Monday, December 8, 2008

Cynthia Abigail Tipton Gouge

Cynthia Abigail Tipton, “Abby” as she was known by those who knew her, was born in Hollow Poplar, North Carolina, August 29, 1880. She died April 30, 1971, in Jennersville, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

She married David Gouge (b. 5 Mar 1881, d. 1946.) They had seven children:

Leota Mildred Gouge (b. 31 Jul 1908, d. 29 Jan 1929)

Hoy Gouge (b. 19 Oct. 1909, d. 23 Mar. 1996)

Geter Gouge (b. 11 Apr. 1911, d. 23 Sep. 1993)

Nelson Gouge (b. 25 May 1912, d. 24 Aug. 2007)

Lonza Gouge (b. 29 Aug. 1914, d. 187 Apr. 1999)

Mary Gouge (b. 20 Sep. 1919)

Elsie Mae Gouge (b. 24 Feb. 1922)

Abby Tipton Gouge was my grandfather’s, Fieldon Jacob Tipton (b. 04 Jun 1884, d. 08 May 1939), older sister. She and her family also moved to the Oxford, Unionville area of southern Pennsylvania during the late 1920s, to work on their relative Don Byrd’s farm as did my father’s family.

The grand old picture featured on this blog is a copy of a picture that was in the possession of Abby’s daughter, Mary Gouge (now Davidson). Mrs. Davidson is alive and well and living alone in Oxford, Pennsylvania, near her younger sister Elsie Mae Gouge Kilby.

Recently I contacted Elsie Mae to obtain information about her family to update my genealogical files. Elsie Mae could not have been more gracious. These are the type of relatives that I cherish meeting when doing my genealogical research. More often than not, I find that it is the older relatives who are most helpful. Some of the younger relatives either are not interested or too caught up in their day to day lives to share information about their family. Of course there is always the issue of privacy which is especially important in this day and age. I always try to respect a person’s privacy.

It was an interesting journey how I came by this picture. Back in 1996, while I was interviewing Elsie Mae’s older brother Hoy Gouge and his wife Annabelle, I noticed a wonder framed picture on the wall. I asked Annabelle who was in the picture. She said it was Hoy’s Mother and Father and all his brothers and sisters. She said it was taken at their home in the mountains of North Carolina, near Relief. She said a traveling photographer was making his way through the mountains taking pictures of families and offering them for sale. The picture hanging on the wall was one of those glorious treasures that we family researchers every so often come across. This picture featured the whole family lined up on both sides of the parents. Abby was in a long splendid white dress which she obviously put on for the picture. David Gouge was dressed in the dark garb of the day, which included a suit like jacket and trousers that matched. I asked if I could make a copy of that picture but Mrs. Gouge declined and I respected her wishes. She probably did not want the picture taken out of its frame. Since that time I’ve always had that picture on my mind because it was the only known picture I had ever seen of my great aunt Abby. I have no pictures of my grandfather’s other sisters and brothers.

Hoy and Annabelle Gouge have since passed on. I do not know what happened to that picture. Perhaps her son Gilbert has it in his possession. I will have to follow that lead some day. However, it was a stroke of luck that I came across the picture that is featured in this blog. During my interview with Elsie Mae Kilby and her niece Mary Miller Parsons, I casually mentioned the picture that I had seen at her brother Hoy’s house and had wondered what happened to it. Her niece immediately said her aunt Mary (Gouge Davidson) had a copy of it! Wonderful! She said her aunt only lived about three miles from where we were, and she offered to take me there.

A few minutes later I walked into Mrs. Davidson’s small and comfy home. Mrs. Davidson will turn 90 this year. What a sweet lady. She brought out the picture, and I saw right away it wasn’t the same picture that I saw at Hoy and Annabelle Gouge’s house. But it was another treasure! I asked if I could borrow it and make a copy. She said I could and I took it home with me. However, in my haste I left a tote bag of other treasures on a chair in her kitchen. They included a graduation picture of her father David Gouge. Also included was the guest book from her father’s funeral. I discovered these treasures were missing when I got home. I called Mrs. Davidson immediately and she said she would hold them for me. I’ve made copies of the Abby Tipton picture with her young children and will give one to Elsie Mae. She said she used to have one but didn’t know what happened to it. I will be glad to do her this small favor in return for all she has helped me with. As I said before, its people like these two wonderful Gouge sisters who make researching family history a pleasure.

The individuals pictured are from left to right:

Geter Gouge 1911-1993

Hoy Gouge 1909-1996

Leota Gouge 1908-1929

Nelson Gouge (wearing a dress because he was still in diapers) 1912-2007

Abby Gouge (holding her new baby Lonza Gouge) 1880-1971
Lonza Gouge (baby held in Abby's arms) 1914-1999

I estimate the picture was taken in the fall of 1914 because Lonza Gouge was born on the 29th of August 1914. The two sisters that I saw last Sunday were not born at the time this picture was taken. Leota, the oldest child, died in 1929. She died leaving an 8 month old daughter by the name of Mary Mae Miller (b. 7 May 1929.) This is the same Mary (now Parsons) who led me to this picture.

My journey to this picture is a perfect example of why I love genealogy research. I met some of the most wonderful people, I learn about my family history, and I enable our family history to live on long after we are gone. It just doesn’t get any better than this. I love it.