About My American Saga

I’ve always been fascinated with history. It was one of my favorite subjects in school. I always chose the yellow game piece in Trivial Pursuit and l Ianded on the history question as often as I could. Oh, in case you haven’t played, yellow was the color for history questions in the original game.

In 7th grade US History we had a grading system that would be banned today. It was my first “lecture” style class and involved lots of note taking and fairly frequent tests. Our seating chart changed when test scores were passed out. The person with the highest score in the class sat in the chair on the front row by the door and subsequent scores came later. So right off the bat our privacy rights were violated. In addition, there was an element of ridicule or bullying involved. The classroom was actually four side-by-side classrooms with folding doors between them. The doors were opened to connect all the rooms and each class section was named: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral. And to top that off, each seat in the class was named and the only “man” in the classroom was the one with top score.

rocksAfter the first couple of tests the kids that ended up in the back section were petitioned off with their own teacher and in spite of admonitions from the teachers they were  known as the dumb kids. I mean, after all, they were dumber than a rock. I felt bad for them because they could never move to the front of the class.

While the system would not be allowed today, I thrived in it. I only sat in the coveted (to me) “man” seat once or twice, but I was always in the front section of the class, and usually in the first row. Once, as the year wore on, a “friend” gave me a hard time for always being in the front. She was usually a mineral and she got to me. For an instant I wondered if I’d have more friends if I didn’t always sit so close to the front. I blew a test and ended up a vegetable. I was horrified and couldn’t wait until the next test to become an animal again.

As a disclaimer, history was by far my best subject and I was not a straight A student. I don’t think the same system would have worked in algebra. I was the one dumber than a rock in algebra, but I thrived in history.

original-thirteen-states-mapI learned about the Mayflower and the Pilgrims in grade school each Thanksgiving. But in seventh grade I learned in 1624 the Dutch West India Trading Company settled Manhattan and established New Amsterdam (later New York) for the Netherlands. Just a few years ago I found out it was MY family that did that. How cool is that? I wonder if other kids might have liked history more if they knew their family had a hand in making it. Just learning that hooked me on searching my family tree, but finding connections in almost every colony prior to the Revolution has really stoked the fires. How American is that?

I’ve also been interested in the human element of history. What happened when a mother died in childbirth, or a father was killed leaving a family of young children. What happened when soldiers died in war or were taken prisoner? Did we fight for the north or the south in the Civil war? We we rich or poor? Did we own slaves?

Turns out the answer is all of the above. And it’s been a fascinating from all the places we started to get to me here in Norman, Oklahoma. We’re all a LOT more connected than I could ever imagine and we can all benefit from understanding how much alike we are instead of how different.

If it turns out you’re connected to my family in a way I haven’t discovered yet, let me know. I’m always excited to meet a new cousin!



4 responses to “About My American Saga

  1. William Howard Weber

    April 13, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Jan. nice to meet you cousin. I too have a direct lineage to Abraham Du Trieux. It has been fun putting the puzzle together;with pieces being added from Ireland, Scotland, Germany, in the 1700-1800s. From New York to New Jersey, then to Pennsylvania and into the Miami valley of Ohio, where I now reside. Best wishes
    William H Weber

    • Jan

      April 15, 2015 at 11:54 pm

      So good to hear from another cousin! My Du Trieux line follows yours to Pennsylvania and then Rebecca Truex marries Robert Johnson and they move to Illinois about 1848. A couple of generations later my grandmother was about five or six when they moved to Florida about 1910 to take advantage of a land boom that was in progress. They did quite well and once owned all the land around Kissimmee where Disney World now sits. And then the stock market crashed. It was a story right out of the history books. Most of the family is still in Florida but Dad met Mom while he was in the Air Force and she was in Oklahoma, so here we are.
      The New Amsterdam part of the story really fascinates me. I remember the Dutch West Indies Trading Company from history classes and had no idea that was my story. Please let me know if you have any good information from the early years, especially if any family stories survived for you to hear. I knew nothing about this line until my mom started researching the family tree years ago.
      Thanks so much for writing!

  2. Gary Lee Scott

    May 25, 2015 at 6:57 pm


    Poindexter Scott was my gg grandfather. I am one of the Waterloo, Alabama Scotts. We now live in Indiana. My uncle, Homer, lived on Bumpass Creek road until his death. I hope that I can help fill in some gaps in the tree. While not an accomplished genealogy researcher, I would be willing to help if you point me in the right direction.

    • Jan

      May 26, 2015 at 11:11 am

      Hi Gary ~
      Poindexter is one of my favorite uncles, primarily because he’s the only one with that name so it’s easy to find his branch of the family tree. He’s the brother two years younger than my ggg grandfather Jeremiah Franklin “Frank” Scott. I descend from William Charlie, one of at least seven kids who left Alabama. The oldest went to Texas, and then Oklahoma opened up and the rest came here.
      My family tree is far from complete and I’m sure full of inaccuracies, but I’m working at it.
      I’ve seen some pictures of Poindexter with his second wife, Melinda Scott. I think she was a sister of Martha Mahalia Lamb who was his first wife. Let me know if that’s not right or if you have something else to add to the story.
      BTW there is a facebook page for Scott descendants of Waterloo, Alabama. You should join. There’s talk of a family reunion this summer.


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