A couple of years ago, I became aware of the fact that old (1928-2013) issues of our local weekly newspaper, The Smithfield Times, are now available on the Library of Virginia’s ‘Virginia Chronicle’ digital newspaper site.
It is easy to become so caught up in that site that you lose track of time. Last week, I was preparing my upcoming “talk” for the Valentine event at Bacon’s Castle, so many of my thoughts were about my Mom and her family. I decided that it would be fun to search for articles about them, so I typed in her maiden name, “Ellis”.
There is an option to define the dates for your search, so I selected the 1920’s through the 1940’s.
I was not disappointed in my findings. The earliest result referenced an injury to my Mom’s youngest brother, Stanley. I don’t ever recall hearing of this accident, which occurred while the family was living at Bacon’s Castle.
The date on this news item was March 30, 1933. Family records show that he would have been ten years old. Sadly, there are now no family members to ask for the “rest of the story”.
It was fun to find this mention of my Uncle Andrew and Aunt Virginia’s wedding. Andrew was the eldest of my mom’s brothers. The date on this was January 1, 1935. Remember when the wedding announcement always included what the bride wore? I’ll have to research what a “swagger suit” is.
This next entry made me smile. The date was September 5, 1935, and this was my granddad, Ben. Again, this occurred at Bacon’s Castle farm.
This next article also made me smile. The date on this one is September 12, 1935. Bennie was also my mom’s brother, Sarah was her youngest sister, and Allie was my dad’s brother. The church they became members of is in my hometown and the one I attended for many years.
Mom’s brother, Bob, had a bit of bad luck in 1936 with his “Lizzie”.
This article almost brought me to tears, although I knew that he had been a prisoner of war. The date was December 13, 1944.
When I discovered that article, I immediately remembered this old family photo of my grandmother with Bennie (on the right) and Stanley. I was always told that this was taken the day before Bennie reported for duty for World War II. The worry and sadness that she must have been feeling is so evident on her face.
But, imagine the family’s joy at getting THIS news. The date of the article is January 17, 1945.
I, for one, am thankful that so many newspaper articles are available for searching at no charge. Click here to visit the Virginia Chronicle site. If you’re a Virginian, perhaps old issues of your local paper are available online. But, beware: searching old news is very habit-forming.
~These Days Of Mine~