The Tracy Family History
My Oblique Mind
(This is a short chapter with a surprise
Everything has a story--rocks, trees,
animals, people. And everything is story, and spirit. All of them, all of the
rocks, trees, animals and people, all the story ...
"Even the rocks can speak, to the powerful people." -- Billy Blackwell, Ojibway Elder
The purpose of this short chapter is to show you how my mind works. My mind works on the oblique. (For those of you who have not been in the military, that means to march at an off-angle.) I think on the oblique. I research on the oblique. I write on the oblique. I find stories that other researches have missed. Or, I find stories within stories that others missed.
Mildred Bailey sent me this pedigree, so complex, that it took me several days to chart it out:
Michael Woods Sr., of Blair Park m Lady Mary Campbell; Peter Wallace Jr. m Martha Woods; John Wallace m Jane Miller; Joseph Wallace m Amelia Landrum; Thomas Wallace m Hannah Hibbs; Joseph Wallace (brother to 100 year old Siotha) m Nancy Laury Briscoe; Hanna Wallace m Thomas Isham Marshall (somehow connected to Chief Justice Marshall).
I decide to pursue the name Briscoe, as it shows up several times in the family tree. I thought it would be easy to trace as it seems like an uncommon name.
Nancy Laury Briscoe’s father was Oliver Hazard Perry Briscoe, whose father was Andrew Briscoe m Ann Kavanaugh; her mother was Hanna Woods; whose grandmother was Elizabeth Wallace; whose nephew m Eleanor Jones, niece of the famous Revolutionary War hero, Capt. John Paul Jones.
Briscoe turns out to be a much more common name then I thought. As this name seems to show up always connected to naval careers, I decide to contact the librarian at the Naval Academy.
They do not have any records of our Briscoe’s attending the Academy. They do have an Admiral Robert Pearce Briscoe who graduated 1919. I decide to pursue this man and see if I can connect him to our family.
The library sends me a six-page biography on the man. His is a distinguished career, ending with high command and even having a destroyer named after him, the USS Briscoe. Impressive, but pretty far down on the totem pole when compared to our people.
I find a photo of the Admiral in uniform and show it to a woman who is knowledgeable about good-looking men. She said that he was handsome. But, then, all photos of admirals, in uniform, appear handsome. (At least the uniform helps.) I find a photo of the destroyer making an impressive high-speed turn at sea. But, then, all photos of destroyers making a high-speed turn at sea are impressive. (At least the gray paint helps.)
The Admiral dies in Liberty, Mississippi, in 1968. Liberty is a small town of just 500 people, so this one should be easy to trace. All I have to do is contact the local library and have them put me in touch with his descendants still living in the area.
But I find that there is no library in Liberty. Then I find that there is, but they work out of a post office box. I write the post office box, but receive no reply.
I find out that there is an historical society in Liberty. I get their address. They work out of a post office box. I write the post office box, and receive no reply.
I then call the Chamber of Commerce and talk to a woman. She would have lived in Liberty all of her life and undoubtedly knew the admiral and his family personally. She was not from Liberty. However, she gives me the names and phone numbers of two other locals who know everything about the area.
I decide to pursue the story no further. For if I do not end now I will never finish my family history. To discover if Admiral Robert Pierce Briscoe is a distant kin is not the purpose of this chapter. Again, I have written this chapter only to show you how my mind works. A lot of my research is driven by intuition...and my intuition is usually right.
I leave you with this question: Is there a story here?
On July 23, 1999, the USS Briscoe was given
the duty to bury at sea the bodies of
John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife
and her sister,
My family history web site has 79 chapters. If you would like to know more about the other chapters then go to my
Home Page www.thetracyfamilyhistory.net