When Floerl Enecks, my mother, was born Oct. 16, 1993, in Screven County, Georgia, she was welcomed by a loving family. The tiny dark-haired, dark-eyed baby girl was the only child born to her Mother, Irene. Her father, James, known as Colonel, already had three children, born of his marriage to Anna Sarah Christie, who was Irene's beloved older sister, and Irene loved them as if they were her own. Helen, the oldest, was only eleven years old when Floerl was born, Will was nine and Osgood was seven. To understand circumstances preceding Floerl ‘s birth, read "Enecks Stories, Colonel, Anna and Irene".
The family lived in a large, white, clapboard house set in a grove of the biggest, tallest pine trees I ever saw. I was still a very young child when it burned, but I remember exactly how it looked. It faced the old red clay road which followed the Savannah river from Savannah to Augusta, and was less than a mile from the river. At this time parts of that road are still in use and still unpaved. Their home was one of five residences, all within a mile of each other, which made up the Enecks community. Down the road was the family cemetery. Uncle Billy's home (W,W, Enecks was the closest and, when I came along, it belonged to his daughter, Lucie Enecks Hodges. I remember looking up the huge pine trees which seemed to reach right into heaven as I walked on a small woods road from Grandfather's to I” Cousin Lucie's" house to visit her daughters Anna Belle, and Mary Lou, about my age. My main memory of that house was the vine-covered arch over a gate into the side yard. The only family group picture that we have of my grandfather with his brothers and sisters and their children was made in the front yard there. For a description of the neighborhood and buildings see “Enecks Stories, The Community."
Floerl was born at home, as was the custom at that time. I have never heard, but I feel certain that her birth was attended by a doctor or midwife as well as one or more relatives, probably by Colonel's sister Kate or sister Mollie or by his brother Billy's wife Nana, all of whom lived close by. Irene's own mother, Julia Weitman Christie, had died in 1877.
At my insistence, Mother once began, in later life, to write down some of her memories. The following paragraphs in her own words give an all too brief glimpse of her early years:
“One day or night, I have never known which, on the 16th of October, 1893, I was born. They have told me that I was a very ugly, yellow morsel of humanity, that came into this world two months too early. I really do not remember much about the event but to my mother, father, sister Helen, and brothers, Will and Osgood, I think it was a right important occasion. The next four years and eleven months of my life were as happy as any little girl could wish for. Ican remember sitting in my father's lap and listening to him sing to me as he would rock me to sleep, sitting on the long side porch onto which his and my mother's bedroom opened. He would also take me with him up the road that led to my Uncle Billy's and Nana's home where I spent so many happy hours of my life. He would take me on his back often (piggy-back, as he called it) and how close we were to each other then. If that closeness could only have continued through the rest of his life! He would sing to me such songs as ”Froggie Went A-courting" and “My Grandmother lives on Yonder Little Green", as well as the old hymns. Among his favorites were “Give Me the Old Time Religion", “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder" and “I am bound for the Promised Land."
“As my father carried the mail on what was known as a Star Route then, and was also county road commissioner, he was away from home many days in the year. I remember hearing the older ones tell how on one of his long trips over the county (Screven County) on a cold winter day, he nearly froze in the open "road cart" he rode in, driving his loved buggy horse, Shelly. Shelly was a red mare, gentle, and could maintain a gait of six miles an hour for a full day's travel. On this extremely cold day, when he and Shelly came into the side entrance to our yard, my father was so nearly frozen that he had to be lifted out of the cart and taken into the house. He was put in a chair in front of the open fire where "back logs" and fat light-wood pine knots were used as fuel. His socks were burned before anyone realized what was happening. The frost bite that resulted from that day's ride cause him to suffer with aching feet for the rest of his life.
"In those first four years of my life, I also remember how my Mother used to rock me in a low, armless rocking chair that always stayed on the small porch that connected the four back rooms of our home to the four front rooms. She would rock me and call me her "heart strings" . Among the few things I remember about her is that one day while I was in the kitchen while she was preparing dinner, she poured some milk into a saucer for the cat to drink. The milk spilled and she remarked that it was overflowing. I asked what overflowing meant. She then gave me a piece of plum pie which I took out to the porch to eat. I sat on the steps that led toward my grandfather's home and tried to eat my luscious pie but alas, the "
Alas for us, her written record came to an end at that point. She had a special talent to make any story dramatic and funny, and if only she had written a full account of her life, it would have been a treasure to us. She loved to tell stories of her childhood and told the plum pie story to me more than once. So I can tell you that the cause of her distress was that a fighting rooster, of whom she was much afraid, came up the path and took her pie away!
Floerl 's first years were spent in security in this home, rich with loving relatives, grounded in the Methodist religion, with friendly neighbors and a social life that centered in the churches of the community. To this was added the bounty of the vegetable and flower gardens, the farm animals, and the fish and game of woods and river. All of the Enecks men were huntsmen from an early age and with the Savannah River so near, were fishermen as well.
But the idyllic early years changed abruptly when Floerl ‘s mother, who was carrying another child, died in September of 1898. Helen, who had been at Rock Hill South Carolina attending Winthrope College, took her place as "woman of the house" when she was not quite seventeen years old. will was fourteen, Osgood twelve, and Floerl almost five. Helen was a wonderful mother to her, with the help of several aunts, for the next four years. Colonel married Miss Lena Bryan, a school teacher, in 1902, and soon after that, Helen married Gordon Laffitte. The first child of
Colonel's third marriage, Elizabeth, was born in 1903. Between then and 1914, when the youngest was born, Mother acquired five more brothers and sisters. They were Elizabeth, LeGrande, Berta, Bryan and Jarrell. So it was now Floerl ‘s turn to help take care of the younger ones.
Mother's closest companion as she was growing up was her cousin, Lucie Enecks. Although Lucie was 12 years older, they enjoyed being together and mother loved her very much. Together they would roam the woods around their homes and back toward the river hunting sweet gum to chew and other treasures. Mother would often mention Lucie's mother, whom she called Nana, and I think she spent much of her time with Lucie and Nana. Mother told me that she and Lucie would go to "Aunt Kate's" to get milk, butter and other foods and would play in the red velvet upholstered carriage in the carriage house. Lucie's brother, Tom, had always lived in the old house with his grandfather and four single aunts and uncles. Tom was a very creative, artistic and witty person and had much influence on Floerl.
My Aunt Elizabeth (or Lib, as we called her) told me some stories about Mother's teen age years. She said that Floerl had many good games with which to entertain the younger children. Lucie would spend the night with Floerl and all the young ones would come into their bedroom to let Floerl tell their fortune and tell them fairy stories, or make shadow figures with her hands that would talk. As the children grew older, they would often have parties at their house for the young people of the church and community. Lib told me that she and Berta and Floerl would divide the yard into thirds for sweeping, that they rotated household tasks, and worked well together.
At various times the family employed governesses to live in the homes and teach the children, but I am not sure whether or not this was still occurring after Floerl reached school age. She told me many times about her teacher, Mrs. Smith, who was principal of Blue Springs school. She must have been a truly great teacher--she taught much more than the book lessons. All of the younger children attended this school, which was fairly typical of the rural South Georgia schools of the time. An old book which evaluated Georgia schools (name unknown) described it as follows: two class rooms, insufficiently lighted: no cloak rooms: one room only painted: building in good condition and well kept: value, $750: located in grove, unimproved: yards fenced and well-kept up: playgrounds small: school gardens: water at pump on grounds: two teachers: 7 grades: 56 pupils: no organized clubs: 24 weeks school year. A horse drawn cart or wagon would transport the children to school.
After Helen married, Floerl spent much of her time in the Laffitte home. By 1906 she was boarding in the home of a friend of Helen in Sylvania to attend school there. I am not sure how long she stayed there, but not long enough to complete high school. She went back to live with Helen and help her with the four babies that were born to Helen and Gordon, beginning with Sydnor in 1906, Mary Page, 1908, Hawley, 1910 and Christie, 1912. When Floerl was about 16 she passed the teacher's certification exam and began teaching at Jackson school, walking about 2 miles each day from the home across the road from Helen and Gordon where she lived with her brothers Will and Osgood and Will’s wife Marion.. Written by Suzanne Smith Belcher
To be continued
James O. Enecks, 1886-1952
Walterboro, S..C., May 16, 1952 James Osgood Enecks, 66, of Cottageville, S.C., died at the Colleton County Hospital early this morning after a long illness.
A native of Screven County, Georgia, he was the son of the late Col. J. O. A. Enecks and Mrs. Anna Christie Enecks. He was a retired lumber dealer and a member of the Newington, Ga., Methodist Church. He had moved to Cottageville several years ago from Newington.
Survivors include his wife, Mrs. Patty Addison Enecks, Cottageville; one son, Robert Enecks, Savannah; three daughters, Mrs. Brooker Kemp, Savannah, Mrs. Corley Rahn, Springfield, and Mrs. George Lang, Anchorage, Alaska; two brothers, W. R. Enecks, Rocky Ford, and Jarrell Enecks, Newington; three sisters, Mrs. Floerl Smith, Savannah, Mrs. Elizabeth Penrose, Miami, and Mrs. George Conley, Reidsville, and a number of nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock at the Fred Parker Funeral Home Chapel in Walterboro. Rites will be conducted by the Rev. Kenneth C. Davis and the Rev. W. R. Brown. Burial will be in the Enecks family cemetery in Newington. A committal service will be held tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 0' clock at the cemetery.
Miss A. Kathleen Enecks, 78, of 8704 Hurst Ave., died Saturday at St. Joseph's Hospital after a long illness. The Screven County native had lived in Savannah most of her life and was a member of Grace United Methodist Church.
Surviving are a sister, Mrs. Dorothy Enecks Marchman of Savannah; a niece, Mrs. Mary Llewellyn Snyder of Mechanicsburg, Ind; a nephew, Thomas A. Marchman of Savannah; and several grandnieces and grandnephews.
Graveside services: 2 pm Monday in Greenwich Section of Bonaventure Cemetery. Fox and Weeks
December, 1973 "Mrs. Marion Enecks, 81, died Monday night in Pahokee, Fla. after a long illness. She was a resident of Pahokee and a former resident of Statesboro and Rocky Ford. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Pahokee. Surviving are four daughters, Mrs. D. W. Cunningham of Pahokee, Mrs. S. H. Monroe of Valdosta, Mrs. Bill H. Simmons of Statesboro and R. F. Jenkins, Jr., of Waynesboro; three brothers, W. D. Smith of Waycross, H. O. Smith of Birmingham, Ala, And E. N. Parnell of Lake Placid, Fla; 17 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the Enecks Cemetery. Barnes Funeral Home of Statesboro is in charge. "