Sunday, 16 August 2009
John F Blum is my late husbands’ Great Grandfather. He lost his arm in the Civil war while a teenager, met and married his wife Hulda, in his thirties, and fathered 10 children, of which 7 lived to adulthood. He was born in Pennsylvania, of German parents, brought up his family in Big Stone, Akron, Minnesota, where he farmed for a living and then around 1895/6 he moved to Fitzgerald, Georgia.
Fitzgerald was the dream of P H Fitzgerald, who created it in 1895, in the main part, as a community for Civil War Veterans who had suffered the devastation of the Midwest during the early 1890’s. This destruction of the area was due to drought, rendering a once fertile farming area into dusty wasteland. The situation was made even worse by the depression that spreading over the country as a whole. The desire for a new start was so great, that people moved themselves and their families, by any means available to them, into the area, even before surveys of the land had been carried out. The first year was very hard and it is believed that John and his family were in at the start of it all.
Horace was tall and slim, quiet and reserved and had only one sibling. His early life was centred on his fathers shop in London and then as his father’s means grew and he went into property, so things changed for Horace. By 1903, when his father died, his inheritance meant that he now had a private income … enough to provide for a family.
His word was final yet he let his beloved wife have most of her own way in matters that he felt need not concern him. Although he was the musician, he always asked Ritchie (or Jean as most people now called her), if a piece of music was going well or what he should play at a recital.
Jean was short, and the arrival of the children added inches to her waistline. She was the youngest of seven, brought up in a small village out side Cupar and her father was a mason.. She spoke her mind but knew her place. She liked to be in charge and for others to think well of her and her family. She always made sure the any one of any importance, within the family, had to be invited to all social gatherings
Her beloved Horace was sent to church every Sunday, in case any one noticed an absence of the family or that she might miss any goings on! He was always bombarded with questions as he came through the door and Mum remembers him eventually learning to raise his hand as he crossed the threshold, and utter loudly “Jean …..I have been seen”.
I am not sure about the date but looking at their faces and clothes, I believe it to be around 1919.
This was my great Aunt, and her family. My Nana disliked her husband for some reason and mistrusted her son …I can remember mumbled conversations, when I was a small child, filled with warning for my mother about not getting in touch with them and ignoring Eric if he contacted her, Wish I knew the story as I never met any of the family, yet Irene and Eric were alive in my life time.
On the back of the LO I have recorded their little tree for posterity
This is my Mum when she was about 17.
Would you guess that she had an arm that was thin and frail compared to the other and didn’t work properly … or that one leg was 1”shorter, and much weaker, than the other?
No one really knew why. It was thought that it was due to a difficult birth but others said it was a congenital defect. At the age of twelve her mother was offered an operation that might help the mobility of her daughters arm but on hearing that there was a high risk of the arm becoming totally paralyzed, if the operation failed, she refused it.
Mum told me that she was in two shows for her local music society … Rosemarie and Maid of the Mountain … not sure if this is from either but looking at the scenery in the back ground, it just could be, which, after some research, would actually make her 18/19 not 17 as she had always told me.( I have left the LO with the date she said.).
She had a beautiful operatic voice, accompanied herself on piano and also played violin in an orchestra, despite her arm …such a talented lady but so unassuming. Her youth was filled with music …maybe this was how she felt close to her father whom she had adored.