BC: To my children and grandchildren...
FC: My Family History | "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow."
2: My Maternal Grandparents Born into poverty, my grandfather's family goes back to the Kings of England. | Hettie Ollie Votaw Marcum | William Anson Marcum
3: My Paternal Grandparents They emigrated to the United States from Bulgaria to find a better life. | John Nickoloff | Mary Nickoloff
4: My Parents Sarah Ellen Marcum and John Nickoloff | John and Sally Nickoloff in 1933 shortly after their marriage. | Taken in Madison, Illinois around 1938...John, Sally and sons Bill and Dick.
5: John and Sally were married from October 7, 1933 to Sally's death January 1, 1998
6: Around Grandma's Table The table wasn't big enough for this large family so the men were fed first. Grandpa Marcum sits at the head of the table. Pictured from left is Bill Nickoloff, Ben Votaw, Clifford Seats, Jack Seats, Grandpa, Pearl Marcum, Ray Marcum, John Nickoloff, Leonard Marcum, Cliffored Marcum and Buddy Marcum.
7: Time for the Women to Eat! From the left are Sally Marcum Nickoloff, Sonny Marcum, Bernice Marcum (Pearl's wife) holding Robert, Grandma, Jessie Marcum Seats, Doris Marcum (Ray's wife) and Elezabeth Marcum Schroedi.
8: Great-Grandmother Sarah Matilda Clanton Votaw is seated. My grandmother is standing and the child is my mother (about 5 years old). | My Great-Grandmother Mary Elizabeth Garren Marcum holding child...
9: GGrara | A | Uncle Ben Votaw onf Urania Votaw who died at an early age -- no one knew what happened to her.
10: Mother My mom could do anything -- ride a horse bareback, ring the neck of a chicken or skin a rabbit. She could cure any ailment whether it was a sickness of the body or the heart. I miss so much about her -- the touch of her hands, the sound of her laughter and her great bluezy singing voice that was nurtured during Prohibition in St. Louis.
11: Father | A self-made man, my father held every kind of job imaginable -- from bootlegger to builder. Although his upbringing was rough with an abusive father, my dad was the best father a girl could have. I grew up believing in myself because my dad (and mom) made me feel valued and loved. I miss my daddy every day but I can always hear his voice encouraging me.
12: Grandpa Marcum was a handsome man when he was young. He is the young man on the right in the picture on the right. He was 21 and my grandmother was 13 when they married. I remember how much he cried from a broken heart when she died. Born in Walnut Hill, Illinois, I doubt he traveled more than 100 miles from his birthplace....never took a train or a plane. Although he could not read or write, he was a great woodsman. He was a quiet man who was loved very much by my mother.
13: I called my paternal grandfather "Dado" which means "Grandpa" in Bulgarian. In 1908 or so, he came to the Unisted States to seek a better life for his wife and daughter. While he was always sweet to me (although he smelled of the raw garlic cloves he ate), unfortunately, he was an abusive father. when he was drunk. Dado was a very hard working man and extremely industrious but alcohol was a demon for him. Because of that, my father distanced himself (and us) from his father. The good news is my father did not repeat the pattern. He was the exact opposite of his father.
14: Grandma marcum was a loving mother and grandmother despite her upbringing. Her mother (who was married numerous times) has been described by some as abusive. My grandmother took responsibility of her younger siblings at an early age and she married at the age of 13! After her children were grown, a traveling salvation tent went up next to her house and Grandma found what she was missing...Jesus. No one could pray like Grandma. I remember the warmth of her arms and her loving prayers for me as a young child.
15: My Baba -- I loved her so much! She was loving, sweet and always with a smile on her face. I can still hear her in her broken English calling me over to her so she could place two dollars in my hand. She did that to all her grandchildren! Her house smelled of a different world --- peppers, garlic, dill, okra. She made the best stuffed peppers in the world. Here garden was spectacular -- cars would stop to look at it. Baba and Dado divorced in the 1940s -- something that was very unusual in her world but everyone understood because of all the years of abuse she had suffered. My dad was very much like his mother.
16: My great grandmother was Sarah Mathild Clanton. It is rumored that she was a cousin to the infamous Clanton Gang of the OK Corral fame. At the age of 15, she married a 53 year old man and married at least five other times. Her third husband was my great-grandfather, Edward Zeller Votaw, a man who was several years older than her. My mother remembered her grandmother as very demanding expecting her collars to be ironed perfectly and always wore lace. She was not a particularly kind woman but her history is fascinating.
17: My great grandfather , Edward Zeller Votaw was born in Missouri into a large family. My grandmother was his third wife. He had at least two children prior to my grandmother and her siblings. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War as a corporal. He died after suffering head injuries from falling off a horse and hitting a tree stump.
18: Other than one picture of my mother's paternal grandmother, I have no other pictures of my great-grandparents. The genealogy from my paternal grandparents is incredible. My great-grandfather's family goes back to Edward I, II and III of England through Edward Digges who was the second governor of the Colony of Virginia. I have no knowledge of my father's grandparents as they were in Bulgaria.