Monday, October 11, 2010

Columbus Day, Oct 11

Columbus found a world, and had no chart,
Save one that faith deciphered in the skies
~George Santayana

Hello Family and Friends,

Happy Columbus Day! Actually tomorrow is the real Columbus Day, but today is the day we observe it. And well we should. Because of Christopher Columbus, most Americans have a European connection that keeps genealogists and family researchers busy.

I found one person in our family tree with the name Columbus. Even though he was known by that name, and even signed his WWI draft registration card that way, his full name was actually Robert Columbus Shannon. He was the brother of my maternal grandmother Nola Shannon Gower. Unfortunately he only lived one month past his 30th birthday and died in 1923.

His parents Finetta Shannon (on the far right in the first picture) and Sam Shannon (in the picture below) knew how to give their kids outstanding names. They may not have been smiling in the pictures included today, but they had to have been smiling when they named their children. They started out slow, giving their first born the beautiful but simple name Mary Ann (second from the right in the first picture).

But then they got down to business, giving their kids names like Marcelous, Elminey, Columbus, Alonzo, Arizona Caldonia, and Tabitha Canzada, before wrapping things up with their last born, Nola Agnes, my grandmother.

(By the way, the first picture (above) is from a four generation family photo taken in 1946. From left to right are: little Mary Ann Everidge, her father Earnest Everidge, his mother Mary Ann Shannon Everidge, and her mother Finetta Dearien Shannon.)

The full name of the father of Robert Columbus was Samuel Pickens Shannon, my Ggrandfather. I have known his name for many years, but I never knew till recently the significance of his middle name Pickens. That was the last name of his maternal grandmother Ann Pickens (1785-1867). Just like today, grandmas back then had a way of influencing the choice of names for their kids. 

Ann Pickens was the Ggrandchild of immigrants William Pickens (1670-1735) and Margaret Pike (1672-1740). William (born in France) and Margaret (born in Ireland) came to the U.S. about 1700 and settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. 

The third picture I am including today shows the youngest sibling of Robert Columbus Shannon and the last child of Sam and Finetta Shannon, my grandmother Nola Shannon Gower, who died in 2004. With Nola, in this 1995 picture, are her two daughters Maida Gower Shepard (on the left) and Vicki Gower Johnston (on the right), both of whom live today in western Washington.

Among the newest readers of this blog is Jerry Davis of Grand Prairie, Texas, whose father was a first cousin of my paternal grandmother Bura Davis Shepard. Jerry has a great interest in family history, having done lots of research into our Davis ancestors. I look forward to future correspondence with Jerry that will result in family stories and research that will find their way into future blog posts. It is good to be connected to him.
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