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Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2012-10-31 05:47 pm
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Sometimes, I am a bit dense.

Last winter, I blogged about this really neat letter from Joe Thomas Meek I'd found in the massive Meek genealogy (authored by Melton P Meek).

In the letter, Joe had described a trip back to Mississippi, home for nearly a century to our direct Meek ancestors.

Joe Thomas Meek was the great grandson of James Alexander Meek, who was my great great grandfather.

Joe's grandfather was William Thaddeus Meek, 10 years older than his baby sister, Maxie Leah, who was my great grandmother.

As I was embedding some html code into the note field of my GEDCOM on several Meek entries, I re-read that letter, written in 1983.

And two paragraphs really hit me. (Parenthetical names added by me.)
None of the family ever saw old JAMES (James Alexander) after 1868, when he
and great grandmother
(Mary Emily Conner) parted.

None of the family can ever be named JAMES or ALEXANDER
again, as my grandfather
(William Thaddeus Meek) promised. An old lady at Oxford
gave us his picture, a little old man with the other old soldiers
in front of the old CourtHouse at Oxford in 1911.
I had it put in a nice frame to hang in my father's room
(Joseph Thaddeus Meek)
besides his favorite picture of his old grandmother, but he
would not have it. The Irish have long, long memories and
never forget any wrong, however remote.

None of the family ever saw old JAMES after 1868, when he and great grandmother parted.

What could have incensed William Thaddeus Meek so much about his father? Something so heinous that the rage was passed down to the next two generations?

Could it have been that William's father, after having been gone for three long years during the Civil War, deserted his pregnant wife?

My great grandmother, Maxie Leah Meek, was born on 10 Feb 1869 in Grenada Co., MS. Her mother, Mary Emily Conner, had been supporting her son William during James' Civil War service with her millinery shop, and continued to support both her children in that fashion after James left.

I had always assumed that James was around for the death and burial of his first daughter with Mary Emily Conner - a three year old named Lizzie - short for Hettie Ann Elizabeth (who must have been named for James' own mother).

Lizzie died on 28 Sep 1868, and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Sardis, Panola Co., MS.

But perhaps James wasn't around for that event either.

If that is true, it certainly could account for the bitterness over the "wrong, however remote."

And I have to wonder if James' POW experience had lingering consequences for him.