ALD, Excerpts From the Diary of Sarah Logan Kenney

Note: Sarah Logan Kenney was the daughter of Elsie, Anna Clayton Logan’s second-born daughter.

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My father was not well so we decided to move to Pensacola. Being a lawyer, he planned to work with Tom (Kennedy) in the land business. My grandmother died in 1924 and left Mama a little money. She used it to buy a Model T Ford in 1925. I was taught to drive so that I could drive the family to Pensacola. I was 13 years old at the time. We made the trip safely and moved into a cottage Aunt Sadie owned next to her place on Scenic Highway…My father died suddenly in the Spring of 26–our life changed!

I started high school in 26 and Basil entered into my life. I met him at a party and believe me it was love at first sight for me. We ended up being married in 1934 and have had a good life, full of ups and downs but my love for him has never wavered.

Mama and I moved out to Oklahoma after I graduated where I went to college for one year. We lived about 20 miles from Anne (my sister) and Edmund (Hickey).

We returned to Pensacola in 31 and I went to FSCW to finish my LI degree which was sufficient to teach. I taught for two years.

In the meantime Basil and I kept up with each other. He finally finished high school at McCallie in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Once while I was in OK, I received a letter from him–addressed to me–but starting off Dear Nancy! I put it back in the envelope and returned it to Basil. I never did find out if she got my letter.

While I was in Tallahassee Basil was at the University of Fla. He had what he called a car. To me it was a motor with four wheels. Anyway he showed up in Tally most every weekend. One time I had to buy his tires and give him money to get home to Caryville. He did not last long at the Univ. He was never a student but is smart about a lot of things. Anyway, they politely asked him to leave.

***

And there is where Sarah’s memoir ends.

Sarah Logan and Basil Kenney married and had two daughters, Jacqueline Logan Kenney (Jackie) and Ann Clayton Logan.

Jackie was my mother-in-law.

Jackie married William Shelton Quarles II (Billy) and had four children: William Shelton III (Biff), Susan, Anne and Robert (Bob). Bob was my husband and our story has been detailed in my memoir, Aprils and Decembers.

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Memoirs are tricky things. In the moments, even if those moments extend into years and decades, they are still much more awkward and clumsy when the living are still aware enough to reflect and relive. It is only after people have passed on that subsequent generations can freely ingest the triumphs and tragedies of the ones who came before without feeling the burdens of judgment or the pain of loss or suffering. It’s much easier to celebrate a family’s rich history, like the one that Anna Clayton Logan enjoyed growing up, after a good deal of time has passed.

In Anna’s case, it’s honestly like reading an American history textbook, but the realities of growing up both before and after the devastation and change that came with the Civil War still felt all too personal to me, for the first time ever. That’s what Jackie loved about this diary. Those were her people, and she loved knowing about and being connected to their amazing lives inside of the most historic of American histories.

I was far beyond the years when I knew Jackie Quarles before I realized the aristocratic history of her family. It is an honor for me to be able to preserve it here for her grandchildren (including my son Ben, her 8th and last grandchild), her great grandchildren (at this writing, she has eight!), her great great grandchildren, and so on…for all the descendants of the very remarkable Anna Clayton Logan.

It is a gift to know these stories, even if they merely scrape the surface of the experiences of these intriguing and fascinating people, living lives that were both extraordinary and mundane at the same time.

I hope it plants a seed in you as well, one that grows and blooms into a desire to record your own family’s history. Tell a story that will live on forever.

Your children and their children and their children will thank you.

-DQ

About Dawn Quarles

Dawn Quarles is a high school political science and American history teacher who moonlights as a blogger and writer. She lives on Pensacola Beach, Florida.

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