A Ghostly Meeting
Written by Joan Murphy
November 10, 2003
A clan gathering that spans the generations. Ghosties
join together to discuss confusing the records for future
John "the emigrant": I thank ye good people for coming. I want us
all to discuss what we have done to make the paper trail more
elusive. Having several places of birth, several parents, and my
good wife's name wrong on the marriage record back in County Kent is
a start. Then there is the confusion that will follow any who do
not scan records carefully and get confused on whether it was me or
son John who did this or that. John's vanishing act shortly after
my death was a touch of genius.
Stephen I: So right Father. For my part, I see that people will
question which of my children was born to good wife one and good
wife two. There is the fact that wife II was married before and was
having children by the first husband when some attribute her being
married to me. Perhaps some will wonder if I truly married the
sister of my first wife and I will never tell. *Soft laughter
Stephen II: (soft chuckle) I must admit that always naming a son
after oneself will add a lot of intrigue. Then there are the needed
documents and information that will be lost and not available.
John, son of Stephen II: Oh I think that having me die in a place
that did not yet exist was a wonderful idea. Now let them all chew
on that for a while. No need to reveal that it was my son, Henry,
in Georgia, not I, unless someone finds out when Columbia County was
settled. Let some one find that for themselves.
John, son of John: Gotta hand (no pun intended) it to my son
Joseph though. I think he has done an outstanding job of confusing
everyone. Sometimes even I get confused when I try to keep track of
where that boy went and what he did. His first smart move was being
away when the good men of our faire towne signed that agreement to
fight our birth home should war come.
Joseph: Not being in East Hampton at one important time and then
being there a year later for the muster role listing was fun. Then
dropping totally out of sight was another. Staying hidden and then
showing up in another place many years later may keep them from
making a connection.
John Son of Stephen II: Aye and I see you borrowed a page from my
booke, chosing a place that did not exist for your birthplace as
Jospeh of North Carolina.
John, Son of John: Yes, sone, but did ye have to marry a savage?
Joseph: Ah, Father, now the question should be if I did marry a
Cherokee. That too will be obscure in future. As for borrowing a
page from your book, Grandfather, I actually did 'suggest' that I
was born in a county that did not exist while you were just a victim
of bad information. Still, it is a good idea since records could
not be obtained in a non-existant place!
John "the emigrant": Zelophead and Daniel stirred the pot a bit
and left waters murky. Those who follow will either take what those
two said and take it all as fact or they will veer off the path on a
tangent of their owne. Like giving the names of two ships on which
we sailed to the Colonies.
Stephen II: Grandfather, you should read more. There is now a
third recorded possibility.
John "the emigrant": What possibility?
Stephen II: Tis said that ye and those who came with ye were rich
enough to have hired a private ship....even perhaps a ship of
war..and that is why there is no record of the crossing.
John son of Stephen II: Oh now that is a good touch!
John "the emigrant": Balderdash! Nothing burns ye olde breakfast
faster than lies!!
Stephen I: Father, forgive my saying so, but that does work in your
favor for confusing things.
Joh "the emigrant": Tis true but how rich do they thing this old
man be? *Grumbles
John son of John: And there is always faulty entries in the
records. Names mispelled and the like. That will be our greatest
Stephen I: I disagree, Great-grandson! Our greatest asset will be
the fires that destroy links to us.
Joseph: I know I am the youngest but I disagree with both of you.
Our greatest ally will be what is left unrecorded. Isaiah, my son,
will be shown as having two sones when in fact, he had eight
children. Think of it, Kinfolk, all of those names left out and the
holes they will leave in the records!
Stephen II: Quite true. If we see to it that a researcher's work
is suspect it might be discounted, However, my greatest fear is
that those who seek us will unite and work as one as did our
forefathers to settle the Colonies.
Stephen I: You always were a dreamer, my boy! With travel so
difficult and records housed near and far, how could such a thing be
John "the emigrant": We shall not resolve this in one night and the
moon will soon yield to the sun. We must be away?
Joseph: That is well enough for you to say but I have no place to
lay my weary head despite the efforts of my wife.
Ending: The dark of light is replaced with the first rays of
morning and as the wraiths of ancestors past dissolved into the
ether, one unidentified ,was heard to say, "If we're in luck and the
great civil war comes, we can have the Northern Cousins burn the
record halls of the southern ones and really close the book. (hollow
laughter fades away)