Tuesday, April 03, 2007

It's a Christie-ish Sort of Day...

A Christie-ish sort of day...which means the boys and I had lunch from Chick-fil-a (we love our chicken, as all good Southerners should), followed by a trip to the library(Godwin! Proust! If You Give A Mouse A Cookie!), followed by a perfect cup of coffee (made by yours truly. which for the rest of the world means way, way, way too much sugar), followed by house cleaning while watching an Audrey Hepburn movie (Paris, When It Sizzles)...
It absolutely thrills me that Sean and Christian get excited when I tell them that we're going to the library...Sean randomly told me that he wanted a Blue's Clues holiday book before we got there, and so I let him ask the children's librarian for it...it was his first official request to the librarian. I know it seems like a small step, but to me - he is searching for books. I've somehow communicated to him the joy in that...which is happy, happy, happy. I didn't even mind having to hush him every 3 seconds when he kept yelling about something else so cool that he had seen on a shelf...Christian can't ask for specific books yet, but he sure does do a great job of flipping through all of the kiddie board books and 'talking' about them at the top of his lungs. "Ball!" "Tree!" "Happy Birthday TO you!"
I'm sure the librarians downed a few bottles of Tylenol after we left.

Anyway, today started out in an unexpected discovery...thanks to the mega brain of Google.com...I happened to think of googling my dad's name...I was curious to see if his church web page would pop up. I'm not sure if it did or not - I got distracted when the third search result showed up with his name on a genealogy page. I clicked it and discovered that some distant relation found that side of my family on some side of her family...and so she did the research that took my direct ancestry all the way back to 1776. I didn't have time to fully investigate all of the information, but the coolest thing I've found so far is the actual will of my great (times 5) grandfather, (James) Levi Bailey. He was born in 1776 and died in 1851...his will is on file in the Madison County courthouse. This sort of thing fascinates me in general - to be able to read the actual words of one of my ancestors like this is incredible. Some random facts that I found interesting - Levi served as a captain of the third regiment of the militia from his county in the War of 1812 and Baileys Mountain in Madison County was named for him. I'm sharing the will here because it's such a glimpse into another era of our history...I particularly love the way that he wills away five dollars each to some of his children...and also the "smith tools and still and waggan". I'm excited to poke around a little more into the ol' family tree...it's all of those people falling in love and having children and making lives for themselves that brought me into existence...and my own little munchkins, too. I just wish that there was record of more besides death certificates and marriage dates - I'd love to know the stories behind all of these names. Who were they? What did they make of their lives and what did they think of this world? It's improbable that I'll ever really know - but it certainly is fun to imagine each generation in their time, farming and preaching (as it seems every other generation chose to do), and making their place while they were here. If I could speak to them, I'd have to say thanks - thanks for beginning a heritage for my grandparents, for my dad and his siblings, for me and my own...and for my babies. I hope that I can continue it in a way that would make them proud.
And now enough of my rambling. In his own words, Levi Bailey:

Last will & Testament of Levi Bailey sr Dec'd State of North Carolina March the 31st 1851

Madison County

In the name of God amen, I Levi Bailey seignior do hereby make my last will & testament in manner and form following towit, Knowing myself at this time to be sound in body and memory, my will and Desire is to dispose of what property and estate I now have or may have at my death as follows, and first it is my and desire that my son Levi Baily and his children have three hundred acres of land and.fifty acres on the east joining said lands -2 it is also my will and desire that Elizabeth Crowder and her children have part of the 200 acre tract, all on the west side of the ridge that runs through the plantation where I now live3 and also it is my will and desire that my grandson Levi J Baily have all on the east side of the ridge4 and it is my will and desire that Sarah McMahan,and her children have one hundred acres of land beginning on the corner of the 200 acre tract inculding the building where I now live it being two thirds of a hundred and fifty acre tract and runs from east to west5 and it is also my will and Desire that my grand son James M Bailey have all the lands above the lands of Sarah McMahans first - fifty acres. 2nd, 150 acres. 3rd, 100 acres of land. 4th fifty-acres of land. 5 - also 100 acres of land laying at the head of the branch that I live on6th and it is also my will and desire that Elizabeth Crowder and her children have the tract of land that they now live on contain 130 acres more or less and if I should dye first, it is my will and desire that my wife and the family should live here together till her decease both whites and Blacks, and work together as they formerly have done, and at her decease she can dispose of what she has at her will, and those of my children not mentioned in this will, have all had their parts - towit Allen Bailey Dec. and Nancy Jervis, Dorcas Anderson, Willey C Baily Joyce Holcombe and Polly Holcombe, but these six I will five Dollars a piece at my wifes death what of my property that is left behind, Stock of all kinds to equally divide among four towit - Sarah McMahan Elizabeth Crowder & James M Baily & Levi Bailey Jr and it is also my desire that the Black woman letty be free at my death and my wifes --- and at my wifes death my will and desire is my -son Levi Baily and grandson James M Baily have my two Black boys.Jack & alfred and also it is my will and desire that my son Levi Bailey have the Cupboord and bureau and black – and it is also my will and desire that my son Levi Bailey and James M Baily have the smith tools and still and waggan --- and I do hereby appoint Riley Allen and Ira Crowder my executors to this my last will and Testament, Given under my hand and seal day and date above written under 'ined before assigned Attest Levi Baily


Luisa Perkins said...

Good grief, Christie! I'm excited!

1) You got Proust at the library! We'll have to figure out how to discuss it.

2) I'm a HUGE genealogy geek--if you need any pointers on taking your new info further, let me know.

3) Perhaps we are distant cousins! I have Holcombes in my family.

I'm glad you had a great day!

Babbi said...

If you ask your Papaw B., he has some research of his own that he done and gave all of his children, including your dad a copy. If he can't locate his copy, I'll furnish you with one.
I love reading your blogs, your talent is amazing!
Love ya :0)!