Sometimes the things you inherit from your ancestors are not only photos and letters and documents. Sometimes you get pieces of them!
Charles Council Bailey, my great-grandfather, was born in 1868 in Hackett, Sebastian County, Arkansas, on a farm his grandparents had purchased in 1840 (more about that another time).
Charlie Bailey worked the farm, worked as a carpenter framing houses, and in his spare time wrote and collected songs by the dozens. I have stacks and stacks of songs that he wrote out on notebook paper. I’m still working to figure out which ones he copied and which ones he wrote.
In September, 1895, he married Viola Tennison in Le Flore County, Indian Territories (now Oklahoma). Charlie and Viola had ten children, starting with Carl Everett Bailey in 1896 and ending my with my grandmother, Susan Louise Bailey in 1919.
Along the way, Charlie must have had some dental issues and got a tooth fitted. After he died, and after Viola died, his small trunk with many of his prized possessions ended up with my cousin, Michael Bailey, who gave it to me. In addition to photos, songs, and the like, in it were several pairs of glasses and this – the tooth. I can only assume that it belonged to him and not someone else.
Charles died in 1935 and was buried in the Vinita Cemetery in Hackett, on land that his family had donated may years before for that purpose.
So now, on my shelf with my grandparents watches and great-grandparents clock and photos and the like is a tooth. But, without this story, who would know that it was an ancestor’s story and not just some weird collection on my shelf!