Aunt JeanetteShirleyIn times past, many people sent out Christmas cards. It was simply a part of the season. You always had to make sure you got them in the mail as early as possible, or they didn’t arrive in time for Christmas. As a young newlywed, I tried really hard to get that tradition started, but it seemed like I always got cards from people that I didn’t expect and then they didn’t get one from me, or the time to mail them was long gone before I could even wrap my mind around the fact that the Christmas season was once again upon us. Most often, it was all I could do to get my Christmas shopping done…much less send out Christmas cards. It just seemed a lost cause, and like most lost causes, it went the way of the wind early on in my marriage. With two kids to take care of, there just didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day for such an extra.

Christmas cards used to be something most people did. It was tradition, passed on from parent to child. My Aunt Jeanette Byer has always had her act together on the Christmas card thing, and every year…like clock work, I get a card from her right about this time. Yes, it came yesterday, so that is what prompted this story. When I get her card, and think about just how sweet she is to always think of me and so many other people at this time of year, I start to think that I really should send her a card back, and if I ever got that done, Aunt Jeanette would probably faint, because it has not happened at this point. I also got one from my cousin, Shirley Cameron last year, and of course, it was too late to send one back by then, but it did show me just how sweet my cousin, grandpa spencer125_edited (6)DadShirley is, and it is my hope that she knows just how much I love her, even in the absence of a Christmas card.

As the years have gone by, I have started receiving fewer and fewer Christmas cards, and while it could be because I never get any sent out, I have a feeling that fewer and fewer people send them out anymore. With the closer connections we have through Facebook, and the ability to send out e-cards, I think the practice of sending out Christmas cards is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Modern technology has a way of doing that, and while modern technology is vital to our way of life, maybe it is a little bit sad to see traditions like letters and Christmas cards go by the wayside. I know my Uncle Bill Spencer would feel that way, because he loved letters. He wanted the handwriting of the individual to have as a keepsake for all time. I can understand that now, where I could not before. Every time I see Uncle Bill’s handwriting, I know it instantly. I have seen it so often that it is as much him as he is. That is a tribute to the amount of writing he did on the family history all these years.

My dad loved Christmastime. As a Christian, it marks the birth of our Lord and Saviour, so it is a day that is important to us. I know that every time I see my dad’s handwriting, it makes my heart jump a little bit. It is like a connection to him that lives on here, even though he lives in Heaven now. For that love of handwriting, I have to thank my Uncle Bill, because it was he who first pointed out its importance. I came across a Christmas card sent home to Uncle Bill, from my dad during World War II, while he was in training in Salt Lake City, Utah. img059img060It was among the things that my grandmother kept, and then gave back to him later on, and while the only handwriting on it is simply my dad’s name, I know that the card was among the things that were dear to his brother’s heart, because it was sent to him from his brother, Allen Spencer, who was spending Christmas far from family in 1943. I’m sure that it was a lonely time for both of them, because they were very close, and it was a way for my dad to reach out across the miles and let his brother know, that he loved him. I guess that is really what Christmas cards, or any other cards are all about. Christmas is simply a season for showing your love, whether you mail a card, write a letter, send an e-card, or make an announcement on Facebook. It’s all about showing your love.

Uncle Larry, Grandpa Byer and Uncle Wayne go hunting.You have heard that for everything there is a season, and that is true in so many ways. One that I doubt if you ever thought about, is the seasons for things we do. Now this isn’t going to be a serious story about philosophical things, but rather it will follow a little bit different path. Typically, for most men, there is football season, baseball season, basketball season, and hunting season, with a few others thrown in there for some people. In times past, most women would have left this to the men, but that has changed, as there are probably an almost equal amount of women that like to do these things too.

As to the season for hunting…which I think just got over…but since my husband and I don’t hunt, I can’t say for sure. I do know that for years my parents went hunting, and I can remember the wild meat…cooked to perfection by my mom. It was so good. Not everyone can cook wild meat to make it not taste gamey, but she could. They went hunting with my grandparents, and I know that my uncles did too. imageEspecially as young men. I doubt if my aunts went, as girls anyway, but I could be wrong on that. I do know that a lot of my cousins hunt…both male and female cousins, so it is something that runs in our family on both sides. Lots of the girls like to go hunting with their husbands, but the thing I find especially endearing are the girls who like to go hunting with their dads, such as my cousin, Jamie Patsie, who was not deterred when her husband Kevin couldn’t go hunting with her. She just talked to her dad, Terry Limmer, and the two of them made a day of it. That is such a cool thing too, because it gave them some father/daughter time.

The little girls in the family maybe can’t go hunting with their dads yet, but that certainly didn’t stop Meadow Nordquist from going out to see what her dad, Aron had shot, and even taking the opportunity to pose for a victory shot with him. She was very excited about her dad’s conquest. I think her sister, Addie was a little put off by the idea of sitting on a dead animal, so she would have none of this whole “picture with her dad’s conquest” thing. I suppose the time will come when she will think differently about that. It may be with her husband, and then her dad though. Time will tell on that, but little Aron & Meadow NordquistMeadow was very excited to see what her dad had shot…and I’m sure they will all enjoy the meat.

Like every other season, hunting has a season, and when that season is over, it’s over. I’m sure it is something everyone hates to have happen…especially if their hunt was not successful, but it is inevitable nevertheless. So, all I can say to that is that it is a good thing that football season is still going on, and basketball season will follow, and baseball after that. Before they know it, hunting season will be upon them again, and they will be back out there looking for the best buck. That’s just the way it is…to everything there is a season.

Dad's military daysSometimes we think we know the whole story, and other times, we are pretty sure we don’t know the story at all. For me, the attack of Pearl Harbor is one that has seemed somewhat fuzzy. I mean I know that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor without warning on December the 7th of 1941…but why exactly. I have to wonder if I am the only one who isn’t exactly sure why my dad had to go to war in March of 1943 at the age of 18 years, along with several uncles. I know that his family knew that it was coming, and they were dreading it very much, but it was inevitable. We had been attacked. We must retaliate when we are attacked!! I understood that…but why were we attacked, and was it without provocation?

Then I came across something that happened on Dec 1, 1941. This was the day that the Japanese made the decision to attack Pearl Harbor. This had been a possibility since the 1920s, but in 1931, with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria things got really tense. Japan was insistent on invading other countries, and were slowly moving into China. Beginning in 1938, the United States adopted increasingly tighter trade restrictions with Japan. Nevertheless, Japan would not be deterred from its expansionist policies, or from signing the Tripartite Pact in 1940 with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, officially forming the Axis Powers. In 1940, Japan invaded French Indochina so they could embargo all imports into China including war supplies from the United States. Some of these facts I knew, and some I didn’t. This is, of course, a very shortened version, but you can see that Japan was becoming increasingly more dangerous to the world, and to everyone in it.

On November 7, 1941, Secretary of State, Cordell Hull warned President Franklin Roosevelt’s cabinet that an Winston Spencer-Churchillattack on the United States by Japan could happen at any time…without warning. On November 9th, Winston Churchill, who is my 15th cousin once removed, told the United States that if we went to war with Japan, the British Empire would declare war on Japan “within the hour.” It was a heavy responsibility for the United States, and for Secretary of State Hull. Nevertheless, something had to be done, and the world was looking to the United States to make the first move.

The decision to go to war is a difficult one, and one that I do not believe any civilized nation takes lightly. I’m sure that is why so many presidents have tried every possible restriction against some of the crazy dictators in this world. The problem is that so many of those dictators are not moved from their agendas…no matter what. Secretary of State Hull decided to try one more time, and so he wrote the Hull Note on November 26, 1941, which outlined ten proposals, some of which matched earlier Japanese proposals, but of others, Hull knew meant he was basically declaring war on Japan. The agreement would have to be made by November 29, and of course, history tells us that Japan did not agree. While Australia tried an offer to act as mediator between the United States and Japan on November 29th, they were told that the opportunity to settle this was past. On December 1, 1941, Japan’s Emperor Hirohito declared war against the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands, after rejecting the demands of the United States in the Hull Note, which the Japanese later dubbed The Hull Ultimatum, as a way of making the United States look like they were to blame for all this.

It was this action…on this day in history, and the events leading up to this action, and those that would follow, including the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 that drew the United States and our allies into World War II, and that would ultimately bring about my dad’s part in that war…as well as the part played by so many others, including a number of my uncles. War is a horrible event, and one that I truly don’t believe anyone Emperor Hirohitowants to be a part of, but sometimes it is inevitable. When a nation, such as Japan decides to take over the world…one weaker country at a time, someone has to step up and put a stop to it. Unfortunately, history has placed that responsibility in the hands of the United States many times. There are people who think we should just stay out of it, but if we did, just how long would it be before that nation came after us, because we appeared weak too. We might be able to fight them off…unless we have allowed our military might to be reduced to a point of making us as weak as some of these other nations. If we couldn’t fight them off, then our nation would lose it’s many freedoms, and we would find ourselves living under a dictator too. While I hate war too, I am not willing to lose the freedoms our military personnel have fought so hard for…are you?

Great Great Grandpa Allen SpencerAllen SpencerWhen a name is passed down from generation to generation dating back to the 1400s or even further back, it is often not easy to say just how that name got started, but once in a great while, we are able to find out for sure, because prior to a certain point, that name did not appear. Such is the case with my dad’s name in his family line. I have searched the family history pretty extensively, and while I could be mistaken, I don’t think that I am…for this part of the line anyway. My dad’s name is Allen Spencer, as was his dad’s and great grandfather’s. The name, Allen was first introduced with my dad’s great grandfather…as near as I can tell. It did not come from his parents, but rather from his grandparents. I’m sure that at this point, your are confused, so let me clarify this.

My fourth great grandfather, William Spencer, who was born on July 22, 1745, married a woman named Mercy Allen sometime before 1790. The exact date is unknown, but the only child anyone seems to know about, Christopher was born in 1790. Christopher Spencer was my third great grandfather, and the father of the first recorded Allen Spencer…who was, of course named after his grandmother…Mercy Allen. From that point on Allen in the NavyDad at about 20there would be an Allen from each generation, with only one exception that I am aware of…my sister, Allyn who would have been Allen, had she been a boy. Since she was not, my parents did the closest name they could…Allyn. Having all daughters, I’m sure you would expect that the Allen Spencer line would end with my parents, but it did not, because my sister, Caryl, upon the birth of her son, named him Allen Spencer Beach…thereby continuing the tradition. With the great care that was taken to continue the Allen Spencer name throughout the generations, I have to say that they succeeded…albeit with a little bit of creativity. While I don’t always think of my sister as being an Allen, she did go to school with a boy named Allyn, who was in fact called Allen. It is all in where you place the accent. We always pronounced hers like Lynn, with an A in front. It really had to be continued…it’s tradition. And it is my hope that my nephew, Allen will continue the tradition, or that someone else in the family will do so, because it seems a shame to let it end now.

The rather funny thing about the name, Allen being a last name is that my dad always joked with us when we or Ryan and KellieGarrett 2anyone else named their kids a name that could have been a last name. Names like Ryan, Garrett, and Kellie, while maybe not spelled exactly like the last name they came from, were nevertheless, originally last names. It’s funny that Dad teased about those names, saying they were last names, but didn’t make the same connection with his own name. I’m sure that was because he knew that it had been his dad’s and great grandfather’s name too. Still, like it or not, Dad’s name was originally the last name of his third great grandmother. Sorry to say it, Dad…but, that was once a last name!!

Washington's Thanksgiving ProclamationIt’s tradition…looking at your life on Thanksgiving Day, to give thanks for the many blessings that you have received over the year, and the years past. We take stock of everything. The sad things are set aside for review on another day, and we focus on our family, friends, homes, and jobs. And we look to the future and what it promises to bring for us. It isn’t all about things, and in fact, things are often the furthest things from our minds. We are much more focused on our loved ones. Of course, this isn’t the only day we give thanks for our loved ones, nor should it be, but sometimes we find ourselves so preoccupied with our daily lives, that we don’t really notice the blessings that are all around us every day.

This tradition was felt to be so important, that on October 3, 1783, President George Washington issued a proclamation making the 26th day of November as a national day of prayer and thanksgiving…a day to give thanks to Almighty God with grateful hearts for all He has done for us. While the date has been changed to the 4th Thursday of November now, the tradition has remained intact. Somehow though, many people have forgotten the prayer and thanksgiving part of the day, and remember only the food part of the day. There is nothing wrong with feasting…in fact God set aside feast days for His people too, but we must remember that the feast part of the day is supposed to coincide with the prayer and thanksgiving part of the day.

It is my belief that most people are thankful for what they have, but there is a difference between being thankful for things, and giving thanks for things. I believe that difference is acknowledging the one who gave all these things to you…God. I Thanksgiving Dinnersuppose that people who don’t believe in God would see no reason to be thankful to Him, but for me, with my deep faith in God, blessing couldn’t come from anywhere else. God loves me and He is the one who blesses me. Therefore, it is to Him…Almighty God that I give thanks on this Thanksgiving Day. I, like so many other people, neglect the need to thank God in the way that I really should, and maybe having a national day of Thanksgiving, will give us all the opportunity to step back from our busy lives and take a good look at all we have been blessed with. And maybe we can all take a few minutes out of this day to acknowledge God’s grace and loving kindness toward us…and give Him thanks for all he does for us. Happy Thanksgiving to all…and thanks be to God for His loving kindness and all the blessing He has given me and my family.

Cornealius SpencerLike many people, my great grand uncle, Cornealius Spencer and his wife Leola Stinson Spencer left Iowa and made their way to Oklahoma in the spring of 1893. With them were their children and Leola’s parents. They had heard that the government was giving away land and they had decided to make a new start. The homestead they received was 160 acres, but the land came with qualifications. The homestead owner was required to fence the land, build a building, and live on the land for a period of one year before it became theirs. When I think of those reasonable qualifications, in light of today and all we have now, I think that the land they received was really cheap…and maybe it was, but times were different then, and living on a piece of land that had no improvements, and the soil was hard and rocky, might not have been so easy. They didn’t have the farming equipment we have now, so they had to till the ground with a team of horses or a yoke of oxen and a hand plow. They couldn’t just run down to the lumber store to buy building supplies. They had to cut down their own logs to build a home, or live in a sod hut…which many people then did for a time.

The families arrived with two covered wagons and Leola with two small children…four year old Oren and two year old Edith. The wagons were pulled by a pair of oxen. With no bits or lines to guide the oxen. They pulled the wagon by a yoke and Leola had to guide them by the voice commands or “gee” and “haw” for left and right and “whoa” for stop. The milk cow was tied to the wagon and the family brought along a coop of chickens. They camped out at night, and let the chickens eat the bugs in the area. There were no roads to get to Oklahoma, so they had to simply go across the prairie.

Once they arrived in Blaine county, the men filed on two places that were next to each other. Each place had a spring for water, until a well could be dug. They dug a dugout near the spring, and were settled by June 12, Leona Stinson Spencer 1893, when their new daughter Elsie Jane was born. They lived in the dugout until a home could be built. There were no towns close, so they had to rely on what they could hunt. Thankfully there was an abundance of deer, rabbits, turkeys, and even squirrels, so they never went hungry. Both Cornealius and Leola were excellent shots, so it didn’t matter who was available to hunt, both were able to get food for the family.

I can fully understand why it was so hard to make a homestead work now, because the supplies the homesteaders needed were not readily available. Many people gave up and headed back east, but my great grand uncle and his family stuck it out, and spent their remaining years in Oklahoma. They would raise their ten children there and were very successful in their endeavors. Homesteading wasn’t designed to be easy. Getting 160 acres of land is a big deal, and while the land ended up being free in the monetary sense, it certainly did not in the blood, sweat, and tears sense. The homesteader earned every inch of that property.

View from Lookout MountainSeven StatesOn a trip to Tennessee and the surrounding area in April of 2003, Bob and I had the opportunity to visit Lookout Mountain, which is located near Chattanooga, in southwestern Tennessee. The drive up was stunning, and everything we saw there from Ruby Falls, to the Incline Railway, and Rock City proved to hold amazing views as well. From the top of the mountain, you can see seven states…Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama. The view across that area is spectacular. When we travel, we love to go sight seeing, so this area fit right into our idea of a great place to visit. looking back now, I’m sure that time constraints played a part in my missing out on some of the amazing historical value of the area I was visiting, and to me, that is really a shame, because so much took place there, and I didn’t even know it.

I suppose I should have known the history of the area, but apparently I wasn’t as up on my Civil War and Indian history as I am now. I really wish I had known or had at least taken more time reading the many signs in the area, because I could have figured out what a great area we were in. During the Nickajack Expedition which occurred in the 18th century, Lookout Mountain would become a last stand for the Chickamauga Cherokee, who were followers of Chief Dragging Canoe, who opposed the peace treaty between Native Americans and the American settlers. The peace treaty was signed in 1777. Most of the Chickamauga Cherokee agreed to the treaty, but a small band followed Chief Dragging Canoe, and they went to battle in the late summer through the fall of 1794. The final battle, and the point that Chief Dragging Canoe’s warriors would lose the fight took place on Lookout Mountain. The Indians were no match for the military might of the army, and after wounding only 3 of the militia, the villages of Nickajack Town and Running Water Town were destroyed, leaving seventy Cherokee dead.

The Civil War battle that made Lookout mountain famous took place on November 24, 1863 and was a part of the Chattanooga Campaign. Major General Joseph Hooker defeated the Confederate forces who were under the command of Major General Carter Stevenson. Lookout mountain has an excellent view of the Tennessee River, making it a perfect stronghold. It also held a perfect view of the Union supply lines, so if the Confederate army wanted to starve out the Union army, they needed Lookout Mountain, and if the Union army wanted to keep their supply lines clear, they needed Lookout Mountain. One of the hardest places to fight a battle is a mountain…at least for the side who is at the bottom of the mountain. They are far too visible to fight the battle easily. So, after calling for reinforcements, Major General Joseph Hooker went into battle. It was a must win situation. If they lost the Union soldiers would be starved into surrender.

Looking back now on our visit makes everything we saw seem much more interesting. In my memory files, I can pull out the different views of our visit to Lookout Mountain, and I can visualize the exact view the Confederate soldiers had, and knowing that there was virtually no place to hide, I can’t help but wonder how the Union soldiers managed to win that battle. I suppose that it was partly the numbers of soldiers, with Incline Railroad????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????the Union having more than 1,000 more, but more importantly, I think it was the fact that they surrounded the Confederate soldiers, leaving them with too many sides to cover. Our trip to Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls, and Rock City has taken on a whole new meaning for me. I wish I had known it then. I would have really enjoyed that stroll through history. The great thing is that my pictures, memories, and a little look at history can take me back to visit again.

70s shortsLaura HeinI was reading a cartoon yesterday morning in the newspaper…which is rather unlike me, because I don’t usually read the comics. Nevertheless, this one stood out to me, and so I read it. In this comic, a boy is looking at his dad’s high school year book, and the basketball team that his dad was on. Well, in those days, the shorts were short. The boy commented that with, “Too much leg Dad. It’s disturbing!” Upon reading this, I was taken back to the 1970s, when everyone wore short shorts…especially in sports. Of course, there was another thought that came to mind. When did kids start talking that way…disturbing…seriously!! In my day, we wouldn’t have used that word. It wasn’t that we didn’t know big words, it was just that in the era of slang, we didn’t conform to our parents way of talking. It almost sounds like kids are little grownups these days.

So much has changed since the 70s. From the styles to the way kids talk. When I was a kid, the only time most guys wore shorts was when they were playing basketball or some such sport. My husband, Bob never wore shorts until about the last ten or fifteen years. It was like he thought that shorts on a man made him a wimp. Of course, by the time Bob started wearing shorts, they were to the knee or a little below on the men, so it just felt different. In many ways, I suppose the short shorts on the men was…disturbing. I can’t say exactly why it is ok for a girl to wear short shorts, and not a man, but somehow it just is.

As the young man in the comic got done telling his dad that short shorts on men were disturbing, the dad, made the commented that he had come from a time when “shorts were worn above the ankle.” That made me laugh, at the thought of the shorts on men going almost to their ankles. It would be even funnier, if it weren’t so close to the truth. Not only are the shorts now, the length of a woman’s Capri pants, but they are totally baggy…as are the pants. In the 70s, the men wore tight pants like the girls do now. To me, today’s baggy style has a sloppy look, but it is the style of the young, and their choice. I don’t say that men need to wear their pants skin tight, but it is nice if they stay up without suspenders.

Peach BasketAt the LakeAs to short shorts in sports, there are those sports, such as track, where clothing needs to be more form fitting so as to be out of the way, but in sports like basketball, they maybe should be a little bit longer and loose. I suppose it depends on the athlete and their style and comfort, and on the school and the style of uniforms they choose and that they can get. In the 70s, I doubt there were any basketball uniforms for boys that had long baggy shorts, so to have a uniform, schools had to go with what they could get. That was just the way it was. Sorry kids of today, back then, shorts were actually above the ankle.

Ghost TrainIn their early years, the railroads were quite powerful companies, and with good reason. The railroad reduced travel time across the United States from days or months, to hours, in many cases. They brought supplies, payroll, and people from back east to the west quickly. The railroad did not come without some confusion, however. Even as late as the 1880s, most United States towns had their own system for keeping track of time, based on where the sun was at high noon. I had never given much thought to this, but I suppose it could have been a big mess, since the train’s arrival would be very mixed up, and the end result would be that the train might be scheduled to arrive in several places at once.

Because the railroads were quite powerful, they took it upon themselves to make a monumental change that would affect the entire nation, and Canada too. At exactly noon on this day in 1883, American and Canadian railroads broke the continent into four sections, and began using a system of time zones that we still use to this day, with very few changes made to it over the years. I’m sure there were people who did not like the new system much, but most people quickly embraced it, because their lives depended on the railroad in one way or another. The root of the problem they had was that they moved passengers and freight over the thousands of miles the line covered. With the varying times in towns along the route, the train 1880 Train 1ended up with dozens of different departure and arrival times. No one really knew when the train would arrive…except possibly the engineer. I’m sure that caused chaos in the train stations…especially in the bigger cities. These days, we have to be at the airport two hours early for flights, because of screening, so imagine that kind of a scenario in the small train stations of the old west. This scheduling nightmare had to be stopped, and time zones were the only logical way to do it.

With the use of time zones, rail transportation became far more efficient. The thing that seems rather odd, is that they didn’t go to the United States or Canadian governments to resolve the problem, and if the government at that time was as inefficient as our congress is right now, I can fully understand why they didn’t. Imaging waiting six years to make a decision concerning time and its vital role in rail travel. Something had to be done right away, and the railroad was just bold enough to do it. As it turned out, no one tried to stop them either. I suppose everyone could see just how logical their plan was, and no one complained. So, the railroad companies agreed to create four continental time zones, and that decision has changed the way we live to this day.

The lines they adopted to make those time zones were very close to the ones we have today. I’m sure that any changes are based on where towns began to fall along the zone lines. It wasn’t until as late as 1918 that Congress officially adopted the railroad time zones and put them under the Interstate Commerce Commission. 1880 TrainJust imagine, if you will, if the people and the railroad had waited for Congress to act on this matter. There would have been 35 more years of unorganized and frustrating railroad travel. Something that should have revolutionized travel, would have been relegated to the stone age again, because of Congress’ lack of action. Even after the system was implemented and people finally had an organized schedule, that was relatively accurate…because you can’t predict accidents or weather related delays very well, Congress sat on their hands, and I suppose they operated the government on government time instead. In this writer’s opinion, the time zones were a wonderful idea, and have benefitted this nation very well since 1883. My family has a long history of working on the railroad, and that is a fact that I am very proud of.

Hattie GoodmanWhen Hattie Goodman, who is my husband, Bob’s 3rd cousin 4 times removed, wrote her family history book about the Knox family, back in 1905, computers and the internet were far in the future. The Knox family knew that their roots were is Scotland, but during her lifetime, the connection was never made. Having searched, fruitlessly at times, for my own roots, I can relate to the frustration she must have felt at hitting that brick wall. I can’t imagine how slow the process must have been when the only ways to search the records were by mail or a personal visit to the city whose records you were researching…or word of mouth, which can be highly unreliable. Her own search ended with her passing, but since that time, much has changed in the genealogy realm.

While she was unable to link the Knox family to Scotland, that link has since been made. According to John Knox, of the Knox-Laffoon clan, “John Knox, emigrant progenitor, represented by the trunk of our Knox Family Tree, was a native of Scotland, born about the year 1708. The exact locality of his birthplace is not certainly known. Some of the descendants on two different branches have it by tradition that Renfrewshire was his native place. He went from Scotland to Ireland, with other Scotch emigrants, by invitation of the King of England, to constitute a balance of power against the insurgent Irish Catholics. He married an Irish Presbyterian wife, Miss Jean Gracy, whose mother’s name was Jean Sinclair. They emigrated to America (from Coleraine, Ireland) about 1740, in company with his brother-in-law, Patrick Gracy, and others. It is thought that he first settled in Pennsylvania before coming South to Carolina. He was one of the early settlers of Rowan county, N. C. He bought six hundred acres of land on the south side of Third Creek for £37, 10s., which land had been granted by Earl Gran­ville to James Stuart.”

At some point, my father-in-law, Walter Schulenberg, who had married my mother-in-law, Joann Knox, was given a CD containing much of the history of the Knox family, in the form of Hattie Goodman’s book and many family pictures. I downloaded that to my computer, and have since very much enjoyed reading her writings, and especially enjoyed all the pictures that were included. I have used several of them in previous writings about the Knox family. What a wonderful thing for someone to have transferred all that information to a CD, where it could be shared and enjoyed by so many people. Originally, Reverend James Knox drew a sketch of his family tree, as far back as he knew. During Hattie’s lifetime, she was able to add many people to the original tree, and in the end produced a wonderful heirloom tree with about 2,200 names on it. Many copies were made and given to various family members. I was privileged enough to be able to see one of those copies when Bob and I visited Hattie-Goodman-Family-Tree01his great grandparents, Edgar and Nellie Knox in September of 1976. It was a magnificent tree, and while I can provide a copy here, it could never be as impressive as the extra large one I got to see.

I suppose that many people might think that today’s ability to research family histories is almost cheating, but I think it is better to be able to find the answers…even if it’s taking the easy way, than never to find the answers at all. These days, the research has gone far beyond pouring over records stored in some dark basement room at city hall. Besides the internet, and the vast amount of records that are shared there every day, there are also DNA connections. I have had my DNA analyzed, and have connected with many family members from that one test. It is amazing how far we have come, and I think that in the future, we may find ourselves even closer to being able to connect to our roots, be they Scottish or one of the many other nationalities.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Check these out!