Rosa Yancey telling of her husband's family history


Told by Rebecca Yancey Williams in "The Vanishing Virginian", pages 194-195

Ancestry: Robert Davis Yancey, son of William Tudor, son of Joel, son of Joel, son of Archelaus, son of Charles, son of Charles Yancey.

I suppose the real reason Mother [Rosa Adams Yancey] became so interested in genealogy was because she found it hard to get any satisfaction out of her family in the present age. She seemed to get great consolation out of the past, but whenever she said anything about ancestors my father[Robert Davis Yancey] would laugh. He told her she was taking advantage of dead people who couldn't defend themselves, and then my father would tease:

"You needn't look up any of my ancestors. I know all about them. You know, there used to be a large quantity of molasses exported from this country to Europe. My ancestors smuggled themselves over in the empty molasses barrels. That's how we all got here; and that's why we are all so sweet."

"You are the silliest goose that ever lived" said Mother, laughing in spite of herself. "But just the same, you should be glad that I am compiling all of your fragmentary family history to be bound in one book. You should be proud to keep the record that your great-great-great-uncle, Robert Yancey of Tillotson Parish, was the first man in this country to preach the doctrine of Universal Salvation."

"Hah", chortled my father, "He will never pay a single dammed plumber's bill for me."

"And you should want your children to know" my mother went smoothly on, ignoring father's comment, "that Charles Yancey of Buckingham made such important contributions to the early life of this state that Thomas Jefferson called him the "Wheel Horse of Democracy".

"I don't mind them knowing it", returned Father, "as long as you make it perfectly plain that , if they are ever down and out, he cannot by them so much as one fried-egg sandwich"

"And you should want your children to know that their kinsman, William Lowndes Yancey, was the most gifted orator of his time. If the South had won the war, he would have ranked as the Patrick Henry of the Confederacy."

Here my father laughed outright.

"The South didn't win" he remarked, "so I expect you will find that your encyclopedia only rates him as an agitator"