Why I Cut Down My Family Tree

This poem/ story was written by a cousin of my Grandfather’s.  At this time in history my grandfather, Warren C Brown was superintendent of the Troy Blanket Mill.  A very prestigious position in a small mill town and an unforgiving Republican.  This poem/story not only gives an insight into my grandfather but also adds several names to my family tree.  Claude Rockwood and my grandfather were very good friends as long as they didn’t talk politics.

Why I Cut Down my Family Tree by Claude Rockwood.          Daniel Farrar was born in Lincoln, Mass., March 25, 1755.  Being sort of an aggressive cuss he joined the Minute Men and was at Concord, Mass at the “Battle of the Bridge” where he discharged his blunderbuss with such rapidity that the British soldiers set up a world record between Concord and Boston which never been equalled.  Among these British soldiers was a grenadier by the name of Hawkins who led all of the rest and of whom we will hear later.

Farrar had only a short time to serve in the Minute Men on June 17, 1775 at the battle of Bunker Hill where, according to the Town History of Marlborough “a musket ball clipped a lock of his whiskers”.  For the story of that famous fight I am indebted to a veteran if the battle now living in Troy, Arthur E. Dexter.

He tells me that the British gallantly charged up the hill three times and were repulsed and again started up the hill and when they were about half way up Farrar suddenly remembered that he had come way to war and left the radio running –  it was a battery set-  and so he started for home, wife and mother!  At this time he had a long flowing beard and as he ran his beard floated behind shoulder making an appearance somewhat like a flag flung to the breeze.

This was noted by the above mentioned Hawkins who was a noted shot and he took deliberate aim and with the first shot shot away the end of Daniel’s whiskers, then ran forward and gathered them up and later had them made into a mattress which is still a cherished heirloom in the possession of the Hawkins family.  It might be noted in connection with this gallant grenadier that one of his descendants is now employed in the office of the Troy Blanket Co. and is noted for honesty and uprightness although his personal character is somewhat sullied by his association with another employee of the Company that lives opposite the Baptist Church on North Main Street. (this is grandpa Brown)

As to Dexter’s part in the fray history does not record that he got shot but it is related that he thought he had in the latter stage of the battle as he felt something running down his leg which he thought was blood but after a minute examination he found he was mistaken.  However history records that he had to change his pants.

That ended Daniel Farrar’s military service and soon he arrived home safe and sound but minus his whiskers  a fact that seemed to please his wife.

On Jan. 23, 1776  he become the pround father of a daughter, Elizabeth, who later became the wife of Samuel Rockwood and to them a son was born which they christened Samuel who became of age and married Maalinda daughter of Samuel Stone.  This union was blessed by a son named Charles who at the age of twenty-one married Alma L. Foster and it was a blessed event when their little son Claude arrived on the scene on March 2, ’77 (18 I don’t mean 17)  He after a checkered career married on Sept. 7 909 Ina M. Mason and of this marriage a daughter was born named Alma who spends her spare time defending one of her elderly male associates in the Blanket Mill Office against the violent verbal attacks of her revered pater families.

It is a strange coincidence that exactly one hundred and twenty-five years and four days from the day that Daniel Farrar lost his whiskers that his great, great grandson Claude ran seventeen miles in nothing flat to get away from an overwhelming force of Boxers  in China.  However he did not lose his whiskers as he had taken the precaution to shave before landing but sad to relate he lost his wind and has not regained it as yet after over thirty-four years.

Well, to get on with my family tree.  Daniel Farrar had a brother George who was of course my uncle many times great.  He had a a son George who married Miss. Naomi Starkey.  Now my aunt-by marriage – Naomi had a cousin Daniel who was the father of Daniel Alden Starkey.

Daniel Alden Starkey married a fine looking girl by the name of Lang.  It was at this point that my research into my family history got its rudest jolt.  Hurridly I looked up the genealogy of the Lang family.  Ala! It was as  I feared.  Augusta, wife of Daniel Alden Starkey was the own aunt of tha log-legged bandit and lollypop stealer, Fred Lang,who is built along the lines of a blue heron but which is called by a somewhat vulgar name.

Disgusted but not dismayed I cast my eye along the list of Starkeys hoping for extenuating circumstances.  Vain was my hope for as I reached the last on the list I fond to my horror and amazement that Lillian B.Starkey had married – it must have been during a fit of mental abberation- Joseph Carver.

Of course one can’t blame Lillian for that because Joe is the smartest man that works in the basement of T. B.. M. when there is no one else there and besides he is not so bad to look at providing one keeps their eyes very tightly closed.

I have nothing against Joe except Joe except that I am a trifle jealous of his ability to quote scripture but when I remembered that he had for a brother in law, Warren C. Brown, well THAT was the last straw!  I can stand it to be related to Lang or almost anyone else providing that it is very distant or by marriage but when it comes to finding Brown roosting on my family tree it is something that I or any other self-respecting person would not stand for.

Accordingly I decided that the tree would have to go.  I yelled for Mrs. Rockwood to bring the axe but as usual she was out in Joe Roger’s car and I got no answer  One thing I will say however to Joe’s everlasting credit and that is he never gets stuck in the mud and makes Mrs R. walk home.

I went for the axe but found upon my return that the poor old tree had rotted to such n extent due to the presence of Lang and Brown squatting on its lower beaches that it had fell of its own weight, and as I sadly gazed on the remains, my massive frame shaken with sobs, of grief, my wife who had jet returned from her joy ride tried to console me by saying =, “Well, it might have been worse, just think how you would have felt if you had found  yourself related to John Lahiff or Ernest Birdsall.”

If such had been the case however, I would have never entertained the thought of cutting down the tree for those old roosters would be an ornament hanging to anybody’s tree,  family or otherwise.

And so for the reasons enumerated above I nearly became a wood-chopper and was only saved from that sad fate by the action of old mother nature coming to the rescue and relieving the old tree of its burden of of remote relationships which were of such  a nature that no self-respecting three could stand under such a degrading burden.


About Carol (Ouma) Petts

I am a retired teacher. I have taught all levels from kindergarten through college and have been retired now for over 20 years. The last ten years we have lived on a farm and lived off the land, growing our own food and canning for our extended family. Now we have sold the farm and are moving to Florida to truly retire. I guess I have always had a short attention span as this is our 11th move. We have moved from a small farm in New Hampshire, to more city type living, small business adventures, focusing more on traveling, Florida living, Georgia, and Tennessee farming and now back to Florida. My blog is a way to keep my children up to date on what I am doing and letting them know I am still alive and well. My children are spread across the country from New England to Florida, Nova Scotia to New Mexico and CA and several places between, They let me know what they are up to by commenting on my blog but they are so busy with their own lives most times I have to assume " no news is good news". Now I are starting on a new adventure so will try to give daily updates until we get settled into a routine. Then I know even if I am getting older and should settle down I will start looking for some new and exciting adventure to start. Welcome aboard. Norman died Oct 30, 2017 so I am continuing the journey alone with the aid of my children, grand children and great grand children. At present I am living with my daughter and we are 7 in one house and cover four generations. We range in age from 7 to 85 and are finding common ground, we are living proof that multi generations can live and function in a three bedroom house if they really want to. Soon my grandson will have his house built next door so we all will have a room of their own except for the seven year old twins who by choice will share a room.
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1 Response to Why I Cut Down My Family Tree

  1. Nancy O'Grady says:

    That is an amazing yarn! I certainly recognize some of the names but not all of them. Where in the world did you find that tale? Interesting. There is a Rockwood Pond in Troy, wonder if that is any connection? Otherwise, I don’t know the name. The Hawkins I recall only, was Joe Hawkins.
    Good old Grandpa Brown…God love him!!!! He was a good man and he lent money to a lot of Troy people during the depression. I have a small book of his that he kept a record of his expenses. One post was a winter coat for your mother. I think it was for $ 8.00. Also he wrote in it of Grace, our Grandmother, dying.
    Chin up Carol and know I am thinking of you,Love always, Nancy

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