Posts Tagged ‘Marion OH’

Gladys Evelyn Branum Foster and her first grandchild

Gladys Evelyn Branum Foster and her first grandchild

 

When my grandmother passed away in 2001, her death certificate pronounced her birth place as Lancaster, PA. This was my first mystery. Grandma was the third of four children. Her siblings were Twila Mae, Samuel Louis and William Denzil Branum.

Of the four kids, two were listed as having been born in Ohio, and Samuel (Louis) was born in West Virginia. That was logical. The family lived in Ohio, but my great grandmother was originally from West Virginia. It’s entirely conceivable (no pun intended) that she was back home when Louis was born. But the Pennsylvania thing really confused me. Not at first, mind you, because my grandfather’s family were from Pennsylvania and when I first started out, I had everyone jumbled in my head. But slowly, it began to dawn on me that there was something amiss.

And then I had a “Duh!” moment and realized that my grandmother and her family were living in Lancaster, Ohio at the time. (In my defense, I never heard anything about Lancaster growing up—I was always told Grandma was from Marion.)

Grandma went back and forth between Ohio and Florida quite a bit. I remember riding in the car, driving down to see her. This was back in the day when seat belts were just a suggestion at best. I was the youngest, so I slept on the package shelf of the car. I have a vague recollection of being sick when we were down there for one trip, but I don’t recall if it was the same visit. I know that on one visit, there was a hurricane that came through, aptly named Hurricane Gladys. I don’t remember much about that, though.

Grandma lived with us for a while before my parents divorced. My memories of this time are fuzzy, but I have a clear recollection of being with her in the car and her telling me that the turn signals talked. “Listen,” she said, “it’s saying ‘Right turn, right turn, right turn, right turn.” A few minutes later, she told me it was saying, “Left turn, left turn, left turn, left turn.” I still think of that when I’m waiting for a traffic light.

Today, July 16, Grandma would have celebrated her 100th birthday. I would have liked to have seen that. Happy Birthday, Grandma!

 

No sooner did spring semester wrap up for me when I came face to face with a personal health crisis. As a result, research has been slow.

I have, however, managed to make a couple of trips to Marion, first to visit a cousin with a lot of old family photos and more recently, a car trip to find the Four Acres (known as such only to family members), the place where my mom and her brothers spent some time growing up.

Since I am still in the midst of dealing with the aforementioned crisis, traveling for research will probably be kept to a minimum. However, I do have a few posts in the works–and definitely some new photos to share.

So, stay tuned!

Emma Briggs FosterFinally! A birthday! On this date in 1868, my great grandmother, Emma Adelia Briggs was born in Blairs Mills, Pennsylvania (Huntingdon county) to John B. Briggs and… well, more on that later.

Emma, according to the notes of her daughter, Grace Foster Seckel, moved to Marion, Ohio and worked in a dress shop. Eventually, she married Samuel Blocksom Foster. The information I have states they were married on 22 May 1889, but I have yet to find a record that confirms that. As I stated in the post about my grandfather, Emma and Samuel had four children together.

Emma lived to see her 81st birthday and then died two days later on March 13, 1949.

This photo is courtesy of Grace Foster Seckel’s daughter (I will not name living people here without their permission). I think she looks about 15 years old, but I could be wrong. I’d be interested in hearing any other opinions on the subject. Feel free to leave a comment here if you have anything to say.

Emma’s mother is a bit of a mystery and it’s one that I will discuss in multiple future posts. I’ll start this evening by mentioning that the 1870 census shows John B. Briggs living with his wife Adaline and three children, Alfred, Emma (who was 3 at the time) and Thomas, whose age was listed as five months. Remember this fact, because it’s going to show up in another post very soon.

Self-portrait of Howard Eben Foster

Fifty years ago today, a man I never knew left this world too soon. Howard Eben Foster was only fifty years old and his first and only grandchild was just nine months old when he died.

Howard’s parents were Emma Adelia Briggs and Samuel Blocksom Foster. All in all, there were four children: Hattie Corrine, Carl Blocksom, Lulu Grace (or Grace Lulu–she wrote it both ways) and Howard.

I’m told that Howard had no middle name when he was born. He took on Eben as his middle name because it was the name of the doctor who saved his life after he was stricken with scarlet fever. The impact of this becomes even more obvious when one learns that his older sister, Hattie Corrine, died of scarlet fever before Howard was born.

Visiting the cemetery where his parents and oldest sister are buried, it is easy to believe that they never recovered from losing their first born child. It’s also easy to believe that perhaps Howard’s parents tried not to get too close. I’m making a lot of assumptions, of course. But the stories I’ve heard indicate that life wasn’t easy for him.

Those stories of Howard range from shockingly painful to laugh out loud hilarious. One hopes that old wounds might have healed if he’d had the time on this earth to repair them. It saddens me that he never had the chance. But I am also so grateful that those family members manage to view things with a wider lens, so that those hilariously funny stories are willingly shared.

Howard is one of the two biggest reasons that my interest in genealogy has taken hold. It seems only fitting that I should begin this blogging attempt by remembering him today. After all, without him, I wouldn’t be here to write this blog post.

Rest in peace, Grandpa Foster.