Continuation of The James Carroll Fly mini-biography as written in Fly Family History in 1980.
Father was born March 15, 1836, near Nashville, Tennessee, presumable on the old homestead where Grandfather was born and reared.His death occurred May 25, 1908.As far as known to us, Father was the oldest of Grandfather's family of children, but on the pages of the old family Bible, before mentioned, there appears the record of several births that we have no knowledge of; so evidently there were children of the family that had died of whom we have no record--at least, no record of their death.I herein give a copy of the record just as it appears in Grandfather's Bible:
"John R. Fly (Grandfather) was born July 28, 1811
Elizabeth Tennessee Fly was born August 12, 1813
Andrew Jackson Fly was born July 17, 1834
James Carroll Fly (Father) was born March 15, 1836
Elizabeth Caroline Fly was born December 25, 1837
Wm. Nicholis Fly was born November 9, 1839
Nancy Melinda Fly was born September 14, 1841
John Wesley Fly was born January 14, 1845
Phoeba Jane Fly was born November 3, 1847
Sarah Ann Fly was born August 8, 1851
Jeremiah Washington Fly was born June 2, 1853
Martin Columbus Fly was born February 26, 1856
Benjamin Franklin Stubblefield was born July 28, 1866"
The "Elizabeth Tennessee Fly," mentioned on this record, I am presuming was Grandmother's full name and that "Betsy," as she was always called, was a contraction from Elizabeth.It is my conclusion that the "Benjamin Franklin Stubblefield," also recorded hereon, was a son of our Aunt Melinda, mentioned later in this review.The members of the family that we knew, besides our grandparents and our father, were; Elizabeth Caroline, Wm. Nicholis, Nancy Melinda, John Wesley, Sarah Ann, Jeremiah Washington, and Martin Columbus.
In 1840, Grandfather moved his entire family to Barry County, Missouri, and settled near the town of Cassville.It was here that Father, at the age of 19, met and married our mother, who was living then with her Aunt Patsy Sooter.
I do not know the date of our parents' wedding anniversary.If they ever told me--and I feel sure that they did--this date has slipped my mind.Neither do I remember any facts, other than those recorded herein, concerning their history between the date of their marriage and the date of their starting for California.However, I do have a vague remembrance of Mother's telling me of some of the hardships they had experienced in this era of their early married life.It seems that they lived for a while with Grandfather Fly but I do not know long.They had moved to themselves, as well as I remember, at the time Mother was stricken with the measles; and at this time their dwelling consisted of a floorless one room log cabin in one end of which was rude fireplace where all their cooking and baking was done.Father, I knew, had always worked as a farm laborer, but whether at this time he worked for himself or for others, I do not know.
Our parents' public school education was limited, for it had been their lot not to have access to the public schools.They learned to read and write only after they were married.Father attened a writing school even after his coming to California and was taught to read and to write even at this late date.But Mother was self taught.She was a good reader, however, and wrote a fairly good hand.These qualifications she had gained from home study and with the aid of the old "blue-back" speller that I had heard her speak about often but which I had never seen.Grandfather, I am told, was a well educated man, but being of a roving disposition, he did not remain in one district long enough for his children to successfully attend the public schools.
In 1864, and about ten years after their marriage, our parents started on their laborous and hazardous journey to California by covered wagon and ox team.Their loneliness can be imagined when we reflect that none of their relatives (excepting Aunt Caroline, whom I mention later) accompanied them on this venture and that they were almost children in point of age.In these days of financial plenty, of quick transportation by auto or railroad, of paved highways, and of a country free from marauding Indians and reckless outlaws, it is difficult for us to imagine the strenuous vicissitudes of those who, like our parents, had the courage to attempt to span, what then appeared to be almost limitless, the distance between Missouri and California.Too, we who have not had the experience cannot, only in a small measure, conceive of the heartaches and homesickness occasioned from leaving behind forever our youthful surroundings and associations.True, the present cares of life may cloud for a time our vision of childhood scenes, but there comes to all of us thus environed many moments of homesickness for the old homestead and its surroundings and associations.In these days, such conditions of homesickness are overcome largely by the quick mail service, the telegraph, the telephone, the auto and the radio, but in those days such facilities of diversion were not available.It then took weeks to communicate with our loved ones by letter at a distance such as that between California and Missouri.True, Grandfather, with his entire family, came on to California and settled near our parents in the vicinity of Farmersville, but his coming was some ten years later.As an additional burden, just before their starting for California our parents buried their oldest child, and when enroute and when at Fort Scott, Arizona, their third child, in point of age, was laid in its grave.These bereavements were a sad blow to our mother, especially on account of her at that time being in a state of poor health.
(to be continued)transcribed by Darlene Fly Ames 2/19/2000