A Tale of Two Grandmothers
“I Wish I knew my grandmothers…” – Kenny the Genealogical Gangster
Grandmothers I Never Knew
To begin I must say that I have never met any of my grandparents. What a sad statement to make. My paternal grandfather who I talked about before who fought in Army in World War II or Korea I believe. I’m still requesting military records for him. He died in the early seventies and then my grandmother passed on right before I was born. the first grandmother I will talk about is her.
Her name is Laura Butts. And contrary to the old wives’ tale in my family she was not born in Knoxville Tennessee. She was born in Morgan Calhoun Georgia; her parents were the children of slave masters. Her light complexion came because of the above slave masters rape that happened to her grandmother by a slave master. My grandmother moves from Georgia to the area around Knoxville Tennessee where she met Daniel Greene Jr.
The Exodus From Tennessee
The two were wed after he returned from the war. They had a host of children. Nine children that are known of the possibility of one that is unknown. I’ve always heard of an uncle that was mentally disabled. we don’t talk about him much but I know that he is out there and I am going to find him. When I see my grandmother again I am going to ask her why she left him. For he never made the trek with the family from Knoxville to our family home now here in Denver Colorado.
I don’t want to see her to ask her just about that. I want to understand her life. See left all of us early. Alcoholism which I believe is a generational curse in my family took her before I was born. And I am the only son of the eldest daughter in the family. I’m almost her eldest grandson if it were not for my cousin’s Jerry and Nathan. I want to know why they left Tennessee. I want to understand her story and how she survived with so many children. I’ve seen only one picture of her and it is burned into my memory I cannot forget.
The Other Moses of my Family
The next ancestor I want to talk about that I wish I could meet her name is Bertha Mae Holt. Bertha Mae was born in Tennessee. She came to live with her rather large family after marrying Howard Denton Sr. My father’s father who my father is named after. What a tongue twister! And lived in the area around Boulder Colorado.
Boulder is very Caucasian in racial makeup. So, it is clear to me that she took on work as a household employee of some sort to a rich family. I want to know why she moved from Tennessee to Denver Colorado. Knowing that there must be some pain in some of these stories that will cause two separate families the flee the same area. I want to know how she supported a great family that she did. Which was large with six children. And her husband passed on early in their lives.
But my desires to meet her or not all good. my great-aunt made a deal with her that my father’s identity would be kept a secret. for many years, I attended church with my father and never knew who he was. And by the time that I discovered this after my great aunt had passed he died a year later. Soon after that most of her Family died the matter of fact only two of us survived that I know of.
Some Hurt and Pain
How could she rob me of time with my father? She is not the only culprit my aunt is guilty as well. But I wonder why? What was wrong with me? There’s a lot of pain and what I’m saying because I wanted to know my father’s family so very bad! I did not want to be that kid who only had a mother.
Sure, I had a stepfather but that was from an arranged marriage and he had no mental faculties at all to understand what being a father was. If it were not for uncles namely my uncle Walter and my uncle James I would not even know what being a man looks like. What I mean by that is I would not know how to carry myself as a man. I would not know how to be a husband Our Father. these are lessons that my father should have taught me.
Even through all this, I forgive her I love her and just want to meet her.