinets, and all their wood chairs. As he looked around in horror, he asked, “Trannie…what…have…you…done?” Surprised at his reaction, she replied that a neighbor came by with a 5-gallon bucket of the paint and said his wife did not like it and wondered if she wanted it. “It was free, Dock. What else was I supposed to do but use it?”

One summer day as Dock was leaving for work, he asked Trannie to cook a peach pie for dinner. (Remember that in the South, dinner is the noon meal; "lunch" was not in their vocabulary.) She stepped outside to go to the orchard when she noticed a bucket of apples sitting on the edge of the porch. She took the bucket inside, pealed and sliced the apples and put the pie in the oven. When Dock came home and had finished his noon meal, he leaned back and asked Trannie to cut him a big slice of pie. She cut two large slices of pie and placed one on her plate and the other on his and waited for his complement. He stared at the pie, looked up at her and said, “Trannie,...these…are…apples...Where…is…my…peach…pie?” She said that the apples needed cooking so she cooked them. He pushed the plate back, untouched, and as he stood up he said, “Trannie...I...want…my…peach…pie…for…supper.” She went down the road to my grandparents’ house, fuming mad, and told them what had happened. After she cooled off, she returned home. When Dock came home, supper was on the table. She placed a pie in front of him after he finished his meal. When he cut into it, he realized that she had placed peaches in the same pie pan as the apples and had recooked the pie.

"Dock died in 1934 at the age of 57. She did not remarry and lived alone surrounded by the dogs she loved until, at age 90, an illness placed her in a nursing home, where she died in 1969. They are buried in the new section of the Liberty Hill Baptist Church cemetery on Pleasantfield Road about 4 miles south of Oakman, Alabama.

"Dock and Trannie had no children. If it bothered her, she did not let it be known. She was kind to a fault and everyone who knew her was blessed by her positive outlook."

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

Friday, May 27, 2016

Land that I Love

On Memorial Day my thoughts go to the many who have fought to preserve our freedom and those who continue to do so. I am grateful for the many who have given so much for us. 

As I look through my ancestry, I see brave men who fought in the War of 1812, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and both WWI and WWII and I am proud of the part they played in America's history.

Recently, we took the opportunity to visit Hillfield Aerospace Museum in Layton, Utah with a few of our daughters and grandkids who were here. We had a great time exploring the wonderful museum and ended up spending several hours there.

Among other things, the museum houses a variety of aircraft from different eras which serve as a good reminder of how much things have changed.

As I think about the men and women who flew those aircraft, I often wonder what it must have felt like to climb into the cockpit and not know if you would return home. I can't imagine how it must have felt to engage in battle and what their families must have felt back home.

Our grandkids thoroughly enjoyed the many exhibits and the well-done videos, some with footage and news reels from previous wars.

It was a solemn experience to explain to them about the Blue Star Service Flag and what a gold star in the window meant and still means today. 

As we paused for a picture and I looked into the beautiful faces of our grandchildren who were there that day (we were missing 2,) I couldn't help but feel humbled and grateful for all that we have in this great land of the United States of America.  

And I hope next time these kids see a flag or hear mention of the men who fought and the ones who still fight for our country, they will remember that our freedom came at a price.

 Thank you to all who have fought for our freedom!! 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Just a Beat up Ole Fork

It was just a fork, and yet on our visits to Grandma Hostetter's house,  I was always quick to claim it as "mine" for the duration of the visit. Tines slightly bent and dull from use, it truly was not among the nicest of Grandma's silverware and certainly of little material worth and yet, for some reason, I loved it.

The silverware Grandma used on a daily basis wasn't entirely a matched set, but composed of various different pieces collected over the years. So while this piece may have been different from the others, it wasn't all alone in its uniqueness and sadly it never occurred to me that it might have a story.  So I now wonder how she came to have that fork and it serves as yet one more reminder to ask questions of the older generation when we have a chance.

grandpa, family, family history, genealogy, ancestry, Nephi Glen Hostetter, LaJara Colorado, Hostetter, fork
Grandpa Nephi Glen Hostetter
and myself, California
It wasn't until I was a young adult that grandma shared with me that the fork held a special place in her heart. She told me that it was also my grandpa's favorite fork. My grandpa who died when I was two years old, the grandpa I had no memories of, the grandpa I was told loved me dearly and liked to stand at the bedroom door just to watch me sleep. Suddenly I had a tangible connection, albeit through a crazy, beat up fork.

Although I think in ways it was hard for Grandma to give it up, she decided I should be the one to have the fork. I am grateful that, although we live in a throw away society where people toss things judged to be of little material worth, my grandma knew the worth of such treasures. You see, my Grandma Hostetter loved family history, she knew the value of our connections with the past and it was she who first instilled in me the love for my ancestors.

The fork is retired from service, but sits on the shelf in my office as a reminder that Grandpa and I had something in common, albeit the love of a beat up ole fork.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved