Odella, or Della HARKNESS married James S. HOLDER in 1909 when she was about 35 years old. It was a first marriage for her but a second one for Jim, as he was known. Her new husband’s daughters, Bertha, Eula, and Mamie made her an instant mother. The three little girls lost their birth mother, Alma JACKSON 3 years earlier.
There are several childhood remembrances of a living relative that add a bit of texture to knowing Della better. It seems that childhood memory is a lot like taking a snapshot with a camera, it captures details of a moment in time that often become the only thing recalled for an entire event, vacation, or year.
Here are a few memories:
- Apparently Della was a pretty good baker because she often had pie and other goodies in a type of pie safe (a cabinet which allowed for airflow to the baked goods while keeping out unwanted insects). She also believed in the ‘safe’ part of ‘pie safe’ as she locked up the goods so unwanted fingers couldn’t partake.
- There was an abnormality in one of her eyes.
- She had great adoration for her husband. She mourned greatly during the years following his death and never regained her sense of living.
A quilt made by Della around the turn of the 20th century is evidence of her skills and interests. The quilt pictured above was made by her. It is of interest to note that the block pattern uses ‘inset’ corners. Sewing ‘inset’ pieces was popular during the time period and this advanced design was a demonstration of her sewing skills. Quilt tops of the day were hand pieced or sewn together by hand and were hand quilted (the sewing which binds the top, filling or batting, and bottom fabric). Della’s quilt is no exception. This quilt is made of cotton fabric and batting. One thing that makes this quilt really special is that it’s color comes from Georgia red clay. The reddish brown color was achieved by dying the cloth in mud. Della was creative. She gave this quilt to her stepdaughter Eula Mae who, in turn, gave it to her granddaughter.
Odella HARKNESS was born on Dec 31st, 1873 to William W. HARKNESS and Emily GREEN HARKNESS. On the 1880 census, Odella is the youngest child at 6 years old, living with her mother, 2 brothers and 3 sisters in Henry County, GA. By 1900, twenty years later she lives with her sister’s family in the same county. Forty years pass and Della is a widow at age 66 and lives with her step daughter Mamie Lee HOLDER EVANS and her husband William A EVANS. The gravemarker pictured above is assumed to be Della’s even though the birth year doesn’t match up to other known records. James HOLDER, Alma HOLDER, and Leitha DICKERSON are all buried in New Hope United Methodist Church along with D.H. HOLDER located in Locust Grove, Henry County, GA.