On the wall at the bottom of the stairs hangs a large portrait of a man who is my great-grandfather—my paternal grandmother’s father (my dad’s mom’s papa). He is a rather handsome guy with his well-groomed mustache and those curly locks that are a family trait. His mustache was always well groomed in every photo I have of him by the way. My children were a bit scared of him (understatement)—his portrait—just as I was when I was growing up. I used to hide and could never look at him in the eyes . I never knew him and neither did my dad. He was called Clayton and my father who was born a few years after his death was named for him.
I still have some of the family property that was settled over 200 years ago. The farm was where I grew up, where I have such fond memories. It is said that my G-GF’s grandfather was born in Ireland and had married a Scottish lass. I cannot confirm this definitely and there is not a paper trail that is conclusive on what generation was born in Ireland or where exactly they came from but by 1785 at least one had settled in the area and by 1793 there were enough of the family to name a settlement after them. A couple of years ago, I was shocked to find a plat (1793) with the settlement listed. I had no idea. The area lost its name for a while but then was renamed for the families back in the late 1800s. Now, that is all but a memory. My G-GF was the postmaster for this little hamlet and the post office sat out in front of the old farmhouse. In my grandmother’s photo album, there is a photo of my G-GF on his horse and I have found newspaper writings of people talking about him delivering the mail. Today, very, very few of the surnames are left in the area and the road that was named for them that we lived on has been changed.
There is much that is unknown to me about our family history but there is quite a bit that I do know and that is how they treated others—always helpful—always courteous—always respectful. There have been times where I will forget and will get angry when I am provoked but this is not the way I was taught. I do not know the reasons for this family line settling in America but most likely it was to have a new chance at life. The story goes that there were two men—two brothers who came to America. One went north and one south. Why? I have no clue and I cannot confirm this. As I dug into the family history, I discovered that I have more questions than answers. Even the pronunciation of the name has changed—Americanized? Maybe. I may never know the story and yet I do know. The family that I knew were pious, modest, and simple. They never wanted glory, prestige, wealth, or power because they had more–more than they ever needed.
I love life. At times, I find that there are enormous barriers that get in my way—more than small obstacles–more like stone walls. I have to remember where I came from—my roots—my family and sometimes I have to be reminded.
Happy Gardening! May all of your memories of family be wonderful! Take care and be blessed!