Saturday, November 29, 2008


On Thanksgiving Day, my dad and got into a discussion about our ancestry. We pulled out the ole laptop and started doing a little research. Poor dad got somewhat frustrated because I moved too quickly on the computer (he does not use them), so I slowed way down and we looked up the names of cousins, uncles...etc... I found out my dad's nickname, Bud, is the same as his grandfather's because he looked so much like him. I never knew that before. Anyway, once I got home, I started doing some research on my own, following my direct blood line. My dad's mom's side has quite a bit of info available, but I couldn't locate a lot of info on anyone else. I did trace 2 ancestors back to Germany/Austria and 1 to Ireland on my grandma's side. I also-from a number of years ago when a cousin did some research-knew I had a great x3 grandfather who died fighting in the Civil War and no one knew quite where he's buried. There was some speculation that he was buried at Arlington....which confused me. Did they bury confederate soldiers at a federal cemetary?? Did he fight for the Union?
I decided to concentrate on him and see if I could find out more about him. After 3 days of research and digging I found out:

1.  He was born in Pickens Co, SC in 1825
2.  He was married to Jennie Anderson
3.  He joined the 4th SC infantry  about 1862 and after his year term was up, he, along         with the majority of the 4th SC, joined the  37th Virginia Calvary Co. B and served           under A.C. Earle as a partisan raider-which means they infiltrated enemy lines and
      supplies to stea......umm.. requisition supplies for their own soldiers, and to find 
      intelligence on enemy movements and plans
4.  He was captured in Virginia in 1864 and sent to Camp Chase, Oh, which was a                   POW camp, where he died of pneumonia in 1865
5.  He was buried at Camp Chase Cemetary in Ohio

He was 40 years old at his death and left behind his wife Jennie and at least 5 kids I can find. Jennie never remarried, or I can't find any evidence of it if she did. Her grave is at Oolenoy Church cemetary and she is buried under the name "Jennie Massingill". I plan on riding up to the church and reading some old grave markers, maybe I can learn more.
This has been so interesting!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Revisiting the past

The most traumatic thing that ever happened in my life was the death of my mom. On July 20th, 1966, Mom, Grandpa, me, my sis-Kim and 3 cousins went for a picnic at a spot beside a bridge that was part of Hartwell Lake. We'd been there many times before. I had just turned 7, Kim was 4. Towards the end of the day, mom went for a swim across the narrow channel. She came to the surface and waved at us, then went under again. She never resurfaced. Of course, by the time grandpa realized something was wrong, it was way to late to do anything, even if we'd known where she was. This whole day, the memories, the feelings, the fear and pain are still very clear to me. As a child, I guess everyone wanted to "protect" me & Kim, so we were never allowed to see any info about this. I saw the newspaper article for the 1st time when I was in my late teens, maybe even early 20s. I grew up feeling as if there was some big secret associated with her death and always had lots of questions that I couldn't get answers to.
I was at a family get together last weekend and wound up staying after with my cousin-one of the ones who was there that day-and we got into a discussion about mom and that day. She told me that at the time, they had been told that mom, when she dove down and went to push back up off the bottom, had actually gotten her foot stuck in the remnants of an old bridge and couldn't get loose. I'd never heard this before. She also stated that since we're in a drought and the lake is down 25 feet, she wants to go back to the site and see if she can find any thing there that mom could have gotten caught on and see for herself.  I relayed this info to Kim, who was up for the weekend, and we decided to go, just the 2 of us, and check it out.
It has been years since we've gone there, but we went straight to it.  The river is nothing more than a trickling creek now, probably no more than 6 inches at the deepest. The road and bridge are completely out of the water...weird looking, especially when compared to my memories. We walked down the bank, trying as best we could to remember where we were that day.  We didn't see any old bridge exposed, but we did find some concrete chunks that looked as if they were once part of a road, and we found some planed, rotted old boards. Was that the bridge? Is that's all thats left after 42 years? I dunno. The pain was raw but Kim & I talked a lot, shared a lot while we were there. It's painful still, but it has to be faced-and altho I wasn't sure this was a good idea, I'm glad we did it. At one point, once we located where we believe we were that day, I started taking pics of Kim sitting on a rock, looking back towards the bridge. Then, it hit me like a lead weight. Mom's body was found about 10 feet from the shore in a small crevice, just large enough for a body to fit. Where we were at that moment was 10-12 feet from the bank in the area that she would have been in when she drowned. I mentioned this, so we started looking around. We found a huge granite rock outcropping and below and slightly under was a small crevice that would just be large enough for a smallish body-and mom was small. I felt a jolt go through my body when I realized what we were probably looking at. 
I know this may sound a bit morbid, but it's hard to understand unless you've been involved in the same kind of situation. Maybe we were looking for a connection, maybe for some answers, maybe for more closure. Maybe we were just trying to understand why it happened and how.
Kim, I know you'll read this...I had bizarre dreams all night last night and mom was in them. This bothers me because it tells me that I haven't worked through all my grief. But, realistically, I'm not sure I ever will.  

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Halloween Night

I have a friend who has thrown a Halloween party the last few years. This year, she really didn't want to do that, so she and I held a Murder Mystery Dinner at her house. It was a hoot. If you ever get a chance to attend or be in one, do it! This one was set in 1969 with rock star/music business/hippie types. There were 8 characters and several others who watched. I, of course, was the photographer. I took over 300 pics. Of course, I had to weed thru them and post only the good ones. I use to save, post, share and print my pics and would highly recommend this site to anyone. Anyway, the party was great. We had a good mix of folks and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I did a lot of research on the 60's, to pull up old posters, news articles..etc... and I learned a lot of interesting history, stuff I vaguely remembered so it was fun to learn more about all of it. I have another one of these kits, so will probably do another one in the Spring. It was great fun.