OLA MALLETTE TO ENA (BALLANTINE) ADAMS
[Ena Palmer (Ballantine's) daughter]
501 Washington St.
April 21, 1912
My dear Cousin Ena--
Your letter to my mother was safely received but illness, and the care attendant upon business matters since the death of my brother, has prevented an earlier reply. In regard to what we know about the history of your mother's family we will tell you what we can.
Your mother was the younger of the two children of her parents, Dempsey Palmer and Ann Timmons, the only other child being a son, William Palmer, about two years older than your mother. Your mother's grandparents were Zacariah Timmons and Nancy Sutton, both being of English extraction. The above had five children; Eliza, Stephen, Ann, William, and Zacariah. Eliza was my grand-mother, Stephen was Cousin Mamie's father, Ann was your grand-mother, William died when about grown, but un-married, and "Jack" left descendents who now live in Glynn Co. Ga.
Aunt Ann married Dempsey Palmer when she was 28 years old. Uncle Dempsey's father was an army man, and died leaving a rather helpless family. As he (Uncle Dempsey) had to do the best he could, he took a position as "over-seer" on Uncle Stephen's plantation. In this way he met Aunt Ann. He was a very capable and attractive, kindly man, making her an excellent husband. Your grandmother was a famous cook and housekeeper, noted all over the country for the deliciously dainty things to eat at her table, her shining brasses and mahogany, and her charm as a hostess. She was intellectual and cultivated, lovable and gentle, in temperament, fond of music and with a good voice, and altogether a really remarkable woman. She was of medium height, fair complexion, black curly hair, and dark eyes. My mother says that Aunt Ann's appearance is as distinct to her today as mine is while I sit before her. My mother had the greatest admiration and love for her.
When your mother was 21 yrs. Of age your grandparents moved to Nebraska, that State being then the frontier of the U.S. Your Uncle William had preceded them (he was named for his uncle, William Timmons) But to go back to your mother's childhood. She was a beautiful child, and the idol of her parents. She grew to be a beautiful girl. She was talented, being a fine natural musician and poetess, and greatly admired by the whole country-side.
In those days, you know, educational advantages were hard to obtain, but her parents did all in their power for her. Just at the flush of her young life the country was involved in the troubles of the Civil War, which made ever thing difficult. Your mother composed a number of poems, but owing to the above difficulties none were published in book form. My father had some published in some Savannah paper, but my mother does not remember which one, and my mother had no copies. We have no trace of anything that ever belonged to the family.
As you know, your mother met your father in Nebraska. After the family left for "the West" my mother heard little from them for years. My father had left that section of the country, and between moving away, having a family of children, and then my father's death in March, 1870, my mother lost sight of the family. I had an uncle in Thomas Co. who became our guardian, so my mother left Savannah and came out here, when I was three years old. The winter that I was twelve your mother came to Ga. Visiting Cousin Mamie first and spending the latter part of the winter with us, on our farm. My recollection of it is that Coulter was five years, and you were eleven months old.
The first steps that you ever took were when you walked across our tea-table, all by yourself. You were a small, but plump baby, and very dear and pretty, we all thought, while Coulter was a fine, bright boy, and large for his age. He had very large ideas also, and when playing built "rail-raods" around and among the orange trees, and planned largely for the future. He may not remember it, but he became very fond of me, and proposed that I should marry him, and go West, where he said, that he "would build rail-roads and cities, and also plant orange trees there"! My mother often remarked that he did not think in small grooves.
That was a very sweet visit and when the spring came, and you left it was the last time we ever saw any of you. Your father's death happened the same year, I think, and then your mother's was not so very long afterward. We heard of her second marriage, but knew no particulars; and we also heard that your father's sister had taken you and Coulter, and that you were both well provided for. My mother has never been back to Glynn Co., or anywhere down there since the war, and has lost sight of all the relations, except Cousin Mamie, whom we correspond with. I have not seen her (Cousin Mamie) since I was 11 yrs old. We have never seen her nieces who live with her. They live comfortably in the old neighborhood. She lost both of her brothers, and both nephews, so that there are no men in the family. My mother had five children--I now have only one sister living. Both of my brothers are dead, my second brother having died Jan 9, 1911. My mother & I live alone, with a maid. Perhaps you may have heard most of this before. It is all that I know. It is sad for you to have to gather facts of the past so entirely by yourself, yet, none of us know from whence we came, or whither we go.
We know not where all of our lost loved ones have gone; we must believe that "all is well with them" and with us. They have been, and are still, a part of us, who "though lost to sight are to memory dear".
The most anchored of us are but as driftwood on a vast Eternity, but a great Power brought us, the same Power will take us away, and still will care for us and for all of those who have loved us, when we go.