Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Marriage Settlement of Samuel Reed (1810-1877) and Sarah A. Larissey

This is a copy of the prenuptial agreement (scanned from the original*) stating that a marriage between Samuel Reed (1810-1877) and Sarah A. Larissey, his third wife, is going to happen soon.  Samuel owns a LOT of land (I counted 1546 acres "more or less") and quite a few worldly possessions that Sarah will have no right to should she survive Samuel.  That's it, plain and simple.  Most of the document is a listing of Samuel's lands and earthly possessions.  Such agreements were not uncommon then; nor are they now.

The first two witnesses listed were brothers from the Blackville area:  Dr. Samuel Daniel Medicus "Sam" Guess (1836-1935), a dentist, and John Gardner Hamilton "Joe" Guess (1834-1918), a planter.  The third witness was Samuel's nephew Henry Samuel Fickling (1826-1903), son of Jane Elizabeth Reed (Hugh & Jane's daughter) and Rev. William Johnson Fickling. 

* Many thanks go to Barbara Holloway Smith, a 5-great granddaughter of Samuel and Mary Reed.  She called me recently and offered to share this marriage settlement.  Barbara has an original of this document!  And that's not all ... I'll share more about that at a later date. 

Barbara's lineage:  Samuel Reed and Mary Clark > Hugh Reed and Jane McSpeddon > Samuel Reed and Matilda Willis > Cyrena Kesiah Reed and William Capers Milhous > John Henry Eliott Milhous and Mary Ann Perry > Julia Norris Milhous and Walter Stewart Peterson > Susan Caroline Peterson and William Jordan Holloway > Barbara Holloway Smith

Thank you so very much, Barbara, for sharing with all your cousins.  "By and For the Descendants ..." at the top of this page is what it's all about!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The “Disappearance” of Miriam Reed

Guest Post By Henry Singer, Jr.

Miriam Thelma Reed,
High School Graduation, 1936
While researching my mother’s side of my family, I located a reference called South Carolina Garrick Family Roots  (Miller/Watson 1995) which detailed much of my mother’s maternal ancestry. However, when it came to my mother herself, she had “disappeared” from the family history. She was correctly identified as the daughter of Marcus Fred and Annie Garrick Reed of Savannah, Georgia, but she was listed as having married someone named "Signer" and left the area.

Miriam did indeed marry and leave Savannah and that is the subject of this narrative. Miriam married Henry Lewis Singer (not Signer) of Avon, Washington on June 20, 1946. How a man who had never been further east than Butte, Montana met a woman who had never been further west than Raleigh, North Carolina can be explained, like many stories of that era, by World War II. The story also involved an unlikely twist of fate that brought the two together.

The story actually began sometime in 1942 when a young Georgia man named Fred Reed (Miriam’s younger brother) burst into a barracks at Fort Lewis, Washington with some other Southern recruits and in a good-natured, yet boisterous, way announced that the Rebels had arrived.

Henry, at the time, had been napping on his cot and did not take kindly to being awakened. Apparently, words were exchanged between Henry and Fred, though there is no indication that they came to blows. The two were separated and the incident was over, but not the connection between the two men.

Sometime later the two men got together and apologized to each other and in an unlikely scenario went on to become close friends. Fred was an outgoing young man, while Henry, about ten years older, was a quiet and reserved man. The two men enjoyed “horsing” around together, but their real bond may have been that they both valued a man of his word and were closely tied to their respective families. The war eventually led them to Europe with the 203rd General Hospital where they were part of the motor pool. As part of the Normandy Campaign they saw their share of warfare, before finishing the war serving at a military hospital in Paris.

Henry Singer (left)
Belgium, 1945
At some point, Fred Reed had arranged for his sister, Miriam, to write to this GI friend of his from Washington. This probably started while the unit was stationed at Fort Lewis and continued until the end of the war. Unfortunately, no record of this correspondence has ever been found. There is only a picture of Henry, sent to Miriam after the war’s end. The photo was taken in Belgium in 1945 as the troops awaited transport back to the United States.

While none of their correspondence has ever been found, a relationship obviously developed. Henry was discharged from the Army at Fort Lewis in December of 1945.

Wedding Day, 1946
Savannah, Georgia
By June, he had driven across the country to meet and marry Miriam. It is believed that he made the trip twice, no easy feat in the time before interstate highways. One trip to meet Miriam, a return home to announce his intentions, followed by a return to Savannah with his sister Dee, at which time Henry and Miriam were married.

For the first four years of their marriage Henry and Miriam alternated between living in Washington and Georgia. Weather conditions often limited Henry’s work as a house mover during the winter, so they would relocate to Georgia, often staying with Miriam’s parents on Victory Drive in Savannah while Henry found work around town.

On January 7, 1948 their first child, Henry, Jr., was born. The arrival of a child made seasonal relocations less feasible. In 1950, Henry, Miriam, and Henry, Jr., returned to Washington to live permanently. With the construction of the Interstate Highway system and growing local communities Henry found steady work in the house moving trade. He continued in that employ until injury forced his retirement at the age of 60.

Henry and family settled in the town of Mount Vernon, the economic hub of the fertile Skagit Valley. Though it was the largest town in the area, the population of 8,000 was a far cry from bustling Savannah. For Miriam, the gray, cloudy days, cool temperatures and rural environment were a challenge. She dreamed of the day that the family would be able to return to Georgia. However, with the birth of two more children, daughters Anne Elizabeth (1953) and June (1957), her life in Mount Vernon became ever more permanent.

By the time Miriam returned for visits to Savannah in the 1960s and 1970s, the South she knew had changed. Though she loved her memories of Savannah throughout her life, she realized that with her family and friends, she was now more closely tied to Washington than Georgia.

Henry and Miriam delighted in their roles as parents and eventually grandparents. They faced all of life’s challenges with their children and grandchildren at the forefront of their thoughts. Henry passed away in November, 1980. Miriam continued to live in their home until her passing in April, 1999. During the intervening years Miriam, though missing Henry, remained active, nurturing grandchildren and sharing time with family.

Henry and Miriam are buried side by side in the IOOF Cemetery in Mount Vernon, Washington. The relationship that began in 1942 never wavered. Henry and Miriam shared life’s joys and sorrows together, inseparable in their affection for each other and for their family.
Miriam Reed Singer
Mount Vernon, Washington, 1996

Henry and Marlene Singer
Henry Singer is a 4-great grandson of Samuel and Mary Clark Reed.  Born in Savannah, GA, he grew up in Washington State.  He and his wife Marlene taught elementary school for 30+ years and are currently enjoying retirement in Tucson, AZ.  

His lineage:  Samuel Reed and Mary Clark > Hugh Reed and Jane McSpeddon > James Reed and Anne Tyler > James A. Reed and Gertrude Easterling > Marcus Reed and Annie Garrick > Miriam Reed and Henry Singer > Henry Singer, Jr.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Graveyarding Time is Here

I've always loved the Fall.  The temperatures are very pleasant and the leaves are beautiful.  In the last few years, however, I've found another reason to love Fall.  As the mosquitoes disappear and the snakes go to ground, it's the beginning of Graveyarding Season. 

Here's a great shot my son Ian got last November at Hugh Reed's Family Plot near Blackville.
Foot stone at grave of Jane McSpeddon Reed, 1794-1839 with headstone in background.
My plan is to revisit our family graveyards here on this blog in the next few weeks.  There have been some very positive changes in the last couple of years.  But first, let's review how NOT to go graveyarding from a trip Ian and I made in 2008.  After reading, please leave a comment about one of your graveyarding trips.

How NOT to Go Graveyarding

On Thursday, April 10, 2008, my son Ian and I took our first major graveyarding trip down to Barnwell County. It was very successful on most counts. More about that part of the trip another time. The rest of the story is to demonstrate how NOT to go graveyarding. 

When we were ready to head home from Barnwell County, it was only 2:30. So we decided to go back up through Blackville to Hwy. 3 to catch a section of Rd. 389 that was supposed to have the Jeremiah Jones family cemetery (my mother’s side of my family).

The only info I had was that it was on Rd. 389 near Sawyerdale, and I had looked it up on Mapquest. We rode through looking and had seen nothing by the time we got to Neeses. I stopped at town hall (offices close at 1PM on Thurs & Fri) and talked with the magistrate who recommended I go talk to the manager at the Piggly Wiggly. He sent us back to 389 to a church we’d seen where a funeral was being held to ask folks there. Nobody knew, including a lady who had grown up on that road. I couldn’t hang around any longer though, because my low fuel light started beeping!

We were ready to go find some ice cream and gasoline and go on home. BUT, at the gas station, I talked with a fellow that gave me directions to two possibilities. Take Begonia Road, go up a two rut road in between . . . cinder block house . . .

On one two rut road we drove into a sort of enclave with a couple of nice houses, barns, garages, farm equipment, and an Esso station. Yep, it was truly picturesque. Had TONS of very old service station collectibles all over the place. I would like to have stopped & taken a picture, but I felt like someone somewhere was pointing a gun at me. We didn’t see or hear a soul. (Maybe they were all at the funeral up the road.)

On another two rut road we saw a sort of turn-in where Ian thought he saw tombstones. I turned in on what was just a path (no ruts) in the woods. No stones. I kept going (optimist that I am) and came out in a large grassy clearing with a very large mobile home. I pulled up to it and a teenage girl came out smiling. As I was starting to tell her I was very lost, her mama comes around the back corner of the house, arms folded over chest, accompanied by two big black dogs, saying very sternly, "You better have a good reason for being back up in here."

"Yes, ma’am. I’m very lost. I’m looking for the Jeremiah Jones family cemetery." Smiling big. My 19 years in a school office where the parents got bolder, meaner, ruder, and more irate with each passing year was really paying off.

"I ain’t never heard of it," she barked.

"Ohhhh, well [disappointedly] if you’ll just tell me the best way to get back to Begonia Road, I’ll be out of here," thinking that surely they didn’t get to & fro this lovely trailer through those woods.

"Just go back up ‘ere through ‘em woods where you come in, where you had no bidness being, and take that two rut road right back to Begonia Road."

"Yes, ma’am. Thank you soooooo much. And God less y’all."

Ian & I hightailed it outta there! I really didn’t get too nervous ‘til we were back to Begonia Rd., whereupon I had to pay close attention to my driving not to have a full fledged panic attack! We made a pledge right then and there: no more two rut roads unless I know exactly where I’m going AND the folks around there know I’m coming!