Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Start of the Book

 One of the genealogy blogs I follow offered a challenge for February. Lynn Palermo began a writing challenge to encourage people to begin to write their family histories. I took this to heart and wrote the very first part of the book about the Langford family. So far, I have gotten pretty positive feedback along with a few really good suggestions. Here is what I have so far;

Oscar’s first memories were of his loving Griswold family. Pa Griswold had a farm near Fredonia, New York near the border with Pennsylvania. When Oscar was old enough to be a helper, he was Pa’s “cow” boy.  He would help milk the cows and feed them. It was, for about ten years, an idyllic childhood near the beautiful Lake Erie.

Oscar was sent to school at the big red school house in Laona, where he made many friends. As he reached his teens, Oscar became strong enough to help with the heavier work on the farm. There was a lot of wood chopping as every house needed firewood and Pa had lots of trees.

While he had many schoolmates there was one older girl who checked on him regularly. Oscar really liked her and was happy whenever Jeanette Walker came around.

Oscar also liked to read the local paper and was fascinated by the news. There was a lot going on in the country in 1850: westward expansion, Indian Wars, talk of ending slavery. It was in the paper one day that Oscar read about Jeanette’s upcoming marriage to a cabinet maker from Fredonia that Oscar knew, Peter Wise. But, her name was not Walker. It was Langford.

Oscar asked Ma and Pa how this could be so confused. He was 13 now so they sat him down and explained. When Oscar was about three years old, his mother, Fannie Mansfield Langford, died and the Griswolds took him in as their own. Jeanette was his sister and had been taken in by the Walker family. Oscar was still confused but he was very happy to learn that the older girl that came to visit was his sister! Oscar asked about his father but the Griswolds only knew that he left the area. But, Oscar had family.

Jeanette filled him in on the many brothers and sisters that he had, although they were scattered across the rapidly-expanding country by this time. Some had left before he was born. Two of the other young boys were also raised by families nearby. Oscar quickly discovered that he was part of a much bigger family and he couldn’t wait to learn all about them.

From that day forward, Oscar went by the name “Oscar Langford”.