Who am I?

My DNA is 93% British Isles...7% unaccounted-for, but quite likely Scandinavian, Central and East and Southern European---

But not exclusively European, if you can believe one connection to Moorish Spain and some that go off the map in odd places. According to some lines, I also go way back into Eastern Europe, clear to the Goths and Visigoths, and to the Vikings in Russia. I'm going to be interested to get the mitochondrial DNA run (I ran the autosomal, which was a gift---literally: they asked me to be one of the beta testers) and see where my genes did meander.

Jane and I are related to each other in the 1600's and back---in fact we're repeatedly related to each other, past a certain point.

I've known since I was six that I was named after Louisana Carolina Boone, my great-grandmother, and that my father's family went back to a Squire Boone of the Yadkin Valley, in the Carolinas, and that there was a connection of some kind to Daniel Boone. Since in that year we didn't even have access to an encyclopedia, let alone the internet, I had no idea what that relationship was.

What I didn't know was that Great-great-grandfather Lafayette Boone, descended from Squire, was an interesting figure in his own right, lawyer, lawbreaker, spy, and officer in the Confederate cavalry. That my third-great grandfather was murdered. That my third-great grandmother was related toThomas Jefferson.

I never guessed that my mother was also descended from the Boones---from Squire Boone's grandfather, one of the George Boones, back in Devon, England.

The Boones have long argued passionately whether they are indeed related to the de Bohun's (pronounced Boones)---who were kingmakers in England, earls of Hereford, involved in forcing the Magna Carta on King John. The de Bohuns were often involved in the politics of succession. They had their fingers in about every political situation in England while their power lasted, and before they lost royal favor and devolved, finally, to a small family in Devon. They took up with the Quakers when Henry VIII created the Church of England and ousted the Catholics, which all of them had been, until then. They were not willing to be in Henry's church, the Church of England, and this eventually set them up for trouble, when extremists took over---the Puritans, who had their own notion of purity and right.

    It's also a truism that familes who have been related once are often related many times: knowledge, acquaintance, political and religious ties, and just opportunity, as well as all the other human reasons. People in the same social circles tend to marry each other and not look too far afield without compelling reason. So perhaps the fact that this well-documented Boone descendant (me) from both her maternaland paternal lines, is related to the de Bohuns by various routes, in various centuries---and lives with, yes, someone else related to the de Bohuns---indicates that attitudes and opinions are themselves a sort of DNA, and that those once associated find each other, across centuries.

It is also worth noting that for a small family of Quakers in Devon, the immediate antecedents of everyone the Boones marry is from well-known families with coats of arms in their background. Curious ties, for Quakers.

And it is also notable that the Quaker beliefs fell away very quickly once the Boones landed in the New World. The Boones dodged the Puritans, who had taken over Massachusetts, and who wanted to burn Quakers as heretics. They did get as far as the Quaker community in Chester, Pennsylvania, but they had not been there long before one of the Boones, widowed, married outside the Quaker community.

The Quakers refused to acknowledge this marriage. As a result, the entire Boone clan took umbrage, upped stakes and moved south to the Carolinas, to trap and hunt and farm in the wilderness.

In the conflict between Britain and France, the era of the French and Indian Wars, son Daniel began to seek a commission in the British Army, and, according to our family legend, began to think about gaining land and entry into the British peerage---until the colonies had a parting of the ways with King George. The British Army, rather than operate in the southern wilderness, convinced the Native Americans of the area that they could have their land if they pushed the colonists out. So Daniel Boone spent his Revolutionary War fighting the British-inspired tribes in a backwoods guerilla war.

Daniel didn't come out well, He lost his son Israel in the Battle of  Blue Licks. After the Revolutionary War definitely severed the newborn United States from England, he tried to carry on with his notion of founding a territory---and the family temper and family stubborn streak became evident in no few things. When the citizens of Boonesboro, Kentucky, which he had founded, voted contrary to his wishes, he stalked out and kept going, leaving Kentucky. He went clear to Missouri, where he established a house---in effect a small settlement---and lived there until his death.

Seeing the portrait painted of him in his last few months---gave me quite a turn. The Boone men, and some of the women, have a look, and that portrait looked so much like my father in his last year, it was uncanny.


The picture a lot of Americans have of the early colonists is that of everyone wearing Pilgrim black and white, building little villages with whtie-steepled churches and having happy harvest festivals with the Native Peoples, involving pumpkins and corn.

That's not, in my family's view, how it was. My family was of several sorts, none of which remotely wanted contact with the Pilgrim Fathers, who wanted to kill them---and Native American does not figure in my ancestry. [There was a Native American in the family, however---one of my ancestors was a brother of John Rolfe, who married Pocohontas---but there was no direct relationship: Pocohontas' daughter Jane Rolfe was never in good health and did not live a long life.]

Two of my families, the Boones, and the Calverts, notoriously came to the colonies specifically to set up little enclaves of their own, because the Pilgrims/Puritans had seized control in England. Far from being persecuted because of their own religious beliefs, the Puritans ruled England at the time, and were killing people who didn't want to be Puritans, ---not to mention their beheading the King, Charles I. So when the Puritans came to the Americas, they weren't seeking freedom from persecution: they were trying to set up to impose their religion on the New World, to impose it on the Native Americans and to convert or execute anybody they considered religious incorrect. That was their notion of religious freedom, and it led to the Salem Witch Trials.

I do have Puritans in my background: two dissident Puritans, man and wife, left Salem, Massachusetts and headed south toward the Carolinas right before the witch trials. I have no idea why.

My maternal grandfather's family wasn't English: they were Dutch, who had colonized New Amsterdam in New York and New Jersey. The Dutch had set up a fur trade with the Native Americans, and they also farmed. They really wanted nothing much to do with the English, as England and the Netherlands were at war during much of this period, largely, again, to do with religion and trade. The Dutch colonists were unhappy when the British-Dutch War was settled by a treaty that gave New Amsterdam to England. Some stayed put in New York and New Jersey. Others headed for Pennsylvania, but some of them headed south to the Carolinas and points beyond. My mother's family were in the last group.

The Calverts, also in my mother's line, were Roman Catholic. One of them, Lord Baltimore, had organized a colony in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay as a refuge for the Roman Catholics emigrants, who were being forced to give up their religion or being outright killed by the Puritans in England.

And then there were a large number of other dissidents who emigrated into Maryland, perhaps for religious freedom, perhaps just because of economic conditions. That might include my mother's side of the Boones, a man named Humphrey, after the greatest of the old de Bohuns---another argument on the side of the families' connection.

Into Virginia's landing at Isle of Wight, came a mixed collection of people also on the wanted list of the Puritans in England for other than religious reasons---the Strodes, the Cherrys, the Smiths, Davises and others, both my father's and my mother's relatives. These were people who'd had money and position in England, many of the noble families, Royalists who'd supported King Charles, and also ordinary folk from towns like Gloucester, who'd grown tired of cannonballs, religious wars, and the Black Death. London burning down in the Great Fire didn't help. The recurrence of the Plague every summer was an encouragement to migrate. So was the massive economic depression wrought by the Plague in England. One of my ancestors, a man of humble means, sold himself into indentured servitude for 4 years to a ship captain to get the passage---which a 1650's boat ticket from one of my Dutch ancestors states was about 3000.00 in modern money

And be it known, sailing was a long voyage, and due to the nature of the water supply on ships, typhoid often ran through the passenger list. 'Buried at sea' is the epitath for no few of my family and Jane's during the Atlantic crossing: We're here only because of who survived to procreate.

 Generally the people coming into the southern landing, in Virginia hoped to get land, establish little English communities, and re-create an idyllic England as it had once been, a kind of genteel country life free of wars and plague and religious conflict. Virginia looked apt for it.

But that wasn't going to work---because the world had changed, and machines were changing culture world wide.

Agriculture in the New World wasn't the same as in England: real money could be had by raising tobacco, which sold very well---and the tobacco trade and the invention of weaving machines was rapidly changing England beyond recognition.

Jane's people, in the other half of our family, were MacPhails, Scots from the Isle of Uist, who found their land suddenly sold off by a Scottish owner who desperately needed money, to an English landlord who wanted the tenants all gone and their houses demolished so the landlord could raise sheep and sell wool for the newfangled knitting machines in factories...which were beginning to employ the dispossessed poor. Past the brink of starvation due to crop failures, and with law enforcement coming in and in some cases burning their houses to force them out, the Scots of North Uist were literally rounded up on ships and taken to Nova Scotia, where they were supposed to establish new lives in a wilderness with terrible winters. Clan MacPhail had a center on North Uist---and they had lived by harvesting kelp from the North Sea. But that livelihood had failed---and anyone who fell into debt and could not meet the rent payments might be transported to the colonies. An ironic story is told of a woman who went into extreme distress because they were taking her from her house, which was about to be destroyed, and she had a nearly finished piece of cloth on a loom---precious cloth from local sheep and hand-spun thread, and woven by lamplight, over a long, long period. The sheriff's men cut the weaving apart and bundled her into a group bound for a ship.

But her way of weaving was what was not only changing in Scotland, it was changing Scotland. Cloth, so very precious and meaningful to these people, would become mass produced. And sheep would graze on their former home sites, and mechanical weaving would lessen the price of cloth and improve life---for some. But not for that poor woman.

Some Scots drifted down into the New England colonies and southward, but generally they were struggling to survive. Jane's folk were possibly not as poor as those MacPhails living on North Uist (north of Inverness)---they may have paid their own passage, and were not set ashore in Nova Scotia, but lived in Ontario, before coming down to Vermont.

The advent of the knitting machines in England and the rise of the wool industry changed the face of industry in England. It brought in massive looms forecasting the invention of even bigger weaving machines and ultimately the rise of cotton---another crop that would lead to even larger plantations, and slavery on a larger and larger scale in the New World---but that had not happened yet. There were African slaves on the tobacco plantations, and there were indentured servants in various small holdings.

In the Carolinas, a wilderness area, hunting and trapping were the means of livelihood. In Virginia, the tobacco plantations were a risky endeavor in which one could get rich---one of my ancestors lost his shirt on such a place. Maryland lived on fishing, farming, and trade, and Baltimore became a port rivaling New York and Boston.

The French were exploring the Mississippi, and into Canada, and had a colony at New Orleans, on the high spot in the city, a construction of logs and planks and wooden walkways. The French had been assured the Caribbean would produce a fortune in pearls, and gold, and authorties had believed it. Neither happened. But the interior did produce furs. And the French sought their fortunes on the Mississippi and into eastern Canada.

The Native Americans, unfortunately, got entangled in the French and Indian Wars, as Britain and France fussed over sphere of influence in the north. Nobody cared much about Louisiana yet

King Charles II had come back to England, lived and died, England had begun to import monarchs, leading to the Georges...with whom the colonists would eventually not be pleased.

And New England's Puritan culture (I have a few in my ancestry, people named Thankfull, Submit, and a lad named Wrestling) had moderated, finally, after the insanity of the Salem Witch Trials, and settled down to live more amicably with varied neighbors. They had lost their hold on England, and the Protestantism there moderated into a religion which again allowed adornment and difference of opinion.

My mother's people had come in with the Dutch of New Amsterdam: Kouwenhovens, Schenks, and van Deventers, as they arrived; but the latter changed the spelling to Vandeventer as they left that area and moved to Tennessee.

The other side of my mother's family, the Tiptons, were an old titled British family who found England dangerous in the English Civil Wars. They came to the colonies. Others in my mother's line were the Calverts, related to Lord Baltimore, of the city of that name: Maryland was set up as a refuge for Roman Catholics from England, who were being persecuted---the Calvert family of Yorkshire had a terrible time, having inspectors invading their house to be sure they were bringing their children up as Protestants---and since people had been killed for being Catholic, it was a very intimidating business. The Strodes, who had a history as a noble family, had a son hounded out of England for helping an old friend---who had just led a failed rebellion against the Parliamentarians, never mind that the lad's father was part of the Parliamentarian (read Puritan) government, and had had his life credibly threatened by both sides. That family left England. They all gathered in Maryland and Virginia, ultimately moving into the adjacent states, like Kentucky and Tennessee, and up into Ohio as rail travel made it possible to move whole families.

One of the Tiptons was involved in the attempt to create the east end of Tennessee as a separate state called Franklin---but this effort was broken up by force of arms (I had an ancestor on the other side of that quarrel, too,) and Tennessee stayed in one piece. So the Tiptons had made it into Tennessee, and the Vandeventers were there, too, but they didn't get together then. They both, around the time of the Louisiana Purchase and the War of 1812, ended up going north, the Tiptons staying in Ohio, hoping, one supposes, for the perfect situation, safe from conflict, and with rich land. The other, the Dutch side, ended up in Nebraska.  The French had sold New Orleans and an enormous area of land to the north, to the United States, a deal called the Louisiana Purchase---to get money for their war against England.

My great-something grandfather Cherry who had tried to make a go of tobacco---had gone broke, long before cotton became a major crop. He had sold all his holdings as best he could, and he and his pregnant wife headed west into the new land, the Louisiana Purchase, ultimately heading for Arkansas and then Texas, as settlement in that territory (disputed with Mexico) began to grow.

Came the War of 1812, which was the United States' portion of the Napoleonic Wars. The British were upset with the United States for several reasons: they viewed the new United States as a French ally---not an unreasonable view, considering American money was behind French guns. The British didn't like a Napoleonic ruler setting up in Mexico any more than they like the United States sending money to France---read, Napoleon---and most of all a very unfortunate incident in which the infant United States, pushed by some locals, had decided to attack Canada.

 So the British attacked in retaliation. Washington DC was burned. President Madison had to flee and Dolly saved the portrait of George Washington, getting out just before the British arrived and burned the White House.

The British government, with Napoleon on their hands, could not afford to carry on an extensive war, and with the death of one of the major British generals, Britain decided to cut its losses and declare it a victory. The war was settled---actually the treaty was signed before the Battle of New Orleans took place, but nobody had told the combatants. Sylvester Tipton, my third or fourth-great grandfather on my mother's side, died not in that battle, but in one preceding it, leaving his family in a bind up in Ohio. And since Andrew Jackson, who would later disgrace the United States presidency by sending the Five Civilized Tribes on the murderous Trail of Tears, into Oklahoma---had actually won the Battle of New Orleans, the battle was celebrated as if the United States had won the war---which they hadn't. The war had already ended and the British troops in New Orleans would have been ordered to withdraw anyway.

It's still a question what was going on with the Cherrys, who had headed west after their loss of their plantation, meaning they had headed toward the Mississippi, the old border---but after the Louisiana Purchase opened a large territory for settlement, they were working their way toward the new border, which now was the western edge of Arkansas, where the Boones lived.

Texas, at this time, was part of Mexico. But adventurers out of New Orleans were trading with Galveston, and American adventurism out of New Orleans, directed toward Galveston and then toward Mexico---led to a war with Mexico---as private citizens decided to go attack yet another foreign government---as if the United States hadn't learned from the attack on Canada. There was a difference here, however: Mexico was ruled by a United States ally and a British enemy---so it made the British happy. And Napoleon's fortunes were sinking, and would hit bottom at Waterloo.

It did make the whole of Texas not peaceful territory.

Very many people like the Cherrys just came ahead into Texas, despite Mexican claims on the territory---so very many people just moving in, possibly confused about where the Louisiana Purchase ended---that Texas declared themselves the Republic of Texas, independent of the United States and of Mexico.

That was unwelcome news to the Napoleonic relative who was emperor of Mexico (Maximilian.) Mexico took measures to get control of Texas---an effort which led to the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, thirty years before the American Civil War.

I have no idea which side of the United States border David Cherry was on at the time of the Mexican War, whether inside the Republic of Texas, or over in Arkansas, which was the US border in those days---but the Boones of Arkansas were back and forth across that uneasy border for various reasons---going from Van Buren on the Arkansas border over to the Texas port of Galveston and the town of San Augustine, in the thirty years between the Alamo and the American Civil War.

The Civil War broke out in the 1860's. I had people on both sides of it.

But there were no few who saw it coming and just took the newly-established railroad out to Ohio and tried to avoid the war. Jane's people were in that number, heading ultimately for Nebraska---but not all avoided it. The Ohio Tiptons were in it on the northern side.

My third-great grandfather, James Monroe Boone, a medical doctor, resident of northern Arkansas, became an example of how tangled the slavery issue was. Before the Civil War broke out, he entirely sympathized with the abolition of slavery. He ran a small farm. And he freed his little handful of slaves, built them houses on his property, and began to pay them a wage for their work.

Not all the neighbors felt the same about slavery. One, an in-law of Dr. Boone, had slaves, one of whom ran away and conned two of the young men on Dr. Boone's land into going with him and robbing Dr. Boone, who was alleged to have money. They beat Dr. Boone to death, and were driven off by Dr. Boone's freedman housekeepers, who readily identified the perpetrators as part of their own community. There was an arrest, a trial, and when two of the perpetrators, the lads from the Boone farm, were acquitted by the jury and set free, Dr. Boone's two sons, one of them my great-great-grandfather Lafe Boone, a lawyer from Van Buren, Arkansas, angrily pursued the two young men and hanged them.

I don't know the opinions or reasons of my great-great-grandfather. I suspect he was deeply embittered by his father's murder.When the Civil War broke out, he became a spy for the Confederacy, traveling up into Missouri and back to Arkansas again in his lawyer-guise, through the heavily wooded border. He rode in uniform in the Confederate Cavalry; he took a cannonball in the leg during one of the only battles fought in Arkansas, and spent the rest of his life in great pain.

Lafe's wife, Nancy Adeline Skelton, who was related, several generations back, to Thomas Jefferson, held down the home front. She brought up their daughter, born just before Dr. Boone's murder, in the safety of Van Buren, Arkansas. And part of the motive of my great-grandfather serving in the Confederate Cavalry may have been simply to try to keep the shooting part of the war out of his home in Van Buren. When the war ended and he came home, he was a very changed man, in constant pain from his wound, and while he lived for quite a few years after the end of the war, it cannot have been a very happy life.

Lafe and Adeline had named their daughter Louisiana Carolina Boone---Louisiana after the new territories that had brought so much hope of land, and Caroline after the Carolina colony the Boones of Arkansas had come from. She had been born on the edge of civil war, lived on the border of the Republic of Texas, and after the war and amid all the troubles that came in the Reconstruction, Lafe Boone's daughter went over to Texas and married William Pinkney Cherry, the son of that flat-broke plantation owner, David Cherry, who'd come west with his pregnant wife, hoping to make a new try in the Louisiana Purchase. William was the baby David's wife been carrying through that journey. And young William became a new breed entirely: a westerner.

Carolina Boone and William Cherry, and William's father David, ran cattle, starting in San Augustine, Texas, and over on the Pecos, and finally up in Grayson County, Texas, and on across the Red River, into Oklahoma, which was, at the time, not a state. Ultimately they crosssed  into Indian Territory, living with the Five Civilized Tribes, notably, I believe, the Creek---and ultimately, too, with the Kiowa, one of the plains tribes who had occupied the western part of Oklahoma: the Kiowa had ties with the Comanche, who would be led by Geronimo in their resistence to colonization of their territory.

So William and Carolina, the children of two failed dreams of a better world, had left the new edge of civilization: the Republic of Texas, that began in 1836, became a slaveholding state before the Civil War, then seceded with the other southern states, then became part of the United States again after the Civil War. Texas then became part of the United States again---a situation which William and Carolina and David seemed generally to ignore as much as possible. Their business was just running cattle for a living---and ultimately they left Texas, and all its political tumult, behind them.

Oklahoma was promised to the Native Americans forever, and this pair and their growing brood of youngsters, born outside the United States, and inside the Oklahoma Territory, had left third-great-grandfather David behind on the Oklahoma border, likely in more comfort than their two-room sod house up north afforded. David was up in years by then. They ran cattle, lived with the tribes, ducked down across the Texas border to visit David from time to time, and probably sell some cattle, and for a number of years and toward a dozen children, life ran fairly smoothly for them.

 It didn't last.

The United States opened the Oklahoma Territory to settlement piecemeal, always finding a reason to open another bit of it, and within a very few years, the tribes---and my great-grandmother and great-grandfather---found themselves with a horde of new neighbors, who now wanted to be a state.

Oil played a big part in that request. Texas had it. And Oklahoma had it. The statehood request was granted in 1907.

 In my mother's line, a Vandeventer son---Tolbert---headed out of Tennessee across the Mississipi, and headed north to Nebraska for a while, about as far from the Civil War as you could get in those days. On his way, he met and married Missouri Duff, who had survived a flatboat accident on the Missouri river in the move west. She thought she was her family's only survivor---though I've found some evidence her mother and a brother may have survived, and gotten to the other side of the river. She never knew it.

Tolbert and Missouri and their son, Glenn Vandeventer, headed down into Oklahoma in hope of land---I don't know under what terms they actually got into central Oklahoma, but it's possible they did it like the Cherrys, just crossing the border and making their own deal with the Native Americans. I certainly never heard any stories about being in the Land Runs---and I'm sure I would have heard them. But I only heard of the family's meeting with a lady named Belah, whose young male attendants, possibly her sons, said she had ridden with Geronimo. Geronimo died in prison at Fort Sill, not that far from the family farm.

My great-grandfather Vandeventer had a private agreement with the Kiowa tribe that they could use the land on Tonkawa Creek for their seasonal meetings whenever they liked and take one head of cattle for the meeting whenever they liked, and they continued that arrangement into my mother's teenaged years.

Meanwhile at least two of the Tipton sons had moved out of Ohio and gone to Kansas. David H, married to Hattie Ferrall, had a daughter named Ida---and by whatever process they got into Oklahoma, they all ended up settling right near the Vandeventers. Young Glenn Vandeventer, working his father's farm, married Ida Tipton, and they lost one baby, but they had a daughter and a son. The daughter was my mother.

Meanwhile Carolina Boone's very handsome grandson was working at the icehouse in the center of town. And Ida and Glenn's daughter kept finding every excuse possible to make the run into town after ice. Neither of these young people ever said more than necessary to buy a block or two of ice and carry it to the Vandeventer farm truck.

But there was a lad named Bill Younger, nephew of the wild west outlaw, Cole Younger, who had ridden with Jesse James. Cole Younger, who really was not that bad a fellow, was serving time in an Oklahoma prison in those years. Young Bill worked for my grandfather Vandeventer, and Bill had made the icehouse trips before the Vandeventer daughter took to making them as an excuse to get to town.

And it's thanks to Bill Younger that I was born. Bill introduced the two, satisfying the strict social demands of that formal time, and he probably served as chaperone on other trips into town after ice.

It was love. The lad at the icehouse and the Vandeventer daughter eloped together during the Great Depression and the Dustbowl, when nobody had money for a wedding, and neglected to tell anybody for months and months. There had to have been witnesses to the wedding. And somehow there had to have been the truck to get there. I have my own notion who helped.

  There's more to it, a lot more. But those are the basics.