Tuesday, December 15, 2009

my grandmother

My grandmother was born in a small French village, Graffigny-Chemin. The village is located east of Paris in the ancient province of Lorraine. Today the province is renamed Haut-Marne. The village is close to the larger French town of Verdun and west of Germany and south of Belgium.

My grandmother's maiden name was Marguerite Chevallier Meine. Her mother was Laura Chevallier. Her father was William Meine. William was a German businessman from Freiburg, Germany. Laura Chevallier was born and raised in Graffigny where she married my great grandfather and raised my grandmother and her sister. My great grandfather William died before World War I.

My great grandmother Laura is the lady in the picture to the left of her house. The photograph came from my cousin George Campbell.

There are many stories of my grandmother, but the one I love the best is how she met my grandfather James Madison Pearson. He was a young lieutenant who along with over a million other American soldiers arrived in France in 1917 to fight Germany during the First World War. The story goes that he was wounded in France and sent to a hospital in Graffigny where he met my grandmother. She nursed him back to health and as so often happens, they fell in love, married and came back to the United States.

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