Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tall Tales, Mysteries and other Family Folk Lore

There is a legend in my mother's family that somewhere back around the mid-1800's, there was a native American bride. I've heard various tribes named, most often Catawba.

Records are hard to come by thanks to a little war criminal named Sherman, but there is a census, 1870, I believe that lists the family. The wife's race is left off. I've since heard from a couple of amateur geneologists that this was frequently done when the wife was of African-American descent and the census taker (usually some-one from the area) didn't want to get the white husband in any trouble. You know, miscongenation and all that.

Then, several years ago, my mother's dentist noted a particular pattern of natural discoloration on her teeth that he said was usually seen in those of Eastern Indian descent, you know, Bombay, India.

Of course, that is the angle I like best. It begs for a story. How could a young Eastern Indian woman end up in the wilds of 1800's South Carolina?

But what ever legend contains the kernel of truth, we may never know. But that there is a hint of some exotic blood flowing through our veins can hardly be questioned when presented with photographs such as this:

My Maternal Grandmother, probably in her mid-twenties.


peg said...

Intriguing story, yes, and yours to write. (And what a beautiful woman, your grandmother.)

Pam said...

Interesting opening to a novel perhaps? And I agree with Peg - it's a beautiful photograph of your grandmother.