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Advent Calendar Family Lore

Surname Saturday: The Minor Postcard Advent Calendar, December 18: Sneaking Up On Santa!

Night Before Christmas Series No.15

This fifth day of my Postcard Advent Calendar, a project inspired by Minor Family treasures,  I am happy to share this Christmas greeting from seventeen year old Helen Stephenson Minor to her eight year old brother, Donald Corbly.

Dear Brother, How are you enjoying this fine weather?  I was out for a sled ride to-night.  There were nine girls went just had a dandy time.  I suppose I will be home to-morrow.  Well  I got through one examination all O.K. Got an “A” grade in English History.  Well Bye Bye.  ~Helen

Helen was attending a boarding school in a nearby town.  Judging from the postmark, Helen wrote from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, which makes me wonder if she was not attending Waynesburg College or an affiliated high school.  Helen mailed the card December 21, 1910 and would have arrived home in time to celebrate the night before Christmas with young Donald.

This card’s vignette is unusual in its story. A tow- headed young child pauses during his clandestine mission. “Do you see what I see,” he asks us.  The Christmas tree, adorned with beads, crystals, and balls, sheds its candlelight on the Christmas eve scene. Santa Claus is just around the corner and seems to be playing with the white flocked horse! What a racket Santa must be making as he runs the stead’s wheels across the wood floor! How tempting to our young peeper to just grab the drum and join the fun.  But we all know how this night ended–with a scurrying of slippered little feet, back to bed, back to sleep. The publishers information is in some code on the front of the card: a dot in a circle within another circle sits next to an N within a triangle.  Both can be found in the lower right corner of the card.  On the back are the words “Night Before Christmas Series No. 15.”  Any collectors with information?  Please leave a comment!!

 

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Advent Calendar Family Lore

Postcard Advent Calendar, December 17: A Joyous Christmastide from Ivan Vannoy to Donald Minor

 

Printed in Germany

Dear Cousin, We arrived home safe and it has been winter ever since.  Old Santa is coming to our church Friday eve. and we are anxious to see him. Come out and see us and we will take a sleighride. ~Ivan Vannroy

On this fourth day of the Postcard Advent Calendar I share a Christmas “meow” from 1909.  The lightly embossed kittens send young Donald Minor wishes for a joyous Christmastide.  The publisher’s mark is right below the right kitty and reads “Painting only. Copyrighted by S. Garre, New York 1909.”  Small print on the back indicates that the Series #1064 postcard was printed in Germany.

The note’s salutation has led me on a goosechase to find the connection between Donald and Ivan.  The postmark is stamped Tama, Iowa, December 22, 11am, 1909.  And while some Pennsylvania Minors migrated west to Ohio, Illinois and Iowa in the mid-1800s, I don’t recall seeing the name Vannroy in any other family documents.  In fact,  I can’t find any Vannroy in my Iowa census stumping….My genealogical skills have failed me.  So far.

I love chasing the family geese.

UPDATE:

In researching other Advent cards, I went back to the web-based genealogy for the Thomas Minor family, from whom I am descended.  Within the surname list I found the word I was hunting: VANNOY.  When I plugged this spelling into Ancestry’s search engine I confirmed the Thomas Minor Society’s information.

*drum roll*

Francis Marion Minor had three children older than Donald’s father, Robert.  John P. was the eldest, then Alfred (whose son Carl also wrote to Donald), then there was Sarah Pricilla.  Sarah married Mark Herrington and had Beatrice Jane.  Beatrice Jane married John Vannoy and had little Ivan in 1906.  They are cited as living in Tama, Iowa in the 1910 census.

Story unfolds: Sarah’s daughter Beatrice marries and moves west to Iowa.  She travels home in 1909 with her family, including young Ivan, before winter sets in. The Christmas kittens are then sent in Ivan’s name, to the young cousin with whom he played during his Pennsylvania visit.

 

 

 

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Family Lore Transcriptions

Willie G’s First Slaves

My ancestors emigrated from Britain early in this nation’s history.  These families settled frontiers and tended farms, communities and schools.  When needed they sent fathers and sons off to war, fighting to secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But geographic location at the turn of the 19th century determined how families prospered throughout the 1800’s; or rather, by what means these groups prospered.  Family in New York became educational leaders.  The branch in Pennsylvania bought land bounties and leased them out, supplementing its own farming income with speculation in this nation’s westward expansion.  Those families south of the Potomac River predictably farmed, and in times of plenty purchased slaves to supplement their own labor.

This knowledge is hard to state; my ancestors owned slaves and when they didn’t own slaves they wanted to own slaves.  And when they could, they bought more slaves.

In 1828, my great-great-grandfather’s brother bought his first slaves–four Negro children.  Willie G. Strickland, of Wake County, North Carolina was but 21 years old himself, but he could afford to bid the $232.42 needed to purchase Levi, Tildy, Borline, and Caroline at a Raleigh auction.   The children had belonged to Mary Jeffreys, Willie G’s grandmother, and to John Perry Strickland, his father.

Received June 17th 1828 from Willie G. Strickland Two hundred and thirty dollars, forty two cents, which amount is in full payment for four Negro children.  Sold at the court House in the city of Raleigh as the property of Mary Jeffreys decd and John P. Strickland, say Levi, Tildy and Borline the property of Mary Jeffreys decd and Caroline the property of John P. Strickland, and the said William G. Strickland being the last and highest bidder for the consideration above, I warrant the right of the negroes to the said William G. Strickland and his heirs forever–so far as the right of the said Mary Jeffreys and John P. Strickland and as far as officers are bound in general at such sales.  Given under my hand the 17th of June 1828.

Teste John L. Terrell                        John Wall Constable  February Term 1829

The Bill of Sale was in Open court duly proved by the oath of Sion Rogers a witness thereto and ordered to be Registered.

B.S. King   C Clk

Registered in the Registers office of Wake County in Book No.9 and page 44 the 26th day of May A.D. 1829

R. Smith  Regr.

Source:

Tate, Carla. “Wake County, North Carolina Records.” Strickland Records and Family Groups: Wake, Franklin, and Early Johnston Counties, North Carolina. [North Carolina?]: C. Tate, 2007. 88. Print.

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Childhood Memories Project 150 Random Thoughts

The Cloak of Defeat: Friday’s Facing The War

Author’s Note:  What began as a mere dabbling into my family roots has become a robust investigation of my family history. Slowly the search has become centered on the lives, decisions and events of the Civil War era, 1850-1880, as they shaped the physical and mental landscape in which my grandparents and parents lived.  Here I repost an essay from last summer, in which I first grapple with how those past lives reached out to touch my childhood, my mental landscape.  

  The Dodson Farm, Mecklenburg County, Virginia

I am American by birth, Virginian by the grace of God.

And like many southern white children of the 1960’s I grew up in a culture that wore its defeat like a thick woolen cloak draped around one’s shoulders, adorned by the tales of our brave soldiers J.E.B. Stuart and Stonewall Jackson.  To be Virginian was to represent your family and your state with honor, as demonstrated by that great leader Robert E. Lee.  You may not believe in the cornerstone argument BUT you must honor your duty to the motherland and your family, and rise to their defense!

While the institution of slavery was mentioned, pro-slavery racism and its sibling Jim Crow segregation were not discussed.   Ever so subtly children inherited their parents’ mistrust and loathing of all things Yankee, and even with a Yankee mother I could not escape this net.

I remember walking the hall of my high school, surrounded by my black and white friends, laughing and taunting the plain clothes police officer lurking in the dark corner–present to protect any little white child from unruly mobs.  Discussing the latest desegregation violence in Boston, one of my gang cried,”Ain’t so easy, is it, Yankee Boy!”  We all hated the hypocrisy of the Yank, whose finger pointed to the South as the crucible of all American sin and never at himself, ignoring the seeds of racism within his factories, cities, and governments.

All this anti-Yankee sentiment persisted into my adult discussions of the Civil War, and I continued the tradition of defeat.  The Civil War was about states’ rights, far more than it was about slavery.  Most southerners didn’t even OWN slaves, and many who did were right kind to them.  Yankees always think they are so moral and pure, but even they didn’t like free blacks and took drastic measures to ensure that freedom and liberty to the emancipated did not equate into white men’s jobs.  And so it was until I began my genealogical journey.

In census documents, deeds and wills, slavery became slaves–people that my people owned, like the trees they sold for lumber and the hogs they raised to butcher.  My people participated in one of history’s slave cultures, using the commodity of bonded labor to produce commodities like tobacco to be sold in a global economy.  To ignore the stories of slaves, even if they are only names found in documents, is to ignore black pioneering in the United States.  What is contained in my family’s papers, documents and stories will be shared whenever and wherever possible.

For me, it is time to drop the cloak of defeat, and be a true Virginian, honoring all the people who contributed to the development and promise of that state, and to all of these United States.