Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's Cape Cod Time Again

Yes, we are enjoying ourselves on lovely Cape Cod. Lots of sun and beach. The cape is a great place for recharging the spirit. I love observing my family in action. Here are a few pictures.

It was extremely hard to get pictures of my son today. He was in constant motion. He finally found his home in the water with his wakeboard. He's really grown up into a little man.

More pictures tomorrow. 
Hope everyone out there is enjoying their summer!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

52 Ancestors: #18 Samuel David Whitney...Yes, Another Samuel Whitney

Image courtesy of Google Maps
711 Hatties Lane (formerly 711 Brown's Ave/Alley)
Once was the home of Samuel David Whitney

Page from the Whitney/Harrison Family Bible
Shows the date of birth of Samuel David Whitney

I am participating in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge put forth by Amy Johnson Crow of the blog No Story Too Small.  If you aren't familiar with the challenge be sure to check out her blog.

Yes, there's another Samuel Whitney in my family tree. Well actually he was a Samuel David Whitney and he was the brother of my maternal great grandmother, Carrie Whitney Harrison. Named after his father, he was born November 3, 1885 to his namesake and Sarah Jane Harris Whitney in New Bern, NC. He grew up alongside my great grandmother at 10 Brown's Alley in the city.

I know that he was often referred to as David. This was probably to differentiate himself from his father since they resided under the same roof. The family oral history is that David's father Samuel Whitney worked as a drayman and delivered fish into the city of New Bern. This makes me think that this newspaper article I came across may be in fact be about my Samuel David Whitney.

The Daily Journal, May 3, 1904, Page 4

I don't have a picture of him but I do know from his World War I draft registration card that he was of medium height and build, with brown eyes and black hair.  I have one picture of my great grandmother Carrie Whitney Harrison. I wonder if he resembled her in any way.

Carrie Whitney Harrison

In 1910, he was still residing at home with his parents and siblings.

Source Information: 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006. Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: New Bern Ward 5, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: T624_1104; Page: 24B; Enumeration District: 0026; FHL microfilm: 1375117.

He was single and his occupation was listed as a laborer in the "Guano" industry. This make me think he was probably working in a fertilizer plant. It looks like he was still working in the same industry in 1918.

Images courtesy of
Source citation:  "United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 Jun 2014), David Whitney, 1917-1918; citing Craven County, North Carolina, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d); FHL microfilm 1765633.

Samuel David married Virginia Fonville of New Bern on December 23, 1913.

Marriage License for Samuel David Whitney and Virginia Fonville
Image courtesy of
Source citation:  "North Carolina, County Marriages, 1762-1979 ," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Jun 2014), S H Whitney and Virginia Fouville, 22 Dec 1913; citing Craven, North Carolina, United States; FHL microfilm 000288285.

As far as I've been able to tell no children arose from this marriage. Sadly, Virginia Whitney died on October 21, 1930 from vascular heart disease. 

Samuel married Madie Stancil at some point after his first wife's death. Here they are listed in the 1937 Baldwin's New Bern North Carolina City Directory.

Image courtesy of
1937 Baldwin's New Bern North Carolina City Directory.

Image courtesy of Google Maps.

During that year, he was worked as a janitor at the Zeno Lodge No. 23 IBPOE in New Bern. The building still stands at 921 Main St. 

On August 1, 1939, my great grandmother and Samuel David's younger sister, Carrie Whitney Harrison died. While she was alive, she lived right next door to her older brother. His sister Amey Whitney Brown died in 1913, his father and mother died in 1916 and 1937 respectively. I think with my great grandmother's death in 1939, the losses in his life started to take their toll on him.

By 1940, David Whitney had switched occupations and was working as a carpenter in house construction.  His wife Madie was working as a housekeeper. Things seemed to be fine until tragedy struck again. Madie Whitney died on December 3, 1945 from acute Myocarditis.

Samuel David Whitney died from cirrhosis of the liver on March 12, 1957. He's buried at Greenwood Cemetery in New Bern, NC.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Juneteenth Junction: Paying Tribute To Augustus Whitney

Victori Bass of The Griot Gram Family History Writing Group on Facebook put forth a challenge due the week of June 18th--24th to fellow bloggers to share stories or information about our ancestors who either fought in or lived through the Civil War in honor of Juneteenth. This challenge is being called Juneteenth Junction. If you have an ancestor you would like pay tribute to, take some time out to share what you know.  Thank you Victori for suggesting such a great idea.

I am paying tribute to my 2nd Great Grand Uncle, Augustus Whitney, for this post. August Whitney was the brother of my maternal 2nd great grandfather Samuel Whitney. He was born around 1840 in Hyde County, NC to a Thomas and Margaret Merritt Whitney. It is not entirely clear whether or not Augustus and his family were slaves or free prior to the start of the Civil War. On my post, 52 Ancestors: #17 Thomas Whitney--How Did You Get To Hyde County?, I wrote about Augustus's father and how my family's oral history about this family line is that it was of African and Portuguese decent. My theory is that Thomas Whitney may have been one of four free people of color listed on the 1830 Federal Census entry for a Samuel Whitney in neighboring New Bern, Craven, NC. Perhaps the family was free? In any event, the Whitneys resided in an area referred to as Lake Comfort, NC by 1870.

Image courtesy of Google Maps

Starred area is the approximately where Lake Comfort is located. 

A couple years ago I ordered Augustus Whitney's Civil War pension file which provided an affidavit from a Dr. M. M. Murray. Dr. Morgan Monroe Murray was Augustus Whitney's employer prior to the war. He described Augustus as being "sound" while he was in his employ and that he worked as an "office boy." You can read the entire affidavit on my post, Augustus Whitney--Slave or Free Person of Color?  It would seem to me that working for the town doctor would provide an opportunity to meet and know many members of the community. This probably bore some advantages to Augustus and his family. 

Augustus Whitney enlisted in Co. D of the 1st regiment of the N.C. Colored Infantry in New Bern, NC on May 21, 1863. This regiment was redesignated the 35th USCT on February 8, 1864. I went on a website called The Civil War Archive to find out what sort of action this regiment saw in the war. Here's an excerpt:

SERVICE.--Expedition to Lake City, Fla., February 14-22, 1864. Battle of Olustee February 20. Duty at Jacksonville, Fla., until November. Operations on St. Johns River May 19-27. Horse Head Landing May 23. (Four Companies detached on Expedition to James Island, S.C., July 1-10. King's Creek, S.C., July 3.) Raid from Jacksonville upon Baldwin July 23-28. South Fork, Black Creek, July 24. Black Creek near Whitesides July 27. Raid on Florida Railroad August 15-19. Ordered from Jacksonville to Hilton Head, S. C., November 25, Expedition to Boyd's Neck November 28-30. Battle of Honey Hill November 30. Return to Jacksonville, Fla., and duty there until March, 1865. Ordered to Charleston, S.C. Duty there and at various points in the Dept. of the South until June, 1866. Mustered out June 1, 1866.

Regiment lost during service 4 Officers and 49 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 151 Enlisted men by disease. Total 205.

I remembered when I reviewed Augustus Whitney's Military Service Record awhile back that there were a couple of months he was marked absent on the muster roll and I vaguely recalled that he was hospitalized at some point. The battle of Olustee took place on February 20, 1864. I checked his service record again to see if he was present the month of the battle and if his hospitalization was perhaps related to this. 

Source Citation: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served With the United States Colored Troops: Infantry Organizations, 31st through 35th; Microfilm Serial: M1992; Microfilm Roll: 84.
Image courtesy of Fold

It appears he was present for that battle. I reviewed through the next several pages after this to see when in fact he was taken ill. 

Source Citation: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Compiled Military Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served With the United States Colored Troops: Infantry Organizations, 31st through 35th; Microfilm Serial: M1992; Microfilm Roll: 84.
Image courtesy of Fold

He was noted absent since November 26, 1864. It appears that he like many other soldiers became ill due to unsanitary conditions, poor nutrition and exposure. Thankfully, he was able to recover. There was no mention of hospitalization on this service card, so back to the pension file I went. I knew he was hospitalized at some point.

Page from Augustus Whitney's Civil War Pension File

And of course this is when I realized that I had written about this before on a post I did back in October 2011 called, How Did Augustus Whitney Become Injured During The War?  He had injured his right arm in a fall and was in the regimental hospital for approximately three months recovering. For further details on circumstances regarding his fall, take a look at that post. Augustus had mustered in to the 35th USCT on June 30, 1863 and no more than 15 days later was injured. How frustrating that must have been for him. 

I also found another site to be very helpful called, The Battle of Along with providing me with additional information about the 35th USCT, this page provided references to other books or resources which of course has led me to making some purchases on (Smile)

One thing in particular that I enjoyed reading about on The Battle of Olustee site, was the eagerness of the colored regiments to learn how to read and write in their spare time. With all the struggles those men endured during their lives, their spirits were not broken. They were going to better themselves and their position and they knew that started with education. I wonder if it was during the war when Augustus learned how to read and write?

Despite injury and illness, Augustus Whitney was promoted to the rank of corporal before he was mustered out. I am very proud of his service. Also, I am very proud of how he was able to persevere and create a life for himself. He married a Susan Ann Burns and they had eleven children together.  After the war, he struggled  with various ailments and fought continually for increases in his pension due to his deteriorating condition. The process of applying for an increase in pension was very time consuming. It involved Augustus getting affidavits from people who could vouch for his character and for him to be physically examined by a doctor who would then have to fill out the proper medical reports. His frustration regarding this process can be felt in this letter dated January 25, 1902.

Augustus Whitney died on January 19, 1908 in Lake Comfort, NC, just six years after this letter was written.

In memory of Augustus Whitney.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Wait For It...

Wait for it...


The Book Of Me: Prompt 37 --Feeding The Animals

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

Prompt 37: Feeding the Animals

This week’s prompt is – Feeding the Ducks (Animals)

Think back to your childhood. Did you feed the ducks?

Do you remember the excitement of the event?
Were you scared of the ducks?
Who were you with?
Do you perhaps still feed the ducks?
Of course you substitute the ducks for farm animals or pets.

One of my favorite memories of childhood was going with my family to take my older brother to sleep away camp in Pennsylvania. I think this particular memory occurred when he went to a place called Harmony Heart Camp. I had to have been about four or five years old. I'll have to ask my brother when I get a chance if I am right about the age. Anyway, I remember getting out of my parents car and walking over to where there was this wooden fence. What was most intriguing about the fence is that there was a pair of hooves peeking out at the bottom of it.

I had never been so close to a horse before so it seemed kind of surreal. Those hooves were huge! Then poking through the fence appeared this mouth. It just seemed so strange and interesting all at the same time. 

I think I either asked my parents or someone who was caring for the horses if I could feed them. Someone said sure and then that was it. I was tearing up grass to feed that horse. Rip, rip, rip. I kept ripping up grass and feeding that horse until the horse was satisfied. I would have stayed there all day feeding him but we had other things to attend to.

I just remembered I have a picture of my parents posing in front of our old green Plymouth parked at the camp. Here's the link to that post: Wordless Wednesday: My Parents.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Book Of Me: Prompt 36 --Your Year

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

This week's prompt is - Your Year

This week the prompt is in two parts:
Think back over your life. Which year was “your year” in terms of happy, special and treasured events?
Think back over your life. Which year was absolutely not “your year”
Thing in terms of health, wealth, happiness or a degree of sadness, back luck and years when you simply wish you could go back and relive or redo something.

I would say that "My Year" was April 2004--March 2005. That was year that it seems like the stars aligned and it was decided that I would become a mother. My then boyfriend and I took a terrific trip to Las Vegas, just the two of us. Man it seems like ten thousand years ago now that I'm sitting here writing this. Well we had a really good time, if ya know what I mean and came home with a little souvenir. 

My son and my husband

That souvenir is now 9 years old and I can't imagine my life without him and this wonderful family that my husband and I have created together.

The Autumn before my son was born, my then boyfriend asked my dad in person for his daughter's hand in marriage. My dad was very happy to know that his little girl was going to be in good hands. On March 30, 2005 we made things official and tied the knot.

Wedding Day
March 30, 2005
Me, Tom and our "little souvenir" all dressed up.

The year that was not my year hmmm...let me think. I think 1996 was a tough year because that is the year that my paternal grandparents died. My grandmother, Ethel Murrell,  passed away suddenly on July 4,1996 at the age of 85. She went to bed the night before and that morning she never woke up. Apparently, her heart gave out. She lived a good long life though and although her passing was sudden, the way in which she died was a blessing. She was an active woman and knew who she was until in the end. I should hope that someday someone can say the same thing about me when it's my turn to go. 

My grandfather's health had been on the decline the last couple of years of his life. When his wife Ethel passed, I think he lost whatever fight he had left and came to peace with joining his wife. Harold Osmond Murrell died on October 9, 1996.

That was a tough year. My grandparents had been a big part of my life. They took care of my brother and I after school until my family moved to Long Island just before I turned 10. Those years I treasure. The afternoon routine of doing homework, playing outside, and knowing their caring eyes and arms were watching over us was a blessing. It was hard to say goodbye.

Harold and Ethel Murrell

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Friday, June 13, 2014

52 Ancestors: #17 Thomas Whitney--How Did You Get To Hyde County?

Collage created by Andrea Kelleher. Top right image:  City of New Bern Map, courtesy of the Library of Congress. 
Middle right image, Hyde county map, courtesy of the US Census website.

I am participating in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge put forth by Amy Johnson Crow of the blog No Story Too Small. If you aren't familiar with the challenge be sure to check out her blog.

Life got kind of busy in my household last week so I didn't get a chance to write a post for this challenge. Today at last I have a bit of quiet so here goes.

My last 52 Ancestors post was regarding my 2nd great grandfather Samuel Whitney who was born in Hyde County, NC. To continue on with this family line, I'm picking up with Samuel's father, Thomas Whitney.

My 3rd great grandfather, Thomas Whitney, was born sometime between 1805 and 1820 based on information found on the U. S. Federal Census. Now where he was born is up for questioning.

The census shows him residing in Hyde County, NC. in the years 1870 and 1880. Here's the family group.

1870 Federal Census
"United States Census, 1870," index and images, FamilySearch ( : 
accessed 09 Jun 2014), Thos Whitney, North Carolina, United States; citing p. 21, family 151,
 NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 000552642.

1880 Federal Census
Source Information: and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. 
Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Swan Quarter, Hyde, North Carolina; Roll: 968;
 Family History Film: 1254968; Page: 534A; Enumeration District: 076; Image: 0297.

I know that my 3rd great grandfather was married at least once to a Margaret Merritt/Merrick. From that marriage, I think they had at least three children together.

Augustus Whitney (born abt 1840--died January 19, 1908)
Charles Whitney (born abt 1854--?)
Samuel Whitney (October 1856--July 21, 1916) --My 2nd great grandfather

A few years ago, I wrote to the Hyde County Register of Deeds requesting copies of records for a few Whitney ancestors of mine. One of those items was a copy of a marriage certificate for a Cornelius Whitney and a Olivia "Liviann" Merrick. On that marriage record dated January 14, 1886, it showed the parents of Cornelius to be a Thomas Whitney (living) and a Lucy Blount (deceased).  This Cornelius, who was born around 1843, may in fact be another child of my Thomas Whitney but I haven't been able to prove it. Cornelius Whitney's household was listed right after Thomas Whitney and Augustus Whitney's households on the 1870 census which gives me the sense that there was some sort of familial tie. 

Copy of Marriage License of Cornelius Whitney and Lucy Blount obtained
 from the Hyde County, NC Register of Deeds.

Now back to my question I posed earlier. How did Thomas Whitney get to Hyde County? I have a couple of theories regarding this branch of my family tree. Based on my family's oral history this particular line was of some portion Portuguese decent which originated from the Azores. This information seems to be backed up by recent updates to my FamilyTreeDNA results and my mother's as well.  If you missed my post showing our "myOrigins" updates from Family Tree DNA, here's the link:

In summary from that post, My mother shows approximately 17% of her DNA comes from the North Mediterranean Basin while my DNA shows approximately 6% coming from the same area. The Family Tree DNA website describes the North Mediterranean Basin as being "situated in the southwest of Europe from Spain to Greece." This seems to back up my oral history.  Could he himself perhaps been Portuguese or Portuguese/African Mix? Perhaps.

I believe that Thomas Whitney may have been residing in New Bern, NC prior to Hyde County and this is based on the this entry I found in the 1830 census:

Image courtesy of
1830 Census Entry for the household of Samuel Whitney.
Source Information: 1830 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. 
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Source Citation: 1830 US Census; Census Place: New Bern, Craven, North Carolina; Page: 123; NARA Series: M19; Roll Number: 119; Family History Film: 0018085.

My working theory is that perhaps this Samuel Whitney was my 4th great grandfather and one of the four free colored males aged 10 thru 23 was my 3rd great grandfather Thomas Whitney. The name Samuel has been used repeatedly in the naming of children in my Whitney family line and that tradition continued on when my great mother, Carrie Whitney Harrison, named one of her children Samuel David Harrison.

Samuel Whitney's household looked different come 1840.

Source Information: 1840 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. 
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Source Citation: Year: 1840;
 Census Place: Newbern, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: 358; Page: 50; Image: 736; Family History Library Film: 0018093.

Where did the 4 Free Colored Males ages 10--23 go that were listed on the 1830 census?  This still remains a mystery to me. 

All I do know is that Thomas Whitney found his way to Hyde County, NC by 1870. Where was he all those years?

The last record I was able to find on Thomas Whitney was an entry on an 1890 Tax List found courtesy of the Hyde County, NC tax lists on the Hyde County Gen Web Page. 

1890 Tax List

My 3rd great grandfather's name was noticeably absent from the 1900 Federal Census taken in Hyde County so I believe he died sometime between 1890 and 1900.  There is a black cemetery in near Swan Quarter which is sometimes referred to as "Donnell/Donald Farm Cemetery" or "Greenhill Cemetery." There are a few Whitneys buried there. I suspect that this may be Thomas Whitney's final resting place. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: My Grandparents At A Party

This picture is from my mother's collection. My mother's parents are the first one's seated on the left and right at the table. It appears me to be possibly a wedding reception since it looks like the couple standing in the middle are about to cut a cake. Everyone is certainly dressed to nines.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Book Of Me: Prompt 35 --Aunts and Uncles

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:
This week's prompt is - Aunts and Uncles

Did you have Aunts and Uncles?
Did you know any of your Great Aunts and Uncles?
Did you have people that you called Aunt and Uncle, yet there was no blood connection at all?
In fact, does that even matter?
So this week, tell us those about those people whose names appear within our family history and perhaps you even had a favorite or two?

Did you have Aunts and Uncles?

Yes and gosh do I miss the ones that have passed on. My childhood was filled with the joy of having extended family living nearby. Now I did not have many aunts and uncles. My father's parents had two children, my dad and my wonderful aunt Janice

My aunt Janice and my dad.

Janice Murrell was a delightful woman. She was smart and funny. She loved to laugh. The sound of her laugh is one of those things I really miss. I wrote about her before on this blog on my post, Remembering My Special Aunt --Janice Murrell.

While my mother's parents were married, they had two children, my mom and her younger brother Richard. 

I have always referred to my mother's brother as "Uncle Ricky." My maternal grandmother owned a three family house in Springfield Gardens NY, where she lived on the 1st floor and my uncle lived upstairs. Visiting grandma's house was great because it was a two for one visit. We'd visit with grandma and if my uncle was home from work he would come down and visit and tell us about the goings on in his life.

My uncle "Ricky"

My maternal grandparents, divorced and each went on to marry again. My grandfather Lemuel Harrison married a Vadnie Randolph Sutton and had three more children with her. My uncles Bobby and Vincent and my aunt Wanda are a lot closer in age to my brother and I. In fact my aunt Wanda is only 7 months older than my older brother.  I still get a kick out of calling her "auntie."

From left to right:  My aunt Wanda, cousin Audrey, me, and my brother. Picture was taken at my 3rd birthday party.

My grandpa Lemuel Harrison and my uncle Bobby

My uncle Vincent  Harrison
(January 27, 1959--January 8, 2012)

By the time I came along my uncles Vincent and Bobby were grown and just about out of my grandfather's house. I remember when my family would visit my grandpa, I would sneak a peak in what was their bedroom. If I recall correctly, there were two single beds in there and I think at one point there was a Jackson Five poster on the wall. I was little so didn't quite understand that they were "grown" and that's why they weren't at the house much.

Did you know any of your Great Aunts and Uncles?

Did I ever!  I grew up knowing my maternal grandmother's sisters very well.  

My grandmother Mary, aunt Rosa, and aunt Eloise.

Rosa Bryant Sanders
(September 17, 1925--January 10, 2012)

Aunt Rosa was a sweetheart. Don't get me wrong if you were on her wrong knew it for sure. She didn't take any mess. If perhaps you didn't know her you may have perceived her as being a bit sharp. She didn't pull any punches. She would tell you to your face how she felt about you or your situation. She did not have time for any BS. What was great about her though is she would say something that may have been a bit harsh or direct and then she would follow it up with a gleam in her eyes or a little sideways cackle to soften the the blow. She would let you know if she was messing with you. She along with my Uncle Nat, baby sat for me before I reached school age, so I was able to really get know them. She could COOOOKKK!!! People were still talking about her chocolate cake at her funeral. You name it, she could cook it. I was so spoiled from her cooking when she baby sat me. My mom would drop me off in the morning as she was heading off to work. Aunt Rosa would ask me,"What would you like for breakfast?" and she would quickly whip together my request. I remember one time she made me hush puppies and fish. She enjoyed watching people eat her cooking.

I do believe that opposites attract because aunt Rosa's husband, uncle Nat, is so sweet. As I mentioned before, Nat and Rosa took care of me during the day while my parents worked up until I started school. I have many fond memories of riding out to the A&S department store that once stood in Hempstead, Long Island. Uncle Nat would drive and he would be listening to his songs from yesteryear and sometimes singing along. 

Uncle Nat 

Eloise Bryant Grigsby
(July 5, 1927--May 9, 1999)

Next, you had my aunt Eloise. Aunt Eloise didn't pull any punches either. She was very strict and not afraid to dish out discipline. She had a loving side but she had also a bit of a wicked side. I would see her less often than my Aunt Rosa but still enough where I had a good sense of who she was. On the occasions she watched me, while my parents would be doing something, I knew to tread lightly and to pick up quickly after myself. Everything was neat and tidy in her house. You didn't mess with the woman's dish water either. Oh Lord! That would be a No-no. She was frugal in her ways. Dish soap would be set up at the beginning of the day in a basin she had in the sink. That dishwater would be used throughout the day to take care of dishes. Dip dish in suds, scrub and then rinse on the other side of the sink. That was how it was done. I remember on one occasion, I was playing with a toy tea service on the living room floor and I think I had some sunflower seeds that I was going to snack on but I started to use them as if they were the tea. I would pour from one cup to another, until I accidentally spilled some on her carpet. Yes, it was her carpet. She made that point clear for sure. Anyway, I think she was straightening up in the kitchen when the spill occurred. When she came back into the room and saw those seeds on the floor, she came over to me in and said, "When I come back in this room those seeds best be picked up or you see that dog out back?" (She had a German Shepherd.) I responded meekly, "Uh--yes." "You just might be fed to that dog." You know those seeds were picked up mighty quick! LOL. Aunt Eloise, didn't mess around. No sir.
Just as quick as she could be a bit harsh, she could be gentle and provide great advice. My fondest memory of her was at my paternal grandmother's funeral. My father's mother, Ethel Murrell, passed away in her sleep on July 4, 1996. At the time, my Aunt Eloise was living in Morehead City, NC so I wasn't anticipating she would be making the trip to New York for the funeral. What a surprise it was to see her, my grandmother Mary and aunt Rosa sitting together just inside the entryway of the church on the morning of the funeral. Although I was grieving the loss of my grandma Ethel, just seeing the three of them together, talking and catching up with one another...let's just say it's something I will never forget. At one point, my Aunt Eloise made a joke about something that made everyone within earshot giggle. It caught me by surprise and I laughed out loud suddenly and then quickly I felt bad because we were at a somber event. The expression on my face must have reflected this because my aunt Eloise quickly said to me, "It's okay baby. Your grandmother was a good woman and she is now at rest. Life goes on. Sometimes its laughter and tears all mixed together."

Loris Bryant Helton
(January 2,1918--December 14,1987)
From talking with my mother, I have gathered that my aunt Loris was probably the person I would have learned the most family history from regarding the Bryant family line. Sadly she passed away in 1987, long before I caught the genealogy bug. She lived in Mt Airy, NC and would come to NY and stay with my aunt Rosa for several weeks usually in the summer. My childhood impression of her was that she had a good sense of humor and she had a bit more sugar in her personality than Eloise or Rosa. Speaking of sugar, she would always ask me to give her some in the form of a big hug and kiss when I did get to see her. I looked forward to her arrival because she would make apple jelly back home and would bring some to give as gifts.  I think she made sweet pickles too or maybe that was aunt Rosa. See, the memories start to blur and fade already. Good thing I am starting to write this stuff down.

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