Hoeing on the Last Row.
J. Mark Lowe
So many times when working on an extended family project, my mind gets tired and tends to wander just prior to finishing the project. Evidently, this is a normal reaction for many of us. My sister-in-law, Connie, told me years ago, that the last row of tobacco was the hardest to hoe. She explained that being that close to the finish line, the 'tiredness' kicked in and one thought they just couldn't finish that last row.
Connie' point has always helped me finish that last row. My clothes dryer stopped working, and although I have repaired the same problem before, I thought this time - I might just buy a new dryer. Another good friend said, "If you fixed it before, why not just fix it again." I ordered the parts ($20) and decided I could fix it this morning.
I pulled the dryer away from the wall and removed the back cover. I removed the dryer vent hose and thought - which relay do I replace first. I noticed that the last time I repaired this dryer, I had only replaced the top relay, so I replaced the top one first. I tested the dryer and it worked.
I replaced the back cover and began to reattach the dryer vent hose. It slipped and I thought, "Maybe, I'll just finish this later." I suddenly thought of my sister-in-law, Connie, and her advice - "...the last row of tobacco is the hardest to hoe." I adjusted the vent and dropped to my knees and tightened the clamp and repositioned the dryer. It worked and I completed two loads of clothes and dried them. What does this have to go with genealogy?
Thanks to Michael Hait, I received a Civil War Pension application packet about my Great-Grandmother Clara Martin. The circumstances of the application showed me a side of my Great-Grandmother that I had forgotten. Her last child was born in 1911. She and my GGF James Wyatt Martin had twelve children, ten of whom lived to adulthood. Just before Christmas 1915, James Wyatt Martin, developed a severe case of appendicitis and died. Leaving a 42-year-old widow with ten children. The oldest son had moved to California, the second son had completed his college training and was on his way to be a missionary in India, and the other children were there on the farm. My GGF James Wyatt Martin had also traded livestock and had completed several Federal contracts to supply mules. Here at his death, the family became totally dependent on the farm income for survival. The pension application was an attempt to obtain relief based on Clara's father who was a Civil War soldier, who died when she was a young child. Unfortunately, she was not eligible for the pension and the application was rejected.
Clara Martin and her children made the farm successful. She raised the remaining 8 children and kept the family on the farm, until she sold the farm and moved to the 'city' in 1948. The family still owns the farm. My father told me many stories about his Grandmother or Granny Martin as he called her. He said she could shimmy up the side of the log corn cribs faster than her boys, and she had the finest split rail fences in southern Kentucky. Her boys were tall, lean and hard-working. Her daughters were just as tough and could sew like a fine seamstress. Granny Martin hoed the last row of tobacco.
When that genealogical question gets tough, think about the families you are researching. Remember their story is true and real - what might help me wrap up this question. As Connie says, "The last row of tobacco is the hardest to hoe, but finishing the row is the most rewarding." Good luck in your attempt to keep the story alive.
Here's a photo of Granny Martin and her adult children