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:
Below is a listing of surnames I’m very interested in for my research as well as the timeframes and US states for each. If any of these can be cross-referenced with your research, please don’t hestitate to reach out. Thanks!
1848 – 1912
1876 – 1929
1829 – 1989
1818 – 2007
1815 – 1949
1805 – 1898
1845 – [...]
The eldest Bynum I’ve been able to find so far is Joseph Ceasar Bynum Sr. Joseph was born in 1830 somewhere in South Carolina. Probably born as a slave, Joseph’s first documented record is in 1870. Joseph is married to Phyllis (maiden name unknown) and has two male children; Ceasar and Smart. [...]
Matthew James Bynum, or M.J. as just about everybody knew him, was my grandfather. I didn’t know him that well. By the time I was old enough to understand who he was, he was a much older man and dealing with the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. M.J. was not a [...]
Matthew James Bynum , or “Dada” as I grew to know him in countless stories, was born in early 1894. I know very little about his upbringing, other than what I’ve discovered in the census records. By all accounts, by the time Dada was an adult, he was a hard man. In fact, every time [...]
In an earlier post, I talked about my 2nd Great Grandfather and his “complicated” family. In that post, I also spoke of his wife Ethel leaving home…
So, with one child in hand and one on the way, Ethel took off down the dusty road leading away from the family farm…. and Dada stood and watched from the porch as his wife and two of his children disappeared in the horizon.
One of those children was my great-uncle, Richard Bynum. Richard was born in 1918 and was the youngest of five (for years, we thought it was four siblings, but learned of a fifth through my research this year! THAT is a story for another time). Richard’s childhood after he headed down that dusty road was a difficult one. I didn’t know him until much later in his life, but I’ll always remember how he would adamantly talk about the reasons he chose to have no children. Basically, he felt his own childhood was so bad, he’d never wish that hardship on someone else.
Richard enlisted in the army and served in World War II. He served over seas from 1941-45 and retired at the rank of sergeant. After his service, he settled back down in St. Petersburg, FL. Despite the frustrations about his youth, I remember Uncle Richard being a bit of a comedian. The more I think about it, I think I actually got a bit of my sense of humor from him. For that, I’m eternally grateful.
He passed away in 1991 at the age of 72 and is buried with veteran honors at Florida National Cemetery.