Thursday, November 27, 2008

Heirloom of the Week

Continuing the inventory of odd heirlooms, this week we showcase the only two personal items I inherited that belonged to my great-grandfather Elmo Elisha Hodge. These are glass containers - one with his toothbrushes still inside and the other that would have held his tooth powder. Remarkable that they survived down through the years and ended up in my care.

The Hodge line has been much on my mind these past couple of weeks as new information is coming in right and left recently. The more I find out about my Hodge ancestors, the more they intrigue me.

Elmo lived only to see his 24th year. He died while enlisted in the Navy under an assumed name. After his death, somehow his true identity was determined and his belongings were returned to his widow Cora, from whom he had been estranged. Among the items returned was Elmo's diary, which Cora burned.

I don't know that I will ever be able to forgive her that transgression. I've always assumed that he had been less than kind to her in its pages and if I had been in her shoes, I might have felt like destroying it was the right thing to do.

But - how I would have loved to know what he had to say about his father's shenanigans. How I would have loved to know what he had to say about his sisters - Molly who died at the tender age of 15 and Rosa, the baby of the family. How I would have loved to know what he thought about his Huddleston grandparents.

And perhaps he said nothing about any of them. But how I would have loved to read his words on any subject and to study his handwriting for character traits. The tragedy of his early death kept his two children from ever knowing the man who was their father. The burning of the diary robbed them of the chance to know his thoughts.

A treasure was lost in that decision.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Heritage Photo of the Week

I feel guilty that I've neglected the genealogy blog the last few weeks. Part of my neglect has to do with some sudden activity in the Hodge line that is distracting me. New information is coming in from Kentucky that I hope to be sharing soon. Let's just say that the old black sheep ancestor, Dr. Henry Hodge, is getting blacker and blacker. Somehow it is more fun to chase after the rotten ancestors than it is to chase the good ones.

So to hold my place, I offer the heritage photo of the week.

I'm at a bit of a loss how to describe this photo of my great-grandfather Tilman Wilcoxen. I acquired the photo from cousin Carolyn Wilcoxen who said it appeared in the newspaper. I hope to someday run down a copy of that newspaper to find out what in the heck is going on here.

I assume the photo was taken somewhere in the Wharton area, though it could well have been taken in Indiana before the family moved to Texas.

All I can say is it definitely inspires the caption "Grandpa, what big ears you have!".


Monday, November 10, 2008

Heritage Photo of the Week

Cool cars have been on my mind recently. I think this one gives my new Prius a little bit of a run for its money in the matter of **COOL**.

This must have been taken in the 1930s. Great-aunt Annie Mae Mason Byrum stands in front of what I guess you could term a Tin Lizzie.

I would appreciate knowing what kind of car this is, so if anyone out there knows, please clue me in via a comment.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Heritage Photos of the Week

Several years back a distant Mobley cousin sent me a copy of the following photo. She said that no one in her family knew for sure who he was, but they speculated that he might be Joseph Sheppard Mobley. At the time I only had one photo of Joseph, a very bad one, and there was indeed some distinct similarities between the men in the two photographs, so I agreed that it was probably him.

It only goes to show that you should study photographs more closely. Last year I obtained a photo album that had belonged to Joseph's wife and there was an original tintype of the photo mounted on the second page of the album.

Next to it was this original tintype of a woman I had never seen before.

The two photos were obviously made at the same time and in the same place. I knew for a fact that the woman was not Joseph's wife, because I had numerous photos of Mary Caroline Morgan Mobley and this woman looked nothing like her.

The next clue that pointed to the true identities of this couple was to be found on the first page of the album. Two photographs, mounted side by side, were of another couple that I recognized, John and Amanda (Rice) Morgan. John and Amanda were the parents of Mary Caroline and it made perfect sense that they would take the first page place of honor in her photo album.

It dawned on me then that the clothing worn by the couple in the tintypes was of the same period to match the generation of John and Amanda. That, and the location of the photos on the second page of the family album, and the physical resemblance of the man to the one photo I had for Joseph told me that what I had here were photos of Joseph's parents.

So far as I know, these are the only photos in existance of Reason/Rezin and Lucretia (Dunkin) Mobley, who lived in Newnan, Coweta County, Georgia. The photos were probably taken shortly before the start of the Civil War, when the couple would have been in their forties. Their only daughter did not survive her teens. Three of their five sons would be lost in the war. Two sons would survive, Hezekiah and Joseph, and would move this branch of the Mobleys west to Texas.