Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you
Paul Simon
Thanks to Gary Cliser for creating this video for me.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for Family

As our family historian, it is my job to track down all the missing ancestors. It's amazing how finding just one leads to another until it is an all consuming task. Along the way, the missing ancestors stop being just names and become real people again. You find yourself pulled in by their joys and sorrows. That how it is with my grandpa's sister, Delia.

Mack Henry, Delia, Roy, Jessie, Carrie, George, Sidney and John, around 1905. 

Fidelia Florence Rhea was born on August 11, 1877, in the rural area outside of Sneedville, Tennessee. She was 6th of nine children.

She married Mack Henry Hatfield when she was 16. Together they had 10 children, Roy being the oldest. One would expect with that many children, life would be busy and it certainly was for Delia. My great grandmother writes on October 10. 1919, "Delia has a boy they call him Luke Michael". On January 1, 1919, she says, "Roy Hatfield say he is homesick."

Roy Hatfield was homesick and ill as well. I don't know anything about soldiers being "gassed" in World War I but he was and never really recovered. He was 25 years old.

I suspect these pictures were taken before he was sent overseas. He seemed to be awfully close to Maud Conard but when he came home he married Nola Seals.

Roy and Maud Conard and various brothers and sisters, crossing the Clinch River. 

Roy and Maud Conard with Uncle Victor and Aunt Cornie in the background

Uncle Victor and Roy Hatfield with Mossie and Maude Cope, friends of the family. 
I guess Roy Hatfield has been on my mind. Tennessee recently released the death records for the years I am looking for and I found Roy's. We know he was admitted to the National Home for Disabled Soldiers with chronic arthritis in 1928. In 1930, he had moved to the National Soldiers home in Virginia, into the Mental Patients Unit. We don't have a record of his release date but on August 15, 1938, he took the shotgun from the house and went into the forest and shot himself.

Jessie, Carrie, John, and Edna lived into their 90's.
George to almost 70.
Sidney committed suicide at 70 in 1972.
Grant was in his 70's passing away in 1974.
Rhea died of lung cancer at the age of 42 in 1956.
Little Luke died at age 18 in 1937 in a car accident.

Delia passed away in 1961 at the age of 83. Mack Henry Hatfield died in 1947 at the age of 81. He also committed suicide so it left Delia to hold the family together. While she was still living, she lost Roy, Rhea, and Luke and her husband.

Hats off to Delia. Our family is built on strong women. I grieve for her losses but also take joy in the fact that her great grandchildren talk about her in glowing terms. She survived to share her joy with her grandchildren and great grandchildren and that a glowing testimony to her spirit.


  1. Is Delia the mother in the picture or the little baby on mom's lap? She was certainly one strong lady. Roy went through hell to put it bluntly in WW1. To be gassed was a horrible thing if you didn't die. To put it this way, Adolf Hitler could have used gas in WW2 but refused this to ever be used because he considered it inhumane-Yup that SOB even thought it was too horrible for the troops (not the Jewish people or German dissidents). many suffered memory losses, headaches, emotional breakdowns. Despite how he died, he was brave enough to try to start a family and did.

    1. Birgit, Delia is the mom in the picture. Thanks for the education on being gassed. I haven't taken the time to research it so this is very helpful information and a good place for me to start.

  2. How amazing that you know so much about your family and that these photos and reminiscences survive. Lovely to meet you through the A to Z Challenge :) Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace