I think I mentioned several years ago in a blog I wrote as well as telling others about my trip to Marshall Texas; My cousins Lorraine, Bernadine and Carol drove me up from Houston to go to St John’s Baptist Church Cemetery and for that I am eternally grateful. We had a fun ride, and the weather was really nice.
I had identified the area where my great grandfather’s grave was supposed to be. Right in back of the church near the fence I was told. I went through the fence and walked to the other side of the cemetery until I spotted a headstone. Aha, as I bent over, this had to be it! Faintly I saw Joseph Taylor etched in the stone.
I took out my camera and took a picture.
I looked over to the next headstone and wondered if that was my great grandmother Francis. The headstones were so faded and I had nothing to clean them with. They looked like old moldy grass and other elements over time.
I looked over to my left and saw two broken stones.
Gosh, have I stumbled upon Mariah’s grave?????
I was swelling with emotion and stood there for a bit until I felt a tingling. Hmmm maybe in my excitement I was tingling from head to toe.
Then it hit me. I looked down and saw a dirt mound. Then another mound and what looked like a million ants.
Now on to my ant drama!
They were everywhere………………Everywhere on both feet, all through my toes and traveling up my calves.
My feet were covered! I started to jump, stomp, slap and run……
Did I cuss? Oh yeah I did. You should have seen me, heard me and prayed for me.
Those ants tore me up!!!
I guess I ran out of there so fast that the stings did not have time to turn into a hospital visit. My cousins I know felt sorry for me underneath their giggles.
Time to head out but I promised myself I would be back one day armed with boots, ant spray and something to clean the headstones with.
When I left Texas I looked at the picture I had taken of the headstone. It was fuzzy and I could not make out the writing on it. I expanded the picture to see if I could get a glimpse but still nada. I was rather sad and promised myself again that I would come back to Texas and take another picture.
Speed up the years: The Ladies
A couple friends and I have a unique bond even though we are miles and miles apart. I was thinking about how the three of us are looking for our ancestors and jokingly we figure they are hiding out together and don’t want to be found.
I have only found my elusive Mariah in the 1900 and 1910 census; Cecelia is looking for her Mozelle and Shelley, her Nellie.
I was thinking how we have been searching and searching and jotted down a few words that turned into a full blown half Ode, half poem and half plea.
Here is a short excerpt:
ODE A’LA Mariah, Mozelle and Nellie:
Forget about setting music to this ode
The songs that are sung are pages we unfold
Gently taking care looking line by line
The rhymes we are settling for
Are taking its time
Mariah and Mozelle are Texan born we think
But are they?
No singing about the Yellow Rose
Nellie is on the run
Catching up with Mariah and Mozelle
Down by the old Mill Stream
Or so it seems
The next day, I got an email from Lynda, my long time Mentor. I latched on to her years and years ago whether she approved or not. Her help and advice to me has been immeasurable.
Her email started, “I was just browsing some records in Harrison County and found a tombstone” Whoa now wait a minute, a tombstone! Then a follow up email with Oops, I forgot the link!
When I clicked on that link I almost spilled every tear in the universe and made my own private ocean.
There plain as day was my elusive Mariah's tombstone.
Mariah Taylor, wife of Lawrence Taylor
Born Dec 18, 1854
Died Jan 29, 1916
and also the tombstone of her husband Lawrence.
Illegible birth date and day of death
Ok now I have Joseph my great grandfather’s tombstone. All I need is my great grandmothers.
So the first thing I did after composing myself is to look for Frances Dickerson Taylor and I would be complete.
I found it with a write up that I had written somewhere else but had not put it on this site. I had never ever seen this tombstone!
But my Jesus that was alright with me.
Looking on the page was another picture. Now wait a minute, there was another tombstone right next to hers. Who in the world could it be?
I tried several other Taylor’s until I clicked on Joseph’s name and there plain as day was the same tombstone as the other picture, along with a single one.
My great grandfather’s tombstone!
Holy Smokes, wait a second. Whose tombstone was that I have for Joseph? I swear when I took that picture years ago and clicked that camera it said Joseph Taylor.
That’s when I got attacked by the ants. I was in the wrong freaking spot.
You told me Mariah, you told me in your own unique way. I forgive you for sic’ing the ants on me, and thanks for the nudge you gave Lynda to browse around.
Now, whose tombstone was that I was taking pictures of?
I do have a request though and I hope Mariah hears me.
Be gentle when I find you in the 1870 and 1880 Federal Census please. No more ant tricks and I promise I will only cry a small river.