Nothing can mean as much to me as the legacy handed down from my great-grandmother, Frances Barber Linton Montgomery. The photo above is one of her genealogy charts – but best of all, in her handwriting! Surprisingly she was called the unladylike ‘Frank’! She was the daughter of Edward Edwards Linton and Catherine Elizabeth Taylor, born just after the Civil War on August 13, 1867, in Washington County, Kentucky. Both lines of her family – the Lintons and the Taylors – were early pioneers to the county, arriving about 1816.
Frances was a school teacher before her marriage to Robert E. Lee Montgomery, February 7, 1893. After that she was devoted to her family, giving birth to seven children: Mary Alice (my grandmother), Anna Margaret, Laura Frances, Lillian Catherine, Robert Lee, Edward Linton and Benjamin.
Life was not always easy. The youngest child, Benjamin, born October 21, 1908, lived less than a month. Daughter Laura contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 15 on December 11, 1912. A grandson, Robert Carrico, was killed in Italy during World War II.
My mother remembers her as the perfect grandmother! A week was spent each summer at the farm, helping grandfather with the cows, visiting the goldfish pond, helping to churn butter, rolling down the hill in front of the house. Mom says they were allowed to play with grandmother’s canned goods in the parlor – can you imagine! Grandmother Frances would don her hat and gloves, purse on her arm, to do her grocery shopping. She would visit each ‘store’ and pay nickels for each purchase! The grand finale of the week was a party – the long white ‘company’ tablecloth adorned the table, along with plates of special cookies and cakes and freshly made pitchers of lemonade. How my mother still loves to recall those memories! And I love to hear them!
And in her spare time Grandmother Frances was a genealogist! Evidently she loved genealogy research as much as I do! She wrote regularly to several of her Linton cousins, trying to get the facts straight about the older generations! How I would love to have known her! But, in some ways, I do. I have her legacy of the love of family research – no one else in the family got it! Plus I have many of her writings – living through the depression she wrote on any scrap of paper she had! I also have many of the letters her Linton cousins wrote to her. I have some of the old records she diligently kept through all the years – and old pictures. So even though I never met this woman face to face, she truly lives in my heart – and I know her very well.
Grandmother Frances died August 2, 1945 – it was fair week in Washington County. Every year she went to the fair with her children and grandchildren – taking a huge picnic basket which they all enjoyed sitting under the shade of a tree. Each child was given nickels to spend on any number of goodies – an amusement ride, popcorn, a coke. This year was no different. Even though Grandmother Frances was not there, the grandchildren were taken to the fair – as she would have wanted. What a special woman!