Monday, December 28, 2009

Running out of room

The publisher of my grandmother Edith Wilson Fulford's bible apparently didn't expect she would have such a large family. They only printed room for five children. That itself is unusual because most of the families in the late 1800s and early 1900s had about double that number.

They may not have all lived to adulthood, but most of the families had twice as many children as my parents and four times as many as my wife and I.

In the case of my grandmother she had to write the names and facts about her last two children in the margins of the page. With all the use the bible got from my grandmother, my uncle Gary has just about gotten worn out. Some might say that was fitting. Gary was born sixty years ago today!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday meals

What did our ancestors eat for holiday meals? I wonder if they had some of the memorable experiences we have during attempts to create holiday meals.

None of the family recipes we have are older than our grandparents. My wife just made some really nice looking aprons for her sisters that included some of her grandmother's recipe cards. I can remember her serving Red Velvet Cake every year.

Reading old wills and census records give some idea of what ancestors owned and some of them included food. I have seen bushels of corn, sweet potatoes, goats or head of cattle listed both as assets and bequeaths.

I would guess since most of what we eat for holidays includes locally grown food or at least something that could have been locally grown if we were more diligent in supporting the local farms, the meals would be like ours.

They would have probably served Turkey for Thanksgiving and would have had experiences like we did in our first family Thanksgiving when someone forgot to turn on the oven.

I am sure being in the South they would have had Pecan pie but hopefully not like my Uncle Gary's when he forgot to put in the eggs and sugar and it just had a layer of Karo Syrup with pecans on top.

My grandfather Green grew sweet potatoes in his back yard so I am sure he ate them. He never went to college but I am sure he knew you had to cook them before you tried to mash them, a lesson my niece Rachel learned too late this year.

No, our ancestors may not have had microwaves and shiny blue convection ovens but the end result was probably pretty close to what many of us will share today.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Indian Fighter

My great, great, great grandfather, William Rowell was born in 1791 in South Carolina and moved to what is now Taylor County Florida in the 1820s. This was just a few years after Florida was bought from Spain. He was on the first Florida census taken in 1830.

Most of the territory was inhabited by Native Americans and the new white settlers were not welcomed by them at all. William Rowell enlisted as a private in the Florida Militia in 1836 during the 2nd Florida Indian War and served in several tours and battles around the state. By 1837 he had been promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and had his own Company. The 2nd Florida Indian wars continued from 1835 to 1842, in between conflicts the men returning home to take care of crops and family.
William Rowell was promoted to Captain by 1839 when a New York newspaper printed the following account of one of his encounters with the Indians.

New York American - April 2, 1839 Pages 6-7

Tallahassee - March 20

POSTSCRIPT - We stop the press to tell another tale of Indian fighting, blood and murder. We shall be brief, for we are sick at heart upon even an approach to this subject.

On Monday, while Captain Rowell's company was scouting, they fell in with an old Negro man, who told them that they had just seen Indians and directed the soldiers where they might find them. The scouts charged on and soon came in sight of two Indians, who were quietly seated on a fence and who beckoned the whites in a friendly manner to approach, which the latter did fearlessly, and upon nearing the fence, were fired on by a large party of Indians who were concealed in the hammock, supposed to number from 60 to 70.

Two of Capt. R's company were killed on the spot and two badly wounded. One dead Indian was afterwards found on the ground.

Captain Rowell and his men are said to have fought bravely but had not sufficient force to contend successfully with the foe.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A box of new markers

My girls always enjoyed getting a new box of Crayola markers for school. The marker that arrived in a box at our house this week was not one of the traditional colors.

When we visited Carteret County in October I realized that my ancestor Stephen Fulford lived in the immediate area of the Fulford family cemetery on Piper Lane and he was more than likely buried there along with his son and other family members.

Since there was no grave marker for him I decided to obtain one. I sent in the documentation of his Revolutionary War service and the other papers required of the VA Headstone and Marker Application Process. It only took about six weeks for the marker to arrive.
I don't know if his grave was marked in the past but if so, it has long since disappeared.

Stephen Fulford lived on the Straits in Carteret County North Carolina and spent his entire life on the same piece of land he was born on, his father, grandfather and great grandfather were born on. He was born in 1749 and died in 1834.

He served as a Sergeant in the North Carolina Militia during the Revolutionary War.He also served again during the War of 1812.

The family story is that he was responsible for sinking a British ship during the War of 1812. He swam out to the ship, anchored in the Beaufort, North Carolina harbor and attached an explosive to the hull. I don't know if that story is true or not but he swore to it when he filed a military pension claim. He was 63 years old in 1812 so he must have been in pretty good shape.
Of course the harbor at Beaufort is not very large so maybe he didn't have to swim far. There wasn't room on the marker to put much of his story so that will just have to be something we remember and continue to pass down.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Name Brands

If I am a name brand person then in a way you can blame my uncle Ralph.

Neither of my parents were known for spending money. They both were more than happy to see Wal Mart come to town with it's generic of everything.

I can remember vividly the lesson I learned when I was about 12, spending the summer with Ralph and Lois and we went to the grocery store. He sent me to find a jar of peanut butter. At the time, I was like my niece Gracen, peanut butter was the only sustenance.

I came back with the store brand and put it in the cart. Ralph looked at it and said, casually, if you are going to buy something don't waste your time with that junk, go get the good stuff. I was more than happy to do so.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I think this old picture was from a Thanksgiving meal around 1960. It was taken at my Grandparent's house in Cortez, Florida. We went there for most holidays and since there are no Christmas decorations up it is probably at Thanksgiving.

My Dad is on the left, and my Grandmother Edith Wilson Fulford to his right.