Everything’s Relative: June 2003

Everything’s Relative: June 2003

The lighter side of family history.

The Living Dead

My uncle Harry had a hunchback. When he passed away, a strap was placed across his body and the coffin to hold him flat. Back then, family members and close friends sat up with the deceased at home. Suddenly, the strap across his body broke, and Uncle Harry appeared to sit up! The house was full of people, hut only one friend sat with Uncle Harry at the time. The friend was so frightened, she knocked down a screen door in her haste to get out of the house.

Kathy Coble, Owensboro, Ky.

A Bible Reunion

My husband, Darren, and I used to spend quite a bit of time with his grandmother Viola Booth. During our visits, she would share family stories, and we would look at old family pictures. This is when my husband’s love for genealogy began.

On one such visit, she pulled from her closet an old Booth family Bible. The Bible was so old that we almost dared not touch it. But curiosity got the best of my husband, and he carefully opened it. Much to his disappointment, the family pages had been torn from the Bible. Did it still have genealogical value?

Grandma gave the Bible to Darren, though they discussed throwing it away because it was so old and worn. Bur my sentimental husband didn’t have the heart to throw it away when he read the following note, which had been written on the top of the Bible box by his great-grandmother Hazel Booth:

This is grandma and grandpa Booth’s [Mary and Charles]. it is passed to the oldest child and to the next when they pass on. Aunt Mary Russell gave me this family Bible when Farley and Gilbert [Hazel’s sons] took her to Conway Springs after Hiram died (Hazel’s husband and the youngest son of Mary and Charles Booth]. She sent it to me. It was Em, Rud, and then to Laura [Hiram’s older sisters] etc., the oldest every time. I don’t know who will take this Holy Bible when I’m gone, but don’t destroy it I pray.

– Mother [Hazel] Booth

Darren returned home with the Bible, placing it in an old trunk with his other family treasures. As time passed, he came in contact with a distant cousin who also was researching the Booth family. Darren shared the Bible story with him, and to Darren’s amazement, this cousin knew of another distant cousin who had the family pages belonging to the Booth family Bible. Darren contacted this man, who gladly sent the Bible pages to him, and once again, after who knows how long, the pages were together with the Bible in which they belonged. There is much information in those pages, and today the Booth family Bible is an even greater treasure.

Mrs. Darren G. Booth, Derby, Kan.

Stuck in the Middle

When I was well into adulthood, my father (pictured far right with his parents and siblings) came for a visit. We talked about his older brother Will and Will’s family, which included a son Bill and a grandson Billy. I commented on how popular the name William is in our family. (My dad’s uncle was William, as was his first cousin born on the same date as my father.) Then I added, “And of course, you have William as your middle name.”

“I’m not George William!” he replied, “I’m George Washington!” What a surprise! My dad always signed his name George W. Mewhorter. I had assumed the W stood for William and had written it that way several times in my youth when asked to give my father’s full name.

As our conversation continued, my father revealed that his brother Will was William Harrison and his brother Ben was Benjamin Franklin. What a patriotic woman my grandmother must have been! I am delighted to have George Washington as my father. And I’ve learned a family history lesson: Always ask for middle names!

Margaret Mewhorter, Bloomington, Minn.

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