This blog began in 2019 as a placeholder for my website GatheringLeaves.org which I had recently taken off the air. I took down the website that I first assembled in December 1994. I did this because I was tired of paying $135 a year to maintain a website that I had not touched in nearly a decade. Since I started the blog, I have published … Continue reading Gathering More Leaves
I have solved yet another mystery. For a long time, my working theory has been that my great grandfather, James Monroe Dobbs, was employed by the Panama Railway for several years in the 1880s. I had based my assumption on three things: a relative’s statement over 70 years ago, a newspaper article published in 1893, and two passenger lists that I found from the 1880s. … Continue reading International Man Of Mystery – Part Four
In a recent post, I described a research effort into when my slaveholding ancestors began the practice of owning slaves. Reviewing census and probate records, I was able to see evidence of which of my 19th-century antebellum ancestors owned slaves. In the post, I told of how I located a will of one of my seventh great grandmothers who died in the 1740s. I commented … Continue reading A Bill of Sale
I have written several articles about my great grandfather on my mother’s side, James Monroe Dobbs, Sr. (see International Man of Mystery pts 1, 2, & 3; and Where the Hell is Valparaiso, Dobbs?), and as such, please indulge me as I may repeat some details by way of explanation as to why I find this most recent discovery worthy of note. It seems I … Continue reading The Piano Man of Mystery
I seem to find the strangest things when I am not even looking. Today, I came across this weird coincidence. I have been studying the Reconstruction era of US history, and I came across a name that when I first saw it, I did not make the connection until I noticed that it was in reference to Wilkes County, North Carolina and the age-old story … Continue reading The Eternal Triangle
So, I wanted to find the answer to how many generations of my ancestors owned slaves in the 19th century and earlier. I did not know how much earlier than the American Revolution that they began the practice of enslaving other humans. Still, I had assumed that only four generations were involved in the trade and ownership of human property. Starting with my great-grandfather, James … Continue reading Morgan’s Swamp
The one aspect of my DNA results that I haven’t discussed yet is the ethnicity estimates provided by Ancestry.com and by MyHeritage. I am baffled by the results that I see at MyHeritage.com, and I will write about them later. In this post, I will discuss the results from Ancestry.com where the only real surprise is that it shows that I am not as French … Continue reading Do You Want Freedom Fries with That?
I first read about Maynard Jackson in 1973 when he became the first Black mayor of a major Southern US city. As mayor of Atlanta, he and a young Senator from Delaware were my political heroes of the day. It was not until 30 years later that I learned that Mayor Jackson (1938-2003) and I were fourth cousins. I made this discovery when I read … Continue reading The Question of Judie’s Father
When I was a kid growing up in Texas in the 1960s, I suffered from an identity crisis. While I didn’t know who I was, I knew who I was not. For one, I was not born in Texas, and that was a problem for some folks. I grew up fascinated by American history while having no idea where my ancestors fit in with the … Continue reading Had I Known Then What I Know Now
Her story goes like this: Theodosia Beck Beasley, age 14, married a 28-year-old man named John McMullan in Orange County, Virginia. The year was 1769. Together they had five children, one of whom was a fourth great-grandfather on my mother’s side named Patrick McMullan. At some point in time, Theodosia left John and married a man by the name of William Dula. How this came … Continue reading Bad Grandma?