This past week, my mom sent me the very first pictures I’ve ever seen of my great-grandfather, Glenn Archer Stewart, Sr. I’ve written briefly about Glenn… he was one of the two young boys who were orphaned when their father, William Stewart killed their mother, Esther, and then himself at the the Columbia Hotel in Caldwell, Ohio, in 1913. Glenn, and his younger brother Dale (who I’ve also written about), both committed suicide as well – Dale in 1943 and Glenn in 1958.
It made me think back to one of my own pictures from 1979 where I’m in my Easter Sunday finest at my Grandma and Grandpa Stewart’s house. I’m donning a bright red wool coat, with a little yellow and white dress peeking out, white knee socks and of course, those shiny church shoes! Whatever made my mom think that red and yellow were a good fashion choice, I’ll never know! But that meme on my Facebook page the other day did start me thinking about our family’s past Easter traditions. Does your family have any?
The prompt for day 5 of the #30DayFHWChallenge is to select your favorite family photo, and write about the moments just before and/or after the photo was taken. Why was it taken? Was your ancestor happy to be in it?
This is a weird/hard one for me because as I’m not close with my mom’s side of the family, I don’t have very many pictures of them. As children though, we did most of our family type events with that side of the family so while there are many, many pictures of us at family events, I don’t have access to them. But before I became estranged from that side, I was lucky enough that my mother gave me a few pictures so I do have “some” from my childhood remaining. Maybe someday she’ll pass them on but who knows? I have what I have and I cherish them.
As part of the #30DayFHWChallenge, I am writing this letter to my second great-grandmother who was murdered in 1914 by her husband, William, before he shot himself as well. I’ve written about Esther and William’s sad story before and the tragic ending of their two orphaned boys who would go on to kill themselves when they were adults as well.
In my quest to understand what happened that horrible day, I’ve gobbled up every bit of information I can find regarding William and Esther looking for clues and signs to explain why this had to happen. Most people would probably just shake their head at the tragedy and move on, but as a victim of abuse myself in the past, I wonder if she knew it was escalating to that point of no return. This is my letter to her….
It would seem that what I initially thought could have been semi-scandalous and involved star-crossed lovers running away together, was probably more likely that her father was at his sister’s deathbed and sent the brother Jacob in his stead to sign her marriage application.