Ancestors born before 1900

Ancestors born before 1900
Frances Simpkins, Leah Foote, Emmaline Foote, Rosetta Foote

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Cousin Shaw said We're Related on Both Sides

29 Nov 2013 - If I had been right-thinking, that would have been enough to send me searching. Mom and Dad had gone down to a reunion in Georgia, and when I got home from Archaeology Field School in Minnesota, Mom told me those words. I was thinking that Mom meant Daddy's Walker and Simpkins lines, but she actually meant a connection to her side of the family as well! It was 1981 and I wasn't asking the questions. I wasn't asking the ancestors to guide me. Thirty-two years have passed and I'm still stumped.

Once I finally restarted my search in earnest, it was 1995. I still hadn't been down home to Calhoun Falls. My cousins and I have joked that if we looked long enough and deep enough this small town in Abbeville Co, South Carolina ultimately would yield one set of grandparents for everyone. Everyone we knew came from Calhoun Falls. We thought it a bit scary that my parents were both born in Calhoun Falls. My Gram, Mom's Mom and my heart, assured me that my parents weren't related because her side of the family was from the Flatwoods and Daddy's family were Millwood People. Mind you that these two neighborhoods are not at all far apart.

Calhoun Falls has never been that big:  1,759 residents in 1930, and only 897 in 1920, It's never gone over 2,500. And you know you've arrived down home when folks ask, "Who are your people?" and they they know who you're talking about even though those you name joined the ancestors more than 50 years ago.

Calhoun Falls is so small that one year I got a phone call from Mrs. Eades who told me that Ron Hunter had told her to call me to help her find out more about her ancestors. As I listened intently and took notes, once we finally arrived at the end of the conversation, I told her that I'd of course look for some information, but I hope she could tell me who Ron was. I sometimes think that was the way our ancestors chose to work, their way of intercession. Ron had met my paternal line Cousin LaRusha and maternal line Cousin Inez at a COG Holiness convention and he'd met Mrs. Eades. When I finally talked with him, it turned out that our common relative was none other that Cousin Shaw. That is how my ancestors send me echoes. They are real. They send us to find information and ask us to find the missing connections.

Cousin Shaw was Floree Simpkins Shaw. Her grandfather was my great-grandfather, Edmond
Simpkins, born 1838 SC. She explained when I was 13 that he had 22 children by 3 different women. I first found him in a slave ledger of James Edward Calhoun listed as part of the "Edgefield Gang." Calhoun had acquired my family, both the Walkers and Simpkins, through his marriage to Mariah Simkins of Edgefield County, SC in 1839. I've heard some other stories about my great grandfather Edmond, but I haven't been able to verify them. I speak them now because I continue to seek evidence to support them. Ms. Mamie Magnolia Isom was born in 1900 and joined the ancestors in 2004. She told my cousin William that she had attended a school for "Colored" children built by Edmond Simpkins. She said the school had been burned down by white folks twice, but after Grandpa Edmond rebuilt it the third time, they let it stand. This makes sense to me because he was a farmer and a blacksmith so he might have invested in education. His daughter, Carrie Simpkins Guinn, was listed as a school teacher on the 1910 census. I've not found any proof of the school except for Ms. Isom's recollection.

Anyway, it's 29 Dec 2016, and I should have published this long ago. I've got to put all of these drafts out into the universe so that perhaps I'll get some hints from the ancestors. Cousin Shaw's mother was Harriet Allen (b. ca 1869 SC) born to Whitfield Allen (b. ca 1844 SC) and Georgianna Williams (b. ca 1854 SC). Somehow either the Allen or Williams line connects to my Foote or Lee lines.