Tuesday, May 31, 2011

So this is what her parents looked like...

In a moment in between thoughts, I googled "dr. james green carson" and look what I found.

These are Katherine's parents. Well I know that is her mother but I'm not convinced that that is her father. The portraits are in the collection of Tennessee State Archives and are attributed to the same artist and the same pre-1861 period. The artist is listed as Frazier with a question mark. But the portrait of her father looks very young. So if people were smaller back then, were they also younger????*

*For my non-historian followers, I hate to be the one to tell you but people were not smaller back then. This is a joke.

Friday, May 27, 2011

And now I'm going to bore you with history!

Back in September I promised a series of posts on Katherine Carson Breckinridge. I know it has been almost 9 months but I'm going to make good on that promise. I'm beginning to start up the additional research I've been meaning to do for over 5 years. So I'll revise the past and share my new discoveries as I find them.

Katherine Breckinridge at age 22.
 Katherine Carson Breckinridge was born Katherine Breckinridge Carson on February 20, 1853 on her father's plantation in northeastern Louisiana. She was the daughter of Southern planter privilege and this would be her legacy to her children. My research on Breckinridge was varied and wide reaching because she didn't exist in a vacuum. Her world, her experiences, her family all influenced the woman she became. The part of the process that I dreaded the most but found the most satisfying was doing her genealogy. Unlike the Ancestry.com commercials lead you to believe, genealogy is hard work and very time consuming. And genealogy is not just tracing someone family tree. You have to figure who these people in the family tree are and what they were like. For instance, I knew that Katherine Breckinridge Carson was the daughter of Dr. James Green(e) Carson and Catherine Waller Carson but I didn't know anything about them. What were their politics, their religious views, their thoughts on slavery, and their constitutions? All these questions are important for historians to ask.

As an aside - historians are supposed to be as unbias and objective about their subjects as possible. It is also important to be an observer of your subject and not interact with your subject. Historians are not novelist and I will admit that at times it was very difficult not to give Katherine Breckinridge traits and characteristics that I wanted her to have or needed her to have in order to make the "story" better. Yes, I know she is dead but when you are spending the majority of your time consumed by the life of another person, it is hard not to "talk" to them.

After some looking in online resources and library databases, I was able to locate some information about Katherine's parents. The information below came from the following primary source materials.
  • Handwritten note, Carson Family Genealogy, Container 843, Family Papers; “The Family of Thomas Carson, Sr.,” edited by Alan Carson, http://alcarson.home.texas.net/Tom_Sr_Family.htm.
  • John Q. Anderson, “Dr. James Green Carson, Ante-Bellum Planter of Mississippi and Louisiana,” Journal of Mississippi History 18 (October 1956). 
  • Breckinridge Family Papers, Manuscript Reading Room, Library of Congress.
Katherine's grandfather, Joseph Carson, immigrated to Washington County, Alabama in 1801, and established himself as an attorney and landowner. He married Caroline C. Green of Natchez, Mississippi in 1814 and they had one son, James Green Carson (Katherine's father), on March 8, 1815. Joseph Carson died in 1818 and Caroline Green Carson died when James Green Carson was about seven or eight years old.

After his mother’s death, James Green Carson, moved to Natchez, Mississippi to live with his maternal uncle, Judge James Green. Before James Carson reached adulthood, Judge Green died and left his nephew in the care of a family friend, James Railey, a wealthy Mississippi planter. With his inheritance from his father and his maternal uncle, Carson availed himself of the opportunities wealth provided him and went to boarding school in Connecticut. He attended the University of Virginia before transferring to Centre College in Kentucky to be closer to his fiance, Catherine Breckinridge Waller.

James Green Carson married Catherine Waller of Fox Gap, Franklin County, Kentucky, on July 28, 1835. Shortly after the wedding, the couple moved to Canebrake Plantation in Adams County, Mississippi (near Natchez). The Carsons owned sixty slaves who worked as house servants and field hands on the large plantation. James Green and Catherine Waller Carson had five children (who lived to adulthood) between 1843 and 1853: Joseph (born October 19, 1843), William Waller (born June 2, 1845), James Green (born March 25, 1847), Edward Lees (born August 12, 1848), and Katherine Breckinridge (born February 20, 1853).

By 1850, Carson owned extensive amounts of cotton plantation land in southwestern Mississippi and northeastern Louisiana. Plantation records list James Green Carson as the owner of three large plantations: Airlie Plantation in Carroll Parish, Louisiana; Canebrake Plantation in Adams County, Mississippi and Concordia Parish, Louisiana; and Oasis Plantation in southwestern Mississippi.

I would say that the four paragraphs above took me months to compile. In writing history, research takes you down a lot of different plans. Some are dead ends and some are just wrong for that topics but all are interesting and educational.

And not only did I have to do genealogy for Katherine's family but I needed to do genealogy for her husband, Clifton. You never know where a little primary source gem might be hiding. Luckily most of Katherine and Clifton's papers are part of the Breckinridge Family Papers at the Library of Congress. I had the amazing pleasure of doing the majority of my thesis research in the Manuscript Reading Room. It was an ideal research experience. Despite popular belief, I was about to photocopy a good number of Katherine's letters and study them every carefully once I returned to Arkansas.

Then there are the papers of her eldest children, James Carson Breckinridge and Mary Carson Breckinridge. Her son, Carson, was a General in the Marine Corps and his personal papers including letters to this mother toward the end of her life are at the Marine Corps University Archives in Quantico, Virginia. Her daughter, Mary, founded the Frontier Nursing Service in Kentucky and her papers including personal letters to her mother are at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. I hope to be able to look at those in the near future so that I can get a better idea of the type of mother she was.

Despite the years of research and volumes of information I have collected, I still have more to do. I don't really know who Katherine Carson Breckinridge was but I'm determined to find out.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gotta love TJ Maxx...

On Saturday, DH and Will and I ventured out between the thunderstorms to get Will some new sneakers. Shoe Connection is the one place in Little Rock that I can find good shoes for him and look at shoes for me as well. Plus it doesn't involve the mall.

So after a very successful shoe shopping trip, Will asked to go to the shop next door. He is my child after all and 90% of the time, he enjoys shopping. We trekked over to TJ Maxx and I did a quick once through of the pants and shirts. TJ Maxx has good linen and gauzey shirts (sometimes). No luck there but I did find a pant of Talbots khaki colored dress pants for only $16.99. I snatched those up and was off to see where DH and Will had gone off too and hoping they were not in the toy section. I found them in houseware and I found this...


I had been wanting one to use as a display when photographing my WIPs and finished knitting projects. The greatest thing was that is was only $59.00 - more than half the price of dress forms at sewing shops or online. Too cool!!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Come on and get on the ball!!!

Oh, the project I need to finish. Among the clothes that need to be washed and folded, the papers that need to be filed or shredded, and the house that needs to be cleaned from top to bottom are all the knitting project on the verge of being finished knitted items. So much to do and so little time and today I was surfing Ravelry thinking about what I would start next. UGH!

So here is my list of project that need to completed.

I need to finish blocking and sew up this wonderful Noro Cover-Up.

I need to complete the sewn bind-off and do the Kitcher Stitch on the underarms of this sweater.

I need to weave in the ends on this baby blanket for my friend Julienne.

I need to weave in the ends and block this Honey Cowl.

I need to finish Chloe from Susan Anderson's wonderful book, Chloe & Spud on the Farm and I need to start Spud.

I need to tack the picot edge on this hat and buy the ribbon to go in the eyelets.

I need to find handles for this bag and finish it.

I need to weave in the end and make the bobble for the top of this hat.

I need to finish this hat and block it.

I need to finish the version of this vest for the local yarn shop.

And I need to work on Van's socks. I've only been working  them for over 3 years now.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Is it already May 13th???

Time sure does fly whether you are having fun or not. I'm having fun though. So much as been going on that I don't know where to begin. So I apologize in advance for the random ramble.

The kitchen is operational once again. Most everything is back in the cabinets and I have been cooking up a storm. I feel so grown up now that I have gone through a kitchen remodel and made it through the other side unharmed. It was definitely a rite of passage. Here are pictures of the final result. It is a bit messy and the trim still needs to be installed around windows and doors but the stove, dishwasher and sink work and that is all that matters to me.

So now the whole house has to come back together. I knew that when we redid the kitchen, the kitchen would be destroyed (literally) and that they dining room would become a makeshift kitchen during the remodel. But I had not idea that the spillover would reach every corner of the house. This weekend is clean out weekend - not clean up but clean out. Time to purge the house of the unwanted and unneeded junk. I'm so excited.

Easter was wonderful this year. I think I might even enjoy it more than Christmas as far as holidays go. We hunted eggs and had a wonderful lunch with friends and family. It was a relaxing and refreshing day.

 My knitting has slowed down because I've not scheduled myself time to knit. Plus Angry Birds is an amazing time sucker. I have many projects sitting on needles or needing to be blocked or needing to be photographed. Here are a few that I have been able to click recently.

 I hope to have much more to report after my weekend of cleaning out.

Monday, May 2, 2011