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Hettie: To publish or not publish Part 3

Updated on August 3, 2012

Tree tree tree

Hettie in her old age
Hettie in her old age
William Lewis Cook, Hettie's grandfather is top right second person towards left.
William Lewis Cook, Hettie's grandfather is top right second person towards left.
The bridge where Hettie's grandfather worked as toll gatherer. Also the bridge the Cooks crossed for a new life
The bridge where Hettie's grandfather worked as toll gatherer. Also the bridge the Cooks crossed for a new life
Counties they traveled Kershaw, Lee, Wateree.
Counties they traveled Kershaw, Lee, Wateree.
Uncle Duncan, Hettie's 3rd son
Uncle Duncan, Hettie's 3rd son
Grandpa Charlie around this time period with man's best friend
Grandpa Charlie around this time period with man's best friend

Now this is the third installment of the Hettie series, we will travel from 1880 to the 1900's. Hettie gave birth to two more children from her husband James Brown, Abraham (named for her adoptive father), and Louise, known as Lou. After the birth of Lou, her husband moves to Buffalo, New York and resides there until he dies. Despite being left in South Carolina with three little children, Hettie pushes forward with her life. Upon hearing the news of her husband's passing, she takes the train to New York to retrieve all of her husband's property in a most unconventional way.

Her oldest living grandchildren at the time this was written, Lonnie Kelley, Estelle Thomas, Shannie Rutledge, and her great grandson Marvin Porter will quickly tell you, "Maa didn't play!" Maa meant business. She brought back with her pots, pans, bed sheets, and even a pipe organ. Despite the fact he never divorced Hettie and married a woman in New York and had children, she claimed his things and returned by train back to South Carolina. In her home her children learned to play musical instruments. Hettie home was filled with music. They had a piano, accordion, ukulele, harmonica, banjo, ad a pipe organ.

In 1882, Hettie's maternal great grandparents passed away, Lavenia on June 27, and her husband later dies around May 10, 1887. Just so there is no confusion, the union of Hettie and James Brown produced the offspring Edwin James, Abraham, and Louise. Now that brings us to the 1900's on June 30, 1900, Hettie is living with her seven children in Dekalb Township in a rented home. She is listed as head of the household and also a widow.

The census taker records that Hettie has seven children, but one is not living in the household at the time of the Census. Her occupation is listed as farm laborer. At this point her eldest son, Edwin, has moved out of her home and is married to Betsy. We are introduced to Abraham, 17, he is working on the farm as a laborer, born January of 1883. Then, there was Louise, born January of 1884, she is sixteen and works in the house. Hettie's third son is Duncan, 12, born around 1888 in January, he is also a farm laborer. Then, there is her fourth son, Charlie (my grandpa), who is 10 years old, and he also does farm work to earn a living. Charlie is the last working child of Hettie in the 1900's.

The next two children are Hettie's daughters, Bessie and Shannie. Bessie is born in 1896, she is Hettie's second daughter, and she is four years old. The youngest child in Hettie's household is baby Shannie. Shannie is one year old and born around January of 1898. Hettie is at this time period working alongside her older children, while raising her two girls Bessie and Shannie, which is quite a task for a widower. Let's visit Hettie in 1910.

In 1910, Hettie is now 46 years old; she has three of her children living at ome with her. There is, Bessie, 14, Shannie, 11, and her youngest daughter Mary Ann, who is 9. She has also taken in two of her adoptive sister Jane's children, Joe, 13, and Osteen, 11. During the 1900's, Jane was Hettie's next door neighbor. In this decade along with so many other decades we will see the extent of Hettie's generosity. She was a baby taken in instead of being killed and she turns around and does the same for others.

Hettie's occupation has changed to cash farmer and she is still renting out her abode on the farm. Her adoptive sons/nephews are working as farm laborers on the farm. Hettie and her family are financially secure. Which leaves one to wonder how is it that a woman is a cash farmer and able to rent the farm out, whenever she wants?

A cash farmer is according to the census definition, a person who directs the operation of a farm and a cash farmer was a person who pays a cash rental for the use of the whole farm. This is a pretty powerful position for a man and at this time Hettie wa a widow raising four children that demonstrates her brass, her resilience, strength, and pride. She was a woman of knowledge and ensured that her children were able to provide for themselves and their mates. Her eldest children were not in the home, because they were able to provide for themselves, their mates, and families.

Her eldest children were not in the home, because they were old enough to marry and begin families of their own, so let's see what happened to James (Edwin), Abraham, Louise, Duncan, and Charlie during this period. Edwin James, the oldest son of Hettie has moved to the Ionia Township in Lee County, South Carolina in 1910. Ionia is located between Camden, South Carolina and Bishopville, South Carolina. He is thirty-one years old and married to Betsy.

Betsey and James have eight children and only five were living. The oldest was Hettie 9, James 7, Charlie 5, William 4, and Maybelle, who was three years old. As an occupation James was a share farmer. A share farmer usually shared half the profits with the owner and takes the other half as profit. He was also renting his residence located on the farm. He was listed as James, despite his birth name was Edwin James. From the remaining census records he is known as James, so some where along the line he dropped Edwin or changed it to a middle name.

Abraham, being the second oldest son did not stray very far from home, in fact, he was still living in Dekalb Township in Kershaw, County in 1910, when the remainder of his family moved to Ionia Township with their mom, Hettie. He is 26 years old and has been married for seven years to Lizzie. They have had five children and four are living at this point. Their children are Adlisher 6, Murdick 4, John Wesley 2, and Willie, who is six months old. Abraham's occupation is a general farmer and his wife works as a farm laborer on the house farm. They are also renting their living quarters on the farm.

Louise has since also moved to Ionia, Lee County, South Carolina like her mother. She is now 25 years old and married to Peter Wilson, who is 31 years old. They have four children: Emma Jane 7, Don Ella 5, Kennedy 3, Lilly Mae, who is fifteen months old. Peter works as a cash farmer, as does his mother-in-law. They also abide in a rental on the farm. They are doing considerably well for an African American/Mulatto family during that time period.

Duncan has also made the move to Ionia Township. He is now living across from his mother Hettie. He is 23 years old and has been married to Odelia 20, for 6 years. their union produced three children and two of which are living. They include Duncan Jr. 5 and Eadie, who is 22 months old. Living with Duncan and his family is a boarder by the name of Richard Carter, who is 20 years old and single. he works as a laborer on a General Farm. Are you curious as to why I mention Richard Carter, he maybe be a boarder at the moment, but things will be quite different in just a few years, hold tight until 1920.

Charlie is the fifth child (grandpa) of Hettie, who has moved to Springhill Township in Lee County, South Carolina. He and his family have moved in search for a living that would be much easier than that, which they had grown accustomed to. He is 22 years old and has married Laura, who is eighteen. They have been married for four years and have two children at this point. Hannah is 3 and Fronnie is one. Fronnie is named for her maternal grandmother Sophronia, a Cherokee Indian. Charlie is a farmer that works also as a farm laborer and Laura also works as a farm laborer. They reside on a rented living quarters on the farm.

This decade is the foreshadowing of one of the greatest losses in American History. Times will really change for Hettie’s family and the rest of the country during the ear leading up to the Great Depression and work is not as plentiful as it once was. The Great Depression takes place in October of 1929. Life is about to change as they know it. A decade ago someone that once was a cash farmer or share farmer would be reduced to farm laborer if that was even an option. The Great Depression was hard for those of color and even those that were not. Now this ends the 3rd installment of Hettie, stay tuned into the final part 4 and conclusion. From the Great Depression to 1940.

What do you think?

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    • brittvan22 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      @Suzzy, thanks for your compliment, it is indeed my family history. I have decided to publish and trust me this is just the crust of it.

    • brittvan22 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      @Gypsy, thanks for sharing your thoughts and your kind words!

    • brittvan22 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      @Ttombs, thanks for your kind words it is certainly an interesting read.

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This hub is a great family history and very easy to follow. If this is your family history , you have done your research well and put this info together in an awsome story. Well done brittvan!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and interesting. Thanks for sharing this piece of history. Very fascinating.

    • brittvan22 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      @Eric thanks, I would start by making a folder of what you know to be factual and any oral history, such as dates of birth, death, etc. Also obituaries can be a good starting point. Then,, but if you don't have ancestry funds in your budget, then and you will be on your way. They will provide trees that others have done and is good for making links to other relatives as well as census recoreds, birth, death, war, etc. I will include a census record on my final hub of Hettie so you can see all that it includes. Also try googling their name and see what pops up and sort its relevancy. I hope this helps, thanks again for your input!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 

      6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Very interesting history as told by a family tree. Nicely done, brittvan. :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      6 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I wonder if I had roots where they would go. These remnants are cool.


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