Friday, October 17, 2008

18 Days 2 Go...

Interesting profile article this morning on the Wall Street Journal's website:
Two Families Named McCain: Candidate Shares a History With Descendants of Slaves

It seems that John McCain's great-great-grandfather was a slave owner in pre-Civil War Mississippi. I don't even want to think about the nastiness that will be spread on the leftie blogs about this and I don't know if McCain's family were good or bad as owners went, but I have a sneaking suspicion there will be a lot of assuming they were bad. It seems no one ever correctly remembers that good, kind humanitarian people with consciences owned slaves, too, because the world known through textbooks and revisionist history paints them all bad.

I read this with an acutely personal interest. Those who know me know that I'm the family genealogist, and my mom's branch of my family tree lived in that same immediate area during some of that same time. And just to be clear, that means that my ancestors owned slaves, too.

This is the only image I have of the of the 19th century Mississippi branch of my mom's ancestors, taken in 1895 at a family celebration:

Moreover, beginning around WWI, my maternal great-grandparents (and then my grandparents) employed a black woman from that area as a housekeeper. Her name: Fannie McCain Brown.

Whoa, not 100% for sure that our Fannie is from the same McCain family, but from what I know about my ancestors and about Fannie, who was employed by my family as a domestic long enough to have helped raise my mother and also me as a baby, my gut tells me she was related to the McCains in this story.

This is why my gut is telling me this. See the red A on this map of Mississippi? That is Teoc, MS. where the McCains lived. Now, do you see up Interstate 55 just a ways, the towns of Tillatobia and Oakland? My family's farm was just south of Oakland. Teoc's about 40 miles from Oakland as the crow flies. Talk about a small world!

If I feel up to it, I will tell a family story about Fannie tomorrow. I'm still feeling puny and I woke up today determined to actually do something in my real life (as opposed to using up my productivity online, lol). It's overcast and cool down here today, and I'm going to try to do a little cooking, a little baking. We shall see how far I get...


Anonymous said...

I think the point is not about McCain's family owning slaves. The Wall Street Journal wasn't the paper to break this story: the Florida paper that did had a rather different take on the matter.

McCain has denied that his family ever owned slaves, it seems, and has not been willing to talk to the black family with his name. His brother Joe and many other white relatives have attended reunions with the black McCains, so there really seems to be no good reason for him to act like this. It sure doesn't seem to go with the reputation he has of being a maverick, crossing the aisle to work with those of a different point of view, etc.

Personally, if I were a politician, I'd welcome the chance to go to anyone's family reunion. If I couldn't go, or even if I didn't want to go, I'd send a nice thank-you letter. That's just basic courtesy. I do think McCain has been remiss.

Aimeslee said...

Anonymous, You wrote that you think the point's not about his family owning slaves, but that was the point for me, because the lady who cared for me might have been from that family. I did read the article you cited and it made me suspicious when I compared it to the NYT article. Joe McCain needed to have input and be quoted and he was not. I appreciate your interest, but I'm not into making this about whether John McCain is enough of a brotha from anotha motha, ok?