Saturday, November 26, 2011

From a dead man's wallet

ORNERY PEOPLE--"What is a Depression Okie?"

ORNERY PEOPLE is still in the planning stage but it is becoming clear that I can write it as a prequel to GRAPES OF WRATH.

We know what California thought of Okies in the 1930s, when the word was invented (wasn't it?) as a term of derogation. We know what prejudice Oklahomans suffered in later decades, up to the present. What we don't have, to my knowledge, is a book that answers the question "What is a Depression Okie?" in historical terms, what is the background in this continent of a representative Depression Okie?

Using Internet resources, primarily, I will tell stories about people I never knew about until I began looking for them online in 2002. Some of the stories start in the 1600s and all of them start Pre-Revolution, for a typical Okie is not a newcomer to this continent. I even have Dawes Commission testimony from part Indian cousins and a WPA interview with a part Indian cousin.

I am having trouble with a few families where I hit the genealogist's brick wall (for the Parkers, in 1818 Alabama) and having trouble with other families, like the SC and Mississippi Stewarts whose names I know but about whom I know almost nothing except a bit about some property they owned. No stories! Nothing like Aunt Kate Richardson's killing a Yankee who put his head in her apple barrel.

The broad historical themes of the book are emerging. One obvious one will be the dispersal of families after the Revolution and the strange gathering-in of families through the Internet.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This blog has already brought me previously unknown photographs of great grandparents

So I just posted two partial listing of known ancestors up through great great great grandparents.

I believe in the power of the Internet.

The question I pose in ORNERY PEOPLE is "What is an Okie?" The assumption at the outset was that there would be no written record of ancestors. The book is in part a tribute to the mass of available documentation on the Internet for a typical Depression Okie--the people of GRAPES OF WRATH.

Parker and Ro[d]gers side

Corrections welcomed!
Filling in of blanks wished for!

Costner and Bell side

Corrections and supplementary evidence welcomed.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Red-Headed Scotch-Irish John Rogers, Who Mumbled the Lord's Prayer in Choctaw

Great Grandfather John Rogers--Not a Red-Headed Irishman Who Could Not Talk Plain

If you can't trust a 90 year old great aunt, whom can you trust? Her father, she said, was a red-headed Irishman who could not talk plain. Oh, so he was fresh off the boat with a brogue that baffled the folks in the Choctaw Nation of Indian Territory in the 90s. Cousins revealed that he muttered before meals but that he was saying the Lord's Prayer in Choctaw. But wait: when is the last time an Irishman disembarked at Ft Smith? Mystery. Many tries. Then the "Duh" moment. Rodgers? The power of a "d." And the miracle of his having an older brother in his household in 1900, a brother with a name less common than John and William. The brother did the trick, along with Great Grandpa's saying his parents were born in Tennessee. Not Derry and not Down but Tennessee. Illiterate, but he knew where his parents were born, right? The brother's name led to G G Grandpa John Rogers born in Tennessee around 1824 and living in Perry Tennessee in 1850. Living with Annie (born in Tennessee from parents the same) and small children including the brother who was in the Choctaw Nation in 1900 but not Great Grandpa, born in 1861, we learn from the censuses. But why were Emily (10) and Nancy Cagle (40) living in the household? And why was 10 year old George Bandy living with John and Annie? And why, in 1860, after the move to Arkansas, was George Bandy (21) still living with them. And is this the George W. Bandy (right age) who enlisted in nearby Ft Smith in 1863 and never came home again?

Was Annie a Bandy? Dempsey and Elizaeth Bandy were the right age to have been the parents of Annie and young George, and they were in the Perry 1840 census and then not in the 1850. Could they have died and left Annie to care for young George? What other Bandy couples died in Perry before 1840?

So, aunt who lived in three centuries but not very long in two of them, what was true in what you said? Red-headed I believe because you, looking as if you were Indian on the Buffalo nickel, absolutely full-blood Choctaw and Cherokee, to all appearances, had red hair as a child and a red-headed father. Irishman? Nah. He probably heard that he was Scotch-Irish but did not know what the term meant and mumbled it down to "Irish." Those Tennessee Rodgerses were Scotch-Irish like most of the other inhabitants there.

So that's where we stop--with the older John Rogers born in Tennessee around 1824. He was in Arkansas in 1860 but of course by 1870 he had disappeared. Think jayhawkers, bushwhackers, guerrillas, border ruffians, and Yankee and Confederate troops. How many Southern men left no trace! Think of G Grandpa Roger's wife's grandfather, shot to death as he tried to cross a river in Arkansas.

Anna or Anne or Annie is still intriguing. Will a Bandy step forward with an explanation for young George's being part of the household from his childhood until the start of the War? Was Annie a Bandy?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Death of a great Cockerham researcher.

COCKERHAM, Larry D. Age 63 of Nashville, TN. February 12, 2011. Survived by his wife, Darlene Whaley Cockerham; son, Brian (Shannon) Cockerham; grandchildren, Camden & Katelyn Cockerham; & aunt, Jesse Cockerham. Funeral services will be conducted Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. at Woodbine Funeral Home, HICKORY CHAPEL, 5852 Nolensville Road by Dr. Ron Lowery. Interment Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens. Family & friends will serve as Active Pallbearers. Honorary Pallbearers: The Sons of Confederate Veterans and Friends of Metro Parks & Recreation. Visitation Tuesday 2-8 p.m. at WOODBINE FUNERAL HOME, HICKORY CHAPEL
Published in The Tennessean on February 14, 2011

A Southern story. Long ago Larry and I worked out that we were kin through Sarah Cochran then he asked the great question, "What are your other names?" He decided right away that while we had initially been doubtful about the Cochrans we were also kin through the Schlemps. Double cousin Lois says, in the South if you are not kin you are connected. Or you are doubly or triply kin. What a loss of a dedicated researcher and a genial man.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nice Day in Morro Bay Today

Looking away from the sun, away from the motorized paragliders

Search and Rescue Powered Paragliders

Search and rescue teams are testing out motorized paragliders here. On the beach they are extremely loud if they are right over you. The pilots can go OVER the Rock. These machines will be extremely valuable for hunting very near ground level. Elizabeth Smart would have been found right away.

Look in the center for a blotch at tree top and look in the sky to the left of center.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

GGGGG Grandpa Schlemp--in Capt. Love's Company in the Revolution

Never know what you are going to find on the Internet. This man is said to have been born on shipboard, on the way to the colonies. Several of his fellows in Capt. William Love's company lived long enough to apply for the 1832 pension.

One of his descendants was in Calvin Coolidge's cabinet so that he shows up in a picture with one of my favorite writers, the visiting John Buchan.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Percy, named for the dashing Captain John Percival

In the 1990s Percy roamed in three states, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania--not hard, since the three states met 400 or so feet south of the Landenberg house. I fed him bread and called him by brushing my hands together fast. He lived out in the open all year long but favored our railings. It was sad seeing him there in the ice and snow, but I read that peacocks are native to high Indian mountains. It was hard to leave him.


Hunter gives a vivid picture of the Committee of Safety man, Robert Ewart, my GGGGG Grandfather and my GGGGG Grandfather (you know those Scots), as the center of a clan who fought together at King's Mountain, some of them officially under the command of one of Ewart's sons-in-law, James Johnston, some of them just leaving the farm with a gun and walking over to fight the British. We pretty much have official lists of the Overmountain men, but don't have such lists for the handful of locals who defied their Tory neighbors and took arms against Ferguson, inflamed by "Tarleton's Quarter" and Tarleton's new threats. We know only if they were officially in James Johnston's Company and lived long enough to file for pension under the 1832 law. How did Hunter know so much detail about the children of Robert Ewart and their marriages? I decided to find out yesterday. Hunter married a daughter of Peter Forney (for whom see Google). James Johnston's son William married a daughter of Peter Forney. William's mother was Jane Ewart. So Hunter's children were first cousins of William's children. He knew what he was talking about, and had known all the principal players all his life because of his father's place in the area as Presbyterian minister and as hero in Wheeler's "Historical Sketches" of the terrific "pine knot" story, in which, unarmed, he bested a mounted British Lieutenant. This all bears more investigation, but I'm happy to know that the information was current in the family. Hunter knew specific locations and knew not only family members but also objects such as engraved powder horns and on-the-spot notations of dates of battles. Some of the Revolutionary fighters were still alive when Hunter married. Peter was. I don't think Hunter would have given any misinformation deliberately. I just wish he had given more about some of the Ewart sons-n-law, such as Thomas Hill and Joseph Jack.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jim Bowman gets a chuckle out of the TLS letter about Kazin

And Bowman recalls Mike Gaynor's great piece on Brodhead.

A 2-for blog piece.
Today’s chuckle . . .

. . . from Times Literary Supplement, 10/7/11 (subscription only), letter to editor from reader Hershel Parker:

Shaken by your opening of This Week (September 30) and by the first line of Zachary Leader’s review of Alfred Kazin’s Journals, two separate places where Kazin is said to have died in 1988, I staggered down to consult my 1997 diary for February 25.

That night I felt certain that Kazin, Paul Metcalf and I talked about Melville together at the Union Square [NYC] Barnes and Noble.

My comments in the diary are not respectful of the man presenting himself as Kazin, but they clearly are based on my belief that he was there, however diminished.

Diminished belief is a terrible thing.

Parker is a Melville scholar of renown, who also, as it happened, in 2007 nailed the Duke U. president in the aftermath of the lacrosse team accusation scandal, as a man who can be trusted not to be trustworthy.

First Cousin 4 Times Removed Thomas W. Bell's Literary Ambition in the Republic of Texas, 1841

25 July 1841
I do not now intend to quit study until I shall obtain [attain?] at least a respectable standing in the literary world.