Friday, March 27, 2009

Nina Pratt Mullins - a beautiful family

I started to title this "I met a new cousin -- sort of..." but it was so close to another title that I did which got me several angry emails that I changed my mind so that I wouldn't jinx this story.

The person I met isnt' exactly my cousin, but he is a cousin of my cousins and he likes doing his family tree. He has shared some of his history with me.

My dad had two brothers and one sister. They were Lonnie, Jesse, Vera and James (my dad). My uncle Jesse was one of my favorite uncles. I loved going over to stay all night with them. I used to love to sit and listen to him lead the songs at church. When you are a kid you don't know who made you related to an aunt or uncle -- they just are your aunts or uncles, so I never felt like this was my uncle and that was his wife. I usually loved them both regardless who was the blood relative.
Jesse, J.D., Lonnie & Vera

So, I love my Aunt Nina, too. I remember staying with them for a week when I was probably 5. I didn't know how to ride a bicycle when I went, but I was flying around on one when I went home. I remember Aunt Nina made hot chocolate from the recipe on the Hershey can. My mom was a great cook, but I think we used Nestle chocolate that you stirred into white milk and maybe we heated it up. I just don't have a memory of mom making us hot chocolate. I never see a Hershey's can of cocoa that I don't think of that hot chocolate that Aunt Nina made. I remember that week that I stayed that Aunt Nina made us Kool-aid to drink. It was grape and she put real lemonade in it so there were bits of lemon in it. We had orange Kool-aid on Saturdays with popcorn as we watched the old Tarzan Johnny Weismueller movies, but even Kool-aid was special at Aunt Nina's.

Uncle Jesse & Aunt Nina at our Mullins reunion.

I love to hear Aunt Nina tell a story. I love her laugh. I don't see her much now that she and her family have moved from Ohio to Colorado, but I still think of her often.

I got an email this week asking for some information on a Basil Sisk. I first thought, boy does that person have the wrong woman -- surely Basil must be someone I just have as a married in person who is 7 generations from me. But when I looked it was from Aunt Nina's family.

Aunt Nina had a sister named Madeline. She was married to Leonard Salyers. Now I knew they weren't my "blood" relatives, but we called them Aunt Madeline and Uncle Leonard just the same, and they felt like family. I saw Aunt Madeline last year at Aunt Lake's funeral in Whitesburg. She was pretty as a picture. I believe she someone has found that "Honey, I shrunk the aunt" ray to use on her because she is tiny, tiny, tiny.

I have tried to search out each of my cousin's families so that if they want their family history, it won't be so one-sided from me.

Nina Margaret Pratt was born on December 8, 1917 in Letcher County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Canary Madelyn Sisk and Talmadge Pratt.

Talmadge Pratt was born on December 15, 1894 in Piney Creek, Allegheny County, North Carolina. In 1900 he was six years old living with his father, George, his brother Harley and his Aunt Mary Pratt. In 1910 Harley and Talmadge were still in Piney Creek with their father, George. George was 70 years old.

Some time before 1920 Talmadge had made his way to Letcher County where he had married Canary Madelyn Sisk who was from Virginia.

Canary was the daughter of James Anderson Sisk and Sarah Bythinia "Sally" Lyons. James was an engineer for the railroad. He and Sally had nine children: Wiley, Canary, Gertrude, Nelly, Verner, Golden, Roland, Basil and Hazel. By 1920 James was working in the coal mines. Wiley was married, but listed with his parents at Robinson, Wise County, Virginia. Gertrude was married and living with her parents. Golden, Roland, Basil, and Hazel were still single. Velma, Wiley's bride, and Ballard Beamer, Golden's husband, were in the household, also.

Canary and Talmadge were in their own home at 184 Hemphill Road. Talmadge was listed as 23, Canara as 21. Nina was 2 and baby Madolin was 9 months old. Also in their household was Verna Sisk, Canary's sister, and a boarder by the name of Elizabeth Yonts, who was a 19 year old widow.

In 1921 Talmadge Frankin Pratt was born followed by Charles Lloyd Pratt on January 12, 1923.

On January 17, 1923 Canary Madelyn Sisk died from bronchial pneumonia. Nina was six years old with three little siblings.

Talmadge married a second time to Nora Quillen. I really haven't worked out who her parents were yet. They had a daughter, June.

When I think of Nina separately as a woman, I think of her as a threesome with Nina, Madeline and June.

What I had never seen was pictures of Aunt Nina as a child or any of her family. My request for information on Basil Sisk led me to treasures from Richard, a cousin of Aunt Nina's through Canary's sister, Nelly. Let me show you what beautiful pictures that he sent to me:

Sarah Sisk family portrait taken about 1903 – James was apparently at work
Back row: Canary, Sarah (sitting), Verna, Wiley
Front row: Nellie, Golden, Gertrude

James and Sarah Sisk family portrait taken about 1911 – oldest child Wiley had been drafted for World War I
Standing in back: Verna, Canary, Gertrude, Nellie, Golden
Front row: Basil, James, Roland, Sarah, Hazel

Canary Madelyn Sisk Pratt and her daughter, Nina Margaret Pratt Mullins.

Madeline Pratt Saylers and her sister, Nina Margaret Pratt Mullins.

I cannot thank Richard enough for sharing these beautiful pictures.

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