Family History

I am thankful that I had the opportunity to visit with my Nanny Jenkins this weekend at our family reunion and get a little more information about my family — specifically her siblings. Nanny is the last of her siblings still living. Of the nine children my great grandmother, Ma Susan (Susan Rebecca) gave birth to, only three lived to become grandparents themselves. My grandmother, Joyce Bea (pronounced Joysa) was the youngest.

Grandma Susan married a Hazelton and had six children. Nanny tells me that Grandma Susan never liked to talk about the past, so she didn’t know many details. When the 1918 flu, which Nanny called the WWI flu) struck, Grandma Susan lost three children and her husband. Grandma Susan herself was so sick that she did not learn of the deaths until they were all buried.

Grandma Susan’s oldest daughter, Ollie May, did live into early adulthood but suffered from diabetes during her pregnancies. She had four daughters but died a few days after the fourth daughter was born. Grandma Susan took these girls in and raised them alongside her own children as she continued giving birth herself. These nieces are older than my nanny.

Grandma Susan also lost a son, Garvin “Snook”, who was electrocuted in the gravel pits. Snook had one son and never met his younger son as his wife was pregnant when he was killed. That son, Herman Jenkins, was killed in Vietnam when his wife was also pregnant with their son. Two generations never met their fathers.

After Hazelton’s death in the flu pandemic, Grandma Susan remarried a man named McCarty and went on to have three more children — Barbara, Joyce Bea (my nanny), and a baby boy, Wade Richard, who died of pneumonia when he was a few months old.

Grandma Susan died a few months shy of her 100th birthday. (1891-1991)