Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Friday, August 29, 2008

Baldridge Family - Ireland>PA>NC>TN>MS

This is a picture of my great-grandmother, Claudia Mae Baldridge Branch, and one of her grandsons, my father, James Branch. The picture was taken by his parents, Lelia and Clark Branch, after he had driven them over from the Delta in his 1936 Ford Coupe. He apparently was showing off his first car to his grandmother. Grandsons showing off new cars to grandmothers will never change. It is a rite of passage from grandson, the child, to grandson, the adult.

This is the oldest picture I have of one of my Baldridge family relatives. I do not know the names of Claudia's brothers and sisters. By the time this picture was taken, most of them had either moved out of the State of Mississippi, or they were deceased. Claudia Mae Baldridge was born in Madison County, Mississippi, the daughter of Martin Baldridge and Huldy Catherine Smith.

Claudia Mae Baldridge and Edward Arthur Branch, my paternal great-grandparents, were married in Madison County, Mississippi, on December 21, 1896. They had five children, including four daughters, Ezma, Catherine, Stella, and Laura, and one son, my grandfather, Clark Commander Branch, born August 8, 1899. After their marriage, "Ed" and "Claudie" lived in the Newport area of Attala County, Mississippi, where their children attended McAdams schools. Ed farmed,  and Claudy, as she was called, was a wife, mother, and housekeeper. For a time, Ed's widowed father, who was blind, lived with the family. When my grandfather was only 15 years, his father died, and he became the "head of the household" for his widowed mother and four sisters. Farming was the only livelihood he would know for many, many years.

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