Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day Tomorrow! February 13, 2014

A family can develop
only with a loving woman
at its center.
~Karl Schlegel

Gloria Watson. Today is the birthday of my cousin Gloria Watson of Knoxville, Tennessee. Gloria was born and raised in San Diego, even though she was a military brat for some of her growing up years and lived in Japan and elsewhere for various periods of time. Gloria is one of the four children of my aunt Vicki Gower Johnston and one of the 12 grandchildren of Leroy and Nola Shannon Gower. Happy Birthday to Gloria! The first picture shows Gloria with her grandmother Nola Shannon Gower, taken back in the 1990s in Tennessee.

Happy Valentines Day Tomorrow! Best wishes to all of you for a great day of celebrating family love. Our family tree is filled with young (and old) lovers whose love is worth remembering and honoring. Two memorable Valentines of note in our tree are my GGGgrandparents, Alexander Davis and Jane Buskirk Davis.

Valentines of Note. Alexander and Jane were both originally from Ohio where they fell in love and married in 1843 in Monroe County. At the time he was just 24 and she was only 20. Over the next 24 years their love resulted in the births of 10 children. After their first 4, they took a 3 year break from having kids and, like countless other Americans, heard the call to move westward. They became the first in that part of our family to settle near Spencer, Indiana. With primitive roads, covered wagons and thick wilderness, it was a very difficult move for this family with 4 young ones, traveling these 400 miles from Eastern Ohio to Indiana. 

Some 15 years later, after 6 more children were born to them, their love -- and their baby making --- was cut short. During Jane's last pregnancy, Alexander died at just 48 years old. Suddenly she was a young widow with 8 children, most of whom were still at home, and one more on the way! But her love was strong and she finished raising their children in Indiana by herself. 

At 70 years old, Jane left Indiana with their youngest son, 26 year old William Alexander Davis, and "ran for land" in the Cherokee Strip of Oklahoma in 1893. They staked a claim and settled in what eventually became Helena, in Alfalfa County, Oklahoma. Jane died just two years later in 1895, surely with warm memories of her beloved valentine Alexander still in her heart. 

One has to admire the courage and determination of this remarkable woman to carry on and make the most of things after the love of her life was taken from her in an early death. Alexander and Jane are Valentines to be remembered and honored for their strong love and devotion that endured so much.

A Celebration of Family Love

Jane and Alexander Davis belong in the photo collection above, but unfortunately no picture of them exists. This Valentine's Day presentation -- version 2014 -- with music by Sarah Brightman, includes old and new images of family members and friends smooching or otherwise cuddling up to each other. May it contribute to your Valentine's Day celebration.
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Steve Shepard

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