Francis and James married in 1906 in her parents’ home. Her name is listed as Nancy on the marriage certificate. She was 17 and James was 33. She called him Poppy. They had five children: Violet, Ada, Juanita, Willa Francis and Edward. Willa and James separated, then divorced. James and their son Edward stayed in Orlando. Father and son moved to Alaska for a time, but returned to the Orlando area.
Right: New shreded cabbage in a crock: first step to making kraut.
Noel also recalled "One day when Granny was relating another of her many ‘Indian stories’ and what experts shots they all were: - - - - - us kids dared Granny to shoot a 22BB shot (half the size of a 22 short) from inside the kitchen through the slot of a slightly raised window (to lessen the noise) at a pigeon strutting outside in our Wheeling, W.Va. back yard. Granny made us first promise we’d eat the pigeon and not waste ‘it’s life.’
"Then Granny took the 22 - whilst me an my cousins were laughing and poking each other in the ribs at how funny Granny looked holding the 22 between her two outstretched hands - without the stock against her shoulder or body and she just seemed to point the gun for a couple seconds and blammmmmmm the gun went off and that pigeon keeled over stone dead; when we went out and looked she had shot that bird from about 7 yards and the 22BB had passed through one eye and out the other eye on the other side!!!!. Granny fried that Pigeon it with a skillet full of dandelions and bacon bits and ‘greens.’"
Noel once asked Granny if she’d ever heard that ditty ’20 blackbirds in a pie’ and she immediately said ‘Noel if you’ll get me a sack of blackbirds, I’ll bake you a nice pie outta them.’
"I had a .410 shotgun (.22 cal on top combo) and I went out to a place where lotsa blackbirds flew in huge flocks. It didn’t take long for me to bring back to Granny a sack full of them and Granny immediately - in less than 20 minutes!!!! - skinned and gutted the lot (25 to 35) of them. She cut the heads and feet off but told me the heads were also good in a pie. She then stewed all those blackbird carcasses in her biggest black cast iron skillet and when they were ready she dumped the lot into another cast iron skillet with pie dough spread on the bottom and sides. Granny then put another big piece of pie dough top on top and poked holes in the pie dough with a fork. In about 90 mins total time from when I brought the sack to Granny, She and I and some friends were eating that blackbird pie until there wasn’t a scrap left to throw away.
"In Italy many years later I had something similar made with what appeared to be small sparrows (and the heads WERE included in that pie) but it didn’t even come close to being as good as Granny’s blackbirds pie."