Any interesting historical events in your family tree?

This came up in the slave owners thread and I didn’t want to continue hijacking and wondered if other people here may have any interesting tidbits like this in their family history.

On my paternal grandfather’s side I am related to the Killough/Kellough/Kalloch’s. The spelling changes from family to family, with even some members of the same immediate family spelling it differently. There are other versions of the name as well, it originally started out in Scotland as MacKelloch, then some dropped the Mac and when they migrated to Ireland it became Killough and other variations.

Anyway, the interesting historical tidbit is that a branch of the Killough family became famous for being massacred in a supposed Indian uprising which led to the expulsion of the Cherokee Nation from East Texas. It was known as one the largest single Indian massacres as well as the last in East Texas. Here’s an article about it.

The other interesting tidbit is that the Cherokee may have been set up to take the fall for this. By all accounts the “renegades” consisted of some Indians from a few different tribes and did include some Cherokee but there were also Mexicans and some runaway slaves in the group. There may have also been a white man known to the settlers in the group. Some accounts blame a fellow named Cordova who wasn’t happy about Mexico losing Texas and may have incited the uprising.

It seems like the Cherokee got the short end of the stick and both them and the settlers got screwed over by the government once again playing fast and loose with the land.

It sounds like it would have made a good movie but I can’t find any references to a movie unless the names were changed.

So any interesting stories in your family histories?

According to family tradition, this Guy was an ancestor of mine. I’m not 100% sure it’s true – but my grandfather’s middle name was Fawkes.

Coretta Scott King was my first cousin once-removed and her children are my second cousins. Plenty of historical events related to that! I can’t think of anyone else at the moment.

My wife’s paternal line descends from the Loyalists who fled to Canada after being on the wrong side in the American Revolution. Before they left the US it’s likely - but not yet proven - that they were Captains of slave ships out of Rhode Island and New York participating in the triangle trade.

In the same area my line was rooting around in caves in Ireland trying to grub out enough food to survive from one day to the next. Obviously, some of them made it.

A distant cousin of mine was the last governor of New France, now Canada, and constantly quarreled with the celebrated Gen. Montcalm as to the best course to take during the French and Indian War.

A relative on my mother’s side signed the Declaration of Independence, was imprisoned by the British and lost everything; another was one of the first chaplains to the Continental Congress. Adm. Halsey also married into my mom’s family.

My great-great-grand uncle was killed while fighting under Sherman’s command during the Atlanta campaign in May 1864; his brother served as a colonel of one of Ohio’s “90-day regiments” that year and served at Ft. Stevens in the defenses of Washington, D.C. This was several months before Confederate Gen. Jubal Early’s attack, when President Lincoln personally came under fire there.

Relatives on my dad’s side hosted President McKinley when he came to town. Others bought the Marion Star from Warren G. Harding before he went to the White House.

I’m a direct descendant of Bathsheba Spooner.

I’m also a member of the same Howard family that gave us all the “Howard Taft” politicians. My great-grandmother was Lucy Anne Howard.

My grandfather was in the US army during WWII, and was at the liberation of Buchenwald.

Family legend tells me that a great uncle of mine was a survivor of the USS Indianapolis disaster - when it capsized and the suriving crew was attacked by sharks. However, I can’t find his name on any survivor records, and my mom is pretty sure it isn’t true. We think he was probably on it sometime before it sank, and the story that sounded more exciting is the one that caught on. :slight_smile:

My grandfather was a MP stationed in the Phillipines in WW2. My great-great-(great?) grandfather, who has the same name as me, fought in the Civil War. I have his Southern Cross of Honor.

This is a Wikipedia article about my grandfather. Pretty cool, I hadn’t seen this particular article before.

ETA: The reason he didn’t escape through the porthole is that he was a stout man and couldn’t fit so he helped his crewmates escape. Left behind a widow and my 9 month old father.

I’m a descendant of Samuel Ellis of Ellis Island. My mom and grandma have done quite a bit of research on him and the family.

Hmm … that was before CSI and everything. I wonder how she got caught, did someone squeal?
On my maternal grandmother’s side I have two Irish great great grandfathers who came to the US during the civil war and were paid to fight for the North. They returned to Ireland afterwards and their son and daughter married and then emigrated to America.

On my maternal grandfather’s side we are distant cousins of a former US President.

I have an ancestor whose sister was born in a covered wagon while her family went west. They named her Kansas. That’s as interesting as it gets, for the family I know anything about. Well, unless you count the 'shine runners and such. :smiley:

I have an ancestor who was one of the Hessians captured by Washington at Trenton (after Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware). After the war (or during the war, actually), my Hessian ancestor settled in North Carolina.

Another ancestor was at the Jamestown colony (though not with the initial group of settlers).

Yet another ancestor was killed in the battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam), and became part of the deadliest single day of battle in American history.

I had an ancestor who was wounded fighting for Cromwell at Marston Moor (which I’m glad about, because he went to Ireland to recover and met his second wife, who I’m descended from). He then came to America, where he would go on to create the first Indian reservation.

Great grandfather was pvt in Co. A of 30th VA Infantry. Was at Battle of Antietam as well. I have his service record and at the end of his term of enlistment he was paid $60 in worthless money for his service.

My great uncle’s marriage license says “Colored” in the description of race. A letter attached from the clergyman who performed the service says, "These people pass for white in the community, would you please change the license to say “White?” No of national importance, but it makes for a good story at dinner.

My ancestor Eve did something stupid years back. We’ve been paying ever since. :smiley:
I have a real answer I just have to do a bit of fact checking before I spout some nonsense.

My mother, who is an obsessive genealogist and whose maiden name was Clark, has traced her father’s lineage back to the colonies and found common links to some interesting historical figures. I’m a descendant of at least two: William Clark (half of the duo of explorers who led an expedition to explore North America from St. Louis all the way to the Pacific coastline) and John L. Sullivan, the famed 19th century bareknuckle boxer. I don’t consider these to be claims to fame, as there are likely thousands of descendants from those colonial lineages, but it’s still pretty cool. Obviously, I come from an Irish background. :slight_smile:

My wife has both Hatfields and McCoys in her lineage. :eek:

My great, great (however many ‘greats’ there are) grandfather was Colonel Edward Claxton Edmonds.
He was killed at Picket’s Charge in Gettysburg, PA, on July 3, 1863. He served under General Lee.