Monday, October 21, 2013

Remembering the Grandparents The Book of Me: Prompt #7

For this prompt I am focusing on my paternal grandparents- Sam and Sarah Ellen Walton.

What were their names? 
Samuel and Sarah Ellen Walton

Where were they from?
She was born in Arkansas and he was born in the Choctaw Nation.

Were they related?

Where were they born?
My grandmother was born in Horatio, Arkansas, and my grandfather was born in Skullyville, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory.

Photos Yes, see above images.

What did they do? As a young man, Grandpa Sam worked first as a teamster driving a team of horses. He later developed a profound love of cars. He then served in the Pioneer Infantry during World War I. After the war, he worked a number of jobs, but frequently as a chauffeur and driver.

Did I know them?
I knew my paternal grandmother only. Grandpa Sam died years before I was born. But knew my grandmother Sarah Ellen very well.

What was my relationship with them?  
I had a close relationship with Grandma, and spent a good amount of time with her in the years before she died.

If I didn't know them what have I researched about them? Grandpa Sam's family history provided many surprises with the strong ties to the Choctaw Nation. Although I did not know him, I have learned so much about him. And in addition, his mother, my gr. grandmother had a strong influence in my life. Both Grandpa Sam and Grandma Ellen,had a very strong interest in education, and worked tirelessly for the next generation to be educated. And of course researching my grandmother's history led me to several Civil War Union soldiers all closely related to her. I have researched both sides in great detail.

But because Grandpa Sam died long before I was born, I only got to know one of my grandparents - Sarah Ellen Walton. And I have truly enjoyed researching her family history. She was born into a large family though based in southwest Arkansas, her family had Tennessee roots. When following the history of her Tennessee line, I was more than surprised to find four civil war soldiers closely connected to her family. Later research would also reveal the exact location of the family and where they lived in Tennessee, and where they had been enslaved. The estate still stands today.

Slave holder's estate, Giles County TN

In addition--I was able to add more names to the family line, when a valuable estate record was found when the slaveholder died. The estate inventory listed all of the slaves by name, including my gr. grandfather. And this research opened more doors to the family history.

Grandma and Nannie
Some of my fondest memories were those of my grandmother Sarah Ellen, as well as those memories of my gr. grandmother Nannie, as we called her. They were actually mother-in-law and daughter-in-law and not mother and daughter. But they lived together for over 40 years, even after Grandpa Sam had died. My memory is of them working together, on massive quilting projects together.

(One of my own quilt projects, influenced by the two quilters--Grandma and Nannie)

 I also fondly recall their working in their large backyard garden where they seemed to grow everything from turnip greens, to corn, to tomatoes, to string beans to purple hull peas. And I always remember the lovely "bachelor buttons" pretty wild flowers that lined the fence with sprigs of mint in between.

My life was influenced and enriched by both of these beautiful elder women, who brought with them their country ways, their methods of cooking and their stories.

 I wish Grandpa Sam had lived, as I would have loved to have heard his voice, but these two ladies made my childhood rich and filled with many joys and adventures. They both filled that grandparents's space so well. I miss them both.

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