Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Texas Roots, C. Lee McKenzie, and Being Thankful

Today is the 181st anniversary of the fall of the Alamo which occurred on March 6th 1836.  
This post is longer than usual.

I have deep roots here in Texas. It is thought that my great-great grandfather may have been with a group of men who were responsible for destroying bridges across various rivers, preventing Santa Anna's army from retreating. I'm not sure how much of that is true, but he was an early settler.

James Thomas Miller
James Thomas Miller, at the age of 15 or 16, arrived alone in Texas from Scotland, before 1836. (fact)He was given land grants  to land in present day Houston, grants that were only given to those people who participated in the Texas Revolution. He abandoned the land and, it is believed, headed north with a Major Bird and other men on a surveying expedition, ending up in the small outpost settlement of Dallas.  (fact)There he got new land grants and met the beautiful Sarah Haught.

Sarah Haught Mil
(fact) James and Sarah were the second couple to be get a marriage licence in the settlement of Dallas. Sarah came from a large family who settled in Texas from somewhere in the east. (fact)A couple of her brothers ended up settling in the Hill Country near where I live.  (fact)Sarah and James's only surviving child, James Munro Miller, was born at Porter's Bluff, Texas in 1847. (fact)In 1850 they sold the land to make the long and dangerous journey to California. Because of debts they owed, a contract was written explaining that once the land was sold the money would be used to repay the debts. What is very interesting and unusual is that Sarah is included in the contract, in that it states she understands what will happen and agrees. She then signed it! (I have held the original grants and the contract in my hands and have copies.) Family stories say they traveled to the Gulf of Mexico, and got on a ship that took them to Cuba where they spent upwards of a year waiting for another ship to take them to the Panama. With young James Munro in tow (he would have been somewhere between three and five years old) the family walked across the Isthmus, surviving all kinds of dangers, from deadly snakes to deadly diseases. Once on the Pacific side they got on a ship and sailed to California. Sarah had three other children, but none of them survived.

(fact)When fortune in the goldfields was not to be found, Sarah and James moved to Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. (fact)Their son, James Munro and Eliza Vincent were married, probably in San Francisco as they owned and operated a bookbinding and printing business there. When a horse thief was hung from their second floor sign they decided the city was too rough a place to be raising a family and moved to Victoria. Eliza had nine children. My father's mother, Sarah Eliza being the youngest, was born when Eliza was a 42 years old, a scandalous age! 
James Munro Miller and Eliza Vincent Miller
My great-great grandfather James Thomas died around 1864. In 1865 Sarah married Simeon Duck. In 1920 at the age of 91 Sarah, who drove sulkies quite late into her life, died from breast cancer. My father, born in 1916, had memories sitting on her lap.

I wish I had known their history years ago. I wish I were younger as I believe Sarah and James's story to be a romantic historical novel on a grand scale. To write it, though, would take a great deal of research, and I just don't have the time or energy... 
***
This month I am honored, thrilled, and delighted to be the Featured Follower on C. Lee McKenzie's blog The Write Game. Each week she will be posting something about me and my books. At the end of the month some lucky person will win an ecopy of one of my books. The winner gets to choose between: 

OR
Hope to see you at Lee's! 

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Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for the blogging community. For all the support I get, please know I'm open to supporting you as well. If you have a book to promote or a cover to reveal, I'd be happy to give you a shout out here on my blog, Facebook, and/or Twitter. Let me know!
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What are you thankful for? How far back can you trace your ancestry? Are you interested in genealogy? Do you follow Lee?

25 comments:

  1. Yes, I visit Lee's blog all the time. You're right, this story about your ancestors would make an amazing book, but it would take a huge amount of work to do it justice. Thanks for sharing these fascinating details.

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    1. I thought about it as a trilogy... A lot of research and work...

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  2. Sarah is very beautiful and I really enjoyed reading about your family history. I’m very interested in genealogy, but I am faced with lots of brick walls at the moment. I keep promising myself I will devote more time (and cash) to it, but it’s not easy.

    Congratulations on being featured at C Lee ‘s blog I will be going there as soon as I’ve left this comment.

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    1. I've done a little genealogy. I found the land grants, but it is a cousin of mine who's done all the hard work. It's takes time and devotion and maybe even a little obsessiveness.

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  3. This is such a wonderful family saga! I love that you know so much of it. I have cousins that have amassed a great deal of information, but it's one of those things that I've yet to delve into. Well, except the genetic aspects of it--that I enjoy doing, as it's part of my work anyhow :)

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    1. I'd like to know the actual gene part of my heritage as well. But the personal history makes a great story.

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  4. "To write it, though, would take a great deal of research, and I just don't have the time or energy... " - I know that feeling! But what a great story. :)

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    1. I hear you Libby. I'd LOVE to write this story, but I don't see how I can.

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  5. I just saw that your the featured author on Lee's blog. Well deserved. Your stories are magical. :)

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    1. I am! And I'm honored. Thank you, Chrys.

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  6. Wow, great history. Love that, and wonderful pictures!

    Congratulations on all your success! Well deserved!

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    1. I'm really blessed to have the pictures. Thanks, Yolanda.

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  7. So interesting. And have fun over on Lee's blog. I'm interested in genealogy, but I mostly gather things from other family members because I'd rather write than chase threads. Most of my family has been here from Europe since the early 1600s. My most recent immigrants arrived in the mid 1700s.

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    1. Wow! I can trace back to pre-Revolutionary days to Massachusetts from England. Most recent immigrants arrived in the late 1800s from France.

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  8. Amazing family history, thanks for sharing.
    I had a preview of this story when we visited the Alamo in February. Keep writing, cousin!

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  9. Hi Bish - what a fantastic family story ... I'm sure you could turn it into a book - use the facts and add as much information as you can ... some you'll be able to fathom - it may not be accurate - but the factual aspects will ... I think it'd be great. Also if you have an encouraging cousin .. plots can hatch!

    I'll be over to Lee's shortly ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Oh yes, it could be turned into a book... I see it as a trilogy. It's being true to the era, to the descriptions of places and travel and people that would require the research work. The actual story is already there.

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  10. I am interested in genealogy and have done some, but find i do not have the time to pursue it properly. I Lund this to be interesting. Apparently, you have done your family research, or at lest have relative you have.

    I came by to publicly thank you for the help on my Anthology submission. I did rewrite the pice and have submitted it. Hoping to hea shortly if it was accepted. Your insights were very valuable in helping me make my story the vest it could be and I truly appreciate the time you spent. I too am grateful for blog friends who are good writers no great friends.

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    1. Thanks, Barbara. I hope you hear back with a big yes! I did some research, but I have a cousin who's done the vast majority. One has to really committed, almost obsessive to do family genealogy.

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  11. That shud say AND GREAT FRIENDS.

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  12. What great old pictures. So much fun! I'll need to post some of my old ones, one of these days.

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    1. I even have pictures of Sarah Haught's parents! My great-great-great grandparents.

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  13. First, it's wonderful that you have such good history on your family and past events. You could have some fun if you ever wrote an historical novel around that era. The photos are awesome too. I too have enjoyed the blogging community, especially the IWSG, where I found about you. Good luck with your writing. http://www.dianeweidenbenner.com/iwsg-chicken-or-the-egg/

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  14. Fascinating! Your ancestors certainly undertook some epic journeys to get a better life for themselves, which would have been far from straightforward in those days. A lot of people never left the town they grew up in.

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Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!