Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Happily Digging in Dirt

Ok, you Hodge kinfolk out there, more good dirt has surfaced on the old black sheep ancestor, Dr. Henry. This guy was a stinker deluxe and I find it amusing that I have so much fun chasing him.

I am proud of my upright, honest, hard-working ancestor preachers, teachers and farmers. I'll sing their praises to anyone who will listen. But, ask me about old Henry and I can get downright verbose as I start rattling off the good dirt. I can't help it. It just seems like the black sheep of the family are the ones that are the most interesting.

Old Henry is probably fuming and fussing on the other side, aggravated that his great-great-great granddaughter is exposing his misdeeds to his other descendants. On the other hand, he seems a completely unrepentant old devil and may be puffing up with pride amongst the other sinners in hell. (I just don't see how he could have ended up anywhere else.)

Just in this week is a 60 page divorce file from the Kentucky archives, relating the final days of his first marriage. We already knew that ole Hank treated his second wife (our ancestress) like crap. Turns out he did the same thing to his first wife that he left back in Tennessee. Accusations of adultery and desertion ended with Ailcey getting her divorce and complete custody of their 8-year-old daughter. Depositions of neighbors and family indicate that Henry was a man of "roaming disposition" who definitely had a mean streak.

All indications are that Henry's father was a good man - a Baptist preacher, well liked and with compassion enough to give some property to his first daughter-in-law in order that she would have some income after his son lit a shuck for parts unknown. Henry's mother, on the other hand, may have been mentally unstable or, at the very least, mean. Henry seems to have taken after his mother.

The Hodge files are growing exponentially these days. My two notebooks for the Hodge line suddenly exploded into five notebooks, with more records arriving daily. Fun, fun, fun.


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