Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fearless Females #11 A Death Too Soon

Thank you to Lisa at The Accidental Genealogist for the great Fearless Females prompts for the month of March. Prompt # 11: Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?

Previously, I had written about my great grandmother Agnes Aurelia Brown Keyes. Today, my topic for ponder is the effect that her untimely death had on my grandmother and possible effects on my mother and her siblings, as well as any residual effects on the current descendants.

My grandmother , named Agnes Laura, was born to Agnes Aurelia and James E. L. Keyes on June 7, 1881. When she was but 7 days old, her mother died, leaving three small children - James A, age 3, Almira Jane, 1 1/2, and baby Agnes Laura. The babe's father nicknamed her "Pet" and called her by that dear name for all of his life.

Raising three young children meant that their father had to have some help, besides the chinese cook and the ranch hands. He called on his wife's older sister, Sarah Ellen Brown, to come and take over the household. Within a couple of years, James E.L and Sarah Ellen were married. They had more six children over the next years.

How the loss of her mother affected my grandmother, Agnes Laura Keyes, I am not sure. She was stoically private, a trait that has been passed on down through the line. Things that I do know, or have been told to me by my mother, are:
Agnes Laura was very close to her maternal grandmother, Sarah Duty Brown.
She never referred to Sarah Ellen as her mother.
She was very close to her father.
She resented having to take care of the younger children.
She did not have a picture of her mother in her treasured picture Album.

As I look at this list, I am no closer to understanding my grandmother's feelings about never knowing her mother than I was when I started. Recently, I found a picture of her mother, Agnes Aurelia, in an album of a younger sister of her mother. I wonder why did she not have a picture of her mother? Were there any pictures of her mother in the house as she was growing up? An amorphous cloud shrouds my grandmother, Agnes Laura, anytime one gets too close to how the real Agnes Laura felt about her personal life. She was cryptic, harsh at times, and let one know only what she wanted them to know.

No answers. Just questions in the clouds.

1 comment:

  1. I think I should try fearless female in my own style. what ever it is.