Thursday, January 7, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - January 7, 2010

The above journal is one that was kept by my grandfather, John Monroe Bean, Sr. from Waiteville, Monroe County, West Virginia. It was his farm journal from 1940.

This interesting journal tells us about the prosperity, or lack thereof, of his farming not only for himself, but of the farm he ran for another individual as well.

In 1940 he kept a farm for "Cousin Georgie Minter". Georgia Belle Bruffey Minter [b. 1885] wasn't really a cousin to my grandfather, even though he and she would both have argued that she was! Pay close attention - or I might lose you!.She was the daghter of Roena Porterfield's sister, Margaret. Roena was the wife of Grandpa's brother, William, who had died when only in his 30's. Roena had gone to marry three more times. Each time the relationship between the Porterfield's and the Bean's was brought closer, in tale, by the individuals who knew Roena. Somehow, as in many family tales, Roena's children by her subsequent marriages, and her kinfolk, suddenly became related to the Bean's. Even today when shown there is no familial tie, there are those old-timers who will argue the case, simply because "My grandpa told me we were related!"

Georgia Bruffey Minter was a Methodist minister. She was a traveling evangelist. While I haven't been able to locate her death place as of yet, it is believed she may have died in Ohio, where much of her evenagelism took place. And while she was traveling, my grandpa took care of her old family farm near Hollywood, in Monroe County.

This journal lists the bushels of corn he grew, the lambs he purchased and butchered, and those he sold, the beef he bought for veal, and that he raised for beef and stock and sold. He listed his profits. His gains. And his losses.

Unfortunately, as in most other avenues he dared to venture, John Bean was not a profitable farmer.

He was more of a wandering soul. Never settled in any thing, or any place. Except his family. He was never one to stay long in one home before the wanderlust lead him to another. He was never to stay with one business before being lead to do another. He was a farmer and a merchant. And the grass was forever greener on the other side of the fence. [We all have those individuals in our families, don't we?]

John lead a wonderful paper trail for me to cover. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in December of 1866 at the close of the Civil War, and his family returned here when he was but an infant. As he grew into a man, John kept every receipt he ever received, every bank statement, every cancelled check. A wonderful farm journal. Mercantile journals. Letters. I have been blessed in having been able to scan all of these. My Dad now has the originals. John lived to be an elderly man of 87, nearly 88. His life was full. And he suffered many hardships and loss of many family members. Of his 15 children, 11 survived to grow into adulthood, marry and have children, and live into the old age of their father. Five of those 11 still remain. Two of these are in ther 90's today!

I am blessed to be able to know so very much about this man, who passed from this life 5 years before I was even born. His oral stories of the family he passed on to my Dad, who happened to be born when John was 71, and in his aged years. He would sit for hours and tell my Dad the stories of the family's past.

How blessed I am that the youthful son sat dutifully and listened to those stories! Today's children would have had to run to play video games, or be at sports events! But without any luxuries, my Dad sat by his father's side and listened for hours.

I hope I have recorded most, if not all of the family's stories. I'd hate to lose a single one of them!

I am fortunate, indeed.

1 comment:

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

I love old farm journals! Thank you for sharing the story of this one! Treasure it, forever. Farming was for subsistence anyway...

Keep these ancestor stories coming!

Bill ;-)
Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"