This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This week’s prompt is Reunion. To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.
I grew up attending the Johnston Family Reunion most summers. It was always held at the Ogden High School cafeteria in Liddieville, Louisiana, on the fourth Saturday of July. About 100 descendants of William Silas Johnston and Amarentha “Alma” Smart usually attended back in the 1990s. It was at the 1992 reunion that I met Agnes McWeeny Johnston, wife of Roy Johnston, who researched our Johnston family origins.
Before Agnes’s research, I’m not sure if our Horne family understood how we connected with the Johnstons. We seemed to attend because Martille McKaskle Johnston, wife of Andrew Johnston who was the son of William Silas and Alma, was my grandmother Ethel’s maternal aunt. My grandmother lived with “Uncle Ander” and “Aunt Till” for a short time after her mother died, and in the absence of grandparents, they became important family members for my dad and his sisters. But Agnes’s research showed us that the Horne and Johnston families were intertwined since the 1860s. One of these connections was Harriett Johnston, my 2x-great-grandmother.
This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This week’s prompt is Independent. To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.
To celebrate Independence Day, this week’s prompt is “independent” — very fitting! As I contemplated this week’s post, I also learned my Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) application was approved effective July 5. So to celebrate both occasions, I’m profiling my patriot ancestor and 7x-great-grandfather Thomas Hendry. His service is the reason I am eligible for DAR, and his family’s sacrifices benefited their community during the American Revolution.
This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This week’s prompt is Legend. To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.
A legend is a traditional story regarded as historical but is unauthenticated. I have a family legend I’d love to prove — the supposed murder of my great-grandfather John Thomas Horne by his step-father William Silas Johnston.
This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This week’s prompt is Earliest. To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.
My mother’s paternal line are Smiths — the most common surname in the United States. Researching Smiths can be challenging, but I’ve traced my line to the mid-1700s. The earliest Smith ancestor I’ve proven is my 6x-great-grandfather Nathan Smith.
This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This week’s prompt is Dear Diary. To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.
I haven’t discovered a diary written by any of my ancestors; however, I have long-enjoyed reading the journal of Rev. Alanson Wood Moore. Moore was an attorney and Methodist circuit rider in Franklin Parish, Louisiana. His transcribed and published diaries span the years of 1889 to 1908.
I’ve only discovered two or three distant cousins in Wood’s diaries, but he mentions my home community of Liddieville often. And — if you think about it — can’t a place be just as important to our identity as an individual ancestor?
My favorite entry Wood made about Liddieville summarizes the community’s Independence Day 1901 celebration:
4th July, 1901, Thursday
This is Independence Day. The pride of the heart of every true American. Barbecue at Liddieville in the “Ogden neighborhood.” It was a success. 27 carcasses barbecued. Sheep, beeves and hogs. 20 barrels of “baker’s bread.” Two ice cream stands where ice cream, lemonade and soda pop were sold. Two pumps supplied the drinking water. There were about 350 people in attendance. Everything went agreeably and pleasantly. Nothing to mar the pleasure of the day except the hot weather. The trees and undergrowth so thick all around that but little air could circulate to cool the sweltering people. Dinner for all and to spare of cakes, pies, custards and such edibles. Much praise is due to the “getters up” and managers of the entertainment. We must not forget the music. For it was faultless. It was rendered by the choir, which was taught and instructed and lead [sic] by Mr. D.C. Chapman, of whom it can be said, “He certainly understands the business and is equal to the emergency.” Dinner over, as many as could get in the church, were entertained by a 35 minutes [sic] lecture on the occasion and the importance of training the mind from infancy, by Rev. A.W. Moore [referring to himself], which was followed by a 20 minutes [sic] lecture on literature by Rev. A.S.J. Neill. The crowd dispersed to their respective homes.¹
The pits may have been level to the ground, similar to the barbecue method pictured above from the 1895 Atlanta Exposition. But I’m especially impressed with the ice cream. It was probably a significant effort to transport ice that far into the country and then churn the cream by hand long enough to freeze — and in such large quantities. Sounds like quite the party!
A month after this Fourth of July celebration, a union of Methodist and Baptists believers formed Beulah Church — and that congregation became Boeuf River Baptist Church (my childhood church) in 1911.² Maybe it all began with this neighborhood barbecue?
¹Barbara Guice Harris Tuttle, ed., The Diaries and Writings of Alanson Wood Moore, Winnsboro, Louisiana, 1889-1908 (Del Rio, Texas : self-published, 1983).