The family history was sacred and to be told as exact as possible.
Grandma Fern sat with her hands folded in her lap while she answered my question did she ever go to school? “Why yes child, why would you ask a question like that?”
I was just curious and she started the story of how she walked to school in the snow. It was only one room and all students learned their lessons together. She remembered the school teacher was a man and very stern. The teacher always had a fire going in the potbellied stove so the classroom was warm when she arrived. He carried a bamboo cane to strike the students that were misbehaving.
Grandma said when she was 20 the community employed her as the school teacher, She taught in the very same room she went to school in as a child. She started the fire to warm the room every morning but did not carry a cane. One reference of talking to the errant student’s parent was all it took to get angelic behavior for a few days.
At age 21 grandma met Grandpa Paul and teaching school was not in his idea of wifely duties. Children and chores were his idea of wife and duty. Grandma still took time to teach her children the basic tools of reading writing and arithmetic. Grandma cooked and cleaned and in her spare time wrote letters to send all across the globe. Grandma’s hobby was genealogy. One of her many poems was penned to sum up her family and her love of genealogy.
On my way home from school each day I would stop at grandma’s to hear her read the latest correspondence from somewhere in Europe. To young to understand who I was but with curiosity to know I quizzed grandma after she read the latest letter, “Grandma, who am I?”
Without skipping a beat she replied, “You are Irish, English, French and Dutch and all the rest don’t amount to much!” I grinned and repeated my new found standing.
Grandma Fern had a Kodak box camera to take the family photographs.
Grandma wrote poetry often. She included these lines for the passion she pursued, Family genealogy.
Family History by Fern Gallup Kinney
“Think of all these couples and their conjugal bliss and all their babies each born to be kissed.
Think of all those diapers that had to be cleaned and all those babies that had to be weaned.
Think of all the wives so loving and giving and many a husband out earning a living.
They married young and they married late or not at all if that was their fate.
Some had no children, some had too many some adopted if they had any.
Just any way at all, if they could be grafted or grown on this family tree.
Think of the measles, diphtheria, and croup, the cancers and T.B. and heart ailment group,
there were weddings and funerals, graduations and things, spelling bees, picnics debates and sings.
The quilting bees to make cover for their beds barn raising’s and maple candy spreads.
Sleigh ride parties in box supper frolics, square dances and other pleasures bucolic.
There were doctors and captains and missionaries too, yes , teachers and ministers a motley crew ,
Not many crooks and not many crazy not many drugs and not many lazy.
There were Israels, Stevens, Asas, and Johns, Moses, and Aarons names of those bygones.
Almost every conceivable label or libel for names they almost exhausted the Bible
with Mary Elizabeth. Sarah and Hannah with now and then an Eunice are Anna,”
on each family tree with children by the dozens many times we see where they married their cousins.
Small wonder when all were in one settlement but now know need for far and wide they are sent until now o’re the U.S., farther and wider.
The Kinney’s spread out like the web of the spider.
No wonder the Bible said that Israel’s seed or family tree, like the sands or stars would uncountable be.
If you have the ability to read between the lines there is in this book some pretty good fines.
Here annual not find all those facts or fates as genealogies chronicle just names and dates
Fern Ester Gallup Kinney