18 March 2014

#11 52 Ancestors: Elizabeth Connally Fricks

#11 52 Ancestors
Elizabeth Connally Fricks (1849-1932)

Two of my great-grandmothers I always felt I “knew” even though they both died before I was born. That’s because they were grandmothers of my mother, who actually knew them and talked about them to me, and so a close link was established — at least in my memory. Theirs were among the first graves I visited and placed flowers on at our family’s annual Decoration Day outing.

While my mother knew both of her grandmothers, her maternal grandmother — Araminta Awtrey Hensley — died when she was only seven years old, but her paternal grandmother — Elizabeth “Lizzie” Connally Fricks actually lived with her and her parents until she was 12. Naturally, mother had a better memory of that grandmother — the quiet “Southern Lady” as Mom remembered her. She was the one who intrigued me because of her beautiful needlework and because she was born near Atlanta, Georgia. She was actually there when General Sherman and his Union Army came marching through.

One of my aunts took me to see Gone with the Wind when I was quite young and I never forgot it. Years later, I would read the book. Realizing early on that I had had family participating in the Civil War (on both sides) is probably what whetted my keen interest in that era of American history.

At the time of the 1860 federal census, Lizzie is living with her father, “Big Charles” Connally and her stepmother, Margaret (also a Connally) and three half brothers, Theodore, William and Edward in Stone’s District, Fulton County, Georgia. They would have been among the thousands who evacuated Atlanta in 1864.

Evidently they never returned because in 1870 and later, they are found in and around Walker and Dade counties. Lizzie married Napoleon Fricks in 1866 and they remained in Georgia until 1891 when they removed to the Creek Nation of Indian Territory, where their youngest child, my grandaunt Dora Fricks Buffington was born.

Dora Fricks (right) Ora Christian (left)
ca 1910

I have the military and political history of this event and a great deal of the Connally and Fricks genealogy, but what I want is of course, what I don’t have — great-granny’s eye-witness account of the Battle of Atlanta. Why didn’t she keep a journal of those events? She was 15 years old and should have been recording history. Didn’t she realize that someday she’d have a great-granddaughter who would be fascinated by U.S. history and genealogy and want to know?

Elizabeth Connally Fricks

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