Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

SPESS FAMILY MINUS CAROL

Family Tree and History

6 Comments

Ever hear the saying, “What goes around comes around?” Usually when I hear it, someone is threatening someone else. (The threatenee is often me.) “It’ll come back and bite you on the hinny.”

But not always. Sometimes, it’s family history.

I think I’ve mentioned I’m climbing the Family Tree. Wow. Want to get confused, just start that little project! But it’s interesting. I’ve “met” a bunch of shirttail relatives through it. And most of them know way more about my family than I do! :)

SPESS FAMILY MINUS CAROLMeet Ray and Ruby Spess, my dad’s parents. They’re standing in front of their first home with their two oldest children, Frank and Paul.

What I love best about this picture is probably what Grandmother hated. See? On the left hand side of the photo? Her laundry is hanging on the line. :)

Seeing Uncle Frank look like a shy little boy is pretty cool, too. ;)

Their house was built on land in the Basin, which Granddad’s father got in the land run of 1893, the opening of the Cherokee Strip.

family-spessThe mustached man with the hat is my great-granddad, who made the run. On his right (with one hand on her hip) is his wife, Louisa. One of the two little girls in front of him is my granddad (the one on the left) and the other is his twin sister.

Message to my kiddos–I love family pictures for a reason! It’s genetic!!!

Anyway, the picture is almost the entire family of ten kids–only one person missing.

I believe the reason one person is missing from this pic is that Granddad had a brother named Theodore who died the year Granddad was born (at least that’s what I found on another tree) so it’s likely Theo that’s missing.

The house was probably built out of lumber milled at Grandmother’s grandfather’s lumber mill, there in the Basin.

One more picture–dad and sparkyThat’s Dad riding Sparky. Now look behind him. See that barn? Even after my grandparents moved into Old ‘Ford, they farmed in the Basin. They had a sow and her piglets living in that barn. This particular year, they raised a bumper crop of corn and stored that corn in the loft of the barn.

As I said, the corn was a bumper crop. And one morning they got to the farm and found  . . . you’re ahead of me, aren’t you?

Yep. You guessed it. That barn loft cratered under the weight of the corn and buried the sow and her babies.

Did it kill the pigs?

Nope.

Did they let the sow eat her way out?

Nope, again.

They rescued the pigs, and stored the corn someplace else.

Now back to going and coming around.

Fast forward to 2014–just about 110 years after that family picture was taken. My dad (the kid on the horse) lives very near where that family picture was taken, and not far from where Grandmother and Granddad had their first house, where the sow was buried in the corn.

Today, Dad raises a huge garden that gets bigger every year. He has chickens, raises his own beef (Brother Jeffrey’s bailiwick) and now he’s planning to get a sow and start raising his own pork.

Sounds a whole lot like what his grandfather must have done to get his family raised, even though Dad never knew that grandfather.

I love it that he’s repeating history that way.

Have you studied your family tree? Any surprises pop up for you?

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Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

6 thoughts on “Family Tree and History

  1. I think I’ve told you this before but I think Shane looks sooo much like your dad at that age. I would love to have a copy of those pics of the grandparents to show Shane and the siblings and frame them. Has PaPa Frank seen that one of him? I’m sure he has!

    • I have my dad’s senior picture framed and one of the relatives saw it one day at my house and said, “We should give that to Rozella.”
      I asked why and she said, “Well, Gary is her son!”
      I just laughed out loud. “That’s my daddy, not Gary.”
      Guess they all got good genes! :)
      I’d love for you to save the picture to your computer and print it out or save it to a thumb drive and take it to Walmart. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
      Thanks for coming by, Jill! Hope you’ll come back again!

  2. Hi Susan! I have traced all sides of our families and found some very interesting information! I’ve been through hundreds of pictures and lots of tree branches! I wish I could spend every day researching!

  3. I really enjoyed you article. I was glad to download a copy of the pics also! Ruby was a lovely young woman . When you mentioned Grandmother’s granddad, did you mean Ruby’s granddad owned a lumber mill? If so, I would love to know all about that!

I'm so glad you dropped by my Small Town World! Hope you'll leave a comment. I really enjoy hearing from you!

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