Friday, January 09, 2009

Freedom at last

More snow in Mason City (darn it) overnight and this morning, so I'm still breaking my only new year resolution so far --- get a haircut --- and fiddling around here. It's not that bad. I just don't feel like going out in it until I have to.

Someone at a newspaper I know of decided to conduct an online poll asking North Iowans what their favorite winter-time activities were. Snowmobiling? Ice fishing? Cross-country skiing? As it turned out the overwhelming majority favored staying inside, off the ice and out of the snow as often and for as long a time as possible. I can identify with that, although I don't mind being out in snow. It's the ice underneath that concerns me. I used to bounce when I fell down. Now it's more of a splat.

I had two errands out at Freedom Cemetery Monday, so this will be a little about the other one. But speaking of Freedom, isn't that a great name for a cemetery? I'd never really thought about it before, since those of us native to Lucas County for the most part know that the name "Freedom" actually comes from a little town there that made it onto the maps only briefly before drying up and blowing away. So our thought processes never move much beyond that, or Freedom Bible Camp just up the road west, still active and used by several Iowa congregations, that also owes its name to that once-upon-a-time little town.

Another of my favorite cemetery names is Eureka (after the Greek, "I have found it!") down in Marion County, where several of my Brown relatives are buried.

Back on track: The photo up top is of the tombstone of Barbara (Teas or Tease or Teese) Tuttle, first wife of Noah. Noah is the most prolific patriarch buried at Freedom with 14 children by two wives to his credit. Barbara was his first wife, daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Hartley) Teas (or one of those variant spellings). Barbara came to Benton Township with her mother, Sarah, and stepfather, Levi Fox. Somewhere around here there's a post entitled "Fox Hunting at New York" that was in part travelogue but primarily directions intended to guide Fox descendants to Levi's and Sarah's graves in the New York Cemetery.

Barbara married Noah on 8 February 1855 in Lucas County and they settled down on a farm just south of the Lucas/Wayne County line and produced a family of eight children before Barbara's death on 21 November 1871. So this photo is for the Fox descendants who didn't make it out to Freedom on their visits or who haven't made it back to Lucas County at all (are you reading this, Roberta?).

Some years after Barbara died, Noah married Margery Williams and they produced a family of six, one of whom was Guilford Tuttle who married Augusta "Gusty" Schreck, a Redlingshafer/Rosa descendant who, so far as I know, is my only kin at Freedom.

My favorite given name at Freedom is Gatsy, as in Gatsy Tuttle, wife of Benjamin and mother of Noah, whose tombstone you see here. It's a unique name in Iowa, at least, and when I plugged it into the search engine to see just how unique it really was I discovered that a majority of the Gatsys in the world came from North Carolina. As you might guess, so did Gatsy Tuttle and her brood.

There are two Gatsys at Freedom, although Gatsey (Tuttle) Mitchell has an "e" and her grandmother apparently didn't, if her tombstone is to be trusted. Gatsey-with-an-e was Gatsy's granddaughter, daughter of Noah and Barbara.

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