Before July of 2009, this was a pretty extensive genealogy section. It was based on PHP system called The Next Generation. In June of 2009, the PHP files suffered a code injection. In other words, some kind of robot found it could rewrite my PHP files and use them to send spam emails from, and create a phishing page on, my Lovebunnies web site.
Luckily my ISP found these files. I assume someone complained to them. Both my corporate and personal web sites were shut down for about a week while I was googling and floundering with tech support to figure out what had gone wrong. Emails to the author of TNG were ignored, as were posts on the TNG help forum. To be fair, the author of TNG had fixed the vulnerable PHP files long ago, but I did not know such a thing as a code injection existed, so I did not keep up with the updates necessary to protect this suite of pages from being hacked. Well, live and learn, I suppose.
Perhaps some day I will buy the upgrade and try again. But right now, between getting an education in computer security, staying up nights to work on the site, jumping through the hoops necessary to get my web sites reloaded and back online and general disgruntlement, I'm in no mood to tackle the update.
As of July 18, 2009, this page is all that's left of The Rescued Papers. I'll try to create of few web pages with the Histories over the next few days. But for the forseeable future, that's all there will be. Blah.
I’ve found we have five stories that need to be told. Four of them begin with family legends, then continue on with historical fact.
The first, and most important to our family name, is of course “The Lost Ancestor: A Man Hidden in Plain Sight.” The next is “The Man Who Didn’t Lead the Retreat.” Then we have “Man and Horse.” And last, perhaps the most fascinating of all, “The Ghostly Cavalier and the Child Bride.”
In the case of “Man and Horse,” the family legend is silly, but probably correct. In the other three cases, the legends are just wrong.
The fifth is the story behind the stories: how I’ve come to work on puzzling them out. So, first you really should read the story of …
“The Rescued Papers”
As elderly relatives passed away, a pile of papers and photographs—Maloy and Streett and Baldwin and Ruff papers and memorabilia—began to accumulate at our family home in Glyndon. My Aunt Elizabeth even sent me a few packets of stuff, which I added to the other materials. Apparently as the eldest Edgett male, I was being elected to be the inheritor of this mish mosh of scrapbooks, disintegrating albums of unidentified photos and notebooks of family genealogy. It may be that I had shown some interest in our odd family lore: the story of how our ancestor John Streett came to be called “Colonel John Streett who led the retreat,” the sad story of the loss of the bone handled carving set from the farm in Harford county. So I did glance over the materials piling up on a shelf in the toys cupboard, wondering if anyone would ever show any concern for them. Our mother was more interested in the old things than was anyone else, and she showed me some of her favorite tidbits: the notebook with the story of the ghostly cavalier, supposedly an ancestor of ours, and the old recipe for liniment another ancestor cooked up.
But missing from all this old stuff was anything about the legend that most interested me: that of our paternal great grandfather, Albert Roswell Edgett. We were told nothing was known of him, other than the fact he had married Ada May Maloy, and then, after fathering our grandfather and great aunts, had disappeared. All knowledge of him was thereafter expunged from family memory, and we knew nothing of our Edgett ancestry. Apparently that was always going to be that.
I of course assumed there would be plenty of time to wangle some older family members into doing something about organizing the papers and notebooks and albums, or thought that perhaps if no one else cared about it, I might not either. After all, if Albert R. and our Edgett heritage was lost, the rest of the old family legends and ancestors were amusing, but hardly important.
Imagine then my surprise when some years ago, my mother showed me a box of heirloom textiles: quilt pieces, embroidery and stitching, each piece having notes pinned to them, identifying the makers as Edgetts and the dates of their creation in the early nineteenth century. She had been to Pennsylvania with—as I remember it—our Aunt Elizabeth to get this collection. Aunt Elizabeth had long been the keeper of what family history we knew. My memory is that mother told me they had been to a bank, and gotten the textiles from a safe deposit box. Thinking about it now, that seems a little off, given that the collection fills a plastic tote the size of a smallish laundry basket.
In any case, astounded at having some link to a supposedly unknown past, I asked her about the story of Albert R. and the family name. She simply said, “Oh, yes, there are Edgetts in Pennsylvania,” as if we’d known that all along. I didn’t press her on the confusion. She seemed a bit defensive about being called out on telling two conflicting stories, and I thought back then there would be plenty of time to get it all straightened out. We never did.
As these things often go, other chores and projects intervened. In time, I eventually just forgot about it, and our mother passed away without my getting the “zact words” about Pennsylvania Edgetts or the trip to pick up the inheritance.
When the family home in Glyndon was being emptied, I brought home the textiles along with the rest of the ancestral memorabilia, assuming I’d call Aunt Elizabeth for the story of how we got the textiles. I was dismayed to hear Aunt Elizabeth deny having had anything to do with it. Of course by then she was in her last illness, and may have forgotten, but she was perfectly lucid and very definite: she knew nothing of a box of Edgett ancestor needlework. Calls to friends of our mother—Dottie Hammond, Ebba von Saleski and Barbie Carr—were all answered the same way. No one knew anything about the alleged trip to Pennsylvania. Dottie Hammond doubted it could have been Aunt Elizabeth who had gone, because Elizabeth was so frail. But while I can’t now remember how long ago the box was acquired, it’s been enough years that I think Elizabeth would have been well enough back then to have made a car trip to somewhere not too far away in Pennsylvania.
Now that I had lost the trail of the textiles, and remembering the materials gathered up at Glyndon were of no help, I assumed the whole concern about the Edgett name to be a wild goose chase. I took the textiles and papers and photos to the Maryland Historical Society, to preserve them for others to see. The very helpful people there said that as I thought the textiles probably had a Pennsylvania provenance, they were really not of interest. But the papers were, and I promised to get what help I could from Father in identifying the photos, as I knew we had copies of the most important ones at home.
But the whole thing now bugged me: the differing stories, the uncertain provenance of the needlework, my lackadaisical failure to find out about Edgetts. I decided to do some digging, and without any real hope of finding out at this late date why we, of all people, had gotten the textiles, I thought perhaps I could find out about Pennsylvania Edgetts and perhaps great-grandfather Albert R. I had tried to do this some years ago without success, but this time, with more people and sites on the Worldwide Web, I found our Edgett ancestors.
My success at that led me to feel a bit guilty about having given away the papers so soon. I had expected—or let’s say, hoped—that I would spend a day or two at the Historical Society copying some of the more interesting tidbits among the papers. That never happened; it was unrealistic of me to think I’d get to spend much time downtown. My Cousin Larry had expressed an interest in seeing the material; Loie was disappointed in not ever having copies of the good bits she remembered seeing and hearing about. And, I wondered if perhaps there might be some overlooked little bit about Albert R. I didn’t really think there would be, but at any rate I thought we should have some copies of the other information I knew was there: the Streett family, the Maloys; the story of the ghostly cavalier; the picture of the old Beckwith castle. So I very apologetically, more than a year after having left them off, retrieved the memorabilia from the Historical Society, and was off an adventure through time, place and legend.
The Rescued Papers, as I’m calling them, are mostly Maloy family genealogy and memorabilia. It is from these we can investigate “Man and Horse,” “The Ghostly Cavalier and the Child Bride,” and “The Lost Ancestor: A Man Hidden in Plain Sight.” Then we have a Streett family genealogy, from which we get “The Man Who Didn’t Lead the Retreat.” A two page typescript on our Edgett ancestry adds a fascinating detail to “The Lost Ancestor.” There is single page of handwritten notes on our Herrmann background I call “Yo’s Yellow Page;” it suggests yet another story still to be investigated: “The Man Who Was ‘No Good’.”
There are other stories in our family past that might someday want to be written out. I can think of “The Man Who May Have Slept,” “The Lost Knife,” certainly “Go West.” I wish I could remember more of “The Strap Hinged Door.” “Gangstah Cah” needs noting down. “The Quadrilateral Tree” and “Mary’s Pavilion” would make good Christmas reading. But for now, I’ll concentrate on the stories whose details can be filled out from the Rescued Papers, and leave the rest for later.