Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Family Tree Is Full of Nuts

I must admit that I've never really been too interested in finding out much about my family's genealogy; it was enough to know that my family tree was full of nuts, and leave it at that.  :)  My grandfather was a bootlegger who left North Carolina under a cloud of moonshine fumes (he was one step ahead of "them thar revenuers"), and my great-grandmother used to run a boarding house (at least, I always hoped it was a "boarding" house, but being young and naive, I might've misheard - "board" is a word that could've rhymed with something else, if you get my drift).  I knew I had a passle of cousins on both sides (including one named Bubba), but I'd only met a handful of them. With both my parents gone, I figured I knew all I was ever going to know.

But then, last week, my uncle (who is a lovable nut himself, and the lone repository for information of this kind), asked my sisters and me if we remembered any specifics he could use to track down some old addresses.  Being a former Information Systems Analyst and all around Internet Info Geek, I decided to dip my toe into the waters of, and guess what I found?

Meet my great great grandfather, Simon Spencer Bohannon, born in 1835.  He was a Captain in the Confederate army, and spent four years as a prisoner of war in a Union camp in Hilton Head, SC. 

According to census records, he owned land in Fall Creek, a fairly remote area in Yadkin County, North Carolina, where he married and raised at least five children, including twin girls, Martha and Minnie.

(Twins in my family... who knew?)

Here's a picture of Simon on his front porch sometime in the mid 1870s, with his wife, parents, and four of his children.

The boy on the bottom step (right) is my great grandfather, Henry, and what I find absolutely amazing is that he is the spitting image of my brother Jon at that age:

When you consider the fact that back in those days, people did not smile for their photographs, the impish expression on Henry's face tells me a great deal.  I think that perhaps my brother Jon's nut didn't fall too far from the tree, if you know what I mean.  Jonny was the biggest nut who ever lived, and I really regret I can't show him this picture.  I think he would've gotten a real kick out of seeing this pic of Great Granddaddy Henry, and knowing that some of those wild oats he sowed so freely were actually in his blood all along, perhaps planted in the fertile soil of Fall Creek, Yadkin County, South Carolina.


Brooklyn Ann said...

That's awesome! My grandma filled a binder full of photos and stories of my relatives. It's so amazing to see the same eyes, noses, and smiles spanning across centuries.

Terri Garey said...

How lucky you are that someone kept records! I was shocked to find these pictures, and even more shocked to see my brother in one of them. :) Very cool.

Sharon said...

cool! I live very close to Yadkin County .
My grandma (dad's mom) was the keeper of all things family on that side. Her family came over in 1701 to Virgina (French Huguenots). She passed away last week and I got the family Bible (I think it was bought in the mid 1800's) with everyone's birth and death recorded.