The word prompt for the 21st Edition of Smile For The Camera is “Give Their Face A Place.” March is Women’s History month and you are asked to picture women back into history. The unknown, known and unsung women who are often the foundation of our family history. Give their face a place. The interpretation is yours.
Women – there are so many women to choose from in the John Brown Family Line. So many of them played important rolls in his life and work. After careful consideration, I decided to shine the light on my Great Aunt, Alice Cook Hunt.
Alice is the youngest of the Cook children, born 14 years after the birth of the eldest child, Beatrice (my grandmother). She is a great granddaughter of John Brown and is to the best of my knowledge the closest living descendant of John Brown. My father was born only nine years later, and grew up idolizing his Aunt Alice. He honored her in 1959 by naming his second daughter, me, after her. The past few years Alice has assisted many scholars by reminiscing about her Grandma, Annie Brown Adams, John and Mary Brown’s eldest daughter.
This is an interview of my aunt that Jean Libby of Allies for Freedom did in early 2009. The original interview is viewable here
“My name is Alice Louise Hunt. I am the great granddaughter of John Brown. I suppose I am the oldest living descendant of his having celebrated my 92nd birthday Mar.27 this year. I am the youngest child of Bertha and George Cook. My mother being Anne Brown Adams daughter. I have many memories of Grandma Anne. She came to live in a house just down the block that my parents rented for her. This was about the time I was ready to start school. This was in Holmes Flats, Humboldt County, CA. The expense war to much for my folks so they rented a farm at Shively, CA. It had a small house on the property that became Annie’s home. Since I was the youngest and smallest of my parents nine children it was my job to button Grandma Annie’s shoes and also assist her in any way she required including carrying in her meals that were prepared in our home. I was about ten when Grandma died of cancer. She had a horrible passing. We buried her at Rohnerville, CA. I remember taking my mom to her grave site years later. We found the site flooded and the grave marker slab in bad shape. My husband Melvin and I went to the cemetery association and arranged for the needed repairs. Many years have passed but I think of those times frequently. I still have the small tintype picture of Grandma Annie. My [mother] gave it to me in November 1937.”
Alice has since donated the tintype of Annie Brown Adams to the Saratoga Historical Society in Saratoga, CA. I was fortunate to be there speaking when they unvieled the tintype for the first time to the public.
My Aunt Alice is an amazing woman. She has faced incredible heartache and buried both of her daughters and her husband, the love of her life, Melvin. She has been a nurse, a teacher of English as a second language, a secretary, and for a time assisted Melvin as an insurance inspector.
My Great Aunt Alice, my highlighted women in the 21st Smile for the Camera -Give their face a place.