Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - October 20, 2009

Charles Franklin and Della Mae [Morris] Jones

Della Mae Morris Jones
1897-1977

Back in my youth, I married a young man when I was but 16 years old. We were married for 15 tumultuous years. But throughout those years, we had five wonderful children.

During the first years of our marriage, I fell in love with that young man's grandmother, Grandma Jones. Della Mae Morris Jones was born on July 4, 1897. Just one month and one day after my own grandmother Bean. And on the 4th of July no less! So her birthdate is forever etched in my mind! [Today my daughter-in-law's birthdate falls on that day!]

Grandma Jones was the 7th born child [out of 11] born to Andrew Lewis Morris and Lucinda L. Caldwell. Those 11 children were: Martha A. [b. 1879]; John H. [1879-1946] - yes they were twins!; Walter Lee [b. 1883]; Ada F. [b. 1890]; Andrew Lewis Jr. [1892-1972]; Archibald [b.1894]; Della Mae; James E. [1899-1982]; Ernest [b. 1903]; Birdie [1893-1925]; and Lilia [b. 1906].

Grandma married Charles Franklin Jones, about 1930, [she never would tell me exactly when, and I have been unable to locate the couple's marriage record]. The couple had four children: Mary Lillian [1932-2002] and her twin brother, Frank [1932-1985]; Louise Virginia [b. 1936] and Lucy Velva [b.1934].

It is important to note that for two generations in a row [at least], there are twins born in this particular line. Because, Mary Lillian was my mother-in-law.

Mary married Elmer Lewis Adwell [1933-1995] in 1955. They had 3 children: Andy [b. 1956]; Lillian [b. 1957] and Della [b. 1964]. And here the surge twins halted.

That is, the twins halted until Andy and I were married! In November 1980, while living in Germany, we joined the family history with having twins! Yes, David and Deborah were born!
So far, we seem to be the only ones from our generation that had twins of the many lines coming from the Morris family. And so far, my own children have not carried that "tradition" on.

The really interesting thing, is that Grandma Jones once told me that before she gave birth to her twins, Mary and Frank, she miscarried a pregnancy that was triplets! Thankfully, that never became a family "tradition"!

Grandma Jones was a sweet, old, mountain woman. She lived in a ramshackle old house, that literally fell down shortly after her death. The winter's wind whistled through it's cracks while she lived. Her bed sat in a corner of the living room, next to an old log burning stove. The kitchen floor, once solid, wood, had decayed and crumbled to the ground, and the family had simply put indoor/outdoor carpet over it. A huge wood-burning stove cooked many a delicious meal in it's center. The attic was split into 2 separate dormers, and the family all slept there. There was one designated bedroom. But after Grandpa Jones had died in 1958, that room was shut off and locked. Grandma allowed no one to enter "the room". When she passed away, Mary and I went in. I wasn't comfortable entering it. There was a huge old steamer trunk, that was filled with old Confederate money. At one time, someone had been quite wealthy before Confederate currency lost its value following the Civil War. I suppose that money went to one of the daughters. And there was a lock box, which when Mary opened, held several thousands of dollars. [Not a fortune, but enough to pay for a beautiful funeral for Grandma, and to build a small, but comfortable house for Mary and Elmer who had lived with Grandma taking care of her their entire married life.]

Andy joined the military in January of 1977. Grandma was sick when he left for Basic Training in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Before his training could even begin, Grandma died quietly in her sleep.

A wake was held in her home. Her coffin sat on a bier in the corner of the living room where her bed had stood. Mourners sat up with her body all night long before she was buried. It was a freezing cold day, and the undertakers had to dynamite open her grave for a proper burial.

Grandma was buried beside Grandpa in a small cemetery located in the mountains in Glace, West Virginia. At the time, only dirt roads led to and from the small community. The little gated cemetery is easily overlooked, even today. Dowdy Cemetery sits just above the Hylton Church and across the road from it.

They lie in similar repose to how they once lived. Quiet. Simple.

While my marriage did not last to Grandma Jones' grandson, her memory lingers on.

Good people. Gone....but not forgotten.

1 comment:

Sherry said...

Great blog post. Very Interesting, and written in such a loving way. I enjoyed reading about your family, and wondered if there was any link to my Jones' family, though I know the chances are slim.