Friday, November 7, 2014

Family History on the Road - Day Five & Homeward Bound

After an evening in Muskogee catching up with family, we woke early on day five and headed to Greenhill Cemetery.

My maternal grandfather is buried on the grounds, along with his parents and paternal grandparents. These older Upton family graves are below a cluster of evergreen trees, casting shadows on the monuments below.

This was my first visit to the cemetery since my grandfather passed away in 1993. Although they had divorced in 1959, it felt important and appropriate that we visited his grave on the same trip we buried my grandmother. It felt as though there was a certain element of closure.

From Muskogee, we drove to Tulsa to spend the evening with my grandfather's youngest sister. She generously hosted us in her home, and, to my great delight, pulled out family photos that had been in the collection of my great-grandmother Mary Pauline (Wagnon) Upton. Fortunately, I was prepared for such a situation. Like any genealogist worth his salt, I had brought my scanner along and was able to make digital copies of dozens of images.

Many of the pictures were old black and white cabinet cards. Some were labeled and featured my 2nd great-grandmother Annie Charles (Winkler) Wagnon. Sadly, many of the pictures, including a small handful of tintypes, were not labeled. I've added these photos to the collection of Unknowns with the hope that someone will chance upon a picture and be able to help identify the subject.

Among the old family photographs, was a small bible that belonged to Annie Wagnon. It was a copy of the New Testament, small enough to fit in the palm of my hand and bound in faded red fabric. The bible was wrapped in an old hankie that belonged to Annie. Inside, on several blank pages, she had inscribed the birth dates for her children, herself and her husband Wilburn Wagnon.

The following morning, it was back to Kansas and then on to Colorado. In total, we traveled nearly 2,200 miles, ventured into five states, and paid our respects at the graves of 36 direct ancestors. Throughout the journey, we celebrated the life of my maternal grandmother. She revered her family, and she instilled that love and respect in me. In a way, this blog is a direct result of her passion.

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