Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Rest of the Story, Sapper Percy Fenton

This post is offered with some trepidation because some may judge my choice of words.  I hope the truth, presented in the most honest and caring way I know of, will suffice.

For the CoAAG 3nd Edition I wrote about Percy Fenton. The question has been asked, how is it that I came to know about Percy? The answer is, Percy is in my data base, he is a half great-uncle to Man.

I chose NOT to go into the relationship in my post for the CoAAG 3nd Edition because it may have over shadowed Percy’s story. He deserved a post all to his own, paying honor to his service.

So, here is a bit of the back story.

Man’s great grandfather was William Franklin Fenton (1861-1939). William married first, Fannie Hurlburt (ca 1865- 1898). When William was left a widower, he married again, Ida May Jarvis (1875-1959). Nothing different here, except for one small fact, Ida was of black heritage. I have been told she was of black and Indian heritage, but, my research is a bit thin here, someday, I really need to do some more.) William and Ida had 5 children, Percy was their first born.

Place this in the time frame, around 1900. Even though this family lived in Nova Scotia, there was racism there too.

From what I can tell in my research and talking to living family members, this marriage created a huge chasm in the Fenton clan. The truth of it is simple, not nice, but, simple. William Franklin Fenton was cut off from the rest of his family. I have proof of some and stories of more. Telling them here in this format, will not change things, and may only create more friction for the some of family, so, I choose not to tell them at this time. They are ugly and this family deserves better. That said, the story is spelled out quite extensively in my data base, because I don’t want to ignore it either, and I don’t.

Man and I have been aware of this half of his family for a number of years, our children know about it, and have not expressed any opinions other than, WOW, that is pretty interesting. I have shared phone calls and letters and email with a number of Ida’s descendants. They are such interesting wonderfully warm people. Man and I are delighted to have made their acquaintance and the ability to share their common ancestry.

We are after all, family!

* I have also been asked how Percy's medal ended up on EBay, and, I have to say, I am not quite sure, but did find this quote, "The seller of Fenton's medal, who lives in Nova Scotia, refused an interview with CBC News", at one of the news stories I quoted in the original blog post.

**Percy left no heirs when he died, as far as I know, he never married.

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence



lindalee said...

Blended families are a wonderful gift. Thank you for sharing yours and I need to read the first blog on this to find out about the medal and ebay and how your were contacted.

TennLady said...

Our families are what they are .. the good, the bad and the ugly.

Kathleen Brandt, Professional Genealogist said...

It takes open people to close the friction of insignificance within families. Only insignificant as blood and DNA can't be changed Hopefully through your openness and acceptance, healing may begin. Personally, I'm with Linda Lee...I too think blended families are a gift.

Barbara said...

Sorry Carol, I'm a bit late with a comment. But you already know how much I love this story, and thank you for sharing it. Also, was saddened to learn that he never married. Clap clap to you.

Karen said...

A touching story... and well-told. Thank you for sharing it.