The Hiles view the grandeur of the landscape but also experience the vagaries of life.
Oscar, Ella and the kids ate breakfast on the train as they left Denver the morning of May 1.
About two thirty that afternoon, the train passed through Canon City. Ella noted that Oscar took the snapshot of the depot and that she was very sad as they passed through because her father was buried in Canon City.
Jesse Doran Smith was born January 19, 1836 in Pleasant Dale, Hampshire County, Virginia (now West Virginia since 1861), the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Doran Smith. Both sides of the family included Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, and Jesse was one of twelve children. Jesse married Josephine McBride in 1865 and together they had four sons and a daughter, Ella being the youngest.
Jesse died on July 30, 1904, when Ella was twenty-four, in a rural portion of Fremont County near Canon City. As the story goes, Jesse had gone to Colorado in search of work. His body was found by the sheriff without identification and he was buried at county expense. It was only after inquiries from the Smith family as to the whereabouts of Jesse that the officials were able to identify the remains., and so passing through Canon City must have been traumatic for Ella.
Being on a moving train with a scheduled destination does not leave much time for lingering, however, and soon the scenery began to look “very rugged, indeed.”
As they continued through southern Colorado, the collision between what Ella was seeing and what she had been feeling continued.
Whether it is incredulous politicians or innocent and well-meaning genealogists and family historians, as we navigate the sometimes difficult pathway between truth and assumption, we must always consider the source.
All people, at all times, must have created myths and stories to sketch a picture of our place under the sun. As I would ask myself what is the purpose of life and what is my role in that purpose, I came to wonder who in my past sat around a campfire and asked those same questions.
Sometimes, genealogy can be used not only to prove family relationships, but also to disprove it. Case in point: if you follow California wing nuts you have no doubt heard that our governor Gavin Newsom is Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nephew. Uh, no. He’s not.
Most of my family tree branches go back several hundred years. The Dudymott lineage, on the other hand, is another story. James Dudymott was born in Pennsylvania in 1812. At that point, the Dudymott name turns into what genealogists call a brick wall.