Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Creating a Historical Memory

Recently my family had a reunion at the Blue Ridge Assembly YMCA near Black Mountain, NC.  In planning for this event I wanted to be able to create a memory that the smaller children could take away after it was all over.  My earliest known ancestor, Edward Doty, came to America aboard the Mayflower in 1620 as an apprentice to Stephen Hopkins.   My grandmother, Nora, was a Doty and a direct descendant of Edward Doty.

For the re-union I had a specialty firm make up tote bags with “Pinkerman Family Reunion 2013;” a drawing of the Mayflower under sail; and the words, “Descendants of Edward Doty” and “Mayflower 1620.”  My family provided and hosted the first dinner.   We served a “taste of the South” with Carolina BBQ, a low country boil (corn, potatoes, sausage, and shrimp), key lime pie, pecan pie, and fresh Carolina peaches on ice-cream. 

As a way of educating younger family members about our family history I wrote a 9-minute monologue that my son, Ryan, memorized.   I purchased several Pilgrim hats and bonnets as well as Pilgrim and Indian costumes for some of the grand children.  Following the meal I had our Pilgrims and Indians parade into the dining hall and then I announced a special guest who had traveled all the way from Plymouth, Massachusetts just to be with us.  My son, Ryan, had rented a costume and entered the room to deliver the monologue as Edward Doty.  He told about his experience leaving England for the New World aboard the Mayflower; his being among a handful of men who first set foot on land to seek out a desirable place to settle for that first winter; his participation in the first duel fought in New England; his marriage and the birth of his children; his acquisition of land; and the celebration of the first Thanksgiving in the fall of 1621.  My little grand niece, Riley Jane (age 18 months), was dressed as a little Pilgrim girl.  When my son reached the point in the monologue where he was telling of the birth aboard the Mayflower of the Hopkins’ daughter, Oceanus, Riley Jane went up to him and Ryan swept her up in his arms as if it were on cue.  The costumes and the monologue were a huge hit.  The children lined up to have pictures taken with the Pilgrim hats and bonnets and those in costume posed for photographs as well.   On the last evening of the reunion I had a drawing and gave away the Pilgrim hats, bonnets, costumes, t-shirts, and more.  The small children loved it.  I asked some of the smaller children to actually draw out the names of the winners.  As the drawing was being conducted the children and adults pounded on the tables as if all were doing a drum roll.  Again, the children loved it!

On another evening I led a “Time of Remembrance.”  I read a name of an ancestor who had passed on and then invited those present to share a memory of that person.  I expected the process to take no more than 20 minutes but because so many shared memories the session lasted for over an hour.  My mother shared with those present a memory of the day that her father died when she was just four years old.   Many of the memories shared had never been heard by many of the younger generations.
At the dining tables for each meal I placed “Who am I?” (6 or 7 short stories about our ancestors (living and deceased).  Those seated about the tables collaborated in coming up with answers regarding the persons associated with each story.  It was one more way of sharing family history in a fun way.

The creation of lasting memories is important in families.  Memories can be the glue that cements us into the great puzzle of life and helps give meaning to who we are.   We have to pause in wonder when we reflect that, in a way, we are made up of bits and pieces of all of our ancestors.   In my case, if Edward Doty had not made his way to America aboard the Mayflower; had he not married Faith Clarke; had he and his descendants not had children; I would not be here today.  In a way our family heritage is like a giant tapestry that tells a story.    We all need to be about creating memories and telling our stories. 

**This post was authored by Loren L. Pinkerman, Director

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Library in Jamaica

In my recent travel excursion to Jamaica my heart rate doubled as I was able to capture a picture of this beautiful building….
The Hanover Parish Library.
According to an internet source Hanover did not have an organized library service until 1950 when the Hanover Parish Library was established on premises rented from the Hanover People’s Co-operative Bank on Main Street, Lucea.
Hanover, Jamaica’s smallest parish, was founded in 1723, and is located in Lucea Jamaica.
**This post was written by Lisa Farrow.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Recollections Discovered

            There was a time when Smith Hall, known then as College Home, served as the dwelling for President Rufus Wright Smith and his family as well as student boarders.  “Uncle Rufus” as he was affectionately called, assumed the presidency of LaGrange Female College in 1885, leasing the College from the Methodist Church.  He remained as president until his death in 1915.  During his tenure his wife Oreon and a number of their adult children and their spouses served as faculty members, staff members and officers of administration.   Throughout the years the number of Smith family members actually living in College Home fluctuated, but the sweetness of that time and the closeness of the cousins who lived there together created a loving bond which lasted all of their days.      

            This charming photograph, circa 1904, pictures members of the Smith family on the steps of College Home, renamed for Oreon Mann Smith in 1911.  The identification of Sam and his brother Frank was added years later by Sam Hill himself, whose mother Claire, was the daughter of President and Mrs. Smith.  Following the death of his mother, the then four year old Sam, and his siblings spent a number of years in the care of their beloved aunt, Miss Maidee Smith.   Mr. Hill treasured this photograph and his childhood recollections.

            Isabel Smith Ratliff, daughter of Rev. Hubert M. Smith and granddaughter of Rufus Wright Smith also treasured her memories of those times.  Both her father and mother served as faculty members.  In 1901 after an absence of several years her father returned to the College to teach and history and then to serve as vice president from 1903 until 1908.  Although Mr. Hill was not able to identify the other cousins in the photograph years later when he added the notations, it is quite possible that Isabel, born about 1898, is also pictured.  

            Included in Mr. Hill’s collection of family memorabilia is a copy of his Cousin Isabel’s volume of poetry, While the Iron is Hot.  Published in 1970 and sent to him by Mrs. Ratliff, the book includes several poems based on memories of her early Georgia childhood.  Shortly afterward she also sent copies of “some poems that need polishing up a bit, but may interest you, anyway.”  Among these additional poems recalling the College years is “Bedlam” which captures the essence of that time when the cousins shared their college home.      


Seven little cousins on THE HILL;

Seven little cousins never were still;

Seven had the whooping cough,

And if that wasn’t enough,

They ate seven dozen batty-cakes

And had seven dozen stomach aches.


When their mothers kept them in

There was such a howl and din,

running up and down the hall,

Chasing, racing, playing ball;

Then they whooped like everything,

And, brother, did the welkin ring!


So the uncles and the aunts

Came and tanned their little pants.

The photograph, correspondence from Isabel Smith Ratliff and the gift copy of While the Iron Is Hot which includes handwritten notes by the author were presented to LaGrange College by Patricia Hill Schmidt, daughter of Sam Hill and great-granddaughter of Rufus Wright Smith.

Prepared by:

Visit the Archives to discover for yourself the collection of rich resources which preserve the history of LaGrange College.  Generous and often unexpected donations insure that the collection continues to expand.  Displays on the main floor of Lewis Library and just outside Suber Archives on the ground floor of the Library provide a sampling of our holdings.  Let us know if we can be of assistance. 

Suber Archives and Special Collections

Frank and Laura Lewis Library

LaGrange College

LaGrange, Georgia


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Please Welcome Lindsey Lowry!

Lewis Library is very pleased to announce our new Technology Applications Assistant, Lindsey Lowry. Lindsey is currently completing her MLIS at Florida State and has been working as a public librarian at Peachtree City library. Please welcome Lindsey to our campus!

**This post was authored by Joe Marciniak.