Learning In And Out Of The Classroom

This is week 4 of the 52 Ancestor Challenge. My grandfather, Owen Elmer McKamey, was a student at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee, Class of 1927. Here he is in his sophomore picture (1925). I love this picture!

1925 picture of Owen McKamey

He never graduated because his father, John Edward “Mac” McKamey, who owned Mac’s Grocery Store, needed his help to run the store. Here’s a picture of Mac (left) and my grandfather (right). My mom remembers running around the store as a kid.

1930s picture of Mac's Grocery Store

About a decade later, Owen (or “G-da” as we called him) decided to use his education and become a teacher. He may not have graduated, but he earned enough credits to get a job teaching elementary school in Anderson County, Tennessee.

Department of Education Certificate

Mom said he had one room to accommodate several different grades. There was a row of kindergarten students, then a row of first graders, etc. He taught for several years, but eventually, he decided teaching was not for him and started working for the post office. I’m glad he did because it was at this time he met my grandmother. He then tried several other jobs in the years that followed, including working for his brother-in-law. But, being the smart and industrious guy he was, he finally gambled on himself and built his own successful construction company.

We may not always use the education we started out with, but that’s okay. The lessons we learn along the way become invaluable in where we end up. Like my grandfather, I started out in one line of work (meteorology) and then changed to a completely different one (truck driving). I still use my formal education every day I’m out on the road.

Learning is still important to me as I am now transitioning into a new field that requires continuing education…professional genealogy. My Sunday post this week will have more on a week-long institute I am attending.

Genealogy tip: It’s important to properly preserve the family heirlooms and documents we have. Make sure to keep them in acid free sheets or boxes so that generations to come can enjoy these wonderful items.

If you have family documents and are not sure what they mean or how they fit in your ancestor’s life, give me a call. I’d love to work with you to figure it out!

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