The Land of Boys

Learning to live in a house full of testosterone

Archive for the tag “family”

History and Heritage

The boys somewhat recently studied a dark time in our nation’s history-The Civil War.

We read about it, watched a documentary, and listened to music of the era. To tell the truth, I didn’t like studying about it very much. The death toll was astronomical.  The suffering that was felt by so many people at the time will forever darken our nation’s history.

One night while we were in the car, we starting talking about the war and the conversation drifted into wondering if any of our ancestors were in the war. Mark accused my family of being part of the Free State of Winston.  Granted, that might explain why 2/3 of my children have always said they would be on the Union side if they lived at that time, but no. I knew (or at least really strongly believed) that MY family could not be Yankee traitors. I knew my family had lived in Alabama well before the war, but truthfully I had no idea if they were any Confederate veterans in my lineage or not.

Mark and I started talking about how we really don’t know that much about our ancestors. I have been told that my ancestors were Dutch and Cherokee. I have always assumed that Mark’s family hailed from Ireland, given that their last name looks Irish. So, we decided to try a free trial on Wow! That website is a goldmine of information. We have been able to find all kinds of people that we are related to. Neither of us can brag  that we have found royal blood (although, at a family reunion someone had done years of research to find out Mark is descended from Charlemagne), but we have found preachers, soldiers, farmers (everything from rich plantation owners to barely able to feed their own households), veterans, New England Puritans, mayors, colonists, bootleggers, rich, poor, middle of the road and everything in between. I learned that some people in my family participated in a DNA project and found out we are descended from Vikings. (arrrgh!)

I was able to prove Mark wrong about my ancestors defecting to the Yankees. The following story was attached to one of my relatives:

                              The Childress Brothers Go To War

Six brothers and possibly several brothers-in-law served in two companies of the 29th Alabama Regiment. David James, Joel B. and Robert Brown were in Company H.. David James and Joel B. were wounded. David James was shot in the leg and Joel B. was shot in the jaw. David James was captured and sent to prison in Illinois for awhile. Robert Brown was captured in Nashville and sent to Louisville. Thomas, Reuben and Weldon E. were assigned to Company D., also known as The Bibb Rifles. Joel served in this company as well as in Company H.. Reuben survived, but Weldon died at home while he was on sick furlough.Thomas was listed as a deserter on the roster. One Civil War historian explained that it was common for soldiers to leave the war-front, go home to plant crops or check on family members and then return to battle.  I have found a website that says that Thomas died of disease in a hospital in Montgomery. I have not checked this out yet.

Seeing as how the deserter was my direct ancestor, I tried to look further. I found out that he was 6’1″, had black hair and eyes, and a dark complexion. That fits most of the Childress men.

My grandfather, Bill Childress, great-grandson of Thomas Childress.

He died in a hospital of unknown disease in February of 1862. His youngest child (of four) was born in August of that same year. The oldest of the children was 6. I wish that I could find the story of how his wife and children survived after his death. I know where his widow is buried, but I do not know if he is there, too.

Knowing our heritage has been interesting for our whole family. We found out that Mark had an ancestor that actually died in the Civil War.  The 150th anniversary of the battle where he died  will be next Fall. We have enjoyed seeing how many generations of Biblical names we have found. TONS of Benjamins. Here’s one:

Gran and Papa Downs

Lots of Samuels. Only a few Nathaniels.

Knowing where we came from can be interesting,but it can also have it drawbacks. Reading wills of people who died in the 1700’s can often include instructions of what to do with their slaves. If that isn’t bad enough, hearing stories about alcoholics, bootleggers, and gamblers can make you want to hang your head in shame. There is something that is comforting, though. When God chose a family to bring His Son into the world, He did not choose a family who was righteous and full of good character.

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father ofDavid the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ

The people who God chose as the family line of His Son were not all what one would call the nicest of people. Cheaters, liars, adulterers, and idolaters are a few of the vices on the list. Yet, it is not the sins of our ancestors that counts. It is our own sins that we are accountable for. Just because my Viking ancestors killed and marauded, that does not mean that I will be guilty for their crimes.

I think it is amazing that God can take people who have less than perfect, blue-blood families and make them His own children.



I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 69:30

Thanksgiving seems to be a forgotten holiday in our country. If you go in a store the day after Halloween, you see Christmas decor shining everywhere.  We go straight from telling our kids to beg for candy, to telling them to beg for toys.  We have somewhere along the way slipped away from teaching our children to be thankful for the things that God has blessed them with. One tradition that we have at our house is that no Christmas decorations go up before Thanksgiving. Nothing, Nada. The boys were given a new ornament by my mother recently. We brought it home and put it in the homeschool closet. Not that we were ungrateful, we just don’t to take away from Thanksgiving by already focusing on Christmas. Every year my in-laws come to Thanksgiving dinner at our house. It gives the boys a special day with Grandmama and Granddaddy.  One other thing that we do is to make construction paper leaves that we write things that we are thankful for. During lunch we go around the table reading our leaves to each other. It is a nice way to get everyone involved with saying outloud what they feel thankful for. The boys are thankful that they are out of school for the entire week. They are thankful that they are getting a meal that is special. Speaking of meals here is our menu:




Corn on the Cob

Mashed Potatoes

Green beans

Sweet Potato/ Apple Casserole

Mac and Cheese

Yeast Rolls

Yellow Cake w/ Chocolate Frosting


Sugar Cookies

Feel free to share any ways that your family makes Thanksgiving a day to truly be thankful and not just a day of gorging on a big meal.

** since this is not a common Thanksgiving food, I’ll give an explanation. It is traditionally a Passover food. It is a combination of apples, nuts, honey, cinnamon, and grape juice. We are having it instead of cranberry sauce this year.

He’s Got It All Figured Out……And A Wife Is Just Not Necessary

While we were riding in the car tonight Samuel declared that he does not to get married when he grows up. When asked why he did not want to get married he replied, “My legs would get tired from all that standing.”(Say whhhaaat????) Mark asked him to elaborate. He said that the last wedding we went to “they had to stand up for like two whole hours!” Hmmm…. so he does not want to get married because he would have to stand up during the ceremony.

Mark asked, “Who would cook for you?” To which Samuel responded, “I will cook for myself.”

Then Mark asked who would give him back scratches. “I can use a flyswatter.”

To which Mark said, “Who would rub your shoulders after a long day at work?” Without missing a beat he said, “I’ll get a monkey and teach it to rub my shoulders. A space monkey from NASA.” (where does he come up with this stuff???)

Mark said, “What about when you are sick? Who will take care of you?” Samuel said he can call 911.

“Don’t you want to ever have a little boy of your own?” his daddy asked. “I can get a mannequin,” came the reply.

Nice to know has all his bases covered. After this conversation we sang this:

We made it to the line “That old massa was a gasser” Nathaniel said, “He was a gasser like you,” and pointed at Benjamin. At which point we all busted out laughing.  It was a fun ride home.

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