Monday, February 17, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #7 The Prayers of Kizziah D Fry Childers

My great-great-great-grandmother Kizziah was one of 25 children born to Philip Fry (Frye) and his two wives. Her mother was Maria Magdalena Derrick (Dirk), the first wife of Philip. Kizziah was born in Tennessee, about 1809, near the end of Maria's child-bearing years.

The German language was often used in the Fry home, although both parents were American-born. I envision a young German-American girl with many older siblings to spoil her. By the time she was 11, the family had moved to northern Alabama, her mother had died, her father had married a young wife who was not Germanic and more children were being added to the family. Kizziah's life surely changed as her older siblings married and she had to accept more responsibility to help her step-mother and to care for the younger ones.

On May 1, 1828, Kizziah D. Fry wed James C. Childers (Childress), in Madison County, Alabama. James was a farmer and, at times, a Justice of the Peace. The marriage continued Kizziah's transition from the German culture to the English-American. The family was of the Methodist faith and there were ministers among both Kizziah's descendants and the extended family.

James and Kizziah raised ten children, with William dying between 9 and 14 years of age, after being thrown from a horse. Eight of the children were daughters, leaving only one son, born in 1845, to assist with farming. James, who owned no land in 1850, died between 1855 and 1860. By the age of 50, Kizziah was a widow with four minor children. She hired out as a domestic, as did her eldest daughter Mary Jane, also widowed young.

As the Civil War brewed, Kizziah would surely have leaned on her faith and on prayer. Her brothers, cousins, nephews and sons-in-law were called to serve. The safety of her only son, James, must have been heavy on her heart. She would have prayed that the war would end without costing his life. She prayed for her daughter Frances who was raped or seduced and left pregnant and unmarried. She prayed for daughters Sarah and Elizabeth who were widowed and fled to the North. She prayed for daughters Sophronia and Hannah, wherever they might be. She prayed for the safety and souls of her grandchildren. As the war came to an end, leaving behind destruction and devastation, Kizziah would have prayed for her family to merely survive each day.

As did many other Southerners, some of the Fry and Childers family members packed their meager possessions and moved to Texas. Kizziah and five of her children arrived in Texas by 1873. The other four daughters had been severed from the family by the war and contact was lost. Kizziah died at age 67, in the family's new home of Erath County, Texas, in 1876.

Through the magic of the internet, the descendants of two of the lost daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth, have been able to connect with the rest of the family. But daughters Sophronia C. Childers and Hannah Ann Childers Williams are still lost to history. We're looking for their descendants. Along with my cousins, I'm still praying to know what happened to our missing family members.

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