Dinner With Four Ancestors

I have found a great blog carnival called the Carnival of Genealogy.  This edition involves us writing about having dinner with four ancestors…my story: (fiction to follow)

I’m searching through documents in the courthouse basement and realize I’m starting to get a little hungry.  My dad, who always goes with me, says he isn’t the least bit hungry!  I tell him he is, he is just too engrossed in his work to want to leave. Reluctantly, he goes with me and we head upstairs and outside to the van to retrieve our cooler filled with sandwiches, fruits and drinks.  We’re eating quickly so we could make it back to the basement before anyone disturbed the papers we were looking through.  We’re about halfway finished when an older gentleman walks by, stops then looks at us rather peculiarly.  My dad and I look at him, at each other, then back at him.  We weren’t sure what to think of this man.  His coat looked quite old and worn, even a tad bit dirty.  Just then he spoke:

“Names John, who are you folks?” We were a bit stunned, but told him our names.  I actually felt a little sorry for the man, so I offered him a sandwich.  He thanked me graciously and sat down next to us.  He began telling us about his wife Lilly. He even mentioned his first wife Maggie and their son.  He focused quite a bit more on his current wife, though.  Lilly and John were married in Kentucky, they had eight children, but only five were living now.  The youngest is just a baby and they call him Marty….What?!

My father and I were both dumbfounded.  Could this be my great-grandfather? 

I asked him what his last name is, it was Murphy but he had changed it to Floyd.  I asked him what Lilly’s last name was when he met her, he said Fenix.  I asked him what Maggie’s last name was before he met her, he said Askew.  Wow! This has to be.  But how?  Did he pass through time just to talk to us?

We sat another two hours, sharing sandwiches and stories with this wonderful man who had traveled through time to spend just a moment with his grandson and great-granddaughter.

<—end fiction—->

I would very much enjoy meeting my great-grandfather John (Murphy) Floyd.  He was from Alabama and got in to some trouble down there (which was the reason for the name change).  He left sometime between 1896-1900 and came up to Brandenburg, KY.  He married my great-grandmother Lilly Fenix in April of 1902.  I guess it’s possible that he was actually married to two women at the same time..not probable, though, since his first wife also remarried.  While in Alabama he was married to Maggie Askew and they had one son.  I’m not quite sure of his name, though.  What do you think this name is?


The first name is Maggie Askew, the third is Ira Durham, who just so happens to be Maggie’s 2nd husband.  But the middle name…I just can’t figure it out.  I have my thoughts on this, but I wonder what everyone else thinks? His last name was Murphy…but what was his first?

The 2nd ancestor I’d like to have dinner with is Mary Jane (Sweeney) Brown.  She was a great woman. 

She raised a houseful of children, ran a farm and kept up with her husband the whole way. She was a devout Christian who never missed a day of church and she delivered most of the babies in the County.  There are many alive today who can remember hearing someone call out to *Ma Brown* to come help with the birthing.  She passed away when I was 15.  I would give almost anything to be able to spend an afternoon with her again.

My 3rd ancestor would be James Fenix.  He has been the absolute hardest for me to track down.  He married Minerva Pipes in Brandenburg, Meade County, Kentucky.  We think he may have been married and divorced a few times.  After he divorced our Minerva, he married a woman from Floyd County, Indiana.  His children with the Indiana woman wound up in an orphans home.  He just disappeared.

My 4th ancestor would have to be Levi Borden.  He was born in 1811 in Shenendoah County, Virginia.  He came to Indiana early in life and he and his brothers helped his father Jonathon to build a cabin in Crawford County Indiana.  The last time I went there, it was still standing but is beginning to fall down.  Levi seemed to be a jovial man, ready to get down on the floor to play with his grandchildren.  He was there to know about his parents and grandparents, but is close enough to me to give details about the lives of those who came after him, but were gone before I was born.

Those are the four I would like to have dinner with.  I just want sandwiches and cold drinks, nothing fancy.  I wouldn’t want a meal to take away from the conversation in the slightest.  I would spend most of my time not finding out dates and times, but personalities and dreams.  I want to know what made them who they were.  I want to know what they wanted to be when they grew up, I want to know if they were happy…and what made them happy.  I would want to know more about their family life, were they close to their siblings?  Their parents?  Their grandparents.  This is one reason why I keep a journal.  I want to leave these things to my children and future descendants.  I don’t want them to look over old photographs and wonder who I was…I want them to know.

Attention Genealogy Bloggers!
We're always looking for submissions to our Blog Carnivals! Read about them here!

Leave a Reply