• By JEFF KIDD

This photo warmed my heart; here's why


The G.W. Hall family. Pictured, from left, are: SON- Bethel George Hall (BORN December 26, 1893) MOTHER- Nancy Abigail Quisenberry (BORN July 5, 1867) holding BABY- Odessa Hall.(BORN December 30, 1900) SISTER- Mahala Hall (BORN April 20, 1888) and in front of her is BROTHER- Oliver Hall. (BORN March 18, 1896) Next is FATHER- George Washington Hall (BORN April 16, 1862) holding SON-Perry Arthur Hall (BORN August 21, 1898) and on the end, is DAUGHTER Surena Katherine Hall (BORN June 29, 1891) The photo was posted on Ancestry by Donna Hardin.

I peeked in on my Ancestry.com trees for the first time in a long time a few nights ago, and I'm glad I did. I stumbled upon this photo of the George Washington Hall family. G.W. was my great-great grandfather.

Standing in the center of this photo is my great grandmother, Mahala Susan Hall Wilson. Sometimes, when I was young, she would sit me next to her on the porch of the farmhouse where my mother grew up in a three-generation household. Together, we snapped the string beans she had carried from the field in her apron. Her skin was crepey and liver-stained; her fingers gnarled but adroit at a task she had known for nearly a century. She seemed even older than that to me.

Before this week, I'd never seen a picture of her as a child.

The photo contains another surprise: My great-great grandmother, Nancy Abigail Quesenberry Hall, is holding little Odessa, who would die before her 2nd birthday. I've loved her name since the first time I read it on her grave marker, when I was just a boy. For obvious reasons, the name makes me a little sad, too. Odessa is buried near her sister Mary Ann Hall, who died a decade earlier, before her 1st birthday. These are tough people who have known tough times.

My wife pointed out another detail. They're dressed in Sunday best ... but the kids are barefoot.

I love this photo.


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