Monday, July 4, 2011

B13. Grandma's Birth and Ancestry

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

(part 4 of 8 of a series written in memory of my grandma, Ellie Irene Nance Vestal, born on the 4th of July, 1914, near Boonville, NC)
In 1986, when Grandma was 72 and I was 24 I gave her a birthday gift that I thought might help her fill her days.  It was a memories book filled with prompts for her to write about her life.  She had lived alone since Grandpa’s death in 1977, and she enjoyed writing.  I forgot about the gift, but months later she gave me a far greater gift, which has become one of my most treasured possessions, the same book, completely filled in with her memories. 
In her honor, and to share this precious gift with others who love her, I continue here a blog series of her own memoirs in her own words: 

I was born on:  July 4, 1914, 4:00 PM
at:  near Boonville, NC, Yadkin County
I weighed:  4 ½ lbs. and was 18” long.
I had dark brown hair and brown eyes.
My given name was:  Ellie Irene
I was named that because:  I was named for a relative of my mother.
My name means:  My name is a diminutive of Eleanor.
Nicknames:  When very small they always put Little before my name which I grew to hate as I got older.  My sister called me “Bug” and sometimes other objects.
The rest of my family included:  father, mother, Earl, Luther, Jerry, Thurman, Mattie, Vernice
Special names I called them:  Thurman was 13 when I was born.  When I started talking I couldn’t say his name.  I called him Pudlum.  That was his nickname for a long time.
Other relatives who lived in town or nearby:  uncles, aunts, numerous cousins
My parents:  Richard H. Nance, Mary Frances Michael
My mother’s parents:  Rush Michael, Jerusha Stanley
My father’s parents:  Clemuel Nance, Susan Swaim

(Husband):  Thomas Carl Vestal
(Husband's) parents:  Charlie M. Vestal, Minnie I. Angel
(Husband's) mother’s parents:  James Angel, (Luretta Willard)
(Husband's) father’s parents:  Joel Vestal, (Elizabeth Vestal)
The earliest ancestor I know of on my mother’s side of the family was:  my grandfather
The earliest ancestor I know of on my father’s side of the family was:  grandparents
My surname comes from:  France or Germany
It used to be spelled:  Nantz

Family traditions that came from national and/or religious origins:  Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter get-togethers, birthday celebrations, family  reunions and church homecomings
I lived in:  the country west of Boonville, RfD 1,Boonville, NC, from 1920 to 1933; 1 mile east of Boonville, Rte. 1, Boonville, NC, from 1933 to (present)
I went to school at:  Reece Free School, 4 ½ miles west of Boonville, NC, grades 1-8; Boonville High School, Boonville, NC, grades 8-10 ½
What I remember most about my mother:  She was pretty, gentle, kind, a very loving mother and grandmother; was also my very best friend who understood my joys and sorrows.
What I remember most about my father:  He was loving, strict, honest, loved all children and always wanted them to “amount to something” as he used to say it.  Was proud of us.
My mother’s full name:  Mary Frances (Michael)
I called her:  Mama
She was born in:  Surry Co., NC  4/21/1875
When I was a child she was:  5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed about 118 pounds.  She had black hair and brown eyes.
My father’s full name:  Richard Henderson (Nance)
I called him:  Daddy
He was born in:  Surry Co., NC  4/7/1872
When I was a child he was:  5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed about 170 pounds.  He had brown hair and blue eyes.

See also:
Grandma's Childhood Memories  (first of this series)
Grandma's Childhood World  (second of this series)
Grandma's Childhood: Memories of Family  (third of this series)
coming soon:  Grandma meets Grandpa, Grandma becomes Mama, Grandma becomes Grandma

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