Friday, August 7, 2009

Favorite Family Foto Friday

Welcome to Favorite Family Foto Friday! This weekly meme is hosted by Deborah at Pictures, Pots, Pens. Be sure to stop by and check out her FFFF exhibit and find others who are participating as well.

After my extended absence from this weekly meme, I am excited to be back and return to my family story!

Nellie Jane Atkinson
ca. 1900

This is my great-grandmother, mother of my paternal grandmother, Nellie Jane Atkinson. Nellie is the daughter of David James Atkinson and Elizabeth Rachel (Jane) Smith. Nellie was born on 29 March, 1881 in rural McNairy County, TN. She was the sixth of eight children. Nellie was always a sickly child, although no one was ever quite sure why. I have found no explanations for her weakness or frequent illness.

Ernest Newland with Nellie Atkinson-Newland
ca. 1905
On 15 January, 1915, Nellie Jane Atkinson married Ernest Newland in the home of her father, Reverend David James Atkinson, in Hardeman County, TN. By this time, the once weak and sickly Nellie had blossomed into a quite lovely young woman. Ernest was a man of small stature and great temper. According to my grandmother, he had a classic Germanic temperament! I don't mean to be offensive to anyone, but that is how she described her father! Actually, her words were "He was a mad German"!!!!

(L-R) Nellie Atkinson-Newland, Ollie Atkinson, Susie Atkinson-Morphis
Spring, 1915

Ernest and Nellie had six children, including a set of twin daughters, of which my grandmother was one. The above picture was taken in the Spring of 1915 prior to the birth of their youngest child, a son born in June, 1915. The picture is Nellie with her younger sisters Ollie and Susie.

Nellie died on 27 March, 1918 at her home near Pocahontas in rural Hardeman County, TN. She died of complications of the flu and was one of the earlier deaths attributed to that epidemic. The problems which had caused her so many health issue during her early life had come back after she began bearing children. Once the doctor diagnosed flu, he predicted she would die within the day, which she did. She is buried in a small cemetery in rural McNairy County, TN, which is no longer well kept or easily accessible other than by off road vehicles.

At the time of her death, Nellie left behind eleven year old J. C., nine year old Melvin, six year old twins Ilene and Vilene, Mildred who turned five on the day of her mother's death and baby Ralph (Buster) who was almost 3. Her sister Susie, stepped in to help out with the children. She and her husband hand been unable to have children and were more than happy to help.

My grandmother had many wonderful memories of the years with Aunt Susie and Uncle Joe. Her memories of her own father were much less pleasant and involved physical and emotional abuse on a regular basis. She had few memories of her mother, but did remember her to be a very soft spoken woman who loved her children with great devotion.


Constance said...

I LOVE reading the family history's in your blog post. I hope to resume my Genealogy Blog in the Fall when life settles once again into it's familiar rhythm.

My Omi (German Maternal Grandmother) had a sister who had twin boys. She died when they were 6 and one of her younger sisters married the man and raised the boys. They never had any children together. The boys grew up to be an Opera Singer and the other a Concert Pianist. Sadly the Opera Singer was killed when the Opera House was bombed and the Pianist, who had been drafted into the German Army, died in Stalingrad during the brutal Winter.

So sad... My Mother still wonders what life would have been like had all of these people not died because of Hitler's insanity!


Grandma L said...

Very interesting reading from you Diane and also Constance. I love all the stories of how life was many years ago.

Angela said...

I too just love all of your old family pictures with the stories about them. I sure wish that I knew more about some of my ancestors than their birth dates and death dates.

I'm not offended by the German remarks! lol My husband worked for some Germans and it did sound like they were cussing at each other when they talked to eachother in the German language! hehehe They knew it too! We had talked about that.

Have a Great Weekend!

Pam said...

Lol about the German remarks. My husband's side of the family is German. Bryan's grandfather and uncle are named Fritz!
Bryan is the most easy going guy ever, but his uncle could easily fit the mad German description.

Heidi Pocketbook said...

I always enjoy seeing and reading about your ancestors, Diane. I'm of German decent and the remark didn't bother me a bit. How sad that your aunt didn't live to raise her children.