2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 11 (Mar. 11 – 17) Large Family
Edgar L. McKinley and Rossie L. Sharp
I have several grandparents who had a large family… so it was a toss of the coin that I went with my great grandfather, Edgar Lawson McKinley (1863-1944), as he had two families… so it was a Larger Family in that sense. He married my great grandmother, Rossie L. Sharp (1869-1902) and had eight children, five boys and three girls. Then he married a second time… and after already having children in their twenties… to now have five more children. My mother always laughed when she spoke about him, as she said he had a favorite chair on the porch he liked to sit in while the boys worked in the fields. Sadly, my mother always said she was not a favorite grandchild of his… that he favored the grandchildren more from the second marriage. Even more sad, to think… that a child would think… or know this of their grandparent, but if he showed the favoritism, then…
Family of Edgar Lawson & Rossie L. (Sharp) McKinley
Rossie (Rosa) L. Sharp McKinley
When I was small, I remember finding a large photo rolled up in a closet at my granddaddy’s farmhouse (Edgar T. McKinley) of this photograph. It was a very large rolled up photo… and was there for years… but later when I remembered it, and wanted it… it was gone! My mother said she remembered her father having it on the wall in one of the older oak frames they had; I guess when they took it out of the frame, was when it was stored in the closet. It looks to have been a charcoal drawing.
First marriage of Edgar “Lawson” McKinley
Marriage license of Edgar L. Mckinley & Rosa L. Sharp: September 30, 1885, Taliaferro Co., Georgia
Edgar “Lawson” McKinley (1863-1944) was born March 7, 1863 in Taliaferro County, GA. to parents Hugh Lawson (1823-1902) & Ann Elizabeth (1835-1904-Dickinson) McKinley. He married Rossie L. Sharp (1869-1902) on September 30, 1885, Hancock Co., Georgia…. after applying for their marriage license on September 28th. Within two short months of wedded bliss, Rosa was pregnant with the first of eight children in Lawson’s first family. Their first three children were girls, Lena, Cora and Emma… and then the boys came with Joseph, Edgar, Richard, Nevilla and Lonnie in 1901. Lonnie died May 18th, 1902… shortly after his first birthday… and Rosa soon followed on July 8th, 1902. (I can only assume that maybe whatever Lonnie died from, Rosa contracted… as she died soon after… but we have heard that Rosa died of a broken heart in losing her son; unfortunately Georgia death certificates weren’t kept in Georgia until 1919.)
1900 Powelton District, Hancock Co., Georgia: Edgar Lawson McKinley (37- listed as Edward) with wife Rosa (31). Children: Lena (13), Cora (12), Emma (10), Joseph (7), Edgar (6), Richard E. (4), Nevilla (2), Joseph T. Sharp (65 – father in law)
When Rosa died in 1902, the oldest daughter, Lena, age of 16, soon became mother to the younger boys. It was always told to me how my grandfather, Edgar Thomas McKinley (1895-1972) was raised by her… always carrying him around… and him saying he wanted a “sweet pot”, which was a sweet potato. He was seven years old when his mother died, so I’m not too sure about Lena carrying him around on her hip as mama told… as brother Nevilla was only three years old. But like anything else, tales change through the years.
Gravestone of Rossie L. Sharp McKinley
Inscription… Asleep in Jesus blessed sleep, From which none ever want to weep.
Gravestone of Lonnie McKinley (1901 – 1902) Inscription: son of E.L and Rossie L McKinley. Sadly the little stone of Lonnie’s lays on the ground now by the grave of his mother Rossie L. McKinley.
Before 1906, Lena, being the more adventurous, left home… she went to Atlanta and began working in The Southern Bell Telephone Co. It was in Atlanta where she met her husband, Charles Van Dusen and married around 1906 (1930 Census says she was 20 when married). Her second sister, Cora (22), married Marshall Beckum (26) in 1908 and had one child Lucille (6 months). Emma eventually followed Lena and also worked for the telephone company. Lena began as a clerk and worked her way up to a supervisor there. Miss Minnie was now mother to the remaining children at home, only having one child of her own at this time.
After my grandfather, Edgar T. McKinley, was discharged (1918) from the Army… after only spending about six months, he went to live with his sister Lena in Atlanta, and worked with her husband Charlie Van Dusen; he was a cabinet maker and taught him woodworking. Granddaddy didn’t stay there long before returning back to Greene Co., where he met my grandmother, Ola Askew… and after a short courtship, they married in 1923. While he had enjoyed the carpentry and woodworking learned… farming was in his veins… he longed to own his own farm, not work for someone in a business.
I do know that Lena was always very close to my grandfather out of all her brothers… she visited him every summer, spending a couple of weeks on their farm. He often drove the wagon to Atlanta in visiting her… later driving by car. Mama remembers spending time with Lena in growing up, even spending weeks with her in Atlanta… as she was her favorite aunt. Lena wanted her to come and live with her and work at the telephone company, but by that time, she had met my father… and marriage plans seem to have been in the works.
By the time my grandfather, Edgar T. McKinley, married in 1923… his father had a three year old son… beginning his second family.
Family of Edgar Lawson & Nancy Josephine “Minnie” (Askew) McKinley
Nancy Josephine “Minnie” Askew & Edgar “Lawson” McKinley
I love the hat my grandmother Ola is wearing… reminds me of the hat Nancy Drew wore on the cover of her first book, The Secret of the Old Clock. My grandmother did enjoy reading… wonder if she read Nancy Drew like mama did?
Lawson’s second marriage to Nancy Josephine “Minnie” Askew was on December 24th, 1908 in Hancock County, Georgia. I wonder why they picked the date of Dec. 24th to marry on… but, we will never know. (I have yet to find their marriage record online; the Hancock County courthouse burned in 2014 and all records not digitized were lost.)
I remember my mother telling me that her mother, Ola Askew McKinley, was actually related to Miss Minnie; but no one could never really tell you exactly how they were related. It wasn’t until someone sent me a handwritten Askew pedigree chart found in “loose papers” at the Atlanta Archives… that I finally discovered the connection. Besides having Minnie as her mother in law with Edgar Lawson McKinley’s second marriage… she was also her cousin.
Besides Miss Minnie being my grandmother’s step-mother in law… they also shared a grandfather of William Askew (1807-1872). He was my grandmother’s (Ola Askew McKinley) great grandfather and the grandfather of Miss Minnie Askew McKinley. As William Askew had two different wives separating the lines… it boggled me in trying to figure out what the cousin relationship would be… anyone figuring it out.. do drop me a line!
Another marriage brought more relationships… My grandfather’s (Edgar T. McKinley) brother Lewis Graham McKinley married the sister, Annie Askew, of my grandmother, Ola Askew; two McKinley brothers married two Askew sisters.
1910 Powelton District, Hancock Co., GA. Census: Edgar Lawson McKinley listed here as “Ed” McKinley with his second wife of Nancy Josephine “Minnie” Askew. His children from first marriage to Rosa Sharp are in this household, Emma (20), Joseph (17), Edgar (15-my grandfather), Richard (13), Nevilla (11) and Earle (9)… their first child in the second marriage.
1920 Siloam, Greene Co., GA. Census: Edgar Lawson McKinley moved his family from the Powelton community to Siloam on to Plantation Rd. (as said on Census); that same road today is known as “Slip Rock Road”…. so called because the well-known watering creek was just down the road from their home. It was always easy for “Lawson” to move in those days as he only rented to farm, he never owned. I believe the first home he actually owned was his his last move to White Plains when he gave up farming. When he gave up farming, he passed his old farm bell to my grandfather… today it sits in my yard.
Granddaddy McKinley’s farm bell… I’m told it was given to Edgar “Lawson” McKinley by his father, Hugh L. McKinley who came to Putnam Co., Georgia with parents William & Sarah (Beaty) McKinley from Mecklenburg County, N.C. … I took many shots with my BB gun at that bell… it pinged nice… until granddaddy yelled at me to stop!
The original post where the farm bell was mounted on in granddaddy’s front yard… wishing I had taken a photograph of it before we took it down… I clearly wasn’t thinking about family history at that time!
The 1920 Census listed Edgar “Lawson” McKinley (52), Minnie (37), Edgar T. McKinley Jr. – my grandfather (24), Richard (22), Nevilla (20), Earl (9), Lewis (7) Walter, (4), and Aretta (1). From “Lawson’s” first family to the now second family, Edgar Lawson McKinley’s children ranged from age 34, down to age 1 in 1920… seems like a long family line in ages… making a Large Family!
Stay tuned for Week 12… 12…. I”m looking forward to seeing how everyone interprets this prompt!
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