Maggots in the Woodpile
As many of you are painfully and bored-ly -is that even a word? - aware, the Tamster has been on a genealogy bent for a couple of years now, pretty much forsaking any creative endeavors in lieu of following happy green leaves down the rabbit hole.
So far, I've found whalers, Quakers, village idiots, suspected murderers/kidnappers, plundering vikings, puppet royals, cousins marrying, a Tory, and a witch. (The Tory and the Salem Witch are steps, mind you.) But yesterday I found something I never expected. I've taken a bit of a break on the Davis side (my second father's clan) and moved over to the Hudspeth/Watson clan. That being the family into which my dad on birth certificate married into. Pat, my step mom has four children. All of them are Hudspeths. She is a Watson. (Yes, I keep this all in my head. Its why I can't remember if I wore this outfit already this week or not) Anyway. The Watson/Hudspeth clans hail from south of the Mason Dixon line. That should tell you where I am going.
Genealogy is much like fishing. You can sit for hours, bobber idle on the pond and suddenly 'SMACK' you're being pulled into the deep by MOBY. This week I "discovered" that The Watsons are connected by marriage to the Boones which means - one of her aunts married one of my uncles. (nice) and secondly the Watsons married into a family called Van Cleave which married into the Vanderbilts. Again. The Hughes family ties into the Vanderbilts. So. my step mom and my dad are distant cousins. (giggle giggle!) But that's not the kicker.
Yesterday I was adding Hudspeths to the happy tree, going back to England in the 1700's and as I was adding brothers and sisters to the branches I came across a set of records from Alabama...One of the Hudspeth's was a slave owner. He owned a male, 75 years old and a 14 year old female. It makes me ache. I'm not sure why I had such a strong reaction to it - but it was disturbing to me on a gut level. I find it amusing when I find evidence of Grandma and Grandpa being brother and sister but evidence of humans owning other humans - wow. I actually don't know how to present this to my step mom and her kids. Its not their "fault" and it doesn't make them terrible people because of something a great great uncle did that they don't even know about - but to me it is deeply disturbing and I don't know how to tell them without doing harm. Even seeing the document made me ache.
Anyway. I should have prepared myself better for that type of truth surfacing when researching a family with generational presence in the deep south. Perhaps I am too naive. Not all of us are cornish tin miners and displaced Quakers....