Thursday, June 27, 2013

One Thing Leads to Another

[Music while you read? Scroll to the bottom of the post and click on the YouTube link!]
I was at the dentist yesterday and we were talking genealogy (of course) when he said he was looking for an old book about his family.  I came home very numb and decided to look for the book, since I couldn't eat.  His book didn’t appear but I found “The Draper Family in America” and several others that are most useful.

Because of,, and googlebooks, among others, there is access online to many free, out of copyright books.  These books are a treasure trove left by our ancestors telling their tales and leaving footprints for us to follow.  While browsing this morning I foundChronicles of border warfare, or, A history of the settlement by the whites, of north-western Virginia, and of the Indian wars and massacres in that section of the state: with reflections, anecdotes, etc. (1915)”. Now there’s a title for you! As you can imagine it is written in archaic English that leaves lovers of snappy American prose bored to tears. Still, if the reader wades in with a translator’s eye there are many gems hidden in the weighty language.
Until this morning I didn’t know this book existed but it is just what I was wishing for yesterday. The genealogy gods are watching over me . . . or is it the spirits of our early Ohio ancestors who want their stories told? Blind luck or Devine intervention . . . this book is over 400 pages of treasure.

Our ancestors of the Beatty, Cullins, Draper, Meredith and McCord families (for the most part) were perched on the brink in Orange County, Virginia (later to become West Virginia and carved into various counties). They were pushing into Indian territory. Their experience was raw, and real, and dangerous.
In the index of “Chronicles” – Hallelujah!!! so many of these old books have no index – I found references to geographical areas. I flipped to page 54 – the index telling me that I’d learn about the nature and experience of the pioneers - and at the top of the page the author mentions Col. John Stuart of Greenbrier.

Until this morning I’d never heard of Greenbrier, in the future West Virginia, but I hopped on to Google and then to my favorite website, Wikipedia (love, love, love it!) and here is exactly what I needed to know about our families. . .

“Prior to the arrival of European settlers around 1740, Greenbrier County, like most of West Virginia, was used as a hunting ground by the Shawnee and Cherokee Nations. This land, which they called Can-tuc-kee, was thought to be inhabited by ghosts of Azgens, a white people from an eastern sea who were said to be killed off by the Shawnee's ancestors. According to the legend, the area was owned by the bones and ghosts of the Azgens, who would permit responsible hunting but, according to Black Fish, "we are never allowed to kill the game wantonly, and we are forbidden to settle in the country...if we did, these ghosts would rise from their caves and mounds and slay us, but they would set father against son and son against father and neighbor against neighbor and make them kill one another." Thus, while hunting parties were permitted to camp and exploit the area, permanent settlements east and south of the Spay-lay-we-theepi (Ohio River) were forbidden.

Shawnee leaders, including Pucksinwah and, later, his son Tecumseh, were alarmed by the arrival of the European settlers. In the first place, they viewed the white settlements as violating the Azgen taboo. Second, they feared for the loss of their hunting lands, which they viewed as being vital to their survival. Last and not least, they correctly suspected that it was only a matter of time before the white settlers would cross the river and invade their homelands in present-day Ohio.   

OMG! Did the lost settlers of Roanoke wander into Greenbrier Valley, or Vikings? This article helps to make real the experience of our ancestors – and anecdotal books like the Chronicles help to put flesh and bone on dry names and dates.

AND, near the bottom of that Wiki History of Greenbrier is this sentence –

“What is said to be the oldest golf course in the United States was founded in 1884 just north of White Sulphur Springs by the Montague family.”

The search came back to my dentist – Dr. Montague!

Greenbrier Resort
I wonder what our great Grandparents would think of this! Who would have guessed - not even me!

Goin’ with the flow . . . one thing leads to another . . . can’t use that phrase without The Fixx playing in my head. . .

YouTube - doctordel - The Fixx - One Thing Leads To Another (12" Extended Mix) VINYL

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