The Joseph Family Website
History of the Adangapurathu Family - Part III

Recent History

Ghevarghese Panicker (1865-1921) Generation 20

Ghevarghese Panicker's very birth was considered a miracle as alluded to earlier. His horoscope written before his birth by a Mecher "Kannian" a caste that specialized in writing horoscopes because of their knowledge of astrology (Jyothisham or Jyothishasthram). Mecher's horoscope for Ghevarghese was supposed to have been true to his very last hour when he predicted the exact time and date of his death.

The fact that Ghevarghese Panicker outlived his father only by 15 years must have meant that he probably played second fiddle to his father for a long time in most matters of the community and church. He did supervise farming though, and even delegated some of the tasks to his older sons. It was during his time the Settlement and Land Ownership Act was passed under the auspices of the British Raj. According to the title deeds that he listed in his will, Ghevarghese Panicker had over 300 acres of what was known as wet and dry lands. Wetlands would primarily be the rice fields, and the dry lands would be any land, which was not susceptible to being submerged in water, mainly due to the flooding of the Manimala River.

He continued the tradition of his father in his leadership role both in the community and church. He extended support to the bishops of the day with either charitable contributions or in helping out with the legal expenses and he was recognized duly for this. The book "Adangapurathu Kudumbhom" has numerous letters written to him by various stalwarts and church leaders all of which showed a deference due to a man who had a lot of influence. He was the first in the family to realize the importance of education because it was during his time that education achieved prominence as a ticket to attaining stature and power which hitherto was the domain of a few powerful families. He urged all his sons to study beyond high school but at the time of his death AG Joseph Panicker, who was then only 13, showed any promise of achieving academic success.

Ghevarghese Panicker, like his father and his grandfather married two times. The first marriage was to a family in Adoor called Nellimootil or as was wont at the time to call them the Nellimootil Muthalallys' - which literally means people of wealth. His was the beginning of 3 successive generations of marriage to this family. AG Joseph Panicker's second wife, Theresiamma, is from Adoor Nellimootil and his youngest son, Eapen Joseph Panicker's (Peter) wife, Susan, is also from that family.

Ghevarghese's first wife Chechamma was a tall attractive woman. There are a lot of stories about her, which have been documented in "Adangapurathu Kudumbhom" . They had five - and perhaps six children, since AG Joseph Panicker has mentioned a child who died before she was two. She was apparently killed in an accident when a heavy wooden bench fell on the child crushing her. The third son Joseph died when he was 17 and but for his untimely death (pneumonia) may have been another candidate for inheriting the family house since apparently he displayed the academic aptitude that his father wanted in his sons. At the time of his death he was a senior at the CMS College High School.

The oldest son Eapen Panicker(Pappy), moved to a near-by house built by his father. Eapen (Pappy) was known for his immense physical prowess, probably inherited from his mother. A man with a booming and dictatorial voice who used to make his younger siblings tremble when he scolded them, since after Ghevarghese's death, he as the eldest son, took up the role of his father.

The second son Idichandy Panicker was a mild mannered man who was totally dedicated to matters of the church and establishing relationships with clergymen high and low. In fact, even to this day, if there is anyone that clergymen remember from the family it is Idichandy Panicker. He too moved to his own residence, again built by his father.

The daughter Mariamma lost her husband when she was the young mother of seven children. Only one of them was old enough to fend for himself. Her husband, whose business failed, had left them in severe financial hardship which was probably why she emulated what was done generations earlier by another female relative, and returned to the family house. "Mariamma Ammachi" as she was called by AG Joseph Panicker's children was very kind to them and especially to his youngest son Eapen Joseph (Peter). She was like a second mother to him, since he was only 10 years old when he lost his own mother Sarah Joseph. She lived at Adangapurathu - the family home - for awhile until AG Joseph Panicker remarried. One of her sons, KC Alexander, was to play an important role in the lives of several members of the Adangapurathu family.

The third son George Panicker, was a born leader. He dominated local affairs and even got involved in the Indian freedom struggle movement and was jailed for it. He was a man who spoke his mind and was given to vitriolic comments if rubbed the wrong way, which was probably why he never rose to the heights of political ascendancy that his contemporaries did.

Ghevarghese Panicker's first wife died when her youngest son, George could not have been older than 5 years of age. Shortly after, he married Mariamma who hailed from an ancient family in Mepral called Poothiottu. They had 3 children, a daughter Annamma (Unniamma) and two sons - AG Joseph Panicker (Kochunoony) and Matthew Panicker (Kochukunju).

This was Mariamma's second marriage. Her first marriage was when she was 5 years old from a family called Mannalumbhagom, - her husband was then 8 years old. Though they were married for 16 years, Mariamma's first husband died when she was 21 and there were no children from that marriage. She was remarried to Ghevarghese Panicker when she was 26 at the Kallopara Valia Palli. The dowry paid was R1001. Mariamma is the only known female in the Adangapurathu family until then, even including those who married into the family, who had any schooling of note. She used to sign her name in English, a matter of great pride to her son AG Joseph Panicker. In his book, he mentions that, at that time, she was probably the only woman around that region who could do so. She had attended a private school in Kottayam called "Mrs. Baker's School", which obviously was run by the British. She was a gentle and an extremely kind person. AG Joseph Panicker, in his book, mentions that her love of her fellow beings transcended any community or caste and even within those rigid social mores she stretched out her hand to help. She died in 1958 when he was in Kenya. It is one of the rare occasions - and the first occasion - that any of his children saw him shed tears upon hearing the news.

By the time Ghevarghese Panicker died he had his older two sons move into other houses, named Karrottu and Thekekalamannil (literally south of Kalamannil). George Panicker was too young to move out at the time of his father's death and for a short period lived with his oldest brother Eapen.

The second daughter of Ghevarghese and Mariamma, Unniamma, was too young to be married at the time of her father's demise. AG Joseph Panicker, as the closest sibling both in age and relationship took it on himself to find the money to get his sister Unniamma married to a lawyer from near Ernakulam called T.P.Poulose - who was to later achieve eminence in Ernakulam in the legal field. He also hailed from a family prominent in church affairs.

Ghevarghese Panicker's youngest son Mathew developed polio when he was young, which probably stood against him when it came to the decision of who should inherit the family house and property. Mathew Panicker was extremely successful in his acquisition of valuable properties which earned him good income and of the sons of Ghevarghese Panicker, he seemed to have the greatest business acumen.

Ghevarghese Panicker willed his house and approximately one fourth of his property to AG Joseph Panicker. By the time AG Joseph Panicker retired from Kenya, he had sold sizeable chunks of his property which were in the Kumbanad area - which as it turns out was a bad business decision since property values have since shot up exponentially in those parts.

Family History Part IV: Conclusion




Birthdays & Anniversaries

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