Sunday, May 5, 2013

I sincerely believe, yes, very much so

Today is my grandmother Ila Rowell Green's birthday. She would have been one hundred, twenty-six years old.
Ila Rowell abt age 15

She shares the birthday with both her father and my wife & shares her name with my sister.

Unfortunately she didn't make it anywhere near the century mark. In fact she was only twenty eight years old when she died on August 24, 1915.

She was the oldest child in the family of Seth David and Martha Williams Rowell who lived in the Shady Grove area of Taylor County Florida. Their youngest, another daughter, Mary Emma Rowell Grantham died at the same age. I wrote about that sad coincidence in another story.

Ila was seventeen when she married on January 8, 1905. Her first child, Alton was born a year and four days later.

She had six children and five of them, all boys survived her. My father was the fourth son and only three years old when his mother died. The youngest, Floyd was only eleven months old.

MF and Ila Green family abt 1911

She had one daughter which I didn't know of until I saw a reference on the 1910 census. It said she had three children but only two were living. Doing some checking I determined she had a daughter that had died soon after birth. The daughter wasn't listed in the family bible so I don't know if she had a name.

This family photo from about 1911 shows her and my grandfather, Millard Fillmore Green with sons Alton, Bryant and Lester. Bryant and Lester got stuck in the dresses. It's the only photo I have of her as an adult. Many in the Rowell family have red hair but her's looks dark.

She died of heart failure, or at least that is the story that has been passed down and was reported in her death notice. Her father Seth died young also, at age 46 and with her sister's death at age 28 maybe there was a heart problem running in the family. Her brother Auley was only 45 when he died in 1935. None of her children had any inherited health problems so I guess they were lucky at that.

This faded newspaper clipping about her death was in my Grandfather's papers when he died in 1973. It talks of her being in better health so it must have been known that she had been sick for a while. She was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Perry, Florida.

Her concrete grave marker had worn out and the name was no longer legible after almost 60 years so my grandfather bought a new marble one about a year before he died.

June 29, 1930
I came across this letter written on June 29, 1930 by my uncle William Bryant Green. He was in the Navy at the time and wrote it to his aunt Eva Green.

Eva was living in Manatee County Florida, teaching at the one room school in Cortez, Florida. It is six pages long and talks about his life in the Navy, troubles that two of his brothers were having and later his doubts about God. 

Growing up in a house with five boys and no mother was not easy and his father was strict. I am sure they were struggling to make a living in Perry, Florida two years into the Great Depression.

This small section of the letter is reflecting on the loss he still felt because his mother died so young. He was six years old when his mother died and fifteen years later writes:

"I often wonder if things would have been different if mother would have lived. I sincerely believe, yes, very much so."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what a sad story and the letter was heartbreaking. It sounds like it was not a happy childhood. I was struck by so many children, so young....

you are part of my family on the Paulk side but I enjoy reading about your other family.

Thx for sharing.