They ALL deserve roses. If you are just tuning in, I started this post last weekend. It gives you a tad of background. And I stopped the timing on that post with Ed Jewell’s suicide. His oldest son (age 9, going on 10) called Beamus (Ed, Jr.) found him that morning, hanging in the barn. This photo is a picture of my grandmother taken when she was an art teacher at Brenau College in Gainesville, Georgia. She was in her 20’s. And I still have a water color of hers on my wall beside my bed in Paris.
After that, someway, Mary Tallulah Dickson Jewell met and married Leonard Loudermilk in Atlanta and a Baptist preacher and two witnesses on July 23, 1914, blending two families that had five children each, and went home from Atlanta that day to a group of 10 children (ages 15 – 4), who had all been through their own individual experiences – five who suffered the death of their mother and five who experience the suicide of their father. Let’s figure out the various ages of those kids. First, let’s list them: the Jewell kids were Mary (born June 1898), Edgar, Jr. (born August 1899, aka “Beamus”), Jesse (born March 1902) , Furman (born October 1903), and Margaret (born August 1904). The Loudermilk kids are listed below. Dennis Loudermilk was the oldest (February 1898 -15 at remarriage)and then Mary Jewell (June 16, 1898 – 15 at remarriage was next. The youngest was Ida Mae Loudermilk, (January 17, 1910 – 4 at remarriage.)
ON the morning of July 19, 1909, that fateful morning when each child’s father was found hanging in the barn, Mary, the oldest, had just turned 11 in June. Beamus was 9 and would be 10 in August, the next month – he is the one who found his father. Jesse (my father) was 7 in March. His younger brother Furman was 5 – he would be 6 in October. Margaret, their baby sister, was 4. She would be 5 in August. WOW. Talk about a trauma. And, if he were suffering from drugs anyway, imagine the craziness that comes from drugs and alcohol. WOW. In other words, those kids were very young. And, their mother, was 37. The deceased father ED JEWELL was 52.
Questions? What did she do for money? Did she and Ed already have the feed and fertilizer store at that time? How did she manage with those 5 little children and the shame of that death? I don’t know. But somehow, she did. And they did. For five years. But somehow, she met and decided to marry Leonard Loudermilk on July 23,1914 in Atlanta, at the age of 42. How did she meet him? I don’t know. They are all dead. No one left records. So, let’s take a minute to see what we know about Leonard. I have a few photos.
Leonard Loudermilk was born (October 1875) in Habersham County and grew up and fell in love with a local girl Malala Sisk. He married her at the age of 22. Malala was two years older and beautiful, and I image they were excited and In love because their wedding day was Valentine’s Day 1897 (romantic day). They moved to Gainesville in Hall County when he got a job, managing a company mill store for two cotton mills in Hall County.
And they had five children together. Who were their kids? The oldest was Dennis, (born February 1898). The next was another boy, Joe (born September 1899). The next was another boy Hershel, born March 1902, and then a girl Ruby (born November 1906. And the baby was another girl Ida Mae (born January 1910). The above photo is a photo of Leonard and Malala and their oldest three boys.
Malala died on July 28, 1913, from cancer. She was a young 40. At the time of her death, Dennis was 14, Joe was 13, Hershel was 11. Ruby was 6. Ida Mae was 3. Just babies. Left for Leonard to raise alone. From what I think, Leonard was a good man and loved his wife and kids. I believe he missed Malala very much and wanted the best for her kids. How sad. Somehow, he met a widow – Tallulah Dickson Jewell, with five kids of her own. They decided to marry and blend the two families.
Mary Tallulah had a big house with five bedrooms and two baths, so the twelve of them lived there. It was struck by lightning in a tornado in 1936 and burned. All of the children had married by then, except Beamus, who still lived with them. I don’t know what year this photo below was taken, but the kids look young. It is taken on the steps of the big house before the tornado in 1936 destroyed it. I was born in 1937. All of this happened when I was not present. Or even conceived. I just took it all for granted when I was young. I am now so sorry that I did not ask more questions. And, that I did not show more love and respect.
Another timing to note – after Malala’s death, Leonard remarried one year. (Malala died July 28, 1913 – remarriage was July 23, 1914.) Mary remarried 5 years after Ed’s death (July 19, 1909 – remarriage July 23, 1914). Mary Dickson was 42. Leonard was 39. That fact tells me that they both needed each other, in love or not. So, they contracted to join forces to help all of the children at risk here. WOW. And they did. And they managed to rear them and send 9 of them to college. Together they were quite a team. Now, if that is not love, I don’t know it. Two adults during pandemics and world wars, working together to help families and each other. WOW.
Now. I want to write about Daddy and his need to help his mother and step father through hard times. I have a theory that I want to explore. So, stay turned. It requires its own day. He was quite a man. And this story is unusual and full of love and family and amazing strength during trauma. The true American spirit. It inspires me. I lived it and did not appreciate at the time. I took it for granted. HOW WRONG OF ME. I apologized for not being clearer about all of this. I still have a lot of blurred vision and want to write this with this MAC that keeps jumping around. But, I am amazed at all of these people who lived this amazing story during wars and hard times. And, each child has a successful story. I will only write about Daddy.
Best, Jay (this is hard to write because the computer jumps around and I am doing the best I can. Sorry. I want to get it written. I don’t had the energy for a book. But, blog posts let me do something, at least. I need a ghost writer. And hair and makeup. And I love this young picture of me. What an interesting life I have had. )