What This Photograph Does Not Tell You

(KPC Writer’s Group theme for this month is “An Old Photograph”.

Annie was born in August of 1868. Times were hard back then. No one was more able than Annie herself to handle the hardships she would face in her life.

As a young woman Annie married a man named John. They proceeded to build their lives together. While pregnant, she and John went out for a horse and buggy ride. The horse became spooked and took off out of control. Out of this came Annie’s first tragedy. The buggy flipped over, killing her beloved husband. Annie did not focus on her loss. Instead, she devoted herself in the joy of raising their daughter who was born shortly after the accident.

Many years later, Annie married a second time. She and Albert had one child together, a son. In the meantime, Annie’s daughter had married and birthed five children, one of which was mentally handicapped. A second tragedy befell Annie as her daughter died young and left the raising of her children to Annie.

A few years later, Albert lost his hand in a farming accident. He began selling Avon to support his family of now six children.

Annie and Albert’s son married in December of 1924. Six months later, Albert died.

Tragedy struck yet again when Annie’s daughter-in-law died in childbirth at the tender age of 31, also losing the child. At this time, Annie was bitten by a black widow spider and was hospitalized, rendering her unable to attend the funeral or help her son with his children. During the course of her hospitalization, Annie’s arm was lanced seventeen times, and she lost complete sensation in her arm. Upon release from the hospital, Annie took on the responsibility of helping her son raise his six children, ranging in ages fifteen months to eleven years.

And through her perseverance, Annie developed character which was that of remarkable individuality. In Annie’s later years, she caught her arm in the wringer of a washing machine. Another tragedy? Not this time. It seemed to be a miracle. Annie regained full use of her arm. In a real sense, Annie herself was the miracle. She was a notable woman who gave of herself freely to help others.

I am honored to say that Annie was my great grandmother.

“…but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given us.” ~ Romans 5:3-3

28 thoughts on “What This Photograph Does Not Tell You

  1. People like your great-grandmother Annie make all of us think about putting our lives in perspective. It seems in those days people just managed to bear the tragedies of life and go on with their chins lifted and spirits alive. I wonder if it is just in the retelling of the life stories of our ancestors that it seems they were so much braver than we are today. I also wonder if one day some great granddaughter or grandson of mine might retell my life story thinking I too had overcome some of the adversity life has dished out. I suppose I shall never know. I guess all I can do is try to live with the same sense of purpose and strength that your great grandmother did.

    • Susie, I think many people do live like that, but it seems much more tragic then because they didn’t have the amenities that we have today. Everything was such a physical feat. You’re right, we’ll never know the stories they will tell of us when we’re gone. All we can do is live the best we can and hope to leave a good and lasting legacy.

  2. You have a great selection of photos, but even better selection of stories to go with them Suzi. You do what you have to do I suppose. What a wonderful spirit your grandmother had.

  3. A lovely tribute. Surviving…and thriving…through multiple tragedies is something we can only marvel at from the outside. It’s such a personal thing to live through deaths of your closest and dearest. What an amazing woman Annie was. I love the photo.

  4. A lovely homage. Well written. And what a wonderful inspiration for you … Apparently she didn’t let anything get the better of her. How fortunate for you and your family.

    Suzicate – really – thank you for sharing this story.

  5. What an AMAZING inspiration Annie was!!!

    I can’t tell you enough how much this post touched me, Suzie.

    As usual…..beautifully written!

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!


  6. Where do you find out all this stuff? It amazes me the stories you have stored up that I have no clue about. I knew about the Avon thing and getting her hand caught in the wringer but had no idea about the other stuff.

    • I am nosy and ask a lot of questions. This actually came from Aunt Francis. When she found out I was researching the genealogy, she wrote me a letter with a wealth of information. The info is important, but I think I treasure the fact that she wrote it out for me even more. I kept it in my extremely disorganized files.

  7. It always amazes me to hear stories of earlier generations and the incredible hardships they endured. I mean, tragedy was such a common occurrence. I look back at what my grandparents and even my parents went through, and it blows me away. And here I am bitching if I lose my internet connection.

  8. What I think is especially wonderful is that you know this story and that you’ve preserved it for future generations. We would probably all be amazed at what our ancestors went though, if only we had more than the very basic facts. I so regret not asking questions of my mother when she was alive, and I’m trying now to leave some of that for my kids and their kids with my digital scrapbooking.

    • Carol, That is wonderful that you are doing that. I traced both sides, all lines of my family and my husbands. My kids couldn’t care less right now, but some day I hope they will. They both love history as I did and at that age I couldn’t have cared less either. When I became interested. I started asking lots of questions, especially from the oldest aunts on both sides and my parents. Unfortunately, all of my grandparents were deceased when I finally became interested.

  9. Wow. What an amazing woman Annie was. And she had amazing strength through such hard times. We are so lucky to live in this day in age… life and times of earlier generations so were full of hardships. With our modern technology available at our every whim, it’s easy to forget how difficult life used to be just a few generations ago.

  10. That’s awesome! My mom recently made a photobook of her ancestors- and wrote some stories in the book as well. we need to write these down and tell them, or they get lost- and then Annie becomes just a pretty face in a b/w picture to her great great great grandchildren. I am glad to see you carry this story on.

  11. family history is important to remember,
    admirable life journey of your grandma,

    she is exactly 100 years older than me…

    thanks for the inspirations.

  12. This. Is. Amazing.

    What a tragic, but inspiring story. She certainly would be considered “Pilgrim Stock.” How blessed you are to have such a brave, persevering woman in your lineage. The Scripture passage is perfect.

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