Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: My maternal grandparents

Note: "Tombstone Tuesday" is a theme used by many genealogy bloggers; you can see other tombstone posts at GeneaBloggers.
Alvin Jasper Stevenson (Sr.) and Edna Maud Pate Stevenson are my maternal grandparents. They are buried in Tulip Cemetery in the Tulip community near Athens, La.  Tulip is in Claiborne Parish (county) in Northwest Louisiana.

Headstone of Edna Pate and Alvin J. Stevenson, Tulip Cemetery, near Athens, La., Nov. 2005.  Scanned photo by M. Hall, slightly edited and privately held by Liz Hall Morgan. [Note: Alvin was born on Feb. 2; the marker is incorrect.]

Alvin was the son of John William Stevenson and Maggie Elizabeth McCoy.  He was born in Claiborne Parish, La., died in Sulphur, Calcasieu Parish, La., and was a farmer.

Edna was the daughter of Newton King Brady Pate and Etta Orisca Cotter.  She was born in Heflin, Webster, La., grew up in Ringgold, Bienville, La., and died in Lake Charles, Calcasieu, La.  Edna was a schoolteacher before marriage.  She earned a two-year teaching diploma from Louisiana Normal College (now Northwestern Louisiana University), in 1922, though she had already taught for several years.  (After she completed high school in 1913, the local school board asked her to teach.)

Edna and Alvin Stevenson at their daughter's wedding in Athens, La., Sept. 1, 1951.  Scanned photo by unknown family member, slightly edited by Liz Hall Morgan.  Original photo privately held by the Hall family.

Alvin and Edna married in Ringgold on Dec. 16, 1926, and lived in Athens for most of their lives.  They had three children: my mother, my Uncle A.J. (Alvin Jasper, Jr., who died in 1995), and Peggy Catherine, who died in infancy.

"Paw Paw" was a warm, loving grandpa whom I remember fondly.  I would gather eggs with him and watch him feed the cows. When he gave me piggyback rides, he was so tall, I had to duck under the doorways of the house.  Ever-present were his cowboy hat and a twinkle in his blue eyes.  We spent every Thanksgiving at his farmhouse, and a lot of Christmases, when I was a child.  I can almost taste my grandmother's homemade melt-in-your-mouth yeast rolls and her chocolate and lemon meringue pies as I write this.

Edna Pate Stevenson, with surprise cameo by Alvin Stevenson, Athens, La., 1960s.  Scan of original photo by M. Hall, edited by Liz Hall Morgan.  Original photo privately held by the Hall family.

Perhaps because my mom referred to her as "your grandmother," my family called Edna by the incongruously formal "Grandmother." [My cousins called her "Granny," an odd contrast.]  Grandmother came to live with us after Paw Paw died [I was about 10], until her death more than 11 years later.  She was sweet and had a good sense of humor, and she lived almost long enough to celebrate her 90th birthday.  I wish she'd lived longer so I could have asked her more about the amazing changes she lived through as a citizen of almost the entire 20th century.  She did, fortunately, write down some memories of her life, and she passed down many family stories to my mom.  One of my favorite memories of her is the April Fool's Day that I switched the contents of our salt shaker and sugar bowl; I heard nothing about it all day--until I went to bed and found my sheets had been salted, courtesy of Grandmother!

Want more?  You can see a circa-1921 photo of my grandmother here and read about her adventure coaching basketball here.

Copyright 2010 by Liz Hall Morgan.

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