COWBOYS AND INDIANS! (And much, much more).
By – The English Rose. (Jill McDonald-Constable.)
Hello all! Remember last month, I touched on some of the famous relatives we had found in my late husband’s Family Tree? Well this time I'm going to tell you a little more about them. Some are British, many of course, are American. I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes when I read some of them!
A quick run down for those of you who didn't see my other post, I mentioned in it that not many years ago we put a DNA test result on to the Ancestry website for my late husband, Chris. He’d never been told who his real father was, his mother had married and her husband legally adopted Chris, so he was the only father he knew.
Although knew that man wasn’t his biological father, if he did ever ask about his real father, the subject was changed. It was his life-long wish to find out who his real Dad was, so I bought him the DNA test for his birthday. It was a long shot, but hey, you don’t try you’ll never find out. When the results came back, we posted them onto Ancestry straight away and prepared for either a long wait or even more disappointment. However, within a matter of just a few weeks we received a mail from a man in America saying the match was interesting and asking for more information.
We emailed back and forth for a couple of weeks and Stuart was saying he thought Chris might just be a very distant relation. Then I remembered that we had some photos his mother had kept; after she had passed away, Chris’s sister had hung on to them for some unknown reason. I asked if we could sent them to Stuart, which we did. The following day, the first mail that came back simply said ‘WE HAVE A MATCH!’
Mel. Chris's real Dad.
The second mail told us that the man in the photos was Stuart’s uncle, and Stuart’s Dad was his cousin! Therefore, Stuart and Chris are second cousins. Stuart and his siblings had known Chris’s Dad well and even stayed at his house at times. They were able to fill in a lot of information for us. Unfortunately, Chris’s Dad had passed away some years before, without fathering any more children. After the excitement of us finding his real family at last, that was a sad revelation, but one we had thought might happen.
Stuart (who lives in California) has been researching his Family Tree for many years, and has gone right back to ancestors from England in 1503. Almost all of the information that follows is from a booklet created by Stuart and given to Chris, when he and his partner came over here for a visit, just the year before Chris passed away. So if there are any mistakes here, blame him!
I like researching my Family Tree, but don't go as deeply into it all as Stuart has, so I am not really clear about all this 'X times removed' business, sorry, I'm just telling it as he gave it to us!
That first distant English relative was named William Dormer, and he was the 7 times Great Grandfather of Jane Austin, making him the 11 times Great Grandfather of Chris!
In 1595 in the county of Worcestershire, a boy was born called Edward Winslow, who eventually became one of the Pilgrim Fathers and made the colonists first treaty with the Indians in 1621. He is the only Pilgrim of whom a portrait is known, it was painted in London in 1651 during one of his many trips back to his home country. Winslow was Chris’s 9th Great Grand Uncle.
In 1731, Chris’s 4th cousin 5 times removed was born in Connecticut. His name was William Williams, and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Robert Treat Paine (1731 – 1814) was Chris’s 4th cousin, 7 times removed.
John Ledyard (1751 – 1789) who sailed with Captain Cooke during the fateful voyage when Cooke was killed in the Hawaiian Islands; was a 5th cousin, 5 times removed.
President Millard Fillmore (1800 – 1874) the 13th President of the USA was Chris’s 4th cousin, 5 times removed.
In 1809 (d1892) his 9th cousin, 3 times removed, was born. Alfred Tennyson, no less!
Another President now! President Rutherford. B. Hayes, (1822 – 1893) was his 7th cousin, 2 times removed.
Now, here’s a goody for us Western writers, Daniel Wesson, (1825 – 1906) of the famous Smith and Wesson name, was his 5th cousin, 6 times removed.
And another gun man, the William Winchester (1837 – 1881) was his 7th cousin, 4 times removed!
In 1850 (d1876), a certain young man named James Hickock was born. Yep, Wild Bill was my husband’s 6th cousin, 4 times removed. (I love this game!)
COUSIN WILD BILL!
Also in 1850 (d1882), John Peters Ringo was born, later to be known as Johnny Ringo, friend of the Clanton gang, he was Chris’s 5th cousin 6 times removed.
Chris’s 9th cousin was Alfred Deakin (1856 – 1919), one of the Australian Prime Ministers.
In 1867 and 1871, two brothers were born who would have a huge effect on world travel and more. They were Orville and Wilbur Wright. His 7th cousins, 2 times removed.
THE WRIGHT MEN AND THEIR FLYING MACHINE.
In 1896 (d1983) the actor Raymond Massey, Chris’s 9th cousin was born.
In 1901 (d1966) another 9th cousin Walt Disney came along. He was followed in 1907 (d1996) by a 9th cousin, 1 time removed, Mr Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine.
In 1907 (d1989) his 10th cousin, I time removed, was born in Surrey England, his name was Laurence Olivier. (SIR Olivier!)
Since he found out all this information, Stuart has also discovered a family connection to Lucille Ball of ‘I Love Lucy’ fame, although we still don’t have many details for that relationship as yet.
So, there you have it. Whew! What a lot of scoundrels and rogues – erm – no - I mean - what a lot of famous and important folk my old man was distantly related to! Shame none of that fame passed far enough down the tree to enable us to live the high life eh! Never mind. Of course, I think I did mention it to you before, Chris and Stuart’s Great Grandfather was a Chippewa chief.
SOKAOGAN CHIPPEWA FLAG
Chris was totally thrilled to be able to read about all those people who were even distantly related to him, and to be able to shake hands at last with his real blood family gave him a deep sense of ‘belonging’. I am so pleased we were able to find all this, just two short years before he passed away, and am very grateful to Stuart for all his hard work and research and for welcoming us into the family with open arms.
Well, I hope you found this post interesting, if a little ‘dry’, I am just really amazed at all the ‘Western’ connections in there! Gun makers and gun-slingers alike. Cowboys as well as Indians!
Just another set of spooky coincidences that helped lead me into writing Westerns. I will now go and write down all of those things that have happened in the last few years to lead me into the world of the Wild West.
Every time I think about it, I remember something else odd or ‘spooky’! Fate, Luck, Spooky, Strange, Coincidence, whatever you want to call it. I guess really need to get them all down, there are way too many for it to simply be chance.
Oooh, here's another quick spooky one for you. Our daughter named our grandaughter, Melanie, often shortened to Mel! Melanie was born about 6 years before we found the other Mel, Chris's Dad!
Thank you for having the patience to read this post folks, I do look forward to reading your comments.