THOMAS BOSTIC – Watching By The Gate, by Vicky Alfred was the initial introduction to Thomas.
You would be hearing more about Thomas, and
Next week’s regular blog series would introduce you to Thomas’ baby brother, Jake Bostic.
Today we will take care of item #1. More about Thomas Bostic.
Thomas Bostic had something stolen from him…….HIS HEART!!
Thomas Bostic the man who was known for having a “heart of gold”, gladly handed it over to the woman who had already stolen it, Bynella Townsend.
Thomas, age 20 and Bynella, age 18 married in 1907. They had their first child, David Bostic in 1908. Solomon Bostic followed shortly thereafter in 1910.
Yes!!! Thomas Bostic was the “King Maker”.
Thomas and Bynella referred to their sons as “King David” and “King Solomon”. What could be more fitting for the sons of Thomas Bostic?
I imagine that when you hear the names King David and King Solomon certain characteristics come to mind. Power, Passion, Zest for Life and of course WISDOM.
Thomas Bostic was a man that encompassed all those characteristics. He had the makings of a “King”, or better yet, TWO “Kings”.
Thomas Bostic had so much to give and he gave it all!!!
He was as smart as he was kind. If you needed the answer, Thomas was your guy.
Thomas was a hard worker and took pride in all his accomplishments. He was a farm laborer who became the land overseer during a time when a black man was looked upon as incapable of; or not intelligent enough to handle managerial responsibilities.
When it came to “Thomas” everyone knew differently. Everyone knew that Thomas was the right man for “ANY” job. You could place a book on top of Thomas’ head and the knowledge would be absorbed. (Thomas was one of those Bostic’s), they are in every generation of the Bostic family. If you are a Bostic in the Sophia and Jacob lineage, you know who that person is in your family line that has that extreme ability to learn everything effortlessly. We all have one.
Thomas showed both of his sons, “King David” and “King Solomon”, what it was to be a true leader. Not just outside of the home, but within the home as well.
Thomas Bostic was a hard act to follow. He provided for his wife and children in such a way that most men would say, there was nothing more to do, he was doing it all.
Thomas was not most men.
Thomas never saw a job as complete, he viewed everything with a question of what’s next? Or, how do I make this better? Whatever the final answer was, is what Thomas did.
They say behind every good man is a good woman. In Thomas case he knew this to be true. The woman behind him and beside him was Bynella Townsend-Bostic.
They say that home is where the heart is, and Bynella was that “one” woman who had a heart that matched Thomas’ heart. Together they created a home that was a haven and a castle for all the people that they loved.
To attempt to count the number of Bostic’s and Townsend’s that were housed, fed, clothed and comforted by Thomas and Bynella would be a foolish undertaking at best. Just know that the list goes on and on.
One of Thomas’ nephews, Nathaniel Bostic, was known for the statement, “I was born a man, and I will die a man”. Nathaniel certainly accomplished this, and In retrospect, if Nathaniel was here today and thought back on his uncle Thomas, he would say that Thomas was the “O.G” when it came to being a man.
Thomas Bostic touched all our lives in ways we will never know; but one thing is for sure and I think that Nathaniel would agree, being a man when you are a Bostic is an inheritance because Bostic men walk in the footsteps of the “King Maker” and his brothers.
RESEARCH TIP!!! Join a Genealogy Society!!! Knowledge is power and they can provide lots of tools and resources to set you on a path of genealogy success.
What it does not tell you is that Thomas was the family’s Gate Watcher. (That person who traditionally watched by the gate for you to come home, and was anxious when you were late.)
Whenever I hear stories about Thomas I’m reminded of a poem that I once read……HOLD WIDE THE DOOR……
Thomas, in every sense of the word, exemplified the poem quoted above. He provided nourishment and shelter for many of his family members.
That is what he did for my grandmother, his sister Mattie.
When an agent for the steel mill asked my grandfather, James Bradford, if he wanted to go north, my grandfather said yes. He told someone to tell his wife that he was going north and that he would send for her.
My grandfather knew without a doubt that she would go to her brother Thomas, and that is exactly what she and her young daughters did.
Thomas Bostic, ever faithful, ever loyal and always there. Because of this, our family has always held Thomas in high regard.
A special remembrance of Thomas’ life is a story my grandmother told me about him. Thomas was only a year older than she was. He loved her so much that he gave her his name, he never called her Mattie. He called her Tommy.
I cannot tell you in this short space of all his acts of kindness, but you will no doubt hear more about him as we soldier on.
Our next blog will tell you about the baby of the family, Jacob. He also lived in Thomas’ household at one time.
RESEARCH TIP OF THE WEEK…..
There are several types of death records. Don’t limit yourself to only thinking death certificate. Much information can be gained by reading obituaries, tombstones, cemetery records (contact the cemetery office), and Probate Records (probate records are held at a county level).
In my previous blog I mentioned that I went back and forth on what this blog post would be entitled. As you can tell, I settled on The Reunion.
Why? You might ask.
Because that is exactly what it was, a reunion. There were no strangers among us. Pat, Dot, Redd, Renay, Valarie, Lala, Sheila, Sharon and the list goes on and on.
They were us!!
They were Ellen and Solomon, they were Jacob and Sophia, they were Solomon, London, Thomas, Edmund, Sally, Mary, Jacob Jr., Zilla and Mattie. They were all the Bostic’s past and present, and so were we.
Surely you see what it was, do you not? It was a reunion of all the Bostic’s who had survived the harrowing journey from Africa to America and the plantation life of Society Hill, SC and Marlboro County.
We’ve all heard of the South Carolina Cotton Trail.
This reunion was the living example of Maya Angelou’s poem, Still I Rise. This reunion was Langston Hughes poem, Still Here.
As I looked at all the lovely faces of my Bostic family, the realization hit me. It was all for us!! Right here in this moment in time!! People had survived just for us!! Can you imagine the enormity of knowing that someone survived just for “You”?
It reminds me of the bible verse in Jeremiah 1:5 that says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you”.
Our ancestors had set out to leave a living legacy and we were it.
Everything about the reunion was wonderful. The “Meet and Greet” still gives me butterflies. Sitting and talking to family members who we hadn’t physically met before; but knew them nonetheless.
A roomful of people with the same bloodline running through our veins.
Solomon and Ellen, Jacob and Sophia. AMAZING!!
One of the most memorable moments of the “Meet and Greet” was when Pat and Dot showed us a picture of my great-grandmother Mattie Bostic standing beside her brother Jacob. (My mother cried).
We were back!!!!
Back to where it all began. We had answered the call. No, not that call. Not the call that took place between Pat, Dot, mom, Aunt Vicky and me.
We answered, “THE CALL”, the call of the “BLOOD”. The Bostic blood that has been absorbed within the fibers of South Carolina. The call of the “Blood” that had now said, “it’s time to come home…. if only for a moment”.
Home we had all come, and it couldn’t be more evident as it was on the day of the Reunion.
Food, fun, prizes, stories told, introductions made, and addresses exchanged.
Did I mention food? Yes? No? LOL!!!
Food…Food and more Food!!! It was so good and there was so much; you knew you could only be in the South!!
Oh!!! I almost forgot!! My very first “SELFIE” with my cousin LaLa!!
Now that’s what family reunions are all about.
Sunday, the last day of the reunion, I can only imagine that the heavens opened up. Solomon and Ellen, Sophia and Jacob in the grandstands of heaven cheering us on, saying, “we did that, yes, we did that”.
And the response they heard was, “well done good and faithful servants”.
Genealogy Tip: Compare, Compare, Compare!! Never take one record as fact. Review all records to make sure you are pulling your relative and not someone else. Just because you find someone with the same name and date of birth doesn’t mean that person belongs to you.
I hope you have enjoyed this week’s Family Found Reunion Story. Please come back next week as we begin introducing you to the children of Sophia and Jacob. Thomas will be first, not because he was first born, just because we chose him first. LOL!!!
Emails, phone calls and yes, you guessed it!!! The Reunion!!
It was absolutely amazing, September 4th, 2015 through September 6th, 2015; the long awaited family reunion.
A reunion with family we had never physically met.
I went back and forth with the title of this blog. Should I call it “The Reunion” or a “Uniting and Reuniting”. I spent more time thinking of the title than I did putting words to paper. As you can tell, I settled on “The Reunion.”
My first Bostic reunion and my first time in Bennettsville, SC and Society Hill, SC.
I had heard about Society Hill all of my life. To be able to go to Bethesda Baptist Church Cemetery was a dream come true. To see the headstones of people whose names were as familiar to me as is my own. Great-grandma Mattie’s people, the Bostic’s.
As soon as mom, Aunt Vicky and I arrived in Bennettsville our site seeing adventure began. We had a few hours before the Meet and Greet so Bethesda Baptist Church Cemetery was on the top of our list.
I had never experienced a cemetery at the back of a church before. Well, not in real life anyway.
I grew up watching Little House on the Prairie and every western ever made so a cemetery behind a church wasn’t foreign to me.
I’m not sure if it was frustrating or funny. I had imagined going to the cemetery office and getting my printout of the plots and rows. Finally I would be touring the graveyard that had become the final resting place of so many of my Bostic ancestors.
Not exactly as I had imagined.
There was no office.
No one was at the church
Mom, Aunt Vicky and I saw a lady going into the church next door; we asked her about the Bethesda Baptist Church Cemetery, where exactly was it located? I knew I had to be in the wrong place because there was no cemetery from what I could see. Mom and Aunt Vicky didn’t see it either.
The woman we talked to was more than willing to help in anyway that she could. She began pointing to Bethesda Church and saying how their church had given Bethesda the land for the Bethesda Cemetery and that both church cemeteries were next to each other.
She told us that if Marie wasn’t at Bethesda, then we should go to Palmetto Furniture Store next door and have the girls over there call Marie from Bethesda.
The entire time she’s talking, as nice as she could be, she’s pointing at these cemeteries that I still couldn’t see.
We made our way to the furniture store which is basically next to the church. The women there were as nice as the women who had instructed us to go to the store.
Finally!!! We would get the information that was needed. I explained to them that the lady from their church had told us to come to the furniture store and have them call Marie from Bethesda.
The furniture store had the phone numbers to everyone in town!!!
Southern hospitality at it’s finest.
They began calling around to several of the Bethesda church members after trying to reach Marie and only getting her voicemail. They were having leisurely conversations with people on the phone as if this was the norm.
Unfortunately, they were unable to get in touch with anyone from the church who would be able to assist.
I said to one of the women who had just ended her call with one of the Bethesda congregants, “it’s okay, the only thing that I need is the office location of the cemetery.
Meanwhile mom and Aunt Vicky are having a field day talking to all the other friendly people in the furniture store. Everyone became quiet once they heard my request for the office of the cemetery.
They all looked at each other and looked at me. The main furniture store lady said, “the office?” “Yes”, I replied, “the office”.
I explained I wanted to get grave site information and the actual location of the cemetery. Once I had that information I would be able to handle the rest.
“The location?” asked the furniture store lady. “Weren’t you just at Bethesda?” I confirmed that I had just been at Bethesda but I needed the address of the cemetery.
She started telling me what the previous lady had told us, about how their church had given Bethesda the land for the cemetery and that it ran adjacent to theirs.
That’s when I realized that I had obviously been at the wrong location and that’s what I began explaining to the furniture store lady.
“Yes, that’s exactly it, I’m at the wrong place,” I said.
“Honey,” she said, (as only a southerner can, you know you have to put that southern drawl on the word “honey” or it loses something in translation), “you are not in the wrong place,” your Bostic’s are buried at Bethesda.
I pointed in the direction of the church and said, “OK, at Bethesda Church Cemetery behind the church?”
“Yes, that’s right”. Finally you could see the relief on her face that I had finally gotten it.
Well, until I brought up the non-existing office again. I explained that all cemeteries have an office where the records are kept and surely Bethesda had an office; and that they were probably just not aware of it’s location.
By now, we’ve been in this furniture store with the nicest people ever for close to an hour. Meanwhile, mom and Aunt Vicky are still talking to people including some of the other furniture store employees.
They are telling the people about their Aunt Fanny Bostic-Wilson who was actually their grandmother’s aunt.
I could here them going on about how Aunt Fanny’s Store was burned down several times and on the third time she didn’t rebuild. Just old friends shooting the breeze.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog, mom and Aunt Vicky have never met a stranger. They were having a grand old time. LOL!!!!!
I thanked the ladies for their time and told mom and Aunt Vicky that we should get going.
The furniture store lady said we might as well wait a little longer because she had left the message for Marie and she would no doubt call back any minute.
I was thinking to myself, really?!!! We’ve been here an hour already.
I said, “that’s okay and if she calls back just thank her for calling”. We thanked the furniture store people again and prepared to leave.
As I was turning to leave, the furniture store lady said, “Honey, don’t go looking for an office!!”
GUILTY AS CHARGED!! That was exactly what I was going to do because this situation was CRAZY!! You had to be there. LOL!!!
I said, “I don’t understand what’s going on here, you can’t have a cemetery without an office.”
With a few brilliant questions directed a the furniture store lady, LOL!!! I laid out the reasons why you had to have an office for a cemetery.
Who keeps track of who’s being buried?
Who is taking care of the grounds?
and then the MOTHER of all question…..Perry Mason couldn’t have done better.
WHERE IS THE CEMETERY? Baam!! take that!!!! LOL!!!
There is no office.
The families keep track of whose buried there.
The families take care of their cemetery.
and then she came with the COUNTER PUNCH!!
The cemetery is right behind the church!!!
By now, I’m done!! This was the craziest stuff I had heard.
I said, “basically you are telling me that no one knows who on earth is buried at the cemetery.”
“The families know,” she said.
This was totally over the top. I told her that I had been behind that church and didn’t see a cemetery. ( I was beginning to wonder if the church was built on top of the cemetery).
She asked me if I had seen the road. I shook my head in the negative and then said, “no”.
I was thinking to myself, “OK, I know my sense of direction isn’t the best but to miss and entire cemetery behind a church?”
Thankfully a man came into the furniture store, yes, we are still in the furniture store. He had been listening to us and smiling.
He explained that what they were describing as a road wasn’t exactly a road but a little path behind the church that a car could fit through.
By now the phone is ringing and it’s the lady from Bethesda. Needless to say, there wasn’t an office and they didn’t have organized records but were starting the process of creating a log of those buried.
Bethesda Church Cemetery was not the Union Cemetery of my hometown, but it was a vision of loveliness in it’s own right because of who was there….My Family.
I hope you enjoyed this weeks blog about another highlight in my Family Found Genealogy Search. Please come back next week as I finish my family reunion adventure.
** ANCESTRY RESEARCH TIP OF THE WEEK** Make sure you use all of your family resources. Speak to all family members starting with the oldest first, you will be surprised at how much information you can learn.
When documenting dates, write out the complete year. If you just put 89, or something to that effect, it can cause confusion for yourself and others. Is it 1889, 1989? You can see how this can leave an opening for misinformation.
All that I can say is, if I was floating on a cloud after receiving that email, can you IMAGINE my feelings on the night of “The Call?”
This was an epic event!! I don’t know how I got through the work day. “Nervous Excitement” are the only words that can describe how I felt.
After work I picked up my Aunt Vicky and we headed to my mom’s house to make “The Call”. Initially there was no answer.
To think that a letter to the editor had paid off so quickly.
A letter that Pat and Dot had not seen!!
Someone their brother knew had read the letter and told him about it. The possibility of my family not seeing my letter wasn’t in the forefront of my mind. My thoughts were more on the lines of whenwould they see it? To think that my letter almost slipped past my family.
In true movie fashion wouldn’t you say?………We all know the scene in the movie when a letter falls between the cracks in the floor and isn’t found for 30 years. I hate movies like that!!! I always find myself yelling, “the letter, get the letter!!”
Thankfully the letter pictured above wasn’t the case with my letter. My letter made the January 15, 2015 addition of the Herald Advocate on page 6, entitled “Ohio Resident Seeks Info!” It’s only now while typing this blog that I realize that my letter published on “MY BIRTHDAY!!!”
As I’m sharing this experience with you, I am sitting here with the same silly smile on my face that I had the night of “The Call”.
I can recall three things from that phone conversation:
The trembling of my hands when I dialed the number the second time.
The warmth and excitement in the voices of Pat and Dot.
Nathaniel Bostic’s name being mentioned.
Nathaniel Bostic 1908-1989 (Fun Fact)..Diane Bostic-Buggs (Nathaniel’s granddaughter) said, “When Nathaniel drove his car he would take his time – he would say that the driver who was racing along side of him was only going to the next traffic light.”
What I “can’t” remember about “The Call” is anything else that was said. I mean NOTHING, nothing at all. LOL!!!
Thank goodness for mom and Aunt Vicky because those two ladies have “NEVER” and I mean “NEVER” met a stranger. They can talk to anyone as if they’ve known them for years and can recall the details of every conversation.
After the phone conversation mom, Aunt Vicky and I were smiling at each other. For a brief moment they looked as if they were reflecting on memories of the past; as if they had their mother and grandmother back.
Whimsical and Wonderful is how I would describe that evening; it all seemed too good to be true.
The magical moment was broken with what I’m sure seemed like the craziest question ever. I asked, “What if they’re strangers? What if they’re not our Bostic’s?”
That was the cold water on the moment of bliss. Mom and Aunt Vicky looked at me as if I was nuts, they were “ALMOST” rendered speechless.
They asked, “Are you crazy? Of course they’re not strangers!!” Now keep in mind that mom and Aunt Vicky have never met a stranger; so just because they said, “of course they’re not strangers” wasn’t necessarily the ringing endorsement that I was looking for.
I must have looked doubtful because in that moment mom and Aunt Vicky turned into Sadie’s daughters and Mattie Bostic’s granddaughters!!
The one thing that every child and the spouses of my mother and her siblings learn very quickly is that you “NEVER” and I mean “NEVER” doubt anything that pertains to:
If someone was skating on thin ice that night it was definitely me.
I was back in their good graces once I explained that even though the phone was on speaker, I had heard nothing because I was so excited that the call had even taken place.
They assured me that all the people, places and things discussed all lined up.
“THE CALL!!!” We were another step closer!! The descendants of Mattie Bostic-Bradford and her brother London Bostic had made the connection.
Some say life is a cycle and others say the circle of life, call it what you like, either way I agree because past and present were coming full circle.
The children of Jacob Bostic Sr. and Sophia McCullough-Bostic were making their way back home to where it all began.
My hopes are that you have enjoyed another portion of my genealogy journey. Please come back next week for more of the journey.
***ANCESTRY TIP OF THE WEEK *** don’t forget to look for Delayed Birth Records during your genealogy search. You can find a wealth of information in a Delayed Birth Record. Please use the link below to learn more about delayed birth records.