Monday, September 6, 2010

In Honor of Our Ancestors on Labor Day

What did your ancestors do for a living?

Well, to the best of my knowledge, I can safely go back for five generations, and more, and tell you what my ancestors did.

Let's begin on my mother's side of the family. First, my mother:

Mom started out right after high school by enlisting in the Women's Army Corps.

She met and married my Dad in 1958. For several years, until my baby sister went to school, she was a housewife. Although she did sell Avon, and did a good job of it! [Back then it was literally door to doo, and we often accompanied her as she went from house to house. She was assigned a territory to sell within, and she did well!]

Later she went to work for the Fleet Post Office. First in packing. She packed whatever parts needed to be shipped overseas for the Navy. from small office supplies, to large mechanical gears and the like [this was during the Vietnam War]. But she worked there for a short time before passing the Civil Service test that allowed her to take on a secreterial position in the FPO itself. Then in 1973 we moved from that area to the country. And Mom went back to being a housewife for a few years.

During this time, she went back to school and earned a degree through Liberty Bible Institute in Lynchburg, VA.

She went to work for the County Council on Aging as secretary and bookkeeper to the director.
By 1991 she was named the new Director. She remained in this position until 1995 when illness forced her early retirement.

Her father was

Henry Condar Dreher, Jr.
[While there are many who state the middle name was "Conrad", Grandpa himself addressed this with me in 1974, and he insisted that I never forget... "Conrad is a Communist name! My middle name is Condar!" It was something I will never forget!]

Henry was a carpenter by trade and by hobby. His work, magnificently, remains yet for his family to cherish and treasure! In his later years he took over farm management with great aplomb.

First and foremost, Henry was a scholar. He instilled in me that I was never to stop learning. One should learn something new everyday!!! One of my greatest treasures is an old library dictionary that he owned, ancient and huge! He read from it daily, and learned a new word every day of his life! He insisted on being able to quote an entire definition when learning the new word!

He also was a student, and avid student, of the Scriptures. I have the last Bible he owned and studied from. Its pages are worn. He would sit for hours and pour over the Scriptures. I have never known someone so well versed in the Bible. [At one point in his life, he studied to be a minister, but allowed someone else to change his mind. I don't think he ever got over that decision.]

His father, Henry Condar Dreher, Sr.

...was a machinist and a carpenter as well. He worked in a cigar factory keeping the machines going for many years, in Louisville, KY.

Henry's wife's father, John Benzel

...was a stone mason in Indiana.

Henry's father was an immigrant to this country, a carpenter and farmer, he served during the Civil War for the Northern Army and fought at the Battle of Droop Mountain in Pocahontas County, West Virginia [remember this for in a moment I'll explain why].

Mother's mother

... Irene Banet Dreher, raised her family during the Great Depression and she did whatever was necessary to make enough money to keep her family sound. She took in washing. Papered the homes of the wealthy. At one point she cut the tops out of pine trees to be used for Christmas trees. She would saw the tops off, then hold onto these tops and "ride them down" to the ground! And crocheted and quilted, as well as sewed for her family. She continued to ply her needle, right up until her death in 1989.

Irene's father...

..Francis Isidore Banet was the son of a French immigrant. He was a farmer foremost, and a carpenter second.

My Dad...

... was a career Navy sailor, through and through. He served 22 years in the Navy, retiring in 1975 only because of back problems.

He went on to work for B.F. Goodrich until 1993, when he was forced to retire early due to disability.

His father...

John Monroe Bean, Sr. was an elderly 71 when my Dad came along! [And there are two more younger than my Dad!]
John was a farmer and a merchant. And while he never made his fortune [he was a dreamer that always believed the grass was greener elsewhere,] his family was well cared for, and every one made something special of their lives!

John's father was ...

... William M. Bean, Jr. He began his adult life working as a farmer. Then the war [Civil War] broke out. William played a dual role in the War. First appearing to take part in the Confederacy, and even fighting in the Battle of Droop Mountain in Pocahontas County, WV [ahhhhh... here's the good part!  My great-grandfather Bean and my great-great-grandfather Dreher fought against one another at this famous battle!].
Eventually, William was captured in Maryland and sent to the infamous Elmira Prison in NY. He was there only a short time when he was pulled out by Union Army officials, and sent to Johnston's Island. It appears that dear old great-grandfather was a spy for the Union Army. It was soon reported that a Confederate attempt was going to be made to rescue Confederate officers from Johnston's Island, and it is believed that great-grandfather is the one who reported this. The rescue attempt was thwarted, and those who lead the attempt were executed.
Great-Grandfather became a U.S. Marshall following the War. In 1891 he was shot in the head and died. He was only 58.

William's father...

...William Sr., was a gentleman farmer. He owned vast amounts of land and property, and yes, slaves, in Monroe County, WV. During the Civil War he led a posse of the home guard against a group of theives who were "holed up" in a cabin in Wiseman's Hollow. He was shot from the loft of the cabin when attempting to enter and arrest the group. He was shot in the head. He was 71 years of age. [Father and son died with a bullet to the head while acting in a legal capacity.]

William's wife, Rachel, was a Wiseman by birth. Her father...

... Joseph Wiseman, was a farmer and served during the American Revolution. As was his father...

...Isaac, who also served in the American Revolution...

...in the PA Militia.

My Dad's mother's family were Faudree's.

Great-grandfather, Stephen Ledford Faudree, was a farmer. As was his father...
Richard C. Faudree before him.
Richard's father, Lewis Faudree, was a gentleman farmer from Halifax County, VA who owned a large estate.

And while not my ancestor, but destined to one day be the ancestor of our children's off-spring, and their offspring, and so on, my husband, the Texican,

... served seven years in the U.S. Army as a helicopter mechanic. Later he worked on oil wells. He became a welder by trade. And spent a year in Wyoming working as a hand on a dude ranch! He became the shop foreman for a small mechanical manufacturing operations in Salem, VA for several years. And was a shop foreman for a glass installations shop in Texas for a year. But for the past five years, he went in a totally different direction and has been a truck driver. [I spent the first year on the road with him! It was a blast!!!]

Our ancestors were not wealthy, or famous [they may have been infamous! LOL], but one thing that all have in common, and which the Texican and I have made our life's motto, we do what we have to do to see our family taken care.

If we can teach our children nothing more than the supreme importance of taking care of family, we will have done our job for this life-time.

It's a lesson we learned from those ancestors who came before us.

1 comment:

hummer said...

Wow You have a lot, on your family. Enjoyed the read.