Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yeomanry

For the month of April I will be taking part in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. I will be using two tools besides my trusty computer - my imagination and my dictionary -The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition.. I will turn to the letter of the day, flip the pages and let my fickle finger of fate find the word. Then I'll write - might be a story, might be a rant, might be a poem. Who knows! Do let me know what you think. To go to the list of other participants go here - There's a heck of a lot of blogs and there are many more signed up below me. If you make a comment I will do my darnedest to check out your blog and comment. Spread the love around!

Yeomanry 1. The class of yeomen; small freeholding farmers.

Aye, my husband belongs to the yeomanry, although that is not a term we'd use ourselves, you understand. He's a freeholder. We don't take to much that's fancy hereabouts. No ... o. He'd say we're too busy for jawing about -  we own a fair piece of property - near to 500 acres - here in Tennessee. My husband and I kept no slaves - that was  for the gentry like - at least before the war changed things. He works our own piece with our sons and the husband of one of our girls. We make enough to take care of all our needs and put some away for the future.  My husband always insists that we don't want to be in thrall to another man's notions. He didn't want to join the rebel cause but it was hard to be free of it hereabouts, at least with your voice. 

As freeholders we was hard pressed during the war. Soldiers came through from both sides and took what they wanted. The Rebels pressed our four boys into battle and we lost two of them. Bitter days. After the war this group of men came from the North - men of President Andrew Johnson. They was supposed to lift up the yeoman - help them to keep the farms going. They were to join together like and be a strong stand for the rights of farmers. Mostly I paid no attention. Then Carolina Hall came to our church - she met us women after service. She was one of the founders of  the group -The Grange. She had another notion. She said that it was no good raising up the men on a farm if you didn't do similar for the wives like. Seems like the abolitionists were good to freeing the slaves but women, poor women, still wore the shackles. She insisted that if The Grange was going to serve the farmers and help them grow strong together then women had to be an equal part of it. We had to be able to come to meetings and help decide what needed to be done. They even made the rules so that four of the elected officers of The Grange had to be women.  

When I was forty-seven, a grandmother of five by then, I was allowed to raise my voice at last. I imagine that you could call me a yeoman now myself. Yes, I do, indeed.


Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - I love the voice in this story! And you have such a great perspective on what yeomanry really is like. Well done!

Jude said...

I will be sad when April is over, have enjoyed my morning read so much!

Johanna Garth said...

I'm with the first commenter! Love the voice!!

Words A Day said...

A great voice Jan - you had me at 'no ... o'!

Liza said...

Oh, now this sounds like a real story to that you need to write!

Cindy Dwyer said...

I agree with Liza. I hope you have more plans for this story.