A warning to parents.
If you ever want to discuss something without the children listening, do it far, far away from them. Mars might be far enough. Even when the kids are supposed to be in bed, and the adults are up late talking about the deep, dark family secrets, they’re listening.
So it was when I was six. My parents were up with my aunt, uncle and great grandmother. Granny (as I called her) was relating the deep, dark secrets the family tree.
That side of the family came from the Carolinas, and like so many folks down that way, they had slaves. It also involved her grandfather’s mother who became pregnant out of wedlock.
Her father, knowing it would cause problems kept his daughter out of the public eye right up to the day the child was delivered. Now you’d probably stand more of a chance of hiding the sunrise than a child. So, to protect the family’s honor, he went to extreme measures.
Now had this been another time and place, the girl would have been carted off someplace to relatives. The excuse would be she went to Europe. She’d have the child, and it would be put up for adoption.
Not in this case. Her father must have been an very unpleasant man because his extreme measure was to take the child and toss it in the pig pen.
The pigs would make the problem disappear.
One of the slaves witnessed this and basically said, “Hell no, this isn’t happening.” He waded into the pig pen to rescue the baby. Now this was a pretty brave thing to do. Anyone who’s been around pigs knows they can be formidable creatures, and will fight for food. He could have easily been injured, maybe even killed doing this.
He rescued the baby and took her home. There, among the black slaves, she was raised as one of their own. Somehow, they managed to get her educated, and years later, she married and had children.
One of them was Major Jeremiah Franklin. I’d always heard he’d fought in the Civil War, but was on side of the Confederacy. According the the story I’d heard, he spent most of the war as a Union POW.
Turns out it was just a story. When I went looking for him, I couldn’t find anything about his being a POW of the Union. Well, I was looking in the wrong army.
Turns out he was a Union officer.
Now the question became, “How did a boy from the Carolinas go over to the other side?”
It didn’t make a lot of sense unless he was dead set against something the South was doing. When I recalled the story of his mother, it began to make sense.
He decided to try to set right a wrong. He realized that if it wasn’t for a black man, he wouldn’t exist. Unable to erase what had already happened, he did the best he could and tried to change today.
The Major made it through the war, and came out west with the Mormon expansion. He was a General in the Mormon militia.
Today, I got to thinking about it. I find it amazing that you’re reading this because a man almost two hundred years ago considered life, any life, as something valuable.
Funny how close one can come to non-existence.