Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jed Miller

Uncle Jep and I  climbed down from the roof of the new shed.  Our shingling job was blessedly finished!  There is never a good time to shingle, in my opinion.  But it is a satisfaction when it is done.  We dropped our hatchets and nail aprons on the grass and sat down on the well-curb to enjoy some of that cool refreshment from the depths.

"Did I tell you that Cousin Harvey Loughmiller drop by for a visit last week?"

"No.  You are a Miller and you have a cousin named "Loughmiller?

"Oh, indeed.  A lot an 'em.  Ha'n't I ever tell' you 'bout my kinfolk?  Well, sir, I grow up in Hawkins County and Scott County, too, a bit later on.  Now, see, the Millers, our Millers, I mean, descend f'um the Loughmillers.  So how come I'm not a Loughmiller?  Long story, but the roof is done, we have time.

"George Loughmiller come over from Holland back afore the Yew-ess-ay were a nation, 'bout 1760, folks reckon.  He land in Pennsylvania and settle there.  He have a son, Jephthah, 'n Jephthah decide  after the Revolution is over to move Westward. That is how he happen to be in Hawkins County.  He settle there, raise a family.   He have three sons, Jedidiah, Jonathan, and Jerome-- some folk say his whole name were Jereboam, I dunno, anyway, he alway call hisself Jerome.  Plus Jephthah had two daughters, Joanna 'n Elspeth.

"So Jedediah grow up and have a fambly his own, start to prosper real good.  He decide he need to learn to sign his name, as he like to buy up property now an' again, an' he din't wan make a "X" for his mark.  But he soon l'arn that writin' 'Jedediah Loughmiller' were a real chore. Not on'y that, but many people see his name call him 'Low miller,' or  'Loff miller,' 'n he get tired correcting them.  So he decide to call hisself  'Jed Miller.'  An he done hit, make hit legal, too.  Oh, he talk hit over with his brothers, 'n they's no hard feelin's, in fack Jonathan decide to call hisself  'Jonathan L-o-c-k-miller' in order to he'p people call his name aright.  Then on'y Jerome, he stay a 'L-o-u-g-h-miller.'

"Joanna and Elspeth both marry into th' Whitacre clan there in Hawkins County.  Now, Jed Miller were my great-great-grandpa, an' I have lots a Miller cousins.  But they's a whole raft a shirt-tail cousins, Loughmillers, Lockmillers, 'n Whitacres.  Had us a big ol' fambly reunion onc't, right there in Rogersville, '28, I think hit was.  Yep, '28, on account thet were the year Hoover were runnin' agin Al Smith fer President.  Oh, yes.  Smith take on'y eight states, an' Tennessee go fer Hoover, but not ever'one in that fambly gatherin' were republican.  Good times, thet get-together!

"Oh, here come your Aunt Grace.  We best be gettin' ready to put the feed bag on!"

© 2014 David W. Lacy


Vee said...

Families histories can be really complicated.

There must be a story concerning why every child has a name that starts with a "J" until the last child.

Pearl said...

:-) Like sitting with an historian, a handyman, and a man who'll appreciate your cooking later.


Secondary Roads said...

It is interesting to observe how family names morphed. Especially when coming here to North America. My maternal grandma's kin came from Germany, where the family name was Rau. Here, it became Row. A couple of generations later it was Rowe.

vanilla said...

Vee, the name game is interesting. As to Elspeth, I thought the same thing, but Uncle has not revealed that to the amanuensis.

Pearl, ah; then the Old Uncle is the kind of guy you'd like.

Chuck, interesting. I find that there are twists and turns in many family name threads. And I have encountered some that make me wonder why there weren't some changes made. ;-)

Sharkbytes said...

When I see family names that are similar I always wonder if they came from the same root. So many here were Poles and the "ski" was dropped to Americanize it. I can even pronounce Chimelewski. Not to mention Pączki

vanilla said...

Sharkey, had to look for pronunciation "Paczki." Encountered a few Polish names as a teacher. The ethnic community near where I grew up was Czech. Svoboda, Novotny, Suk.