Jemima's Book

-a presentation by Carl Veazey

Carl came to the hotel on Friday afternoon of the Kentucky Reunion with a small book to show me, entitled "Blessed are the Happy." On the fly leaf was written, "Present to Jemima F. Gooch, by A. M. Veazey." This American Tract Society publication was dated 1851. Carl had acquired this little jewel at an estate sale several years earlier. He was not sure of the signature, because in true caligraphy style, Squire Alfred Moore's "M" looked a bit like a "U." And Carl could not identify a A. U. Veazey in the "Descendants of John Veazey."

The minute I saw the signature, I knew immediately that it was Squire Alfred's signature, that of my great-grandfather. After all, he was a Justice of the Peace and signed many documents in the Granville County Court House. Carl wasn't convinced at that point, but told me that if I could send him a copy of A. M. Veazey's signature, he would give me the book. Well, of course, none of the papers that I had carried with me bore Squire Alfred's signature.

The name Jemima struck a chord in my memory and I went to the trusty laptop and did a search in my database. I came up with Jemima Hester, who had married Thomas Gooch. Jemima Hester had a sister, Nancy Hester, who married William Veazey, the father and mother of Squire Alfred M. Veazey. I showed this to Carl and it appeared that Squire Alfred had sent this little momento to his favorite auntie. Carl seemed to remember that Jemima H. Gooch had died before 1850 and went by the Gooch cemetery to check his memory. He was right in his memory. But further checking in the 1850 census data showed that Thomas and Jemima Hester Gooch had a son, Roland Gooch, who had a young daughter Jemima Florence Gooch who was born about 1848.

Thus it appears that Squire Alfred had been made aware of this child's birth and sent the little booklet to his cousin's new baby daughter when kinsmen migrated to Hopkins County, Kentucky. Convinced at last that the signature was indeed that of my great-grandfather, Alfred Moore Veazey, Carl made a meaningful presentation to me on Saturday night, June 21, 1997:

"For Ann Veazey Davis, whose dedication to the history of the Veazey family has been unrelenting, unsurpassed, and extraordinary. I hereby return this book to the family of Alfred Moore Veazey of Granville County, North Carolina, from whence it came. With love, respect, and admiration, Carl Veazey June 21, 1997."
How fascinating that a small book had traveled in a covered wagon, no doubt, from Granville County, North Carolina, to family in Hopkins County, Kentucky, about 1850. There is was kept safely for nearly 150 years before it came into the hands of a Veazey family member who eventually discovered which Veazey had signed the inscription and returned the little volume to North Carolina. Can we ever thank Carl enough for his perserverance in obtaining the book, keeping it until he learned the source of it and then his generosity in sharing it with the descendants of Alfred Moore Veazey?

Ann Davis

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