Yesterday I wrote about not finding story ideas for some upcoming writing contests. I did enter a contest in December and should know by May 1, 2015 if I won or placed.
The Southern California Genealogical Society’s GENEii Literary Contest closed on December 31, 2014. I wrote a 1,900-word nonfiction piece about Mary Morrison, my g-g-g-g-grandmother who came from Scotland to North Carolina in the 1760s and her mother-in-law, Janet Hall. Janet lived all her life on the Kintyre Peninsula of Scotland, as far as I know.
If I could have a conversation with two of my ancestors, I would choose Mary and Janet. Janet’s life must have been full of hardship, although she grew up on a lush green farm at Southend, Scotland with views of Ireland 12 miles across the North Channel on a clear day. It was a beautiful place to be a child in the early 1700s, but a harsh place to be an adult where everyone was a tenant on the land owned by the Duke of Argyll.
Mary’s life included the excitement of leaving Scotland as a young adult to go to America. Her excitement was, no doubt, tempered with fear and misgivings about leaving her homeland. She and her husband, John, farmed in North Carolina, and they did well until John’s early death. Mary was widowed while pregnant with their ninth child during the Revolutionary War, and in less than four years she died. What a difficult life she and her children had here! I think about her when I garden the same piedmont North Carolina red clay soil in which she must have struggled to grow vegetables and flowers. I feel her presence as I live on the same land on which she lived 250 years ago.
Janet Hall and Mary Morrison are more than names in a family history book. They are real to me and their blood runs through my veins.