I’ve been fortunate to have had many wonderful elders in my life. My grandmother (maternal) is still alive and fiesty as ever nearing her 90th birthday. My paternal grandmother passed away long before I was born. If fact, she passed when my father was a child. As a result, I really know very little about her. What I do know is shrouded in grayness and leads to many high and wide brick walls in my research. Here’s the little I do know:
Bernice Lewis was born in Columbia County, FL in 1918 to Samuel Lewis and the former Edna Clark. Photos I have of her show she was a beautiful woman.
She married my grandfather (M.J.) against the wishes of her mother, Mama Edna. Nonetheless between 1939 and 1946, she had three sons and a daughter. She also had one son, Samuel, from a previous relationship.
In 1947, she died of cancer at the early age of 29. Mama Edna always blamed my grandfather for her passing, arguing that he simply did not support her taking care of herself. Fair or unfair, this colored familial relations for many years to come.
I’m determined to find out as much as I can about Bernice. Unfortunately, there aren’t many left that can provide more clues to her background and the circumstances of her life now. I’ve succeeded so far in re-creating her pedigree from census records and other vital record sources. This has given me a framework, but little “meat.” As always, much more to come…