Family Stories

Happy 134th Birthday Granddaddy!

Granddaddy and Grandmother sitting on the porch at their home in Springfield.

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.

Joseph Napoleon Benedict Carrico and Melvina Ann Smith

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!

Taken in Youngstown, Illinois, in January of 1938.  Left to right – Aunt Nell, Aunt Jessie, granddaddy, Aunt Abbie and Uncle Arthur.


Rue and Alice on their wedding day.

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.

Reuben, Beulah and Robert – the three oldest 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.

Mary Alice, Beulah, Catherine (my mom), granddaddy and grandmother.

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!

Graduation day for Mary Alice, with grandmother and Ann in the first row; Catherine, granddaddy and Paul, second row.



11 replies »

  1. What a wonderful family. I love the way you present it with the text and photos. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Marilyn

  2. I read every word of this family gallery with commentary. I love old photos
    and have quite a lot of my own relatives. I wish you could have known
    your grandfather. I was fortunate to remember both maternal grandfather
    and grandmother, both paternal grandfather and grandmother, as well
    as a great-grandfather and a great-grandmother unrelated to each other.
    My father had two brothers who served overseas in World War II, and
    thankfully both returned to USA. Thanks for sharing these photos and
    info. I felt both happiness and sadness. My father has twelve children;
    the first ten are all boys; the last two are twin girls. The eldest was
    born in 1939; the twins in 1965. I am second eldest in the clan!
    Don D. Adams, Paris, Ky.

    as re

  3. I enjoy seeing the Carrico photos. I’m still trying to make our connection. I’m fairly confident that John Carrico, 1743–1803, was my 6th great grandfather. I’m still working on documentation to take me back further. I haven’t come across a Rueben yet.

  4. Hello, Mary Abigail (Bernard Smith) is my great grandmother. Her daughter, Melvina (Gene Hamilton), is my grandmother I am interested in the Carrico line, I read it originated in Portugal. Hope to hear from you and thank you for the photos!

  5. Mary Abigail (Abbie) carrico Smith is my great grandmother which she had a son Thomas Walter Smith which he is my grandpa who had a son James Dean Smith SR. Who had three siblings James Dean Smith JR. Twins Linda Marie Smith and Laureen Lynn Smith Silva which i’am a granddaughter of Thomas Walter Smith who Married Mary Olllie Mattingly Smith who is James Dean Smith mother and who is my grandmother I’m just trying to piece of all my grandpa side of family so she can find out what i’am of race background I know I’m English but don’t know the other half of me yet .

    • Pat, Mary Abigail Carrico is my grandfather’s sister – his name, Joseph Reuben Carrico. Their parents are Joseph Napoleon Benedict Carrico and Melvina Ann Smith. Joseph’s parents are Pius Carrico and Mary Magdalene Spalding. Melvina’s parents are John Edward Smith and Ellen Lyons.

  6. Hi, Phyllis. I am Wanda Myers. I enjoy genealogy and finding the answers, and I am told you do as well. Who told me this? Brenda Brown wife of Rickey. I worked with 3 descendants of this Carrico family when I taught at Fredericktown Elementary School in Washington County, KY. I am pleased to say all three women are still some of my dearest friends. Their maiden name was Taylor, but their mother was Mary Frances Carrico. Mary Taylor told her daughter, Libby Nell to tell me she was a 2nd cousin to my husband, Wallace Myers, as his mother was Mary Edith Myers, formerly Willett, daughter of Richard Albert Willett and Martha Mae Smith whose parents were Thomas Henry Smith and Sarah “Sallie” Victoria Riney..

    Due to RA I no longer am a member of Ancestry and I had decided to quit my search for families connected to me/us. But the search is beginning to “pull” at me. Question….Do you search for other people for a fee? I am quite interested in getting my mother in law’s line done.

Any thoughts?

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