1900 census: Pittsylvania Co, VA, Tunstall, District 92
William H. Scearce, age 24, born Sept 1895 VA, married 1 yearJennie B., age 24, born Aug 1875 VA, 0 children/ 0 living
(daughter of Robert F Soyars and Pamelia J was living next door to them)572Personal account from Kaye Jackson Elliott, Richmond, VA 2007
“Jenny/Jennnie/Ginny Belle Soyars Scearce was my great-grandmother and I loved her dearly, even though she died when I was only 4 years old. Her funeral was in the heat of September way out in the country around Danville, Virginia - probably near Bachelor's Hall. As much a part of living as breathing, funerals were a social event among country folks back then. People one hadn't seen for years traveled to a funeral, giving relatives and friends perhaps their last opportunity to visit with elder family members. The "homeplace" was the center of the activity before and after the service - once the long drive down dusty tobacco roads to and from the cemetery was over. Tables were laden with homemade food - pies of every kind, fried chicken, snaps, butterbeans and other vegetables in season and more desserts than a child could possibly imagine on one table. We children always ate at tables set up for us away from the grownups - a practice that we could do well to continue today. All of us were warned of certain things not to do, manners we should remember, relatives who were deaf, so we could shout "yes ma'am" loud enough to be heard, places we couldn't investigate (old wells, fenced patches with mean bulls in them, swimming holes with deep spots that would swallow us whole and bantam roosters that could aim for the eyes with talons as sharp as razors...but mostly jumped for the chins and shredded them). After Granny Scearce's funeral, my granddaddy (her son-in-law) warned me not to touch the green walnuts all over the ground. He told exactly what they would do to my mouth if I bit into the outter shell...so, the second his back was turned I did the very thing that would get me a whipping if I did. No whipping was necessary: the pungent, spikey, searing taste set my mouth on fire - not just a pepper flavor, but a real burn that was so vile that I cried for an hour, vowing never again to touch one. I can still almost feel the sensation...
Granny Scearce told us children that we could tell if we'd picked up the Cherokee blood form her Soyars side if we had "Indian thumbs" - flat, wide, sort of stumpy and foreshortened thumbs that were unlike any Caucasian digit. Oh, and how proud we were if we had them! (I didn't and was terminally disappointed...) The Cherokee (or Algonquin, I later learned) genes must've been very, very strong and consistent because all of her sisters, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren had/have the high cheekbones, crow's feet that match each other's, the chincapin brown eyes that were deeply set and small, the tall frame and large hands (my Uncle Henry had hands that could hold three of mine), wide shoulders and coal black hair - some had black hair that never grayed.
My Granny Scearce had the biggest lap and the sweetest disposition of anyone I knew as a child...I love her still.”607