“Be Fruitful and Multiply and Fill the Earth” – In the Beginning

Luemma Marcena Jane Craft and John William Garman

I assume that on their honeymoon John William Garman and Luemma Marcena Jane Craft were reading from the Old Testament, Genesis 9:1 which was God’s Blessing and Commandment to Noah and his sons. On the other hand, maybe not. More likely, they agreed to have lots of children which would have been typical of the 1800’s families who ventured west in search of land and opportunity. Such families had to live off the land and it would take large families to work the land and survive. Granddad and Grandma Garman would build on about 100 acres of land with a good water source. They would have seventeen children over a period of twenty-four and one-half years, from April 17, 1890 to October 27, 1914. My mother was the last born at number seventeen, which me and my three sisters are thankful for or else I would not be writing this blog. So, 17 children in 24 years is quite amazing and unusual, even at that time, although the Martin family of Catawba had thirteen. Between those two families that comes out to 30 young’uns. We’re talking about a small village right there folks!

Standing left to right: Claude M. Garman, Oscar A. Garman, John O. Garman, Leo W. Garman, Kermit L. Garman, Leon A. Garman      Sitting left to right: Elizabeth S. Garman Carroll, Pearl E. Garman Taylor, W. Earl Garman Taylor, M. Mae Garman Peters, Aunt Aimmy Henderson, Carra E. Garman Shepherd, Gertrude M. Garman Damewood, Lillie G. Garman Crawford,  Stacil V. Garman Garman

Ant Gert (Gertrude M. Garman Damewood) would be the first child born in this family on April 17, 1890. Interestingly, she would also be the first centurion with a lifespan of 102 years and almost 5 months. Now, number one born lives to 102 plus and number 17 (Elizabeth) is still living at 103 plus. I find that noteworthy. The longevity gene remained strong for 24 years.

We have accounted for two centurions so far and two more to go. The 10th born in the family was M. Mae Garman Peters, who was born April 27, 1902, and passed away November 5, 2010, having lived 108 years and 6 months!

The record as of now is W. Earl Garman Taylor born July 16, 1907 passing away June 28, 2016 having lived 108 years and 11 plus months. I like to state it as right at 109. Actually, since life begins at conception both of these fine ladies get credit for 109. When you author an article you can take certain liberties.

So out of that family there will be four who have lived over 100 years almost 25% of the family.

Fourteen of these family members would raise families. Of the other 3, two died very young and Lucian died of an illness in France in December of 1918.

Second Generation: Grandchildren

I will not list them all now but will state that there were 66 grandchildren of the 14 families that had kids. Of the 66 there are 24 living as of the date of this blog. FITNESS ALERT: If you are one of these living 24, and are in your 80s now, especially you ladies, then take good care of yourself because 25% could see 100 plus! Back to the grandchildren.

There were 2 children each born to Lillie Garman Crawford family, Leo Garman family, Claude Garman family and Stacil Garman family. There were 3 children born to Earl Garman Taylor family. Four families had 4 children each: Gertrude Garman Damewood family, John Garman family, Kermit Garman family and Elizabeth Garman family. Leon Garman family had 5 children as did Cara Garman Sheppard family. The Mae Garman Peters family had 6 children and the Pearl Garman Taylor family had 9 children. Lastly, the super-sized family of Oscar Garman had 14 children.

[My thanks to Hilda Wright and Barbara Carroll Shelor for ‘counting the flock’.]

I know much of this has sounded like the Old Testament book of Numbers, but some family facts from this litter of 17 is needed for reference to whom belongs to what family. Also, over time I will write about or reference many of these families and individuals. Think of it as a big family reunion, blog-wise and we are doing the introductions before the conversations begin.

This Garman family had a great impact on Catawba other than just the numbers. They were Godly people, very talented musicians and vocalists with a tremendous work ethic. A love of life and a spirit of joy, peace, and contentment was in the marrow of their bones.

I want to pay tribute to that life in the Appalachians and to the Garman family from whence I sprung. There are many that love Catawba as much as I do. All of those experiences have taken on voices and have called me back to the place and people I dearly love. Those voices calling me are also calling those who connect to Catawba in some way big or small. And all those who read this blog and eventually the book will be blessed with the Echoes From Catawba Valley.

Like articles like this? Then you would love Echoes From Catawba Volume 1, Growing Up In Catawba Valley, Appalachia. 

Click here to order Echoes From Catawba Volume 1  hardcover, collector’s edition: $27.99, includes shipping.  Also available on Amazon. Paperback: $18.99 and Kindle: $5.99

Also available at the Salem Museum Book Store in Salem, Virginia and The Emporium on Main Street in New Castle, Virginia.

37 thoughts on ““Be Fruitful and Multiply and Fill the Earth” – In the Beginning

      1. This is so awesome..can’t wait to read more..my name is Annette Taylor..I’m the granddaughter of Pearl Garman Taylor…my father was Fred Taylor..son of Pearl..

      2. Welcome Annette. What a pleasure to have you join us on Echoes and thank you for your nice/informative comment. We are just getting started on this project and it is going to be fantastic to explore and reveal Catawba and our Garman family and other’s as well. Spread the word about our blog, even non-Catawba people so that others can enjoy our heritage. —–Ted

    1. Welcome to ECHOES Kathy. Thank you for the encouraging and kind comments. You represent the very audience I want to reach to preserve the heritage of the Garman clan and of the Valley itself, and all those families who lived there.

  1. Thank you for sharing! I am the great granddaughter of the late Gertrude Garman, granddaughter of Cleo Martin, and daughter of Ronnie Martin! I have always loved Catawba and am very proud of my family! Can’t wait to read more, keep up the good work!

  2. Loved reading this about my family. I spent a lot of my young years staying with my Grandmother Earl and loved hearing all of her stories about her childhood. Love & miss her so much, but again thanks for this article.

    1. Kathy, I love writing about people, places and happenings in Catawa’s past. My efforts are wothwhile when I get these comments like yours. You will be pleased that I will do an entire blog on Earl Taylor. She is a writer’s dream. This blog will bring back and preserve the ECHOES website. Memory maker’s may die but we will see that their memories live forever. Tell others about the blog kin or not. Thank you-Ted

  3. My Grandfather Richard Garman from Sinking Creek played music with Claude, John & Leon (Tuck)

    1. Richard, it is an honor to have you post a comment on ECHOES. My family is growing by leaps and bounds! I have been trying to find out who played with my uncles and you have filled in one blank for sure. When you can please tell me more about Richard Garman—what instrument he played, etc. I and others would like to know. That is what this blog is about. When folks post the family names and connections everyone sees it. It will stay on here forever. Thank you.-Ted

  4. Thank you for sharing! I am the great-granddaughter of Gertrude Damewood, the granddaughter of Goldie Garman, and the daughter of Sarah Garman Boone.

    1. What a joy it is to find kinfolk I have never known. I do ECHOES for folks like you Linda and many more. This is just the beginning of a wonderful journey to learn about our past, people and life and times in Catawba. Thank you for taking the time to summit a comment. Share with others this website both kin and non kin. Blessings-Ted

  5. Loved this! I am from a different Garman branch that lived on Bradshaw, just over the mountain…can’t wait to read more about the Garmans from Catawba!

  6. Welcome Denise to the Garman & Catawba family. We are all on a big old tree with many branches. You will read more about Garman’s and others that are called Catawbians. This blog will feature people & life and times in Catawba covering the past 100 plus years. My goal is to have these people and times preserved especially for our younger folk who know little or nothing about their ancestry. Click on Follow so as to be made aware of posts added. Pass the word to people who would enjoy this blog, whether they be kin or not. Going to be interesting and fun.-Ted

  7. My name is Paul McDaniel and I was married to Eloise Taylor until she passed away. I am now married to Sadie Morris McDaniel and we consider ourselves lucky to still be considered part of the family. We think Catawba is one of the best places to live, and I am so glad to have found this information. Hope there will be much more to come.

  8. Welcome, Paul to the journey of echoes from Catawba. I know you for sure and you are a part of the family and Catawba. I am blessed that you want to be a part of this. We are just getting started and I personally guarantee that you will find this Blog worth following. It will reveal Catawba and the Garman family, but not restricted to just the Garman clan. This blog will expose the specialness of this Appalachian Mountain community in a way that makes you smile, shed a tear and be experience her heart and soul. Click on ‘follow’ so that you can be made aware of each new post. My goal is to bring all things Catawba from its past to the present; and the past and present to the future who are descendants of this community. So that none forget-Thank you, Ted

  9. I am the great-great-granddaughter of John William Garman, and the great-granddaughter of Leon Garman. I have been working on my maternal and paternal family trees for several years now. I am very excited to learn of this blog, and look forward to your future articles. Thanks very much!

    1. Thanks Missy for your following this blog and for your nice comments. As of today this blog has over 700 views in less than 30 days. I want to reach as many of the JWG family members as possible, as well as all Catawba people who live or have lived here. or anyone who wants to read it. Gonna be very interesting as we preserve our heritage. You are on board—-hang on:)-Ted

  10. Hi Ted this is your cousin Gene and am enjoy reading what you have written about the Garman family .I love being part of the family. I remember the good times you an I have had together. Keep up the good work. Gene Garman

    1. Thanks Gene. We did have some wonderful times and they are priceless. Can’t think of anything in my earlier years that I treasure as much as our friendship. I have great respect and admiration for you. Keep reading the Echoes from Catawba and we can relive some past great times. Love you, Ted.

  11. I love this. I am Great Granddaughter of John William Garman, Granddaughter of Leon Garman , daughter of Thelma Garman Jones.

    1. Thank you, Delena, for your response and letting us know your connection in this great family. I love it when I learn more about kin-folk, “down the line” that I was not aware of. That shows how big this family is. This is good to know since many folks read the comments, also. Thanks.

  12. Ted,
    Leon (Tuck) was my grandfather. I am the second of his grandchildren. His oldest daughter Thelma was my mother. (Delena is my “baby” sister) When I was a little girl, I remember coming to Aunt Elizabeth’s house for some playing and singing. The part I remember is I was always allowed to sing with the grownups (Grandma Lucy always encouraged me to sing at any opportunity). Until I was 5 we lived in a little house that used to be a shed 2 houses behind Minor’s store.
    Miss Nadine (I cannot remember her last name) was our neighbor. Our dad built a house off of Bradshaw Rd and we moved to “the other side of the mountain”. I live next door to mom and dad’s house now.
    Thank you for the wonderful pictures and information on our abundant family. The ones I knew were wonderful people!
    Nancy J Robinson

    1. Thank you Nancy for your reply and I am sorry to just now be responding. We have been in Catawba two days and I was tied up preparing for a church I pastor here in Greensboro. I am trying to keep up with comments and e-mail and yours is welcome and important to me. I remember where you lived and your mother Thelma. And certainly remember Uncle Tuck and Ant Lucy. Lots of playing and singing at our house during that time. We had some great times there. Please continue following our Blog and you will see more and more about Catawba and her people. Next blog post will be out in a few days. Thanks again, Nancy. —-Ted Carroll

  13. Thank you so much for sharing about life in Catawaba! My husband, Jim Bowen, is the son of Rachel Shepherd Bowen, one of Carra Shepherd’s daughters. Christine Trumbull shared your website with us and it has been interesting reading your stories. We still visit the family that is left there in Salem and went out to Catawaba to see the old home place the last couple times we were there. Planning on seeing everyone there over Labor Day weekend! God Bless as you continue sharing your stories with others!

    1. What a pleasure it is to hear from you Marsha! So glad Chris has given you the info on Echoes from Catawba so that you can follow life in Catawba as we go along. I just started this Blog, along with my wife Tina who handles the publishing and interviews for article research. Currently I am finalizing the post on the Shepherd family and look for it to be released by this weekend. I am aware that you all will be gathering Labor Day weekend and Tina and I want to be a part of that at least long enough to meet you & Jim. Thanks again for contacting me. Makes my day. God Bless. Ted

  14. I really love reading about uncle Wills an aunt Lou Emma extended family. It has helped me fill in a lot of spaces in my family tree. Your mom and I were first cousins.

    1. Thank you Norma for your kind comment. I am excited about doing this Blog and especially when folks like you connect in some way. Our next posts on Catawba School will be next week. Thanks again for your visit and words.—-Ted

  15. I am really glad I found this site, I am a Oscar A Garman was my grand father, and I am the oldest of Henry Garman’s three children. I have memories of visiting Garman relatives in the Catawba valley.

  16. I, too, am glad you found it. And I appreciate your comments. My intent, over time is to write about the 14 out of 17 children who had families. This includes Oscar A Garman, your grandfather and my uncle. My understanding is that only one of the 14 children of Oscar & Ida Garman is living. That would be Oscar Jr. I have tried to reach him but do not have his address in Roanoke. I would like to know more about you, where you live, etc. I need to talk to kinfolk of your grandfather so I can eventually put together a story about him which would go on the Blog and be included in a future book. I have just made available the first book Volume 1. You can find out about that on a post I just released tonight (Wed). Let’s you and I establish a contact if you are interested. Thanks again for finding our Blog.

    1. Hi there. I am Charlotte’s sister, Janet. My mom and I did a ton of research on The Garman family and were able to trace it back into Germany in the 1600’s. It may sound strange to some, but my mom knew more about my father’s family than he did. It shows that that was a very close knit community. I have pictures and a lot of other information. Please contact me and I will be glad to share. It makes me happy to see the Garman story preserved. Did you know that there is a Garman Road in Salem? It was named after my grandfather, Oscar. He used to be caretaker on the Payne estate.


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