Thursday, April 17, 2014

Small in Size, Large in Heart

A few weeks ago, I got this wild hair to travel southeast to the town of Macedonia, IA in hopes of learning more about my ancestry. My mother's mother was born and raised in Macedonia. Her father  - William - was the pharmacist in town and died at the age of 51 when he was struck by lightening. 

Yeah dudes, he was struck by lightening. 

According to his obituary, he lived in Macedonia all of his life and was widely known in the area as a musician, "ready to assist in all musical activities" to be specific. I think once you've found that you have creative tendencies, you start to look for other members in your family who share these same characteristics. Maybe it's due to the fact that creativity isn't always valued in our society or that it lacks a certain respect or garners less appreciation. I know in my personal experience, I'm a bit of an outsider in my own immediate family due to that fact that I'm the only one who doesn't work in a numbers or financial related field. I suppose I hoped that by further researching my history, I could shed a new light on how I identified myself. That I could gain a better understanding as to why I have certain talents or a propensity to do things a certain way.

My great grandmother, Laura Iowa, also born in Macedonia, married William at the age of 28. Just two years before  that, in 1904, she graduated from the University of Iowa, making her a part of a small group of women (less than 6,000 country-wide) who completed some form of higher education. She lived to be 94 years old and spent all but 8 years in Macedonia as a teacher and community leader. According to her obituary, she would be remembered by the town for her "keen mind, ready wit, and the wisdom of her counseling." For so long, I had always identified myself with my father's side of the family, mostly because pretty much everyone tells us we're exactly alike. And while this is mostly true, that line about how Laura would be remembered makes me inclined to think that maybe I was wrong. Maybe I have my mother to thank for my creative leanings.

The above information is what I set out on the road with. By the end of my afternoon, I hoped to visit the family gravesides and possibly William and Laura's farm, as well as see if the Macedonia Historical Society could help me find any more information on these two. Unfortunately for me, the town was pretty much all shut down on that Saturday with the exception of the local diner/bar.

While I was definitely bummed out that I didn't get to speak with anyone directly regarding their past presence, it was still really lovely to visit the town and the cemetery where the majority of the family now resides. Gaining a better understanding of my identity through my family's history is something that is important to me. I'll definitely return to Macedonia in the future, this time with an appointment to visit the historical society and library, to see if there's anything else I can learn about William, Laura, and the rest of my grandmother's family. 

Below are William and Laura's headstones. As you can see, there were members of the freemasonry, specifically the Order of the Eastern Star where Laura was eventually elected a Worthy Matron and served as the chapter's secretary.

And while I was at the cemetery, there were some other interesting headstones that I just had to snap a few pictures of….

No comments:

Post a Comment