First off I want to think my new found cousin, Patti Waldron Cline, for letting me post these memories she wrote about her mother. I really enjoyed how her mother would tell an ancestor story to get across a point, give a moral to a story or just to let her, Patti, know she came from someone special and she could do anything she wanted. Patti's mom sounds like she was a wonderful lady.
One of the reasons I wanted to add Patti's story memories is because of the story she told about the Underground Railroad. Since I have been writing stories this year about slavery and my ancestors, I thought a story about the Underground Railroad would fit right in.
The following is the story that Patti wrote.
"My mother was a fascinating, animated, walking talking history book and encyclopedia all wrapped into one. She was an avid genealogist and proud Daughter of the American Revolution. She was so proud of her Quaker heritage and her Scots-Irish “industrious stand up for yourself open minded” way of thinking.
I was always hearing of one ancestor or another depending on how that ancestor’s story and situation in life related to my life at that moment. My mother had a charming ability to make everything relevant and come to life.
When I was in my creative arts and globe building mind set I heard about my GG grandfather William Conrad Herider who held two patents. One invention was on an “Improved Farm Gate” with a turnbuckle built in for straightening, granted: June 20th 1863, and the other is a “Blackboard and map case”. Patent number: 40035. Date granted: 9/22/1863.
I heard on Lincoln’s birthday how President Lincoln’s great-grandma was a STOUT, my 4th great grandma’s sister.
When I had writing assignments and lamented that I couldn’t do it, I was introduced to my 4th great grandfather, Daniel Isgrigg who wrote three books; Hierglophic 1834, The Hoosier 1836, and his Biography in 1838. His hand written manuscript is in the Indiana Manuscript library. Daniel was a friend of Thomas Jefferson’s and they wrote letters to one another discussing astronomy, religion, politics and other various topics. By God if he could write to President Jefferson and write books, then surely I could write a simple essay.
Rachel Stout Allen, my 4th great grandma was brought up as an example when I went to college and majored in Vocational Agriculture and Plant Science. In the North Carolina State Archives is Rachael’s herbal medical book with her recipes for remedies. She was an herbal doctor known as ‘the medicine woman” with so much knowledge of the value of plants for people and livestock. Everything that happened had some sort of historical family story that reinforced the point she was making.
I remember the school day when we learned about the Civil War, or War Between the States, depending on which side one supported. This was my mother’s “seize the moment” opportunity to share another story.
My mother’s people were all Quakers so they didn’t bare arms. My GG grandpa, Nathaniel Lynn Isgrigg served in the war so to speak, not with a rifle, but with his medical knowledge. He was a doctor and cared for anyone who needed help. His daughter Delcene Anne, (for whom I’m named) was 12 years old when the war broke out. Grandma Del lived with my mother’s family when she was a little girl and this is what Grandma Del told my mother: “When I was 12 years old out doing chores I noticed a black man hiding in the wood shed. I was so frightened. I ran right away to tell pa about the stranger hiding. Pa confided in me that we helped slaves escape. I was to tell NO ONE. Our people, the Friends, do not believe in owning people. Helping escaped slaves was a death sentence if caught at that time so it was a big secret.” My mother was always so impressed with the fact that a 12-year child old could be trusted with a life and death secret, and she was proud that her grandma shared this amazing story. Of course we know today this is what’s known as the Underground Railroad.
My mom was always quick to point out that things are not one sided. I was asked if the teacher that day also told about how General Sherman marched through the countryside and towns leaving a wake of death and destruction. Grandma Del remembered seeing Sherman’s men march through taking all the livestock and food and burning the barns. I was reminded that the north had child labor and indentured servants living and working in filthy fire traps no better than slave labor, and to take what the teacher said with a huge grain of salt; A lesson in open minded thinking and not jumping to being too judgmental in life.
One day I decided to walk in the Lung Association fundraiser. It was 18 miles. I was wondering how I was going to make it as I wasn’t much into walking, but I did want to support the cause. Before I left that morning mom had this story for me. Your 3rd great grandmother Phebe Allen born in 1789 and lost her husband in 1826. She decided to migrate with the other Quakers who were leaving for Indiana. She packed what she could manage, and rode side saddle carrying her new born infant who is your GG grandpa. Her 11 other children walked all the way from Cane Creek, North Carolina to Indianapolis, Indiana. The 468 miles took several days to get there. If those kids could walk 468 miles, you can manage 18 miles.
I was always amazed at how much my mother knew about her ancestors, and how her story telling timing was impeccable. Feeling sorry for ones self or whining was unacceptable and not tolerated.
I recall right after we moved to Orange, I was given the choice to go to Orange High School or Villa Park High school. Orange High was an older school with an FHA Agriculture and plant science program which I loved. Villa Park High was a new school with an excellent art program which I also loved. Decisions. I asked my mother for guidance. Here is the guidance I got.
She said, “In September of 1918 when your grandpa Orla Edmond Frazier had to register for the WWI draft he had an excruciating decision to make. Being Quaker, going to war bearing arms was against the teachings. He also was taught to be faithful and patriotic to his country. The world was at war and his country needed him. But fighting was against everything he was ever taught.” Mom continued,” My dad went to his father (your great-grandpa) Oliver Aaron Frazier (who also had to register that same month for the draft) for advice, his father told him this: “You have to make your own choices in life and make your own path. No one can choose for you, no one but you knows what is in your heart and what your can live with. Only you know. I will support whatever choice you make because you will make the right choice for yourself.”
Probably the most impressive ancestral story that my mother loved to tell, and I even use today to motivate myself is that of Penelope Van Price, b ~ 1622, my 8th great grandmother. Whenever I was apprehensive, unbrave or unconfident in any endeavor, my mother the motivator got this powerful story out of her “bag of tricks”.
Penelope and her new husband and several Dutch settlers set sail for New Amsterdam about 1640. The ship hit a heavy storm, went off course, wrecked, and ran aground at Sandy Hook, what is now Monmouth County, NJ. Everyone survived. All the passengers and crew set off for New Amsterdam on foot, abandoning Penelope on the beach with her very ill husband. The Indians found them on the beach, killed the husband and thought they had killed Penelope. The Indians had hacked her in the abdomen leaving her intestines hanging out and fractured her skull. She crawled to a hollow tree where hid until a few days later two Indians returned to check the dead white people.
The elder Indian had a small dog that found Penelope. The younger Indian wanted to kill her; however, the elder Indian disagreed and said that if she didn’t die the first time it was wrong to kill her now. The elder Indian took her back to the camp where his wife nursed Penelope back to health. She stayed with the Indians working, learning their language and their ways. They were very kind to her. Most accounts say she was with the Indians for a couple years. After a long time, some of her shipmates returned looking for her and asked the elder Indian for her return. He said that it was her choice to stay with them or go back. She decided to return to her people and the old Indian took her back. She met Richard Stout, was married and had ten children. She became the first liaison between the white settlers and the Navesink tribe of Leni Lenapi.
Penelope outlived Richard by twenty-seven years, dying in 1732, at the 110. By the time of her death, it is said that she was proud to be the multi great grandmother of five hundred, and two descendants. It was told of her that she had always to wear a cap because of her scalp scar, and that she had no use of her left arm. Her knowledge of the Indian language, and the fact that she was a friend of the Indian who mended her wounds, no doubt was a great help to the little New Jersey settlement.
Every Stout descendant in America can thank their ancestor Penelope for her bravery, confidence and endurance. It is said that she told her family that she was never afraid of anything ever again.
These are some of her favorite stories to use as motivational material... there are so many more… but they will wait for phase two of my memories.
At the end of mom’s favorite motivational story, she always added, “If Penelope could make it through all that, then you can do what you need to do!” "
Since this is the Memorial Day weekend coming up I also wanted to include the story Patti tells about her father, Ed Waldron, who was a Pearl Harbor survivor in this video which a friend of hers did and placed on YouTube at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekpvbNtNS8k
Mr. Waldron, thank you so much for your service and for the others who gave their lives for our freedom. Patti’s father passed away in Fresno on April, 1, 2016 at the age of 96.