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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Child's Drawings from 1883

My mother had a large cedar chest where she kept all our report cards, newspaper clippings, drawings, etc. that we'd done as children.  It was at my sister's house, and she decided we didn't need to keep those old things, so out they went with the trash.  I understand getting rid of clutter, but I think so often we lose a lot of family history that might've been enlightening to our descendants, who might take an interest in geneology.

When I moved back to Mississippi from Los Angeles, I was going through some cabinets in the library at my father's house.  I was snooping around and found an old sewing basket containing an assortment of old family papers, receipts, letters, calling cards, and one little tablet from a drugstore containing a child's drawings.

The child was Elodie Rose (Grafton), my great grandmother.  She was fourteen years old when she doodled in her little book, just an assortment of her practicing her penmanship, doing her multiplications, and drawings of her friends, whom she named.

Now I'll have to go do some sluething to find out who these friends were and what happened to them.  Tommie O'Brien, Ellen Scott, Nellie Conti, Sophie Wright.  Some of the other names are familiar:  Agnes Carpenter, Bessie Learned:
Elodie Rose

Agnes Carpenter
I found letters to Elodie from Agnes Carpenter when Agnes was in boarding school in New York.

I can't begin to tell you what it feels like when the old photo on the wall takes on a personality.  It's like reaching back in time and meeting each other for the first time. I highly recommend saving those old report cards and letters, and drawings.  It will be a treasure for someone someday.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017:

Last night I received the following email from one of Nellie Conti's descendants:

Hi Elodie,

I stumbled across your blog this evening as I was researching my great grandmother, Nellie Conti of Natchez, Mississippi.  If you want to know more about Nellie, she was the daughter of John Conti and Mary Jane Lazarus Conti and was born in 1866.  She married my great grandfather, John E. Rouse in September 1884, just a year after the notes and drawings in your blog.  She and John Rouse lived in Natchez.  He owned and operated a grocery and a saloon at 510 Franklin Street in Natchez.  They had 8 children, my grandmother Loretta was their youngest child, born in 1896.  Sadly, Nellie Conti Rouse died of tuberculosis just 10 days after giving birth to my grandmother.  We only have one picture of her, which I have attached.

The name Tommie O’Brien is also familiar to me.  The O’Brien’s and the Rouse’s were in-laws. Nellie’s half sister Louisa married Joseph B. O’Brien.  I believe Tommie was a relative.

If you ever come across anything else about the Rouse, Conti or Lazarus families of Natchez, I would be very interested in learning what you discover.

I have enjoyed reading your blog, and am so happy I found it.

Thanks again,
Christie Susslin

Nellie Conti

John E. Rouse. Born August 1859 in Macomb, IL. He married Mary Ellen "Nellie" Conti, daughter of John F. and Mary Lazarus Conti on Sept 1, 1884. He operated Conti and Rouse grocery and liquor store at 510 Franklin Street. He died in Natchez on June 19, 1909.

Conti and Rouse grocery and liquor store at 510 Franklin Street

Related links:

Letter from Agnes Carpenter at St. Agnes School in New York

Letter from Agnes Carpenter at Mississippi Military Institute