Saturday, February 22, 2020

2020 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 6: "Same Name" - Allie Violet Kessinger Clay

Allie Violet Kessinger
I couldn't think of a more perfect perfect person to feature for the "same name" theme than my Aunt Allie, who is the person that I am named after. The story goes that my parents were originally going to name me Allie, but when they told Aunt Allie of their plans she said "Don't name her Allie. Name her Allison, and call her Allie. That way she will have a 'grown up' name when she is older."

Aunt Allie was actually my great-aunt: my paternal grandfather's oldest sister. Allie Violet Kessinger was born on Monday, January 1, 1900, to Clifton Kessinger and Ella May Lovejoy Kessinger. She often remarked that she was born "on the first day of the week, the first day of the month, the first day of the year, and the first day of the century." She was actually the second of Clifton and Ella's 15 children, as her older sister, Virgie Violet, had passed away about a year and a half earlier at age 2 months.

Allie married William Henry Clay on May 6, 1922. The family photo that was taken on their wedding day is the only known photo of the entire family. Unfortunately Clifton and Ella's 14th child, Juanita Ruth, passed away a few days after the wedding due to injuries sustained in a fire.

The Kessinger Family on May 6, 1922: Allie Violet Kessinger's wedding day.
Allie and William went on to have one child: William Harold Clay. William Harold had 6 children, who in turn had numerous children and grandchildren.

Allie passed away on December 4, 1994: less than a month shy of her 95th birthday. She left behind a legacy of being a strong woman who was afraid of nothing, who fiercely loved her family, and of being someone who could always be looked up to.

It would take ages to write down all of the stories that I have heard about Aunt Allie, but I will recount my favorite one here. Aunt Allie, William Harold, and a few others had gone camping out in the woods. Aunt Allie was already on the verge of being "elderly" at this point, but she was an avid outdoorswoman who loved to go camping and hunting. Long after everyone had gone to sleep, a commotion was heard outside their tents. When they looked outside, they saw Aunt Allie in a long flannel nightgown, swatting a bear on the behind with a broom. William Harold looked on in shock and alarm and finally said "Mom, get away from that bear! He's going to eat you!" Aunt Allie calmly replied, "He's not going to eat me, but he'll eat all of our food if I don't chase him out of here." And she finally did get the bear to leave, without having taken any of their food.

If any of Allie's grandchildren have stories that they would like to share, please let me know and I will add them here!

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