INVITE TO DINNER.
My great, great grandmother, Sallie (Dickson) Ward, was born 27 November 1860 in Perry County, Tennessee, with the Civil War just months from starting. She lived until 21 August 1960, about 3 months short of her 100th birthday. Over almost 100 years, she saw and experienced an incredible amount of change, both in the world and in her family.
|Sisters Mary (Dickson) Dickson Sutton, Julia (Dickson) Dickson, and|
Sallie (Dickson) Ward in Perry County, Tennessee. Photo was hanging on
Perry County courthouse wall when I visited in 1999.
What an experience it would be if I could invite "Grandma Sallie" to dinner. Among many others, here are five topics I'd love to discuss with her.
Your husband was a Methodist circuit rider preacher who also appears to have had a drinking problem, was likely murdered at the age of 47, and left a bankrupt estate. What was Reuben Ward like? How did you meet him? Did you love him? Did you argue with him over his drinking? What was it like as you searched for him for weeks and then discovered he had been killed? How did you raise your family after his death?
|Headstone of Matthew and Lenora "Nora" (Dickson) Ward|
in Perry County, Tennessee taken by me in 1999
RAISING A GRANDCHILD
Your daughter, Nora, died at the age of 30 only six months after giving birth to my grandmother, Evelyn. You raised Nora while Nora's widowed husband, James B Dickson, raised the four older children. How did you get through the grief of losing your daughter so young? How was this decision made? Did you and Evelyn often see Evelyn's siblings?
You were born in Tennessee where slavery was legal, yet slavery was abolished probably by the time you started school. What did you know about slavery? In Perry County, Tennessee, how did former slaves and former slave owners interact? Did you hear stories about how slaves had been treated by your family members or others in your community?
You were quite young, but do you remember any stories from the Civil War? Did you listen to men who had fought in the war and hear their stories? Did you listen to the women who had stayed behind during the war and hear their stories? How did the war affect your family?
The world changed incredibly during your lifetime. You grew up with horses and buggies, outhouses, candles, slow communication, and the death of many babies and their mothers through childbirth. Throughout your years, you saw the inventions of cars, planes, indoor plumbing, electric lights, radio, television, immunizations, pain killers, and more. Which invention affected your life the most?