Preparing for my family reunion is opening up a world of wonder. I always knew my Grandfather’s people came from Westmoreland County, Virginia. Today I went though a book written about my ancestors and a pamphlet from the “The First Wilson and Connected Family Reunion” dated August 31,1996.
I always had a thirst to know my heritage. I always felt out of place and disconnected as a child and teenager. I had friends and family who liked me and we got along, but I never really felt that I fit in. As a middle child, I developed a wonderful gift of expanding my imagination through writing. I always saw my characters come to life as I wrote their stories. I made up stories of how my great great great grandmother was a black slave who worked in the home of my great-great-great grandfather who was a white landowner. That was how I explained how my family came to own the Bull Run property. It was from the romantic and idealized imaginings of a young teenager.
This past summer, my family members who I really didn’t know about came alive. I know the names of my Great-Great-Great Grandfather, a black man born-free in 1852 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. I know that before he purchased the land with his two sons, he was a sailor. He was married to my grandmother, and together they had thirteen children. His sons and grandsons were known as the “waterman” of Westmoreland County. My cousins still owe the land on the point. When purchased it was known as Bull Run Point.
The books that I write are fictionalized. I will continue to piece together the stories of the men and women who gave me life, and write my family’s memoirs as the final book in “The String of Pearl” series called “The Clasp” which will honor the Free black men of Virginia who worked hard and produced a legacy of Wilsons; and my mother who does not know her family history. She was found abandoned at the age of 18 months old in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
I look forward to my family reunion in June. It will continue to motivate me to learn more about my father’s family. I hope this post inspires you to do the same.
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