Sunday, December 26, 2010

Indian Connection

Most families in the South have a story about someone being part Indian. I've found most I researched were not true.

My wife's great grandmother was reported to be Cherokee. Her maiden name was Nancy Pittman and she married Eli Lawrence. Nancy's mother was named Comfort Hatfield and she married Daniel Pittman. With a first name like Comfort the Indian connection certainly seemed possible. Comfort was born in Kentucky about 1810.

Another Lawrence family researcher recently found a Guion Miller application that was submitted by Nancy's nephew in 1907. The application was denied because he didn't have any written proof but in it he said Nancy's grandmother was named Annie Ross and she was one quarter Cherokee.

I came across this photo of Nancy taken about 1918. Compare it to my daughter Kristen's picture taken 70 years later and you can surely see the Cherokee family resemblance.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Family inheritance

When you talk of a family inheritance most of us think of a house, stocks or grandma's jewelry. In my family, skin cancer is what has been passed down from one generation to another.

Having red hair, fair complexion and growing up in Florida sure didn't help, but my genes would have caught up with me, even in Seattle. I knew my grandfather died from it in 1965 and most close relatives have had more than one but only recently found a record that my great great great great grandmother died from it.

I was reading the Revolutionary War pension file of Louisa Gabriel Willis Fulford. It has a December 10, 1849 affidavit from Samuel Leffers, Carteret County Justice of the Court of Pleas stating that Louisa had been confined to her bed for over three years because of Cancerous Affection of the Face. Louisa died eight months after the affidavit was written.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Four sons

It is always sad to find children's graves next to the parents without knowing much about them. Were they the only ones born to the family. Why did they die so young.

I recently located the Ware - Green Cemetery in Montgomery, Alabama and it held several relatives place of rest. There were four sons born to Joseph Anthony Green and Margaret Boutwell Taliaferro between 1820 and 1840 who died young and were buried in the plot that would eventually hold their parents.

Benjamin Taliaferro Green was born in 1821 and died in 1831. Brother Thornton Green was born in 1836 and died in 1838. Francis Benjamin Green was born in 1839. They reused the name Benjamin after the first one died but this one died young also in 1847. A brother who was never named was born and died in January 1840.

I'm not sure exactly how Joseph Anthony Green and I are related. I found him via a dna test that proved we share a common ancestor. I think I know who that is but don't have proof yet. In the mean time I have been getting to know a couple of the relatives on his side of the family tree.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Suicide. It's not a pleasant subject but it's there staring at us when we research family history.

Several of my distant relatives or those connected by marriage committed suicide. I often have to edit out the facts on the family histories I've published so to not offend.

I suppose there are cases in every family but it's not something we normally talk about. The first one I remember was a good friend of my Grandfather Tink, Albert "Gator" Mora. Gator was a big man, hence the name, a commercial fisherman who at age 60 had been diagnosed with cancer in 1964. After finding out he went home, parked his car with the engine running, put a garden hose in the exhaust and the other in the side window and sat down behind the wheel.

Gator met my Grandpa Green once, maybe at my parent's wedding and was friends of sorts with him. They had an ongoing "discussion" of who owed who money. Gator would give me messages to tell him something about the money Grandpa had under his bed or buried in his yard and Grandpa Green always had some retort about Gator paying off the money he owed. This photo is of Gator (on the left) and my uncle Ralph taken around 1960.

Some other cases I have come across, Grandpa Green's brother shot himself in 1934. The newspaper article about the event said only he had been despondent and shot himself in the heart as his sons approached the house.

Another great great uncle on the Fulford side of the family tied a rope around a 90 pound boat engine, tied the other side around himself and jumped overboard with the engine and drowned.

So what's the point, there is none. Just like when anyone takes this as the way out.