Thursday, June 23, 2011

Josephine Wiley Reed

On March 14, 2008, I sent a note on to a member with whom I shared a 4-great grandfather.  That grandfather was Samuel Reed, and that member was Josie Reed.

Josie and I quickly established that we were fifth cousins and have enjoyed the fact that we were both born Reed girls.  Since then, over 100 emails have passed between us as we discovered more and more about our family.  I trust her word and highly value her extensive research.  You have seen her name on here quite a few times.  Finally you get to meet her and see  pictures from her collection.  Click here to see the first installment of her photographs on our photo blog.  More pictures coming soon ...

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I was born in 1949 in Durham, North Carolina, and grew up mostly in Chapel Hill and in the Burlington area. My family moved to the mountains right after I graduated from high school in 1966.  Boone, NC, has been my home base since. I am the oldest of the four children born to Laurie Tully Reed (1916–1991) and Frances Scott Joyner (1923–2009). My sister Katie, who lived most of her adult life in Manhattan, died in 1991. Susan and her family live in the family home in Boone.  My brother Laurie and his wife live in Vermont.

Tomas, Jason, & Josie
I met my husband Tomas Hudlicky, a chemistry professor, when I was in graduate school at Virginia Tech. We have a son, Jason Reed Hudlicky (age 21), who looks amazingly like his granddaddy Tully Reed.  Jason has just finished his third year at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, studying chemistry and art history. Eight years ago we moved from Gainesville, Florida, to St. Catharines, Ontario, near Niagara Falls, where we still live. (Like my ancestors I too am an immigrant.) I currently work in research administration at Brock University.

I am very proud to be part of the extended Reed family. My lineage is as follows:
     Samuel Reed & Mary Clark
          Hugh Reed & Jane McSpeddon
               Samuel Reed & Matilda Willis
                    Tully Washington Reed & Katie Thompson
                         Laurie Tully Reed & Lula Mae Forehand
                              Laurie Tully Reed, Jr. & Frances Scott Joyner
                                   Josephine Wiley Reed

Tully Washington Reed
My great-grandfather Tully Washington Reed (1856-1910) was the youngest surviving child, the twelfth, of Samuel Reed and Matilda Willis. After a brief marriage to his second cousin Annie Reed (ca. 1856-1878) (Samuel Reed & Mary Clark > Samuel Reed & Elizabeth Boylston > Samuel James Reed & Martha Houser > Anna Houser Reed), he married my great-grandmother Katie Thompson, his first cousin once removed.  Katie's maternal grandmother was Martha Willis (who married William F. Matthews), an older sister of Tully's mother Matilda Willis. (The Willises have a fascinating family history, but that is another story.) Tully and Katie had four children: Leila (pronounced LEE-la), Josephine, Norman and Laurie. All eventually left South Carolina. (Josephine and Laurie are back, buried in Williston Cemetery. Leila and Norman are buried in Maryland.)

Laurie Tully Reed

Tully and Katie’s youngest child, Laurie Tully Reed (1889-1939), was my grandfather.  In his early twenties, Laurie left Barnwell County for Savannah, Georgia, where he got a job at a hotel and where he met and married Lula Mae Forehand (1891-1935). The newlyweds headed to New York City, where Laurie continued in hotel work. Mae returned to Savannah to give birth to their two sons, Laurie Tully Reed and Charles Forehand Reed (1919-1995), but the boys were raised in Manhattan.

Josephine Matilda Reed
Tully and Katie Reed's second child, Josephine Matilda Reed (1884-1970), was named after her two grandmothers Josephine Matthews and Matilda Willis and is my own namesake.  Besides being my father's aunt, she was my mother's step-mother, connecting me to the Reeds on both sides of my family.

As a young woman, Josie was a public school teacher in Williston where she met Fred Parker, one of the other teachers.  She was 30 (and surely considered an old maid by that time) when they married in 1914 in Savannah. They moved to Pantego, a small town in eastern North Carolina, where Fred took a position as high school principal and Josie continued teaching. They had no children. Mr. Parker, as Josie always referred to him, died from influenza in 1929.

In the early 1930s, my father and his brother Charles were sent to live with their aunt Josie when their mother Mae was hospitalized.  They affectionately called Josie "Dodo." 

Elisha Wiley Joyner, a widower, took Fred's place as principal and moved into the Pantego teacherage with his three daughters Sara, Frances (my mother), and Miriam.  In 1933 Elisha and Josie married, and the Reeds and the Joyners were henceforth entwined.
L. Tully Reed at left; Frances, Miriam, & Sara Joyner on running board, cousin Catherine Brodie in rumble seat; Josie Reed Parker driving.
When my parents first met about 1931, Tully was 14, and Frances was 7. During this period until after my father graduated from Pantego High School in 1934, my parents lived in close proximity at the teacherage.

Tully Reed & Frances Joyner on their "first date" in Washington, DC, 1945
Years later, in the summer of 1945, they met up again in Washington, D.C., where my mother was working at the time, and they fell in love. It caused quite a scandal in the family when they decided to get married the following spring.

As they got older, both my father and my uncle Charles took an active interest in their family history. I have notes and various materials Daddy left behind that pointed me in the right direction when I began my own family quest a few years ago.  Both Daddy and Charlie would be amazed at the resources available now for researching family history, at the details uncovered through records found on the Internet, and at the community of cousins of varying degrees that I have met through my research.

Of course, my own journey really began when, as a child, I would pour through old photo albums and listen to the stories Grandmama (Josie was the only grandmother I ever knew) told about life in Williston, South Carolina. I only wish that I could remember all of them.

In my own family research, besides merely constructing the family tree, I am interested in the stories about my forebears and their families and their neighbors. This is one reason I love Cousin Marilyn’s blog. 

The stories of the dark places we all must have in our families are fascinating to me. That most of my forebears (including, of course, the Reeds) living at a certain time of history were slave owners in the South is one of those.

Another dark part of my own family history includes the threads of mental illness that found their way into my own immediate family. My grandfather Laurie was an alcoholic, as his own father most likely was, according to my dad. My grandmother Mae suffered from a mental condition for which she was hospitalized the last four or five years of her life. My mother and my sister Katie both suffered from bipolar disorder, my mother diagnosed only in her seventies, my sister in her thirties. Both alcoholism and bipolar disorder have a genetic component, tendencies passed on through generations and triggered by life experiences, for example, my mother’s early loss of her own mother. 

Finding the traces of these threads is difficult because the generations preceding us, most certainly the generation of my grandparents, just didn’t mention such things. I have found a few clues, but much will probably always remain a mystery.

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