Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Time Travel

Randy Seaver, whose blog is Genea-Musings, posted last night a challenge:

"1) Let's go time travelling: Decide what year and what place you would love to visit as a time traveller. Who would you like to see in their environment? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

2) Tell us about it. Write a blog post, or make a comment to this post, or on Facebook, or in Genealogy Wise."

I'm a bit late, because we are still catching up from having been in Atlanta and North Carolina for a week. Here is my response:

The person I would like to have visited would be my grandmother Ruth Nave Reed Pennington White, and the time between 1930 and 1951, the year of her death. The place: Logansport, Cass County, Indiana.

Ruth Nave married my grandfather Benjamin Franklin "Frank" Reed on 25 November 1913. They had three children: Donald, Margaret, and my mother Martha, who was born 20 December 1916. Now, it is possible that these three children were all crowded into that three years, but it is also possible that the bun was already in the oven. The couple made their application, got their marriage license, and were married all in one afternoon, at the St. Joseph County Courthouse, South Bend, Indiana.

Sometime after my mother died in 1980, I visited my aunt Margaret in Orlando, to get some answers I needed before it was too late. My mother would not talk about her mother, retaining some anger all her life at the feeling that her mother had abandoned her. She was adopted and raised by her uncle Perry Wilmer Reed and his wife Mary LeSourd, in a loving home, with Perry and Mary's own children Robert and Elizabeth. But still she carried resentment.

I asked my aunt Margaret about my grandmother, and she said that the Reed family had "ganged up" on Ruth and taken the children away. She said that the Reed family did not like my grandmother, and it is possible that if her marriage to Frank Reed was a hurry-up thing, that there is the reason. The Reeds were good people, but could be rather snooty on certain matters of "place." Another reason they may not have liked Ruth Nave is that Ruth worked as a telephone operator in an age when "decent" women stayed in the home.

I think my mother never gave my grandmother any understanding. She may have felt that if she, widowed at 38 years old with three children, could keep the kids together, then my grandmother should have done, too. However, conditions were not the same in 1913 as they were in 1954, when my father died. And my mother had nothing but support and love from her in-laws, not the apparent hostility my aunt alluded had been the case for my grandmother.

My grandfather died in a railroad accident in October of 1917. My grandmother married again, twice, but my aunt said that grandmother had a very sad life. She died in 1951, and is buried next to her first husband, her first love, in Mount Hope Cemetery in Logansport, Indiana.

The question I would like to ask my grandmother is: "What really happened with mom and Aunt Margaret and Uncle Donald?" I'd like to know the story behind the facts.

The irony is that even though the Reeds, Frank's parents, made the funeral arrangements and had the funeral conducted from their home, my grandfather and his wife are not buried in the Reed family plot, but with Teter and Elizabeth Nave, Ruth's parents. Seems to me it might have been their way of saying, "You made your bed, now you lie in it."

Or it could have been that they relented a bit and granted a wish from their scorned daughter-in-law.


Frank Reed and Ruth Nave, Applications for marriage license, marriage license, and marriage certificate. 25 November 1913, St. Joseph County, Indiana, Clerk of Circuit Court, Marriage Book 26. page 88.

Elizabeth Nave household, 1930 U.S. Census of Population, Indiana, Cass County, Logansport, 1st Ward, Enumeration District 9-10, Dwelling number 76, Family number 76, National Archives Microfilm Publication T626, Roll 579, Sheet 38, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. In this census, Elizabeth's daughter Ruth is listed as Ruth Pennington.

Ruth White, death certificate, official transcript, Logansport, Cass County, Indiana, Book 16, page 115.

Mount Hope Cemetery database, Logansport, Cass County, Indiana, online: http://www. Section 12, Lot 0607, spaces 03 and 04.

Martha Reed, birth certificate, registered number 24565, 20 December 1916, State of Michigan, Department of State, Division of Vital Statistics, Lansing, Michigan.

In re adoption, Martha S. Reed, In the Circuit Court of Escambia County, State of Florida, First Judicial District, 15 June 1920.

Benjamin Franklin Reed, death certificate, Registered number 10695, 20 October 1917, State of Michigan, Department of State, Division of Vital Statistics, Lansing, Michigan.

Now, who was saying that genealogical blog posts are unreliable because they don't post their sources?

1 comment:

Greta Koehl said...

This is another great idea for the current SNGF - finding out what was behind old family grudges. I'd be interested in knowing what were behind a couple of the reputed grudges in my family, too.