Our new baby cousin, Eliza, was born on October 30, 2008, in Williamsburg, Virginia. She weighed 6 lbs, 7.3 oz and she was 19 inches long. Her mom and dad are Heather and David, Heather's parents are Joanne and Mitchell, and David's parents are Birgit and David. Joanne has already had a trip back east to meet her new granddaughter.
Eliza is becoming very alert, according to her mom, Heather, and she loves to be held sitting up so that she can look around. She loves to be bounced! Her mom and dad hear a lot of cute cooing noises, and they have even learned that Eliza likes showers. She has grown three inches in a month and a half!
The birth of Baby Eliza helps bring our family full circle in an interesting way. Before the turn of the last century (in the late 1800's), Eliza's great-great grandmother, Minnie Galt Braithwaite, was born in Williamsburg. She was the eldest of eight children who had dreams for her future. In October 1896 she applied to be admitted to the College of William & Mary, but she was declined (twice!) because she was a woman. Not to be deterred from her plans to make her mark upon the world, Minnie took the Civil Service examination and entered the Indian Service. She packed a large picnic basket and rode the train west to Winslow, Arizona, where she worked under incredibly difficult conditions teaching the Navajo and Hopi Indians in the remote area of Blue Canyon.
Later at Fort Mojave Minnie met and fell in love with Clarence Wilmot Jenkins, and they were wed in California, founding a family in 1909 with the birth of their first son, and a family farm in the Sacramento Valley in 1910. Minnie went on late in her life to write a book, Girl From Williamsburg, about her experiences teaching in Arizona. (On Saturday, October 5, 1996, the College of William & Mary held the inaugural event in the annual Minnie G. Braithwaite Lecture in Women's Studies series which is held in honor of Minnie, the first woman to apply to the college.)
Eliza's mom, Heather, was raised near that family farm in California. She met her husband-to-be, David, on a trip back to Williamsburg to visit with descendants of Minnie and her siblings. David is a musician with Colonial Williamsburg, as well as head of the language department at the high school, and on one memorable evening when he was performing in Chowning's Tavern, he met Heather. They were married in Williamsburg on May 5, 2007.
That's when Minnie's circle was closed. One of her descendants came "home" to Williamsburg and has now founded her own family!
Eliza, we California cousins can't wait to meet you. Until then, enjoy your very first Christmas. With you in their arms, mom and dad's holidays will be complete...God bless you, little one, and may the guardian angels watch over you.