My maternal great grandmother, Emma Rachel Gaylord-Horstmann who passed when I was young was the daughter of Charles Judah Gaylord, Jr. born in 1852, the result of my 3rd great grandfather fathering him with an Black African slave he owned by the name of Amanda Comee. That makes me 1/32nd Black. Great-great grandfather Gaylord was documented as Mulatto (as all first offspring of a White/Black union were branded. His children with White Scottish great-great grandmother Susannah Morrison-Gaylord were all documented as Black as was the custom in those times in the post-slavery period in the USA where the One-Drop Rule was enforced in the census documentation done every 10 years in the United States up until the 1920 census when my grandmother and her siblings were all documented as White. Although the children of great grandmother Emma Rachel Horstmann’s were 1/8th Black, and were never documented as such, but instead White that did not mean the people of the area would ever forget the Black ancestry.
My grandmother Mary Katherine Horstmann recalls when she was a girl shortly after the birth of the baby of the family, Henry Horstmann, Jr. their log cabin home in Goshen, Kentucky burned to the ground. She recalls her dad wrapping baby Henry in a blanket and dropping him to the safety of his mother’s arms from the upstairs window before he fled the burning cabin. That was my grandmother’s version of the story I’d always heard, but her sister Irene Horstmann-Kelley had a different story to tell about the night their family cabin burned to the ground.
My mother went through five marriages, my father being her second divorce in 1963 before I was born in April 1964.
To be continued….