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Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2013-07-12 20:18

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: F is for Family Feuds

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In addition to the hundreds, maybe thousands, of scans of old family photos I have, I also have framed portraits and framed prints of some of the scans. After I scanned the tintypes of my Meek ancestors, I had them framed to preserve them. Tintypes are not original photos I throw away after they have been digitized.

My dead relatives' gallery is spread throughout my home. From time to time, I wander through looking at them, peering intently to see if I can find physical similarities between the ancestors and descendants.

And occasionally, I pause in front of one or two. The Jefferson John Meek family is a good place to stop for contemplation.
In this entry, I talked about my black sheep great-great grandfather, James Alexander Meek, who left his family in 1868, and was apparently vilified by his son ever after, even down through two more generations.

It was the letter by James' great grandson, Joe Thomas Meek, that made me realize I have no photos of James Alexander Meek dated later than 1868.

 photo JamesAlexanderMeek-1.jpg


James' daughter, Maxie Leah Meek - my great grandmother - never knew her dad. She was born on 10 Feb 1869, after James was gone. Her mother, Mary Emily Conner, remarried before Maxie was two years old, and the new blended family moved to Russellville, AR.

 photo MaxieLeahMeek.jpg


Maxie had quite a few photos of her dad in the photo album given to her and the man she married - Jo Desha Williams - the Christmas before their marriage.

That's where the tintypes were - in that album.

I think it's unlikely that Maxie's mother permitted her as a child to travel back to Mississippi to visit the father who abandoned her. Perhaps Maxie had a relationship with her paternal grandparents before their deaths in 1889 and 1891, when she was a young wife and mother.

She got the photos from someone. Maybe she inherited them when her father died in 1917. Her brother would not likely have wanted them, given his animus toward their father.

The photos of James Alexander Meek, as well as those tintype photos which were taken long before Maxie was born, make me feel the wistfulness of a daughter who wished she'd had a dad.




I am taking the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, albeit starting a few months late.