End of My Line


Each of us has a unique family tree. The pattern is repeated over the ages. Our ancestors survived famines, sickness, and wars. We are all survivors. Here are three of my stories.

The first story is about James and Lucinda Nave, the earliest couple pictured on the tree. They lived in Missouri during the Civil War. The state was populated by both Union and Confederate sympathizers. Neighbors turned against neighbors. The Naves learned that one of their neighbors was plotting to kill James, perhaps because James Jr. and Errendle had joined Quantrill’s Raiders. A Union Captain and his men came to their home. A description of this encounter is found in a poem written by their granddaughter.

James was very sick and lying on the bed.
‘If you are determined to kill me, right here is where I’ll die.’ he said.

The Captain ordered him to stand up, but he couldn’t stand alone.
Lucinda and Lizzie stood in front of him and said, ‘You’re not
going to take him from home.

One of your men is Bob. We know him.’
Bob answered angrily, ‘You don’t know.’
‘Yes, we do,’ was their reply. The Captain said, ‘Come, boys, let’s go.’

Soon after they were ordered to leave their home. They never saw Bob
from that time on.

For they came West and had been there about three years.
They received a letter from him that filled their eyes with tears.

He wrote, ‘I’m suffering intense pain and I’m going to die.
And I can’t pass on until I receive your reply.

You know, Mr. Nave, I caused you sorrow during the war.
Will you forgive me so my soul will be at rest forever more?’

James did write back and forgave Bob.

The second story is about Margareth, my mother’s paternal great-grandmother. There are no photographs of her. Fifteen-year-old James, acting playfully as the brothers often did, pulled a chair out from under his mother. The result was the death of Margareth and her unborn ninth child. James never married and took his own life at age 59. Fortunately, the seventh child, my great-grandfather, lived to adulthood.

The third story is about my father’s maternal grandfather who was a Montana rancher. In 1906, Jasper moved to Idaho for a warmer climate. Towards the end of his life his daughter Maude visited him. She wrote, “By then, Papa had lost his eyesight and was incapacitated with arthritis. Our talk reverted to the old days. He said if he could have one magic wish, it would be to ride on a spirited horse across some Montana prairie into the teeth of a storm.”

I am pictured at the bottom of the tree. I did not have children. I’m the end of the line.