Documenting my family's past for future generations. My family tree includes the Smith/Mansell families of Alabama and Oklahoma, the Castle/Day families of Kentucky and Oklahoma, the Wheat/Ming families of Texas and Oklahoma, and the Bell/Roberts families of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Oklahoma.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Grandpa and Grandma Day

Now seems a good time to talk about my other set of great-great-grandparents on the Castle side of my family: Grandpa and Grandma Day.  I feel like I know them even better than my Castle great-great-grandparents--even though they were gone long before I was born--because they lived and died in Oklahoma. I have photographs of them; I’ve been to the places where they lived. 

My great-grandmother Sarah Florida Day’s parents were James Thomas--sometimes called “Jim Tom” or J.T.--Day and Nancy Emily Reed. James was born 1 December 1856 in Morgan County, Kentucky, son of Andrew Jackson Day and Sarah Jane Oney.  Nancy Emily Reed, daughter of Lewis Reed and Sarah Patrick, was born 26 September 1853 (according to her headstone.) They married on 13 April 1876 in Salyersville, Magoffin County. Their marriage license says that they were married in the home of Nancy’s father, Lewis Reed.

On the 1880 and 1900 censuses they were living in Johnson Fork, Magoffin County. The 1880 census says that Nancy Emily was born in January 1858.  (I can see fudging on the year a little since her other birth date makes her 3 years older than her husband, but changing the whole month?) By 1894 they had had all their children—seven girls! and one little boy, Cassa, who died at age 4. Kelly Day, age 3, listed as a son on the 1900 census, was really their grandson.

Sometime in early 1907 or before, they moved to Indian Territory, and settled near the town of Davenport in Lincoln County. 

They brought all the girls to live with them in Oklahoma: Ida, Zedda, Emma, Margaret, Minta, Retta Lee, and Florida who came with her husband, George Castle.  On the 1920 census James T. and Nancy were living on S. Olympia Avenue in Tulsa. In 1930 the Days were living in Claremore where they ran a boarding house for visitors who came to Claremore to take mineral water baths.

On their golden wedding anniversary the Days were written up in the Tulsa World.  You get the impression of a devoted couple, loving to each other and generous to others.

According to my grandmother, Grandma Day sometimes let her generosity get the better of her common sense.  “She would invite everybody at church over for Sunday dinner but she wouldn’t have wrung the chicken’s neck yet!” Grandpa Day was dearly beloved by his wife, his daughters, and his grandchildren.

Ida, Florida, Zedda, Emma, Margaret, Minta, Retta Lee
Grandma and Grandpa Castle

J.T. Day died in 1931 and Nancy in 1938.  They are buried in Davenport, Oklahoma, within sight of land that still belongs to Day descendants. Last summer I met some Day cousins at the Senior Citizen Center in Davenport, where we ate ham and beans with cornbread and homegrown sliced tomatoes, told family stories, traded photographs, then visited the cemetery together. We had never met but we came together to remember James Thomas and Nancy Emily Day.

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