Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A tree falls in Indiana

Sometime in the mid-to-late 19th century, a young boy named Fielding was born into a farm family with at least 8 children. He was the youngest; his brother Lewis was a couple years older. Before he was 14, Fielding was an orphan, earning his keep on another Indiana dirt farm worked by the husband of his sister, Nancy. What he thought about or what he knew is lost to the ages - at some point, he and Lewis set out on their own. In 18__, Fielding married Elizabeth Wainscott. The marriage record calls her "Betty Winscott," but this isn't unusual since many folks in that region of the midwest at that time were barely literate. The area was filled with Earls, Wainscotts, and Jameses - they intermarried and gave their children the same family names. Betty died young after giving birth to Fielding's only son, James Milton Earl, known to his friends and family as Milton. My dad called him "Bampa." Fielding did remarry - Josephine Boarders became Milton's stepmother in 18___. The disconcerting end to Fielding's life occurred in his 30th year. He was, according to Mabel, my great-grandmother, walking behind the house whistling. The death record indicates he was crushed by a falling tree. The whistling, she reported, stopped abruptly. Everyone has stories. Not knowing them is like an abrupt ending.

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