Altered photo album: Emily Jane (Reddick) Applegate









Here’s another page in the altered photo album I made for Mother’s Day last year:

This page features Emily Jane (Reddick) Applegate. She’s my maternal great-great-grandmother, mother of John Black Applegate, my grandfather’s father. Her mother was a Creager; she married Joseph Martin Applegate.

I didn’t have a good photo of her when she was younger. All I know of her is what I heard through family stories, but apparently she was a pip. There’s a story about her son, William Applegate, getting shot during a hunting accident. The doctors were called in and performed an amputation, but William died on the kitchen table. Supposedly they buried William’s amputated leg in the yard somewhere and buried the rest of him in Bloom Rose Cemetery.

The story goes that Granny (Emily Jane) went into a crazy fit because William and his leg were separated. She carried on so that the brothers had to dig up the leg, take it to the cemetery, dig up William, and rebury him with his leg. I always look at his tombstone with morbid fascination, remembering that story.

The only part of the story I’ve seen referenced anywhere is in an Applegate genealogy that was widely available online years ago. It cited that William was believed to have been shot by his brother, but it didn’t give any details.  The grisly part of the story about the leg was handed down through the generations. I tend to believe it, simply because it sounds like such an Applegate-type of thing to have happened (especially the part where one of the brothers was supposed to have threatened to kill the doctors if William died; the doctors wound up racing unexpectedly out of the house and galloping away on their horses because they realized William was gone).

Regardless of the veracity of the story, what’s true is that Emily Jane probably had a challenging life, living in a “wild” rural part of Ohio and raising a family under circumstances typical of the late 19th to early 20th century. To live as long as she did, she must have had some feistiness to her. Of course, she did come from a line of settlers and patriots, going back to the Revolutionary War. I’m proud to trace my roots back to her and wish I knew more about her than I do.


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