Friday, January 26, 2018

Who Would You Invite to Dinner? (#4 of 52)

This post is based on Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks." This week's theme is: 
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.

HUSBAND

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? 

SLAVERY

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?

CIVIL WAR

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?

INVENTIONS

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?

12 comments:

  1. Your ancestor Sallie had quite an eventful and dramatic life--and she lived through times of dramatic change. What a strong woman she must have been to endure sadness and losses in her time.

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    1. I agree! I wish I would have asked my grandma to tell me stories about her. Since she died in 1960, I'm sure I can find people to ask! I need to do that! :)

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  2. I love the photo at the top of this post with Sallie and her sisters on the horses. I don't know when you were born but I'm guessing after 1960, when she died? It would have been wonderful to know her. But, if you are like me when I was a child, you might not have asked the questions you would ask now....

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    1. Nancy, Yes, I was born after she died. My mother was alive, but they lived in different states. I think my mom only met her a few times. I'll have to ask her some more questions!

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  3. Sallie would have been able to tell many stories, living through so many changes in daily life and the world. You do need to find a relative who knew her and can pass along her stories.

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    1. She would have had so many stories to tell. I wonder if she was a story teller? And, yes, I need to talk to some relatives who would have known her. I really know very little except for from documents and photos. I'd like to hear "real" stories!

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  4. Great questions! I have one great-grandmother who lived from 1876 to 1967 and another who lived from 1863 to 1956 and I've also thought about the incredible changes that they saw in their lives.

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    1. Wouldn't that have been an amazing time period to live through? Especially if you lived 90-100 years or so?

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  5. I've thought a lot about the changes that my grandparents, and even parents, saw in their lifetimes. Heck, I've seen a lot in mine - color TVs, cordless phones, microwaves, ATMs and, of course, computers and the internet. I wonder what sort of changes people will see over the next 100 years.

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    1. It is amazing just seeing the different world my daughter is growing up from when I grew up. So many changes!

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  6. It's going to be a long night! But how fascinating it would be. I'd like to be a guest at that dinner too.

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    1. Yes, it would be a long night! And, we'd love to have you join us. :)

      I've been thinking lately how "we" should really be recording the stories of the older people in our lives and communities. What stories they all could tell! And, so many of them are lonely and would love to reminisce.

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