Find a Penny, Pick It Up

My grandfather, Henry Hudson Wren (everyone always called him Hudson, or Mr. Wren), found this penny on his family farm when he was young.  As devoted to his children and grandchildren as he was, Mom tells me that this was a thing he kept for himself and never offered to give to any of them.  After he died, Mom gave it to me.

I am sure that I will spend a lot of time on my grandfather here, but here are the basics.  Hudson was born in 1906 and grew up in Prescott, Nevada County, Arkansas.  He played football for the Prescott Curly Wolves in high school and lettered for three years at the University of Arkansas in the 1920s.  He studied agriculture and went on to be a very successful farmer and leader in northeast Arkansas.

The family farm was on the site of the Battle of Prairie DeAnn, also called the Battle of Moscow Church.  Since the family moved there in around a little before 1920, there were still plenty of artifacts of the skirmish to be found.  My brother has a cannon shell.  My mother has a cannon ball.  And I have a sword that was plowed up on the farm.

Papaw found this penny there when he was a teenager.  It’s not a valuable coin.  It’s beat-up from being in a battle and then in the ground for sixty years.  It’s worn smooth from years in a pocket.  You can’t even tell what year it was minted.  But, it was a special thing to Hudson and he kept it his whole life.  Now, I have it in the little box that he kept it in, wrapped in a little piece of one of his handkerchiefs that he used for it.  And that’s special.

Approved Alternate Uses

This is my great-grandmother Viola Tennison Bailey‘s butter paddle.  Rather than use a churn, she made butter in a big, wooden bowl.  I’m not sure where the bowl is.  I never had it.  Perhaps Dad does.  In any case, using this, Great-grandmother would turn and turn and turn and whip and whip and whip the cream until the butter came together and rose to the top.  Sounds like a lot of work to me!

bailey-0103-f-v00.jpg
Viola Tennison Bailey

 

My grandmother, Susan Louise Bailey Dickson, told me that there were some  approved alternate uses for the butter paddle as well and that it got pretty regular use across the family.

Susan was the youngest of ten children born to Viola and Charles Council Bailey.  Viola and Charles were married in 1895 and lived most of their lives in Hackett, Sebastian County, Arkansas.  They had their first son, Carl Everett Bailey, in 1896.  I’ll talk more about them and  him in later blogs; there’s lots to tell there.  By the time Susan was born in 1919, Viola had been raising children for twenty-five years – eight boys and two girls.  Her oldest had already gone off to war, come back, and died.  Two more sons had died as children or infants.  Not too long after Susan was born, her older sister started having kids of her own.  Some of those kids where quite the characters and I am sure got into all kinds of trouble.  bailey-0200-f-v01.jpg

That’s where the butter paddle comes in.

Grandmother told me that her mom used it not only to make the family butter but also used it on some family butts!  She said that this was one of her preferred discipline tools. Now, seeing this angelic child, can you ever imagine her being in any sort of mischief or needing to be disciplined in any way at all?  Hard to imagine!

This is one of the classic pictures of my grandmother, Susan Louise Bailey Dickson, along with her cow, Blossom.  It’s not often that you see a dirtier child than this.  But out of that dirt grew one of the finest women I have ever met.  She and Granddad were married for sixty-six years and every bit as smitten with each other when they died as when they met.  But, that’s a story for another day.

I laugh every time I see this

Kathleen’s grandmother, Alma Ross Boyle was quite the character.  I never knew her really well since she died not too long after we married, but I always enjoyed being around her.boyle-0050-f-v00-AlmaBowling-2.JPG  Alma was born Alma Beatrice Ross in 1905 in Brockton, Mass.  She had two older sisters, Edna and Rotha.  I get the impression that the three of them were all full of spunk.  I’ll go into their genealogy another day.  But I wanted to share these two pictures today.

One thing I remember about Alma is that she loved to bowl.  She would drive to the bowling alley and play candlepins every week.  After she could no longer drive, she tried to walk to the bowling alley for a few weeks before the folks in her apartment building made her use the shuttle.  Alma died in 2001 at 96 years old, after fainting at the bowling alley.  Of course.

But, what I really laugh at is the picture of Alma, Edna, Rotha, and all of their friends in their bloomers and underclothes and “unmentionables” out behind the school.  What in the world are they up to!  This would have been maybe 1920.  The era of the flapper and all, I guess.  I have never figured it out.  And who took the picture?  Did their parents find out about it?  What did they think?  I am sure that we will never know.  Alma, Rotha, and Edna are all gone and I am pretty sure that they never told their kids about that afternoon behind the school house.  Shame.

 

What the heck is this?

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!

Micajah Thomas Cooper

He never really thought it would come to this.  His oldest daughter (one had died as a young child, so now she was his oldest) was leaving home.  Not just leaving home, leaving her comfortable home in middle Tennessee, but really leaving!  Going to Africa, maybe never to come home.  And as a father, he was worried and a bit scared.  So, as she left, he wrote her a letter.

Micajah Thomas Cooper was born in 1806 in Rowan County, North Carolina.  His family moved to first Cannon County, then Rutherford County, Tennessee by about 1810.  They settled in the Woodbury area and then moved south into Rutherford County.  In 1829, Micajah married Sarah A. “Sallie” Vincent in Rutherford County.  They had twelve children together and lost at least three of the twelve as children.  Micajah was a fairly successful farmer.  He bought land in Rutherford County, in the Bell Buckle area and grew to have a farm  valued at $8000 in 1860, with personal property valued at $15000.

Micajah and Sallie’s daughter, Elizabeth “Bettie” Cooper, was born in 1834.  By the fall of 1855 and spring of 1856, she had become quite attached to student at the Union College in nearby Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  He was studying to be a preacher, a Baptist preacher.  He wanted to share the Gospel not only to the people of middle Tennessee, but across the globe.  This student, Jeremiah H. Cason, wanted to be a missionary in the foreign service.  And Bettie wanted to serve with him, wherever that service would take him.

Micajah and Sallie raised Bettie to be a devout Christian, but this was never what they saw as her future!  The wife of a preacher?  A missionary?  And Africa?  What kind of dangers would she face there?  Was this anywhere for a nice Tennessee girl to be?

Bettie and Jere married in July 1856 and by September that year, they boarded a sailing ship for the Yoruba County of Africa (today’s Nigeria).  Not knowing whether he would ever see his daughter again, Micajah took pen to paper and wrote them a letter, hoping it would find them before they sailed.  In it, he sent them on their way with his blessing, but with more than a little sadness and trepidation.

At Home Aug 10th 1856

Dear Children,
My heart was very much gladdened on the reception of your short letter from Augusta and again by a similar one from Richmond. I hasten to write you a few lines which will have to be consise[sic] – first I would say we have tryed[sic] to submit to your departure with all the fortitude we are capable and am happy to say your mother has bore it better than I could have expected – but not a day has passed that she has not alluded to you – but I busy her up the best I can and mention the importance of your mission and the consciousness you feel – that you are discharging a duty to that God who willeth not that any should perish but that all should have eternal life. This reflection is gratifying but you know how human nature is such that it is hard for us to be willing to be separated from children who would afford us so many pleasures along the journey of life – but enough on this subject – we are all in good health and attending the Garrison Camp Meeting.

Bettie and Jere stayed in Yoruba for about a year, but that’s a story for a different day.

Micajah and Sallie died.  She in 1864 and he in 1874 during a visit to a daughter in Kentucky.  Both are buried right in front of the New Hope Baptist Church, in Fairfield, Bedford County, Tennessee.

 

 

Zenas Tennison

A lot of this blog will consist of pictures and stories about the people in the picture.  Sometimes I know a lot, sometimes it’s just a cool picture.

Zenas Ignacious Tennison was born in 1851 in Ponototoc County, Mississippi.  He’s found in his father’s house in the 1850, 1860, and 1870 in Pontotoc and Choctaw counties in Mississippi.  In November of 1875, he married Nancy Elizabeth “Nan” Deshazo in Webster Co., Mississippi.

By 1880, the family had moved to Clark County, Arkansas.  They lived for a period in Yell County, Arkansas.  And in 1900 they were in Antlers in the Choctaw Nation of the Indian Territories (Oklahoma), where they stayed until their deaths in 1936 and 1950.

I don’t know much about Zenas.  I know that he and Nan had five children, and I know a lot of their descendants.  I know that Zenas and his brother, John William Biggers “Bill” Tennyson married sisters.  Zenas married Nan and Bill married Mary Susan Druscilla Deshazo.  I know that Zenas and Bill ran a sawmill in Yell County, at least until Bill was killed in an accident there.

Mostly, I love this picture.  I think that it just grabs you and takes you straight back to The Grapes of Wrath in Oklahoma in the Great Depression.

Welcome to Wrenacres!

As much as anything, maintaining a site like this is for the writer as the reader.  I hope that we can both enjoy and get something out of this effort.

Starting out, I have some ideas as to what I might like to write about, but I am sure that things will change as we go along.  So, let’s go along for the ride.

 Who am I?

I’m Scott Dickson.  I’ve been interested in my family and my family history since the late 1980s.  In all of that time, I have found out a lot and come to a lot of brick walls.  I’ve sort of become the archivist (and chief hoarder) for my family.  I maintain my own family tree at my personal site, wrenacres.com.

By profession, I am a tech guy, a sales engineer with Oracle, specializing in private cloud management, OpenStack, operating systems, virtualization, and system management.  I am a product specialist and travel extensively around North America, working with a variety of large and small companies.  If you want to know more about this, check my LinkedIn profile.

I have been married to Kathleen, my wonderful wife since 1997.  She is the sweetest, most caring, most creative and boldest person I have ever met.  She is a fabulous cook, teaching classes at our local Whole Foods Market.  She helped establish and oversees the food pantry at her church. She has been very involved with The Global Soap Project, working to recruit new hotels to save their leftover soap to be used in impoverished areas to provide basic sanitation.  This is really a cool organization.  She also manages volunteers and recruits new providers to share their leftover food with Feeding America, formerly Second Harvest.  As you can tell, I’m pretty proud to be Kathleen’s husband.

Kathleen and I are crazy about Hawaii, especially Kauai and travel there as often as we can.  So, that will tend to crop up from time to time.

What’s Wrenacres?

I am sure that this will come up again in more detail, but here’s the basics.  My grandfather,  Hudson Wren, was a farmer in northeast Arkansas, around the town of Wilson.  He was farm manager and Executive Vice President of Lee Wilson & Company, one of the largest privately held cotton farms in the nation.  In addition to running the Wilson farm, he had his own farming interests, part of which he named Wrenacres.

So, I’ve used Wrenacres as my web site and as my blog address as a tribute to my grandfather.

What will we cover here?

Some of the things that you might find here over time could be:

  • My family lines and stories
  • Artifacts and stuff that I have collected from the family
  • Pictures, letters, documents about my family
  • Research topics that I am working on
  • Dead ends where I wish I could find some help breaking through
  • Whatever else strikes my fancy

Families and Lines

Just to get things started, here are some of my main lines:

  • Dickson – I know the least here.  Tennessee to Alabama to Mississippi to Arkansas, 1820-present.  It took me 25 years to be able connect John H. Dickson, my great-great-grandfather to any family at all.
  • Wren – George Wren, George Washington Wren, Alonzo Dossey Wren, and their descendants.  Virginia to South Carolina to Georgia to Louisiana to Arkansas, 1770-present.
  • CasonJeremiah H. Cason and his ancestors and descendants.  J.H. Cason is one of my favorites – missionary to Africa, Captain in the CSA, preacher in west Texas
  • HudsonWesley Hudson, who lived primarily around Atlanta from 1830, has been one of the great mysteries to me.
  • Bailey – The Bailey line goes all the way back to Jamestown in 1610 and is a fascinating story.   Francis Baker Bailey came from Virginia to Kentucky to Arkansas prior to Arkansas statehood.
  • Lots of others.  Check my tree at wrenacres.com for details.

So, let’s get on with the show!  Thanks for stopping by!