About Me

My photo
Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
I am a native of Illinois and grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. After dropping out of college, I moved to California in 1973 with my first husband. I married my present husband, Butch, in 1977 and got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me a grandmother 25 times over and a great-grandmother of 19. Three years after I married Butch I returned to school. I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication and was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 to return to school and get my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore and genealogy - and add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play a number of folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega with Genealogy Journeys where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that can be found at http://genaandjean.blogspot.com and more about my own business projects is on my Circlemending website.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - 21 January 2010

This photo is identified on the back as "our sainted mother." Because my 2nd cousin received this photo and 2 others from the family of Katherine WILCOX IRELAND JOHNSON WEAVER (Aunt Kate), and it was Kate who had labeled this one and the other 2 (2 of her 3 daughters), we knew that this was her mother - Irene FREEMAN WILCOX (wife of Nathan W. WILCOX). It is the only photo of her that we are aware of. (Irene's grandfather was Isaac Freeman, whose tombstone and DAR patriot information were posted in the last 2 days.)

Irene's story is one I have told many times - she was born in New York (probably Jefferson County) in about 1829 and lived her earliest years in Herkimer County, New York with her maternal grandfather, Francis GUIWITS (her mother having died either in childbirth or very soon after Irene's birth). On the death of her grandfather, Irene and her two sisters returned to her father's custody (he had remarried by that time) and she spent her youth in Jefferson County on the family farm, across from which moved the WILCOX family, including oldest son Nathan. Irene and Nathan married in 1848 and relocated to Decatur, Van Buren County, Michigan by 1850. By the time the next census came out, they had moved again, this time to New London, Henry County, Iowa, where Nathan enlisted in the Engineering Regiment of the West out of Missouri and spent the years from 1861-1866 separated from his family. Irene and her children (she had had 5, but only 3 were alive by then) moved to Tennessee in 1866 and she lost another child shortly after their arrival. They moved around Tennessee a great deal, finally retiring to Nashville (by then another child had been born, in 1869). Nathan died in 1891 and Irene moved to Texas to live with her son Ed, dying there in 1893. She was buried in a now defunct cemetery and her remains were allegedly moved to what is called Pioneer Cemetery in Dallas.

Irene FREEMAN WILCOX moved over 1500 miles throughout her life. Having a copy of her photo is one of my treasures that I acquired through contact with part of the clan that had become estranged from my father's immediate family. In doing family history research, the cousin (and distant cousin) relationships are to be treasured and nurtured, no matter the reason behind family feuds and disagreements of earlier generations.

1 comment:

  1. I love this picture of her beautiful, careworn face. Also, I believe I have some ancestors buried in Pioneer Cemetery (who knows - perhaps our ancestors are "neighbors").