Today is my maternal grandfather’s birthday – happy 134th, granddaddy! Joseph Rueben Carrico was born January 15, 1885, in Washington County, Kentucky. He was seventy-two years when I was born. Unfortunately, he died when I was four – I have no real memories of him – just those from my mother. I was not taken to the funeral, on the advice of an aunt, and didn’t understand the concept of death at that young age. When we visited grandmother, I would ask where granddaddy was, which caused a flow of tears. And if there was a noise, I always thought it was granddaddy coming back.
Rue, as he was known, was the son of Joseph Napoleon Benedict Carrico and Melvina Ann Smith. Ten children blessed this union – John Henry, Mary Belle, Francis Arthur, Catherine Jessie, Ann Josephine, Richard Fletcher, Joseph Reuben, Helen Nora (Nell), Hally and Mary Abigail – all but two living to adulthood. Uncle Arthur moved to Illinois – the only adventurous one of the bunch! When he died in 1945 all the brothers and sisters took the train for his funeral. Upon arriving home my grandfather said it was the best damn time he ever had – and was duly admonished by my prim grandmother for having such a good time at a funeral! I think there’s nothing wrong with enjoying yourself at a family get together, even if it is a sad occasion. Life must go on. When my time comes, I want a huge party to celebrate my life and those who are left – and I want it to be roaring good time!
My grandfather was quite a handsome man. He married Mary Alice Montgomery November 24, 1920. There was no white dress for grandmother, but she was very stylish. She was the daughter of Robert E. Lee Montgomery and Frances Barber Linton. Granddaddy’s family was poor, grandmother’s rather well off. But they lived and loved and raised seven children.
Joseph Robert, their first born, was named for both of his grandfathers. He was killed September 14, 1943, in Sicily, Italy, during WWII. He would have turned 22 four days later. There was such pain when Robert was killed and for a long time afterwards. He was greatly missed by his family and his portrait hung in my grandmother’s living room for as long as I can remember, even when my aunts lived there.
Francis Reuben Carrico was born November 5, 1922, and died April 25, 1932, in a Louisville hospital of appendicitis. My mother was only a year old when he died and had no memory of him.
Mary Beulah Carrico was born June 11, 1924. She and her husband Zellar Smith had eleven children.
Paul Donovan Carrico was born July 23, 1926. He married Frances Borgia Wheatley and had seven children. Margaret Ann Carrico was born November 26, 1928. She was mom’s favorite sister. She married Cleo Tingle and had two children. Catherine Lyons Carrico, my mother, was born April 5, 1931. She married my father, James Philip Hill, and had five children. Mary Alice Carrico, named for her mother, was born December 17, 1933. She never married.
Rue was a farmer. He raised cows and crops on 27 acres of land in Washington County near St. Rose Catholic Church. After Robert was killed in 1943, Paul was drafted in January of 1945. Farming proved too difficult without his sons. Granddaddy sold the farm and moved his family of women to town – the big town of Springfield. The yard was large enough for a garden and there was a little shed made with honeycomb rock for granddaddy to putter around. I remember the cherry tree, having climbed it many times to reach the ripe fruit; I believe there were other fruit trees.
I like to think of granddaddy puttering around in a little shed in heaven, tending his garden and pruning his trees!
Categories: Family Stories