Monday, March 4, 2013

Fearless Females: Cousin Hattie Carter Becton

Hattie Carter Becton
Have you ever felt an overwhelmingly close bond to someone you've only just met and you can not tell why? Perhaps you've corresponded a few times...or spoken on the phone a time or two...and then, when they die unexpectedly, you feel a deep sense of loss?

This is how I felt about my husband's first cousin once removed, Cousin Hattie Carter Becton. We had only communicated several times in our lives, but the bond was as if we had know each other forever.

As I was preparing the images for this post, I suddenly realized why this might be so.

Hattie Carter Becton, the daughter of the late William H. and Josephine Dove Carter, was born on May 27, 1918.
May 27th...we shared the same birthday...forth-three years apart!

And now I wonder if what we shared was not a soul tie.
Two are better than one because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor; For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! (Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10, AMP)
We were both family historians for the Carters and Georges of North Harlowe, North Carolina. In addition to this bond, a covenant had been struck: a promise made to her on our last day together that I would indeed write my personal memoir in relation to the death of our youngest daughter, even as I was already preparing to write the memoir of the Carters of Craven County.

I have researched the origins of the family church, Piney Grove African Methodist Episcopal Zion where Hattie accepted Christ as her personal Savior...I have seen the second William Henry home place, situated next to the second Hezekiah home place in North Harlowe, North Carolina...but until reading her obituary, I had no idea that she became affiliated with a Baptist church once removing to Yonkers, New York.

During our last visit, I had asked Cousin Hattie about her marriage to Jason McKinley Becton who grew up in her own back yard, yet whom she married in New York. Of their marriage, she said, We didn't stay together that long. She wanted to continue her education to advance her career in elementary education, while he didn't see the need for it, and did not support her efforts. According to her obituary, she became the first African American principal in the Yonkers School System.

I knew Hattie's address in Yonkers from her letter, dated March 29, 2005, as being on the eleven-hundred block of Warburton Avenue. Not till today did I look it up on a map and note that the street lies closest to and runs parallel with the Hudson River in Northeast Yonkers...just across the river from New Jersey, where I was born in Philippsburg...88.9 miles west of where she resided at that time...4.6 miles west of  Sadore Lane, where she lived in Yonkers in 1974.

Unfortunately, any further information seems to be hidden from view for the time being. I had hoped to write a series during the month; but, it now becomes apparent that unless I make some new connections, I may never know the details of the northern migration of our Carter family.