Thursday, June 26, 2014

52 Ancestors 52 Weeks Week 25 - Hannah Woodard Rosser

52-Ancestors 52-Weeks Week 25 – Hannah Woodard Rosser

This morning while having coffee on my cousin’s front porch in Pennsylvania very near where I was born, a sound was heard all around.  The sound took me back to the days when we would hear the call of the coalmines several times a day.  I knew this noise that could be heard all over the area and there was another tone when there was an accident in the mines.  People would rush to the closest mine entrance to find out what was going on and whether anyone, particularly any family members where injured.  You could smell and hear the anxiety of wives, mothers, sisters and children while they waited to hear the news. 

You see I’m from a coalmining family on both my maternal and paternal side.  The Watkins, Bailey, Woodard and some of the Carroll/Cal had their roots from Virginia, Georgia and Alabama.  Some followed the coalmining industry after leaving the plantations or farms.  So far in my research, it appears working in the mines was by choice rather than forced labor to provide for their families.  This week I’m thinking about Hannah Woodard, my grandfather’s older sister.  Hannah was born in Meriwether County, Georgia and sometime after having her first child, Josie Woodard (Sep 1892), she married Henry Rosser in 1894.

Henry and Hannah where living in the Saint Marks area of Georgia farming.  For some reason after they had two sons, William  (1895) and James (1897) in Georgia, they moved to Etowah County Alabama and are listed in the 1910 US Census.  Henry worked in the Alabama mines.  Etowah is a beautiful area where some of the stately homes reflect the elegance of the old south.    I wonder about the mines in the area particularly when Hannah and Henry Rosser along with their two sons lived in the area.  Henry Rosser, their youngest son was born in 7 June 1906.  Hannah’s oldest daughter, Josie remained in Meriwether County with her grandparents, Wiley and Josephine Woodard.  Henry Rosser Sr. died of a heart attack after the family moved to Jefferson County, Alabama on 24 July 1918.  The children with the exception of Henry Rosser who was twelve years were all grown.  Hannah was left in the small town of Sayre, a small coalmining town that is now one of the dead towns of Alabama with her youngest son.
It must have been a very difficult time for Hannah and her family.  Her younger brother, John Henry Woodard lived in Sayre with his wife Susie Mae Young and oldest children, Ruth and Mary Catherine.   Somewhere in the area she met Andrew (A.J.) Moore, a coal miner who was born in Alabama after Henry died.  Hannah and A.J. married in Alabama and followed the coalmining industry from Alabama to West Virginia and on to Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Branches of the family settled along the way in Logan, and Fairmont, West Virginia with some continuing migrating to Pittsburgh and Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Henry Rosser/Ross shared many memories about his mother, Hannah and his stepfather, A.J.  It took many years for the various branches to reconnect for we lost family ties along the migration path.  What a delight to be in touch with various family members through social media.