Wednesday, September 19, 2007

~Satterfield by Cynthia~



That's my great-grandfather, fourth from the left in the top row. The newspaper didn't know his first name but it was James. James Satterfield.
When I was a child I called him Pop Jim. I didn't know him but my grandmother, his daughter, told us a bit about his life. Looking back, his life was interesting but when I heard the stories he was an embarrassment.
For most of his life he was on the run. Running from the law, women who trusted him with their hearts and futures, and men who trusted him with their money. His "business deals" involved whiskey, card games and, let's say, manly pleasures.
James met my great-grandmother, Gertrude, while he was moving from one town to another. She was sitting on her daddy's front porch cooling off after tending chickens and cows, washing clothes and helping her mama cook the big mid-day meal.
James walked by, covered in dust and stinking to the heavens, and he thought, "Here's a free dinner."
He asked for a glass of water, and she invited him to come through the gate. As James watched Gertrude gracefully and kindly get his water, he knew he was done running.
He stayed at her daddy's place, sleeping in the barn, for six months. He worked as hard as the family. He fell in love with Gertrude. Gertrude fell in love with James. Daddy gave his permission for them to marry.
They bought a small farm in the next town over. They had six children - four boys and two girls. Every so often James would think about his past and shake his head. He got lucky on the run but he still missed the whiskey.
My grandmother told me this photo was taken in town with some of his neighbors. It was taken after the men grudgingly attended church. She told me the women back then may not have been vocal about their wants and needs but they usually got what they wanted. The women just had a way.
She also told me that though her father was a good man and a hard worker, she always felt there was something dangerous about him.
Just look at his right hand. He's instinctively feeling for his gun.

2 comments:

Cynthia said...

That's my great-grandfather, fourth from the left in the top row. The newspaper didn't know his first name but it was James. James Satterfield.

When I was a child I called him Pop Jim. I didn't know him but my grandmother, his daughter, told us a bit about his life. Looking back, his life was interesting but when I heard the stories he was an embarrassment.

For most of his life he was on the run. Running from the law, women who trusted him with their hearts and futures, and men who trusted him with their money. His "business deals" involved whiskey, card games and, let's say, manly pleasures.

James met my great-grandmother, Gertrude, while he was moving from one town to another. She was sitting on her daddy's front porch cooling off after tending chickens and cows, washing clothes and helping her mama cook the big mid-day meal.

James walked by, covered in dust and stinking to the heavens, and he thought, "Here's a free dinner."

He asked for a glass of water, and she invited him to come through the gate. As James watched Gertrude gracefully and kindly get his water, he knew he was done running.

He stayed at her daddy's place, sleeping in the barn, for six months. He worked as hard as the family. He fell in love with Gertrude. Gertrude fell in love with James. Daddy gave his permission for them to marry.

They bought a small farm in the next town over. They had six children - four boys and two girls. Every so often James would think about his past and shake his head. He got lucky on the run but he still missed the whiskey.

My grandmother told me this photo was taken in town with some of his neighbors. It was taken after the men grudgingly attended church. She told me the women back then may not have been vocal about their wants and needs but they usually got what they wanted. The women just had a way.

She also told me that though her father was a good man and a hard worker, she always felt there was something dangerous about him.

Just look at his right hand. He's instinctively feeling for his gun.

Comrade Kevin said...

It must have taken a sort of Dutch courage to leave Ohio for the great unknown. Very likely it could have been a kind of zealous insanity, which was certainly a charge levied against these religious pioneers by family members and townspeople alike. The movers and shakers met in secrecy at the meeting hall to discuss the purchase of new homesteads. The council approved the purchase of 3000 acres in the Western Provinces, a land which thus far had been only tentatively explored.

Converts to a new faith based upon the flimsiest of evidence, these 19th century pilgrims uprooted themselves from established society to find a land where they could life unmolested.

No one around to question why they baptized their dead. No one to counter their assertion that upon death, they lived an afterlife on one of the moons encircling the planet Saturn. No one to find offense in their ritual apple-picking.

I felt sorry for their children, who didn't stand a snowball's chance in hell at a normal life. The cult fostered trust only in the white-bearded elders in this picture and shunned all contact with the outside world.