Unforgettable

By Gerry Roe edited by grandson, Keegan Pond

Love is a fabric which never fades, no matter how often it is washed in the waters of adversity and grief. Whispered Words of Encouragement 2006

Unforgettable

Written documentation of remains moved from cemetery in Old Kuttawa of 2nd great grandfather, James Fowler by his son Robert Lon Fowler 1942

There are so many stories in our family’s history that will be forgotten.  

But many thanks goes to my Second great uncle, Robert Lon (Lonzo/Alonzo) Fowler whose father: James Fowler ( my Second great grandfather), his  ½ sister, and a sister, a son and daughter will not be left under Lake Barkley in Lyon County Kentucky.  Robert was instrumental in applying to move the remains of his beloved family. 

Recently I found the hand written page of Cemetery removal records dated May 1, 1937. It was from the Tennessee Valley Authority and hand written by Uncle Robert.  I had it tucked away in my many disorganized pages of research. Finding it again I was curious as to why the remains were moved. Thanks to the historian and researcher in my niece, Betsy Cross Thorpe; she taught me to go to the source and eke out the facts.

My mother, Ruby Elizabeth Isaacs Roe was born in Kuttawa, Kentucky in 1911.  The town flooded regularly because of the four rivers flowing nearby.  The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a new deal program established in the 1930s by President Franklin Roosevelt, began a series of dams along the Tennessee River to manage flood control and provide electricity to the mid-south.  Because of building a dam forming  Lake Barkley,  the town of Kuttawa was moved to higher ground in the early 1940s.  Thankfully, the TVA planned ahead of building the dam. Families had time to move loved ones to higher and safer ground from the cemeteries that would soon be under water.

Excerpt from Mr. Douthat’s introduction:
“The first grave removals required by construction of the Kentucky project was made in 1937, when it became necessary to relocate a cemetery at the site of a quarry. The regularly scheduled reservoir program was begun in August 1942 and was
completed, except for a few graves, in December 1943. The work was done under the supervision of Fred W. Wendt, who acted as superintendent of grave removal operations for the project……… A total of 3390 graves were moved and 578 monuments were relocated (note: in various counties, not just Lyon). Dis interments were made from 120 cemeteries and 113 re internment cemeteries were used. Remains from two graves were disinterred and turned over to undertakers for reburial in a distant cemetery at the request of the nearest relatives.”

James, Minnie, and Maggie Fowler and two unnamed  Fowler infants will not go unforgotten under Lake Barkley because of Robert Lon Fowler, a very loving and thoughtful son, brother and father.

Back to School

School Days” is an American popular song written in 1907 by Will D. Cobb and Gus Edwards. Its subject is of a mature couple looking back sentimentally on their childhood together in primary school.

School days, school days
Dear old Golden Rule days
‘Reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmetic

By Gerry Roe

The best known part of the song is its chorus:

School-Days-1907.jpg
1907 internet picture

Back to School

Collage of family pictures of going back to school. Randomly placed and knowing each picture has a story left to be told.

Gene and Bud Roe ready for a school day in Hollybluff, Mississippi circa 1930s
Bill Roe (center back row) and cousin, Frank “Pete” Isaac (back row last on right) 1st grade Dorena, Oregon 1948
2nd grade Dorena grade school, Dorena, Oregon
Cousin Kenneth Lisenby far right back row and Gerry Roe far left second row with Miss. Arnold teacher
Gerry’s nephew, Robert Roe’s wife JoAnne and grandchildren, Tryston and Cora Quigley Washington 2010
H.F. Roe center 2nd row dark uniform training new recruits 1966
1958 first year to wear “peddle pusher”
Cousin Bill Dawson 1962 Xavier Prep with Sister Augusta in Physics class

Small

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes

By Gerry Roe

Small

I am approaching small hint because of the small amount of information about the one person in my family tree I continue to search for knowledge of her existence.

Harriet Bell Gifford; my maternal great-grandmother is she an illusion?

What I know is she was the first wife of my great-grandfather William R. Fowler. They were married December 25, 1880 in Henry County, Tennessee. I have a copy of the marriage license. She was listed as Miss Harriet B. Gifford and a resident of Henry County.

I know they had three daughters together; the youngest my grandmother Lillie Bell Fowler. My grandmother was born February 8, 1887 in Danville, Tennessee. Harriet apparently died later in 1887.

In my possession is the death certificate of Cora Francis Fowler O’Bryan born November 16, 1885. One of the of Harriet’s three children with W.R. Fowler. Harriet Giffort (with a t) is listed as her mother and born in Henry County, Tennessee. On my my maternal grandmother Lillie Bell Fowler Isaacs death certificate Harriet Bell Gifford Fowler birthplace listed as Illinois.

Those are the only facts I am sure of.

These are what has been passed down but unable to verify.

Harriet was adopted. She was born in Illinois near Cooperstown, There is another Gifford family with a Harriet B. I am able to follow her to her death after 1900 in Nebraska.

William remarried on June 11, 1891 listed as widower to Ellen Todd.

Lillie Bell Fowler is shown as a daughter to James W. Herington on 1900. He is listed as 62 and a widower In Gilbertsvillie Marshall County, Kentucky. Census under her is William? Fowler and Maggie with different house numbers. Could Lillie have been listed incorrectly or could she have been given to this family as an infant?

Florence and Cora both showing an 1885 birth on some family trees: no mention in past of them being twins. Actual birth months different November 16 for Cora and 12/25 for Florence.

Where I have searched My Heritage and Family Search as well as Ancestry. My DNA matching trees.

I have exhausted my available sources and now will reach out to Professional Genealogist, Melissa Barker who was very helpful recently with another family mystery.

Harriet, the illusive great-grandmother where can more information be found? More information on her would lead to more information about her parents. This inquiring great-granddaughter wants to know.

Harriet Gifford marriage license to WM Fowler 1880
Harriet’s daughter Cora death certificate
Lillie Bell death certificate

#52ancestorsin52weeks #52ancestorsin52weekssma..

NEWSWORTHY

“Extra, extra, read all about it.” Stock street newspaper vendor phrase.

Newsworthy

By Gerry Roe edited by Betsy Cross Thorpe

One day in the fall of 1962 my father Henry D. Roe killed a bear.

Drain Enterprise weekly paper reported Henry Roe and the bear

At that time, we lived on Hardscrabble Road, a long country road located a few miles west of the logging town of Drain Oregon.

My father was heading into town when he passed several houses located near a sharp bend in the road. He looked off to the left and saw a bear high up in a tree. He quickly turned the car around and raced back to our house. He grabbed his hunting rifle, told my mother what he was about to do, ignored her pleas not to go back and ran out the door. He revved up the engine of his 1950’s Chevy and sped back to the spot where he first spied the bear.

With one single shot he brought that bear tumbling down from his perch in the tree.

My father learned to fish and hunt long before he moved to Oregon from Mississippi. He often talked about catching catfish in the Mississippi, Sunflower and Yazoo rivers. He must have told me some tall tales because when I was a child, I imagined those catfish he told me about to be big as a whale. He also liked to recall hunting in Mississippi. He told me about hunting with dogs, they hunted Grey Squirrel, possum and raccoons.

Henry Roe October 14, 1944, hunting license Mississippi
Henry Roe November 21, 1945 hunting and fishing license Mississippi

He fished for trout in Oregon, but I don’t think he enjoyed catching them as much as he enjoyed catching the big catfish back in Mississippi. Trout were much smaller than catfish, they were generally so small that my mother could fit one or two whole fish in her black cast iron skillet.

Occasionally my father would go deer hunting with my brothers and their sons. He went on his final hunting trip in October of 1978 with my oldest brother in John Day, a small town in Eastern Oregon some 279 miles from his home in Cottage Grove, Oregon.

They were up in the wooded mountains hunting when he developed chest pains and shortness of breath. My brother rushed him to the hospital in John Day; where he was diagnosed with a Myocardial Infarction. He later recovered to the point that his doctors believed it was safe for him to go home.

My mother and two of my brothers were with him at the hospital. The plan was that I would drive over to get him. But sadly, that wasn’t meant to be. On the morning of October 9, I received a call that he had passed away.

I wish I could have been there to see him one last time, but I am glad that my mother and brothers were with him, that he didn’t die alone. I am also glad that he got to enjoy the company of his oldest son, out in the great outdoors, one last time before he passed.

#52Ancestorsin52Weeks #52Ancestorsin52WeeksNewsworthy

SOLO

By Gerry Roe

Solo

Suffering – silently is not particularly healthy but in the days after war it was expected. Unknown

James Rollin ‘Jay’ Isaacs 1942

Let me start by saying that my Uncle Jay was my favorite uncle. His mother, my grandmother, died when he was two. One of his older sisters, my mother, took him and his four year old sister to raise. She was a sixteen-year-old newlywed when they came to live with her. Although he was much older than me, we were raised by the same people. When he said he was going home to visit; anyone who knew him understood he was referring to the home of my mother and father.

Even though he had already left home and joined the Navy by the time I was born in 1946 I know that I was special to him also. I was almost 50 years old when he gave me the birth announcement my mother sent him after I was born. I was very surprised that he had kept it as a special memento all those many years.

Although Uncle Jay never discussed his Navy years with me, I knew something bad had happened. I remember (being told by older siblings) my mother and her older sister whispering and crying over his situation. He was too sensitive for war, he couldn’t take some of the sights that he saw, he missed his ship, he was thrown in the brig. What would he do? Those are snippets of conversations I heard. All I ever got was bits and pieces of the story.

I always wondered if he left the Navy dishonorably. I recently learned from his military history that he didn’t. Quite the opposite. What I found made me proud. After serving in the brig for seven months he was reassigned to another ship. His military history revealed that he received many medals and awards and that he was honorably discharged.

I wish I knew why he felt he couldn’t share his experiences. He had good experiences to share. But I never asked him about them, so I will never know because he has passed away without my asking him any questions. Those of us who have not experienced firsthand the savages of war can not imagine the effects it had on the men and women who served. Like my uncle so many went solo dealing with their experiences.

SIGNIFICANT DUTY STATIONS FOR JAMES ROLAND ISAACS

USS PARKS DE-165 – PLANK OWNER

USS SAN SABA APA-232

SIGNIFICANT MEDALS AWARDED JAMES ROLAND ISAACS

Philippine Liberation Medal

Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia Clasp

World War 11 Victory Medal

Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 4 Stars

#52AncestorsIn52Weeks #52Ancestorsin52WeeksSolo

UNEXPECTED

“WIDDERSHINS”—To go in a new direction, contrary to what is expected

UNEXPECTED

By, Gerry Roe

I am a retired nurse. As a person who spent most of my adult life working in the medical field, I have always paid close attention to my family’s medical history. I know that, going back generations, men on the paternal side of my family often suffered heart attacks and the women were prone to having strokes. I have known for years that women on the maternal side of my family have often been diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

Those are facts of my medical history.

I recently looked at the death certificate of my maternal grandmother Lillie Bell Fowler Isaacs. I’ve had the certificate since the 1970’s when I first started researching my genealogy. Her cause of death is listed as chronic gastritis.  I’ve looked at it many times over the years and have never considered any contributing factors—even though one is clearly listed. Until now.

Premature childbirth! Those words unexpectedly jumped off the page at me. It suddenly occurred to me.  This would have been her 10th pregnancy over a period of twenty-one years.

Her doctor stated on her death certificate that she had been under his care for five months and  was seen by him the day that she died.  I now speculate that her gastritis developed into an ulcer and the that the stress of a tenth pregnancy combined with poor nutrition is what caused her death at the young age of 40.    

Lillie Bell Fowler Isaacs holding James (Jay) and Beatrice (Bea) to her right. Last picture before her death.
Additional picture of Lillie Belle and Jay, this most likely is the one closer to her death. Note how thin she is compared to the previous one.

I don’t recall my mother ever mentioning that her mother was pregnant when she died. Her doctor didn’t say how far along she was or if the prematurely born baby was a boy or a girl.

I had another unexpected realization soon after I looked at my grandmother’s death certificate. My mother was only 16 years old when her mother died.  I created a timeline of events that happened after my grandmother died. It allowed me to see that my mother married my father less than one month after my grandmother died.

Was their marriage an unexpected consequence of her mother’s death or had they planned on getting married at that time?  What I do know is that my 16-year-old mother entered her marriage with custody of her little sister Beatrice (Bea) and her baby brother James (Jay). Her father William Gordon Isaacs also lived with my mother and father. He lived with them until his death which occurred about 15 months later.

Ruby holding brother Jay and brother Frank standing. 1926-1927

This makes me very sad for my mother. I can’t imagine what it was like for her at 16 years old, to lose her mother,  learn how to be married, and take  care of two young children and a grieving father.

#52ANCESTERSIN52WEEKS #52ANCESTERSIN52WEEKSUNEXPECTED

Remembering the Eruption of Mount St Helens 40 Years Later

“I will never forget where I was the day Mount St Helens blew.” Robert E. “Bob” Roe

Remembering the Eruption of Mount St Helens 40 Years Later

By Bob Roe

The fortieth anniversary  of the Mount Saint Helen’s volcanic eruption recently  passed,  On May 18, 1980, I was with my cousin Randy Cross and my girlfriend Becky. We were out in a boat fishing on Lake Ozette, a lake on the Olympic Peninsula near Forks Washington.

It was a Sunday morning; the sky was  blue without any clouds and the fishing was good.

Suddenly we heard boom! Boom! Boom and the fish stopped biting. We wondered why loggers were dynamiting on a Sunday morning, we stopped fishing, reeled in our lines, and motored the boat back to the marina.  When we got inside the marina, we asked one of the clerks who was dynamiting on a Sunday morning. That’s when we learned that the sound, we heard was Mount St Helens blowing its top more than two hundred and fifty miles away.

A television was on in the marina and we saw the destruction caused by the volcano and we were concerned for the hikers and those living in the path of the lava flow.

We loaded our boat onto our boat trailer and headed for home. When we the reached the crest of a hill we could see the ash plume from the volcano rising in the distance.

We later heard of the devastation caused by the volcano, due to lava flow, flooding of the rivers from the snow melt and loss of life.

I remember clearly what I was doing when Mount St. Helens blew. Do you remember what you were doing on the morning of May 18, 1980?

Facts of Mount St. Helens is most notorious for its major eruption on May 18, 1980, the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in US history. 57 people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles (24 km) of railways, and 185 miles (298 km) of highway were destroyed.

Postscript of other family remembrances:

Lucy “Gerry” Roe, aunt remembers she was at work at McKenzie-Willamette Hospital in the ICU department.  Suddenly a co-worker rushed through the double doors and yelled “Mt St. Helens just erupted.  Gerry’s son (Jeremy) was in Warrenton, Oregon with her sister (Nannie) and brother-in-law (Lee). They were visiting their youngest brother (Alan) and his family.  She called to check on them knowing they were coming back to Springfield later in the day.  She was told they were on their way home via to the coast route due to the sky filled with heavy ash and the sun and blue sky blotted out.  She reported it was a harried few hour until they were safely home.  Her son Jeremy, age 9 remembers it was a Sunday morning and he thought he was getting ready for church.  Alan remembers Nan and Lee being with him but not Jeremy.  He said the sky darken and remembers seeing Lee drive off.  Lee told Gerry when they arrived home how difficult it was driving home with the heavy ash in the air.

JoAnn Self Roe recalls that she was in Yakima Washington when Mount St, Helen’s blew. She recalled that the sky turned black in an instant.  It was very unsettling.

Fresh Start Hint with DNA Results

By Gerry Roe

Fresh Start Hint with DNA Results

At every crossroad follow your dream. It is courageous to let your heart lead the way. Thomas Leland

Thanks to Amy Johnson’s podcast mid January; Betsy Thorpe, my niece suggested we collaborate and follow Amy’s hints to preserve our family stories. We started on week four and are now catching up. Fresh start was the January 1st hint. It brought to mind a number of fresh start ideas. What I have learned from my DNA results is my fresh start.

I had been told since early childhood, that I most likely was 1/16th Cherokee Native American. My maternal grandmother, mother, her eldest brother and her eldest son had high cheek bones, slender face and dark thick hair. Other relatives agreed. My understanding was the line came through my mother’s grandmother, who died young. The story told about her was she had been adopted as a child and no information has been found about her biological or adoptive parents.

Another niece was the first to have a DNA test and her results – no Native American. Betsy and I decided to have ours done. I admit, I was skeptical about testing that was not related to medical reasons. My sister (Nannie Roe Cross) and her twin brother (Herman Frank Roe) agreed to participate. A cousin on my paternal side and two cousins on my maternal side joined us in this endeavor. None of our results came back with even a smidgen of Native American. These results indicated to us it was a story told and retold and had been passed down as truth.

As I said, I was skeptical, so I had a second test done with a different company. Results were very similar. I am convinced the results were correct. Even though a cousin on my mother’s side said, “I’ll believe Aunt Ruby over any of the results. However, recently he had his DNA done and of course; no Native American. Is he a believer now? Not sure.

From the results it confirmed I was 61% Europe West, 10% Great Britain, 10% Ireland and the last 4 regions less than 10% each. This result was received in 2016. Another idea that was proven correct, was that I would have a large portion from Germany. My great grandfather on my father’s side immigrated to America in mid 1800s. I made the assumption he was full blood German. Over time Ancestry appears more overlapping of and refining areas. With updates today, Ethnicity is England, Wales and Northwestern Europe at 78%, Ireland and Scotland 17% and Germanic Europe at 5%.

Long story short, I am a blend of many nations and proud of it. I had hoped my journey would find when and where our ancestors arrive in America. So far I have not. But because of my DNA results I have met relatives on both sides of my family. I am blessed to have connected with them as our family increased with this knowledge.

Post Script:

A surprise for me was that the twins were not closer in DNA results. They both show England, Wales and Northwestern Europe as top with there numbers around 81%. Ireland and Scotland listed as second and Nannie’s is greater at 16%. She has only one other ethnicity which is Norway and 3%. Franks last 8% is split between Germanic Europe, Eastern Europe/Russia and Sweden.

In my search I have found some skeletons related to DNA; possible relatives we were not aware of. For some of them, I will leave others to pursue.

Ethnicity Nannie Roe Cross 4/24/2020

England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 81%

Ireland & Scotland 11%

Norway 3%

Ethnicity Herman Frank Roe 4/24/2020

England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 81%

Ireland & Scotland 11%

Germanic Europe 4%

Eastern Europe & Russia 2%

Sweden 2%

Ethnicity Gerry Roe 4/24/2020

England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 78%

Ireland & Scotland 17%

Germanic Europe 5%

52AncestorsIn52Weeks

52AncestorsIn52WeeksFreshStart

STRONG WOMAN

By Gerry Roe

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing so gentle as real strength.”  Francis De Sales




This large White Oak is known as the Birthing Tree. It stands on Sparta Highway in Warren County Tennessee, on property obtained by Gabriel Elkins around 1818 as payment for his service in the War of 1812. It was named the Birthing Tree because of the number of children born in its shade to women who were members of wagon trains from North Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia that were continuing to Alabama and points west. If an expectant mother was about to give birth the wagon train would stop in the vicinity of the tree and her wagon pulled under it and left there to afford her shelter and shade while she waited to deliver her child.
 
The tree is eighty-five feet tall. It has a crown spread of one hundred and twenty five feet and is believed to be close to three hundred years old.
 
The above is an adaptation of a piece written by a Warren County historian known only as “Mrs. Massey: Her version can be found in the book titled History of Warren County.


STRONG WOMAN

Since time immemorial the oak tree has been recognized as a symbol of strength.  I often ponder the might of the sturdy oak.  I marvel at how long it lives.  So it came as no surprise that when my niece and I considered  which of our  female ancestors most symbolized strength we  decided on  a woman with a close familial connection to the mighty white oak known as the Birthing Tree.  We chose my great grandmother, Emily Manus Isaacs, daughter of Susannah Elkins Manus, granddaughter of Gabriel Elkins the man who once owned the land where the Birthing Tree stands.

With roots in Warren County Tennessee and their place in my family history, to me, that old white oak tree and Emily Isaacs are very much the same.
 
I am a retired nurse. I worked as a health care professional for forty-eight years. I spent an additional eight years as a volunteer nurse. With all my years of experience in health services  I can state with confidence my belief that my great grandmother Emily Isaacs was a physically strong woman. She delivered twelve children over the course of twenty-seven years. She did so without the benefits of pre-natal care available to women today. Sadly four of her twelve  children lived only a very short time past birth.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
I can’t help but wonder what she knew about childbirth before she delivered her first child.  
 I venture to say she only knew what she was taught by family members and friends, and then later what she learned from personal experience after she delivered her first child.
 
Emily lived to be seventy -six years old.  She spent close to one fourth of her adult life pregnant.  She spent over half of her adult life raising children.  Those two facts help bolster my belief that she was a physically strong woman.

Most likely her way of life changed very little while she was with child. She still had her household duties to perform even after she had delivered. For each delivery after the birth of her first child there was always other children to care for.
 
 Her family relied on her to  keep the household going and there were many physically challenging  chores for her to do. Hauling water, carting firewood, preparing meals, disposing of kitchen slop and dirty dishwater, emptying and cleaning chamber pots and hoeing and weeding the kitchen garden were just some of the chores women like Emily were expected to do every day.
 
Yes, I believe Emily Manus Isaacs was a strong woman and it makes me   proud to see her  name so near to mine on our massive family tree.






POST SCRIPT
 
Home births remained the norm in my family for many years to come. I was born in 1944, in Kings Daughter Hospital in Greenville Mississippi, the first in my direct line to be born in a hospital. In 1948 my youngest brother Henry Alan Roe was born in Mrs. Butler’s maternity home, in Cottage Grove Oregon. He was one of the one thousand and five babies that were born during the ten years the home was in operation.

From that time forward almost all the babies in our family were born in hospitals. One notable exception is my great-great niece Mary Elizabeth, the daughter of my great niece Ruby Elizabeth Thorpe. Mary was born at home, in Nashville Tennessee. She was delivered by her grandmother, my niece, Betsy Cross Thorpe. Ruby went into active labor soon after was sent home from Vanderbilt Hospital by a health care worker who determined that she wasn’t close to delivery.
Proof that in my family Strong Women still persist!!!
 

#52Ancestorsin52Weeks
#52AnsestorsStrongWoman

 
 
 
  

 



 
 
https://talesofourfamily.org/2020/02/13/same-name/