This is the first post for a new year – 2019. I have been on the road and super busy this week, so I was all set to punt and republish a story about the first time I ever went to the library to research and my first ancestor discovery. But, starting the new year with a retread is lame, so maybe a short post about my first immigrant ancestor to this country would be in order.
While my wife, Kathleen, may have descended from a number of famous and infamous Mayflower immigrants (notably, the Billingtons), my ancestors were here to greet them when the Mayflower arrived.
Cicely Reynolds (b. 1600, England, d. about 1660, Virginia) is my first immigrant ancestor to the New World. She arrived in Jamestown in August 1611 aboard the Swan with Sir Thomas Gates. According to “The Second Boat”:
“Cecily Reynolds was born about 1600 at Waymouth, Dorsetshire, England, daughter of Thomas Reynolds and Cecily Fitzpen. Cecily arrived on August 1610 at Jamestown, VA on the ship “Swan” under the auspices of several near-relatives of Dorsetshire. She made her home with Capt. William Pierce and his wife, Joan. In 1615, in the Pierce home in Jamestown, VA, she married her first husband, Thomas Bailey. Thomas was a young Governor’s Guard and had come to Jamestown, VA in 1612. Thomas died of malaria in 1619, leaving their only child, Temperance, born 1617, which married Richard Cocke about 1632. Cecily Reynolds Bailey married (2) Samuel Jordan (of Jordan’s Journey) on 20 Sept 1620. The Jordons’ famous neighbors were, to the south, John Rolfe, who had married the young Indian Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan. After her death, Rolfe wed in 1619, Jane Pierce, daughter of Capt. William Pierce. John was killed by Indians in the 1622 “Great Massacre.” A neighbor to the north was Capt. John Woodlief who in 1619 hosted the first Thanksgiving in America at his Berkeley Plantation. Authentication to this as the first Thanksgiving – and not the one in 1621 in Plymouth Plantation – is contained in a mandate from the London Company to Capt. Woodlief, saying “We ordain the day of our ships’ arrival at the place for plantation on the land of Virginia (Berkeley Plantation) shall be yearly kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.” Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson officially recognized this event.”“The Second Boat”, vol. 12, number 4, Sept-Oct 1991
If you have ever studied the history of Jamestown, you might recognize that Cicely arrived at a particularly bad time. The harvest of 1611 was poor and that winter was known as The Dying Time. By the next spring, the settlement was reduced to just a handful of people. Those that were still alive were considering their options for abandoning the settlement.
Connie Lapallo has written a trilogy of historical novels, or maybe you would call them fictionalized histories, of Cicely and the women and children of Jamestown. These are fascinating and really provide a view into what things might have been like during those difficult first days. She also has some well thought out and well reasoned new ideas for Cicely’s ancestry in England and how she came to Jamestown. The first book in the series, “Dark Enough to See the Stars in a Jamestown Sky” traces Cicely and her arrival and first years in Jamestown. Take a look at this and Connie’s other books in the series
Cicely is also remembered for being the source of one of the first scandalous lawsuits in Jamestown. After Cicely’s second husband, Samuel Jordan, died, Cicely had a number of suitors. Apparently, Rev. Greville Pooley felt like she had engaged herself to marry him. So, when she married William Farrar instead, he brought suit for breach of promise. The suit is well documented in the colonial records.
Cicely Reynolds is the ancestor of a large number of famous families that can claim Jamestown lineage. She is my 10th great-grandmother:
- Susan Louise Bailey (1919-2006) m. Robert Harrison Dickson, Jr. (1919-2007) – my grandparents
- Charles Council Bailey (1868-1935) m. Viola Tennison (1875-1970)
- Hume Field Bailey (1829-1891) m. Sarah Louise Council (1837-1915)
- Francis Baker Bailey (1796-1855) m. Evalina Belmont Hill (1802-1854)
- Peter Cock Bailey (1765-1844) m. Sarah Baker (d. 1822)
- Roger Cocke Bailey (1727-1790) m. Mary Rennard (1732-1777)
- Temperance Cocke (1698-1770) m. Abraham Bailey, Jr. (1694-1774)
- William Cocke (1674-1717) m. Sarah Perrin
- Thomas Cocke (1638-1696) m. Agnes Powell
- Temperance Bailey (1617-1652) m. Richard Cocke (1597-1665)
- Cicely Reynolds (b. abt 1600, d. abt 1660) married Thomas Baley (b. abt 1580, d. 1619, Virginia)
So, there you have it. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would have been like to come to Jamestown and to live through all that, not only she and the Jamestown settlers, did, but the succeeding generations. That small group of settlers, the vast majority of whom died in their first years in the New World, laid the groundwork and foundation for us today. Hopefully, we can continue to live up to their ideal.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.