Kin of the Past

For all of my Prichard/Webster relatives:

When i find myself flailing over which of the two gazillion things i need to do, i often decide to rumble through old stuff. This is a result of today’s rumbling.

i found myself staring at the photo, wondering what she was like. Knowing Granny, her daughter and my grandmother, i think i have a pretty good idea. Still, i didn’t know her.

She married a minister, a Methodist circuit rider who rose to bishop in the church. So she must have been rather devout in her religion. She was beautiful. i never really thought of her daughter as beautiful until i saw a photo of Granny (Katherine Webster Prichard) at eighteen. It took my breath away, and i see evidence of that beauty in this one.

The back has handwritten notes.

The first one is in her hand. The photo was a gift sent to her brother, Ammon Ferrell, who was in Platter, Oklahoma at the time. The story as i remember it is he went west to…well, i guess what any young man who sought adventure did in those days: to be a cowboy, perhaps. Again as i remember it, it didn’t turn out quite that way; he apparently was a cook, ran the chuck wagon for some outfit. It didn’t do him well. He came or was brought back home in not too good of shape. His brother-in-law and sister put him up in a cabin on their property off of Hunter’s Point Pike until he passed in the summer of 1930. Ammon was seventy-six when he passed. His grave is off of Webster’s Lane on what was the bishop’s rather large farm just northeast of where Walter J. Baird Middle School now educates children who probably not aware of Ammon, his sister, or the bishop. The second note is in all probability in the hand of my aunt. My cousin sent some memorabilia to me from my Aunt Evelyn Prichard Orr, this photo lady’s granddaughter. The photo was included. So it seems to reason, Aunt Evelyn wrote: “Grandmother of Evelyn P. Orr, Estelle P. Jewell, Bettye Kate P. Hall, Billy Prichard.”

After the photo lady passed in 1933 at eighty-five,  Aunt Evelyn, Mother (Estelle), Aunt Bettye, and Uncle Bill helped the bishop through his final years. The Prichard family had returned from Gotha, Florida where they lived for about three years in hopes of the climate positively impacting their father’s failing health (my grandfather, Joe Blythe Prichard). The climate did no good, and Grandfather wished to come home to die. When he passed, Granny, his wife, took up 24/7 care giving to support the family.

My mother told me of Aunt Evelyn, fresh from graduating from Gotha High School, would arise in the morning, cook, with the help of her siblings, a fried chicken and biscuit breakfast for the bishop. Then she would walk from the farm (still on the outskirts of Lebanon proper just south of where Castle Heights Avenue North now connects with North Cumberland, which before the spread of city development was once Hunter’s Point Pike) across the square on up West Spring Street to Cumberland, where she excelled in academics and basketball. But she walked home in the midday, prepared lunch for the bishop, and return uto campus for the afternoon. When classes and practice were completed, she would make her walking trip again back to the farm to perform supper chores. Aunt Evelyn is a heroine in my mind.

Part of that obviously came from the lady in the photograph.

Katherine Ferrell Webster, my great grandmother, is our link to the Ferrell family. Joe Ferrell and i knew of the connection and were going to investigate the links more thoroughly, but Joe, my good Lebanon friend, passed away last year.

So i sit and look at Katherine. Times long ago, different, gone. Sometimes i wish they knew quite a bit of what we know now but hadn’t been invented or discovered yet. Sometimes i wish i didn’t know what they didn’t know. Simpler days.

But i always wish i could have known her. i’m pretty sure i would have loved her.

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