I love history, and one of the things that I have always wished was possible was to sit down and talk to those directly involved with the past. For instance, my great -grandfather is the great mystery in my family on Dad's side. Now, my father knew his grandfather, and I have pictures of him and a copy of his death certificate. This is all that we know.
1, He was a tough guy, and always packed a pistol wherever he went,
2,He was a lawyer.
3. He was a minister
4. He was an outlaw
Yes, he was all four.
One of his legs was shot off during a bank robbery.and it was replaced by a wooden one. My dad remembers the wooden leg. He is rumored to have been part of the James gang, but we have never been able to prove it. One old-time minister in Joplin told my cousin, who was trying to track down some of the history, that he knew for sure that my great-grandfather hid the James boys out, and even took food and supplies to them. This minister was very old when he told my cousin about this, and of course, he passed away years ago.
My father was very vague when I would try to ask questions about his grandfather's past. All that I would get was "well. he was my grandpa,and I loved him" And that is as it should be.
Now, things get interesting. I knew that my great-grandmother died and that my great-grandfather remarried and started a 2nd family, The two sides never met, the offspring of his first family and the offspring of his second family. They never met. That is, until now.
Enter Facebook. Yes, that social mega gathering place has brought together the half-sides of the family, Here is the real kicker. my great-grandfather, the old fart, fathered one last son at the tender age of 74 years old. Of course, Raymond, this last son, never really knew his father, and my great-grandfather passes away when Raymond was two years old. Raymond, too, passed away a few years ago.
This past year, through Facebook, I met Raymond's wife, Irene, So, as weird as it sounds, the daughter-in-law of my great grandfather is alive and is only a few years older than I am. Wow!
I asked here questions about the family history, but she knows even less that I do about it. My great-grandfather;s second wife, lived until 1979 and died in Joplin. I was sick to my stomach when I found that out. Had I known that she existed, and that was still alive until 1979, I would have been in Joplin questioning her all about my mysterious great-grandfather.
Now, it is too late, and all of the new cousins that I have met on Facebook all ask each other the same questions, Who really was Roy G , and was it true that he changed the family name from James ?
I guess I may never know . Maybe I should be content like my father was and say."All that I know was that he was my grandfather, and I loved him" Sometimes, it is better not to know.