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So thankful

As we approach Thanksgiving, The Legal Genealogist is oh so thankful for cousins who stay in touch and who are willing to share when they come across things in the boxes they’ve inherited…

Case in point.

I have an absolutely wonderful second cousin who now lives in Texas but is doing her best to move to New Mexico. The move is likely to mean downsizing so she’s going carefully through everything she received from her older sister, who died in 2008, from their mother, who died in 1983, and from their mother’s mother — my grandfather’s sister — who died in 1984.

The newspaper clipping about my Uncle Monte that was the focus of the untold story (last weekend’s piece on my family) came from this cousin, also named Judy, and so did a bunch of photographs.

Take a walk with me through just a few moments of my family’s history, captured and frozen in time…

My great grandparents, Martin Gilbert and Martha H. (Johnson) Cottrell, separated in 1909, with Mattie leaving Texas with her four youngest children, Theo (called Tedd), who was my cousin Judy’s grandmother; Maude; Bert; and Clay, the baby, my grandfather. They moved to Frederick, Oklahoma, where Tedd and Maude ran the telephone exchange.

I do have pictures of these two great aunts, alone and with other of their sisters. But never before had I seen this photo before Judy sent this copy.

That’s Maude on the left and Tedd on the right. We’re not sure if it was in Iowa Park, Wichita County, Texas, before they left there, or in Frederick, in Tillman County, Oklahoma, after they arrived there, but oh boy… isn’t this an amazing image…?

Wanna know what a telephone exchange looked like between, oh, 1910 and, say, 1915? Here’s the one in Frederick, Oklahoma.

That’s my grandfather Clay sitting there with the headset on. Wasn’t he adorable?

Now this next one is a bit of a puzzle. It’s either Clay or his older brother Bert. Both served in World War I.

But you know… it almost doesn’t matter which one it is. We can all see ourselves in those eyes.

I’ll take time to share just one more with you… because it’s just so very special. You see, in the 1940s, my grandparents still had bunches of kids at home and very little money coming in. They put some things in storage, including boxes of old family photos. You know the rest of the story already, don’t you? The storage fees couldn’t be paid, the things in storage were sold… or thrown away. So there are so few, so very few, photographs of the older of my grandparents’ children, including my late mother.

But there she is… the little girl front left, with her cousin Helen’s hands on her shoulders. Helen’s sister Ruby (my cousin Judy’s mother) is next, holding my Aunt Carol (who died last month), my grandparents Opal (Robertson) and Clay Cottrell, with my Aunt Cladyne in front blocking her Dad, my great aunts Nettie and Tedd (Judy’s grandmother), and my Uncle David in front.

Glimpses of a time long gone, and into faces so well loved…

Thank you, cousin Judy. Thank you. Thank you.

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