Where There’s a Will

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” —Benjamin Franklin

Where There’s a Will

By Betsy Cross Thorpe

When I first saw the words Where There’s a Will on the 52 Ancestors in 52 Week’s list of prompts my initial impulse was to alter the prompt and write a piece titled Where There’s a Will There’s a William.

 My thoughts were that it would be fun to give a nod to all the Williams who populate the various branches of the Roe and Isaacs family tree.  My maternal family tree.

I also found it a topic that most can relate to.  For whom among us does not have a Uncle Billy or Cousin Bill to love? 

With that thought in mind I looked at the tree. I searched the name William. Perched near the top sat the name of my four times great grandfather—William Dawson. He was born in 1772.

 I privately dubbed him William the First.

Starting with him I followed the name William all the way down to my generation.  I searched both my grandfather and grandmother’s sides of the tree.  From the first William Dawson down to my own first cousin William Gregory Roe who was born in 1964, I found nine direct line relatives with the given name William. All born over a span of one hundred and ninety-two years.

Another twenty-six males named William are scattered among different branches of the tree.

As far as I can tell William R Fowler lived longer than any other William that I am related to.  He died in 1936 at the age of ninety-two.  Sadly, baby William Gordon Combs was the youngest of the Williams to die. He passed away in 1930. He was only fourteen months old.

 I lost my nerve for the project.  Grandparents, uncles, cousins, and in-laws.  Past and present. There are just too many Williams on this side of my family to write about in one weekly blog post.

I realized it would be much easier for me if I simply conformed with the prompt and wrote a piece based on how it was originally written.

The following passageis my belated attempt at conformity. It is my anlysis of a Last Will that one of my ancestors made and signed one hundred and thirty-six years ago—almost to this day.

On May 13, 1884, at a time when  the estimated life span for a man living  in the American South was forty-one years, at the age of sixty-four, my third-great grandfather, Daniel Franklin Manus, of the County of Lyon, of the state of Kentucky, made and signed a will.

 It was the only will ever made by him.

There is really nothing unusual about Daniel Manus making a will.  People have been making wills to dictate what happens to their estate after they die since the time of the Ancient Greeks. However, while most of his instructions are just what one would expect to find in a simple will, I did find some of his statements and instructions to be somewhat out of the ordinary.

His first request was that his funeral expenses and any just debts that he may owe be paid out of any money he might leave.

That is a standard instruction, nothing unusual there.

The will then went on to say that if Daniel Manus left no money, then those expenses were to be paid out of his interest in a crop of tobacco that he stated was now being grown on land he owned. A woman named Mrs. Beck was growing the tobacco.

I snapped to attention. The words now being grown jumped off the page.

This will was signed on May 13.   Tobacco grown in Western Kentucky is usually cut and harvested sometime in August. Did he expect to be dead before then? Did he have reason to believe that he would die before Mrs. Beck harvested the tobacco she was growing on his land? Did my third great grandfather dictate this will from his deathbed?

The will did not say.

It  simply stated that after his just debts were  paid out of the proceeds from the tobacco being grown on  his land, that his small amount of  personal property and  his eighty acres of land was to  be held and kept in the possession of  his widow  until her death. It also contained a directive stating that considering the smallness of his effects that his funeral expenses ought to be very moderate.

At this time Daniel Manus was married to a woman named Elizabeth Terrell Manus.  She was his second wife, thirteen years his junior.   He married her on December 31, 1876 shortly after the death of his first wife Susannah Elkins Manus. Susannah is my third great grandmother. Daniel and Susannah had several children together, five of which were still living in 1884 when he made this will. All five were daughters, all married. The youngest, Emily Manus Isaacs is my second great grandmother.

The will stated that after the death of his widow, he desired that his second eldest surviving daughter Susan C.T. Hall receive one bed and fifty dollars before any division of property. That the rest of the estate be divided equally between his five daughters.

How unusual. To show preference to one child over all the others seems odd. Why Susan? Why one bed? Was she a favorite? Did she have a special need? Was she more impoverished than her sisters, or did she simply just ask that he leave her a bed?

 Once again—the will did not say.

While the motives for his unusual bequest will continue to fuel my imagination, I must accept that the truth of why he favored the one daughter over four others in his Last Will shall forever remain hidden in the past.  

#52AncestorsIn52Weeks 52AncestorsIn52WeeksWhereTheresAWill



By Gerry Roe

“What is seen is not always a reality to others.” Author Unknown

Evelyn Emily Combs October 30, 1906 – October 7, 1933

Evelyn Emily Combs early 1930s
Jessie Lee, Evelyn and Ruby Lurline Combs
Imagene Combs Sometime in the mid 1930’s
William Gordon Combs Aged 14 Months 1930


This story was told to me by my mother Ruby Isaacs Roe many years ago. 

Evelyn, mama’s oldest sister was due to deliver her fifth child.

Mama walked to her home; she was living at Germania, Mississippi.  Mama said as was close to house; she could see sheets flapping in the wind on the clothes line.  When she arrived; she asked Evelyn if she had brought the sheets. Evelyn responded she didn’t have anything on the line.  Mama said that was puzzling as she clearly saw the sheets. 

Shortly after mama’s visit Evelyn gave birth and the doctor said both she and the baby girl died.   Mama knew her sister was really gone, but she always hoped that the baby had lived.  She hoped the doctor had found a home for the baby to help Evelyn’s husband who had just suffered the loss of his wife He already had three young children to care for. It would be very difficult for a man in his circumstances to properly care for a new born baby.

At that time it wasn’t unusual for a doctor to find a home for a motherless child.

Off course, I don’t know that is what happened. But I do know that mama clung to that hope for the rest of her life. This was just what mama hoped. 

Mama was known to have premonitions, and she always said that looking back on the day she went to visit Evelyn that the sheets she saw flapping in the air were a premonition of her sister’s death.

Another time I clearly remember mama’s premonition of death was June 8, 1964, my high school graduation night. Me, mama, Daddy, my youngest brother Alan and my nephew Robert were all sleeping. When the phone rang. It was almost midnight. It was unusual for the telephone to ring in the middle of the night and we all ran to living room to find out who was calling .

I will never forget what mama said just before she answered the phone. She said “death bells are tolling for someone tonight”. She said this before answering the phone, when she picked up the phone we learned that my cousin Herbert Kelly (H.K.) Lisenby had just died in a terrible car accident. 

H.K. was home on leave from the Navy.  He was the son of mama’s youngest sister Bea.

I don’t remember who called to tell us of H.K.’s death.  Others died at the crash scene also.

H.K. Lisenby 1963-64

Mama always said her she had premonitions as far back as she could remember. She also told me that they did not always deal with death.

Children of Jesse Lee and Evelyn Marie Combs:

               Jesse Lee Combs, JR 1924-1997

               Lurlene Ruby Combs Bradshaw 1928-2008

               William Gordon Combs 1929-1930 (14 months old on 1930 census,  

               Lucille Imogene Combs Graziano 1931-2015

               Baby Girl October 7, 1933 – October 7, 1933

Questions I wish I would ask mama;

Why were you not there when Evelyn delivered?

Who took care of Jesse, Lurlene and Imogene during and after her death?

When did you get to see Evelyn after her delivery and death?

Did you talk to the doctor after both died?

What caused William’s death?

Germania is not listed as a town on the current map of Mississippi but there is a Germania Road

Post Script:

After writing this story, I received a copy of a letter dated thirteen days before Evelyn died.  Her grand-daughter, Debbie Russell Warner found it among her mother Imogene Combs belongings.  It is possible that she wrote the letter before my mother came to visit and that the letter was never mailed.  It is also possible the letter was sent  and that my mother kept it all those years and gave it to Imogene when she came to visit my mother in Oregon many years later.

Another question that goes unanswered.

The letter is attached, very newsy about everyday life. My sister, Nannie and I marvel at how long it has been kept and under these circumstances. 

This letter confirms something I have always known and loved about my mother and her sisters; they loved each other deeply.  They kept in touch even under the difficulties of life they faced.  This legacy of love for each other is passed on to my sister Nannie and me.

Letter From Evelyn Combs to Her Sister Ruby Roe. The letter is dated 13 days before Evelyn Died.

#52AncestorsIn52Weeks #52AncestorsIn52WeeksAir


By Betsy Thorpe

“Ultimately, the great truths of family history don’t live in any book. They live in the hearts and minds of the living descendants.”  Laurence Overmire

Two months ago, when I saw the word Water on the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks list of weekly writing prompts it reminded me of a story my grandmother Ruby Isaacs Roe, liked to tell about the day she was born. She was born on February 9, 1911, in western Kentucky, near the banks of the Cumberland River.

As the story goes, winter was colder than usual that year. It was so cold on the day she was born that the river froze. It froze solid. The ice was so thick that one man drove a heavy mule drawn wagon all the way across the river, from one bank to the other.

Two months in advance of when the Water prompt was due, I knew that was the story to tell. I would write of that cold icy day when my grandmother first arrived in this world. It was the perfect story for Water

Or so it seemed.

My plan started to change after last week rolled around. That’s when I wrote a blog post about my sixth great grandmother Elizabeth McKibben Rhea.  I wrote about her for the 52 Ancestors weekly prompt, Nearly Forgotten.  After I wrote the piece, I just couldn’t get her off my mind.

Every time I sat down at my desk to write about the day my grandmother was born, I was distracted by thoughts of Elizabeth McKibben Rhea. I couldn’t stop thinking about how in her young years she traveled 3,346 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland to reach the Virginia Colony in the New World.

 That’s a lot of water to cross over.

Young Elizabeth McKibben was among the first immigranst from Ireland to arrive in Virginia. The Scotch Irish Presbyterians began to arrive in the colony sometime around 1730.  They mostly arrived from the city of Londonderry and other parts of Northern Ireland.  

According to Eyewitness to history.com The passage to America was treacherous by any standard. Many of the immigrants were too poor to pay for the journey and therefore indentured themselves to wealthier colonialists – selling their services for a period of years in return for the price of the passage. Crammed into a small wooden ship, rolling and rocking at the mercy of the sea, the voyagers – men, women and children – endured hardships unimaginable to us today. Misery was the most common description of a journey that typically lasted seven weeks.

I can’t fathom all the unimaginable hardships she suffered. But, unless she was a small child when she made the voyage, she probably knew how miserable it would be long before she booked passage.  I also don’t know if she was indentured when she arrived in Virginia. I truly hope not.  I can’t imagine any way that she could have prepared herself for the horrors of that system. No matter her age.

I am on a mission to learn more about Elizabeth McKibben Rhea. Water played a role in her early story.

 I am excited to uncover more about her and I am curious to see where my future writing prompts lead me.

#52AncestorsIn52Weeks #52AncestorsIn52WeeksWater


By Betsy Cross Thorpe

“They love each other. They’re brother and sister. It’s one for all and all for one.”  Joseph Ziemba


Eugene Roe with his siblings. June 13, 2010. This is the last photograph ever taken of all of them together.


The 52 Ancestor’s in 52 Week’s topic for this week is Prosperity. As soon as I saw the topic, I knew that I wanted to tell the following story.  

This story is from 1946. That’s when my eldest maternal uncle, Eugene Roe, sent a portion of his military pay home to my grandparents, Henry David Roe and Ruby Elizabeth Isaacs Roe. He sent the money so they could move his younger brothers and sisters out of the poverty-stricken Mississippi Delta where he had spent his entire life before joining the Navy.

My grandparents purchased Greyhound Bus tickets for themselves and their five younger children with some of the money he sent.  Starting in Greenville Mississippi they traveled two thousand, three hundred and seventy-three miles across the country in search of a better life. They ended up in the  little town of Dorena, a wooded enclave in the Willamette Valley area of Oregon.

Dorena offered the hope of a brighter future due to its thriving lumber industry and the promise of work with the Army Corps of Engineers on the Dorena Dam building project.

My uncle was wise beyond his years.  Thanks to him giving my grandparents the resources they needed to get out of Mississippi his siblings all went on to live lives of security and comfort. They all prospered far beyond what he dared dream for them in 1946.  

And so did he. My uncle eventually joined his family in Oregon after he left the military in 1952. He continued to live there for the rest of his life.

Me and many others in my family believe that it was the foresight and generosity of my uncle that changed the course of our family’s history forever. And we are thankful


This one of my favorite family stories and I have heard many different versions of it throughout my life.

But as so often happens with family stories , I found that there is much more to this story than I originally thought.

This story has a backstory. And it’s a good one!

Please read on.

My Great-Uncle Kelly and His Time in the CCC

Post card from Herman Kelly Isaacs. Sent from Camp McClellan, a CCC training camp in Anniston Alabama, to the home of his sister Ruby Isaacs Roe in Holly Bluff Mississippi.
Postmarked October 17, 1936.

My uncle and my grandparents learned of the opportunities awaiting them in Oregon from the two eldest of my grandmothers’ three younger brothers, Benjamin Franklin Isaacs, and Herman Kelly Isaacs .

The two young men had been stationed at different camps in Oregon during their second  stints in a voluntary public works program named the Civilian Conservation Corps, a program also known as the CCC. From 1933 to 1942 more than three million unmarried young men—aged 17 to 28 served in the program and my grandmothers’ brothers were among them.

Front and back of a post card from Herman Kelly Isaacs at Camp Clear Creek, in Jefferson County Pennsylvania, to his sister Ruby Isaacs Roe shortly before he left the CCC.
Postmarked November 24, 1936

The year 2020 marks the one-hundred-year anniversary of the birth of Herman Kelly Isaacs.

I just learned this eighty-four-year-old story about him and his first short stint in the CCC.

When Herman Kelly was not yet seventeen years of age, he joined the CCC. He was sent up north to a camp in Pennsylvania. Not liking the cold weather up there he soon left his post  and returned to the home of his older sister Effie Marie Isaacs Moore and her husband Albert Moore down in Leflore County. The poorest area in the Mississippi Delta.

A depression era recording of a  song titled the CCC Blues is posted below. The song expresses the nature of the thoughts that most likely went through the mind of Herman Kelly Isaacs before he decided to leave the CCC.

As you just heard , in the song above, the song warned enlistees that one consequence of leaving the CCC early was that they would never be able to go back into the program or join the U S military at a later time.

But Herman Kelly was a clever boy.  He figured out a way to beat the system. Two years after leaving the CCC camp in Pennsylvania he changed his name and signed up with CCC again. He signed up again using a different name. He changed his name and enlisted under the name of Henry Kelly Isaacs.

This time around he was sent to a place that was much farther away from home. He was transported all the way across the country to the Triangle Lake Camp in Lane County Oregon, where he stayed and completed his term of service.

H. Kelly Isaacs and friend at the Triangle Lake CCC camp in Lane County,
Date unknown.
H. Isaacs is on the left.
H. Kelly Isaacs and friend at the Triangle Lake CCC camp in Lane
County, Oregon.
Date unknown.
H. Isaacs is on the left
H. Kelly Isaacs and friend at the Triangle Lake CCC camp in Lane County,
Date unknown.
H. Isaacs is on the right.
H. Kelly Isaacs in front of the mess hall at the Triangle Lake CCC camp in Lane County,
Date unknown.


Herman Kelly Isaacs continued to go by the name Henry Kelly Isaacs for the rest of his life. However, those who knew him best called him by his middle name Kelly.

Many people, including some close relatives, never knew that he used an alias. They believed his birth name was Henry Kelly. But now, knowing that his name really was Herman Kelly, explains away the confusion that followed when he named his first born son Herman Kelly Isaacs Jr.

Herman Kelly Isaacs wasn’t the only young man in our family to change his name so he could join the CCC a second time. His older brother Benjamin Franklin Isaacs liked the program so much that he didn’t want to leave once his time was done. He dropped the s at the end of his surname. He changed his name to Isaac so he could enlist for another six months.  He used the Isaac version of his surname for the rest of his life. His descendants continue to uses the name Isaac to this day.

Beatrice Issacs Lisenby was the youngest sister of Ruby Isaacs Roe. She married Herbert Lisenby shortly after he returned home to Mississippi after completing his six month term of service in the CCC. While in the CCCC, Herbert Lisenby was stationed at a camp in Oregon. Herbert and Beatrice Lisenby eventually moved to Oregon, where they raised their family. They lived out their lives there.

All seven of the Isaacs siblings left Mississippi. Most of them settled in the Willamette Valley region of Oregon.

Three Isaacs sisters ( Effie Marie, Ruby Elizabeth and Beatrice) were laid to rest in Fir Grove Cemetery in Cottage Grove Oregon. Along with their husbands and a number of their deceased children. Isaacs brother Herman/Henry Kelly Isaacs and his son Herman Kelly are also buried there.

Thpre song CCC Blues comes to us from a field recoding made by Margret Valiant. She recorded the song in a migrant camp in Northern California, for the Farm Security Administration in 1936.

For 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. From the prompt for the week of February 18 to February 26. Prospertiy

#52Ancestorsin52Weeks #52AncestorsProsperity


Same Name Different Spelling

By Gerry Roe, as told to Betsy Cross Thorpe

“A good name is more desirable than great riches” ……. Proverbs 22:1

My mother sent my birth announcement to her youngest brother, James Rollin Isaacs. My Uncle Jay. He held on to this
keepsake for many years. He was my special uncle. He gifted this to me before he died in 1911.

In 1894, a group of women in Greenville Mississippi set out to care for the most impoverished people in their community. Faced with the magnitude of the local need they realized that in order to care for such a large disadvantaged population they would need outside assistance. They applied to join the International Order of The King’s Daughters, one of the oldest Christian service organizations in the world.  The King’s Daughters Hospital is a result of their effort and is where I was born in 1946.

The first meal that my mother ate after giving birth to me was a bowl of oyster stew. While eating the stew she bit down a pearl. That pearl is pictured above sitting on top of a compact. The compact belonged to my mother. It was one of her most treasured possessions. She stored the pearl, wrapped in tissue, inside the compact’s rouge drawer.
The story of how my mother found a  pearl on the day of my birth is one of my favorite family stories.
(The rouge drawer is shown open in the above picture)


My name is Lucy Jearldine Roe. I was born in Kings Daughters Hospital in Greenville, Mississippi, on March 15, 1946.  Sixth in line of Henry and Ruby Roe’s seven children, I am their second and youngest daughter, the first of their children to be delivered in a hospital.  All my older siblings were born at home.

 My mother named me after two relatives, my father’s older sister Lucie Georgia Roe, and her cousin, Geraldine S. Isaacs.  While our names are the same, they are spelled differently. It was my mother’s aim that I be a proper namesake to my aunt and cousin, that our names  be spelled the same, but when a hospital nurse recorded my birth she spelled out my name as she saw fit and not how my mother intended. I don’t know why but I have always gone by my middle name, Jearldine.  Most members of my family call me Gerl, others call me Gerry. Few people know that my first name is Lucy.

We moved to Oregon when I was a baby. My Aunt Lucie sent letters to me long before I learned to read and write. My mother answered her letters for me until I was old enough to respond myself. We sent letters back and forth for more than twenty years.  I finally got to meet her in person shortly before she died in 1977. I never met cousin Geraldine, but I did meet members of her immediate family in November of 1992 when I took my mother back to Kuttawa Kentucky  to visit her birth place and to spend time with cousins and other relatives who  she hadn’t seen since she was a little girl.

Although our names are spelled differently, I am honored to carry the name of these two long-gone relatives and I hope that they were pleased to share their name with me. I also hope that when they look down from heaven that they see that I was careful to live a wholesome life and that I maintained the character of their good name.

By Gerry Roe, as told to my niece, Betsy Thorpe

For 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. From Prompt for week of February 6 to February 11, “Same Name.”

#52Ancestors #52AncestorsSameName kingsdaughterhospital #greenvillems #trejurcompact

Close To Home

By Betsy Cross Thorpe

“We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us, people who came before us.”
Liam Callanan

My great great grandparents, Benjamin and Emily Isaacs, Lyons County Kentucky. 1880 something.

Unlike me and her three descendants who connect us my great-great-grandmother Emily Manus Isaacs, for most of her life, stayed :


The word wanderlust is one of my favorite words.  Fashioned of three soft syllables it rolls easily off the tongue. It is a fun word to say, it’s a whimsical word that sounds like its meaning. It conjures the romantic nature of travel and the poetry found in dreams of faraway places.

 For me personally the word wanderlust best explains a trait that I believe that I inherited from my mother and from some of our most immediate predecessors on our shared family tree.  While the manifestation of restlessness varies in my bloodline from generation to generation our mutual history reveals that an urge to travel exists in my background.  It was passed down to me through the generations,

 One way I like to describe my great-grandfather William Gordon Isaacs is to say that he was a rolling stone. One of ten children safely delivered to my great-great grandmother Emily Manus Isaacs, he was in his thirties when he packed up his belongings and moved his wife and young children away from his long-time home in Kuttawa Kentucky. For many years after he remained a rootless man, moving his family from one work camp to another, never staying long in any one place. He seemed always ready to move somewhere new, eternally eager to make a fresh start. Like the rolling stone that he was, William Issacs gathered no moss.

 Like her father William before her, my grandmother Ruby Elizabeth Isaacs Roe was also in her thirties when the desire to travel overcame her. In 1946 she boarded a westbound Greyhound bus in rural Greenwood Mississippi. Traveling with my grandfather Henry David Roe, five children and all their worldly possessions, she left behind the familiar  cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta that had been home to her since before her marriage and set out for the unknown wilds of the  Great Pacific Northwest.  She was a migrant mother, part of the Southern Diaspora, she was one of the more than three million white adult southerners who fled the South after the end of World War II.  Men and women left in mass.  Searching for a better way of life for themselves and their children in the most northern and western regions of the United States of America.  Migrants of the Southern Diaspora helped reshape America by southernizing the communities they settled in. When my grandmother arrived in Dorena Oregon, she brought a love of country music and a set of southern cooking skills with her. For the rest of her long-life Ruby Roe shared her joy in southern regional pleasures with every guest that entered her home in the northwest.

My mother, Nannie Elizabeth Roe Cross is a globe trotter. I’m not sure when the travel bug first bit her, but I do know that following  the honeymoon trip through Nevada and California she took with my father LaMoine Lee Cross in 1957, she planned many family trips,  and vacations   throughout the 1960’s and early 1970’s. Summer excursions to see local sights, like the Oregon coast, the lava beds near the town of Sisters, and Peterson’s Rock Garden outside of Redmond Oregon eventually expanded in to overnight  road trips and full blown weeks long vacations. Thanks to my mother’s wanderlust, me and my two younger brothers, Randy LaMoine Cross, and Nicky Scott Cross enjoyed a backseat view of America.  We watched the landscape change through the windows of our parent’s Rambler American automobile.  The Redwood Forest, Disneyland, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone Park, Devils Tower, The Great Salt Lake, the Gulf Coast, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, and New Orleans were just some of the iconic places we visited.  A few years later with her children grown my mother made her maiden overseas journey when she flew across the Atlantic to see London with my father. Since then Nannie Cross has visited more than fifty countries and has enjoyed sights on every continent on the globe except Antarctica. She is very proud of her travels and would be the first to tell you that she would probably never have had the opportunity to become a globetrotter if her mother, Ruby Roe, had not  sought a better life for her family and migrated from Mississippi to Oregon when she—Nannie—was a nine year old girl.

Me? I am a free spirit.  When I was young, I was bent on finding the real America and my lust for travel was couched in my desire to understand the world I lived in. I was determined to change the world, to make it a better place.  I trekked from place to place never sure of my destination, not knowing how long I would stay once I arrived there.  I suppose that in this regard I had more in common with my rolling stone great grandfather, than I did with my migrant grandmother, or my globetrotting mother. For according to the stories I heard about him when I was a child it seemed to me that William moved from place to place whenever the notion struck  unlike my grandmother and my mother who each traveled with a definite purpose and  after much planning. Me? I remain a free spirit, still on a quest to discover the true nature of my country, but I have changed. For now, when I embark on a journey I do so with a certain end in mind. I put much more thought in the details of my travels than I ever did during my free-wheeling days. In this regard I have become much more like my grandmother and my mother than I ever was in the past.

There is one more direct ancestor that is of interest here. Williams mother, Emily Isaacs. I don’t know much about her. Memory of her was almost lost to history. But thanks to a few legal documents, government records and one treasured photograph, I have enough information to thoughtfully speculate on how she lived her life.  I can definitively state that for the greatest part of her life Emily stayed close to home. She was born on June 12, 1860 in Lyon’s County Kentucky, in 1879, at the age of nineteen, she married my great-great grandfather Benjamin Franklin Isaacs there.  She passed away in Lyons County on November 18, 1936 at the age of seventy-seven. The only record I have of her ever leaving that area was when she gave birth to her first child—and my great grandfather—William  on October 11, 1880 in Memphis Tennessee, almost two hundred miles away. I will never know why she gave birth so far away from home, or if she shared the wanderlust, that I believe I inherited from her son.  I like to think that she did.  It is possible that she possessed an urge to travel. Even if her urge to travel was strong enough to pass down to future generations it is imaginable that as the mother of ten children, she pushed her personal wants and desires aside while she cared for her family. The responsibility of caring for such a large brood would most likely overwhelm even the most free-spirited characters among us and keep even the most adventurous of souls close to home.

#52ancestors #52ancestorsclosetohom

From 52 Ancestors prompt “Close to Home.”