“He’s Mine” – A Valentine Story

NaDean Holder
NaDean Holder

NaDean was in the 5th grade. School had just started. NaDean and her friends, Velma and Mary, welcomed some new students – Mary Mae, Clorene and Inez. The three sisters spoke fondly of their older brother, Sonny Boy.

Sonny Boy or William, as he was later called, was 12 years old and would not be going to school that year. His daddy had broken his foot and would not be able to farm. Young William would be staying out of school to put in the crops. He used a mule and a plow to put in, as he later described, the crookedest corn rows ever, since he wasn’t big enough to keep the mule in a straight line.

Mary Mae’s stories of William intrigued the 10-year-old NaDean, who had never laid eyes on him. She turned to her friends and declared, “He’s mine.”

William Andrew Musgrove
William Andrew Musgrove

After she actually met William, NaDean stayed sweet on him all through school. When she was 15, William would ride his horse, Dixie, the five miles down to her house. They would sit on the front porch and talk, with her little brother making faces at them through the screened window. Sometimes, on Sunday afternoons they, with other friends, would ride double on horses two miles further south to swim in the Red River.

After finishing high school, William graduating the year after NaDean, they married in 1952, ten years after NaDean told her friends, “He’s mine.”

In 2012, they celebrated 60 years of marriage, along with their 5 children, 5 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Family Reunion
Family Reunion

William and NaDean are my parents, but I never heard this charming story growing up. After I became interested in genealogy, all the books recommended conducting family interviews. While I couldn’t imagine learning any new family stories, I’m the kind of person that follows the rules. So I gathered some sample questions from a popular genealogy book, bought a tape recorder and scheduled an interview.

This story is just one reason I’m still conducting family interviews.

Like most things, preparing for your family interviews creates better results. Decide your focus; realizing most interviews should last no longer than an hour. Interviews can be tiring for both the interviewee and for you! Think about who else you want to interview and consider starting with the least involved person. That person could give you some insights for questions for your more significant interviews, especially if you get only one chance for that significant interview.

Write out your questions ahead of time or use a script of questions from a genealogy book. The library can be a good source for genealogy books. Your topics could start with the basics asking for birth day, date of marriage and where they lived. You could then ask the same information about their children, parents and grandparents, including any death dates and locations.

Other interview topics could be questions about cultural customs like how birthdays and holidays were celebrated; what churches were attended and how often; types of clothing worn as teenagers; what did they do for fun when they were kids; describe their first job, their first memory, their first house or how they met their spouse.

As you can, see the list is endless. Limit the use of questions requiring just a “yes” or “no” answer.  You’re looking for family stories, so don’t be in a rush to finish your list of questions. If you keep the interview pleasant and under one hour, hopefully, you can schedule a second interview.

At the start of the interview, ask permission to use a digital recorder. Start the recording with the name of the person being interviewed, your name, the date and place. Just keep the recorder running, even if the person is stopping to think.  You want to focus on the interviewee, not the technology.

Remember, if you transcribe the interview, to plan on three to four hours of transcription time for every hour of interview. If anyone has any ideas on how to transcribe faster, let me know. I’ve tried some voice recognition software, but with our Southern accents, the software was not very useful.

As a result of your efforts, future generations will be introduced to the stories and the voices knowing “He (and She are) Mine.”

You can send your feedback, comments and questions via email to  aftertoilcomesrest@andreamusgroveperisho.com or on this blog site at www.andreamusgroveperisho.com as we seek our roots together.

Andrea Musgrove Perisho is a retired health care managing director and a member of the Lee County Genealogical Society Writer’s Group. Copyright 2013 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.

SCOTS-IRISH

Since before Roman times in 200 A.D., the border between England and Scotland was in almost constant warfare.  The people, whether English (like the Musgrave’s) or Scottish (like the Knox’s, McIntire’s), were living in a war zone. The men were warrior-like and often away at battle. With the men away, the women raised the many children and took care of the household and farm, as soldiers trampled crops and rustlers stole livestock. The extended family or clan was the only unit worth any loyalty.

Each family had a few acres where they raised their own food and grazed livestock. Families moved often. Their home was a simple building, built in a day, with few household possessions. As rents increased in the borderlands, Scots-Irish were encouraged to migrate to northern Ireland. Soon rents increased in Ireland and their farming/ grazing lifestyle was no longer economically feasible in Ireland.

When the first Scots-Irish first arrived in Pennsylvania about 1717, their behavior, provocative dress, and speech were very different from the Quakers, so they were rejected, ridiculed, and called “Scots-Irish”. In spite of their poverty, they were a proud people, which further irritated the Quakers. The Scots-Irish settled on the frontier of Pennsylvania and; when the roads south opened, they went down into the Shenandoah Valley to the Carolinas. Later migrations to America in 1760-1775 were directly to the Carolinas. The Scot-Irish families continued the old patterns of life first on the frontier, then to Tennessee,  and further west to Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma.  Since the Scots-Irish way of life was successful on the frontier, other frontier immigrants took on those characteristics, still seen today.

Weddings were wild affairs, full of ritual, and expensive. Sometimes brides were abducted, usually (but not always) willingly. First cousins often married to “keep it in the clan”. There was a shortage of clergy  and sometimes couples got tired of waiting. Premarital pregnancies were common and not scandalous. Most of the original Scots-Irish were Presbyterian, but became Baptists and Methodists as their population and migration outgrew the Presbyterian seminaries capacity to provide ministers.

Families were male dominant; women and children were to obey. Children, especially boys, were taught to exercise their wills. The Scots-Irish doted on their male children, reared to have pride, independence, and courage. Girls were taught the virtues of patience, industry, sacrifice, and devotion to others. Men shared in the care of their children from infancy. Corporal punishment was often used.

Formal education wasn’t important to the Scots-Irish, the most illiterate group. The main occupation was farming combined with herd grazing. There was no class system with everyone seen as equal. As in Scotland, this group moved often, creating scattered, isolated settlements, along creeks and streams.

Source

  • “Albion’s Seed, Four British Folkways in America,” David Hackett Fischer, 1989.
  • “Born Fighting – How the Scots-Irish Shaped America,” James Webb, 2004.

Copyrighted, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.

QUAKERS

Between 1675 and 1725, many Quakers left England and came to the Delaware River area of Pennsylvania. There were Quakers in New England earlier, who came as Puritans and were converted by Quaker missionaries.

 The Quakers in our Musgrave family line probably became Quakers in England and traveled to Ireland because of persecution.  They left Ireland (thus were called Irish Quakers), not so much because of persecution (although they were persecuted), but because of economic issues.  

 The Quaker view of the Bible was different from the Puritan view, with an emphasis on the New Testament and no formal doctrine, no formal worship service, and no ordained ministers. With their  different customs, Quakers were driven out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to Rhode Island and out from there. Quaker doctrine might be described as one of love and light, at least among Quakers.

The Quakers came from the lower middle class of English society. They were farmers, craftsmen, laborers, and servants. There were fewer servants in a Quaker household, but, when there were servants, they were treated as family. Fortunately for genealogists, Quakers did have a highly organized system of meetings and record keeping.

The Quakers had a strict set of marriage customs, with approvals required by the congregation and parents. The marriage ceremony was very simple. A Quaker could not marry a non-Quaker. If they did, they were disowned, with several example of this in our later family lines.

The Quakers believed that souls had no gender. Men and women were equal and were to be helpmates for each other. So equal were they, that the Quakers even allowed women to be preachers. Their households were less male dominant. They believed that sex was to be confined to marriage and went to great pains in their style of dress to keep it that way.

The rearing of children was done in an atmosphere of loving, nurturing, and sheltering. Rewards were usually used and not punishments. Corporal punishment was rare. There was a strict behavior code and the community helped to instill it in their children. Children lived at home until married.

While many Quakers were literate, they were hostile toward public schools and home schooled their children, when possible.

Quakers lived on farms, surrounding a village. The village and surrounding farms made up a township.  

Source

  • “Albion’s Seed, Four British Folkways in American,” David Hackett Fischer, 1989.

Copyrighted, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.

CAVALIERS AND INDENTURED SERVANTS

 This migration look place to the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia and Maryland between 1642 and 1675. By now the Puritans had control in England and the Anglicans were being persecuted. Some in this migration left because of religious persecution, but there was a bigger motivation for many. Inheritance laws in England gave all real property to the oldest son. Some of those who left England were younger sons of upper class families who wanted to go to a place where they could have land of their own. Among our ancestors, the Tylers, who were Maryland planters and from our Holder family line, were probably in this migration.

About twenty-five percent of the persons in this second migration were from the English upper class, with wealth, social standing, and education in England. The plantation owners were members of the Anglican Church and were Royalist in their politics. The other seventy-five percent were from the lower classes and came as indentured servants to work on the large plantations. These were poor, illiterate and unskilled. This created a class system that could not have existed in New England. In this migration, males outnumbered women by about 4 to 1 with most between the ages of 15 and 24.

There was much emphasis on the extended family, who tended to settle together. The nuclear families lived close together and buried their dead in family plots. (Unlike New England, there were common burial grounds in each town.) Households included servants, lodgers and visitors. Virginians were not as suspicious of strangers as New Englanders were.

In Virginia, families tended to be smaller with more step-relationships, because the death rate was much higher due to disease.  Marriage was not a contract as in New England; it was a sacred knot that could not be untied. All marriages were performed in the Anglican church followed by an elaborate marriage feast. Divorce was not allowed. Love was not thought to be necessary before marriage. When it didn’t occur before, it was expected to follow. Parents had an active role in marriage decisions but didn’t force a child to marry. First cousin marriages were common, keeping the holdings in the family. Some men did not marry because there just weren’t enough women to go around. Sexual relationships were supposed to be confined to marriage, but punishments were not as severe as in New England and women were punished more severely than men.

Parents in Virginia were more indulgent than parents in New England. Children were encouraged to be self-willed, but expected to observe self-restraint. The elder patriarch idea was very strong and much ritual surrounded it also. There were few schools. Children of the elite class were educated at home and the poor remained illiterate. There were no townships as in New England. People settled on plantations and there were small market villages.

 Source

  • “Albion’s Seed, Four British Folkways in American,” David Hackett Fischer, 1989.

Copyrighted, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.

MIGRATION TO THE NEW WORLD – PURITANS

My next few posts will be summarizing information from “Albion’s Seed, Four British Folkways in American,” David Hackett Fischer’s wonderful book published in 1989. Fischer describes four British Folkways who migrated to the United States. He describes these  folkways as Puritans, who came into New England; Distressed Cavaliers and Indentured Servants, usually the younger sons of British gentry and their servants who came into Virginia and Maryland setting up tobacco plantations; Quakers, who came into Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania;  and the Borderlanders, mostly the Scots-Irish who came in first through Pennsylvania and later through the Carolinas, settling on the frontier. Many of our family ancestors can be traced back to these four groups.

One of our earliest Puritan ancestors, through the Buckmaster, Dovey Piercy line, may have been the ship’s carpenter on Mayflower. Peter Browne lived only a few years after arrival, but he did leave a daughter who survived him. To prove this lineage, we need to more information on our Bedford ancestors who lived in Texas, west of Dallas. If you have more information on this family line or want to gather information on these ancestors, please contact me. From “Albion’s Seed,” here is more information on the Puritans.

About 21,000 Puritans left England because of religious persecution, arriving in the Massachusetts Bay Colony between the years 1629 and 1640.

Most Puritans were from the middle class of English society. They were educated and most could afford to pay their passage. They were usually skilled craftsmen or tradesmen. Those who did farm practiced a trade, as well. With Puritans, the family was very important; the extended family not as important as in other groups. When they settled in the new world, their settlements were similar to their English towns and villages with farmsteads outside of the village. As a group, they tended to stay in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (greater Boston area).

The Puritans were a part of what became the Congregational Church. They subscribed to a modified Calvinist Doctrine–which can best be defined by five words: depravity, covenant, election, grace, and love. Puritans screened immigrants coming into their Massachusetts Bay Colony. If someone anyone “unsuitable” showed up, they were asked to leave. Their sense of order was one that required unity.

The family ways of the Puritans came out of their religious convictions. Family relationships were covenants that could be broken. Marriages, therefore, were not usually performed by a minister, but by the magistrate. Divorce was allowed if the covenant was broken. Valid reasons for divorce were: adultery, fraudulent contract, willful desertion, and physical cruelty. It was against the law for husbands and wives to strike each other. Sex was supposed to be confined to marriage and offenders were punished severely–both parties were punished but the men more severely than the women. Both parents and children had to consent before a marriage could take place–and parents were not allowed to withhold consent without a valid reason. Weddings were simple affairs. First cousin marriages were forbidden and second cousin marriages were discouraged.

Puritans were strict parents who loved their children much but believed their wills needed to be broken (due to basic depravity of human nature). This will-breaking was achieved by strict and rigorous supervision in which the fathers took an active part. They tried to use mental discipline and love but, if it didn’t work, they were quick to use physical constraints. The practice of “sending out” was used. children often were sent to stay with other families for training, discipline, apprenticeship, etc.

The Puritans valued education. All children were taught to read by parents or masters; schools were available very early; and four colleges were founded prior to the Revolution.

Source: “Albion’s Seed, Four British Folkways in American,” David Hackett Fischer, 1989.

Copyrighted, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.

Introduction

 When I first saw our family genealogy books, I was fascinated by all the names and dates, but wanted to know the stories behind the people. I didn’t take the time to start the research until last fall. This blog is a way to share the results of my work and, perhaps, work with other genealogists to build our family trees.

Included in my research is information on the social/political/economic background of the times. Researching this has been helpful to me in understanding why, such as, our ancestors moved from the British Isles on to American and then kept moving west.

I did not hear any of these stories when I was growing up and have gathered them so further generations can be aware of all our ancestors did to create this country and our families. Some of the stories are very exciting; some are heart breaking and some are shocking to us today. Our ancestors were people of their times, reflecting the customs of their current society.  We have ancestors on both sides of the Revolutionary War and on both sides of the Civil War. We have ancestors who were slave owners and, while not documented, we may well have Native American ancestors. 

The name “After Toil Comes Rest” comes from the headstone of James Monroe Elliott, Jr., the son of the Civil War soldier whose will be posted soon. James Monroe Elliott, Jr., has his own interesting stories, which I hope to research someday. 

 I do not give my permission for commercial use of this information, but feel free to use this information in your own research. 

I am fully responsible for all errors in this material. One genealogist said she now spends 40% of her time correcting her earlier research. I fully expect to have the same experience. Please let me know of any corrections or new information available, especially about our family stories.