Effie Frances Louise Heafner, our paternal grandmother, was born 17 January 1885 in Lincoln County, North Carolina to parents Moses Heafner and Amanda Huffstetler. I have been unable to find any records that might highlight Effie’s early life, and since the 1890 census was destroyed, we can only piece together some scant facts and make assumptions of that time. We do know that her mother Amanda was born and raised in Lincoln County, possibly living in the Laboratory Methodist Church community, since we know that was the church she attended and where she was buried. We also know that Moses and Amanda married in Lincoln County in April of 1884, and Effie was born early the next year in Lincoln County. We can make the assumption that Effie and her family remained there since the next time we really see any information about the family is the 1900 census where they are still residing in that area. By the time that 1900 census was taken, Effie was 16 years old and the census indicates that Effie apparently had some schooling, since it shows that Effie could read and write, but it also shows that she was already working in a cotton mill as a “spooler”. The census lists Effie along with 5 other siblings; 3 brothers: Luther, Robert, and Edgar; and 2 sisters: Guiness and Rosa B. (Belle). The census also shows that her brother, Luther, at age 13 was also working in the cotton mill as a “doffer”; pure examples of the times when the cotton mill industries were exploiting child-labor. Interestingly, the census shows that the head-of-household, Moses, was not working in the mill, but was working on the railroad.
By the time of the next census in 1910, Effie was no longer with her birth family, but had already married our grandfather, Auther Garfield, and had started a family of her own. Her marriage and her life afterward is detailed in the information provided in the blog posts for A.G. McGinnis. The one thing that I can add or update to her story is that of a missing child. In the 1910 census, it was stated that she had birthed four children but only three were living at the time. After writing the A.G. McGinnis blog, where I talked about not knowing about this fourth child, I re-read an article in the Gastonia Gazette that had been written about A.G. in May of 1979 when he was in his mid-90’s. In the article Auther states that his wife Effie had bore him nine children. That statement appeared to confirm the existence of another child that I had not known about nor had been identified. Recently, while accumulating my notes on Effie and doing some more research; I ran across some information from another allied family researcher that had identified the death and burial of another McGinnis son. According to this information, there is another small marker in the Laboratory Methodist Church cemetery of an “infant” McGinnis who died 25 April 1909. The timeline does fit into the birth dates of the McGinnis children, but it would have to assume that the child was most probably born prematurely at between seven to eight months. He most likely did not live more than a couple days and was therefore never given a proper “christian” name. This would mean that in a span of just over eight years, between April 1909 and September 1917; Effie and Auther would endure the pain of having to bury three of their children.
For someone with such a long name, Effie Frances Louise Heafner McGinnis, we as grandchildren simply called her “Granny”. That’s not all together true because we had two grandmothers that we called “Granny”; so we had to differentiate between the two by having a “Granny McGinnis” and a “Granny Rhodes”. Practically all of the records that I have found for Effie and most of her family have the surname spelling of “Heafner”; but you can occasionally find, even among her own siblings, a spelling of Heffner or Heavner. The one different spelling that has confused me the most and left me wondering where it came from, and why, can be found on Effie’s cemetery foot stone; there her maiden name is listed as HEFNER. I’m confident that her husband A.G. was responsible for having the stone made; was it his error or possibly the stone-cutter, I don’t know. If anyone knows the story behind it, please let me know.
Even though Effie had to endure the “Great Depression” of the 1930’s, the middle-age years of Effie’s life were undoubtedly better than her early years. Maybe by the time the 1950’s came, she may have thought that the worst was behind her, but in 1954 she was stricken by the stroke that would inflict her for the rest of her life. Ten years of each subsequent year being worst than the last, but her suffering finally ended on 20 October 1964. I am sorry that she had to endue such pain, but without her, I (we) wouldn’t be here; for that I am glad and give her my love.