The ancestor I am writing about this time was my great-grandmother, Amy Susan Floyd Loftis and who I called Mamaw Loftis. She was my Mom’s grandmother. This story is going to be a little longer than most of my post, but I think it will keep you reading until the end. Amy’s life wasn’t easy as a young woman and as a married woman, but as a child from what I have been told she was happy go lucky and her family was a little more well off than most. Her Daddy ran a threshing machine and dug wells in Western Kentucky and across the river in Southern Illinois with his youngest son, Luther Floyd. They all attended church at Sisco Chapel in Crittenden County, Kentucky. Amy’s parents and her father’s parents were all buried there as well. Amy died when I was ten years old and I always thought she was so pretty. Her hair, makeup and clothes were always just right and we would all get a kick out of her riding sideways on my Daddy’s motorcycle when she came up to Henderson to visit, she never straddle it. I can still hear her little giggle as they road up and down the street in front of our house.
I thought I had a picture of her on that motorcycle, but if I do I can’t find it now, I know there was some old movie film with her riding on it at one time, hopefully I can run across that one of these days too. The following picture of Mamaw Loftis, was taken in the early 1960’s when she would have been coming to our house and riding that motorcycle. The next picture of her was probably taken in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s. The next two are of the old Sisco Chapel Cemetery, that I took a couple of years ago when I was back home for a visit, the church house is no longer standing, but I have this old picture of the church at Sisco Chapel, but not sure where it came from. It must have been in some of my Mamaw, Daisy’s old pictures.
Amy Susan Floyd was born March 10, 1892 in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky the daughter of John Henry Floyd and Anna Susan Davis. Amy was the third of their six children and she had an older half-brother from her mother as well. These children were the following, Volentine ‘Vol’ Hall Floyd, 1887-1997, who was married to Martha Ethel Lewis and Ruby E. Armstrong; Eliza I. Floyd, 1889-1968, who was married to Bartley James Sullenger; Telia Jane Floyd, 1895-1961, who was married to George Iles Yates; Sarah Elizabeth Yates, 1901-2003, who was married to James Calvin Yates; Luther E. Floyd, 1904-1960, who was married to Imogene Virginia Walker and Amy’s half-brother, John Franklin Durfee, 1883-1959, who was married to Ethel Mae McCormick, they lived over in Saline County, Illinois.
I don’t have very many pictures of this family has per my Mamaw, Daisy, there had been a house fire at her grandparents’ home when she was a child and all the pictures and everything else had been lost. She said she remembered seeing an oval framed picture of her grandma, Anna Susan Davis Floyd that hung in the front room and she remembered seeing some Civil War era pictures of other family members who were in uniform but she didn’t recall who they were. I have some very old faded pictures that someone had just Xeroxed and sent to me. The following is the only picture I have of Amy’s Dad, John Henry Floyd, I would love to be able to find an original of this one to scan. I don’t have one of her mother, Anna Susan Davis Floyd, but I sure wish I did. My great-aunt, Marguerite knew her and always told me that my daughter, Rachel looked just like her.
My Mamaw, Daisy, told me that her grandpa, John Henry Floyd, had arthritis and walked with two canes all doubled over and that his mother, Eliza Parker Floyd, also had arthritis and was bedridden most of her older life until her death, because of it. That probably explains why he is setting in a chair in the above picture. My Mamaw had arthritis real bad as well and she use to say, “Those Itis boys are mean, but Arthur is the meanest of them all”.
Not sure of everyone in the following picture, but back row from left to right: Amy Floyd Loftis, Eliza Floyd Sullenger, Ethel Lewis Floyd and I am not sure who the next two ladies are, front row left to right: Imogene Walker Floyd, Sarah Floyd Yates and Telia Floyd Yates. If anyone knows the two short ladies on the back row, or if I have any of the ones I do have named wrong please let me know, thanks. Well it only took about 30 minutes after I posted this story and I had the lady on the top row, last one on the right identified. She was Mattie Ernie Floyd Burklow, 1885-1967, she was a first cousin to the Floyd sisters. Mattie's granddaughter, Debbie, showed this to her Mom, Dodie and she said, that's my Mom.
Besides by Mamaw Loftis, I also knew her brother, Vol and her sister Sarah. I use to call and talked to Aunt Sarah several times over the years asking her family history questions. She also came and visited my Mamaw, Daisy, a few times as well, and thankfully I was there a few times myself to ask her questions in person. The first picture is of Eliza Floyd Sullenger and her half-brother, John Durfee, next is Luther Floyd, Vol Floyd. Eliza Floyd Sullenger and Amy Floyd Loftis, and last Sarah Floyd Yates. Aunt Sarah died the day after her 102nd birthday in Terra Haute, Indiana in 2003, she was alert and active right up to the end.
Amy lived a typical life for the area and the time that she grew up in. Her parents were well liked in the community, they lived a comfortable life. Even though most young girls in the area were married by the time they were 18 years’ old, Amy was not. She was a pretty young woman and for the longest time I always thought it was strange that she did not get married until she was 24 years old, when she married my great-grandfather, Jasper Guy Loftis, 1895-1945, on January 10, 1917 in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky. They became the parents of eight children, namely, Daisy Elnora Loftis, 1917-2006, married Ermon Edward Fraley (They were my Mom’s parents & my grandparents.); J B Loftis, 1918-2004, married Dorothy Helen Beard (My Daddy’s big sister, so they were my Mom’s Uncle & Aunt and then her brother-in-law & sister-in-law after she married my Daddy in 1957 J); Myrtle Mae Loftis, 1920-1998, married James Robert Moreland; Christine Virginia Loftis, 1921-2015, married Joseph Alvey; Willow Belle Loftis, 1924-1986, married George Watson; Dorothy Elizabeth Loftis, 1927-1929; Bobbie Laverne Loftis, 1930-1975, married Paul Gregory; and Norma Jean Loftis who is still living.
I only have two pictures of my great-grandpa, Jasper Guy Loftis, aka Jack, one of just him and one of him and Amy with my Mamaw, Daisy when she was just a baby, they are the following:
The following picture is of Amy with five of her daughters, from left to right: Daisy, Bobbie, Norma Jean, Willow Belle and Christine, Amy is setting in front of them. This picture was probably taken in the late 1950’s.
Amy’s husband, who most called Jack was a spar miner working in Western Kentucky. I know he worked at the Klondyke and Bonanza Mines, but unfortunately he was a bit of a drinker. My Mamaw said she loved her Daddy dearly, but when he was on one of his drinking binges she and the rest of her siblings tried to just stay out of his way. Mamaw told me that her Momma took the brunt of his actions when he was drinking. Life for the most part after Amy was married was not pleasant and times were hard. Amy took in sewing, laundry and other odds and ends jobs trying to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. I do believe all of Amy’s kids made it through the eighth grade, but they did not have the money for them to go any further in their schooling. Plus, their Daddy thought school was a waste of time.
I started actively working on my family history when I was around 25 years old. I had helped my Dad quite a bit when I was younger, but during high school and the early part of my marriage I had pretty much stopped. When my two oldest girls were little, and my third was just a baby, I was bored and looking for stuff to do. My husband was working full time and going to school full time and I was wanting something to do when the girls were down for naps to occupy my time. I started organizing my husband’s family history and then I ask my Dad for copies of what he had gathered over the years. Here it is over 30 years later and I am still looking for family, this is a very additive hobby by the way. 😊
The reason I tell you this is because when I started searching for family I started with my Mom’s side of the family, because both her parents were still living. So, I called my Mamaw, Daisy, and told her what I was doing and I had some questions for her. From then on I would call at least once a month with more questions and sometimes Mamaw would call me because she had remembered something or someone I had been asking about.
Anyway, I was wanting to make sure I had all her sisters and her brother’s information right, because I thought I knew all of them. There was my Mamaw as the oldest, then her only brother J B, then Aunt Chris, Aunt Willow Belle, Aunt Bobbie and Aunt Norma Jean. I knew there had been a baby sister to die, but I didn’t know her name. I knew these people, my Mamaw’s siblings, I saw them many times over the years. Mamaw gave me all their birth dates and told me her baby sisters name which was Dorothy Elizabeth. Then she said you don’t have my sister, Mae. I ask if she had died when she was a baby too. Mamaw said no and then she told me the following story.
Mae had meet a young man who lived in the area and they had been dating or at least she had been sneaking off to date him, because her Daddy refused to let her see him. They wanted to get married and her Daddy absolutely forbid it. He was a nice young man, he had a job, but Papaw Loftis wouldn’t let them for whatever reason unknown to my Mamaw or anyone else for that matter, get married. So, what does a 20 and a 17-year-old do, that are in love, they run off and get married. The thing is she never went back home; her Dad would not let her. So, they left Kentucky, Mamaw had always heard that they went to Missouri and then out west to Washington or Oregon possibly. Mamaw said her Momma, Amy, received a few letters over the years up into the late 1940’s and she knew Mae had a couple of babies, but other than that nothing. Wow, I was in shock, I had never heard about her, none of her siblings had ever said anything about her.
Then Mamaw really shocked me when she said, “I also have an older half-sister”. Wow, you could have knocked me over! A child of your Dad’s I ask? No, Momma’s daughter, said Mamaw. Mamaw said, “Do you think you could find them? Momma always wondered what happen to them. She would say, I bet they hate me and Marguerite probably hates me for sure”. My Papaw Loftis did not want Marguerite around, because apparently, she reminded him that Amy had been with someone before him. A silly thing to impose on a child, but that is what happen. Marguerite lived with her Mom’s parents, but when she was five her grandma had a sudden heart attack and died just two weeks’ shy of her 60th birthday.
Marguerite was shuffled from one aunt to another after that and Amy even had her for a short while, until Jack told her she had to go somewhere else. By the time Marguerite was 14 she was working in town at a store, but in 1930 when she was 16 she was listed on the census, living with her grandfather, John Floyd, again. Mamaw said that was probably the last time she saw Marguerite was in the early 1930’s. Mamaw, said she was probably around 12 years old before she knew that Marguerite was even her sister. She heard she had married Curtis Rushing, a local boy, but she had heard nothing about her since that time, she just knew that they had left Kentucky, but she did not know to where.
Mae and Marguerite both were gone from Crittenden County by 1940, and no one had seen are heard from them since. I was hot on the trail. I was hoping I could find them and surprise my grandma at her 50th wedding anniversary party in 1988. I had been looking for over two years by this time. 1988 came and went and still I had not found either of them, but I had not given up on the search. My youngest daughter was born in 1988, Amy was on my mind a lot and so we named our youngest, Amy, after my Mamaw Loftis. My Mamaw, Daisy, had also named one of her daughters Amy. Both Amy’s giggle and smile like their namesake too.
It was two years later in 1990 and we were living in Arizona at the time. I was still digging looking for ancestors and keeping my eyes open for clues as to where Mae and Marguerite may have gone. Were they even married to the same guys, had they passed away, it had now been over 50 years since anyone had seen are heard from them. The Social Security Death Index came out while we were living in Arizona and the CD’s came to my house because I was working at the local Family History Center at the time. I called our IT guy and ask when he could load the software so I could start looking. I was new at computers so I did not know how to do that back then. He said he could meet me at the library the next morning. I called my Mamaw and said, “Do you know about how old James and Curtis would be” and she gave me approximate dates. I did not get any sleep that night, because I knew that the break I was looking for would be somewhere on those CD’s.
I got the three older girls off to school and Roy off to work and then got Amy dressed and she and I headed to the library. My heart was racing! Our IT guy got the software in and left. I typed in Curtis Rushing nothing came up that matched with what we were looking for. Next Marguerite Rushing again nothing. I typed in Mae Moreland, nothing. I typed in James Moreland and got over five pages of James Moreland’s. I narrowed down the search on James and knocked it down to one full page, so I narrowed down some more. I called my Mamaw again and double checked on how old she thought James was. She said, “well now that I think on it, I believe he was in my grade at school, so he has to be around my age”. I popped in those parameters. Three James Moreland’s came up that might work, but which one was the one I was looking for. I looked all three over, two had been dead for several years, but one had only been dead for a few months.
My heart was racing again, I knew I had found the right guy and if he and Mae were still married when he died, then there should be a phone still in his name. I loaded Amy back up in the car and drove back to our house a couple of miles away, no cell phones then. I called information and ask for a listing in Apopka, Florida for a James Moreland. They gave me the number and the goose bumps got higher, then I realized it was time for the girls to get home from school. So, I waited until Roy got home from work and we had supper and I could ask him what he thought I should say if indeed Mae was on the other end of that line
It must have been a Friday because I called the next morning and everyone was at home. We had the girls go outside to play so it was quiet. Roy set there while I dialed the number, it rang about two or three times and then a woman said hello. My heart kind of fell because it was a young sounding voice. But I ask any way, can I speak to Mae Moreland, please? The lady on the phone said, “sure let me get her for you”. My heart just about stopped!!!
The next thing I hear is the sweetest sounding little old lady voice, saying, “Hello”.
I was having a hard time breathing or thinking it seemed, but I finally said, you don’t know me but my name is Vickie Thompson and I live in Arizona, but I am originally from Kentucky. She was rather quite after I said Kentucky and for a moment I thought she might have set the phone down. I mean after all she was 70 years old, I did not want to give her a heart attack. She asks me what I was wanting and I said, “I believe you maybe my grandmother’s sister”. Suddenly she was crying and saying she’s alive, she’s alive. It was quiet again for just a moment and then she said, “What is your grandmas name?” and I said Daisy and she started crying again. Then she started rattling off all her other sibling’s names and asking about them and where they lived and how could she get in touch with them. I had to tell her that two of her sisters had passed away and she cried again. Then she was quiet and said in a rather soft voice, “Do you know when my Momma died”? I was able to say to her, “Yes Ma’am, she passed when I was ten in 1968”. She said, “I never knew when my Momma died.” She had heard about her Daddy dying in 1945 though.
She gave the phone to her daughter, Judy, the lady who had answered the phone originally, so that I could give her every one’s addresses and phone numbers. She wanted to talk to all of them as soon as she good. The following year they had a big family get together in Kentucky in June of 1991, unfortunately I was unable to attend and I never got a chance to meet Aunt Mae, before she passed away in 1998. Here are some pictures from that gathering. The first one from left to right is Mae Loftis Moreland, J B Loftis, Christine Loftis Alvey & Daisy Loftis Fraley. Next is Mae with her baby sister, Norma Jean Loftis. The last picture is of Mae with my Mamaw, Daisy, when my Uncle Guy took her and Papaw, down to Florida not to long after I had found her. Just look at the smiles on all their faces. I am so happy I could find Aunt Mae and that they were all able to get together once more.
Just six days after finding Mae in Florida, I found Marguerite in Illinois. Marguerite’s story and finding out who her Daddy was will be at least one, possibly two separate blog posts.
Amy Susan Floyd Loftis, passed away from a stroke at the hospital in Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky and was laid to rest at the Union Baptist Church Cemetery in Union, Crittenden County, Kentucky. Her daughter, Dorothy Elizabeth and her husband, Jack are buried by her side.
Blue forget-me-nots play a part in the next blog stories I will be posting and that is why I am saying the following to my Mamaw Loftis. Amy, you were not forgotten, not by me or any of your other descendants. I remember you and your little giggle and setting in your lap when I was small. I remember when my Mamaw, your daughter Daisy, heard about your passing and how sad she was to lose you. I found your two missing daughters, though it took me several years. They had a good life and they had not forgotten you either, but were just lost for a time. Now you are all together again in heaven and things from the past are forgotten and remembered no more. May you always smile and giggle like you did when I was a little child and always know that I will never forget-you-not.