M. had the same first name — an unusual one in that time and place — and last initial as my first cousin. We met when I, a year too young, tagged along to my cousin’s Brownie Scout meetings. M. and I discovered that we lived down the street from one another and from then until my family moved away three years later, we were inseparable.
Several years ago, I did some basic genealogical research on M.’s mother’s family. Her grandfather was a Greene County Edwards, and I was able to trace his ancestry back to slavery. I gratified by the achievement, but nothing in what I found resonated on a personal level.
Fast forward to last week. While hunting for Artis Town, I revisited an Edwards cemetery that I first encountered five or ten years ago while driving Greene County back roads. As I noted here, this time I realized that these Edwardses were also Artises, descendants of Daniel, the brother of my great-great-great-great-grandmother Vicey Artis Williams. Standing there, mulling this over, I started thinking about M.’s family, her Edwardses, and wondering …
When I got back to my parents’ house, I hopped onto the internet. Twenty minutes, and a lot of scribbling and charting later, there it was. M.’s grandfather was the grandson of Mariah Sauls Edwards, who was the daughter of Prior Ann Artis Sauls Thompson, who was the daughter of Daniel Artis. In other words, M. is my cousin, too!
P.S. I figured all this out the day before M.’s birthday. A little present for us both.
P.P.S. An iron-clad childhood rule: “Don’t get in anybody’s car unless we have given you permission.” I broke it twice before the lesson took. The second and last time, I was about seven. I was playing down at M.’s house when her grandparents announced that they were about to ride down Greene County. I ran home to see if I could go with them. Nobody was home. I decided for myself and hopped in the car. I don’t remember much about the short visit — a white farmhouse on brick pillars standing on a slight hill, maybe? — but now I wonder. Was I visiting my own kin?