TSGS Cruiser Blog

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

“So, It Is Really True!”

...when I was in the fifth grade and was made aware for the first time that many, many generations of ancestors came before I was even born. I realized, that year, that the stories of long ago were based upon real times and real people, in spite of the fact that the actual story was fiction. It was truly a difficult thing for me to just accept – although Mom and Dad, my teacher and others were trying to convince me that things actually happened before my time or even my parents' time. So, my parents took me to several areas in Kentucky to visit the graves of some of my more recent ancestors (my great grandparents). They must have existed because they no longer existed. Now, that was hard for Dad to explain, but he said he knew these people and they were his grandparents. I saw no reason for Dad to lie about this. My West great grandparents were John William West & Hettie (Hester) Martin. Whoa! On their tombstone was a picture of them!!! They must have lived because there was their photo and Dad made a positive ID of them... he claimed that was exactly how they looked. Also, I was named after my great grandfather. This was proof that they existed and my father verified that it was true! [Us genealogists call that "documentation," something I needed to have then and still insist upon today!] Dad said boldly and with pride, “These are my grandparents!” I thought that if I had grandparents and Dad had grandparents, did my grandparents have grandparents and did these people (my great grandparents) also have grandparents. Dad said that, indeed, that was true. Well, who were these people; and, sadly Dad said “I do not know!” Well, I have been searching ever since for who these people are. That was over 50 years ago!

By the way, we went to see my great grandfather's grave in Owensboro, Kentucky. It was a Civil War Marker for James Tobias Long. I looked at Mom and Dad and stated with my newfound wisdom and experience - “So, the Civil War really happened!”

- Written & submitted by John G. West

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