Saturday, October 6, 2012

Climbing around the family tree

As part of Karlie's schoolwork this week, she had family forum. She had to ask about an ancestor who was alive around 1900 and write a little history about them and maybe share a photo or two. I knew that my great grandparents would fit the bill for this project so, we went downstairs to talk with Honey, and get some scoop on her parents.

 Karlie wrote a page about her great great grandfather, William Gilbert Creel, of Catahoula Parish, Louisiana. She included some pretty neat photos too. Honey has quite the collection on her wall and in scrapbooks.

 Karlie's assignment was interesting to me. I love history, because to me history is more than names of people and dates, it's about real people with real stories. AND we need to capture the stories and life events for our memories not just when such and such happened.  Since I walked down memory lane with both she and Honey, I thought I would blog about it here too. After all, these ancestors that she had to research, the ones that lived during 1900, well, I actually knew them, spent time with them, walked in their home, heard them sing, and ate their cooking. So what was history to Karlie, is life experiences for me.

Honey got out her scrapbook 
to share some photos and stories with us.
William Gilbert Creel born in 1899 and Martha Ann Massey Creel  born in 1897 were married in 1924. To me, their oldest great grand and their other 'regular' grands, they were known as Papa and Granny Creel. For the record, I was born on his birthday, and named after her. I've mentioned that before in a blog post, but it's just too sweet not to re-mention. She was two years older than he was, and she was probably considered an 'oldmaid' at the age she was when she got married. Many of Papa Creel's siblings married Granny's siblings making for a lot of double first cousins. 

She always carried a coin purse with her with two silver dollars inside. One was a 1924 dollar for the year they were married and one was a 1896 dollar it was just 1 year older than "granny" was.
Here's that coin purse with those coins. When I took it out of my special drawer and took it downstairs, Honey had forgotten she had given it to me. She thought my mom had it and that it had been stolen when her house was robbed a few years back. 
Gilbert and his brother Albert play their instruments. Papa played his fiddle until he had an accident with a table saw and cut the end of one his fingers off. This happened prior to my birth so I never heard him play the fiddle, but I did hear him sing. He often would say, "If you can't sing it right, leave it off."
It's too bad that some people today do not heed this advice. He was a farmer, worked in the firetower, and was a song leader  in church. He often sang in gospel groups and even published a few songs. The music gene that GOD gave him has been passed down to many of his descendants in multiple generations.
Granny and Papa with their three kids.
Gilbert and Martha
Hannah, Shirley, and Shelby
The Gilbert and Martha were pronounced differently by their kin. Gilbert was pronounced GEERT and Martha became Martheee. 

The Creel family were devout Christians. Apparently papa was considered a Jesus fanatic, which that gene has passed down several generations too. Granny would not go to church on Sunday mornings, but would stay home and cook a huge meal. The story goes, that you never knew who was coming for dinner and, she worked on making sure there was plenty for all. She always went to church at night. AND when her baby was listed as missing in action in the Korean Conflict, she held strong that he was indeed alive and coming home. She quoted and claimed a particular Psalm everyday for his safety, but no one I've asked knows which one, and she would not dare of writing in her I'll have to ask her that when we all get to heaven Her baby boy did come back after almost 4 years in a POW camp.
 Papa died of cancer in 1977, thirty-five years ago yesterday, he often quoted the 23rd Psalm and is said to have been quoting it as he died. He died with a smile on his face. On his tombstone, his family decided to take the titles of his songs and have them inscribed on his stone.
"I'm bound for that city, that heavenly home where I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever, so be ready for His coming where there will be peace down in your soul."

I am very thankful of a rich heritage of  Christian ancestors. I know these great grands of mine did some praying over their children, grands and greats. And I know the peace that he wrote songs about because of the Christian faith and examples of my family.

  Embrace your family, talk to your relatives, and record those family histories. AND listen to those older wiser relatives, they might just have a little advice to help you live your life. The older I get the wiser my relatives become.
(my great grands, my grand, my mom and me)

Don't learn from your mistakes, learn from other people's mistakes. 

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