Thursday, June 11, 2015

Throwback Thursday.......4 Generations of Women

It's Throwback Thursday and this entry is taking on a genealogical bent.

If you remember I posted this photo of 4 generations of the women in my mother's family awhile back.....

That post is located HERE.
This photo is of the latest generations of my mother's mother's mother's family.

I recently found another old photo in one of my mother's old scrapbooks(or could it have been my grandmother's?)of another 4 generations of women in my mother's family that goes back another generation, to my 2x Great Grandmother!
It's not dated but I know it was taken in either late 1934 or early 1935.

My mother was born in August of 1934 and she is the baby in the photo......

From left to right are my mother, Carole Harper Bowman, aged under 1 year,  my mother's mom/my grandmother Lillian Vassar Harper, aged 20, her mother/my great grandmother, Lucy Baker Vassar, aged 46, and her mother/my 2x great grandmother, Luretta "Lou" Foster Baker, aged 76.

The 4 previous-to-me generations of my midtrochondrial DNA are in that photo.

Before you cast asperions upon Lucy and her sagging bosom be aware that she gave birth 12 times(and no doubt, being a country gal, breastfed every single one)plus at the time of this photo she had just given birth to number 12, my great Uncle Barry....or was about to give birth.  Barry was mom's youngest uncle,  yet mom was 3+ months older than her uncle. 8-)

I only have one other photo of "Lou" my great great grandmother and it was taken in an earlier year than this one and she is in that photo with her daughter, my great grandmother, Lucy, along with some of Lucy's children(including my grandmother Lil).

Lou Foster Baker is the one standing in front of the tree and her daughter(my great grandmother)Lucy Baker Vassar is standing to the right in the photo.  My grandmother Lillian is in front holding a baby, between the smaller girl holding a baby and sticking out her tongue and the boy leaning over.
I suspect this photo was taken a few years earlier than the other one, perhaps the late 1920's. or 1930's before 1932.

If only I could bring Lou back for a day to find out what her life was like and the stories she would tell.
I look at the paper trail on Lou and I see a woman who survived a hard life.

She was born in circa 1858, the oldest child of Wesley Baxter Foster and his first wife, Susan Elizabeth "Fannie" Redmond.  
If you read the paper trail of official records there is no clear record of Lou's actual name.
I found it as Luretta L., Lou, Lora, Lue L., Lou L. and Lou E. in census records.  No birth record has surfaced to date so we just have her birth date as what was given to the census taker.

The War of Northern Aggression began when she was 3 years old so she lived through that period of deprivation in the South until the age of 7.  Lou had a younger sister, Lillian Belle, born in Feb. 1861.

Here's a picture of Lou's father, Wesley.....

I don't have a photo of her mother Susan Redmond Foster unfortunately.

Her father, Wesley, fought in the war, so his wife Susan and their 2 children were without their source of income for a number of years while the war dragged on.   I don't know how long Wesley was gone but there is a gap in children from 1862 to 1867 so it's possible he was gone for most of the war.
He served in the 56th Virginia regiment which organized in September of 1861.

After surviving the war and the return of Wesley to the family, he went back to farming and the family grew to include 3 more children; Henry, Estelle and Flora.

Then Lou's mother Susan died in 1873, when Lou was 15 years old.  Her father was 36 years old and the children ranged from 15 to 4 years old.

Lou's father remarried in 1875 to Martha Harris(a woman 10 years his junior)so Lou had a stepmother at the age of 17.

I can find no record of any children from this union of Wesley and Martha and though a death certificate alludes me so far, Martha is probably deceased by 1878, since Wesley Foster married again that year to Alice Katherine Baker(a woman 19 years his junior).  Lou is 20 years old when this third marriage takes place. 

Alice and Wesley went on to have 8 additional children before Alice's death in 1919.  Wesley predeceased Alice by 2 years, dying in 1917.

Alice Baker was the younger sister of the man Lou Foster would marry later in life, Patrick Henry Baker.   Alice and Patrick's father was Richard W. Baker.  This means Alice was Lou's 2nd stepmother and later her sister in-law.

Alice is my second great grand aunt, being the child of my 3x Great Grandfather,  Richard Baker, thus my tree again turns into a macramĂ© project. lolz

But I digress......

By the 1880 federal census Lou is 21 years old, married to Patrick Henry Baker and has a 6 month old infant named Richard Baxter Baker.  They are living with Patrick's parents,  Richard W. and Sallie Hamilton Baker.   According to the 1900 Census they were married in 1878.

Coincidence that Lou married Patrick the same year her father married a 3rd wife, Patrick's younger sister?  I think not.  New wives don't like having previous wives children around especially if they are old enough to marry off.  Lou was only 2 years younger than her father's new wife Alice at the time of that marriage.

Lou and Patrick Henry Baker went on to have 8 more children besides Richard Baxter(called Baxter)Baker between 1882 and 1899.  Patrick, who spent his life farming in Charlotte County Virginia, died in 1930 at the age of 83 and Lou lived another 11 years in widowhood with their oldest son, Richard Baxter(who never married),until her death in 1941.

Lou died when my mother was around 7 years old.  I don't ever remember mom talking about her great grandmother Lou.  Mom and her parents moved away from Charlotte County in about 1939-1940 so she may not have had any memories of Lou, being so young when they left the county/when Lou died.

It's nice to have this treasured photo though.  And nice to be able to patch together an ancestor's story.



  1. I've never really been into genealogy that much. Not sure why. Maybe because my ancestors were all from Italy and Sicily and I'm kind of afraid to know too much. lol I've always loved looking at old photos of them though. I think Lucy's bosom would have looked awesome if she sported a corset like my Grandma did.

    1. Lots of people aren't "into" genealogy and that's ok. I've always been a fan of history so it's just natural to be interested in my own history and how it relates to American/World history.
      My Hubs paternal line is 100% Sicilian too(his dad was 1st gen. American born) and he isn't real keen on learning anything either.

  2. Yes, the women kept cranking out more children until they were literally too old to have another. Which meant mid-forties or so. I find it amusing that modern medicine tells us women are largely infertile from late 30s onward, yet I have not found this to be true through genealogy research. Anyway, I'm becoming annoyed that I see pretty much zero names that intersect between my and your family histories. How can this be? I thought if you dug deep enough all North American whiteys are cousins. Maybe on my dad's side, then: Morgan? Loveless? Seen anything like that? Mitchell?

    1. The closest we come to kin is my 8x great grand uncle, George Tilghman/Tillman is the 1st cousin of your 9x great grandfather Gideon Tillman.
      I guess we didn't swim much in the same gene pool even back then. lol

    2. I'm sure there are more. We just haven't found them yet. Too close in geography to be that far apart. I think if you calculated how many times family trees spread out and then knitted back together at some later date, it would be surprising.

  3. I have to ask, what was the war of Northern Agression? I can claim no sides as i don't believe i had any ancestors in the US yet. fascinating, and i hope to someday learn more bout my own. My sister has dabbled, but she has lost any credibility when she claimed to have found a leaf leading back to Edward Longshanks of William Wallace legacy. Hardly-neither royal or cruel.

    1. The War of Northern Aggression is a Southern way to refer to the Civil War. It's a born in the South/grew up in the South/your people go back in the South many generations thing.
      Many white folks of English descent in the US who's ancestors came here early on are in fact related either directly or by marriage to famous/infamous royals from Europe...but then again, many folks who say they "do" genealogy just cull out what they want to find and that usually involves finding famous ancestors only.

  4. Great post. Women just had babies until they died in childbirth or wore out their bodies. A man could and did easily have two dozen or more children. Women were dispensable and easily replaced.

    I love all your pictures.

  5. I love four generation photos.

  6. Love reading you genealogy posts. I always get so excited when I see surnames that are in my family too. LOL! I don't think we are related though.


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