Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Life of Almost 100 Years: Sallie (Dickson) Ward (Fearless Females Day 1)

As part of Women's History Month, Lisa Alzo has created 31 blogging prompts which you can find on her blog, The Accidental Genealogist. If you're participating in the Fearless Females blogging challenge this month, let me know & I'll hop over & read your posts!

March 1st prompt: Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key fact you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

Sallie (~ age 58) is in the middle of the back row. My grandmother, Evelyn (~ age 3) is the little girl holding her pet chicken. On the left is Elsie Jo Ward (~ age 14), also holding a chicken, who is another of Sallie's granddaughters. On the right is Ethel Ward (~age 25), who is one of Sallie's daughters. (Photo from my grandmother's collection.)

My grandmother's grandmother, Sallie Harriett (Ward) Dickson is one of my favorite female ancestors. Why? Partly because she raised my grandmother, so I feel a closer connection to her then to other ancestors who were born in the mid-1800s. And, partly because of all she lived through during her almost 100 years... from the Civil War to both world wars... from the invention of cars and planes to the invention of electricity and movies... what an incredible world she lived in!

Her Story

Sallie, born November 27th, 1860 in Perry County, Tennessee, was the youngest of 9 children born to Matthew James Dickson (1820-1904) and Lenora "Nora" J Mays (1823-1909). At the age of 19, she married Reuben Houston Ward, a farmer who later became a Methodist minister. They had 9 children together, and one died as an infant. Reuben was murdered in 1906 at the age of 47 - I told his story here.

When Sallie's husband died, her 5 youngest children were ages 18, 15, 13, 10, & 7. A few years later, in the 1910 census, she was listed as a farmer. She must have worked hard raising this family without her husband!

One of Sallie's daughters, Lenora or Nora, married her cousin, James Bedford Dickson. They had five children, including my grandmother. My grandmother was only 9 months old when her mother, Nora, died. The father, James, raised the four older children. But, he probably didn't feel capable of raising a baby. That job went to his mother-in-law, Sallie, who was 55 years old. Sallie was the only "mother" my grandmother remembered.

Sallie H. (Dickson) Ward (Photo from my grandmother's collection)

Sallie raised not only her own children, but also my grandmother, and lived as a widow for more than 50 years. She died in 1960, just 3 months short of 100 years of age. She'd lived in the Perry County, Tennessee, surrounded by family and friends, her entire life. 

Research Plan:
  • Locate her in the 1940 census - still searching!
  • Find an obituary
  • See if 1960 death records will be available in a year or two (currently available until 1958)

1 comment:

  1. Best of luck with your Fearless Females series, Dana. I'm looking forward to hearing more about the ladies in your family.


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