Yes, this post is a day late. But it’ll be worth it I promise. I went home this weekend and took a 4 hour family history seminar with my grandma. I learned more about my family’s history in the past 200 years than I have in my entire life. But it wasn’t the bulk of information that was presented to me that excited me. As Mr. Hodges told us in class on Friday: “It’s the stories.” I heard story upon story from my grandma about this relative and that relative, and with every story there was a picture or document, making the stories come to life. If I hadn’t consulted my grandparents, I wouldn’t have been able to share how my third great grandfather, Beauford Hervey Nealy Hurt, was a Lieutenant and a musician of the 5th Texas regiment during the American Civil War, was captured at Gettysburg, was forced to walk to Ohio, and held as a POW at Johnson’s Island POW Depot in Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie, Ohio.
I wouldn’t have known that my 3rd great grandmother (different side), Amarada Chandley Sprinkle, was a first grade school teacher in Madison County, NC, or that she invested in my grandmother’s future with her time and love til the day she died. My grandma told me, “She lived to be 92 years old, and she always encouraged me that I could do whatever and be whoever I wanted to in life.” She was awfully talented with her hands: she hand-quilted over a dozen quilts in her lifetime, giving many of them to friends and family, but leaving some to her posterity. My grandma has her old thimbles and two of her beautifully crafted quilts in her house.
These are just a few of the incredible stories I heard this afternoon, and to finish out the day, my grandparents and I went to the Vance Birthplace Cemetery, where many of their recent ancestors are buried. I have photos of more than 10 graves that I am happy to upload to findagrave.com if someone before me hasn’t already. This kind of interaction is the reason I was excited about taking this class, and will probably stick with me for many years to come.