Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Grandfather Jasper Harrell, Sr.

Jasper Harrell, Sr.
It gives me great pleasure to blog about my maternal grandfather Jasper Harrell, Sr., My mother often talks about my grandfather and I just sit and listen to her. Sometimes she repeats the same stories over and over again and then there are times when she will allow something new to come through. One of her favorite stories she often share is the time she baked herself a birthday cake and my grandfather cut her birthday cake before her.

My grandfather was born in 1911 in a small town call Amite, Louisiana. He was the youngest child born to Alexander and Emma Mead Harrell. According to the United States census he and my grandmother Josephine Richardson Harrell were neighbors. I guest this is when the courtship started between the two.

My mother described him as being a very tall and handsome man. He loved to farm and was a carpenter by trade. She said that he really enjoyed farming, he would plant all kinds of beans, squash, corn, cotton, other vegetables. He was a good provider for his wife, children and grandchildren. My grandfather grew up in the A.M.E. Church, his mother attend Big Zion A.M.E. Church in Roseland, Louisiana. I guess it was after he married my grandmother that he converted over to the Church of God In Christ. To me that was a bit strange, because most of the time the women converted to their husband religion. They married in July of 1931 and to their union ten children were born; Jasper, Jr., Catherine, Roosevelt, Sr., Frank, Sr., Isabell, Henry, Leon Clarence, Herbert, Raymond, Sr., and Deloris.

Two other stories that my mother shared with me that really got my attention, the first one was how he would take his old pickup truck and go around the community and pickup African American  people and give  them a ride to the voting polls. Voting was important to my grandfather Jasper. Another story she shared is how he made the headstones for all his deceased brothers and sisters. He also made headstones for his parents graves.

He died in 1962, I was only two years old so I really have no memories of my grandfather, only the oral history that had been passed down to me by my mother and others. It gives me great pleasure to keep his memories and legacy alive. My grandfather is buried in Big Zion Cemetery with his wife, parents and siblings.