We have two items in our home that convey the “endurance” of influence on my wife’s side of the family. The first is a watch that belonged to her great-grandmother for whom she was named. It was a gift to Myra McKay Harned on Christmas of 1903 and still endures 101 years later.
The second is a wooden cut out, representing a special family connection to Harned Hall on the Austin Peay University campus.
Myra’s great-grandfather, Perry L. Harned, was the first Commission of Education for the State of Tennessee, serving under Governor Austin Peay. William Hale, President of Tennessee A & I College, said of Harned:
Commissioner Harned is a Christian gentleman who towers above men and their petty schemes. He did much to make the building program and the program of the school in general possible.
President Hale was so impressed by Harned that he named his second son and third child Edward Harned in honor of the Commissioner. As Commissioner, Harned was instrumental in the establishment of what was then the Austin Peay Normal School in 1929.
Myra had always heard that a building on the campus was named for her great-grandfather. So, on a trip to Clarksville, Tennessee, we stopped, hoping to find it. After asking a maintenance employee for directions, we soon found ourselves getting much more attention than we expected. He informed the administration that we were there, and soon we were met by the university’s vice president and a history professor.
While visiting with the history professor, I mentioned my wife’s name and he replied, “Your name is Myra?” That is when we were told that Harned Hall was actually named after Harned’s wife, Myra McKay. Since buildings were generally named in memoriam and Harned was still living at the time of construction, it was named after his wife.
The building had been slated for destruction, but because of its historical value and outcry from older alumni and faculty, it was saved. (HERE is a link to that story.) The wooden cut out was a gift to my wife, representing the 1932 building that continues to stand as an enduring mark of the educational influence of Perry Harned and wife, Myra McKay.
So, these two tangible items in our home give us the sense of an enduring family legacy.
Krista at WordPress issued this week’s challenge:
Show us what endurance means to you. Is it that high-school diploma, beads of sweat earned on a long run, a treasured family heirloom, or something else entirely?
Click HERE for more examples of “endurance.”