My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY'S PHOTO - Thanksgiving at the Flemming Home 1942

Thanksgiving 1942
Every Thanksgiving the family of Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955) and Pearl Alphonsine Horst (1884-1961) would gather at their home on Birmingham's southside to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner together. Harry, my great-grandfather, would have had a turkey tied up to a stake in his backyard for a few days, and Pearl would cook the feast for all to enjoy. Along with the turkey the meal included oyster dressing, rice and gravy (for those non-dressing-eaters), ambrosia and mince pie for dessert.

The Women of the Family
Front (L-R) - "Grandmother", Susie, Frederica Flemming;
Back - Margaret, Pearl, ODee, Ann
Harry and Pearl had eight children, all born in their home in Birmingham. Their children were Pearl Alphonsine, born March 11, 1907; Susan Elizabeth "Susie", my grandmother, born August 23, 1909; Odalie Felice "ODee", born June 22 1911; Harry Clinton, Jr., born September 25, 1913; Charles Frederick, born January 6, 1916; John Edward "Jack", born April 8, 1918; Margaret Mary, born October 11, 1920; and Ann Marie, born December 23, 1923.

The Men of the Family
Front (L-R) Bill Barriger, Charles;
Back - Frank Selman, "Granddaddy, Jack, Huber O'Donnell,
Harry , George Daly

In 1926 oldest child Pearl got married, and by the following Thanksgiving Pearl and her new husband brought their baby, Pearl Elizabeth "Betty" Barriger (1927-2006), the first grandchild of Harry and Pearl, to the family's gathering. As the years passed the number of grandchildren grew and soon numbered thirty-two - 16 boys and 16 girls, born between 1927 and 1962. Two of Harry and Pearl's sons, Jack and Charles, enlisted and served overseas during World War II. All eight children married and almost all of the children and their families settled in Birmingham - all except daughter ODee. She moved with her husband to Metarie, Louisiana. She came home to visit, along with her children, as often as she could, especially during the holidays.

"Granddaddy" Harry would always be requested to show the grandchildren the turkey tied up in the backyard as Thanksgiving day approached, still alive and awaiting his fate. Of course this was something the grandchildren were intrigued with when they were young.  Eventually Pearl bought her turkey already dead and plucked clean from the grocery store, no doubt making dinner preparation easier once the number of family members continued to increase.
Grandchildren: (left to right) Front - Billy D., Harriet O'D.;
Second Row - Buddy D., Harry F. III, Barbara O'D., Dolly D., Jackie D.. (in arms);
Back Row - Mary Sue O'D., Huber O'D., Dot B., Betty B.
When it was time to eat all the adults present, as many as eighteen when everyone was home, ate at the big table in the family dining room. In the living room a table would be set up for the children to eat their meals. After dinner, the children played in the front yard while the grownups talked inside. Then they would often gather the entire family together and take a picture to remember the day.
Harry died in May of 1955, shortly after celebrating his and Pearl's 49th wedding anniversary. Pearl continued living in their home and celebrating the holidays with her family. Daughter Margaret, her husband and their five young children continued to live with Pearl until her death in September 1961, just a month before I was born. At the time, along with her eight children and thirty-two grandchildren, Pearl was survived by thirteen great-grandchildren, two more on the way (including me). Eventually the number of great-grandchildren of Harry and Pearl would total 64 in all. Thanksgiving continues to be celebrated at the home of Harry and Pearl by their descendants.

I hope Thanksgiving 2011 is a happy one for you and your family, as you enjoy dinner together and make new memories! And don't forget to take that family picture together, one that your descendants will be able to look back on 60 years later, and treasure, too!

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful stories. Thank you. Dot married my Dad, Austin Murray Cahill Jr.