Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nine is the lucky number

I was listening to an audio recording of an interview my cousin Doris Green did in 1993 and she made a comment about the large families in Cortez, Florida. She said there were nine children in her family and many others, so being in the election season I decided to do a fact check on her.

I also wanted to see if I could determine which families she was thinking of when she made the comment. No doubt families in a fishing community like farmers want large families so they will have plenty of help with the family business.

Doris Adams Green abt 1985

Doris Mae Adams Green was my mother's first cousin and she married my father's first cousin, Woodrow Wilson Green. She was born in  1915 and died in 2001.

Doris was probably the first one in the family to get serious about family history. She did a lot of research, checking court records, family bibles and interviewing older family members and put it all together in a really nice book called "Fog's Comin' in."

Anyway, Doris said the women must have thought nine to be the right number or they just got worn out by that time, so they ended up with nine children.

Her mother, Dora Jane Fulford and her husband Willis Asbury Adams did have nine children who made it to adulthood and one who died shortly after birth. Two of Dora's siblings came close to nine, but both stopped two short. Walton "Tink" Fulford and his wife Edith Mae Wilson had seven children as did her other brother, William Fulford and wife Julia Etta Qunin.

Doris's grandmother on her mother's side, Sallie Adams Fulford, also had nine children and they all survived to adulthood. On her father's side, there were eight children in the family but her grandfather, William Henry Harrison Adams had two wives who shared the duties.
William and Lillie Foreman

Sallie Adams Fulford's first cousin, William Ernest Foreman and his wife Lillie Jane Lundy also had nine children. He was a fisherman and early resident of the area but ended up moving to Sarasota in the 1920s. He was struck and killed by lightening in 1927 while on a fishing boat in Sarasota Bay.

Doris's great uncle on her mother's side Nathan Hooker Fulford and his wife Betty Manson Whitehurst also had nine children. Only one of their children got close to the number. Jessie Blanche Fulford and her husband Aaron Parx Bell stopped two short.

Julius Mora House abt 1912
Another early Cortez family, Joseph (Jose) Augustine Mora and his wife Mary Emma Hazel also had nine children. Their son, Julius Eugene Mora matched his parents with nine, with an assist from his wife Laura Adele Eastman. This photo was taken when they were just getting started with number one.

James Charles Culbreath and his wife Ella Hurst, who moved from Suwanee County Florida to Cortez in the 1920s also had nine children.

There were several families who didn't quite make it to nine. Augustine Willis had nine children from two wives but one of them died soon after birth, along with his first wife Martha Fulford. His second wife Mary Leavenworth Hine bore eight children.

Augustine Willis Children

Lemuel Hardy Pridgeon and his wife Bessie Ora Weeks had eight children. Another of Doris's great uncles, Joseph Manley Fulford and his wife Sallie Chapman Chadwick also had eight.

Most of the subsequent generations had much smaller families. Doris and Woodrow only had two children because of her health problems but that was not unusual for the 1940s and later. I guess the prospect of paying for college stopped many at a smaller number. But when she was growing up there were plenty of large families around and as she said, nine seemed to be the number of choice for many of them.

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