Currituck County Tales and Legends
Tales From Lizzie Sawyer
A Brief Biography of Elizabeth Ellen Sawyer
My mother was born on July 1, 1892 in Currituck County, NC. I suppose the area is now called Mamie. Her father was Gideon Marchant Sawyer (5-30-1857 to 3-14-1935). Her mother was Mary Ed. Brinson Sawyer (1-4-1868 to 8-29-1949). Gideon and Mary had other children: L. Gertrude (b. 1884, d. 1885), Emerson (b. 1889, d. 1942), Lewis (b. 1890, d. 1974) and Nora (b. 1899, d. 1921).
In 1912, when Elizabeth (Lizzie) was twenty years old, she eloped with Tregarron Guard. This was much frowned upon by her mother, Mary, as Tregarron was almost twenty years older and had a ready-made family. His three daughters were by his first wife, Nora Crank Guard. Their names were: Estell Marie, Eva Davis and Nora Elizabeth Guard.
Tregarron and Elizabeth moved to Harbinger shortly after they were married.
Apparently the marriage of Tregarron and Elizabeth suffered many complications. By the time that Tregarron died in March of 1935, Elizabeth was estranged from Tregarron's daughters.
Interestingly enough, in October of 1935 Elizabeth married my father, Fred Murden Etheridge, of Norfolk. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Norfolk where they lived the rest of their lives. My father died in 1976. My mother, Elizabeth, died in 1984.
Fred and Elizabeth adopted me on September 18, 1942 when I was sixteen months and five days old. Although I am not blood kin to the Etheridges or the Sawyers, I feel like family and when I think of my roots, I think of Currituck County.
Elizabeth was a complex woman and undoubtedly changed much from the time when she was the child bride of Tregarron Guard to the time when she was married to Fred Etheridge. Her memories though were of Currituck and the stories she told me over fifty years ago still resonate through the corridors of my mind. I loved them then and I love them now!
Fred and Elizabeth Sawyer Etheridge,
Currituck County, 1937
Contributed by Robert Etheridge