Monday, February 17, 2014

Day 17 - Washington Floyd Rhea

One way to carry on the family name is to have seven boys. Washington Floyd Rhea and Eliza Manerva Seals did just that. It is a pleasure to report that the youngest son, Robert is still living and despite Alzheimer's, is still at home with his wife. June takes good care of him and their two daughter help as well. June shares bits and pieces of what she remembers of the past. It is always a treat to hear from her.

Washington Floyd Rhea, called Floyd, was born on January 2, 1873 in Sneedville, Tennessee. Jane and John already had Andrew, Laura and Leona when Floyd came along. Two more sisters came after him. Della and Luvena were just babies and not much fun to play with.

Floyd was seven when Andrew died and he missed him a lot. He was at that age when sisters were just icky girls. He followed Andrew around and tried to do everything he did. Victor was born just months before Andrew died and Floyd vowed he would be the best big brother ever.

The Rhea boys grew up without their father. I know they were close to their mother and as adults, worked to make her life better. Even my grandfather, who moved far away, lived at the Home Place until he married. Floyd and Victor never left Sneedville and were very much a part of Jane’s life.

Floyd was 30 when he married 17 year old, Eliza Manerva Seals. The Seals were also a large family living in Sneedville and there were lots of Rhea/Seals marriages.

In later years, Jane would write that Floyd had made molasses or had a fine crop of tobacco. She would share that Eliza was waiting for a letter from my grandparents.

Floyd died on February 3, 1929 at the age of 56. Although there is a death certificate, the cause of death is illegible. It must have been a hard year for everyone because Jane died a month later on March 22, 1929. In a letter my grandfather wrote to Victor, he mentions Jane’s passing but nothing was said about Floyd. We don’t have any other letters between the brothers. Eliza lived a long life, passing away on November 11, 1961 at the age of 75. 

Photo taken the same time as the top picture, this is Floyd's family. On the left is his mother, Jane. The oldest child is Robert and he is in both pictures. Floyd is holding Guy and Eliza is holding Homer. The picture is one that Sheldon Livesay, my second cousin,  found and shared with me.

Photo was taken in the mid 1980's when my parents went to Tennessee for the first time to meet the family. My dad is on the left, Hugh, and Howard, two of Floyd's children are on the right. This is the Home Place.  

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