Wednesday, January 20, 2010

John James Raley Journal Part III

I was looking over some of the past entries in this blog and realized that some time had passed since I last quoted from the journal of my great-grandfather, John James Raley. For those of you new to this blog, or just passing through, this journal is one of my greatest treasures. JJ, as I call him in order to keep him separate from all the other men with the same name in his pedigree, started writing this journal on Wednesday, July 19, 1911. The last two entries, one regarding the "Titanic Disaster" on page 273, were dated Monday, March 25, 1912.

He wrote about the family, the news of the day, his favorite sayings, and included poems he sent to his wife and his children when he was away from them because of his job with the railroad. I have quoted as he has written to this point, grammatical errors and all, but I am hesitant when it leaves an ancestor in what their descendants might consider an unfavorable light. I know that we could have several discussions about that and maybe this is a good time to have one, but in the meantime I have a decision to make.

One of the themes that runs throughout my great-grandfather's journal is the ability for members of his family, close or distant, to take care of themselves, be able to earn a good living, and to be responsible to one another. he doesn't mix words regarding these themes, and I sure if I could meet with the good people of Ohio County, Kentucky in the early 1900's they would say the same things. So, I will qoute the positive and the somewhat questionable, asking you to remember the era, the culture, and the man.

The current entry returns to his Uncle Wesley RALEY who is the son of John RALEY and Nancy WILSON, both born in and raised in Kentucky. Uncle Wesley, actually James Wesley RALEY is the brother of JJ's father, Jonathan RALEY. This entry discusses Uncle Wesley's children.

"He has several of his children living near him on farms and I suppose look after his needs. His oldest child by his first wife lives in Louisville, Kentucky and is wealthy now, and in the year 1883 he did not have one dollar and boarded with me at Big Clifty, Grayson County, Kentucky, and went to school and I waited on him for my board money until he could teach a school and earn it. He taught one or two schools then worked as a clerk in a dry goods store for one R. J. Daniel at Caneyville, Grayson County, Kentucky, 84 miles west of Louisville Kentucky on the I. C. Railroad. He went from there in to what was known as the Kentucky Joans Clothing Manufacturing House at Louisville, Kentucky and worked there as a clerk for several months and ran a boarding house near a medical college and boarded the students. he made money almost like finding it, then he quit the Kentucky Joans Clothing Company and secured a position as postal clerk on the train running from Louisville, Kentucky to Memphis, Tennessee. I heard my father say just a few days ago that cousin William Raley's income was said to be nearly one thousand dollars per month at that time, Harah for Bill!  Will close for today, Wednesday July 19th, 1911."

I think he included that last part with just a small bit of sarcasm, but as we all know, those little pieces of daily life, such as current income or the company a ancestor worked for all serve to fill out the story of their lives.

Thanks for listening,

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