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!
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.
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