In Genealogy circles the term “traditions” means oral accounts of usually unsubstantiated stories of our family history. An example of this is my Great Grandfather Pleasant Smith. According to the information written in my baby book he was born on February 14, 1853 in Hazel Hill, Johnson County, Missouri. I have not been able to find any documentation to prove this other than this entry. He married Sarah Jane Page on April 13, 1882 in Lafayette County, Missouri. I have found this record. My Grandfather, John Pleasant Smith was born September 8, 1882. I have records for this. My Great Grandmother Sarah married James Newhouse on February 27, 1894. I have this record. What happened to Pleasant Smith? There is no record of him after the birth of his son. Sometime between this and Sarah’s new marriage he disappeared.
The Tradition in our family is that he was a Creek Indian in a high position in the tribe. He deserted the tribe and lived in hiding from them. Sometime after my Grandfather was born members of that tribe found him, murdered him, cut him into pieces and placed his remains on the railroad track. They did this shortly before the train was to come by. Someone found his body before the train came. Supposedly a few years after this occurred Sarah received a letter addressed to Pleasant which included the name of the position he held among the tribe. She never opened the letter and sent it back to the sender.
I have no proof that this Tradition ever happened. So, the question is, do I include this in my Family History or just pass it on orally like it was given to me? I have decided that, although I love genealogy and enjoy the research it entails, I need to be honest with myself that no one else in my immediate family has any interest (yet) in it. I often wonder if this tradition may pass away with me.
As a result, I am now including all the family traditions I have heard of. I write out the story as completely as I can and then include all documentation I have on this particular person. I make sure that anyone reading it will understand that further research needs to be done to make it a “fact”. Who knows, many years from now one of my Grandchildren may discover proof of this and my recording the story helped them find it!
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.
Filed under Ancestry, Brick Walls, Creek Indian, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Hints, Memories, Missouri, Personal Stories, Pleasant Smith, Research, Sarah Jane Page, Story telling, Uncategorized
I am already late on the first one. Not a great start to this challenge, however it motivates me to do better.
For the first week the challenge was “Fresh Start”. This is very appropriate since I finally broke through a brick wall recently and I can give my Great Grandmother, Sarah Jane Page a fresh start.
I wrote a blog about her in June 2014. At that time I knew very little about her and I asked for any hints on discovering more. Thankfully some of my great readers did just that! So I have spent the last 6 months researching further and several entire generations unfolded before me.
In the blog ( http://tinyurl.com/kujaxr8 ) I told about the 8 mysteries surrounding Sarah. The first Mystery was what happened to her first husband James R. McDowell? I have discovered that James was still alive in 1895 as he signed and gave permission for their 16 year old daughter Leona to get married.
For Mystery #2, I will have to assume that my Great Grandfather, Pleasant Smith must have been murdered sometime between 1882 and 1887. This is much early than I had originally thought. Also for this Mystery I found that there may indeed be some truth to how Pleasant died. Over the past 4 months I have found 5 Smith cousins that I didn’t know existed. It has been great. In talking about the family history I heard the same story as I told about his death from 2 of these cousins. They brought it up first so I feel it has more merit than before.
For Mystery #3, I discovered the name of Sarah’s’ 3rd husband. It was John Carter Farris and they were married in 1887. John Carter Farris died in 1892 and they had no children.
Mystery #5 was who Pleasant Smith married to before my Great Grandmother? I found that he had married a woman named Charity Smith in 1869 and that she is the mother of my Uncle Pleasant Smith Jr.
In Mystery #7 we find that Sarah was listed as “divorced” in the 1900 Census. Upon further examination we find that her Step-son/Brother-in-law gave the information and it was incorrect. James was found in Southern Missouri working for a coal camp in 1900. They were just separated by necessity.
There is still a lot of mystery surrounding this small branch of my tree but I know if I stay diligent I will continue to fill in those little blanks a little at a time. Unfortunately this is not how I typically do things. I prefer the “bulldoze your way through” method. I guess I am learning patience.