Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nearly Wordless Wednesday--"My Darling Boy"

William Liming Redles

Obverse of above photo

This is my maternal grandfather. Sure looks different from the manly man I see in photos of him as an adult all decked out in his Marine uniform.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - Letters from Italy

Not all treasures are from our ancestors, grandparents, parents, and other family members. Some are treasures from our own lives. Two such treasures for me are a couple of letters that I wrote to my dad in 1969 (I was 14) when  my mom and I visited her sister Catherine in Rome, Italy, where  she was living and working for the State Department.  I had forgotten that I wrote some letters to my dad while we were there, much less that he saved a couple. These were in a box my sisters found recently in our mom's closet. The one below made me laugh.  

Italy through the eyes of a 14 year old American girl:

June 26, 1969

Dear Daddy,

I am having so much fun! Aunt Catherine's apartment is so cute and neat. It has a terrific view. The view is like looking at an old Italian movie.

We had a good flight over. We stopped in Paris for 30 minutes and also posted [sic] over Switzerland. Aunt Catherine met us at the airport in Rome. It was really an hour's drive from Rome. We rode to town in her little sports car with the top down. She showed some interesting spots going threw [sic] town.

The Italians are terrible drivers. They park anywhere they want to, all over the sidewalks. All of the cars are small, and there are a lot of motor-bikes.

For supper the first night we walked to a sidewalk café and had a huge helping of spagettee [sic].

The next day we went to the Pantheon but  [it] was closed so were all of the museums [and] things that belonged to the state, or whatever. The workers were on strike. We went to the Embassy and Aunt Catherine showed us around. We met a bunch of people, plus her friend Gladys, who is very attractive. She [Aunt Catherine] showed us her office. It's huge! It also has a big chandelier (don't know how to spell). The Embassy used to be a palace. We saw the ambassador's office. It was beautiful and about as large as the old First National Bank [in Valdosta].

Next we went to the old Roman capital and saw a million busts and statues of people. I would have taken some pictures but Mama forgot to get me some flash cubes. I got a few post cards instead. I took a picture of a huge statue with Mama and Aunt Catherine in front of it and 2 centurians (half man & half horse). We then went to a sort of balcony & had a great view of the ruins of the old Roman forum. I took a picture of that. Three pictures because it was so big.

We went to a garden that belonged to a church, and had a picnic. We went to a monastary [sic] and peeked in the key hole of the gate.

We went back to the apartment to rest. Then we went to St. Peter's Cathedral. It was the most beautiful building I have ever seen. It is the largest in the world. I didn't have flash cubes so I couldn't take pictures inside, but I took a few outside.

For supper we went to another sidewalk café, but it was so chilly so we ate inside.

There are a million boys here. When I walk by they say something to me in Italian.

Today we drove to Naples and are staying at the Hotel Royal. We messed around part of the town. We went and had pizza for supper. The elevator boys and door men are real talkative and nice. A few speak English. Tomorrow we're going to the island of Capri. I might have some sandals made.

Everybody's asleep but me, so good-night.


P.S. Hope you could read this letter. It's sloppy.

Reading this letter sure brought back memories. I need to dig out the photos that I took. I loved Italy, and the Italian "boys!" The road we traveled on from the airport to Rome was the Via Veneto. I had just learned about it in the Latin class I took that previous school year and could not believe I was actually on it! 

I would love to go to Italy again! 


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Found Letters—Lavinia A. Young, Quitman, Georgia

When I was going through the paper piles in my dad’s home office a while back and more recently in the studio that he first used as a home office, I found a manila envelope and an old wood box filled with late 1800s to early 1900s letters, notes, receipts, and “farmers” or “planters” notebooks. Most of the letters are addressed to L. A. Young in Quitman, Georgia, but one or two of the envelopes have the name spelled out—Lavinia A. Young. Also written on the envelopes is “C/O E. J. Young.” My sister Helen and I opened some of the letters to see who they were from and to look for clues as to the identity of Lavinia A. Young. Several letters are from “M. J. Young” or “Mitchell Young.” Some are from “Jim.” Both men ended their letters with “your son” or “your devoted son.” There is a ledger that states, “The estate of J. E. Young 1874 in account with L. A. Young Extrx.” (See scans below. Click on images for a larger view.) I wondered who she was and why my dad had her letters and other papers. I figured she must be a relative on my mom’s side since my mom’s grandmother was a Young (Catherine Margaret Young). I found enough clues in the letters and papers to figure out that I was right.

Lavinia A. Young (1823-1911) was the daughter of James Young (1784-1859) and Lavinia Jones (1794-1868).* Her father was a brother of my maternal 3rd great grandfather Michael Young (1797-1856). Lavinia married her first cousin James Everett Young (1821-1874), son of Michael and Sarah Everett Young. (Oh, what a tangled web our relatives weave for us when they marry their cousins!)
The M. J. or Mitchell in these letters is Lavinia’s son Mitchell Jones Young. E. J. Young in the “C/O” on the envelopes is her son Edwin Jelks Young. “Jim” is her son James M. Young.

LA Young env cropped
Envelope addressed to Mrs. L. A. Young in Quitman, Georgia, in care of E. J. Young (Edwin Jelks Young), her son.

Lavinia Young env cropped
Envelope addressed to Mrs. Lavinia Young in care of Mr. Ed Young (Edwin Jelks Young), her son.

MJ Young signature cropped
“Your devoted son, M.J. Young.” Letter to Lavinia Young from her son Mitchell Jones Young.

Mitchell Young signature cropped
“Your devoted son, Mitchell.” Letter to Lavinia Young from her son Mitchell Jones Young.

Jim Young signature cropped
“Your devoted son, Jim.” Letter to Lavinia Young from her son James M. Young.

Estate of JE Young cropped
“1874 The estate of J.E. Young in acct with L.A. Young Extrx” (James Everett Young and his wife Lavinia A. Young)

Planters Book cropped

“Planters’ Pocket Companion”
“Etiwan Works
Charleston, S.C.
WM. C. Bee & Co., General Agents.”

A few letters are from some of Lavinia’s grandchildren:

“My dear Grandma” from “little school-teacher Mary L.” (Mary L. Young, daughter of Mitchell Young)

“Dear Grandma” “from yours Pet” (I haven’t figured out who this is.)

“Hello Grandma” from “India” (daughter of Edwin Jelks Young)

“My dear Grandma” “your loving grandchild” Walter Young (son of Mitchell Young.)

Maybe a descendant found these and gave them to my dad. Who knows. Since this Young branch lived in Quitman, Brooks County, Georgia, I don’t know if he planned to use them to write a newspaper article or a newsletter for the Lowndes County Historical Society, since for both of these mediums, he would focus on Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia. Maybe one of Lavinia’s children or grandchildren or great grandchildren lived in Valdosta. A. C. Felton, in The Young Family, traces one of Lavinia’s branches down to a surname of a family who lives in Valdosta. Or at least they did years ago.

I’ve put all of these documents in some acid-free, archival sheet protectors, which is better than what they were in! I’ll keep them at my mom’s until I find a descendant who would like to have them. Maybe the Lowndes County Historical Society will take them if I can’t find anyone. This a real treasure trove!

* To piece the relationships together I used: A. C. Felton. The Young Family of Georgia. Macon, Georgia: Self published, 1953.