Memorial Day – Flowers for the Graves

We are the benefactors of true wealth – family love and beautiful memories.

For as long as I can remember, just before Memorial Day, my mother, her twin sister, and their younger sister, loaded the van with flowers and drove a three hundred mile loop around central and western Oklahoma to lay flowers upon the graves of many of our relatives. For years, no one was allowed to go along. It was their day alone to sing old songs and be together with memories of family who had died and visit places of their childhood.

Later, different ones would go along to drive them. I’ll never forget the years that I joined them on our “Family Memorial Run”.  From the moment we hit the road, it was as though they turned into little girls again; being silly, giggling, and singing all their old favorite songs as we drove. But their love for family resonated as they lovingly groomed the graves and placed bouquets of flowers on each one.

Now, my mother and her twin are first on the list for flowers as my daughter and I lovingly groom their graves. Mother’s surviving sister still enjoys visiting the local graves. Her memories are clear, her sharing family stories are treasured, and she still beautifully sings all the old songs.

In memory of my mother, Elsa Rector Leatherwood, and Aunt Eva Rector Leatherwood.



Rector and Fischbach Settle 1714 Germanna Colony

My earliest Rector immigrant ancestors,  Hans Jacob Richter (Rector) and Anna Elisabeth Fischbach immigrated to Virginia in 1714 to the Germanna Colony, now Orange County, VA.   Before immigrating, Hans was admitted to the Guild of Steel Smiths and Toolmakers in 1712 in Trupbach, Siegen Westfalen, Prussia. The Governor of Virginia wanted to make an iron producing colony and arranged passage for experienced workers from Prussia, offering land and a new life in America, creating first German colony in Virginia in 1714. Hans Jacob (John Jacob) later acquired considerable land. He is buried in Rectortown Cemetery, Rectortown, VA.

Pictured below, grave marker of Hans Jacob Richter and the drawing of the colony platt where our Rector and Fischbach ancestors settled, and the official record of the settlement.


From the Germanna Foundation at

Three hundred years ago on April 28, 1714, the official records of the Colony of Virginia take notice of a small group of Germans to be settled at a place called Germanna on the Rapidan River:

‘The Governor acquainting the Council that Sundry Germans to the number of forty two men women and children who were invited hither by the Baron de Graffenried, are new arrived, but that the said Baron not being here to take care of this settlement, The Governor therefore proposed  to settle them above the falls of the Rappahannock River to serve as a Barrier to the inhabitants of that part of the country against the Incursions of the Indians and desiring the opinion of the council whether in consideration of their usefulness for that purpose, the charge of building them a fort, clearing a road to their settlement and carrying thither two peeces of cannon and some ammunition may not properly be defrayed by the publick.’

It is the unanimous opinion of the Board that the SD Settlement, tending so much to the Security of that part of the Frontiers It is reasonable that the expense proposed by the Governor in making thereof, should be defrayed at the publick charge of the Government, and that a quantity of powder and ball be delivered for their use out of her Majesties Magazine. And because s’d Germans arriving so late cannot possibly this year cultivate any ground for their Subsistence, much less be able to pay the publick Levies of the Government. It is the opinion of this Board that they be put under the denomination of Rangers to exempt them from that charge, and for the better enabling the Sd Germans to supply by hunting the want of other provisions. It is also ordered that all other persons be restrained from hunting on any unpatented lands near the settlement.’

“From that small beginning three centuries ago, we are thankful to have played a small part in building the United States of America.”