“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage.”–Alex Haley
By Betsy Cross Thorpe
On Saturday, August 20, 1927, in Yazoo County Mississippi, Miss Ruby Elizabeth Isaacs age sixteen, wed Mr. Henry David Roe age twenty. Those six facts are the sum of what I know about my grandparents wedding day. As far as I know neither one of them ever talked about their wedding. Not with me, not with my mother, not with my aunt.
At the time of their marriage Yazoo County was recovering from the Mississippi River Flood of April 1927. The Mississippi River Flood was the most destructive river flood in US history. It claimed the lives of more than one thousand people in Yazoo County alone.
For tenant farmers like my grandparents the aftermath of the flood was devastating. Tens of thousands were left homeless and jobless. Close to a million people were left without food and water. Times were harder than usual in the Mississippi Delta. Finally, toward the end of August the last of the floodwaters flowed into the Gulf , and the time for rebuilding the Delta arrived.
Was it by design that my grandparents chose to marry at that time? I choose to imagine that they did.
On that day the Isaacs and Roe lines joined . A new line was formed. Starting with seven children the Isaacs/Roe line now extends down through five generations.