Named After The Bastard Son Of A Grifter: My Great-Great-Grandfather’s Obituary

22 Feb


grandpa12grandpa7Have I talked about my non-immediate family much? I’ve talked about my uncles and my childhood and maybe mentioned some of my immediate family in passing but I don’t think I really went into my redneck-ass extended family background yet. Hold onto your butts, and enjoy these quirky 1906 print ads (from the newspaper the obituary was in) in the meantime.


Quirky right? So first of all check this out. All three folks in this photo were born with the same name:

grandpa13I’m the genetic dead end of a redneck dynasty.

That elderly gentleman on the left is my great-grandfather; whose first stated memory was “when the servant brought home what was left of my father in a sack”. What was in the bag was “Grandpa Jack” after he had jousted a train. To impress a prostitute. While drunk. On the back of a donkey. No bullshit; swear on his grave.

grandpa14The grave I accidentally knocked over as a kid (another story)

 Seriously tho, it’s pretty impressive that I get to be the awful tranny black sheep of this family because wow. Holy shit. Realize that I kind of have to do some cheating, lineage-wise, here. Technically, this guy is my dad’s mom’s dad’s dad. Got that? Thing is tho, I couldn’t tell you what the name of my dad’s dad was if you paid me. I met him like twice, maybe three times, and I don’t even know if he’s alive anymore. He once offered to pass down an antique harmonica or some other shitty family heirloom to me, but never actually did. That’s all I remember about him. Dad kind of hated his dad, which is kind of funny because my daddy issues are pretty legendary too. Like father like… *cough*


Anyway, I’m a divorcee, my parents divorced, both their parents divorced, you get the picture. Mapping out family and shit is pretty stupid; I have half-step-sibling-cousin whatevers that I never met. The point is: I’m named after the bootlegging (another story) bastard son of a “treasure hunting” grifter, and his dad was such an absurdly dirty rotten scoundrel I can’t help but marvel at the whole thing eleven decades later.


Talking to dad’s side of the family about him (back in the day when they would actually talk to me), the dude was a legend. Tracking him down has actually been a sunovabitch: census records list him at various times as “Jacob” “Jake C” “Jack” “Sutherland” “Southerland” “Sotherlland”, etc.  Here he is signing his name as “Jacob Sotherland” and lying about his age on the 1900 census, the last one he got to fuck with before he died.


Born in North Carolina in October 1847, he lied his way into the army as a teenager during the Civil War. God even knows what the fuck he did while there, but his gravestone has honor markers from both the Union and Confederate army. During Reconstruction, he was a “treasure hunter”which apparently was some grifter gray area between inheritance fraud and claimjumping. After amassing a small fortune, he moved to Tennessee and hitched up with a woman 32 years younger than him, presumably without mentioning so to the wife and kids he left behind in North Carolina.

Even then, living with the woman he was illegally married to and their kids, he was still out playing drunk chicken trains to impress other women. And yet I’m the black sheep of this fucking family. Fucking amazing.


2 Responses to “Named After The Bastard Son Of A Grifter: My Great-Great-Grandfather’s Obituary”

  1. miusho February 22, 2015 at 4:18 am #

    People can be so unbelievably stupid..


  1. A Fool, Money, Etc: This Memories Pizza Thing Is Gonna End Hilaribadly. | Rani Bakr Digs You. - April 11, 2015

    […] will siphon them dry in a matter of months. And before y’all accuse me of being classist, I have every right to call grifting white trash for what it is. Apparently The Blaze is also providing a financial advisor… um ok. How long is that gonna […]

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