Needlework, Finishing, Designing, Quilting, Some Discoveries and Adventures in Stitching from Windy Ridge Designs

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Think Spring Has Arrived - and AotH Update

I think we've had just about enough rain now, thank-you.  I have been busier than a one-armed paper hanger.  Spent all last week working on stuff at the historical society.  That's all it is now is stuff - there's so much of it, that I can't tell one project apart from the other anymore.  We are hosting our annual Heritage Day celebration on May 7 and so that is a target date for us to get a lot done by.  Also, as treasurer, I had to gather all the documen-tation that needed to go to the accountant for tax prep.  Although, the organization's taxes aren't due until May 15, I had to get the stuff to him by April 15.  This is the first time for me, so I wasn't prepared for all the work that was involved.  I'll be much better prepared next year.  I got all that stuff done before I had my own taxes done!

So, hubby and I sat here yesterday putting our taxes together.   As Lurch would say in the Addams Family - uuuuuggggghhhhhhh !!!!

But, enough about all that; you wanted to see the update on AotH, didn't you?  I finally got a scroll bar to fit my wider fabric piece.  Then promptly made a mistake with where I put the Arpil block.  Right where the 1st bonus block is supposed to be.  I'll do the March block next (in May - since I had to do May in March) and will put the 1st bonus block on the other side of April.  Without further delay - Here it is - the April block -

At the bottom you can see the E May GB  - that stands for Ella May Genn.  She was my father's mother.  And now you've probably picked up on the recurring "May".  It was Ella's middle name as well as the middle name of her sister's daughter who will appear in the series later.  Oddly enough, my father managed to meet and marry a woman whose middle name was also May (see the entry for the month of May).  They turned the coincidence into a sort-of family tradition by giving me the same middle name (as seen in January).   As luck would have it, when my granddaughter was born, my son insisted that they use the middle name May for her - so she is Emma May.  

The other day my younger son and I were discussing his favorite colors when he was young.  We decided to look in his baby book to confirm our discussion.  We didn't find that information, but I did find something else interesting - there was a question - what if your baby had been the opposite sex, what would you have named it?  The answer was Caitlin May.  Huh.  Funny, I had forgotten that.  But, clearly it is now a firmly established family tradition.  And, not one that is restricted to descendancy - it has flitted around the family in my tree.

Ella May Genn, Wilmington, Delaware about 1908
I don't know a lot about Ella.  I have a dirth of photographs of her but am lean on the 411.  I remember my father saying that she'd killed her husband (his father) with a frying pan.  In actuality, his father had died in his 40's of a heart attack.  Perhaps brought on by the threat of a frying pan?  We'll never know.  She lived with us when I was very, very young.  I remember back to when I was 3-1/2 and have no recollection of her.  But, my sisters were well known to say that she was mean.  

In the pictures I see something different.  I see someone who was very serious. Who knows what her past had been like?  But, she married a fine Irish lad whose parents had come over on the boat.  And they, most of them, had a great sense of humor.  So maybe she was like my husband - who had no sense of humor when we married, but has picked one up on long association (or perhaps self-defense) with me.  Maybe she wanted someone who could make her laugh and when she lost him, was mad at the world about it.  She lived a very long, but probably not entirely happy life.  

Ella was born on December 30, 1885 in the small town of North East (very imaginative name ey? - it's northeast of Baltimore), Maryland.  That's Cecil County, right at the top of the Chesapeake Bay and near the mouth of the Susquehanna.  They have some gorgeous high views of the bay up there.  When she was 24 years old she married my grandfather.  I think that was a little old by the standards of the day.  But, there had been some upheaval in the family - her older sister had gotten pregnant out of wedlock, the baby was born when Ella was 10.  I'm sure it was a scandal that may have taken her family down the social ladder a peg or two.  Perhaps she grew up with the admonishment - don't be intimate with a boy until you're good and married !  She and husband Joe lived in Wilmington and had four children.  The twin girls, Sarah and Ella (May) died at birth.  In April of 1970 Ella died in Bothell, Washington.  She was buried beside her husband in Wilmington.

About 1930

One thing that's interesting about Ella - well, not her precisely, but it is through her that this connection comes down to me - - -   Way, way back up her family tree is James Genn, a great, great uncle times so many.  He was the surveyor who took George Washington out on his first run through the wilderness as an apprentice.  

And then there are the initials TC and 1760 to the left and right of the house.  Those stand for Thomas Cochran who was born in April of 1760.  He is my DAR ancestor.  He was, as they called it back then, an indian spy.  He and his company fought the native Americans in Georgia in the area that is known as the Hornet's Nest - and beyond.

Oh!  Almost forgot to say - I have changed out all the Crescent Colours in this block for WDW conversions.  Where I couldn't find a conversion I used the DMC in the booklet.  Also, LOTS of changes to the design in this one; most particularly, got rid of the bowl of salad on the roof of the house. 


  1. Very pretty April block! Your family history is interesting, don't you just love learning about the past!

  2. Beautiful April block. That's a lot of great info you have on Ella May there. Definitely worth blogging. x

  3. Sooooo neat! I enjoyed your block and learning about Ella May. I'm partial to the pic of her on the wall in that thriving metropolis known as Wilmington. ;)

  4. A beautiful block and a fascinating piece of family history

  5. What a beautiful block! I often wonder about all those family stories we don't hear, or only hear snippets of... just think, every one of us has those stories about ourselves; private disappointments or secret triumphs that will always be hidden from the future. It's enough to make you want to start a journal! I've certainly gotten a kick out of your family stories.

  6. Your AotH block is gorgeous! I love the family history that accompanied it! Facinating!

    I look forward to your next block and more family history!


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