yesterday we visited some relatives

Yesterday, Dad, Cathy, Carly and I visited some relatives at Hilly Grove on Manitoulin Island.  After looking at a spot where several Morrisons rest, and where my parents have already chosen to be laid, my sister asked me if I thought I might like to spend all of eternity here.  I thought, yes, it seems like a good place for that; then I had a little dance on the spot, just in case.

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Early on we visited Angus Morrison and Margaret Jane MacLennan Morrison – parents of my Grandfather, also Angus Morrison.

Angus Margaret Morrison grave stone

Margaret Jane Morrison and Angus Morrison

And then there were Margaret's parents, Jane Glover and George MacLennan. 

Jane Glover George McLennan grave stone

Jane Glover MacLennan (seated) with daughter Margaret Jane MacLennan Morrison and her granddaughter Elsie Morrison (my father's aunt). 

Margaret Jane Morrison (nee MacLennan) Standing

Then to visit my grandmother Violet's parents, William Duxbury and Annie Wilson Duxbury.

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William Duxbury (Great Grandfather) Annie Wilson Duxbury

And my great, great grandmother, Emma Anne Wilson.

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Emma Anne Wilson

Later we looked at pictures and Dad talked more about the people who came before my daughters and my sisters and me; who are a part of who we are now.  I think that maybe the window I look through is in some ways formed by the eyes of these people.  We never knew our grandfather Angus or our great grandmother Annie Duxbury, and my father has always wished we had; that they would have appreciated us and we would have benefitted from knowing them. 

But sharing stories about them is a way of knowing them.  And if it happens that we should spend eternity together at Hilly Grove, I'll go in knowing something about them beforehand.

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(Note: My paternal grandparents are not buried here on the Island, but down in Amherstburg, not far from my maternal grandparents.)

33 Comments

  1. Reply
    Susannah August 9, 2010

    Wow, that seems amazing to me that you have such a tangible sense of your history. That you know details of those that went before, it must give you a strong sense of being part of an unbroken line.
    My knowledge of my family history is so sketchy compared to yours.
    By the way, that looks a very beautiful place.

  2. Reply
    Tricia August 9, 2010

    I’ve taken my own kid up to the family graveyard in Churchill, Texas. He’d never seen a graveyard with a black side before. Actually, I’m not sure he had ever seen a graveyard before except those tiny Revolutionary ones scattered around Vermont when he was hiking at summer camp.
    We don’t have any cool old photos, though. Family Treasures, indeed.

  3. Reply
    Jennifer August 9, 2010

    Well Susannah, I’m not that up on all the details – many of them were reiterated by my father that day. My Aunt Joyce has done an extensive geneology study on the family and has many stories and details. But I’m glad to know what I do.
    And yes, it’s a very beautiful place.

  4. Reply
    Jennifer August 9, 2010

    Wow, separated by colour, into eternity. It really was cool to match the photos to the stones we saw and the stories we’ve heard. I was glad to digitize the pictures – not only for sharing but as sort of “insurance” preserving of them.
    I believe there may be a Duxbury link in Texas Tricia – my grandmother was born in Oklahoma, but may have travelled through Texas – my aunt Joyce would be able to confirm.

  5. Reply
    sharononthewater@aol.com August 9, 2010

    Hi Jennifer: Loved the articles and pictures at Hilly Grove – this place really is the “Circle of Life” isn’t it? I will be buried in that sweet place where Tom and Harry are at, and I love it there. Great Grandma Wilson was born in Lockhart, Texas on May 29, 1867 according to Aunt Joyce’s chart that she had given to me. I love your writings, and am waiting to see them published someday. I did miss you on Island, but did see the SNAKE !! Love you, Aunt Sharon

  6. Reply
    Mike August 9, 2010

    I love family histories, in Vi’s book “Essex County…” she mentions that her father William Duxbury was born in Ontario but she was born in Cushing Oklahoma, time to go back and re-read the explanation. Cushing is just a few hundred miles from Matthew’s new home.

  7. Reply
    lisahgolden August 9, 2010

    Genealogy and family history are so fascinating. Even when it’s not our own. The island looks like a beautiful resting place.

  8. Reply
    Jennifer August 9, 2010

    Aw thanks Aunt Sharon! Gives me pleasure to know my family reads the stuff! And thanks for the clearing up of the Texas connection – I knew there was one! xo

  9. Reply
    Jennifer August 9, 2010

    Yes, I have that book of Grandma’s, and brought home another genealogical write-up done by Margaret MacLennan for copying. There are a few good stories in it too. Stay tuned!

  10. Reply
    Jennifer August 9, 2010

    It really is fascinating – the stories that could really change the way we look at ourselves and our families. The island is beautiful indeed, Lisa.

  11. Reply
    Carol August 9, 2010

    I absolutely loved this post! That is a mighty fine spot to spend eternity and in such good company too 🙂
    You have inspired me to find out a bit more about my own family. I know my Dad has done some research on his side and my Aunt has done some on my Mum’s side so it shouldn’t be too difficult!
    C x

  12. Reply
    Jennifer August 9, 2010

    Oh that’s great – I hope you do Carol, and that you blog about it!

  13. Reply
    reluctant blogger August 9, 2010

    I love all the photos and the idea of a visit.
    I have studied my family history but I don’t have as many old photos as you do which is a pity.
    I guess it does make dying a bit less scary if you go and visit them in situ. I had never thought of that before.

  14. Reply
    Joyce August 9, 2010

    Grandma’s mother Great Grandma Annie Crawford Wilson Duxbury was born in Texas as were both her parents James & Emma Wilson in the Caldwell County area.

  15. Reply
    Joyce August 9, 2010

    Jen, you are going to have to come here for a weekend and see the letters I have.

  16. Reply
    Marilyn August 9, 2010

    Fantastic post Jennifer; it’s wonderful that you visited the cemetery as a family group and visited so many family headstones and the old photos are awesome; I particularly liked the last photo – you could write a blog post about what she is doing …is it a washing contraption too big for a butter churn maybe?
    I too have chosen to be buried in my old home town where my grandparents and Dad already are plus cousins, parents-in-law etc, friends and old neighbours. We will be able to party on together forever!

  17. Reply
    mrsmediocrity August 9, 2010

    I love this, it is so great that you have all these photos…I have a box of old photos from my father’s family, but most of them are unidentified, and no one still living seems to know who the people in them are, that makes me sad. But I keep them anyway, I have some of them on the wall in my living room, mostly photos of my grandfather and his uncles. I think our ancestors do become a part of us in some small way.

  18. Reply
    Jingle August 9, 2010

    how thoughtful and sweet u r…
    a fantastic way to remember the loved ones…

  19. Reply
    Selma August 9, 2010

    You have such a strong sense of family in your life. That is wonderful. I imagine there must be a sense of comfort that must come in knowing you could be laid to rest with all your family members. Whast I love most about this post is how you did the little dance on the spot. That is a little spell or a wish of sorts. I really like that you did that.

  20. Reply
    Jennifer August 9, 2010

    Well my dad has a modest collection of pictures, and I’m sure other members of the family do too – and I’m grateful for that. They’re precious!
    Visiting graveyards (outside of funerals) has always been more comforting than anything – it sort of places you within the grand scheme of things I guess.

  21. Reply
    Jennifer August 9, 2010

    Would love that Joyce – those letters are priceless!

  22. Reply
    Jennifer August 9, 2010

    Yes, actually Emma Wilson is doing laundry in that photo – that handle was used to rock the washing back and forth. And you can see a wringer in the photo, which the washing was put through. Much different today!
    My dad has a story of her, one of his only memories, and she was rather cross to him!

  23. Reply
    Jennifer August 9, 2010

    I think I would be like you Mrs M – keep those photos anyway; like a ghostly collection of relatives that belong, and were important. I agree – they do become a part of us; I’m sure we all carry bits and pieces of various people we never knew.

  24. Reply
    Jennifer August 9, 2010

    Thank you Jingle!

  25. Reply
    Jennifer August 10, 2010

    I feel lucky to have a strong family connection Selma – on both sides. We don’t need to live in each others’ pockets, but we know what we have in each other, and those who’ve passed.
    Really glad you like the little dance. I suppose it is a spell, or a wish.

  26. Reply
    Jmorrisonsteele August 10, 2010

    Thank you for the photos; remembering the past and seeing the grand grandma washing clothes, a beautiful photos. THANKS!! jane

  27. Reply
    Jennifer August 10, 2010

    Glad you enjoyed them sister!! Dad and I scanned them at the cottage. xoxo

  28. Reply
    brian August 10, 2010

    ah, so i am not the only one spending time in graveyards…smiles. cool that you put pictures to their engraved names…i often wonder about the people attributed to them…you can see some of their personality in their faces…

  29. Reply
    Jennifer August 10, 2010

    Yep, inspirational places for me too Brian. The act of going through photos with my dad and scanning them and putting them together with the pictures of the stones really seemed to strengthen the experience.

  30. Reply
    LindyLouMac August 11, 2010

    What a lovely setting for a graveyard. Like you I find ones family history fascinating.

  31. Reply
    rel August 12, 2010

    Jennifer,
    It just so happens that on the ninth of August 2010 a grandaughter, age 9, and I went to the cemetery to tend the flowers and we also did a geneology lesson about her greats. Never too soon to get to know where you came from.
    rel

  32. Reply
    Jennifer August 12, 2010

    What a coincidence! And I agree!

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