Recently, a relative sent me a box of mostly unlabeled photos. I’m frustrated when I don’t know who the people were or when or where the shots were taken. And for days after receiving such a package, I encourage (badger!) friends, family, readers, innocent folks in the post office line to always, always label their pictures.
But this long-ago group made me smile because I recognized the woman standing to the far right as my great-grandmother, Mintie Collins Farley, whom I remember. And the man surely was one of her sons, perhaps Floyd. The back of the photo has one name: Minerva Fields Collins Stacy. Suddenly I realized I was looking at my great-great grandmother who was the heroine of a family story.
During the Civil War, men in Grandmaw Stacy’s area were on battlefields, leaving their wives and children alone on hillside farms. Both Union and Confederate armies were throughout Kentucky, so first one army and then another had stolen everything eatable. Grandmaw had begged to keep one milk cow and a couple of chickens for the sake of her children, but soldiers merely laughed. Then one afternoon more men stormed in, demanding the food they were convinced was hidden. Grandmaw Stacy squared her shoulders and said everything was gone. But the officer pointed his pistol at her head and said it would be a shame to kill her in front of the children. Of course, she gave the soldiers the last of the food. How did she and her children survive after that? On boiled weeds and small critters she captured with homemade traps.
I’m pleased to have this photo. But now I have another question as I study Grandmaw Stacy’s two last names: What happened to her first husband and father of my great-grandmother? I wish those details had been added. But I suppose I should be happy the labeled photo at least has her name. Sigh.