Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Father's Father

John R. Blakey born in MS on June 21, 1871.
His life came to an end 90 years ago on July 10, 1918 at age 47.
As I have been on my ancestral journey, I have learned more about my Grandpa John. Grandpa John left behind a wife, my Grandma Jennie who was 34 or 35 and their 7 children. One child was my father who was almost 5.

Grandpa John was born on Hew Davis Plantation in Woodville, MS on June 21, 1871. He had a twin brother named Andrew who later died with their mother, my Great Grandma Martha Scott ( 1847-1871)

Grandpa John's father, Isaac Blakey a.k.a. Isaac White was left to care for him. Isaac was an Ex-slave and Civil War MS Union Veteran' Private Isaac Blaker.

Great Grandpa Isaac later remarried and fathered Mary, Andrew, Charity, Isaac, Jordan, Julia, Frances, Henry, Beecher, Spencer, Lillie, Martha, Joe, Rosa , Edna, Ollie, Lawhorn, Annie and Archie. Their mother was Rachel Leftridge / Lew (1855 - 1916).

There were 18 or 19 children were born to this union of Great Grandpa Isaac and his 2nd wife Rachel between 1874 - 1906. Oral history states that Rachel had 18 children. Even the census records states 18 children.

I have come across at least one more child in 1880. If the census record is correct Great Grand pa had two sons named Andrew; one by each wife. The sons could have been named after Andrew White Isaac's father.

I found about 6 other names through the census records. I can assume that the names were nick names. Here are some examples. Susie = Lillie. Isaiah = Isaac Jr.

As I can see things from the material that I have gathered. I cannot find Grandpa John on the 1900 Census. I cannot locate Great Grandpa Isaac in 1870.

Both could have a different surname. Grandpa John had at least 6 surnames. Two of those names were John Ada and John White. The Blakey surname has at least 4 different spelling in Grandpa John's life time.

There was some point when my Grandpa John changed his last name. Oral history has it that there were many John Blakeys. That brought confusion.

I have not found a MO marriage record on my Grandparents. I assume that they married around 1902. I came across a record of one of their children who was still born child in November 10, 1902.

Grandma Jennie had relatives living in St. Joseph. Perhaps that is way they moved to St. Joseph. Grandpa John worked as a grader and perhaps other jobs to support his family. I have located him in city directors and census records.

I heard the story of Grandpa John having T.B. He was very sick. He moved to S.D. where some of his siblings resided.

Some time during the mid teens, Grandpa made the journey to Yankton S.D. Story has it, that he was trying to find a house here his family could live. He couldn't find a house.

Grandpa John didn't get to make that trip back to MO. His journey had ended. It was on July 10, 1918 when he passed away.

I thought about about this journey. I made the trip to Yanton, S.D. in October 1981 and July of 1995. I imagined how this journey could have been during the time of my Grandpa John.

I got the honor to learn some things about Grandpa John while in Yanton. There were some relatives who passed down the story to me. It was in 1981 when I met my 2nd Great Aunt Mary, the wife of Spencer.

Great Aunt Mary was my Grandpa John's sister in law. By the way Grandpa John had 3 sister in laws with the same first and last names.

There was a Mary, the wife of Grandpa's brothers Isaac, Henry and Spencer. Yes, that would be confusing. Two lived in the same city.

I noticed some thing unique as I was thinking about the time spand. My Grandpa John passed away 45 years before I was born. I met my 2nd Great Aunt Mary 63 years after my Grandpa's death. I thought that's some thing to know.

Back to the story:
This is what I have learn happened. Grandpa John was getting ready to make the journey back to MO. But he died in a covered wagon. He was buried in Yanton, SD with the Blakey surname. As for my Grandma Jennie. She was told of his death through a letter.

Grandma Jennie was ask to come to SD. She stayed with her family in MO. Grandma Jennie had siblings and friends in St. Joseph.

It was not until last month I made a new discovery. Three months before Grandpa John passed, one child died. at 11 months old. So he was the father of about 12 children. Seven children were living at the time of his death.

I'm amazed by what I have gathered over the years. I have been going back over information. I am rediscovering things that I have over looked. I am finding more to the puzzle on my family saga.

I am thankful that I can search for information on my family history. I pray that what I have come across will be preserved. Who knows, there might be a curious descendant looking for information. They may find it

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