Saturday, January 27, 2018

Emily Millikan Blair

Two of the 12 notebooks written by Emily Millikan Blair

   I am a novice genealogist of late, undertaking the task of presenting my great, great grandmother's diary to the world.
  Emily Anne Millikan Blair was a well-read, educated, disabled, anxious Quaker wife and mother of five. She and my great, great grandfather John Addison Blair hail from a long line of Millikans and Blairs who intermarried throughout the Revolutionary War, Civil War and first World War.
 In my initial research I discovered praiseworthy highlights that both families saved Patriots from the Tories, were known abolitionists, as well as founding members of Randolph County, N.C.
  I am named for my grandmother Emily Hayden Blair, who was named for her grandmother Emily Anne Millikan Blair, the diarist.
 However, Emily Millikan Blair seems to be the opposite of the family heroes? Reading and transcribing her handwritten self-talk, my great, great grandmother repeatedly doubts herself, while also thanking God for helping such an unworthy soul through illness and insecurity.
   I confess, I was wondering if it I was reading the words of the self-absorbed. Then came an entry 9th month 1st 1890 that put everything into perspective. A tragic moment, whereby she stopped writing for eight months.
   Was I as judgemental as those who may have given her this insecurity?
   What was it like to be a Quaker woman?
   A Quaker who obviously had a passion to write and an obligation to be a model female in Quaker social circles.
  Who else judged her? What was her standing in the community? There are clues throughout her diary.
   So I hope you will pray for me as I do my very best to honor this courageous soul. In her words, she exposed her thoughts to " an inspiration to others to press on..."