We were at a family funeral. I didn't get to attend many, living several states away, but this one coincided with a visit. It might have been Uncle Charley's or Aunt Maude Brown"s, but I am not sure. An elderly relative, seen seldom, known more through story than sight. There were cousins there I had not seen since childhood, others I had never met at all. All of Franklin County is related in some way. They were mostly my mother's cousins, many some degree of distance, second cousin, once removed. Most of my generation lived at a distance or were working.
We stood in the church talking family talk with those who remembered when. Always curious about family "secrets" I asked cousin Myron about Grandpa Jerry, my grandfather's father. No one has been able to trace his origins back any further than the Civil War when he arrived in Franklin County, a decidedly pro-Union county, with a wife, Mary Elizabeth and small children.
Now mind you, we were a family who knew our people. We KNEW Great Grandpa fought in the Revolution and got his plot of land in payment. We knew who married who and who moved where. We kept track of these things.
Well, not too long after they arrived Mary Elizabeth died. Saddled with young children, Jerry remarried soon changing wives but not names. Mary Elizabeth Gideon was his second bride.
And now the story gets guessy.
How did an incomer, a stranger, marry into one of the oldest families of Franklin County, an insular kind of a place to say the least? We know that with the war on there may have been a shortage of marriageable men. Maybe Grandpa Gideon needed help on the farm. Maybe ME the II was besot and determined. Nonetheless it seems a bit odd, viewing the information passed on by Mom's cousin Myron at the family funeral.
In true Franklin County style Myron remarked offhandedly, "Grandpa Jerry was a rebel, and the neighbors didn't like it much."