Thursday, June 15, 2006

Lot and Bessie

Who were Lot and Bessie? They were the parents of my paternal grandfather. I am looking at a copy of their marriage certificate. It is 100 years old. It is in terrible shape and I hope to find a way to preserve what is left of it. (click to see larger copy)

At some point, my grandfather must have pasted it to a brown grocery bag because it was starting to fall apart. That has held it together for now, but I'm sure the glue has contributed to the sorry shape that it is in. He also took the time to transcribe the certificate on a piece of notebook paper. Smart man, my grandfather. He had very old-fashioned, elegant and beautiful handwriting. The transcription:

This certifies that Lot Millard of Mt. Carmel, State of Pennsylvania, and Bessie V. Frederick of Mt. Carmel were by me united in marriage according to the ordinance of God and the laws of the State of Pennsylvania at Mt. Carmel on the Eleventh day of April in the year of our Lord 1906.

Miss Orpha Brown
Mr. Richard P. Morgans

By Rev. R. Smith Stull

Because of the size of my scanner, I wasn't able to get a scan of the whole document, but I got most of it. A trip to Kinkos for a proper copy is in order. I want to preserve the original somehow, but I also want a good copy.

Lot was born on June 28, 1884. I found that out from the caretaker of the cemetary where he is buried. That kind old man actually walked to the family plot and sent me transcriptions of the headstones. It was a surprise when I got his letter. Even more of a surprise that my great-grandfather and I share a birthday!

I have a copy of the Bessie's social security application. She has listed her birthdate as January 10, 1892. If that is correct, then she was 14 when she married Lot.

My grandfather was born April 22, 1909. Lot was killed in the coal mines on August 13, 1909. My grandfather only four months old. Bessie only 17. Lot was 25.

Bessie remarried. That's what women did in those days. I don't have the exact date or place, yet.

Obviously, this certificate meant a lot to my grandfather. He never knew his dad. And yet he lovingly tried to preserve this all those years.

There is so much more that I have to go through in these boxes. I have had a quick glance at some pictures and things. I have to get organized and find a way to safely store and copy all of the family history.

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