Thursday, February 18, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday- An Unusual Namesake is still a Welcome Namesake

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My daughter was 4 years old this Christmas of 2009 when Santa Claus brought her a Madame Alexander doll. She immediately called her "My own twin doll" because they both have blond hair and blue eyes. She carried her around all morning. Later in the morning on Christmas, I asked her "What are you going to name that baby?" Her answer completely shocked me. I'm glad my husband was there because he would have never believed she came up with this name without any help from me. So why was I so shocked?

She said "I am going to name her "Susan Elliotte Vance Chandler" and call her "Elliotte."" The reason I was speechless was that this was the full name of my great-great-grandmother and her great-great-great-grandmother. Susan Elliotte Vance Chandler was born 26 March 1846 and lived in Greenville County, South Carolina. The 4th child of William Gilmer Vance and Sisaly Devenport, Elliotte married Pinckney Lafayette Chandler (possibly around 1866). Pinckney was the son of Willis C. Chandler and Leanna Campbell.  Together they had one child, William Vance Chandler, on 13 July 1867. Her husband Pinckney died on Christmas Day in 1868 at the young age of 25. Later the young widow remarried Ira William Davenport and had a large family with him. She also died young on 3 September 1882 at the young age of 36.

I have often wondered how horrible that Christmas Day must have been for her- losing her husband so suddenly and being left alone to care for a 17 month old child. Who would have thought that one Christmas morning 141 years later someone would pay tribute to her in such a special way? I can't imagine anything more wonderful than to be remembered. I think that’s all our ancestors want. But to hear her great-great-great-grandbaby call out her name 127 years after her death? I know she was proud.

So how did my daughter even remember this name? I had told her this name in passing weeks before. I think that in itself is remarkable for a 4 year old girl to remember. But maybe she had some help. Maybe someone special whispered it in her ear. Regardless of how she remembered the name, I am so proud she did. It made my day and I know it made a group of people in heaven very happy too.