Some came here as immigrants. Others were born into the newly-arrived families or grew up among later generations, listening to their elders tell mysterious and compelling tales of those early, shadow-riven years.
A tangled knot of humanity, my family uprooted themselves from England’s Staffordshire hills, fled Ireland’s sweet, green County called Down and sailed away from Baltic seaports, searching for a better life, a richer life, a life more suited to an increase in well-being and independence.
Arriving in Virginia, Philadelphia or New York, they worked their way north, west and south by wagon and by boat. A handful paused in Ohio. Others followed the rivers to Kentucky and Tennessee.
A few sought true adventurer, like my Great-great-grandfather David. He panned for gold in the Colorado Rockies, fought the Civil War from Vicksburg to the Rio Grande and then returned to Iowa, where he took a sweet girl named Annie as his bride and persuaded her back to Texas. They camped here on the prairie, just to the east of a rail town called Melissa, until the lure of familiarity and visions of deep, loamy soils enticed them back to Iowa, to family and to farm. (more…)