Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dee Etta Harrold

Dee Etta Harrold   Great Grandmother
    Birth 31 Aug 1875 in Nelsonville, Athens, Ohio, USA
    Death 11 Mar 1948 in Nelsonville, Athens, Ohio, USA

 Grandma Dee Memories by Ruth Morris Blimes
She moved to 510 High St in Nelsonville with her family when she was two years old and lived there most of her life until she married Al.  She also died in the house.  Dee was the spoiled one in the family.  She married early to William Allen (Al) Goodspeed.  As he was a mining engineer she never had to do her own work, but hired it done.  She lost two babies, Ruth and John when they were very young.  Arthur died of blood poisoning when he was almost eight.  Mom always said that Al never got over losing these young children, especially Arthur.  They were apparently very close.  

 I have a letter written to Almyra by Arthur written on a typewriter with the help of his father.  I also have a letter written by Al to Dee when she was very sick and he was working away at the time.  He told her he would die if anything happened to her.   

Alas, when he was working in Terre Haute, Ind. he ran off with another man's wife, so something must have happened to dampen his ardor.  The husband caught them and had them thrown in jail. Dee went to see him and he promised he would always take care of her and the children if she would just get him out of jail.  I don't know how much later it was, but he disappeared and she never heard from him again until about thirty years later when he tried to cut off her army pension by divorcing her.  This tracked him to the Denver area and she went out there on the train and put a stop to that. Whether she saw him then or not, I don't know.  But she always referred to him as that "devil Al" and tried to pay me a quarter a week if I would ditch Bill when we were dating since both he and Al were born in November. 

She lived in the other side of the house on High Street and became a hermit in the winter time.  She had a cat and once in a while we would hear it screeching and howling on the other side of the house.  I thought she was mean to it because she had a temper (which she did), but we found out that Uncle Jim and Windy Davis were bringing her a bottle of booze, and when she had too many hot toddies, she would take it out on the poor cat.  I don't pretend to judge her, but many people have a lot of adversities.  She just didn't handle hers too well.  Clarence Scott said the devil himself couldn't live with Dee Goodspeed, and I am inclined to agree with him.! Although she was a hermit from the first cold day of fall, she came out with the spring flowers.  She was a walker.  I remember that she used to take her basket of Watkins products (like lemon flavoring, vanilla, & misc. small articles to sell) and walk all over town.  
 She knew everyone in town since she had lived there all her life.! Her friends said she could give the most beautiful prayers you ever heard.  I know she attended the Christian Church when she was younger, but I don't remember her going as I was growing up.  It was said that she attended every church in town and I believe it.  She took me down the hill from our house to a revival meeting when I growing up and it was a memorable experience.  The Apostolic Church was a little wooden building.  It had a long zinc tub in the front corner of the building for baptisms.  After some preaching, a goodly number of people jumped up and began to speak in tongues.  As they progressed they rolled on the floor and screamed while the rest of the congregation sang songs. The whole building shook and I was terrified the floor would buckle with us in there, so she took me home.  On hot summer nights as I got older we kids would go down there and watch in the windows.  I feel ashamed of it now, because they were mostly poor people who were trying to find comfort and peace in their religion. She had some friends named Scott who lived up near the Catholic Church that she visited regularly.  She used to attend séances at their house. I don't know whether she was trying to communicate with her dead son, Edwin, or whether she was trying to get in touch with Al.  Maybe a bit of both.  Their son, Sheldon Scott, was the best friend of Edwin.  They grew up together and shared many hair raising adventures. 

She was a staunch Republican.  She electioneered for a U.S. Congressman named Thomas Jenkins. He used to come and sit on our front porch swing and talk to her and one time, as I remember, he gave each of us a quarter. When our family took their first trip to Washington, we had our pictures taken with him on the Capitol steps. She used to have us come over before Christmas and go through the Sears catalog and tell her what we wanted from her for Christmas.  As I recall we never received anything from her, but it was exciting to shop in the expectation of getting something that year.  During the depression, no one got much for Christmas because no one had much money. She and Mom never got along while I was growing up.  She never came over to our side of the house, and Mom never went over to her side.  I don't know what happened.  When I was married to Bill, Mom worked at the Library and she told me never to let Grandma Dee in while she wasn't there.  One day Grandma Dee came over and wanted in and I told her I couldn't let her in.  She went back to her house and got a broom and beat on the door and shouted to me to let her in. She obviously had been drinking and her face was red.  It scared me and I called Bill at work and he came home and made her go away.  

 So you see a lot of my memories of her are not too charitable.  But who knows, if I had lived her life, I might have kicked my cat too. She taught school up above Nelsonville.  Walked every day.  Mom remembers that she used to substitute for her when Grandma Dee was sick.  She really didn't have an easy life. I think one reason she and Mom were estranged was that Dee thought that the house at 510 High St. was her house.  It had been her home all her life, and now she was relegated to three rooms. After Henry died, Almyra moved up to her daughter, Hyla's, house on Poplar St.  When Almyra died she willed her house on High Street to Aunt Hyla.  Mom and Dad later bought the house from Aunt Hyla for the princely sum of $1200 at about $12 dollars a month.  I think they finally paid it off when Dad got his WWI pension. These are some of my remembrances of my Grandma Dee.  There were many times when she was very good to me, and there were times she wasn't.  However, the good times outweigh the bad ones; I probably just don't remember them as well.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tracing Indentured Servant Ancestors

Indentured servitude was the historical practice of contracting to work for a fixed period of time. Typically it is for a period of three to seven years, in exchange for transportation, food, clothing, lodging and other necessities during the term of indenture. An indenture was a legal contract enforced by the courts. Indentures could not marry without the permission of their owner, were subject to physical punishment, and saw their obligation to labor enforced by the courts. To ensure uninterrupted work by the female servants, the law lengthened the term of their indenture if they became pregnant. But unlike slaves, servants could look forward to a release from bondage. At the end of their term they received a payment known as "freedom dues" and become free members of society.

The practice was popular in England and throughout Europe. It provided an efficient method of populating the North American colonies with a reliable labor force. Ports of entry such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans thrived as merchants, wealthy businessmen, ship captains’, etc. engaged in various types of trade and commerce while benefitting from the continual flow of indentured servitude contacts processed through the local courts within, or in close proximity, to these jurisdictions.

Emigrants who were unable to pay costs associated with passage would sell themselves into service for a specific period of time in return for the cost of passage and provisions. Ship captains’ would transport the indentured servants to the colonies, and sell their legal papers to someone who needed workers. When the ship arrived, the captain would often advertise in a newspaper that indentured servants were for sale.

This process may have involved signing a contract with an emigrant agent or auctioning themselves off to the highest bidder upon arrival. The latter group was often referred to as “redemptioners”. Emigrant agents sometimes worked for the shipping company, ship captain, wealthy businessmen, or local merchants. Upon arrival at the port of entry, the contracts were processed in local courts and sold to the highest bidders.

In the North American colonies, merchants, land owners, and businesses often found it problematic to hire free workers, primarily because cash was in short supply. The most economically sensible solution was to pay the passage of a young worker from places like England and Europe, who would work for several years to pay off the travel costs debt. During that indenture period the servants were not paid wages, but they were provided food, room, clothing, and training. Most white immigrants arriving in the American colonies did so as indentured servants.

Indentured servants were a separate category from bound apprentices. The latter were children, usually orphans or from an impoverished family who could not care for them. They were under the control of courts and were bound out to work as an apprentice until a certain age. Many immediately set out to begin their own farms, while others used their newly acquired skills to pursue a trade.

Bryan L. Mulcahy

Reference Librarian

Fort Myers-Lee County Library

Friday, April 13, 2012

Grandma's Stories

Many years ago when I was small when my grandmother wanted to get me to sit still she would tell me stories or recite poetry. I would then sit still while she washed me up for supper or tended to my cuts and bruises. One that I remember well is an old tale told by Uncle Remus fictional narrator of a collection of African American folktales by adapted and compiled by Joel Chandler Harris. It is called, Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby. It went something like this:

Well now, that rascal Brer Fox hated Brer Rabbit on account of he was always cutting capers and bossing everyone around. So Brer Fox decided to capture and kill Brer Rabbit if it was the last thing he ever did! He thought and he thought until he came up with a plan. He would make a tar baby! Brer Fox went and got some tar and he mixed it with some turpentine and he sculpted it into the figure of a cute little baby. Then he stuck a hat on the Tar Baby and sat her in the middle of the road.

Brer Fox hid himself in the bushes near the road and he waited and waited for Brer Rabbit to come along. At long last, he heard someone whistling and chuckling to himself, and he knew that Brer Rabbit was coming up over the hill. As he reached the top, Brer Rabbit spotted the cute little Tar Baby. Brer Rabbit was surprised. He stopped and stared at this strange creature. He had never seen anything like it before!

"Good Morning," said Brer Rabbit, doffing his hat. "Nice weather we're having."

The Tar Baby said nothing. Brer Fox laid low and grinned an evil grin.

Brer Rabbit tried again. "And how are you feeling this fine day?"

The Tar Baby, she said nothing. Brer Fox grinned an evil grin and lay low in the bushes.

Brer Rabbit frowned. This strange creature was not very polite. It was beginning to make him mad.

"Ahem!" said Brer Rabbit loudly, wondering if the Tar Baby were deaf. "I said 'HOW ARE YOU THIS MORNING?"

The Tar Baby said nothing. Brer Fox curled up into a ball to hide his laugher. His plan was working perfectly!

"Are you deaf or just rude?" demanded Brer Rabbit, losing his temper. "I can't stand folks that are stuck up! You take off that hat and say 'Howdy-do' or I'm going to give you such a lickin'!"

The Tar Baby just sat in the middle of the road looking as cute as a button and saying nothing at all. Brer Fox rolled over and over under the bushes, fit to bust because he didn't dare laugh out loud.

"I'll learn ya!" Brer Rabbit yelled. He took a swing at the cute little Tar Baby and his paw got stuck in the tar.

"Lemme go or I'll hit you again," shouted Brer Rabbit. The Tar Baby, she said nothing.

"Fine! Be that way," said Brer Rabbit, swinging at the Tar Baby with his free paw. Now both his paws were stuck in the tar, and Brer Fox danced with glee behind the bushes.

"I'm gonna kick the stuffin' out of you," Brer Rabbit said and pounced on the Tar Baby with both feet. They sank deep into the Tar Baby. Brer Rabbit was so furious he head-butted the cute little creature until he was completely covered with tar and unable to move.

Brer Fox leapt out of the bushes and strolled over to Brer Rabbit. "Well, well, what have we here?" he asked, grinning an evil grin.

Brer Rabbit gulped. He was stuck fast. He did some fast thinking while Brer Fox rolled about on the road, laughing himself sick over Brer Rabbit's dilemma.

"I've got you this time, Brer Rabbit," said Brer Fox, jumping up and shaking off the dust. "You've sassed me for the very last time. Now I wonder what I should do with you?"

Brer Rabbit's eyes got very large. "Oh please Brer Fox, whatever you do, please don't throw me into the briar patch."

"Maybe I should roast you over a fire and eat you," mused Brer Fox. "No, that's too much trouble. Maybe I'll hang you instead."

"Roast me! Hang me! Do whatever you please," said Brer Rabbit. "Only please, Brer Fox, please don't throw me into the briar patch."

"If I'm going to hang you, I'll need some string," said Brer Fox. "And I don't have any string handy. But the stream's not far away, so maybe I'll drown you instead."

"Drown me! Roast me! Hang me! Do whatever you please," said Brer Rabbit. "Only please, Brer Fox, please don't throw me into the briar patch."

"The briar patch, eh?" said Brer Fox. "What a wonderful idea! You'll be torn into little pieces!"

Grabbing up the tar-covered rabbit, Brer Fox swung him around and around and then flung him head over heels into the briar patch. Brer Rabbit let out such a scream as he fell that all of Brer Fox's fur stood straight up. Brer Rabbit fell into the briar bushes with a crash and a mighty thump. Then there was silence.

Brer Fox cocked one ear toward the briar patch, listening for whimpers of pain. But he heard nothing. Brer Fox cocked the other ear toward the briar patch, listening for Brer Rabbit's death rattle. He heard nothing.

Then Brer Fox heard someone calling his name. He turned around and looked up the hill. Brer Rabbit was sitting on a log combing the tar out of his fur with a wood chip and looking smug.

"I was bred and born in the briar patch, Brer Fox," he called. "Born and bred in the briar patch."

And Brer Rabbit skipped away as merry as a cricket while Brer Fox ground his teeth in rage and went home.

Grandma also used to recite poetry she had learned in her youth and one of my favorites was a poem by James Whitcomb Riley entitled, “The Raggedy Man”.

O the Raggedy Man! He works fer Pa;

An' he's the goodest man ever you saw!

He comes to our house every day,

An' waters the horses, an' feeds 'em hay;

An' he opens the shed—an' we all ist laugh

When he drives out our little old wobble-ly calf;

An' nen—ef our hired girl says he can—

He milks the cow fer 'Lizabuth Ann.—

Ain't he a' awful good Raggedy Man?

Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

W'y, The Raggedy Man—he's ist so good,

He splits the kindlin' an' chops the wood;

An' nen he spades in our garden, too,

An' does most things 'at boys can't do.—

He clumbed clean up in our big tree

An' shooked a' apple down fer me—

An' 'nother 'n', too, fer 'Lizabuth Ann—

An' 'nother 'n', too, fer The Raggedy Man.—

Ain't he a' awful kind Raggedy Man?

Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

An' The Raggedy Man one time say he

Pick' roast' rambos from a' orchurd-tree,

An' et 'em—all ist roast' an' hot!—

An' it's so, too!—'cause a corn-crib got

Afire one time an' all burn' down

On "The Smoot Farm," 'bout four mile from town—

On "The Smoot Farm"! Yes—an' the hired han'

'At worked there nen 'uz The Raggedy Man!—

Ain't he the beatin'est Raggedy Man?

Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

The Raggedy Man's so good an' kind

He'll be our "horsey," an' "haw" an' mind

Ever'thing 'at you make him do—

An' won't run off—'less you want him to!

I drived him wunst way down our lane

An' he got skeered, when it 'menced to rain,

An' ist rared up an' squealed and run

Purt' nigh away!—an' it's all in fun!

Nen he skeered ag'in at a' old tin can ...

Whoa! y' old runaway Raggedy Man!

Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

An' The Raggedy Man, he knows most rhymes,

An' tells 'em, ef I be good, sometimes:

Knows 'bout Giunts, an' Griffuns, an' Elves,

An' the Squidgicum-Squees 'at swallers the'rselves:

An', wite by the pump in our pasture-lot,

He showed me the hole 'at the Wunks is got,

'At lives 'way deep in the ground, an' can

Turn into me, er 'Lizabuth Ann!

Er Ma, er Pa, er The Raggedy Man!

Ain't he a funny old Raggedy Man?

Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

An' wunst, when The Raggedy Man come late,

An' pigs ist root' thue the garden-gate,

He 'tend like the pigs 'uz bears an' said,

"Old Bear-shooter'll shoot 'em dead!"

An' race' an' chase' 'em, an' they'd ist run

When he pint his hoe at 'em like it's a gun

An' go "Bang!—Bang!" nen 'tend he stan'

An' load up his gun ag'in! Raggedy Man!

He's an old Bear-shooter Raggedy Man!

Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

An' sometimes The Raggedy Man lets on

We're little prince-children, an' old King's gone

To git more money, an' lef' us there—

And Robbers is ist thick ever'where;

An' nen—ef we all won't cry, fer shore—

The Raggedy Man he'll come and "splore

The Castul-halls," an' steal the "gold"—

An' steal us, too, an' grab an' hold

An' pack us off to his old "Cave"!—An'

Haymow's the "cave" o' The Raggedy Man!—

Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

The Raggedy Man—one time, when he

Wuz makin' a little bow-'n'-orry fer me,

Says "When you're big like your Pa is,

Air you go' to keep a fine store like his—

An' be a rich merchunt—an' wear fine clothes?—

Er what air you go' to be, goodness knows?"

An' nen he laughed at 'Lizabuth Ann,

An' I says "'M go' to be a Raggedy Man!—

I'm ist go' to be a nice Raggedy Man!"

Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

And if she wanted to really get us to pay attention and sit really still, she would bring out the big guns, “The Little Orphan Annie” also by James Whitcomb Riley:

Little Orphan Annie's come to my house to stay.

To wash the cups and saucers up and brush the crumbs away.

To shoo the chickens from the porch and dust the hearth and sweep,

and make the fire and bake the bread to earn her board and keep.

While all us other children, when the supper things is done,

we sit around the kitchen fire and has the mostest fun,

a listening to the witch tales that Annie tells about

and the goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!

Once there was a little boy who wouldn't say his prayers,

and when he went to bed at night away up stairs,

his mammy heard him holler and his daddy heard him bawl,

and when they turned the covers down,

he wasn't there at all!

They searched him in the attic room

and cubby hole and press

and even up the chimney flu and every wheres, I guess,

but all they ever found of him was just his pants and round-abouts

and the goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!!

Once there was a little girl who always laughed and grinned

and made fun of everyone, of all her blood and kin,

and once when there was company and old folks was there,

she mocked them and she shocked them and said, she didn't care.

And just as she turned on her heels and to go and run and hide,

there was two great big black things a standing by her side.

They snatched her through the ceiling fore she knew what shes about,

and the goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!!

When the night is dark and scary,

and the moon is full and creatures are a flying and the wind goes Whoooooooooo,

you better mind your parents and your teachers fond and dear,

and cherish them that loves ya, and dry the orphans tears

and help the poor and needy ones that cluster all about,

or the goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!!!

I write these here in this blog in hopes that those who read this may help preserve these words and use them with their own children.