A while back I was given a written history of my mother's side of the family. The first of our family to set foot on American soil was Martin Dye in 1665! From this family history I found out that I was an 11th generation American with relatives of many different means and ways of life. There are two stand-out relatives I'd like to tell you a little about.
The first, Avery Dye (I love his name!), was born in 1828. He married a woman named America. Wouldn't it be fun introducing your parents, "Avery and America"? Ok, well anyway, Avery was a Confederate Civil War soldier who was captured and incarcerated in the Alton, IL Yankee prison. While there, he escaped with the Quantrill Raiders. (not nice guys) From there he became friends with the Younger Brothers and rode with Jesse James and his gang to Texas. The James-Younger gang were notorious bushwhackers. (again, not nice guys) Didn't know you were in for a brief history lesson, huh?! After the war Avery escaped the James-Younger gang and returned home to Missouri. He said it was easier to break out of Alton Prison than it was to break out of Jesse James' gang. I can believe it!
A relative with loftier goals and better friends was David "Reuben" Dye. He was born in 1835. He lived on a farm 2 1/2 miles south of Stoutsville, MO. Stoutsville is where my great-great grandparents, great-grandparents and grandparents all lived. After Cannon dam was built in 1984 the town was buried under water. Some day I'll share some of my cherished memories of that small town. Back to Reuben...He mortgaged the farm for $1000 to finance a Star Mail Route from Stoutsville, to Florida, MO. His two partners defaulted and Reuben ran the route alone with a horse and spring wagon to keep from losing the farm. One of his good friends and passengers was Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain.) It is said that Samuel Clemens fashioned many of his book's characters off of people he had known; quite possibly those he met along the mail route with Reuben.
I love ancestors who have an "past" worth remembering and sharing. Makes you wonder what they will write about us someday...look at that girl, she just blabbered and blabbered on about nothing. Ha! :) Oh well, maybe they will run across some good tidbits themselves that will make it all worthwhile.