Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tragedy Strikes Our Family

NoteRelationships, such as grandmother, 2nd great, etc., are expressed from the perspective of the grandchildren of Willis Edgar and Carrie (known as) Mae (Merritt) Musgrove.

Our grandmother, Carrie Mae Merritt, was born 1 Apr 1910 in Bickley,Georgia; the last of nine children born to her parents, George and Mary, who were then 43 years old. She is counted there May 4th on the 1910 census, one month old and, strangely enough, named Lucile. No one knows why. 

When she was thirteen her older brother, Joe Cecil Merritt, married Zilpha Marie Musgrove, sister of our grandfather, Willis Edgar Musgrove. Our grandfather was thirteen at the time as well. Six years later, on the 13th of June, 1929, our grandparents wed.

Great Uncle Joe and Aunt Zilpha Merrit.jpg
Uncle Joe and 
Aunt Zilpha Merritt
Growing up I heard Grandma Musgrove’s youngest child, Freddie, was accidentally shot and killed while playing with guns. I didn't know until my search for our family's past that the boy who shot the gun was his older double first cousin, our great aunt, Zilpha and uncle, Joe's boy, Willie.
Freddie was three weeks shy of nine years old. It was December 26th and he was shot with a shotgun his cousin Willie got for Christmas. According to my Uncle Joe, Freddie’s brother, just a few years older;

A Connecticut Yankee in a Georgia Swamp

George H Merritt,
son of George L Merritt.
born; Okefenokee Swamp.
NoteRelationships, such as grandmother, 2nd great, etc., are expressed from the perspective of the grandchildren of Willis Edgar and Carrie (known as) Mae (Merritt) Musgrove.

I mentioned before I started our family search looking on my grandmother's side for an Indian. I thought I might find him in the Swamp. Instead I found George Henry Merritt, born in the Okefenokee Swamp, ancestor of our line of Merritts around Ware County

How did he get there and where did he come from? What I found there was so surprising I'll let the Merritt family historian tell it, in her own words.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Riding in Style: Willis Edgar Musgrove

My grandfather and his oldest
children on the family wagon.
In 1909, the year our grandfather Musgrove was born, eight businessmen formed the Hudson Motor Company. Their goal was to produce an automobile which would sell for less than $1,000 (equivalent to approximately $26,248 in today's funds). 

Our grand-dad never owned one.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Looking for an Indian

Our grandmother
I began my family research looking for an Indian. I'd always heard the story our grandmother was partly Native American. So, I sent the question to a family historian. Here's part of her answer,

"Your grandmother was known as "Aunt Mae" to the family, that is how all I've met have referred to ask about the Cherokee rumors. I heard the same thing growing up, but in my research, I found no connection and there is not one family member I've met who can answer that question. Sorry."

A Story About Stories

On February 26th, 2010, my life partner of nineteen years died. Eight months later, September 20th, my twenty-four year old daughter died, too. One day I'll tell their stories; not today. Today, I'll tell a story about stories.

Clockwise, back row from left:
David, Bruce,Eddie and Jennifer

After they died I cleaned out their stuff. I threw out or gave away the things that had no special meaning to me. I learned the things that define a person's life can easily be stored in a medium sized box.

I've learned a lot more, too, since then. I've learned, in the end, what matters most is your loved ones pictures and their stories. Their boxes are filled with memories of Jennifer and Bruce; photos and reminders of their stories.

And I've learned, when you're the last one standing, what you miss most of all is that there's no one left to finish the family stories or laugh at the inside jokes.

Recently I began researching my family history. And, once again, the most interesting thing about the research is the pictures and the stories. I'll be sharing those on this blog.