Mataley Rogers (my mother) in her High School yearbook, member of Glee Club, age 16 (San Antonio, Texas)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Great Grandmother birthday

On July 30, 1858, Zulieka Granger Phillips Swasey was born.  Her mother Mary Phillips, had been a Granger before marriage.  Her father was raised by a stepfather, Samuel Gainer in Georgia.  Her mother went from Texas back to Georgia to give birth, and I'm not clear whether she was with her own mother or her mother-in-law.  Baby Zulie was given a slave girl at her birth, with the papers written by hand by her father's mother, Mary Phillips Gainer.  I wonder if any of them knew that the Civil War would be starting in just a few years.

She returned with her parents to Sabine Pass,Texas or Beaumont, Texas, at a time when there were cotton plantations where now oil wells drill, and cities stand.
Front and back of Zulie G. Swasey portrait, mother of Ada Phillips Swasey Rogers
Zulie's mother, Mary, had another child two years later, and Mary died within the first year of that daughter's life.  Her father William Phillips may have been sick, may have been grieving, or some other reason had him leaving the homestead, and sending his daughters to relatives in Galveston.  Within 6 months of his wife's death, he joined the Confederate forces, fighting early in the war for Alabama, and dying.

Zulieka was raised by Granger relatives, as well as her younger sister, Ada.

When Zulieka married at age 24 to Alexander John Swasey, also of Galveston, she then had her own two girls, naming her first Ada Phillips Swasey, and her second Stella Zulieka Swasey.  Ada Phillips Swasey became my grandmother on my father's side.

Zulieka Swasey (Dear Nan) and daughter Ada's daughter, Ada Mary Rogers. (Ada Mary Rogers died as a child)


And how do I know more than is available by census and city directory documents?  My relatives somehow kept copies of letters written by Zulieka's mother, her father, her grandmother Gainer, her grandfather Granger, and her uncle Marion Granger.  I've transcribed them into records for these people on Ancestry.com, which kind of makes these people more real.

The letters just before and during the Civil War are the most precious, because of the lack of true information that was available to people, and the privations they endured.  Letters were written on both sides of folded paper, then across the original writing at a 90 degree angle, as well as in the margins.

Did they have important things to say?  Sometimes.  Many times a whole paragraph seemed to be speaking of unimportant things by my current standards of communication.

But they shared their lives, their language, and the writting of their actual pens down through the years.








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