What My Great Aunt Said about Her Grandmother Sarah Godsey Whitaker – Jacki Kellum Memoir

My mother’s grandmother was Mayme Whitaker Dunscomb. Her grandmother’s mother was Sarah Elizabeth Godsey Whitaker. She married the Circuit Baptist Preacher who rode around on a horse, preaching along the way. 

“Mayme Whitaker Dunscomb’s parents were the Rev. and Mrs. M. J. Whitaker. [M. J. Whitaker’s wife] Grandmother [my great aunt’s grandmother] Sarah Godsey was a descendent of Great Grandfather William Godsey who also served in the Revolutionary War and saw service at the Battle of Yorktown. DAR records show that the Federal Government paid him a pension of $20 a year as a direct descendant of the Revolutionary War.

“The Whitaker family had grown in number, intermarrying with Godseys, Moores, Whipples, Boones, and others. Grandmother Sarah was one of the best. The lives of women in those days were not easy, but they had happy lives. These families were survivors, moving from place to place…..

“Around 1851 or 1852 Milton J. Whitaker and his parents moved to Union City, Tennessee; and from tere, they traveled south. Whitaker’s first wife’s name was Lurinde Timmeran, and se was born on April 2, 184o and died on July 5, 1868 near Clarkton, Missouri from complications of childbirth. The baby, Emma Lee, died on the same day. The other children were Nancy, born in 1859; Calllie, born in 1862; and Elizabeth, born on June 6, 1864.

“The Rev. M. J. Whitaker needed assistance to care for the girls, so he went to Tennessee where he met Sarah Elizabeth Godsey who was born in Kentucky. She was part Indian. The tribe of Choctaws lived in that area, and M. J. later married her about 1867.

“Her wedding gift from her husband was a four poster bed with a fitted canopy and a trundle bed. Both mattresses were made of straw. There was an extra large desk with four large doors which was beautiful and which matched the bed….Ropes rather than slats were used to support the straw mattresses. The bed was later inherited by daughter, Mayme…. Presently, [1993] the bed is owned by Kenley an d Mayme Dunscomb’s daughter, Mildred Curry….It is believed to be at least 124 years [in 1993]….When two children were to spend the night with Kenley and Mayme Dunscomb, all wanted to sleep on the trundle bed even though sleepers had to lie crosswise. It was fun. It was not much fun for adults, because the children giggled loudly.” Curry, pgs. 6-8….

“Grandmother Sarah Godsey Whitaker resembled early pictures found in books. She wore gray calico cotton print dresses with full deep ruffles at the bottom. The ruffle was at least twelve inches wide. The dresses were ruffled at the wrist with a closely fitted yoke. Also , she wore a checked apron with pockets and wore her glasses on top of her head and above the bun of hair near her neck….

“The Rev. M. J. Whitaker died on March 5, 1908, so Grandmother Sarah continued to live at Oak Grove in her home near the church. Her youngest daughter, Drucila, and husband, T. A. Blaylock, lived with Grandmother.” Curry, pgs. 9-10.


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