52 Ancestors Week 20: Nature

+8 votes

imageReady for Week 20 of the 52 Ancestors challenge?

Please share with us a profile of an ancestor or relative who matches this week's theme:


From Amy Johnson Crow:

The theme for Week 20 is "Nature." Any farmers or gardeners in the family? How about someone who simply loved to be out in nature? How about an ancestor with a nature-inspired first name or surname?


Share below!

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in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
edited by Eowyn Langholf
52 Ancestors Week 20 - Nature

When I was living in California, my ex in-laws loved to go camping. They would leave either Thursday or early Friday and go up to the mountains, and we would follow them Friday after work.

You need to know that I am the last person you would think would love to go camping. I like the finer things in life - like a toilet and bathtub. Ona and Bob had a beautiful very large 5th wheel.  We had the top of the line tent. Big enough to fit two adults and an adolescent boy, who didn't really want to be there. We didn't sleep on the ground - oh no - not us. We slept on cots. And Ona crocheted afghans for us, so we would be warm. Every weekend we would trek up the mountain and spend our time - the boys fishing, Ona and I crocheting and cooking - then cleaning up. My son complaining that he didn't want to be there. Sunday's we would rush home. Oh - and I forgot to tell you that I had a side job, doing medical transcriptions for a Doctor.  Since I lost three days (a weekend) because we enjoyed ourselves camping, I had to hurry when we got home, cook supper, get all of the clothes clean, and type as much transcription as I could, so I wouldn't be so far behind.

I guess my ex-husband finally got the hint. After that first year of laying out in the rain and the cold, we went shopping for a 5th Wheel. We ended up with a very nice 35' one. And I made sure it had a bathtub. I also made sure I was able to hook up my electric typewriter. (Is this dating me a little).

After that - camping under God's beautiful Moon in the great mountains of California was a lot more fun. I think my son even enjoyed it more.  He had his own bunk room in the camper.

So this nature lover enjoyed the next five years of camping until I moved back to Illinois.
I come from a family of farmers/ranchers. My paternal grandparents owned a farm in Comstock, Nebraska...another family farm in Batesland, S.D. One of my paternal aunts had a sheep farm in Casper WY. I remember when I was 3 years young, of visiting one of the farms in the spring. The barn stalls were filled with every kind of baby farm animals, plus puppies & kittens. My uncles and cousins raised cattle. My father left Comstock shortly after he graduated from high school (c1935) , to help one of his sisters (who lived in Akron, Ohio) with raising her daughter after her first husband died. It was a joyous time when my family left Akron to visit with our western relatives. Growing up watching  Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Kit Carson, etc. WE WERE GOING TO VISIT THEIR STOMPING GROUNDS!. They all had their vegetable gardens. We, (in Akron) only had a two lot yard, but we ALWAYS had our 16'x24' vegetable garden filled with produce. I helped my mom can vegetables & fruit every summer. As dad got older, I took over the gardening chores. LOVED IT! That's one of the things I miss now.

48 Answers

+7 votes
Given that most of the family I have researched lived in rural England then Ag Labs and gardeners abound. Choosing one is difficult but I think my 2xgt grandfather Henry Witt who died aged 99 must be my choice he moved to what is now the city of Southampton from the village of Minstead in Hampshire but continued to work as a gardener. I need to tidy his profile but will post the link when I have spruced it up.
by Hilary Gadsby G2G6 Mach 4 (48.5k points)
Henry, indeed, sounds like an industrious person who must have truly loved gardening since he continued it even after his move to the city.
Here is a link to his profile I still need to add more recent record https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Witt-316
+7 votes
My Dad had a vegetable garden for years.  Growing up we had a vacant lot next door and he transformed half of it into an amazing harden.  He lost it when the property was sold and a house built on the lot.  After I married and bought a home not far from my parents, he put a garden in the back portion of my  yard.  Fond memories of those years!
by Marsha Craig G2G2 (2.9k points)
Some people just have such a gift for growing things--sounds like your Dad was one of the gifted ones. I'm so glad he was able to continue what he enjoyed doing and sharing it with you.
+7 votes
As a descendant of both Puritan Great Migration and Virginia Colony folks (who later emigrated to Georgia), I have mostly farmers in my tree up until the early 1900s,  But my mother, Joyce, particularly stands out as the most influential person in the development of my love of nature.  She wasn't a camper (that came later for me), but took me hiking in Florida's parks, snorkeling in the ocean and Intracoastal Waterway (she was a certified scuba diver), and fishing and boating when- and wherever possible.  She was also an amateur birder and astronomer - passions I follow to this day.

by D Armistead G2G3 (3.9k points)
So great for you to have a parent who loved the outdoors as she did. She gave your great memories and a great foundation for a fulfilling life.
+6 votes

This week was almost a tie for me. Both my father and maternal grandmother were huge gardeners in my early life, but I'm going to give this week's nod to my father, Charles Robert Gray

Some of my earliest memories with him were poking around in the garden, pulling up carrots to see if they were ready yet, then shoving them back in the ground. hahaha. Dad always had plum and peach trees, a large garden, roses, and a few other odds and ends around the yard. He would often talk about his mother when we gardened, who passed away decades before I was born. 

After getting established with my own family, I've recently gotten back into gardening with my kiddo and am enjoying passing on the family traditions. We've got a nice little spring garden going at a community garden spot in our city and we have a few containers on the back porch. It's nice seeing her excited and curious about the process. 

by Patricia Ferdig G2G6 Mach 2 (21.2k points)
What precious memories of the time you spent with your father in his garden. I love that you are carrying forth the tradition with your own child.
+8 votes

I have numerous farmers in my tree but I wish to highlight my great great grandfather Josiah Holland.  He was born in Tennessee in 1822 and probably grew up on a farm.  According to census records he moved several times having farms in both Illinois and Iowa.  He finally settled on a farm in Illinois.  He raised at least three generations of farmers.  Two of his sons were farmers.  His daughter Loretta was a farmer's wife which means she was pretty much a farmer.  Her son Homer Hindman started out as a farmer/horse trader but wound up a dentist.  This picture is of Josiah and Loretta.

by Ward Hindman G2G1 (1.8k points)
edited by Ward Hindman
Oh, yes, farmer's wives were definitely not idle. There's lots to do on a farm. And the the children all helped, too. I love this photo of your ancestor, Josiah and Loretta. I'm envious that you have such a wonderful photo.
+6 votes
My Mom was one of those people that comedy just happens to. We lived out in the country, on a small holding of 3 acres in a big turn of the century brick farm house. Dad got this idea that we should get some ducklings. They were about half grown, and got onto the lawn, and all was fine while they were nibbling on grass and weeds - then one caught sight of the row of sweet peas Mom had planted along a decorative fence. The plants were up a couple of inches. We ended up calling one duck Hoover, because he started at one end, and ate every single sweet pea and then lay down and looked back along the row to make sure he hadn't missed any. Mom came off the front porch with her broom, and chased Hoover away. All afternoon, from the windbreak came the sound of his squawking.

Being out in the country, there were lots of birds building nests. A pair of barn swallows tried for a couple of days to build a nest at the top of one of the pillars on our front porch. Every time they got a bit built, out would come Mom with her trusty broom, and with a lot of shouting, knock down the muddy mess that was the start of their nest. They finally gave up and went elsewhere!
by Linda Hockley G2G6 (6.8k points)
You told these stories well--they made me smile. Great memories. Thank you for sharing them.
Thanks! Mom was so funny, at the best of times - even though she didn't mean to be! Things dropped, fell over, and, of course Nature defied her, all the time! With a fun-loving father, they gave us amazing memories to pass on to the next generation. It was a great place to grow up!
+6 votes

My great grandfather, Michael Huber, after he migrated from Volga, Russia, in the early 1900's, settled in Fresno, California, where he worked in a raisin plant.  He later became an orchard farmer.  My grandmother grew up on that farm, along with her two brothers, both of whom also served in World War II.  

by William Catambay G2G6 (9.3k points)
I don't think I've ever heard of anyone before who worked in a raisin plant. The photo on his profile page depicts an obviously happy family. What a wonderful heritage.
Fresno, CA - Raisin capital of the world.  :)
+7 votes

“My Papaw”  William “Tennie” Dale was an awesome farmer. He had 524 acres that he farmed and raised cattle on. He always had four crop areas. He grew tobacco on one, corn on the next, then he had our family garden, the last one was “Restin” which means it was tilled and left alone for one year to regenerate. He rotated the crops from field to field each year. He also always had beautiful flowers everywhere inside and out of our home. 

by Pam Dale G2G6 Mach 1 (14.8k points)
That's quite a large farm! And he practiced good farm management by rotating his crops. I know you are proud to be his granddaughter.
+5 votes
My maternal grandfather, Winfred Cleveland Shelton [https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Shelton-4145],  was a farmer but by the time I met him he had already retired and was living with my aunt. I am not even sure what he grew. I believe his father, Albert Shelton, was also a farmer. I do not know his father but his grandfather, Josiah Cyrus Shelton, was also a farmer. Josiah's father and grandfather are the farthest back I can trace and both were farmers. There were farmers on my father's side, too. Farming is the oldest occupation in the world. :)
by Tina Hall G2G6 (6.5k points)
I, too, in tracing back my ancestors, have found that most of them were farmers. A noble and under-appreciated occupation, in my opinion, as they provided not only for their own families, but for so many others.
So true.
+5 votes
I have any number of farmers, or farm workers, or agricultural labourers, and the like in the broader family, but the one who come immediately to mind when you say "gardener" is my Mum.

She loved to garden.  She was rightly proud of her azaleas .. and she knew every. single. variety. by. name.  She knew which was a true Rhododendron and which were newer varieties.  She grew things I managed tp kill off just by being in the same room.  (About the only things I didn't kill by looking at them were my curry leaf tree and my birdseye chilli bush.)

She had the most wonderful garden, full of day lilies, her beloved azaleas, ferns, roses .. you name it, if it grew where she lived in Queensland, she probably had it growing in some corner.
by Melanie Paul G2G6 Pilot (140k points)
I grew up in southern Alabama, USA where azaleas were abundant and beautiful. I can envision your mother's lovely gardens--they must have been magnificent. I know her flowers gave great joy to everyone who had the privilege of seeing them.
Thank you.  :)
+5 votes

This one is easy; my second cousin twice removed Ed Dodd, who was an outdoorsman and conservationist and drew on that for his creation of the "Mark Trail" comic strip.

by C Handy G2G6 Mach 2 (22.4k points)
edited by C Handy
What a talented individual! Cool that you are related to him.
+4 votes
Lovell Cobb (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Cobb-6528) had a nice sized farming operation in New York.  I located his Agricultural Census for 1850 and he had 2 horses, 4 milking cows, 2 oxen, 80 sheep, and 1 swine.  He produced/harvested 420 pounds of wool, 25 pounds of potatoes, 650 pounds of butter, 50 pounds of cheese, 15 tons of hay, and 100 pounds of sugar.
by Eric McDaniel G2G6 Mach 2 (21.8k points)
+4 votes

Most of my Utting ancestors worked as agricultural labourers in Norfolk for many years. The main exception to this is my great-great grandfather, Walter Utting, who was an Organist who played at several churches in Norwich. According to my great-aunt, who has travelled there, there is a plaque to his name outside of Norwich Cathedral.

by Amy Utting G2G6 Pilot (133k points)
+3 votes

I will nominate my 4x great uncle George Hircock.

George was born in Laxton, Northhamptonshire, England.

He started work as a Sawyer and later became the local Gamekeeper.

He spent his life in the same village and all his sons became Gamekeepers as well.

I guess that should count as being close to nature.

by Christopher Colwell G2G6 Mach 1 (14.5k points)
+5 votes
I am not an outdoorsy person unless its to go swimming.  I do not like camping.  I have asthma and burning wood is a trigger for me.  Every three years or so my maternal family has a reunion.  Many family members like to camp at the state park where we most often have the reunion.  My idea of camping is finding the nearest hotel.  I get teased a bit, but I'm okay with that.  The rest of my family are avid outdoor people.  They grow gardens, including food, herbs, and flowers.  I hire a gardener to do that for me. LOL! I'm not graced with a green thumb like the rest of my family, but I do appreciate the beauty of the outdoors. I just want to see it from a vehicle or out the window of a building :-)
by Pamela Culy G2G6 (8.2k points)
+6 votes

My paternal side is full of ag lab workers. My  Nandad was a gardener at the ‘big house ‘. He also grew bucketloads of fruit and veg at home. When my husband and I moved to a farmlet many years ago I tried my hand at veggie growing. Did a fair job, but didn’t come close to Nandad’s abilities.

by Marion Poole G2G6 Pilot (352k points)
+5 votes
Most of my ancestors I've identified were farmers or at least kept a garden, But I will focus on [Gardner-1715|Joanna Gardner]], daughter of Samuel Gardner. She was born in 1661 in Hadley, Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay where she married Nathaniel Warner, had her seven children, and died in 1729. I know nothing more of Joanna other than she lost one of her children early, but I imagine her as a normal farmer's wife of the time.
by Judy Bramlage G2G6 Mach 6 (61.7k points)
+5 votes
My parents and especially my mother influenced me and my interest in nature. Our family vacations were often camping vacations in one of the many campgrounds in East Tennessee. On every hike my mom would quiz me on identification of some of the more common trees.

My mom and her sister have become avid birdwatchers and were thrilled when a pair of eagles nested near their house. They have multiple hummingbird feeders, suet feeders, regular bird feeders, and bluebird houses in their yard. They have a glassed in front area that looks out over the river to mountain in the background. From there they can watch the birds at the feeders and can see the eagles nest with their binoculars. Though it is easier to watch on the nest camera. My mom and aunt built their house on land that has been in my Dad’s family has farmed  since the late 1700’s.  Now cousins on my Mom’s side are farming the land.

My daughter loves to climb trees - the bigger the better. She just started a solo 3 week drive around the country. All of her planned stops are either State or National Parks. I’m nervous about the trip, but also jealous. She is carrying on the love of nature that has been a big part of our ancestors lives.
by Emily Holmberg G2G6 Mach 3 (37.4k points)
+4 votes

For this week, I will call out my mother for her love of growing plants in the house.  

by Sally Mahoney G2G6 Mach 1 (11.3k points)
+4 votes

Elisha Wallen - The Long Hunter for 'Nature' as he was famous for being amongst those men that went for 'long hunts' like Daniel Boone.


by Azure Robinson G2G6 Mach 3 (30.4k points)

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