Friday, July 19, 2013


This is a photo of my great-great-grandmother Eliza Ophelia Hill, born 1858 in a cane-growing region of Florida. She witnessed the Civil War as a child. Her father Jimmy "Cane" Hill fought in the Confederacy and after the war named his youngest son Rebel.

When she was 12, the family sailed from Florida to Galveston and traveled by wagon to North Texas, settling in Montague County. There at age 17 she married George Austin Stafford, a kind and bright man who farmed but also worked as a homespun inventor. He lost his left arm as a boy in a threshing accident, and devised many tools to accommodate his disability, including a combined spoon-knife-fork for the one-handed diner.

Eliza bore 14 children over the next 25 years, including a final set of twins. Four of these children died in infancy or toddlerhood.

George retired in his 60s and they moved to Sour Lake, Texas. Wives and mothers don't get a retirement. Eliza outlived George by 15 years and died at the age of 92 on the Gulf Coast. Just found this photo of her today. I cannot accurately guess her age, considering what she lived through.