- Emma: In Her Own Words — The Background & The Beginning
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Childhood
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Employment
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Elopement & Early Marriage
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Work & Travel
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Bits & Pieces
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Papa
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Grandparents & Relatives
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Mama
- Emma: In Her Own Words — The Flood
- Emma: In Her Own Words — Teaching
- Emma: In Her Own Words — The End
Transcription of my grandmother’s notebook. See Part 1 in the series for a full explanation. Some text is omitted to protect the privacy of living family members.
Cooking and Sewing
“I couldn’t boil water when I married. I took a cookbook with me to Jellico. The first biscuits I made were hard as rocks but Elmer bragged on them and he was a good cook and taught me how to do plain cooking. I soon learned with help of cookbooks & can cook as well as anyone.
I bought me a machine to sew patterns and started to sew. I guess I had a sewing interest in me from Mama for I soon was doing any sewing I wanted to do.
Sometimes I’d get in a hurry and make a dress in a day and wouldn’t have time for a zipper. I would sew it up on them for the time being and then finish it later.1
I used to enjoy going to my Aunt Lou’s. My Aunt Nannie, Uncle Bob & Lena lived with her in a country house. We would walk and go to one place we could pick wild grapes. She was such a good cook and would fix all kinds of goodies. My sisters & I would go and spend the night. Her beds were soft with feather beds. You would about sink out of sight.
I also liked to go to my Aunt Ida’s house. She had 5 girls and we would have a big time. It was in the country and boys & girls would meet there for parties. We’d have candy pulling, bean shucking, apple picking, and pair off to court too.
I went to see my Aunt Sally once and cried all the time I was there. I was 12 yrs old and stayed 2 nights. I was so homesick. I never went back except years later to her funeral.2
My father’s parents were dead when I was born. He was James Franklin Taylor & she was Margaret Ramsey Taylor.3
My great great grandfather, Thomas Ramsey Jr. fought in Rev War.4
I liked to go see my mother’s parents. My grandmother died when I was 8 but Dad lived till I was grown. He wore long white whiskers. He was a Mason for about 50 years. He fell and broke his hip when he was old and was a cripple when he died. I can remember my Gran sitting by the fire smoking a clay pipe. They had a huge fireplace with big logs burning in it. They would crackle and send up sparks that looked pretty. They would cook kettles of beans & meat over the fire, bake potatoes & bread somehow in the ashes on the hearth. This was good eating.”5
- “Them” refers to her daughters. When they needed a dress for an event, she didn’t always have time to finish it. ↩
- Aunt Ida and Aunt Sally both lived in the Rockcastle County where Emma lived. But her family lived in town in Mt. Vernon, and they lived several miles out in the “country.” ↩
- James’ middle name was Francis. ↩
- Thomas Ramsey, Jr. was Emma’s great-grandfather (Margaret’s father). His father (her great-great-grandfather), Thomas Ramsey, Sr. was the Revolutionary War soldier. ↩
- Emma Ewers Taylor Hopkins, “Journal,” 1974–1978, Loyall, Harlan County, Kentucky; privately held by Faye Hopkins McCauley, Mt. Vernon, Kentucky, 1978. Spiral notebook in which Emma wrote about her life, in possession of Faye (Emma’s youngest daughter) since her death in 1978. ↩