Wednesday, February 12, 2014

52 Ancesters - #6 - Jimmi Lena Phillips

My paternal grandmother was named after her father, James Phillips.  She used Lena most of her life and the name Jimmi caused one census taker to mark the wrong sex.  Lena's father died when she was very young and her mother remarried when Lena was 3.  Lena grew up in Woodford County and married John Wallace Howard, of Clover Bottom.  They lived on a farm all of their married life.  Lena had 10 children - 8 boys and two girls.  One of her sons died when he was four months and another died at Pearl Harbor when he was 20.  She also buried another son when he was 68.  Lena was an avid learner and read everything she could, at one point even reading some old law books that she found.

Lena's early married life was working hard to help her husband on the farm and then raising her children.  She kept chickens and cooked huge meals for the family and neighbors who always seemed to drop by at meal time.  She also found time to grow flowers - her peonies were some of the most beautiful I have ever seen.  My earliest memories of Grandma was the peacocks in her yard.  Although I was terrified if they got too close I thought they were the most beautiful birds.  She always had a vase of discarded feathers that I tried to talk her out of on each visit.

Lena had all of her children at home and never entered a hospital until she was in her 80's.  She and John were married 73 years when she died at age 95.

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