Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kitchen stories: we all have skeletons

Thomas and Emily stayed in Kentucky until right after my mother Lorna was born. They headed by to Jeffersonville where is family lived. Not much is known about the Colvins. Thomas had a few brothers and sisters and it seems most of the family was on the wrong side of the law. Wilder Colvin was married to a woman named Johanna Dabney from Ohio or Pennsylvania. When Johanna married Wilder her family disowned her. She had a few children and later the family relented and asked to meet her in Ohio. She had no money for a winter coat so she went without, caught pneumonia and died. I don't think the Dabneys had anything else to do with the Colvins after that.

Grandma Emily would tell of her father-in-law, Wilder and his business of counterfeit dollars. Once, when Federal agents were searching the house, Emily stood on a rug holding my mother in her arms. Under the floor boards were the counterfeit dollars. She said she was shaking the whole time. It wasn't long after that exciting episode they left the Colvin house to start out on their own.

Thomas' young brother Dewey. When he was young he and a friend got themselves in a bit of trouble for stealing something minor. For this they were sent to reform school which turned out to be the best education a young lad inclined to larceny could have gotten. When released he fancied himself an outlaw and robbed gas stations, liquor store and the like; did a little time, too. Story has it he got ambitious, robbed a bank, and was shot in the process. At that time you died from getting shot in the process. Now this story was never told but my mother learned about it and was sworn to secrecy for the shame of it. She kept that secret for a very long time.

In the 1980 when genealogy became popular my aunt and her sister-in-law went to Jeffersonville to research some family history. My mom was horrified and told me the story and was afraid the two researchers would find out the truth. When she spoke with her sister she asked tentatively about Uncle Dewey. Yes, they did find some newspaper reports but had known the story for years as their mother told them the same thing and swore them to secrecy, too. Seems Emily told quite a few this "secret."

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