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The Homeplace Rose

By: David Lindsey Whaley

During America’s colonial era, many emigrant girls brought a reminder of home along on their journey. Just barely past their adolescence, most would never again darken the door of their childhood home and accepted this reality of the new life ahead. For those leaving the various British Isles, it was not uncommon that this “reminder” be in a floral form. There is, in our front yard, such a plant and I’ll attempt to weave a story that will give insight into why we prize it dearly.
My mother knew her family history VERY well (as did my Aunt Lena) and, for as many generations as they were aware, I found their recounts to be absolutely accurate. Both had an identical rose they guarded and, according to them, it had passed down mother to daughter since being brought “from the old country” many generations earlier by a young girl. Wrapped in a handkerchief, it was carried about the ship in her hands to always be kept protected.
A few years back, I approached cousin Helen Murphy Allen, inquiring about the “family rose”. Her teeth almost fell out - hers are natural! She once had this same bush, also from a gggrandmother, lending further credibility to the family story. A house fire had destroyed Helen’s and I was pleased to furnish a replacement.
From mother, my maternal line is: Hazel Pauline Lindsey Whaley (1917-1990); Margaret Emline Boring Lindsey (1891-1959); Texanna Sandra Randa Rillis Cavern/ Calvern/Cavin Boring (1870-1938); Sarah Elizabeth Murphy Cavern/Calvern/Cavin (1843-1924); Mary Ann “Polly” Smith Murphy (1811-1894); Margaret McCutcheon Smith (1766 -?); Elizabeth Fulton McCutcheon (ca 1732->1814); Sarah ?(unknown) w/o James Fulton. Cousin Helen believes Sarah’s maiden name was Campbell.
Mother gave birth to two boys. Since none of her sisters bore children, the chain of passage of the family rose was broken, or at least takes a detour to my two daughters. Through the years I’ve been a good steward for the rose, moving my plant each time we relocated. After mother’s passing, we divided hers’ into several viable units. It’s a Red Velvet – not an exact name but a general horticultural description of color & petal texture. Based on family names and chronology, it’s a 300 year old Irish Rose, still blooming faithfully every Mother’s Day!
Here’s how readers can potentially help write a chapter to this story. 1- Can you provide corroboration as to Sarah’s (w/o James Fulton) maiden name, when she or her parents immigrated and/or her parents’ names? Without further info, I’m destined to name it the Campbell/Fulton rose. 2-Do you also have this rose? If so, please give a confirmation. 3- My ambitious goal is to supply a rooted cutting to other McCutchen descendants that desire one, with a priority for anyone with a straight maternal descent. We can’t attend the Pine Mountain event (a grand-daughter due about that date) and would enjoy corresponding with any kin regarding these possibilities.

David Lindsey Whaley
Please contact Sarah or Charlie for David's contact info

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