I do actually have ancestors. I just don't know much about them.
A few years back (OK, a lot of years back), my Aunt Mary completed the paperwork to get me into the Sons
of the American Revolution. Interestingly, the Revolutionary ancestor we claimed as a relative was one of
the five women who were commissioned officers in the Continental Army.
Beyond that, I've always been told we were related to Benjamin Rush (left). However, my Aunt Arralee
says that just because we have several people in the family named for Dr. Rush, it doesn't necessarily mean
that we're related. However, other folks in the family insist that we are.
The other "famous" ancestor is Flora McDonald. When my great-grandmother was on her deathbed, my
mother promised her that she would visit Flora's grave. (BTW, Flora McDonald was the woman who helped
Charles Stuart dress as a woman to escape Scotland after the Battle of Culloden. For her efforts, she was
banished to America. Later, she was living in North Carolina when the American Revolution broke out. As
a noted Tory, she was compelled to move back to Scotland.) She's buried on the north shore of the Isle of
Skye. I wonder whether my mother would have made the promise had she known that getting to that grave
(left below) would entail flying to Scotland and driving a hundred miles--the last ten or so on a
sheep-conjested, one-lane road. It was worth the trip, though. Flora is buried in a beautiful place.
|My favorite two ancestors are my beloved grandparents, Shelby (for whom I'm named) and
Mary Matthews. My favorite pictures of both are below. Shelby was a brash young
whipper-snapper who rode with Black Jack Pershing and in the first Calgary Stampede.
Later he was a conductor on the Missouri Pacific Railroad for thirty years. My grandmother
Mary raised four rambunctious daughters and also worked as a full-time nurse.
My grandfather (lower right hand
corner) had three brothers-Bill, Earl
and Hugh Dawson (also in inset).
|These three pictures of my
grandmother Mary were all taken on
the same day--Thanksgiving Day,
1986. At left, four
Michele and baby Meghan. At right,
three generations--Joe and Arralee
Presley, with Pennye and David.
My grandmother Mary had two sisters (left) Sue and Ella. She also had one brother--one of my all-time
favorite relatives, Albert McDonald. In addition to providing a great inspiration, Uncle Albert also gave
me the best gift of all time--a Weimaraner puppy named Schatzie. Here, he's visiting my Aunt Arralee,
Pennye and David at Perdido Key in the late 1960's.
Here are Shelby and Mary on the 50th
anniversary in El Dorado, Arkansas.
On the other side of the family, I'm a third generation
American. My grandfather, Arthur N. Isch (not his real
name, by the way), came to America in the early 1900s
and made his way to McGehee, Arkansas. At top left,
he's photographed with my grandmother Agnes ("Mubo")
at the home in McGehee, Arkansas. The boy standing at
left is my dad, and the younger boy is my uncle Bill.
I have no idea where this photo was taken. Probably their
backyard, but I wouldn't swear to it.
James Arthur Nichols Isch, Sr.
My grandmother Mubo is standing at
the door in the background of this
photo. My dad is at far right, and my
uncle Bill is at far left. Don't know
the other two, but they look like