Wednesday, April 18, 2012

1835 Journal Entry--Who is Elmina Ingram?

Journal Entry: Fall, 1835, Brazoria, Texas
Today is my 16th birthday. Mama and I have prepared for this most wondrous occasion for two months. She wanted a beautiful, grown-up dress for me to wear to my party, so she sought the services of Miss Emilie Milam to create a very special gown. No longer shall I wear calico, nor style my hair in braids, nor run and play with my brothers. Ladies do not act in such a manner in our household, for each member is born to a role, and best we carry out our duties or most likely face the wrath of Papa.

Secretly, I shall miss the days of riding my pony bareback across the coastal plains, through our plantation, chasing my brothers, for all four of them can out-race me every time. Ah, well, such is the lot of the female persuasion. Now, my brothers believe they have become my protectors, especially when young gentlemen look my way. Brazoria County fairly bursts with bachelors, young men, some wealthy, some poor, but each one seeking a bride to ensconce in his home.

One young man, Mr. Randolph Long, nears my person at every opportunity, at church services, all-day dinners, and when Mama and I shop in town. Papa forbids me to speak with him alone; as a result, our conversations become awkward, as each of us stumbles on words we know perfectly well. After my party—of which he will attend!—I plan to speak with him as any grown woman may do with any gentleman she wishes.
Worrisome events have surfaced over this part of Texas. Papa hears tales in town, at the saloon, the community hall, and the warehouse, and he brings the stories home to share with Mama and my brothers. Of course, they all believe they have protected my delicate ears, but I listen and they do not know. It seems a crisis of some sort has arisen in Anahuac, a small place not far from our home. I am uncertain of its exact location, but the news is that General Santa Anna sent a small detachment of soldiers to Anahuac to enforce the collection of customs there and in Galveston. The merchants and the wealthy landowners—such as my papa—object to this unfair treatment, and when Papa speaks of the Santa Anna’s army and their ways, he becomes red in the face and begins to pound on the table!

Now, just before my party, he tells of a gathering of Mexican troops, more as the days go by. But the most frightening news comes from Gonzales, where Papa said a Colonel Domingo de Ugartecha, commander of troops in San Antonio, sent five cavalrymen to Gonzales to retrieve the six-pound canon that had been provided four years earlier for defense against the Indians. The Texan officer in charge hid the canon, telling the military he had no authority to give it up. He sent out dispatches calling for military aid.
Four hundred Texans, who worked in a loosely formed military troop, heard the call, turned from their original destination, Goliad, and marched to Gonzales. One hundred Mexican soldiers were already there to seize the canon. But a Colonel Moore and one-hundred and sixty Texans loaded the canon with chains and scrap iron, and strung a banner across it inscribed “Come and Take It.” Then the Colonel and his men attacked the Mexican troops, forcing them to retreat to San Antonio. I wanted to cheer! However, I did not wish to reveal my hiding place from which I listened avidly of the exciting battles.

Dread fills my heart, now that I understand what is to come. Papa says we must prepare, put away our frivolous desires for the present, and do our part to secure Texas for ourselves. I can only pray the war does not last too long.

My party will go on, however, and I must end this writing to don my beautiful dark blue silk gown, adorned with a lovely inset of lace, and an ivory brooch at my throat. Handsome coils of braid divide the lace from the silk. Underneath, my pantalets are of the finest linen, and my petticoat is of a fine silk. Mama will arrange my hair atop my head in a manner befitting a grown young woman. I do hope I look beautiful, or at least pretty, for a photographer will capture me in my new gown.
Would it not be magical if someone two hundred years hence finds my photograph and wonders about me?

Signed--Elmina Ingram

!!Special Note from author Celia Yeary: The sixteen-year-old young woman in the photo is one of my real Texas ancestors, but I did not use her real name. I have no idea where she grew up or lived in Texas. I took the date from the photo, 1835, and used historical events of the beginning of the Texas Revolution. The story about my ancestor is fiction, however, a figment of my imagination.

***In TEXAS TRUE, I opened the book with a young lady dressed for a grown-up ball, and she meets an older man, Sam Deleon who steals her heart away very quickly. The young lady is True Lee Cameron, the younger daughter of Buck and Marilee Cameron. Raised in a protected atmosphere and educated in a girl's school in the East, True's world comes crashing down when she learns more about her new husband. But she is a "Cameron" and refuses to allow Sam and his mother to ruin her life. She takes control. Sam? The man has a real awakening when he learns exactly of what that this sweet pretty thing he married is truly made. ~*~*~
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 Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

23 comments:

  1. I love it when real family history is involved in a work of fiction. I enjoyed the story you wove around your ancestor, Celia. It was personal and beautiful.

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  2. I absolutely loved the journal entry, Celia. Took me right to the time and place! And made me want to know more x

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  3. Celia, you had me believing every word. I love the photo, such a pretty young woman looking very elegant.You are a talented writer.

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  4. Hi Celia,
    I loved your post. I always wonder that too, when I look at old photos, if the people in them have any idea that people two hundred years in the future will look and wonder about their lives. Makes me wonder what will happen to all our internet photos in two hundred years. Will they still be around? No one uses a camera and film anymore.

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  5. A beautifully written fictitious diary entry. Great post Celia. That's wonderful you have a part of your past you can connect to your stories.

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  6. Hello Celia. With Caroline, I was swept right into the story, believing every word until you said otherwise. It made me want to read more and find out what happened to the beautiful young womoan. Beautifully written.

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  7. I thought this was a real journal entry and was enthralled from the get-go. How wonderful you have used your gift as a writer to bring life to your ancestor in such a beautiful way. ~ Ashley

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  8. Sarah--you do this, too, don't you? I think it's in our blood, creating a story out of a photo alone. For some reason, this one came very easy. Thank you!

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  9. Suzie--I wish there were more! But I only wrote that fictitious journal entry and that was it for Elmina. I have thought it would make a good story, though. Thank you.

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  10. Caroline--good! I wanted you to believe it! The larger photo shows her features better, but for a very young woman in this photo, she is especially grown-up looking and really quite pretty. I love the photo.
    Thank you.

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  11. Kathy--that bothers me, too. But experts say it's best to save them on the internet, because the photos will disintegrate. True, but photos can last a very long time. Internet photos and books? It makes me nervous thinking my ebooks might disappear--I just don't quite trust the system yet! Thanks for visiting.

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  12. Thank you so much, Paty. I'm glad you liked it.

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  13. Linda--it pleases me that you swept away. I wanted readers to believe it, but you never know. I don't anything about my ancestor, except her real name and this photo. My sisters haven't found out much more about her, either. I hope they do.Thanks for taking the time to read it.

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  14. Ashley--and thank you for the very sweet and poetic comment. Even your comments sound emotional. I appreciate your visit.

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  15. Brilliant, Celia. You have a fantastic imagination and how fun to use the photo of your ancestors. I love looking at something or someone and make up stories about them. Your accounting seemed to be true and accurate and fun to read, of course.

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  16. Paisley--that is fun. While I have gazed at old photos--and I do have some wonderful ones--I mentally think up a scenario for their life. But this is the first time I'm ever written something down about a real ancestor. I was so taken with how pretty she is. Most vintage photos don't show a female that very pretty. I loved the photo.Thanks for reading the fictional journal entry.

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  17. I think your ancestor is gorgeous and sweet looking. I bet she was a stunner in those days. I look at some of our family tree and shake my head. Some of them look down right mean, but how could anyone in my family have been mean...just saying. ;)

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  18. Love the photo, Celia. She really is beautiful. What a treasure! Thanks for sharing, and I loved the story that you wrote to go along with the photo. Yep, you had me, too. LOL.

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  19. Celia,
    The story excerpt pulled me right in. :-) Love the photo of your ancestor. She looks like a very strong young woman with lots of determination and ability to get things done. I can see a family resemblance too. :-) Beautiful photo! I hope you find out more about her. Two of my Texas great grandmothers wrote brief and to-the-point entries about their families in journals they began but didn't finish. The other two great grandmothers I know little about, but one of them may have had more than a couple of newspaper clippings written about her parties in San Antonio in the mid 1800s. I bet you could find some newspaper stories about functions your lovely ancestor attended in her home town. It's a mystery that requires some research. While sorting quilts yesterday, that my mother's grandmothers made, I found a family name on a handkerchief sewn into one of the quilts. Now I have a mystery to search out, and I think you have a great one to follow with your photo. :-) I'm off to sort through and pack up more linens of my mom's. Hope you write the rest of your lovely ancestor's story. :-)

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  20. Paisley--trust me, many of my ancestors were pretty rough looking. I have a group photo of my Granny's family when she was 13. She's holding a rag doll. On the back row is a man about 22, dark, slightly built, but good looking, wearing a cocky hat. He is the only non-family member in the photo. He worked for my Granny's family on the farm. His name was Lee )first name) and he asked if he could marry my Granny when she got old enough. That "old enough" was age 14.And from that marriage came my daddy, and grandparents whom I loved with all my heart.

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  21. Jeanmarie--my sisters are the keepers of our "archives," and all things genealogy. We talked about her a few years ago, and they had tried to find more information about her, but could not. They were doing all this research, finding a way for us to get into Daughters of the Republic of Texas. They found a male ancestor that got us in, and then found two more--a man and a woman--who became our additional ancestors. That's a LOT of work. But they did most of it--I did not live near them, plus I couldn't stand it! They loved it.

    I have thought of writing her fictional story, based on my fictionl journal entry, but there's just so much time to write, isn't there?
    Thanks for your comment--it's very good.

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  22. JACQUIE--it was fun, and wouldn't that make a good writing excercise? For some reason, I can think of stories about my female relatives, but cannot for my males relatives. And some of the men are quite fascinating.
    Thanks for visiting!

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  23. hi Celia, terrific blog. I love going through the old family photos my gram left behind. Since most of them are unmarked...I can let my imagination go full steam an decide who, when where LOL. Sorry to get here so late. Been busy with the Cowboy Festival!

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