|Birth: ||Sep. 12, 1870|
|Death: ||Mar. 1, 1933|
ANNA FRANCIS HAGGARD'S ‘SUCCESS'
THE SUCCESS OF THE OFTEN UNHERALDED
By J. B. Leftwich
The Nashville Eye
The history of this country is accented with stories of courageous people who braved
hardship and danger to triumph over tragedy, sorrow, and seemingly impossible circumstances.
For each story of courage and endurance chronicled in America's lore, thousands of others remain unrecorded and untold except the small number of people who witnessed them or passed them orally to successive generations.
ONE UNCHRONICLED story focuses on Ann Frances Haggard.
John Nelson Haggard returned to Buffalo Valley community of Putnam County after fighting for the Confederate Army and the Union Navy (yes, he fought on both sides) and married Mary Elizabeth Crowell. Except for nine children, John and Mary accumulated little, and five months after Elijah Harmon, the youngest child was born, Mary died.
One year later John Nelson loaded his six youngest children in a wagon and set out for an orphanage, but his bad luck persisted and the wagon broke down. He then parceled the youngsters among family and friends and left for Kent County Kentucky, only to come back for one short visit in 1929.
OBVIOUSLY, John Nelson is not the hero of this story; but before we condemn him, let us recognize that his problem may have been beyond his ability to handle. There he was with eight of his children, from age five months to 18 years, and no wife. So how do you eke out an existence on a hillside farm and manage a brood so large?
Furthermore, the problem had been compounded when Anna Frances, the oldest girl at age 16, fell in love and married George Madison Leftwich. It seems evident that John Nelson had not anticipated losing the family's female mainstay.
Newlyweds George M. Leftwich and Anna Frances made room in their little home for two of the six children, Daniel and Parthena. Anna Frances was pregnant with Virginia, who arrived in 1887. Mary arrived two years later and Cass about two years after Mary. Then came Etta, Joe, Ellen, Sam, and finally Dallas, in 1904.
GEORGE AND Anna Frances believed in education, so one by one the older children attended Pleasant Hill Academy, a boarding school run by a group of missionaries near Pleasant Hill, Tennessee outside of Crossville.
Virginia and Mary were attending the school. The girls had to work for room and board. On Feb. 21, 1905, Virginia reported to her job in the academy kitchen to make breakfast. She collapsed and all the other workers thought she had just fell down. The kitchen supervisor checked on her and could find no pulse. It was assumed that she had a heart attack but no one ever found out for sure. Virginia was dead. George (her father) sick with grippe (influenza) and stunned by grief, arose from his sick bed, walked five miles to the railroad station, rode a train 35 miles to Pleasant Hill, and returned with Virginia's body.
Anna Frances, with 7 month old Dallas in her arms, later said she almost fainted when her daughter's body was unloaded from the train, but she restrained her grief and kept her head clear.
George never recovered from the exposure to the February weather and from the grief of losing his beloved daughter. Fifteen months later he died, leaving Anna Frances with
seven children, age two to 17.
NOW, ANNA Frances understood the problem her father faced a generation earlier because she was confronted with an almost identical situation. Unlike her father, she was determined to keep her family together, and in some way to make a living on their hillside farm. Cass, 14, became man of the family, working the fields just as his father had. Etta watched the three younger children while Anna Frances went with the older children to the fields.
Anna Frances's heroic efforts made it work; she even managed to send the other children to Pleasant Hill despite her need of them at home. Her grit and courage became a legend, but known only to family and friends. She died in 1933 only 10 days after the death of her father, with whom she never totally reconciled.
Cause of death was aortic insufficiency. The doctor and her daughter Mary were at her bedside when she died at 9:30.
(Before his retirement, Leftwich was The Tennessean's state correspondent in Lebanon, TN).
(J.B. Leftwich is a veteran journalist and a columnist for The Lebanon Democrat.
John Nelson Haggard (1840 - 1933)
Mary Elizabeth Crowell Haggard (1843 - 1886)
George Madison Leftwich (1861 - 1906)
Virginia E Leftwich (1887 - 1905)*
Mary Leftwich Ellis (1889 - 1973)*
Lewis Cass Leftwich (1892 - 1961)*
Etta E Leftwich (1894 - 1954)*
Joe Marshall Leftwich (1897 - 1954)*
Martha Ellen Leftwich (1899 - 1957)*
William Samuel Leftwich (1902 - 1987)*
Dallas Carr Leftwich (1904 - 1987)*
Created by: adalel
Record added: Jul 20, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39673312