Sunday, May 02, 2010

My oldest daughter resembles her.

This is a picture of my grandmother Katie Penny "Lee" Wilson. It was taken about 1908 when she was 18 yrs old. The story is, that was anger on her face. Her soon to be husband James Parker Wilson had just said or done something that truly set her off. That exact action is lost in time, but there is no doubt she is not a happy young woman in his photo.

Many small family events are lost to history. For one, we are not 100% sure what Katie's maiden name was. Her death certificate shows Lee while her headstone shows Penny. The 1900 census of Granville County finds Katie & several of her siblings as "children" of a Mr. James M. Davis. Even as a lady of over seventy she referred to these two people as "Uncle Med" & "Aunt Cindy". Her mother operated a boarding house in Granville County. Her name was Geneva Lee and is buried in a city cemetery in Henderson. Katie referred to herself as Katie Penny Wilson. Penny appears to be a name associated with Geneva's mother's family. We do know Geneva's mother's name, Mary Dickerson. It appears that her maiden name might have been Penny.

Much of the truth of who Katie's father was is lost in time or never discussed. Katie's oldest child was born in 1914, while her youngest in 1932. Through the years questions have been asked, but were met with reticent and even negative response. With only three of the nine children still living, that information may die with her children.

Not that it is that important. As a student of history the question and the answer are interesting things to ferret out some 100yrs later.

Southern Sensibilities can be good but, I have found them to cause more harm and confusion than peace. The "We Don't Talk About That" mantra just separates relationships over feelings of embarassment and usually the question left unanswered creates a much darker possibility in the imagination than the truth.

This I know about my Grandmother:
  • She had a tough childhood. Hard work was a part of daily life that increased in volume during the growing season.
  • She married James Parker Wilson and they lived in and around Wake Forest.
  • She birthed 9 children, one died in a car accident at 15.
  • At some point she experienced a radical, life changing encounter with Jesus Christ.
  • She became a founding member of The Wake Forest Church of God.
  • She fasted and prayed every other day for her children, grand children and great grand children.
  • There are older people still living in Wake Forest who will speak of what a Godly wonderful woman she was.
  • My early childhood memories of her are of a loving, gentle, beautiful woman.
  • She gave me 8 aunts and uncles and scores of 1st & 2nd cousins. My childhood memories of ALL of them are nothing but fond.
May her prayers for me, my family and future generations be full of God's grace & mercy.

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