Sunday, March 1, 2009

Della (Smith) Carringer had it all together!

The topic for the 67th Carnival of Genealogy is "Nobody's Fool" – who in your family was known to have the best common sense, the best sage advice and basically just “kept it together” all the time?

How does a researcher determine if an ancestor had these qualities? I think only by examining records left by the ancestor or information written about the ancestor. Unfortunately, I don't have many records left by ancestors past my great-grandparents. I do have many wills of ancestors, and some newspaper or vanity book articles about ancestors.

The one ancestor that I am very sure had a lot of common sense and really seemed to take care of business is my great-grandmother, Della (Smith) Carringer. I wrote about her in my Della's Journal series of posts in 2007.

From all of the records I have of Abbie Ardell (Della) (Smith) Carringer, she was the one in the family that:

* Bought and owned the property that Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer built the Carringer house on in the late 1890's - now standing at 2115/2119 30th Street in San Diego. I've often wondered if she received an inheritance from her father, Devier J. Smith who died in 1894. I guess that I should find out!

* Was always the one who did the financial transactions - paid the bills, wrote letters to the county about the property, and managed the investments (although some went bust in the 1930's). Della's 1929 Journal entries show regular entries on these issues.

* Appears to have had her own small businesses in the 1890's and 1900's - the San Diego City Directories list her as a music teacher, an art teacher, a seamstress, and a dressmaker. An article in the San Diego Union newspaper for 11 September 1937, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, noted that Della designed some of their furniture and was a painter.

* Kept in touch with extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.), as I've documented in some of the family letters posted in 2008.

* Maintained the family papers that were handed down from earlier generations, and kept all of her ephemera, books and things (ah, this is where I get my Packrat-itis from!).

* My mother remembered Della as her sweet little grandmother who was always kind and supportive. I have little doubt that Della was the one who urged my mother to go to college in the late 1930's and become a teacher.

Austin and Della's philosophy of life was summed up in the newspaper article - "We have worked hard as partners and tried always to be kind and helpful to others. After all, we are of the opinion that this is the best religion to make a happy and successful life."

Looking back, I can see that their son, Lyle L. Carringer, and their granddaughter, "Betty (Carringer) Seaver had much the same philosophy on life. Come to think of it, her great-grandson Randy has much the same view.

I truly believe that Abbie Ardell (Della) (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944) really had it all together, and is worthy of the designation of "Nobody's Fool" in my ancestry.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Hi, Randy! I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the Kreativ Blogger Award. I know it's been making the rounds, but I wanted you to know that I have enjoyed reading your blog.

http://rootseek.blogspot.com/2009/03/award.html