Tom Selleck Or My Great-Great-Great Grandfather

HWC Folk and His Famiily, ca 1876

At a glance, most Americans or those familiar with American television and film stars might think the older man in this photo was actor Tom Selleck all dressed up for his next movie role. I saw the likeness the first time I came across this photograph of my great-great-great-grandfather, Henry William Capers Folk with his family.

The younger boys on the right and left sides of the photo became physicians like their father, HWC Folk, the Tom Selleck look-alike. The boy to the right of his mother, grew up to be my great-great grandfather, William Nicholas Hemeter Folk who is also the adult male you see in the image below. Standing at his knee is my great-grandfather, William Obed Folk.

Mahala Clementine & William Nicholas Hermeter Folk With Their Children, Mikellah & William Obed, ca 1899

Willam Obed, grew up to marry Annie Claire Mattox, my great-grandmother pictured below. I still have a few gifts she gave me when I was a little girl and some of my earliest memories are being small enough to walk under her heavy oak (I think) table in a darkish dining room.

I wish I had known her when she was a young woman or could find more stories about her now. She looks so sure of herself in the image below. I think she looks like she’s smiling with her eyes even though her mouth is set in a straight line. She’s got a sassy look about her that I like.

I do know that she had an interesting history prior to meeting and marrying my great-grandfather and it was very unusual for the time. She had a first marriage that was annulled according to my mother’s research although I had always heard she was divorced. For the daughter of a Primitive Baptist Minister and a woman born in 1879, I’m sure either would have caused a bit of a scandal.

Annie Claire Mattox

Annie Claire and William Obed had three children, one being my great-aunt, who was christened William Michael Folk, a name which evolved into Wylly Folk with the addition of St. John after her marriage. The baby below with ” Willy Mike ” as they called her, is my grandfather, Walton Obed Folk.

Walton, Wylly & Minnie (Her Doll)

Walton as a baby with older sister, Willy Mike.

Here you see my grandfather, Walton with my great-aunt Wylly and their baby brother, my great-uncle Johnny. ( Photo was hand colored by my sister Margaret )

My great-grandfather, William Folk with his boys, Johnny and Walton around 1928.

My grandfather Walton grew up to marry Elizabeth Procter shown in the photo from the 40s above.

Their only child was my mother, Elizabeth Judith who was born in 1940 and is shown here with her father, Walton.

She married my father, Gene Harper in December of 1959.

Gene & Judy Harper With Daughter, Elizabeth - 1960

Nine months later I was born. That’s me, Elizabeth Elwyn Harper when I was about 12 weeks old. You can find out interesting things when you spend time searching through your family history.

I had always thought I was the fourth Elizabeth in a row in my family, but it turns out my great-grandmother Bess Proctor was not an Elizabeth after all, but a Bessie making me only the third Elizabeth and not the fourth as I have always said when telling stories about my family history.

What about you, have you ever discovered some bit of family history that you’d thought was true that actually was different from what you’d always believed?

 

Finding The Roots In Our Stories

Seventeen years ago, my husband’s mother died. She had not been in the best of health, but still her death was unexpected when it occurred. It happened fast. She had put a bunch of cut branches from a twisted willow tree in her garden into a vase of water to use in a floral arrangement not long before she went into the hospital. The cuttings were still in the vase with almost no water left around the new roots when my husband John noticed them a few weeks after her funeral while stopping by to check on his dad. He picked up a handful on his way out and took them home to plant around his house. Over the last seventeen years, he’s moved five different times and always taken a few cuttings grown from the original twisted willow while leaving the the larger plants behind in the ground for the new homeowners.

I loved the twisted willow that John planted in the garden here, at first because it was so pretty, and even more after he told me the story of how bits of it had moved with him over the years. My grandmother was always picking up cuttings or passing them on and the story he told reminded me of her and how she would pinch off a piece of something I’d admired and send me off with directions on how to make it grow.

Last summer I met Sarah online when she left a comment on this blog post. Later on when she and her sister Suzanne came to Cornwall on holiday, we had a chance to meet in person. Earlier this week Sarah sent me the picture below after reading my blog post here. It is a piece of twisted willow that I gave her when they were here last summer.

She planted it in a pot and now it has new roots and another story to go with it should she pass a cutting on to someone else. Sarah can tell them about her American friend that she met online because of cows and caution and how she brought home a bigger memory than just a walk through the buttercup field with her sister Suzanne and their new friend Elizabeth who kept them late that day because she had one last story to share about John, and his mother, and the twisted willow.

Suzanne, Sarah, & Elizabeth 2009

 

Hello Dollies – The Taste Of Christmas

If we are friends on Facebook, you probably know I have been in a modest panic over the last few days because I could not find pecans, a key ingredient in four of the must have treats for my Christmas dinner. Okay…maybe the Hello Dollies aren’t exactly required to make dinner complete, but I had to have pecans for my sweet potato casserole in addition to a special cranberry salad, a cheese ball, and a pumpkin pecan pie all of which must have pecans to make them properly. So you can see why I was beginning to send out SOS messages to the community. Tina, my running buddy answered the call with a shop that still had them and John picked up a couple of bags yesterday just in time for me to make some of the tasty sweets to send off to Jersey to his daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, Jersey Girl.

After Judy Harper asked for the recipe and Cindy a friend from high school expressed an interest, I thought I would share both the recipe and a view of my putting it to all together this morning. I have to say that while I finally got my hands on some pecans, there were no graham cracker crumbs to be found and I had to substitute something used for crumbles here. I was skeptical at first, but I think it really adds to the overall taste of the Hello Dollies so it gets my vote for a positive change to an old favorite.

This recipe is part of a collection of family favorites that my step-mom Cullene put together for me on recipe cards a few years ago.

As you can see by the picture above, I have a bag of honey roasted cashew nuts and peanuts that I tried in this recipe too. I made one half with pecans and the other with the mix above. The slightly salty sweet taste of the honey roast made for a taste change I liked.

A problem with cooking here and using local ingredients for my recipes from home is the need to translate measurements. Take the Jersey butter above. That butter package is 250 grams. My recipe calls for 1/2 cup. See what I mean. These cookies should take about 10 minutes to put together, but making a special dish here for the first time can take a bit longer than normal and it can require an extra kitchen aid to help with the conversions. ( note my laptop bottom right )

Butter and crumble mix and molded into bottom of dish to form a base crust.

Then you add chocolate chips and nuts. I prefer a little less chocolate in mine.

The sweet glue that makes it all one chewy mixture goes on after the coconut flakes.

Pop it in the oven until it looks like the picture below. Some people prefer it a bit lighter in color with less oven time, but I like mine chewy. Just be careful not to burn the bottom. I would watch them when they start to get close to being done.

The finished product.

Ready for taste testing … Mmm.

A Room Of One’s Own – Week 9 & 10 – Update

I skipped last week’s update so I wanted to post a few pictures or “piccies” as they are frequently called here. Brits seem to have fondness for adding “ies” to words I wouldn’t normally consider changing in this way, such as rellies for relatives and wellies for Wellingtons the rubber boots we sometimes wear on our walks. Putting the language lesson aside for now, let me show you what John has been working on over the last two weeks.

When I posted the last update the new master bath still looked like this.

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The pictures below show the most recent developments and how close it is to completion.

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John tiled everything including the window ledge and all around.

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Thankfully, this shower is larger than the current one in the family bathroom which has a shower and a separate tub.

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These are typical shower fixtures for here where you can control the temperature independently from the water pressure. I still haven’t mastered this very well yet and ouch can be frequently heard when I’m washing up. I will not have this kind in my tub/shower combination.

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The wall is tiled even into the exit where the door will be into the master bedroom.

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Testing the toilet and sink placement… (not permanent yet) the hardwood floor will go down first.

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View of the layout from the shower (No wasted space)

In addition to all of this work, John painted part of the outside of the house (The master bedroom and ceiling multiple times to get a good coat of white.) and began knocking out parts of the fireplace so he can install a small woodburning stove. The one below is the one we’ll have in a few weeks. These are cute little mini ones compared to the ones I’m used to in America. I’m still deciding on paint colors and what I’ll need in the way of furniture. I’ve made some decicions, but this post is running a bit long so I’ll share that with you later.

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