Tag Archives: John Tom Lewis

BORGUS: What’s In A Name?

A New Year and a new venture. “Borgus” the ancestral name of my paternal grandfather’s mother. She carried the name of her maternal grandparents. This is the first eye opener that I experienced as I began to track the ancestors of my paternal grandfather, Orian Ullysses Lewis born February 4, 1913 in Putnam County, Eatonton, Georgia and later lived in Baldwin County ( Milledgeville).

I have always been fascinated by the names of my paternal grandfather and his siblings as well as the uncommon maiden name of my paternal great grandmother Corrine Borgus. Mother as we called her was a very refined and dignified woman. She was statuesque standing close to six feet tall which was extraordinary for a woman born November 4, 1881.

I remember Mother quite well. Let me digress for a moment. I was blessed to be born into a multigenerational family with all four of my grandparents, three great grand mothers and two great grand fathers. My great grand dads were alive for the early beginnings of my formative years, my three great grand mothers alive and well into my early adult years and my grandparents well into my middle age years.

I lived in the family home with my great grands and grand parents at various stages of my early life. I recall from my earliest memories “Mother”. She was 96 years of age when she died in August 1975 and I was called home from my first months away at College to attend her funeral services.

As an infant and a young toddler I spent many hours with Mother. I slept in the same Black Spanish Oak four poster bed with her….I always climbed into her matching rocking chair rocking myself as fast as I could. I would sit at her feet as she pinched her snuff and chewed it daily each morning…The small snuff tin with the picture of a Georgia Peach on the label. The very picture of the Peach would entice me each time to ask “Mother” if I could have some peaches…. thinking in a little child’s mind that the tobacco were peach leavesĀ  that must certainly taste like peaches, since Mother chewed them regularly…In any event I knew and loved my great grand mother Corrine Borgus Lewis. It fascinated me even as a young child that she was born in a century other than the twentieth century or that her birth year was 1881. I would often pester her with questions, “was your mother a slave did you know your grand parents or even your great grand mother ” ….Can you tell me what it was like ….She would never answer the questions ….Her response always “Baby you do not have to concern yourself with those old ways”…. ” you keep your eyes forward do not look backward you just study do well in school advance yourself….No concern about old ways.”

It is this unknowing about my great grand mother’s life that motivated me to track her familial name to see who her people were. I had her name, her birth date, her place of birth and approximate marriage date to Grand dad John Tom Lewis… Just as closed mouth as my great grand mother was my grandfather Orian. He lived to be 92 he died May 5, 2005 and as much time as I spent with him he shed very little light on his life in Georgia or his family ancestors on either the Borgus line or the Lewis line. So it is this silence that has fueled my years of sleuthing through my ancestors closets to find out their story…..Journey with me as I share what the Ancestors revealed to me on this long long journey……5 plus decades of harvesting this Borgus Peach of A Story…Let me prepare a peach cobbler and brew a cup of peach tea and I will be back in a Moment!

I did not realize that Mother was an only child until I began to survey countless census records to gather information on the Borgus ancestors.