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First Decade of the 20th Century

In Early April of 1907, Mattie and her newborn baby girl, already named Margaret Kirk after her great-grandmother, lay peacefully in the big bed. Two-year-old Spencer and five-year-old Virginia stared in wonder at the baby.

"It's a baby sister for you Spence," Virginia offered.

"Mama." The toddler reached for his mother and Virginia helped hm onto the bed.

"Don't you worry, darling. You're still my best boy."

Spencer snuggled in his mother's arms, sucked his right thumb and tentatively touched the new baby with his dimpled fingers.

"Well, if this isn't a scene to warm the cockles of my heart." Nat stood in the doorway greeting his little family, grinning in pride.

"Can I get in that bed too?" he asked as he stared to remove his shoes.

"Me too!" cried Ginny delighted wiht the idea of everyone being in bed together.

"No, Nat! The bed will break!"

"So what?" Said Nat, too happy to be deterred.

The bedboards crunched as the five Givens, cuddled on the mattress landed on the floor.

Still sore from childbirth, Mattie giggled and groaned. "Some think I have 3 children but now I know I have 4."

Nat gave them all slobbering kisses. The new baby opened her large blue/black eyes, clutched Nat's big finger and grimaced.

A lot had transpired in the 10 years since marrying. Mattie had made Gallatin her home with Nat and there was no looking back. Her days were full with caring for babies and children, caring for Nat's aging parents and managing the large home.

Dr. Givens died the same year Margaret was born in 1907, 5 years later Mrs. Givens at age 82 passed, by this time Mattie's own father had passed too. Mattie's mother, Margaret Spencer Hollingsworth, came to live with Mattie. But , still spry and able to travel, made her rounds among her five children and enjoyed long stays with each of them in Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon and Kansas deeming herself a gypsy.

Mrs. Hollingsworth was one of the ten Spencer girls who had gone to Kansas with their parents before the Civil War. They were a dedicated Quaker family tracing their roots to the Spencers of Pennsylvania and the Lightfoots of Virginia. They opposed slavery and hard drink. The older sisters had been arrested for breaking up a store that was illegally selling hard liquor in Westfield Corners, IL where the family had first gone before moving on to Kansas.

Grandma Hollingsworth's influence in the Givens household was broadening. She took an active interest in all politics and was proud of her support of Woodrow Wilson and his ideological pursuits. She even had a letter from him, thanking her for her support of The League of Nations. Spencer Givens, the most academically inclined of the three children, never tired of her family stories and heartfelt opinions.

It was a happy time in the Given's household and all seemed well. Twenty-six years later, Margaret Kirk, as you may have figured already, becomes the mother of my mother, Margaret Kirk Bragg (b. 1933).

During this same time frame, the youngest daughter of the largest family in New England, Dorthy Nolan (b.1895) was growing up 1400 miles away in Brookline, MA. Dorothy 's youngest child Peter Christopher Holland (b.1934) is my father. Here is an interesting account of this large vaudevillian family.

It's years before the two family lines intersect, yet fascinating to look at the parallel timeline and what was happening in each of the families at the same points in history and throughout the world. At this same time The Wright Brothers were perfecting the airplane, Suffragettes were fighting for the right to vote and The San Francisco Earth Quake devasted the west coast. Across the globe A Chinese Famine, the rise of Marxism, Immigrants flee Europe for the states.

All the while Mattie and Nat, in Gallatin, have their own devastating drama brewing. But these early years are happy ones.

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