Friday, April 25, 2014

Grandma Ella 3

My Grandma Ella will not let me rest.  A few months back I only had a description of her, along with her name and mothers name.  After my initial blogs on Grandma Ella I just had to know more, as it is so much more to her story.  I've been told so much oral history on both sides of my family but the oral history that goes along with Grandma Ella is so in line with my own research. 

Months ago I was awaiting a picture of my great great grandmother Ella Farrish Luck.  I requested this picture over 10 years ago and it was driving me crazy.  My grandfather talked about this woman, his grandmother, told me stories, described her in vivid detail.  I just had to see her.  Finally, a few weeks back, my cousin Carolyn Okwesa, Uncle Frank's granddaughter(Frank Patrick Luck 1907-1987), who is the great granddaughter to Ella sent the picture to my email.  I have been staring at her ever since.  In my previous posts I described her personality as told to me by her living grandchildren all in their 80's and 90's.  I couldn't help but laugh when I saw how stern and serious she looked in the picture.  They described her to a tee.

 Ella Farrish Luck (abt. 1865 - aft. 1940)

Over the years I would get excited about Ella and delve into research.  I wouldn't find any leads, get frustrated and start on another ancestor.  I guess I wasn't looking hard enough.  Months back while awaiting this picture I decided that I would start over with Ella.  After all, I had been telling Ella stories as told to me by family members.  I had to have something to back it up.  I started with the only thing I had, her mother's name Lucy Farrish.  I found Lucy Farrish on the marriage record of Ben Luck and Ella Farrish from Caswell County, NC. (Nov. 28, 1880).  As told in the oral history, she ran away from the orphanage at 14.  She was born abt. 1865 and married in 1880 which made her around the age of 15.  I found one record with Lucy Farrish ( abt. 1845) who married James Nunnally (abt. 1830) in Caswell County, NC on April 18, 1866.  I found them in the 1870 census with Ella 5, and Harriett Nunnally 3, (abt. 1867).  Ella's last name was Nunnally in the 1870 census but she was also born a year before their marriage date.  The census recorders assumed everything back then.  All I have ever heard is this "Master Tom Farrish" from Caswell County, NC being her father.  By 1880 James Nunnally was a widow, which goes along with the oral history of her mother dying when she was young. 

I also followed her sister Harriett into adulthood.  To put icing on the cake I found her at the age of 12 in the 1880 census as a servant in the household of a wealthy merchant who ran a store in Yanceyville, Caswell, NC. by the name of Gerard James Farrish.  I think I woke up everyone in the house that night with my screams when I saw the name Farrish.  I followed his family tree a little and found that his father was a Tom Farrish from Chatham County, NC who later relocated to Caswell County, NC.  He died in 1862, before Ella was born so that slashed the thought of him being her father.  Then I saw a listing for Gerard James Farrish son, Tom Farrish who was born abt. 1843 and immediately start to look into the possibilities of this being her father.  He passed away in 1929 and according to oral history, her father, Tom Farrish tried to give her some land and her husband, Ben Luck would not let her take ownership of it.

Excited about this possible connection, I called my cousin Audrey McLaughlin Harris in Los Angeles, CA.  She is the granddaughter of Ella.  She remembers everything even things that happened as far back as 3 years old.  I have so many upcoming posts about her alone, she is one of the most fascinating women I have ever known in my 35 years.  I told her about my research and she told me honey, the spirit is telling me you are on the right track.  Then I asked her if she knew if her grandmother had a sister named Harriett.  She chuckled and said of course.  I burst out in tears.

Grandma Ella does have a story after all.  I am hoping to find more information on Lucy Farrish Nunnally, my great great great grandmother as it relates to the white Farrishes.  I have already been studying the white Farrish history and learning about their presence in Chatham and Caswell Counties in North Carolina.  This picture has become my most prized possession, I stare at it often and laugh as I picture her telling my grandfather and his siblings, "yll get y'll black asses away from here"................