Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Christmas in the hospital - 1918

One hundred years ago, my grandfather (W.T. Snyder) spent Christmas in a hospital in France.  He was severely wounded in September 1918 (shrapnel in his shoulder while fighting in a trench).  He spent that Christmas having had no news from home since he left the U.S. He had no word about his brother John (also in the U.S. Army in France). He was very lonely and homesick.  Yet in every letter he wrote, he said he was feeling fine! He finally got back to the U.S. in late January 1919.

On December 11, 1918 he wrote to his future wife from Base Hospital #17, A.P.O. #721, American E. F., France:

Hello! Miss Nora,
Will write you a short note tonight as I am in a hurry. I am hoping you the very best of health and plenty of fun.  I am having a very good time but nothing like if I was with you. "Ha" Say have you gotten any of the letters and cards I've written you. Listen I have never seen one of yours yet -Ha- and no one else. They have my mail somewhere in my regiment and I've not seen it. Say have you heard from John recently. Hope you have. I haven’t. I have got something real nice to tell you when I come home. Hope to see you real soon. Will write you more the next time. Pardon me this time.  Hope you a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.  I am with much love your true friend
    Mech. W. T. Snyder


Friday, August 10, 2018

My grandmother as a baby

My grandmother, Nora Bessie McNeil Snyder, was born 118 years ago today, August 10, 1900.  (She died December 26, 1992.)  I love this baby photo.  Her mother is holding her.  Her father holds her older sister, Ila.

Her parents were George Thomas McNeil (1870-1930) and Clara Eva Hettie Ellen Jarvis McNeil (1873-1959).  Her older sister was Ila Margaret McNeil Vannoy (1898-1983).

Monday, June 25, 2018

Gone Fishin'

My grandfather, Wiley Thomas Snyder, provided well for his family.  Although poor in "cash money" he raised a wide variety of produce (corn, wheat, potatoes, berries, apples, pecans, beans, squash, cabbage, lettuce, and much more) and a variety of animal products (bees, chickens, pigs, and a cow).  He hunted birds and small game.  He also fished. In looking for documents about him, I found a surprisingly rich source of information - his N.C. Fishing License. 

This license has his signature, his height & weight, eye color, birth date, and address.  I guess they didn't want anyone else to use this license!

I never went fishing with him, but I remember he would grab his fishing pole and a bag. He trudged a mile or two to Gold's Pond where he had to pay a small fee.  He always came home with several fish.  Grandmother would batter them with corn meal and fry them up on her wood stove in a cast iron skillet, and we'd have a feast!

Friday, April 6, 2018

How many birthday cakes does one woman need?

My great-grandmother was born 145 years ago today.  Clara Eva Hettie Ellen Jarvis McNeil (6 Apr 1873 – 24 Jan 1959) spent her entire life in Wilkes County, N.C.

On one of her last birthdays, she had at least 4 cakes and a lot of other food.  Could it be that her 6 daughters were competing to see whose cake their mother preferred? 

Monday, January 29, 2018

W. T. Snyder playing his fiddle - born 126 years ago today

Wiley Thomas "Tom" Snyder, my grandfather, loved to play the fiddle. He was born on January 29, 1892. Here is is in the early 1980s at his homeplace in Millers Creek, Wilkes County, N.C.

Tom didn't waste time or money on long distance telephone calls.  He said what he had to say and hung up.  But once in a while, he would call up me or another grandchild, and say "Listen to this."  He put down the phone and played a song on his fiddle.  Then he'd laugh joyously and hang up.

The songs I remember were Red Wing and Little Brown Jug. You can find other people playing these songs on YouTube:
Red Wing:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiMpVub-Edw
Little Brown Jug - Banjo and Fiddle - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNMm7jVMe3Y

Tom played music with his brothers.  His brother Don won some contests playing the banjo.  Here's a photo of Don (1903-1986) and Tom (1892-1988) standing in the front yard of Tom's homeplace on Pleasant Home Church Road.