Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman











Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesdays With Rita: Female Ancestors

Last week I went and heard one of my favorite authors and people read from her newest book. Jewell Parker Rhodes has nine books and teaches through the MFA program at ASU. She is such a
wonderful person and so inspiring. My favorite of all her books is "Douglass' Women" about Frederick Douglass.

During her talk Jewell talked about the television show "Who Do You Think You Are?" where Ancestry.com show different celebrities discovering their ancestry. As a long time genealogist I see "problems" with the show but it does have to fit into one hour and they are making it interesting for the average person. That's a good thing. Jewell asked why they don't do "regular people" and then explained that in her and her husband's ancestry is an Andersonville prisoner, a Salem witch, slavery, Irish, Norwegian, and Choctaw Indian.

How's that for a challenge? As I have been working on my Civil War Soldier, Samuel Wilburn, I thought, "Well, maybe I can do a little bit for her. Just for fun." Jewell was elated and we are going to get together after the ASU semester and get started. I can't wait.

Jewell also talked about how our ancestors live through us. That there is a connection for generations back. I absolutely believe this and especially through the women. So I thought I would share some of my women with you.

The baby in this photo is my grandmother, Carrie Amelia Waggoner Wilburn (1893-1952). I never met her. The lady at the top is her mother, Salenia Alzadie Freeman Waggoner (1870-1948) and the lady in them middle is her mother, Sarah M. Jackson Freeman Corbelle (1829-1911). Sarah lived through the Civil War. How different their lives were. Just try to imagine the changes they saw.

This is Mary McFerran Wilburn (1841-1924) who's fiance joined up with the Confederate Army in Arkansas and ended up in the Rock Island Prison Camp in Illinois. He returned and they were married. Lucky for me. Doesn't she look like one spunky lady?

And finally, meet Orpha Ann Collin(g)sworth
Waggoner Boruff (1844-1903) who's first husband, Joseph
Waggoner went away to the Civil War and never came back.

As the nation "celebrates" the 150th Anniversary of the War Between the States it is time to remember the women too. I don't have all the war stories put together but Jewell reminded me that I need to do that. I need to tell about the ancestor who was thrown into the fireplace when Union Soldiers raided her house. I don't know why. Was she trying to save some heirloom or the last of the food for her children? (She did survive.)

I have ancestors on both side of the war and now it's time to try and get their stories told. Do you have war stories in your family?