Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.


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On the Sixth Day of Christmas, My True Love gave to me Six Geese a Laying….Laying the Generations!

??????????????????????????????????????Geese a laying….laying their young….laying the next generation…six generations, how about six times six generations! ! am an amateur genealogist– I love learning about my ancestors. I think it gives me a sense of place in the universe or something! It’s very humbling and gratifying to look at the lives of the people who had a part in creating you…to begin to see the continuity, the genetic effects, to learn the stories, the champions and the tragedies.

I came by this fascination thanks to ancestry.com. (no kickback from them) A few years ago, I signed on for a free trial, LOL, and have been giving them my money ever since! My goal was to learn about a little known branch of my family and make a chart as a gift for my soon to be 90-year-old aunt! She was my last surviving aunt of my mother’s family and I wanted to do something special for her. Little did I know what a gift I was giving myself!

 I loved the experience! “Look…look what I found!”, became an excited whoop that my family began to run away from! LOL Disabled with heart disease, no longer able to drive, my old life had disappeared, but here was a new one! The most incredible thing I learned, was not only that I’d find out a lot about the past, but that I’d meet a ton of cousins in the present! Cousins! All over the country and the world! Because the way ancestry works, among other things is that you share research if you’d like, and people can learn from you and you from them! Then it dawns on you….who is that person (there is always a paper trail) who is viewing or “sharing” the information I just posted to my own family tree?!  Like that picture of Aunt Janey Bell I just posted…3 people have picked it up already!? Why? Follow the paper trail and you might find a lot of interesting things! You might find a cousin, say a fourth cousin who is researching this family line as well. A fourth cousin means we share the same third grandparent! Thank heavens, ancestry.com has a computer program to tell you how you are related! You  may be surprised, but I now consider a fourth cousin to be of close kinship! I have gotten to know many wonderful people who are fifth, sixth, and higher cousins! It is fascinating! To find where they live, what they know about your great-aunt, or second great-grandfather that you haven’t learned yet! Recently, I’ve pulled together a group of cousins descended from a Scottish branch of my family, the Hogues, and we have been trying to help each other break through a brick wall in our family tree! A “brick wall” refers to a blockage, in this case, we cannot trace this family back to its Scottish roots exactly, because the first settler who came to America died within two weeks leaving an infant child to give rise to hundreds, thousands of us now alive and kin to each other!

Several of us have taken the DNA tests lately…and by getting to know each other, and sharing research, you’d think we’d have found that path very easily! Wrong! We know we are now kin to earlier people in Scotland with that name. We even know we are kin to other branches in the USA! But we still can’t find that one or two elusive generations, the parents of our first immigrant, so that we can connect the dots! But we will, and we’ve become great friends working together this last three months! We have cousins from California, Wisconsin, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and even the United Kingdom! It is amazing!

In exploring other family trees with my own ancestors in them, like I said, I have met wonderfully talented researchers, most of whom are cousins! One family tree owner invited me to a page on Facebook that she had helped create, not only for our kin, but for anyone with ancestors or relatives in the mountains of Southwest Virginia…like Patrick County, Floyd, and Franklin! Last summer, I went to a family reunion there and met a loving family I never knew existed before! It seems like a miracle. As it turns out, families often married within their own neighborhoods and churches back in the early years of our country…how could they do otherwise…so I am actually kin to almost everyone on that facebook page which is like over 400 people and growing everyday! Since we visit, talk, and share research almost every day on this facebook page…oh my gracious, how my family has increased! Talk about a gift from God….”when He closes a door, He opens a window” comes to mind! The door to my going and coming to work, volunteering, etc. might have closed, but look at the blessings I’ve found out the window!

So…Six Geese a Laying…I consider that an almost Holy task…the gift of creating family…the gift of generations! This year, 2013, it just so happens that the sixth day of Christmas falls on New Year’s Eve, what a great night to look back at the generations who came before us…who helped shape us.

Six geese a laying…six generations…six times six generations and more! Here’s one chart showing my 38th grandfather! Oh, my 36th is there also, but this is a famous ancestor to share with you on New Year’s Eve!

Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Charles Great Charlemagne (742 – 777)

is your 38th great-grandfather

Louis I “The Pious” King of Aquitaine, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire (778 – 840)

son of Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Charles Great Charlemagne

CHARLES II “The Bald” EMPEROR Holy Roman Empire (823 – 877)

son of Louis I “The Pious” King of Aquitaine, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire

JUDITH, Queen of England,Princess of FRANCE (842 – 870)

daughter of CHARLES II “The Bald” EMPEROR Holy Roman Empire

BALDWIN II, The Bald, Count of FLANDERS (864 – 918)

son of JUDITH, Queen of England,Princess of FRANCE

Arnulf I Great Count of Flanders (890 – 964)

son of BALDWIN II, The Bald, Count of FLANDERS

Baldwin V Flanders (1012 – 1067)

son of Arnulf I Great Count of Flanders

Arnulf DeFlandres (972 – 1031)

son of Baldwin V Flanders

Eudes deStPol DeCambrai (986 – 1070)

son of Arnulf DeFlandres

Engelbert DeBrienne (1007 – 1055)

son of Eudes deStPol DeCambrai

Gauthier I DeBrienne (1030 – 1089)

son of Engelbert DeBrienne

Erard I DeBrienne (1060 – 1114)

son of Gauthier I DeBrienne

Gautier II Count DeBrienne (1105 – 1158)

son of Erard I DeBrienne

Erard the II DeBrienne (1149 – 1190)

son of Gautier II Count DeBrienne

Jean (King of Jerusalem)Emperor of Constantinoble De Brienne (1195 – 1237)

son of Erard the II DeBrienne

Alphonse DeBrienne (1228 – 1270)

son of Jean (King of Jerusalem)Emperor of Constantinoble De Brienne

Guy (the f irst) DeBrienne (1202 – 1252)

son of Alphonse DeBrienne

Guy (2) DeBryan (1228 – 1307)

son of Guy (the f irst) DeBrienne

Guy (3) DeBryan (1254 – 1349)

son of Guy (2) DeBryan

Jane DeBryan (1325 – 1355)

daughter of Guy (3) DeBryan

John Cary (1350 – 1405)

son of Jane DeBryan

Robert Cary (1377 – 1430)

son of John Cary

Sir Philip Cary (1400 – 1437)

son of Robert Cary

Sir William Cary (1437 – 1471)

son of Sir Philip Cary

Sir Robert Cary (1458 – 1540)

son of Sir William Cary

WILLIAM CARY (1500 – 1572)

son of Sir Robert Cary

Richard Cary (1525 – 1570)

son of WILLIAM CARY

William Cary (1550 – 1632)

son of Richard Cary

John Cary (1583 – 1661)

son of William Cary

Miles Cary (1622 – 1667)

son of John Cary

Henry Cary (1650 – 1720)

son of Miles Cary

Elizabeth Cary (1678 – 1691)

daughter of Henry Cary

Col. Henry Scarsbrook (1700 – 1773)

son of Elizabeth Cary

Elizabeth Cary Scarsbrook (1721 – 1763)

daughter of Col. Henry Scarsbrook

Maj. John Scarsbrook Langhorne (1760 – 1797)

son of Elizabeth Cary Scarsbrook

Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790 – 1854)

son of Maj. John Scarsbrook Langhorne

James Steptoe Langhorne (1822 – 1905)

son of Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne

Evaline Langhorne (1866 – 1900)

daughter of James Steptoe Langhorne

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Evaline Langhorne

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse –

In 2014 if I’m diligent, if I have help from my family, we’ll find the sixth great Scottish grandfather of my newborn baby granddaughter, and the Irish one, and the Italian one, and the German one, and the French one! Happy New Year my friends and family, here’s hoping you find a joyful, rewarding pursuit of your own this year, many of you have already!

Thank you God for this surprising gift of family through a new hobby!


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On the Fifth Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me, Five Golden Rings!

Five Golden Rings bring to mind so many images and feelings, with angels’ halos high on that list. Today however, on this 5th day of Christmas, I’m thinking of my loved ones and designing a bracelet of rings for the women/girls in my immediate family, which happen to be five right now! 

The new Pandora charms–the essence collection–has inspired these thoughts in me. (Let me make it clear, unfortunately, I have no financial relationship with Pandora, these are just my thoughts!) The very word essence captures my imagination. We have given Pandora charms to our daughters for several occasions in recent years. We gave Ali one that represented the birthstone of her new baby to add to her collection . For Christmas, we gave Annie a gingerbread man with a beating heart! Many of you know that Annie has entered culinary school this year to become a pastry chef. Just before Christmas she and her baking partner won a blue ribbon for their first ever gingerbread house entered into a charity auction! Besides that, Annie thinks the gingerbread man represents the “perfect man” since he is warm, sweet and full of heart!

     Pandora’s new “essence” collection inspires me to think of what characteristics I would want to inspire my daughters and granddaughters, and even myself to believe in and continue to strengthen over the years. It just so happens that you can get these charms as “rings”, rings that fit on a golden bracelet–another ring in itself.  So, I think I’ll design one bracelet with five golden rings that I would give as gifts to my daughters Ali, and Annie, and to my granddaughters Katy and Evelyn Noel, and one for me, which could become Annie’s daughter’s, or even for a great-grandchild–five golden rings! Immediately, I know I can’t do this…choose only five?!  I’ll try, but there are so many more “essences” –afterall, we are complex women!

   The first golden ring charm I will choose for us is Faith. Faith in God has always been important to me, although I have grown to be a liberal Christian. Even though I grew up Methodist, my Mom had grown up Catholic. And although she had left that church, it influenced her greatly and she passed along much to us. I am a strong believer in prayer, in angels, and in the fact that God created this world far beyond our understanding! I pray  that my children and grandchildren will feel the strength and power of Faith in life everlasting that I feel. It is a wonderful support system in times of joy and stress, and will stand them well if they lean on God. For this essence, Pandora has chosen amethyst, a lavender stone that represents metaphysical qualities like belief and trust. My hope is that we will see this stone and be reminded to offer a prayer for the world, and our friends, family,  and enemies as well. Pray unceasingly. Pandora faith charm

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

     The second golden ring of inspiration I’m choosing for my family, is Love of course. God gave us Love! God said it was the greatest gift, the reason He gives us eternal life, because He loves us! As much as I’d like to see each person in my family find a soul mate to be their companion in this life, LOVE is so much more! If we loved more than we lusted…for power, for money, for property….we’d never have wars but Peace! When we love our friends and family that love fills us with Joy, Passion for life, and Compassion. So we’ve picked up other essences to think of with Love! When you look at this charm my daughters and grands, I hope you will remember how much I love you, how much I feel loved by you, and how much joy that has brought to my life!  (One note, I don’t think we  have to love everyone– some choose poorly, like an abusive parent…we need to hold them responsible, even cut ties with them. They decided against love themselves, you must protect yourself.) I’m choosing a vibrant red ruby, Annie’s birthstone, to surround this ring, red for the passionate  Love of life, God, family, friends, …Pandora love charm

     The third golden ring on this inspirational bracelet I’m dreaming of,, has  a lovely clear blue aquamarine stone as well, Ali’s and my birthstone. Blue for fresh air, water, HEALTH! I would like to inspire you to choose healthy pursuits and habits. I have been unhealthy more than healthy in my lifetime. In fact, when I look back over my life, I was really only healthy during my young adult years, my 20’s and early 30’s! As a child, I was born with an undeveloped digestive system, spent a long time in the hospital myself as an infant, and lived five whole years eating only soy milk and bananas…all I could tolerate! The doctor who worked to help my mother discover this, Dr. Carolyn McCue of Richmond, Virginia, saved my life, and therefore saved yours! “Thank you God”, and “why Lord?”, both  come to mind.  An automobile accident dampened my adolescent health. But swimming, which we had always done, brought it back bit by bit. Unfortunately, this brief interlude brought aging, poor choices, burning the candle at three ends, and lead to an abrupt halt to full and independent  living at age 50, exactly as had happened with my Mom, with my first heart attack and the discovery of disabling cardiovascular disease. Thanks to a loving husband and family, we adjusted and I got to go on, Thanks to God also and first of course, but why me Lord? I don’t understand, and I don’t believe I was blessed when someone else wasn’t…perhaps fate? You know how I struggle with these issues dear God! 

Pandora Health charm 

 

   The fourth stone I’ll choose for this Christmas golden ring, will be golden yellow… yellow like the sun, full of Energy but representing COURAGE, because I know you will need it to live this life to your best! God made you strong, gave you many gifts, you have the courage to use these gifts…the responsibility! My grandson would say that the yellow light would stream out as if from  a light saber….protecting, defending, using the Force of God  to protect yourself and your loved ones if necessary. I wish us all the courage to be the best we can be, to live life with verve and elan. Draw up this golden light when you need it to heal you, to energize  you, to provide a light for your path. God provides the light, prayer is your key.Pandora courage charm

    The fifth golden ring on this golden bracelet I’m designing, in my imagination,  for myself, my daughters and granddaughers…five of us right now, might surprise those who’ve known me for years. On this ring, I’ll choose a beautiful clear emerald, my sister’s birthstone, and will have it represent PROSPERITY. Most who know me know I have never believed in having money. I came of age in the 1960’s after all, so I identified with the flower children and embraced the sharing way of life and ideals. I was a teacher, but a community activist, and an elder in my church!  As I have aged, I realized that it is true what they say…having money is not evil, but how you use your money, what you allow it to do to you, that’s where you have to be so careful! Knowing us as a family, I now trust that we will not run amuck! I believe as you become prosperous, you WILL use your money for good. More of us who will be good to others need to have more money,   helpful, community oriented, pull others up kinds of people help our world…please Lord, fund us and guide us to be able to be helpful financially to our families and to others! Pandora prosperity charm

Five golden rings, surrounding a golden charm bracelet, for five women! May it remind, inspire, and encourage each of us to pray, love, practice health, act with courage, and to be prosperous and use our money to help others. The ideals are enough, but the golden rings of Christmas’s fifth day are lovely. Merry Christmas my family and friends.

     

     


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The Third Day of Christmas is About Three French Hens…translate…Three Young Grandchildren!

Liam and Katy dancing at GiGi's birthday party! March, 2013          Evie Orcutt, at birth, Dec.16,2013I have to admit, I know nothing about French hens, nor do I want to–even though I have a sister-in-law with fancy hens she loves and a good friend! (They’ll be so disappointed in me!) When I sing this happy song…not today…still have laryngitis with my pneumonia…I picture 3 feathery creatures running around noisily with abandon! That picture matches the circus our home becomes when the grandchildren start chasing each other around the house! Our third grandchild Evie, just born Dec. 16, will be joining that chase by next Christmas! The Squeals, the giggles…could there be a more delightful sound! ?  After 42 years of marriage, my husband still just looks at the sublime joy on my face as the noise level rises, and wonders “WHY? Why doesn’t she call a halt? Why doesn’t she calm them down?” Then he sees the joy I have observing them…what a rush!  The Twelve Days of Christmas…thank heavens…we have twelve whole days to celebrate the lives God gave us when he gave us his Son, and our very lives! 

  Evie and momma   Since our new Granddaughter has been born, my husband and I have been having private moments of joy and laughter at our oldest daughter Ali and her husband Greg”s expense I hate, and love, to admit! LOL  In between the extreme worry over our daughter’s difficult pregnancy, the preeclampsia that could have stolen her and the baby from us, in moments of levity, we start thinking of their lives from here on out– now that they have three–THREE children!  LOL.  Ali will be 40 in March, 2014, and just recovering from her third premature birth and c-section!  Greg is 42 already!  I just hope they stock up on Geritol!  Driving home from their house just before Christmas–exhausted but thrilled from our time with 2-year-old Katy and 6-year-old Liam, we start doing the math and comparing child development stages with “parental aging” — and wonder…

–early 40’s–children 6, 2, and newborn, Dec. 2013– home total chaos– no sleep– bottles, diapers, potty training, and PTA!  Poor Liam will be nine or ten before his parents come up for air!  

–mid 40’s–children 5, 7, and 11!  Greg the Park Ranger, Ali the former Evie and papa lovesmusician will be in full-on parenting mode…actually for the next 15 years at least– camping, church, scouts, sports, music lessons, and school of course!  Hope they’ve got their running shoes and pedometers ready!

 –almost 50– Liam will be 13 — a teenager– are you ready?  Your sweet, idolizing young boy you have now, might change.  He’ll be much smarter and cooler than you– and you will embarrass him with your mere existence!  Doors will SLAM on conversations…start your deep breathing exercises Now!

 –ten years from now–  Ali 50, Greg–52— Liam 16, and a new driver!  Katy being 12, and Evie 10, they’ll all be into a million activities!  Having another driver in the house can be helpful… and scary!  We were so happy when 16-year-old Ali began driving. She was responsible, and an excellent driver, so, we askd her to drive her eight year old sister to Vacation Bible School…and whoops (!), she takes out a neighbor’s mailbox while reaching for the Bible sliding off the dash!  Lord???  

—55 year old Ali, and 57-year-old Greg–oh my gracious– the girls, Katy 17 and Evie 15 will be dating!  Greg, a law enforcement officer as well, carries a gun!  Those could be scary years! 

—64– When Ali is our age, her children will be 24, 26, and 30!  Do we dare hope she and Greg will have three college graduates, gainfully employed…grandchildren of their own perhaps…and won’t want to sleep late, now that they can again?!  Yes! This is what we hope for them. “Please Lord, watch over their family and take them through all the years with health and Grace!  Amen” 


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On the first day of Christmas, 2013…

I came down with PNEUMONIA!   NOW God? I just rejoined your church– doesn’t that count for anything? We have a new baby Granddaughter–born 6  weeks prematurely on Dec. 16,–her Mom and Papa need my help with the 2 and 6 year olds!  It’s Christmas…You saved her life, and you saved her mother’s life, and I am thankful, and humbled! To be quite honest, I thought maybe I was the one leaving this earthly life just Christmas night!  But it seems you have decided to keep us all around for a bit, thank you! Don’t think I don’ t recognize how blessed we are…how you sacrificed your Son so we could have life abundantly and eternally! Thank You! But what is this then? I can live but not help? No….I’m sure that’s not it…The three of us get to live, but not my neighbor, who died this week? WHAT!?!

You know Lord, when I first got sick with my heart disease back in 1999, yes, almost 15 years ago now, You and I had quite a few talks about it….why….how….what now. Patience you said, learn patience…..and I tried, I really did. I prayed, talked with my minister, others prayed for me, I studied the Bible, lead a support group, wrote, researched, and life moved on. Differently than I had thought it might…but with the blessings of daughters entering adulthood and now the birth of three grandchildren. Now, I admit, I have shook my fists at heaven more than once and said “Patience, smachience! Enough already! I failed! You knew I was flawed when you made me, and yet yu gave me free choice? ”   The doctors said I couldn’t/wouldn’t live this long–apparently You had other plans.  The doctors said Ali and Greg couldn’t have a child without fertility help, but here’s Evie! I’m not bashing doctors–Lord you know what a blessing they’ve been to our family!  But okay there’s only one Lord!  And a blessing this life is! With all its trials and tribulations Lord!  Thank You for pneumonia, it made me stop and listen again, but…now… give me a hand will ya please Lord, so I can get back into things, please Lord? Patience?? really??? I’m not Job you know. Love you and thankful for life!


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The Second Day of Christmas is all about Turtle Doves…

        I could hardly breathe with pneumonia, and my throat was so sore it felt like pins were sticking in it, so even though my sweet hubby of 42 years was right beside me , being so kind and caring, I was more in the mood for turtle soup than doving! I was fun to be with also–coughing, sneezing, freezing, burning up…and whining all the way to the doctor’s office where yes, that precious man, my husband Max. took me! It was Christmas! 

        This was December 26, 2013, the second day of Christmas! I wanted to be cheerful! But my oldest daughter had just had her third child, a premature little girl named Evie! It was so devastating to have a grandchild in the intensive care unit of a big old hospital and not be able to be there with her to help rock and comfort! Ali was home now, the baby Evie was 2 weeks old today, but not very available to us! The other thing we could do was to keep 2 year old Katy, and Liam, aged 6. Had they really been here just a few hours ago? “Oh Dear Lord, please, please don’t let either of them or Ali or Greg get this pneumonia! You brought that little baby girl into this world, now let her family be there for her! Hope I’ll be sacrificial enough for you…go ahead, keep me away just not the parents or kids!”  (This is the way I pray most of the time, in running commentary throughout the day!  Sometimes I do pray more fervently, more focused and in a more reverent way I guess. ) I’d thought I just had a cold, one the kids had given me…so we were all sharing germs like all good families! 🙂  I was shocked when 3 hours after they left our house Christmas night, I began wheezing audibly and being very sick! 

Image

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   When my children were young, we celebrated the 12 days of Christmas in a very special way. We would choose a friend or neighbor, one who wasn’t well, or alone perhaps and each day during the 12 days of Christmas, starting December 26 and ending at Epiphany, Jan. 6, we would give a little gift  in secret to this friend. The kids enjoyed sneaking gingerbread men cookies drumming onto the porch, ringing the bell, and running away so our friend wouldn’t know it was us! It was especially fun to see our friends smiling from the joy, almost as much as we were! Sometimes we gave  things like  golden earrings for “five golden rings”! Of course, they were not expensive. Day one traditionally brought a basket of pears with a lovely bird perched on top, made by one of the children of course. Maybe I’ll get to do this with my grandchildren next year. Please know, that although I am not happy to be sick and isolated, I am already, here on day 5 of my illness, feeling better enough to be sitting up writing! Not true just yesterday! The kids and I will be laughing together again soon! I also know, that no matter what is going on with you…you can almost always look around and find someone having more difficulties at this celebratory time of year! In my own small group, I know three who’ve lost parents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day! So sad! My own Mom died on Epiphany, 1980, I still miss her!  I hope the ones who have lost loved ones will move to a place in their grief by next Christmas perhaps where they can  truly remember the joy of the relationship  and  not let the death dampen the holiday, but instead, let it sweeten it with very special memories and perhaps even new traditions of honoring the loved one. 

        I love the second day of Christmas actually, because I am very blessed to have my turtle-dove beside me, and beside me for 42 years! Love you honey, and thank you God!


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The Spangler Family Reunion, Meadows of Dan, Patrick Co., Va.,July,2013

Spangler homestead, Meadows of Dan 

  Elegant, southern, and stately, this is the home of Debra Spangler Shelor, Rob Shelor and their two sons, Paul and Aaron.  It was the original home site of Charles Langhorne “Tump” Spangler and his wife Kittie Cockram Spangler, Debra’s grandparents. Before that, this land was a part of the original 13,000 acres of the “Langdale” plantation, owned by our Great, Great Grandfather James Steptoe Langhorne and his wife Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro Langhorne. It was so incredible to walk on land that my family had been walking on for more than 100 years!  Spangler Reunion, Barn, best

Arriving at the Shelor home site, my husband Max and I were immediately swept up in more cousins than we could imagine! We quickly met the Patriarchs of the family-Harvie Langhorne Spangler, age 86, and Daniel Patrick “Pat” Spangler, age 79, shown here with wife Dorothy. They were full of energy and excitement for seeing all the  family. 

Spangler, Harvie, 2012  Spangler, Patrick and Dorothy, 2013

   

        We enjoyed having the opportunity to meet lots of people, like these, my cousins, Margie Spangler Cartwright and her sister Berniece Spangler Irvin who told me a lot about the family. They felt like long time friends! When we gathered under the tent, Margie introduced Max and me to her brother Wallace William Spangler and his wife Evelyn. We shared stories and laughter!   Margie, Wallace, and Berniece are the children of Tump’s sister Mary Josephine Spangler and Dudley Spangler.They are first cousins to Harvie and Pat. Margie, Wallace, and Berniece are Fannie Langhorne Spangler’s grandchildren, just like Harvie and Pat. All five of us are second cousins. 

Spangler reunion, Helen meets sisters Berniece and  L age 98Spangler Reunion, l to r, wife, brother and sister

       Harvie Langhorne Spangler         Spangler's left to right, Beverly Spangler Fariss , her husband and child, Harvie Spangler with microphone, next to daughter Debra Spangler Shelor and daughter            welcomed everyone to the reunion,  as did his daughter Beverly Spangler Fariss, first on the left, standing next to her nephew, Debra’s son Paul Shelor, with his daughter Autumn in his arms. Beside Harvie, in the black blouse, is Debra Spangler Shelor,  also Harvie’s daughter and the home owner of this lovely homestead. With Debra is her granddaughter Ivy, Paul’s daughter. Debra’s husband Rob and other son Aaron are not pictured here.                                                 

 

 

Spangler brothers Pat in red cap and Harvie  enjoy a private moment

 Above, brothers, Harvie and Pat Spangler take a private minute together.

 

Spangler reunion, view of tent Spangler reunion, gathering under the tent to watch and listen

 

Off and on showers, even downpours didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of this group!

 

     

      A call for all the grandchildren, greats, and great greats, of Wallace Wolford and Fannie Langhorne Spangler to come carry the flag and raise it brought out all generations!

spangler grandchildren carrying the flad to raise

Spangler's , grandchildren raise the flag

Having sung the Star Spangled Banner, and dodged another rain shower, each family spoke to the crowd and let us know what had happened in their family since the last reunion: births, deaths, marriages, achievements like college-it was great! Chuck Spangler acted as emcee and did a great job!

   Spangler , Chuck emcees at reunion    Spangler, Clockwise from left Mary, Cammi, Chuck, Bryce & Bailey at Mabry Mill along the Blue Ridge Parkway. (2)

In the picture on the right, Chuck Spangler’s family gathers at Mabry Mill . Clockwise from left: Mary his wife, Cammi, Chuck, Bryce & Bailey  along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Chuck is the gg grandson of Wallace and Fannie Langhorne Spangler. His great grandparents are Tump and Kittie Cockram Spangler.  His grandfather  Samuel Maurice Spangler, was the  firstborn  child of Tump and Kittie Cockram Spangler and  was married to Iris Texas Branscome Spangler. That also makes him my 4th cousin, and gives him about 15 other 4th cousins in my generational line of the Langhorne family. LOL, isn’t this fun!

The g grandson of Babe Spangler, George, was talking to the group and filling us in on Babe’s descendants. He reminded us that “Sweetie” ,his Aunt Grace Spangler is the only living child of Babe’s.  Sweetie will be 98 this year and still lives independently in Richmond, Va. He says Julie takes good care of her, and there is rarely a problem, except sometimes they have to yell at her to “get off the ladder Sweetie,and stop trying to clean out those gutters! ” LOL  Longevity and humor abound in this family!

There is so much more to tell you and to show you,but that will have to wait until the next post. The Spanglers are such a down to earth, normal family, yet they soar with  musical ability, intelligence,  and creativity as well. I can hardly wait to share the fun with you!


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We traveled to the skies of Virginia this past week!

    We went to the sky this past week! Well, it felt like it, but in reality, we were in the mountains of Virginia, in the beautiful Meadows of Dan! The Meadows of Dan is a small town just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, in southwest Virginia, but as a region it is much bigger. I have a lot to tell about this trip and the incredible people we met, but I want to show you a few pictures of the area first.

Meadows of Dan, Lover's Leap 2

     This is lover’s leap. The legend says that a young white man fell in love with an Indian maid, but they were given so much grief about their relationship, shunned and shamed, that they supposedly held hands and leapt to their deaths to be together in eternity! How sad! How poignant! How romantic, and what a sad commentary on our society now and then! Looking at this view you are standing on the JEB Stuart Highway in Patrick County, Va. , in the Meadows of Dan, but this valley that you are seeing is an  area of Patrick County called Woolwine, at least this is what one of my cousins told me!

       This area of the Blue Ridge Mountains is known for its beautiful stone churches. We went to visit one of them, and gracious, look at this beauty!

Slate Mountain Presbyterian Church in MOD, VA

This is Slate Presbyterian Church. I can just imagine that you would feel closer to God worshiping in this church on top of the mountain!

      Just a bit down the mountain from this church, was the lovely and gracious Woodberry Inn where we stayed. The owners of the Woodberry were so very friendly to us, helpful in every possible way! We felt like we were among friends with them and with their restaurant owner. Good friends, good food, great hospitality!   

Woodberry Inn, Meadows of Dan, Virginia

 

    

         

     

   

   Everywhere we went, we saw beautiful views and met friendly people! We were very happy to be there, where our ancestors had lived for over 100 years, and where we still have many cousins!  

Greenberry House, Meadows of Dan

Greenberry House above, where owner Leslie Shelor spins her own yarn was a wonderful place to visit! You can find her on facebook! She sells yarn, collectibles, books, and other things.

Below is a picture of the first shop where we stopped, on our way up the mountain, just a half mile past Lover’s Leap! Joyce and Ronnie Green are the friendliest proprietors, and take good care of their handicapped customers, important to me with my wheelchair.

Poor Farmer's Farm Store in Vesta, Virginia, just down the mountain from Meadows of Dan

       One morning we had brunch at Jane’s Country Café in Meadows of Dan. That was a blessing to us! Besides good food, and great service, we felt like we made new friends who gave us directions and information about the area. Besides that, they were able and willing to cater what we needed for the family reunion we were planning to attend. They fixed up a big bowl of banana pudding and another of baked apples for us to take with us, The food got rave reviews at the reunion also! 

Jane's Country Cafe in Meadows of DanJane's Country Cafe, red building

      We also wanted to spend time in the nearby town of Stuart, because again, we’d had ancestors live there, and because we wanted to do some research at the Historical and Genealogical Museum and at the Patrick County Courthouse. We found helpful people everywhere we went, at the courthouse and the museum where the records are well organized and easily accessible. Driving through downtown Stuart you see how close the mountains are! Only 20 minutes up the mountain to the Meadows of Dan and the Blue Ridge Parkway!         Stuart, Va. downtown and view of mountains

Stuart Virginia, historical marker

      Below is the stately Patrick County Courthouse where we went seeking records of long ago relatives.

Patrick County Courthouse

Patrick County Courthouse with JEB Stuart memorialMemorial to JEB Stuart at Courthouse in Stuart, Virginia

The building pictured below houses the Patrick County Historical Museum, the Genealogical Museum, and the Public Library. The Historical Museum is full of incredible exhibits, if you have never been there, it is worth the trip! One of their many volunteers, Mr. David Sheley, wrote a column in the local newspaper, The Enterprise, about my search for genealogical records, and that connected me with many cousins I didn’t even know I had, bringing outstanding joy and friendship to my life. From working on the family tree, to traveling and meeting your kinfolks, can life get any better than this?! 

Historical and Genealogical Museum and Public Library in Stuart, Va,

Next Post: the reunion, the nicest people and the prettiest Southern homestead you could ever want to see!