In honor of National Women’s History Month, Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog presents Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month.
Here’s the prompt for Day 1: Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.
I’ve thought a lot about this! The first person to come to mind was my Aunt Juanita because I knew her and respected her so much! However, I have decided to write about my great-grandmother, Gennett(aka Nettie) Eudora (Freeman) Stevenson.
I don’t know a whole lot about Nettie, although I feel a connection to her from all the pictures I have of her and because of the letter given to me by my Aunt Juanita that had so much information about her. She seemed to be a remarkable woman!
Why would I say remarkable? Well, in the letter I have been given, it details some things that make me feel this way. First off, she was a very dedicated and loving wife and mother. She would work the fields in the mornings while the children sat under the shade trees and would always gather them up in time to be home to fix Grandpa lunch. She would feed him lunch and then gather the children up again and go back to work in the fields until supper time. I know that sounds bad today but back then that was the way it was. She was willing to do her share to make sure that the children and her husband were taken care of!
They never had a whole lot, from what I have read, but Nettie did the best she could to give them as much as possible. She would even stay up late at night so that she could sew them clothes and make quilts for them.
One of the most amazing things about her was her determination to learn! According to the letter I received, Nettie only attended school for about 3 months before she married (at age 15) because she had to help her father on the farm. She wanted to read so bad that she would get the salt box and spell it and then pronounce it. She did this until she learned to read. Here’s a quote from the letter, “Her reading was after lunch when she was rocking the baby in the cradle with her foot and churning butter with one hand and holding a book with the other.” That is determination!
There’s so much more I would love to learn about Nettie but just what I know shows me she was such a strong woman who did everything she could to make a better life for her and her children. I like to think that some of that determination was passed along to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren!
Writing this had made me think about something else. I’ve had this letter for several years and have never taken the time to share it with everyone. I think I will have to post that to my blog in the future!
I am so thankful for all the women in my family tree. They were all strong, determined and very loving women, from what I can gather. Nettie is just one of them, but I know a little more about her than the others. Her hard work paid off because I believe she would be so proud of all of her descendants!