Friday, November 18, 2005


A Look WAY Back

I'm fortunate, in that our family roots run deep. Generations of my ancestors preceeded me in my home town. We've had homes stay in the family for multiple generations. Therefore, we are blessed with a collection of family artifacts.
A distant cousin compiled a book of family history, story's, documents and photographs. This particular picture is a favorite of mine. The couple in the middle are my great, great grandparents, Thomas and Susan Kern Ray. They are surrounded by their TWELVE grown children. And count them... there are TEN boys! These twelve were born between the years of 1864 to 1885.
I like this photo because I can't look at it without putting myself in my great, great grandmothers shoes for a moment. C'mon, try it! Can you imagine raising twelve children in the late 1800's. I'm surprised that woman had the strength to sit erect. She's probably just shy of 60 years old in this picture. If I just imagine the LAUNDRY, I nearly break out in hives. It had to have been done on a washboard - I can't believe she was ever done. I imagine her expecting the 7th or 8th child with all those little ones. The work it must have been to take care of them, keep them clean and fed - it just exhausts me. She also educated them all. In her shadow, my life looks like a never ending party.
The book was put together by Susan's granddaughter. She quotes her mother as saying that Susan insisted to all her children that "You might not have any money, but MAKE SOMETHING of yourself". All twelve children became professional people, many of them educators.
There's one story that stikes me among the many. It qoutes my grandmother telling that one of her uncles had stopped in to see her father(Curtis). He felt he needed to hurry home because "Ma" (Susan) was alone. Alone? "Yes, there's only Dale, Ed, Fred, Sallie and Frank, and they aren't company!"
Think of it, home with five of her children was ALONE. This woman deserved a truckload of Calgon. I think how I was tickled when my THREE finally went back to school this week. I've got to count my blessings.

Written by sunflowerkat321 .

This entry has 10 comments:
Thia picture is so great! My Mom has a similiar one of her fathers family in Ireland...13 children, and a few others (?)...Comment from
alphawoman1 - 1/8/04 2:02 PM

Great picture and story. And no, I cannot imagine what life would be like with more than 3 let alone 12. Now THAT woman is a Saint!!!Comment from karensull12 - 1/8/04 12:02 PM

Oh, and my hubby comes from a family of 11--9 boys, 2 girls--and come to think of it, mom-in-law's kind of a crank too! I'm sensing a pattern!Comment from donah42 - 1/8/04 8:38 AM

My dad comes from a family of 16!!! 12 boys & 4 wonder my grandparents were so cranky! And she had all of them at home, except for the last one....I often wondered why she bothered at that point---probably just wanted to get away for a couple days!Comment from donah42 - 1/8/04 8:36 AM

i can't imagine having so many children .. i've only got 2 and i don't think i've had a day of rest since they were born .. ok, i'm exagerating lol i know i've had at least one day of rest .. i just can't remember it lolpamelaComment from his1desire - 1/8/04 8:01 AM

Great picture. Once I lived in a place with a huge attic. It was a four-plex and I guess a lot of people left lots of things behind. I found a lot of pictures like the one of your great-grandparents and family, and I just sat there and looked and wondered what their life might have been like.Comment from hrmore1956 - 1/8/04 4:39 AM

I love old photos and family histories! Coincidentally, my great-grandparents (on my mother's side) also had twelve children - four boys & eight girls......JonComment from jayveesonata - 1/8/04 3:10 AM

HOLY COW! I had the same feelings looking at the picture. I'm surprised the all survived back then. Your family must have been made of good stock. LOL My great grandmother had a bunch but lost a few to diseases. Anyhow...It must be wonderful to have all those old precious things. I would be going through it all the time.Comment from redhdka - 1/8/04 12:49 AM

Terrific entry. I just love old pictures like that too. What a woman she must have been! : )Comment from readmereadyou - 1/7/04 11:36 PM

Having roots and knowing your family really is a blessing. My grandmother was one of 14 children, and my father one of 50 first cousins. I just don't see how they handled it.Comment from sistercdr - 1/7/04 11:29 PM

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