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In my family, the collecting of family history and geneology began with me, sparked by my Grandma Mae's storytelling. Although she was only one-quarter Cherokee, Mae looked like an Indian princess with jet black hair and a serenity that would serve her well through all her trials. Grandma's faith in her Savior was unshakable and spoke of her upbringing by her half Cherokee grandma "Maw" and by "Paw" a farmer who labored deep in the hills of Iredell County, North Carolina.
Grandma remembered everything except her own mother who died, probably of what we now call toxemia. Emma Genelia passed right after the birth of her first born, Mae, who lay on a layer of cotton in a primative incubator, a shoebox, by the wood stove to keep her warm. In 1895, one assumed that a two pound baby would soon follow her mother to the grave. As a sign of her indominable spirit, Mae lived to be raised there on her "Maw" and "Paw" Sharpes farm.