Like many mill workers, Charles Rueben Wilkerson moved from mill to mill always seeking a better job. He was industrious and smart and his responsibilities increased as he moved from Aragon to Atco to Milstead. At Callaway Mills in Milstead he found a good job and stayed long enough to earn that famous retirement pocket watch. One of the little tragedies of my life is that the watch, given to me for safe-keeping as oldest grandson by Pa Wilkerson's daughter Winnie, was stolen in burglary in the early nineties.
Grady Columbus Shaw also worked at Callaway Mills and met Lillian. They married when she was fifteen.
On May 21, 1919, sixteen-year-old Lillian Ophelia Wilkerson Shaw...
|Lillian Wilkerson Shaw as a teenager|
Lillian's step-mother, Mattie Kiser Wilkerson, pregnant herself at the time ...
|Mattie Kiser Wilkerson at the time of her wedding|
|Mattie Kiser Wilkerson as I knew her.|
She took a handkerchief, doused it with a few heathy splashes of whiskey, ran her chubby index finger through his mouth to clear any obstruction, draped the wet hanky across those little blue lips, and bent to blow her breath into his lungs. After a few puffs the baby sputtered and cried and preached his first sermon, "Never give up!"
So, friends, the old woman I knew as Ma Wilkerson, though no blood kin, is as responsible for my existence as any of my "real" ancestors.
A jolt of whiskey breath awakened Charles Columbus Shaw, a tee-totaling Methodist pastor later in life. He was named for his two grandfathers, Charles Rueben Wilkerson and Columbus Turner Shaw.
Mattie couldn't read, but she loved the movies. After Charles had made it through a few years of school she would have him accompany her to the theater in Conyers, where he could read for her the printed narration that accompanied the silent movies.
|Lillian Wilkerson Shaw with her son Charles Columbus Shaw|
|Charles Columbus Shaw as I remember him.|
|Granshaw and Granmop with seven of their (eventually) 18 grandchildren|
L-R: Josh Hearn, Matthew Lewis, Ruth Baird Shaw, Jessica Rogers, Amanda Sims, Lisette Lewis, Brannon Shaw Carlin, Charles Columbus Shaw, Andrew Lewis