DORA KIRBY, my maternal grandmother, was born November 12, 1881 in Emanuel County, Georgia, to Hiram KIRBY and Matilda WILLIAMSON, and died June 4, 1951 in Emanuel County. She married NEAL E. CORBIN October 28, 1900, in Emanuel County, son of Nelson CORBIN and Nancy WILLIAMSON. He was born April 24, 1878 in Emanuel County, and died February 27, 1928 in Vidalia, Toombs County, Georgia. Dora died at home at the age of 69 of a heart condition brought on by a severe case of asthma, and was buried beside her husband in the Corbin Cemetery on a hill near their home.
I called her "Mama", probably because my mother called her that. We lived with Mama for a few years when I was a small child, and I loved living there more than anywhere else in my whole life. I followed Mama around, watching her feed her chickens, milk the cow, attend to sick livestock, work in her garden and flowers, cook, mend and quilt. Although quite plump, she was active and was always busy doing something. She had been raised poor, and because of this, she was conservative to the extreme, especially compared to today's standards. Mama's only recreation was her daily soap operas she listened to on her radio, such as "Stella Dallas" and "Pepper Young's Family." I enjoyed sitting on the side of the bed with her and listening to them, too. I also slept many cold nights with her in that big old feather bed.
I never knew Papa because he died when my mother, who was the youngest, was only six years old. I have a picture of him, taken in the back yard of their home with all his hunting dogs around him. He was a stout, gruff-looking man, with very dark eyes, a physical trait he passed on to all his children. He wore suspenders and a tall hat, and he smoked a curved pipe. He died at the age of 49 of a kidney condition. Mama and Papa had eleven children, but two died in childhood. Their children were Clara Beatrice (1901- 1990); Homer (1903-1975); DeAlva (1904-1968); Eula Mae (1906-1995); Ernest Francis "Buck" (1907-1995); Derlie Elaine (1909-in life); J. Roy "Buster" (1912-1978); Bessie Olivia (1914-in life); Dorsey (1916-1920); Russell (1919-1919); Zelma Lois (1922-in life).
Papa was a farmer and raised livestock; he also owned a sawmill. Their old home is still standing, and a great-grandson is living there with his family. I was born in that house, as well as my mother, my older brother, and several other members of the family. I now live just across the field on my little two-acre plot, a portion of the original plantation; I can look out my back door and see that old house which holds my fondest childhood memories.
Gaston Beauregard and Onie (Calhoun) Williamson- Olivia Williamson Saffold, November 9, 1999
ONIE CALHOUN was born October 28, 1895 in Montgomery County, GA (now Wheeler County) to Benjamin Stewart CALHOUN and Mary Susan Frances KENT, and died September 08, 1984 in Vidalia, Toombs County, GA. Her mother had died when Granny was only five years old, and her father, a banker and successful businessman, doted on his two children and never remarried. She attended college at Bessie Tift College in Forsyth, Georgia. She married first a Dublin attorney named Frederick William KEA September 12, 1912, son of Thomas KEA and Susan WHEELER; he was born March 02, 1885, and died April 11, 1935. She divorced him in 1917, and no children were born of this marriage.
It took her a year to obtain her divorce, and as soon as it was final, she married my grandfather, GASTON BEAUREGARD WILLIAMSON, November 10, 1917, son of Solomon WILLIAMSON and Clarissa CALHOUN; he was her first-cousin. He was born January 29, 1894 in Emanuel County, GA, and died January 04, 1962 in Emanuel County. They had ten children, but only raised eight. Their children were Gaston Benjamin "G.B." (1918-1997); Margaret Eleanor (1920-in life); Solomon Harold (1922-1928); Edward (1924-1991); Aubrey (1928-in life); Benny Stewart (1930-in life); Bobby Joe (1931-in life); Carolyn Elizabeth (1932-1972); unnamed infant son (1934-1934); Mary Patricia "Patsy" (1938-in life).
Granny was a substitute mail carrier for her husband, a member of Daughters of the American Revolution--she joined under Stewart Hamilton, her great-great-grandfather; a member of United Daughters of the Confederacy--she joined under William James Washington Kent, her grandfather; a member of The Eastern Star; The Rural Letter Carriers Association; the Senior Citizens Club of Vidalia, Georgia. She enjoyed telling stories about old times, folklore and bizarre events, like ghost stories. She was adept at treating and curing common medical complaints and illnesses; it was told that her father said she should have been a doctor.
She was of average height and was quite plump, with black hair and blue eyes; she had snow white hair in old age. She enjoyed travel, dressing up, and especially liked to wear red; loved jewelry, and usually wore red polish on her well-manicured nails. She was always jolly, friendly and outgoing, and "never met a stranger." Granny was a wonderful cook! And she was so good to talk to; you could tell her anything, and she would understand. She died of heart problems at the age of 89 and was buried beside Granddaddy in the Solomon Williamson Cemetery near Oak Park, Emanuel County, GA.
Granddaddy was tall and of a large frame; neat in appearance, always clean-shaven; always jolly and smiling; very polite. I never remember him speaking crossly to any of us grandchildren, even though I know many times he needed to. He was a rural mail carrier for many years, and Granny was his substitute, especially during the time he was overseas. He was a veteran of World War I and II. He also had a large farm where he raised many crops, as well as livestock. I remember those wonderful watermelons he grew, and the cane grindings and how the syrup smelled when it was cooking. He died at home at the age of 68 after a long bout with cancer.
I don't think I'll ever get over losing Granny. I didn't know how important she was to me until I no longer had her. I've often wished I could have just one more talk with her; I have so much I need to tell her.
- Olivia Williamson Saffold, November 9, 1999