A Tale of Two Brothers

This is a Civil War story.

It’s not a story of two brothers fighting against one another, although I’ll be honest, I’m surprised by that.

The story begins with Hiram and John McLemore, my husband’s 3rd Great Uncle and 2nd Great-Grandfather, respectively.

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The Disobedient Daughter

When Great-great-great-great-grandpa Thomas Chilcoat passed on, the will1 he left behind was relatively standard. First, pay all his expenses and his funeral. Second, provide for his wife. Then he starts divvying up his assets among his children: 2/5 to Robert, his eldest son [my 3rd great grandfather], 2/5 to Thomas, his youngest son, 1/5 to Elizabeth, his youngest daughter. And…

I give and devise to Sarah my eldest daughter only five dollars for the caus [sic] of her being a disobedient child

Thomas Chilcoat, Last Will & Testament, written 04 Jul 1840

One just cannot read a statement like that without wondering What in the heck did poor Sarah do to make Papa so angry?

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Deep in the Heart of Texas

Most of my family trees (I’m at 24 trees and counting) include a lot of travel. The family ancestor arrives in America, then moves three or four times, then his subsequent family moves, then another generation moves, and eventually, there are family members scattered from coast to coast across the U.S.

Not so when talking about my eldest son’s paternal lineage. That story starts and stays in Texas.

And it begins with Peter Ryman.

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Delusions of Grandeur

When I was in the 10th Grade, I had to write a research paper for history. We were given a list of Civil War topics from which to choose.

  • My choice: General Irvin McDowell
  • Why?: Because his last name was the same as mine. And wouldn’t it be cool if I was related to someone famous?

Sadly, Irvin is not my long lost 3rd-Great-Uncle or even my 1st-Cousin-4x-Removed. He was just a very unskilled Union general1.

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Top This

I’ve been told my Grandfather Weddle’s maternal relatives, the Marshes, weren’t very close. In fact, on the rare occasions that they all got together, they typically spent their time and energy playing “Top This!” [1]

You know how that game goes: one sibling brags about their new car, or big bonus, or the latest remarkable feat of [insert name of family member] and no sooner do they finish their story than the other siblings jump in with their own tales of incredible proportion.

And on and on it goes… ad nauseum.

All families do it to some degree. What is so sad about this sort of one-up-man-ship is that it detracts from real accomplishments. Perhaps this is how my great great uncle, Robert Jesse Downing Marsh,Read More »

Prisoner of War No. 44095

I was digging around the internet for ancestry records when I found these: prisoner of war records for Kevin’s maternal grandfather, John Frederick Flatau, a.k.a. Opa. You might notice they are all in French. Google Translate and I have become friends. Really good friends! And what Google couldn’t translate, I turned over to international friends […]