A Great Grandmother
I even failed to get my parents stories.
Now, I humor myself by seeking information through family photos, Internet ancestry sites, and hobnobbing with my brother Mike. He has spent hours and hours searching out distant relatives and constructing a family tree.
Great Grandmother Augusta (Augusta, Grace, Evelyn, Me) is one who intrigues me. I have possession of her personal photo album, which has tin types and some regular photos of her parents, her husbands, and her babies.
His 8-year old daughter, Hattie, needed a mother. ( That was not the case for the two sons who were about the same age as their new step-mother. Both were married and starting families of their own.)
One of Hattie's great grandchildren was gracious in sharing Hattie's diary with us. In it is a little insight into Augusta's personality:
My first acquaintance of my stepmother was one day he took her for a ride out to our old home, and he had a nice patch of onions there , and the first thing she did was to make a beeline for them, and gathered a bunch, then went to Eliza, who was living near, and got some fresh bread and butter and had a feed. I didn't know at that time she was to be my stepmother.
My Father then sold our home and bought a place in town and he run a livery outfit. My stepmother was always very good to me, but of course, she was very young and did things so much different than my Mother, that one day, I told her my Mother wouldn't have done that way, and she thought me sassy so she whipped me. Of course, I didn't think she had a right to do that, so I went right out to the barn and told Father. He just said, " You must mind her and not talk back." But he told her, if I didn't mind, to tell him, and he would see to me. But, we never had any more trouble, and as far as I can remember, he never did whip me.
Augusta gave birth to her first child in June of 1879, my grandmother Grace.
By the time her fourth one arrived in 1885, they were packing up their belongs and following their dreams to Colorado.
Well, the summer before I was fifteen, my brother wrote, urging my Father to come to Colorado as up the Ute Indian Reservation to be settled and they were each taking a 160 acres joining each other and he could get one joining theirs if he came right away, so as he then had three boys growing, he thought he better get a place. So he sold out. We packed things to ship when we got settled, and we boarded the train bag and baggage, which meant quite a bit, with 4 little kids. So that was the way we left Michigan.
There they were blessed with two more.
My grandmother Grace would have been about 14 in this photo.
One week after Grace turned 16 she wed a man twenty-one years her senior.
There were no young men in Delta Colorado who shared the religious beliefs of the Castle Family.
Single and thirty-seven years old William drifted through the area and visited their little church gathering.
I can't confirm it, but I believe that Augusta took matters into her own hands and arranged Grace's marriage to my grandfather.
Their faces seem to be wearing stunned expressions in the wedding photo.
Augusta shed her tears quickly and headed back to the marriage market.
My eighty-nine year old third cousin Lucille told me recently that she has vague memories of Augusta as a "crippled-up old woman." Her body was twisted and gnarled by arthritis.
That was probably not too long before Augusta died in 1937 at home in California.
I wish I knew more.
One important thing I do know is that her genes live on... in hundreds of descendants.