Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ancestors and Anecdotes

I've been corresponding with an umpteenth removed cousin my Daddy knows.  Danny has been in touch several times and has even driven the two-plus hours south to meet with Daddy.  They went together to old home places and Daddy even showed him a mountain named after the Walker family; the family name he's researching.  

  My paternal grandmother was a Walker before marriage.  This is a photo of my great, great grandfather, James Harvey Walker.  He fought on both sides of the Civil War!  Look at those high cheek bones.  I sure didn't inherit them.  Daddy said he heard that when he was young, he was quite the looker.  One uncle says there's Cherokee Indian blood in the family.

I talked to Daddy this afternoon on the phone for a good while.  He's the best storyteller ever.  His sense is timing is instinctive.  One of my most favorite things to do as a child was to sit on the front porch and listen to my Daddy, Grandpa, and uncles talking.  The women weren't nearly as interesting to me.  All they talked about were kids, food, and the neighbors.  The men would talk about politics, religions, and other important things.  Not that the women's talk wasn't important.  It just didn't interest me.

Daddy told me today that his Mama had an uncle, Charlie Morrow, who was a preacher and a bootlegger.  Nobody saw anything strange about that back then.  There was a church up in the  mountains that had a reputation for running off preachers.  Well Uncle Charlie was going to preach there one Sunday.  He walks up to the pulpit and lays his Bible open on it.  At the top of the Bible he lays his pistol.  He said that nobody was going to keep him from preaching there that day, and they didn't.  He stayed at that church for about a year which was a record!  

There's a strange story about finding a lost relative.  Mama and Daddy were up at the Appalachian Museum one day, and Mama sees this man that looks just like her father-in-law.  Mama finally gets up the nerve to go over and talk to him.  She says,  "You wouldn't be a Collins would you?"  Sure enough, he was!  She told him that he looked just like R.M. Collins from Turtletown, Tennessee.  Come to find out, there's a whole bunch of Collinses up in that part of the country.  We have to be kin to them somehow.  I just love stuff like this.


Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

I loved those stories. You are blessed to still have your daddy to talk to about the good old days. It sounds like you have a colorful heritage. I think a lot of us do and just don't know about it. Neat post!

laurel said...

That is funny about the preacher with the Bible and the gun. We need to figure out a way to record the stories that Pee Paw tells, so they won't be lost. Make them into a book or something. That would be really cool.

Laura A said...

How very Appalachian! You and my mom should get together--we're probably related, as there are Walkers in my family, too, but I can't keep them all straight. My mom does that walking up to complete strangers and finding a connection thing, too. But what really spooked me as a teen was going into a small town store and having someone I never met call my by my mom's maiden name!

This post feels so very Southern to me, sort of like recognizing a distant relative in a store. I didn't really know what Southern was until I left, I think, but you've got it down, and that's a good thing!

Laura A said...

Oh, and I forgot to say--please record the stories! My granddaddy (b. 1901) used to tell me all kinds of stories, but I was only about eight, so of course I forgot everything about them except that they had a feeling of long ago. Of course I wish I could remember them now!

Valerie said...

Interesting stories. It's so fun to have a picture to go along with it. Both sides of the war!

Sian Draycott said...

so fascinating